Own the Middle: Win More Points and Be a Strong Doubles Player

By Kavan Hahn, Tennis Professional USPTA

The questions are always running through your head, “But what if I miss? What if I don’t put the ball away? It’s my backhand volley, shouldn’t I let my partner get it?” There are so many excuses to stand at the net and watch as the ball floats over the middle, but if you want to become an impactful doubles player, you need to make the decision to start taking charge at the net.

Take Notes from the Pros

When watching professional doubles, notice how most of the winners that are hit come from the volleyer moving across the middle of the net and sticking their volley at the feet of the opposing net player. Also notice how many times a player is putting a ball away by positioning themselves over the center net strap. Too often I see net players at Greenwood hugging the singles sideline or standing too close to the service line instead of getting in close and more centered in the service box looking to make something happen. When you’re at the net, you are the one that is supposed to be putting balls away. If you’re standing in the alley or standing on the service line you are not impacting play. Understand that the alley is the lowest percentage shot for your opponent to hit, so you should actually tempt your opponent to hit that shot. Realize that the majority of balls hit in a rally will be crossing over the middle of the net because that is the highest percentage shot. Use this knowledge to encourage yourself to look to pick that ball off.

How do you accomplish this?

One, make yourself imposing by moving closer to the net and standing in the middle of the service box widthwise. Two, expect that the majority of balls will cross the middle of the net. Anticipating this shot will allow you to react quicker when the ball does come your way. Three, preplan where you will direct your volley before you even make your move. Remember, an effective target is at the opposing net player’s feet.

Decide today to put those doubts and hesitations away and I know that you will have more fun and win more points by being aggressive and owning the middle of the court.


Kavan Hahn club greenwood tennis proKavan Hahn

Tennis Professional

Kavan has an extensive teaching background. He is a Colorado native and taught for nine years starting at the Fox Hill Country Club, then the Boulder Country Club. Kavan then moved on to become the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s teams at Wofford College in South Carolina for two years. Prior to teaching at Greenwood, he was the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Kavan played his college tennis at Azusa Pacific where he was a First Team All-American. Kavan has been on our staff since 2006.

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