I simply have to come up with a solution to this problem. The problem -- which can and has happened with partners of all levels and genders and doesn't relate to one particular partner -- is your partner is playing well below his or her ability. Lots of UEs. Serves. Returns. Easy put-aways. Partner is struggling and knows it. What do you do? In the past, I mostly just ignored my partner's mistakes and focused entirely on my own play. I've now decided that probably isn't enough. I think silence can easily be construed as disapproval, which makes matters worse. Personally, I prefer that my partner say nothing -- I am trying to diagnose and fix the problem and can't handle a lot of chatter -- but I think I am probably unusual in that regard. For 2010, I have decided to make more of an effort to make my partner feel better about mistakes. I watched the Hopman Cup, and I noticed that the mixed doubles players smacked hands on almost every error. I tried that recently, and I have no idea whether it relaxed my partner, but it gave me something to do, anyway. When I have a struggling partner, I have definitely ruled out Coaching ("Toss the ball higher" or "Bend your knees") as a response. Most of the time I didn't even see them hit, so I have no idea what they did wrong. I have also ruled out useless obvious statements ("Just get it in") and anxiety-producing remarks ("Come on, we need this point"). Then there's the option of focusing on strategy. "Put your serve up the middle and I'll poach." Or "I'm going to follow my serve in, so be ready to smash her lob." I know a lady who makes "deals" with her struggling partners. Like, "OK, from now on, we are only allowed to miss one service return per game. If you miss, then neither of us gets to miss anymore for that game." Another guy I know keeps a ledger: "OK, you missed that volley, so you owe me two good volleys now." Annoying? Helpful? How about bland, general suggestions? "All right, let's get our feet moving!" Or maybe bland optimism? Like "We got this, we got this" and "We'll get the next one." What works for you and what doesn't work?