Originally Posted by LuckyR
Actually it isn't "as much as" you could. In my experience the process of teamwork in doubles is twofold, neither of which is "compensating for... poor play", which I agree is a recipe for disaster.
First is the Mental Game aspect, that is behaving in a way that a poorly playing partner will play as well as they can that day, or in other words not to make them play at their worst, which is the common response to the common behavior of doubles players to poor partner play.
Second is making strategic decisions to change play (like you should be doing in singles when losing) to compensate for the realities of how the match is going, ie playing 2 back on first serve returns, only playing S&V on first serves etc.
I think the extent to which one partner can "help" the other partner who is struggling is overblown. (For sake of simplicity, I'll call the struggling partner the Bad Partner and will call the other one the Good Partner.)
Yes, of course if the Good Partner has an idea about strategy she should share it. Like, last night. I was the Bad Partner in a mixed match. We could not hold my serve because I was making too many groundstroke errors. My Good Partner said nothing about my constant barrage of errors. He just kept playng.
When I was serving for the first set, I asked my Good Partner what we could do for me to hold. He suggested playing Aussie against the woman, and it worked.
Most Good Partners don't have suggestions about strategy, IME. No, they have suggestions about stroke mechanics. They make requests the Bad Partner cannot execute ("You need to S&V!"). Or they say things that actually make matters worse ("Just get your serve in!" or "We really need this game.").
If you and I are partners and you are stinking it up, I am not going to say anything to you about it, most likely. If you DF, I will hand you two balls, that's it. If you keep hitting the net, I won't tell you to hit the ball over the net. If I see something *we* can do (e.g. Aussie), I will suggest it.
Beyond that, I figure my partner knows how to play tennis and is making her own internal adjustments to play better. For instance, if I hit two DFs in a row, some partners will come back and make suggestions, like "Can you server to her BH?" That is *so* not helpful. Now I need to do my own internal diagnostics to fix the problem, and I also have a new responsibility to place the serve too. If I hit two DFs in a row, my plan is to hit whatever serve is most high-percentage for me, and it might not be the serve my partner has declared I should try.