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Monday, June 24, 2013
Where should I stand in Doubles?
While taking a lesson, a student queried me: “Where should I
stand in doubles?” At the same time demonstrating to me that, he stands about
three feet from the net, and straddles the Singles sideline to prevent his opponents
from hitting down the line.
He suggested: “…By standing in the alley, no one could pass
him down the line".True! He also offered that his position gave his serving partner
more room in which to hit their serve.Also true!I volunteered.
I agreed his reasoning made sense to protect the alley, and
to give his serving partner room in which to place their serve was sound and
purposeful; however, the execution and performance of this stratagem was flawed
for “winning doubles” for several reasons.Let me explain.
Certainly, standing in the alley would discourage the down
the line shot, but in Championship Doubles, it’s not doubles in tennis. You leave so much territory
uncovered, or to be covered by your partner.Not a good idea.
In doubles each team must decide how to adequately cover the
entire court, where a tennis ball might land without leaving certain areas
vulnerable, and open to your opponent.
Dividing the court equally and at the same time moving in
tandem, wherever your partner might wander permits the easy, and adequate means
to defend your side of the court.At the
same time this makes it harder for your opponents to penetrate.The need to take the net, as soon as
possible, and at all cost, cannot be overemphasized.
On certain points you might feign forgetfulness about
watching the alley, just to entice an unwary opponent to present you with an
easy “diagonally crosscourt” volley; just as you would move to one side of the
service area, when waiting for the serve.
This trick is employed to invite your serving team to serve
to a certain side of the court or to an opponents’ forehand, or backhand.
Standing to one side in order to protect the alley requires
your partner to cover more than their share of the court because more of the
court is exposed, thus standing in the alley to protect it should be avoided.Doing so immediately identifies your
knowledge of the game of tennis to be weak.
Since your opponents’ strokes will be coming towards you, my
experience tells me that by standing back at the service line when my partner
is serving permits me more reaction time if the receiver is able to nail his or her return of the
And, being back from the net discourages lobs over my head; and, as many of my opponents will tell you: "Anything over your head is yours," while
also giving my partner all the court they need to see to serve into. So don't just watch from the sidelines, get in the game, do your part on the court.
Original Publication Date: Sunday, June 23, 2013 c d young 2016