I ran across this article about the importance of communicating in doubles and it made me think, “Yeah, sure, communication is important. But if I could pinpoint one thing that I would tell most people who play club doubles what would it be?”.
My answer: Cover the middle.
Groundbreaking stuff, I know 🙂
When I think about it though, the first thing I notice when playing a doubles match is how well/poorly my opponents are covering the middle. If they’re leaving it open and allowing my partner and I to take advantage with easy middle shots, my next thought is, “I wonder how long it will take them to figure out they need to stop letting us do this?”.
Of course, covering the middle effectively requires some communication between partners. But not as much as you might think. Middle coverage is more about talking before and between matches to develop an understanding of where each player should be in any given situation, and playing with a partner long enough to get a feel for each other.
So, to all of you club doubles players out there, my best advice to you is to cover the middle. I mean really cover it. Be overaggressive when it comes to not allowing a ball to split you. Worry less about hitting each others racquets. Worry much less about down-the-line and extreme angle shots. Let your opponents know the middle is not an option.
What about you? If you could tell club doubles players one thing, what would it be?