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May 2011 Article

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Go To The Net?

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John Mills, USPTA

What are some ways that you can go to the net while playing doubles?
 
Number one of course is to serve and volley. However, most players do not have the athletic ability or quality serve or foot speed to do this well. So, what do you do if you are stuck in this boat?

  • Wait for the short ball that forces you to go to the net. The ball is so shallow that you will not have time to back up to the baseline. Hit and move toward the net taking the offense.

  • The most missed opportunity of all is when your opponents hit the ball to your partner, who is at the net. Remember, your opponents are concentrating on your partner, not you. You could easily take this time to run up to the service line to gain an offensive position.

  • You are back on the baseline and your cross-court opponent hits a loopy, high ball to you toward the baseline. It will be a mistake to let this "floater" land forcing you back more in a defensive position. Step up and take this "floater" in the air, making contact above your shoulder. This will tend to make the opposing net player not so willing to poach and will allow you to join your partner who is already at the net. This will put you in the offense.

  • Lastly, anytime you or your partner hit a lob and your opponents allow it to land, forcing them backwards, you should quickly move up to the net position, slightly inside the service line. This way you will stop the boring "lob-lob" scenario, which brands you as a "pusher". Most of the time your opponents will return your lob with a lob. So, step up and hit an overhead (like the pros) taking an offensive position. Remember, every time you hit a great lob, you are asking for an overhead. Where are you when you ask for an overhead in the warm-up? Near the net. So, do that.

Good luck on the courts!
 

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


 

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