I can't seem to ever find rhythm in doubles, AKA doubles sucks. . . . .ok it's me. but it still sucks.

MoxMonkey

Rookie
For me, doubles feels like tennis with everything good taken away from it. I have difficulty feeling out the point while playing, can't get engaged into it. Sharing the court and weighing what's happening, etc. I have been playing weekly rotating team sets with the same group for several months now, and still have difficulty with playing the game in doubles.

In singles I have a much clearer understanding of what is going on. It's harder but it's way less busy.

Having to share the court with a partner is probably my biggest obstacle. I have difficulty instinctively knowing what to do. I go for balls I shouldn't and let balls go I should, and i can't figure out what I should be doing, where I should be in relationship to my partner.

Most of this stuff is probably mental. When where short and I play 2v1 I play much better when I am on the solo side. I know what I have to do, and have no unintended mental hesitation in doing it. In fact this is my favorite way to play, even though I won't win that much.

Playing doubles is a pain, and Id just as soon never do it if singles play where more available. But in all reality the majority of competitive play I'll be in over the the cold months will be doubles.

Has anyone else ever felt out of place playing doubles, and if so, any ideas on how to get more in the rhythm of the game?
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
I'm a player that needs to get into a rhythm and I like the athleticism required to cover a singles court. At a high(er) level than 3.0 or 3.5 I can see how it can be fun but at lower levels it is just a UE fest since no one has the skill at enough shots to make it even seem like sport. In the winter I've ended up wearing my coat while playing and what was meant to be getting exercise. I'd rather hit balls from a ball machine or even read a book. Even golf would probably be more fun.

As far as I can tell, to enjoy it, you basically need to be solid at every stroke (especially overhead or you just get lobbed to death). In a game as hard as tennis that is quite a challenge of rec hackers with full time jobs.
 
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eah123

Semi-Pro
When I started playing doubles, that’s how I felt. It was confusing to understand where to be with respect to my partner and where to aim the ball. It was not until I learned about the California Doubles system (Art of Doubles) when it all clicked. I’ve since learned refinements of the system covered in Dynamite Doubles and On the Ball. Now I love doubles, and play mixed with my wife and 13 yo girl. It’s really fun!
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
Ime, the problem with doubles is that the lower the level, the less communication (of strategy and tactics) which is key to being involved in the match, esp. at the net. Secondly, I see a lot of recreational players that stand on their heels way too close to the net, and most of those players are not able to handle the ball if they're being drilled.

What has worked for me, is double specific drills. One drill comes to mind: the starting team has one player at the baseline, the other at the service line. The two opponents are both at the service line. The point starts with an underarm serve that has to be within the singles lines (meaning the whole singles area), then the point is played out in the doubles area.

This drill lets the players at the net train on various service returns. The underarm server can go for pace, but also short spin without pace aso, which means the "returners" have to be on their toes. The player at the service on the serving side has the chance to work on going forward to put away floaters aso (but he has to start from the service line). Esp. that part is excellent training for being at the net in regular play when you partner is serving. What you work on is being able to execute several consecutive split steps with intent. Great doubles play at the net is extremely demanding foot work ime.

One tip that works for me when I'm at the net: concentrate on seeing the ball as the opponent hits it, preferably tracking the opponents forward swing motion into the ball (before contact). If you do that, with training, your brain determines what shot and side you should execute a fraction earlier.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
How many people can consistently hit a return cross court with pace? And then follow up with a rally?

Doubles is fun if you can get into a rally. It's painful when it's 4 people taking turns trying to hit winners.
 

eah123

Semi-Pro
If you want to see how 2 players can work together using each other’s strengths and covering weaknesses, watch the Mertens/Hsieh matches at Indian Wells.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
So I will concur from the other side of the net. I exclusively play dubs and it is entirely a different game in my opinion. When played well one can play dubs without hitting a ground stroke (just serve, volley, return of serve, and overhead.... Oh, and lob). I don't think there is any way one can play singles without being able to hit a ground stroke.

I really enjoy dubs but can understand why you singles guys can't play it. I completely stink at singles but think I am a pretty decent dubs player.
 

chic

Professional
Ime when people dislike doubles for reasons similar to OP the problem is almost always that they haven't been exposed to enough info on doubles positioning.

I felt this way when I started focusing on singles more; lots of setting up winners then going to the wrong part of the net on my part. Many doubles players pick up on it in clinics or from friends , but if no one you trust is telling you where to be/coaching you through it it's hard.

Maybe check out some YouTube videos on doubles strategy and talk with your partners about what you're trying to do (with the emphasis that it's to help you work on it, not something they're doing) and see if they'll help make that work.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
So I will concur from the other side of the net. I exclusively play dubs and it is entirely a different game in my opinion. When played well one can play dubs without hitting a ground stroke (just serve, volley, return of serve, and overhead.... Oh, and lob). I don't think there is any way one can play singles without being able to hit a ground stroke.

I really enjoy dubs but can understand why you singles guys can't play it. I completely stink at singles but think I am a pretty decent dubs player.
I enjoy hitting ground strokes the most so that is another reason doubles is not for me.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
I enjoy hitting ground strokes the most so that is another reason doubles is not for me.
I understand fully. I think that is what makes tennis a unique sport and why singles and doubles require different skills and ability and what makes tennis a great sport.

It is not competition between the two games as they both offer alternatives for people with different abilities they bring to the sport.
 

Mungo

New User
Ok let me rephrase, dubs is no fun when the people you know are highly developed at ending points quickly and decisively through their own lack of any skill.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
To me dubs is not about a rally. Points are quick and aggressive when played properly.

I guess inability to sustain a rally is why I play dubs.

Doubles is best as a mildly competitive social activity, played relatively conservatively. The rare 10-15 shot rally that ends with a nice overhead or putaway volley is peak doubles.

I'm not saying be cooperative, but guys who try to rip winners and aces every single shot don't get invited back to our group.




You can tell Ram isn't redlining here and trying to quickly end every point.

 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Doubles is best as a mildly competitive social activity, played relatively conservatively. The rare 10-15 shot rally that ends with a nice overhead or putaway volley is peak doubles.

I'm not saying be cooperative, but guys who try to rip winners and aces every single shot don't get invited back to our group.




You can tell Ram isn't redlining here and trying to quickly end every point.

While Rajeev Ram has done well to get where he has gotten I am not sure I would point to him as someone to emulate in doubles play.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
He is nice guy and glad to see he was #2 seed. I do think there are better dubs players but that is ok. As I said, it is not an argument of one vs. another. Dubs and singles ask different skills from players and I am not saying one is better than another for sure. I certainly enjoy watching great singles play and from a purely tennis skill perspective I think singles asks more "tennis skills" from a player. I think a better athlete with less "tennis skills" can excel at dubs and can beat a pure "tennis skills" player using more athleticism which makes it a different game.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
I certainly enjoy watching great singles play and from a purely tennis skill perspective I think singles asks more "tennis skills" from a player. I think a better athlete with less "tennis skills" can excel at dubs and can beat a pure "tennis skills" player using more athleticism which makes it a different game.
As a predominantly singles player but also captain of my club's 55+ 9.0 team which only plays doubles, I think it's the opposite. Singles only requires you be good at limited specific skills to succeed. For instance, I can really whack the heck out of the ball at speeds much higher than my age group peers, and I can win a lot by doing that (finished runner-up in both level 4 open age group tournaments in our area this year). I was dismantled this last tournament by a guy who had all of the requisite skills to play extremely good doubles, and he does. So not only does this guy rally consistently from the baseline, he can absorb pace, defend well under pressure, hit sharp angles, volley into tight targets, move back well for overheads, and return serve accurately and effectively. The complete set of tennis skills. The primary thing I have over him is physicality/athleticism and the ability to hit pace he can't generate. If I were to rate myself in those same attributes, I would say I'm moderately consistent from the baseline, good at injecting pace even on high pace balls, but don't defend well under pressure, don't really know how to hit sharp angles, am highly effective at putaway volleys but tougher shots mean I'm volleying into big targets deep in the court, only able to effectively back up four or five steps for overheads, and aim primarily to get serves back deep to neutralize my opponent's serve and to start the point with groundstrokes where I feel I am superior the vast majority of the time. In other words, a pretty limited skillset player.

My primary goal is to develop these doubles skills, which I never had to develop because I was never as close to the top of the game as I am now and can't rely on what I do well to overcome others that do everything well. It's also why I'm a terrible doubles player when I try to play doubles as it should be played. On my team, probably the two 5.0 guys are the only ones likely to consistently beat me at singles, but I'm very close to the bottom of the doubles skills ladder, including the 4.0 players we have who play with our 5.0 guys.

I really, really admire good doubles players. Such a wide array of skills that every time I see something, like how effectively they lob, drop shot, or pick up balls hit right at their feet, I think "I've got to learn how to do that".
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Ok let me rephrase, dubs is no fun when the people you know are highly developed at ending points quickly and decisively through their own lack of any skill.
Love doubs but then there was a time, for a while, that the guys with / against had the ability to easily hit winners but did not have the ability to chase down balls or consistently return balls in order to sustain a rally. It was a lot of all or nothing. They would either hit the winner or shank the ball. Not so much fun during that period
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@MoxMonkey

A lot of rec players are not moving enough at the net. There are too close to that or are often static when their partners are exchanging Cross Court returns back and forth.

Net should be more active, moving left / right and fwd / back (offensive and defensive positioning). They should be cutting off part of the court and threatening to pick off the ball, often poaching, during a x-court exchange.

I enjoy hitting ground strokes the most so that is another reason doubles is not for me.
Guess you would not like badminton either. A lot of variety and the best parts of fast-action tennis w/o the g'strokes
 

Dragy

Legend
The great thing about tennis - it’s a deep game. Despite what they say, good level singles requires wide variety of skills and good knowledge & experience for decision making.

One can play one-dimensional game given good stamina and patience, but at some point there’s a ceiling to hit. For example, even returning everything deep CC is a next level to returning everything DTM. And reverse to that, in some matchups returning everything DTM will provide better result than applying angles. Deeper into competition and higher up the ladder, wider skill set and better understanding of the game, as well as better physical shape, become more and more significant.

In doubles one can play all-lobs with success at lower levels. No thinking, run and aim for the moon. Skill on its own of course to do it well and consistently.

Partner always makes it complicated, like in most other team sports. You need to learn to cooperate, to cover for one another, even if you apply simplest strategy possible. As you get more experience, you learn how much you need to play for a weaker player, support a stronger partner, and to rely on any current one, accepting possible fails and errors you are not responsible for.

To get better in doubles play more doubles, and do it mindfully. That’s it. If you don’t like it - set up your schedule without doubles for now. You are not obliged (unless you are by your significant one, ha-ha, then man up!)
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
@MoxMonkey

A lot of rec players are not moving enough at the net. There are too close to that or are often static when their partners are exchanging Cross Court returns back and forth.

Net should be more active, moving left / right and fwd / back (offensive and defensive positioning). They should be cutting off part of the court and threatening to pick off the ball, often poaching, during a x-court exchange.


Guess you would not like badminton either. A lot of variety and the best parts of fast-action tennis w/o the g'strokes
Actually I do like badminton it’s a fun game with a lot of movement and good rally’s. Unlike doubles which rarely has points that last over 3-4 shots. The majority of time in doubles is spent picking up balls and getting ready to serve. But it’s great for people that are overweight and out of shape.

When I watch the 4.5-5.0 guys at my club play doubles the average point lasts 3 shots. They are good and it definitely takes skill to return big serves away from the net player and have to make quick reaction volleys. But it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the time is spent getting ready to serve.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
For me, doubles feels like tennis with everything good taken away from it. I have difficulty feeling out the point while playing, can't get engaged into it. Sharing the court and weighing what's happening, etc. I have been playing weekly rotating team sets with the same group for several months now, and still have difficulty with playing the game in doubles.

In singles I have a much clearer understanding of what is going on. It's harder but it's way less busy.

Having to share the court with a partner is probably my biggest obstacle. I have difficulty instinctively knowing what to do. I go for balls I shouldn't and let balls go I should, and i can't figure out what I should be doing, where I should be in relationship to my partner.

Most of this stuff is probably mental. When where short and I play 2v1 I play much better when I am on the solo side. I know what I have to do, and have no unintended mental hesitation in doing it. In fact this is my favorite way to play, even though I won't win that much.

Playing doubles is a pain, and Id just as soon never do it if singles play where more available. But in all reality the majority of competitive play I'll be in over the the cold months will be doubles.

Has anyone else ever felt out of place playing doubles, and if so, any ideas on how to get more in the rhythm of the game?

To me it just sounds like you are putting expectation of play on what you think doubles should be instead of embracing and learning what doubles play is. And then your mindset is disatisfaction and thinking it sucks. This also sounds compounded by not wanting to work as a team, which REALLY makes dubs suck, for you and your partner. However, that is a normal issues with players who are less experienced, played mostly singles, and usually like baseline play.To me the thing to consider that will make it more enjoyable are going to really challenge you in all that.

You have to realize, trust, like, and support the team mentality. You have responsiblity for positioning and play on both offense and defense, and the biggest challenge there I see with baseliners and singles players is understanding where to be in conjunction with their partner. I think I saw some folks post above some patern play for dubs which will help you get a better feel for your positioning relative to your partner and the ball. You might check out Brent Able's web tennis on YouTube as well, or I think it was his channel that had a series of what is the right play...or something like that. But he breaks down a lot of positioning concepts that are really helpful.

You will also have to develop more all-court play, and this will include building a better trasnsition game. So you will need to get comfortable closing to the net and volleying from everywhere on court. You have to be most contienctious of control and placement and while power is used, it is much less a factor. Interestly for me, understanding and continuing to learn this has really improved my singles play as well, so there is a lot of upside.

Anyway, experience and playing more dubs brings on a lot of these improvements and the understanding of the strategy/play, so maybe just embrace it a little more.
 

LOBALOT

Hall of Fame
Actually I do like badminton it’s a fun game with a lot of movement and good rally’s. Unlike doubles which rarely has points that last over 3-4 shots. The majority of time in doubles is spent picking up balls and getting ready to serve. But it’s great for people that are overweight and out of shape.

When I watch the 4.5-5.0 guys at my club play doubles the average point lasts 3 shots. They are good and it definitely takes skill to return big serves away from the net player and have to make quick reaction volleys. But it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the time is spent getting ready to serve.
Actually, with half the players on the court the singles I see the players are usually walking over here to grab a ball between points or walking up to the net to grab their first serve from the net so they don't trip on the ball and then walk back and hit their second serve. A lot of waiting around between points.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Actually, with half the players on the court the singles I see the players are usually walking over here to grab a ball between points or walking up to the net to grab their first serve from the net so they don't trip on the ball and then walk back and hit their second serve. A lot of waiting around between points.
In tennis there is always some ball retrieving time. But on average singles has much longer rally’s so much more actually hitting the ball. It always sucks if playing next to doubles teams because their errant shots are constantly coming into your court.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Actually I do like badminton it’s a fun game with a lot of movement and good rally’s. Unlike doubles which rarely has points that last over 3-4 shots. The majority of time in doubles is spent picking up balls and getting ready to serve. But it’s great for people that are overweight and out of shape.

When I watch the 4.5-5.0 guys at my club play doubles the average point lasts 3 shots. They are good and it definitely takes skill to return big serves away from the net player and have to make quick reaction volleys. But it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the time is spent getting ready to serve.
You should see if the guys you play doubles with are willing to play a couple of sets of 1-serve tennis. Only once serve attempt per point (unless you get it let serve). A lot less time is wasted with players who have a low % for serve and end up hitting 2 serves 60% to 80% of the time. A real time waster.

Got the guys I played with to do this a few times. Even tho some of them were not too crazy about the idea. I loved it since I normally would get (nearly) 2/3 of my first serves into play and better than 85% of my second serves into play.

With this game mod, serves would tend to have less speed and more spin. Returns would be a bit easier. Of course, players with weak sauce serves would probably hate it -- since returners would usually have the advantage.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@MoxMonkey

In doubles, like in singles, you should be executing a split step nearly every time an opponent hits a serve or a shot. Of course, the RP net guy does not need to SS on the serve but it is a good idea if he is executing a SS on most other shots hit by their adversaries.

In addition to this player should be moving left and right. Net players should also move forward (offensive) when the ball gets past the opposing net player. And they should move back a bit (defensive position) when their rear-court partner is getting ready to play the incoming ball.

If you ever watched competitive, high-level 6-man volleyball, you will see that all players are constantly moving from defensive positions to offensive positions and back again whether they are touching the ball or not. Tennis doubles should be played this way as well.
 

Morch Us

Professional
What level of play are we talking about here? There could be some specifics based on level of play involved. But I can list out a few which is applicable to ALL levels of play.

1. General ability to get your net partner involve when you are forced to be back (for example return of serve, serve, or when handling heavier rallies or lobs from back.

2. Serve accuracy/positioning. This partially has to do with above, good doubles players intentionally or unintentionally places the serves in ways which makes their net player to get involve soon. Even when the returner is able to hit a good return, if that does not avoid the net partner, the point is almost over.

One example would be the strategy of opening up the court may work well in singles, since that means the returner is pushed out wide, and the server just have full court now to take control of the point right away. But in doubles, this can sometimes takes away the servers-net-partner from the rally (returner has the alleys available on both sides, and when the net-player covers the alley, it opens up middle), and even if the retuner is now out of position, the returners net partner can possibly get involve and close out the point. But that does not mean it never works, just pointing out a difference in thinking needed.

3. Return of serve accuracy/positioning. If you have hard time avoiding the servers net player on return, you are giving away a lot of free points.

4. Rally skills does not matter as much in doubles. Of course there are a few instances where you have to be able to rally the ball back and forth patiently till the net player can get involved, or you have opportunity to move forward. But they are relatively less, and you can get away without huge rally skills, and even cover up some of that using better skills at net. Not getting enough rallies and any attempt to get in grove by rallying gets bullied by opponent net player, can throw off a singles rally guy.

5. The idea that there are no "individual mistakes" only "team mistakes" is sometimes hard for singles players to grasp and they can sometimes get very frustrated (partner blaming is common characteristic of singles players). You have to be able to play as a team to get the rallies you want as a team. Let us say you are playing with a partner who has extremely weak backhand, there are ways you could be placing your "good shots" which opens up your partners weak backhand, and as a team you will end up loosing the point. It is hard for a singles player to see the placement mistake, since technically the singles player played a "good shot" and partner played a weak shot/error.

6. The idea of continuity in movement, with discountinuity of hitting (ball on his racket). Many singles players gets completely flat footed when the ball is being hit by the partner, and not being ready/active enough to get involved on the next ball.

7. Doubles shot skills. Different kind of volleys, overheads, lobs. These may be rarely used iwhen you play singles, but becomes a necessity for doubles.

You can develop each of the above skills and be a better doubles player.

I have been playing weekly rotating team sets with the same group for several months now, and still have difficulty with playing the game in doubles.
 
IME any rec player below open level that complains about doubles sucking almost always lacks the variety of skills to return serves to a specific target, volley hard and soft passing shots, hit overheads or place a high % of first serves in.

Once you develop those skills and learn how to really play doubles with strategy, doubles will no longer suck for you.
 
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Cashman

Hall of Fame
IME any rec player below open level that complains about doubles sucking almost always lacks the variety of skills to return serves to a specific target, volley hard and soft passing shots, hit overheads or place a high % of first serves in.

Once you develop those skills and learn how to really play doubles with strategy, doubles will no longer suck for you.
Doubles doesn’t suck, it’s still tennis, but a good standard of singles is always better
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
I play doubles quite well but I think I depend on partners too much. I mean, I don't depend on them to play well and score points for the team but I kinda expect them to do the basic that meets my expectation.

I simply cannot compensate or step up to cover anyone's deficiency, but I notice a few very good players could do that. They have to be really good and it looks tedious.

For example, I cannot deal with partners who don't know how to switch to different side when I run behind him/her to cover a lob. A good player wouldn't get frustrated and quickly adapt and run to where he needs to, despite it's not "text book".

Yesterday I played with a partner who constantly framed the ball at the net. It seems like he made no effort of looking closely or of attempting to set up a bit earlier. He simply played by his usual instinct and whatever might come. No difference after 5 games down!!!

I don't know how to cover for him or the team, and doubles tend to become sucky and boring at that point.
 

MoxMonkey

Rookie
One example would be the strategy of opening up the court may work well in singles, since that means the returner is pushed out wide, and the server just have full court now to take control of the point right away. But in doubles, this can sometimes takes away the servers-net-partner from the rally (returner has the alleys available on both sides, and when the net-player covers the alley, it opens up middle), and even if the retuner is now out of position, the returners net partner can possibly get involve and close out the point. But that does not mean it never works, just pointing out a difference in thinking needed.
This much I've learned on my own. In singles I find lefty slice served swung out wide are far more effective in singles. In doubles its been more effective to curve into the body, having the returner try to hit forehand and still getting jammed. The net man usually puts away the weak shots if they come back.

I like body serves better anyway. There's more of an imposing your will on your opponent feel to em than stretching em out or acing them in the corners. I think forcing errors is better for a mental advantage than hitting winners.

3. Return of serve accuracy/positioning. If you have hard time avoiding the servers net player on return, you are giving away a lot of free points.
This is one of the bigger reasons I'm bothered with doubles. My natural return target in singles is deep up the middle, and if able with good topspin. I don't think about this, I just do it. These will often get smacked right back at the net guy. I've gotten so frustrated about the poaching that I've intentionally targeted the net guy when I got a weak serve I could hammer, like a brush back pitch. Instead of viewing what I'm doing as a problem, Ill take this aggressive 'strategy' of trying to get the guy over there to let me do it.

This is admittedly on tilt stupid. For one I don't really have the directional control to accurately target someone. Also, getting hit with a tennis ball is not like getting popped with a baseball, no matter how hard I can hit it. As a guy who has spent the last several months trying and until very recently got any legitimate proficiency playing at the net, I've learned they can sting a bit, but they don't hurt. I know damn well I can't really intimidate someone with a tennis ball, at least not at the rec speeds I play at. But in the moment at times I think I'm gonna 'fix' this problem with brute force.

I mentally struggle with the net guy being there, and miss more than I should, especially when trying to avoid him.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Then one more. The importance of "depth" gets devalued at doubles. Not useless, but gets devalued. Well placed short and low balls are more easier to achieve and often used to get the "rising balls" at the reach of the net guy (and also to approach to force/close at net). Same with topspin, it gets devalued (not useless, but gets devalued).

Now that being said, doubles is not useless for the singles guy. It infact teaches some unexplored areas of the singles guys tennis skills, and improves the singles game as well. Obvious ones are net skills and approach game in general. But it also opens up room for improving placement, shot-selection etc etc. it also teaches you to build/setup your point better in singles, since it becomes harder to hit that "one big shot to open court" in doubles.

My natural return target in singles is deep up the middle, and if able with good topspin
 
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socallefty

Legend
Singles and doubles are two different sports with different skill sets needed to excel at each of them. Just because you are not good yet with your doubles skill set doesn’t make it a bad sport. There is only a small % of players at each level who play both proficiently and it is because they play both versions of tennis regularly. If you always play singles or always play doubles, you are going to be good only at that version of tennis. I would argue though that being able to hit your serves, returns, groundstrokes and volleys to small targets is a pretty basic skill that is useful in both singles and doubles versions of tennis although there is more of a premium on target location in doubles since the opposing net player covers half the court. If you can’t hit a crosscourt return, it is going to be a problem in singles also by the time you get to even a high 3.5 level.

Have you ever read a good book about playing doubles like ‘The Art of Doubles’? It might help you to understand what skill set, positioning and net footwork is needed for doubles and then you can decide if you want to work to acquire those skills. Most tennis players play only doubles after the age of 40 and call tennis a lifelong sport as a result as the physical demands are less than singles for older players and it is easier to find others who want to play doubles as you get older.
 
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a12345

Professional
Im not a big fan of doubles either. Its a completely different game as a decent shot in singles becomes a terrible shot in doubles.

What might be considered a good return of serve, or a good rally ball, or even a winner in singles, can just get eaten by the guy standing at the net. So what youd normally consider good shots, get punished, and makes it a totally different game.
 

FloridaAG

Professional
@MoxMonkey

In doubles, like in singles, you should be executing a split step nearly every time an opponent hits a serve or a shot. Of course, the RP net guy does not need to SS on the serve but it is a good idea if he is executing a SS on most other shots hit by their adversaries.

In addition to this player should be moving left and right. Net players should also move forward (offensive) when the ball gets past the opposing net player. And they should move back a bit (defensive position) when their rear-court partner is getting ready to play the incoming ball.

If you ever watched competitive, high-level 6-man volleyball, you will see that all players are constantly moving from defensive positions to offensive positions and back again whether they are touching the ball or not. Tennis doubles should be played this way as well.
This is largely the answer and what I frequently try to tell partners who tend to get stationary and/or ball watch flat footed. They ask why I am always in the right position to at least make plays on balls and I try to explain because I am constantly moving forward/back and tracking the ball and cutting off angles to the most obvious shots -
 

Dragy

Legend
Im not a big fan of doubles either. Its a completely different game as a decent shot in singles becomes a terrible shot in doubles.

What might be considered a good return of serve, or a good rally ball, or even a winner in singles, can just get eaten by the guy standing at the net. So what youd normally consider good shots, get punished, and makes it a totally different game.
That’s exactly what makes it useful for singles player development - getting better control of your shots, getting more mindful of shot selection, developing problem solving. Developing and learning to apply wider range of tools.

Meanwhile, I get what you say. And it’s ok to not play doubles if you don’t like it. I play doubles on regular basis with senior (yet in good shape) crowd. Sometimes get tired of it and skip it to play more singles, which I prefer and aspire for development within.
 

Yamin

Professional
I'm a few levels higher in singles than I am in doubles. I can't find a rhythm and I'm horrid at net.

I found the only way to enjoy doubles is if you want to. If your net game is doo doo work on it. If you can't go down the line, work on it. If you can't serve up aces... Try to learn the game and it will help in singles too.

Where I am there's very little upper level singles. 3.5/4.0 doubles is the most you're going to get... I have to join a separate club with a large membership fee and drop 25 per match just to play an in house ladder with anyone 4.0+ for singles.
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
Any sport where 60yo can beat 20yo isn't one I want to play.

If you ever watched competitive, high-level 6-man volleyball, you will see that all players are constantly moving from defensive positions to offensive positions and back again whether they are touching the ball or not. Tennis doubles should be played this way as well.
Why would I voluntarily choose a game where I jump around like a jackass when I don't touch the ball?
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
To echo a lot of what is said, these are my problems as a predominantly singles player who tries to compete at the 4.5 level in doubles.

If I'm at the net with my partner serving, and they hit a good serve so that the return comes at me with good pace, my natural tendency is to volley it to an area of the court where the returner's partner is standing. A good doubles player will see that I'm about to hit a volley and get the racquet down by their feet, and **so** many times I seem to hit it right into their racquet. It's unnatural for me to hit it either more down the middle (which gives my opponent in singles a chance to get it back) or to hit it sharper (which isn't necessary in singles).

If the ball goes over the net a few times and my partner is hitting those shots, my miss rate on my first attempt to hit the ball is about twice what it would be for a good doubles player. I'm not in rhythm, and then I tend to overhit the shot.

If I flub a shot and then don't hit a ball in the next point or two, then get that same shot again as the next ball I hit, I'll likely flub that shot again. When I miss something I shouldn't and I don't get to hit a ball for a while, that miss stews in my mind.

The ball comes at me from unfamiliar angles. If my partner hits a down-the-line shot that my opponent volleys sharply crosscourt in front of me, I just don't see that shot often enough to be comfortable redirecting it to a target in the court. The only time I would ever have to hit that shot in singles is if I'm in the backcourt and have to run up to it as a dropshot, but then I'm getting it after the bounce. Just standing there and having to redirect a volley that's moving that parallel with the net is just strange.

And that's just stroke related stuff. The footwork and positioning is foreign as well, especially when I can't see the entire court if I'm up at net, yet the ball is being struck from behind me by my partner. Not only don't I know when he's going to hit it, I don't know how hard, with how much spin. Sometimes it goes somewhere I'm not expecting, and then it feels like I don't have enough time to figure out where I should be in response, and then to get my butt over there. Even sometimes when it is going where I'm expecting, he may make a move (like come to the net behind it) that I'm not expecting. There have been many times when I've made a move to poach on a difficult ball for me believing my partner is in the backcourt, only to find that he's right behind me, and would have been in position to make an easier shot than I had.

Doubles is hard...
 
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