Ever Deal With This One?

fe6250

Semi-Pro
We have an older guy that regularly plays in the local leagues (some of you guys from the Charlotte area may know who I'm talking about) that stands incredibly close to the net in doubles. He is often teased that his feet are actually sticking through to the other side. He has incredibly quick hands and is able to get his raquet on the ball. While he is obviously an easy lob candidate (for you coaches out there), when you do hit a ball at him, he often hits impossible shot angles that make you positive his racquet had to be over the net to hit the shot - based on where he was standing.

That said, he is convinced he never goes over the net and as I understand it - it's his call. We all joke about this guy and we just let him do it as there really isn't much we can do about it anyway and why let it get you uptight - right? He's actually a pretty nice guy, although a tough competitor for his level so i haven't wanted to make a big deal about it.

Just curious if anyone else has seen this and if they have found a solution?
 

CAM178

Hall of Fame
Easy solution, man. . . just think about it. Essentially his partner is playing by himself, because if someone lobs this net surfer, his partner has to cover both sides of the backcourt. Hit a topspin lob, and problem solved. And while you're at it, drop shot cross court. The net surfer's partner will start to get really annoyed that he is doing so much work, and will mentally quit. Easy solution. I love having problems like this. :)
 
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Doc Hollidae

Hall of Fame
Hit it right at him... hard.
To add to what CAM said, slamming a ball at someone crowding the net and has decent hands as the OP mentioned is asking for trouble. Chances are if he can get his racket on the ball, he's going to get it back and put you in a bad position regardless if he mishit or hit the ball cleanly. On top of that, most people who are comfortable at being at the net (which I assume this player is) don't mind the ball being slammed at them and probably prefer it rather than placeless shots hit at their feet. Slamming the ball works better against people who are uncomfortable at the net or are poor volleyers.

As to the OP. Go for the lob and then again and then again and again until the guy learns his lesson. Once he changes go back to your normal game, but keep lobbing until then. If he's got a brain, he'll realize he can't keep crowding the net.
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
OK - I'll stick with the lobs! To be clear, I had figured this out as a way to beat the guy - was more curious if anyone ever tried to call this on anyone. Sounds like most people do what I have been doing and let it go and just make him pay for being so close. Thanks again.
 

saram

Legend
OK - I'll stick with the lobs! To be clear, I had figured this out as a way to beat the guy - was more curious if anyone ever tried to call this on anyone. Sounds like most people do what I have been doing and let it go and just make him pay for being so close. Thanks again.
We have a guy like that in our area. EXACTLY like that. We all tease him and others as well. If anyone in town hits a shot that resembles this guy, we call his name out and make light of it. There is really nothing one can do without someone watching down the net to see if and when the player breaks the plane of the net.

As others said, just lob take that net player out of the equation. He'll get bored of not playing any tennis and get off the net in time.
 

Loco4Tennis

Hall of Fame
what about passing shoots, these are hell for someone so close to the net, not enough time to react or move to cover, altough the lob would be your way to go to push him back
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I've never understood the reason for the rule about not hitting on the other side. It seems like there's no purpose. If you can play a ball without touching the net, good on you. Why have a rule no one on the court is in a position to call with any certainty?

I've had many times when I ran up to volley and I didn't want the ball to drop below the net, and I've wondered whether I got it on my side or the other side. I have a rather bad angle for making the call, no?

I've never called it on myself, though. I can't be certain and I was definitely trying not to play the ball on the other side, so I always figured I got it at the exact wrong moment.

Only once has someone said anything. Back when we were 2.5s playing a practice match, a player accused me of crossing the net. I didn't think I had. But I also didn't know whose call it was so I just gave her the point.

I wouldn't give her that point today! :)
 

North

Professional
Very poor solution, kiddo. Never go headhunting for no reason.
I agree - belting the ball back right at the net person is not the first thing to do with someone crowding the net. However, if the person is able to get to passing shots and the lobs are covered and put away, then my strategy is indeed to hit right at the net-crowder. Even the most deft hands up at net (for most club players) usually cannot do much with a ball aimed right at the hip or shoulder.

I played someone once, though, who crouched so low that only his head and neck were peeking up over the net. He would pop up like a jack rabbit as the ball was retuned. He was over 6 feet tall (which made crouching that low an amazing feat of quadriceps stamina) so he got to passing shots and lobs easily. When we started returning right back at him, he backed off the net. He was unfazed at getting hit in the face. Said it happened all the time because of how he played when he was up at the net, but until the opponents were willing to simply hit right back at him, he was going to stay right where he was - lol.
 

Supernatural_Serve

Professional
He is creating three holes:

- the hole over his head, so lob him

- the hole behind him, especially a ball hit cross court between him and his partner, so your own net person has to increase his aggressiveness at poaching and hitting behind him while your back guy (returner or server) focuses on hitting cross court almost exclusively, especially wide or short and wide creating a giant hole between them

- the outside hole, hit a passing shot down the line from time to time

Take your choice, but don't hit anything at him except to light him up from time to time, but its risky since he thrives on this.

He's taking himself out of position, so work the court he exposes and keep the ball away from his strong volley areas.
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
- the hole behind him, especially a ball hit cross court between him and his partner, so your own net person has to increase his aggressiveness at poaching and hitting behind him while your back guy (returner or server) focuses on hitting cross court almost exclusively, especially wide or short and wide creating a giant hole between them
Great thought. I hadn't thought much about this, but clearly there is space here to expose behind him and the cross-court from the other side should be wide open.
 

spot

Hall of Fame
Honestly- the hitting the ball before it crosses the net is probably the biggest weakness in "the code". There are times when its blatantly obvious that the other team hit the ball before it crosses the net but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it if it happens to you. And in reality it pretty much makes it legal to cross the net to hit the ball since its never ever called. At this point I would almost rather see then remove the rule from the books in unofficiated matches just because the only ones that are penalized are the people who are trying to follow the rules, but people who ignore that rule have no consequences at all.
 

cknobman

Legend
To add to what CAM said, slamming a ball at someone crowding the net and has decent hands as the OP mentioned is asking for trouble. Chances are if he can get his racket on the ball, he's going to get it back and put you in a bad position regardless if he mishit or hit the ball cleanly. On top of that, most people who are comfortable at being at the net (which I assume this player is) don't mind the ball being slammed at them and probably prefer it rather than placeless shots hit at their feet. Slamming the ball works better against people who are uncomfortable at the net or are poor volleyers.

As to the OP. Go for the lob and then again and then again and again until the guy learns his lesson. Once he changes go back to your normal game, but keep lobbing until then. If he's got a brain, he'll realize he can't keep crowding the net.
Well, Im not going to promote hitting rockets at the net guy but I beg to differ on someone at the net being able to handle hard shots with ease(at least at my level).
Ive come up against some older fellas that played that "hug" the net game before and even challenged me to hit it hard at them. After a few shots they backed off the net realizing they didnt want anymore strawberries on their chest.
When someone is that close to the net its almost giving the baseliner a free "swing" because you dont really have to worry about hitting enough spin for it to drop, you can just obliterate a laserbeam at the net guy and he wont be able to get out of the way.
I take weekly lessons from a pro at my tennis center who was a former tx #1 and even played a few futures tournaments, whos in his mid-late 30's and wont hug the net when hes doing double drills on my groundstrokes for the same reason I described above.
 

JRstriker12

Hall of Fame
I've never understood the reason for the rule about not hitting on the other side. It seems like there's no purpose. If you can play a ball without touching the net, good on you. Why have a rule no one on the court is in a position to call with any certainty?

I've had many times when I ran up to volley and I didn't want the ball to drop below the net, and I've wondered whether I got it on my side or the other side. I have a rather bad angle for making the call, no?

I've never called it on myself, though. I can't be certain and I was definitely trying not to play the ball on the other side, so I always figured I got it at the exact wrong moment.

Only once has someone said anything. Back when we were 2.5s playing a practice match, a player accused me of crossing the net. I didn't think I had. But I also didn't know whose call it was so I just gave her the point.

I wouldn't give her that point today! :)
I could see why they created that rule - maybe to keep players from reaching over the net with thier rackets to intentionally hinder another player from hitting the ball back.

Hypothetically - Let's say that all players are at the net, you hit it back over on your opponents side close to the net and to prevent them from getting it back, you stick your racket out over the net to thier side, effectly blocking them from making a shot. Not a very fair situation.

Having said that, if the ball bounces on your side and spins back over the net, you can hit that ball by reaching over the net into your opponent's side, as long as you don't touch the net.
 
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