Doubles Talk

My partner makes a lot of volley errors causing us to lose service games?

Did you know that if you serve wide there is a higher probability that the return will be wide, mid court and back to the server. If as the server you would prefer to have the return hit back to you rather than have your partner try and volley; serve mid pace and wide.

My opponents like to lob incessantly. What can we do?

Lobs are easiest to hit from the baseline. A lob can only be successful if an overhead cannot be hit off it. Play both up just inside the service line to reduce the lobbers target area and increase the overhead opportunities. Hit short balls so your lobbing opponents have to move up making them play from a position they are less comfortable in.

I play with one partner and we lose points down the middle of the court all the time. I am to the point I’d rather play with someone else.

Before giving up, explain to your partner that 80% of balls hit in doubles travel through the middle of the court. Psychologically, your partner may be so worried about your reaction to them getting passed that they are covering the statistically wrong area of the court. In your next set, offer to give them a quarter, for every time they are passed for a winner when as a team you are both up. You won’t go broke and may save your partnership.

In 2017, look for our doubles strategy clinics throughout the season.

Doubles mantra – “Deep to deep and short to short”

When playing club level doubles we often see one player up and one player back on both teams. If you experience this then keep in mind that the deep player should always hit to the deeper opponent. If the short player is given the ball then they want to hit it at the opponent closer to the net.

Deep to deep and short to short

A common mistake made is hitting from the baseline to the opponent’s net player. This is often a fatal mistake resulting in the loss of the point.

Why Self Rating is Hard

Why is it so tough for players to rate themselves according to the NTRP rating system?

I would argue that recreational players find it hard to rate themselves due to the following:

  • skill level varies day by day
  • variability between various stroke ( 4.0 serve, 4.5 forehand, 3.0 overhead, etc)
  • lack ability to vary tactics according to opposition
  • preference for doubles versus singles (4.0 doubles and 3.5 singles)
  • people tend to over or under rate themselves based on their current mood and confidence level

All of these variables create a continuum of overall ability. What really counts is the ability to quickly size up an opponent and locate weaknesses so as to achieve tennis success.

Just as important is the ability to try and “hide” ones own weaknesses.

This explains why people find it hard to play a left hander for example. The skilled left hander will try and set up cross court exchanges between their forehand and their opponents backhand whenever possible. Typically the forehand gives the advantage to left hander. The ability to do this consistently may actually raise a persons rating.

By effectively playing against an opponents weakest strokes a 4.0 player can effectively play a 3.0 player most of the time, or at key points in the match.

Please keep this in mind the next time you take to the courts.

Tips for Winning Doubles Play

Tips for Winning Doubles

  • Look for attacking opportunities – be patient.
  • Identify opponent weaknesses – don’t play to their strengths
  • Communicate with your partner between every point
  • Develop a deep lob to defend with
  • Rely on 1st service placement rather than power
  • Protect the middle and force opponents to hit lower percentage shots wide
  • Develop a 1/2 volley so as to transition forward beyond the service line