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November 2011 Article

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Six Ways to Come to the Net in Doubles

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John Mills, USPTA

There are 6 ways you can add to your game to advance to the net from the baseline in order to add pressure to your opponents and gain the offensive. Not to say that you need to do all of these. Mixing things up is an asset.

  1. Serve and Volley. Who does this? All the pros. A general accepted formula is that, when you get your serve in and move in and make the first volley, you will win the point 70% of the time. Who cannot do it? Weak server and poor movement on the court.

  2. Return and Volley. Take all weak second serves and attack the net. If their first serve is weak, do it also. This pressures your opponents and does not allow them to get away with a weak serve.

  3. The standard approach shot. You are on the baseline and you receive a shallow mid-court ball. Take this and join your partner at the net.

  4. The loop or lob. You are winning on the baseline hitting good driving ground strokes, all of a sudden the cross court rallies change, your opponents start hitting high loops or lobs. This takes you out of your game. If you let the ball bounce, you tend to move back and start playing their game. What to do? Take these balls out of the air and move to the net. This will allow you to maintain the offense.

  5. When the ball is hit to your partner, who is at the net, and you are on the baseline. If you do not like to serve and volley, this is for you. While your opponents are paying attention to your partner at the net, you can calmly move forward, bypassing No-Man's Land, the low volley and the half-volley.

  6. You or your partner throws up a good lob forcing one or both opponents to move backward. As soon as you see that your opponents are going to bounce the ball or you see their back running away from you, move forward to the service line. Remember, most of the time they will return the lob with a lob. Prepare to hit an overhead.

Remember, the fun is at the net. Find different ways to go to the net. Keep mixing it up. It will keep your opponents off balance.
Good luck on the courts!

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

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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