I did a team practice with my 3.5 team today. I know very few women on the team, so most partners I had were completely new to me. It was interesting to note what each new partner said after introducing herself, by way of communicating about how we should play. There was a lot of variation. The most interesting was a partner who said, "OK, remember that if you cross the center line to poach, keep going." Um, OK. That's Doubles 101 so I kinda knew that, but all right! For my part, I told her that I would likely follow most returns to net, so don't assume I'll always be at baseline. I told her I like partners to talk to me during the point and I tend to be very vocal myself, and she said that was good. That was the end of the discussion. That got me to wondering what the most important things are to discuss with a new partner at the beginning of a match. My 4.0 coach has boiled it down to a formula that he calls "The Four Questions." He says when you start any match, you should ask your partner: 1. What should we do if we win the toss? 2. Which of us should serve first? 3. Which side do you prefer to receive on? 4. How will we handle the middle ball? This seems good as far as it goes, but I don't think it necessarily encompasses the most important things you need to discuss to be in synch from the first shot. I mean, you can easily wait to decide who should serve first until it is time to serve, if you want. Same thing for what you do if you win the toss. Personally, I like to warn my partners that I will likely come to net a lot, even when not advisable, so I will not be behind them to back them up. I also tell them I like my partners to communicate a lot during points and I will be saying Mine, Yours, Got It, Bounce, I'm In, Short, and Come Back With Me. Before serving, I like to warn that my serve will break to the left, so they will need to be mindful of their alley on the deuce court. What are the key things to say to your new doubles partner before the first ball is struck?