Talking During a Point

Do you and your doubles partner talk during a point? There are two opposing schools of

Pete Merrigan
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).

4 thoughts on “Talking During a Point

  1. Remember that you can only communicate when the ball is coming toward you!!!
    I think it is good to talk to your partner!!

    Dick – good point to remember. tks , geo

  2. Thanks for taking up my topic, George, and for the plug! I see now that there are times when saying ‘yours’ can be quite helpful. And for those times, yes, I will! The problem comes when the partner says “yours” a lot and the ball SHOULD be theirs! I’m not saying this partner I mentioned does that… I’m just sayin’! 😉

    Pete – yea, i had a partner one time who said ‘yours’ on every lob over his head, while he just casually moved to the other side of the net as i scrambled behind him! geo

  3. George, talking is important. But like I always tell you when we play together, when you say “you you” when I’m already going, it actually “interupts” my quick first step. So I think it’s good to communicate with your partner WHAT you are going to communicate about. I also like “mine”.
    I played some high level dubs this morning and there was a lot of talking. Marc

    Marc – Your trouble is that you are too young and too fast. Most of my partners are just realizing the ball is coming over the net while i am yelling! geo

  4. Other than one or two words barked out quickly, in a fast moving point there is not enough time to mentally switch focus back and forth between the incoming ball and what your partner is trying to say. Trying to talk at me is a major distraction that I end up tuning out so I can focus completely. When a ball is lobbed or in a drop shot situation, being clear with “mine” or “yours” helps a lot by removing that split second of debate on whether to sprint or switch. When my partner is coming in from behind with a forehand volley to take a ball I might be stretching for, “mine”, or “got it” is very helpful to avoid that moment when partners crash racquets and try to wear the same pair of sneakers. Otherwise, teamwork, positive body language and a smiles only during points; save comments and strategy chatter for between points, please.

    Terry – so for you, “actions speak louder than words”. geo

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