Doubles Communicating

A really good doubles team is one that communicates with each other … before, during, and after the match.

If you are committed to playing doubles regularly with a partner – and perhaps even enter USTA tournaments as a team – knowing your strengths and weaknesses and what you can do about them is critical. Also critical is practicing together as a team in matches that “don’t count”; so you can work on being a better team.


You should obviously have all the ‘basics’ agreed upon:
• Which way will you return serve (i.e. are you stronger with you or your partner in the deuce and ad courts?)?
• If you are a lefty/righty combo, forehands in or forehands out?
• Will you use signals to poach? And if so, what will they be?
• Are you OK communicating with each other during the point (“Mine,” “Yours,” “Bounce it,” etc.)?
• Are you stronger with you serving and him at the net or the opposite? (It is not only a factor of how good the serve is; but how you match up with server and net man).

And then, for the specifics of that day and match:
• Is it windy and who wants to serve in which direction?
• Is the sun a factor (especially for lefty/righty combos)?
• Against the team you are playing, should you choose to serve first or receive first?
• And what do you know about this team’s strengths and weaknesses … and WHAT WILL YOU DO ABOUT THEM?

Next in this series: Communication During the Match.

PS My NH summer doubles partner, Bob Wilkie (above) is out for six weeks with a slight tear in his rotator cuff. Another friend asked: any advice on dealing with a groin pull???

2 thoughts on “Doubles Communicating

  1. the groin pull is one injury that always feels like its getting better, but, unfortunately, it never seems to get better. it can be a long one.

  2. My experience is to try to rest the groin pull initially, for a few days to perhaps a few weeks if it is severe. You can tell pretty early if it is still a problem; just don’t stretch too far and aggravate it, if you are out on the court stroking.

    When you think it is sufficiently healed, the key is to do stretches before playing. First get the pulse up and blood pumping to the muscles by running in place or jumping jacks for two or three minutes. Then sit on the ground with knees apart and put the soles of your feet together, pulling your knees away from each other. You’ll feel the stretch – hold for two minutes, rest and then do two more.

    When I first had a groin pull – in a singles match at age 45-50 – this was the advice I got with the words, ‘do this and you’ll never have another groin pull.’

    Dag – thks for the good advice! george

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