Following some of these fundamental doubles teammate strategies will help you achieve more as a doubles player and team. Here are 4 of the most basic rules in doubles that teams and players violate regularly:
Never, never, never, blame your partner for ANYTHING that happens on the court, before or after the match. Encourage and support your partner, especially when she makes a mistake. Trust that your partner wants to win as much as you do, so any mistakes she makes are inadvertent. Scolding or correcting (unless asked) will only make her more nervous, resulting in further errors.
CALL FOR THE BALL!!! Yes, you’ve heard a pro yell it a thousand times, but when the ball goes down the middle, call for the ball. I was cured of this when I played in the Virgin Islands Championships. In the middle of the first set, my racket collided with my partner’s lip. We had to default the match and his mother was very unhappy with me. From then on I got pretty good at calling for the ball. If it helps, remember my story as a cautionary tale and CALL FOR THE BALL!!!
Aim deep and down the middle. This shot is effective for several reasons: You eliminate 1 of the 3 ways you can miss, therefore immediately decreasing your chances of making an error by 33%. The net is lower in the middle of the court. Finally, people get confused because they don’t follow Rule #2: CALL FOR THE BALL!!!
Follow the ball. Keep the same distance between you and your partner at all times while moving as a team to whichever side of the court the ball is on. Pretend there is a rod between you and your partner so you move as a team. If the ball goes to the deuce court, shift to the ad side, if it goes ad, shift to the deuce court. This cuts the angles, so your opponents will have a harder time getting the ball away from your team.
Follow these fundamental doubles rules and you’ll be hoisting the club championship trophy in 2015!
Couples came out this year for our annual mixed doubles valentine’s day tournament social. We had all six courts rocking with fun players mixing it up in our Hugs (7.0+) and Kisses (7.0-) divisions.
The whole Valentine’s Day gang at the Mcc Tennis Desk.
Lori, Marshall, Libby, & Tony
Teams played four rounds of round robin tennis, with six no-ad games per round. In the end, there was a three-way tie (get your mind out of the gutter) in the Kisses division. The players were so excited that they set up matches for the following weekend to decide the winner. In the Hugs category, Sheelagh and Marv edged out Brandon and Danielle for the “title.” In the end, the scores mattered little and most players did not even ask who won as this was a fun, social event with many players making new Mcc friends on the tennis court.
The Marina City Club has now run junior play days for four years running with three to four of these low cost events that allow our junior tennis players to meet other juniors and learn the benefits of the sport of a lifetime. The latest junior play day had all three of our resident pros coaching different levels and ages.
Junior Tennis Play Day
In the Under 8 group, we only had one student, Maddie. For $5, Maddie enjoyed an hour long introduction to tennis by the wonderful Georgie Dinham. Using the red balls, which are designed for a 36′ court and bounces at 25% of a regular tennis ball, Maddie was able to start making contact in her strike zone on her very first trip to the tennis courts!
In the 9-11 age group, we had 6 players on court 5 using the orange balls. These balls are for a 60′ court and bounce at 50% of a regular ball. We played various doubles and triples games to ten points, with the kids working on strokes and sportsmanship throughout.
In addition, Gene brought some of the 9-11 players onto court 6 to play singles against each other. They learned how to keep score and the basic rules of a regular tennis match. Getting the serves in and learning that love means nothing to a tennis player were the biggest challenges of the day, but eventually everyone understood how a singles match works.
You want to become lightening on the tennis court? I’m not just talking movement, but strokes and focus. There is a simple (I didn’t say easy) way for almost any recreational player to quickly improve their game: take the lightening stance before you react to every shot, particularly the return of serve. This entails bending your knees so they are over your toes, as if you are about to execute a squat. Throw you rear end back so it feels as if you are about to sit on a stool. Keep a straight torso with a slightly forward angle from you waist. Get your feet wider than your shoulders and stay on the balls of your feet.
This is the zig-zag shape we associate with lightening in drawings and it is the key to powerful reaction on the tennis court. Watch the best returners in tennis get ready and they are low, usually shifting their weight from side to side to prepare their core muscles to engage and produce a winning return. They continue to keep this wide stance going throughout the point as you recover from shots and prepare to move again. The lower center of gravity will create amazing, explosive movement and an intense feeling of balance. If done consistently, you will see improvement in the pace and depth of your shots with less effort from your arms and shoulders because you are now engaging the larger core muscles to hit the ball from the ground up.
Good luck, and remember: look like lightening, play like thunder!
As 2015 begins, this is a good time to review your tennis year. Consider where you started the year and where you ended. Are your strokes better, worse or the same? Are you physically stronger, weaker, or the same? Is your movement better or worse? What about your attitude / mental approach? Most of the time, these areas of your game can be improved, but you need to have a starting point to recognize the improvement. Sometimes, one of these areas is far more developed than the others, in which case, you might want to work on getting your weaker areas caught up to your strengths. For example, if you are a great mover, but all you do is bunt the ball back when you get there, perhaps you would consider spending less time on movement in 2015, and more time improving your power either by getting equipment that creates power for you, working on your core conditioning, or generating more racket-head speed. Pick one of these things (they sometimes overlap as you may need a stronger core to generate more racket-head speed) that will seal up a hole in your game over the next year, then you are more likely to see improvement when you review 2015 next December. If you do not consider these things, then realize that you might be spending time on the same things and in the end not getting much bang for your efforts.
You might also pick a particular stroke or decide that you need to drill more on the ball machine. In that case, set a goal for how many balls you want to hit out of the ball machine over the next year versus how many matches you play. Some players have the opposite problem: all they do is drill and they are terrified of playing matches. Then set a goal for playing a certain number of matches over the next year to give yourself a chance to get used to dealing with the completely different mental stresses that matches put on a player no matter how good their strokes are. Whatever you decide, make the goal realistic that way you are likely to feel successful and might even discover you like doing the previously scary activity. I would love to hear some of your goals and progress through the year, so please feel free to email me at email@example.com with any stories and plans for your tennis game in 2015. I will even share them on our Facebook page if you say it’s okay. Good luck and see you on the courts in 2015!