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How to Play Doubles Tennis
Tennis is both fun to play and great exercise. Sometimes partnering up and playing doubles can add to your experience. Here's how to do it.
1. The Basic Setup
Doubles tennis uses the whole court, so the further end lines are uses to mark out of bounds, unlike in singles, which uses the inner lines. The standard form for doubles tennis is for one player to stand in the service box, closer to the net, with the other player back near the baseline behind the other service box. When serving, just like in singles, you switch between the left and right side, and your partner switches sides to stay opposite you, so you're in the same base form. When returning, you stand back at the baseline when receiving the serve, and closer to the net when your partner receives the serve. So when receiving, you stay on the same side of the court the entire game. The service order rotates and stays the same the entire match. Teams switch sides after odd numbered games.
It is important to stay on the opposite side of the court as your partner when volleying. The obvious reason for this is to avoid running in to each other. Of course, there will be times when the ball is hit over your partner's head, in which case you yell 'switch' and move to the other side. This responsibility lies with the person playing the baseline, as they have a better view of the whole court. Therefore think of playing the baseline as quarterbacking the court. Your partner at the net will rely on your calls to know where they're supposed to be at all times to optimize your play.
Games in doubles break down the same way as they do in singles. Teams score at Luv, 15, 30, 40, and game point. You must win each game by 2, so if it's tied at 40-40, that's called Deuce, and you keep serving until there's an outcome, so there can be many deuces in a game before someone wins. In most competition sets are won when one team wins 6 games. Again you must win by 2. So if a set is tied at 5-5, you'll need to win the next two to win that set. If the set is tied at 6-6, you can either keep playing games until someone wings by two games, or you can go in to a tiebreaker. In this case you serve once from the left side, than a player on the other team serves once from each side, than your partner serves from each side, and so on and so forth, similar to a regular match, until one team gets 7 points....again, you must win by two.
This is the basis of doubles tennis. Remember the biggest thing is communication. You should talk to your parther through every point, and call out every switch, no matter how obvious it seems. Tennis can be frustrating, so it's also helpful to give your partner encouragement either after a great shot or a poor shot. It's very easy to lose your cool, so take upon yourself to help your partner keep theirs.