The first 5 shots in doubles


There is an PhD study (in Ger­man) on the first 5 in int’l doubles finals from the 1990s , the can­di­date ana­ly­sed over 40+ unique 5-​​shot-​​sequences and has publis­hed an inte­rac­tive CD-​​ROM. Based on his fin­dings and com­bi­ned with “game theory”, the sequence is A-​​B-​​A-​​B-​​A (with A the ser­ver, B the recei­ver) and must be thought by backward induc­tion, or from the last shot to the first (5−4−3−2−1), not from the first to the last (1−2−3−4−5). So, this 5−4−3−2−1 goes like this:

(Hope this helps. Don’t be con­fused, read it twice. It’s a forward thin­king and backward deci­sion making after all (dif­ficult even for gra­duate and PhD stu­dents). Any sug­ges­tions or cor­rec­tions are very welcomed.)

A (5th shot)

The orgi­nal ser­ver plays a smash or a drop in his 5th shot, if this situa­tion hap­pens, the rally progres­ses into and con­ti­nues as the clas­sic attack/​defense phase of smash/​high defense. By this time, the shuttle has cros­sed the net mul­tiple times. The ori­gi­nal ser­ver only can ini­tiate this attack/​defense phase in the 5th or in the 3rd shot; the 3rd shot deter­mi­nes the like­li­hood of the attack in the 5th shot, in other words: screw you, if the oppo­nent can smash before you can.

B (4th shot)

The ori­gi­nal recei­ver has the fourth shot and eit­her plays the defen­sive clear/​lob or an aggres­sive smash/​drop, depen­ding on the 3rd shot. The rally progres­ses into the clas­sic attack/​defense phase from now on. What hap­pens from now on, depends on the 3rd shot.

A (3rd shot – the return to the return)

This seems to be the most impor­tant shot in the whole sequence, the recei­ver wants to deter­mine this 3rd shot by the return while the ser­ver wants to deter­mine this shot by his ori­gi­nal serve. Eve­ryt­hing aggres­sive like pus­hes and drops inc­rea­ses the like­li­hood of a defen­sive shot by the oppo­nent, thus gai­ning the attack with the 5th shot. Loo­sing it, howe­ver, implies not­hing worse than having to lift the shutt­lecock as a return to the return, invi­ting a smash in the 4th. Whet­her you, the ori­gi­nal recei­ver and hit­ter of the 3rd shot, can play aggres­si­vely depends on the 2nd shot and 1st shot.

B (2nd shot – the return)

Pus­hing and kil­ling account for 60% of returns, if shortly ser­ved, not neces­sa­rilly pro­hi­bi­ting aggres­sive play in the 3rd shot, but all attempts have this pur­pose: preemp­tion of the attack and gai­ning the attack for your­self. the remai­ning 40% of shots goes to drop­ping and dri­ving and almost never to lif­ting. If, howe­ver, ser­ver plays a flick, there is a 80% chance of a smas­hing return, thus abso­lu­tely pro­hi­bi­ting the ser­ver to gain the attack in the 3rd and having gai­ned it to your­self by the gra­ti­tude of the badly cho­sen serve. If smash, the ori­gi­nal ser­ver already has lost the attack. Thus, the con­sequence of a flick serve equi­va­lent to loo­sing the attack early on—good for the recei­ver. Drops and clears are the alter­na­ti­ves played 20 in 100 returns to a flick in int’l finals. Wha­te­ver the serve, the recei­ver usually plays aggres­sive accor­ding to situa­tion: kil­ling and pus­hing is highly recom­men­ded as a return. The catch word here: pre-​​emption.

A (1st shot – the serve)

The short serve ver­sus the flick usually can be seen in 80/​20 pro­por­tions, vir­tually no one does the drive serve. You stand ready eit­her for a short serve or a flic­king serve. You play a short serve 80 in 100 times. Why? You, your­self, want to pre-​​empt the pre-​​emption of the recei­ver, making it dif­ficult to kill effec­ti­vely, thus dec­rea­sing the like­li­hood of a bad chance in the 3rd to deter­mine the 4th and 5th shot as you wish.

All this hap­pens wit­hin less than two, three seconds.

Here is a typical thing you’re likely to see when FHF/​CY play LYD/​JJS, or any other doubles match, in forward progres­sion (12345): In favor of the ori­gi­nal ser­ver: Short serve. Unsuccess­ful kil­ling attempt. Push-​​drive return to the return. Shuttle too low for the rear player thus having to clear it. Exploi­ta­tion of the gai­ned attack by smas­hing and drop­ping. In favor of the ori­gi­nal recei­ver: Short serve. Kill and push attempt. Shuttle too low to push, drop impos­sible for net is cove­red, thus being forced to lift/​clear. Ori­gi­nal recei­ver exploits the gai­ned attack and smashes.

Source: http://​www​.bad​min​toncent​ral​.com/​b​c​/​2​0​1​4​/​0​2​/​1​8​/​t​h​e​-​f​i​r​s​t​-​5​-​s​h​o​t​s​-​i​n​-​d​o​u​b​l​es/