How can doubles help your singles game?
As a Division III tennis coach, I am amazed at how many players at this level get their first exposure to doubles in college. It seems like the only time doubles is embraced is when players get older and their movement isn€™t as good as it use to be. Coaches and teaching professionals are taking notice and are recommending more doubles play from their juniors. If you are an adult or junior and not playing doubles, this article will shed some light on why you need to start playing doubles now!
1) Your return of serve will improve.
With a person at the net, your return improves naturally. Focus is a top priority. Any deviation from ball and you could make a costly error. The court area that you are able to hit to decreases significantly. You don€™t have the margin of error common in singles returns. This is most likely one of the biggest benefits of playing doubles. The return of serve is the 2nd most important shot in tennis. Don€™t overlook the importance of this shot.
2) Your net game will improve.
This is an area that most players fear the most. They don€™t feel comfortable at the net and don€™t want to be at the net. The proximity to their opponents is scary and they have a tendency to €œrush€ and €œover swing€ at their shots. By forcing yourself to be at the net and hitting volleys and overheads, you will naturally overcome these fears. The key is to €œclose€ the net and be aggressive. Closing into the net will allow you to put volleys and overheads away much easier.
3) Your transition game will improve.
What do I mean by your transition game? I am talking about your approach shots, swinging volleys and half volleys. These shots are common as you approach the net in doubles. You will see these shots in singles but not if you camp out at the baseline. John McEnroe, Serena and Venus Williams all improved their singles games significantly because of their work in doubles.
4) You will be a better lobber.
The lob is a shot that is used often in doubles. It can get an aggressive doubles team off of the net. In singles, there are many instances when your opponent comes to the net. Whether you bring them in yourself or if they come in on their own, a good lob is essential.
5) You will become a team player.
Tennis is often times looked at as an individual sport. This will change in doubles. The more you play with a person, you develop a symbiotic relationship with that person. You know each other€™s every move and tendency. Isolating and not communicating with your partner is a losing proposition. You need to communicate with one another and realize that the only way you can be successful is by playing as one. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
6) You can still get a great workout.
If you want to ensure you are getting a great workout, serve and volley on every point. You use many explosive moves when serving and volleying and will definitely burn more calories. Stay back on returns. You see this much more on the pro tour. They stay back on the baseline and play singles crosscourt. A great workout and you get to work on your crosscourt rallies!