7.0 mixed dubs: poaching on your partner's weak serve

Should a guy playing 7.0 mixed poach when his partner has a weak serve (other guy returning)?

  • Yes, going for lots of poaches is the only way to get the hold

    Votes: 13 81.3%
  • No, poaching when your opponent has a short, soft ball is gambling / suicide

    Votes: 3 18.8%

  • Total voters
    16

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I will admit that poaching is a weaker part of my game, but I don't see how I can poach when the opposing guy is hitting a waist-high ball from the middle of no-man's land. I either have to gamble and leave really early, or I won't have time to move very far. But more than that if the opposing woman is hitting a weak, short serve to me, I get offended if the other guy tries to poach. If he stays I will hit a cross-court approach shot to her almost every time, or maybe lob him. If he starts moving then I will start mixing in the hardest, flattest returns down the line (and possibly through his chest) that I can hit. In my head there's a gentleman's agreement that I won't rip it down the line on a short, high serve if he doesn't try to pick off my "safe" returns. Players that poach on weak serves in general annoy me and help me focus on my returns by giving me a target. My ground strokes are much better than my poaches.

I mentioned this to a teammate and he thought I was crazy. He said, "How can she possibly hold her serve if you aren't poaching like crazy on both sides and trying to disrupt their returns?"

So what do you think: should guys poach on weak, short serves to try to pressure their opponents into mistakes? Do you feel it's poor form to target the opposing guy at point-blank range if his partner's serve is really weak and short, unless he "earns it" by moving during your return?
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
reason to poach: pick off an easy winner

bigger reason to poach: opponent is looking at you and likely to make a mistake, especially at 3.5-4.0 where their egos will make them hit dtl 4x until they pass you that 1 time.

alternatively, they start lobbing or similar, making it easier for you partner to do something with it.

the threat of poaching is far more powerful than the poach itself!



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Stretchy Man

Professional
Not much point playing net if your partner has a weak serve and can't keep it away from the opponents forehand. You're going to get sore and frustrated. Better off staying back and approaching net later on a good approach shot?
 

Max G.

Legend
Yeah, an active net guy is a great way to help a weak server hold.

You want to make the other returner not know where to hit the ball. Give him different looks. Make him not be able to hit the same return 2-3 times in a row, ever.
 

dsp9753

Rookie
You don't always need to successfully poach. Just making your opponents think about it is good enough. Some people will hit it out, into the net, or hit it softer with more control trying to avoid you. Sometimes I will stand further back into the court and more towards the middle with the intention of poaching the down the line shot. At the end of the day, their strategy will probably avoid the guy and hit to the girl. If you stand in the middle, sometimes they will just think about you too much and make silly or dumb errors.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
If while your partner is serving, you don't ever poach, the returners have a huge advantage - they don't have to worry about you. One reason to poach is to make the returners worry that you *might* do it. That worrying can cause returners to exhibit poor shot selection and donate unforced errors.

Think of poaching as an investment - not so much on that one point, but toward setting the tone for the entire match - "Hey returners, if my partner is serving, don't think you're going to hit any meatball cross court and get away with it."
 
If while your partner is serving, you don't ever poach, the returners have a huge advantage - they don't have to worry about you. One reason to poach is to make the returners worry that you *might* do it. That worrying can cause returners to exhibit poor shot selection and donate unforced errors.

Think of poaching as an investment - not so much on that one point, but toward setting the tone for the entire match - "Hey returners, if my partner is serving, don't think you're going to hit any meatball cross court and get away with it."
I like the investment analogy; I've said the same thing [it may not pay off now but it will yield dividends later in the match].

One guy was commenting on a match and said "Notice how Mr. X either poaches or fake poaches almost every time.": he's always trying to get into the head of the returner.

The partner who says "my partner can't hold serve" is probably not doing enough at the net.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
One thing I see all the time, even in 8.0 mixed - if I poach once or twice, returners (especially females) start trying to go down the line a lot, trying to catch me poaching. This is, of course, very low percentage for them, but some of them just can't help it.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Should guys in mixed poach off of weak serves? Of course!

Where did you get the idea that you should ease up on the opposing man unless he stands still and gives you an open path to blast the return to his weak-serving partner?
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I don't poach off of my female partner's 2nd serve...err...I guess they actual feel about the same as 1st serve. Ah-hem....let's start over.
I look for poaching opportunities when the female is returning. Even on short balls. But I'm not going to commit on too many. Just be ready.

When serving to the male, I'll back up a little to give myself a little more reaction time. I will always throw in a fake here and there. Same against the female. Having that motion just takes their concentration off the ball for a split second. Sometimes that's enough for a slight miss-timing of the ROS.

Sometimes I'll do a planned poach just to show opponents that it could happen. Even if it fails. It's on their minds. Then the fakes have more impact. Standing still at net is NOT what the stronger player at net should be doing.
 
I'm with your teammate on this one. I don't see how a weak serving player can hold serve if their partner is just standing up at the net like a goon.

Gentleman's agreement... eh, whatever. I'm not going head hunting but if the girl serving has really good ground strokes and just a weak serve, the smarter move may be to tattoo the net guy as opposed to going cross court. He has a racquet and legs. And that's coming from a guy with a weak serving mixed partner. Come at me bro. The more balls you hit to me, the better.
 
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Dartagnan64

Legend
I take every weak second serve DTL. Every time. Whether you are there or not. If you are a poacher, easy point for me. If you are hanging out there expecting it, I still get enough errors to make the shot worthwhile. An inside in FH is not a difficult shot for me and I rarely miss and it's coming pretty fast. And everyone one of my playing compadres can make this shot as well and will burn you every time you poach.

Prove to me you can make an excellent volley on a FH from NML aimed at your belly button and then maybe I'll think twice about the DTL shot. Until then I know where I'm taking the lollipop serves.

I poach based on the quality of the serve and whether I know the opponents tendency is CC. If I want to encourage a DTL shot i'll just shift my position to the middle and give the appearance of a great big gap. Then I reverse poach back to cover the DTL. It's a bit cat and mouse and I don't take big chances unless my partner is terrible and needs me to do something.
 
I don't poach off of my female partner's 2nd serve...err...I guess they actual feel about the same as 1st serve. Ah-hem....let's start over.
I look for poaching opportunities when the female is returning. Even on short balls. But I'm not going to commit on too many. Just be ready.

When serving to the male, I'll back up a little to give myself a little more reaction time. I will always throw in a fake here and there. Same against the female. Having that motion just takes their concentration off the ball for a split second. Sometimes that's enough for a slight miss-timing of the ROS.

Sometimes I'll do a planned poach just to show opponents that it could happen. Even if it fails. It's on their minds. Then the fakes have more impact. Standing still at net is NOT what the stronger player at net should be doing.
I think the real question is whether you think you and your partner combined ratings of 7.0 could beat 5.0 @J011yroger ? 2 v 1. Doubles alleys count.

I mean right? 7.0 vs 5.0 you should have the advantage?
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
The partner who says "my partner can't hold serve" is probably not doing enough at the net.
I've had my partner make 7 faults in a row on her serve. Tell me how I'm not doing enough.

it's not up to the net person to make up for a crappy server. It's up to the server to make the net person relevant. You put lollipop serves into the middle of the service box and you are leaving your net man out to dry. I've made many a net guy look foolish trying to be super aggressive on his wife's middling serve. To the point of marital discord.

Too many servers really don't understand serving in doubles and how to make things easier for both of you. All I ask of my female partner is get a high percentage of first serves in and get to the BH of the receiver. That's really all they need to work on to be effective servers in intermediate mixed.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
The active net player elicits a lot of errors from returners simply by being active, whether they actually poach or not. They get in the receivers head, even on those lollipop serves. (a serve I am known to absolutely botch my return on by thinking too much).

So yes, actively poach on a weak serve from you partner .... or at least be actively doing something .... just moving around acting like a fool is better than just standing there or moving way back.
 
I've had my partner make 7 faults in a row on her serve. Tell me how I'm not doing enough.

it's not up to the net person to make up for a crappy server.
That's certainly true. But if we're talking about 7.0 mixed with a 3.0 woman playing against a 4.0 guy, it would be your job, as the other 4.0 guy, to take pressure off your 3.0 partner's serve by poaching and faking.

If your partner can't get a serve in, get a new partner.

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WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
if the opposing woman is hitting a weak, short serve to me, I get offended if the other guy tries to poach.
So what do you think: should guys poach on weak, short serves to try to pressure their opponents into mistakes? Do you feel it's poor form to target the opposing guy at point-blank range if his partner's serve is really weak and short, unless he "earns it" by moving during your return?
I'm curious -- why would a guy trying to poach you be offensive to you? I tend to be active at net, always. This also means I'm accepting responsibility if someone rips a ball at my head, intentional or not. My attitude is, I stuck my nose in there...if I don't like it, it's up to me to move back to a more defensive position. IMO it is also really important to be active early, even if it means missing a few easy volleys or over-running a ball, dumping an easy one in net, etc. By three games in, the opponent is more worried about what I'm doing than they are watching the ball to contact. I get so many freebies by people going DTL because they *thought* I was going to poach, and instead I stayed home (and that's if their DTL shot is even in).

Do I get burned? Sure--maybe 1-3 times during a match...but that pales in comparison to the number of UEs I force, by them either going too wide on a CC shot to avoid me, or going DTL (low % shot). Besides, it's much more fun being active. I like the cat/mouse aspect of dubs. If I just stayed home and protected the alley all match I'd get bored pretty fast...
 
I've had my partner make 7 faults in a row on her serve. Tell me how I'm not doing enough.
I can't. Which is why I used the word "probably".

it's not up to the net person to make up for a crappy server.
Yes, it is. More generally, a partner's job is to try and help the team win, however he can accomplish that. Yes, if your partner DFs away games that's hard to overcome. About the only thing I could think of is to move back to the BL so maybe that relieves some pressure off of my partner to hit a good serve.

It's up to the server to make the net person relevant. You put lollipop serves into the middle of the service box and you are leaving your net man out to dry. I've made many a net guy look foolish trying to be super aggressive on his wife's middling serve. To the point of marital discord.
You play the hand you're dealt. If you have a poor serving partner, deal with it. And perhaps there's absolutely nothing you can do. C'est la vie.

Too many servers really don't understand serving in doubles and how to make things easier for both of you. All I ask of my female partner is get a high percentage of first serves in and get to the BH of the receiver. That's really all they need to work on to be effective servers in intermediate mixed.
How many partners, male or female, can do what you're asking? It's certainly a good goal but ability to execute will vary based on skill-level.

I'd be more concerned about a high first serve % than where it went.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I can't. Which is why I used the word "probably".



Yes, it is. More generally, a partner's job is to try and help the team win, however he can accomplish that. Yes, if your partner DFs away games that's hard to overcome. About the only thing I could think of is to move back to the BL so maybe that relieves some pressure off of my partner to hit a good serve.



You play the hand you're dealt. If you have a poor serving partner, deal with it. And perhaps there's absolutely nothing you can do. C'est la vie.



How many partners, male or female, can do what you're asking? It's certainly a good goal but ability to execute will vary based on skill-level.

I'd be more concerned about a high first serve % than where it went.
I think we feel the same way about doubles, and it's an interesting dilemma. In men's, my goal is to get weak balls to my partner at net. In mixed I need the ball to come back to me or to my partner's strength which may require non traditional shots or positioning.

J
 
I think we feel the same way about doubles, and it's an interesting dilemma. In men's, my goal is to get weak balls to my partner at net. In mixed I need the ball to come back to me or to my partner's strength which may require non traditional shots or positioning.
I think one of the most valuable attributes a doubles player brings to the table is flexibility and adaptability. I might have a great [FH, BH, serve, volley, etc.] but if I can't fit it in to the context of the match [ie make it sync with my partner and vice versa], we're not going to do that well.

I think in either case [Men's or MXD], the goal is to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses while attacking their weaknesses and avoiding their strengths. How exactly your team accomplishes that can vary from partner to partner, opponent to opponent, and match type to match type [ie Men's vs MXD].
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I can't. Which is why I used the word "probably".



Yes, it is. More generally, a partner's job is to try and help the team win, however he can accomplish that. Yes, if your partner DFs away games that's hard to overcome. About the only thing I could think of is to move back to the BL so maybe that relieves some pressure off of my partner to hit a good serve.



You play the hand you're dealt. If you have a poor serving partner, deal with it. And perhaps there's absolutely nothing you can do. C'est la vie.



How many partners, male or female, can do what you're asking? It's certainly a good goal but ability to execute will vary based on skill-level.

I'd be more concerned about a high first serve % than where it went.
As one of the least athletically gifted people on this forum, if I can hit first serves in and get to the BH of my opponent then everyone should be able to do so. I don't think its skill level dependent but effort dependent and I think its also a simple fact that most guys don't tell their serving partners what they want them to do. It's the "Knight in Shining Armor" approach of "just get it in and I'll take care of the rest."

My 7 faults in a row partner (I'll call her "my wife" for short) has markedly improved holding her serve, not because I started poaching more but because after her double fault debacle I simply asked her to really work on getting her first serve in and to the BH if possible. She set that as a goal, worked on it in practice with her ladies social matches and has become much better. I was willing to tell her what I wanted and she was willing to work on it and that's all it took. Communicating is a good thing sometimes.

I think in the end, both the server and the net person have to take some responsibility for service holds. Server doesn't need to serve aces to hold serve. Just a bit of directional control and higher first serve percentage can be enough when you have a decent net person. The net person needs to be active but also aware of what the returners tendencies and abilities are. Blindly poaching on every serve against a solid returner will get you burned. But it may be super effective against a weak returner.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
Communicating is a good thing sometimes..
Agree. As doubles is a team sport, comm isn't just good sometimes, it simply has to happen. I've played with partners who don't say a word the entire match. what the heck is that? watch any team sport, and the most synched-up teams are calling out one-word directions to one another pretty much as the action is happening. I think tennis players tend not to comm as much bc everyone pretty much starts as a singles player then migrates to doubles, so there's this attitude of 'you do your thing, i'll do mine, and we'll be ok.'...it simply cant and wont work that way with any level of success against an equivalent matched opponent.

for example -- when i used to play soccer, we were taught to call out the name of the person you're passing to, or 'go' if you're passing to an area for a run-on by your teammate. If you don't, your teammate may not know you're setting the ball for *him*. so in tennis, even when my net partner goes to poach (particularly if it's someone I have not played with a lot), i still say 'yes' as as i'm crossing behind him, just to let him know to keep going. little things like that build momentum and take away uncertainty. saying 'yes' psychologically lets him know to 'keep doing that, be assertive, go for it, i have you covered.'

i also find it puts pressure on the other team when they hear us communicating mid-point...last night's opponent, who we wiped out pretty handily, told us at the handshake 'you guys are pretty well-oiled. we had to go to plan E-4 to even have a chance at you'...
 

MRfStop

Professional
The poach will have to be timed right...if you go too early the returner could burn you down the line
 
The poach will have to be timed right...if you go too early the returner could burn you down the line
There are no sure things. I'm not going to hold back from poaching because I might not time it perfectly. I'd rather try to get in the head of the returner, even at the price of a few burns DTL. In fact, if I'm not losing at least a few points DTL, I'm probably not doing enough to pressure the middle and help my partner hold serve.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
There are no sure things. I'm not going to hold back from poaching because I might not time it perfectly. I'd rather try to get in the head of the returner, even at the price of a few burns DTL. In fact, if I'm not losing at least a few points DTL, I'm probably not doing enough to pressure the middle and help my partner hold serve.
I guess it all depends on your server. When I play with my wife I absolutely expect her to guard the line because that's the only sure winner against us. Anything down the middle I can handle and get us in a favorable position. To win a service game in mixed I just need her to not give up the DTL. Force them to come at me and we are likely to win the point.

The opposite is true when she is serving. I need to work at trying to get them to come at me because that again gives us more favorable odds. But I also know if I get too active poaching, my opponents are competent enough to burn me or lob me to get us in trouble especially if my wife's serve is right in their wheelhouse. So my strategy is if my wife's serve makes the returner move off his spot, I'm poaching. If she feeds it right to them, I'll stay and live to poach another time.
 
I guess it all depends on your server. When I play with my wife I absolutely expect her to guard the line because that's the only sure winner against us. Anything down the middle I can handle and get us in a favorable position. To win a service game in mixed I just need her to not give up the DTL. Force them to come at me and we are likely to win the point.

The opposite is true when she is serving. I need to work at trying to get them to come at me because that again gives us more favorable odds. But I also know if I get too active poaching, my opponents are competent enough to burn me or lob me to get us in trouble especially if my wife's serve is right in their wheelhouse. So my strategy is if my wife's serve makes the returner move off his spot, I'm poaching. If she feeds it right to them, I'll stay and live to poach another time.
Fair enough; you each know each other's game very well. But what happens if you aren't handling the middle as well that day? Rather than going down to defeat, your wife could pinch the middle more and do it successfully if she's practiced it.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
at 7.0 mixed doubles you should pretty much poach EVERY time.
A lot of people say that and I wonder if they actually play 7.0 mixed.

"The opposing male should poach against a female returner as often as possible" would be my suggestion.

If you are poaching every time when I'm returning your female partner's serve, good luck and thanks for the easy winner. If your female partner is poaching on your serve, I'll be ready for that bunted volley and now I've got open court.

I play a lot of 7.0 mixed against a group of people that know my game well. They don't poach against me anymore. They will against my wife but I'm usually ready for that. In men's league I face a lot of 4.5 men so when it comes to taking on a 3.0-3.5 woman's serve I'm at a significant advantage as a returner.
 
If we're being honest here most 3.5 men and women never poach ever 0% of the time so if you do chances are you will win the point just poked
 

zaskar1

Rookie
its difficult to poach on a weak serve to be effective. if you go, and its a weak serve, all the returner has to do is lob it over
the poacher, chip is low and wide back to the server, or bunt it down the line where the poacher was. i usually wont try to poach on a weak serve. on a weak serve, the net person has to be ready as sometime the returner will just blast the ball at them
to see if they can handle it.

sometimes its better to play two back if the serve is weak.
fortunately for me, most of my mixed partners have a decent serve, so the opponents cant do anything they want with it.
i will only poach when i think i can hit a put away, otherwise i will just wait for the opportunity

z
 
its difficult to poach on a weak serve to be effective.
That alone shouldn't stop you. You have to figure out what you're getting in return. If the returner is easily distracted, it might still pay off.

if you go, and its a weak serve, all the returner has to do is lob it over
the poacher,
The returner can do this whether you poach or not.

chip is low and wide back to the server, or bunt it down the line where the poacher was.
In a perfect world, yes. In the real world, a returner will make errors and by you poaching unpredictably, you're compounding his problems.

i usually wont try to poach on a weak serve.
I usually won't either. But I sometimes will.

on a weak serve, the net person has to be ready as sometime the returner will just blast the ball at them
to see if they can handle it.
Again, this is true whether you poach or not. I don't see it as a reason to never poach.

sometimes its better to play two back if the serve is weak.
If the serve is being attacked, yes. But that's a different consideration than if/when to poach.

fortunately for me, most of my mixed partners have a decent serve, so the opponents cant do anything they want with it.
i will only poach when i think i can hit a put away, otherwise i will just wait for the opportunity

z
I think this is a limiting attitude: how do you know before the returner hits the ball whether you can put away the poach? You have to leave before he contacts the ball. If you are waiting for the returner to contact the ball and judging your chance of success, you are not poaching; you're simply pressuring the middle. And while middle pressure is good, it's not the same as poaching.

Also, how are you going to communicate this to your partner via signals? When my net man signals he's going to poach, I assume he's all in and it's my job to cover the alley he just vacated. If he stops halfway, I'm screwed: how do I know if he's going to stop?

If you follow the bolded part above, you will be less of a factor at the net and thus it will be more difficult for your team to hold serve. You as the net man play a big role in that.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
If we're being honest here most 3.5 men and women never poach ever 0% of the time so if you do chances are you will win the point just poked
The reason for that is its usually a losing proposition largely because it requires trust and communication. I rarely poach in mixed on my partner's serve because frankly i don't trust her to move to the correct spot. I will almost always find her exactly where she last hit a ball or where the point started. The only time I go is when she hits a good serve and i anticipate the weak return and that usually wins us that point 99% of the time.

I've played people that try to poach too much and it doesn't create a miraculous winning scenario. It works well if you have a good server. if I'm playing with a solid server I'm all over the net finishing points. But playing net in front of a weak server is more a defensive role. I dont' meet too many returners that get flustered by net guys moving. They just calmly wait and pat the ball down the line.
 

ATX Tennis

New User
Sounds like some of us have a difference in philosophy. When I poach, I am trying to put pressure on the returner, not just poach the ball. I know I will allow some balls by me, but overall, I think poaching and fake poaching is a winning strategy at 7.0 mixed. As you get higher, I understand that you want to be more selective, but at 7.0 there just aren't a ton of players that make you pay for poaching on weak serves to discourage me from doing it. Of course, if someone in a match consistently passes me, i will be more selective and may just fake. By the way, i do this in men's 3.5 too and it works almost as well.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Sounds like some of us have a difference in philosophy. When I poach, I am trying to put pressure on the returner, not just poach the ball. I know I will allow some balls by me, but overall, I think poaching and fake poaching is a winning strategy at 7.0 mixed. As you get higher, I understand that you want to be more selective, but at 7.0 there just aren't a ton of players that make you pay for poaching on weak serves to discourage me from doing it. Of course, if someone in a match consistently passes me, i will be more selective and may just fake. By the way, i do this in men's 3.5 too and it works almost as well.
Whereas in my experience at this level the returners are stronger than the servers. Most 3.5 guys can make a very good groundstroke on a 3.0-3.5 woman's second serve or direct it at will. Sure if you feel the returner is weak sauce then go for it, but I don't see many of those. Certainly lick my chops when I do.

Men's 3.5 doubles is a different beast because the men's second serve usually at least has some spin on it to make a more difficult return. I tend to fake poach a lot in men's doubles.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
So this week I got a chance to play some mixed and decided to up my aggressiveness at the net. Faced a couple that were weaker returners and after beating them handily 6-3 6-2, they changed tactics since I was killing their weak returns. They played 2 back and started lobbing returns crosscourt. Totally took me out of play and frustrated my wife causing her to over hit. Lost the 3rd set 6-1 and it was the most dreary tennis.

My general rule is, if it’s social tennis, and the opponents start playing 2 back and lobbing everything, I’ll finish the set, thank them for the match and cross them off my play list. Tournaments and league where scores are recorded, win any way you like. But social matches? If I want overhead practice I’ll drill it with my wife in our practice sessions. Actually ended up with quite a crook in my neck from constantly looking up.

Anyway just another reason not to be Uber aggressive at the net. They’ll just start lobbing at 7.0 mixed levels. And while you can take the moral victory from forcing that strategy, it’s absolutely dreary tennis.

I did learn that I need to work on my wife’s touch game. The way to defeat the two back lobbers is to hit short angles and drop shots and those are not in her wheelhouse.
 
So this week I got a chance to play some mixed and decided to up my aggressiveness at the net. Faced a couple that were weaker returners and after beating them handily 6-3 6-2, they changed tactics since I was killing their weak returns. They played 2 back and started lobbing returns crosscourt. Totally took me out of play and frustrated my wife causing her to over hit. Lost the 3rd set 6-1 and it was the most dreary tennis.

My general rule is, if it’s social tennis, and the opponents start playing 2 back and lobbing everything, I’ll finish the set, thank them for the match and cross them off my play list. Tournaments and league where scores are recorded, win any way you like. But social matches? If I want overhead practice I’ll drill it with my wife in our practice sessions. Actually ended up with quite a crook in my neck from constantly looking up.

Anyway just another reason not to be Uber aggressive at the net. They’ll just start lobbing at 7.0 mixed levels. And while you can take the moral victory from forcing that strategy, it’s absolutely dreary tennis.

I did learn that I need to work on my wife’s touch game. The way to defeat the two back lobbers is to hit short angles and drop shots and those are not in her wheelhouse.
I don't understand your attitude: you're fine with "killing their weak returns" and beating them 3&2 but when they change tactics because of the losses and turn the tables and win, it's now dreary? How fun was it for them the first 2 sets? Maybe it was dreary for them?

I'd say their strategy shift was intelligent; doubly so if they knew it would frustrate you. Did you expect them to stick with their losing strategy?

You could have adjusted: if you were highly confident a lob was coming, you could have drifted back to a few steps behind the SL in the middle of the court and taken the lob as an OH [not sure if your wife would have been happy with that strategy, though].

I know you don't like vertical tennis; if your opponents knew that, you'd be vulnerable.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I don't understand your attitude: you're fine with "killing their weak returns" and beating them 3&2 but when they change tactics because of the losses and turn the tables and win, it's now dreary? How fun was it for them the first 2 sets? Maybe it was dreary for them?

I'd say their strategy shift was intelligent; doubly so if they knew it would frustrate you. Did you expect them to stick with their losing strategy?

You could have adjusted: if you were highly confident a lob was coming, you could have drifted back to a few steps behind the SL in the middle of the court and taken the lob as an OH [not sure if your wife would have been happy with that strategy, though].

I know you don't like vertical tennis; if your opponents knew that, you'd be vulnerable.
Does anyone like playing lob queens in social tennis? Raise your hands. Even mixed teams I consider lobbers hate it when they play lobbers.

I did take overheads behind the service line. As I said I had quite a sore neck after from taking so many out of the air. But I have trouble putting those behind the service line Overheads away. Have to keep hitting them until I get a short one. Problem is my wife just falls apart with that tennis. So no matter how I deal with it, she turns to a frustrated piece of jelly. Everything hit to her goes long or into the net. And no in social mixed I'm not going to put her into the corner and take over.

And the opposing male had a very good topspin forehand so if he caught you drifting back he'd drive a dipper at your feet. BH side was terrible though.

I'm not saying they were stupid for switching to a vertical strategy. It was very smart if you are only concerned about winning a social doubles match. And I also agree my poaching was frustrating them. But the thing is, I could very easily do the same vertical thing and I know I'd frustrate them and we could spend an hour on each exchange, but I don't because I know people hate that kind of tennis even more. There are other ways to deal with a poacher than just throwing up lob after lob. I play a lot of mens tennis against active net players and I have yet to resort to lobbing to beat them. The cat and mouse game is far more enjoyable to me than just lobbing every return back to avoid them altogether.
 
Does anyone like playing lob queens in social tennis? Raise your hands.
Do you equate social tennis with not being competitive or not trying to win?

I play plenty of non-USTA/non-UTR tennis, which might be defined as social, but we're still all trying like heck to win.

If someone employs a strategy, then it's my team's responsibility to figure out how to beat it. What I wouldn't do is think "this is social tennis; they shouldn't be lobbing.".

Do you think that social doubles means they shouldn't be hitting shots that you dislike? If that was my definition then I guess I wouldn't play with them either. But my attitude is more one of "throw your worst at me; what doesn't kill me makes me stronger." If I can't handle it, I need to improve, not pressure you into not hitting that shot.

My exception would be if they tried to hit a winner off of everything: whether it goes in or not, I'm just a ball feeder. Maybe I could view that as serve practice or, if I can get a racquet on the ball, return practice. But I'd probably look at that as a waste of time. Fortunately, that's only happened once and it was in a tournament so I had no choice of opponent.

Even mixed teams I consider lobbers hate it when they play lobbers.
I guess they don't believe in "what's good for the goose is good for the gander.". I'd call them hypocrites. Or those who can dish it out but can't take it.

I did take overheads behind the service line. As I said I had quite a sore neck after from taking so many out of the air. But I have trouble putting those behind the service line Overheads away. Have to keep hitting them until I get a short one. Problem is my wife just falls apart with that tennis. So no matter how I deal with it, she turns to a frustrated piece of jelly. Everything hit to her goes long or into the net. And no in social mixed I'm not going to put her into the corner and take over.

And the opposing male had a very good topspin forehand so if he caught you drifting back he'd drive a dipper at your feet. BH side was terrible though.

I'm not saying they were stupid for switching to a vertical strategy. It was very smart if you are only concerned about winning a social doubles match. And I also agree my poaching was frustrating them. But the thing is, I could very easily do the same vertical thing and I know I'd frustrate them and we could spend an hour on each exchange, but I don't because I know people hate that kind of tennis even more. There are other ways to deal with a poacher than just throwing up lob after lob. I play a lot of mens tennis against active net players and I have yet to resort to lobbing to beat them. The cat and mouse game is far more enjoyable to me than just lobbing every return back to avoid them altogether.
The lob strategy is effective because the other team can't reliably put away OHs. It gets used less and less the higher one goes because everyone's OH is better and better and the lob is essentially a defensive shot [unless you can hit a really good TS lob]. If the other team knows this and wants to win, of course they will lob. Is it any different if you had bad anticipation and they drop shotted a lot? Or had a weak BH so they attacked it? Or are you saying that's all fine for competition but has no place in social doubles?

I once played a MXD match where the guy was a very accurate lobber. Furthemore, he lobbed when we were looking into the sun. I knew this was going to happen so I simply had to prepare to try and hit OHs/swinging volleys. It worked well enough that he cut back on his lobbing and drove the ball more so I closed the net more. Then he went back to lobbing. Same cat and mouse you're referring to, just with a different strategy.
 
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