Coaching Tip - May 2023

Doubles – A different game

Tennis players of all ages – Juniors and Seniors - start off playing the game in a doubles format
ie with 4 players on the court.
The lack of tennis courts available for use in the local park or at the nearest Tennis Club
result in 4 players on the court during
• A casual or social hit
• Organised social tennis at the club
• Practice night at your local club

The game of doubles has the same basic rules and scoring system as singles but the court is expanded to use the marked area known as the Doubles lines or alleys or tram lines on either side of the singles court
at each end of the court.

The doubles team is comprised of 2 players in either of the following formats
• 2 Men
• 2 Women
• 1 Man and 1 Women known as Mixed

The majority of tennis players however play the game of doubles as if they were playing singles.
Playing with the same partner will help develop your doubles game.

Players having a casual or social hit or involved in an organised social day at the Club may play with a number of different partners during their hitting session or tennis outing.

I would like to offer some guidelines to competition or tournament players to help them
improve their doubles play and increase their enjoyment of the doubles game.

Select Your partner
• Choose a player that has good doubles skills
Serve, volley and return of serve and are important
• The skills of your partner should compliment your own
This will help you to develop a strong doubles combination
• Your partner should be a player that you respect as a player and a person
The Doubles game is tough mentally and physically and you need to be able to rely on your partner
in the same way that he/she should be able to rely on you
This helps prevent the blaming your partner syndrome

Skills needed to Play good doubles
• Communication is the key
Talk to your partner
During the rally call out “yours” or “ mine” when the ball is in some dispute ie down the middle, in a position short near the net or chasing a lob over your heads
Offer support and/or encouragement to your partner between points
This can help to diffuse moments of extreme pressure during the match
• Play as a team
Good skills are required to help set up the point for your partner
Defend or attack together as the situation requires during a rally
• Doubles players need a good strong accurate serve
ie serve wide to open up or “create a hole” down the centre of the court for your net player’s put away volley
• A good return of serve usually cross court is essential to keep the ball away from
the opposition net player
• Poach the volley wherever possible
The higher slower rally ball should be the ball that the net player intercepts to volley into the open court
or hole in the court
• Identify the weakest player in your opposition Doubles team
Play as as many balls as possible to the weaker player during a rally without over doing it.
This tactic will force the other opponent to try covering more of the court forcing errors and also
opening up more court down the other end.

Contact me if you have comments or queries in regard to Doubles – a different game.
I will in future offer a guide to Doubles playing formats and some useful tactics to help
you improve your doubles game.

Coach Steve