*Recreational* Doubles Strategies and Behaviors

user92626

Legend
I have found a few things unique to our hobby doubles, ie wouldn't necessarily exist in pro level :

TURN AROUND:
I'm at the net, I like to turn around and look at my partner when he is hitting. I also move well to one side to give him more room for his overhead. Most of the time this seems beneficial. I haven't been hit by friendly fire and I can judge if my partner makes a stupid shot for opponents to "kill" me.

DEEP LOBBING:
It seems deep lobbing (beyond opponent's service line) is very effective against most people. I don't know why most people can't do an aggressive OH or at least a safe OH on such a lob.

I have no problem doing OHs on it! Luckily my newfound partner is very good at lobbing and he throws a lot of our opponents off course with it.

WEAK BH VOLLEY:
This volley particularly sucks at rec level. It seems nobody could put the ball away with this move. I feel I'm always ready to deal with opponent's bh volley!

On the other hand a few guys, including my partner, adapt to this problem by NOT doing it at all. They would run across, twist their arm to do FH poaching/smashing. It looks awkward but it is effective. Again, only found in rec dubs.

TWO AT BASELINE FORMATION SUCKS:
This formation never works. I don't fear any opponents when I see this formation. Likewise, I don't know any good strategy for it, even if I have very good ground strokes. There's just too much partner collision. Partners react too slowly and thus out of synch.

TWO AT THE NET FORMATION NONEXISTENT:
You would think this is the ultimate dubs formation but I haven't seen any. As good as my partner's net skill is, I still can't convince him to do two up with me. If I start up, he'll stay back. If I run up he'll retreat.


Do you find the same things? What else do you find?
 

WestboroChe

Professional
I have found a few things unique to our hobby doubles, ie wouldn't necessarily exist in pro level :

TURN AROUND:
I'm at the net, I like to turn around and look at my partner when he is hitting. I also move well to one side to give him more room for his overhead. Most of the time this seems beneficial. I haven't been hit by friendly fire and I can judge if my partner makes a stupid shot for opponents to "kill" me.

DEEP LOBBING:
It seems deep lobbing (beyond opponent's service line) is very effective against most people. I don't know why most people can't do an aggressive OH or at least a safe OH on such a lob.

I have no problem doing OHs on it! Luckily my newfound partner is very good at lobbing and he throws a lot of our opponents off course with it.

WEAK BH VOLLEY:
This volley particularly sucks at rec level. It seems nobody could put the ball away with this move. I feel I'm always ready to deal with opponent's bh volley!

On the other hand a few guys, including my partner, adapt to this problem by NOT doing it at all. They would run across, twist their arm to do FH poaching/smashing. It looks awkward but it is effective. Again, only found in rec dubs.

TWO AT BASELINE FORMATION SUCKS:
This formation never works. I don't fear any opponents when I see this formation. Likewise, I don't know any good strategy for it, even if I have very good ground strokes. There's just too much partner collision. Partners react too slowly and thus out of synch.

TWO AT THE NET FORMATION NONEXISTENT:
You would think this is the ultimate dubs formation but I haven't seen any. As good as my partner's net skill is, I still can't convince him to do two up with me. If I start up, he'll stay back. If I run up he'll retreat.


Do you find the same things? What else do you find?
I see lots of lobbing even on the tour so I don’t agree with you there. But poaching and the I formation are nearly nonexistent at rec league.

What I’ve also noticed is that at rec level almost any shot down the middle is effective as it splits the team and also gives them no angles. It also gives you maximum margin for error on put away shot.

Of course it took me years to learn that in single shots down the middle are usually not a idea.
 

user92626

Legend
Oh yeah, you're right, @WestboroChe
Pros do a lot of lobbing too.

Lobbing is generally frowned upon in rec level. People call it old men's tennis or low level even when it's super effective. My partner even had to apologize for lobbing and winning, eg "I'm sorry, we needed points!" (I just laughed and encouraged him to lobb even more while my opponents complained that it was boring tennis. LOL)

Shot down the middle is quite routine. We have no trouble with it if we play one up one down. But it's a problem when both are at the baseline. It's weird.
 

Morch Us

Semi-Pro
That is why the concept of "staggering" exists. It is not because both are back. It can happen if both are at net as well, if not staggered.

Shot down the middle is quite routine. We have no trouble with it if we play one up one down. But it's a problem when both are at the baseline. It's weird.
 

WestboroChe

Professional
Deep down the middle is the base pillar of many successful singles patterns.
It certainly has its place. I read once that Laver used to hit hard down the middle when he wa feeling tight or nervous. But my general experience in singles has been that you need to take advantage of all that open court space and make your opponent move.
 

WestboroChe

Professional
Oh yeah, you're right, @WestboroChe
Pros do a lot of lobbing too.

Lobbing is generally frowned upon in rec level. People call it old men's tennis or low level even when it's super effective. My partner even had to apologize for lobbing and winning, eg "I'm sorry, we needed points!" (I just laughed and encouraged him to lobb even more while my opponents complained that it was boring tennis. LOL)

Shot down the middle is quite routine. We have no trouble with it if we play one up one down. But it's a problem when both are at the baseline. It's weird.
I don’t think lobbing is frowned upon at my club. I’ve always felt that a good lob is an essential tennis shot and I always respected opponents who could lob accurately since I always struggled with that.

Now if you do it on every shot then yes people will get annoyed as you have now become the hated moonballer.
 

WestboroChe

Professional
Oh yeah, you're right, @WestboroChe
Pros do a lot of lobbing too.

Lobbing is generally frowned upon in rec level. People call it old men's tennis or low level even when it's super effective. My partner even had to apologize for lobbing and winning, eg "I'm sorry, we needed points!" (I just laughed and encouraged him to lobb even more while my opponents complained that it was boring tennis. LOL)

Shot down the middle is quite routine. We have no trouble with it if we play one up one down. But it's a problem when both are at the baseline. It's weird.
The hard shot down the T is most effective when the players are side by side. When it’s one up it’s easy to let it go and know your partner will clean it up.
 

user92626

Legend
I don’t think lobbing is frowned upon at my club. I’ve always felt that a good lob is an essential tennis shot and I always respected opponents who could lob accurately since I always struggled with that.

Now if you do it on every shot then yes people will get annoyed as you have now become the hated moonballer.
Generally, it's frowned upon by sore losers who have little logics. I am for whatever you do to beat me. Guess what, if people lob or moonball and win, they will continue to do just that.

In my previous group which I quit 7 years ago, there was an older man who played constant moon balls -- I suspect he understood his lack of strength and the need to get the ball deep -- and it worked extremely well against most players.

I enjoyed his style immensely, regardless against or with him. He kept the points long and gave a ton of drama which was perfect for my style, ie engaging in both fronts, game and attention. (I hate whiny or 100% trash talks and short points. Give me good points and you can trash talk all day long)

Unfortunately this older man was shun by many players. They called him name and such.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
Lobbing can be very effective at doubles and it is an underused shot. The first thing I do is chuck it over my opponents heads at the earliest opportunity. Nice and high to clear the net man. If they struggle with it, happy days, they will be getting a million lobs.

If you can't smash, you can't play at the net.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
I don’t think lobbing is frowned upon at my club. I’ve always felt that a good lob is an essential tennis shot and I always respected opponents who could lob accurately since I always struggled with that.

Now if you do it on every shot then yes people will get annoyed as you have now become the hated moonballer.
Then those people should learn how to smash.
 

user92626

Legend
Lobbing can be very effective at doubles and it is an underused shot. The first thing I do is chuck it over my opponents heads at the earliest opportunity. Nice and high to clear the net man. If they struggle with it, happy days, they will be getting a million lobs.

If you can't smash, you can't play at the net.
Agreed.

Lobbing is underused in our dubs.

Do you also notice that there are far more people playing at the baseline than there are at the net? Ironically doubles is all about net playing. The net players are the ones that score.
 

WestboroChe

Professional
Generally, it's frowned upon by sore losers who have little logics. I am for whatever you do to beat me. Guess what, if people lob or moonball and win, they will continue to do just that.

In my previous group which I quit 7 years ago, there was an older man who played constant moon balls -- I suspect he understood his lack of strength and the need to get the ball deep -- and it worked extremely well against most players.

I enjoyed his style immensely, regardless against or with him. He kept the points long and gave a ton of drama which was perfect for my style, ie engaging in both fronts, game and attention. (I hate whiny or 100% trash talks and short points. Give me good points and you can trash talk all day long)

Unfortunately this older man was shun by many players. They called him name and such.
That's terrible.
 

WestboroChe

Professional
Agreed.

Lobbing is underused in our dubs.

Do you also notice that there are far more people playing at the baseline than there are at the net? Ironically doubles is all about net playing. The net players are the ones that score.
Yeah but most people don't seem to appreciate that or they are just uncomfortable there. Either way, it makes for easy pickings if they can't volley and can't lob. Come to think of it, if I ever find myself playing against these kind of players I think I need a new club.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
The best strategy I've found employed in social doubles is to call all my good shots out

Got robbed of 3 aces in 2 service games and a bunch of forehand winners that way
 

saiclone

New User
I have found a few things unique to our hobby doubles, ie wouldn't necessarily exist in pro level :

TURN AROUND:
I'm at the net, I like to turn around and look at my partner when he is hitting. I also move well to one side to give him more room for his overhead. Most of the time this seems beneficial. I haven't been hit by friendly fire and I can judge if my partner makes a stupid shot for opponents to "kill" me.
Turning around also robs you of a split second to see your opponent’s response to the shot (e.g. scrambling or getting set for an overhead). This reduces your opportunities for poaching, unless the ball is a major floater, and may get you a ball in the face, if someone sneaks in.
 

user92626

Legend
Turning around also robs you of a split second to see your opponent’s response to the shot (e.g. scrambling or getting set for an overhead). This reduces your opportunities for poaching, unless the ball is a major floater, and may get you a ball in the face, if someone sneaks in.
The shots in our doubles are so unreliable that turning around to watch my partner seems to be more beneficial than hurtful.

Just last weekend, a baseline opponent returned a shot with his weak bh (or he was super lazy and just swung it easy), the ball landed nicely in my net partner's range who ran up and smash it to the unsuspected net guy. At his manhood, no less. It was so painful that the guy had to call it quit. (and they were down 1-4 anyway).

That's a scenario that would almost never happen to me. If I see a stupid return by my partner, I will retreat and position better. There's ALOT of stupid returns in rec dubs.
 
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user92626

Legend
Yeah but most people don't seem to appreciate that or they are just uncomfortable there. Either way, it makes for easy pickings if they can't volley and can't lob. Come to think of it, if I ever find myself playing against these kind of players I think I need a new club.
I observe that most people love to be able to volley, poach effectively. They always prefer to choose a partner who can. Once in a while they can poach an easy one, they act like they've won a million.

But what stops people from picking up this skill is, I guess, a combination of being lazy and volley looking too hard.

It took me a few years to hack this skill but I was determined and now it feels easy. In hindsight I should have been more systematic with my learning.
 
I dabble at line 1 doubles for friends' teams when I am rated 4.0, sometimes I get bumped up, so it's not all the time.

So, at 4.0 doubles....
1. Most people stand too close to the net and think this is a good thing. I can beat them with groundstrokes, but I often just lob. You should be at least behind and imaginary halfway line between net and service line, to begin a point.

2. At 4.0 sometimes I lob every single return of serve away from the server, follow the lob into the net and enjoy around a 70% or higher positive outcome. I can pin point lob return any 4.0 serve I have played against.

3. 4.0 level...so many people half swing at volleys with terrible results against decent shots. They are used to easier shots that they can swat at and they let their fundamentals, if anyone ever taught them. a firm wrist volley, go away. Swat swat volleys flying out everywhere.

4. A quarter of the time opponents go 2 back on the baseline when my partner serves because I eat up returns easily. It is a terrible idea. If a team can get to the net, together, first, before the opponent, that team should win most doubles matches.
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
Just last weekend, a baseline opponent returned a shot with his weak bh (or he was super lazy and just swung it easy), the ball landed nicely in my net partner's range who ran up and smash it to the unsuspected net guy. At his manhood, no less. It was so painful that the guy had to call it quit. (and they were down 1-4 anyway).
Well, a net person is supposed to position himself against the opposing net guy when the ball is hit by his partner, watch that opposing net guy reaction on the ball and move in to face another opponent only after being sure opposing net guy isn’t playing the ball. Being unaware of incoming smash was his mistake :rolleyes:
 

user92626

Legend
Well, a net person is supposed to position himself against the opposing net guy when the ball is hit by his partner, watch that opposing net guy reaction on the ball and move in to face another opponent only after being sure opposing net guy isn’t playing the ball. Being unaware of incoming smash was his mistake :rolleyes:
Obviously, but whose mistake is it when you're old, slow, playing with a bad partner who can't lob right? I guess it's still his. LOL

See, my remedy for all this is ...to turn around and watch my (bad) partner's shot, giving me more time time to respond. I'm also old, slow, with a lousy partner so I elect to do more to avoid issues like this. You got the point?
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Obviously, but whose mistake is it when you're old, slow, playing with a bad partner who can't lob right? I guess it's still his. LOL

See, my remedy for all this is ...to turn around and watch my (bad) partner's shot, giving me more time time to respond. I'm also old, slow, with a lousy partner so I elect to do more to avoid issues like this. You got the point?
My remedy for this is to keep your eyes locked on the opposing net man. If his eyes get real big, guess what's coming?
If you are standing a step from the service line you should always have enough time to react to a net guy smashing a sitter.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
TWO AT THE NET FORMATION NONEXISTENT:
You would think this is the ultimate dubs formation but I haven't seen any. As good as my partner's net skill is, I still can't convince him to do two up with me. If I start up, he'll stay back. If I run up he'll retreat.
This drives me crazy as well. I get up to the net and my partner starts beedling back to the baseline rather than moving forward.
 

user92626

Legend
My remedy for this is to keep your eyes locked on the opposing net man. If his eyes get real big, guess what's coming?
If you are standing a step from the service line you should always have enough time to react to a net guy smashing a sitter.
You know it's a lot easier to read a ball in flight than to read someone's eyes, right?
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
You know it's a lot easier to read a ball in flight than to read someone's eyes, right?
It just depends on how your partner hits the ball. If he drives it fast, or if he volleys it coming into net, you just don’t have time to turn back again after watching him, you’re expected to be set against net opponent already, not turning. If all he can do is moonball or lob from behind the baseline, feel free to look at him and act afterwards.
 

Morch Us

Semi-Pro
The obvious answer is no need to turn around to get ANY info about what kind of shot your partner hit, more importantly whether your biggest threat (the opponent netman), can get to it or not. And yes, turning back steals valuable reaction time. Also just because your partner hit a bad shot does not mean you have to retreat, for example if the opponent net guy is super lazy and is not going to move to it. On the other hand a super aggressive netguy may reach even a good lob from your partner.

But that being said, do whatever you are comfortable with. Because of the below variability
1. Trust with your partner. If you don't then, by all means...
2. You have lazy feet. So you don't want to take proactive steps, rather take per-cautionary actions.
3. Your shot and my shot attitude (vs our point attitude).
You don't want to play the savior. If your partner hit a bad shot, you rather blame it on him and loose the point, rather than trying to save the point by positioning properly based on opponents. In the end if you miss the shot, you are afraid that the blame is going to be on you (even though it was your partner who hit the original bad shot).
4. Crazy opponents. You had some friction with opponents before, and you are afraid they are looking for a revenge by hurting you with a tennis ball.

Now the bigger question would be, why don't you just retreat and play from baseline, irrespective of whatever shot your partner from baseline is hitting (especially if there is no trust).

turn around and watch my (bad) partner's shot, giving me more time time to respond
It just depends on how your partner hits the ball
 
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