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What to Do and Not To Do in the Warm-Up in Doubles

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John Mills, USPTA

What to Do in the Warm-Up in Doubles

The purpose of the warm-up is to allow all 4 players to warm their bodies in preparation for the actual match. The purpose of the warm-up is not to practice. If you need practice, come early and hit before the warm-up.

  1. Spin the racket first-decide server, side, etc.

  2. Start with all 4 players on the baseline. Imagine cutting the court in half from baseline to baseline.

  3. Do your groundstrokes first, hitting with your opponent on your half of the court while your partner and their opponent keep a ball in play on the other half of the court.

  4. Next, one of the opposing players comes to the net for a few volleys and overheads, until all 4 players have hit volleys and overheads. If you are not good at feeding lobs to your opponent so they can hit overheads, practice. You should be able to do this.

  5. Now, all 4 players take their practice serves (all practice serves must be taken before the 1st game is played - continuous play rule). There is no practicing of the return of serve. Just serve, then catch your opponents serve and serve it back.

  6. In general, you should always hit the ball to your opponent in the warm-up. Use the match to hit it away from your opponent.

What Not to Do in the Warm-Up in Doubles:

  1. Do not warm-up with one ball for all 4 players. Keep 2 balls in play.

  2. Do not put the ball away. Keep it in play. Do not hit angle shots. This just delays the match and defeats the purpose of the warm-up. Try not to spray the ball all over the place.

  3. Do not hit the ball as hard as you can or as hard as you may in the match. This is senseless. Many players start competing in the warm-up. This is not necessary and rude. Your inability to control the warm-up may also interrupt matches on adjacent courts.

  4. Do not tell someone you lost the match because you received a "terrible warm-up". You can warm your body up by doing some mild jogging, walking fast or calisthenics. You can even do these things off the actual court.

  5. Do not play "first ball in" when serving.

  6. Do not expect to hit every ball on one bounce in the warm-up. You will be most prone to injury early. Save the chases for the match.

Personally, I use the warm-up to calm down and relax before the match starts. I find that by watching the ball very closely, I get in a better mental state for the match. If you try these tips you will find other players appreciating your etiquette.

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

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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