by Will Boucek

August 27, 2021   

The more doubles I play, the more I say this phrase.

Make Them Play

It’s simple to say, but the more I hear it, the more helpful I find it to be. It started with returning but has since transformed to other parts of my game.

Keeping it simple is one of my favorite tennis principles, but make them play is probably my favorite phrase.


When Returning

The most important part of returning is to get the return in. To make them play. Develop a solid crosscourt return and you’ll be top 20% in your tennis circle.


While Serving

Double faulting is one of the most frustrating mistakes we all make in doubles. But getting a consistent second serve that is good enough will put you ahead of 80% of USTA players.


On Your Groundstrokes

Keep it crosscourt. Don’t go down the line and miss. Go crosscourt, and make them beat you, or miss. Hitting a strong crosscourt shot at them is better than a weak down the line shot that misses.


For Your Volleys

Hit the easy volley. You don’t need to do much with your volleys to be a top 20% volleyer in your league. If you can get your volleys back, you’ll be considered a good volleyer. Work on depth before angles, it’s a more consistent shot.

Combine all these things, and you have a solid, consistent player.

Start with make them play. Then develop your big down the line forehand after that.

Start with make them play first. Then work on your 115 mph serve up the T.

Because making them play will put you in the top 20% of returning, serving, groundstrokes and volleys.

When you combine all that, you’re one of the best players in your league.

Will Boucek

About the author

Will Boucek is the Founder & CEO of The Tennis Tribe. He has played and coached tennis for over two decades. Will is a strategy analyst for ATP & WTA tour players and coaches. He also tests the latest tennis racquets, shoes, & other gear from Wilson, Babolat, Head, Prince, and other tennis brands. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas where he plays USTA leagues & tournaments.

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