Crosscourt Doubles

USPTA image
USPTA image
If you and just one other player want to practice serving, returning, volleying and hitting small targets… Crosscourt Doubles is a good game to play. Some people call it “Ghost Doubles” or “One-on-One Doubles,” but it is a game with just two people playing.

Here are the “rules”:

• You draw a line that extends the center service line to the center T on the baseline (using the line brush, your racquet or just your foot).
• The game is played crosscourt only and the doubles alleys are in play.
• Normal scoring with the server starting in the deuce court and the point is played deuce court to deuce court only
• The server has to come in behind their first and second serve (to get the maximum practice)

Why it’s a good practice game…

• The server gets good practice coming in behind their serve every time and is forced to make that first volley, usually at the top of the service box
• The returner doesn’t have to worry about the opposing net man poaching, so he can concentrate on grooving a nice, low, crosscourt return of serve.
• Both players have very small windows of opportunity where they can hit the ball; so it really helps on accuracy of shots.
• Since lobbing is allowed, there is good work on an effective lob and overhead.
• And since the returner is also allowed to come to the net, there can be good “nose to nose” volleying.

There are a couple of weaknesses to the game:

• A good shot down the middle can end up just on the “wrong side” of the center line and be out, but it was still a good shot.
• And players have to be very disciplined not to hit into the “open court,” which is out of play.

Have you ever played it? Try it, you’ll like it!

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5 thoughts on “Crosscourt Doubles

  1. Yes, it is a great practice game… I am a 4.0 female player. Once I actually had a very competitive practice against a 4.5 man… I know he restrained his serve quite a bit, but it really was fun for both of us… Strange thing is, no matter how much I promote it, I could not get anyone to be interested.

    Janet – yes, it is a good equalizer — especially if one player is much more mobile than the other. thanks, george

  2. That’s one of my main practice vehicles. However, for me (a major choker), not having the potential of the poaching net man is a *shortcoming* of the drill. 🙂 Hard to get somebody to join a practice session as nothing but the “poacher” , though.

    Loved Alan’s one on one doubles URL. YouTube showed another at Fascinating to see the points between the two pros on clay – that they demonstrated similar difficulties in ending points that we’ve found. Also interesting to see the lack of lob volleys and topspin lobs that seem to me to be the most dangerous weapons in that game. . .

    Kevin – coincidentally, i just had a practice session with my dubs partner Chuck Kinyon (former Dartmouth tennis coach) and we did a three man drill: one man returns serve cross court, one man just serves and stays back; his partner is at the net and poaches every time he can reach the return. great drill. george

  3. One of the rare instances where I was present when any poaching practice was going on, the results were *wildly* different from what I expected. There must be two hundred ways to miss a volley on a poach. 🙂 It was hilarious – and sad.

  4. 3 man 1/2 court doubles also works well – goes like this: One person receives playing two separate games, one against each of the two servers. 1st server serves to deuce court to start game and then next point 2nd server serves to deuce court. Then, both servers take their turns at serving to the ad court. Each server has his own game score with the receiver. When a server wins a game, he changes sides and becomes the receiver. The other server’s game is over and two new games start. When a receiver wins a game, the loser starts a new game and the other server continues the one in progress. You only win games as the receiver, winning a service game just makes you the receiver. You play until one of the three has 6 games. You can do the same thing with 3 man singles. Good way to make 3 players showing up fun competition.

    Winder – we do that same drill and it is great practice! thanks, george

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