How do you get your doubles partner to relax?

sphinx780

Hall of Fame
^ beer

needmorechar
Back on topic, this^

I've used this in a changeover. I just looked over at him and said 'You know what I love most about league tennis? Win or lose, there's beer after the match'.

Personally, I think the best way to calm nerves is to lighten the mood and put these league matches in perspective.
 

Rui

Semi-Pro
Back on topic, this^

I've used this in a changeover. I just looked over at him and said 'You know what I love most about league tennis? Win or lose, there's beer after the match'.

Personally, I think the best way to calm nerves is to lighten the mood and put these league matches in perspective.
That would certainly work for me. Thanks.
 

M Pillai

Rookie
If I find that my partner has difficulty to avoid the net guy constantly on returns, two things I usually try based on the situation of the match. But will never do anything which can kill his confidence, or will say anything which can hurt his ego. "ALL" of us tennis players have some level of ego :)

1. Ask him to hit straight at the net guy or down the line passing shot for that point (the way of saying it should not be negative hinting that it is because he is missing too many cross court, but because you want to surprise the opponent) , and I will move back few steps. Usually the partner wont take it as a bad thing, since he understands that when hitting straight at netguy I need to move back to cover a weak/lucky volley. Also this loosens him up, since now he has a target (instead of an avoidance target). And most of the time I see him hitting better shots, and outright winners, because of the gained confidence on the shot.

2. Put another surprise the opponent, change of shot of short slice angle and charge or chip and charge, instead of deep ground stroke, if that is what he was trying. Less pressure, since it is a surprise strategy, and you are willing to take risk early in the point.

In general, instead of keep trying the same thing, make it interesting by helping him mix it up with something else, and you cover it. And once that set is over, think again whether you folks are playing on the correct side on returns. If your partner has constant trouble hitting cross court from "ad" side, he probably can hit better cross court from "deuce" side and vice-versa. Identify it and change side if needed.


My partner, for whatever reason, keeps sending the ball straight to the waiting racket of the net player. Or can't hit a low passing shot when opponents take the net. Or keeps popping the ball up. If I say, "How about if I move back so I'll have a better chance of getting some of those balls back?", they will argue with me.
 

M Pillai

Rookie
Now with that changed surprise point, even if you don't get outright winners and the net guy still finishes the point, now you share some of that responsibility for that lost point, because most of the time the net guy will be attacking you (the guy closer to net), and you could indicate that you made a mistake at that point. Also it was your suggestion anyway. Now this will allow the partner to relax a bit, since you clearly shared responsibility for that lost point.

hit straight at the net guy
How about if I move back so I'll have a better chance of getting some of those balls back?
 

Max G.

Legend
Focused anger isn't the only way to play, I think.

I remember watching Martina Hingis play doubles with Mirza (and with doubles partners in mixed) the last few years and I see her smiling, laughing a lot between points, etc. Obviously during a point she's laser-focused, but clearly the way she maintains the right state of mind between points isn't by clenching teeth and being angry.
 
In some ancient article in TENNIS MAGAZINE, it was written, that a successful doubles team, communicates and average of 87 times during a match.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Oh, that issue of when and how to back up from the net is so tricky!!

I have had the same situation. My partner backs up from the net when I am serving or receiving. It makes me incredibly tight, as it is a clear vote of no confidence.

But I have also been on the other end of this. My partner, for whatever reason, keeps sending the ball straight to the waiting racket of the net player. Or can't hit a low passing shot when opponents take the net. Or keeps popping the ball up. If I say, "How about if I move back so I'll have a better chance of getting some of those balls back?", they will argue with me.

I haven't found a good solution to this. Usually, I will stay up there for a few more points, but if the problem continues then I will back up without their permission. Which effectively kills the partnership.
I've not had this problem with my regular doubles partner: we both feel free to suggest playing 2 back if one is having trouble with the return. We both recognize it as not an insult or vote of no-confidence but merely a strategy change to maximize our chances. We almost always independently come to the same conclusion so there's no conflict anyway.

Where I see the conflict happening is when I'm paired with a partner I've never played with before, especially the inflexible ones who believe there is only one "right" way to play the game. In that case, I just do the best I can.
 

elga

Rookie
We always bring each other back by saying "F* it, next point. Stay loose. Let's play our game and forget about what they're doing." It refocuses us on playing our game, our style, and playing each point without thinking of the last one.

Since we've been playing together for quite some time, it helps in the sense that we know what our execution and strategy is, and we can just focus on doing that. Missed shot? All good. Next point, F** it. Let's play our game. Pros make errors. Pros lose sets. Pros lose matches. And they're freaking pros. We can't be expected to win every match and be #1 in the world. Let's just play our game, our style, and have fun doing it. The more we do that, the more we win. Stay loose, stay calm, next point.
 

sansaephanh

Professional
I usually hit them with a serve. It's just hilarious whiffing serves pass their head cause they know I'm a big server. If they're scared of whats behind them, they won't be scared of what's in front of them.
 
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