Doubles: returner's partner

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
As the returner's partner at net, I need to practice more at plugging up the middle when my partner hits a return that the net man can intercept. Take away the default winner down the middle and make him hit the more difficult shot wide. My team gets burned with this shot and the only thing I can think of to help out is to move into the middle and challenge the net man.
 

Curious

Legend
As the returner's partner at net, I need to practice more at plugging up the middle when my partner hits a return that the net man can intercept. Take away the default winner down the middle and make him hit the more difficult shot wide. My team gets burned with this shot and the only thing I can think of to help out is to move into the middle and challenge the net man.
But then you're opening down the line.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
You watch their net man and position optimally who would get your partner's ball first. If their net man doesn't intercept, your next target is their baseline guy.

You gotta position considering your their net man's tendency. Then move and reposition against their baseline guy considering your partner's ball placement and their baseline guy's skill/tendency.

Intercept any ball within your skill. If it's outside, let go but close in, move, psych out their hitter. If their ball crosses to your partner for his hitting, repeat from the top.

There's a hell of a lot of movements, calculation by your role.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm confused. You're closer to the midline than the net man and still moving more to the middle?? How doesn't it open the DTL even more?
Assume server is on the Deuce side. He serves to my partner; I'm near the SL and a few feet away from the centerline. My partner returns. Opposing net man cuts off the return. What DTL does the net man have against me? He has middle [between me and my partner], at me, and he has wide [to my left]. Maybe you're defining "DTL" differently than I am.

My point is that I stay where I am and the net man hits it between me and my partner. On those occasions, I should move laterally to my right to cut off that middle shot and make him hit to my left instead.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
You watch their net man and position optimally who would get your partner's ball first. If their net man doesn't intercept, your next target is their baseline guy.

You gotta position considering your their net man's tendency. Then move and reposition against their baseline guy considering your partner's ball placement and their baseline guy's skill/tendency.

Intercept any ball within your skill. If it's outside, let go but close in, move, psych out their hitter. If their ball crosses to your partner for his hitting, repeat from the top.

There's a hell of a lot of movements, calculation by your role.
Their net man has already intercepted. I'm trying to improve my defensive position even though it isn't a very good position no matter what I do.

Yes: a lot of movement and calculation.
 

Curious

Legend
Assume server is on the Deuce side. He serves to my partner; I'm near the SL and a few feet away from the centerline. My partner returns. Opposing net man cuts off the return. What DTL does the net man have against me? He has middle [between me and my partner], at me, and he has wide [to my left]. Maybe you're defining "DTL" differently than I am.

My point is that I stay where I am and the net man hits it between me and my partner. On those occasions, I should move laterally to my right to cut off that middle shot and make him hit to my left instead.
Sorry, got it now. Confused the whole configuration before.:)
 

spaceman_spiff

Hall of Fame
As the returner's partner at net, I need to practice more at plugging up the middle when my partner hits a return that the net man can intercept. Take away the default winner down the middle and make him hit the more difficult shot wide. My team gets burned with this shot and the only thing I can think of to help out is to move into the middle and challenge the net man.
Why not just start in a position that cuts off the DTM winner? That way, you're already in the position you want to be in if your partner's return doesn't clear the net man. And if your partner hits a good CC return, you can move forward as you get into position to cover your side at the net.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
As the returner's partner at net, I need to practice more at plugging up the middle when my partner hits a return that the net man can intercept. Take away the default winner down the middle and make him hit the more difficult shot wide. My team gets burned with this shot and the only thing I can think of to help out is to move into the middle and challenge the net man.
are you moving in a triangle pattern the entire time?
 

Dragy

Legend
Depending on the quality of your partner's typical return, pace of typical volley of such interception and your reaction I expect you to be somwhere from right behind the T to deeper NML a bit towards your side when your partner is returning. You should also take into consideration your speed to get to at least mid service box once you see return going back to the server. Farther you fall back to protect the middle from a poach more you compromise your ability to get in stronger position against the server (both when he stays back or S&Vs). So yeah, triangle pattern @nytennisaddict mentioned adopted to your speed, reaction and opposition. Move, move, move.
 
For those saying to stand closer to the middle, aren’t you are going to make the “window” for your partner’s return a lot smaller? A section of the court where your partner can hit the CC return is now being blocked by you standing closer to the middle. I tend to do what Dragy said in his post, move a couple of steps back to NML, where you are not in the line of fire for your partner's return. If the CC return gets by the poacher, then quickly move up to the net for the server's next shot.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
As the returner's partner at net, I need to practice more at plugging up the middle when my partner hits a return that the net man can intercept. Take away the default winner down the middle and make him hit the more difficult shot wide. My team gets burned with this shot and the only thing I can think of to help out is to move into the middle and challenge the net man.
If your partner is constantly hitting balls that the net man intercepts, you might be better off just playing back at the baseline.

Perhaps 1st serve you play from the baseline, 2nd serve (which presumably your partner will get better return on) you can play in front of the service line...

Colombia team employed a similar strategy in the AO final this year. At baseline on 1st serve, in front of service line on 2nd serve.

 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
If your partner is constantly hitting balls that the net man intercepts, you might be better off just playing back at the baseline.

Perhaps 1st serve you play from the baseline, 2nd serve (which presumably your partner will get better return on) you can play in front of the service line...

Colombia team employed a similar strategy in the AO final this year. At baseline on 1st serve, in front of service line on 2nd serve.

Meh, I like getting balls slammed at me.

Let's you know you are still alive.

J
 

Dragy

Legend
For those saying to stand closer to the middle, aren’t you are going to make the “window” for your partner’s return a lot smaller? A section of the court where your partner can hit the CC return is now being blocked by you standing closer to the middle. I tend to do what Dragy said in his post, move a couple of steps back to NML, where you are not in the line of fire for your partner's return. If the CC return gets by the poacher, then quickly move up to the net for the server's next shot.
You can step to the middle once your partner hits the ball.
 

Dragy

Legend
What good is that going to do?

Closing the barn door after the horse left!

J
The question was if standing too close to the T is a hindrance for your teammate return. One can position himself a tad farther on his side of the court and splitstep towards the netman once the ball contact has happened by returner.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
For those saying to stand closer to the middle, aren’t you are going to make the “window” for your partner’s return a lot smaller? A section of the court where your partner can hit the CC return is now being blocked by you standing closer to the middle. I tend to do what Dragy said in his post, move a couple of steps back to NML, where you are not in the line of fire for your partner's return. If the CC return gets by the poacher, then quickly move up to the net for the server's next shot.
presumes the incoming ball is going wide cc...
if the incoming ball is coming more down the middle of the court... ie. center T...
well, why the heck didn't you poach that!
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
The question was if standing too close to the T is a hindrance for your teammate return. One can position himself a tad farther on his side of the court and splitstep towards the netman once the ball contact has happened by returner.
Oh, just so you aren't in his line of sight?

J
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
Meh, I like getting balls slammed at me.

Let's you know you are still alive.

J
As cocky teenagers in HS tennis, my partner and I would actually try to hit the opponent's net man with said return... Of course, then they would do the same with us.

One match in particular got close to a throwdown before the coaches stepped in :)
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
As cocky teenagers in HS tennis, my partner and I would actually try to hit the opponent's net man with said return... Of course, then they would do the same with us.

One match in particular got close to a throwdown before the coaches stepped in :)
When I poach I try to punch or guide the ball to the open court, or crunch it at the opposing net man's feet, but sometimes I get to play dubs against futures level players and it's incredible how hard they can slam poaches away. They cross and slam the ball down in front of me and it will bounce over my head and into the back wall or over the side curtain onto the next court.

Seeing it really revolutionized my thought process.

J
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
When I poach I try to punch or guide the ball to the open court, or crunch it at the opposing net man's feet, but sometimes I get to play dubs against futures level players and it's incredible how hard they can slam poaches away. They cross and slam the ball down in front of me and it will bounce over my head and into the back wall or over the side curtain onto the next court.

Seeing it really revolutionized my thought process.

J
Yeah, I watched Roger and Tecău in person last summer at the Winston Salem Open (they subsequently won the US Open). They either totally crunched the poach as you describe (often sending it into the stands, even at extreme angles), or they used really sweet sharp angle volleys into the open court to put it away. Tecău has excellent touch for a big guy.

In general, the rallies were very short.
 

blakesq

Hall of Fame
As the returner's partner at net, I need to practice more at plugging up the middle when my partner hits a return that the net man can intercept. Take away the default winner down the middle and make him hit the more difficult shot wide. My team gets burned with this shot and the only thing I can think of to help out is to move into the middle and challenge the net man.
if your partner is hitting easy returns to netman, you are going to lose the point. the better tactic is get the returner to hit returns cross-court, and only occasionally hit a screamer down the line.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, I watched Roger and Tecău in person last summer at the Winston Salem Open (they subsequently won the US Open). They either totally crunched the poach as you describe (often sending it into the stands, even at extreme angles), or they used really sweet sharp angle volleys into the open court to put it away. Tecău has excellent touch for a big guy.

In general, the rallies were very short.
I hit a solid first volley, got a weak reply and cut my second short into the doubles alley and the ATP guy I was playing was like don't ever do that again, if the ball is above the net, you end the point. Put it in the seats.

It never occurred to me to play like that, basically smother the net and hit mini overheads.

J
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Yup, what @nytennisaddict said ... are you moving in the triangle? If you are moving forward off the service line before ball passes opposing net dude, that is a trouble waiting to happen ... and yes, closing the middle gives you more opportunities and closes their angles. If they can get that very sharp angle in front of you and out wide ... let them have it, too good. But closing the middle gives you good volley opportunities defensively.

I used to hate being the returners partner because I never felt like I was in the right place ... now I kinda enjoy it .... I put all of my focus on the opposing net player and position according to how they are setting up (or not) the moment I see they aren't going to make a play on the ball (based on their eyes and positioning) I go up and pressure the opposing baseliner.

And to @J011yroger point from ATP guy ... yes ... low ball: volley to the T High ball end the blasted point. finish it so that it cannot come back. (that is my goal ... execution sometimes lacking)

That said, I have been really impressed with the great touch that Jack Sock exhibits on the dubs court. His drop volleys, angles and touch shots are a pleasure to watch.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
As cocky teenagers in HS tennis, my partner and I would actually try to hit the opponent's net man with said return... Of course, then they would do the same with us.

One match in particular got close to a throwdown before the coaches stepped in :)
problem is that against good volleyers they'll typically get every hit anything back that is hit between shoes and belly button... anything higher, probably can duck and it'll go out.
when i'm drilling volley to volley, at some point we escalate the volleying by stepping closer on every hit... aiming for each other's belly button
or if we are doing volley vs. bsaeliner,... we'll both intentaionally feed a sitter, so baseliner can drill the volleyr.


When I poach I try to punch or guide the ball to the open court, or crunch it at the opposing net man's feet, but sometimes I get to play dubs against futures level players and it's incredible how hard they can slam poaches away. They cross and slam the ball down in front of me and it will bounce over my head and into the back wall or over the side curtain onto the next court.

Seeing it really revolutionized my thought process.

J
yeah, when i play high level folks... i'm amazed at how well they can anticipate the drive, which allows them to really abandon defending the lob, and close almost touching the net, making it easy to hit those spike volleys.
what other takeaways did you have?
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
yeah, when i play high level folks... i'm amazed at how well they can anticipate the drive, which allows them to really abandon defending the lob
This is why a good topspin lob can be such a weapon against someone who closes tight to the net. Well-disguised and tough to read until almost too late. Hewitt prime example, Edberg also had excellent topspin lob off both wings...
 

Off The Wall

Semi-Pro
Jolly’s method works if you want to be at net and protect the middle.

Iowaguy’s idea of playing back on first serves is sound.

It is just plain difficult to defend against a good poacher. That is, one who directs the ball aroud the opposing net man, not at his stomach. I think it is also up to your receiving partner to vary his returns.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Jolly’s method works if you want to be at net and protect the middle.

Iowaguy’s idea of playing back on first serves is sound.

It is just plain difficult to defend against a good poacher. That is, one who directs the ball aroud the opposing net man, not at his stomach. I think it is also up to your receiving partner to vary his returns.
I can't protect against a good poach, nobody can except getting lucky.

I'm trying to be in position to protect against a bad poach or to maybe make a lucky stick save against a good ball.

Who knows, maybe that 1 out of 4 I manage to frame back over the net will matter.

J
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
So this thread was about defending against a poacher that is in the middle of a successful "poach in progress"?

Good luck with that. Reminds me of a small ATP pro event I used to attend every year. Mel Purcell (past his prime) would always charge forward when opponent had an overhead. Never worked ... but it wasn't boring.

Dead man charging
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
So this thread was about defending against a poacher that is in the middle of a successful "poach in progress"?
It was trying to position myself better to take away the fat part of the court and possibly goad the net man into hitting a lower % area. I fully expect to lose most of these points but if I can pick up one or three here and there due to an opponent mistake, that's a bonus.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
It was trying to position myself better to take away the fat part of the court and possibly goad the net man into hitting a lower % area. I fully expect to lose most of these points but if I can pick up one or three here and there due to an opponent mistake, that's a bonus.
I like your fighting spirit ... but value our posts here ... don't want you to die with a poach to the throat. :cool:
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It was trying to position myself better to take away the fat part of the court and possibly goad the net man into hitting a lower % area. I fully expect to lose most of these points but if I can pick up one or three here and there due to an opponent mistake, that's a bonus.
The thing is, if I'm poaching, I'm still hammering it down the middle, even if you are standing there. Hitting it out wide would be trying to change direction on an outside ball, a Wardlaw no-no. I'd still bet, even if you got a racket on it, that I'm going to see a reply I can put even more mustard on and finish the point.

So if the middle is open, yay easy point. If the receiver's partner is there, yay, slightly less easy point.

I'm like Jolly. I just want to be in a spot where I can get to a screwed up poach. That's usually the only way I'm saving a point when the net guy gets a racquet on the ball.

And the fact that in doubles, the middle is never a bad place to be.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
The thing is, if I'm poaching, I'm still hammering it down the middle, even if you are standing there. Hitting it out wide would be trying to change direction on an outside ball, a Wardlaw no-no. I'd still bet, even if you got a racket on it, that I'm going to see a reply I can put even more mustard on and finish the point.

So if the middle is open, yay easy point. If the receiver's partner is there, yay, slightly less easy point.

I'm like Jolly. I just want to be in a spot where I can get to a screwed up poach. That's usually the only way I'm saving a point when the net guy gets a racquet on the ball.

And the fact that in doubles, the middle is never a bad place to be.
Understood. And I'd rather get my racquet on the ball and have a very low % chance of winning the point than not get my racquet on the ball and have a 0% chance of winning.
 

ByeByePoly

G.O.A.T.
I think at this point in the thread someone needs to have a talk with s&v's partner about his ros ... or is that pos? Unless this is mixed ... then just let it go (and the poach) or there will be crying.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I think at this point in the thread someone needs to have a talk with s&v's partner about his ros ... or is that pos? Unless this is mixed ... then just let it go (and the poach) or there will be crying.
I can't yell at my partner because I have the unfortunate tendency to do the same thing. :mad:
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Read this:
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/how-to-handle-a-net-monster.626994/
Kidding aside, at certain levels, there not much you can do if your opponent has a consistent monster 1st serve and he/she can hit their spots. At some point, you need to play 2 back on 1st serves since Discretion is the Better Part of Valor. Standing near the T or middle to cut off OH or poaches does not work very well. If they don't put it away on the 1st shot, it will be put away on the 2nd. :(
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
I don't see there is much you can do. If you move to the middle, the opposite net player will just hit the ball to your side which it is now wide open, or can hit right at you. Most of the time, if the return is high, and the net player intercept it, it is finished.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Read this:
https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/how-to-handle-a-net-monster.626994/
Kidding aside, at certain levels, there not much you can do if your opponent has a consistent monster 1st serve and he/she can hit their spots. At some point, you need to play 2 back on 1st serves since Discretion is the Better Part of Valor. Standing near the T or middle to cut off OH or poaches does not work very well. If they don't put it away on the 1st shot, it will be put away on the 2nd. :(
The scenario I was describing was not a monster serve by any means. If it was, I'd have gotten the heck out of Dodge!
 
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