What’s The Right Shot? Episode #41 – The Question – Doubles Serve & Then A Low Transitional Volley

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When I serve and volley in doubles, which by the way is on EVERY 1st & 2nd serve, I always assume I’ll have to play a low, at my feet, transitional 1st volley or 1/2 volley.

If I don’t, then everything else is gravy …

And if I have to play that low transitional volley, I’m always thinking there’s only one specific target for where I’m going to play that volley.

Of course, I might have to deal with the returner’s partner poaching from time to time, but unless that player has consistently made his/her presence known, I’ve got one target in mind.

The following video asks you the question we love to ask over here at WebTennis, “What’s The Right Shot?”

After watching this short video, please let me know what you think is the right shot by giving me your feedback in the Comments area below.

Thanks in advance …

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  1. Mitchell says:

    cross court at the returner

    • Morning Mitchell.

      Exactly where should your shot land if you go “cross court at the returner”?


      • I would try and hit my cross-court volley back at the returners feet, if the returner is coming into net. I am trying to force the returner to hit a defensive volley. After hitting the volley, I would continue to move in hoping to take the next volley above the level of the net. If the returner is staying back, I usually try and hit the ball deep.

        • Good choice Quentin …

          However, IF the returner stays back, and even behind the baseline hoping for an opp to unload on a big groundie, I’m not going to give them that chance.

          I’ll then play a ______ ?


    • Volley to the returner’s feet – get some depth on the volley.

  2. Cross court of course . Ideally at returners feet. Nothing fancy since it is a difficult shot. Careful not to hit too high or too short since it will give the advantage to opponents.

  3. low, crosscourt to the returner’s feet

  4. Such a low defensive shot, should of course be played to the net player, thus straight ahead.
    Preferably low on their feet, but that is difficult.

    • I disagree Corne.

      If the server plays that low volley directly up to that opponent directly in front of her, look out !


  5. Go the net player low at their feet.

    • Hi Roro.

      That would be a really tough shot for the server to get her volley up and over the net and then have it land back down at the opposing net player’s feet.


  6. If the server can “put the brakes on early enough” I feel that that is the better choice and to then hit with pace to the person directly in front or to lob over that net player.

    • Hi Harvey.

      I like your idea to put the brakes on early and then play a nice controlled slice approach cross court …


  7. It looks like the returner is moving in behind his return, so I would think that the best place to go is cross court back to the returner at his feet. That would make him volley up and possibly set up my partner for a winning volley. Typically on a lower volley, it’s safer to direct the ball back in the same direction that it came from as opposed to trying to change the direction of the ball. The net is also a little lower in the middle, so it’s easier to volley over.

  8. Ken Aicardi says:

    Hi Brent, you are up early today! It appears the net person is not going to poach so I would go back cross court and try to get it to the returners feet so that they have to hit up. Another option is go down the middle to see if it catches them flat footed.

    • Hi Ken.

      It’s called a “scheduled” broadcast so that I can craft my email to you and schedule it for a future date/time before I actually have to push Send!

      And yes, good choice to go back low crosscourt.


  9. Dave Simon says:

    play the shot back off the bounce, not as a 1st volley.

  10. Cross court at the receivers feet – turnabout is fair play!

  11. john coffey says:

    cross court at the returner – as it’s a difficult shot low towards your feet,trying to change direction of the ball is too risky a strategy

  12. not a doubles player and certainly not a doubles strategist

    That is one tough one, if she goes down the line she has to pop it up over the highest part of the net, and certainly won’t get great pace for a pass, the lob is covered, she can’t really hit a hard shot down the center either as that’s being covered from both players, I would go for the cross court dink as the only offensive shot, gives plenty of room for error, I would pray my partner doesn’t get plastered if I don’t execute well


    if I am mad at partner, for some reason I win either way

    • Pman! For a singles player, you’ve got some good logical thinking going on here.

      In fact, if I’m your partner and you play a low cross court volley that lands at the returner’s feet, dude, I’m jumping all over the next shot!

      You just made me look great 😉

      Time for you to tinker with some dubs …


  13. return low and soft to the feet of incoming server

  14. oops. soft and low to the incoming RETURNER’S feet

  15. Cross court at the returners feet and backhand

  16. Eric carlson says:

    First off. This wasn’t a good enough serve to come in on and the server pays for it. I like a chip volley drop shot to the returners back hand causing him to get to the net and pop up to my partner for an easy put away! risky but fun.

  17. guillermo says:

    First option is go down the line for a winner. It is the hardest shot to make but there is enough room to make the shot. Downside is that if the net player is good you are leaving the middle of the court wide open.
    Second option is go to the net players backhand with little pace so the ball will stay low. This will likely produce an easy volley for my partner to put away.
    Third option is cross court slice (or drop shot) that stays low. The returner seems to be in a good position for anything else coming his way.

  18. Pretty much everyone above is saying put the ball at the incoming returner’s feet. Fine, but difficult to execute, as the server must hit the volley with the ball below the net. A good net person on the other side should be looking to pounce. That means the server not only has to hit up but also at a sharp angle to avoid the poach. Going down the line is low percentage as it also requires a great volley. Good luck trying a lob. So, Brent, what is the right shot?

  19. Have to take it low and crosscourt, as the server is volleying up and the net player can cover anything except the best of change of direction down the line or lob volleys … and those are unwise low percentage shots.

    If you can angle sharply crosscourt, it limits the responses for the returner, but if result is not so sharp they have multiple options. Since the net person does not appear to be threatening, I think low but more down the middle sets you and your partner up position-wise to control the middle of the court at the net on the next ball.

  20. There have been a few that said they should have let the ball bounce. Yes and no. If you let it bounce you are giving the returner more time to move forward into a better position and more reaction time to your shot. By getting on the ball faster you keep them back and have a better shot at getting it down to them. My feeling is I only bounce it if it gets me an offensive shot if not I take the offensive position. I think she made the right choice. It looks like if she moves through the volley and not stop and wait she should get a knee high volley. With no pressure from the opposing net player I would go cross court right over the net strap and try to get the ball down to the returner.

  21. Hi Brent,

    Not a good position starting point being so low but suggest the shot is low down the middle deep to base line. This is to keep the return simple and a direct line and make other players counter up and short!

    Saw your e-mail as to you going on Palm Springs to defend your husband and wife title but never heard of the results. And a tournament on the east coast too. Please advise.

    Always rooting for your victories!

    Best regards,

  22. Depends on the skill level of the server the if they have the skill to hit a sharp low cross court slice drop shot to the returners backhand. The ball would be low, the returning would be on the run and most likely would pop the ball up where serving team could hit an easy volley. Also the server could hit a lob over the net player as a change of pace.

  23. I have two choices Brent. One will be going Short Cross Court, but not to the man itself or feet, instead my Short Cross Court will be to the Alley as closest as possible to the Net and I will do it accordingly to the moment, with a Soft Underspin or caressing the Outside of the ball, to hook the ball closest to the net and on the Alley. My other choice will be aimed to the Center, but with an Out to Inside Effect, caressing the ball, from Left to right. so it will fly with a Concave Curve( away from Net Man and bouncing at the Central T area and due to my Effect it will bounce to the Left, away from the Add Court Player. Of course you need to be acostume to all sort o effects, performing.

  24. Warren Turner says:

    Low volley or half volley if possible, (take away a step or two from the oncoming returner) – relatively short angle into the alley – make the oncoming returner change direction and gives a potential poacher trouble. I don’t advise this for everyone, you have to be comfortable with your low or half volley.
    My question, Brent, is this tactically correct?

  25. There are two competing principles. one is that the volley should be in front so that you don’t put your partner in jeopardy and can handle the return. The other is to hit low volleys to the opponent who is deep.

    I’ll be a contrarian and say low and down the middle but out of range of the opponent in the deuce court. In other words, to the forehand of the opponent in the add court. That puts the server and her partner in a position to handle the response without moving too much.

    A wide slice return could work if its a winner, but if not the returner has a play down the line or a lob over the server’s partner.


  27. I would go for a sharp angle volley.

  28. Brent,

    I like your idea of “putting on the brakes”, letting the ball come up and hitting up the middle. Otherwise, you’re hitting your volley off your shoelaces while the returner is moving in. Your shot has to be up and I don’t see a good angle from there.

  29. Michael Stewart says:

    The returner is still pretty far back so if I was the server I would stop and hit a controlled ground stroke deep down the middle and then close to the middle and make the returner try to beat me with a lob or a low percentage inside out forehand.

  30. I would try a soft cross court shot that should land close to the net and to the sideline. The returner will most likely follow his shot to the net and would have to change direction to get to the ball. (Granted, it would take a lot of artistry, and I would most likely miss it…)

  31. Vernon Gibson says:

    Right down the middle to the lefty’s backhand and the righty’s backhand and see if they fight each other for it.

  32. Euhh êtes vous sûr de ce que vous nous avancez ?

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