"Is a Ten-Foot Rope the Right Length for Me to Hang You?"

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I swear, I am going to lose it the next time someone tells me about a 10-foot rope being the key to doubles positioning.

I was playing doubles with some 3.5 lady friends, all of whom are very experienced but take lessons from different pros. During breaks, discussions deteriorated into sessions of, "My pro says . . . "

Well, one lady announced that it is important for doubles positioning to move as though you and your partner are connected by a 10-foot rope. To illustrate, she said, "Imagine I'm back at the baseline. That means my partner needs to be at the service line. If she's inside the service box, you're leaving a big diagonal alley between us."

Why are pros still teaching the 10-foot rope? Maybe it is OK for pure beginners. But it really bugs me, as it causes my partners to think I am out of position when I'm not. Any unplayed ball up the middle is attributed to the bloody rope, when in fact the problem could have been something else (e.g. players are flat-footed, DTL line player covering too much alley, deuce player thinking "FH takes the middle" means all middle balls belong to her partner). Plus, I don't think this rope business makes any sense.

1. If I'm at the net and my partner is behind me, how am I going to know where she is? Turn and swivel my head so I can be 10 feet away from her?

2. What if my partner's positioning stinks, like she's an alley camper? Should I shade closer to her and leave half of my side uncovered? Is she is draped on the net, should I join her and leave the entire back-court undefended? If she is drawn tight to fetch a drop shot, should I close the net just because she has to?

3. Doesn't it matter where the ball lands on our opponents' side? Doesn't it matter what shots they've shown us they like -- shouldn't we cover that?

4. And, most of all, shouldn't we instead learn to position in the probable angle of return?

I'm not sure any of these mantras that players believe as gospel (10-foot rope, FH takes the middle) are really true.
 

sovertennis

Professional
I could go on a bit here (I coach several 3.5 women's teams) about positioning, which to me is a central problem at that level. I've never used the "10 ft rope" analogy because it's not relevant. For some players, "moving forward" means taking two steps inside the baseline and camping there; for others, it's being side by side with their partner, etc.

Cindy, your option 4 is, to me, the most salient. Both players should endeavor to be more than reactive, ie waiting for the ball to come to them and instead move a couple of steps (more as necessary) relative to each shot.

Good post. If you come up with an iron-clad, all-weather, fail-safe solution for the 3.0-3.5 doubles player, please post.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I swear, I am going to lose it the next time someone tells me about a 10-foot rope being the key to doubles positioning.

I was playing doubles with some 3.5 lady friends, all of whom are very experienced but take lessons from different pros. During breaks, discussions deteriorated into sessions of, "My pro says . . . "

Well, one lady announced that it is important for doubles positioning to move as though you and your partner are connected by a 10-foot rope. To illustrate, she said, "Imagine I'm back at the baseline. That means my partner needs to be at the service line. If she's inside the service box, you're leaving a big diagonal alley between us."

Why are pros still teaching the 10-foot rope? Maybe it is OK for pure beginners. But it really bugs me, as it causes my partners to think I am out of position when I'm not. Any unplayed ball up the middle is attributed to the bloody rope, when in fact the problem could have been something else (e.g. players are flat-footed, DTL line player covering too much alley, deuce player thinking "FH takes the middle" means all middle balls belong to her partner). Plus, I don't think this rope business makes any sense.

1. If I'm at the net and my partner is behind me, how am I going to know where she is? Turn and swivel my head so I can be 10 feet away from her?

2. What if my partner's positioning stinks, like she's an alley camper? Should I shade closer to her and leave half of my side uncovered? Is she is draped on the net, should I join her and leave the entire back-court undefended? If she is drawn tight to fetch a drop shot, should I close the net just because she has to?

3. Doesn't it matter where the ball lands on our opponents' side? Doesn't it matter what shots they've shown us they like -- shouldn't we cover that?

4. And, most of all, shouldn't we instead learn to position in the probable angle of return?

I'm not sure any of these mantras that players believe as gospel (10-foot rope, FH takes the middle) are really true.
Oh I needed this chuckle today.

I think the rope analogy is great for teaching beginning doubles. One should be moving together ... if your partner is drawn wide you move with them .... I have typically heard "rubber band" rather than rope but same thing.

Where many players and many pros fail is that lessons for a beginner are necessarily simplified and then built upon over time with nuance and greater precision. Just like in math you start with addition (the 10 foot rope) then to algebra (follow the ball) and only then to derivatives (probably angle of return based on experience).

Your friend, I fear, like many learners, understood basic addition and decided that because of that, calculus was not necessary and ceased learning or questioning beyond the basics.

I have been blessed with some very very good doubles strategy coaches. But from what I can see it takes a coach weeks and weeks with the same group to get the movement ingrained and natural so that a player is not even thinking about the right movement or shot selection.

In terms of your other points

Point 1 .... I have been taught to take a quick peek behind me ... know basically where my partner at baseline is ... but as the ball is still traveling toward our baseline ... but not for this 10' silliness ... and I am shifting back at the same time ... if going somewhat wide, I am shifting to the T

Point 2
Don't play with alley campers
But if she is drawn tight to net then yes you should step in to at least NML as you will be able to cover more of the court that way AND be able to defend a potential lob

Points 3&4 yes and yes
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
I find that many lower level players in league play leave open huge gaps that can be easily exploited. The 10 foot rope helps reduce these gaps in theory, but I think some players are having difficulty reacting and moving quickly enough to make this idea applicable. Some answers to these questions.

1. You can see your opponents hitting the ball, you should be able to recognize from the incoming ball if its a really short cross court, deep cross, drop shot, etc etc. If its a short cross court ball, then your partner is going to be pulled off the court. You should be moving to help cover more of the middle, etc.

2. If your partner stinks, then no amount of wisdom will help you unless your partner is on board too. The only way to cover a partner with bad positioning is to either guide them to the right spot OR just be fast enough to cover them. (Or maybe your opponents cant exploit the bad positioning.)

3-4. A lot of lower level players don't do this but yes, you guys should be moving to the optimal position to cut off the angles. But it goes both ways, when you guys are returning the ball and after. Always should be positioning and moving whether its before or after either you or your partner hits the ball. I think most lower level players struggle here. Most players will just hit the ball and then just kind of stand there. Or the net player is like a sitting duck and never really repositions.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
I think the best 3 times the "10 foot rope" rule helps are:

1. encouraging your partner to get out of "one up - one back" and get to the net ASAP. I know this is not the modern game, but.....the opposite has occurred. Modern rec players are quite content to stand back and try to bash groundstrokes, crosscourt or down the line, until one of them puts up such a duck that the net man just cant resist and steps across to put it away. OK, dont McEnroe serve and crash the net, but try to get in there. First volleys from just behind the service line are what makes doubles fun!

2. getting your partner to laterally shift with you when a shot pulls you wide

3. To get your partner to fall back with you if you are chasing down a lob.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
If people just read the Art of Doubles and followed its positioning guidelines every thing at 3.0-4.0 would be fine.

The 10 foot rope thing is never mentioned because it makes little sense. If the ball is out wide you need to separate and if the ball is down the middle you need to compress.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Hard to describe. I think the idea is that if our shot lands at the center hash, being 10 feet apart is too far. You should compress the middle because that is the opponent’ best target.

If the ball is very short and wide of the doubles alley you would want more than 10 feet. One person needs to protect DTL, and the other has to guard against the sharp angle crosscourt. The middle is a poor target in that situation, but the whole angle will be open if the crosscourt player shifts to the T simply to be closer than her partner.

That’s how I understand it, anyway.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Hard to describe. I think the idea is that if our shot lands at the center hash, being 10 feet apart is too far. You should compress the middle because that is the opponent’ best target.

If the ball is very short and wide of the doubles alley you would want more than 10 feet. One person needs to protect DTL, and the other has to guard against the sharp angle crosscourt. The middle is a poor target in that situation, but the whole angle will be open if the crosscourt player shifts to the T simply to be closer than her partner.

That’s how I understand it, anyway.
The short cross court angle winner is actually a very difficult shot to hit. Shouldn't ever really be defending it unless your opponents are very very good at it. I think the best strategy is to defend against the high percentage shots (middle, down the line, and then sharp cross court last.) I am definitely looking to hit the ball in between net players unless i have a very good cross court angle or very good down the line shot. The very good cross court angle almost never happens if my opponents are decent at volleying. On all neutral or defending shots, I am looking to hit it in between partners.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
The 10 foot rope is for higher level athletic and hard hitting doubles where lobs are rare.

Most would be better off playing stagger doubles instead of wall doubles.

You tell 3.5 ladies to play like they are tied together they will get lobbed to death.

J
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
The short cross court angle winner is actually a very difficult shot to hit. Shouldn't ever really be defending it unless your opponents are very very good at it. I think the best strategy is to defend against the high percentage shots (middle, down the line, and then sharp cross court last.) I am definitely looking to hit the ball in between net players unless i have a very good cross court angle or very good down the line shot. The very good cross court angle almost never happens if my opponents are decent at volleying. On all neutral or defending shots, I am looking to hit it in between partners.
Emphasis on “short.” If the ball is shorter than the service box, the angle is easy and most players will choose it over middle, IME.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
If your partner is pulled completely off the Court by a lot, your job is to defend the "fattest" part of the Court.
You are in deep doo doo, you need to make them hit as hard a shot as possible.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The angles of attack are wider for the opponent if he is out wide. So to cover them the team must widen their separation. On balls down the middle the opponent has fewer angles and so compressing the middle forces a more difficult shot. it's quite nicely illustrated in the book.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The short cross court angle winner is actually a very difficult shot to hit. Shouldn't ever really be defending it unless your opponents are very very good at it. I think the best strategy is to defend against the high percentage shots (middle, down the line, and then sharp cross court last.) I am definitely looking to hit the ball in between net players unless i have a very good cross court angle or very good down the line shot. The very good cross court angle almost never happens if my opponents are decent at volleying. On all neutral or defending shots, I am looking to hit it in between partners.
The sharp CC shot is far easier if you are pulled out wide. It's easier than the DTL shot IMO. What's really hard to do is hit down the T from the out wide spot, so why would a doubles team cover that?

The Near player takes a step towards the alley to cover DTL and the CC player lines himself up on a line that intersects the net strap and the opponent. That positioning covers all the possibilities and provided the CC player stays deep enough he can cover the lob as well.

On the other hand if you follow the 10 foot rope process, and both players stay in the middle of their service boxes, there is enormous amount of open court for DTL passing shots and lobs and CC angles. Admittedly if you are playing with scattershots, giving them open court and hoping they miss can be a strategy. But I prefer to put the game on my racquet. I'll cover the angles so I can get a racquet on the ball and make a forcing shot. I don't like relying on the vagaries of fortune.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
The 10 foot rope is for higher level athletic and hard hitting doubles where lobs are rare.

Most would be better off playing stagger doubles instead of wall doubles.

You tell 3.5 ladies to play like they are tied together they will get lobbed to death.

J
Let me walk you around my world for a minute.

Some years ago, my pals and I were 3.5s. Our pro was teaching us to play a 2-at-net stagger.

And it was a hot mess.

Our OHs were middling and never got much better. If we reached the ball at all, we struggled to put it away. Worse, if one person was closer to the net than the other, the closer person got lobbed relentlessly and the deeper person was too slow-footed and take that ball out of the air. Worse still, the closer player sometimes had the reaction time of a manatee and wouldn't even call for a switch into it was too late.

One day, the pro gathered us up and said he had been watching our ladies day matches out of the corner of his eye, and his approach to doubles was going to change. Henceforth, 2-up would mean we would form a wall at the service line, with each player responsible for lobs headed over her head. If she let it go, then it was a winner, so even tapping it back was preferable to a switch.

What can I say? It works. We still drill the stagger, and some of us can execute it. But with each passing day, we get a little bit slower and get a little more vulnerable while in a stagger.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Let me walk you around my world for a minute.

Some years ago, my pals and I were 3.5s. Our pro was teaching us to play a 2-at-net stagger.

And it was a hot mess.

Our OHs were middling and never got much better. If we reached the ball at all, we struggled to put it away. Worse, if one person was closer to the net than the other, the closer person got lobbed relentlessly and the deeper person was too slow-footed and take that ball out of the air. Worse still, the closer player sometimes had the reaction time of a manatee and wouldn't even call for a switch into it was too late.

One day, the pro gathered us up and said he had been watching our ladies day matches out of the corner of his eye, and his approach to doubles was going to change. Henceforth, 2-up would mean we would form a wall at the service line, with each player responsible for lobs headed over her head. If she let it go, then it was a winner, so even tapping it back was preferable to a switch.

What can I say? It works. We still drill the stagger, and some of us can execute it. But with each passing day, we get a little bit slower and get a little more vulnerable while in a stagger.
It's literally my job to teach 3.5 women to play doubles.

The stagger works, but it's definitely a process to get everyone to understand their job, know when to be patient and when to end the point.

J
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
It's literally my job to teach 3.5 women to play doubles.

The stagger works, but it's definitely a process to get everyone to understand their job, know when to be patient and when to end the point.

J
God bless you. Seriously.

Had a team practice with pro for my 4.0 team. I am new to this team and new to this pro.
Discussion was ensuing as to whether if one poaches and crosses the middle whether they should then cross back.

The pro hemmed and hawed and basically said if you make contact stay otherwise you should cross back. Okay, I will buy that.

3 women on the team all agreed that no matter what if they crossed they were crossing back ... I said ... if you miss the poach ... answer "no, the pro said we can always cross back" . Kill. Me. Now.

There are some exceptional 2-up-in-stagger drills for crossing and flowing ....

The biggest challenge is having the near person crossing and hitting behind themselves opening up a big-empty where they left.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
It's literally my job to teach 3.5 women to play doubles.

The stagger works, but it's definitely a process to get everyone to understand their job, know when to be patient and when to end the point.

J
For a stagger to work in ladies doubles, you need reasonably competent overheads and a clear understanding that the CC player only comes in far enough to ensure they can cover the lob to both corners.

It is also imperative that you know your opponents. A "wall at the service line" will get you killed by any player with competent topspin groundstrokes and most balls down the middle. Too near the net stagger will get you killed by lobbers. So if you are facing competent groundstrokes, get in tighter and cover their angles. If you are facing lobbers, take a step or two back and be prepared to hit overheads.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
For a stagger to work in ladies doubles, you need reasonably competent overheads and a clear understanding that the CC player only comes in far enough to ensure they can cover the lob to both corners.

It is also imperative that you know your opponents. A "wall at the service line" will get you killed by any player with competent topspin groundstrokes and most balls down the middle. Too near the net stagger will get you killed by lobbers. So if you are facing competent groundstrokes, get in tighter and cover their angles. If you are facing lobbers, take a step or two back and be prepared to hit overheads.
Until you get to 5.0 ladies with solid mid-court overheads are rare so it's unnecessary. Taking the ball as a high volley and pushing it to the deep player and continuing the point is fine, and preferable to attempts at heroism.

If they can't get the ball in the air and have to run it down it's rare for a 3.5 opponent to know enough to cheat in so just getting to the ball and hitting/lobbing dtl is enough. It's exceedingly rare for the up player to know enough to shade back so the cross court lob is often on the menu as well.

J
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
It's literally my job to teach 3.5 women to play doubles.

The stagger works, but it's definitely a process to get everyone to understand their job, know when to be patient and when to end the point.

J
I need OnTheLine to hold my beer while I go over to Jolly's universe for just a minute. I need to hear more about what life is like over there.

Jolly: I think I know the formation and drills you are probably thinking of and teaching. My pro did staggered formation drills a lot. It wasn't until he saw the cluster with his own eyes -- all of us 3.5 ladies ages 50-60 trying to win actual 3.5 ladies doubles -- that he decided two-at-service-line-building-a-wall was better.

In our matches, there seemed to be a very big problem with the ad court player being in an offensive position at net (per the stagger) and getting lobbed relentlessly. The other player (say, at the T), had to move sideways enough to reach that ball and somehow use her BH to get it back to the deep net player (who, as you say, rarely followed her lob in). Nope. Wasn't happening. Any decent lob was a winner or drew an error. Results were slightly better on the FH side, but even that is a challenge given that so few ladies of that age, you know, move.

So can you paint me a picture of how those high lobs get defended in a stagger for this demographic?

I'm not even going to ask about players who execute the stagger poorly. Those are the players who never, ever move backward to the T if they suddenly find themselves diagonal to the ball during a point. The player who was at the T but is now DTL from the ball closes on that ball as she should per stagger, but the crosscourt player simply won't back up. Now the opponents have two players close to net to lob. Great.

We lost fast and often with the stagger. We did much better with two at service line defending their own lobs. No switching, no crossing, no problem. It requires good hands with low volleys, but honestly, at 3.5, few players can put the ball at your feet three times in a row. But boy, can they lob.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
So can you paint me a picture of how those high lobs get defended in a stagger for this demographic?
Net person is at the service line, CC person is in NML. This is how you defeat the lob queens, provided they can't drill a dipping groundstroke. Will have to have some competence in OH's and swinging volleys but it will take away their time and give you a chance at a weaker lob that sits or a strong lob that lands out.

To me this is superior to "wall at the service line" that is susceptible to the shot down the middle. When both partners are at the same depth it creates confusion on middle balls. Typically both players react then stop thinking the other will get it. Then comes the inevitable discussion, "I left it for you since you have the FH." "Yeah but it was more on your side so I thought you had it"

With a staggered formation you both can go for the ball without fear of collision.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
As they say about the pirate code in Pirates of the Caribbean, “they’re really more like guidelines”.

Conceptually, the 10 foot rope is a useful mental teaching tool for beginners. You do want to enforce the concept of moving together, and moreover, intentionally moving together to cover the court and make your opponents have to hit into tight low percentage windows. However, this obviously is not always true. Situations dictate positioning, and the 10 foot rope can only take you so far.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Net person is at the service line, CC person is in NML. This is how you defeat the lob queens, provided they can't drill a dipping groundstroke. Will have to have some competence in OH's and swinging volleys but it will take away their time and give you a chance at a weaker lob that sits or a strong lob that lands out.

To me this is superior to "wall at the service line" that is susceptible to the shot down the middle. When both partners are at the same depth it creates confusion on middle balls. Typically both players react then stop thinking the other will get it. Then comes the inevitable discussion, "I left it for you since you have the FH." "Yeah but it was more on your side so I thought you had it"

With a staggered formation you both can go for the ball without fear of collision.
Middle ball?

She who calls it takes it.

Wall at service line worked well into 4.0.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I need OnTheLine to hold my beer while I go over to Jolly's universe for just a minute. I need to hear more about what life is like over there.

Jolly: I think I know the formation and drills you are probably thinking of and teaching. My pro did staggered formation drills a lot. It wasn't until he saw the cluster with his own eyes -- all of us 3.5 ladies ages 50-60 trying to win actual 3.5 ladies doubles -- that he decided two-at-service-line-building-a-wall was better.

In our matches, there seemed to be a very big problem with the ad court player being in an offensive position at net (per the stagger) and getting lobbed relentlessly. The other player (say, at the T), had to move sideways enough to reach that ball and somehow use her BH to get it back to the deep net player (who, as you say, rarely followed her lob in). Nope. Wasn't happening. Any decent lob was a winner or drew an error. Results were slightly better on the FH side, but even that is a challenge given that so few ladies of that age, you know, move.

So can you paint me a picture of how those high lobs get defended in a stagger for this demographic?

I'm not even going to ask about players who execute the stagger poorly. Those are the players who never, ever move backward to the T if they suddenly find themselves diagonal to the ball during a point. The player who was at the T but is now DTL from the ball closes on that ball as she should per stagger, but the crosscourt player simply won't back up. Now the opponents have two players close to net to lob. Great.

We lost fast and often with the stagger. We did much better with two at service line defending their own lobs. No switching, no crossing, no problem. It requires good hands with low volleys, but honestly, at 3.5, few players can put the ball at your feet three times in a row. But boy, can they lob.
Holding your beer ... but it seems to be getting a little warm as this might take me a while.

Heading into @J011yroger ' land as best I can.

With my team it took a solid 2 seasons of weekly effort to get the stagger to work. Our pro was relentless and gave us the option of:
A. maybe winning some and doing the wall thing
B. Learning the stagger well perhaps losing more often at first but winning more once it was really down.

We chose B ... for a while it was hard. The benefits however started playing dividends for those players and partnerships that embraced it.

I will be 100% honest, those with legs and more athletic in general got it quickly and those without did not, would not or could not ... honestly I think it was a combination of all three.

We had a real focus on overheads .... from inside the service-line and from NML .... this was key I think.

Then the stagger ... who is up and aggressive, who is back ... back person responsible for lobs over their head and partners head ...
Key for this was that the up/aggressive player has to know where to hit he ball .... To the T or opposing net person ... NOT back to the baseliner ... if the up player goes back to the baseliner then the whole thing won't work.
Same with the back stagger ... low ball to the T and high ball DTL

The next step was that you take that lob Out Of The Air ... Recognize it immediately, react and take time away from your opponents. This is where legs come in.

While this has happened the player who was up becomes staggered back and the one who just covered the lob comes in and is now the up/aggressive player.

If you work on it enough it becomes second nature and you don't even think about it.

HOWEVER:
If you have players who cannot or will not run ever ... don't bother
If you have players who refuse to volley or hit to the right places on the court ... don't bother
If you have players who play "vertical" tennis with high popped up volleys ... don't bother

There is no doubt in my mind that the stagger is far superior to the wall and vastly superior to a static one up one back.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Just crash the net
Never works in ladies doubles. Trust me. Only works in men's doubles with young athletic guys with hops. All other groups get lobbed relentlessly for crashing the net and can't get back to defend.

Middle ball?

She who calls it takes it.

Wall at service line worked well into 4.0.
And then you step on a court playing mixed doubles and get destroyed by groundstrokes up the middle where no one has time to say "mine"

Staggered california doubles works well for men's doubles 3.0-4.0 and for mixed doubles to high levels and will work for ladies doubles 3.5-5.0. "Wall at the service line" really only works for ladies doubles 3.0-4.0. At least from what I've seen. The better the groundstroke quality the worse that formation is.

Of course most men still play one up, one back because of fear of the groundstroke. And a lot of mixed ends up that way too.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Never works in ladies doubles. Trust me. Only works in men's doubles with young athletic guys with hops. All other groups get lobbed relentlessly for crashing the net and can't get back to defend.
I see what you mean, and in my tennis life I have been both the young guy who can’t be lobbed and the old guy who has to fear the lob. However, it all comes down to the quality of the approach shots you are hitting and the quality of your overheads. Step 1 is to develop reliable deadly overheads from anywhere between the net and one step behind the service line. Then, if you are hitting quality approach shots and quality volleys, it will be very difficult for the opponents to lob into the zone where the ball will fall with a trajectory such that it can’t be put away from a one step behind the service line overhead. They might make that shot once or twice, but it will be a low percentage play and ultimately a losing strategy. That’s why you rarely see lobs in higher levels of play, not because they can run down lobs but because of lethal overheads. As has been said on this forum (Jolly, maybe?), learn to hit overheads so you don’t have to.

Of course, the trick to this is getting 3.0-3.5-4.0 men to actually practice overheads and get good at them. This essentially never happens. The overhead is practiced even less than the serve in rec tennis. And if you are a teaching pro running drills at a tennis club, focusing on overhead drills is a great way to have no one show up next week.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I see what you mean, and in my tennis life I have been both the young guy who can’t be lobbed and the old guy who has to fear the lob. However, it all comes down to the quality of the approach shots you are hitting and the quality of your overheads. Step 1 is to develop reliable deadly overheads from anywhere between the net and one step behind the service line. Then, if you are hitting quality approach shots and quality volleys, it will be very difficult for the opponents to lob into the zone where the ball will fall with a trajectory such that it can’t be put away from a one step behind the service line overhead. They might make that shot once or twice, but it will be a low percentage play and ultimately a losing strategy. That’s why you rarely see lobs in higher levels of play, not because they can run down lobs but because of lethal overheads. As has been said on this forum (Jolly, maybe?), learn to hit overheads so you don’t have to.

Of course, the trick to this is getting 3.0-3.5-4.0 men to actually practice overheads and get good at them. This essentially never happens. The overhead is practiced even less than the serve in rec tennis. And if you are a teaching pro running drills at a tennis club, focusing on overhead drills is a great way to have no one show up next week.
I agree with everything you said.

In fact I've been adamant about practicing OH with my wife in our practice sessions for at least 10 min. She's short but likes to play at the net and i've told her to prevent people from relentlessly lobbing you, you have to have a proficient OH. Doesn't have to be dynamite but it has to land in the court and not right back on their racquet. Probably what gave me golfer's elbow this summer lol.

If I had court time with a pro, I would specifically ask him to work on 2 things: My second serve and my overhead. Shoring up those two strokes would improve my doubles game immensely and moreso than any of the myriad other flaws in my game .
 

mauricem

Rookie
And if you are a teaching pro running drills at a tennis club, focusing on overhead drills is a great way to have no one show up next week.
I'd be there. Dont know if its lack of practice or general decrepitness but my OH has become a legacy rather than an asset;( Ive got generally good strategies and can setup easy overheads but miss far too many lately. Coach I play with (not my coach per se) reckons I drop my head?
 

tennisisgood

New User
How should one teach players to move together if the 10 foot rope analogy doesn’t apply? What are the tips/ rules of thumb, what is the current wisdom?
 
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NLBwell

Legend
Cindy,
There is lots of advice on where people should be in doubles in this thread. It all misses the point, though.
The point is that if someone brings the 10 foot rope rule up, tell them that it is their job to be 10 feet away from YOU at ALL times no matter where you are on the court.
(They'll likely never speak of it again to you.)
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I'd be there. Dont know if its lack of practice or general decrepitness but my OH has become a legacy rather than an asset;( Ive got generally good strategies and can setup easy overheads but miss far too many lately. Coach I play with (not my coach per se) reckons I drop my head?
My problem is both peeking and footwork. My vision isn't good enough these days to always predict trajectory. So I'm constantly misjudging and having to move at the last second. But I will say that practice has helped it quite a bit but there are still times I misread the depth of the lob.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
My problem is both peeking and footwork. My vision isn't good enough these days to always predict trajectory. So I'm constantly misjudging and having to move at the last second. But I will say that practice has helped it quite a bit but there are still times I misread the depth of the lob.
You’re not the only one. This is the problem for more than half (at least) of rec players.
 

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
@Cindysphinx , you start some interesting threads. They tend to draw some very interesting posts. Thanks.
Agree. But, Womens doubles sounds like my personal hell. Not all but typically they are catty b****. I'd rather hammer smash my racquet into my nose than play in a women's doubles league. I don't know how you do it.

I don't even like playing next to them.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Agree. But, Womens doubles sounds like my personal hell. Not all but typically they are catty b****. I'd rather hammer smash my racquet into my nose than play in a women's doubles league. I don't know how you do it.

I don't even like playing next to them.
Pretty sure Men's double leagues has an equivalent number of unsavory characters. Leagues in general are full of antisocial narcissists. I enjoy my social men's and mixed groups far more than anything leagues have ever offered. The little trophies are hardly worth the people you have to put up with. Being able to select your opponents and who you'll play with is much more fun.
 

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
Pretty sure Men's double leagues has an equivalent number of unsavory characters. Leagues in general are full of antisocial narcissists. I enjoy my social men's and mixed groups far more than anything leagues have ever offered. The little trophies are hardly worth the people you have to put up with. Being able to select your opponents and who you'll play with is much more fun.
Totally agree and why I will never play in men's league again. But there is something way worse about women's leagues. I just cringe hearing the way a lot of them talk to each other. It has to be hard putting up with that to play a game you love. I'd never survive girl culture much less it on steroids...... ie women's doubles leagues.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Totally agree and why I will never play in men's league again. But there is something way worse about women's leagues. I just cringe hearing the way a lot of them talk to each other. It has to be hard putting up with that to play a game you love. I'd never survive girl culture much less it on steroids...... ie women's doubles leagues.
Own that misogyny, I say. . . .
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Yeah saying it's hard to be a woman..... total misogynist.
Agree. But, Womens doubles sounds like my personal hell. Not all but typically they are catty b****. I'd rather hammer smash my racquet into my nose than play in a women's doubles league. I don't know how you do it.

I don't even like playing next to them.

Totally agree and why I will never play in men's league again. But there is something way worse about women's leagues. I just cringe hearing the way a lot of them talk to each other. It has to be hard putting up with that to play a game you love. I'd never survive girl culture much less it on steroids...... ie women's doubles leagues.
 

Badmrfrosty

Rookie
Moveforwardalways replied to a thread you are watching at Talk Tennis.
"Is a Ten-Foot Rope the Right Length for Me to Hang You?"
Lol. There are some weak limp wristed men in this thread that can’t handle competition and go beta when the pressure is on. These are always the guys who “don’t like USTA leagues because of the personalities” and don’t like the “opinionated women’s doubles players that think and speak for themselves and are b******”.

Lol at them. Maybe they should take some of that testosterone replacement therapy.
—————————

I hate when my wrists are limp. Calling doc tomorrow for some of that testosterone you speak of. Hopefully that cures me.
 
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