20+ Best Doubles Tennis Strategies, Tips and Ideas

tennis doubles strategies


The tennis court is a battleground. The battle for the ball can be fierce and competitive, but it doesn’t have to be!

The game of doubles tennis is a lot different from singles, even though the rules are essentially the same. There aren’t many doubles strategies out there and we wanted to change that! In this article, you’ll find all sorts of tips on how to play better doubles tennis.

If you’re looking for some new ways to spice up your game with some doubles tennis strategies or have been struggling in this area, read on!

Recognize the difference from singles tennis play

The doubles category in tennis is a competition where teams of two players compete against each other. This event usually takes place at the same time as singles matches so that spectators and media are focused on singles.

Doubles tennis is an equally intense competition as their singles counterparts. In fact, players train just as hard for the doubles even though they don’t receive nearly half of the prize money and media attention that comes with winning a single’s tournament.

  1. In singles we see many professional tennis players who do not find success in doubles because they cannot adapt their style of playing for it properly which often leads them into trouble quickly since opponents have figured out what kind of strategy will work best against him or her! 
  2. In doubles, there are two players on the court that make up a pair. This means you need to know how your partner is going to play before you can develop and execute an effective game plan. 
  3. In doubles matches, you’ll have a partner by your side to help earn points. Unlike singles tennis, there are two people on the court for each match which means less total ground covered compared to single players. However in doubles play both sidelines called parallels can be used and this changes strategy because it allows more angles of shots that aren’t possible when playing singles.
tennis doubles basics

What you must remember when playing strategically

1. Being realistic

You should always stay grounded when playing a strategic game. Even if you come up with the most complicated strategy, it might not bring your team to victory. You must focus on communicating well with your partner during every point of play.

2. Being cautious

When playing doubles, it is usually necessary to “play for teammates.” This means that players should focus on making the ball easier to return by their teammate in order win. It also requires coordination and teamwork since there are fewer safe positions when four people play at a time rather than two. 

To do well in this game of doubles you have to be very aware of your surroundings so you know where everyone else is located allowing better communication between team members during matches.

3. The service is not a strategic strength in doubles

The biggest difference between doubles and singles is the impact of a service. In single’s, there are times when using your serve as an advantage can outmanuever or trick your opponent into making mistakes. 

However in double’s this doesn’t have much weight because you’re playing with another person on court meaning it’ll be easier to cover each other and allowing for better positioning which leads me to my second point: unlike singles play where one player has more space than others do in doubles, both players face similar spaces so being able to accurately position yourself will allow you to move around easily giving duos less trouble then singles does.

You also don’t have a lot of angles to aim at when serving in doubles, you can aim at the T in the deuce side and wide on the Ad side.

4. Recompose yourselves in difficult times

A doubles tennis match is like a team challenge, and it involves working together to find ways of overcoming difficulties as they arise.

It’s tough to win every point during a tennis game, so try and maintain your partner with spirit even when you inevitably lose some points. To help ensure this happens:

  1. Recognize that it is not possible for everyone on the court to have an incredible time at all times. This will allow any mistakes or missed shots be easier to bear 
  2. Don’t get too discouraged if there are misunderstandings between players because they can happen in just about anything (e.g., playing games)
  3. Stick with what works – Despite occasional setbacks, doing things like sticking with your usual routine of warming up before play should keep you focused and able achieve success over time!

5. Stick to the strategic plan

Stick to your strategic plan during a match, but it’s even more crucial that you discuss with your partner what actions will be taken before actually playing. Being able to stick closely together and work as one unit can make all of the difference in ensuring victory over an opponent who may try new things or divert from their own strategy.

6. Learn how to play strategically in doubles

In doubles, players don’t need to be the sharpest knife in the pack because they can work together as a team.  Great singles players often find themselves failing at doubles because of communication and coordination skills that are needed for playing well with another person. All you really have to do is position yourself correctly on your side of the court and communicate effectively when placing shots or making decisions about strategy.

7. Strategy can sometimes cover for lack of skill

Strategy can sometimes make up for lack of skill, so you should strategically utilize the weakness’ and strengths of both your opponents as well as yourself and your partner in order to win a doubles match. 

For example, if one opponent is really good at returning backhands but not forehand returns then they will want their partner to return with them since it’s easier than trying themselves. 

You may have better skills on that side so when there are upcoming opportunities try utilizing those weaknesses by sending out more forehand returns against them even though its harder because you’ll be able to execute it perfectly while they might miss or send weak ones across court which gives an easy shot opportunity for you to finish the point while they’re under pressure.

Doubles Tennis Strategy Basics And Positioning

  1. One on the baseline / One at the net – The I Formation

This strategy involves a net player standing on or near the center service line and serves moving towards each other to form an ‘I’ shape. 

The baseline and net strategy involve having one player at the net (the person who does not receive or serve) while another player stands at the baseline (the receiver or server). The first will be responsible for their side of the court, as well as the covering center. 

On the other hand, you’ll have to cover your half of court and provide help on deep shots which can’t reach a partner in front court.

The main advantage to this strategy is that it enables both offensive play as well defense. When a game starts up like in doubles matches we often use these formations because they allow us flexibility with more than just offense but also allowing them to defend against any incoming shots.

The main weakness is that there’s such an angular gap between partners, which could easily result in opponents gaining points by striking across them. There are ways to prevent this though! One favorite doubles tennis strategy would be switch, where we often change sides on every point during rallies.

If you and your partner are well-practiced in this strategy, its effectiveness is unrivaled. However, if either one of you has not been playing with each other for a long time or hasn’t perfected communication between yourselves during play yet, then I recommend staying away from implementing an Australian doubles line-up until that point.

  1. Both on the net

To apply pressure, both players go to the net. This is because there’s no one on defense at either baseline as they’re in an offensive position while playing doubles.

Aggressive net play is a common strategy among doubles tennis players. One of the reasons they are so aggressive, though, is that there isn’t really anyone to cover for them since both players tend to go up at once and attack from the net.

Typically in this scenario one player starts on offense while another covers their back before switching places later down the line when necessary (as determined by where each other’s shots land). This sometimes involves a good serve or wide ball which allows enough time for shifting between positions as needed during matches.

That’s the same as serving and volleying in singles but when someone is already on the net it makes for an easy opportunity to get the opponents out of their comfort zone in order to be successful using this method.

  1. Both on the baseline

The double strategy at the baseline serves as a way to stay defensive and avoid throwing passing shots. It is used when opposing teams are sitting at either net or in an offensive position, but most of the time it’s just for this purpose. 

These doubles play on the baseline can also be advantageous because players have more powerful shots which gives them opportunities to punish their opponents (usually with lobs).

When playing this doubles strategy, the main disadvantage is that your team does not apply pressure. This can be resolved by changing strategies during a game to respond with an offensive situation when possible and turn points in your favor.

  1. Focus on your opponents weakness’

One way to win is by focusing on your opponent’s weaknesses. It can be beneficial when you make the most of their errors. 

For example, changing positions frequently could keep them off-guard and striking deep in the court to their backhand will lead to an easy volley finish for yourself.

It is sometimes better to let your opponents do the job for you and let you win. What I mean by that is focusing on their weakness’ and their lack of skills as a team will lead to errors from their side. Focusing your shots at the middle will keep them guessing which one will take the shot, as they both can respond to it. Changing positions frequently will also keep them guessing, which will lead to errors. Striking deep in the court on ones backhand will also lead to an easy ball with volley finish.

  1. Aim less for winners, rather try to impose an error

Although this might seem like an advice made for losers, you can lose a point in the following ways:

  1. Hitting too low into the net
  2. Hitting too long out of the court
  3. Hitting out to the right or the left
  4. Or you miss the the ball and dont hit it anyway

Players often times don’t know what they are aiming for when playing tennis; as a result many of them miss their shots. To be successful in this sport you have to work out an area where you can consistently land your hits without missing it entirely.

Impose an error on your opponents, hit the ball low, or hit the ball high, high down the line, and make sure you’re safe when you’re making your shots, and the timing is correct.

Best doubles tennis strategies

1. Try to aim low with your shots, attack the opponent’s feet

If you’re looking to break your opponent’s balance at the net or make them retreat backward with shots, aim low. This is especially efficient in doubles due to less space opponents have for response. Striking their feet will limit what they can do and either put them on defense or push back into a corner where it’ll be difficult for them to get out of this position.

2. Aim a lot at the middle of the net, where it’s low, also, don’t let your opponent a chance in the middle of the net!

Strategically move in the direction of your opponent’s shots to ensure they don’t have an opportunity for a shot.

Strategies that will help you keep away from letting your opponents score comprises moving along with them and having good teamwork towards executing better movements which can eventually lead down their midline, where it is low. 

There are several advantages you get from attacking middle court instead of basing it out. For one thing, there’s confusion that can arise when forced to communicate and coordinate their efforts with each other – which can lead them into confusion and ultimately cause an unforced error. 

This often results in mistakes which take away any advantage they could have had by playing together as team members rather than separate entities fighting for control over space on the tennis court.

So basically aim at covering up this particular area as much as possible through positioning yourself properly on court.

3. Don’t rush to play defense, or offense

If you’re on defense, don’t rush to turn the point around. If your opponent is on offense let them be and defend as a team at the net or backcourt depending on where they are playing from. Alternatively, if you’re in control of offensive plays utilize that position for an advantage toward winning points by utilizing quick shots through passing while moving forward with momentum rather than retreating back into baseline positions.

4. Know when to hit deep and when to aim at the closer player to the net

Knowing when to hit the ball deep or aim towards your opponent at the net is key for doubles tennis. If you’re in the backcourt, hitting short balls and giving gifts to the opponent would be a bad idea because it gives them more time than if they were closer up front. You should instead aim for long shots deep into the baseline when you’re at the baseline too.

However, aiming close range shots near the net works best as an offensive tactic since sudden changes in movement can catch unaware players off guard from such unexpected strikes directly into their territory

5. Keep looking for space between your opponents

Work hard to create space between opponents and then quickly take advantage of the open court. If you focus on one side, your opponent may move towards that direction which creates an opening for a winner in another area near the net or baseline. 

Separating each player from their partner allows them less room to communicate and makes more openings around the middle part of the court. Where there are no players defending it as well as creating easy targets close by at either end with little risk involved when trying to hit winners into empty areas without opposition nearby.

You can also use this technique when there is an empty corner in between opponent players and then hit it aggressively into that area as well!

6. Cover for your partner, always

Always guard the most vulnerable space on the court so opponents don’t take advantage or force mistakes from either player during doubles matches; team moves together looking like interconnected ropes rather than two separate entities pulling opposite directions prevents individual weakness against high-level doubles team that plays against you.

Doubles Serving Strategies

1. High percentage first serve

The key to doubles is having a high percentage of first serves, especially if your second serve can be easily hit. And you ask me why? When the opponent hits on their partner standing at net right next to them it’s not fun! I recommend serving with speed but slowing down slightly and changing angles often.

2. Pick a comfortable position to serve wide

To exercise an effective serve, start by standing at the baseline and moving to one side of it. Try different positions while facing that same direction until you find a comfortable position for serving wide. 

In order to make it difficult for the opponent player, serve out wide if you’re on the ad side or position closer along a baseline on the deuce side. Gain an angle by positioning better and learn how to hit different serves more effectively like kick/flat/slice!

To win points, try serving out wide or to the T in order to keep the net player off-balance, or serve out side on the Ad side to neatrlize the net player.

3. Putting pressure on second serves

If you’re returning serve in an advantageous situation, use a tactic that makes your opponent uncomfortable. Either take their second serves early or attack the net and make them feel immediate pressure after they hit the ball.

If this happens to be how the returner feels right before hitting his/her service game then it gives him/her less time to recover and more potential for errors while under stress from attacking shots coming back towards him/her quickly which may lead to winning points for you.

Strategies Around The Net

1. Lobbing above the opponent

A lob is a shot that moves in an arching path. It can be used against rushing opponents at the net who are trying to end points quickly, which often ends up benefiting you because they will likely miss your deceptive high lobs.

Lobbing above the opponent  is one of the most used shots in doubles play and it turns games around for many players. Because there’s frequent rushing into nets with partners, this movement becomes very efficient as well . You should try practicing these motions every day if possible so you’re prepared when playing competitive matches or even friendly ones!

2. Moving around the net / Faking Movement

Faking movements will keep your opponents head working and guessing. Switching places with your partner alongside fakly poaching or fake movement into the net or one of the sides is a common tactic in doubles play that works because when you switch positions, it makes them re-arrange which can sometimes be too late for them.

3. Poaching

In doubles, poaching is an important way to win the return volley when your opponent’s shot was aimed near their partner. Since most players don’t hit down-the-line returns early in a match, you should be able to poach at least one or two points during the first few games. If your partner can serve crosscourt (towards where they are standing), then it means that their opponents’ backhand will likely be weaker than usual because they’re waiting for something else just like you! 

As soon as these shots come over and land close enough towards yours, run forward quickly without hesitating and try hitting them before either of your opponents gets there too fast with theirs. Be sure not really stay still though – instead push off from your position and move constantly looking for opportunities to poach.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a professional tennis player or just enjoy the sport for fun, learning how to play doubles can be an excellent way to spice up your game. As with any new skill, it’s important that you thoroughly understand the differences between singles and doubles so that you don’t find yourself struggling in unfamiliar territory.

In conclusion, the best way to play doubles tennis is to be strategic and understand your position on court. If you are a server in this game, make sure that you serve when it’s not expected or leave open some easy shots for your opponents so they can put pressure on their own service games.

The best doubles tennis strategies involve recognizing the difference from singles play. What you must remember when playing strategically is that in order to be successful, players need to quickly and accurately communicate with their partner about what they are trying to do on offense or defense.

The information we’ve provided should help get your strategic juices flowing. It is always good to brush up on some of these strategies before playing competitively!

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