Whether playing recreational, club, social or league tennis, doubles usually is the tennis game most widely played. It truly embodies the best and worst examples of team sport one can imagine.

No matter if you play with a regular partner or a different one every time, the No. 1 best thing you can do to have great success is to maintain positive mental attitude.

What’s the best way to do that? Communicate with your partner in a positive manner, no matter what the circumstance.

Some of the best examples of good communication come from a selection of professional doubles tennis players in particular:

Bob and Mike Bryan, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza or Leander Peas.

It’s amazing to see how they communicate, support and reinforce each other through each and every point, win or lose, virtually smiling, laughing and having a good time!

Communication begins off-court. Before you and your partner take to the court, discuss an initial game plan opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, where you’ll serve, poach, etc. This can be expanded on as you warm up against the opposition.

Once play is underway, frequent communication should be the norm and continue throughout the match. It should focus on positive feedback for playing a good point, kudos for good shots, strategy suggestions and ongoing encouragement, all to help stay focused and confident.

During the match don’t leave anything to chance. Here are some tips to help your team be stronger together:

  • Call out “yours” or “mine” if it’s not a for-sure decision who should take the shot.
  • If you think a ball your partner is about to hit will be out, say “bounce it” or “no.”
  • Communicate more rather than less, and always be positive.
  • Always trust and support your partner.
  • Be aware of each other’s body language.
  • Share the communication dialogue.
  • Be kind, thoughtful and positive – no matter what.
  • Always work together. Portray a united image.
  • Practice your communication to make it more effective.
  • Never stop communication when things get tough. More pressure means talk more.
  • Don’t fear trying something different if things aren’t working.
  • By staying positive, playing smart, talking it through and working as a team, the result will always be good whether you win or lose.

Lou Marino is a USPTA Cardio and youth tennis coach who lives, teaches and provides racquet service in the Bluffton-Hilton Head Island area.

lwmarino@ hotmail.com