April 24, 2009

Doubles Psychology 101

What do you need to play great doubles? A great serve? Solid returns? Strong net skills? Smashing overheads?

While all of these are important, perhaps the best thing you can bring to a doubles match is a positive attitude. Because not only do you need confidence in yourself, you've got a partner who may be looking to you for psychological support.

I played a doubles match yesterday and one of my opponents just could not get her first serve in. She didn't seem to have trouble with it during the warm-up but once the match started, that serve fell apart. And several times, throughout the match, she made comments about it: "I can't believe this." "What is wrong with me?" "Where is my serve today?" Her partner never said a word. Now, maybe they talked during changeovers and between points and her partner was supportive. But I sure didn't hear it or see it. Not in the exchanges I overheard and certainly not in the body language of either player. And they didn't look like they were talking that much anyway.

Maybe they didn't like each other. Maybe they'd never played together before. All I know is my partner and I ended up winning that match 6-1, 6-0.

When things aren't going well for me, it helps to know that my partner is still supportive of me. Any words of encouragement she can give can only help our situation. And so I always try to be positive with my partner - no matter how bad things get. Because we're partners!

© Kim Selzman 2009
All Rights Reserved

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