Greetings from the eye of not-so-strong Hurricane Irene. It doesn’t look like there is much damage up here in the woods of New Hampshire (but we evacuated the lake and are staying in the next town of Newport; so I really don’t know). But yesterday, before the start of the storm, I think we invented a new tennis game.
After two sets of Saturday morning doubles, one of our players had to go; but the remaining three of us wanted to play some more (anticipating a storm-caused layoff to come). So our choices were:
1) Rotating Singles – I do not like that because one player has to sit, while the other two are playing.
2) Two on One Drills – I do like this because it gives you a really great workout in a short period of time; but we were more into ‘playing a game’ at that point
3) Canadian Doubles – Here, the man alone serves and covers the singles lines; while his two opponents have to cover the doubles lines. Then after that game, you rotate and the next man is alone and serving.
We started out playing Canadian Doubles; but were soon reminded that the two guys should always beat the one guy … if the returners can just get the return of serve in – and in a good place – and then take the net, the man alone will be run ragged.
We then tried something different.
A practice game my doubles partners and I frequently play is “crosscourt doubles,” where one man on each side plays “singles”; but the ball can only be played cross court (doubles alleys are in play; with an imaginary, or foot-dragged line down the center of the court). The server should always come the net after he serves (as if he were playing doubles).
It is a great practice game for cross court returns, first volleys, and needing pinpoint accuracy on ground strokes and volleys.
So we combined these two games and played what I am calling “Cross Court Canadian Doubles.”
It is still one against two, with the man alone serving. But the game FOR THE RETURNERS is only played cross court (to the side that the serve came from), with the doubles alleys in play and an imaginary line down the center of the court. The one-man server, on the other hand, can hit his volleys anywhere he wants.
We found this game to be very evenly matched, good fun, and great practice on many shots! Give it a try the next time you find yourself on the court with only three players.