Communication is considered to be one of the crucial, but unfortunately underrated aspects of a winning doubles duo. The following guide summarizes communication tactics that you will find useful if you wish to gather points and become a more successful team. Communication goes much further than mere verbal interaction. The remainder of this guidelines specifies the ways in which you can enhance communication while on the court.
To begin with, you need to be straightforward with your partner. Communication is vital when it comes to forming a bond, so address your strong and weak spots —as a team as well as individually — from the very beginning. In case your partner is more dominant on serve, see to it that he serves first in the rotation. Likewise, go over your strongest wings from the baseline and net. In case your partner has a better backhand volley, and you’re already familiar with this, you’ll be aware that he ought to take that shot during a match whenever the opportunity arises. If it turns out you have a mighty forehand, you should place yourself in a favorable position which allows you to use it to your advantage.
Both your partner and yourself should communicate during the entire match, since you can’t afford losing points just because both of you are clumsily gazing at a shot that bounces three times in the middle of the court — presuming the other person had it. Become accustomed to calling shots by either shouting “mine” or “yours” once the ball drops onto your side of the court. In this manner, you’ll spare yourself from losing points, which can accumulate throughout the course of a match and put you in a critical position. Assuming both you and your partner happen to call for the shot, simply grab the chance, since hesitation might lead to a misunderstanding afterwards, so be aggressive. If your partner also swings, never mind – better that than none of you going for it.
Besides verbal interaction, hand signals are a means of enhancing communication. Chiefly meant for net play on service, hand signals inform the server if the net player plans to remain on his side of the court or poach on the return. To use hand signals, the net player places one hand behind his back and makes a sign you’ve previously agreed upon (an open/closed fist, one finger or two, etc.). The server therefore realizes where his teammate plans on moving after the serve, and where he should move accordingly. Via hand gesture, the net player can also notify the server where he wishes him to place the ball on the serve — down the T or out wide. Supposing he signals for a serve down the T, the net player will probably poach on the return, and the server will move over to the unoccupied side of the court. But still, on an out-wide serve both players usually remain on their original sides and move in the direction of the ball.
Communicating shortly after every single point is highly recommended. As the match carries on, you’ll get a grasp of your opponents’ weaknesses, strengths, and tendencies. Talking can boost morale and, what is more significant, it makes the game enjoyable. You won’t lose your interest and it will keep you focused during the entire match. Neither partner wants to let down his teammate, so you’ll play aggressively and appreciate each point as well. While it’s easy to dismiss it as insignificant, on-court communication can decide your team’s success. In a game where each centimeter counts, merely making your voice heard can be a determining factor in a tight match.
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