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September 2013 Article

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Solve The Problem

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John Mills, USPTA

Has this ever happened to you while playing doubles? You are serving and your partner is at the net. Your serve goes in and you can see the return going to your partner's side of the court, who is at the net. You are not quite sure if he/she is going to hit it and you are not quite sure where you should go.
Solve the problem! When you are the server (standing on the baseline), once you see the ball while it is on your opponent's side of the court, move 3 steps diagonally toward your partner who is at the net.

  1. If your net partner makes the shot, continue to the service line on your half of the court to take the offense.

  2. If the ball goes over your partner's head and you think the ball would land on the singles half of the court, try to take the ball in the air. Hit it straight ahead; go to the net while your partner crosses over to your original side of the court inside the service line.

  3. If the ball goes over your partner's head and you think the ball would land in the far alley, move back to where you think the lob would almost bounce twice, contact the ball as close to your waist as you can, retrace the last 6 feet of the path of the lob. Hit this lob high and down the middle of the court at 3/4 depth. This will give your partner time to cross over and move back to the baseline to cover your half of the court.

  4. If you think your partner is going to make contact with the return, (down the middle), but he or she fails to hit it, you have 2 options. If the ball is hard and deep to you, fall back toward the baseline and defend. If the ball is up high enough move forward, volley it, then proceed to the net.

Try this. Remember, take the 3 steps in as soon as you detect the ball is going to your partner's half of the court. Soon, it will become second nature.
Good luck on the court!

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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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