WHY PLAY ONE-ON-ONE DOUBLES TENNIS?
WHY PLAY ONE-ON-ONE DOUBLES TENNIS?
By ED KRASS
While tournament tennis players have been competing in singles and doubles over the years, there is a great mix of these two games, all rolled into one — that serves as an alternative to singles and doubles. This alternative game is called ONE-ON-ONE DOUBLES®, which is the crosscourt serve-and-volley singles game including the doubles alley. The game’s tournament format calls for mandatory serve-and-volley on both serves (or there is a loss of point); half volleys are allowed. Many college coaches have used this game for years as a practice drill and now conduct formal sets with the game’s format. For decades, top ATP/WTA professionals have played crosscourt, serve-and-volley points to prepare for their doubles matches. If you haven’t added One-On-One Doubles into your practice regimen, you are truly missing out. What this game of One-On-One Doubles can achieve for you is to obtain all-court confidence. It is a player’s transition game that can make the winning difference between two baseliners of similar ability. Playing One-On-One Doubles takes the fear out of coming to the net — as both players are mandated to when serving.
“One-on-One Doubles practices, with Ed Krass, during my first year as a WTA touring professional and WTT player, greatly helped me to become a more confident serve-and-volley doubles player and all-court singles player. I recommend playing a steady regimen of One-on- One Doubles for players to reach their full all-court potential,” said Ginger Helgeson-Nielsen, former top 30 WTA player.
Improving Your Transition Game
A player’s transition game is always a work in progress, as are all parts of a player’s game. I would suggest a practice regimen of two practice sets of One-On-One Doubles each week with the game’s challenging serve-and-volley mandated rules. Players also receive a two point bonus for winning volleys and overheads, hit out of the air, that go untouched. In One-on- One Doubles, players will find themselves hitting more midcourt volleys, half-volleys, quick volleys and overheads than in their singles and doubles matches. The discipline of the crosscourt placements and creativity of using angles, the middle, lobs, volleys and well-placed groundstrokes add to the game’s challenges.
“I have had a great time playing in the One-on-One Doubles tournaments,” said Jared Palmer, 2001 Wimbledon Doubles Champion. “The format is a lot of fun. I had so many great points where I had to pull out every shot in the book to try and get an advantage. Players of all levels should get out and play One-on-One Doubles.”
Is it easier to serve-and-volley with this crosscourt game than on the full singles court? You bet it is and there lies the beauty in playing One-On-One Doubles. Players start to see more and more successful conversions of their serve-and-volley and return-and-volley game. This crosscourt singles game will teach players how to get to the net more in a competitive format between just two players. One-On-One Doubles is a singles game that also works on your doubles skills. If a player does not feel that this game plays to their strength, then this is where the positive coaching, teaching and encouragement comes into the picture. Playing this game of One-On-One Doubles may provide more of a challenge – even for the more established players. Players can tell themselves that they are PLAYING TO WIN as opposed to playing NOT TO LOSE when competing in One-On-One Doubles. Too many doubles teams are playing not-to-lose when playing one up one back all the time. More One-On-One Doubles sets will naturally force players to just GO and make their first volley.
“My team won 23/25 of the team match’s doubles points that can be credited to their daily One-on-One Doubles practices,” said Kim Gidley, Women’s Head Tennis Coach at United States Air Force Academy and USPTA National College Coach of the Year. “However, it is my players singles all court play that shocks our opponents when we serve-and-volley and when we come in behind the return of serve. Women should play a lot more One-on-One Doubles to make their all court dreams come true!”
Master the Volley Game
THE MIDCOURT VOLLEY is the key transitional shot in One-On-One Doubles.
Cherish executing the midcourt volley all day long! Players have to train themselves to charge forward, from the baseline to the service line, after serving and sometimes after returning. When both competing players engage in a quick volley exchange, a player’s reflexes, technique and strategy are all on display. Learning how to volley with the natural flow of the body will allow for smarter directional placements when competing. Playing this game of One-On-One Doubles will also help players establish the variety and coveted gameplan B and C when needed.
I first learned the game from the practice matchplay drill we used at Clemson University under Coach Chuck Kriese in 1984. Many called it “Ghost Doubles”. As the Men’s Assistant Coach from 1984-1986, I saw how powerfully effective this crosscourt, serve-and-volley singles game had become. Players were able to compete in practice sets to where the serve-and-volley became second nature and to where the midcourt volley became second nature. Ten minutes of quick volley practice sure made the doubles hands hard to beat. The concrete results were undeniably successful, as four Clemson doubles teams were ranked within the nation’s top 30
ITA Doubles rankings after the fall season. I later asked myself if women could have similar success with the same One-On-One Doubles practice set regimen. I was soon to find out as I was lucky enough to get the job as Head Women’s Coach at Harvard in the summer of 1986. The women’s team all bought into playing One-On-One Doubles, with just a little resistance at first. The mandatory serve-and-volley rule turned out to be quite liberating in some ways. The team’s secret sauce of playing One-On-One Doubles, a few times each week, contributed to our team’s Ivy League titles the four years I coached there from 1986-1990. The women’s serve-and-volley doubles play actually shocked their opponents!
“Ed’s One-on-One Doubles matchplay regimen was one of the most important developments to my getting to play the No. 1 singles position at Harvard and securing the top All-East spot. Playing One-on-One Doubles complemented my natural instinct to play a pro- active game – with a winning element of surprise,” said Cristina Dragomirescu Dushek, Harvard Class of 1990. Knowing how impactful this game and drill had been for my players, I thought it would be exciting to launch the very first One-On-One Doubles prize money tournament in Tampa in 2004. I recognized nobody wanted to play with a ghost, so I named the game ONE- ON-ONE DOUBLES TENNIS.
Tournaments Are Advancing the Game
My first tournament registrant in 2004 was a player named PETER DOOHAN and the rest was history! Peter was the guy who upset Boris Becker at Wimbledon in 1987. I first met Peter and his doubles partner, Tom Cobb, in a match at the USTA Men’s 40 & Over National Doubles tournament in Savannah. A few months later, I launched my first One-On-One Doubles tournament. Peter wrote a nice two page letter to me saying that he was excited to see someone finally put this format of play out there and that he wanted to be part of the game’s history. Even though Peter lost in his second match, he had made a world of impact. His participation and support gave me the CONFIDENCE to move forward with more One-On-One Doubles tournaments and capture a NICHE market of players that would enjoy competing in One-On- One Doubles.
“Playing in the One-on-One Doubles tournaments has been a great experience for me,” said Mikael Pernfors, 1986 French Open Singles Finalist. “The tournament format provides a great atmosphere and fun tennis. The game is excellent for any player trying to become a better all-court player.”
Maximize Your All-Court Game
Roger Federer, when asked why he was still No. 1 in the World in his mid-30s, stated that there were very few all-court, serve-and-volley players out there to challenge him. He even chastised the tennis industry for not developing more attacking all-court, serve-and-volley players.
“Playing One-on-One Doubles is always a highlight of my year. The tournament events combine energy, live musical entertainment and a high level of tennis. One-on-One Doubles is an exciting game and format that has a place in the upper echelons of Pro Tennis,” said Ashley Fisher, USF Men’s Tennis Coach and 2006 U.S. Open Doubles Semifinalist.
Enjoy the Challenge
Here is your chance and your players’ chances to develop their all-court game, all-court confidence and serve and volley skills with the secret weapon called One-On-One Doubles. I like to tell the players and coaches: On half a court [on the crosscourt], your dreams come true when the low and quick volleys become a part of you. Feel the power, feel the heat, to serve-and-volley is the ultimate treat. One-On-One Doubles is finally here, it will be a game for many a year!
* Ed Krass is the former Harvard, Clemson and UCF Coach. Ed is in his 33rd year as Founder/Director of the College Tennis Exposure Camps, taught exclusively by all head college coaches. Ed is the Founder & President of One-On-One Doubles Tournaments that started in 2004. Prize money One-On-One Doubles tournaments have been part of ATP, USTA, ITA and USPTA national events. One on One Doubles tournaments are played throughout the country and have recently been added to the UTR events platform.
For more information, visit http://www.oneononedoubles.com