No Retreat?

I had the pleasure of teaming up for a practice doubles match with Larry Turville and, while I played “up” and we won, Mr. T and I had a strategy disagreement!

Retreat or No Retreat?

Without saying who believed which philosophy, here is the situation…

Your partner hits a short lob and tells you “short!”  You recognize you don’t have the time to get all the way back to the base line; but could retreat to the middle of No Man’s Land.

The question is: should you back up a few steps into No Man’s Land or hold your ground on the service line, feeling you were better off attempting a reflex volley in the air or a ball at your feet?

What do you think?

Next Week: The third Naples area tournament starts next week; and is the CAT II at Sanchez-Casal.  Noble and I are seeded #4 in 75 doubles (and Fred Drilling is teaming up with his 90-year-old friend).  For the seeds, draws and match times, just click HERE

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13 thoughts on “No Retreat?

  1. I vote to back up. But you lose the point anyway because your partner called out “short” while the ball was moving towards your opponent and they call a hinder.

    Ted, the talk is only a hindrance if it is loud enough to bother your opponents. thanks, george

  2. Hold your ground – if you have time, 1 or 2 steps towards service line but the main thing is to get into READY position. (Analogous to when you come to net on your serve – you stop just before your opponent strikes the ball, regardless of where you are, and get into READY position.

    Nick, Right… you would be amazed how many balls hit at you that you can reflex back, IF you are ready for it. thanks, george

  3. My instinct is to normally move back behind the service line to cover more court to retrieve my opponent’s smash overhead which is often directed straight at me!

    Jim, I agree that getting to the baseline (or further back) is best; but in this example, the best you could do would be to get to the middle of No Man’s Land (or stand your ground at the service line). George

  4. As usual, “it depends”. I was blessed with quick hands, so I’m going to hang in there whenever the situation allows – especially if, like lots of us old folks, the striker couldn’t hurt a flea with his overhead. 🙂

    If it’s *really* short, but the opponent is going to have to spend some time coming forward to hit it, then I’m going to scramble back as fast and as far as I can, but “split stepping” just before he hits it. If you’re still backing up as the opponent hits it, you’re dead.

    If there’s *not* much time, the opponent has some power, and we’re both right on top of the net, he’s *not* going to hit me in the front part of my body. 🙂

    Oh, and if somebody like Larry disagrees me, then I’m going to reevaluate my opinion. 🙂

    Kevin, good points! thanks, george

  5. Stand your ground….otherwise your balance is compromised. Any return you make from no-man’s land is probably going to be weak. From stand your ground position, you can reflex a lot of volleys.

    John, I am with you! George

  6. Depends on whose hitting the overhead. Alot of guys you can hold your ground, but if john gillette were hitting it i would be looking for the exit.

    Jim, I confess to occasionally turning my back! Good luck in your new job! George

  7. Guess I should make my case. My feeling is the more time you have to react to an overhead the better. At the service line you are sitting duck, while in no mans land there is a better chance. The key is to retreat to where you have time to stabilize to make the reaction/return. If you are moving back while trying to return, doesn’t work to well. My point to George was if you have time move back at least to no mans land! George, being the tough guy he is, I think feels it’s all the way back to the baseline or nothing. I should say that I thoroughly enjoyed playing with George and was sorry for my short lobs.

    Larry, thanks! George

  8. I have had a lot of success with the opposite move…move forward into the smash and cut the angle like a goalie does when a player is in the slot and takes a hard slap shot. I tend to block the shot and his own pace catches them off guard…I also move to the middle immediately and force him to hit a lower percentage shot down the line which they often hit wide!
    The second part happens a lot and if I do block the shot the reaction is always my favourite play of the day..Not everyone is brave enough to attempt this but us old hockey players lost our teeth many moons ago!

    Paul, “into the Valley of Death rode the 500”. Thanks. George

  9. Not that bothered by the tactics argument but delighted to see Larry Turville back on court .

    Bryan, as we all are! thanks, george

  10. Move back as far as you are able. If you do not move back, you should not be upset when your opponent nails you with the overhead.

    Doug, the price of bravery! thanks, george

  11. My personal thought (and the way I teach) is to retreat as far as you can until the opponent is about to hit. At that point, I teach to split step so you have the ability to move in any direction (even out of the way in the event it’s hit at you) to get to the ball. I drill this with students all the time and they are amazed how many shots they can return. A volley, with no time to react is different, but with an overhead, I believe giving yourself more time is better; but that’s me!

    Steve, and as quick as you are, you can get to most anything! But how about us Old Guys? thanks, george

  12. Kat man is right on, depends on who is hitting the overhead. Retreating, I’ve found puts me in a more compromising situation. Standing ground allows me to follow ball better and react. But………who the heck is hitting the overhead…………………………

  13. I agree with Steve Diamond and it’s also what I preach/teach. Not much different from approaching net…put the brakes on and split step just as your opponent is about to swing. In this situation, back up as quickly as possible and get set right before they begin their overhead swing. Hence there’s no one correct place to be on the court, it’s more about timing.

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