Few things feel better on the doubles court than anticipating an opponent’s return, moving across the net, and drilling a volley right between the legs of a helpless partner.

Poaching is the slam dunk strategy of doubles and when you incorporate it into your game, your team immediately becomes stronger in two ways. First, you gain the ability to end points in a quick and intimidating manner. Second, when you’re active at the net, you’ll forever keep your opponents off balance.

Baseline will show you six guidelines to help make you a menace at the net.

Here's No. 3: 

Finish a high with a low...

As you’ve committed to poaching before the ball is hit, you don’t know what type of shot you’re going to have to play. If all goes as planned and you’re moving toward a nice high ball, drill it down at the feet of the opposing net player.

And a low with an angle...

If you’re faced with a low shot, you’ll have to volley “up,” so you want to be sure to keep it away from the net player. Volley the ball crosscourt, back to the player at the baseline. Yes, your side of the court will be open, but your partner should have already begun switching sides to cover you.

Another option is to hit a soft, angled drop volley crosscourt. Soften your grip and, imagining the ball as the face of a clock, make contact at 3 o’clock and gently angle it back
over the net. This is not an easy shot to execute, so if you don’t feel you can control the ball, volley back to the baseline player.


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