Tips on Poaching in Doubles

Poaching is the most intimidating thing you can do on the doubles court. It can be effective even if unsuccessful because it makes the other team fear you. We tend to think of poaching as something you do just on the return, but it's really any crossing move you make on a floating ball.

Here are some general poaching hints:

  • Move forward on the diagonal.
  • Aim the volley in the direction you are moving, not back behind you.
  • Begin your move as the receiver's eyes drop to the ball and her racket starts forward.

    Poaching on the serve:

  • Decide whether you are going before the ball is struck.
  • You can still abort if the ball is hard and headed for your partner's alley, if it's very low, or if the receiver moves in so far you have no time to move.
  • Abort if the serve is wide (particularly in the deuce court).
  • Observe your opponent's patterns. What do they dislike?
  • The server should hesitate for a moment before she switches to see if her partner in fact plays the ball.
  • You can also fake a poach to throw off your opponents.

    To signal or not to signal:

  • The simplest signaling is a clenched fist - meaning to stay, and an open hand - if go.
  • Server should verbally acknowledge the signal.
  • If you signal you MUST go!

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