I heard r read somewhere before that in doubles you want to avoid cross courting shots because it leaves your partner vulnerable. For example, if you're in the back and you smash cross court unexpectedly the opponent might push a straight return to the other side while your partner does not have time to react.
However, I was playing a game today and I noticed that my opponents like to cross court regardless and I can't tell if it's because they are amateurs (likes to do fancy shots) or the fact that cross courts shots are actually good shots to make in doubles. They were getting points after all with those shots.
So this left me questioning when cross court is a good idea, in what situation, against what kind of players, etc.
Can you guys share your knowledge with me? Thanks!
You already know the main reason, why not to play cross court shots.
Just go for cross court smashes / fast drops if your opponents are out of position (very rare) or for variation, but you have to be quick enough to get all possible replies.
Also, do you mean hitting a cross court shot from the rear, mid, or front court? Again, defining the situation/contextualizing the shots will help with giving accurate advice.
In general, if you are playing from the rear, a total cross court shot (especially a fast one) is risky because it's easy for your opponent to just drive straight and blast past your partner, and make you moving from one side to the other. That doesn't mean "never ever ever cross". If your opponent has a hole there (perhaps they lifted, but haven't recovered to side-side yet, and the opponent cross court from you is standing far back), then playing cc is fine. If you can cover the reply hitting a cc shot is fine. Another option is to hit cross court, but to not hit a 100% full power banzai smash, instead hit a cross drop or sliced smash.
In the mid court, it's likely that you're currently driving (I can't conceive of when ever you'd be hitting a shot in doubles in the mid court). If you watch Hendra Setiawan, he's got a very nice cross court block that can throw his opponents off guard. Again, it's all about seeing where the holes in your opponents defense are, and being able to follow up on any replies.
In the front court, cc drops are usually too high (unless you play a perfect cc drop, but that's....difficult) and too easy to intercept if your opponent is already in the front. If the front player is either not there, very slow, or very unskilled, you can attempt a cc drop. If you're intercepting a shot, you can aim cc if there is a hole, but I usually go for either straight or to the middle because it's easier, and faster.
Also, I disagree with fancy shots = amateur. While I don't like people who do nothing but fancy shots, if you are consistent with them, and know when to use them, they're fine.
This may be slightly off topic, but the general doubles strategy I've learned is to attack the spaces. There is space between the partners (playing to the middle if they are side-side, playing a soft midcourt push if they are front-back). If there is a great difference in skill levels between partners, then you should attack the weaker partner. It may have been a combination of either of these strategies that your opponents used to win points.