Joe Marshall teaches tennis in an alternate universe

Joe Marshall teaches tennis strategies that you never hear or read about. He says his game belongs in an alternate universe. I have played with him, against him and spoken to people who hate his game: he drives them crazy with spins, lobs, punches, maddening drop shots and out-of-reach angles that you rarely see on television.

His game comes out of his background in ping pong, and he maneuvers the tennis ball and his opponents as deftly as if he were on a table with a paddle. He has showed me how to have 27 different serves (I can do three or four of them so far) and totally upgraded my game. Check out his original story here, and don’t hesitate to contact him at if you’d like some lessons or advice. He lives in upstate New York, near Western Connecticut.

My Partner Bill Simon and I won a local tennis tournament mid-July…..We are both 56 years old….two of the older guys in the tournament…..some were in their twenties. We got a lucky draw, but we had been in the finals last year, so it wasn’t all luck. Here are some of the things we did well…..

When One partner played poorly, the other tried to pick him up…..both by encouraging him, and giving him advice….”Keep your feet moving”, “Don’t go for too much”…..”take something off your first serve”….And the partner LISTENED….we didn’t take it personally.

We tried different tactics….chip and charge, lob the net man on the return of serve and get to the net, Different formations: two back on defense, Australian formation, one up and one back….these were done to nullify strengths of the opponents….specifically: good poaching at the net, good cross court returns……good chip and charge.

We played to the conditions…..we lobbed into the sun a lot, we adjusted to the slower balls as the day went on…..we made a tired player run a lot.

We poached early in each match to set the example that good returns could be picked off. When we didn’t poach, we faked, to get into the heads of our opponents. (When your partner is serving down love thirty, second serve, poach aggressively, it works almost every time, and can turn the momentum around.)

We played defense……Throw up a lob and get into defensive position (two back….it was a clay tournie)….We didn’t go for too much. We tried to play solid reliable, high percentage shots to put the pressure on our opponents.

We managed our choking well.

We communicated…even when we didn’t have anything to say…(Talk to your opponent in whispered tones, just saying Blah, Blah Blah….the opponents will always think you are up to something, and try an outrageous shot….if you pick up that your opponents are trying something, ignore it and go with your best shot…or LOB)