If you want to be a great doubles player, you have to be an aggressive poacher up at the net. Especially when your partner is serving. So let’s take a closer look at how you can do that: so here’s an ad court situation. we’re going to take a look at Richard here who is the server’s partner in this case and as you can see, he is positioned approximately in the middle of the service box. So from this position he should be able to cover the down the alley returns with one big diagonal step and he should also be able to cover cross-court returns all the way up to approximately here with one large diagonal step. Let’s take a look what happens here: Frederic hits a big body serve as you can see right here – now communication is important in doubles and these two players communicated before the serve so Richard knows that a body serve was coming. And now something interesting happens right here: As you can see Timo right here is contacting the ball and Richard is already leaning towards the middle. He is actually giving up the down the line shot a little bit here, in order to poach Now, this is what’s called an instinct poach. Richard knows that Frederic has a very strong serve. He also knew the serve was going to the body and from there it will be very very difficult for Timo to return effectively down the alley and pass Richard that way. And so Richard decides that it’s time to poach here and as we can see now it turned out very well for him. He was able to win that point with a relatively easy volley to a big target

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Dennis Veasley

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