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Doubles - One Versus Two Players

If you want to gain a tactical insight into your game, try playing on your own against 2 other players. Here are a few pros & cons from our own "SuperVet" ace reporter from the South coast. Some say it is easier to play on your own...give it a try !

Doubles: One versus Two

Playing a junior 2 v 1 or “Just a Bit of Fun”

On the face of it it sounds a safe bet – two adult males with a combined age 5
X (sorry Dev) that of the Youth. All that authority and life experience pitted
against such a callow being – and only having to cover half of the court (the
half of your choice) to his whole one. What could go wrong ?

Well for a start you and your partner share the twin quirks of indecision and
doubt. Whereas the Youth is in his element flying from corner to corner like a
demented tree rat – appearing occasionally to take off and run round the court
like a wall of death rider. Perfect freedom for a perfect being.

I mentioned indecision and doubt. The former ugly head is regularly raised with
the fleeting thought either of “yours partner!” or “that should have been
mine”. The latter is the permanent nagging doubt best illustrated by such
observations as : “surely we should be doing better” or “how did we lose that
rally ?” or even “why didn’t I just play safe instead of piercing the lower
inches of the tin ?” and so on. For some reason the slightly static stop/start
condition engendered in the partnership is magnified but are not likely to
affect the solo player.

Mysteriously you find yourself transformed into a deep sea diver rooted to the
spot – finally inching agonisingly in the general direction of the ball intent
on doing it serious damage. Instead you arrive only to see it fizz like a bullet

to bury itself second bounce into the back-wall nick … a perfect length with a
hot ball – I remember that ! Worse to come when your well meaning partner
exhorts “you were there!”

You then try the perfect tactic. You suggest swapping sides with your partner.
Only then will you achieve piece of mind. Only then can you save face by
consoling yourself with the idea that this is your weaker side and you can be
expected to make errors in that area.

The worst bit is playing from the front. Even if you read the blur of activity
around the Youth’s turn to strike. Even if it has registered in time that it is
going to end up on your side. After you have miraculously deciphered all the
signs from the snap and flick of your opponent’s wrist, the old familiar
underwater feel emerges. With each step agonisingly slow and eternally waiting
to bump down from one astronaut’s step before the next, bouncing to the front
like Mr Blobby, you just about make a stroke.

That’s when you realise that a ghostly hand has played the shot two seconds
before you. How else could the Youth have got there so quick, as it were tapping

his fingers for the shot to come too slowly onto his racket? Come to that
doesn’t it feel like every good horror film when you perceive images of this
supernatural opponent simultaneously in every corner. Are there really as many
as four corners? Could we have some more please?

After he has contrived a 17-15 in the 5th victory and still looking as fresh as
if he were off to a disco (A club to under 30s. Well it used to be called that!) we get the deadpan
handshake complete with the deadpan look. Totally unsympathetic to the pain of
lost youth that were there to see if only he could see it, off he trots to play
the club number one immediately after. Oh well at least it’s doing him good.
There is a way round, there is an answer cheating though it maybe. No it is not
the familiar cry of barge into him, knock him off his stride. It is simply a
matter if you are right handed find yourself a left-handed partner and vice
versa. The cunning of old age knows no limits. The best team is the team of twin
forehands … the perfect kryptonite!