Tennis Doubles Tip

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by swong09, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. swong09

    swong09 New User

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    Hi Everyone!

    Just want to get some tips on partnering a weaker player:

    They hit many unforced errors and hardly produce good shots which I can finish off. I end up playing too passive to avoid any UE or the error count of the team will be too high. When I play passive, I get dominated by the other team.

    What should be my strategy?
    I did have some success going for winners but I am thinking, I rather lose on my own terms.

    Thanks!
     
    #1
  2. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    do they hit volley errors or ground stroke errors?

    either way, work on specific plays/patterns that you can execute together.... nothing too complicated... have 2-3 of these.

    communicate... e.g. agree that you will serve out wide and he will try to volley down the middle between them. if he makes it, tell him it was a good shot, if he misses.. say "no problem", we'll get next point. Never be negative "on court" about his game, it will only make him worse.

    a lot of time unforced errors are because of a lack of focus, you don't have a target. if you have a strategy, then there is focus.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
    #2
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To me, the WORSE partner is one who only hits soft sitter balls, mid court, no pace, no spin.
    This player might be consistent at his/her level, but has no power, nor any kind of placement besides avoiding the netperson on the other side of the net.
    Even net putaways on high forehand volleys, this weak hitter push's it slow and short, so either the opposing net player, or the backcourt opponent, has time to take a full stroke at the ball.
    At least the partner who misses IS trying beyond his capabilities.
    The partner I'm talking about is playing well BELOW his/her capabilities.
     
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  4. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    If its competetive, find a new partner.

    If its just socials then just try to keep a positive vibe going and enjoy the game. Generally, most people won't really attack your clearly weaker partner mercilessly.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't forget the weak hitting partner who starts at the net, then once the ball STARTS in play, backs up slowly until he's/she's standing in the middle of NML, moving backwards still........
    No lobs are coming, my shots land within 3' of the baseline, and I'm moving forwards while this happens.
     
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  6. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    This pretty much defines my social play. I hit a cracking serve or approach and as I charge the net, my partner is fleeing into no-man's land as if I've hit a sitter that is bouncing straight up half-way into the service box and they are about to take an overhead to the groin. What?:confused:

    Seems that the average rec player is mortally opposed to playing 2-up.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Gotta mention the "whys" of both those partners.....
    They say, tennis is a partner game, and since I'm either serving from the baseline, or returning from near the baseline, they want to go back to where I'm standing, no matter what shot I hit, or where I'm headed.
    So, if I"m playing serve and volley, because I started behind my baseline...and they say this, they intend to join me at NML.....not that they can get there, they're backpedalling as the ball is hit to them.
     
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  8. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    they always think they're going to be lobbed... rarely happens and the % of lob winners is usually very low, i.e. 25% or lower... most are errors or easy overhead smash opportunities.

    i have to argue with my doubles partner to go to the net when I'm there. he just doesn't get it, until i showed him a clip of Bryan Bros doing it and how much it put pressure on opponents.
     
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  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I think you're correct. I just don't understand the fear of being lobbed when the opponent is lunging for a serve return or when the opponents are having to move to scrape the ball off the court on a knifing slice.:confused:

    I don't think it is a rational thing. I believe they just think, "who is going to cover the back if they hit a brilliant topspin lob?"

    The last guy I played some semi-serious doubles with loved to put away the net ball. At least that way, you can feel like you're constructing points as a team. It is just discouraging to hit a wonderful shot which should give an easy put away and to see your partner fleeing as if you've set him up to be killed at the net.
     
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  10. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    This is a downward spiral; you hit weak passive shots and the weaker partner gets even stronger balls to handle and less easy sitters. Passively returning the ball to get dominated by the other team isn't losing on your own terms.

    Key point in doubles is to work and set your partner up to look like the stud, not passively awaiting everyone else's UE.
     
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  11. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    #11
  12. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Many weaker players have a lot of problems at the net or tend to back up as WV indicates. If this is the case, have your partner start at the baseline (or just in front of the baseline so that they can run down drop shots more easily). It does not make any sense for them to start at the net if they cannot handle the heat.
     
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  13. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Not true. Even as social and exercise oriented (so pple say) as city park pick-up games, everyone I encounter so far becomes competitive at some point or another and inevitably go for the weaker parnter until they get their win. This is unsurprising to me because the heart of sport, whether you realize it or not, is still competition and it may drive you subconsciously.

    As to OP's question, there's really not much you can do to change the situation. But you can change yourself to feel better, ie do your own things, encouraging your partner or not, whatever. If it becomes too much then avoid that partner next time. There's no use in being some sort of honorable or friendly and keeping partnering with constant losers.
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Most competitive players will ALWAYS hit to the weaker player who is also out of position.
    Placing the weak hitting player at the baseline is suicide, akin to walking off the court and conceding the set. The weak hitter will get all the balls, and you're off checking out the hotties that jog by.
    Better to avoid playing with weak hitters, who insist on running backward and hitting the softest shots they can possibly hit.
     
    #14
  15. pingu

    pingu Semi-Pro

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    Playing with a weak partner is not everyone's wish list. However, it's hard to avoid sometimes at social level. I use those matches as practice sessions for different shots/strategies.
     
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  16. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Well it's possible to do something out of an outpowered partner. For example, I take this years' Hopman Cup. France vs. USA, which gave M. Johansson and J.-W. Tsonga to represent France, and S. Williams and J. Isner to represent the USA. You clearly see who is the outpowered person in this matchup. Anyway, even though Tsonga was playing like utter cr*p, Johansson held her share very greatly. She used her brain instead of her muscles, and used low slices on J. Isner, who could only try to bend his knees to give a less powerful ball to be put away or set up. Eventually France lost, Tsonga really wasn't playing good at all, but the match showed how a supposed outpowered player could hold up nicely in doubles despite the lack of power.

    So as long as you have a decent understanding of strategies in doubles and are able to execute them properly, one can team with a less powerful partner. Now if said partner can't hit hard, is bad strategically and technically speaking, it's not worth to continue the adventure with them if it is unsuccessful.
     
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  17. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    You guys are talking about multiple things here. The OP and I and others are not necessarily talking about weak hitters. There are plenty of weak hitters that are crafty and advanced. Not everyone is strong, and very seldomly do you need blazing fast shots to win in rec tennis. To me weak partners are just ..bad or entry level players. I have come to the conclusion that you really can't help those because doubles is really a game of ...double partners. :)

    LeeD, do you tend to direct (place) where your partner should position? I find that to be another futile activity. Why would you ask someone to play at a position that he/she is not comfortable with?
     
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  18. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I would put him in the ad court so he plays more at the net. I would park him very very close to the net. This will make it a tactical error for the other team to hit to him, since even a mi55hit off of his frame could be a winner (instead of the errors he is making). At first you will see very few shots until the other team figures out that this guy who routinely hits every ball in the net is getting crazy winners. So at first your play is less important. If you want to keep it in play, fine, if you want to go for winners fine. Later when they figure out they need to run you around and lob over his head then you will be running your a55 off so get ready.
     
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  19. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ If you put the weaker player in the ad court, he will be playing most of the game-deciding points (40-0, 0-40, 40-30, 30-40, ad in, ad out). The only points that can be won/lost on the deuce side are 40-15 & 15-40.
     
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  20. swong09

    swong09 New User

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    All kind of errors....
    You correct about strategy..I was confused how to play since my partner wasnt executing properly and thats when I become passive.

    QUOTE=Relinquis;7367337]do they hit volley errors or ground stroke errors?

    either way, work on specific plays/patterns that you can execute together.... nothing too complicated... have 2-3 of these.

    communicate... e.g. agree that you will serve out wide and he will try to volley down the middle between them. if he makes it, tell him it was a good shot, if he misses.. say "no problem", we'll get next point. Never be negative "on court" about his game, it will only make him worse.

    a lot of time unforced errors are because of a lack of focus, you don't have a target. if you have a strategy, then there is focus.[/QUOTE]
     
    #20
  21. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    In this kind of a situation, just play for fun and improvement. Don't be competitive. Playing with a significantly weaker player is going to result in your team losing. There is no other outcome. They are going to get every single ball hit at them. The weaker player always gets the majority of the balls.

    If it were me, I'd just practice serving, practice poaching, and practice returns.

    Other than that, I'd just try to enjoy the ride.
     
    #21
  22. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    I looked at this as rec/social/pick-up type doubles in which most are not going to position a partner or dare to offer unsolicitated advice... you are forced to adjust to your partner. Not really all that big a deal until the competitive juices take over.... do you move back if a partner never comes to net and has terrible groundstrokes? Or do you just play your own game at net realizing partner's soft, short balls are going to either completely take you out of the rally or get you blistering volleys to handle?? Get overly aggressive and see UE spike?

    When I'm the weaker player it's easy.
     
    #22
  23. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    Unfortunately, you are only as good as your doubles partner. Had an older gentleman as a partner yesterday and got double bageled by an opposing team that with a decent partner I can beat on most days. I couldnt play at the net because he hit everything short and the opponents blasted the ball back. Hard time playing back because the opponents angled away from me. It happens.
     
    #23
  24. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    But since he will be receiving equal or less points, the team will do better statistically than him returning equal or more points. This is in addition to the advantage I described and to another I didn't mention, namely that for a RH player, middle shots will be to his FH. No brainer, really...
     
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  25. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Very wise advice, something that I oftentime completely forget, the piece about "don't be competitive". I think my default mode when entering a game is to compete with the sole objective of winning.

    Sigh, last night was another horrible night. My partner was so weak that I couldn't whip up any confidence in me to play my usual game. I played not to lose but at the same time slightly hoped at each point that we would come through as if my partner somehow would miraculously get better! Horrible feeling.

    I'm going to take Mighty's advice and drop the competition aspect when I'm faced with this type of game. I wonder what "weak" players would think when the team suddenly plays like complete amateurs horsing around, completely outside their expectation. Do I dare to change that much?
     
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  26. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    A weak partner will just see you trying to be aggressive with a serve, a poach, or a return. They'll see you "trying hard". And they'll be appreciative. Weak opponents will just be appreciative of points donated by you. Egotistical weak opponents will think they are forcing you into donating those points. :) Let them think whatever they want.

    Whatever you do, continue to be a supportive partner. Continue with the "nice try!"... "you hit that so solid!"... et cetera. It will make it much more enjoyable for them.

    Next week, my mixed doubles (4.0) partner is going to be absent. Her substitute is a 3.0. Ugh. I've been wanting to practice topspin lobs, though. So I'm going to practice that. At least I'll get something out of it.
     
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  27. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Rick, tried it today it didn't work!!! LOL. Not only did we lose faster, we lost as quitters. I use "we" to be nice cuz we were a team, but think about it when I played my game, you know strong stuffs, we sort of struggled and hopeful so the game went semi well. But when I stopped being competitive it was sort of over at 0-3. LOLLLLL...
     
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