A qualitative approach to understanding the impact of partner play in doubles racquet sports


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of partners play on the performance and emotions of doubles racquet sport athletes (badminton, tennis, and squash). Seventeen one-on-one semi structured interviews were conducted over the course of six months' (time of season varied for the different athletes based on sport) with athletes who play doubles racquet sports (i.e., squash, badminton, and tennis). Interviews varied between 32 and 65 minutes in length. Participants were asked how they reacted to different scenarios based on their partners play, and how in turn, their partners play changed (or not) their own performance. Deductive and inductive analyses produced the main themes of negative emotions (i.e., anger), positive emotions (i.e., excitement), and no impact on emotions, as well as overall impact on performance (positive, negative, or no impact) for the different scenarios (i.e., partner playing poorly, compared to partner playing well). These athletes understand that how their partner plays seems to have a considerable effect on not only their emotions, but their own play.