Five double faults in one service game

Uncoil

Semi-Pro
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
I do a lot of partner mental assistance, but I'd have to know your partner, sometimes I just shut up. Maybe this example helps, I played with a guy that would double fault on average 1.5 times a service game, not as bad as your partner. But, the problem was he would be really upset after each DF, like really negative. My go to line is paraphrasing "Hey, it's a nice day, I'd rather be playing tennis here with you than sitting at home watching tv or whatever, brush it off, go for your serve, don't worry about it". If a guy had 5 in one game, I would with respect, tell him, I bet you can't DF that many times again along with some more positive words the next time he served. Besides that, you just have to plow ahead and try to do your part.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
if you played with him socially and he didnt make as many errors, perhaps he isnt ready for league play,
as some people freeze up under pressure. they just need to get use to league play, and treat it as a social game, not some high pressure situation.
anyway, maybe your partner just had a bad day.
in the future, if you still want to be partners with this guy, put him in some social tennis situations, where he doesnt feel
the pressure, and maybe he will do better.
z
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
Does he always play this way or was it an anomaly?

What do you do? Support your partner. Sighing loudly, dropping your racquet, slumping your shoulders, etc. will make you feel better but it will just make your partner feel worse. Sometimes, #@!% happens and you just have to weather the storm and it won't always be successful.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
Tough to stay positive when you hit good serves and your doubles partner consistently misses easy put aways at the net. Doesnt know how to properly play, switch, poach, playing too deep. Try to be more aggressive and win the point yourself, as you know your partner stinks and you won't be getting any help from him.
 
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
I (m45) was in a mixed double with a friend (F32).

she made a horrible string of errors. When she started getting negative on herself, I turned my racket around and sang “let it go” into the buttcap.

There’s little you can do but be genuinely positive and be a partner to them. That and talk about it and work on serves outside of matches. If you can’t do that, it’s time to look for another partner, for the both of you.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
I've double faulted many times in a row in league matches. It's not like I was trying to do it and saying "just get it in" or "don't miss" doesn't help.

If the person can normally serve but double faults in league matches like what happened with me I'd think you'd want to take pressure away from the result. What I've done that helps is to stop focusing so much on getting the serve in and instead pretend I'm just out practicing my serve. Also trying to get the tension out of my body before I serve.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
does he usually play much better than that ? or does he always Suck like that ?? if you know the guy and he usually plays better than that then he probably had a bad week, like getting fired from the job or he found his wife sleeping in his own bed with another man and ect .......
 

Uncoil

Semi-Pro
Does he always play this way or was it an anomaly?

What do you do? Support your partner. Sighing loudly, dropping your racquet, slumping your shoulders, etc. will make you feel better but it will just make your partner feel worse. Sometimes, #@!% happens and you just have to weather the storm and it won't always be successful.
My partner actually has more doubles matches under his belt than I do. I may have expected a little more out of my partner since he's experienced. We played a handful of matches together years ago and won a few in the beginning but I do think he's getting worse as a match player.
 

cha cha

Professional
I go into maximum safe mode in such situations. It usually helps my partner mentally if they know there is no stupid mistake coming from my end of the court.
And, of course, criticising them is never an option. That only makes matters worse.
 
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18x20 ftw

Semi-Pro
Out of all the things I can think of, getting all of your serves in (no df’s) is probably the #1 thing you can do to help win matches in doubles. Sure there’s other things, but if you are somewhat evenly matched with the guys on the other side, one or two df’s will lose you the game. The second thing is making returns in play. I also hate when serving you have produced a sitter based on a good serve and your partner doesn’t connect, but being negative does not help.
 

Creighton

Semi-Pro
I've double faulted many times in a row in league matches. It's not like I was trying to do it and saying "just get it in" or "don't miss" doesn't help.

If the person can normally serve but double faults in league matches like what happened with me I'd think you'd want to take pressure away from the result. What I've done that helps is to stop focusing so much on getting the serve in and instead pretend I'm just out practicing my serve. Also trying to get the tension out of my body before I serve.
I get what you're trying to say, but the whole point of having a second serve is so you can dial it back and get it in. One double fault is unavoidable. A string of double faults is completely avoidable and really ruins the experience for your partner or team.
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I get what you're trying to say, but the whole point of having a second serve is so you can dial it back and get it in. One double fault is unavoidable. A string of double faults is completely avoidable and really ruins the experience for your partner or team.
To a point. At some point a long time ago I abandoned the patty-cake serves that go in every time for serves with roughly correct technique. I first developed a slice serve, then added a flat serve, then a kick. I was using slice and flat first serves to give me variety and when I felt comfortable bringing my kick serve to matches, I started mixing kick and slice serves as seconds.

For me to be effective and consistent with all three serves my toss has to be consistently in the right place, and my swing speed cannot be reduced. I have to "go for it" every serve, and trust the practice, the physics, and the technique will bring the ball down into the box.

When I have an off moment, or don't play enough, any number of small execution errors will lead to a fault, including slowing down my swing to "just get it in". When you add the pressures of match play and having a partner you know is also holding you to a high standard, I can see how it would be possible to get flustered and rattle off a string of faults.

Being in the zone and hitting any serve to any target with the spin of your choice is the sweet reward.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
I have days like that, where if that is the first time seeing me play you would think I just started. Even I don't know why it happens. If the guy usually is solid and just had a really bad day, give him some grace and move on. If that is his MO play, then find another partner if you don't pair well.
 

CHillTennis

Semi-Pro
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
It sounds like your partner for lack of a better term "choked".

The best thing that you can do is to play down the magnitude of the situation.

I would just tell him that you'll poach on the next point, so that he doesn't have to worry about anything more than getting the ball into play.

Usually, if you're able to win a few shots at the net, that will help to relieve some of the pressure.

It could also be poor technique that's causing him to double fault like that.

In which case, there's really not much that you can do about it.

Just try to remain as positive as possible.
 

socallefty

Legend
This brought back memories of an infamous partner that is now a 4.5 player.

This reminds me of a USTA league doubles match memory that I’ve tried to suppress for 7 years. We were up a break 4-3 in the third set of a USTA match when my partner stepped up to serve and got a quick 40-0 lead. He then double-faulted four friggin. times in a row to make it Ad-out. Then we did this dance where we would win the Ad-Out Point to get it back to deuce and then he DF’d on the deuce point another 3 or 4 times in a row before we finally lost the game. Of course, we lost the match after that as his confidence was totally shattered. He usually DFs 3-4 times in a match which itself is too much, but I swear he set a world record that day as I can’t believe anyone would have more than 7 or 8 DFs in ONE game ever in the history of tennis. It is almost impossible to do it on purpose! I never had the nerve to ask him what the heck happened to his serve as he was a high 4.0 player at that time. That ugly memory lingered for a few years before I forgot about it and now you revived it:eek:.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
When one plays a team game there are more things out of your control than in an individual sport. One can always play singles if wanting to be in more control.

If you lost 4 and 5, maybe you are focusing too much on your partner’s faults and not enough on the good things the partner might have done. Similarly you might be making excuses for your errors and play by blaming those on your partner. Unless you are claiming you being good and carrying the team was solely why the final score was so competitive.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
I get what you're trying to say, but the whole point of having a second serve is so you can dial it back and get it in. One double fault is unavoidable. A string of double faults is completely avoidable and really ruins the experience for your partner or team.
Since my string of double faults I've cleaned up my mentality and have maybe 1 or 2 during a match at most.

However I played with a partner that double faulted multiple times every game and being on the other side of that did find it very irritating. I was making most of my 1st serves and doing what I needed to at the net and he's just double faulting points away.

I guess the issue is how to "dial it back". If I try that I get very tight and am guaranteed to miss my 2nd serve. If I'm loose and relaxed and hit out on it the serve goes in.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Out of all the things I can think of, getting all of your serves in (no df’s) is probably the #1 thing you can do to help win matches in doubles. Sure there’s other things, but if you are somewhat evenly matched with the guys on the other side, one or two df’s will lose you the game. The second thing is making returns in play. I also hate when serving you have produced a sitter based on a good serve and your partner doesn’t connect, but being negative does not help.
Concentrating solely on "no DFs" opens up another problem: my serve is so weak [but free of DFs] that I fail to pressure my opponents enough and they break my serve too often.

If I go the entire match without DFing, I do not consider that a success: I believe I didn't serve aggressively enough and I left points on the table that could have been mine.

Same idea behind alley camping: sure, I didn't get burned once DTL. But I gave up a dozen potential volleys in the middle. Similar with the DFs, if I don't get beat DTL at least a few times per match, I'm not doing enough in the middle where the match will be decided.

The key is striking a good balance.
 

Creighton

Semi-Pro
Since my string of double faults I've cleaned up my mentality and have maybe 1 or 2 during a match at most.

However I played with a partner that double faulted multiple times every game and being on the other side of that did find it very irritating. I was making most of my 1st serves and doing what I needed to at the net and he's just double faulting points away.

I guess the issue is how to "dial it back". If I try that I get very tight and am guaranteed to miss my 2nd serve. If I'm loose and relaxed and hit out on it the serve goes in.
If this is true, then you never hit second serves.

You guys are trying too hard on this one. It's not about playing tight and timid. It's about knowing you have the ability to take a little more off the ball and still get it in if you're missing on your first and second serves. We aren't talking about a patty cake 2.5 serve just to get the ball in.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Your partner was playing that terribly and you lost 4-6 5-7? Methinks you doth protest too much.
Either one of you is sandbagging or you are being hyperbolic about your partners woes.
if I was in an NTRP even match with an opponent and my partner was having an off day, we should be losing 2-6, 3-6.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
When your partner is having a bad day, my go-to line is "Hey, I'd rather be out here with you as my partner on your worst day than with either of those guys on their best days, so relax, keep swinging and let's just play through it." You'd be amazed how well that works....
 

Uncoil

Semi-Pro
Your partner was playing that terribly and you lost 4-6 5-7? Methinks you doth protest too much.
Either one of you is sandbagging or you are being hyperbolic about your partners woes.
if I was in an NTRP even match with an opponent and my partner was having an off day, we should be losing 2-6, 3-6.
The opponents made a bunch of unforced errors too. Like I said, my partners unforced errors had an affect on my game. I know I shouldn't let it affect me but it did and I'm looking for advice on how to do that and improve my doubles game/mentality.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The opponents made a bunch of unforced errors too. Like I said, my partners unforced errors had an affect on my game. I know I shouldn't let it affect me but it did and I'm looking for advice on how to do that and improve my doubles game/mentality.
So probably unforced errors are just a part of playing at your level. In that case you have something else you can focus on and also chat with your partner with as a way to get him re-focused.

What kinds of shots were the opponents struggling with? How do we make them hit more of those?

Get your mind away from your partner and more on your opponent and why they aren't ripping you a new butt hole when your partner is flailing away.

I definitely have had those days where I was the person making the errors and the times where my partner was that person. It never helps to point out the errors by saying things like, "Take something off your serve so you can get more in" or "maybe just lob your returns".

Better to say things like, "The deuce guy really struggles with his BH volley, we should punish that." Or "They are staying back a lot, we should work on the short angles"
 

18x20 ftw

Semi-Pro
Concentrating solely on "no DFs" opens up another problem: my serve is so weak [but free of DFs] that I fail to pressure my opponents enough and they break my serve too often.

If I go the entire match without DFing, I do not consider that a success: I believe I didn't serve aggressively enough and I left points on the table that could have been mine.

Same idea behind alley camping: sure, I didn't get burned once DTL. But I gave up a dozen potential volleys in the middle. Similar with the DFs, if I don't get beat DTL at least a few times per match, I'm not doing enough in the middle where the match will be decided.

The key is striking a good balance.
Well, that goes without saying. Basically if you are in that 1-2 df’s a set, you’re probably ok, but every df (unless you’ve got a big serve and can make up for it) will put pressure on you. I have been playing with a semi-recent graduate that played #1 at an SEC school. In 8 matches he has double faulted twice.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Well, that goes without saying.
It should be said because many believe both in the goal of no DFs and never getting burned DTL in doubles.

Again, I think it's about balance: I don't look at my DF count in a vacuum. I look at it relative to the # of service winners, the # of weak returns, and what would have happened if I had served more or less aggressively. Obviously, the last part is hugely subjective and difficult to accurately gauge in the middle of a match.

I have been playing with a semi-recent graduate that played #1 at an SEC school. In 8 matches he has double faulted twice.
That's very darn good. Then again, so is a former SEC #1. So I have ask myself: how relevant is that to me at 4.5?
 

18x20 ftw

Semi-Pro
It should be said because many believe both in the goal of no DFs and never getting burned DTL in doubles.

Again, I think it's about balance: I don't look at my DF count in a vacuum. I look at it relative to the # of service winners, the # of weak returns, and what would have happened if I had served more or less aggressively. Obviously, the last part is hugely subjective and difficult to accurately gauge in the middle of a match.



That's very darn good. Then again, so is a former SEC #1. So I have ask myself: how relevant is that to me at 4.5?
I just think rec returns rarely have such potency that it outweighs making sure you get your serve in. I didn’t believe the OP is 4.5. At 4.5 yes, you have to think about more aggressive returns which means you have to go for more on your second serve. That said, if you df twice in one game the chances you hold go way down.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
Double faulting twice in a row in someone who knows how to serve is a sign of mental breakdown during a match. If I saw this happen to an opposing player in doubles, I would immediately tell my partner to start isolating and attacking that player to break them down even more.

I have a personal rule that if I double fault, I have to get the next serve in. For me, that’s a slice serve to the middle on the deuce side and kick serve to middle on the ad side.

I think every player needs to develop a “third serve”, one that will never break down. This video from Jorge Capestany illustrates this concept.

Another option to the hard dink is the underhand serve. Most people can do it even if they’ve never practiced it. So if it were my partner that double faulted twice in a row, I would suggest to him to try an underhand serve as a first serve on the next point.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I have a personal rule that if I double fault, I have to get the next serve in. For me, that’s a slice serve to the middle on the deuce side and kick serve to middle on the ad side.
I think it depends on how good your serve is. Someone with a mediocre serve [like me] might be more inclined to follow your path. Someone with a good serve would likely not alter anything just after one DF.

As I've been trying to improve my serve, my mantra has been "Your serve is a weapon; use it.". It's taken some doing to shift out of my comfort zone.

I think every player needs to develop a “third serve”, one that will never break down. This video from Jorge Capestany illustrates this concept.

Another option to the hard dink is the underhand serve. Most people can do it even if they’ve never practiced it. So if it were my partner that double faulted twice in a row, I would suggest to him to try an underhand serve as a first serve on the next point.
I don't know: what do you suppose that will do to his confidence, not just on the next serve but on every subsequent point? You could be undermining his confidence with that suggestion. I guess you have to know your partner and how he will react. Not everyone will react positively; some could spiral down further and faster.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
My brother has our record of 7 double faults in a game and still winning it. I came close to beating the record but then I lost the game.
 

RyanRF

Professional
My default serve strategy is 1st serve hard flat or hard slice, then 2nd serve kick.

If I'm having a rough serve day (low % first and/or many double faults), I'll try to do aggressive kick on 1st serve and moderate kick on 2nd serve.

On some days the constant switching between serve types (flat, slice, kick) prevents me from finding a good rhythm. Luckily my 'aggressive kick' is good enough to not get punished and will sometimes even get me free points.
 

Purestriker

Semi-Pro
Played a league doubles match today. My doubles partner served five double faults in one of his service games. How does this even happen? He missed overheads and volleys literally three or four feet from the net. Easy service returns and shots from the baseline going into the bottom of the net. I lost count at how many unforced errors he made. I tried to stay calm, remain positive and play my game but ultimately it had an affect on me. I missed a few shots and made some errors I don't usually make. We lost 4 and 5. What do you do in this situation?
What level? First try a lot of positive reenforcement (you got this, trust your swing, etc.) and if that does not help, resort to "just get it in, even if it's a lollipop".
 

FatHead250

Professional
Yeah so what? Who the hell cares? You suck just as much as he does in the big picture. Nobody cares about your league match except you, so just leave it
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
I think it depends on how good your serve is. Someone with a mediocre serve [like me] might be more inclined to follow your path. Someone with a good serve would likely not alter anything just after one DF.

As I've been trying to improve my serve, my mantra has been "Your serve is a weapon; use it.". It's taken some doing to shift out of my comfort zone.



I don't know: what do you suppose that will do to his confidence, not just on the next serve but on every subsequent point? You could be undermining his confidence with that suggestion. I guess you have to know your partner and how he will react. Not everyone will react positively; some could spiral down further and faster.
You get confidence from winning points. If you don’t get a serve in, you can’t win, obviously. If it’s a weak serve, at least you have a chance of winning.
When you resort to your emergency serve, after getting a few in, you should feel confident that you can use it as a second serve. Then you can start to try regular serves as first serves, since you have the emergency one as backup.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
You get confidence from winning points. If you don’t get a serve in, you can’t win, obviously. If it’s a weak serve, at least you have a chance of winning.
When you resort to your emergency serve, after getting a few in, you should feel confident that you can use it as a second serve. Then you can start to try regular serves as first serves, since you have the emergency one as backup.
I can still hit a weak serve and miss the service box. I've found the modest increase in successful serves is not enough to warrant a super safe dink serve.
What I try to do to limit double faults is not tone down my second serve even more but rather maintain a high first serve percentage by toning that serve down.

Basically I'm serving two moderately paced second serves at 80% success. Which means I'll DF on 4% of service points. As opposed to hitting a 50% high paced first serve followed by a 90% dink second serve. In that scenario I'll be DF'ing on 5% of my serves.

If my high paced first serve was such a weapon that I won every point I got in with it, then you reconsider the scenarios. But my serve isn't a weapon and I'm better keeping people from jumping on a weak second serve than trying to ace folks on my first serve.
 

FatHead250

Professional
Found my doubles partner.
Yeah then go play with someone way better than you (you wont have to search for long) and play intimidated missing every shot because youre so bad, and the partner will be sighing to himself and will then go ***** on the forum how that loser he played with served such crappy serves that the opponents were eating them up, and couldnt return a simple kicker? you would love that ?
 

DaylightBlue

New User
Yeah then go play with someone way better than you (you wont have to search for long) and play intimidated missing every shot because youre so bad, and the partner will be sighing to himself and will then go ***** on the forum how that loser he played with served such crappy serves that the opponents were eating them up, and couldnt return a simple kicker? you would love that ?
You have a point but not sure what got under your skin.

As for OP, mental toughness is a thing no matter the situation. As long as I play my best tennis or my tennis improves, I still feel good. Winning is bonus.
 

Uncoil

Semi-Pro
Yeah then go play with someone way better than you (you wont have to search for long) and play intimidated missing every shot because youre so bad, and the partner will be sighing to himself and will then go ***** on the forum how that loser he played with served such crappy serves that the opponents were eating them up, and couldnt return a simple kicker? you would love that ?
Work on your overheads!
 
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