Gene’s Tip of the Month: Support Your Partner Before, During, and After the Match!

Doubles is won by a team.  Tennis players by nature are individualists.  Doubles gives you the best of both worlds:  a team where you compose half the team!  You still have a huge impact on the outcome of the match, but you get to high five and work on strategy with someone else.  However, the downside with having a partner is the urge to blame your teammate(s).  Before the match, talk to your partner about your tactics and strategy.  Make sure your partner feels included in the development of your strategy.  During the match, continue encouraging your partner to relax and go for her shots.  Do NOT give instruction or tell her what to do unless your partner asks for specific advice.  Acting like you know better will only make her tighten up even more.  Again, make everything about “us as a team” staying loose and executing our strategy that we worked out together.  After a losing match comes the most crucial test of your character as a partner.  “Passing the buck” is very alluring because it takes the pressure and embarrassment of losing off of you.  Please, please resist this urge.  It does nothing except expose your insecurities and it makes others not want to play with you.  Word will get around the tennis community that you are a “blamer” who is no fun to play with because you make others feel bad, when playing tennis should be fun no matter the outcome.  The best thing you can say if you and your partner lose is, “We did our best, but they just got the better of us today.”  Make you and your partner one unit, as with all team activities, together you are strong and divided you are weak.  Keep a united front and you will have many successful years of doubles and your share of winning high fives.

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