Jumping Around

You can fake poach at the net to distract your opponent; but how much more can you do without it being called a Hindrance?  That question comes from reader Jim Lavoie …

“Very irritating”

Hi George,

We played a team match vs a neighboring town.  We played this guy who was most irritating in many regards but the most annoying thing that he did was to jump around at the net, fake poaching etc and while doing that he waved his racquet around. I think that this is a hinderance.  True?


My Opinion…

Jim, we had this same issue at Newk’s camp with a good friend on the other side of the net.  While his partner was starting his service motion, my friend would jump around at the net.

My partner complained that he thought that action was a Hindrance; so I asked my friend WHY he was doing that and he said “to distract you.”  I said, “Hindrance.”

While faking a poach is perfectly legal and acceptable, the extreme of just jumping, moving, waving goes beyond that and, in my opinion, would be a hindrance.

And i have another tennis friend who, when his partner in the ad court is getting ready to return an important second serve point, will stand right next to the service box and rock back and forth (in my opinion, to distract the server).

P.S. I would warn your opponent before calling for a hindrance.

Other opinions??

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7 thoughts on “Jumping Around

  1. So, Jim’s opponent would “jump around at the net, fake poaching etc and while doing that he waved his racquet around.” So, most will agree that fake poaching is perfectly legal. Jumping at the net is more of a judgement call. Is he simply taking a big split step, or is he doing jumping jacks and twirling around? As for racquet movement, same thing – a little is ok but what’s too much? A person could argue that most of that stuff at least has the basis for getting into position, or faking or disguising a movement.

    Also widely-accepted as legal is when the receivers partner takes a position about 1 inch from the center service line. There’s no good reason to take that position – it’s only an attempt to distract the server.

    Terry, all to often, hindrance, like “beauty”, is in the eye of the beholder! thanks, george

  2. Anything you purposely do to distract your opponent should in my view be called a hindrance. Faking a poach is fine, but waving your arms and crowding an inch from the service line when your partner is receiving a second serve is a hindrance and bush league to boot.

    Phil, good to hear from you! I am with you. thanks, george

  3. George’s analysis seems spot-on to me. If the guy actually admits his whole object is distraction, then that pretty much defines it as a hindrance. Are we also allowed to shout when we put up a short lob? I don’t think so. A fake poach during the point is a whole ‘nother matter. I suppose we can get to grey areas, but jumping around in order to distract the opponent, at least to a reasonably experienced player, seems an easy call.

    As another commenter said, “bush league”. Play tennis.

    Marc, yes, let your good play win the points for you! thanks, george

  4. George, I agree with our good friend Marc Segan that your analysis/ distinction is correct on this.

    I write only to note that there actually IS a valid reason why the receiver’s partner may want to take a position 1 inch from the service line that — I think at least — normally makes this a valid positioning ploy and not an intent to distract, thus a hindrance. That is, I have seen this employed as a way to try to induce the server to direct his serve out wide instead of up the middle. It is especially helpful if the receiving partner happens to return wide balls better than ones up the middle. For some reason, when an opponent stands close to the center line, a lot of servers just psychologically prefer to serve the ball wide. I don’t see that as a hindrance because nobody is trying to distract the server. It is just another use of court positioning to try to induce the opponent to hit the ball to a spot where YOU want it to go instead of where HE would prefer to hit it.

    Now of course, if/ when this happens to me when I am serving, I normally don’t take the bait to serve wide and I will try to go right at the center line deliberately. I am not actually trying to hit the player who is standing close to the line, but if he happens to be standing too close so the ball does hit him then I am not unhappy because that should be my point. In other words, too bad for him if he is dumb enough to stand right in the path of the ball.

    Further, even if the ball does not hit him, he has actually now created a hindrance for his OWN partner who is receiving, because he is both in the way of his partner’s ability to see the ball trajectory as well as partially blocking the locations into which his partner’s return can go. But as he is hindering his own teammate, that is their problem and not mine.

    So, assuming others think along the same lines, these may be reasons why this is rarely called a hindrance by an opposing team.

    Marty, i agree that standing near the server’s box by itself is not a hindrance (and serving down the middle is a good play); but it is the added motion that, in my mind, makes it a hindrance. thanks, george

  5. I have often seen Andy Murray step right in ever so close to the service line to receive a 2nd serve, swaying from side to side, quite intimidating, then step in fast & smack it back, a good ploy if you can do it ! As for poaching, that’s getting much harder nowadays, even if I wanted to. My dear wife assures me she never fakes it when we’re playing !!

    Howard… 🙂 george

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