Following the previous article Tactics for Playing Doubles, I've found another good article for playing doubles called

(please click  the title to see the original piece)

How should you play doubles in table tennis depending on the strength of your partner?  

 

If one player is at state level and the other is a local comp hack, then obviously the hack should let the superior player dictate. Once I played doubles with an ex-French junior nationals player as my partner. We won 11-3, 11-2, 11-1. Guess what - I personally lost about 5 or 6 points. It was my job to just get the ball on the table. Even if I returned serve poorly, my partner still won the point by blocking smashes from the opponents for OUR winners. In the end, I didn't  enjoy the match, because I realised that nearly every point that our team lost was due to me! No, not really - we had great team spirit and used to go for drinks after our home match nights. It's also a delicious feeling hanging onto the coat-tails of a brilliant member of your team.

But if the advanced player is a defensive type and is not vastly superior than the weaker player, then it could be better for the weaker player in the team to do more attacking shots (provided that he is reasonably good at them).

Thirdly, it may be counter-productive for the stronger player in the team to do most of the attacking shots due to pressure of being 'the man' and your opponents will focus on giving him low underspin balls on his backhand which are difficult to smash. In the above example when I was the poorer player, I let a couple of high balls go without attacking. So my partner said don't worry, just smash any high balls I get.

In summary, doubles combinations are different for each pairing and you should discuss both your roles and make adjustments during a match. 

As a joke, the following demonstrates the vast difference between home/garage players and competition/club players ;)

 Home players:

  • don't care about footwork, 
  • make up their own rules for fun ,
  • focus on feelings than successfully hitting the ball wink wink,
  • rather play around than play to win,
  • ... but could be happier!