In a community largely composed of motivated young individuals who strive to climb to the peak of the mountain, investing time in doubles often seems like a diversion. Being a good doubles player involves a different skillset, but honing your doubles skills can result in improvements in singles as well. If you struggle with any of the following things, playing doubles will accelerate your growth as a singles player, probably even more than playing singles.
Fighting in close quarters/microspacing: Teams, especially on Yoshi’s, involves a shitton of hitboxes delicately spaced around both your opponent and teammate. If you are antsy when people enter the edge of your range, this will quickly vanish from playing some good sessions of teams. Your “bubble” is constantly violated, and you need to learn your hitboxes, their hitboxes, and how to drift/pivot/etc. If you watched G3 GF, HMW+Phil talk about how Armada vs. Leffen matches tend to be played at mid and long range, but Mango vs. Armada was all being played at close range. If you suck at close range, play teams.
Making decisions quickly: Situations arise much more quickly in teams. Opportunities are fleeting. In singles, you often camp in neutral, find your spot, then do your rehearsed punishes. Teams has way more situations and infinitely more improv. You will learn to recognize situations and to react quickly by practicing teams.
Being slippery and not getting locked down: Whenever your teammate dies, you need to be slippery. Moves have frame commitments, but movement doesn’t necessarily. Watching good doubles players like PPU, you can see how slippery they manage to be to avoid getting crushed in 2v1 situations. If you are one of those people who consistently throws out moves at the same ranges instead of opting to maneuver around situations, playing teams, and especially 1v2, will immensely help you.
Seeing opportunities for crossups: Watch how PPU creates offense with crossups in 2v2. Watch how he does it in 1v2 here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAxTvyYvxxw&t=15m30s. In the same vein as how you will learn to maneuver better, you will learn to smell the right time for crossups.
Getting out of the corner: It’s very rare for you to get lucky and get out of the corner in teams. Rolling in generally doesn’t work. Dashing aerials are likely to get punished by the back line. You have to get real good to reclaim stage position unless you can ledgedash like Hax.
Getting your moves out on the earliest possible frames: As mentioned before, singles has a lot of neutral. Teams has a lot of “headsup” situations where you try to throw out your move to beat your opponent’s. Getting your moves out as quickly as possible is super important. You will learn to react to whiffs and hits on shield, as well as hit confirms because you need to get subsequent moves out quickly as well.
Dealing with crouch cancel: Crouch cancel is annoying. Grabs tend to beat it. Sometimes grabs are not a good option. Learning how to space your moves and move quickly out of them to avoid getting CC punished is huge in teams. If you play a team without a spacie, CC can wreck your day if you aren’t cognizant of it. You’ll get really good at anticipating and playing around CC playing one of these compositions.
Ledge tech skill: Melee is a game played at the ledge. Control of the ledge is way more important in teams than in singles. More of teams is going to be played at the ledge. You will be forced to ledgedash, refresh invincibility, and so on to reclaim stage position.
Getting out of shield: Shielding is better in teams because grabs there are way more situations where grabs aren’t threatening. Not only does this result in you being in shield more, but you have to figure out how to get out in more challenging situations. You can have your roll cutoff while you are getting shield pressured, or you can have two people sandwiching your shield with hitboxes like spacie utilts, staggering their shieldstun. I shield way too much in singles, but at least I know to escape quickly.
Shield angling/shield DI/light shielding: As mentioned, you’ll be in shield a lot more. Using these defensive techniques goes from being a nice helpful bonus to something essential as fuck.
Mashing: You gots to get outta grabz or else u gonna get fukt
Reading techs: Tech chasing with regrabs or things that slowly rack up damage is not a good idea. Going for a hard punish based off a tech read is better the vast majority of the time. It’s also easier to read techs in teams because more options are cut off. Think of it like training wheels. You’ll do it a lot more, and it’ll be a bit easier, so then you’ll be primed to do it when necessary in singles.
Anticipating recovery options/ledge guarding from the stage(admittedly, people tend to do this too much rather than not enough): Closing out ledgeguards as quickly as possible is important. Protracted ledgeguards are bad. You want to do a 1-2 step ledgeguard, not 5+ steps. Therefore, reading and going for the coup de grace is better. In spite of this, going offstage is often risky, so you’ll also learn to force people onstage and to ledgeguard them there.
Recovering with Randall: People go for Randall way more because the ledge is always covered. Learn the timer. Learn to use him. Learn to stop people from using him.
Extending recoveries to get more opportunities to do so: Ledge teching 10 times, v-canceling, etc. are pointless a lot of the time in singles because they just reset you to a ledgeguard that anyone decent will hit. If you Falcon kick after getting hit off at 100, you can keep living until 170, but you don’t gain any height most of the time. Still, getting more chances is never a bad thing. In doubles, it’s a SUPER good thing. You’ll get better at living longer, and depending on which ledgeguard options your opponent opts for, you might even get to turn it around on them off a ledge tech.
L canceling against Ice Climbers: Hitting multiple targets, especially when you are unsure of how many you will hit, only happens in doubles and against ICs. How this helps should be obvious.
Knowing when to get Nana (the answer is that you probably shouldn’t do this as much as commentators say): Target selection is another thing that’s only relevant against ICs. “Always go for Nana” is bad advice. Go for Popo when it’s a guaranteed kill. It’s easy as fuck to knee ICs out of their side+b if it’s only Popo. Popo’s recovery without Nana is seriously Falcon caliber. In teams, you are often put in situations where you need to decide whether to ledgeguard or give it up and do something across the stage. Like when facing ICs, it’s usually better to go for the guaranteed thing across the stage (team save, team combo, is like killing Nana) but sometimes you go for the kill on your side. It’ll make it easier for you to decide when not to go for Nana, which is the default option.