A few days ago I got an email from one of our subscribers who is a passionate doubles player. He had a dilemma: how should he return against an aggressive server and a tall player at the net?
Immediately I thought: tough question! In my opinion, this particular player has to face a perfect doubles team: a great server and a tall partner to pick up the weak return.
The thing is that most players would try their best to avoid the net player by hitting aggressive passive shots. That puts extra pressure and the percentage of missing the balls into the net or out is greater.
I would do the following:
– For doubles… I’d have my partner position just behind the service line and let them know that I’d return the serve right at the opposing net player (well, not all the time; just often enough to keep them from poaching and putting the pressure on).
– For singles… again, I’d try to hit the ball at my approaching opponent’s feet or hit the first ball right at them, waiting for my chance for a passing shot.
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hi i play doubles with a 6 foot 2 person and i am only 5 foot 8 my partner struggles playing the net when the opponent hits it really hard and fast and sometimes i can’t cover him any tips ?
so I should understand that the 6’2″ is your partner, right? and he has a hard time at the net? then he should not be playing at the net for now. advise him to begin at the baseline and come up once the opportunity presents it: short ball, opponents playing defense etc. I see no reason staying at the net if the skills do not allow it. he should work on being comfortable at the net (improve movement, court positioning, volleys etc.), and only after that he can play there.
if he is not willing to work on his net skills and insists to play there, then stay closer to the center and try to cover for him as much as you can, which is tough on you and frustrating.
Hi! I am a 5’9” female. At least once a week, I play against a 6’8” male. He has no reservations about smashing it at me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit even when I turn my back. He’s just everywhere and my partners aren’t helping me. Should I just give up and stay at the baseline? The net is my strength. Any other strategies to keep this guy out of play? He is older, slower, and erratic. That’s I’m getting hit. He has little control. Nice guy though! 🤣
Well, Genie, my first question for you would be: considering that he constantly hits you with the ball (as you mention above), is he doing it in a friendly way (smiles, apologizes, etc.) or does he find pleasure doing it (mean, rude)?
It is not ok for a man to hit a woman even if it comes to tennis.
One of the tactics to put an aggressive net player in place is:
You and your baseline partner / serve returner should direct the return, once in a while, aggressively at him. That will make him more cautious when it comes to moving to intercept (poach) the cross-court return.
Also, most aggressive net players prefer to stay very close to the net. Lob him. Lob him often. Lob the serve return, lob any ball that is sent to the back court.
One more piece of advice: next time he hits you with a ball, turn to him and smile, letting him know that “this ball did not hurt as much as the previous ones”. 🙂
Awww…thank you for replying! I honestly think he cannot place the ball well and gets out of control. He says he’s aiming at my feet. I did yell at him one day about hitting me and then I didn’t talk to him for 3 weeks. Ha! Your approach would have been so much smoother! He actually hits me less than he used to. 🙄 Next time, I’m lobbing as much as possible with an occasional aggressive shot at him. Thank you for your concern and advice!
Genie, you are funny. 🙂 I hope you and your opponent will settle things soon and enjoy playing together.
So I am 5’4, my doubles partner next match is 5’8. We are playing 5.5& 6’1🤷♀️
The wing span…
We are 3.0 league
Enjoy it 🙂