Where to Stand

#1
One of my pet peeves is my doubles partners standing 2-3 feet behind the service line when I am receiving serve, especially on the deuce side. I see no benefit from this whatsoever. The reasons given vary from wanting to protect against a lob to wanting to know where my return goes. Standing so far back opens up the middle, puts no pressure on the server, allows the server to dip a return at his feet and allows the server to hit the return to the receivers backhand. My second pet peeve is partners who refuse to move back after I hit a defensive lob, but that's another story. I can't win with these guys.
 
#2
It's a much better position then standing too tight to the net. How old is he? Maybe he doesn't move as well anymore? How does it open up the middle? It would give him more time to react to a shot down the middle. Standing back would give him more reaction time, better enabling him to react to a dipper at his feet. I see a lot of rec players missing volleys and overheads because they are too tight to the net and don't give themselves enough reaction time for their eyes to focus on the ball. One guy I play with misses nine out of ten overheads having to hit them behind his head--if he were just one step back the ball would be in front of him and he would hit down on it. I've gently mentioned this to him on several occasions, but his wife overrules him.

You're the receiver, so it seems irrelevant where he is standing when you are returning. If you're playing proper winning dubs, you will be coming in after your return in the right spot to hit your first volley--right next to where your partner is standing--just behind the service line. He is helping to close down the angles for your opponents if you're coming in.

It's easier and faster to move forward then back.

The partners who refuse to move back on a defensive lob will be eliminated by natural selection--they will not be able to reproduce after their gonads are destroyed. They should be looking back so they can see what kind of return you are hitting, and to be in the rhythm of the point by watching the ball. Are they looking back? If not, do you communicate with them?--something said to them like : "SHORT!!! MOVE THE HELL BACK!!" Maybe they have a death wish?
 
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#3
One of my pet peeves is my doubles partners standing 2-3 feet behind the service line when I am receiving serve, especially on the deuce side. I see no benefit from this whatsoever.
What level is this? I'd guess around 3.5?

If so, it's not uncommon to see this. But you're correct that it's bad positioning.

The reasons given vary from wanting to protect against a lob
This partner should instead work on:

- reading the lob so he can react more quickly to it
- his OH so he doesn't fear it

Tell him that YOU will worry about the lob that's good enough to get past him. Try to push him forward.

to wanting to know where my return goes.
I don't understand this logic: how does standing 3' behind the SL facilitate this? Unless what he means is he wants to watch you hit the return. That can be accomplished by a quick glance back while standing on the SL. As to whether this is advisable, check out the thread on whether you should look back when your partner is hitting. There are various opinions.

Standing so far back opens up the middle,
Actually, it doesn't. Standing right on top of the net opens the middle because there's the biggest gap between him and you. Standing 3' behind the SL actually closes the middle. But it's a very defensive position [a modified version of 2 back]. it may be appropriate for certain situations [ie big serving opponent, opponents keep poaching and targeting the net man, etc] but not as a general rule.

puts no pressure on the server, allows the server to dip a return at his feet and allows the server to hit the return to the receivers backhand.
All good points. This person does not seem comfortable at net. Or perhaps they were taught "this is where you stand in doubles. Once you get here, don't move." But doubles is a very dynamic game, from a positional standpoint: not only do you have to move with the ball, you have to move with your partner.

If this person is open to instruction, there are many resources on the Internet to teach doubles. I like essential tennis dot com [Ian Westermann] [no space between "essential" and "tennis"; I did this because these phrases get redacted sometimes]. There's also fuzzyyellowballs [Will Hamilton], "What's the right shot" [Brent Abel], etc.

If this person is not open to instruction, get another partner.

My second pet peeve is partners who refuse to move back after I hit a defensive lob, but that's another story. I can't win with these guys.
I can think of several reasons:
- They are slow to react
- They don't know moving back is an option. Referring to what I wrote above, they may have been taught "stand here and don't move!"

The key isn't how they play now. The key is whether they are willing to learn and improve.
 
#4
As long as they can move forward once your return had cleared the net person on the serving team, a few steps behind the service line isn't bad. If they stay there all point... Then that's bad.
Would you prefer them be there, or closer so if your return doesn't get past the net guy, your partner gets pegged or volleyed behind.

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#5
One of my pet peeves is my doubles partners standing 2-3 feet behind the service line when I am receiving serve, especially on the deuce side. I see no benefit from this whatsoever. The reasons given vary from wanting to protect against a lob to wanting to know where my return goes. Standing so far back opens up the middle, puts no pressure on the server, allows the server to dip a return at his feet and allows the server to hit the return to the receivers backhand. My second pet peeve is partners who refuse to move back after I hit a defensive lob, but that's another story. I can't win with these guys.
Actually that's a good place for receiver's partner to stand, especially for 1st serve. It does a couple of things:
* Defends against volley from server's partner at net. This in turn gives the receiver freedom to try aggressive returns right at the net guy for example.
* Defends against weak return to the server coming up to net.

The problem is if receiver's partner stays in that same position after the first shot; then it's bad. He should be doing one of three things:
* If server's net player volleys then potentially make a play at the ball, and move forward/back depending on the situation
* If the return clears the net player and is not a sitter, move forward.
* If the return clears the net player but is a sitter for the server, move back.
 
#6
Orange is right. Standing at or behind the service line is classic doubles strategy as it covers the volley from the servers net man. However it's predicated on moving forward after the ball gets past the net guy to put pressure on the server.
Too many players just get locked in place if they are not actively in the rally, but they should be moving continuously to cover angles and pressure the opponents.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
#7
A bigger pet peeve to me is doubles partners who stand 2-3 feet inside the box when I'm receiving serve. They are supposed to help with calling the serves but often miss them because they are either not looking at the right spot or because they are trying to call a ball that is hitting behind them using their peripheral vision. If they want to move forward on second serves I don't really care but for first serves they should stand just outside the T [/rant].
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#8
Agree standing around the service line is just fine.
If you return high and weak, he's dust, no matter where he stands.
If you return hard and low, he's in the best position to pounce on any weak return by the server.
Obviously, he should move forwards when you return low and deep to a server who stays back.
But against a net rusher, service line is a workable position. Standing any nearer just loses his teeth if the server get's a high volley off your weak return of serve.
 
#10
One of my pet peeves is doubles...
LOL, yeah, felt the same way, then started getting older...
I have many more good years of singles in me I hope, but can't play singles more than 2-3 times a week any more.
Dubs on the other hand I can play as much as I want.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
#11
Been playing MWF and sometimes Sunday.
Ratio of doubles to singles sets, about 10-1. Wish it was closer to 7-3. I"m 67, cannot run at all, play low 4.0 level. Almost everyone I play is younger than 50, and most can run pretty well.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
#12
The challenges of doubles are working well with your partner's strengths and weaknesses, and encouraging them to work well with yours.

Positioning and approach will depend both on your team's skill set and strategies, as well as your opponents. It's hard to agree with blanket criticism.

If I thought my partner was too far back when playing the net, I would wonder how to encourage them. Do I need to do a better job covering the baseline? Do they need more confidence moving closer? Do we need to communicate better? Do we need to do a better job recognizing how close our net person should play against given opponents?

I tend to view both positions in doubles as very dynamic, so I would worry more about a partner's sense of movement and willingness to move well during a point than where they start the point. But at the level I play, the ball moves pretty slow and there is time to adjust nearly every time the ball is hit. Feet glued to the court is more frustrating for me than where a person stands at the serve.
 
#13
tennis in this area is so bad that I have to deal with trying to get my receivers partner to move somewhere nearer the T than within a foot of the singles sideline, thereby giving the net man the fattest easiest target of all.
 
#15
imo two feet beyond service line is fine during return. It actually closes the middle as best possible. Don't know how op moves but the position is especially good if needing to cover all lobs. It's perhaps even better in a strong serve/weak return match up.

Only negative is the extra step or two to close net; assuming he doesn't remain there.
 
#16
I'd lob your opponent at the net and mix in chip returns. I agree that your partner might do this unknowingly because of poor reflexes or poor movement. A chip return at least keeps the ball low so your partner can't get hurt. I use this all the time in Mixed Doubles to protect my female partners. They are much less scared of the ball of it stays below the height of the net and its easier for them to execute at the net with their volleys.
 
#17
I'd lob your opponent at the net and mix in chip returns. I agree that your partner might do this unknowingly because of poor reflexes or poor movement. A chip return at least keeps the ball low so your partner can't get hurt. I use this all the time in Mixed Doubles to protect my female partners. They are much less scared of the ball of it stays below the height of the net and its easier for them to execute at the net with their volleys.
I protect my female partner in mixed by hitting at the server's female partner at the net. If you return heat with heat, the female net person rarely gets a clean volley off. Even if you flub it, I'd rather have my weak sitter in the lady's hands than the rushing male server's.
 
#19
I protect my female partner in mixed by hitting at the server's female partner at the net. If you return heat with heat, the female net person rarely gets a clean volley off. Even if you flub it, I'd rather have my weak sitter in the lady's hands than the rushing male server's.
Returning with heat to a female at net may or may not get you some dirty looks, depending.
Ah, the beauty of Mixed.
 
#20
The reason I asked is I found it hard to consistently bring heat or they moved the girl to the baseline so it was quickly taken away as an option. But keeping the ball low with slice made our opponents always have to hit up leaving us in good position to control the point patterns
 
#21
Returning with heat to a female at net may or may not get you some dirty looks, depending.
Ah, the beauty of Mixed.
None of our heat in the 3.0-4.0 world is generally enough to get you dirty looks. Just fast enough to get a few passes or framed volleys.


The reason I asked is I found it hard to consistently bring heat or they moved the girl to the baseline so it was quickly taken away as an option. But keeping the ball low with slice made our opponents always have to hit up leaving us in good position to control the point patterns
I've certainly see the two back formation if the opponent realizes you are intimidating the female net person. I still try to put the ball to the female player rather than at an attacking male server. It will usually neutralize the point and may give you a chance to get to the net.
 
#22
None of our heat in the 3.0-4.0 world is generally enough to get you dirty looks. Just fast enough to get a few passes or framed volleys.
I know a few 3.5s / 4.0s who can hit 100mph forehands... which, unfortunately for them, typically hit the back fence ;)
When that is directed towards a 2.5 / 3.0 female at the net in 6.0 / 7.0 mixed, ugliness can ensue.
 
#23
I know a few 3.5s / 4.0s who can hit 100mph forehands... which, unfortunately for them, typically hit the back fence ;)
When that is directed towards a 2.5 / 3.0 female at the net in 6.0 / 7.0 mixed, ugliness can ensue.
Yeah those people are out there for sure. It's usually a younger crowd than my tennis peer group. Most of us 50+ folks have lost a bit on our fastball and also have realized that tennis, like golf, is just as much about precision as it is about power.

If I have a 2.5/3.0 female partner, I tend to keep her back and in a corner and play "shock and awe" which largely revolves around pressure tennis. Constantly moving to take away angles, running down lobs, trying to keep everything in the middle. Basically anything I can do to keep the opponents from picking on the lady.
 
#24
I know a few 3.5s / 4.0s who can hit 100mph forehands... which, unfortunately for them, typically hit the back fence ;)
This seems awfully fast; are you sure, Orange?

I don't know *anyone* who hits a 100mph anything other than a serve. Maybe the Open division and only when they have a target at the net to hit at. No way have I seen anything close to that at 3.5 & 4.0.
 
#25
This seems awfully fast; are you sure, Orange?

I don't know *anyone* who hits a 100mph anything other than a serve. Maybe the Open division and only when they have a target at the net to hit at. No way have I seen anything close to that at 3.5 & 4.0.
Not sure, never timed it, but one guy I'm thinking of in particular is a 25yo 3.5, 6ft 4 and 220lbs of muscle. He hits every ball as if he's trying to hit a literal home run but misses 3 out of 4. He serves harder than I do and I have been clocked at 110mph.

His forehand might not be 100 but whatever it is, it's pretty intimidating when you're at the net and it's rocketing towards you! But you just have to be nimble enough to get out the way and let it go long :)
 
#26
I have no choice but to put my partners on the service line. I don't see the service line well enough and I return well behind the baseline with bigger servers to call the line. I prefer to rip top spin cross court than play touch across court. I always hope they move forward after the bounce.
A consistent lob is the returners ineffectual return. Good returns should be hard to lob. Flat or slice lobs need to be very accurate and then the returner should be able get to it and top spin lob needs such good timing it's low % and safer to play cross court.
No man's land is no man's land, you need to remind them that. Problem is if they're doing it because they're volleying is ineffectual they're asking to be hit too. I was taught always hit the the person in no man's land or moving backwards.
Got to talk to your doubles partner, I don't enough though some prefer solitude. I yelled at a junior fillin doubles partner last time I played comp. I still feel bad. 15 yrs olds play stupid, some hit really well but play dumb. I'm going to doubles hell. I shouldn't loose my cool with adolescence. It's like hearing cats, pointless. Suppose I got to apologies if I see him. Prefer tennis hell. We won
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
#27
One of my pet peeves is doubles...
Lol, I used to think this, then I learned to play dubs... (volley, poach, *positioning*, etc..)
When I used to play dubs like a singles player (ie. cover my alley/never poach, don't move around the net, bash from the baseline, just watch cross court bashers hit back and forth, etc...), i hated dubs, and thought it was an old/immobile man's game...
I still like/prefer singles, but I do find high level dubs extremely fun
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
#28
One of my pet peeves is my doubles partners standing 2-3 feet behind the service line when I am receiving serve, especially on the deuce side. I see no benefit from this whatsoever. The reasons given vary from wanting to protect against a lob to wanting to know where my return goes. Standing so far back opens up the middle, puts no pressure on the server, allows the server to dip a return at his feet and allows the server to hit the return to the receivers backhand. My second pet peeve is partners who refuse to move back after I hit a defensive lob, but that's another story. I can't win with these guys.
I stand 2 ft behind the service line, when my partner is receiving serve, especially:
* server has a good serve
* returner has a weakish return
* poacher is very good/active
* server has a good lob
* etc...
I am constantly trying to get to net, but I have flow from offense to defense as the point dictates...

If you're crushing returns, always putting the opposing team on defense... I might still play 2 ft behind the svc line, then flow into the net...
 
#30
Lol, I used to think this, then I learned to play dubs... (volley, poach, *positioning*, etc..)
When I used to play dubs like a singles player (ie. cover my alley/never poach, don't move around the net, bash from the baseline, just watch cross court bashers hit back and forth, etc...), i hated dubs, and thought it was an old/immobile man's game...
I still like/prefer singles, but I do find high level dubs extremely fun
I appreciate the strategy that goes in to good dubs and it's also nice to have a mutual support system. Too, I enjoy the conferencing before each 1st serve [yes, all that could be accomplished solely with signals but there's something about the partner interaction that makes it more enjoyable and keeps me more focused than mere signalling].
 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
#32
Actually that's a good place for receiver's partner to stand, especially for 1st serve. It does a couple of things:
* Defends against volley from server's partner at net. This in turn gives the receiver freedom to try aggressive returns right at the net guy for example.
* Defends against weak return to the server coming up to net.

The problem is if receiver's partner stays in that same position after the first shot; then it's bad. He should be doing one of three things:
* If server's net player volleys then potentially make a play at the ball, and move forward/back depending on the situation
* If the return clears the net player and is not a sitter, move forward.
* If the return clears the net player but is a sitter for the server, move back.

I agree and I'll give you two more reasons to stand like that:

  1. If my net game is not working.
  2. If my partner is really a strong player; I basically force the opponents to play to him (the server), while I basically defend about 1/3 of the court (having a strong ground game myself).
 
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