Do you and your doubles partner talk during a point? There are two opposing schools of thought on this subject. New Hampshire tennis friend and talented singer/songwriter, Pete Merrigan writes: Hey George- I had a discussion with a doubles partner who says “yours!” (you take it) a lot and expects me to do the same. I told him that I try to never (or very rarely) say “yours” …although I will say “mine” or “I’ve got it” when appropriate. What is your take on “yours”? Pete
Well, I am surely on the side of the “talker” because that is what I do! I will yell “Here!” if I plan on taking a shot… or “Yours!” if I want my partner to take it.
I also use the “Yours” to indicate to him that I think the ball is going to be in. Sometimes, I will also suggest he “Bounce it”, if I think the ball is landing near the line and may be out.
My New Hampshire doubles partner B. Manning also will communicate to me while I am getting ready to retrieve a lob over my head or hit and overhead – telling me where the opponents are (“Both back”… “Both up”). This is really helpful (as long as the talking doesn’t come in the middle of my swing).
Another tricky one is telling your partner to “watch the spin” on a ball coming over… sometimes they also see it; and sometimes they don’t.
A really helpful communication is for the server charging to the net after serving… and his partner yells “NO!” or “OUT!” when he is getting ready to hit that high volley.
We tend NOT to use the “switch” and “stay” commands … if you play long enough with a partner, those actions will become natural and understood between the two of you.
So, I really believe in communicating with your partner during the point to make a better doubles team.
(A topic for a future post will be: Communicating BETWEEN points).