Doubles Signals: Hand Signals for On-Court Communication

Doubles Signals On-Court Communication

In the last article, we covered one of the most sophisticated tactics in doubles tennis - Poaching, which will take your game to a whole new level with your partner. Today, however, we will address another important topic in the doubles game - Hand Signals.

Doubles Signals: Hand Signals for On-Court Communication

If you've watched doubles tennis, you may have seen players on the court making specific signals with their hands behind their backs. In this article, we'll take a look at exactly that - what they mean, and whether they're that important to being successful at the 2-on-2 game.

Which are the most commonly used hand doubles signals?

While there are no strict rules about the signals doubles make, there are 5 hand gestures that have been proven to contribute the most to excellent communication. But before we list each of them, let's mention something very important – the hand signals are only used by the serving pair and called only by the net player (the server's partner). Also, there are two principles by which the types of signals are distinguished - the direction of the serve and the movement of the net player.

Serving Hand Signals

The serve can be wide, into the body of the returner, or down the T – that's why there are 3 hand signals for each one of the 3 possible directions. If the team is serving from the deuce part of the court, the signals that the net player does are as follows – raised index finger for wide serve, raised middle finger for body serve and raised pinky for down the T serve. If the team serves from the AD court – the index finger for T serve, the middle finger for body serve and the pinky for wide serve. The easiest way to remember serving hand signals - always imagine you are pointing with your fingers in the exact direction you want your partner to serve.

Net Player's Movement Signals

Speaking of net player's movement, here the signals are 2 (in most of the cases). Open palm could mean "poaching" or "crossing", while closed palm means "stick to position". The best doubles players in the world also use a so-called "false signal", which most often can be custom for any pair (this signal can be anything other than those already mentioned). When the net player makes this signal, he wants to tell the server "I will run to the middle of the net, but then will come back to a wider position".

Realistically, if you find it difficult to remember the signals, you can always figure out with your partner what tactics to use even before the point starts.

However, this is not always effective as there is a chance that your opponents can hear or understand your tactic and use it against you during the rally. Therefore, if you put these 5 easy signals into use, you will have an advantage against most of your opponents.