“Go, go, go- no I’ve got it”… that’s doubles! Sound familiar? Local Hilton Head Tennis professional, Lou Marino, offers some suggestions for better tennis doubles communication!
“A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need advice.”- Bill Cosby
Not true in doubles tennis, both you and your partner need the words throughout the entire match. It’s very important to keep the communication channel open. As a matter of fact, communication is an important part of good tennis doubles strategy, and it begins off-court.
Even before you and your partner take the court, it’s a good idea to have a brief discussion of the initial game plan. That could include the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents.
Then, as the play begins, doubles partners communicate frequently. They give positive feedback for playing the point, kudos for good shots, strategy suggestions, and ongoing encouragement for staying focused and confident.
During the game, good doubles teams don’t leave things to chance. “Yours” or “Mine” should be shouted out if it’s not a “for sure decision who will hit the shot”. If you think the ball will be out, a “Bounce It” or “No” shout might be appropriate.
Seven good rules of tennis doubles communication:
- Communicate more (and always positive) rather than less.
- Be aware of each others body language.
- Always trust and support your partner.
- Share the communication dialogue.
- Be kind, thoughtful and postive – no matter what.
- Always work together – portraying a united image.
- Practice your communication to make it more effective.
Here are some additional mind sets to help you improve communication on the courts:
- Make your communication free and easy with your partner so that you both know what to expect. That could make the difference in winning a set or a match.
- Never “close the communication channel” when things get tough. If there’s more pressure, talk more!
- Don’t let your opponents know your strategies and don’t be afraid to try something different if what you are doing is not working.
- Be forceful, play smart, talk it through, and work together as a team.Throughout life, communication is important, and it is both learned and practiced. It’s no different in doubles tennis. If you do do it right, it will pay off!
Lou Marino is a USPTA Cardio & Youth Tennis Coach who lives and teaches in the greater Bluffton/Hilton Head Island area and loves teaching children (and adults) to play tennis.He can be reached at (843) 301-4453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.