Line it Up
When should you go down the line in doubles? This is a tough one for many of us. We either go down the line too little or too often. If the ball is coming from cross court, going down the line presents a change of angle and a more difficult shot. Also, going down the line in doubles requires you to get it by a net person. ..So just don’t go down the line, right???
Wrong. If you never go down the line, the opposing net player will be able to move closer and closer to the center service line and, as a result, have more opportunities to poach your ball forcing you to hit further cross court, resulting in more unforced errors on your part. We have to show the net person our ability to burn them down the line if they are out of position. When you need to go down the line, remember the three “ins”…
“In” the court
“In” the strike zone
If you are inside the baseline, your ball will reach your target area quicker and be more effective, hopefully surprising the net person. If you hit the ball in your optimal strike zone, you are more likely to hit a good quality ball and be able to flatten out a bit without losing consistency. Finally, if you are in control of your body, you should be able to drive through the ball. When these three “Ins” are in place, you are in a prime position to bust it down the line! The more out of position the opposing net person is, the more flexible you can be with the three “Ins”. You could stretch the court out, make your strike zone bigger, and you might not need your legs under you quite as much.
Not sure you will recognize when to go down the line but would like to practice? Practice off of your opponent’s second serve. This is the shot that will give you more opportunities than any other