Are you ready to serve up some serious heat on the tennis court? If so, it's time to sharpen your skills in doubles tennis by mastering the art of poaching.

Poaching is a powerful strategy that can transform your doubles game, as you take charge of the cross-court, seize the first point, and keep your opponents guessing with swift switch sides. With a strong first serve and a keen eye for opportunity, you'll be well on your way to tennis domination.

In this in-depth guide, we'll explore the secrets behind successful poaching, and how you can integrate these tactics into your own game.

So, grab your racket, and let's embark on this exciting journey together, as we unlock the true potential of poaching in doubles tennis!

Advanced Poaching Tips for Doubles Tennis

To elevate your doubles game and become a more formidable net player, consider these advanced poaching tips:

1. Poaching on Low Balls:

One of the most effective moments to execute a poach in doubles tennis is when the ball is low. This tactic offers several advantages that can potentially catch your opponents off guard and help you win crucial points.

Low balls force opponents to react differently, providing you with an opportunity to seize the advantage.

Here's a breakdown of why poaching on low balls works so well:

  • Limited shot options: When the ball is low, the opponent's shot options become limited. They are compelled to pop the ball up to clear the net, making it difficult for them to generate pace or change direction. This makes it easier for the net player to predict the ball's trajectory and poach effectively.
  • Reduced pace: Low balls inherently have less pace, giving the net player more time to react and position themselves to poach. With the additional time, you can make a well-timed move across the court, intercept the ball, and hit a winning volley.
  • Increased pressure on opponents: Poaching on low balls exerts pressure on your opponents, making them more prone to errors. As they struggle to handle the lowball and anticipate a potential poach, they might fail to execute their shots accurately or make poor tactical decisions.
  • Disrupting opponents' rhythm: Regularly poaching on low balls can disrupt the rhythm of your opponents, keeping them constantly on edge and uncertain of your next move. This mental advantage can lead to unforced errors and more points in your favor.

Incorporating the poaching-on-low-balls strategy into your doubles tennis game can be a game-changer. With limited shot options and reduced pace, your opponents are at a disadvantage, making it easier for you to predict their movements and capitalize on their mistakes.

By exerting pressure and disrupting their rhythm, you can keep your opponents on their toes and control the pace of the game. So, next time you're on the court, don't hesitate to poach on those low balls and take your doubles game to the next level.

2. Poaching as the Stronger Doubles Player:

As the stronger player on a doubles team, you have an opportunity to maximize your poaching efforts and dictate the pace of the game. By effectively executing poaches, you can apply pressure on your opponents, get in their heads, and ultimately help your team secure more points.

Here are some key benefits and strategies for poaching as a stronger doubles player:

  • Applying pressure: Being proactive and poaching frequently forces your opponents to adjust their game plan. They will likely feel the need to hit harder or aim for wider shots, which can lead to more errors on their part.
  • Protecting your partner: When you're the stronger player, your opponents will often target your partner with their shots. By anticipating these tactics and poaching effectively, you can step in and intercept the ball, preventing your partner from getting stuck in unfavorable rallies.
  • Disrupting opponents' rhythm: Consistently poaching as the stronger player can disrupt the rhythm of your opponents, making it difficult for them to establish a comfortable pace or execute their preferred strategies.
  • Exploiting weaknesses: By identifying and targeting the weaker shots of your opponents, you can create opportunities to poach and capitalize on their vulnerabilities. This can lead to more points and victories for your doubles team.
  • Enhancing team communication: As the stronger player, you can strategize with your partner and develop effective poaching tactics tailored to your strengths. This collaboration can boost your team's overall performance and foster a sense of camaraderie on the court.

Embracing your role as the stronger player on a doubles team and strategically poaching can greatly impact the outcome of your matches. Remember, the key to success in doubles tennis lies in teamwork, adaptability, and continuous improvement. So, keep refining your poaching skills and enjoy the thrilling victories that come with mastering this essential doubles strategy.

3. Poaching Before and During the Opponent's Swing

The timing of your poaching move can greatly influence the outcome of a point in doubles tennis. By choosing to poach either before or during your opponent's swing, you can create opportunities for missed returns or easier volleys.

Here's a closer look at the advantages of these two tactics and how to effectively execute them:

Poaching Before the Opponent's Swing

By poaching, before your opponent starts their swing, you can catch them off guard and potentially force them to miss their return.

Here's why this tactic works:

  • Increased pressure: When you begin moving before the ball crosses the net, your opponent will see you and feel pressured to hit down the line, often leading to errors.
  • Strategic positioning: This tactic works particularly well when your partner has a powerful serve, as it forces the opponent to make split-second decisions and adjust their return.
  • Higher success rate: Poaching before the swing often results in a missed return by the opponent rather than a volley for you, increasing the chances of winning the point.

Poaching During the Opponent's Swing

Alternatively, you can choose to poach as your opponent is in the middle of their swing.

This timing can lead to the following benefits:

  • Forced adjustments: When you poach during the opponent's swing, they must change the direction of their shot mid-swing, which is quite challenging and can result in errors.
  • Varied timing: By mixing up your poaching timing throughout the doubles match, you can keep your opponents guessing and disrupt their rhythm.
  • Better volleys: Poaching during the swing allows you to move diagonally toward the net, creating better angles for your volleys and making it harder for your opponents to return the ball.

Timing is everything when it comes to poaching in doubles tennis. By strategically anticipating your opponent's swing and executing well-timed poaches, you can force missed returns, set up easier volleys, and rack up points for your team.

So, don't be afraid to incorporate these tactics into your game and stay one step ahead of your opponents. Remember to stay adaptable and practice regularly to master these poaching techniques and take your doubles game to new heights.

With the right strategy and a bit of finesse, you'll be sure to dominate the court and leave your rivals in awe.

two tennis player on the court

Beginner Tips for Poaching in Doubles Tennis

If you're new to doubles tennis or looking to improve your poaching skills, consider these beginner-friendly tips:

Poaching on the Opponent's Weaker Shot

Capitalizing on your opponent's weaker shot is a smart and effective tactic in doubles tennis. Poaching during these moments can yield significant benefits for your team and help secure crucial points.

Here's why poaching on the opponent's weaker shot is advantageous:

  • Increased chances of forced errors: When your opponent is hitting from their weaker side, they're more likely to make mistakes, particularly when they're on their heels or deep in the court. By poaching during these moments, you can exploit their vulnerabilities and increase the likelihood of forcing errors.
  • Greater opportunity for successful poaching: Recognizing your opponent's weaker shot and poaching accordingly allows you to anticipate their moves more accurately. This improved anticipation can lead to better positioning on the court and a higher chance of successfully intercepting the ball.
  • Reduced pressure on your partner: By poaching on the opponent's weaker shot, you can take some pressure off your partner and allow them to focus on their strengths. This teamwork can contribute to winning more matches and improving your overall doubles team performance.
  • Disrupting opponents' game plan: Opponents will often try to avoid their weaker shots and play to their strengths. By poaching during their weaker shot, you can disrupt their game plan and force them to rethink their strategy, potentially causing further errors or suboptimal plays.
  • Enhancing your poaching strategy: Poaching on the opponent's weaker shot is an essential part of a well-rounded poaching strategy. Integrating this tactic into your game plan can help you adapt to various opponents and improve your overall effectiveness on the court, especially during recreational matches or competitive play.

In doubles tennis, poaching on your opponent's weaker shots can lead to forced errors, disrupted game plans, and more points for your team. By integrating this strategy into your poaching game, you can adapt to different opponents and win more matches, whether you're a recreational player or a seasoned pro.

So, make the most of your partner's hits, practice your split step, and dominate the ad side with a strong poaching game.

Poaching during Your Partner's Serve on the Deuce Court (for Right-handed Players)

In doubles tennis, poaching during your partner's serve on the deuce court can be a strategic move that offers several advantages for right-handed players. By positioning yourself correctly and focusing on getting a forehand volley, you can increase your chances of winning points and enhance your team's performance.

Let's explore the benefits of poaching during your partner's serve on the deuce court:

  • Improved court coverage: Poaching on the deuce side allows right-handed players to capitalize on their natural forehand strength. By moving in for a forehand volley, you can cover more of the court, making it difficult for your opponents to find open spaces and increasing the likelihood of winning the point.
  • Added pressure on opponents: When you poach during your partner's serve, it forces your opponents to make quick decisions and react to unexpected plays. This added pressure can lead to mistakes, providing your team with valuable opportunities to secure points.
  • Enhanced teamwork and communication: Poaching on the deuce side requires coordination and communication between doubles teams. Developing this skill can lead to better teamwork, which is essential for success in doubles tennis.
  • Versatility in service types: Experimenting with different service types, such as serving up the T or into the body, can help you identify the best approach for your team. By adapting your services based on your opponent's weaknesses, you can create more opportunities for successful poaching.
  • Boosting confidence in recreational play: Successfully poaching during your partner's serve on the deuce side can build confidence, particularly among recreational players. Gaining confidence in this skill can lead to improved performance during both practice sessions and competitive matches.

So, next time you and your doubles partner hit the court, consider implementing this poaching strategy on the deuce side. Not only will it add some flair to your game, but it may just give you the winning edge you need to ace your opponents.

And who knows, you might even impress your tennis coach enough to earn an extra tennis lesson or two!

Poaching When Your Partner Hits a Deep Forehand

In doubles tennis, capitalizing on your partner's deep forehand shots by poaching can be a game-changing strategy. Recognizing the benefits of poaching in these situations allows you to exploit your opponent's weaknesses and increase your chances of winning points.

Let's take a closer look at the advantages of poaching when your partner hits a deep forehand:

  • Anticipating a strong shot: When your partner hits a deep forehand, it's a sign that they're in a good position to make a strong shot. By anticipating this and preparing to poach, you can be ready to capitalize on any openings that arise in the opponents' court.
  • Taking away opponent's angles: As you move to poach after your partner's deep forehand shot, you effectively reduce the available angles for your opponents. This forces them to make more challenging shots, which can lead to errors and increase their chances of winning the point.
  • Improved court coverage: By poaching when your partner hits a deep forehand, you cover more of the court, making it difficult for your opponents to find gaps in your defense. This increased coverage can result in more opportunities for your team to score points.
  • Encouraging teamwork and communication: Successfully poaching after your partner's deep forehand shot requires effective communication between doubles partners. This teamwork is essential for a strong doubles performance and can lead to more successful poaching attempts.

So next time your partner hits a deep forehand shot, remember to stay alert and be ready to pounce with a well-timed poach. With the right strategy and teamwork, you can turn your opponents' weaknesses into your strengths and dominate the doubles court.

Keep practicing and perfecting your poaching skills, and soon you'll be the envy of every doubles team on the court.

Poaching in Doubles Tennis

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The Bottom Line

Mastering poaching in doubles tennis is crucial for any player looking to dominate the court and elevate their game. By implementing essential strategies such as capitalizing on low balls, targeting opponents' weaker shots, and taking advantage of your partner's serves, you can transform the performance of your double and keep your opponents on their toes.

This comprehensive guide offers valuable insights and tactics for mastering poaching, making it an indispensable reference for tennis enthusiasts seeking to improve their doubles game.

Don't miss the opportunity to become a formidable force on the court—immerse yourself in these game-changing strategies and watch your doubles tennis skills soar to new heights.


Can you poach a serve in doubles?

Yes, poaching is often executed when one of the players serves. You can also engage in poaching during groundstroke rallies or even in situations where all players are at the net. For example, Bob Bryan pauses after making a return in such scenarios.

What is an example of poaching in tennis?

As an example, consider a net player who poaches just six times throughout a match, averaging two poaching attempts per set involving both players. The player might execute two successful poaches, while the opponent could counter and score in the remaining instances.

Can you poach a serve in tennis?

Poaching during serves can be strategic, but you must decide whether to move before the serve is hit. If the receiver moves too far or the ball bounces into your partner's path, you may need to abort the poach. Be prepared to abort if the service is long, especially on the deuce courts.

How do you beat a poacher in tennis?

The most intimidating type of poacher is the "bully" poacher, whose movement at the net leaves the opponent feeling overwhelmed. However, there are ways to counter this tactic. Aim your shots toward the center (along arrow lines) to neutralize the poacher's advantage.