Serving in doubles is incredibly important, and is often overlooked in many recreational doubles matches. By serving well, and more importantly, serving smart, you will set you and your partner up to be on the offensive in the overwhelming majority of points, and that’s what doubles is all about. Here are a few simple tips to get you serving more efficiently in doubles. Implement these and start holding serve with ease.
Never try to hit an ace. First serves are key!
Sure, blowing an ace by your opponent is a lot of fun. However, in doubles, if you are overly aggressive and try to hammer your first serve every time, your first serve percentage will plummet. In doubles, making your first serve is much more important than in singles. Generally speaking, your opponents will be a step or two deeper in the court on your first serve, giving you more time to get set up and be aggressive by the time the ball gets back to you or your partner. It’s stressful always having to hit second serves and risk double faulting, not to mention your opponents will be ready for the typically much easier second serve. Try serving at about 70%… chances are it will still be a better serve than your second, and you are still likely to get some free points.
Pick your spots
Talk to your partner between each point, or develop a hand signal system. You should always be serving with a purpose. When you plan to serve either up the T, at the body, or out wide, your partner will know how to react and be much more likely to pick a ball off at net resulting in an easy winner. Even if you miss your spot, your partner will be in no worse shape than if you weren’t communicating about where the serve will go.
If you watch a high-level doubles match, you will see almost every point be either won or lost at the net. You should always be looking to move forward. Good players almost always serve and volley in doubles on the first serve. If you are serving smart and making more first serves, you will be able to approach the net relentlessly, making it infinitely more challenging for your opponents.
I know these tips sound simple, but by putting all three together, you will be not only making less errors, but you will be in an aggressive, offensive position on a large majority of your service points. If your partner is doing the same, you will also have a lot more fun when they are serving and you are at the net. Nothing feels better than attacking a return and hitting a volley winner. Your partner will thank you, and you will win a lot more matches. Give this a shot in your next doubles match, and let us know how it went in the comments section!