in Platform Tennis Magazine January 2003 In
competitive play points may last 100’s of hits, a big
reason for this is that both partners are always in position
to play every ball. The following lessons discuss specific
positioning for the “Trailer” (the person not
hitting the ball).
Blitzing and drop shot recovery
There are often times during a point when your partner may
decide to blitz. Many players follow their partner when this
happens. The problem that exists is neither player has access
to the screens. Furthermore, your opponents may be able to
volley down at you or your partner's feet. Advanced play requires
constant opportunity to use screens. Having constant access
to the back screen is why so many points at the tournament
level may go into the hundreds of shots. When your partner
blitzes or runs up to cover a drop shot or drop volley you
should immediately position yourself at the middle of the
baseline. You would like for your feet to be set before your
opponent makes contact with his next shot. If your opponent
gets the ball past your partner you will easily be able to
hit a good enough lob for your partner to retreat back to
Digging out balls low and deep in the corners
There will be times during a point when your partner has to
dig a ball out of his corner. All he can do is flick the ball
out. The best thing that can happen is he hits it high enough
so a drop volley does not burn you. Many times however, the
ball barely clears the net. This is what you do in this very
specific situation. When you see your partner is going to
struggle with the dying ball deep in his corner, immediately
move two steps inside the baseline. Watch your partner the
entire time to see how effectively he is getting the ball
up. If he hits it at least two feet high you can back up for
easier use of your screens. If the ball stays low your opponent
will be less inclined to drop a winner because of your position.
He might wack it at you but at least you have a play on it.
If it is hit very hard you should be able to use your screens.
If it has slower speed take it off the deck and get back in
the point. I learned this positional strategy while playing
with a great player, Steve Baird.
Playing the “Nick” All
too often in recreational play points end if a ball hits in
the corner of the side and back wires. Most of the time the
ball will come back out along the side screen, the person
playing the ball should move up the side screen. The “trailer”
can be a big help by moving over and being prepared if the
ball comes out along the back screen.