It's important to know your strategy going into the match. In doubles, you and your partner absolutely need to be in sync and agree on the same game plan. Once you're in the match, your opponents' strengths and weakness often reveal themselves quickly and a smart doubles team will pick up on these hints and intuitively adjust to take advantage and lock in a victory. Oftentimes, one partner is more in tune with how the opponent is playing and understands quickly how to play to their weaknesses. Again, the intelligent team will talk to each other often between points and share what each is seeing, all the while formulating the winning strategy. Learning and adjusting on-the-go can be difficult to incorporate into your game but it is certainly a critical talent worth honing.
Here are a few lessons I've learned on the court that you might be able to use during your next match.
If your opponent tells you that she hopes the match does not last too long because she has to pick up her kids at carpool.
Ok, I'm not advocating that you drag your feet during the warm up or linger during your visits to the bench as you switch sides. While slowing the pace of play is certainly an acceptable strategy, what I take from an opponent who is admittedly in a hurry is that she is most likely going to make more unforced errors than usual. Play your typical game at your typical pace and just get one more ball over the net.
When, upon meeting your opponent(s) you see that their tennis apparel includes multiple knee and elbow braces.
Beware! Support gear of any sort does not indicate injury, weakness, slowness or anything of that nature. These people are tennis warriors and they have every intention of torturing you. Do yourself a favor and stand firm. Play with authority and whatever you do, do not feed the net person. She is surely salivating waiting for that large, puffy tennis ball inadvertently served to her on a silver platter.
You realize your opponent is one of your best friends. Or your SISTER! (I've seen that happen before.) Put your big girl panties on and get the job done. Tennis is a friendly game. Why shouldn't you play against your friends now and again? The way it works here in Atlanta, this situation can happen once or twice a season. So, realize the potential of this occurring and go out there and play like it's just another match. Play hard. Play fair. Have fun! Remember, someone has to win and someone has to lose. Won't your friend be happy that you are there to console her? ;)
Your opponents like to socialize every time you change sides.
I have nothing against socializing and I know part of playing league tennis is for the camaraderie. And as pleasant as these ladies are, my focus can get effected pretty quickly. So my strategy, as rude as it may seem, is to turn my back to them as soon as I get to the bench and engage with my partner. I'm hoping it looks more like we are strategizing rather than trying to avoid anymore questions like, "So, how many houses are in this neighborhood anyway?"
Do you have any strategies we can all learn from? We would love if you'd share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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