The Judgmental Doubles Partner

judgePicking the right doubles partner is much like picking a friend or life partner: you have to mesh correctly. But what are the right characteristics of a good doubles partner?


My #1 criteria on the personality side is that my partner (and hopefully me) is “non-judgmental” … in that when you miss a shot, he doesn’t moan, make a face, slump his shoulders or actually complain to you about “why you missed that sitter.” Or worse, complains to others after the match that it was all your fault for losing (never his fault).

And sometimes, they don’t even know what they are doing — or the impact it is having on their partner.

I tell all my many partners that I want/need them to be aggressive and go for shots at the net and that I don’t get mad when they miss. I do get upset (at them and myself) if they do NOT try for shots and stand there flat footed.

The best partners I have had are those that are SUPPORTIVE and offer encouragement all throughout the match… winning and losing. Fist bumps at tough times really do help your morale and confidence.

What are your prime partner peeves??

Sterling Oaks Tuesday/Wednesday

Chuck Kinyon and I had our first round doubles match vs. a good team of Doug Brunner and Doug Ditmars; but they were off and injured… so we were able to cruise to an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Today the forecast is for rain; so we will see if we get our rematch in with the #5 seeded team of Don Keenan and Rick Wright (who beat us in the first tournament in a Match Tiebreaker).

For yesterday’s complete results and today’s planned schedule, just click HERE.

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6 thoughts on “The Judgmental Doubles Partner

  1. Pet peeve on doubles partner: the catch 22… If you want a partner who is more consistent and stronger than you but for some reason wants to play with you!

    Winder, yup! George

  2. I don’t think there’s a perfect formula for picking and choosing your ideal doubles partner.

    One thing for sure is how we perceive our own doubles skills just may not be what other players think of our skills 😉

    I think you can have a general starting place for who might be a good doubles partner, but until you get out there and actually play some matches together, well, it’s not an exact science … Brent

    Brent, right, just like dating and then marriage… ya never know! thanks, george

  3. At our age we should be playing with people we enjoy being with.
    it makes the playing experience more worthwhile. when successful
    (winning), it is very satisfying. when you lose, you go get a beer
    with your good friend.
    this should be the 70’s age group philosophy.

    Joe, i agree! Did you and Skip go get a beer yesterday? george

  4. George, I agree with you that not having a judgmental partner is the number one priority. Doubles, at least at the higher levels, is all about being aggressive and taking risks. I feel I am not contributing if I am standing there like a potted plant.

    I especially don’t want a partner who complains about something that I did based on a millisecond of reaction time in the heat of battle. Not too long ago, I was playing a 10 point third set tiebreaker in doubles and it was getting down close to the end; we were down a mini break at 7 – 8 i the TB, with the other team serving to finish it. I was playing my usual position on the ad side. After I got my service return in play cross court, the opponent also on his ad side, who had been serving, hit an excellent low cross court volley that was headed toward the alley on my side, but it was just within my reach on a very low backhand. I reflexed a backhand volley off my shoelaces, and my volley amazingly flew at an extreme cross court angle back at the opposing ad player. For a second I thought he was so surprised that I actually got his angle volley back and over the net that he was going to miss the ball and it would be 8 – 8. However, he managed to get a piece of his racquet on the ball and hit a weak volley up the middle — right in my partner’s wheelhouse to hit a put away backhand volley of his own. But my partner netted his ball, admittedly not an easy backhand volley, to put us down match point at 7 -9. We proceeded to lose the match on the next point. I said nothing to my partner about his missing the obvious put away because if I don’t want to contend with a judgmental partner, I surely don’t want to be one myself.

    However, after the match was over, my partner said “I need to talk to you in private,” and he seemed rather upset. I honestly thought he was going to apologize for the put away volley up the middle that he had missed, or maybe even compliment me on my low backhand volley save, but, instead, he started to berate me that I should have let the ball go and not hit it because, according to him, “the ball was going out.” He complained that, in the millisecond that I had to react to that very low shot, I should have deduced that the ball was “clearly” going to land wide of the alley and I should have reacted swiftly enough to pull away my racquet and NOT go for the backhand volley inches off the court that, in fact, I managed to make.

    I was incredulous. Aside from the fact that he was dead wrong that the ball was going to fly wide — I dug it out about 4 inches off the ground and about 6 or so inches inside the alley so it would have bounced well good — here he was trying to blame the loss on ME, and not taking any responsibility for the put away volley that he had missed up the middle that was actually the shot that lost the point. When I pointed that out to him, his only response was, “It does not matter. You hit an out ball. If you had not done that, I would not have missed my volley because we would have already won the point.”

    We never played again as a doubles team, and I think it is obvious why.

    Marty – I find it difficult to believe that at our age and speed (lack of) that either one of us could run fast enough in to be in a position to hit a low volley that would have gone wide! And, why didn’t he yell “Nooo!” to help you?? george

  5. Your partner plays singles and wears himself out and has nothing left to give in the doubles or even forfeits. As Clint Eastwood says in a movie, a man has got to know his limitations. Wish there were high level doubles only tournaments besides the family tournaments.

    Winder, conversely, I have recently seen high level singles players defaulting during their match to be able to live up to and play their doubles matches. George

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