I’m a very competitive player, and I give my all on the court because, well… I want to win. But that doesn’t mean I don’t play for fun, because I do. It IS fun. But what’s the fun in losing?
Over the years, I’ve learned that playing tennis isn’t just about players hitting a fuzzy yellow ball back and forth over a net until someone misses it. It’s about skill AND strategy.
This post details actual strategies you can use to create and control points – and most importantly, WIN them! Sure, these may seem pretty basic, but in the heat of the moment, it’s hard to think of even the simple stuff unless you’ve really learned it, and practiced it. And one more thing – COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR PARTNER IS KEY, because these strategies WILL NOT WORK if only one of you knows what’s going on.
Divide and conquer.
Hitting to the middle is often the safest shot because it’s over the lowest part of the net. This will also cause a little confusion for your opponents, because by the time they decide who’ll take the shot, the point will be over – and more often than not, in your favor. Do this a few times and it will mess with your opponent’s mental game as well.
Pick on the weaker player.
If you notice that one of your opponents has more weaknesses than her partner – a weaker second serve, a weaker backhand, or maybe she is timid at the net – then pick on her, BOTH of you! This two-on-one attack is guaranteed to frustrate both opponents into making more errors.
Get in to the net.
In doubles, the team that controls the net usually controls the match, so you and your partner should always be working towards that goal. You might be able to do it right away in your deep return of their weak second serve, or their weak return of your powerful serve. Or it could take a mini rally until you get that one short ball to come in on. Whatever the case may be, get up to the net as often as possible. If you’re playing against lobbers, make sure and hit the ball as deep as possible, and then come in, but NOT ALL THE WAY. Your deep return will keep them at the baseline or beyond and (hopefully) force them to hit shorter lobs, and because you’re just inside the service line, you’ll be in a good position (you might have to take just a small step or two) to put them away.
Aim for their feet.
When a ball lands down at your feet, it has nowhere for it to go but up. So hit deep, at their feet, and start coming in to the net, because the odds are good that the return will be high and without much pace.
I prefer balls with pace, as do most players who are 3.5 and above. So you should take advantage of players (like me) and hit soft, mid-court shots, forcing your opponents to generate their own pace and hit from “no-man’s land”, often resulting in balls that go long.
If you’re playing a team that likes to come in to the net, lob every time they both come in to the net, and make at least one of them go back. This will open up the court on one side and leave your opponents vulnerable for angled put-aways. And if you feel like toying with them, you can purposefully hit short shots to bring them in just so you can lob them. While many players can run down lobs, they can’t do it for an entire match. Even players who move well can get frustrated with this tactic, and more often than not will make the errors.
Right now (off-season) is the best time to pick up a few pointers and practice them, so that by the time tennis season rolls around, you’ll be ready to kick tennis boo-tay! If you know these strategies AND communicate with your partner, you will definitely win more matches!
Be sure and share this post with your tennis partner(s), and check out our other instruction videos and strategy hacks for more helpful tips!