Etiquette of calling out a brazen foot faulter

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by EddieBrock, May 17, 2018.

  1. EddieBrock

    EddieBrock Rookie

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    How would you handle a guy at your club who is a brazen foot faulter? I lost to him in doubles partly because of his great kick serve combined with his serve and volley and even posted about how to return it. When I was playing him I noticed he was foot faulting a bit, but was more focused on the ball than his position.

    In watching him play a few times from the sidelines I realized he doesn't just foot fault a couple inches, but he moves in about a foot! I don't know if it's intentional or not, but he comes in behind it so I feel like it gives him an unfair advantage.

    Obviously for an "official" match I'd call him out on it, but we all just play friendly games. I was thinking that next time we play I should just tell him to watch the foot faults. I don't know if I can yell out "foot fault" in the middle of a friendly match without making an enemy. He's a pretty nice guy and I don't want that.
     
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  2. Rattler

    Rattler Professional

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    I’d mention it to him on the change over or after the match
     
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  3. AdrianC

    AdrianC New User

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    Ive yet to be playing tennis a year and already this is a pet hate of mine. I just cant understand how these people dont know they're foot faulting, surely if you move your feet in the serve motion it has to be something you check. For some reason in tennis unlike other sports they're allowed to get away with it.
     
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  4. comeback

    comeback Hall of Fame

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    i regularly play a guy who footfaults..I use it as a challenge and will never call it..If it were a tournament, i would ask the umpire beforehand to watch for it..I hate making that call
     
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  5. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    It is so hard to call a foot fault, especially when you are losing - comes off as sour grapes.

    Maybe obviously foot fault yourself (although that can throw off your rhythm) and see if anyone says anything, then the dialogue is started.

    But yeah, it's just accepted in rec tennis. If he has a good s&v game he must be a fairly good player; good players know they are foot faulting and do it anyways. Sucks.
     
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  6. ByakuFubuki

    ByakuFubuki Semi-Pro

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    If it's an unofficial match, and thus winning or losing a couple of points has little meaning, I'd just try to address that to him calmly and politely either at changeover or after the match, whatever makes you feel more comfortable. If everyone's afraid of calling him out, that could have prevented him from noticing his feet's movement and made it into a habit, especially since he's going to move up after the serve anyway. Of course, it's also possible that he does it on purpose and/or won't care to change it, but if he's such a nice guy, trying shouldn't hurt you.

    Of course, being on the losing side makes things slightly harder, as it could come across as an excuse, so you'd have to be more eloquent in that case. But again, it shouldn't be too hard, unless you go: "Hey, you know you were foot-faulting all the time, right?"

    I don't know at which level you play or where, but most of us mortals don't have umpires, unfortunately...
     
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  7. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Hall of Fame

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    I find it is very difficult to SEE a 6 inch foot fault in real-time. I am watching the ball as I am returning.

    Only notice it viewing match from the sideline.
     
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  8. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    Just call it.

    I recently had a new player at the club, ex college player. He was running in S&V and hitting the ball three to four foot inside the baseline. At switch over I mentioned it. He said he knew, but no one ever calls it. So then I called it on every serve. Basically he was cheating and fully aware of the fact. His attacking game collapsed .
     
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  9. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    Easy in doubles for the net man.
     
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  10. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    Look at the league forum...a thread comes up on this every other month or so. This and cheating on line calls are what can make rec tennis very frustrating. If you call out the wrong guy on it, it can start trouble at your club. One of the USTA captains I know is a blatant foot faulter. Call him out on it in a club league match, look for a USTA team somewhere else.
     
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  11. tennytive

    tennytive Professional

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    In a few instances I've said: You know, if you could learn to serve legally, you'd be the best player out here. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
     
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  12. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    The only thing I do is to say something like the following .... but only after we are done playing.

    "just so you know you really foot fault pretty bad, I don't care but if you play a tournament or something you would probably get called on it."
     
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  13. zaph

    zaph Semi-Pro

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    Foot faulting is endemic in club tennis. I don't tend to call it, because you look like a bit of a pedant. Normally it is because of c**p service technique, so I am not sure it gives them that much of an advantage.

    However I have seen the odd player were it begins to look suspiciously like cheating, they are coming over a foot into the court, like your guy. If they come into the net it gives them an advantage, not to mention it takes more net out of the equation.

    I am afraid that sort of stuff, like hindrance, quick serving and dodgy line calls is part and parcel of rec tennis. Of course when the foot faulter enters a proper event, they will struggle to serve with their illegal technique.
     
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  14. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I will mention it after we're done playing but I'm always of two minds under what post-match circumstances to do so. If I win, I don't feel any hesitation to bring it up and mention that while it doesn't matter to me, some people are sticklers and will call you out on it during a match. If I lose, depending on how friendly the match was, I will probably bring it up but some people take it as sour grapes coming from a sore loser.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  15. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    Since he's a serve and volleyer I'd mention it right away otherwise I wouldn't bother.
    Say something like "I think you're foot faulting. Yeah, like 1.5 feet into the court."

    Who knows they might react well and try to move their start position back.
     
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  16. Searah

    Searah Rookie

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    hard too bring up unless you've already engaged in complaints.

    was doing mix doubles and whenever me and my partner was serving, the receiver would start too continuously hit her racket on the ground and make noise too try throw you off. so i said "you do know that is against the rules right?" which started a whole thing..

    which she then followed up with "well your partner keeps foot faulting"

    i feel some may foot fault by accident, but doing the racket hitting is just rude in my opinion.
     
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  17. Rattler

    Rattler Professional

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    True, but in Doubles the next position has a clear view
     
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  18. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    #18
  19. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    Run to the service line and then volleyball spike the ball down and see what he does. If he calls you on it, then bring up the foot faults.
     
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  20. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo G.O.A.T.

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    Record and show him. Then put him on blast on your club's facebook wall/twitter/newsletter. Put up a screen shot of him foot faulting and post it in your club's restaurants.
     
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  21. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I used to try and let people know they were foot faulting. Then I call them if it continued. Only thing it ever did was make people mad. I think I had one guy who handled it like you'd expect an adult to handle it. Now I usually don't say anything. Sometimes I might mention it after the match if they are particularly bad about it. The most common response is denial. It's pretty sad really how bad foot faults are in rec tennis.
     
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  22. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Interesting how the people that will accept me calling a close ball out will not accept me calling a FF. Maybe because the line call concerns an event on my side of the court whereas the FF occurs on their side?
     
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  23. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Ask him if he’s ever noticed Monfil’s awesome platform serve. Then suggest he try it because he’s blatantly foot faulting.

    Or just refuse to play; let everyone know why. You might prompt some others to speak up; of course if he’s a favorite the club you might be hitting against the wall a lot or looking for a new club.
     
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  24. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    Another option is to call it and then play a let and say next one is a fault.

    Any time you call a foot fault though, you are going to be in that player's head for the rest of the match, at least on their service games.
     
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  25. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting.

    Personally, I'd rather have played the guys best game, even if he was footfaulting by 4 inches to a foot. Much more fun for me than having the guy just get thrown off, worrying about where his feet are, and getting the win that way.

    But you were 100% in the right to call it. And you should do so on every occasion you see somebody footfaulting. In other words, don't just call footfault on the guys that are doing well. To me, that's cheating on your part. If you aren't going to be consistent, then I think it's a problem. It's almost like you are saving it as your "secret weapon" for when you really need it. Which seems wrong to me.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  26. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    For me, it goes a bit like this. I'd dare say that none of us on this forum are really good tennis players. And I'd say that very few people have a good to great serve. There are so many things to get right and coordinate in a serve. I rank "stepping a few inches inside the line" to be very low on what most people should be thinking about as they are working on their serve. For many people, if you are thinking about that, it will inhibit your already slow progress on the serve.

    Personally, I encourage people to footfault if they need to as they are learning their serve. Once you get everything else down, you can work on not footfaulting. But that really shouldn't be your top priority.

    I've never seen a guy actively trying to footfault to gain an advantage. And I'm totally fine if my opponent needs to footfault "a bit" to serve his best. Yes, I know in a world where winning is everything, this is an extreme minority opinion. I'm OK with that too.

    When I'm "just playing", I step on the line. So I footfault about 4 inches or so. The few times I've played a tournament and been called on it, I simple back up 6 inches or so and never think about it. Even with the official staring at me or sneaking up on me. I know exactly where I am and how far forward I'll step on a serve. If I back off the line 6 inches, I'll never footfault.

    So why don't I just back up 6 inches all the time. It's just easier to line up using the line. Just easier to have the line as a visual. But I don't need it. I can do just a well backing up 6 inches. I have quite a lot of net clearance on my serve and can hit the middle of the box for depth if I want to. So it's not big deal at all to me if someone wants to call me for a footfault

    Now what I don't like is to get called for a footfault and then lectured for a while before I'm allowed to hit my next serve. Just call the damn thing and let's keep playing. I don't need for you to make me stand there and listen to your pedantic, sanctimonious speeches. Just calling it is fine. I understand English well enough and understand the rules well enough. You don't need to drone on and on.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  27. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    Three to four feet running in, not a few inches. I made that clear in the post.
     
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  28. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

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    I just read that as inches. I guess because I can't even envision a 4 foot, footfault. I measured 4 feet with a ruler on the floor of my office. Not sure how that would even be possible.

    How on earth did the guy survive playing in college?
     
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  29. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    My question exactly. I rarely see ex-collegiates FF and it's because I thought that would have been beaten out of them a long time ago. 4'?? Maybe he's revamping his serve. :eek:
     
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  30. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Do what Simon does at 3:15:

     
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  31. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    I'm pretty sure you cant actually call it
     
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  32. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    The receiving player cannot , so in singles you can request someone to call in a match.

    Luckily I play doubles and the net man can.
     
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  33. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    They get away with it because few people call foot faults. In singles you cannot. College Bucs matches in England have no umpires. Totally different university setup to the US . Most if not all players aspiring to be professionals would not go through universities here.
     
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  34. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    It is a combination of bad technique and people trying to be PC and not calling the foot fault. If you line up with you lead foot near the base line, you cannot move it otw you will FF. That's where technique comes into play. They're chasing a bad toss or one too far into the court. None of the higher level players I play with FF; most of the lower level ones do FF. Either they move that lead foot or they step with that lead foot into the court. Higher level players do know when they FF; they actually like you to mention it during play so they can fix their toss. Lower level players range between 'Who cares' to 'Thank you, I will fix.' You cannot play league or officiated matches and FF. I don't call FF unless they step into the court. That is easy to see. 3¢
     
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  35. Rattler

    Rattler Professional

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    Take a look at item #24 of the Code, Page 39 2018 Friend At Court.
     
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  36. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    23. Avoid foot faults. Players should not foot fault because it violates the ITF
    Rules of Tennis. It is a foot fault when a foot just touches the line, even when the
    player does not follow the serve to the net.
    24. Calling foot faults. The receiver or the receiver’s partner may call foot faults
    only after all reasonable efforts, such as warning the server and attempting to get an
    official to the court, have failed and the foot fault is so flagrant as to be clearly
    perceptible from the receiver’s side.
     
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  37. GBplayer

    GBplayer Professional

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    Seems reasonable, being an American manual I had not previously seen it. Fully agree. Not sure why people don't like foot faults being called, it is cheating.
     
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  38. EddieBrock

    EddieBrock Rookie

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    I had no idea how widepread the problem was. I've been playing tennis for many years and have never really noticed someone with such an obvious foot fault until I saw this guy. When I was playing on the court next to him and lining up for my own serve and saw how far inside the baseline he was when he was serving it was eye opening.

    I'm going to say something just to make him aware of it if I bump into him around the courts
     
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  39. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    That's so wrong! Why you encourage a bad habit? I have never had a problem with a student foot faulting. Even kids as young as 4 years old. I don't usually care very much in the first couple of serve lessons and agree that at the very beginning it shouldn't be a priority, but once they are able to toss and make contact consistently, I usually correct them a few times and that's all that's needed. There's no reason to be moving the feet so much when you serve that you foot fault. I literally cannot recall out of possibly hundreds of students a single one that kept foot faulting after they learned they weren't supposed to do it. It's super easy to fix it early on.
     
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  40. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Professional

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    Love this forum. I've seen threads on opponents being pushers, foot faulting, catching the ball before it bounces, returning stray balls too hard, coughing while the other player is about to hit a stroke,...etc. Thank god all the good guys congregate here. Other than PoMo. He's single handedly destroying this noble forum by admitting to hitting old ladies with PoMo serves and breaking arms with fierce shots to the baseline.

    True story...whenever I win I never notice anything illegal that my opponent might be doing. OTOH, if I lose, especially to someone who doesn't have flashy pro caliber strokes like I do, I won't leave the court till I watch some of his other matches and figure out exactly how he cheated to beat someone like me.
     
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  41. AdrianC

    AdrianC New User

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    Yeah it seems petty, as long as they serve behind the service line. If they go over that......actually maybe it should be the net given we know if you touch the net you lose the point. Now i think about that rule seems petty as well.
    Then theres those damn lines while in a rally, we really should get a few extra feet on them as well. How many times i get called out when its only out by an inch is ridiculous.
     
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  42. mcs1970

    mcs1970 Professional

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    Read again. I wasn't saying it's ok to cheat. Complaining about how your opponent was cheating while you were playing by the rules more often than not sounds like parents at a hoops game whining how their team was shafted by bad calls, how the other team was fouling and traveling left and right while their team was playing by the rules. You see only what you want to see.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018 at 9:43 PM
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  43. kramer woodie

    kramer woodie Semi-Pro

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    Well, if you were to play singles or doubles with me you would never find me guilty of a foot fault. Why? Simple I learned to serve back
    when the rules said you had to keep one foot on the court at all times. Therefore, your front foot did not move and your back foot stepped
    forward into the court after the ball had already been struck.

    Of course, once tall players began to dominate with serve and volley, and were very quick to the net with the back foot landing in the
    court first, the rule was changed. I believed it was changed in 1969 or there about. Jumping allowed shorter players to contact the ball
    higher giving more clearance over the net and also allowed tossing the ball further forward into the court. Thus, the beginning rage of
    foot faulting and a walking forward for added momentum. At this point, I should not leave out courts being textured to slow the ball
    down, thus creating longer rallies.

    Maybe, if we were to return to one foot at all times in contact with the court, foot faulting would stop. That will not happen, so we at
    the rec level are stuck with foot faulters.

    I find playing doubles, as the net person of the receiving team, seeing and calling foot faults easy. At least, even if the server gets mad,
    the point gets treated as a let and the point is played over. It is a best case solution: call the foot fault instantly, your partner does not
    attempted to return the serve, then allow the point to be replayed showing you want to be fair. Server is made aware that he is foot faulting.
    Only problem is if server continues to repeatedly foot fault. Then what do you do? Find other opponents!

    Aloha
     
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  44. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Honestly if are paying attention to his foot fault you are not looking at his ball. If he has to step into the court to hit his toss...sounds like a faulty serve mechanism. Not much to worry about. I'm more worried about the 6-4 tower who starts 6 inches behind the line because to he's going to step to it and put a hole in me.

    (see marat safin).
     
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  45. kramer woodie

    kramer woodie Semi-Pro

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    DavaiMarat

    Not looking at the ball? It's called triple vision, see the ball see the opponent see the opponents racquet face angle. This is what makes
    great players great. They use their entire field of vision until the ball crosses the net and even then they are aware of their opponents
    position with their peripheral vision. Thus, the term delayed aggression, don't break for the net until your opponent eyes drop to seeing
    only the ball. Otherwise, the opponent has time to set up a return crosscourt or down the line, because they see your approach via their peripheral vision.

    Also, when playing the net in doubles of the receiving team, your entire focus is on the server. You not only see his mechanics, but also his racquet face angle and know whether he/she is hitting kick, flat, or slice. Why would you be unable to witness his foot fault? You would see his foot fault instantly for everything the server does is right their in front of you in your field of vision. Ball included!

    As for a hole in you, you have a racquet, a free hand, a hip, and a back to defend yourself with. Plus, if you are not the receiver of the serve, the ball should not come anywhere near you. Now if that 6'4'' tower moves forward to take a return of serve hit short and you are net
    man which that 6-4 tower is going the unleash a huge forehand at you gut. Don't be chicken. It is only a soft hollow light fuzzy yellow tennis ball, not a 100mph baseball hardball thrown at your head.

    I remember one very memorable moment in a match years ago. My doubles partner hit a very weak serve return pop up. Right to the
    opponents net man. The ball only travel about 2 feet past the service court line and the opponent at that net set up to hit an overhead
    right at my gut. I did not have time to get back in the court further than my service court line before the ball was struck. While, to my
    utter amazement I managed to get my racquet into a backhand volley position defending my gut and hit a return volley off the wooden throat of my racquet for a winner. All I was really doing was protecting myself with my racquet. Pure luck on a winning return, but I did not chicken out by running away!

    Aloha
     
    #45

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