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!