3 Ways To Break Your Opponents Down (Mentally)

Angry mind on the tennis court

When you’re playing doubles, getting and keeping a mental edge over your opponent can be the difference in the match.

Specifically, you need to have confidence that your game plan is better than theirs so all you have to do is execute.

What can we do to break down our opponent’s confidence & make them frustrated, while still increasing our own confidence?

Below are three ways to give you and your partner the mental edge.

Note: This is part 2 in a 3 part series on the mental side of doubles. Part 1 is here.


#1 Be Unpredictable

If you’re unpredictable, you’re opponents won’t be able to get into a rhythm. Their game plan might work one game or point, but not the next.

This WILL frustrate them.

Here are a few ways you can be unpredictable.

Move more at the net.

Poach early one point, and give them the doubles alley (they’ll probably miss). Then poach late the next point. Then fake the poach two points after that.

Change up your serving formations.

Letting your opponent return crosscourt every time is a surefire way to lose to a good team. Give them different looks using the I formation, Australian formation, and conventional.

Hit a different ball.

Changing the spin, depth, height, and angle of your shots will throw the opponent off.

After they get used to my low, flat return, for example, I’ll change it up with a topspin angle roll. They inevitably have trouble timing this and get angry when they miss it 🙂

Especially against good doubles teams, staying unpredictable is the best thing you can do to frustrate them and take over the momentum in a match.


#2 Charge the Net

Try it for just one game and see what happens. Instead of hitting your usual volleys from 3 feet off the net, try closing in two extra steps.

Here’s what will happen.

Your opponent will miss more.

When they see you crowding the net, they’ll try to hit the ball harder, and miss more often.

You’ll hit more winners.

Even if it’s a mishit volley, from that position, it’s likely going to be a winner. Mishit volley winners are a GREAT way to make your opponents angry 😉

You’ll get lobbed.

Have your partner cover this, or better, make them beat you with a lob once, then adjust. Odds are that their first lob will miss long or be left short for an overhead.

Keep using this tactic until it stops working. When it does, here’s how you beat a lobber in doubles 🙂


#3 Make Your Opponent Miss!

The absolute best way to frustrate your opponent and win the mental game is to make them miss.

Hitting a winner is great, but it’s when the other team misses a shot that the self loathing takes place. That’s why hitting crosscourt, high-percentage, shots is such an effective strategy in doubles.

This is pretty simple actually. Just observe what shots they miss, and give them more of those.

Attack their weaknesses relentlessly!

If I see a missed backhand return on an off paced kick serve, I’m going to keep serving their backhand side until they make 2-3 in a row (adjusting pace & spin).

Follow these simple rules to start frustrating the players on the other side of the net and winning more doubles matches!

Good luck!

If you like this doubles lesson… then you’ll love my new doubles course, The Mental Game Masterclass. It includes a 30-day money back guarantee.

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Have questions about mental toughness, strategy, or tactics in doubles?

Comment below, Email me or Contact me.
I’ll personally reply with a customized solution just for you 🙂

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