Doubles is a game of fast exchanges and quick decisions. Should you poach, or stay home? Should you attack the net or wait for a better opportunity? Should you volley down the middle, or risk going for the alley? There are many choices to make, and often the answers aren’t absolute. But here’s a no-brainer: If you see your opponent’s back, attack.
Take the scenario illustrated above. You and your partner are positioned at the baseline and one of you throws up a strong lob that forces your opponents away from the net.
As soon as you recognize that one of your opponents must turn his or her back to play the lob, you should shift into attack mode and start moving toward the net. Just before your opponent strikes the ball, take a split-step and prepare to pounce.
Be careful not to get too close to the net. As your opponent is forced into a difficult shot, there’s a strong possibility that he or she will return your ball with another lob. Your split-step should take place just behind the service line. From there, you can handle whatever your opponent sends your way.
Remember, if you see their back, it’s time to attack. It’ll work every time.
Greg Moran is the Director of Tennis at the Four Seasons Racquet Club in Wilton, CT, and the author of the Tennis Beyond Big Shots books.