How do you cope with playing with a weak doubles partner? We all have been put in that situation at some time … you go on the court for an arranged doubles match and three of you are about equal; but the partner you have been assigned is significantly weaker. What do you do?
If you are playing with really considerate and sensitive opponents, they will see the situation and try to balance play. But in most cases, there is the need (or just the desire) to win the match; and your opponents will continually pound the ball at your weaker opponent.
What should you do? Some thoughts:
• Don’t overplay. Too often the instinct is to try to put away every shot, so the ball won’t come back in play. Or to try to cover too much court to “save” your partner. Be aggressive and solid, but don’t over-hit.
• Accept the situation. Don’t fret and get over emotional about “How come I got stuck with this guy.” Recognize that you are still playing a game that you love and have a good time.
• Practice shots. Accept that you probably won’t win and take this opportunity to practice some of the strokes you have been working on.
• Don’t over-coach. If your partner is agreeable, you can make some minor court-positioning suggestions; but don’t think you are going to dramatically improve this guy in 90 minutes on the court.
Remember when you were that person how you felt. And don’t forget, as you get older, YOU will be that guy in the future.
And if you ARE that guy (as I was at Newk’s camp one year, playing #1 doubles with the Big Boys): understand there is a big target on your chest and every possible ball will be coming your way. Just always be ready.
If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com