There are many opinions on how to choose doubles partners. Get practical advice on the best ways to find your optimum partner or help put partners together.
Coach: Kendall Brooks, head tennis coach
Bio: Former head women’s tennis coach for the St. Edward’s in Austin, Texas for six straight seasons. In 2018, brought Hilltoppers to their highest national ranking in school history at #17 and was named the Wilson ITA South Central Coach of the year. They would finish their 22-6 record-breaking season as Heartland Conference runner-up, earning their 3rd NCAA Tournament berth, and close the year ranked 22nd in the country. Four-year letter winner for Texas Tech Red Raiders, with career singles record of 61-58 and 41-17 in doubles. Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science.
Length: 2 min 43 sec
The choosing of doubles partners.
This topic has a wide variety of ideas and opinions from coaches and players. And I'm not sure that there is one algorithm for determining the best team. But I can tell you how I do it as a coach.
In women's tennis, it a lot of times comes down to personality way over strengths and weaknesses and ability. The importance of chemistry is weighted much heavier than the need for two forehands in the middle, or someone being able to return better from the forehand or the backhand side. So, I usually start there.
Who meshes well together, who can keep each other calm and positive? Who likes to talk a lot about strategy in between points, and who does better doing less talking? Who does the best job of picking someone up? Or who needs to feed off someone else's energy. And a lot of times simply, who likes each other or wants to play together? The desire to play together sometimes creates amazing chemistry. These are the most important questions to think about in my opinion. Other traits to consider are individual ability and strengths in reference to strategy.
For example, it's always good to have a powerful or precision server paired with a partner who is strong and confident at the net and can finish points. This makes for a great one-two punch and easy service game holds. You can also consider the preference of side when choosing your doubles partner. If one player is substantially stronger, returning and playing from the Deuce side, and he or she should look for a partner that can play on the Ad side to complete the pair. Maybe you are more of a grinder from the baseline and prefer to stay back during the points, then you should consider finding someone who can be the aggressor at the net that you can help to set up. A lot of times partners complement each other in this way. And in a sense, opposites attract.
Some players thrive on being the strongest player of the pair, while others rise to the occasion of playing with someone better. So this is also something to consider. I've done a lot of experimenting with doubles teams and I will say that half of it probably comes down to experience. The more you play with someone, the better you will get as you start to understand and learn how to work together. It takes some time to click. Some teams I never thought would work do and many I wished or thought would work didn't and that's okay.
When choosing doubles partners, recognize when something is working and be willing to change when things are not.