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seleswannabe
04-20-2009, 12:58 PM
I am a strong 3.0 (female) player with a record of 10-1 at #1 singles. I have an average serve, solid groundstrokes and good volleys but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I am so horrendous at doubles.

I am 34, a long-distance runner and in good shape. I am quick on the court and can get to a lot of balls that my opponents think are winners which helps me out a lot. I am on the shorter side at 5'2" so I can have trouble at then net when I face someone with a good lob.

I keep asking my coach what my problem is and she says I'm fine and that I just need more practice. I've only played doubles twice this year and we won both but it took a 3rd set to get the job done.

So do I really just need more practice, or are some people just better suited for singles vs. doubles?

burosky
04-20-2009, 01:16 PM
Have your coach teach you how to play doubles. It is different from singles. I'm sure the good folks here could take the time to point out the differences but if you have a coach, you might as well take it from your coach.

maverick66
04-20-2009, 01:20 PM
my best bet is your problem is mental. your confident with singles as you do well there. with doubles its a new thing and by this post it sounds like your not as confident. i dont think you need more practice but more matches. how many singles matches did you play before you really started to play at a better level?

seleswannabe
04-20-2009, 01:27 PM
I play twice a week, one of which is the team drill. We play 95% doubles during the drill, so I know the basics of movement and shifting left/right during points. In general when I play, my teammate and I (whomever it is) tend to do better when I am serving or I am receiving serve. I think it is maybe because I am parked at the baseline doing what I'm comfortable with.
I also find that with singles, I don't really have to *think* about what I'm doing, it just seems like instinct to me. With doubles, I really have to think hard about where my partner and opponents are and what I should do with the ball. I give tons of credit to good doubles players, it is so hard!

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 01:39 PM
I don't understand why you say you are horrible at doubles if you have won your matches, if you are doing doubles drills, and if you have good volleys.

Now, if you are winning at 3.0, it is guaranteed you will move up in November. When that happens, you will find that whatever is working for you in 3.0 singles now isn't going to cut it at the next level. It might pay to play a lot of doubles now to learn to volley even better *and* learn to approach reliably.

But it sounds to me like you are golden!

Cindy -- who loses at doubles a lot and is now wondering whether she should become more concerned about it :)

seleswannabe
04-20-2009, 01:42 PM
maverick - I probably played 6 singles matches last year and was 3-3.

I played #2 & #1 singles in highschool (we stunk w/ a capital "S") and then took a 15 year break. I started up again in the fall of 2007 and played a mixture of #2 singles and #3 doubles for Early Start and then played a mix of #1, #2 Singles and some #1 doubles for Summer season 2008.
I have also played in a couple of non-USTA doubles tournaments this year. I won a 4.0 doubles match & then got knocked out in 2nd round, but made it to the finals in 3.0 mixed and 3.0 women's doubles. We lost in both finals.

maverick66
04-20-2009, 01:45 PM
so give it some time. tennis is not a quick success sport. i killed players in practice then lost to them in tournies the next week. tourny play is a different animal then practice. with time and exeprience i dont see why you wouldnt be able to turn it around like you did with singles. 3-3 is not bad but not good but 10-1 is very good. so you gained a little exp and went forward with that and excelled.

seleswannabe
04-20-2009, 01:49 PM
Cindy, this is my big concern. It's not for sure, but I am winning many of my matches at 6-2, 6-2 or better. From everything I've read, I will probably get moved to 3.5 and I will need to start playing a better doubles game. Ii feel like I am scraping by right now.

JRstriker12
04-20-2009, 01:55 PM
I am a strong 3.0 (female) player with a record of 10-1 at #1 singles. I have an average serve, solid groundstrokes and good volleys but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I am so horrendous at doubles.

I am 34, a long-distance runner and in good shape. I am quick on the court and can get to a lot of balls that my opponents think are winners which helps me out a lot. I am on the shorter side at 5'2" so I can have trouble at then net when I face someone with a good lob.

I keep asking my coach what my problem is and she says I'm fine and that I just need more practice. I've only played doubles twice this year and we won both but it took a 3rd set to get the job done.

So do I really just need more practice, or are some people just better suited for singles vs. doubles?

My answer is that in doubles, positioning and strategy is a little more important than in singles.

In singles, if you are pretty athletic, your speed and ability to keep balls coming back can be a huge weapon. It can be very VERY useful in doubles too, but the the problem is that if the other team is well postioned, a ball that keeps you in a singles point gets cut off and put away in doubles.

Another thing to think about is your net game. You admit that you have trouble at net when facing the lob. If I was the other team, I'd feed you deep lobs all day. Maybe work on your overhead and recognising and getting back early when the lob goes up. If you know the opposing team is throwing up lobs stand a little futher back from the net to give yourself a better chance of getting the lob.

Then there's the element of working with your partner. Doulbles really is about how well the team works together rather than it being like singles with the court spilt in half. Playing the ball so that the retunirng ball plays to your partner's strength, knowing what your partner is going to do - where they are serving, if they are going to poach, lob, etc. and what to do in that situation goes a long way in creating a solid team.

I would reccommend reading up on doubles strategy first. Look up postioning. Where you and your partner should stand, how you should shift to cut off angles.

Think about working up some "plays" - such as poaching if your partner serves wide or to the opponent's backhand.

Most importantly, work on that net game. If you can get to the net and put away volleys, you'll be pretty tough to beat - sounds like you have a good start already.

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 02:02 PM
If there is one thing I would say you might want to practice to get ready for 3.5, it would be volleying well from a deeper position. [edit: I see Jolly already mentioned this, and as he says it is especially important if you are stature-challenged.]

Ah, I remember my volleys at 3.0. I thought I was All That. Yep, I stood maybe three feet from the net and played Whack-a-Mole with any ball I could reach without moving my feet an inch. People were in awe at my ability to put away any ball that strayed within a few inches of my racket.

When I started playing 3.5, I noticed several problems with Whack-a-Mole volleying. People would lob me because I had to stand so close to the net. I couldn't control my whacks once the pace increased and I started spraying the ball. If I tried to transition to net, I would miss because you can't Whack-a-Mole an approach volley.

So I'd say to get really solid volleying with correct technique from the service line and even deeper. Then you'll feel comfortable playing any shot anywhere on a doubles court. I have friends who had it easy at 3.0 who are really struggling now because they never learned to volley correctly and have no knowledge of grips and footwork, and it gets really demoralizing when opponents seize on this and target them and they cannot put their volleys on the court.

Now, can you help me with my groundstrokes? 'Cause i'm a fish out of water on a singles court. All that open court to hit into. Too many choices, too many choices . . . .

spiderman123
04-20-2009, 02:03 PM
Cindy, this is my big concern. It's not for sure, but I am winning many of my matches at 6-2, 6-2 or better. From everything I've read, I will probably get moved to 3.5 and I will need to start playing a better doubles game. Ii feel like I am scraping by right now.

Are you sure you are following everything from the book "The Art of doubles"?

seleswannabe
04-20-2009, 02:17 PM
Thanks Cindy. I think your post might be spot on. I do have trouble with deep volleys. In fact, they are downright pathetic. If I try to dig out a volley when I am coming up to the net, I usually pop it up and chaos ensues. This might be the key.

rainman007
04-20-2009, 02:28 PM
I am a strong 3.0 (female) player with a record of 10-1 at #1 singles. I have an average serve, solid groundstrokes and good volleys but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I am so horrendous at doubles.

I am 34, a long-distance runner and in good shape. I am quick on the court and can get to a lot of balls that my opponents think are winners which helps me out a lot. I am on the shorter side at 5'2" so I can have trouble at then net when I face someone with a good lob.

I keep asking my coach what my problem is and she says I'm fine and that I just need more practice. I've only played doubles twice this year and we won both but it took a 3rd set to get the job done.

So do I really just need more practice, or are some people just better suited for singles vs. doubles?

i havent seen you play but from what i have noticed with most people that sound like you is their speed and stamina is their plus.. you are probably a consistent singles player who keeps the ball in and pretty deep and can move better than your 3.0 opponents.. when you play doubles it takes away from both of your strengths because you dont have to be fast and have good stamina in doubles.. and because you might only see 1 out of every 4 balls hit to you your rythym is thrown off and your consistency is no longer a plus.. thats just my opinion though i've never seen you play..

coyfish
04-20-2009, 02:34 PM
What do you have trouble with ?? Im a 4.5 player and im pretty weak in doubles. I tend to go for too many winners because when I see 2 people on the court I get nervous.

What has helped me the most is just going back to basics and keeping the ball in play and deep. If your good at volleying then in doubles its imperative that you push the net.

tyro
04-20-2009, 02:47 PM
I have the same problems--a decent 4.0 singles player, a nightmare on the doubles court. I know what my problems are, so maybe I'll probably be able to work on them with practice.

But my strengths in singles are quickness and consistency. These don't seem to be a big benefit in doubles. My weakness in singles is probably the serve, which unfortunately is hugely important in doubles.

Don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I play much "tighter" in doubles because I worry about blowing it for my partner. As soon as I tighten up a bit, everything goes downhill.

jwr1972
04-20-2009, 02:50 PM
I am a strong 3.0 (female) player with a record of 10-1 at #1 singles. I have an average serve, solid groundstrokes and good volleys but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I am so horrendous at doubles.

I am 34, a long-distance runner and in good shape. I am quick on the court and can get to a lot of balls that my opponents think are winners which helps me out a lot. I am on the shorter side at 5'2" so I can have trouble at then net when I face someone with a good lob.

I keep asking my coach what my problem is and she says I'm fine and that I just need more practice. I've only played doubles twice this year and we won both but it took a 3rd set to get the job done.

So do I really just need more practice, or are some people just better suited for singles vs. doubles?

I just started playing doubles this year too and have found one thing to be the biggest culprit: taking over the net. I tell myself to keep moving up but constantly don't do it(I am a baseline player in singles so the net is foreign). Is that your issue?

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 03:04 PM
Hey, here's another tip.

One of my doubles partners has a singles background. She struggles mightily in doubles (but to her considerable credit is making a genuine effort to learn). Her overall problem in doubles is readiness. Playable lobs go over her head. Balls she should take go up the middle unplayed. She gets hit with high volleys and overheads. Poachable balls are not poached. She feels she cannot get into the rallies. Why is this?

She has diagnosed herself with two problems that are causing all of this.

The first disease is Alley Cowering. She learned about this problem in one of our 4.0 team practices. The coach/captain kept after her for two hours to break a bad habit she had: Starting points positioned way too close to the doubles alley and not shifting left to right to mirror the ball during points.

Hey, Alley Cowering is understandable. Doing this probably made her feel like she was protecting the alley 'cause it's way more embarrassing to get passed down the alley than to stand there failing to intercept balls. Also, if you already think your net play is weak, what more natural reaction can there be than get out of the way so you won't have to hit a volley?

What it did in practice was make her out of position from the get-go. It led to lunges at volleys that would have been easier had she been positioned in front of the ball rather than off to the side. It created a giant hole that opponents happily exploited.

Now that she has started positioning correctly when the point starts (that is, the center of the service box), she is feeling it more natural to shift wide if the serve goes wide or shift to the center when it goes up the middle. She is now more likely to be where she is actually supposed to be. In our last practice, she positioned much better and we killed our opponents. She was so happy!!

The other problem she has diagnosed is Vision Confusion. She forgets to watch the net person and therefore does not react to whatever they do. Hence being struck a lot and surprised by net person activity. Now she knows to watch the net player when her partner is hitting and the deep player when the deep player is hitting. Back and forth, back and forth.

Consider whether Alley Cowering or Vision Confusion is messing up your doubles game?

Blask
04-20-2009, 03:35 PM
I think as a few others have mentioned that your athleticism helps you less in doubles vs playing singles. There's a lot less lateral running so a lot of less athletic people can stay competitive with you.

I think you have to make a conscious effort to get better at doubles. It's not so much about the strokes as it is positioning, working the angles and attacking the net (making your opponents defensive). I used to play 95% singles and started playing doubles and really have enjoyed it. It's a lot more strategy and alertness than athletic ability and powerful strokes. Your record is 2-0 so you have to be doing something right. Just keep practicing doubles when you can and you'll see a lot of improvement
Cheers!

seleswannabe
04-20-2009, 04:53 PM
Thanks everyone! This has definitely been better advice than my coach has given me. I definitely see an improvement over last year so I guess that is at least a start. Now, I just need to get good enough to hang in there with the "big girls" at 3.5/4.0

To answer your question Cindy - I think I am more a Vision confusion person, although I am a recovering Alley Cowerer :) too.

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 06:06 PM
Good, SelesWannaBe, very good.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. :) Watch that opposing net person like you are expecting her to steal your wallet and you should be fine.

Promise you'll give us a blow-by-blow of your next doubles match?

TennisND
04-21-2009, 05:26 AM
I am a horrible double player too thus I tried to avoid it by all cost previously because I am afraid my mistakes would make my partner mad. Now I am improving a bit but still struggling with consistency. I hit the white tape more often and feeling lonely in the net. All of those drop my confidence dramatiscally. What should I do now? Increasing double matches? Nobody wants to play with a bad double partner.

seleswannabe
04-22-2009, 03:45 AM
^^Will do Cindy. Just found out I am playing 2 dubs on Friday for our USTA team. We are short people so I am playing doubles with an experienced & solid partner. Should be interesting!

seleswannabe
04-24-2009, 02:19 PM
Updating this post as promised. My partner and I won 6-3, 6-2 today. My team suffered it's first lost this year unfortunately :(
At any rate, I think I figured out the missing piece to my doubles game. She pointed it out to me while we were practicing yesterday. I try to hit too many winners "at" or "by" the net person, when I should really be hitting deep volleys to the baseline player and waiting for the put-away. I know it sounds so basic, but I just never realized that I was supposed to do that? So I felt really good about how I played today and it was the first doubles match I've actually enjoyed playing. It doesn't hurt that she is a very good doubles player. I'm sure she raised my level as well.

OrangePower
04-24-2009, 04:32 PM
Hey, here's another tip.

One of my doubles partners has a singles background. She struggles mightily in doubles [...]

She has diagnosed herself with two problems that are causing all of this.

The first disease is Alley Cowering. [...]

The other problem she has diagnosed is Vision Confusion. [...]

As another player who tends to do better at singles than at doubles, let me add a third potential problem - Rythm Interruptus. In singles, you have more opportunity for rallying. For some of us, that helps us get into a groove. With shorter points, plus the fact that you're not playing as many balls during each point, I just find it harder to find a rythm in doubles. A lot of that is just being able to maintain focus and intensity.

Cindysphinx
04-24-2009, 04:55 PM
As another player who tends to do better at singles than at doubles, let me add a third potential problem - Rythm Interruptus. In singles, you have more opportunity for rallying. For some of us, that helps us get into a groove. With shorter points, plus the fact that you're not playing as many balls during each point, I just find it harder to find a rythm in doubles. A lot of that is just being able to maintain focus and intensity.

Yeah, my friend complains of Rhythm Interruptus also. Six balls fly over the net, the seventh comes to her, she's not ready.

I think the cure is that you have to move with every shot. Back and forth, back and forth. The minute you stop and the heels go down, you're dead.

I think folks with Rhythm Interruptus don't realize that you can help your partner hold serve without ever touching the ball. Just that movement is enough to distract or unnerve the opponents.

Cindysphinx
04-24-2009, 04:58 PM
Updating this post as promised. My partner and I won 6-3, 6-2 today. My team suffered it's first lost this year unfortunately :(
At any rate, I think I figured out the missing piece to my doubles game. She pointed it out to me while we were practicing yesterday. I try to hit too many winners "at" or "by" the net person, when I should really be hitting deep volleys to the baseline player and waiting for the put-away. I know it sounds so basic, but I just never realized that I was supposed to do that? So I felt really good about how I played today and it was the first doubles match I've actually enjoyed playing. It doesn't hurt that she is a very good doubles player. I'm sure she raised my level as well.

Congratulations!!! See, you can play doubles!

Yeah, I can go for weeks without hitting a ball at the net person or down the line in ladies play. I only hit at the net person if they are actually poaching or faking. If they want to hide in the doubles alley, I am fine letting them do that. I do take short forehands up the line; that's just plain fun because it goes to the net person's BH usually, and it's an easy point quite often.

Mixed is different. Gotta go down the alley once just to keep the dude honest.

JesseT
04-24-2009, 06:18 PM
even if you miss, they know you're thinking about it. missing shots are almost as good as making them in some cases.

goober
04-27-2009, 05:37 AM
Updating this post as promised. My partner and I won 6-3, 6-2 today. My team suffered it's first lost this year unfortunately :(
At any rate, I think I figured out the missing piece to my doubles game. She pointed it out to me while we were practicing yesterday. I try to hit too many winners "at" or "by" the net person, when I should really be hitting deep volleys to the baseline player and waiting for the put-away. I know it sounds so basic, but I just never realized that I was supposed to do that? So I felt really good about how I played today and it was the first doubles match I've actually enjoyed playing. It doesn't hurt that she is a very good doubles player. I'm sure she raised my level as well.

Good job! Now you may have to change your name from Seleswannabe to Martinawannabe:wink:

snark
04-29-2009, 10:03 AM
Don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I play much "tighter" in doubles because I worry about blowing it for my partner. As soon as I tighten up a bit, everything goes downhill.

I think it is not just tightness. Since you are only hitting half of the shots, it is a lot harder to find a good rhythm in doubles, so shots which are routine in singles are easy to miss in doubles.

skiracer55
04-29-2009, 10:37 AM
...doubles and singles ain't the same thing. I personally don't play any doubles, just singles. I prefer to just do it on my own. The biggest single thing I see when I watch most doubles play is that I see two people playing singles on a doubles court. If you and your partner don't have a strategy for the two of you as a team, it doesn't matter what your strokes are like. You say you are fit and hit the ball well, but are relatively short. If you and your partner don't talk about this and what strategy you are going to use to maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses, it doesn't matter what each one of you thinks or does individually.

I was watching some women's 3.0/3.5 doubles the other day, and it was very much 4 singles players on a doubles court, which is what I usually see. Good strokes, no strategy. One example was that every player was trying to hit a singles return...deep and heavy to the baseline. Since the server always stayed back, what good did this do? If you hit a deep return right at me, I just fell in love with you. In addition, every player was trying to hit so deep that 2 out of every 3 returns was an error long! One of the rules of doubles is, always make the serving team play the point, which means get lots of returns back. Gardner Mulloy and I think Billy Talbert were playing a match many years ago at Wimbledon, against some much younger guys, and Mulloy/Talbert were holding their own in the fourth set, partly because Mulloy had only missed three returns in four sets. In doubles, get the return back, even if you just dump it in the court, and a short, wide return is not necessarily the worst thing in the world against a server who stays back. Stuff like that, basics...

Note that doubles used to be pretty straightforward...serve and volley on both serves, chip and charge. Get to the net, because your partner is already there. These days, even at the ATP and WTA levels, you see all kinds of stuff that works...one up, one back, both back, one up one back and then close to the net, whatever. I prefer traditional doubles ("if you're not already at the net, get there on the next ball"), but there's no point in my serving and volleying if my partner stays on the baseline...which is kind of why I don't play doubles. I'm not saying any strategy will work...I think one up one back forever is not the way to do business...but potentially any strategy can work, as long as you and your partner (a) know what strategy you are using and (b) talk about how to use that strategy to win matches...

isis67
05-01-2009, 01:24 PM
I know you've had immense response and I came to the board for something else, but noticed and just had to add my .02!

You are SO not alone, I am a former collegiate player, a 4.5 (appealed from 5.0 since I took so many years off) and have been bamboozled by my lack of initial doubles success. Singles, no problem, pretty much wax most people, but doubles.........even (and especially!) at the 4.5 level there are some 20 year+ ladies veterans with, ahem, "untraditional" styles that are amazingly and bafflingly successful. It has driven me to despair at times. ;) Some of these doubles specialists may have ugly-as-sin games, but they WIN.

My advice, immerse yourself in doubles since that is what is predominantly played. I still play singles for one of my USTA 4.5 teams but play on three and do doubles and mixed 9.0 on the other two to get more of a bead on the doubles vibe. Also, aggression has been my key to getting better. It helps I'm 5'10", but coming up to net, poaching every chance you get and imposing your athleticism works wonders. Plus, just your movement in these ways makes your opponent on the vigilant alert and more prone to errors. Coupled with proper grips (continental) on volleys and overheads, cognizance of angles, angles, angles and you'll be fine and winning easily in doubles in no time.

ps one poster was right, your singles athleticism isn't is valuable in doubles. The best people I've played in my flight(two have gone to Nationals in 4.5 doubles) are fairly zaftig players........they just have savvy, experience, and great doubles IQ!

investorofmercy
05-01-2009, 03:35 PM
.......Get a better partner!

seriously, when you are new at doubles, play with an experienced DOUBLES player who really knows doubles. The experience is invaluable. I am a 4.0 player on the low end at singles....

But in doubles, I would say close to 4.5. Totally different game. When I play with a non-doubles player, I don't play as well because I always feel out of position even though I am probably right. With an experience doubles player who is in position, then all is smooth.


also, try to play with that same partner alot. My main partner and I routinely beat much better "players" than we are...better strokes, harder hitting, more consistent, even some who are better vollyers......because we know each other so well and we are alwasy in the right position.

seleswannabe
05-01-2009, 03:42 PM
So much great advice from everyone. Thank you - really I mean it. It's good to know I'm not alone in my struggle to transition into doubles.
On a positive note, my singles success has gotten me noticed with some of the 3.5's. I was just recently asked to play in permanent court time for doubles this fall with some of our best 3.5 players. Perhaps they see some doubles potential in me yet?