Tennis Doubles Strategy for Beginners

Too Many Rackets
4 min readOct 17


Tennis Doubles Strategy can be daunting for many beginner tennis players as it is often difficult to know where you should move when your opponent or partner is hitting the ball and you don’t want to let your partner down by making the wrong choices.

This article will look at some of the tennis strategies for beginners in the 1.0 to 3.0 NTRP Rating range that they can use to win more of their doubles matches at their local club.

Photo by Sicong Li on Unsplash

10 Tennis Doubles Strategy Tips and Tactics for Beginners

1. Use the two back formation rather than one up one back

Many beginner players will adopt the one up one back formation as they think this is what you should do when playing doubles tennis.

However, at the beginner level, this often causes more problems than it solves as the person at the net often just stands there waiting for a ball to come near them.

If the net player doesn’t move back when their partner is under pressure then this leaves the middle court open to being attacked by an opponent at the net.

Until you get more comfortable at moving at the net, I would recommend using the two back formation.

Although this isn’t the optimal formation to use, I believe it can be very successful at the beginner level as your opponents will have a hard time hitting the ball past you or your partner.

2. Hit the ball short more often

Beginner players often have a tendency to hit straight back to their opponent at the baseline.

By doing this, you are actually helping your opponent as they don’t have to move to hit their next shot.

Instead, I would recommend that you hit the ball short toward the player at the baseline every now and then as this will force your opponent to run to the ball and you will usually get a weak return as they are not used to hitting short balls.

This doubles strategy works better if you also follow your short ball into the net as you will be able to hit the weak return away for an easy winner.

When you start to play more experienced tennis players, this strategy will become less effective but it is very effective against beginners.

3. Hit all your returns down the middle of the court

This one tip will greatly reduce the number of errors on your return as you are likely to make many more returns simply by aiming down the middle of the court instead of trying to hit a winner off your return.

This will also put more pressure on your opponent serving as they won’t be getting any easy free points from you.

4. Concentrate on just getting your serve in

At the beginner level, you shouldn’t be concerned about how powerful your serve is or how much spin is on it.

Instead, your only goal should be to get the ball over the net and in the service box.

As a beginner, you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone hitting a blistering return so if you just get your serve in, you will avoid giving your opponents free points by double-faulting.

5. Target the player standing in the same position as you

This is a good general rule to follow at any level of tennis, as if you are at the net then you should hit in the direction of the other net player as they will have less time to react.

Conversely, when you are at the baseline, you should hit your shots to the other baseline player as hitting your shot to the net player will give them an opportunity to hit a winner past your partner at the net.

6. Remember that lobbing your opponents on your return is always an option

Often beginner doubles players will play against a net player who is very aggressive and will poach on nearly every return you hit.

However, there is an easy way to combat players like this and that is to use a lob.

By lobbing over the net player on your return you are giving yourself a better chance of getting into the point.

Also, if you do this on a consistent basis, you may find that the net player actually retreats from the net so they will be less of a threat.

7. Don’t feel like you have to hit a winner when you get a short ball

A common mistake I see with beginner doubles players is that when they get a short ball, they go for way more than they need to.

Instead, of going for an out-and-out winner by hitting your shot as hard as you can, you should pick a big target and look to hit a more controlled shot.

8. Make sure to have good communication with your doubles partner

It is amazing how many extra points you will win just by having good communication with your doubles partner.

Shouting yours, mine, out can save you a lot of points in doubles tennis.

9. When you have the opportunity to attack, hit the ball toward the weaker player

If one of your opponents is clearly weaker then a good doubles strategy to use is to hit the majority of your shots toward the weaker player as they may be more likely to make an error.

10. Stand closer to the doubles alley when serving

A common strategy mistake made by beginners is to stand too close to the T in doubles when serving.

Doing this can put you in a very weak position when your opponent hits their return out wide as you will have further to run than if you served from a location closer to the doubles alley.



Too Many Rackets