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Avoiding your partner in doubles
When playing doubles, partners often get in eachother's way, with one preventing the other from playing his shot. What is the best movement to ensure you get out of your partner's way after you've played your own shot? An experienced player advised me to move backwards, clearing the table for partner to cover. But if he then moves infront of me to return the ball I'm unsighted, so I have to move sideways behind him. Maybe I can then move forward again after his shot. And as he moves backward I can re-centre to cover the table again?
This is tricky, as you are very much dependent on the movement of your partner. Some doubles partners can be very slow to move and don't really get out of the way.
Personally, I find it easiest to have a diagonal movement backwards after playing my shot. This means I make space (both width and depth) for my partner to play a shot. As my partner is playing, I will then try and move a little more central, so that I can cover most areas of the table for when it is my turn to play again. After my partner plays a shot (and hopefully moves out of the way!) I will then come back towards the table.
That's the ideal scenario, but of course my opponent may play a shot which makes it difficult to do this footwork pattern. Very often in doubles you find yourself out of position and needing to improvise.