Not everything that feels risky actually is risky. This is true of poaching as well.
When we get passed up the line, we feel like an idiot and it makes us much less likely to poach the rest of the match. We feel dumb because it seems like we just gave away the point for no reason.
I like to think about poaching a little differently. When we give up the line, we’re actually setting up the opponent for future points. Whether you’re a beginner learning to poach, or a more advanced doubles player, you should be poaching more!
One | Win The Mental Battle
Poaching is one of the easiest ways to get in your opponent’s head.
The key is to create chaos from the net and make them start thinking too much about their return. We’ve all been trained not to hit it at the net player, which becomes really difficult when the net player is moving side to side.
We’re also forcing a more difficult shot when we poach. The court is shorter, and the net is higher down the line. After they miss their 4th down the line shot in 5 tries, they’ll surely let out some form of frustrating “HIT THE BALL!!” type scream.
Free points! Yes, you get free points, and NOTHING feels better than a free point. The opponent self destructs when they give away points like this, and all you had to do is take a few steps to the side 🙂
Two | Your Partner Will Love You
No more, will your partner get stuck in long crosscourt baseline rallies on their serve. Instead, you’ll be making the opponents miss and putting away balls. All your partner has to do is make their serve.
You’ll start winning more service games for your partner, making them feel more confident. Of course with this rise in confidence, they’ll start playing better on their non-service games, and you’ll be more likely to win.
They’ll also associate this new found confidence with playing doubles with you, and you’ll get asked to play again 😉
Three | The Strategic Advantage
Poaching more will make you different from 95% of other doubles player in your league. This will give you an advantage every time you step on the court.
Scarcity creates value. So we need to intentionally look for ways to make our tennis game different than others. This will mean when we go out for each match, the people on the other side of the net have never played someone like you, and they’ll struggle to get used to it.
Of course the most important reason you should be poaching more it that it’s way more fun!! Sitting at the net and moving forward and back, watching your partner play is boring. Get involved in the point. Move on the serve, or on the next ball.
If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong 🙂
If you’re interested in more ways to become a better doubles player, visit The Tennis Tribe for doubles tips, strategies, and lessons.