How to play doubles with a stranger
Used to play doubles in high school or college? Trying to get back into it but nervous about signing up without a partner and playing with a stranger? Here are some ways to keep it fun and have it not feel like a chore breaking any awkwardness!
Break the Ice
We know this is easier said than done but a quick way to develop a bit of a rhythm is to get to know each other a bit more! While you have both been paired up to play tennis communication is key to actually playing well and could be the reason why you win above all else! Some quick things to start with while you are waiting around before arriving at the court are to ask your assigned partner some questions like the following:
- What do you do for work?
- Who's your favorite player these days?
- When's the last time you have played a match?
- Favorite stroke?
- Weaknesses on the court?
Develop a set up game plan
Now that you have gotten to break the ice a bit you now have a sense of where each other are at playing style and level wise - you can figure out a game plan and try to understand what makes the other crack under pressure to help motivate each other during some tough points! We recommend starting to talk game plan while you are warming up at the base line a bit where you are far enough from your opponents but moving around to keep it casual. The key here is to figure out what side each player wants to return on and to see how each other feels about net play, switches, etc.
Pick your partner up during good points early on
To keep it fun and to get comfortable communicating with each other - compliment your partner whenever they have a good point in those first couple of games. It really helps form a rhythm of trust before games start getting intense towards the end of sets or during deuce points.
Pick your partner up during tough points
To keep your partner encouraged during high pressure points - encourage them. If your partner double faults a lot of points use the change overs as an opportunity to ask your partner if there is anything you can do to help them in between those points to show your support and to ease the tension up for your partner. While you may not be able to exactly help, it may help your partner start getting that ball in. It's important not to coach or criticize your partner during these points but by asking if they need help they might ask you for a tip or two. Remember you haven't played before and you don't know each other so this is a way to develop that partnership still during tough points!
Hang out after the match
No matter how the match goes - congratulate your partner for great game and try to take the conversation off of the match and into some social parts of your life to get to know one another! Who knows you may find your next hitting partner, doubles partner, or just another friend that you have more in common than you think!
Looking to swing into doubles? Try it at our next doubles round robin!