Art of Doubles – “Teamwork”

Here are 10 ways to be more successful with your partner as a team.

  1. Establish a plan with your partner. Establish a plan with contingency options with your partner. Maintain the game plan specifically as it relates to your role (i.e. serve and volley on your first serve, lob at least one return per game, etc.).
  2. Talk to your partner. Take time to communicate with your partner (particularly during the changeovers). Discuss strategy and tactics, what’s working, what’s not working, where to hit to serve or return, etc. Provide verbal cues to your partner during point play (up, back, mine, yours, short, bounce, etc.).
  3. Support your partner. Support your partner emotionally and psychologically. Be supportive and encouraging with your partner. Help lift the spirits of your partner. Don’t wince, drop your shoulders or roll your eyes if your partner makes a mistake or error. Support your partner by being aggressive at the net (particularly when your partner is struggling), finishing the point when you are in command and in a position to finish the point, extending the point by getting one more ball back in play when in a position of defense, etc.
  4. Work together in position with your partner. Look to work up and back with your partner. Shift with your partner as he/she is drawn left or right (as if you are connected by an invisible rope). Drop back when your partner is pressed too close against the net. Switch positions when your partner covers a ball in front or behind you.
  5. Hit your service targets. Hit the targets as signaled by your partner or as established in prior consultation with your partner. Your partner is in a better position to respond to the return if he or she knows in advance where you are planning to hit the serve (out wide, at the body or down the middle).
  6. Hit your return targets (as established in advance with your partner) for a positive start to each point.
  7. Get your first serve in play. Provide a better opportunity to engage your partner and apply pressure on your opponents by getting your first serve in play.
  8. Protect (and take command of) the middle of the court. Let nothing get by you down the middle of the court. Crowd the center and make your opponents beat you out wide with lower percentage shots. Drift towards the middle of the court to cut off the next shot when your partner hits a strong serve, hits a serve down the middle or hits a low, difficult-to-return chip or drive.
  9. Impose your will and presence as a team by initiating crossing and closing patterns (particularly when positioned at the net). You want to be dynamic in your positioning, constantly adjusting, refining and maneuvering your positions on the court to maximize court coverage and ultimately to get in a position to finish the point together at the net.
  10. Have fun and do your part to make things fun for your partner.

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