Where do you look when your partner is serving? When your partner is returning serve? When your partner is hitting a baseline shot and you are at the net? Look the wrong way and you could lose critical time.
Your Partner Serving
According to Pelican Bay tennis pro Mike Lewis, when you are at the net and your partner is serving, you should NOT watch the serve land in the box. Rather, you should focus on the returner and try to see if they are hitting a forehand, backhand, lob, cross-court drive, etc. He says the half-second you gain focusing there could be the difference between being ready or not.
Your Partner Returning
I am a firm believer in an important sequence of three steps for you as the non-returning partner:
- Watch the service line in order to call the serve in or out.
- Then, do not watch your partner return the ball, but turn and key on the net man to watch and see if he is poaching or hitting a ball at you.
- If your partner’s return goes past the net man, then move your focus to the server to see if he is staying back, coming in to hit a high volley, or coming in and fighting off a tough return at his feet. This will tell you to be aggressive or defensive.
Your Partner Hitting a Baseline Shot
Many net players turn all the way back to watch the deep ball land and see what their partner will be hitting. And then they turn and are surprised to see the net man coasting across the net to pick off the next shot and drill it right at them. So, better to stay focused in front of you watching your opponents and getting ready for the next shot.
What do you think… where do you look?
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