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Louis Cayer, dubbed 'the Doubles Guru', is arguably the greatest doubles coach in the world. He has a wealth of knowledge and has worked with some of the best players in the World. Over the years we have been lucky enough to partake in some personal development courses with Louis and we have seen first hand some of the content he shares with the players he is coaching.

Louis was brought into British Tennis to reinvent and redesign the Doubles system in the UK. With his guidance, the UK now has some of the best doubles players in the world. Below are just 4 tactics that Louis has shared with both coaches and players to develop their knowledge.

1. Return & Volley

Players can create uncertainty for the serving team by mixing up their return and repositioning. This tactic can be be useful for when opponents serve & volley or stay back, and/or when the returning team favour nudge or lob returns. It is important to understand that this tactic is much more effective from a T serve as opposed to a wide serve because the distance to the net from a T serve is much closer.

How it's played:

  • Server hits the serve down the T.

  • The returners partner (RP) may want to consider ducking if this move has been planned.

  • Returner moves to green spot (1) and returns cross court.

  • Using sideways and forward momentum, the returner then moves into the net.

  • The Returner moves close to the centre line as the return has been hit crosscourt (2).

  • The RP simultaneously moves forward into the wall so that both net players are positioned at the net together.

  • The servers partner (SP) will then move back into defence on the service line.

2. Return I-Formation (2nd Serve Ad T)

Returning pair use the I formation to enable them to win more points on the second serve return. By using the I formation on return, players are creating uncertainty for the serving pair. On the AD side, the I formation on return also favours the returner as they can poach across and will be then on the deuce side using their strength (FH). This is especially effective when the server does a lot of serve and volleying.

How it's played:

  • Server misses 1st serve

  • Returners partner ‘ducks’ in defensive position

  • Returners partner signals to returner if poaching or staying

  • Server servers down the T

  • Returner returns XC and RP moves into green spot

  • If poaching, returner uses momentum from the return and moves across

  • If staying, RP still moves into green position but Returner moves back to the AD side of the court.

3. Both at net/Defence at mid-court (How to not be scared at the net)

Players can be comfortable at defending from the net as they understand the necessary court positions so they can cope when being attacked. It is important that players are reminded that they are SMART when defending from mid court by moving back when they are about to be attacked. This is not being ‘scared’ and is simply smart. Many coaches teach players to move forwards in this situation, however moving forward when in defence is only going to result in getting hurt!

How it's played:

  • Server has serve and volleyed on the deuce side and has joined the servers partner in ‘the wall’ (together at the net).

  • Server hits a difficult shot from the Returner and that shot has put them into defence (short ball).

  • Returner moves up the court into attack.

  • Both net players move slightly back so that they have a higher chance of defending the attacking shot.

  • Reaction volleys are easier to get back when we have slightly more time.

  • This also helps players who are ‘scared’ when they are at the net.

4. How to win when opponents are playing 'Both Back'

Opponents regularly play both back to neutralise big servers/volleyers and to play to their baseline strengths. Players should be smart when the opponents are at the baseline. Make the opponents play shots they don’t want to hit, to force mistakes. Rule: Make the opponents hit as many backhands as possible, or, never let the opponents play two forehands in a row.

How it's played:

  • It is common that players are more skilful and favour the FH side.

  • Players also hit with more spin on the FH side so they have more skill in hitting to net players feet. Backhands are flatter meaning they don't go as low.

  • By not allowing them to hit their FH more than once, we are forcing our opponents to hit shots they are less skilful with.

  • Our opponents will often not realise this tactic is being played against them and they will also struggle to do anything about it.

  • The same rule also applies if the Server has S&V.



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