Banner Space for Sale on This High Traffic Site

home - logo

Doubles shot selection chart

General doubles tips

Can't block opponent's partner when your partner is shooting

Home

Racquetball dictionary

Advertising

 


Home

I first became interested in doubles shot selection when I played a game with some old guys who effortlessly beat me without needing to hit the ball hard. I started playing regularly with them, and they showed me how to maneuver around the court, cover their shots, and analyze the angles and placement of effective shots.

Of course some doubles shots aren't logical in singles, where the opponent is defending from the middle of the court, because in doubles, the middle is more open with each opponent closer to one of the sides.

Most of these scenarios assume that you have a set up and that you're about to swing, and that your opponents are giving you enough room for the straight in, and cross court shot. For convenience of illustration for the serve examples below, it is assumed that a right handed opponent is returning a serve from the right side of the court, but left side shots are identical

General doubles tips:

  • You need to set up for a specific shot first, before you can determine where your opponents will be standing. Then finalize your shot selection based on which way your opponent is leaning. Making this last minute decision feels mentally weird/difficult at first, but is one of the most important skills to learn. How you set up for shot often determines which way your opponents will be leaning. Set up for a kill shot no matter what your really plan, because you can always change to a pass or lob from that position, but its harder to not be set up, then try and wind up at the last minute for a kill shot, especially during a fast moving rally. So use your set up for a shot in a way that will give you the most options; click here to see an example. Taking this a step further, sometimes an opponent from deep back court waits till you've committed yourself to a shot, like a pinch, then rushes up and can get it because he's guessed ahead of time. For this situation, just hit the ball around him at the last second or hit a jam at him since he can't stop himself during this type of rush.
  • Don't take your eye off the ball to look at the opponents, keep your eye on the ball when swinging and watch the opponents with your peripheral vision.
  • Where does an opponent become passable? As soon as he takes a step (forward, towards the front wall) beyond the dotted safety line. At this point, your inner alarm should go off and you should begin including pass opportunities as one of your shot selections. But this is doubles, so you have to take into account if the opponent's partner can get to the pass after his partner misses it.
  • Shot selection needs to made quickly. The faster you think, the more opportunities will become available for easy points. The first thing I check is if any opponent is up too close to the front wall. This quickly helps me key into which shot to select.
    • If both opponents are way up front, use the passes and jams described in the shot selection diagram below.
    • If one is up and the other is back, and you have a setup, then choose a pinch, splat or straight in kill so the ball ends up on the side of the court of the opponent who is staying back.
    • If you don't have a set up, then pass/jam the opponent that's too close to the front wall to invoke a weak return/set up from opponent.
    • If neither opponent is too close to the front wall, and you don't have a set up, look for an opponent that is too close to a side wall, and jam him.
    • If nothing else is available, hit a ceiling lob, preferably to the opponent who has to run the furthest to the back wall to return it, or to the opponent least capable of hitting rollouts
  • Around the world shots
    • Must be hit when both you and your doubles partner are behind both opponents. Otherwise there are multiple points at which the opponents could take the shot early and hit you or your partner.
    • In doubles, only hit the around the world where the first side wall that the ball hits is the one closest to you, which causes the ball's path to end up on your side. Otherwise, if you hit the opposite side wall first, your partner has to clear a huge area of the front court for your opponent where he can make an easy put-away shot.
    • If your opponent can take the around the world ball early and hit a winner with it, then only hit an around the world when opponent is up way too far. Otherwise, look what happens: opponent steps forward from back court to short hop the around the world, and both you and your partner have to move out of his way behind him, and are blocked out of the rally, waiting for opponent to make his shot.
    • I like to hit the around the world so that it first contacts the floor pretty close to the side wall that it first hit. Otherwise, it lands in the middle of the floor where it can be more easily short hopped.
    • See Adam Karp's caution on using the around the world shot
  • Combination shots: A good strategy is to use combination of shots, e.g., regarding your cross court opponent, first hit a jam/pass at him two times, then next time when he's backing up anticipating the same thing, hit a pinch/splat.
  • Floater/Jam shot: I believe that the floater jam to the chest is one of the most overlooked shots in racquetball. It's counterintuitive in this hard hitting sport, but when an opponent is up too far in front court (in front of the dotted safety line), try hitting a soft (so it doesn't come off the back wall) shot so that it hits the front wall and travels directly to the opponent's chest. Its hard to hit an offensive return against this shot and caught off guard, opponents often get hit by the ball for an easy point for you. I watched the 1992 doubles national championships video, and the women's division champions won against hard hitting opponents, with floaters to the chest. Don't hit a floater at an opponent in back court since he has too much time to react and the ball will come off the back wall if its hit high enough to hit his chest in back court. If opponent is against a wall, ball should should contact side wall about 1 foot in front of opponent, at his chest level.
  • Also see these other great general doubles tips

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

 

from
back
court

shot selections from back court

 

You're receiving a set up shot in far BACK court and close to the RIGHT side wall

Both of your opponents are very close to front wall, both standing inside solid service lines in front of you (not in the way of your shot; they're in front and you're in back)

Don't try kill shots if they are not working; from this position opponents can easily re-kill any kill shot attempts that don't perfectly roll out while you are left in back court. Duh.

  • Safest and most effective shot: jam them with a floater to the chest (Note: once they're jammed a few times, smart players start standing back, so don't keep tying to jam them if they move to back court! Pay attention to the evolving positions). If they are both extremely close to the front wall, I hit an around the world as it is harder to return once its beyond the point where it can be cut off. A jam does not require that the ball you're hitting be a set up shot. You can hit it regardless of where its at. Effectiveness of this shot in this situation: A
  • Overhead drive to left. If its hit extremely hard, its difficult to do much with it because its too high to hit with much control. Hits side wall at difficult point for opponent to do much with it. Make sure it doesn't come off back wall. This a a safe shot and doesn't require a setup to execute it.
  • Drive pass down the center of the court, in between them.
  • Ceiling lob over opponent who has the farthest to run to get to back court

Again, you're standing at far back court and along right side wall, but this time both of your opponents are standing on the dotted safety line in front of you.

  • Safe shot: up the middle of the court ceiling ball
  • Jam opponent who might be too close to the side wall. May not always hit a hit a winner on this, but possibly invoke a weak return. This can either be a floater to the chest, an overhead drive to the left (best if it hits side wall before back wall), or a shot at the opponent's feet on the left.
  • Splat, pinch and straight in kill are now possible but not high percentage

This time your cross court opponent is standing behind the dotted safety line.

  • Doesn't usually matter where the opponent on your side of the court is. Both are in front of you. Splat on your side of the court, but if opponent in your side of the court is moving too far forward or way over to the left to cover it, pass him on the right.
  • If your don't have a setup shot and the opponent on your side of the court is too close to the front wall, hit a hard drive right at the middle of his body, or just a bit towards his backhand.


You're still standing far back court along right side wall, but this time your cross court opponent is standing in the service box anticipating your splat, while your opponent on your side is hanging back covering passes. Both opponents are in front of you.

This is a common and effective position for your opponents to take.

  • Because he's so close to the front wall, hit a driving jam right at the cross court opponent, or high floater at his chest (beginners please note that the ball is supposed to hit the front wall first, before it hits your opponent). Effectiveness of this shot in this situation: B+
  • Smart shot: hit a defensive lob over the opponent who is closest to the front wall. Make him scramble to get all the way back to the back wall.
  • Note: Its may not be easy to hit a pass around cross court opponent because opponent who is hanging back can get to it

Now you're standing far BACK court evenly spaced BETWEEN the two side walls

Both of your opponents are very close to front wall, both standing inside solid service lines in front of you.

Don't try kill shots if they are not working; from this position opponents can easily re-kill any kill shot attempts that don't perfectly roll out.

  • Safest and most effective shot: jam them with a floater to the chest Effectiveness of this shot: A
  • Hit a pass/jam drive against side wall to jam the opponent who might be trapped against the wall
  • Drive down the center of the court, in between them. Especially if your opponents are a lefty and righty team.
  • Ceiling lob up through the middle of the court
  • If they are both extremely close to the front wall, I hit an aground the world as it is harder to return once its beyond the point where it can be cut off. Effectiveness of this shot in this situation: A

Again, you're standing far back court in the middle between the two side walls, but this time both of your opponents are standing on the dotted safety line in front of you.

  • Safe shot: Up the middle of the court ceiling ball
  • Jam opponent who might be too close to the side wall. May not hit a winner on this, but possibly invoke a weak return. This can be a floater to the chest, an overhead drive which hits side wall just before where opponent is, or a pass at the feet of the opponent, hitting side wall just before the spot where opponent is.
  • Splat, pinch and straight in kill are now possible but not high percentage

This time your one of your opponents is standing behind the dotted safety line. Doesn't usually matter where the other opponent is.

  • Pinch on the opposite side of the court that your far back opponent is on, but if the other opponent is moving too far forward or way over to cover it, pass him on the side he leaves open.


You're still standing far back court along in the middle between the two side walls, but this time one of your opponents is standing in the service box anticipating your pinch/kill shot, while your other opponent is hanging back covering passes.

This is a common and effective position for your opponents to take.

  • Hit a pinch on the side that the opponent close to the front wall is standing: Effectiveness of shot in this situation: A
  • Smart shot: hit a defensive lob over the opponent who is closest to the front wall. Make him scramble to get all the way back to the back wall.
  • Hit a driving jam right at the opponent closest to the front wall, or chest high floater at his chest

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

 

from
mid
court

shot selections from mid court

 

You're standing in MID COURT close to the RIGHT SIDE wall

Both of your opponents are very close to front wall, both standing inside solid service lines in front of you

Don't try kill shots if they are not working; from this position opponents can easily re-kill any kill shot attempts that don't perfectly roll out.

Because you are now closer to the front wall, you have some new billiard-like geometric directions in which to send the ball

  • New shot! Hit a hard Z jam/pass that threads through the two opponents. Its a 4 foot high Z drive that passes the opponent on your side on his right side on the way to the front wall, contacts the front wall first, left side wall in front of the left side opponent (ball passes past him on his right), threads in between the two opponents behind the right side opponent on his left side, and dies before hitting the back wall. This great shot has many things going for it. First, it doesn't have to be a set up, so you can cut off lob serves early. Second, because you're on the right, the two front court opponents are kind of squeezed together to stay out of your way, so when the ball passes through them they either can't swing at it for fear of hitting their own partner, or they can't decide who is to hit it. It comes at them at an awkward angle with great speed, which makes it harder to handle. Remember, they both have to be up very far for this to work. Both opponents are always up front during their serve though, so this is a common serve return. Effectiveness of this shot: A
  • New shot! Around the world hard drive jam/pass. The hard Z described above, only works if the opponent in front of you moves over a couple of feet to the left (most do) to allow your shot to take that Z angle. But he doesn't legally owe you that much room; he only owes you the cross court pass (whose angle has ball end up at the back wall corner opposite from you). What to do? Hit an around the world drive. The ball hits the right side wall very hard, passing opponent on right side (closest to you) on his right, then ball hits front wall, left wall at an angle before and away from the opponent on the left (ball passes to his right), threads through both players, and around back of the opponent on the right (ball passes to his left), then dies at the back wall. What has happened was that by moving further to the right (blocking your Z shot), the opponent on the right has opened a bigger hole down the middle between him and his partner. Also, this shot is safer for your opponents. You can be receiving a chaotic hard drive serve, but your return will hit the right side wall first, so there's no danger in hitting your opponent; you can hit the ball as hard as as you want. If it's short-hoppable by your opponent or dies in center court, you must hit it deeper; do this by hitting the ball either higher, closer to front wall or harder. It must end up dying on the back, hitting the back wall one foot higher than the floor. If only your cross court opponent is up front too far, that is, too close to the front wall, hit the side wall on your side very far up front, very close to the front wall, and the ball will jam him. If only the opponent on your side of the court is up too far up, then hit the side wall on your side closer to where you are standing at an angle so that the ball will jam him. Raise or lower the height of the ball to adjust for maximum effectiveness. The safest angle, is that where the ball hits the right side wall very close to the front wall.
  • Effective shot: jam them with a floater to the chest . A jam does not require that the ball you're hitting be a set up shot. You can hit it regardless of where its at. Effectiveness of this shot: A
  • Hit a pass/jam drive against left side wall to jam the opponent who gets trapped against the wall. This can be an overhead drive which hits side wall at a spot a couple of feet before where opponent is, or you can shoot at the same place but lower, at opponent's feet. Effectiveness of this shot: A
  • Drive down the center of the court, in between them
  • If both opponents are too far forward and the opponent on your side is blocking your cross court shot, before asking him to give you the cross court shot (which he legally owes you), first try hitting a drive down the center of the court, in between your opponents, as all he's doing is opening a bigger hole between himself and his partner for the ball to go through. Also, try hitting the ball right at the middle of his stomach (i.e., ball goes towards the front wall passing opponent on his right side, hits front wall, then comes right back at opponent's stomach. Note to beginners: this is not to hurt the opponent. This just makes the ball hard to return.)
  • Ceiling lob

    Serve return

    The two shots above, hard Z pass/jam, and hard around the world hard drive pass/jam, work together to handle alternate position variations of opponents too close to the front wall. They can be used in the middle of a rally or during every serve that can be cut off. They greatly simplify serve return selection. Just watch the opponent on your side of the court: (a) if he moves towards the center, hit the hard Z pass that threads between opponents (b) if he stays to the right side, this opens a bigger hole between him and his partner on the left, so choose the hard around the world drive pass that threads between them. Take the ball early, to give opponents less time to get into safe territory. If they change their strategy and rush to the back court immediately after serving, hit a reverse pinch which dies up at the front wall. If your cross court opponent goes to back court while the opponent on your side stays up front, hit a driving jam at the middle of his body. You don't need a setup to hit any of these returns except for the reverse pinch.


Again, you're standing at mid court along right side wall, but this time both of your opponents are standing on the dotted safety line

  • New shot! Reverse pinch (hit left side wall first, then front wall). Effectiveness of this shot: A
  • Safe shot: Up the middle of the court ceiling ball
  • Jam opponent who is too close to the side wall. May not hit a winner on this, but possibly invoke a weak return.

This time your cross court opponent is standing behind the dotted safety line. Doesn't usually matter where the opponent on your side of the court is.

  • Splat or pinch on your side of the court, but if opponent in your side of the court is moving too far forward or way over to the left to cover it, pass him on the right.


You're still standing in mid court along right side wall, but this time your cross court opponent is standing in the service box anticipating your splat shot to your side of the court, while your opponent on your side is hanging back behind you covering passes.

This is a common and effective position for your opponents to take.

  • Reverse pinch to left side. This shot is almost irretrievable. Effectiveness of shot in this situation: A+
  • Smart shot: hit a defensive lob over the opponent who is closest to the front wall. Make him scramble to get all the way back to the back wall.
  • Straight in kill shot; ball moves close to, and parallel to the right side wall.
  • Hit a driving jam right at the opponent closest to the front wall (your cross court opponent), or chest high floater at his chest (beginners please note that the ball is supposed to hit the front wall first, before it hits your opponent

Sample game - focusing on your serve return

If the above shot selections seem complicated, an easy place to start making them automatic is during your opponents' serve, since you know where your opponents are. Later, you can start transferring your new smart shot habits to the rest of the rally.

Assumption: you're receiving serve on the right side of the court and cutting off all serves early.

  1. The first few times that you return serves from the right, you cut off the ball and hit the around the world hard drive. At first, it works great and jams your cross court opponent.
  2. Now your cross court opponent finally figures out what's going on and rushes backwards out of the box towards the back wall when his partner is serving and successfully takes the ball from back court. You stubbornly continue with your shot (now ineffective) until you see that your partner inadvertently gets trapped behind your cross court opponent against the back wall on the left, and is effectively blocked out of the rally.
  3. You respond by observing that your cross court opponent is getting so far back that you can now begin pinching the right side corner.
  4. This works at first, but then the opponent on your side changes his strategy to move to front and middle of the court to get the pinches, which works pretty well.
  5. You stubbornly keep trying the same (now ineffective) pinch attempt until you finally notice that the opponent on your side has now opened up an alley down the right side that you can hit down the line passes through.
  6. You spend the rest of the game cycling through the above variations depending on which position your opponents take.
Time to improve! Your goal is to get good at quickly discerning if cross court opponent is getting to back court so fast that you have a pinch available, and if yes, watching what the opponent on your side is covering, the pinch or down the line pass.

 

 

You're standing in MID COURT evenly spaced BETWEEN the two side walls

Both of your opponents are very close to front wall, both standing inside solid service lines. You are standing behind both opponents.

Don't try kill shots if they are not working; from this position opponents can easily re-kill any kill shot attempts that don't perfectly roll out.

  • New Shot! From this position, your hard Z drive often threads between the two players without them being able to touch it. Why? You're in the middle, so they have to spread wider apart, close to each side wall, so the ball has more room to go between them. Traveling between both opponents on the way to the front wall, ball hits front wall first, then left side wall before opponent on left (passes him on his right), goes past right side opponent behind him (ball passes him on his left) so ball passes between opponents on the way to back court, and dies before it hits the back wall. Doesn't have to be a set up for you to execute this. Also, the ball doesn't come right back at you, and the angle causes some confusion because the opponents aren't sure which of them should go for it.
  • Safe and effective shot: jam them with a floater to the chest Effectiveness of this shot: A
  • Hit a pass/jam drive against side wall to jam the opponent who gets trapped against the wall
  • Drive down the center of the court, in between them
  • Ceiling lob

Again, you're standing in mid court, but this time both of your opponents are standing on the dotted safety line

  • Pinch
  • Safe shot: ceiling ball to one of the corners Why not ceiling lob to the center? You're standing there and an opponent may want to short hop it and accidentally hit you with his racquet.
  • Jam opponent who is too close to the side wall. May not hit a winner on this, but possibly invoke a weak return.
  • Hit a controlled wide angle pass, one that doesn't bounce off back wall, against side wall that opponent closest to front wall is.

This time one of your opponents is standing behind the dotted safety line. Doesn't usually matter where the opponent on your side of the court is.

  • Pinch to the opposite side of the court that that opponent is on, but if other opponent is moving too far forward to cover it, pass him on the side that he leaves open.


You're still standing in mid court between the two side walls, but this time one of your opponents is standing in the service box anticipating your splat/pinch, while your other opponent is hanging back covering passes.

This is a common and effective position for your opponents to take.

  • Pinch to the side that the opponent that is closest to the front wall is on.
  • Smart shot: hit a defensive lob over the opponent who is closest to the front wall. Make him scramble to get all the way back to the back wall.
  • Hit a driving jam right at the opponent closest to the front wall (your cross court opponent), or chest high floater at his chest

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

 

from front court

shot selections from front court

You're receiving a set up shot in FRONT court along RIGHT side wall. Now you are always in front of both opponents.

General front court game plan

In general, whenever you're in front of both opponents and you're off to one of the sides, try and set up so that you can see both opponents, that is, if the ball is on the right side of the court, set up for a back hand if there's room, because that way you're facing both players (the most wide open court area), otherwise, if you set up for a forehand, you would be facing the side wall and couldn't see where the opponents were positioning themselves. Remember, they may be dynamically running up at the last minute and you need last minute awareness of where they are. If there's room for you between the ball and the wall, always set up to hit a pinch with your back towards the the closest side wall and watch which way your cross court opponent is leaning. You don't have to worry about the opponent on your side since he is blocked from coming too far forward by your body (you're not blocking his access to the ball though because when the ball's hit, its going away from you). If your cross court opponent comes towards the center to get the pinch, hit a wide angle pass around him. If he stays back, follow through with the pinch. If you have the angle, its prefereable set up for a reverse pinch since it dies further from both opponents, very close to the front wall. When opponents are in front of you, you can see them both so you don't have to set up facing any particular side. If you can't see your opponents when you're up front (because you're chasing the after the ball that's going towards the front wall), generally go for a reverse pinch, the holy grail of doubles shots. If they start correctly predicting and retrieving your reverse pinch, alternate your shots.

Both of your opponents are close to front wall. Your opponents are still behind you.

Don't try kill shots if they are not working; from this position opponents can easily re-kill any kill shot attempts that don't perfectly roll out. If your shot is not perfect, you are trapped in a compromised defensive zone too far up front.

  • In this situation, let's say that the ball is too close to the side wall so that you can't get in between in and the side wall and implement the technique above. If you're hitting a forehand and facing the right wall, FIRST set up to hit a hard down the line pass on the right side, look to see where your opponent is, THEN decide where to hit after you've seen which way he's leaning. If you see your opponent behind you next to the side wall, covering the down the line pass, hit the ball down the middle between both opponents. If you don't see him behind you, hit the hard down the line pass along the right side wall that you set up for. If he gets that return, and you are having a hard time seeing where he's standing, alternate your shots to include reverse pinches, wide angle passes, splats, down the middle drives, jam your cross court opponent, etc.
  • Effective shot: jam with hard drive at the center of your cross court opponent's body
  • Hit a pass/jam drive against left side wall to jam the opponent who gets trapped against the wall. This works best when both opponents are up front, because no one is left back to cover his passed partner.
  • Ceiling lob (away from your own body)

Again, you're standing front court along right side wall, but this time both of your opponents are standing on the dotted safety line behind you


This time your cross court opponent is standing behind the dotted safety line. Doesn't usually matter where the opponent on your side of the court is.

  • See general front court game plan

  • Splat or pinch on your side of the court, but if opponent in your side of the court is moving too far forward and way over to the left to cover it, pass him on the right.


You're still standing in front court along right side wall, but this time your cross court opponent is standing in the service box anticipating your splat to the right wall, while your opponent on your side is hanging way back covering V, wide angle, and straight in passes.

This is a common and effective position for your opponents to take.

  • See general front court game plan

  • New smart shot! Hit a dink/kill shot straight in to front wall, so that it comes back parallel to, and close to right side wall. This situation frequently occurs when you're serving, where the opponent on your side of the court returns your serve from way back court, and you can cut off his shot and return the straight in dink. Cool thing about this shot is that it doesn't matter where cross court opponent is positioned. Remember, the opponent on your side should be in back court. Effectiveness of this shot: A+
  • Reverse pinch. Effectiveness of this shot with opponent on your side hanging back: A+
  • Safe shot: hit a defensive lob over the opponent who is closest to the front wall. Make him scramble to get all the way back to the back wall.
  • Hit a driving jam right at the opponent closest to the front wall (your cross court opponent), or chest high floater at his chest

 

 

You're receiving a set up shot in FRONT court in the MIDDLE between the two side walls

Both of your opponents are close to front wall. You are in front of them.

Don't try kill shots if they are not working; from this position opponents can easily re-kill any kill shot attempts that don't perfectly roll out. If your shot is not perfect, you are trapped in a compromised defensive zone too far up front.

A problem with this position is that if you hit the ball down the center between them, you will be in the way or get hit by your own shot.

  • See general front court game plan

  • Safest and most effective shot: jam them with a floater to the chest. Effectiveness of this shot: A

  • Hit a pass/jam drive against left side wall to jam the opponent who gets trapped against the wall
  • Safe shot: Ceiling lob to one of the corners. Why not ceiling lob to the center? You're already standing there and opponent may want to short hop it and hit you with his racquet. Never hit a ball so that it comes back at your head at any stage of its flight.
  • High Z lob over opponents which dies along back wall court. Note: don't hit real hard as it may not stay close to back wall. Also, some talented opponents can short hop the ball as soon as it rises up from floor, a couple of feet from the side wall, and consistently roll it out, in which case, you should try something else.
  • Fancy, low percentage showoff shot: if opponents are close to the the side walls expecting a side wall pass, let the ball drop extremely low, wind up for a power pass/kill and and hit a rollout straight down center court where they are not expecting it. You must almost immediately leap over the ball that is rolling straight out towards you.

Again, you're standing in front court in evenly spaced between the two side walls, but this time both of your opponents are standing on the dotted safety line

  • See general front court game plan Safe shot: ceiling ball to one of the corners

  • Jam opponent who might be too close to the side wall. May not hit a winner on this, but possibly invoke a weak return.
  • Splat, pinch and kill are now possible

This time one of your opponents is standing behind the dotted safety line. Doesn't usually matter where the other opponent is.

  • See general front court game plan

  • Splat on opposite side of the court that the far away cross court opponent is standing, but if other opponent is moving too far forward or way over to cover it, pass him via his side wall.


You're still standing in front court evenly spaced between the two side walls, but this time one of your opponents is standing in the service box anticipating your pinch or kill shot, while the other opponent is hanging back covering passes.

This is a common and effective position for your opponents to take.

  • See general front court game plan
  • Pinch to the corner closest to the the opponent who is closest to the front wall so that the ball rolls away from him.
  • Smart shot: hit a defensive lob over the opponent who is closest to the front wall. Make him scramble to get all the way back to the back wall.
  • Hit a driving jam right at the opponent closest to the front wall or chest high floater at his chest
  • If you're thinking about hitting a pass around the opponent closest to the front wall, take into account the possibility that the other opponent is covering that. Try and control your pass so that it dies soon after passing him.

Wall paper lob serve

Some opponents can serve a wall paper serve so close to the wall that not much can be done besides sending it to the ceiling. You can't get enough of an angle on the ball to even hit it down the center, let alone a cross court pass. One possibility is to hit a spinning around the world. That is, hit the ball against the side wall its closest to, so that you're aiming for a spot roughly 5 feet before that side wall meets the front wall (spot on the wall that the ball hits will vary greatly depending on your position; sometimes ball will contact side wall much closer to you) so as to impart a very strong spin on the ball. Have the ball path angle upwards. The ball should then hit the front wall, opposite side wall, go over the head of and out of reach of your cross court opponent and come down spinning wildly behind your serving opponent's head against the side wall it started on, and die in back court. This works best when server opponent stays too far up front.

If there's room between the ball and the right wall, a better return is the high Z return. Wait for the ball just behind the dotted line. As soon as it bounces hit a high Z: front wall near left corner, left wall, zooms over opponent's (on right side) head, hits right side wall on the fly, then moves parallel and very close to back wall.

An even more effective shot is to short hop the ball, because you are so close to the front wall, you have many options. This requires a lot of practice, but once you get it, it can be executed at a very high sucess rate.. (1) You can hit it extremely hard down the line, very close to the right side wall (jump quickly out of your opponent's way, as you won't have much time to give him clear access to it) (2) splat it (3) cross court drive right at left sided opponent. Hit the ball after it bounces, on the way up, about an inch or two from the floor. A perfect lob serve however, will land very close to the short line, and end up a couple of feet above the floor no matter how fast you cross the dotted safety line. However, once you get good at short hopping the ball, you can still exercise most of the options above.

Cat and mouse game

My strategy usually ends up being a cat and mouse game with the opponent on the left side. If I get a set up in back, right court, the smart opponent on the left side pretends that he is staying back, safe from getting passed, and giving up the whole front left court. I then pretend that I believe him and I begin to fake setting up for a pinch on the right/front wall (pointing my feet and shoulders at the right side wall). This shot normally ends up in the front left side of the court. He reads me wrong and starts moving up to cover the pinch, and I pretend that I don't notice him moving forward, and I continue making my swing look like it's going to shoot a pinch/splat on the right side wall (that would end up in the front left side of the court), but I am watching him out of the corner of my eye. Once he crosses the dotted safety line I subtly switch my shot selection at the very last moment and hit a hard pass around him (ball hits sidewall a foot or two in front of him, goes around him and dies before his partner can get to it). This is difficult for my opponent on the left, because he knows that I can hit a splat almost every time I have a set up and there's not much he can do about it if he takes off for the front court too late. The advanced opponents hover in the gray area just between the two zones (pass or splat), ready for any possibility as much as possible, and try to double fake me out. The cat and mouse game becomes pretty elaborate.

Cross over strategy

During all of the jam and pass shots that your partner hits to the right side, you may sometimes get trapped behind the opponent that is chasing the shots, and you may be unable cover any of your opponent's shots to the front right side of the court. You're kind of trapped against the back wall. In this case you and your partner must cross over and switch positions. You should run behind and around to the left of your opponents so that you you are now on the left side of center court and your partner should quickly run over to the right side of the court, just to the left of and in in front of the shooting opponent. Often the opponent will see your partner from the corner of his eye and think that he has committed himself too far to the right and hit what he thinks is a passing shot to the left of your partner. But the shooting opponent often won't see you and will often hit the ball right to you, on the left side.

Once you and your partner have switched sides, you might as well stay on those sides until the rally is over, because you may leave an opening for your opponents when you're in the middle of changing back to your normal sides.

Also, when your partner successfully passes the opponent on your side, be ready to get out of the way of the opponent's partner who may be trying to get by you to cover his partner's ball.


Custom Search