Social Distancing Doubles?

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
So exactly how is this going to work?

During a doubles match, there can be times when partners get closer than six feet apart. Usually, it is a middle ball, a lob where both try for it, or drop shots where both people try to reach it. Racket clashes or even collisions happen.

My feeling is that the best way to avoid this is to call every ball that is not going right to your racket.

I know I will get pushback from some partners, many of whom are not in the habit of saying anything during a point.

And I have no idea how partners are supposed to discuss strategy between points from six feet away. I like to tell my partner if I’m going to follow my return to net so she can adjust accordingly, especially if we don’t have a history together. How am I supposed to handle that now?
 
So exactly how is this going to work?

During a doubles match, there can be times when partners get closer than six feet apart. Usually, it is a middle ball, a lob where both try for it, or drop shots where both people try to reach it. Racket clashes or even collisions happen.

My feeling is that the best way to avoid this is to call every ball that is not going right to your racket.

I know I will get pushback from some partners, many of whom are not in the habit of saying anything during a point.

And I have no idea how partners are supposed to discuss strategy between points from six feet away. I like to tell my partner if I’m going to follow my return to net so she can adjust accordingly, especially if we don’t have a history together. How am I supposed to handle that now?
Seems like a great time to refresh your singles game.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Time to talk more! During the point .... not necessarily those strategy sessions.

I have been playing quite a bit of mixed dubs and a few ladies' dubs.

In these matches I can recall very very few times where a 6' or even 10' distance was broken for more than a second. I believe I have unfortunately been closer to people in the grocery store.

Calling the ball and having good court and positioning awareness and this just isn't an issue.

I never really do those strategy sessions, beyond a hand signal from my net person so that is also a non-issue for me.

That said, I am also playing a bit more singles as well.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
If you're worried about being within six feet of someone, play singles.

Otherwise I imagine social distancing will be adapted as practical - e.g. no more touching hands, slap-ass or using the ball to mask your mouth during tactical talks.

If you are worried about colliding with your partner, stop playing tennis with the cast of the Benny Hill Show.
 

beltsman

Legend
So exactly how is this going to work?

During a doubles match, there can be times when partners get closer than six feet apart. Usually, it is a middle ball, a lob where both try for it, or drop shots where both people try to reach it. Racket clashes or even collisions happen.

My feeling is that the best way to avoid this is to call every ball that is not going right to your racket.

I know I will get pushback from some partners, many of whom are not in the habit of saying anything during a point.

And I have no idea how partners are supposed to discuss strategy between points from six feet away. I like to tell my partner if I’m going to follow my return to net so she can adjust accordingly, especially if we don’t have a history together. How am I supposed to handle that now?
Don't play
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
The tennis governing bodies are being far too wimpy. A brief passing within 6 feet a few times a match is not going to substantially increase risk. Even the rare collision is probably going to be fine.

But I agree that more communication is important and trying to ensure that if you like to play two up, that your partner knows that, understands staggering, understands whose job it it to take the middle ball.

My general view in doubles is if you are colliding or coming too close, you are playing it wrong. Court coverage almost always necessitates the requisite 6 feet.
 

ATX Tennis

New User
For us, we aren’t shaking hands afterwards, maintaining distance during changeovers and when talking after the match, and not drinking/hanging out afterwards. There are no close quarters strategy talk during the match, but we are playing as usual. There is some small amount of risk, but all who play are comfortable with it, or they are playing singles or not playing at all.

Calling balls is good, of course, but talking is one of the times you would be most susceptible to shed virus or get it from someone else. If we are at the net and a ball goes between us, I’m accepting that rackets may clash...trying to talk as little as possible in the heat of the match unless it’s a situation where we are far from each other. Again, not perfect but I’m willing to accept the risk.
 

denoted

Rookie
Momentary six-foot bubble penetrations in doubles, outside, seems very low risk to me based on what I've read about the viral transmission. I've played doubles probably forty times since March. Using unique balls is a precaution worth taking if you're worried about it, but I'm not even sure about that. Indoors, crowded spaces, recycled air, long periods of time---these are the spreading conditions.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Calling the ball is just good doubles anyway, but maybe work on using hand signals to communicate?
Seen that middle-finger salute. Teammate saw that too when his partner left him stranded 30 miles outatown after a loss.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Momentary six-foot bubble penetrations in doubles, outside, seems very low risk to me based on what I've read about the viral transmission. I've played doubles probably forty times since March. Using unique balls is a precaution worth taking if you're worried about it, but I'm not even sure about that. Indoors, crowded spaces, recycled air, long periods of time---these are the spreading conditions.
Bubble? Doubles?
 

GTR0814

New User
I think if you’re that concerned - doubles is not for you right now. We have been playing doubles at local parks for a few weeks and my club opened back up two weeks ago. We practice social distancing at change over and around the club. Ice/water machines not active. Shower and locker rooms not open. No shaking hands, etc. But we are playing full doubles and singles. Some guys use hand sanitizer during the match on change overs. Everyone does afterwards. We’ve had no significant issues.

Granted, we are in a state that has had little impact and is in the processes of fully opening up this week and next.
 

Thiem's 1HB

Rookie
So exactly how is this going to work?

During a doubles match, there can be times when partners get closer than six feet apart. Usually, it is a middle ball, a lob where both try for it, or drop shots where both people try to reach it. Racket clashes or even collisions happen.

My feeling is that the best way to avoid this is to call every ball that is not going right to your racket.

I know I will get pushback from some partners, many of whom are not in the habit of saying anything during a point.

And I have no idea how partners are supposed to discuss strategy between points from six feet away. I like to tell my partner if I’m going to follow my return to net so she can adjust accordingly, especially if we don’t have a history together. How am I supposed to handle that now?
You shouldn't be playing doubles.

Unless of course, you're trying to spread the virus and kill a load of people.
 
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zipplock

Professional
So exactly how is this going to work?

During a doubles match, there can be times when partners get closer than six feet apart. Usually, it is a middle ball, a lob where both try for it, or drop shots where both people try to reach it. Racket clashes or even collisions happen.

My feeling is that the best way to avoid this is to call every ball that is not going right to your racket.

I know I will get pushback from some partners, many of whom are not in the habit of saying anything during a point.

And I have no idea how partners are supposed to discuss strategy between points from six feet away. I like to tell my partner if I’m going to follow my return to net so she can adjust accordingly, especially if we don’t have a history together. How am I supposed to handle that now?
It's not like 6ft is some magic number that will ward of a virus. It's a recommended barrier only. Why not 7 ft? Why not 10 ft? The reality in doubles is that if you do get that close it's for a VERY short period of time. I've got zero problems playing doubles now.
You can discuss strategy at 6 ft apart if you speak quietly, plan before you play. It's really a non-issue.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
So exactly how is this going to work?

During a doubles match, there can be times when partners get closer than six feet apart. Usually, it is a middle ball, a lob where both try for it, or drop shots where both people try to reach it. Racket clashes or even collisions happen.

My feeling is that the best way to avoid this is to call every ball that is not going right to your racket.

I know I will get pushback from some partners, many of whom are not in the habit of saying anything during a point.

And I have no idea how partners are supposed to discuss strategy between points from six feet away. I like to tell my partner if I’m going to follow my return to net so she can adjust accordingly, especially if we don’t have a history together. How am I supposed to handle that now?
Just make sure all players wear N95 mask at all times during play. If you do that, you can even do chest bump and finger shake, it is safe as long as you wash your hand afterwards. Wearing N95 mask during play is the KEY being safe Tennis.
 

Grinch

New User
Is anyone using 4 cans of balls at once during doubles? That’s what one club in SC is strongly encouraging. You only serve with “your” balls and put them next to your bag when you’re done with your serve. No other hands, just rackets and feet should touch your balls. Really. Lol
 

ATX Tennis

New User
Our local USTA said we could start our mixed dubs league on June 1 if all players wear n95 masks, wear gloves, and use 4 cans during the match. Also, each pair has to be from the same household. Everyone agreed overwhelmingly to wearing masks and gloves, and using 4 cans, but 95% of the players said the requirement to be from the same household was too onerous.
 

tennis4me

Hall of Fame
Ask the other 3 people you want to play doubles with to quarantine in your house for 14 days. After 14 days if all of you are healthy (cross 8 fingers), all 4 of you will be "from the same household" and guaranteed to be safe. Voila! Think of it like the "Big Brother (Tennis edition)" reality show.

Ok, it's a stretch. But, so is some of the seemingly inconsistent regulations (such as tennis used to be not allowed - period, but table tennis was; only recently was tennis (singles) added to the same allowed list as "table tennis").
 

Turbo-87

Hall of Fame
Our local USTA said we could start our mixed dubs league on June 1 if all players wear n95 masks, wear gloves, and use 4 cans during the match. Also, each pair has to be from the same household. Everyone agreed overwhelmingly to wearing masks and gloves, and using 4 cans, but 95% of the players said the requirement to be from the same household was too onerous.
How tough it it to breathe in an N95 while exercising?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Has Becky agreed to follow the guidelines or is she still fondling the watermelons at the grocery store?
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I have not tried it, but my guess would be very hard as breathing through a mere surgical mask was already hard - even when not playing tennis.
Surgical mask is far more porous than an N95. Provided the N95 is fitted properly. Most yahoos out on the street in N95's have no idea how to properly fit and wear them so they are pretty much useless for them.

And, once you start sweating in an N95 it's going to lose its seal and become pretty useless even if you know how to wear one.

N95's should really be restricted to trained personnel and use within high infection zones, but that's another topic.
 

Heck

Rookie
If I were afraid of an infected ball I would just stay home. I just plan to clean hands often during tennis play and (quick) ** Quit picking my nose on changeovers.
 
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heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
every player can serve with their own set of balls, of course no one will follow this for very long

I have a neck gaiter for fishing that's really light, I think I can play doubles in it if needed
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
If I were afraid of an infected ball I would just stay home. I just plan to clean hands often during tennis play and quick picking my nose on changeovers.
That is why it is better to cultivate butt picking like Nadal. There are 2 layers of clothing (hopefully) between your fingers and body, so much safer.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Time to talk more! During the point .... not necessarily those strategy sessions.

I have been playing quite a bit of mixed dubs and a few ladies' dubs.

In these matches I can recall very very few times where a 6' or even 10' distance was broken for more than a second. I believe I have unfortunately been closer to people in the grocery store.

Calling the ball and having good court and positioning awareness and this just isn't an issue.

I never really do those strategy sessions, beyond a hand signal from my net person so that is also a non-issue for me.

That said, I am also playing a bit more singles as well.
It's those strategy sessions where you're losing the match are the ones I'm most worried about. Not so much the ones between points.

If you're losing, you should change something, and you both need to agree on what that will be. An example is I decide to slice the return and come in because I think the server doesn't approach well. Or we decide to pick on one player. Or we decide we're losing the net battles so we will play two back. Even the discussion you should have about whether to change receiving sides if you lost the first set.

All of that is supposed to happen from six feet away?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
It's those strategy sessions where you're losing the match are the ones I'm most worried about. Not so much the ones between points.

If you're losing, you should change something, and you both need to agree on what that will be. An example is I decide to slice the return and come in because I think the server doesn't approach well. Or we decide to pick on one player. Or we decide we're losing the net battles so we will play two back. Even the discussion you should have about whether to change receiving sides if you lost the first set.

All of that is supposed to happen from six feet away?
Bees communicate using complex dance moves. It may be time to incorporate them.

 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
It's those strategy sessions where you're losing the match are the ones I'm most worried about. Not so much the ones between points.

If you're losing, you should change something, and you both need to agree on what that will be. An example is I decide to slice the return and come in because I think the server doesn't approach well. Or we decide to pick on one player. Or we decide we're losing the net battles so we will play two back. Even the discussion you should have about whether to change receiving sides if you lost the first set.

All of that is supposed to happen from six feet away?
6' is certainly close enough to have a conversation in muted voices that you can hear but opponents basically cannot .... especially as most courts have two net posts, there is ample space .... have your conversation far enough away.

I figure at our level anything that I hear the opponent trying to do isn't really going to change my strategy much ... I am just not good enough to adapt until I see it, and that is if (and a big if) the opponents can execute their strategy.

Heck, having your opponents hear your strategy may be a blessing ... throw them off whatever was working in trying to adapt to what they heard you say you were going to do.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
@stringertom

1 butt wiggle of server = Serving out wide
2 butt wiggles of server = Serving at the T
3 butt wiggles of server = Body serve
1 butt wiggle of partner = Acknowledge server's butt wiggles
2 butt wiggles of partner = Will poach
3 butt wiggles of partner = Will not poach

(Above not recommended for men)
 

Grinch

New User
6' is certainly close enough to have a conversation in muted voices that you can hear but opponents basically cannot .... especially as most courts have two net posts, there is ample space .... have your conversation far enough away.

I figure at our level anything that I hear the opponent trying to do isn't really going to change my strategy much ... I am just not good enough to adapt until I see it, and that is if (and a big if) the opponents can execute their strategy.

Heck, having your opponents hear your strategy may be a blessing ... throw them off whatever was working in trying to adapt to what they heard you say you were going to do.
True that. For fun (pre Corona) I enjoy “whispering” to my partner (loud enough for net opponent to hear) that I would go down line on my next return of their serve. Net guy would sneak over to protect alley thinking he is defeating our master plan. Instead he gives me a bigger return window and makes him wonder when I’m going to actually try the return of serve pass. Head games ... one fun thing about doubles.
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
@stringertom

1 butt wiggle of server = Serving out wide
2 butt wiggles of server = Serving at the T
3 butt wiggles of server = Body serve
1 butt wiggle of partner = Acknowledge server's butt wiggles
2 butt wiggles of partner = Will poach
3 butt wiggles of partner = Will not poach

(Above not recommended for men)
What about the famous belly wiggle???
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
@stringertom

1 butt wiggle of server = Serving out wide
2 butt wiggles of server = Serving at the T
3 butt wiggles of server = Body serve
1 butt wiggle of partner = Acknowledge server's butt wiggles
2 butt wiggles of partner = Will poach
3 butt wiggles of partner = Will not poach

(Above not recommended for men)
Mixed dubs just got appealing
 

1stVolley

Professional
I feel the safety issue with doubles isn't simply the occasional violation of the 6' safety rule but the fact that, for nominally 90 minutes, you are sharing a fairly restricted area (albeit out-of-doors) with someone who might have COVID19. That length of time allows a substantial increase to the viral load you could be exposed to. The study of the Chinese restaurant infection, reported in detail on The People's Pharmacy, indicated that multiple people became infected who were sitting considerably further away from the infected source than 6'. They might have kept those positions for 30 minutes or more. Granted that this was an enclosed area and didn't benefit from the killing action of UV rays from the sun, nevertheless it suggests that, absent a nice breeze, sharing a doubles court with a partner for 90 minutes represents a definitely greater risk than playing singles (and not switching ends, of course).

Note, too, that the 6' rule is not a magic number. Experiments have been done to show that sneezing or coughing can propel the larger (and more dangerous) macro droplets at least 12' from the source. Aerosolization of the virus allows viroid particles to remain airborne for considerable amounts of time although how much of a danger aerosolization represents has not been definitively determined yet. On a calm day, however, this suggests a risk that should not be dismissed out of hand.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I think I'll just use my cell phone. We can speak in normal voices without being overheard.

What's that, you say? The local rules don't allow use of cell phones during a match?

PPPfffffffffff. All the rules go out the window during a pandemic.

And um . . . I thought that Chinese restaurant thing was just plain silly. Granted, if you slather your hands in fake glow-in-the-dark Corona virus and then touch everything you can find for the purpose of generating a sensational story for the local news, you can probably succeed in your mission.

Seriously, if you told me that the other three people on the court in an outdoor tennis match were in fact Corona-positive, I would still play the match. I'm not all that worried about the risks of tennis. I feel like other people are more worried than me. By a lot. So I'm anticipating that my partners will skitter away if I approach them to talk strategy.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I think I'll just use my cell phone. We can speak in normal voices without being overheard.

What's that, you say? The local rules don't allow use of cell phones during a match?

PPPfffffffffff. All the rules go out the window during a pandemic.

And um . . . I thought that Chinese restaurant thing was just plain silly. Granted, if you slather your hands in fake glow-in-the-dark Corona virus and then touch everything you can find for the purpose of generating a sensational story for the local news, you can probably succeed in your mission.

Seriously, if you told me that the other three people on the court in an outdoor tennis match were in fact Corona-positive, I would still play the match. I'm not all that worried about the risks of tennis. I feel like other people are more worried than me. By a lot. So I'm anticipating that my partners will skitter away if I approach them to talk strategy.
Why is USTA still very hesitant about starting up the full league season this summer ? With almost all the states opening up, they could still start a full summer league season on June 1st and get a successful full season ending in august. But in many states, they called off the summer season. What the Heck are we supposed to play this summer ?? Just local leagues and practice sessions ??
 

Doan

Rookie
And um . . . I thought that Chinese restaurant thing was just plain silly. Granted, if you slather your hands in fake glow-in-the-dark Corona virus and then touch everything you can find for the purpose of generating a sensational story for the local news, you can probably succeed in your mission.
This is the Chinese restaurant study being referred to https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/health/airflow-coronavirus-restaurants.html

Outdoors the risk is minimal. I drove into MD today to play...not doubles though.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Why is USTA still very hesitant about starting up the full league season this summer ? With almost all the states opening up, they could still start a full summer league season on June 1st and get a successful full season ending in august. But in many states, they called off the summer season. What the Heck are we supposed to play this summer ?? Just local leagues and practice sessions ??
5 out of 7 days play club members. Other 2 days play league tennis.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Our local USTA said we could start our mixed dubs league on June 1 if all players wear n95 masks, ...
I hope this is a joke. N95 significantly restricts breathing if worn properly, and isn’t any better than any other mask if not sealed properly. Our club just announced they would begin allowing outdoor doubles, which I was pretty surprised about given how fastidious they seem to be about the rules. They still require every player to have their own balls (and the club sells them of course). But personally I would think there would be more risk in being in the vicinity of other players for 60 to 120 minutes and getting aerosol transmission than there would be from handling balls.
 
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zipplock

Professional
@stringertom

1 butt wiggle of server = Serving out wide
2 butt wiggles of server = Serving at the T
3 butt wiggles of server = Body serve
1 butt wiggle of partner = Acknowledge server's butt wiggles
2 butt wiggles of partner = Will poach
3 butt wiggles of partner = Will not poach

(Above not recommended for men)
Apparently Suresh is a butt man ...
 
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