It's time to answer another great Tennis Quick Tips listener question! This week I'll be answering a question about what's the best way to position yourself and your left-handed partner when playing doubles. You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player above or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in iTunes by clicking on this link: http://tennisfixation.com/itunes.
I always love it when I get questions from Tennis Quick Tips listeners because the questions are always the kind that every player has probably wanted an answer to at one point or another. And a recent email from Lorna asked exactly that type of questions. Lorna writes:
Thanks for your tips on podcast. I have a question for you. What is the best position in doubles when your partner is a leftie?
Lorna, that's such a good question because I too have been partnered up with lefties. And, believe me, playing with a leftie can be such an advantage in doubles so you need to make sure you've set yourself up to make the most of that.
The Ad Court And The Deuce Court
So, before I get too far, let's make sure we all know the court terminology. When you're playing doubles, you may be used to saying you're playing the “forehand” side or the “backhand” side. But, for a leftie, these terms would be the opposite of the strokes they usually hit. So, we'll use proper terminology. What we righties think of as the “forehand” side is actually called the “deuce” side of the court. And what we think of as the “backhand” side of the court is the “ad” side of the court. You can easily remember this by realizing that the deuce side of the court is the side where you call “deuce” in a game and the ad side is the side where you call “ad” in a game, as in “ad in” or “ad out” or “our ad” or “your ad.” I know this seems like an incredibly basic lesson in court terminology but I have played with and against plenty of people who didn't know which was the deuce side and which was the ad side.
Best Position For Doubles With A Leftie Partner
Now, back to Lorna's question on doubles positioning. When you're setting up to receive for the first time in a match, it's usually best to position your doubles team with the leftie in the deuce court and the rightie in the ad court. This puts both players in a position to have their forehands in the middle of the court where most balls will (or should) be going in a typical doubles match. This also means that both players will often have their stronger stroke in the middle, again where most balls should be going, since most players will tell you that their forehand is their stronger stroke. This is, by the way, how the Bryan Brothers play and they if there was ever a doubles team to imitate, it's the Bryan Brothers.
However, there could be very good reasons why you don't play it this way. Maybe the leftie partner or the rightie partner isn't comfortable with that set-up. I think a lot of lefties have very strong backhands because in drills, clinics and lessons, they often practice their backhand a lot because we righties are receiving forehands. In other words, if the drill is set up to go to a rightie's forehand, it's going to go to a leftie's backhand. And a lot of drills seem to be set up to go to our forehands.
Or, the rightie partner may be stronger in the deuce court and may want to play that side. I personally feel like my returns are much better from the deuce side then from the ad side so I often choose the deuce side, especially if I'm with a partner who doesn't care.
Also, the ad court position is usually the side where the winning point in a game is often decided and that may impact your set-up. For example, when a game goes to “deuce”, the winning point will always occur on the ad court side. So the stronger player may need to be there regardless of who is a rightie and who is a leftie.
My conclusion? Playing with a leftie partner can give you a big advantage in a doubles match. So be sure and set yourselves up wisely to get the most out of that advantage. While that might mean putting the leftie in the deuce court and the rightie in the ad court, just be sure you are well aware of what your individual strengths and weaknesses are so you use the court positions that are best for your team.
Lorna, your question was a really good one. Thanks for submitting it.
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