Tips for Playing Doubles Tennis

efore learning how to play tennis doubles, the rules of the game of singles tennis should be mastered first. But even once you have the fundamentals down, playing tennis doubles can be challenging and confusing for new and experienced players alike.

A game of tennis doubles is played between two pairs of opposing players with a few different rules to the singles games.

A player that is new to tennis doubles will need to get accustomed to the different sidelines, the sequence of serving, and the fact they will only be returning from one side of the court.

As you are playing with a partner as part of a team you will also need to synchronize your gameplay.

In this guide, we’ll cover all of the important aspects there are to mastering tennis doubles, which should significantly cut your learning curve.

Quick Tips For Playing Tennis Doubles

  • Find a duo partner that has a relative skill level to your own
  • Communication with your doubles partner is of utmost importance, including before and after your tennis match
  • Make the choice between the forehand or backhand side, which will usually be determined by your dominant hand (left or right handed)
  • Decide if you or your partner will serve first

How the Net Will Influence Your Game

Once you have the fundamentals of doubles tennis down, what comes next is to fine tune some important techniques to increase your chances on the court.

Controlling the net is regarded as far more important in doubles than in singles. This is due to the fact that it is much easier to score points at the net as you can make use of a greater variety of angles for your volleys. Additionally, the presence of an extra player on your team works to maximize the possible spaces on the court.

Typically, the server or returner in doubles will be at the baseline of the court while the other player will be at the net. As the game progresses back and forth, the baseline player should support his or her partner at the net also.

Take Advantage of the Weakest Player in Tennis Doubles

In order to gain a strategic advantage, many players in doubles matches will pressure the weakest player on the other side of the court. This pressure is applied by directing the flow of the game towards the weaker player, forcing them to react in a way that sets the pace of the match.

This psychological component of the game is key when it comes to securing victory in doubles matches, although it could be seen as slightly unfair!

The Lob & Overhead

In doubles, you can perform a lob and overhead move by hitting the ball at an angle so that when the ball is returned your partner can smash it back to the opposing team. Another option is to return the ball straight down the middle between the two players, which can take your opponents off guard.

The serve and return are known as the two most important shots in tennis. A key difference between a single and double match is that hitting the ball at an angle may not be the best tactic due to the presence of another player. Most seasoned tennis pros prefer to hit the ball straight, as it is rarely expected.

Teamwork and communication

Although there are some differences in terms of tactics and raw game mechanics when playing tennis doubles, teamwork and communication are by far the most important variables to success.

To put it simply, if you do not synergize well with your teammate, then you have a very low likelihood of succeeding in a doubles match. For this reason, it is imperative that you find someone that you have an understanding with.

In addition to finding someone who you gel with, you should also discuss the various tactics and strategies that you’d like to employ before the match begins. By being open with your tennis partner, you’ll both be on the same page, as well as working in unison to execute on your game plan.


Despite the obvious similarities between singles and doubles tennis matches, there are definitely some nuanced differences between the two game types. Learning how to play doubles tennis can take years to master, with some people spending their entire tennis careers just learning how to synchronize their game with another player.

If you want to buy a good racket to play doubles with have a look at our guide here.

Like most things, learning how to play doubles tennis takes practice, patience, and more than a fair amount of tenacity — yet it can be mastered with the right coaching and attitude.

How To Get Better At Tennis

Tennis is a game that takes years of dedicated practice and study for before you can reach mastery. But the good news is that there are some shortcuts that you can take that will cut your learning curve in half.

Although these tips are not guaranteed to work for everyone no matter what, you’ll still be able to get a handle on your tennis game quicker than ever before – but only if you put these ideas into practice.

Top Ten Tweaks To Sharpen Your Tennis Game

Start With Your Goals

Like anything, if you don’t have a clearly defined goal with your tennis game, then it will be very hard to produce the changes that you’d like to see in terms of results.

A good start to getting better at tennis is to write down three big goals you’d like to achieve. Post your goals on your bathroom mirror, or somewhere else you’ll see every day.

Watch Instructional Videos and Tutorials on YouTube

Watching videos on YouTube can be a great way to sharpen your tennis game, especially if you are a visual learner. Watching someone hit a tennis ball with the correct form can go a long way to help you understand how to play better tennis.

There is no shortage of content that can be watched for free on the YouTube platform, so we’re sure you’ll find at least one channel that you like and can relate to.

Get Fit, and Focus on Your Cardio

Any amount of extra fitness activity will make your tennis game better. The sad truth is that tennis by itself is unlikely to get you into incredible physical shape, as it usually burns only a handful of calories compared to more intensive sports and workouts.

The other reason why you should focus on getting into shape is that you can acclimatize your body to working out in the great outdoors. The last thing you want is to be exhausted and too fatigued to continue playing, which is why your physical condition is so important when playing tennis.

Defeat Tennis Elbow with Stretches

Tennis elbow is a nasty condition, and can put a speed bump in the way of your progress. Fortunately, tennis elbow is easy to avoid by doing some simple forearm stretches. You can find a bunch of ideas on how to stretch properly on YouTube.

Draft a Simple Mantra or Saying For Calm and Focus on the Court

Having a mantra is an easy way for you to put your focus in the game. You could say to yourself, “I’ve got this,” “Calm and clear,” and “Just like practice.”

Master the Art of Split-Stepping

Just like the serve, the split-step is a vital part of your game that you should be constantly working on. You can do this in the comfort of your own home, preferably with your racquet for the added immersion and realism.

Eat Fresh Fruit and Vegetables for Nutritious Snacks

Like exercise, what you put into your body in the form of snacks and food will also determine the quality of your tennis game. Eating better will also benefit your health in other ways, helping you keep focused and healthy inside and outside of the court.

Start Squatting

You should be eating healthy and exercising, even if you’re not a tennis player. But if optimal performance is your goal, then squats are by the far the best body weight exercise to strengthen your legs and core muscles.

A great thing about squats is that they can be performed in the privacy of your own home, and without the need to use extra equipment. Try googling some variations of the classic squat, such as sitting against a wall with your back straight, as well as narrow and wide squats.

Reduce Foot and Heel Tightness by Rolling your Foot Over a Tennis Ball While Standing

This may come as surprising news, but using a tennis ball for a foot massage feels fantastic and is easy to use. You should start with one foot at a time, ensuring that you are rolling the ball all around the foot where you experience stiffness and pain.

If tennis balls aren’t your thing, then a foam roller works equally as well for the hard to reach places of your feet.

Buy or Rent a Tennis Ball Machine

In tennis, repetition is the key to mastery, and nothing will make you quicker on your feet than buying a tennis ball machine. These machines are now quite affordable, and you will be able to train yourself to respond to the game in real time.

But if you’re a casual player that doesn’t have room for a tennis ball machine, then visting your nearest tennis court to practice with one is the next best thing.


Tennis is a sport that very few people can say that they have mastered. Even professional players require years of disciplined practice before they can enter the most competitive of tournaments, so don’t feel too bad that you maybe aren’t progressing as quickly as others.

The above tips were chosen as some of the easiest shortcuts for you to take to improve your tennis game in leaps and bounds. However, you’ll still be required to put the hard work in, as well as sacrifice a lot of your time and energy to be a truly competent tennis player.

If you are still struggling to reach the level finness that you deserve, then you try paying for some lessons from a professional tennis tutor. Tutors can give you real-time feedback on how you can improve your tennis game, and they are now an affordable option.

How to Do a Lob Shot in Tennis

The lob in tennis is one of the hardest shots to master and is usually one that only the more experienced tennis players will achieve when playing someone of good tennis ability. There are two types of lobs – an offensive lob and a defensive lob. The offensive lob is where you are trying to outwit your opponent and score the point, whereas the defensive lob is more about pushing your opponent further back on the court.

Offensive Lob

To give an overview of what is involved in delivering an offensive lob – it is where the opponent is at the front of the court and you hit the ball over them so they cannot reach the ball. It is extremely difficult for a player to return a lob because they will have to cover a lot of ground to get to the ball and running backwards is much harder than going forwards to return a ball.

The offensive lob is best executed when you have enticed your opponent to the front of the court with a dropshot, making it harder for them to get to your ball placed deep in the back of the court. The change of direction slows them down and it is very hard to return the ball if you are facing the other way (towards the back of their own side of the court).

To be able to hit the ball upwards and to the back of the court against a good opponent, you need to get a descent amount of topspin on the ball. This ensures that it bounces quickly out of the court rather than just hitting the ball so it bounces high in the air and then it giving the opponent lots of time to react to the shot and then send it back.

You need to assess the right time to play an offensive lob, to make sure that the opponent is not able to simply smash the ball if you get it wrong. The best time to execute it is when they have just struggled to get to the net and will not have much time to readjust their feet to get to the back of the court.

When you are playing an offensive lob, your arm will be bent and the angle of the racquet should be steep and you play it like a forehand but drive up the back of the ball to get the topspin onto the ball.

The offensive lob is well used in doubles matches, as it is more difficult to find an area of the court that the two players will not be easily covering.

Defensive Lob

This type of shot is used when you are in a bit of trouble and you are short on options, so you lob the ball high and long in order to push your opponent back and to buy a bit more time. This type of shot is more likely to be made whilst you are stretching to reach the ball so your arm will be straight and you will probably not be able to get much power into the shot given your limited time. So you are simply hitting the ball towards the back of the court to make the opponent move backwards for the ball.

Once mastered, the lob is a very important tennis shot that can earn you a great deal of points. The better you get at putting a topspin (or even backspin on the ball when appropriate), the greater the chance of your lobs not getting returned by your opponent. So spend a lot of time in practice trying to improve this shot. To practice, ask a training partner to stand at the net with their racquet stretched above their head. Try and hit the ball so it is going over their racquet, using topspin so that it comes down in time to be in.

One of the reasons that the lob is such a good shot to play is that it is quite easy to disguise that you are playing that shot as your opponent will not realise until late on that you have applied topspin on the ball and will therefore be expecting it to land in a different place.