And the good news is you don’t need to have an arsenal of 50 different shots to be a good tennis player. You need just a few dependable ones. So here is my list of the three best high-percentage shots in doubles.
- The Volley at the Opposing Net Player’s Feet A lot of times, if you have an opponent playing up at the net, the best thing you can do is hit a shot right at their feet. Now, it may not be a clean winner and this is, as I said, the problem I have. I want to go for the low-percentage, sharp angle clean winner. But many times, that’s not the way to go and it’s not the high-percentage shot because it’s difficult to make. The volley right at the net player’s feet is a high-percentage shot because they’re standing closer in the inside of the court and away from the net. Hitting at the net player’s feet means you’re hitting into an open area and you have a big safety margin when you hit your shot.
It’s also a great shot because it gives you a clear target. You can focus on a target and try to hit it – your opponent’s feet. That’s much better than having a vague target of some spot on the court that you’re trying to hit.
Finally, it’s a high-percentage shot because, even if it doesn’t result in a winner, even if your net-playing opponent somehow gets his racket on that shot, most likely if it’s at his feet, his return shot to you will be a popped up ball, something that’s going to go high. And that’s the shot that you’re going to put away. That will be an easier volley that you really can hit a clean winner with.
- The Lob Over Your Opponent’s Head If you have a net player or a team that is crowding the net, hit over their heads. This not only puts them on the defensive, it buys some time for you and your partner to get in a better position, to reset and to come up with an even better reply when the ball comes back to you.
If your opponents are playing one up, one back, you may think, “Well, if I lob over the net player’s head, there’s still the other opponent back at the baseline who’s going to deal with that lob.” But let that happen. A lot of people aren’t going to be able to do something offensive when they get the lob. In fact, they may just lob it right back to you and set your team up for an overhead. If that’s how they want to play it, one up, one back, be happy. Get your team up to the net and get ready to be offensive. You can do that if you’re lobbing because that lob is giving you a little extra time to get in that offensive position.
- The Shot Down the Middle and Between Your Opponents Your third high-percentage shot is the shot down the middle. This is a great shot to hit if you are on the baseline. If you can hit a low, hard shot down the middle, between your two opponents, it will often confuse them and produce on error on their part. And by error, I mean it may be that they get the ball back but the error is that they hit an easy shot for you or your partner that you can attack. Hitting down the middle is a great shot because it’s a safe shot for you. You’re not going for that sharp angle and coming into danger of hitting off the court. And it can be confusing for your opponents who may not be sure who should get the ball. I’m sure you’re seen this, you’ve probably experienced it yourself, that shot down the middle where you and your partner are left looking at each other, thinking, “Oh, I thought you were going to get that one.” If that happens enough, it can not only be confusing, it can be demoralizing.
So those are the three high-percentage shots for doubles that I recommend. Again, it’s:
the volley at their feet, the lob over their heads, and the shot down the middle. Don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what all of the high-percentage shots for doubles are. Just know that these three are great and they work in a lot of different situations and are shots that you can pull out in almost any doubles match that you play. Have fun on the court.