Doubles tennis strategies or these enormous tips I’m about to share here are the real deal. I felt strongly about writing this post after watching my Summer 2023 adult tennis camps in Mallorca. Adult tennis is going through some changes right now, all good! There are fresh younger players entering the game. These tried & true – very helpful doubles strategies will help all doubles players – not only the newbies!
Doubles tennis is akin to team play in tennis. It’s what the bulk of adult tennis programs revolve around and it’s what you will lean into as you grow into the game.
But it can be confusing out there and since dynamic doubles is really where the fun’s at… I’m adding my top tips for doubles players that you should think about. I say these things on repeat to my adult players in adult camps knowing full well, there will be 1 time that it sinks in.
These tips should be front & center in your mind always. Just after you and your partner run your opponents through the warm-up, you’ll want to set that plan we talk about below. That plan will start by assessing their strengths & weaknesses.
Angle Mastery: One Good Angle Deserves Another
As an adult doubles player looking to play doubles with confidence, remember that angles are your best friends on the court. Creating sharp and precise angles with your shots can keep your opponents off balance and expose open court spaces for your team to take advantage of.
When you hit an angle that forces your opponents to stretch or move out of their comfort zone, you gain a significant advantage. Whether it’s a cross-court approach shot or a well-placed volley, the right angles can be the difference between winning and losing points in doubles. So, focus on your footwork and racket positioning to master the art of creating effective angles. This will keep your opponents guessing & improve your overall performance.
Middle Magic: Solving the Riddle with Central Shots
In the world of doubles tennis, the phrase “Down the middle solves the riddle” holds tremendous weight. When you find yourself in the heat of a point, hitting your shots down the middle can be a game-changer.
Why? Because it minimizes the risk of making unforced errors and maintains control over the point. Shots down the middle can disrupt your opponents’ positioning, creating confusion and increasing the likelihood of forcing an error. It’s the ideal strategy during crucial moments, especially when you and your partner are at the net. Keep this tactic in your toolbox and use it wisely to keep the pressure on your opponents.
Lob Strategy: High and Deep for Success
There will be times in your doubles matches when a well-executed lob can be a lifesaver. But not just any lob will do. It needs to be high & deep. By sending a lob high and deep into the court, you make it challenging for your opponents to attack and turn the tables.
This tactic can buy you time to regroup and regain court position, preventing your opponents from gaining an advantage at the net. Perfecting the art of the high and deep lob can be your go-to defensive weapon when you find yourselves under pressure in a rally. So, focus on your timing and positioning to master this crucial element of your doubles game.
Serve Success: First Serve In, No Excuses
In the world of doubles, the first serve is your golden ticket to taking control of the point from the start. There’s a simple rule here: get your first serve in, no excuses. By consistently putting your first serve in play, you not only reduce the chances of making unforced errors but also set the tone for the point.
A well-placed first serve can force a weak return, setting up your partner for an easy put-away volley at the net. So, focus on your serve placement, spin, and consistency to ensure that your first serve becomes a potent weapon in your doubles arsenal.
Return Tactics: Over and Cross-Court, Every Time
When you’re facing an opponent’s serve in doubles, your primary objective should be to get your return over the net and cross-court. This strategy has two key benefits.
First, it minimizes the risk of making return errors, ensuring that you keep the ball in play.
Second, it forces your opponents to hit more shots, giving you and your partner time to transition into an advantageous net position. By adhering to this approach consistently, you’ll increase your team’s chances of winning points from the very start of the rally, putting you in a strong position to dominate your doubles matches.
Game Plan Basics: Any Plan is Better Than None
As an adult doubles player, having a game plan is essential. Even if your plan isn’t perfect, having one is better than having no plan at all. A game plan provides a sense of direction and coordination between you and your partner. It allows you to work together as a team, focusing on each other’s strengths and exploiting your opponents’ weaknesses. Whether it’s a strategy to target the weaker opponent, focus on cross-court shots, or maintain a specific formation, a game plan ensures that you and your partner are on the same page and increases your chances of success on the court.
Positional Prowess: Recover to Home Base
One critical aspect of successful doubles play is positioning.
After each shot, it’s imperative to recover to your designated home base on the court. Whether you’re at the net or the baseline, getting back to your correct position ensures that you maintain court coverage & react quickly to your opponents’ shots.
Proper positioning IS A a game-changer, allowing you and your partner to move as a cohesive unit and cover the entire court effectively. So, remember to recover to your home base and maintain court awareness throughout the point.
Footwork Focus: Targeting Your Opponent’s Feet
In doubles, precision is the bomb. A strategic way to disrupt your opponents and create opportunities for success is to target their feet with your shots. Hitting the ball at your opponent’s feet can disrupt their balance and force them into making errors, giving you a distinct advantage in the rally.
And, when you hit low and at their feet, it limits their options for an effective response, increasing the likelihood of winning the point. So, focus on your footwork & shot placement to develop the skill of targeting your opponent’s feet strategically.
Strategic Precision: Hitting Open Court or Opponent
When it comes to shot selection in doubles, balance is key. While hitting to the open court is a good and obvious strategy, there are times when hitting at your opponent can be just as effective. Hitting to the open court puts pressure on your opponents to cover more ground and increases your chances of finding a gap.
However, strategically hitting at your opponent, particularly when they are out of position, can catch them off guard and create immediate pressure. The key is to mix these approaches based on the situation and your opponents’ positioning, keeping them on their toes and maximizing your chances of winning points.
Net Gains: Your Path to Winning in Doubles
Finally, it’s crucial to understand that in doubles, the net is your ticket to potentially winning points. If you find yourself on the baseline, the odds of winning a point are slim. Even from the service line, you’re still approaching the net, which means there are no guaranteed winners.
However, when you’re at the net, you have a higher chance of putting away a winning shot. Being at the net allows you to take control of the point, pressure your opponents, and seize opportunities to finish points at the net. So, remember that the net is where the winning opportunities lie, and always seek to move forward whenever possible.
By really understanding and putting these strategies into your doubles game, you can immediately increase your doubles game. And really play dynamic doubles into your adult years. With the right coach and practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great doubles player – I have no doubt!