Doubles is too often—and unfairly—considered a hacker’s game that doesn’t require as much movement as singles. The doubles court is wider than the singles court, but you have a partner to make up the difference.
With that safety cushion, it’s easy to fall into lazy footwork habits. But to be successful in doubles, movement is just as important as it is in singles—and you also have to coordinate your movements with your partner.
High-level doubles is incredibly fast and requires quick feet, explosive recovery skills and great anticipation. “The game between shots,” according to seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander, is everything you do after you’ve hit your first shot that prepares you for your next shot.
Here is a key doubles movement to master so you can win that game—and the match.
Up and Back
When you and your partner are in the one-up, one-back formation, sharp movement is vital. As the net player, you will still be following the ball, only you’ll be moving up and back as the ball travels across the net.
When your partner drives the ball to the opposing baseline player, move forward at an angle towards the middle of the court and look to poach.
If your opponent returns the ball back to your partner, take a few steps back just in case the opposing net player reaches your partner’s next shot.
Keep moving and be ready to pounce once a poaching opportunity arises. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll be better prepared to react.