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    Default Doubles service position

    Hey everyone,

    When my partner is in the front T when serving, how far back should I be standing?
    Also, sometimes when I stand in between the backlines and the middle, my opponent will make a straight lift that goes to my backhand, and travels tight along the sidelines. How should I return this type of shot?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Noodles View Post
    Hey everyone,

    When my partner is in the front T when serving, how far back should I be standing?
    Also, sometimes when I stand in between the backlines and the middle, my opponent will make a straight lift that goes to my backhand, and travels tight along the sidelines. How should I return this type of shot?
    practice moving sideway - hit it overhead - no backhand. Sorry - "crab" like movement - for lack of better words. U may also side step and block jump.

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    My trainer always told me, if you put your elow next to your body you should be able to poke the front player with your racket.
    As for the backhand, really depends on how flexible you are (possible to take it round the head) or else you will have to use backhand. But probably if opponent is able to return like that your partner didn't respond fast at the net (after service always put your racket up for interception) and/or his service wasn't really good to start with.

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    I've been told to be as close to him as I can without restricting his serve.

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    Your position is a compromise between the different shots that you are trying to cover.

    Too far forwards, and you will have difficulty getting into a good position to attack lifts to the rearcourt. Too far backwards, and you will have difficulty covering midcourt pushes, and intercepting drives and flat lifts before they have gone deep into court.

    In general, the position is farther forwards at higher standards of play. At lower standards of play, it's often necessary to be near the back, because the player is not fast enough to move backwards and attack a lift effectively. At lower standards of play lifts are also a common service return, so it can make sense to bias your position to take maximum advantage of them.

    When the receiver plays an attacking (flat) lift to your backhand corner, you have several possible replies. A good option is to move quickly to smash (or half-smash) with a round-the-head forehand; you can also play a drop shot from this position -- probably to the middle or straight, but it depends where the receiver goes after hitting his shot.

    It won't always be possible to reach the shuttle with a forehand, however. In this case, you need to play a controlled backhand. Clear it if necessary, but prefer a drop shot if you think it's safe enough. Try to intercept flat lifts in the midcourt, rather than letting them get behind you. If you can do this, then a good option is a drop shot played away from the receiver.

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    As Gollum has already stated, the higher the level of play, the closer to the server you stand.

    Am a little confused by the 2nd part of your question. If your opposition are lifting (i.e. hitting the shuttle upwards), the stock response is a straight smash.

    However, I suspect that you're talking about a drive or a push. In this case, you have 2 options. If you're in a better position than your opposition, drive back. If they've lunged forwards, you only need to get the shuttle behind them to gain the advantage. However, if they've driven well and are well set, then you may be left with a good lift. In either case, go x-court at your (and your partner's) peril.

    I'm also slightly confused by how your opponent can drive straight and tight to the side-lines. Is your partner serving "T-2-T", or out wide? Serving wide is risky, because it invites the straight drive down the side lines. If your partner serves to the opposition's T and they try to drive to a rear-corner, they are vulnerable to a straight driven response.

    As counter-intuitive as it sounds, a standard return of serve is to push straight at the server/their partner. If either try to go wide, they are vulnerable to being intercepted and put under pressure.

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    Am a little confused by the 2nd part of your question. If your opposition are lifting (i.e. hitting the shuttle upwards), the stock response is a straight smash.
    There are high lifts, and there are flat lifts. A very flat lift could equally be described as an upwards drive.

    Even a moderately flat lift can be difficult to smash, unless the player is quite fast.


    As counter-intuitive as it sounds, a standard return of serve is to push straight at the server/their partner. If either try to go wide, they are vulnerable to being intercepted and put under pressure.
    Very true. But of course, this does require the receiver to be taking the serve extremely early (assuming it was a good serve), so that the push / drive can travel downwards. For that reason this return is seen rather infrequently in professional matches -- although when they do pull it off, it tends to win the rally!

    Playing the same shot in an upwards direction -- even a little bit upwards -- is dicey!

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    Thank you everyone! My partner does tend to serve into the tramlines. I will tell him to try and serve short towards the middle. Sometimes, my partner and I have some trouble determining if he should intercept the flat drives/pushes or just let me receive them. How should the front player intercept drives/pushes after the serve?

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    If the server can intercept effectively, this is much better than leaving it to his partner. However, most of the time a good drive will go past the server. Pushes to the midcourt, being slower, are more commonly intercepted; but again it depends on the quality of the return.

    The server must be careful not to focus too much on covering drives and pushes, as his main job is to cover the net. If he serves and immediately backs off to cover drives (or flat lifts), then he leaves the net open.

    To improve his interceptions, the server should focus on getting ready immediately after the serve: split step, racket up (about net height or a bit higher), change grip (usually to forehand / basic), and look for the next shot. The server may also adjust his position slightly after the serve (e.g. stepping across the T to stand more centrally, or farther across if serving wide).

    Probably most of your problems are caused by serving out wide. In this situation it is almost impossible for the server to cut out drives or pushes that travel down the tramlines, because he is too far away from them; similarly, these shots put more pressure on the server's partner, as they do not pass through his immediate hitting area.

    Serving wide is a useful surprise tactic on occasion, but it only works if the opponent is not expecting it. Frequently serving wide incurs too much of a positional weakness. Try using a hand signal to communicate that you are going to serve out wide -- this can help the partner be ready quicker for down-the-line replies.

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