Junior Josh Sutker talks to sophomore teammate Hunter King during tennis practice. Sutker recently began playing doubles with freshman Eric Yen. Maddie DeVlieger/The SPOKE
Walking out onto the tennis court, senior Fred Li and his partner are eager to begin the match. The obvious difference from singles tennis, the fact that there are two players competing together, manifests itself in the idea that the players must communicate with each other. The boys become so attuned to their partner that sometimes their communication does not even involve words.
“For me and my partner, we have signs and signals,” Li said. “We use signals when each one of us serves, and it’s like a way of communicating without talking. It helps throw off the opponent.”
On the Conestoga boys’ tennis team, most athletes play solely doubles or singles and a few athletes compete in both.
However, when athletes do play doubles, it is typical for the teams to be changed multiple times throughout the season in order to find partners who complement each other.
“We try to mix and match some of our doubles teams to give the players experience playing with other players and to find the best fit for a partner,” boys tennis head coach Jonathan Goodman said. “However, over the course of a season you want the teams to build a familiarity with each other, so we try to find the best match and stick with it.”
Li, who typically plays doubles, said that he has played with many different ’ Stoga boys on the tennis team throughout each season.
In a doubles tennis match, “usually the points are more fastpaced, so the game can get more intense at times,” Li said.
Goodman said that he tries to stress the importance of teamwork and communication because both these elements are keys to being successful in doubles tennis.
Goodman also said that some tennis players struggle when playing doubles because many of them are used to playing singles and have not yet mastered the teamwork necessary for doubles play.
Some tennis players find doubles easier because they have a partner to lean on.
“I originally played singles but then I got injured so now I play doubles,” junior Josh Sutker said. My partner Eric Yen “helps me because I’ m pretty inconsistent in doubles so it’s a little easier.”
Goodman also said that besides communication, it is important for doubles players to learn their partner’s strong and weak points so that the athletes will be more successful.
“They get to know the different strengths and weaknesses of their teammate and how they can complement each other,” Goodman said. “They also get to know how to communicate with each other—how to get them to be more aggressive, how to get over a tough mistake, etc. A lot of tennis is mental, so the relationship between the players is important. They need to be able to pick each other up when necessary and figure it out together.”