Having A Negative Partner

What can you do when you are paired with a doubles partner who is just totally negative?  And, are you looking for a partner for the upcoming tournament season?

What To Do?

One player writes, “At an event, I was teamed with a good player; but everything was a catastrophe… he would miss a shot and yell obscenities at himself and stomp back to the baseline for the next point.  The upset was not ever aimed at me (out loud), but it sure didn’t make the tennis any fun to play.  I tried encouraging him, but got met with looks and stony silence.  What should I have done?

I too would have tried words of encouragement first… “Don’t worry about it.”…. “Let’s get ready for the next point.”…. etc.  But if that failed, I guess I just would have gone silent and tried to focus on my own game and look forward to the time when I could have a better partner.

Other thoughts?

Looking For A Partner?

On the subject of partners, I am “aging up” to the 75s this year and am very fortunate to be teaming up with my good friend and solid lefty Matt Davie for the first three tournaments (and then with former pro Hank Irvine for a couple in Sarasota, like we did last year).

But I have heard from several players who are looking for partners for the upcoming series.  If you are one of them, here are two action steps you can take…

  • Post your name, age group, and tennis level here.
  • Or, send an email to Larry Turville, who is willing to act as a clearinghouse (lturville@msn.com) and share the names of people looking for partners every couple of weeks before the January tournaments

Happy Hunting!

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7 thoughts on “Having A Negative Partner

  1. I like a partner who complements (& compliments me on) my game, meaning he has a great Serve & Volley, impeccable topspin groundstrokes & moves fast around the Court. Leave the lobs & drop shots to me ! Have fun in the sun George.

    Howard, that would be a fearsome twosome! Thanks. George

  2. Negative partner? I gave that up years ago.

    I enjoy competitive tennis, but it’s only worth it when I can walk off the court with a partner who is positive. They need to enjoy it for the love of the game, as I do. Otherwise, why am I playing?

    Kirk, i am with you 100%. george

  3. Howard, you should have no trouble finding the perfect partner. Speaking of that I am happy to help out as a clearing house, but those who are looking need to understand I am not a matchmaker just a clearing house. When you find your new partner, try to communicate as much as possible in the beginning. Don’t assume your partner knows what you like. It’s good to find someone who likes to return from the opposite side that you do, but sometimes it’s worth trying a new side.

  4. Chemistry is the name of the game in doubles. But it has to exist on two levels – skills and overall game compatibility, and personality.

    We talk a lot about doubles partners having compatible skill sets, and it remains important. If I like to come to the net and you like to camp on the baseline, it doesn’t mean we can’t win matches. But it is probably not the ideal and we both need to make compromises in how we like to play the game to make it work. Maybe I don’t stand on top of the net as much as I would normally like, or I might even move back to the baseline myself on certain points. And maybe you hit more deep lobs over the opposing net man’s head when you are on the baseline and I am up, instead of always trying to win the point with crosscourt baseline rallies that inevitably give the opposing net man poaching opportunities at my feet that I cannot control. More subtly, if you are going to stand on the baseline trading crosscourt groundies, maybe you won’t keep trying to hit the ball too wide, which then sets me up also to get passed in the alley.

    But with a little practice, good communication between partners, a commonly shared understanding of the nuances of the game, these kinds of incompatibilities can be overcome, or at least minimized. But when you are your partner just don’t get along, it is normally a recipe for unmitigated disaster. There is no tactical change that can be implemented on the court to deal with someone who has a rotten personality. Whenever I get paired with such a person, I always try my best to get along, to be pleasant and non-argumentative, and to be supportive and non-critical, but some people are just miserable and toxic and there is nothing that can be done about it except to grin and bear it and keep saying to yourself “this too shall pass.”

  5. To clarify, Mr. Rogg — you ARE saying that you prefer a partner who can play expert tennis while most of the time you get to watch. Have we got that right?

  6. I have played doubles in the pittsburgh area….2 players come to mind

    each of them has made comments about my play …no one else…I don’t partner with them very often. It’s a round robin format

    maybe even yelling after the point….”cover the 3 middle, get that lob, etc”

    but I have never said anything to either of them or anyone else…..which I could
    not returning serve very well, pushing volleys instead of putting them away, same for overheads, pancake serve etc

    I never point out why a guy missed a volley …perhaps I’d suggest ….or ask him if he’d like my comment ….you weren’t moving forward

    haven’t run into that in naples

    Sal Greco

    Sal, usually players who like to GIVE advice don’t like to GET advice! thanks, george

  7. when i played dubs in the 65’s with spike gonzales, he made me feel like i was the greatest partner he ever had. it was incredible. he had the ability to continually bring out the best in my game. spike was only encouraging, only positive, continually complementing.

    Joe, that is the kind of partner we would all love to have (and to be)! thanks, george

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