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Leon’s Top 10 Doubles Tips

1. Preparation

Before the match begins try and make sure you get a good night’s rest and try and avoid alcohol as this impairs your co-ordination chain and will make you feel sluggish on match day.

2. Match Day

Before going on court make sure you warm up and stretch. Skipping is an awesome way to get yourself warmed up or a good 10 minute walk on a treadmill.

3. Warm-up

This is a great time to analyse your opponents and start working on tactics. Don’t spend the hitting warm-up idly chatting about Coronation Street or East Enders! Use the time to analyse the opposition and try and work out their strengths and weaknesses so you have a plan before a single point has been played.

4. The Spin

When calling rough or smooth you have 4 choices.

You can choose to serve
You can choose to receive
You can choose ends
You can defer the choice to your opponent

The last option can be a very clever one. For example if your opponent chooses to serve you could make them serve into the wind or sun which would make life a lot more difficult for their server and get you off to a flying start.

5. Who Plays Where?

There are several view points on who should play forehand and who plays backhand, based on who’s got the best forehand and who’s got the weakest backhand etc but the #1 factor on who plays where is “who can handle the pressure most”. Who likes pressure? Who does not get nervous? Whoever you decide that player to be plays the backhand side because 75% of games end in the ad side of the court. 40-0, 0-40, 30-40, 40-30, Adv in & Adv out. Also in tie breaks 5-6, 6-5, 6-7, 7-6, 8-7, 7-8 etc. You can only win a tie break in the Deuce court at 0-6 or 6-0 which is highly unlikely.

6. Server’s Start Position:

If, like me, your forehand is stronger than your backhand adjust your start position. On the deuce side move closer to the centre T. This will expose your forehand and decrease the chance of the returner reaching your backhand. On the ad side take a walk all the way to the singles line (inside tramline)and serve from there. This will again expose your forehand and it is highly unlikely they will hit your backhand. Also if your
opponent then tries to hit your backhand they may well end up hitting the ball out.

7. Australian

The Australian formation is when the server and their partner are both on the same side, so both players, for example, on the Ad side. This is a tactic to confuse your opponent and to try and force them to do something different. Often in tennis we end up in patterns so winning every deuce but losing every advantage. Try the Australian formation on the Ad side of the court as this will protect the server’s backhand (for a
right handed player) and may well break the pattern.

8. Who’s in Charge?

If you are on the baseline and your partner is at the net then you are in charge. You can see the whole court and you can see how the point is developing so talk to your partner. Shout clear instructions to them ie “Yours, mine, switch, leave, stay or go right” etc.

9. Communication

Probably the most important tip. Talk tactics with your partner. Tell them where you are going to try and serve and what type of return you are hoping to hit. You should communicate during the point but also after every point. The more information you and your partner share the better chance you will have of winning.

10. Dealing with a bad call!

Bad calls are horrible but they happen far too often! However, the good news is that it only costs you 1 point unless you become too emotional and it can cost you a game and even a set! The formula I would suggest is this: If you think you’ve had a bad call then ask “Are you sure?” “Would you mind playing a Let?” Hopefully you will be able to replay the point, but if not then accept it and carry on. Make sure, however, that your calls are tight for the rest of the match and if you are not sure about a call on your side then give the benefit of the doubt to yourself. If they ask for a Let you simply say no as they never gave you one earlier. By the same token you could also just allow the Let if you feel it would help with your mindset for the remainder of the game.