Play more doubles!
I want to advocate for playing more doubles, particularly for junior players. Some of the benefits of playing doubles for kids are emotional control and the development of leadership qualities. Moreover, there are a variety of skills developed that help juniors with their primary strokes (serve, return, groundstrokes) as well as secondary strokes (drop volleys, reaction volleys, overheads, swing volleys, and half volleys). With such a variety of skills used in the game of doubles strategy and tactics become significant. Players learn to use a variety of ways to win points.
Another significant aspect of doubles is the camaraderie one develops with their partner and sharing the burden that competitive pressure puts on a tennis player. World #1 players such as Ash Barty and Serena Williams found Grand Slam success early on in their careers in doubles. It is good to see the next generation of players to be more willing to participate in doubles events, citing that sharing responsibility and finding success is a substantial aid to their mental wellbeing.
The doubles action in ATP Cup and Davis Cup this winter has produced so many memorable moments, and I do hope that at the professional level, it gets more coverage and exposure.
Here are our favorite doubles drills
For two players
- One-on-one Doubles ( serve-volley half-court crosscourt only, the first person to 4 games wins)
- One up one back ( baseline feeds a volley, the game is played crosscourt or down the line, scoring up to 11)
For four players
- One up one back ( regular doubles formation, the feeder is the "returner of serve" who feeds cross court to the server for the first volley, play out the point to 11, then reverse roles)
- All four at the net ( feed the first ball anywhere, no lobs allowed, reaction volley practice)