When you and your partner are getting destroyed from a strong cross-court returner, you and your partner should be open you make an adjustment. One of the best ways to take away the cross-court return is to play from the Australian Doubles Formation. The Australian doubles formation is when the partner of the serve stands on the same side of the court. So if you are serving from the deuce side, your partner is standing in the deuce service box. This formation will force your opponents to return their serve down the line which is a low percentage shot. Why is this a low percentage shot? Because the net is higher with an extra six inches and the court is shorter by four and a half feet.
In order to make this work, when serving you will need to stand close to the center court mark. You will need to do this for two reasons. One is to avoid hitting your partner with the serve and two because you will have to hustle cross court to hit the down the line return. Another reason to try this formation is that it catches your opponents by surprise. A lot of players have never seen this formation before and do not know how to play against it. If you can catch your opponents off guard and get them overthinking, they will probably overthink their shots and start making a lot of errors. Try this formation the next time you play and watch them scramble to figure out what to do. Keep on Playing!
When your opponents hit the ball down the center of the court, both you and your partner should react to hitting that ball. The worse that could happen is that you and your partner will clash racquets and that’s OK. The last thing you want to do is not react and then look at each other after the ball passes the both of you and say, “I thought you had it.” If there is time for you and your partner to decide who is going to hit the center ball, rule of thumb when going for that shot is, the player who has the forehand hits it. This rule also applies for when overheads are hit high down the center of the court as well. The backhand player would hit a weak overhead where as the forehand overhead will be much stronger and more likely able to finish the shot. Communication is huge when it comes to covering that center ball. Be sure to say “YOURS” or “MINE.” Keep the phrase as short as possible as you do not have time to shout out full sentences such as “YOU GET IT” or “THAT IS YOUR BALL.”
Cover the middle of the court like a champion and never get stuck looking at each other with your hands up in frustration. As always, Keep on playing!
Server—The server is responsible for keeping track of the score and to announce before the start of every point. They are also responsible for finding your opponents weakness, communicating with their partner and making about 70% of first serves in. The server should take some pace off to make sure this happens.
Servers Partner (Net Player) – The net player should try and be as active as possible at the net looking to pick off anything near the middle of the court. They are also responsible for excellent movement during the point, moving forward when they can see the ball and moving back when they can’t see the ball. Lastly, they are responsible for volleying to the other net player when opportunity presents itself.
Returner—The number one responsibility is to get the ball back in play, preferably away from the net player. The returner should also try to keep the ball low to the server or over the net players head. They are also responsible for trying to get to the net themselves. The team that gets to the net first usually wins the point.
Returners Partner—This player is responsible for assisting the returner with calling serves out, usually deep serves. They should also be alert and keep their eyes on the other net player in case they try and poach. Lastly, this player should be looking to poach on any ball near the center of the court.
Now that you know what your responsibilities are on the court when playing doubles, make sure you are out there doing your job to help you and your partner be as successful as possible. Keep on Playing!
In order to be successful in doubles, it is very important for you to have great chemistry with your partner. There are certain traffic patterns some of the best doubles duos abide by between points to keep them both with a positive attitude and working together during the match. Here are the traffic patterns great teams do during every match.
Step 1: After the point is over, immediately make eye contact with your partner.
Step 2: Connect with each other with a high five or a fist pump. This step is extremely important after you or your partner looses a point or makes a stupid unforced error. Your roles as partners are to motivate and encourage one another all the way to the end of the match. If this step is skipped over, then your partner may think you are mad at them even if you are not as it is simply human nature for us to think that way.
Step 3: Walk your partner back to the baseline. During this time is when you discuss strategy and find out where your partner will be serving or returning the ball.
Step 4: Run up to the net in your position for the next point. By doing this, you set the tone as if you and your partner have a master plan and you are ready to execute it. There is also a bit of an intimidation factor in there as well. I’m sure everyone has seen Nadal jumping around during the coin toss along with his fast sprint to the baseline to get warmed up. There is a lot of gamesmanship there as he is sending a message to his opponent that he is ready to hustle for every point and you are in for a tough battle my friend.
If you want to watch all these steps played out to perfection, watch the Bryan brothers play a match and you will see them execute these steps between each point. It’s one of the things that make them the best. Keep on Playing!
In this article we will discuss the tendencies of a good doubles partner versus a bad doubles partner. It is very important to have a great positive connection with your partner. If a good connection is not there from the beginning, then you and your partner are in for a very loooong game of doubles. (more…)