Transition from playing (only) MD to MS

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by edogaktop, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. edogaktop

    edogaktop Regular Member

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    Hi guys! I'm a men double specialist (read: can only play men double) and trying to learn how to do well in singles too. I am trying to list down the differences between single and double strategies (including stance, positioning, tactical etc) that I have collected so far to help fellow BC members with the same struggle, while at the same time I'd like to brainstorm these points.

    First of all, I consider myself as an advanced amateur - which by my definition means I can do all shots with proper techniques. I mentioned this because for some, it is more effective to put work on the techniques before switching play style. While lack of good techniques can be a burden during all kinds of games,it is easier to be exposed to our weaknesses in single games because we have no one to cover for us, and we have to cover bigger area as well.

    I am right handed so all of my left&right references are based on it. I will also assume we all understand the differences in rules between single and double, so I will not mention those. These are the things I have been working on to transition from playing MD to MS with no particular order:
    1. More neutral stance when receiving serve: While it is very important to push our hands towards the net when playing double, the majority of single players seem to be standing more upright and rest the racket head onto the upper left arm (think of how LCW sets up). I think this is because flick serve is much more dangerous in single due to a longer hitting box so we cannot be as aggressive. I still don't know why a lot of players seem to rest their racket heads on the left hand (plus point for style I guess?). Please reply if you know the practical use of doing this.
    2. Direction when serving: In single, I notice the MS athletes don't religiously target the T; instead they hit slightly closer to the middle, and sometimes to the sides. I'm still experimenting here, but my theory now is it depends on where the opponent's racket head is. If we are serving right to his racket head, it's very easy for the opponent to do a deceptive shot.
    3. Vary the power of our smash more: While in double we are encouraged to always smash with full power when we can afford to, in single it seems that it also very much dependent on how ready your opponent is. Generally speaking, the harder you smash, the faster the return, and the less ready you are to follow up.
    4. We don't have to smash whenever the shuttle goes up: In single, there are more variations than in double e.g. slow drop, fast drop, half smash, 3/4 smash, full smash, whereas in double, you practically have to smash as hard as you can if your partner is ready to intercept the return. Additional note: This is also what's frustrating the most about partnering a predominantly single player in double; he/she will play drop/attacking clear much more often than your regular partner.
    5. Pay attention to our stamina: This has something to do with number 3 and 4 above as well. In single, the game is supposed to be slower paced. We are not supposed to go all out too early in the rally only to lose point and out of breath for the next point.
    6. Aim to the sides when we smash: In double, 60-70% of our smash should go to the middle (slightly towards our side) but in single, it seems that 90% of the time we should smash to the sides. Smash to the body only to surprise your opponent (or, if your opponent is in particularly weak in defending smash to the body).
    7. Follow the shuttle after a smash: After a straight smash, we have to go forward. Conversely, after we hit a diagonal smash, we have to move to the opposite corner of where we smash from. When playing double, we generally do not want this because it could create confusion between you and your partner. However, if we do not do this in single, we will lose that precious half a second to chase the return.
    8. Stand slightly (at least half steps) closer to the T when defending a smash: the reason for this is to cut off the angle. In double, we stand closer to the back line when we are directly in front of the smasher, and slightly closer to the service line when the smasher is on the diagonal side. Note that we will have to react (to the sides) much faster since we are closer to the smasher.
    9. Fast return smash to the opposite direction: this is only applicable if we want to return the smash low and fast: when we receive a straight smash, return diagonally; when we receive a diagonal smash, return straight. When playing double, we generally want to return to your own side, as close as possible to the sideline, for both diagonal and straight smashes to avoid being intercepted by the front player on the opponent side.
    10. Our stance during the rally is favoring the backhand side most of the time: This is probably the biggest difference I see between single vs double games. Single player stance seems to be favoring backhand shots most of the time during the rally (i.e. right foot forward, left food back), except when you are defending a smash where you want to stand square forward, and when you know the opponent is definitely going to lift or hit to your forehand side.
    11. Good backhand technique is very, very important: Without decent backhand shots, we cannot play decent single game, full stop.
    12. Play net by playing it high and close to the net to initiate a net game: When your opponent is away from the net, play the shuttle high and close to the net (think of it as adding some air!) if you want to challenge your opponent at the net. We generally do not do this in double because the opponent front player will always be ready to swipe the shuttle if it goes up too far from the net.
    13. Hit it late but be in position early: In single, we want to delay your shots as long as possible (i.e. as long as possible to still hit a decent shot) to add more deception to your shots. This is again, very different with a double game where you want to hit it as early as possible to hit the shuttle at its ideal height and also to keep the pressure on the opponents.
    14. Be more deceptive: Somewhat related to the previous point; being deceptive seems to have much more benefit in single as opposed to double games. This has something to do with mindset during the game. I believe in double we should favor the fast and effective shots (e.g. net push when the shuttle is above the net) - while in single being deceptive can have real benefits (e.g. instead of a simple net push, opt for hold the racket up and fake a push, followed up by dropping the shuttle close to the net) on top of looking fancy and piss your opponents off :cool:.
    15. Work on the weaknesses: Any weaknesses on our games (and also the opponents' games) will be exposed, and exploited during singles. It could be your messy footwork, your weak backhand, your inconsistent net game etc.. For me it is my very inconsistent late backhand shots for recovery. Actually, playing single is a good way to tell what technique we need to work on next - may not so obvious when we only play double every session!
    That is it for now! I will try to update the list if I discover more. Please share your experience too if you feel you have to do some things differently when you switch between single and double games :)
     
    #1 edogaktop, Mar 9, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
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  2. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Footwork - With singles, you must have a very good concept of footwork patterns, shifting of centre of gravity and rhythm.

    This is why transitioning from doubles to singles is really hard but singles to doubles needs less adjustment. Usually, amateur doubles players have a very hard time transitioning to doubles because they never learnt the full court footwork patterns.
     
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  3. edogaktop

    edogaktop Regular Member

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    Hi Cheung, thank you for the reply! I agree to your point - I will one more general point regarding to what you just said.
     
  4. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    One of the hardest things to learn in singles is how to control pace/tempo of a rally and use it to your advantage.

    In doubles, faster speed is usually the route to winning, along with angle (hitting flat/downwards). Lifts are generally as flat as possible unless you totally give up the attack, then you lift high as a last resort and move into sides defence.

    In singles, height is a third factor along with angle (sideways) and placement which together combine together to create a pace/tempo. A flat lift has the same angle and placement as a high lift, but the very different height creates a tempo difference. Therefore, in singles, a high lift can be used effectively as a rally building stroke as it both creates movement pressure (more useful in singles), as well as changing the tempo of a rally (opponent loses rhythm).

    In general, singles is more about balancing risk vs. reward. That is why 99% of the time, it is not worth jump smashing a good deep/high lift/clear that would land in the rear tramlines.
     
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