When playing doubles, do you mix things up and change the formation? We always play the standard doubles formation of one up and one back and opposite side from each other. The main direction sent back from the receiver is sending the ball back cross court, and many times we lose points using this formation because we are creatures of habit.
Let’s face it, many players do not or are not even capable of “poaching,” so the next best option is to display the “Australian Formation.” This is where the server is serving closer to the centerline and their partner is on the same side near the net to eliminate the traditional cross court return. Mixing things up like this creates uncomfortableness with your opponents. Now, certainly this is not a guarantee or a foolproof system, because if your serving partner doesn’t move to the other side quickly or the returner can send the ball back in another direction or lobbing back but to be a better player/team. One must try to mix things up, and you should see some good results from doing this.
Now there is another formation called the “I” Formation, but I don’t recommend doing this, since it entails the net person to stand in the middle of the court near the net and crouch down to give hand signals to the server.
So, next time you’re playing, give this Australian Formation a try. You should be rewarded by simply changing things up and forcing your opponents to do something, and this may just throw them off because, as I said earlier, we’re all creatures of habit.