Where do you hit the ball when you poach?

EddieBrock

Professional
In my last match I was more successful getting to the poaches, but still lost most of the points. Where should you hit the ball after you poach? I heard before you should hit at the opposing net man's feet, but that didn't work very well. He just blocked it back and I was still moving diagonally and couldn't intercept his shot.
 
Maybe he got lucky or is just very good? Here’s my general rules:
1) if the ball is high, you can be super aggressive at the net man’s feet or split the two opponents
2) if the ball is dipping below the net, you almost have to hit a touch/drop shot to the open court in front of the returner.

Obviously, the more solid you can hit the volley the better. But remember, being close to the net and causing chaos is often enough to win the point even without a high quality volley. Plus, it plants the seeds of doubt for future points. Sometimes the other team will steal a point with good reactions. That’s part of the deal. Keep at it and the percentages should favor you in the long run.
 

GeoffHYL

Semi-Pro
When in doubt, split the defenders. Sharp angle if you can, or down at the feet. I suspect you just didn't get your shot down low enough, or too off to the side. Right at the feet is a very difficult shot to return.
 

chic

Semi-Pro
Depends how much time I have and how high the volley is.

If it's not one I can put away clean, or not a dripper I'm just trying to do what I can with I'll go for the netmans feet.

More specifically I'm aiming a little behind his feet, preferably on his backhand side so that it's hard to get a block back. Having a little extra pace is more important than an exact location imo (if they have time to really react and move then location isn't super important, but it's a balance).

Generally, if you're putting it near their feet or a little behind that, they have a decent chance to get it back in, but likely it'll be a pop up. So it's important for you to splitstep in time and be ready for the kill or angle on the next shot.

Likewise your partner should be ready to step up and kill a high bouncing short ball if the pop up is crossed past you.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
I think if it is something I can hit hard, I will hit it away from the baseline opponent. If something I have to hit soft (like from below the net), I will hit it away from the net opponent.
 
It’s situational, but I generally have better results attacking the baseliner. I find by attacking them first I’m rewarded with an easier shot to attack off of more often than not. Depending on the side I’ll either go wide to their backhand or down the middle to jam them, but the shot will have good pace and heavy backspin so that it bounces twice before the baseline. The goal is to get them moving forward while having to get under the ball. It’s a reliable strategy to get a shot that either you or your partner can attack to take control of the point.
 
In my last match I was more successful getting to the poaches, but still lost most of the points. Where should you hit the ball after you poach? I heard before you should hit at the opposing net man's feet, but that didn't work very well. He just blocked it back and I was still moving diagonally and couldn't intercept his shot.
I'd have to see video of how well you were hitting the volley; aiming at the net man is a good idea. If he is consistently blocking it back, your volley is not good enough, not that your target was necessarily bad.

Also, it depends on whether the volley was offensive, neutral, or defensive: if the opposing BLer hits a challenging GS, your volley might be tough and aiming at the net man might be the exactly wrong thing to do; it might be better just to hit it back to the BLer.

Another good target is at the net man's dominant hip; very difficult to hit a FH volley, which is many people's first reaction since the volley is on their dominant side and the ball is coming so quickly that they don't have time to realize a BH volley is easier.

Is there space to hit between the net man and the alley? That's not my preference because many times there isn't as much space as we initially perceive and we hit it wide.

I think you should be commended for getting out of your comfort zone and poaching. That's the hard part, mentally. Now you just have to work on execution, which is much easier, IMO.
 

weelie

Semi-Pro
I have the tendency of hitting to the feet of the opposing net player or down the middle. But I do too much of it, I feel (maybe I am not hitting the perfect nute volley!). So I've been trying to practice hitting sharp angle away (more towards the receiver, not the net guy), as I think that is the best shot. I guess aiming for the singles side line, halfway up the service box, to have margin but also taking the ball out side the court. I do some times hit an angle to net man's alley, but that's only if it come naturally and there is space there...
 
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