When opponent crowds the net in doubles, can you target them?

MoxMonkey

Rookie
In doubles when you are returning serve, if your opponent crowds the net and goes to cut off angles and poach, is it poor etiquette to fire a rocket at him to get him to think twice about crowding the net?

It feels like this is fair game. This isn't getting caught up there when your partner hangs a watermelon short and high to be smashed, this is choosing to stand on the damn train tracks, at the start of the point. If you've got some mongoose reflexes, great. Let's see em. But if you don't, it's like your asking to get hit.

I just started playing matches relatively recently, and I am aware that it's considered improper by some to target your opponent in such a way. But why in the hell should I be ok with letting someone be able to cut off all the angles?
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
In doubles when you are returning serve, if your opponent crowds the net and goes to cut off angles and poach, is it poor etiquette to fire a rocket at him to get him to think twice about crowding the net?
no, it's just bad tennis. A guy that close to the net doesn't have to do much to angle off a winner, the angles being more available, or just volley right at your partner, to end the point. A better play is to lob and come to net yourself, or just ignore him and return towards the deep guy. Shouldn't bother you that much if he crowds, and if his partner's serve is so inadequate that you have a chance to rip one at him, then you should be able to make the better plays off that serve
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
In other words, unless the guy serving has a serve so awful that you can reliably hit your return right at the net guy in such a way as to disable any shot he could make, you're risking that net guy ending the point immediately with his own play
 

zaph

Professional
How exactly is you opponent cutting off all the angles, by definition they can't cover the whole of the net. If they tend to move on way, just hit it the other.
 

nyta2

Professional
In doubles when you are returning serve, if your opponent crowds the net and goes to cut off angles and poach, is it poor etiquette to fire a rocket at him to get him to think twice about crowding the net?

It feels like this is fair game. This isn't getting caught up there when your partner hangs a watermelon short and high to be smashed, this is choosing to stand on the damn train tracks, at the start of the point. If you've got some mongoose reflexes, great. Let's see em. But if you don't, it's like your asking to get hit.

I just started playing matches relatively recently, and I am aware that it's considered improper by some to target your opponent in such a way. But why in the hell should I be ok with letting someone be able to cut off all the angles?
what level are you talking about?

presuming you have the strokes to do it, and say the net person is like a 3.5, hugging the net, and moving a lot to distract/intercept… absolutely test them.

but if they are good, or the server is not giving you a ball you can atack consistently… probably better to lob or hit a normal or just hit your “normal” shot not worrying about the net person.
 

tennisbike

Professional
In a match situation or playing to win, the net person should be tested to keep them honest. Testing means going down the line or going at him/her.

For social games, I would think about it depending on whether the net person is your SO or someone who you do not want to offend and not a good sport.
 

MoxMonkey

Rookie
It was the other day. I was playing a friendly but competitive match. They where better than us. The one guy was crowding the net and it was in my head a little. It reminds me of batters crowding the plate, and how when you fire it into their kitchen, it's not so easy to step into the next pitch.

I wasnt expecting him to give me the xcourt return, but I didn't want him being exactly comfortable up there to do it.

I didnt go at him, but I think I will next time.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
In a match situation or playing to win, the net person should be tested to keep them honest. Testing means going down the line or going at him/her.

For social games, I would think about it depending on whether the net person is your SO or someone who you do not want to offend and not a good sport.
Going DTL is really necessary in mixed doubles. Mix it up and lob.
 
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Steady Eddy

Legend
I used to fire at people too close to the net. I regret that now. Instead a quick lob accomplishes the same thing without being so nasty.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I like to crowd the net. I still have good reflexes and good hands. I know sometimes I'll be targeted whether intentionally or not. I never take it personally when I get hit.

That said, targeting an opposing net player on a return rarely works out in your favor. Better to lob them and take them totally out of the play. Targeting them works better when you can hit at their feet, as in net person to net person.
 

LocNetMonster

Professional
I like to crowd the net. I still have good reflexes and good hands. I know sometimes I'll be targeted whether intentionally or not. I never take it personally when I get hit.

That said, targeting an opposing net player on a return rarely works out in your favor. Better to lob them and take them totally out of the play. Targeting them works better when you can hit at their feet, as in net person to net person.
This, and more of it ^^^^
 

Morch Us

Professional
The immediate answer when someone "crowding" the net is "lob". He could be leaving a lot of real estate behind him to crowd the net. Once he moves further back to also cover overheads, you can go cross court easily. It is a shot selection game to out-fox the opponent, than scare him down.

In the end it depends on the 4 on the court. It is a social game first and competion second (at recreational level). So do what is acceptable in the circle of the 4 on court. Just know that most recreational players don't have the aim they think they do have, and a missed aim at uncontrolled pace can be an unforgettable incident. Also if someone has to ask this question, that actually means it is either not acceptable in the circle of 4 on court (or is pretty borderline), and you may not want to do it.

When someone challenge you in chess, would you want to beat him in chess or threaten him first showing your muscle and scare him down (especially if he is physically weak)?

crowding the net
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
In doubles when you are returning serve, if your opponent crowds the net and goes to cut off angles and poach, is it poor etiquette to fire a rocket at him to get him to think twice about crowding the net?

It feels like this is fair game. This isn't getting caught up there when your partner hangs a watermelon short and high to be smashed, this is choosing to stand on the damn train tracks, at the start of the point. If you've got some mongoose reflexes, great. Let's see em. But if you don't, it's like your asking to get hit.

I just started playing matches relatively recently, and I am aware that it's considered improper by some to target your opponent in such a way. But why in the hell should I be ok with letting someone be able to cut off all the angles?
if he's standing more towards the middle, make an honest man out of him and hit a winner down the line.
if he's just standing close to the net, don't most people do this? hit cross court to the server like usual
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
If you can absolutely crush the return, then yeah, you can give that a go.

But if you have the time to crush that return, then by definition you have the time to take some mph off that return in exchange for spin and angles, and place the return someplace where the netman is forced to get under the ball and set you up for the pass.

If that's a no, then the lob should be the better option. At lower levels, a low slice or slow but low topspin return will be more than enough to force errors out of the S&Ver. Obviously the return DTL is always an option, even though it's not a particularly good one most of the time.
 

La Pavoni

Rookie
Just with the angles you have to have a wide-ish serve to hit one properly down the line. As a righty, who mainly plays ad-side in doubles, I find that I will ping a forehand with a bit of pop in the general direction of the net guy, especially if they stay crowding the net on second serves. I figure that they have made their choice.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
If you can absolutely crush the return, then yeah, you can give that a go.

But if you have the time to crush that return, then by definition you have the time to take some mph off that return in exchange for spin and angles, and place the return someplace where the netman is forced to get under the ball and set you up for the pass.

If that's a no, then the lob should be the better option. At lower levels, a low slice or slow but low topspin return will be more than enough to force errors out of the S&Ver. Obviously the return DTL is always an option, even though it's not a particularly good one most of the time.
Not a good one?! Don't you want a blaze of glory?!
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
It was the other day. I was playing a friendly but competitive match. They where better than us. The one guy was crowding the net and it was in my head a little. It reminds me of batters crowding the plate, and how when you fire it into their kitchen, it's not so easy to step into the next pitch.

I wasnt expecting him to give me the xcourt return, but I didn't want him being exactly comfortable up there to do it.

I didnt go at him, but I think I will next time.
Unless you can pop a ball down into an opponent's feet in a doub's setting, you're rolling the dice with a few points when you decide to hit at an opponent crowding the net. What if the first time you go at him works for you but also makes that guy wake up and get on his toes? You're going to give away a few points while figuring out that he has decent hands and can make a play on the ball up there. Easy to potentially give away a game doing that.

But I agree with our pals - if he's crowding the net that much, it's a lot easier for you and your partner to lob over him and take over the net. If you want to test a net-crowder though, I'd say hit at his backhand side. If he's too close to the net to use proper footwork to drive his volleys, you might force some errors or get him to cough up some sitters for you guys if you drive into that wing.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I used to think this was the answer and against weak opponents its not a bad idea. But as i played better players, they just got the racket in front and volleyed it over and it was less and less likely I was going to win the point.

The return I do find most valuable when I've got time to set it up is the topspin drive down the middle just at the point of extension from the net player. Basically just close enough that he'll reach but far enough he can't put steam on it. Usually that gets an error or an easy set up for winning.

But ripping shots at the net player really is only something I'll do if he's an active poacher, just to get him to stay home.
 

DeeeFoo

Rookie
The goal in tennis is to hit the ball away from your opponent to decrease the chances of them returning it. Hitting it directly to them is like hitting at a wall, so I don't know why anyone would do that.
 

Morch Us

Professional
If you really want to get good at doubles, you have to be able to deal with active poaching and net crowding without "frustration". Most of the "Lendl" attitude and "rip shot" is just out of pure frustration, and that is not going to help you grow.

Against active poacher, see how to setup early and "hold" it, long enough so that you can "place" it well. Don't be afraid to go down the line, but more than pace, the timing of decision is makes the shot more reliable against "ANY" opponent. Many also prefer to do low paced and low clearence short angled slices, especially from ad court. But with short angles, make sure you and your partner and good at "shadowing" the ball (or you will leave open areas for the opponent to hit to).

Against netcrowders, again, "hold" the shot long enough so that they don't see the lob coming. LET them make the aggressive move forward before hitting your calm and collected nice and easy lob. It does not even have to be a winner.

If you are confident on the above two, and master the skill of keeping your "calm" and learn the ability to hold your shot for longer, you will see that you don't even have to hit a "great" shot to start the returns offensively.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
The goal in tennis is to hit the ball away from your opponent to decrease the chances of them returning it. Hitting it directly to them is like hitting at a wall, so I don't know why anyone would do that.
Depends on who you're playing. Some people can volley to their left, and volley to their right, but cannot volley when it comes right at them. Especially at their right hip.
 

MoxMonkey

Rookie
The goal in tennis is to hit the ball away from your opponent to decrease the chances of them returning it. Hitting it directly to them is like hitting at a wall, so I don't know why anyone would do that.

I've been thinking about the comments posted here, thanks guys I appreciate the insight.

If someone crowds the net they are in a way trying to impose their will on you. Of course this is totally fine, as it's a contest, and one that's psychologically violent after all. It's up to you to deal with it as you see fit.

Hitting directly at someone with high pace is challenging them to stand their ground. If they back off the net you may have hurt them mentally, and this could pay dividends throughout the match, because you knocked them out of their box. You told them they are not allowed to stand there, and they obeyed.

Or they could be effectively suckering you into making inefficient aggressive 'on tilt' moves, helping you self destruct.

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
 

DeeeFoo

Rookie
Depends on who you're playing. Some people can volley to their left, and volley to their right, but cannot volley when it comes right at them. Especially at their right hip.
That's also a good point. The people I usually play with all have solid volleys, so I just kinda assume that all body shots will come back.
 

PrinceMoron

Legend
Hit centre of body to see which way they step to volley and the target the other side.

Check what grip they have and then target whichever side their grip makes awkward

Lob then drop shot over and over till they are knackered….. they won’t be doing anything after that
 
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Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Local Y has an upcoming adult dodgeball tourney. If there is a video of the senior division........................................must see! Recall a player complaining that he goes home with a new bruise after weakly indoor dubs. Our capitan would target the old & feeble.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Hit centre of body to see which way they step to volley and the target the other side.

Check what drip they have and then target whichever side their grip makes awkward

Lob then drop shot over and over till they are knackered….. they won’t be doing anything after that
Only woman playing dubs with us does this to no end. Bringing the pain
 
If that is the kind of person you are- someone who will risk injuring another player just to win a point, and if you haven' the skills to find some other way of dealing with the situation- lob, chip/charge, drive down the line... then sure,
there is no rule against being "that kind of guy".
 
Just add that while playing "friendly" doubles, an opponent got a short, high ball- had the whole court
open, but chose to pound it right at me (I was at the net). Hit me right in the eye. After many years, I still have
problems with the eye- lucky not to lose it.
 
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Steady Eddy

Legend
Just add that while playing "friendly" doubles, an opponent got a short, high ball- had the whole court
open, but chose to pound it right at me (I was at the net). Hit me right in the eye. After many years, I still have
problems with the eye- lucky not to lose it.
When I'm directly across from an opponent with an easy smash, I turn my back to them. Some people laugh at me for that, but it's a 99% chance the point has been lost anyway, and I'd rather keep my eyes than win a point.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
When I'm directly across from an opponent with an easy smash, I turn my back to them. Some people laugh at me for that, but it's a 99% chance the point has been lost anyway, and I'd rather keep my eyes than win a point.
Same here. I'll miss the chance at the occasional mishit that drops at my feet, or a ball I could have handled. Not worth the risk. Tap out on those kind of shots.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Just add that while playing "friendly" doubles, an opponent got a short, high ball- had the whole court
open, but chose to pound it right at me (I was at the net). Hit me right in the eye. After many years, I still have
problems with the eye- lucky not to lose it.
If I'm the person hitting that short high ball, I'm going to hit it away from the deep player. If you as the net player stand in the way of that shot, you are taking your chances. As the person at net in this scenario, I'm backing off and bailing as soon as I see the gleam in the opponents eyes.

There is no such thing as the "whole court" in this scenario. The appropriate overhead always angles away from the deep player who has the only realistic chance at returning it.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
If I'm the person hitting that short high ball, I'm going to hit it away from the deep player. If you as the net player stand in the way of that shot, you are taking your chances. As the person at net in this scenario, I'm backing off and bailing as soon as I see the gleam in the opponents eyes.

There is no such thing as the "whole court" in this scenario. The appropriate overhead always angles away from the deep player who has the only realistic chance at returning it.
My overheads aren't always "appropriate". Sometimes they don't go where I aimed, and if I shank it, it could go anywhere! I know many of my opponents are the same way.

I also use this in golf. I always stand behind the player swinging. I don't trust their accuracy, and from too close I'd have no chance to dodge it. This is why I'm still alive!
 

La Pavoni

Rookie
If that is the kind of person you are- someone who will risk injuring another player just to win a point, and if you haven' the skills to find some other way of dealing with the situation- lob, chip/charge, drive down the line... then sure,
there is no rule against being "that kind of guy".
You can flip that around though. If you are the kind of person who crowds the net, even on your partner's weak second serves. You are running the risk of injury. Much better to give yourself some reaction time.
 
About once a month the topic of "is it OK to aim the ball at the net person" comes up in one guise or another-
I've seen it dozens of times, and it never fails to amuse me the number of "reasons" people can come up with for doing
what is basically a mean-spirited, dangerous thing.

Obvious, it is not against the rules- it even might make sense (or not) if a world ranking were on the line and a few million dollars,
but during a friendly game of 3.5s or 4.0s, I don't buy it. Unconvinced.
 

Purestriker

Professional
In doubles when you are returning serve, if your opponent crowds the net and goes to cut off angles and poach, is it poor etiquette to fire a rocket at him to get him to think twice about crowding the net?

It feels like this is fair game. This isn't getting caught up there when your partner hangs a watermelon short and high to be smashed, this is choosing to stand on the damn train tracks, at the start of the point. If you've got some mongoose reflexes, great. Let's see em. But if you don't, it's like your asking to get hit.

I just started playing matches relatively recently, and I am aware that it's considered improper by some to target your opponent in such a way. But why in the hell should I be ok with letting someone be able to cut off all the angles?
You can, but if they can also hit easy volley winners. I think it is better to lob them when they are crowding the net.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
About once a month the topic of "is it OK to aim the ball at the net person" comes up in one guise or another-
I've seen it dozens of times, and it never fails to amuse me the number of "reasons" people can come up with for doing
what is basically a mean-spirited, dangerous thing.

Obvious, it is not against the rules- it even might make sense (or not) if a world ranking were on the line and a few million dollars,
but during a friendly game of 3.5s or 4.0s, I don't buy it. Unconvinced.
Especially playing older players that have issues with their vision. Can elicit errors just hitting the ball near their body, let alone close-to-close. Mentioned before a player wore safety glasses after a ball deflected off his frame into his eye. Had a detached retina.
 

jered

Rookie
If you are crowding the net, you accept the risk. At low levels, players only have a vague idea where they’re hitting the ball. At higher levels, you should be able to deal. If you lack the defensive skills or you’re scared of being hit, play back. Your safety is your responsibility, no one else’s.

There are many situations where you should definitely be hitting at the net person. There’s a huge difference between head hunting and hitting at their feet or body. It’s just part of playing a ball sport.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
If you are crowding the net, you accept the risk. At low levels, players only have a vague idea where they’re hitting the ball. At higher levels, you should be able to deal. If you lack the defensive skills or you’re scared of being hit, play back. Your safety is your responsibility, no one else’s.

There are many situations where you should definitely be hitting at the net person. There’s a huge difference between head hunting and hitting at their feet or body. It’s just part of playing a ball sport.
So this lady showed me a bruise on her ankle that I caused last time she played. I felt, "If it's on your ankle, I certainly wasn't head hunting." But she still felt like I was the reincarnation of jack-the-ripper.
 

jered

Rookie
So this lady showed me a bruise on her ankle that I caused last time she played. I felt, "If it's on your ankle, I certainly wasn't head hunting." But she still felt like I was the reincarnation of jack-the-ripper.
Ha! Sure, a lot of people get weird about the ball hitting them. I’m not intentionally trying to hurt anyone but I’m not going to stop playing the ”right” hit in a competitive match. They can always back up if they don’t like it. I never, ever complain when I get hit, except to my partner for probably setting me up. ;)
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Ha! Sure, a lot of people get weird about the ball hitting them. I’m not intentionally trying to hurt anyone but I’m not going to stop playing the ”right” hit in a competitive match. They can always back up if they don’t like it. I never, ever complain when I get hit, except to my partner for probably setting me up. ;)
Like playing three against one, eh?
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
At lower levels definitely test them as some just stand there not realising the amount of concentration and reflexes required. A lob may not always be well placed and the other player can get it, making a body shot a higher % shot if you can pull it and they flunk it often enough. But if the player is focused and can reliably get the racquet on the ball this is not a good play - even a shank turns into a drop volley winner when someone is standing that close. A surprise tactic during a long baseline rally at best.

Agree with the net player should bear the risk point. As long as all four are relatively young or athletic it shouldn't pose a danger at all and if it does it's up to the net player to protect himself.
 
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La Pavoni

Rookie
Agree with the net player should bear the risk point. As long as all four are relatively young or athletic it shouldn't pose a danger at all and if it does it's up to the net player to protect himself.
Targeting people who are clearly at a lower level, where there's an age discrepancy (the old or young players who are stepping up) or ladies in mixed is a d@#k move. However I rarely find that situation arises. Normally it is someone attempting to assert their masculinity who is stood right on the net.

I had one in a recent league fixture. I could tell from the outset he was that kind of guy, right on the net and keen to poach/dummy. After I slapped one in his general direction, during his partners first service game, he then tried to target me in subsequent games. I did miss one of them, but he also gave me a few easy volleys and made quite a few UEs. I only targeted him a couple more times at the net. The rest of the time I lobbed or hit my normal preferred return, trying to go deep and hard in to the backhand of the server.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Targeting people who are clearly at a lower level, where there's an age discrepancy (the old or young players who are stepping up) or ladies in mixed is a d@#k move. However I rarely find that situation arises. Normally it is someone attempting to assert their masculinity who is stood right on the net.

I had one in a recent league fixture. I could tell from the outset he was that kind of guy, right on the net and keen to poach/dummy. After I slapped one in his general direction, during his partners first service game, he then tried to target me in subsequent games. I did miss one of them, but he also gave me a few easy volleys and made quite a few UEs. I only targeted him a couple more times at the net. The rest of the time I lobbed or hit my normal preferred return, trying to go deep and hard in to the backhand of the server.
Agree that the condition of the player is important to justify the move
 
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