Playing against stackers is becoming more and more common at all levels. So I’ve been to address strategies to use against stackers.
I’ve written about why people stack. It is a technique often used when you have one left and one right-handed team member. It may also be used, simply because a player prefers a particular side of the court….or to give their opponents a different look. Nancy wrote last week about stacking basics. If you have any questions about stacking rules or how to keep track of where you are “supposed to be”, you’ll want to take some time to read those posts.
Keep Them Thinking
I might decide to start stacking in the middle of a game…I might simply want to give my opponents a different look….or, something to think about. Often the other team will think, “Why are they doing that now?” Or, “What new strategy do they hope to exploit.” The fact is, when my opponent is thinking about where I am and what I am doing, they aren’t thinking about what they are doing.
Watching Me vs. Watching the Ball
I also know, that when my opponent is watching me, he or she is not watching the ball. We see examples of this when a player makes a sudden move and their opponent hits an easy ball out. Instead of focusing on the ball, they were looking at the other player. Often times, the player’s movement will cause them to change their mind mid-swing. That’s a sure way to make a mistake!
The most important thing to remember when your opponents are stacking is to play the ball. Yes, we want to recognize where a player is, especially if we have decided to isolate a specific player. Of course, we may need to adjust our target. But don’t dwell too long on what your opponent might do or why.
Your number one objective must be to focus on what you want to do. I’ve written before about having a strategy and sticking to a plan. This is not the time to get “squirrelly”.
Using Your Serve
If you are serving to a team that’s stacking, use the serve to your advantage. One strategy is to insure your serve is deep. Imagine pushing them deeper, making them have to travel across more court to get to their assigned spot.
Or consider a short angled serve toward the partner that is standing off the court. You aren’t trying to hit an ace, but rather you hope to cause them to scramble a bit. Sometimes you can catch them not being ready for the next shot and you will be able to pass them in the open court after a good serve.
Remember stacking is just another look in the game and it doesn’t have to make you change anything if you don’t want to. Sometimes people stack just to confuse their opponents and sometimes it works. Stay focused. Stick to your strategy. Look at the ball. It may be you don’t need to change your plans, and you certainly don’t want to change them on a whim.
If your opponents sudden changes really effect you, take a time out. Talk it over with your partner. Re-focus and give yourself the best opportunity to win when you are playing against stackers.