DOUBLE TALK

Some often-asked general questions about the game of doubles are answered below - no double talk.

Which court should I play?

That would depend on you and your partner. The general rule is that the player with the best, most effective return of serve should play the ad court. There are of course other considerations, but that's a pretty good rule.

If we're both at net how do we know whose ball is whose?

The person closer to the net and closer to the ball has the choice (and probably the better shot), but you have to talk and make definite moves early, even wrong moves. Any ball that is lobbed should be called, no matter how "obvious" the call.

My partner's a lefty. I'm a righty. Who should be where now?

Since more balls come down the middle, it's nice to have both forehands there, but the "stronger return of serve" rule mentioned above probably supersedes this.

My partner's return of serve is stronger. We are both righties, but I handle pressure and the big points better than my partner. Who should be where now?

The pressure points are served to the ad court. If you're the pressure player, that should probably be your court.

Who should serve first?

A good answer here is let your opponents serve first. But if you mean who on your team should serve first, the answer has to be the partner who holds serve most consistently. This might not be the person with the best serve. Holding serve is a result of teamwork in doubles.

My partner never comes to the net after serving. Should I play back when my partner serves?

Probably not. You can still be effective and control many points from the net if your partner's serve is fairly effective. If, on the other hand, your opponents are taking control of the game and the net with almost every return of serve, you might have better luck playing back when this partner is serving.

Where is the safest place to try to hit my overhead when I'm in trouble?

Probably back down the middle deep or over your partner's head, so that the partner can cut off the next shot and give you a chance to reposition. In fact, that's not a bad answer for your overhead even if you're not in trouble.

My partner gets furious when I make a mistake. I don't try to mess up, I just do sometimes. What should I do?

That is an easy one. Don't play with that partner anymore. Life is too short.

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