Challenge every ball, Poach Some

Are you a candidate for the Weekly Garden Gnome award? This recognition is given to a player who in their role as the server’s partner does not move at all, and could be easily mistaken for that little concrete statue that sits motionless in your yard. As the server’s partner, you have the first real opportunity to make a difference in a point by getting your opponents off balance. One thing that you know for sure is that the return is going to travel to your left, right, or above you. Make a habit of “challenging” every ball which means wherever the return goes, turn your shoulders and make at least some effort to hit it. Of course staying balanced is very important so don’t feel a need to go too far. Moving a foot or two on every ball puts additional pressure on the receiver as their target is now smaller. Add in “the poach” which is defined as an aggressive move to volley that the partnership plans in advance, and you now have opponents who need to be much more careful with their returns.