In tennis, doubles positioning is highly underrated by recreational and competitive players. I see way too many people standing too close to the doubles alley or too far back from the net. In general, there are several guidelines you should follow when considering your doubles positioning on the tennis court.
Starting too far in the alley will take pressure off your opponents, making their return of serve (or groundstrokes) much easier since they have a larger court to hit to.
If you stand too far back at the net, then you will make your volleys difficult because they will drop too low. You should always try to hit volleys at your waist or higher if you can.
While your partner is hitting you should be back closer to the service line. As you see the ball go across to the other side of the net, you should move forward closer to the net so you have an easier volley if they hit at you (Unless your partner gave them an overhead. In that case, bail!). You can use your positioning and movement to help with your volley technique.
You’re responsible for covering half of the court so you should usually start close the middle of your half. The exception is for certain advanced doubles formations, covered below.
You’ll also see several different formations in doubles, especially from the serving team. Below, I will break down the advantages, disadvantages, and strategy of each of the most common doubles formations.