Quick Tip: In Doubles Communicate Like A Football Quarterback

Tags: tennis  | forehand  |
July 10, 2021

In doubles players frequently find themselves in one up and one back situation.

When doubles teams are in this formation, and the opponents lob over the net person’s head, what are the players’ resulting responsibilities?

To assist players in visualizing their responsibilities in this situation it is helpful to refer to the game of football.

In football, quarterbacks such as perennial NFL MVP candidate Aaron Rodger’s initial task is to view and read the opponents defensive sets in front of him.

If the opposing teams defensive formation are counter to the originally called play he must communicate through audibles, adjustments which are necessitated by the manner in which opponents have lined up.

Likewise, in tennis doubles where teammates are in a one up and one back situation, the player in the back like the quarterback, sees the court better and must instruct the player at the net what they need to do.

Backcourt Player Responsibilities

Subsequent to a lob clearing the the net player’s head the the person in the back should:

  • Begin running to the ball while simultaneously communicating loud enough for their partner to hear “I got it”.
  • In a situation where the lob is to land in the backcourt in their partner’s half of the court they should shout “I got it switch”.
  • When both of the opponents are coming together at the net, you should yell “get back” to put your team in the best possible position to defend the court.
  • In a situation where your lob is short or you assess the two 2 opponents are both going to be at the net you should shout to “get back”. This both for the safety of the net player being hit by an overhead and getting your team in the best possible position to defend the next shot from the opponents.


Master being your doubles team’s quarterback in the one up and one back formation by successfully reading the situation on the court in the point, and communicating through an audible to your partner what they need to do.