There's one mistake that I have made over and over while trying to set up a shake and bake, and it involves my drive technique.
One of my favorite partners of all time is a gent named Rob. He is elite at the 'bake' portion of the shake and bake. Dude should be churning out baguettes in Paris.
As a team, we chose to fully embrace the drive and crash strategy for most points. The mistake that I made far too often was incorrectly trying to accommodate Rob.
I would drive cross-court so that he could crash straight ahead. This is wrong for two reasons:
- Driving cross-court is generally less effective because the ball has to travel a greater distance and allows for more reaction time.
- It also limits where Rob can move when he crashes. He must cover his line, so he does not have as much freedom to be aggressive.
Here is what the play should actually look like:
Instead, I should have been driving down the line to the opponent straight ahead. This would greatly reduce their reaction time and limit where they are able to play their next shot.
With Rob crashing at an angle, they're likely to skip the cross court dink/block and try to return the ball to me down the line. Since Rob knows this is their best option, he can crash even harder.
If a ball is left even remotely high, he is there to clean it up with a powerful 5th shot slam.
Being a polite partner can be different than what you originally thought. Test out different strategies to see what works best for you.