Doubles Serve Return Strategies
Teamwork and communication are essential in tennis doubles. You and your partner should communicate and move together as often as possible. No time is more key then when returning serve. Partners should be aware of each other’s every move. Typically, the serving team will try to take an offensive position at net and the returning team's goal should be to attack that position and seize control of each point. Here are some ideas on returning serve in the doubles game.
The cross-court return of serve. This is the basic doubles return of serve. When watching high level doubles you’ll notice is that most returns are hit low and crosscourt. Not only is this the best play for the pros, but it will work miracles in a beginner’s game as well. Hitting your return crosscourt keeps the ball away from the net person across from you. It’s safer because the net is lower in the middle and you have more court to work with when you hit diagonally.
The chip and charge. The more aggressive team usually wins the point. Controlling the net is a key to being successful. This puts both you and your partner in offensive positions and places your opponents on their heels.
Crush the return at the net person. Mix up your returns. You cannot return crosscourt everytime and be successful. The element of surprise might catch him off guard and produce a weak reply or an unforced error. Check to see how good your opponents’ volleys are. If you notice that one person has a weaker volley, you may want to take advantage and try hitting at him on occasion.
Movement is a key in winning any point in double tennis.
Poaching serve is an important strategy in doubles tennis play. A good poacher puts tremendous pressure and disrupts the return of serve from your opponents.
When playing doubles, there are a few strategies to keep in mind when returning serves and they are described below, however the main thing to remember in doubles play is this: Doubles is won at the net!
Just as singles is a different game than doubles, mixed doubles is yet again a very different game than regular doubles. Here are some simple strategies for mixed doubles success.
A wonderful article on basic doubles strategy discussing player positioning and tactics.