How to be a Productive Partner for the Server
By: Nate Parsons
Director of Racquet's Sports at Glen View Country Club
I'm sure that many of you will agree that the game of paddle is evolving. This could possibly be due to the influx of converted tennis players. We are now seeing bigger returns with players rushing into the net behind them and if you don't have the luxury of a big serve, holding the service game has become quite difficult.This constant pressure from the return team can be counteracted by a more active server's partner. Here are some effective strategies for the serving team to try.
1) Planned Poaching: Have the server place their serve closer to the "T" to cut off angles for the returner. The server's partner will then take a step closer to the middle and will try to cut off the return coming into the middle of the court. This strategy may force the returner into trying to hit a lower percentage return out wide or down the line, which can help the service team get a few more free points.
2) The Australian or The I Formation: The serving team will line up in the center of the court with the net player straddling the center line.The server will try to serve up the "T" to eliminate the easy cross court drive and will then run up to the opposite side of their court.This strategy is very effective because it gives the returners a different view of the court with a much more difficult return to hit. The Australian format is also very effective for serving teams with a lefty player because it eliminates the switch into the deuce side.
3) The Australian With a Twist: The serving team will line up as if they are going to do Australian but then after the serve is hit they will return to their normal positions. The reason for the switch is that it makes the return team try to guess where the net man will go after the serve. This strategy will make the returners job very difficult to get those once very easy points and it will make you and your partner much more effective at holding your serve.