“Playing doubles game is actually really fun!” Many tennis players will agree with this. Doubles games are more relaxed and less intense by their nature. You often find smiles and laughter bouncing around the courts during or after matches. Although having a good time and socializing is a big part of recreational tennis doubles, knowing the fundamentals and basic strategies of a doubles game can help you win matches and have more fun playing doubles.
Find the right tennis partner
Identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as your partner’s. One's strengths should complement the other's weaknesses. For example, if you have good groundstrokes but weak volley, playing with someone who likes to volley and moves well around the net may be the best choice. If you are a good server but have trouble returning serves, find someone that returns serves well.
Position, position, position
Doubles teams should move forward, backward, and sideways as one, and leave no big gap in between. The gap between players is always the opponent’s main target. Vice versa, if you find an opportunity to hit a shot between your opponents, go for it.
It is common in beginners’ games that one player is positioned at the net while the other player is positioned further back on the baseline. Although this formation is beneficial to certain occasions, the best positioning in doubles is for each player to be at the net, prepared to volley or hit an overhead.
First, serve in
You will have a better chance to win your serve game with a high percentage of first serve-ins instead of aiming for a high percentage of aces. Second serves give a chance for your opponent to return it aggressively and pressure your partner at the net. However, a powerful, well-positioned first serve is always a big advantage because it is the best way to set your net game. Vice versa, be aggressive with your opponent’s weak second serve and put yourself in an offensive position.
Take the lob out of the air
The chances are high that you’ll encounter serious lobs when you play club-level doubles games. Don’t get frustrated and don’t let the lobs bounce. The best way to handle lobs is to take them out of the air by doing volley, overhead, or swing volley. Vice versa, you can use lobs especially when you are in defensive positions or your opponents are weak at returning lobs.
Baseline to baseline and volley to volley
It is a general rule of thumb that if you receive a deep ball from the baseline, return it deep to the other side of the court. If you and your opponent are both at the net, do volleys, and aim to the net player’s feet on the other side of the court. The closer to the net you are, the easier it is to attack the opponents’ feet.