Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

The Secret to Winning in Doubles: Controlling the Net

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 6/29/17 9:30 AM

Although doubles tennis obviously shares a lot of things in common with singles tennis, in many ways it's an entirely different animal. There are certain elements of doubles tennis that require a completely different approach to strategy and tactics, and many times what works well in singles tennis might not work at all on the doubles court. One of the biggest differences between singles and doubles tennis strategy is how the net is played.

While there are many singles tennis players who have achieved success without developing a strong serve-and-volley game, it's almost impossible to consistently win in doubles tennis without learning how to control the net. A doubles team that is skilled at controlling the net will have far more opportunities to win points versus a duo that is sloppy or unskilled at net play. If you and your partner are ready to take your doubles game to the next level, keep the following tips in mind to help you successfully control the net. 

1. Pay attention to serve placement.

It has often been said that the serve is the most important shot in tennis, primarily because it's the only shot over which you have complete control. This is why it's so important to pay attention to the placement of your serve, as it will have everything to do with whether or not your team will be able to move into a position to control the net. While serving out wide is quite effective in singles play, it can spell trouble on the doubles court. It is a much wiser tactical move to place your serves hard down the middle, as this will close off many of the angles that the returner can use, and it typically allows for safe passage by both players up to the net. 

2. Be quick to join your partner at the net.

At the beginning of a point, the typical doubles arrangement is to have one player at the baseline and the other one at the net. If you're the baseline player, be quick to join your partner at the net once the ball is in play. With two players in position at the net, it makes it very difficult for the opposing team to pull off any passing shots, mainly because there are fewer open spaces for them to "sneak" the ball through. 

3. Work on improving your overhead shot.

When both players are up at the net, it's almost inevitable that the opposing team will fire off some lobs to get you out of position. This is where it becomes important to know how to hit a good, solid overhead smash. You can approach this one of two ways: Either execute the overhead shot at a sharp angle (which often opens up the court for a follow-up overhead smash if the ball gets returned), or just try to drill it straight down the middle between the two opposing players. 

4. Hit to the weaker player whenever possible.

Positioning yourself at the net already communicates the fact that you're in attack mode, but you can take it a step further by consistently hitting to the weaker player. Not only should the weaker player be the recipient of the majority of your attack shots, but you should strive to hit to the weak side of that player as often as possible as well. 

Some of the best doubles tennis pros in the world (think the Bryan brothers) are masters at controlling the net, because they know that this one vital element is the secret to winning in doubles tennis. Keep the above tips in mind to help you and your partner boost the effectiveness of your doubles game, so that you can achieve victory as well!

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Topics: Tennis