| By Bill Longua

When playing doubles, there are many times we have to make the big decision—air or bounce. Do I hit it in the air or let it bounce? During the course of a point you can easily find yourself playing around the service line and this is generally when the decision comes up. You will let the ball bounce when at the baseline and hit the ball in the air when up at net. It is the in between area, at the service line, where problems may arise.

When playing from the service line forward, there is a basic rule that says: “Try to take the ball in the air whenever possible” and for the most part, I agree. But there are some times when bouncing will be more beneficial, especially if you are under a 4.0 in rating.

Too many times, players lose an easy point by trying to hit an overhead they cannot totally get under. If you are at the service line and the opponent has hit a horrible lob that is just coming over the net, do not try to do too much and lose the point. There is nothing wrong with letting the lob bounce, it will still go up high enough to hit an overhead for a winner. So, any overhead that is in front of you should be bounced if you cannot get under the ball in time.

The same is true with a weak oncoming ground stroke, if you try to move in and volley it in the air, the ball will be below the height of the net forcing a weak volley that will float upward to your opponents and leaving you in a vulnerable position. The option of letting that ball bounce is a good one, the ball will be above the net allowing you to hit an offensive ground stroke, just remember, the backswing must be short because you are inside the service line.

The common factors in both of these scenarios, is the lack of pace and depth of the oncoming shots. That lack of pace can lure you into a false sense of security thinking your next shot, overhead or volley, will be easy, when in fact if the foot work is not fast enough to get under the overhead or hit the volley above the net the result is usually a lost point. Play smart and bounce those balls to win the point.

Look for the review of my book, Winning Tennis Strokes, coming up in the next issue of Long Island Tennis Magazine. Go to http://onlinetennistraining.com/usopen for the Download sale.

Good luck ... have fun!

Bill Longua

<p>Bill Longua is the tennis director/head pro at Palm Island Resort in Cape Haze, Fla. Bill is a member of the USPTA, has been teaching tennis for more than 35 years, and is the author of Winning Tennis Strokes. Bill also enjoys teaching tennis on his Web site, <a href="http://onlinetennistraining.com" onclick="window.open(this.href,'httponlinetennistrainingcom','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false">http://onlinetennistraining.com</a>. Please check out Brent&rsquo;s Shearer&rsquo;s Literary Corner for his review of <em>Winning Tennis Strokes</em>. Take advantage of the download version sale by going to <a href="http://onlinetennistraining.com/usopen" onclick="window.open(this.href,'httponlinetennistrainingcomusopen','resizable=no,location=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=no,status=no,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false">http://onlinetennistraining.com/usopen</a>. He may be reached at <a href="mailto:bill@onlinetennistraining.com">bill@onlinetennistraining.com</a>.</p>