The Run-Through Poach
Every now and then you see a situation in which a high ball is coming to your partner, but your partner isn’t ready, being too far back. If you are right-handed, this is usually when you are on the left side of the court. In less experienced play, this can happen at any time. In higher-level play this most often happens when a shot, generally the third shot, is expected to land in the kitchen, but is accidentally too high or too long. The ball can be coming way to your right so it is almost going to land on a sideline. In fact, your response will be more spectacular the closer to the sideline it is. You run all the way across the court, smashing it hard back to your opponents, and then because of your momentum, you continue, running past the right sideline. You will not be able to return in time to defend this shot, so it needs to be a kill shot. Anything less definitive will cause you embarrassment, so don’t take the chance unless you know you’ve got a winner. If your partner is particularly aware, s/he will yell ‘switch,’ and run to cover the side of the court you have just abandoned, in case your ‘kill’ shot comes back. This does require awareness of your partner’s movement (or lack of movement) to avoid a dangerous collision.