What is the “best” way to play doubles? What is the “best” strategy? The best way and strategy for doubles play is awareness. Everyone wants to know if one player at the baseline and one player at the net, or both players at the net, or both players at the baseline is the best.  The answer is there is a different solution for every “problem” – the “problem” being your opponents, and the solution being how well you are able to recognize their patterns, your patterns, and what is happening in the match. Awareness will give you the answer every time!

Knowing what is actually happening on the court is the first step in working toward solving it. It is mystifying to me how the vast majority of players in matches are clueless about the reality of what is actually happening on the court. Have you ever played a match and had no idea or felt like you had no idea what happened and how? Somehow you had amnesia for the past hour and a half as you were blown off the court. Do you say things like we were lobbed on “every ball” or we got passed down the line “every time” we tried to poach? What I mean by awareness is that you know exactly what happened. If you got passed down the line five times but you made six successful poaches, you would be winning that battle.  If you got lobbed four times but attacked the net successfully five times, then you would be winning that battle too. The more specifics you know, the more awareness you have and the better you can adjust or not adjust your strategy.

You must make a mental note of how you won or lost each point. If you do this after each point, you will rapidly see there is a very obvious pattern of play. Once you know your opponents’ pattern of play, you can quickly come up with the best strategy or at the very least you will know what is coming and will be much better able to handle it. If both players are really in tune, it will be a cat and mouse battle because, as you learn their patterns, they will adjust and you will have to learn a new pattern. This could happen multiple times in one match. However, almost every player I have seen at the recreational level will not change their patterns whether or not you figure them out! Crazy, I know!

You also need to be aware of your own tendencies. A good team will adjust to your patterns as well. The best combination in a match would be if you can quickly identify your opponent’s patterns through awareness and you can be aware of your own patterns so that your opponents do not know how to best adjust to you! That is a winning combination. Even if you lose, you will know exactly what happened and why.  Then you can work on the skills needed to execute your strategies. Remember, if you know what to do but cannot, it is not a matter of strategy but rather a matter of execution. This means you need to work on your strokes and technique.

You will be in total control of your tennis destiny if you begin to use awareness as one of your primary tools of offense! Tennis is not just a contest of who is physically more dominant but rather a contest to see who thinks best.

–  Amy Pazahanick
Owner and Founder of Agape Tennis Academy

I’d love to hear your questions and comments. I am also available to help you with the mental side of your game.

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