First, you must find a partner that compliments your style. Not sure where to start? Begin by analyzing your style of play. Do you hit with pace or are you more reserved? Is your forehand stronger than your backhand? Do you prefer the net or the baseline? After you figure out what kind of player you are, find a partner who compliments your strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t feel as confident in your backhand, find a player who feels comfortable playing on the ad-side. If you are a player who likes to rally, find a partner who can put away balls at the net. Partners that are too similar, such as both liking to put away the ball, find themselves making more mistakes. Once you find your perfect partner, you’re ready to combine your strengths and dominate.
Once you begin playing matches, you and your partner must find a perfect balance. Ask yourself, what is my role as the receiver’s partner? Be sure to be alert. You are in the hot seat. You don’t have much time to react, so square up to the opposing net player and get ready.
When you are receiving, be sure to aim deep at the server’s feet when you return. Hit deep so the opponent’s weak shot sets up your partner to put it away.
Now, consider the mental aspect of the doubles game. It is critical to stay positive when partners start to get down on themselves. A great team is able to deal with adversity. How a team talks, stays positive, and problem solves can demonstrate their perseverance. The worst thing that a team can do when they begin to make a lot of errors is to stop communicating. Doubles professionals that always talk and make adjustments find themselves improving and gaining confidence. If things aren’t going your way, crack a joke! Try to remember that the most important aspect of tennis is having fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself out on the court, what is the point? Jokes can lighten the mood and help you relax.
The key to successful doubles teams can be described in three parts- consistency, communication, and attack. Once you and your partner have mastered all three components, you are ready to become a highly competitive and successful team.
About the Author:
Gino Carosella is the Director of Adult Programs at the Nassau Tennis Club in Skillman, NJ.