Picking the side of the court (ad or deuce) you will play is a very important
pre-match decision in any tennis match. This time of year it is a decision
that should be agreed upon very early in the season so that both players can
get valuable practice and match experience on the side they will play in
So how do you determine what side of the court is best for you? Most people
make the decision based on having forehands down the middle or taking the
side that will most likely put them hitting their favorite shot the most.
But there is a more important question that must be asked in determining
your position. "What side of the court do you have the strongest and/or most
consistent return?" Although you might have a perfect forehand volley on
balls down the middle when playing the ad court, you may never have the
opportunity to hit that shot if you don't set it up with a good return of
serve. The serve and return of serve are the two most critical shots in
tennis. Most points at all levels will be set up in an offensive or
defensive way depending on your ability to hit these shots.
Picking sides of the court is usually one of the factors considered when
choosing a doubles partner. I usually prefer to put the more consistent
player in the ad court. It gives me added confidence to know that on the big
points that player will more than likely get the ball back in play and at
least give the opponent a chance to make a mistake. This certainly is not a
must but only a preference. Several teams like to have the flashy player in
the ad court in hopes that they will get hot and rip the big winner on the
crucial points. You must keep in mind that unforced errors greatly outnumber
winners at almost all levels.
Remember that the return of serve comes before that first groundie or volley.
Practicing a reliable serve and return of serve will decrease those unforced
errors and make you a better player under pressure.
For help on picking your side of the court or for any help with your game,
please see your U.S.P.T.A. professional.