In doubles tennis, you don’t need to have a bullet serve to win points, you just need placement. If you can strategically place your serves, then you and your partner have the potential to predict the returns, and consistently (and quickly) win the points.
Serve down the “T”
Of all serves, this is truly the most effective in doubles tennis, as it drastically cuts the return angle, making it easier for your partner at the net to poach. This serve also works well when serving on the ad side to a righty who constantly guards their alley. Add some pace and you’ve got ace potential.
Serve out wide
If your opponent has a weak backhand or doesn’t move well, the serve out wide is a great choice. Even if they do get it back, the return will probably be weak, giving your partner at the net a chance to poach and put it away, or for you to come in and get it done.
If you’re having trouble getting a good angle out wide, inconspicuously move a little closer to the alley when you serve. This will create a better angle for your serve. Make sure your partner is aware, so she or he will be ready to either poach the return or volley a down-the-line attempt.
Serve at the body
If your opponent has a consistent return, then serve right into their body. Your opponent won’t have enough time to decide whether to take it as a forehand or backhand, and more often than not, will be forced to block it back, again making it easier for your partner at net to poach and put it away.
Mix it up
So, your amazing serve out wide is winning you points – for now. But if you don’t mix it up, your opponents will get used to it and eventually figure out how to get it back – maybe even for a winner. So give ’em a little bit of everything, and keep them from expecting anything. The less they know about what’s coming at them, the better chance they have for making errors.
You could have the best service placement on the planet, but it won’t be of much use if your partner has no idea ahead of time where it’s going. It’s so important to let your partner know where you plan to serve each and every time (and vice-versa) so that you both can be mentally prepared for the return shot.
Practice, practice, practice
Many lower level league and recreational players don’t have a consistent serve placement because they only “practice” it during their matches. Serve placement takes additional practice, and if you want to improve your game, you need to make the time and do it. All you need is about 45 minutes to an hour, at least once a week, to do nothing but practice your serve placement. You’ll develop muscle memory which you will be able to rely on in your matches and win more points.
What are your best serving strategies when playing doubles? Let’s discuss in the comments section below :-)