Eureka Doubles Tournament This Thursday and Friday
April 9, 2012By Tom Mayer of Eureka High School - Tennis
High school tennis teams around the state will be playing their mid-season tournaments in the next few weeks, and the Eureka boys will be playing also. But the Eureka tournament is unique in that it is a venue for doubles only.
Eureka's Coach Jason Conley explained the concept behind having a doubles-only tournament—the reasons are three fold.
As a matter of practicality, Eureka plays in a conference that implements a 4/3 dual match style—four players compete in singles, and six different players compete in doubles. However, District and Sectional competition calls for six players from each team to compete in both singles and doubles. As such, conference matches keep the top four players from getting vital doubles match-play during the season. So the doubles-only tournament gives all the players a chance to work on their doubles game in preparation for post season play. In a sense, the tournament acts as a bridge from regular season conference play to the post season.
In addition to the competitive bridge the tournament affords, it also gives Coach Conley a chance to offer his players insight into the game that only comes in the doubles setting. He says that “as far as playing doubles goes, many young players are missing out on an entirely different way to play tennis.” Whereas a good singles player often thrives in a setting where every point won is on his shoulders, “doubles forces you to rely on your partner and develop strategies to beat your opponents.”
Finally, doubles forces players to get serious about certain strokes and teaches a player that aggressive play on the court wins matches. Conley says “You have to focus your serves and returns more in doubles. In singles, you can get away with a sloppy return. In doubles, it will get picked off at the net or put your team in a defensive position right off the bat.” In doubles, the aggressive team wins most of the time, and aggressive teams must make those first shots in order to stay on the offensive.
Tennis is generally thought of as an individual sport. And it's good to have big time competitors in the singles matches. But high school tennis is a team sport, and nothing teaches teamwork better than doubles.
So, all you Eureka Wildcat tennis fans, get out and cheer your team on this Thursday and Friday. And bring the future Wildcats too. They can learn a lot about the game watching their older siblings play doubles.