Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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Make a Good Choice

When starting a doubles match, the servers and receivers are chosen just like in singles.  One pair hides the ball, and the other pair guesses which hand that the ball is in.  If you choose correctly, I would recommend choosing to receive serve, not to start with the serve.  So why should you choose to receive?
The serving team can decide which player from their team will serve.  The receiving player can decide which player will receive after they are notified as to which player will serve first.  For example, Samson (2500) and Bob (1800) are playing against Yahao (2500) and Betty (1800).  Samson and Bob have the choice to serve or receive; they choose to receive.  So, Yahao chooses to serve first.  Samson chooses to receive for 2 reasons:
1. Because he can return Yahao’s serves better than Bob can receive Yahao’s serve.  After watching Yahao’s serve for an entire game, Bob will have a better chance to receive Yahao’s serve in game 2.  Plus he can receive some additional insight from Samson as to how to properly return it in game 2.
2. Because Betty will have a difficult time receiving Samson’s serve.  Samson being 700 points higher than Betty should be able to win many points outright on his serve.
In singles, choosing to serve or receive isn’t a big issue.  However, in doubles, make sure that you choose to receive serve first.
Additional Note:  In game 5, the receiver switches once 1 team reaches 5 points.  So, if the match goes 5 games, each player will serve and receive equally from both opponents.  The reason that I have made the receiving recommendation is that it is important to start the match well and it is also important to have the first game for your weaker partner to watch the difficult serve before attempting to return it.