Playing doubles is very different than singles for a variety of reasons and not just because you have a playing partner. Because of the doubles outside lines coming into play, players have different angles which to deal with.
When you are learning to play doubles it is advisable that you and your partner take extra coaching lessons with a tennis coach specifically to learn how to play doubles. If you live in the Macquire Park area of Sydney then Tennis World has some great tennis lessons available if you contact them.
The biggest concern when learning how to play doubles is positioning and ball control. Learning to cover only half a court and relying on your partner to do the same is a tricky skill to learn.
There are three main positions you and your partner may take.
- One up one back
- Double up – both player at the net
- Double back – both players on the baseline
One Up One Back
This is a strategy of one player standing at the net (the person not receiving) while one player stands at the baseline (either the server or receiver.) The player at the net will be responsible both for their side of the court and the middle. The second player will have to cover their own side of the court plus deep shots. This strategy is versatile and it combines offense and defence.
The weakness of this strategy is that there is a marked large angular gap between the two players and a powerful cross court shot will easily dissect them. A good strategy to avoid this is to switch, this put pressure on the opponents since it cancels out the cross court winner. If they try and hit down the line, the net is higher and the ball travels less.
This is an aggressive strategy, when both partners rush the net. Obviously this leaves no cover at the back. This is similar to serve and volley players in singles, with the only difference being that one is already at the net.
The double up strategy is good for applying pressure, so whatever stroke the opponent plays it comes right back fast and powerfully. Giving the opponents less time to respond to shots and can open up new angles that can have both opponent players running around the court. It is a perfect strategy for tall players and ones that have good net skills.
This is a highly defensive strategy and is normally used if you are under pressure or like to play it safe. Most times this strategy is put into play if you are up against double up situation.
The main strategy with this formation is to try and return the opponent’s aggressive shots waiting for a mistake to capitalise on. But the disadvantages of using this strategy are angular shots in the forecourt, drop shots and giving the advantage to your opponent.
Practice these different strategies and get to know how to play the different relevant shots should you deploy any one of them. If you live in Denistone you can book a tennis court at Tennis World North Ryde to practice doubles with your friends.