When Backing Up is Not Backing Off

Many club/recreational players have the mistaken notion that backing up is a sign of weakness. Not so!

I have seen a variety of instances when the wise thing to do is back up to defend yourself or to stage an offense from a different part of the court. Throughout the course of our tennis journey, I’ll give you numerous instances of “When backing up is not backing off.”

For now though, let me give you an idea to consider – it’s the little dance called THE DECADE 1,2 STEP.  And here is how it goes; for every DECADE that you’ve played tennis, you ought to stand one or two steps away from the net when your partner is serving.

I have subscribed to this court transformation in all my years of doubles play.

During my college days, when my reflexes were razor sharp, when my twenty-something opponents did not know how to spell the word lob, it was more about who could conquer the net first. The closer the better.

In my fifties, with my reaction time dimmed, and the lob now a part of the staple of shots for the fifty-something, and my partners who just don’t make it to the net as they once did, and with poaching more selective, playing farther back still allows me a healthy level of aggressiveness at the net. In a later post, I’ll go into the ways that you, in fact, can be more aggressive standing farther back than when you first began playing doubles.

What changes have you made on the tennis court to allow for the effects of aging, for the variety of playing styles, and the different levels of play?

Evolve, adapt, and you’ll be able to play great tennis well into your golden years!

Have fun and see you on the courts!


By | 2015-04-25T14:53:20+00:00 March 31st, 2015|Categories: Doubles, Mindset|3 Comments

About the Author:

Jose Benjumea is a certified PTR Tennis Professional who has been teaching the game since 1974, mostly in Virginia Beach. Jose graduated from Old Dominion University, where he played on the tennis team.


  1. Cindy Houck April 22, 2015 at 12:59 am - Reply

    Great website! Found it all informative & entertaining. Thanks for the pointers

  2. Theresa Chick April 22, 2015 at 3:14 am - Reply

    Great to have your words of wisdom in writing. Looking forward to more lessons from you soon

    • Jose Benjumea April 23, 2015 at 2:43 am - Reply

      Thanks Theresa,

      Me too, I’m eager to see you again!

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