How to improve playing performance with your tournament partner
A few tips on how you can help you and your partner have a better on-court playing relationship
We all would like to say that we can play our best with everyone, in any given situation. In reality, there are most likely only a handful of players that we really jive with in tournament play. In other cases, the lack of communication or lack of good communication can greatly impact your chance at turning in a good performance. Here are a few tips I suggest trying when you and your partner are not playing as a team.
1. Identify strengths & weaknesses of your team
One way to avoid conflicts during a game is to clearly understand the limitations of your team. Be honest with your partner about strengths and weaknesses. Don’t commit to too much, trying to overcompensate can often lead to larger problems during a tough match. You need to know what your team can do to play well on the court.
2. Eliminate negative communication
Constantly badgering our partner about the shots they miss doesn’t help. The absolute worse time to try and fix a problem is during a game. If your partner makes a mistake, stay focused on the match; not every point missed. There are always opportunities to win games if you can move past one lost point. When I’m playing I want my partner to keep me focused when I’m struggling, and I want them to know that I have their back when it’s their time as well. Negative communication does not help anyone.
3. Create a supportive environment
When I play with players that might not be playing at a higher skill level, it is important for me to create a supportive on-court environment for them. What does that mean? Well, I want them to know that I am confident that they can make the tough shots; that they can hold their own. Any overcompensating on my part might lead them to believe that they are incapable of executing difficult shots. Then I’m working the whole court and we’ll most likely lose more points.
4. Play your game
This is easy to say, but hard to do; especially when you play a tough team and get down in points quickly. Remember, your goal is to always control the pace of play. In many cases, teams who get down in a game often hit the ball harder, take more low percentage shots and try to match the level of play of their opponents. In reality, you must try and play at your own pace and not get sucked into making poor decisions. You can always take a timeout to regroup.
5. Trust your partner
No partner intentionally tries to ditch a game, no matter what the difference in skill levels. For you both to do well in a game, they need to know you are trying your best. There needs to be a mutual respect for the level in which you both play.