Hey TennisDr:

This may be a stupid question, but I’m having trouble getting depth on my groundstrokes.  What’s the best way to do that?

Shorty From Miniville

Dear Shorty:

Don’t make the mistake of hitting the ball faster. Imitating what they see the pros doing can be “fools gold” for recreational players.  Stay within your most accurate racket speed range and just aim higher above the net. Unlike the pros, recreational players should be hitting their ground stroke about TEN feet above the net to get depth. Good luck with your groundies!



Dear TennisDr:

First of all, I loved our USTA team’s clinic with you last week from beginning to end, especially our work with the Australian Formation and “I” [Ey] Formation.  Both formations worked amazingly well in our last line 3 doubles match which we won easily.  I’ve never had so many winners at the net.

At one point our opponents tried to lob us, but that didn’t work well because we dropped back a bit and my partner Larry is… (you can’t teach it), very tall.  It was all a big party until the next day and my knees started reminded me of all the “crouching”.

Thanks so much!

Dear Mitch:

First, thanks for coming to the doubles clinic and your kind words.  I will keep you posted on any openings I get in future doubles classes at your level of skill.  Congratulations for throwing a doubles
“curve ball” at your opponents!

As you can tell, my philosophy is to work on the subtleties that make a doubles player and team more dangerous.  That includes having more tools and better teamwork than other teams.   The servers
partner standing at the net at their traditional post does little to challenge a receiver mentally or physically.

These alternative tactics are what the pros use to make a net player take at least 50% of the responsibility for holding serve.  The easier holding serve becomes, the more a good team can focus on breaking.  The tempo, the longer games, then tip toward your opponents who are struggling to hold and more opportunities to break them.

As far as your knees go, use “I” formation/Aussie formation more sporadically with the following factors in mind:  early in the set to let them know you’ve got a rabid dog on a leash, when your team gets behind, against the better receiver, against the ad court player (where the game is usually won or lost), and certainly in a tie breaker.

Pick and choose your moments to “unleash the hounds”!  Above all, have fun mixing up your strategy and keeping your opponents off balance.