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.
BEFORE A MATCH:
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???