Singles playing styles that do not translate well to playing doubles?

What has been your experience in seeing which singles players have trouble playing doubles?
Control players? Bashers? Pushers? Slicers?

For example, I have noticed that if someone has a weak serve, he can get away with it in singles.
However, in doubles, a weak serve seems to be more of a liability.

Also, if someone is a touch/finesse player (rather than a basher) who always places the ball away from you,
this may not work in doubles, since the net man can intercepts these floaters and drop shots that would have been effective singles shots.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
depends on the level i think...
bashers can play at the 4.0 level, let's say, especailly against folks that can't volley well... just blast the net person every time... but will get crushed by any team that a) takes the net, b) can volley the bashers ball
control players do well, even at 4.5... if they have an excellent lob
slicers do really well in dubs (if they follow it to net)... keep the balls low, forcing opposing team to hit up (think chip and charge)
pushers (aka control players)... generally get crushed by the net person, unless they evolve their game to have a really good lob
weak servers... if it's a frying pan, dink serve that stays low... can be effective at even 4.0, especially if you can place it to the bh... but if it's a serve that sits up, tell your partner to stay back... even an underhand serve to the bh could spell trouble if the server also has good hands.
touch&finess (what's the diff betwen pusher/contro/touch? they are all the same to me)... but let's presume a dink and lobber than doesn't hit through the ball,,... yeah, this is a nightmare for some teams... short low soft volleys to the feet, followed by good lobs, are a killer combo at 4.5
 
By touch/control/slicer, I mean someone who takes offensive action by directing it away from you.
He does not use much pace, however. Can be a slice approach, drop shots, etc. Runs you around. I have seen these guys at the 4.0 and 4.5 level.

By pusher, which I don't see beyond 3.0, is someone bunting it back with no sense of positioning or placement.

I think slicer placers are neutralized in doubles. The slice that lands at the net man's feet is the exception not the rule. More often, the slices are floaters.

Also, if the ROS is a slice, this is a big liability in doubles. Harder to direct, and slower pace. Easier to poach and easier to miss wide (esp, against a big serve)
 

Morch Us

Professional
Looks like @nytennisaddict already posted exactly the things I was typing. So I will just add on to that saying directional accuracy and keeping the ball low becomes more important in doubles than singles to setup the points (to finish at net). Depth on shots and moving the opponent to open up the court becomes more important in singles to setup the points (without risking much court position).

Netman is the big difference in doubles. If you learn to setup your points to maximize the netman on your side (and make 2 netmen frequenty), you are playing easier doubles. At the same time you are constantly being threatened by the netman/netmen on opposite side, and so you need to learn to overcome that.

In singles, it is harder to setup to become netman yourself without risking court coverage. But at the same time, you are not threatened by a netman at opposite side as well.

Frankly I think all of the below can do well in doubles and singles, if they are good at what they are doing (and have a matching style partner). At the same time if they can do bad as well if they are not good at their style (or have a mismatched partner).

The more one sided your game is, the more important your partner becomes for doubles success.
which singles players have trouble playing doubles?
Control players? Bashers? Pushers? Slicers?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I would say that your typical pusher who never comes off the baseline has the most trouble in a dubs match. My definition of pusher ... rainbow strokes, a little softer but incredibly safe and decently placed, stays on the baseline and waits for opponent to make an error.

They tend not to position themselves well to cut angles, typically leaving a lot of real estate in the middle for opponents to exploit. Also their strokes, especially ROS can set up the opposing net, easily poached.

Dubs is all about positioning.

A good s&v singles player, keeping that same style will tend to do well in dubs as that player is all about cutting off angles and also works to control the net quickly.
 

Morch Us

Professional
I have seen a soft moonball pusher setting up easy points for his 6ft+ aggressive moving overhead killer + dropvolley partner at 4.5+ level tennis, pretty much without ever coming to net. I have also seen a good singles pusher getting killed by the opposing netmen at 4.5+ doubles, since his shots were not enough to overcome the netmen.

your typical pusher who never comes off the baseline has the most trouble in a dubs match
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I have seen a soft moonball pusher setting up easy points for his 6ft+ aggressive moving overhead killer + dropvolley partner at 4.5+ level tennis, pretty much without ever coming to net. I have also seen a good singles pusher getting killed by the opposing netmen at 4.5+ doubles, since his shots were not enough to overcome the netmen.
It always cuts both ways doesn't it!
 
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Deleted member 120290

Guest
Doubles requires more accuracy and array of shot skills.
Singles requires better movement and endurance.

In doubles 2 players who control and shut down the net reign supreme.
In singles the player who covers the entire court well and returns everything will win many matches and drive opponents insane.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Doubles requires different shots not necessarily different styles.
Pushers can win with lobs and redirection slices
Bashers can win by body shots at the net man and strong overheads

You need volleys, overheads, lobs, half volleys, approach shots and directional serves to win doubles. You need a variety of groundstrokes to win at singles.
 
The problem with pushers and lobs is that this strategy is hard to implement against hard hitters.
When you're being pushed back, and lob becomes a floaters. BAM BAM NET MAN!

A decent team will drive a deep wide shot and follow it to net.
Very hard to lob that back deep.
 
A weak serve is a liability in that it makes it hard to leverage the serve advantage.
No in getting free points, but when the server is weak, it is very easy to ROS cross court and avoid the net man.

When my serve goes in, the return is often a weak floater to my BAM BAM NET MAN.
I love that 1-2 punch.

For a weaker server, the ROS is just easily kept away from your net man.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
A weak serve is a liability in that it makes it hard to leverage the serve advantage.
No in getting free points, but when the server is weak, it is very easy to ROS cross court and avoid the net man.

When my serve goes in, the return is often a weak floater to my BAM BAM NET MAN.
I love that 1-2 punch.

For a weaker server, the ROS is just easily kept away from your net man.
I have a weak serve and win lots of my service games. Why? Because I've learned to place my serve reasonably well. If you can get a ball down the middle, even a weaker ball, it limits angles and can set up your net man. If you can see your opponent cheating to run around his BH you can put the serve out wide to his FH forcing a shot on the run that can be picked off. If you can keep the ball low, you can avoid getting a big fast return. There are many ways around a weak serve in doubles to remain competitive. Just don't dink the ball in. Place it, spin it or skip it.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The problem with pushers and lobs is that this strategy is hard to implement against hard hitters.
When you're being pushed back, and lob becomes a floaters. BAM BAM NET MAN!

A decent team will drive a deep wide shot and follow it to net.
Very hard to lob that back deep.
Most pushers that play only singles will struggle with quality lobs. Most pushers that play doubles have no problem hitting high deep lobs from 6 feet behind the baseline. Everything is adaptation and survival of the fittest. A 4.0 doubles pusher is going to have lots of ways to defeat a 4.0 doubles basher, or he wouldn't be 4.0.

Everyone I know that plays mostly doubles, no matter their style, can hit lobs, volleys and overheads. They learn to do it to survive doubles tennis. The pushers will hit more lobs and touch volleys and fewer smashes and the bashers will hit fewer lobs and more passing shots and drive volleys. But they both learn to work with their skill set to succeed or they stay at 2.5-3.0 doubles forever, mindlessly trying to play singles in a doubles competition.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I practice a lot of with my son. So unless we intentionally work on cc and dtl rallies, I struggle a lot with hitting shots within the net man's strike zone.

For example, I'll ROS with BH. It's a strong return that goes over the center of the net. About precisely the reach of the net man if he extends his racquet.

In singles, it would just be the start of the rally. But in doubles, it's easy pickings for the net man and their point.
In singles, if I am in a cc rally, I can change things up a little by hitting a DTL shot within half the court. But in doubles, I really have to focus on hitting towards the alley or else it's again, within the strike zone of the net man.
In singles, defensive slices and slice lobs are great ways to change pace and reset. But those can also be dangerously within reach of the net man in doubles.
In singles, good depth and pace can keep opponent from attacking. But in doubles, gotta focus on angles to stay away from the net man's reach.

But I enjoy doubles. There's more strategy involved. There's more variables. Very interesting.
 

Morch Us

Professional
For sure you have not seen enough 4.0+ moonball doubles. Very common in ladies doubles, effective at mens as well to setup the netman partner... but guys usually avoid it. Fact of the matter is good pusher moonballers like to stay more deep in the court. And the good ones effectively clear the netman most of the time.

A decent team will drive a deep wide shot and follow it to net. Very hard to lob that back deep.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
What has been your experience in seeing which singles players have trouble playing doubles?
Control players? Bashers? Pushers? Slicers?

For example, I have noticed that if someone has a weak serve, he can get away with it in singles.
However, in doubles, a weak serve seems to be more of a liability.

Also, if someone is a touch/finesse player (rather than a basher) who always places the ball away from you,
this may not work in doubles, since the net man can intercepts these floaters and drop shots that would have been effective singles shots.
IMO pushers suck at doubles. Rarely do they have a solid serves, and their groundies can all be poached. Pushers usually suck on grass too.

My club is a grass court club but our league matches are played on grass and hard. In general grass court players seem better at doubles, i guess because its advantageous for aggressive shots and net play... whereas hardcourt is advantageous for pushing
 

samarai

Semi-Pro
if u have a good serve, great baseline groundstrokes, and good movement, u can be very successful at singles. that same player would get crushed by a good doubles team that has good net play and overheads. i see this all the time with young players(20-30 year olds) trying to hit around two older players( late 40's and 50's) who can cover the net and put overheads away with ease. They dont need a great serve ( the serve does need good placement, oralot of spin to keep the returner on his toes) and just slice most groundstrokes back.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
What has been your experience in seeing which singles players have trouble playing doubles?
Control players? Bashers? Pushers? Slicers?

For example, I have noticed that if someone has a weak serve, he can get away with it in singles.
However, in doubles, a weak serve seems to be more of a liability.

Also, if someone is a touch/finesse player (rather than a basher) who always places the ball away from you,
this may not work in doubles, since the net man can intercepts these floaters and drop shots that would have been effective singles shots.
Where to return serve is the most important difference. In singles, you often return to the server's backhand, which is DTL for righty serves. In doubles, you mostly go CC, with a DTL shot or lob once in a while.

Constant monitoring of opposite netman's position is the next big difference.

Doubles serves are also started more away from the center than singles
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
What implications does this have? I've never given out any thought. I think I just stand in the same place for serving
For S&V in doubles, can give better court coverage (court now bigger due to alleys). Note Edberg (one of GOAT S&V) stands near center line while S&V in singles (has to cover entire singles court), but closer to doubles alley when S&V in doubles (only has to cover roughly half the court, which includes alley).


 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
What implications does this have? I've never given out any thought. I think I just stand in the same place for serving
It protects against a out-wide angled return on your side. It is also useful if you want to serve out-wide.

I am surprised you haven't heard of this. I have had guys scold me for serving from close to the center line. There are some old guys who have made a career out of serving from the alley out-wide in the ad court, knowing that most righties struggle with the return. Have you not noticed this? It is a staple of the old-fart tour.
 

Off The Wall

Semi-Pro
Many singles players rely on the power of their shots to hit winnners and/or force errors. Doubles players rely on shot placement and their positioning.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Some practical aspects which no one tells you but you learn the hard way:

With extra people on the court, the "scope" of your serve appears limited. It is not the case that you are going to hit your partner or opposite net man, though that happens, but it is more psychological. It is like driving in a lot of traffic vs no traffic even though you still have your lane.

Serving only once in 4 games can leave you cold when your serve does come up.

Crafty opposite net man with poaching (fake or real) movement or simply standing very close to the net can cause irritation and frustration.

Fear of letting your partner down can make you anxious and stiff.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
People who hit 4-6' over the net, can't volley or overhead well, and don't have much of a serve. King of the hill in 4.0 singles, useless in doubles.

J
Actually that is not true for most. After some time, most club players end up playing both, and a 4.0 singles king usually does pretty well in doubles too.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Lobs are a defensive fallback in singles, but a weapon in doubles. Sometimes they are a necessity if the opposite net man is good.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Actually that is not true for most. After some time, most club players end up playing both, and a 4.0 singles king usually does pretty well in doubles too.
My friend is a strong 4.0, could be a 4.5 on a good day. We paired up and got our ass whooped by two gentlemen in their late 50s, who hit continental forehand. They can serve pretty well and with great volley and overhead.
score line 16 06. It wasnt even close. 4.0 single kings usually get killed in double by experienced double players.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
My friend is a strong 4.0, could be a 4.5 on a good day. We paired up and got our ass whooped by two gentlemen in their late 50s, who hit continental forehand. They can serve pretty well and with great volley and overhead.
score line 16 06. It wasnt even close. 4.0 single kings usually get killed in double by experienced double players.
He and you never play doubles?

Now that I think about it, I have seen some guys who play singles in their condo tennis courts every day with a variety of flex league partners. Maybe those guys never play doubles. I have not met anyone in a club who doesn't play doubles.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
My friend is a strong 4.0, could be a 4.5 on a good day. We paired up and got our ass whooped by two gentlemen in their late 50s, who hit continental forehand. They can serve pretty well and with great volley and overhead.
score line 16 06. It wasnt even close. 4.0 single kings usually get killed in double by experienced double players.
I have a league partner that almost always plays singles. He hates the doubles part of league play. Getting him to stand in front of the service line is a challenge. He just retreats as soon as he can and prefers the 1 up 1 back formation with him at the back. In fact, if i'm serving and coming in, he'll start backing up even if our opponents aren't lobbing. He's got great tennis strokes and a good serve, but just doesn't get the net game.

Admittedly I started out that way at the club, but after learning a bit, I really enjoy the strategy of doubles play. But you have to be comfortable at the net to play good doubles. It isn't enough to play a war of attrition at the baseline.
 

Addxyz

Professional
It protects against a out-wide angled return on your side. It is also useful if you want to serve out-wide.

I am surprised you haven't heard of this. I have had guys scold me for serving from close to the center line. There are some old guys who have made a career out of serving from the alley out-wide in the ad court, knowing that most righties struggle with the return. Have you not noticed this? It is a staple of the old-fart tour.
Standing farther out from the center line while serving in doubles also lowers the probability of beaning your partner in the back of the head.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Standing farther out from the center line while serving in doubles also lowers the probability of beaning your partner in the back of the head.
I think playing with a competent partner lowers that risk the most. I don't think I've ever hit my partner in the head and, at least on deuce side, I serve close to the center hash. But I'm typically going down the T in that situation. If I was playing a lefty I might throw some slice out wide and move over a bit to avoid my partner's noggin.
 
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