Hitting the ball down the alley in doubles is usually unwise, except in some rare cases.

Percentage doubles is winning doubles. From the pros to recreational players, the teams that win most often are almost always the teams that hit high-percentage shots, rely on sound strategy and avoid unnecessary risks.

However, there may be times during matches where you and your partner will find yourselves in situations that call for unconventional attacks. In addition, you need to keep every opponents honest by varying your strategy from time to time. So when should you break the rules of percentage doubles? 

Down-the-Alley Blast

Hitting the ball down the alley in doubles is usually unwise. If the net player has properly shifted and has good hands, your alley shot will come back faster and leave you and your partner lunging for the ball—or staring helplessly as it goes by. But there are three situations where attacking the alley is a good play.

The first is if the opposing volleyer is active and extensively poaching. Hitting down the alley from time to time will keep the poacher honest.

The second is if the opponent at the net doesn’t shift properly with the baseline player, leaving the alley wide open. The third is if the player covering the line is a poor volleyer.

See Rule 2: The Forehand Roll here


Greg Moran is the Director of Tennis at the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, CT, and author of the Tennis Beyond Big Shots books.