Scott Nichols – On The Other Hand Newsletter – Vol 13 – April 2013
Whether you are playing high school tennis, jr. team tennis, adult league tennis, usta tournaments, college tennis or pro tour tennis; the following tips are guaranteed to provide you success. I suggest writing them down and keeping them in your bag next to my book, “On the Other Hand.’
Picking a partner:
Make sure the partner you pair up with is someone you can communicate with openly. Possibly, has similar interests, goals etc. This is very important, since doubles is a relationship and like any successful relationship, their needs to be communication, give and take and ultimately, the feeling of team work MUST be evident on both players minds.
Court side preference:
As we find a partner, is is helpful to find a partner who likes the opposite side of returning court than yourself. For ex., I like to return on the ad side, so a hopeful partner you find would like to play on the deuce side. Obviously, both partners will be playing on both sides throughout a match, but to have a a preference that is agreed upon in the beginning, that is helpful.
Having similar desires to practice, achieve goals is very important. In all team competition, the coach provides practice, strategy etc., but over and beyond that practice an partnership can continue outside of that and practice on their own.
Playing with a server or returner staying back and the volleyer in either situation staying at net is called ‘Up and Back.’ This is commonly used, however, the back player must understand their role is to ‘set up’ the volleyer by hitting effective serves, return of serves or ground strokes. This is done with by DEEP shots, or angle shots, or spinning shots etc. all options in an attempt to get the opponent off balance, out of the court which provides a weak shot the net person will ‘ATTACK’ on. During the shots hit by the back player, the net player MUST continue to move and follow the ball in hopes of being ready when those weak returns are ready to be attacked on. This is CRUCIAL and most teams other than college and pros seem to not do these guaranteed success tips I am mentioning. Guaranteed!!
Playing with the server or return of server coming into net right away to be with their partner already near the net is called; ‘Both Up.” This attacking option of doubles is very effective but the shots bringing the back person up to net must be successful OR ELSE! When up at net, the biggest rule is: the net person closest to the ball, follows the ball that is hit to opponent across from them and becomes the up volleyer and the partner is now the back volleyer and is at the service line area. Working in tandem like this covers the court in case of lobs or angle returns. Again, the approach shot is CRUCIAL and if hit crosscourt weakly then all bets are off that this Up and Up strategy will work, whether the 2 net players work together or not. The serve, return of serve or approach shot must be effective in hopes of setting up their front volleyer. Angle, hard, soft and wide are all effective shots to usually set up their partner as the up volleyer.
Both players BACK is another doubles formation that initially allows you to be in a defensive mode, while attempting to attain the control of offense. When opponents are very ‘HOT’ or better than us, then we need to provide a strategy that maybe can turn things around, ‘Change’ a losing game! With the server or returner staying back and now their partner as well staying back, a team becomes a FORCE from the baseline which may be successful. Many times this formation is needed due to opponents hard hitting shots, our serves or returns are not effective enough which makes our partner at net VERY VULNERABLE. So, change it up and stay back and let the groundstrokes, lobs and PATIENCE you will now provide, from the baseline dictate the game and hopefully, you will work your way to playing Up and Back or Up and Up.
Again these are GUARANTEED TIPS for you doubles enthusiasts,
which added with my book, “On the Other Hand,” will really get you ready for some serious fun and success!!
See you soon! Coach Scott Nichols
P/S Tennis Channel has accepted my book and wants to have me on their ‘One Minute Tennis Clinic” commercial. Stay tuned, I am hopeful by Wimbledon 2013, you may be seeing my tips live!