I’ve heard it a zillion times: “I played okay but my partner kept messing up, missing easy volleys, and just didn’t move!”
While that may have been true, how much of that poor play might have been partially due to, the complaining partner? Not only do we have the responsibility to hold up our side of the court but also to “lift up” our partners emotionally so they can maintain their confidence.
Partners who verbally and/or visibly exhibit anger or disappointment toward the other, even for a moment, are simply guaranteeing uncomfortable and non-confident play with a predictable outcome.
Successful partners display positive and energetic body language at all times and have determined when to approach the other to offer support. They use high fives and fist touches to maintain energy and intensity and to reinforce confidence in one another—especially after an error!
Last week I took a number of our junior players to watch the UVA men’s tennis team, which is currently the #1 college team in the country. Every doubles point concluded with a fist touch reinforcing the partners’ solidarity—regardless of the outcome.
Remember, no doubles player is trying to miss hitting a winning shot. As a supportive partner, it’s up to each of us to help the other maintain a positive, intense, confident, and active demeanor. While we may not always win the match, this behavior will ensure the best possible outcome and an enjoyable experience.