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Tennis Anyone
April 2000 Article

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1994 - 2002

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Doubles Strategy Questionnaire

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John Mills, USPTA

When you are serving, can you get a high percentage of first serves in?

Can you keep your serve high and deep over the net to keep your opponent from attacking your partner?

Can you vary the speed, spin and placement of your serve.

Can you block a very fast serve?

Can you chip and charge on a short landing weak serve?

Can you lob the return over the opposing net player when you are pulled wide off the court outside the alley?

Can you detect when the opposing net player moves out of her alley too soon, so you can hit the return down the vacated alley?

Can you keep a majority of your returns low down the middle?

Can you occasionally blast a return at the opposing net player to keep him off balance?

Can you return a short serve with a soft shallow return to draw the server in while you gain position at the net? Many servers do not like to go to the net -- this will surprise them.

Do you lead with the right foot to poach, (like a skating step) on the right side of the body?

Do you take your left foot to the poach on the left side of the body?

Are you winning more points on the poach than losing?

Are you poaching often, not putting the ball away and suffering because you played you and your partner out of position?

Can you poach off balls in the rally, not only on the return after your partner serves?

Are you always looking to poach after your partner has hit an offensive shot?

Can you poach after your partner's overhead?

Do you poach mainly down the middle to "split the seam?"

When your partner throws up a weak lob, do you move back to defend?

When your partner gets pulled wide off the court, do you gravitate to the center of the court to help her?

Are your comments to your partner positive and helpful or negative and hurtful?

Can you use the elements to your advantage, (i.e., lob forcing your opponent to look into the sun or lob more against the wind)?

Can you change a losing game?

Do you know that the winner of most matches is the team that makes the fewest errors not the most winners?

Can you cover most of the lobs hit over your head with an overhead?

Can you volley from any depth from the net, not just when you are at the net?

Do you make quick clear line calls?

Are you comfortable playing in different positions, (i.e., both up, both back, up and back, Australian formation)?

Are you familiar with the Australian formation (server and server's partner both standing on the same side of the center line with the partner standing near the net, typically when serving to the ad-court)?

Can you at least occasionally serve and volley?

When you are on the baseline and you see that your partner is going to receive a weak shot, do you remember to get to the net?

When the point is over, do you return the ball by tapping it back allowing it to bounce serveral times before reaching the opponent?

Do you talk too much when you play?

When you or your partner hit a shot low and at the feet of your opponent, do you move forward ready to attack?

When you or your partner hit a weak high shot do you hold your position or move back to defend?

Do you come up to the net after you lob a ball successfully over your opponent's head?

This is a self-graded test. Good luck on the court!

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1994 - 2002 | 2003 - Present

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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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