How to play together and stay together

The dos and don’ts for sporty dates

Picking up the racquets for a knock-about with that special someone could result in a love game both on and off the court. But get it wrong and mixing sport and romance could be a complete balls-up. To make sure your game is a smash, here are some dos and don’ts for playing with your partner.
 

Kitting up

DO make an effort to look presentable. The sight of you in your pristine tennis whites is much more likely to set pulses racing than a grotty old T-shirt and grey joggers.
DON’T go overboard. There’s no need for two inches of face powder or a whole tub of hair gel. You’ll come across a bit vain and, more importantly, it’ll distract you both from the game.
 

In it to win it

DO try to win. If you’re playing your loved one, making an effort will show you respect them. Plus someone happy to settle for second is not attractive. A trier who likes to come out on top is more likely to not only win the game but win them over.
DON’T try to win at all costs. If there’s any kind of dispute, give your opponent the benefit of the doubt. Remember: You’re not John McEnroe.
 

Team building

DO suggest forming a team with your loved one. Pairing up to defeat a common enemy will be a bonding experience like no other.
DON’T succumb to jealousy when the object of your affection ends up on the other side. Your sweetheart may appear to be one half of a doubles dream team but it’s the partnership they form off the pitch that’s the real match made in heaven.
 

Contact sport

DO get physical. Playing sport can give you the chance to get touchy feely with that special someone. Don’t waste it – even if it’s just a playful high-five when you thrash your opponents.
DON’T attempt the standing-behind-them-to-show-them-how-it’s-done trick. This tired old move won’t win you any fans. It’s clichéd and creepy.
 

Ball skills

DO offer constructive criticism. There’s nothing wrong with helping someone improve their technique. A few handy hints delivered with sensitivity will give the impression you’re the patient, nurturing type.
DON’T patronise. It is easy to think belittling the opposite sex’s ability at sport is nothing more than flirty banter. However this is a dangerous game to play. Being overly derogatory or arrogant is more likely to backfire than light their fire.