If you and your partner find yourself playing at the net against a team that prefers the baseline, you are looking at four targets to create some “damage” (see the graphic):
1. angled shot to the left,
2. angled shot to the right,
3. drop shot,
4. deep down the center.
As the team at the net, you and your partner will obviously look to put the ball away as soon as you can. But some circumstances require that you wait before you hit the winner:
– when you are too far from the net,
– the contact with the ball is low,
– you get a lob to the backhand side,
– your opponents are in a good position to get to your shot.
All these situations require that you prepare the winning shot by hitting a “set-up shot” first. A set-up shot is basically anything that forces the opposing players to hit the ball up or “float” a slow moving ball over the net. It could be a deep ball, an angled ball, or a shot down at the opponents’ feet, etc.
So most winners should be preceded by one or two set-up strokes. Don’t try to win the point right away, wait for the opportunity.
If you manage to bring them to the net, try to keep them there longer. They will attempt to get out of that position since this is not their comfort zone.
Move together and, very important, always follow the ball with your feet: stay behind it (e.g. if the ball is sent wide to the right then the net team moves slightly to the right also). Imagine a string attached to the net players – when one player moves to the left, the string pulls the other player to the left too. Work in sync.