“CHANGE STARTS WHEN YOU SEE THE NEXT STEP”
The Receiver – the two responsibilities for you are:
- To return the serve crosscourt – keep it away from the net player. Huge! And,
- To return crosscourt in such a way as to give you and your partner control of the point – it’s easier to accomplish this when you receive a second serve.
That’s it for you.
The Receiver’s Partner – and you also have two responsibilities:
- To help your partner make the call on whether the serve is in or out. And,
- To keep an eye on the server’s partner, who is diagonally across from you and is intentioned to attack your area of the court. The attacker is supposed to, but it sometimes doesn’t work out that way, aim at your feet or somewhere in the immediate proximity of your position; this is often referred to in doubles parlance as “The Hot Seat.” I have added another label to this area, “The Gatekeeper” because it fully declares your responsibilities — not only do you have to defend against balls hit at you, but you must also minimize the balls which pass between you and your partner.
From forty years plus of teaching, playing, and observing doubles, I have learned an undeniable fact – that this is the most misunderstood, and misplayed position in doubles, regardless of the levels. It’s a common strategic malady from the 2.5 to the 5.0 level player.
There you have it.
Know your responsibilities, develop the skills to execute them, and I guarantee you that you’ll have a better than good chance to control the second part of the point (the middle) which can then lead you and your partner to a favorable end, the conclusion.
Do you recognize the signs of a good beginning in a doubles point?
Do you have a sound tactical plan to take advantage of a good beginning?