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September 2017 Article

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Three Big Questions

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John Mills, USPTA

In my opinion, these are three very important questions to ask yourself when playing doubles:


  1. How do I hit the shot?
  2. Where do I hit it?
  3. Where do I go next after me or my partner hits the ball?

The first question, "How do I hit the shot?" should have been answered before you get in a competitive match. Your grip, form, stance, etc. should not even come into your mind when you are competing. These should have been learned through lessons, backboard, ball machine and practice.
 
The second question, "Where do I hit the ball?" should have been drilled into your head through drills, practice matches and repetitions before the match. There are many patterns of "where to hit the ball" that are performed because of the "high percentage" of success. Example: Don't change the direction of the ball so much. Keep your serve return and ground strokes away from the opposing net player. In doubles keep most shots crosscourt. When at the net hit the high balls to the short player and keep the low balls back to the deep player.
 
The third question, "Where do I go next after me or my partner hits the ball?" is, to me, the most important question in a match. The first two questions should have been ingrained way before the match started. I've seen many matches where the player who hits the ball moves in the correct position, but not their partner. Remember, your "good shot" is your partners "good shot." And your "bad shot" is your partners "bad shot." When you combine two players that understand this, you form a very good team!
 
I hope answering these three questions helps you really improve your doubles.
 
Good luck on the courts!
 

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills currently teaches tennis at the University of Houston, Clear Lake campus. John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


 

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