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Friday, April 29, 2016

The Basic Overall Strategy of Doubles - Phase 4

A previous post mentioned that this is a theme week focused on understanding what is happening on the court. The centerpiece is a video, Doubles Pickleball - The Basic Overall Strategy. That initial post introduced and emphasized the overriding strategy of getting to the net. The next several posts moved on to the first phase of most points which the video calls "The Formality Phase", followed by a post about phase 2 named "The Service Team Struggle to the Net", and a post about phase 3 named "Dinking". This post discusses phase 4 of most points - "Fast Play".

Fast Play begins as soon as the ball gets high. Dinking lasts only until a shot gets high enough to invite an aggressive shot. Fast Play starts with the first smash to the body of an opponent or toward an open area. One item of note is discussed in this section. Many players at lower levels believe it is a breach of etiquette to hit at an opponent. The unwritten rules of tournament make this shot not only acceptable, but expected.

The Fast Play phase usually ends with the end of the rally. Smashes are very hard to effectively return. They usually are weak returns that invite even harder smashes. One aspect of the Fast Play phase is that smashes are hit so hard that often will go out of bounds if unimpeded. Players must quickly decide whether to attempt a return or play dodgeball.

There are occasions when the rally does not end after the Fast Play phase has begun. Players can "reset" the point and return to neutral after a Fast Play battle with a couple of shots. The first, the lob, is mentioned in the video and discussed in my article The Lob. The second, the drop volley, tries to get back into the dinking phase. I discussed this strategy in Conversions - Resetting the Point and it was illustrated in A Video - Reset the Point.

The video is shown below. This post covers about 1 1/2 minutes starting at 14:06. 

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