Doubles to Singles Switch

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by MTruong28, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. MTruong28

    MTruong28 New User

    Apr 6, 2008
    I was wondering how difficult it is to switch from competitive doubles play to singles play and some tips to keep in mind while playing singles. I played doubles one last year and now this coming year i will be switching to singles two since most of the lineup graduated. I was like to know some tips to keep in mind from changing to a single's mindset. Btw, i do enjoy going to the net on a lot of occasions, but i still have good strokes on the baseline, if that is any thing to keep in mind. Thanks.

    USERNAME Professional

    Jun 29, 2009
    I play alot of dubs and singles tournys and the biggest difference is that theres no partner around. Make sure ur mental game is good and that u can stay tough thru out a match. On serves u may want to get a little more aggressive on the 1st serve. When I play dubs I hardly miss my 1st serve cause I spin it out alot more to setup my partner but in singles I tend to hit more flat serves and more up the T. Also coming to net is great in singles, just make sure ur coming in behind something. Really place the approach more towards the lines (not on them) and put more heat on them, remember theres no partner to cover half of the net now. As for groundies, break the habit of constantly hitting cross-court shots, u dont have to wait for a slow or short-ball to slap dtl anymore.
  3. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    As long as you have solid groundstrokes, I'd say it's easier for a Doubles player to convert to singles than vice versa.

    A lot of (us) singles players tend to grind it out from the baseline unless we get a GOOD opening to come to net. And, we're not used to having an aggressive opponent who comes to net often and has good volleys and a putaway overhead.

    USERNAME had some good points, and I'm sure others will too. As long as you've got the fitness level needed, I think you've got a good shot at doing very well.

    The last tournament I played I faced a S&V player in the 2nd round. I think I did EVERYTHING better than him, except come to the net. He came to the net on almost everything. He beat me and went on to take 3rd in the tournament.
  4. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Mar 31, 2008
    I think the serving advice by username was well put.

    Another adjustment for me was to hit a more driving shot. Playing all dubs for a long time, I had my dipper so grooved, but it really hurt me in singles except against S&V players. Another thing that can happen is that over hitting is easy in singles. The court looks so wide open and big, that it is easy to get over excited about all that open Real Estate. Also you have so much time for a bigger backswing, which can help you to overhit as well. Having a strong idea of how you want to work a point is very important for those longer rallys that you can construct at times. Dubs is more react and hit the opening, where in singles it is much more like a series of body blows to set things up for a forced error. (which at times will go thru clean) I use the body blows in dubs too, but don't see many that have the patience or consistency to do this.
  5. crash1929

    crash1929 Hall of Fame

    Mar 14, 2008
    i think its all in your head. its the same game- doubles or singles.
  6. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    Well, it is generally easier for a good doubles player to master singles than the other way around- so you have that.

    Doubles is all about a consistant serve, getting to the net, volleys, overheads and lobs.

    In singles you will want to win more points with a strong first serve-- at best hitting aces, or at least eliciting weak responses.

    I have seen doubles players who never hit a groundstroke if they could help it. Singles is much more about groundstrokes, endurance and creating opportunities.

    In other words, if you have a good serve, solid groundstrokes, and are in good shape, the transition should not be that difficult.

    You could surprise an opponent by serving and volleying every once in a while since many singles players will not expect that.

    Practice taking weak returns or short balls and driving them for winners/placement. Topspin will be your friend.

    Practice returning harder serves than you may have experienced in doubles. Have someone stand a foot or two inside the baseline and pound serves.

    Some doubles skills that will be useful to you might be bringing the opponent to the net, then lobbing to the fat corner- taking a short ball and half-volley it deep then follow it to the net and angle volley the weak response.

    Be alert to hitches or weaknesses in the opponent's game that you can take advantage of (weak backhand, difficulty with low or high bounces, poor overhead, difficulty wih paceless balls, strong but unreliable forehand...), then give them balls they dislike.
  7. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

    May 31, 2006
    You can't call 'yours' in singles.

  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    As a old, has been 60 year old who's doesn't play nearly often enough.... ONE pair of shoes for the last 15 months, two sets of strings..... doubles allows us out of shape slow direction changers a chance.
    In singles, you're exposed to hit every ball, but mainly to run EVERY ball down. Better get into shape!
  9. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Jul 19, 2007
    It's easier to go from doubles to singles than vice-versa. When someone who's played singles his whole life takes up doubles, look out!, esp. if you're his partner. They're not much of a threat when up at the net, and they figure their basic doubles shot should be like their basic singles shot. So they hit alot of high, hard, groundstrokes that are really easy to volley.

    But if you're in shape, I think going from doubles to singles should be fairly easy.
  10. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    I find that the biggest change I need to make when going from mostly doubles to mostly singles are:

    1) change serve/return strategy - from preventing errors in doubles to opening up the court in singles

    2) I use loopier strokes in singles that go higher over the net and tend to land a little shorter - these get destroyed in doubles but really help my percentages in singles.

    3) similarly, I find that I need to be much more automatic in singles (go cross court and deep repeatedly) whereas I need to go for more variety and winners in doubles.
  11. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

    Oct 20, 2006
    I'm a full level stronger as a doubles player than I am for singles and a big issue I have when I flip the script away from doubles is primarily the task of keeping the ball in play and maintaining a neutral rally where I don't give my opponent many short sitters, etc. Instead of playing in a doubles mindset where I'm almost always on the attack, I need to be a whole lot more patient and rally effectively until a real opening comes along.

    A doubles team will usually be owned by opponents of a similar level if they're too passive and constantly reacting to the other guys, but I'm dead in a singles setting if I'm trying to constantly make something out of nothing. This might mean going to net at the wrong time or trying a low percentage winner instead of maintaining a good rally. Singles can often mean outlasting opponents, while doubles usually demands a degree of constant aggression.

    Having coached high school teams for several years, I'll encourage you to shore up your consistency and movement, but keep those doubles skills sharp! Some singles sluggers are happy to trade bullets from the backcourt all day, but you'll be able to make real pressure for some opponents if you can comfortably attack short balls and move forward. Even technically stronger opponents can have their hands full against a competent all-courter that can attack them at the net.
  12. MTruong28

    MTruong28 New User

    Apr 6, 2008
    thanks for all the feedback and tips guys, im really learning a lot. I feel like i am in great shape, keeping up with my fitness. Long lasting rallies will probably be the biggest problem for me since i am so used to trying to end the point quickly. Thanks again, im really hoping to do well this coming season.
  13. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

    Aug 12, 2004
    I actually find singles more forgiving. People say that you need better groundstrokes for singles. But what you really need are better wheels and fitness.

    In singles you don't have to hit really great groundstrokes - you won't get punished for deep floaters or even sometimes short spinny ones. Whereas in doubles a net player will be pounding those for winners.

    Obviously it depends on who your playing but I am talking about the club level 3.5 to 4.0 level. It was a big transition for me to play doubles and honestly I feel that I am better at the net in singles still.

    Its kind fun how in singles you just get to GO after everything. Where in doubles its more of a decision..
  14. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

    Oct 12, 2009
    I prefer singles but also play doubles. It takes a lot more energy to play singles than doubles. I can play hours on end in doubles but singles I wear down pretty quick. I am working on pacing myself in singles so I do not get too worn down. I think playing doubles makes someone a better singles player but it is tougher to play doubles when you mainly play singles.

    Last week we where playing mixed doubles when 2 guys that are both pretty good singles players decided that they would play doubles between my mixed doubles partner and I, we took the challenge and hands down beat them all over the court. While they where both good players they didn't understand doubles tactics and we picked them apart. 6-0 6-0
  15. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW

    Strokewise this is true. Naturally you need better fitness but the OP is in HS, I believe so that should not be an issue. I am developing my singles game after many years of playing almost exclusively doubles and can confirm Geezer's point that an S&V aspect to my game can unhinge some pwer baseliners (not all, of course).
  16. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Feb 21, 2007
    Lots of good thoughts in this thread...

    ...let me just add a few of my own:

    - I totally agree that, conceptually, it's easier to switch from doubles to singles than vice versa. There are different ways to play singles (see the sticky on the 6 basic playing styles...), but whatever you do (even having no explicit strategy) is your choice, not a group decision. Whatever you do, it's your thing. A lot of doubles teams I watch are basically two singles players who happen to be on the same side on a doubles court. They've never really stopped to talk to each other about what each's strengths and weaknesses are, and how to knit them into a strategy, so it's just kind of random events. In singles, even if you don't have a Plan A (and Plan B...and C...), you'll find out very quickly if what you do is working...or not. Whereas in doubles, you, individually, can be doing all the right things, but your team can be losing most of the points.

    - Long last rallies are only a problem if you make them so. If you like coming to the net, why not do it in singles? I'm 60, but my game is at a 5.0 level, and I'm in shape, and I've got the tools to shorten the points and save my legs. My A game has always been to serve, first volley, knock off the next volley for a winner. Return, put pressure on, see the opening ASAP, hit an approach, come to the net for the volley. Chip and charge if my return is strong enough against the opponent's serve, especially second serve.

    If you can't get to the net and win points as you might want, ask yourself what's holding you back from playing that strategy? I could be serve, it could be return, it could be what you're doing with the ball in your groundstroke rallies, it could be approach shots that are going out, or not putting on enough pressure, it could be lack of a split step.

    - Don't misunderstand, your A game, if it isn't a forcing game, isn't going to work all the time. You're going to have to have a B game, and a lot of that is going to come down guessed it...groundstroke rallies from the baseline. Again, if you're going to win points, games, and matches, these can't be just random events. If you get caught in a groundstroke rally, the overall goal has to be to construct points so you can hit winners or force him into errors. There's a ton of different ways to do that, and you should always have something in mind. Yes, I admit it...I've played guys who were just plain good 10K runners who didn't have much for strokes who wound up outlasting me...because I didn't execute. I didn't force them out of the patterns they liked and into situations where they handed me a wounded duck or hit silly shots for errors. I let it devolve into a running contest, and no matter how long it took, my goose was cooked. Don't let it happen to you....
  17. fattsoo

    fattsoo Semi-Pro

    Jun 5, 2009
    Mine! Got it! Mine again!

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