Serving in doubles may be twice as important as serving in singles because, in doubles, your serve impacts twice as many people. In this episode of Tennis Quick Tips, I'll give you my best tips for serving smart in tennis 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: tennisfixation.com/itunes.
Serving is considered to be the most important shot in tennis and that is doubly true in doubles. Because, in doubles, not only do you live and die by your serve, but your partner does too. So how can you serve most effectively when you're playing tennis doubles? Well, here are my best tips for serving smart in doubles.
1. Communicate with your doubles partner.
No matter how incredible your serve may be, if your partner does not know what your serve plan is, they can get creamed at the net. So communicate with your partner about what serve you plan to hit before you hit it. By letting your partner know your serve target before you serve, they can position themselves appropriately and be ready to poach (or not) when the time is right.
2. Serve up the middle.
The serve up the middle of the court or at the “T,” is typically the most effective serve in doubles. This is because, first, it means your partner has a high likelihood of getting a poachable return. And, second, it gives your opponent less of an angle to return with so that you have a better chance of covering their crosscourt shot. While this may mean that you're serving to some of your opponents' forehands, you'll also get to serve to a lot of backhands which is the weaker return for most players, making the serve up the middle even more effective.
3. Serve out wide.
The serve out side works well when it travels to the backhand of an opponent who has a weak backhand return. It can also work well in stretching out your opponent and drawing them off the court, leaving a lot of open space to hit into if their partner does not move effectively. You just need to make sure your partner knows when you plan to serve out wide as this can result in more returns down the line. It can also require you to be on your toes as it allows the returner to hit a more severe crosscourt angle return.
4. Serve at their body.
A serve right at your opponent's body, can produce a poor return because it can them jam them so that they can only block the ball back as they hit their return and can't take a full swing. It may also allow your partner to step in for the poach since the return can be weak.
5. Mix it up.
In the end, the most effective serving strategy in doubles is often just to mix up your serve. Even if you have a hard, flat bullet serve, many of your opponents will get used to this if its the only serve you ever hit. By throwing in different targets and changing the pace of your serves, you prevent your opponents from becoming too comfortable with their returns, you draw more errors from them, and you set up your partner for some great poaching opportunities.
So those are my best tips for serving smart in doubles. If you're looking for more tips to improve your serve or your doubles game or both, just check out the links below. And be sure and leave a comment as I'd love to hear what your best serve strategies are when you play doubles.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE:
For more information, check out these past Tennis Quick Tips episodes on serving and on doubles:
- How To Be A Great Tennis Doubles Partner – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 32
- Know Your Job In Tennis Doubles: The Server – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 19
- Know Your Job In Tennis Doubles: The Server's Partner – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 20
- Improve Your First Serve By Getting A Real Second Serve – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 9
- No-Fail Strategies For Tennis Doubles – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 6
- Target Your Serve – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 1
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