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.
When you and your partner take control of the net, move together to prepare for your opponents’ reply. Follow the ball: if you hit to the left, you should both shift left. One player will cover the alley and the other will cover the middle of the court. If you hit down the middle, you should each take a step toward the middle. These movements will help your team to cover the majority of your opponents’ hitting options, leaving them with only low-percentage shots.