I hope you've been enjoying Tennis Fixation's latest tennis adventure – the Tennis Quick Tips podcast. I've just published the latest episode which you can listen to by clicking on the play button on the gray media player above. Or you can listen (and subscribe) in iTunes by clicking on this link: http://tennisfixation.com/tqtpodcast.
This episode, TQT Episode 002 – Start Poaching Now, focuses on one of the most important (and fun in my opinion) tactic in doubles – poaching. Here are the show notes for Episode 002:
Poaching is such a critical doubles tactic. A good poacher can put tremendous pressure on the opposing team and throws off their returns. Even if you don’t yet have great poaching skills, by making some attempts at poaching, you can throw your opponents off balance.
The problem with poaching is that there’s only one way to become good at it – and that’s to just do it!
Unfortunately, many players are afraid to give poaching a try. They worry that, if they go for the poach, they’ll leave the alley open for their opponent to hit a down-the-line return. And if they flub the poach, they worry that their partner will be upset.
So how exactly do you become a good poacher? It’s not as hard as you think. Just follow these steps:
First, communicate with your doubles partner and let them know that, when they’re serving, you’re going to be trying to poach some returns. This lets your partner know to keep an eye on you and to switch sides when you go for the poach. It also helps prepare you mentally to give poaching a try.
2. Grab Opportunities
Second, look for opportunities. This can mean watching your opponents’ returns and deciding who is hitting the weaker, poachable return. It can also mean just going for it at some point, without waiting to see what kind of return is hit.
3. Move Diagonally
Third, when you go for the poach, think about moving diagonally. Don’t just move sideways to the ball, move forward also. This will bring you in closer to the net, sending the ball back to your opponents quicker.
4. Be Fearless
Finally, get over the fear of poaching. If you try poaching several times in a match, and your opponents successfully beat you with down-the-line returns every time, then stop poaching in that match and save it for another day.
And, if you have a partner who is unhappy with your unsuccessful poaching attempts, well, it just may be time to get a new doubles partner. This tactic is just too valuable to give up on because your partner is unwilling to let you try it.
Now, how can you take action on this tip?
The very best way to become a poacher is to start poaching in your doubles matches. Even if you miss a poach, by attempting it, you put the thought into your opponents’ heads that they need to hit much better, less poachable returns.
And don’t beat yourself up when you miss a poach. For every poach that you go for and miss, you’ll probably win a few points off the resulting poor returns hit by your opponents.
Be sure to let me know what you think of this episode in the comments below. I'd love to know if you like the idea of Tennis Quick Tips and if you think it will help you play better tennis.
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