Dealing with an opinionated partner!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by millardus, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. millardus

    millardus Rookie

    May 20, 2011
    Hi all

    A very good friend of mine just started playing his first dubs in 4-6 month yesterday (he doesn't enjoy dubs much, and has been injured), with me at a tournament. We are equal in ability, but in doubles I do play at a higher level due to my serve. He is better at singles.

    However, this does not stop him advising me on every single serve, what to do. Even if I hit an ace, his first comment will be *slow it down* or *don't tire yourself*. This may sound like helpful advice, but when my serve is considered in the top 3 at a club of 500 players, I eventually get extraordinarily irritated by him and his constant *coaching* and *advice*

    Conversely, his serve is actually rather weak (getting better though), and he is currently just rolling it in. Perhaps this last bit shouldn't matter, but it's the irony of continually advising me on what to do, with what is my best shot by far, that irritates!

    I've told him today to just STOP doing it, because my rhythm and confidence is being stunted by the continual chatter, but he just considers it *constructive advice*, whereas I consider it overtly intense and energy sapping!

    Perhaps it should not annoy me soo much, but because I have pride in my serving I can do without all the comments, continually! I am talking after or before every single serve he will say something.

    Here is the link to me serving in a match. It only shows some of my good serves, but it IS reflective because I rarely lose my serve in doubles.....I may serve 3-4 doubles in 2 sets but I will gather far more winners that that in return.

    Do I just stop partnering him? He's a very good mate, but I am currently about to tell him in a joking way,

    *Look, we're great mates, but on court we just don't gel well. I am a relaxed and languid kinda guy, you are quite an intense tennis player, AND we're such good friends that you are more willing to advise me on court than other people who you don't know soo well.... You know me by now, we're not a good on court marriage!*
  2. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

    Sep 6, 2011
    you are right he shouldn't be commentating on your serve.
  3. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

    Jul 23, 2009
    I wish i knew
    Play with signals--that way he can request placement and action and you can keep saying no until you get what you want :)
  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    If he is your friend, or he wants to continue playing with you, just tell him to shut up. "SHUT UP".
    Nice serve, great moderately low toss, solid form.
  5. ericwong

    ericwong Rookie

    Mar 5, 2004
    If I were you, I would reduce the chance of partnering him. It is annoying to have your partner commenting your shot in the middle of a point. It seems your partner is not respecting you at all in the game.
  6. The Meat

    The Meat Hall of Fame

    Aug 9, 2012
    The only time you should ever talk with your doubles partner is switching sides on lobs, calling a ball that you will get, telling him where you're going to serve, and possibly to calm him down "Come on, we've got this." or "Brush it off, it's just a tiny mistake."

    He really shouldn't be coaching you during a match.
  7. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

    Jun 2, 2007
    I could not disagree with you more.

    Sometimes I need reminding from my partner to move my feet, attack the second serve, or keep my head down. Sometimes my partner needs some insight from me (e.g., 'give him a heavy kicker to the backhand' or 'if you get a second serve, take it up the line to keep him honest').

    In fact, when doubles partners use signals, it is the net guy that will indicate whether they are poaching, and where they want the serve to go. Obviously the server can call them off, but the net guy that initiates it.

    IMO, the #1 priority of a doubles player is to make his/her partner comfortable. Whether that means constantly coaching, cracking jokes to lighten the mood, being intense, or just shutting the hell up, all depends on the partner. You need to understand what your partner needs, and it's different for everyone.
  8. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

    Jun 2, 2007
    There's a guy at my club who is, without a doubt, the best doubles player we have. His serve is real good, his hands at the net are unbelievable, his movement & intensity are top notch, but his service return is 50% at best.

    For me, my serve is solid, and I barely miss a return of serve, but my volleys can get shaky (I'm more defensive than offensive).

    You'd think we would be a good pairing as he can pick me up in the volley department, and I can keep us in a return game. However, I don't partner with the guy anymore because has no patience for me when I miss an easy volley. He literally gets angry, and that does nothing for my confidence. What drives me crazy is we will have a return game go 10 minutes because I'm smacking returns back for winners, or setting him up for an easy put-away volley, but he's missing his returns outright, yet I don't get on him for missing easy 2nd serve returns.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is, if its not a good pairing, then tell him so. Maybe don't criticize him about his coaching, just tell him you don't think you make a good team.

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