Anyone Else Love Playing Doubles?

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#51
Contrary to my feeling that I'm better at singles (but enjoying the learning process of getting better at doubles), I pulled my TR match ratings over the past few years and found:

- avg singles match rating was 3.16, though only 1 took place in the last 18 months
- avg doubles match rating was 3.38 (3.36 women's dbls and 3.41 in mixed)

So either my doubles partners are carrying me to victory (although their rating factors in too to try to account for that), or I'm actually better at doubles. Most likely: I'm not as good at singles as I thought. My mental game is garbage, so I think playing with a partner helps keep me focused and pulls me out of a death spiral quicker than I would on my own. Pretty big pro to add to the dbls vs singles pros and cons list, I'd say.
I would trust your judgement over a number.

I'm about as good in singles and doubles but according to @schmke my rating is much higher in singles. This is probably because I was sabotaged by a couple of partners and because I played a couple guys who are very strong doubles players in singles and trounced them.

J
 
#52
I would trust your judgement over a number.

I'm about as good in singles and doubles but according to @schmke my rating is much higher in singles. This is probably because I was sabotaged by a couple of partners and because I played a couple guys who are very strong doubles players in singles and trounced them.

J
Valid point. Most singles matches I've played have been in flex leagues. Plus I think there are a few doubles matches that are skewing the average a bit high. For example, two of my 7.0 mixed matches looked like this:

Pre-match TR ratings: my partner 2.8, me 3.19, opponents 3.49 and 3.51
We won 7-5, 6-3, so my match rating was 3.77 (lol)

2nd match: my partner 2.98, me 3.33, opponents 3.74 and 2.76
We won 6-4, 6-2, so my match rating was 3.62

The guy I was playing with had a few bad loses during the prior season, so his rating was lower than his actual abilities. Plus the 4.0 guy in the second match was playing with an injured wrist.

Obviously I'm cherry picking the most egregious outliers, but all that to say you're right to advise not to put that much stock in the numbers.

(Although the statistician in me wants to say that the law of large numbers dictates it should even out in the averaging of multiple years of data)
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#54
The beer tastes better after doubles.
Trash talking amongst 4 players > 2
Lots of variety in points played
Can see two different sets of serves
Can beat 2 opponents with serve
Great volley defense can negate power ground stroke play
Lots of strategy and counter strategy
Points end quicker; match finishes quicker; get to the beer quicker
 
#55
My USTA captain didn't let me play dubs because my volley was sh*t. After a while i worked on my volley, then double starts to get a lot more fun.
My take is work on your volley then you will enjoy double. And then, there is the trash talk in the game which is super duper fun.
 
#56
My USTA captain didn't let me play dubs because my volley was sh*t. After a while i worked on my volley, then double starts to get a lot more fun.
My take is work on your volley then you will enjoy double. And then, there is the trash talk in the game which is super duper fun.
And it's easier to trash talk the other net man when he's only 20' away from you compared to a singles opponent when he's 78' away.
 
#65
I’m far better at doubles. Therefore, I enjoy it more. Doubles is more formulated to me. I see things clearly in doubles. Where to move to, where to hit the ball, etc. Singles, not so much.

Also, I find it more satisfying to win and lose as a team. As mentioned before, beer tastes better together.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
#66
Ya know it’s funny..I hardly played any doubles in juniors, and when I did, I hated it. Now pushing 40, I’d prefer to play doubles. I especially love the tactics and positioning in doubles.
 
#67
I still play both double and singles and enjoy doubles a lot. I really enjoy the deeper strategy of doubles or at least the ability to do more about it. In singles it feels like a lot of times I am figure out if their backhand or forehand is stronger and just hit the majority of the shots there, and in doubles there is a lot more nuance. I am simplifying things but I like talking with my partner to best figure out a way to exploit someones weaker backhand or other such deficiency.
 
#68
I want to point out Brent Abel’s YouTube lessons entitled “What’s The Right Shot.” Brent video tapes doubles points and then stops the video before a shot is hit. He asks the viewer where the shot should be directed. You can tell him in the comments. Then he’ll proceed to analyze the options for you. He has about 200 of them.

I’ll provide one here. It’s different in that he is analyzing a player’s court position. Most others are shot selection based.

 
#69
I want to point out Brent Abel’s YouTube lessons entitled “What’s The Right Shot.” Brent video tapes doubles points and then stops the video before a shot is hit. He asks the viewer where the shot should be directed. You can tell him in the comments. Then he’ll proceed to analyze the options for you. He has about 200 of them.

I’ll provide one here. It’s different in that he is analyzing a player’s court position. Most others are shot selection based.

I enjoy the WTRS series. I find that I tend to be over-optimistic as to what shots I could actually pull off when I concentrate on the frozen image vs real time.
 
#70
Once I understood doubles I really started enjoying it as a different sport in its own right.
1) I can play mixed with my wife so I get "time spent together" marriage points
I absolutely hate doubles for all the reasons the OP listed he likes doubles.

But I do like the idea of playing with my wife. We did it while she was pregnant and it was great. And I look forward to playing alongside my daughter one day.
 
#71
But I get the "relying on someone else" thing. If you haven't played team sports your entire life, it takes some getting used to. But those of us growing up playing hockey, baseball, football and soccer get the comraderie aspects of team sports. Yes its frustrating to lose when the game wasn't on your racket. But its so much more rewarding to win as a team than as an individual. Being able to share that victory with someone is why team sports remain so common worldwide.
I grew up playing only team sports.

The problem for me in doubles tennis is that I find most average rec tennis players to be mentally weak. Instead of leaning on their partner they can implode and drag their teammate down.

Also, even tho I compete as a individual in singles, it's far from a individual accomplishment. My wife is always courtside and considering she is my "ball machine" and largely responsible for 90% of the practice that ultimately determines my results in matches, it's very much a team effort.

Like I said, I played team sports all my life. As a adult I got into motorsports (cart racing, jetski racing, motocross) thinking they were individual sports. And then quickly realized they are every bit team sports. I had to rely on trainers & mechanics way more than I ever relied on a basketball teammate. These "individual" competitions are team sports in their own right.


I played/play soccer, basketball etc... and love it, and actually im a very unselfish assist type of guy.
And i like teamwork and theres alot of that there.

Its just something about tennis, i just really love singles, i cant explain, i like the freedom of having the whole court and creativity and problem solving and going 1 on 1 against someone and also like the point building and the amount of court you have to work with.

Meanwhile in doubles theres no dropshots, theres no open court, no outplaying someone, no getting someone off court etc... its just a different type of game and i like playing singles, and doubles i enjoy only for fun casually.

Hopefuly you understand me better now when it comes to this doubles thing.
Agreed 1000%.

The very reason doubles is appealing to older players (less athleticism needed) is a huge reason I cant stand doubles. Not only does doubles neutralize my biggest advantage on the court (coverage) but I genuinely love RUNNING. If I cannot cover the court I might as well be playing ping pong (in fact, I'll sweat more in ping pong than a doubles tennis match).

Doubles & Singles are just different. And doubles just isnt for me, yet. Maybe things will change one day if I can find a way to appreciate it (playing alongside wife or daughter). Although I'd much rather be their "partner" in helping them prepare/train for their own singles matches.
 
#73
Great thread. I play tennis 2-3x/week and generally prefer singles, but have a lot of fun playing dubs as well. Wanted to share a recent video: three 4.5 men + a 5.5 woman (and former D3 player) in doubles. Would be great to get any constructive feedback either here or via comment on the video :) thanks in advance!

 
#74
Like I said, I played team sports all my life. As a adult I got into motorsports (cart racing, jetski racing, motocross) thinking they were individual sports. And then quickly realized they are every bit team sports. I had to rely on trainers & mechanics way more than I ever relied on a basketball teammate. These "individual" competitions are team sports in their own right.
At high levels they certainly are. At rec levels most individual sports are pretty much just you.

The problem for me in doubles tennis is that I find most average rec tennis players to be mentally weak. Instead of leaning on their partner they can implode and drag their teammate down.
Then you need to either get a mentally stronger partner or learn that you can have fun even in a loss and with a partner that's imploding. I think that takes more mental strength than anything. Being able to not get dragged down in a losing cause with a partner playing like they are a 2.5 beginner.

The very reason doubles is appealing to older players (less athleticism needed) is a huge reason I cant stand doubles. Not only does doubles neutralize my biggest advantage on the court (coverage) but I genuinely love RUNNING. If I cannot cover the court I might as well be playing ping pong (in fact, I'll sweat more in ping pong than a doubles tennis match).
Probably why i hate singles and find it a stupid game at rec levels. It can be won by someone just running around bunting balls deep down the middle over and over again. Doubles requires a much higher level of shot making skill and strategy to be successful.

And if you don't sweat in a doubles match you are doing it wrong. Nothing drives me more batty than the doubles partners that just stand still until the ball comes their way. There is always a right place to be even when the ball isn't coming your way. Go there.
 
#75
Great thread. I play tennis 2-3x/week and generally prefer singles, but have a lot of fun playing dubs as well. Wanted to share a recent video: three 4.5 men + a 5.5 woman (and former D3 player) in doubles. Would be great to get any constructive feedback either here or via comment on the video :) thanks in advance!

Nice doubles. Fun to watch athletic young people play good quality doubles. Us old guys can only hope to move like that.
 
#76
Would be great to get any constructive feedback either here or via comment on the video :) thanks in advance!
Another entertaining video Tim, and it looks like you guys had a fun doubles pairing there. Can't believe you tried to serve with so many layers on! ;)

I'd suggest that Anu is overly aggressive when he's at the net and Emily is playing baseline shots. She burns him a few times DTL, but honestly she caught him out of position way more but her partner didn't capitalize. You did it a couple times too, but it was pretty regular for him. Don't take that to be overly critical because his ability to cut off shots also generated a lot of points (really good hands at the net), but in that one instance I'd recommend softening the stance. Also, I couldn't help but laugh a little because around 3:45 when he's positioned precisely where I'd recommend Emily goes right up the middle for a winner as you're further over on the ad side. Maybe he was covering for you all along :p

Hopefully without sounding sexist, I would note that solid DTL (especially backhands) are a shot I see from a lot of good female players. In my experience it's less common in similarly rated male players, and I expect that's because the men felt they could just "power" the ball cross court, whereas the female players have learned to hit a more precise shot instead and keep the net players honest.

The only other criticism I could give is that you both sometimes played the ball unnecessarily high over the net when your opponents were already in. I'm unsure if you guys actually aimed that way, or if it was a result of just playing whatever you could. I saw it at both the 4:10 and 5:00 marks pretty clearly. I'm hesitant to read too much into your play from two points, but this is something I see from people who predominantly play singles. If your opponent is back in the court those shots might even be ideal forcing them to stay deep, but as far in as they were it becomes high volleys (which should be translate to putaways).

I really wanted to figure out what happened on your double fault at the 6:00 mark, but I couldn't quite pin it down. I suspect the first serve might've just dropped a hair lower than your target, but you did get others in with the same toss. The second serve seems more like the toss was simply further out in front, and in having to reach for it you end up hitting it lower into the net.

Again, thanks for the videos, they're a nice break from the workday.
 
#77
I started tennis playing exclusively doubles I have moved to singles primarily in the spring season and than doubles for mixed and combo ... and I have to say I often am surprised how much I miss doubles. Alot of the reasons OP listed save for strategy or set plays. Though I would love it, my partners often frown upon that cause at just 3.5 that seems like we’re “doing too much” though I always beg to differ. For me the team aspect in the match talking out strategy having someone to bounce ideas off of. Coming up with things on the fly. The scramble plays in doubles are always fun, but just having that other person there is huge. For those reasons though if you have a Debbie downer as a partner or someone who’s crumbling in the match that can be tough as well. Cause if you’re leaking confidence the ball has a way of finding you.
 
#78
At high levels they certainly are. At rec levels most individual sports are pretty much just you.



Then you need to either get a mentally stronger partner or learn that you can have fun even in a loss and with a partner that's imploding. I think that takes more mental strength than anything. Being able to not get dragged down in a losing cause with a partner playing like they are a 2.5 beginner.



Probably why i hate singles and find it a stupid game at rec levels. It can be won by someone just running around bunting balls deep down the middle over and over again. Doubles requires a much higher level of shot making skill and strategy to be successful.

And if you don't sweat in a doubles match you are doing it wrong. Nothing drives me more batty than the doubles partners that just stand still until the ball comes their way. There is always a right place to be even when the ball isn't coming your way. Go there.
You really missed the point.

I dont want to have to carry a mentally weak teammate.

And I want to run. No matter what, doubles is less active than singles.

Doubles removes everything I like about tennis from the game.
 
#79
You really missed the point.

I dont want to have to carry a mentally weak teammate.

And I want to run. No matter what, doubles is less active than singles.

Doubles removes everything I like about tennis from the game.
This is like saying "I like golf for the walk, cart golf removes everything i like from the game." I can't imagine there is a draw to tennis that doesn't include shot making.

There are better activities that involve running... like, say, running (at least you have shoes designed for the task and are at lesser risk of injury).;)


And I most certainly can make singles far less active than doubles if I want. I've played plenty of guys where I just stood there while they either hit every ball for a winner or a fault. Never had that experience in doubles.
 
#80
This is like saying "I like golf for the walk, cart golf removes everything i like from the game." I can't imagine there is a draw to tennis that doesn't include shot making.

There are better activities that involve running... like, say, running (at least you have shoes designed for the task and are at lesser risk of injury).;)


And I most certainly can make singles far less active than doubles if I want. I've played plenty of guys where I just stood there while they either hit every ball for a winner or a fault. Never had that experience in doubles.
The cart does remove a key variable from the game of golf.

Not sure how your example of bringing your singles match to a standstill has any relevance here. Or your suggestion for me to go simply run.

I dont like halfcourt basketball either. It’s a different game. Lazier.

I like soccer because of the running.

But I also like baseball for its own reasons that ironically have to do with why I hate basketball at times.

Im not trying to convince you to not like doubles. So why are you trying to convince me of anything?
 
#81
The cart does remove a key variable from the game of golf.

Not sure how your example of bringing your singles match to a standstill has any relevance here. Or your suggestion for me to go simply run.

I dont like halfcourt basketball either. It’s a different game. Lazier.

I like soccer because of the running.

But I also like baseball for its own reasons that ironically have to do with why I hate basketball at times.

Im not trying to convince you to not like doubles. So why are you trying to convince me of anything?
I just think your reasoning doesn't make a whole lot of logical sense since you can:
a) Get good exercise playing doubles if you work at it
b) Not get exercise playing singles if you want
c) Get far more exercise with less risk of injury running or cycling

if you want to hate on a variation of the same sport, that's fine. But I find "lack of exercise" the weakest excuse since you can be constantly moving in doubles if you want.
 
#82
This is like saying "I like golf for the walk, cart golf removes everything i like from the game." I can't imagine there is a draw to tennis that doesn't include shot making.
Nah, that's pretty easy to imagine.

Look, rec players pretend tennis is mostly about strategy or tactics or shotmaking... but it's at its core a physical sport. You run, you run more. Heck, the most important part of hitting a good shot is footwork - if you move your feet, get in perfect position, then the shotmaking part is easy, and if you don't move your feet and get to the ball in time you're screwed.

There are better activities that involve running... like, say, running (at least you have shoes designed for the task and are at lesser risk of injury).;)


And I most certainly can make singles far less active than doubles if I want. I've played plenty of guys where I just stood there while they either hit every ball for a winner or a fault. Never had that experience in doubles.
Really? To me that's much more the norm in doubles. Serve, return, poach or putaway. Most points are over one way or the other in three shots, at most four.
 
#83
This is like saying "I like golf for the walk, cart golf removes everything i like from the game." I can't imagine there is a draw to tennis that doesn't include shot making.
I guess if Twain said that "golf is a good walk, ruined", @R1FF must think that doubles is a good tennis game, ruined. To each his own.

There are better activities that involve running... like, say, running
You beat me to it; I was about to write the same thing!
 
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#84
Great thread. I play tennis 2-3x/week and generally prefer singles, but have a lot of fun playing dubs as well. Wanted to share a recent video: three 4.5 men + a 5.5 woman (and former D3 player) in doubles. Would be great to get any constructive feedback either here or via comment on the video :) thanks in advance!

You make such a good doubles player because your returns are very accurate [keeping it away from the net man]. I also like how you return and, when you see the server not coming in, you take the net. I learned old school doubles, which is "the team that takes the net first, wins" so I try to do what you were successfully doing.

You also used the lob wisely and followed it in. I do this too unless the opponent hits good OHs from the BL [not many do, even at 4.5].

It would have been nice to see some I formation and signals to try and get into the receiver's head.

You look comfortable at net even though, from your singles videos, you are a lot more comfortable at the BL.

You play like someone who plays doubles more than just infrequently.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
#85
Nah, that's pretty easy to imagine.

Look, rec players pretend tennis is mostly about strategy or tactics or shotmaking... but it's at its core a physical sport. You run, you run more. Heck, the most important part of hitting a good shot is footwork - if you move your feet, get in perfect position, then the shotmaking part is easy, and if you don't move your feet and get to the ball in time you're screwed.



Really? To me that's much more the norm in doubles. Serve, return, poach or putaway. Most points are over one way or the other in three shots, at most four.
How much can you run when most people can't keep 3 balls in the court.

J
 
#86
Look, rec players pretend tennis is mostly about strategy or tactics or shotmaking... but it's at its core a physical sport. You run, you run more. Heck, the most important part of hitting a good shot is footwork - if you move your feet, get in perfect position, then the shotmaking part is easy, and if you don't move your feet and get to the ball in time you're screwed.
So, I mostly would disagree here, and I suspect you meant it less definitively than it's being read.

Footwork makes it easier to hit a good shot, but it isn't necessarily a prerequisite. The reason that you're trying to establish good, consistent body position is because there are so many variables with hitting a moving ball. Lining up your body in the same fashion attempts to control some of them, and allows you to focus on the actual most important part - your stroke. That's also the most difficult thing, but let's gloss over it for now.

The reason that rec players "pretend" tennis is mostly about things besides physicality is because in their competitive play it will be. Players will differentiate themselves more off their understanding of the game than raw physical attributes. This is true at most levels of the game including college tennis. Partially because tennis, specifically doubles, is less physically demanding than many think, but mostly because your opponents' physical attributes will be less impactful than their understanding of the game.

Any time a discussion veers into trying to isolate one aspect of the game as being "the most important" we risk falling into unprovable hypotheticals. However, I think most people will find that the differentiator between their wins and losses is who played smarter. It'll be uncommon for a doubles team to walk off the court and say those guys were just too athletic for us to beat them.
 
#87
I find that both doubles and singles have their own unique joys and frustrations.

In doubles I love the speed of the game and the precision ... I also love being at net and owning it. (particularly in Mixed). I have been well-coached in doubles strategy so I have a sense of absolutely knowing where to be when and where a shot should be placed

In singles I love the physicality and having my fitness level count for more (and get tested) .... but it can become a little boring if you have someone who just hits safe somewhat paceless shots down the middle, and is just a waiting game until the first person makes an error (usually me). Additionally, I have not been well-coached in singles so there are TOO MANY CHOICES on each shot. When I am single-minded (pun totally intended) on a game plan it works out well, but my mind sometimes does it's own thing which causes problems.
 
#89
Another entertaining video Tim, and it looks like you guys had a fun doubles pairing there. Can't believe you tried to serve with so many layers on! ;)

Hopefully without sounding sexist, I would note that solid DTL (especially backhands) are a shot I see from a lot of good female players. In my experience it's less common in similarly rated male players, and I expect that's because the men felt they could just "power" the ball cross court, whereas the female players have learned to hit a more precise shot instead and keep the net players honest.

The only other criticism I could give is that you both sometimes played the ball unnecessarily high over the net when your opponents were already in. I'm unsure if you guys actually aimed that way, or if it was a result of just playing whatever you could. I saw it at both the 4:10 and 5:00 marks pretty clearly. I'm hesitant to read too much into your play from two points, but this is something I see from people who predominantly play singles. If your opponent is back in the court those shots might even be ideal forcing them to stay deep, but as far in as they were it becomes high volleys (which should be translate to putaways).

I really wanted to figure out what happened on your double fault at the 6:00 mark, but I couldn't quite pin it down. I suspect the first serve might've just dropped a hair lower than your target, but you did get others in with the same toss. The second serve seems more like the toss was simply further out in front, and in having to reach for it you end up hitting it lower into the net.

Again, thanks for the videos, they're a nice break from the workday.
Thanks for the detailed comment! Couple replies:

Re: DTL backhand from women. Might be very true—I can't really comment as I don't play enough women. Trying to more though!

Re: volleying too high. This is just bad volleying from us haha

Re: double fault. Sometimes I feel like since I'm serving from more wide position, it really changes my racquet face angle and pronation on serve. I think I came over that double fault too quickly rather than continuing to pronate up and out. And yeah, serves alway start with the toss so that could've been another factor as well.

Funny that you're watching at work ;)
 
#90
You make such a good doubles player because your returns are very accurate [keeping it away from the net man]. I also like how you return and, when you see the server not coming in, you take the net. I learned old school doubles, which is "the team that takes the net first, wins" so I try to do what you were successfully doing.

You also used the lob wisely and followed it in. I do this too unless the opponent hits good OHs from the BL [not many do, even at 4.5].

It would have been nice to see some I formation and signals to try and get into the receiver's head.

You look comfortable at net even though, from your singles videos, you are a lot more comfortable at the BL.

You play like someone who plays doubles more than just infrequently.
Thank you! I played a different dubs match recently where my partner was also a singles player, but the team we played against were very experienced dubs guys. They always tried to take net whenever possible and it always put us at a disadvantage. Ever since, have tried to push myself to come forward even if I'm not most comfortable there.

Agreed on formation and signals. This was first time Anu and I played dubs together. We could have communicated better on movement too—who covers middle, how to move when ball goes to opponent's corner vs down the middle, etc.
 
#91
- Quick reflex volley exchanges
- Communication with a partner
- A team effort
- Different formations
- Signalling
- All four players firing on all cylinders simultaneously
- Variety of shot
- Surprise plays
- Group problem-solving
- Partner encouragement when they're down [or vice versa]

I don't play doubles because I can't play singles. I play doubles because I love playing doubles [I love playing singles too but for different reasons].
Agree with all this. If you have a really good singles guy that doesnt' understand the doubles court positioning and what area to cover when and how to move when not hitting the ball, if you partner with one of these guys, it is a pathetic waste of time. If they win, it is all wonderful. But if they lose,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, They start thinking,,,,,oh man, I can cream these guys across the net in Singles, one on one, but I lost because my partner didn't carry his weight. Oh man,, it must be all my partner's fault
 
#92
Agree with all this. If you have a really good singles guy that doesnt' understand the doubles court positioning and what area to cover when and how to move when not hitting the ball, if you partner with one of these guys, it is a pathetic waste of time. If they win, it is all wonderful. But if they lose,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, They start thinking,,,,,oh man, I can cream these guys across the net in Singles, one on one, but I lost because my partner didn't carry his weight. Oh man,, it must be all my partner's fault
As long as this singles player is willing to learn and adapt, I don't think it's a pathetic waste of time. Those GSs will come in handy, forcing a weak response from the other team.
 
#93
As long as this singles player is willing to learn and adapt, I don't think it's a pathetic waste of time. Those GSs will come in handy, forcing a weak response from the other team.
Agree, but most of the time these singles guys just play few doubles matches for fun or to add some variety. they don't seem to be interested in learning about doubles court positioning or how to move where without the ball
 
#94
used to play both. old age, bad knees, just couldn't go in singles anymore enough to not get frustrated. doubles is just more fun. especially with the huge variety of shots that are employed
Amen. For me, the knees are OK but the hips are a problem and I just can't handle the lateral movement required in singles. I also like the pace of faster points in doubles.
 
#97
It took 10 minutes before there was some heavy movement. I wouldnt say that's a good case for why doubles isnt a bunch of standing around.

The teammate of the server is largely out of the point for most of that match.

That said, I may hate doubles but that video was some impressive play. I've never seen switches & strategy like that. Good stuff.
 
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