1. Avoid hitting neutral or weak balls to the opponent’s net player at all costs.
  2. Do hit at the net player occasionally if you can attack or the net player is not confident at the net. She/he will have less reaction time.
  3. Know how many times you have gotten passed down the line… and almost always, you need to POACH MORE, but most importantly know the ratio.
  4. Poach when you are close to the net, not from the service line.
  5. Know your role – When you are the baseliner you are not responsible to cover drop shots on either side of the court. The net player is closer to the ball in most of these scenarios. When you are the net player you are not responsible for covering the lob. Doubles is played horizontally as well as vertically.
  6. Your body needs to be still and balanced right before you make contact on as many shots as you can.
  7. Just because you can get the ball, does not mean that you should hit the ball. The player whoever is best set up and balanced should strike the ball. The better balanced player will most likely hit a much better ball.
  8. Number 7 takes us directly to 8, communication. Communication is imperative because if you do not know where your partner is on the court then you don’t know who is best set up to hit each ball. If you are communicating properly then your partner, especially when they are at the net, will not have to lose valuable time to look back at you.
  9. Awareness will give you the answer to every problem. If you have awareness after each point, then at a minimum you will know what the problem is.  If you cannot fix the problem even after you know what it is, then you know that you need to work on your execution skills!
  10. TIME is everything in doubles. If you need more of it, you hit a lob back to the deeper player. If you need less of it and can attack, go to the closest person. Ideally, you are trying to give yourself more time and take away time from your opponents. The longer you wait to hit the ball, the longer they have to get back in position and adjust.

– Amy Pazahanick,
Owner of Agape Tennis Academy, PTR Professional, Director of Tennis at DeKalb Tennis Center