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Doubles Tactics

Published: 07 Nov 2006 - 09:12 by rippa rit

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:08

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We have had a question about doubles tactics. 
Any inspiring words about doubles play would be helpful to some members.
Craig would be an obvious person to ask if we can locate him of course.

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From BizarreCo - 11 Nov 2006 - 03:26

There's certainly merit in going through the tactics as a team beforehand, but I can't say that I've ever worked on doubles drills before.

Clearly experience plays a huge part in the puzzle as the more that you and your partner play together, the more you learn what they can and can't do on court and what you need to do to compliment the way that they play (look at the note about covering the court when they are out of position).

From a pure shot drill point of view I guess I'd take turns with my partner to feed VERY TIGHT shots to volley both to length and as drops. That will get you both used to playing the ball tight against the wall which will help in your shot play. Try playing condition games against each other but only using one half of the court. Whoever proves to be strongest might want to consider covering that side as part of the partnership.

Also work on some simple rules about who plays when the ball comes down the middle of the court, e.g if one person keeps their racket down then the other should play the shot etc.

 

In the end it will all come down to experience both in your own shot play and also in the partnership. Get as many "friendlies" against as many better teams as you can find (and the more regular the practise the better!)

Adz

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From rippa rit - 10 Nov 2006 - 07:50

Biz - since you are doing so well in this doubles stuff.
Next question, are there doubles drills? 

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From xzx1kf - 09 Nov 2006 - 19:48

Thanks for the guide Biz. We've got the club championships coming up so hopefully we can apply these tactics and have a crack at the title.

Also thanks rippa for getting the topic started.

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From rippa rit - 08 Nov 2006 - 06:56

Biz - a very comprehensive run-down of doubles.  The person enquiring has been advised to go to the forum for further info so I hope they will soon.  Thanks

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From BizarreCo - 08 Nov 2006 - 03:50

Doubles tactics generally fall into two distinct game patterns - Side/Side or Front/Back. The aim is for one partner to cover one side whilst the other covers the opposite side of the court. The best partnerships tend to have each player being particularly suits to the side that they are covering (in my case I prefer backhand or front).

I find that the best tactics are to imagine the court with 3 T's. The normal (centre) T and then two more T's made by the meeting of the service boxes with the half-court line. These last two T's are where you should look to position yourself on your covering area. Remember that in doubles, width and shot play is the true key to winning a match, as each player only has half the ground to cover compared to a normal singles match.

Try to force opponents tight into the back corners, and cover straight returns by applying tight vollied drop shots to the front. Remember that with only half the distance to cover, they will be moving quickly forward to cover front attacks, so make sure that they're tight!

You partner should also move across to help covering of the court. If you are drawn to front left, they should cover rear left and front right (on the T would be a good place to do this from!). Remeber that tactically is makes no sense for an opponent to cross court the ball at a volliable height when you or your partner are covering the destination area.

This continual "manouvering" on players to get the best position with playing into an opponents hands, makes the doubles game far more difficult when played at a high level, than a singles game. Indeed it is common for two older shot players to beat two younger, fitter and faster players.

Here's a summary of my favourite attacks and defences in doubles!

Attacks

  1. Trickle-Boasts can be a nightmare to cover, and when players tend to drift towards the wall of their covering side, they can leave a wide space in the centre of the court to take advantage of.
  2. Cross-Court Drops should normally be covered by the opponent on the opposite side of the court, but being reluctant to come too far forward in danger of lobs, many players will hang back enough to give you an opening to play for.
  3. Centre-Shots are the nastiest type of cross courts which travel right down the middle of the court. Newly formed doubles partnerships tend to have great difficulty in dealing with this "No-Man's Land" that is the centre of the court. Occasionally you can catch someone with this, but I wouldn't do it too often as it gets covered eventually!

 

Defences

  1. Lobs are probably the most understated shot in singles and doubles alike. Playing a perfect lob down the rails or over the centre of the T can be highly effective in giving you and your partner time to recover and get a better position against your opponents.
  2. Covering the areas of space on the court whilst your partner retrieves a shot is near essential when playing at a high level. With your partner pulled out of position to recover a particularly deep or shot shot, spaces can open up around them that are perfect attacking areas for your opponents to play into. Try to cover as much space as you can between you and keep good communication so that you know where each other are.
  3. Width is the ultimate tool in defending yourself on court. A shot hit short or long without the correct width will immediately put you under pressure, but a shot which clings to the rails can be played to any length and still keep your opponent under pressure. Getting width to your shots is a must for playing higher level doubles, without it you'll always be under pressure as your opponents will have easy attacking chances off your loose shots.

 

Front/Back

One of my prefered styles of partnership is front and back. I usually play front which means that I hover just in front of the T and cover both front corners, as well as trying to cut out loose lengths from my opponents. Being able to recover with high lobs is essential, as is being able to stretch low into each corner at pace.

When executed correctly, the partner to a front player will try to hover just behind the T. Their job is to cover any shot played over or passed the front player. Tight lengths from back corners is the key to this position, and NEVER play cross courts from the back of the court. The cross court drive is a weak shot in doubles as it usually gets cut out and dropped by an opponent waiting near the T. Stick to deep, tight lengths, lobs and drops (covered by your front partner!).

 

 

Personally I find doubles to be a very tactical game which can improve your width and speed of play considerably if played at a high enough level.

Adz

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