Communication by itself is not enough.
You must communicate well for it to be of value. Start off the court by talking over your game plan: deciding who will chase lobs, serve first, handle overheads, and cover the “down the middle” shots. Tell your partner about your strengths and also your weaknesses--the things you're working on. If you have trouble with fast, down-the-line shots to your backhand, for example, say so. Your partner can switch courts with you, so your backhand remains in the center where he can take the shot. If you're great with the soft game, speak up. Your partner can work into the soft game more often, knowing it's one of your strengths.
Good doubles players communicate with each other frequently during a game.
Your partner can't read your mind. Don't assume anything. Don’t leave anything to chance. Some players communicate after every point. This might include encouragement, so your partner stays confident (it also boosts your confidence when you encourage your partner), Positive feedback, or specific suggestions about things you’ve noticed are also helpful. Communication between partners is easier when you’re doing well, but it's crucial when you're coming back after losing one or more points.
Remember, you are partners—in the game together, for better or worse. Make it better by communicating positively with your partner. Good communication helps create the chemistry of a good partnership. It takes time, and there’s no set way in which it can be done, since we're all different. Some people respond well to a lot of information; others prefer an occasional comment. You and your partner must get to know each other. You need to know what to do when your partner feels bad or nervous. And before you can do anything about these feelings, you first have to learn to recognize them.
Lamenting poor shots or bad luck doesn’t do anything positive and can be detrimental to a game that is going poorly. Instead, make positive comments or discuss specific things you both might try to improve your game.
It’s important that both of you communicate. Don’t be timid or shy when it comes to making suggestions or calls that may improve your game. Give your partner suggestions when you think a certain kind of shot might be good, or when you notice something about your opponents that might be of value.
A good partner communicates well, both verbally and non-verbally, emotionally, and technically. Ensure that both of you are able to “read” each other well, and that your partner is not afraid to give or take constructive criticism when it's appropriate. As an ideal partner, you should be happy to receive advice and act on it, if you think it's correct. Remember, you're trying to become a better player, right?
When the pressure is on, make sure you both talk more—not less. Don’t be quiet or shy. Just as you will benefit from encouragement and suggestions about how your play might improve, so will your partner. Avoid destructive comments—even small ones—as those will weaken your play.
After you’ve been playing together for a while, discussing issues openly with your partner will become easier. Identify phrases or other things that annoy you on the court, and tell your partner. Knowing what to say or do (and what not to say or do) will help you play better together.
While both partners will hopefully accept constructive criticism, remember to avoid making a critical remark when a positive one would achieve the same result. This is especially true during stressful moments in the middle of a game. When things are not going well, you may not feel like making any type of comment, but that is exactly when you should. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner. Raise your collective spirits by commenting positively on what might go well, what you might try, or what might at least lighten things up during a difficult time.
Your partner is human. We all make mistakes. But don’t make the mistake of undermining your partner by criticizing, arguing about a play or call, or anything else, especially in front of your opponents. Instead, quietly suggest a way to improve something that isn’t working well, or suggest that she correct a call you know to be in error.
Don’t underestimate the importance of good communication in doubles. If you communicate well, you’re more likely to enjoy playing, and, if you enjoy the game, you’re much more likely to play well.