The chemistry of a doubles team is a key component in the success of your partnership. Learn tips on how to successfully play with different partners.
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 46 sec
Other tracks by Kendall Brooks: Confidence Issues, Doubles Chemistry, Choosing Your Doubles Partner, Post-Match Analysis, Playing When You Are Exhausted, Maintain Your Cool.
You might like: Choosing A Doubles Partner., Doubles Chemistry, Trust Your Doubles Partner.
The chemistry of a doubles team is definitely very tricky, and a key component in the success of the team. Learning how to play together not only in communicating and moving together on the court but more importantly, how to get along and be a good teammate in the heat of competition, is really the hardest part.
We used to teach kids at the Academy where I worked previously, how to be a good doubles partner. These were just basic things like high five each other after every point, communicate a game plan in advance, stay positive and encouraging when your partner makes a mistake, etc. Simple but not always easy. There are several situations where your partner may be in a rut, and it doesn't seem like they're going to come out of it themselves. In order to salvage the match it a lot of times can really come down to how well their partner can bring them out of it.
Obviously, there is no one magical phrase that can be said or done to do the trick. But it instead sometimes comes down to just being positive. I would encourage anyone in this situation to slow down. Go back to the fence with your partner, or take your time on the bench and tell them to breathe. Tell them something positive. Hey, it's fine, we're fine, we can do this. Let's go right here. Make it about you as partners in a team instead of focusing on them and what they are struggling with. Sometimes it can help to make a joke or even talk about something unrelated to what's happening completely.
Depending on the severity of the situation, you may want to refrain from giving them coaching advice. Some players respond well to tips from their partner, while others definitely don't want to hear it. You'll just have to know your partner in this case, and then kill them with your energy. bounce around, get pumped up, be verbal. It can be contagious, and it's really hard to stay down when your feet are constantly moving.
Now if the situation is reversed and you are the player feeling down, it's really important for you to put yourself in your partner's shoes. Do you really want to be playing with someone that you are having to drag around the court and constantly try and pick up? Does this give you a good shot at winning? I'll tell you from being in that position many times. The answer is no. It's exhausting and the opposite of fun. The best thing you can do is stop apologizing. Bring your energy level up and change your thoughts. If this doesn't change the way you are performing, then do the best you can to support your partner. A lot of times a doubles pair does not play well at the same time. There will be ups and downs for each of you. And as long as you know this, there's no need to panic. Stay together and stay positive.