By Wanda Collins
Doubles can be a great game if you understand the basics. Strategy changes a little when there are four of you on the court! Remember that you and your partner want to control center court. Ending up in back court is a sure way to lose a point (even more than in singles). Here are some hints to keep you in position and play well:
1. When your partner is serving, be sure that you exit your box and move away from the wall as soon as the ball passes the short line so that you can establish a good position before your opponent does.
2. Never serve to your partner’s side of the court (except an occasional lob), as it places him/her at a disadvantage in gaining position after the serve. Chances are, they will have to cringe on the wall, rightfully worried about getting hit on the return of serve.
3. Let your partner cover their side of the court! If you cover too often for ceiling balls and other passes on their side, they’ll have to give up their court position and will begin to expect that you will be there all the time. This will lead to problems: An open space on your side of the court that your opponents can take advantage of and your opponent will be out of the rhythm of the rally and lose their edge.
4. Speak up! Sometimes you will need your partner to help you out. Saying ONE word – “yours!” or “mine!” should do it. And before you start, ask your partner who will cover the center court shots so that you don’t run into each other, hit your racquets together, or watch a shot go by.
5. Crosscourt passes don’t work well in doubles. An opponent will be waiting and your partner may be in the way. Best way to get the ball by the other team is a down the wall shot, a ceiling ball, or a wide angle shot that hits front wall and then side wall just behind the short line so that it wraps around the court behind your partner and your opponents.
6. When the serve goes to your partner’s side of the court, move up to center position on your side right away so that you can establish yourself and be prepared for the front court shots. Doubles can be fun. Ask someone who is experienced to join you and show you the ropes!

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