Doubles Tips

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by trav*17, May 24, 2007.

  1. trav*17

    trav*17 New User

    Oct 13, 2006
    Hey everyone i have a small club doubles tourney this weekend, and i was hoping if you guys could give me tips on a couple diffrent levels please...

    - when i'm serving, should i be going out wide or up the T with the majority of first serves?

    -my partner's serve doesn't exactly have alot of beef behind it, so when he serves, should i play back and work my way up with an approach shot, or try to hold my own at the net with the big returns?

    -when returning, if i have the chance, should i rip the ball down the line on second serves and try to beat the net player or rip it cross court and move up?

    -should we lob a couple returns over the net player everyonce in awhile to keep them honest?

    many thanks in advance
  2. Solat

    Solat Professional

    Nov 19, 2006
    - Down the T 80% of the time on the deuce side, about 50% on the ad. (assuming the returners are RH)
    - play at the net til you lose the 1st set badly (0,1,2) if its closer (3,4,5) stick with it.
    - c/c and move up, hit a couple dtl early to keep the net player honest for the rest of the match
    - only if they are crowding the net or you are being hurt by poaches
  3. chrisak47

    chrisak47 Banned

    May 28, 2006
    Try to mix it up too. Try both back, try both up, try one up and one down. Throw in the occasional lobs.

    Also, another strategy I like to incorporate is The Serve Switch.
    Basically, right after whoever severs, your partner or yourself, switch places. I think this best works with the one up one down positions.

    Basically, pretend your serving, if you switch right after, your partner will cover the cross court and most likely do some damage. If your opponent goes down the line, you got it on the baseline and it should be easier for you.
  4. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

    Feb 8, 2007
    Serve down the T with the majority of serves as it cuts down the angles for the return. Make sure your partner is ready to poach returns especially when you serve down the T from the deuce court to your opponents backhand - assuming they are right handed.

    Beef on serve is not so important in doubles. Deep and well placed will get you a long way if you can play the net. If your partner can keep his serve deep and on the backhand then play at the net. If not start at the net and see how it goes. Depends what level you are playing at but often at lower levels soft consistant servers do well because receivers are tempted to rip the ball for winners and miss more often than not.

    Returning - go cross court most of the time - it is a higher percentage shot. I would not think of 'ripping' returns as that implies you are going for clean winners from the baseline which is not a percentage play in doubles. Rather step in on second serves and use a short backswing to takes them early with a low well placed return and then take the net.

    Lobs returns - yes do it from time to time as it puts doubts in the mind of a server approaching the net. Sometimes the lob return is a 'go to' shot for the ad court receiver with a typical backhand. For example when facing a left handed server with a good wide serve and a partner who is good at the net.

  5. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    - go up the T "most" of the time, unless you have a lot of success hitting either out wide or into their body.

    - start out at net, and hold your position. Don't move back unless you're getting creamed.

    = take the ball cross court "most" of the time, but throw in some down-the-line and lob returns as well. And, if you get a real creampuff, hit it right at the net man and see how he handles it.
  6. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW

    I have had the opposite experience, especially in higher level doubles. That is, I have had better luck playing where I want and hitting it where I "should", even though the other guys may anticipate where it is going and what I am doing.

    Mixing it up, just to mix it up, is likely (in my experience) to mix you up. I prefer to get into a groove. Doubles is less about "suprising" your opponents with continually new, inventive ideas and more about playing the percentages up front and aggressively putting away weak responses to well struck balls when they appear.
  7. Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket Hall of Fame

    Jan 12, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Those are good tips from the last few posters and I agree with everything.

    There are a couple random things I want to add.

    Unless you're opponents are consistantly hitting down the line, don't stand there hugging it. Taking control of the center of the court has the effect of "shrinking" the court for your opponent. This pressure increases as the set goes on and when things get tight, you may get the easiest volley of your life.

    The same tips you've read here about hitting down the line every now and then to keep your opponents honest is a likely tactic for your opponents as well. Don't let one shot down the line make you cheat over too far leaving too much of the court open for your opponent. You want to keep the pressure on. Your opponents going for a down the line shot (when the line is open) and missing can swing the momentum. Let them go for it. oldhacker describes this pretty well.

    As far as the lobs you may get from your opponent, the one playing back should cover them. If you serve and your opponents lob over your partner, that is your ball to cover. It makes much more sense than the net man turning around and running back. You probably knew that.

    Once the point get's going and you're the serving team, do not continue to stand on top of the net. Stand back slightly behind the service line, just as you would returning.

    Give your opponents different looks at everything. Have your partner stand in different places when you're serving, sometimes even right in the center. Plan poaches and make sure the server's net mane is consistantly aggresive. Throw in variety, even cross-court drop-shot returns. Let them hit up on the ball.

    One of the most important shots in doubles is the overhead. I've never seen a good doubles team with a bad overhead. I've never seen a bad doubles team that can hit good overheads.

    I am totally just rambling on now... :rolleyes:
  8. trav*17

    trav*17 New User

    Oct 13, 2006
    thanks for all the tips guys
  9. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    Old hacker had some good, easy to follow advice, others also.

    Just a couple general things.

    An average doubles point lasts 5-6 strokes, including serve and return.

    So, make the best of the shots you make from your side.

    Keep the ball in play. Place it, don't just hit it "anywhere". Go for open court, down the middle, at their feet, into their body, over their heads.

    You want to force an error or a weak response that you can put away.

    Practice the shots you will use most in doubles-- serve, return, volley, overhead, approach shot.

    Work with your partner on strategy-- where to place balls, how to compensate for weaknesses, when to poach, where to stand, what to expect, how to call a ball out or let the ball go, switch, react to lobs, and so forth.

    A so-so team working together will win over a slightly better team that is playing like 2 individuals.

    Serving, you want to cut down their angles of return-- so hit mostly down the "T" kicking the ball into their body or out of their reach, if you can.

    Returning, you want to slice the ball low so they have to hit up-- or cross court with lots of topspin that angles the ball out of the court-- or drive it deep to the servers's corner-- or lob over the net person's head. All these retrns put some kind of pressure on the server's sie to hit a more difficult shot than they would like.

    A lot of what you choose to do depends on your team's abilitys.

    Good luck,

  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Aug 31, 2006
    I'll add this:

    Do not stand still when you are at the net.

    You should be moving around and shifting your position when the other team is lining up their shot so they are confused about what the net player is going to do. Fake as though you're crossing to poach, and then return toward the alley when the returner drops his head. Or leave the alley open and then get back over there to pick off the down-the-line shot.

    If you do this constantly, your opponents won't know whether they are going or coming by the end of the first set. There are some opponents who will be thrown totally off their game by net movement. If you stand still, you are making their lives too easy.
  11. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

    Apr 29, 2007
    A good addition on this, is that as soon as you hear your partners racquet hit the ball when he serves start to move a little (you basically want to load your weight from one foot to another until you have to stop for a second) as you get ready to possibly hit the ball.

    What happens to a lot of people is they stand still until they see the returner hit the ball and then they try to react. Then they either end up lunging at the ball, or they give up and just remain still.

    If you think about any other time in the point, you are usually running around, stopping (but just for a second), changing directions and then running again. It's harder when your partner is serving because you have to move from an absolute dead stop, and if you dont prepare early you have very little time to react. (especially if you dont even know where your partner is serving)

    So be ready to hit the ball, whatever that takes as soon as your partner makes contact with it.

    What I like to do since my partners dont know where they are serving and we dont signal is I bounce around a little to get ready, and then if I see the ball go on the inside half of the service box, I start to think more about going across to maybe pick it off. But if it goes out wide, then I think more about staying put (unless that was a weak side for my opponent) because they have a clear shot down the line now.
  12. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

    Jun 11, 2007
    Good Stuff

    A lot of good advice here.
  13. Bodacious DVT

    Bodacious DVT Semi-Pro

    Jan 10, 2007

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