Doubles weekends!

As a junior player, I was not a doubles’ specialist because there was not such a thing. Doubles were a part of the national and international events that I competed in, but singles were always the main focus. However, my game-style suited the doubles game well, and while I had a good singles’ record, my doubles’ results were always slightly better. Because of these good results, I was often asked by guys who were on paper “better” players than me to partner in doubles events, and I was usually very pleased with the invites. As I look back in time to those years, I can say with certainty that my better results and definitely my most fun memories from those doubles’ events came from partnerships that were not as good on paper as others simply because my doubles partners were not (on paper) as good a player as I was. There was something about working together, having lower expectations in regard to results, enjoying the time on court, and feeling that I had a responsibility to help my partner be at his best that made for the best results of my junior years.

The USTA New England tournament scene has the Doubles only weekends in their schedule, and I am a big fan of them!!! I believe (I have seen it firsthand over the years) that they bring a level of competitiveness attached to a high degree of camaraderie that allows for great progress on important areas to take place that really help the players’ games. It is important to keep in mind that for generations, professional players have used the doubles game to build their skills, have fun and add competitive hours on court. Players of the likes of McEnroe, Edberg, Nadal, Williams, Sabalenka, Hingis and Courier (to name a few) have had great success in their doubles’ games, and this has added to their overall singles game. 

The message is simple. In order to stay on track with these hard junior years, players need to have plenty of FUN in the game. The game is very hard, and disappointments are always there, but recognizing opportunities to enjoy and taking the most advantage of them helps us all on targeting a game that can last for years and years. Doubles are a great way, and the best part is that from a coaching perspective, it has a way to help the players’ overall games tremendously.