#19 Home Base

Your Home Base is where you start – but typically not where you make contact.

Starting in the right position is important. Now go get the ball.

This is a key concept more for the front two players on the court. Neither of them start right in the middle of the court where all the action is, except possibly the server’s partner can crouch down in the middle of the court in an “I” formation when their partner is serving.

Starting in the right spot is very important as it can visually effect where your opponents will want to hit the ball.

The reality of doubles is that you will have to go and get the ball at the front of the court much more than it will be delivered straight to you.

Where you start from is your Home Base. Now go hunt the ball. 

When I am coaching doubles I make sure to let the net players know that where they start the point is called a”Home Base.” They can return to if needed, but they must venture from that initial starting position to be really effective. This rings true at all levels of the game.

Server’s Partner – Leaving Home Base

Returner’s Partner – Leaving Home Base

It is so important to realize that where you begin the point is not where you want to end the point. Where you begin the point simply gets the party started. Let’s face it, you have got to begin somewhere! The Home Base is important to initially cover the angles and be correctly positioned in the court to start.

There will obviously be some points that you don’t venture too far away from Home Base during the point, and other points will surely develop where the ball will find it’s way straight to you. But these two scenarios are not the majority.

Home Base is where you start. Now go and find the ball. Hint – it’s in the middle of the court.

Strategy Drills

1. Playing

Name: Home Base Playing

Objective – Use sidewalk chalk to draw a small circle on the court around where the two net players stand to begin the point. The server’s partner will start in the middle of the service box and the returner’s partner slightly behind the service line, more towards the middle of the court than the alley.

  • Play a set.
  • The net players check at the end of every point where they finished relative to where they started. While all points don’t demand a lot of movement, most do. The two net players need to learn how successful they are at leaving home base to get to the ball.

Variations – Use the sidewalk chalk to make a small mark on the court where the player is standing when the point ends. Over the set, a pattern hopefully emerges showing good pressure on the middle of the court.

Name: Home Base Feeding

Objective – To encourage the net players to finish at a different location than they started.

  • Both teams stand where they would normally stand to begin a point.
  • The feed is hit as a substitute for the return of serve.
  • At the end of the point, the players “freeze” and evaluate where they are standing at the end of the point versus the Home Base position at the beginning of the point.

Variations – You can award two points if the net player finishes the point standing on the opposite side of the center line than they started.

Go Do This

Where you stand starting a point is not necessarily where you want to be at the end of the point.

Home Base is a place to launch all of your attacks from.

Home Base provides an ideal location to create an ambush – suddenly intercepting the ball at the net.

You can come back to the Home Base if needed. Then reset and attack again.