Tennis Doubles—that says it all. Well, not all. Besides having two players on each side of the net …there are other differences from singles.
The first rule in playing doubles: talk to your partner—nicely.
Offer encouragement not criticism, be polite-you are partners after all not opponents, and wear matching outfits, if possible, that shows “we are a team!” Of course, you can’t win all the time, but you can enjoy playing doubles – all the time.
Second rule: Learn to poach and hit volleys!!
After-all, one of you will be playing at the net! The whole idea of doubles is to come to the net and volley! In singles, you don’t do a lot of volleying, usually.
How about other rules? – are they the same as singles? Yes and no.
First and foremost, the court size is wider. Alleys are in play!
Ok. There are 4 players. Who serves first?
Serves rotate from team to team, but instead of a two player rotation (singles) a four player rotation (doubles) is noted and maintained throughout a set. In other words, the server in doubles tennis can choose to serve from anywhere behind and along the baseline from the center mark to the doubles sideline on the team's end of the court.
In the set(s) that follow, teams can decide which player will serve first for their respective team and establish a new rotation. Strategy comes into play, but my advice is to let the best server on your team serve first.
Now another choice—to receive or serve, and who does what? This will be answered by who plays add court and who plays deuce court. There are a lot of opinions on this but I would say put your strong forehand in the deuce court. If you one of you is a lefty-that’s a no-brainer put the forehand in the middle. (get it? Their strong forehand is their left hand).
And one more….tie breakers.
Basically, singles tie-breaker scoring and guidelines are maintained in the doubles tie-breaker, but there is an exception. Similar to singles, the two-point rotation starts after the initial point is played out and the serving rotation is maintained.
What next??? Strategy and tactics
“A wise and well thought out series of doubles tennis tactics must be executed if a team wishes to progress to a higher level of play. Combined with the appropriate doubles tennis tactics and strategy, a team should also consider forming an organized plan of attack to beat their opponents.
Tennis doubles tactics begin the moment a team steps on the tennis court. Every movement and shot choice must be carefully placed to defeat an experienced team of doubles experts.” taken from:
---- Doubles Tennis Rules---The Spirit of Teamwork - Communicate to Dominate'
That’s right out of the play book. But for amateurs this rarely happens.
When you decide to play doubles, take a lesson or two to practice the new court formations: Like, where do you stand in regards to your partner, close to the net; at the baseline? When do you “switch”, when to poach--Learn to poach!!
Be honest. In doubles, players have a better view of ‘out” balls, “let” serves, and balls on the line, If you don’t have a good view, support your partner. Make good calls. But remember—if you and your partner differ on a call—it’s always GOOD.