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    Default HELP: MEN Doubles Strategy advice

    Background:

    Me and my partner are good club level players. both have well rounded games: good defense, services, we both keep attack with ourselves through creating the game that way. Although i must say our SMASHes are not lethal. we are ranked no:1 right now as we have won the last championship (Club level).

    we were recently beaten by another pair which on paper is stronger as they have competed at national level and have been a pair for many years. we played again with them and got beaten again.

    Question:
    we are keeping the attack on our side, but they seem to be comfortable in defence... they keep throwing the shuttle to the back if the court... we have smashed in 100's... but the points are not coming. sooner or later they turn the smash the other way.. we send a weak return and they get the point.

    what to do?
    some people are saying we should give them the attack? that seems like the wrong strategy to me... improving our smashes.. will take time and its not lethal but its not bad either right now! we hit a lot of drops and semis in the middle as well... we are not hitting cross court either...

    need your help... what to do?

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    Sounds like they're overall better, defence and offence.

    Looks like you have to practice and improve on those points.

    And don't just concentrate on power of the smash... placement ie. aim is very important. ie. steep angle, or down the middle, or at the racket hip.

    Which brings us to tactics. Pushes, drives, placement, speed, deception, change of pace, etc. With an opponent that can take all the smashes that you can dish out, you have to play with your mind, not just your muscles.

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    You can't depend on smashes to win a game, very rarely at high level of play will smashing from the back win a point. What you're trying to do is force a weak return so that the person at the front can get a kill shot. If your smashes are not hard enough to do so then that's probably where you want to focus.

    Don't give up the initiative though, the power game is the way to win in doubles. It just sounds like the other pair has very good defences. Also, smashing is not always about power but also placement. I'd say smash more to the center, if you're not already, as this is always a confusing area for doubles. Try to aim for the hip of the racket hand as well, this tends to produce weak returns.

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    It's frustrating when you come up against defences this good. But if their defence is that good, I imagine their attack is murderous. You are probably right not to offer them the attack.

    Where do you aim your smashes, and how accurate are they? Against defenders this good, you're not going to get through on raw power alone. The standard target in doubles is the straight defender's racket hip. Are you able to consistently hit this target, within a few inches?

    You may also need to work on your defence. Although attacking play is definitely the way to go, you also need to have the defensive skills to withstand your opponents' attacks. From what you said, it sounds as though they are winning pretty easily as soon as they get the attack.

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    Dear Gollum and others,

    you are right its very frustating...

    well i dont think i am that accurate of hiting the defenders racket hip within few inches, but here is the question:

    should i hit to racket hip consistently?

    we have been trying to hit with variation, one on the backhand, one on the forehand, one high on the chest, one on the hip... even mixing the pace with a zip as well... PROBLEM is that most of it is ending high back near the third line!!! i will give this to you that both our smashes are not that lethal or very very powerful... but we almsot always win from other pairs as we are able to get a weak return.

    to the other thing that you said that there defence is that good, there attack would be murderous.... reality is that one of them is a very good attacker ( 6 ft tall guy) but the other one is not... both my partner and i have good defense BUT :::

    after reading the Badmintion Bible...we decided never to give attck away... this is also another confusing point... as somebody did say that we should let them attack... but i believe that would further put us on a disadvantage...

    today i thought we should create a situation where we get the tall guy on the net and the other guy at the back attacking.. the tall guy is not great at the net.. then try to push the smash in empty corner and then attack...

    WHAT TO DO??? we play them next week again...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mann68 View Post
    Dear Gollum and others,

    you are right its very frustating...

    well i dont think i am that accurate of hiting the defenders racket hip within few inches, but here is the question:

    should i hit to racket hip consistently?

    we have been trying to hit with variation, one on the backhand, one on the forehand, one high on the chest, one on the hip... even mixing the pace with a zip as well... PROBLEM is that most of it is ending high back near the third line!!! i will give this to you that both our smashes are not that lethal or very very powerful... but we almsot always win from other pairs as we are able to get a weak return.

    to the other thing that you said that there defence is that good, there attack would be murderous.... reality is that one of them is a very good attacker ( 6 ft tall guy) but the other one is not... both my partner and i have good defense BUT :::

    after reading the Badmintion Bible...we decided never to give attck away... this is also another confusing point... as somebody did say that we should let them attack... but i believe that would further put us on a disadvantage...

    today i thought we should create a situation where we get the tall guy on the net and the other guy at the back attacking.. the tall guy is not great at the net.. then try to push the smash in empty corner and then attack...

    WHAT TO DO??? we play them next week again...
    Variation, if you keep smashing at the same speed , they will just pick them out easily (especially if you smashing them from the back of the court with out the lethal power) ....try some drop from the back and vary the speed of the smashes (3/4). Also try to get the angle in your smash as well and be more accurate (know exactly where you want to smash to !), throw in a few deception as well. If it all fail , then they are just better pair and try to play defensive , or play a fast flat game

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    I can understand the position you are in because, many a times I found myself in the same situiation. We lost to opponents whom we never should have. the problem was, I was smashing too much.
    No-You should never hand over the attack to your oponents. Be more creative. Attack does not mean hitting smashes all aroud. Be more creative-Use deceptive pushes, drops & attacking flicks to break their rythem. Be more agile and try to reach the shuttle early & give them less time.Try different things and even if you do not win aginst a better oponent, atleast your own game will improve.
    Last edited by nprince; 02-14-2010 at 01:01 PM. Reason: correct words

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    You can also think about the remaining parts of a rally; so far, the focus is on what to do if you get a lift (or if you should lift at all). Perhaps think about how a rally is started.

    Think about the serves/receives. Are you aggressive enough? Maybe more points can be gained if you can improve the first 3 shots? There's some discussion on the forum you can search. Also, what about your flat shots - drives? What about theirs? Can advantages be gained this way?

    Reversing their formation is a good try. In addition to downward shots, a deep/sudden but low attacking clear could be good winning selection. You need to find a good height that is just beyond their reach, and no higher. This gives one more shot for them to think about, and perhaps distract them enough to weaken their defense to your smashes/drops.

    As far as defense goes, in addition to lift against heavy smashes, have you try net block (straight and wide-angled crosscourt)? I find a block easier to execute against smashes with uncomfortably high-speed. Crosscourt block could ease pressure directly in front of you from the net-man, as now he has 2 corners to worry about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mann68 View Post
    should i hit to racket hip consistently?

    we have been trying to hit with variation, one on the backhand, one on the forehand, one high on the chest, one on the hip... even mixing the pace with a zip as well...
    Ah ha!

    That is what I call, "elegant variation". Variation because you feel you ought to keep doing something different.

    The problem with this is that some targets are fundamentally better than others. There's a reason that most smashes in professional doubles are steep and targeted at the racket hip area: it's the most difficult place to defend.

    If you keep sending the smash wide of their body, then it will likely be easier for them to control their defensive shots. Smashing at their body -- specifically, the racket hip -- will make it much more difficult for them to defend.

    I'm not saying you should never vary your placement. But vary it with purpose, and try to be aware of the results. As a general rule, you should get better results aiming for the racket hip.


    to the other thing that you said that there defence is that good, there attack would be murderous.... reality is that one of them is a very good attacker ( 6 ft tall guy) but the other one is not... both my partner and i have good defense BUT :::

    after reading the Badmintion Bible...we decided never to give attck away... this is also another confusing point... as somebody did say that we should let them attack... but i believe that would further put us on a disadvantage...
    I wrote that article, so I now feel somewhat responsible for your current predicament.

    The doubles tactics article is explaining how to play against an opponent of a very high standard, with no obvious weaknesses. In general, it's the style of play that you want to move towards -- because, given sufficient ability (ha!), these tactics will work against any player, no matter how good.

    A purely defensive game will inevitably crumble -- and crumble permanently -- once you meet good enough opponents. An attacking game can continue to be developed, whatever level of play you might reach.

    But you must be prepared to adapt your tactics depending on the actual situation. I do mention this at the beginning, but I'll admit it's a bit of a sneaky get-out-of-jail-free card:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Badminton Bible
    You will need to adapt your tactics to cover your weaknesses—and also to exploit your opponents’ weaknesses!

    today i thought we should create a situation where we get the tall guy on the net and the other guy at the back attacking.. the tall guy is not great at the net.. then try to push the smash in empty corner and then attack...
    Yes, I think you should try that.

    If you think you could force one player to the back and exploit the weakness of his attack, then go ahead and try it! If it makes you feel better, I can guarantee that the author of the Badminton Bible officially sanctions this tactic.

    (And I do mean to write more about doubles tactics, especially in this area of opponent-specific tactical adjustments.)

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    Cool, Gollum! I didn't know the Badminton Bible was written by you.

    To OP: yes definitely you should draw the tall smashy one to the net to reverse their preferred formation. Also, taller players are more susceptible to shots aimed close to their bodies because their arms are longer and slower, so drive/push at him when he's in front.

    Another way to learn about MD tactics is by watching some good matches on youtube. Whether it's LYD/JJS, or KKK/TBH, or FHF/CY, or Tony Gunawan, MK/HS, you and your partner will learn a lot about tactics, shot selection, rotation, etc.

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    From what i hear so far, I see that the opponents are just plain better than you guys.
    No offense. However, if you guys keep losing the game that is not so far away and that you feel that you have chances to win them then I'm sorry for saying that.

    I wouldn't have any recommendation strategy, because obviously everybody up there have told you.

    I just want to remind you guys to refine your basic:
    clear, HIGH UP to the back (make your opponent feel like he going to waste a lot energy to make those smashes)
    drop, fast drop,
    smash, go for placement, once in a while if they're both move to one sided, go for cross drop or smash.

    And I would play fast pace if your opponent good at smashing and defensing. More like drop and push.

    one last thing, we all know that most of CLUBS they have bad lighting positions. Try to attack from the blind spot of your opponents.

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    Thank you for all your inputs:

    here are a few comments though:

    1) i will definetly try pulling the tall guy to the net next time we will play.
    2) i think the point about hitting to the racket hip more consistenetly, i will definetly try
    3) i think there is definetly room in me taking the shuttle early and creating a flat game

    however, one of the problems we are consistently facing is that we are very successful against them or any other pair to get attack.. but when we get attack , and we are in the attacking formation, they start defending by returning drops/ smashes high and to the third line.... the front player in US is useless!!! ( only happens with them ) i have specifically tried to slowly even get further back from the front positon to get hold of the return... but its way over my head... also it gives them time to settlle down well in there positions!!! what to do??

    Another point is that the tall guy has a high serve most of the time... even when we are smashing on that ... have tried smashing back on him, straight down the line , in the center... shutlle is coming back high to the third line... !!!!!

    so net net ... we keep attacking... keep getting tired ( we both smash for the entire two games... but was tiring ) and they keep throwing high to the third line, eventually a weak smash gets punished... and the point goes.

    I do want clarify, that yes they are winning, but they are not that much better... we have beaten better ranked pairs than them... i feel we have run into strategy which is playing to our weakness.... or we are missing out on something...

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    The disadvantage with smash is it bocomes so predictable. People know where you will meet the shuttle, what will be the angle and also where you are likely to hit (Because strategically, you may want to select the shortest path or between the defenders). And if both are good, they should be able to defend all your smashes from third line.

    Now you need to have Plan B (even though plan A was superior, that did not work). You can still have an attacking game without smashing everything. Try pushes, drives & deception. Change the pace and break the rythem. hit to the back corners and let them get it back. And once in a while, you will get a few half court lifts-Then smash all out and win the rally. That way, you also tell them that you can not defend all my smashes!

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    ^^
    Yes, set up your rally and wait for the right time (ie. poor return) to decidedly smash kill it, instead of smashing at everything even though some may not be high percentage opportunities.

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    hi
    I dont know if this works, but i have a suggestion:

    Try to look at this video, I know the quality suck, but look at the black pair, how they attack and how the front player stands it works for me and my double partner

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tqUHrEgG28
    Last edited by boonsak-ponsana; 02-15-2010 at 04:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mann68 View Post
    Thank you for all your inputs:

    here are a few comments though:

    1) i will definetly try pulling the tall guy to the net next time we will play.
    2) i think the point about hitting to the racket hip more consistenetly, i will definetly try
    3) i think there is definetly room in me taking the shuttle early and creating a flat game

    however, one of the problems we are consistently facing is that we are very successful against them or any other pair to get attack.. but when we get attack , and we are in the attacking formation, they start defending by returning drops/ smashes high and to the third line.... the front player in US is useless!!! ( only happens with them ) i have specifically tried to slowly even get further back from the front positon to get hold of the return... but its way over my head... also it gives them time to settlle down well in there positions!!! what to do??

    Another point is that the tall guy has a high serve most of the time... even when we are smashing on that ... have tried smashing back on him, straight down the line , in the center... shutlle is coming back high to the third line... !!!!!

    so net net ... we keep attacking... keep getting tired ( we both smash for the entire two games... but was tiring ) and they keep throwing high to the third line, eventually a weak smash gets punished... and the point goes.

    I do want clarify, that yes they are winning, but they are not that much better... we have beaten better ranked pairs than them... i feel we have run into strategy which is playing to our weakness.... or we are missing out on something...
    Ok you've worked out the problem with your smashes, ie, their defence is capable of returning your smashes. However you have not advised how they are winning their points? If you're always attacking then in theory they are winning points counterattacking. Ask yourselves how? Are they blocking to the net; driving the shuttle back flat with pace? Itís unlikely that they are winning with clears unless youíve made the error, hitting it in the net or out.

    If they are winning by blocks and drives then this could suggest a formation error on your side of the court or poor shot direction. The front attacker needs to be able to react to blocks to the net, straight and crosscourt. If too close to the net then he will be unable to react. The flipside of this can also be true, in that as he is so close it forces the defenders to always lift to the rear-court. Try hanging back a little to encourage the defenders to block to the net but be ready to net return and kill! In order to encourage the proper attacking formation, the rear court player needs to play shots that bring the front player into the game, by playing shots that force a reply somewhere near to his reach. This basically means to not play too many drops or smashes crosscourt. The angle of return is too far for him and will cause uncertainty about who covers the space if itís pushed flat down the line.

    It may be that the smasherís post shot recovery is too slow, putting too much effort into the shot resulting in loss of balance and stability, thus leaving space for the defenders to hit into. I would therefore suggest that you play your smashes from the deep rearcourt as building shots, played so that you can recover quickly. You may find also that smashing down the middle has some success because youíre hitting to both defenders causing confusion, reduces angle of return, and brings your front attacker into play. Mixing up your attack with drop shots to the middle also has a desired affect usually!

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    sound to me like, when you're in attack position, the front person isn't in the right position or just not fast enough. If a back person smash and they return it with drop, then the front person should always be ready and quick to COME to the bird to drop or do whatever depend on the other side of the court's position.
    I don't know how good are you guys, but just one thing for reminder: Always get to the bird enough time or more than enough where you can bend your elbow to hit the bird, not just where you can just reach and hit the bird.
    Because when you're there early you have enough to observe ur opponent then do deceptive shots however you like.

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