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Doubles Tennis Tactics
Standard Tennis Doubles Formations
A descriptive overview of the three most common formations used by tennis players during doubles.
FORMATION 1: TWO UP
In this formation the object is to have both players of a team at the net. This is accomplished through a variety of tactics such as the serve and volley or the chip and charge. Having both players at the net is a very strong formation and puts a lot of pressure on your opponents to hit better shots. Keep in mind that both players must be solid with their volleys and not afraid to be passed. Also being lobbed is a definite possibility while in this formation.
FORMATION 2: ONE UP and ONE BACK
This formation is probably the most common one used by recreational doubles players. Players just seem more comfortable having one person at the net and one person on the baseline. Since this is how most teams begin each point, there is no special tactics that need to be used to get into this formation. The objective here from an offensive standpoint is to get your net person involved as soon as possible to end the point. From a defensive protective, this formation is primarily focused on being able to run down a lob over your net player. The major flaw with this formation is the short angle in front of the deep player.
FORMATION 3: TWO BACK
This particular formation has both players of a team staying back on the baseline. It has become more popular to see professional tennis players begin points this way. The main objective here is to prevent all lobs and to allow your team to get into a point. Keep in mind that this formation opens your team up to the short angle and the drop shot. Also both players must have a grinder's mindset. That is both players must be comfortable playing defense and running down every ball.
Now after discussing the three formations the question becomes "which style is best for your team?" The answer lies within you, the player. You must take stoke of your game and honestly define your strengths and weaknesses. You must then do the same for your partner. After that, together as a team you must decide which formation highlights your collective strengths and masks your collective weaknesses. Good luck and good tennis!