As the server’s partner in doubles, it’s your job to seek and destroy any floating returns that are coughed-up by your opponents. The net player always has priority to cross to his partner’s half of the net to pick off weak returns.
Net players can actually create fluttery returns by constantly diverting the returner’s attention. This is done by actively hunting while playing the net; poach, or fake a poach every time your opponents play a less-than-aggressive return.
Don’t just stand there like a bump on a log. Standing still in your ready position is not good enough. That simply allows the returner to groove successful returns uninterupted.
Your aggressive hunting induces mishits and causes errors. This of course helps your team significantly. So do your job, be the kind of net player you hate to play against.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.