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Old 07-02-2013, 06:58 AM   #6
SmilinBob
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 307
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I have a lot of trouble playing doubles with people that don't play a lot of doubles. Here's my 15-second lesson when playing doubles with somebody I don't know. Two rules:

1) Get. To. The. Net.

2) Volley right down the middle of the court.


Getting both players to the net makes winning points in doubles much easier. The better player will likely have to cover more court laterally, but at the very least even a lesser player can figure out to "follow the ball" to their left and right to cover court at the net. I've seen people improve their serve substantially by serving-and-volleying (a requisite to getting to the net in doubles) simply because it forces the toss further in to the court, a common issue many have on serve. Don't play right on top of the net as you'll need to chase lobs, but a few well-placed, firm overheads will force the other team into making sure lobs get plenty deep.

Having the weaker partner play to the center of the court lets you command the opponent's side of the court. The other team will have to play tight in response to your partner's shots which will open up angles and the alleys for you. You're also letting the 3.0 play percentage tennis and at the very least, force the other team to hit another ball while minimizing mistakes from your side of the net.

You'll have to feel out each other a little bit when you get into more details, such as chip-and-charge returns, cross-court ground strokes, poaching, serve positioning, etc. I have found that you need playing time to figure all that stuff out. The two rules above work well right out of the gate.
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