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Serving in the System

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  • Serving in the System

    Let's get your thoughts on Bill Previdi's latest, "Serving in the System"

  • #2
    Love the last idea of the repositioning and the moves at the net.

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    • #3
      Good serving makes life easier. Smart serving makes life for your opponents hell.

      Kyle LaCroix USPTA
      Boca Raton
      Last edited by klacr; 05-04-2015, 06:10 PM.

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      • #4
        Serving in The System

        Serving in doubles is like pitching in baseball. Hit your spots, change speeds and always use the serve you're hitting now to set up the serve you want to hit later. Some of the best players I know hold their serve all the time yet don't serve like Andy Roddick. In fact, they serve nothing like Roddick at all.

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        • #5
          Bill and Matt,

          I have read two other books about this style of doubles and I am sold on its efficacy. However, I am running into an issue at the 4.5 level; 4.5s think they have “made it” and only need to maintain their games and not improve them. So, when I talk to partners about this doubles system and explain it to them their eyes go blank and they begin to explain how they understand doubles. They tend not to buy the positioning and dispute that it covers the court well. So, how do you communicate the system to "higher" level players?

          Additionally, could you talk a little bit about some the common myths (not sure if that is the correct word) around doubles at the 4.5+ levels? For example, the ABC (Always Be Closing) mindset, I feel this is a myth in doubles that results in players being too close to the net and venerable to the lob.

          Thank you!
          Last edited by lobndropshot; 05-08-2015, 09:35 AM.

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          • #6
            l and d,

            What books? Sounds interesting.

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            • #7
              http://www.amazon.com/Dynamite-Doubl.../dp/1587900661

              http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Double.../dp/1558708235

              Dynamite Doubles

              The Art of Doubles

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lobndropshot View Post
                Bill and Matt,

                I have read two other books about this style of doubles and I am sold on its efficacy. However, I am running into an issue at the 4.5 level; 4.5s think they have “made it” and only need to maintain their games and not improve them. So, when I talk to partners about this doubles system and explain it to them their eyes go blank and they begin to explain how they understand doubles. They tend not to buy the positioning and dispute that it covers the court well. So, how do you communicate the system to "higher" level players?

                Additionally, could you talk a little bit about some the common myths (not sure if that is the correct word) around doubles at the 4.5+ levels? For example, the ABC (Always Be Closing) mindset, I feel this is a myth in doubles that results in players being too close to the net and venerable to the lob.

                Thank you!
                Ahhh yes, The ABC's of volleying. Always be closing. It's an effective idea but gets lost on many. Remember, you are not trying to rally on volleys. Perhaps two volleys maximum. If you are up at net for more than 3 volleys you may have some issues as you may be directly on top of net while not hitting effective volleys. The ABC idea is great if the volleys are quality an illicit progressively weaker shots, if not, a staggered position will help. At the higher level, doubles players should certainly be able to hit solid volleys and may be athletic enough to move back for the lob. In Boca Raton, we have a wide demographic of great high level doubles players as well as people who already have one foot in the grave and don't possess the explosiveness to close quick, jump or scissor kick for overheads. For the latter, the ABC's may not be the best.

                Kyle LaCroix USPTA
                Boca Raton

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                • #9
                  l and d,

                  Thanks! Will check out. I know both those guys from Bay Area tennis!

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                  • #10
                    4.5 doubles

                    Here is my take on 4.5's. I teach quite a few of them and even though I play with players who play competitive tennis at the tournament level, most of them have no idea how to set up points in a systematic way. They also consistently set up the other team by being equidistant from the net,by changing the side they hit to which opens up all sorts of shots for their opponents. I had a group this morning in my "Point Play" which is a competitive tennis workout (better than cardio). I can't even tell you how many times they were beaten on middle balls ( no one went for them, both players went for them). They got burned all the time on crosscourt lobs and they had no idea why. The challenge for me as a teaching pro is that the longer people have played, the more difficulty they have in making the changes needed to be effective, even when they want to. Playing with a partner consistently is a great help. Things like ABC , to me, are just catch phrases, similar to "watch the ball" or " bend your knees." They don't give you insight or a better understanding of the game. Where should you hit the ball, where do you and your partner position yourselves after each shot, those things are important. My college coach always said " keep hitting set ups and the point will take care of itself". The intricacies that are taught tactically, and the way things are broken down in other team sports are lost on most players and pros in tennis. I'm not saying my system has to be the only system, I'm saying that you need to play in a systematic way in order to be successful and grow as a player and a team.

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                    • #11
                      To add to what my Father was saying:

                      I have some players I coach who literally throw up their hands and say \"this is too confusing\" when we work on tiebreakers! Too much thinking about when to switch sides and what side to serve to for them. The same thing happens when we work on giving our partner hand signals where to serve! Any coach worth a dollar would say \"these players can\'t handle anything too complicated, so let\'s simplify it\".....

                      And that right there is exactly why people hit the \"4.5 ceiling\". By trying to cater to the crowd that gets flustered and overwhelmed easily coaches are severely limiting their students potential to keep improving. Rather than give-in to the easier mindset and make nifty catchphrases that are anecdotal and often improperly used, we need to simplify the complex nature of the system and introduce it slowly, methodically, and diligently.

                      For instance - one group of 3.5 ladies I coach was working on taking balls out of the air in the helper position to better support their hunter and avoid getting stuck behind the baseline. I suggested at the end of our workout we try to use our new skills in a tiebreaker. The entire group forgot what we were working on and resorted to their old methods because they needed to use their conscious mind to focus on not messing up the tiebreaker. As a coach this was a crossroads for me - either give up, or change it up. Now every clinic we play ends with tiebreakers only. This allows us to get comfortable in the setting, while knowing we need to maintain the skills we worked on all class.

                      The same scenario plays out with midcourt volleys for the server coming in to the helper position. When we plays games (or tiebreakers) at the end of clinic, my groups are reticent to try and come in behind their serve into the helper position because they are not successful very often, and consequently lose the point. This is negative reinforcement and eventually because they like to win, they resort to simpler (inferior) methods of play. To combat this, we have a rule that if you serve and come in to the helper position, and can successfully put your first midcourt volley S.A.L.(short, angled, low) then you automatically win the point, regardless of what happens after that. This is a nuance to teaching that most coaches never master - how to manipulate the situation to reinforce a positive attitude to learning complex and often unfulfilling strategies.

                      Making an anagram is simple. Inherently it will not teach you anything complex, which advanced doubles strategy is. I have never heard McEnroe say \"Down the middle solves the riddle\" or Peter Smith retort \"Always cover your alley\".

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                      • #12
                        Matt and Bill,

                        I like the example you give for the Hunter moving on a wide serve. What are some of the other plays you guys use?

                        Thanks,

                        L&D

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                        • #13
                          L & D,
                          I think the most important thing is that the net player adds a layer of concern for the opponents. When I'm serving I want the receiver spending time and brain power thinking about what my partner is doing. It's a lot like in football when the linebackers are jumping around it can create rushing, indecision or bad decisions. I think too many players think they're going to poach enough to win but that's not happening against a string receiving team. Some poaching, good solid serving and forcing the return where we want it can lead to a lot of service holds. Then you can really go after them on their serves.

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