HIGH SHORT BALL IN DOUBLES.
The usual (but incorrect) scenario we see so often in club and often league tennis, is one player at the net and their partner at the baseline.
There are many instances when this is
unavoidable because your opponents manage to keep you in this position, due to
deep shots. Even so, it is important, in order to win more doubles matches, to get out of this position, by approaching the net, as quickly
as possible. The incorrect situation I am talking about, is when the pairs do not want to change the situation they are in, for a variety of
reasons – they do not like going to the net – they believe this is how doubles should be played – they do not know when to approach the
net etc. etc.
When you find that your opponents are in this formation and you receive a high short ball. What should you do, where should you hit it?
Lets start by looking at where you should
NOT hit the ball! Definitely not back to the player at the
baseline, and yet you will see this
option taken over and over again. You are giving your opponents an open invitation to put you under pressure because they now have
the advantage and all the time in the world to decide their next shot. This could be a good lob over your head and if it is a good top spin
lob, you have lost the initiative.
So – Where should the high short ball be hit !
You have at least three good possibilities
to hit shots that will put you in the driving seat. Hit the
ball down to the net player’s feet, down
the middle between your two opponents, or at an angle for a winner.
The two preferable shots are ‘down at the
net player’s feet’ or ‘ down the middle’ providing there is a clearly open
space. The angle
shot should only be taken, if you are going to win the point, there is little room for error.
The high short ball is one of the shots you
usually know where you would like to hit it, but on the spur of the moment, make
different shot. You should practice doing the correct shots over and over again in your practice matches so that when the opportunity
occurs, you do not have to think about it, you do the correct shot automatically. This build what we call muscle memory and you will then
apply the correct techinique and tactics in those important matches.
Only by repetitive application will you learn to do something automatically!