When To Change Tactics

Brent Abel
Brent Abel
All too often players react too quickly or too slowly to what is happening on the court; and they change their strategy prematurely or not soon enough.

Brent Able, online tennis guru, years back advocated having the doubles net man, when your team is serving, stand halfway between the normal position and the “I formation” in the middle of the court. He called it “the hybrid I” and I have been effectively using it ever since learning it.

“Watch Down The Line!”

My regular doubles partners are comfortable with it (as long as I crouch down low enough for their wide serve to clear my head); but when teamed with a new partner, they are unsure.

And the first time I get beaten on a down the line return, the new partners frequently ask me to “move over and cover the line.” I argue that it was only once and not to worry till it happens three or four times (and we keep the benefit of my aggressive position at the net).

I believe you should not react to any one or two shots (lobs over your heads, wide serves, drop shots, etc.) until your opponents prove they can do it regularly.

Plan B

The flip side is also true… Too many players sometimes react too late in the match (or never) to a tactic that is beating them.

Hank Irvine
Hank Irvine

One time I came off a tournament singles match having lost to a solid lefty (Don Keenan) who served me off the court on the ad side. I then talked with one of my favorite mentors, Hank Irvine who asked me the critical question… “And, what did you DO about it?”

The point being: you should continually be aware of what is happening on the court and ADAPT your tactics to any PATTERN OF PLAY that is beating you.

When do you change what you are doing on the court?

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4 thoughts on “When To Change Tactics

  1. I like the concept of that “hybrid I” and will play with it some. But, I wonder if it might be a significantly better tactic for the ad court than for the deuce (with a righty net man). I have trouble enough with most of my doubles partners covering their own lobs in the deuce court off service returns, and pretty much *none* of them have backhand overheads. . . :-)… kb

    Kevin – I have changed my thinking on “covering their own lobs”… i now believe the net man should be the aggressor and the server, who is coming to the net, should be responsible for back tracking and covering the lob that gets over his net man’s head. george

  2. George, When you have lost control of the court. The opponent is keeping you from
    setting up, thus you are totally out of your game.
    Anthony Rasile

    Anthony, i agree. george

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