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Are you struggling to get the results you’re after in your doubles matches? Are you feeling lost at the net? All at sea on the poach? Are you a beginner or intermediate tennis player looking for better results in doubles? Don’t stress – we’ve got some super simple tips you can utilise ASAP. Let’s look at 3 easy strategies you can implement into your next match to help you become a better doubles player.
TALK TO YOUR PARTNER
It can sometimes not be beneficial to copy exactly what the professionals do, but in this case – look to the pro’s! What do the good doubles teams on the ATP & WTA tour’s do EVERY. SINGLE. POINT? They communicate! They’re talking serve placement, where they’re going to stand, strategies for winning the next point etc. In addition to that, they’re congregating after every point and every change of ends to talk/high 5. This may seem like a chore and a little awkward if you are playing with someone you don’t know. But, hey! You’re there to win, right?
Don’t fall into the trap of creating an island between you and your partner. This tends to happen a lot with beginner and intermediate players who are playing with each other for the first time, or don’t play together often. You’re a team, for better or worse. So force the issue! Talk to your partner about their strengths and weaknesses, favourite weapon etc. Chat between each point as a bare minimum, and look to high 5 between each point if you can. It sounds simple & rudimentary, but this creates a bond between you and your partner and you will start to form a relationship that yields results.
DOMINATE THE NET
The majority of points in doubles are won at the net. It’s that simple. One of the easiest strategies to implement is moving forward to the net. As long as you and your partner are solid volleyers, look to be the first ones to both move up to the net (within reason). Maintaining control of the net by both being there is a fantastic way to put pressure on your opponents and draw errors out of them.
Remember, at the beginner & intermediate level, players are more error prone and pressure is a key way to force errors. Practice moving forward off your serve and off any ball that lands short inside the service line. Obviously moving forward creates risk, but be willing to try stepping up to the net and being the first team to take the ball out of the air. Remember, doubles points are short and you need to take risks in order to get the rewards.
POACH AS THE STRONGER PLAYER
This ties in with our first and second tip – communicate with your teammate and ascertain whether one of you is a stronger player and/or volleyer. If that’s the case, use it to your advantage! For example, if you are struggling to hold serve on the deuce side because you keep getting out-rallied in a crosscourt battle – get your partner to poach that crosscourt ball! Similarly, if your partner is struggling to hold serve and you’re good at the net, look to poach ASAP once they get their serve in to give your team a more likely shot at winning the point. Poaching after the serve also helps break up the rhythm of the returner, leading to more errors on return.
Try implementing these simple strategies in your next doubles match and start to yield the rewards – Vamos!