Here is the most recent article by Joe Marshall. You can see all of them by typing his name into the search box above and to the right. His doubles tennis strategies are really worth applying to your game.

Hopefully you understand the idea of poaching at the net when your partner serves. Poaching off the return is a lesser used, but equally important, tactic. To poach off the return, start by taking the normal defensive, one up, one back position.

When you, as the short man (the one closer to the net), take your position around the service line, the first thing you are looking to do is to defend, if the opponent’s net man poaches or volleys a ball hit to him. It’s not easy from the mid-court position, but if you take a split step and move in a little as your partner returns, you have a chance. Block the ball into the open part of the court toward the server, keeping it low, or lob-volley (another advanced shot) over the short man’s head.

Most of the time, your partner’s returns will not be successfully intercepted by the net man (if they are being intercepted too often, go back to the baseline and play two back), and will return to the server. Once the ball passes the opponent’s net man, quickly move straight ahead and take a split step as the ball bounces, then slant across court and in toward poaching position, with racquet raised and wrist slightly cocked, anticipating a high volley that you can hit at the short man’s feet. If the server has stayed back, a deep return by your opponent is the best to poach on. If the server has moved in toward the net, a low return at his feet by your partner will be the easiest one to poach on. Treat your return poach just like you did the poach off the serve, hitting it at your opponent’s short man’s feet.

This summer, in the round robin tournament my partner and I won, there was a key point. Read the rest of this entry »

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