Ten Ways to Successfully Finish the Point (Doubles)

  1. Serve and volley. The classic closing pattern to conclude the point in five or fewer shots is to serve and close into the net with the serve. The goal then is to hit a deep, penetrating volley to isolate the serve returner back behind the baseline with your next shot and then finish the point with a redirected or angled volley with your final shot.
  2. Poach off the serve. Hit a serve preferably down the middle to allow your partner to drift to the middle of the court with the serve. Your partner then either by prior signal or spontaneously reading the point crosses to intercept the return and finishes the point with a decisive volley hit at the feet of the opposing net player.
  3. Draw your opponents in and then lob. Serve and stay back. Draw the serve returner into the net (and preferably off the court) with your next shot. Hit an offensive down-the-line lob with your third shot over the extended reach of the partner of the serve returner to hopefully outright conclude the point. As necessary, hit a “mop up” volley or overhead with your fourth shot to finish the point. (Alternatively, the same pattern works with serve and volley. Hit an angled, short volley to draw your opponent in and to open the court. Then follow-up with a redirected lob volley to conclude the point.)
  4. Down-the-line pass. Serve and stay back. When presented with the right opportunity in the rally, hit a redirected, inside-in, down-the-line pass. With the right shot, it is possible to set early and freeze the net player or get the net player to over commit to the middle of the court.
  5. Lob off the return. Emboldened by serving out the first game at love, you go for a first strike with a return of serve down-the-line lob. Move into the net following your lob to be in a position to pick off any reply with a volley or overhead. Be alert to not close inside the service line (and advise your partner likewise to not close too tightly) to be in an advantageous position to cover the lob (which is the most likely reply by your opponents).
  6. Close in with the return. Hit a short angle or deep return and close into the net with the shot. Look to isolate the server and attack with the volley when taking the shot above the net and/or in your strike zone with a hard or soft angle or a hard redirection. Be patient when taking balls below the net (below your strike zone). Keep the ball low and cross court and look to attack with the next shot. If the server closes in with the serve as well, the goal is to win the battle to the net by getting in tighter than the server (so you are able to hit down at the feet of the server rather than having to dig low balls at your feet).
  7. Cross to pick off a weak reply. When positioned at the net (from a service return position), look to jump and cross whenever your partner hits a low, effective shot (particularly when your partner hits a strong return of serve). Close across the court on the diagonal and drive the volley to the middle gap or at the feet of the opposing net player. Do not be afraid to take a risk and commit even if the server occasionally proves able to successfully read your move and hit behind you with a down-the-line pass.
  8. Grind.  Stay back with your partner and keep the ball in play. Play high percentages. Work the middle of the court, aim for big targets and stay in the point (with a high shot threshold) until your opponents get impatient and make a mistake.
  9. Australian Shift. Position yourself on the same side of the court as your partner the server (to take away the cross court high percentage return). Either fake a move and stay (in which case your partner moves to cover the down-the-line return) or move to intercept a down-the-line return (in which case your partner stays to cover a potential cross-court return). The goal is to take command of the net by disorientating and confusing your opponents into making mistakes and indecisive shots.
  10. Straddle the middle of the court. Crouch down low in the middle of the court at the net prior to the serve by your partner. Signal to your partner your intention to move left or right. Following the serve move left or right as signaled to hopefully intercept the return or draw a mistake with the return.

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