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Doubles 101 or 5 Ways to Create a Mentally Tough, Winning Squash or Tennis Partnership

February 14, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 126

When playing doubles be it squash or tennis the name implies 2 or team therefore the first priority of any doubles player is to protect and empower their partner. The old adage "Charity begins at home!" is never truer than on the doubles court.

Good teams help their partners; they stick to the game plan. They are consistent and predictable and provide emotional support and understanding, and stand by their partner through bad times as well as good. Having this attitude will mean you have a chance to sort out what is going on in the match, communicate with your partner and possibly prevail in the end.

Even when you have been playing with the same partner for years neither of you are mind readers, letting your partner know how you are feeling is not only OK but useful. When you are feeling strong take responsibility to hit the big shots at crucial points, if you are feeling more defensive then play safe until you confidence returns. You MUST however take responsibility for yourself, and honestly assess your effectiveness on the court each moment of the match. A warped perspective is not necessarily useful to your team.

On that note I remember years ago in England when I was playing for and captaining our Sussex County women's team at a competition called "County Week" which is where 6 Counties get together at a particular venue with at least 9 tennis courts and play 5 matches in 5 days. Each day consists of 2 county teams of 3 pairs each playing 3 matches against the other team for a total of 9 matches a day.

This is a grueling schedule that means even when you have lost to the #1 team that day you have to then go out and play the #2 team and then again regardless of the result you must concentrate again for that third match of the day against the #3 team. Now here is where I learnt about perspective and it being in the "Eye of the beholder"

I dropped one of the players on my team. In the discussion that ensued as to why, she said "But I didn't miss one of my returns of serve all day!" Unfortunately her partner's perspective was that neither did her opponent standing at the net volleying the ball at her feet for a winner! Had she truly been playing with her partner she would have noticed and modified this, or at the very least come off the court apologizing for "Leaving her partner vulnerable after every one of her returns of serve!"

The same is true of doubles squash; it means being aware of the shots you hit and how they affect your partner. For example if your partner is slowing down, a hard cross-court might seem like a good idea, but if it fails to get past your opponent, your partner may find themselves badly out of position, with no way of covering the next shot.

Play to enhance you partner's strengths and cover their weaknesses and obviously the reverse is true for your opponents, play to expose their weakness and negate their strengths. If they like to run, keep them in the back, if they love hitting the ball hard, then float the ball hi over their heads and to the back. Move an immobile or slow player around the court dragging them forward and back.

Give you partner clear messages, either verbal or non verbal by moving forward or into position without hesitation. This will make your partners job of covering so much easier and consequently the relaxation and confidence between you both will build, as where to stand and what to cover will be obvious.

Let you partner do their job and have faith and trust in them. You cannot try to hit their balls and expect them to play with confidence and decisiveness. You have chosen to play with this person so support them. Giving them dirty looks or muttering to yourself when they miss a shot is definitely not going to bolster your partners waning confidence and will only succeed in ensuring you look ungracious in everyone's eyes except your own.

Treat your partner how you would wish to be treated. Support them through the rough patches and celebrate their victories, this way you will have a friend for life and enjoy all your matches win or lose. I wish you fun on the court.

For more information go to http://www.racketdrills.com

Barb Cooper, Head Squash Professional Mayfair Lakeshore

for more articles and information on mental training for squash and tennis please visit http://www.racketdrills.comor follow Barb Cooper on Twitter or Facebook

Source: EzineArticles
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