Other Sports/platform tennis
When we first started platform tennis in Ocean Pines most of the players came to net after serving, taking the net was the goal of most players, that was where the high percentage was. Since then things have changed. Most of our players, I’d guess at least 80-85 %, stay at the baseline after serving. Also, the defenders rarely take advantage of the situation to take over the net when the server stays back. One excuse I hear is that our players (still about 100 or so) are older, another is that they’re out to have fun so let them ignore the teaching they received.
It’s very frustrating for players who want to play the “correct way”, the way they see taught on Paddle site videos. Last summer a teaching pro spent some time here and galvanized some of the members. A brief flurry of activity looked promising- clinics attracted some members for awhile, but numbers quickly dwindled (no one showed up at further clinics). As soon as one of these born-again players went back to playing with their non-inspired friends, they got discouraged.
Now I finally get to my question. Is our situation a common one? If not, how does this “culture” get changed? Should the 10-15% of our players just isolate themselves and play among themselves? I certainly hope not.
Been awhile! Hope all is well and glad to see you're still enjoying your paddle. I always enjoy answering your questions, and this is a good one, and timely.
My below introduction to this topic is not really relevant to your specific situation, but it might give you some perspective and be interesting to you as well.
I recently played in the finals of the NJ League Classic Tournament (link here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll375YuPZ10
), in some of this footage you can see that my partner DOES NOT come to the net on his serve. Similarly, during the most recent men's Nationals, in the finals no less, Drew Broderick serves and stays back as well. And wins the nationals! It's getting harder and harder to describe (or teach) the "right" way to play paddle anymore. Back in the day, when the balls were less bouncy, the screens less tight, the paddles less powerful; being at the net had a significant advantage to the net players. That is no longer the case! More and more tennis "converts" entering the sport have changed the pace of the game, they hit offense from both sides and can win points outright from the baseline. Being at the net these days can be much more defense than offense. It's historically been the other way around.
To address your question: Your situation is not uncommon on the face of it, but probably the percentages I see are the inverse of what you're experiencing (15% stay back). However, none of those 15% should (or do) remain in the back court should the opponent choose not to take advantage of the net following the serve. The main (valid) reason a server will stay back is to avoid making a critical (and consistent) first volley mistake from an opponent with a crushing return of serve. The thought process is that you simply can't afford to give up points that easily in this game and still be successful. That being said, in almost all cases it is still an advantage to be at the net in this game, so given the opportunity either team should be making a good effort to get to the net as soon as they can.
Now, you can't force people to come to the net, and if you don't like playing paddle with all 4 players at the base-line (I don't think I'd like that either), then you can try to inform them on the merits of being at the net. At the level you're describing, here are those merits: 1. greater control of the point. 2. More likely to win the point (%'s are in net players favor). 3. Better angles and more opportunity for outright winners. 4. Can't hit the "ding" (crease) from the baseline. 5. High margin for error when hitting the ball from the net. It sounds like they've heard it all before and still choose to stay back. In that case, as I do, play with the people that have the greatest positive impact on YOUR game, both in terms of fun and for helping you increase your skills. Unfortunately, that might mean the 10-15% group...
Good luck and all the best.