I would like to take some time to talk about one of the most basic fundamentals for playing good doubles, yet it is also one of the strategies that we as tennis players execute the least. In part because we don’t like to move too much unless we are in fact chasing down the tennis ball. The strategy I am talking about is what the net player “should” be doing while the baseliners are in a crosscourt rally.
When the ball is in front of the net player, and on the baseline, the net player should be towards the middle of the serve box – in an offensive position.
When the ball is behind the net player, the net player should be back on the serve line – in a defensive position.
This all sounds good but most people favor one of the two positions and hold their ground. The problem with not moving is that 50% of the time the net player will now be in the wrong position. Taking the time to move back and forth with the ball will put you in the right place at the right time should one of your opponents hit the ball close to you. Try doing this the next time you go out for a game, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how many balls you will be able to get your racquet on.
See you on the courts!