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raiden031
12-20-2006, 10:27 AM
I'm curious how you would pair up your players for a mixed doubles league. Lets say there are 7 men and 7 women.

Would you pair them up both sides from strongest to weakest so you have a couple of guaranteed wins at the expense of some guaranteed losses, or would you match strong and weak together to have more of a balanced team? What would be your strategy?

oldguysrule
12-20-2006, 11:35 AM
First of all, the number one rule in mixed doubles is to have fun. (most of the time) This is the order that I would consider.
1. Who wants to play together? similar personalities? Can you get along and have fun? Husband/wives together (usually)

2. Pair players who play similar styles.

3. Pair players that complement each other regarding which side to play. (duece vs. ad)

4. Match ability level. It is usually no fun to have a really good player paired with a really weak player. Two 3.5's should beat a 4.0 and a 3.0 for example.

Cindysphinx
12-20-2006, 01:46 PM
Hey, when you get the answer, Raiden, let me know!

My experience has been that a doubles team is only as strong as the weakest player. I haven't seen much benefit from putting a strong and weak player together and hoping the strong one can do the heavy lifting. The other team figures out who is strong and adjusts strategy to isolate the good player.

So I usually try to put two winning combinations together and just hope for the best on the third court.

I also won't put two brand new players together on the same court at the beginning of the season. I like to pair new players with veterans, which helps with jitters and stategy during the match.

For some reason, I've had good results putting two weak players together on Court Three. I guess anything can happen on a tennis court, so putting four strong players on Courts One and Two with weak players on Court Three works very well indeed for winning 2-1.

bluegrasser
12-20-2006, 02:22 PM
I'll take the foxy one, it usually works...

JW10S
12-20-2006, 02:43 PM
In mixed doubles there is an old cliche that I have found to be true more times than not--'it's the woman who wins it and the man who loses it'. It means that the team with better female player is often the one that wins. You start with that idea first...

Fedace
12-20-2006, 02:45 PM
I usually like to play with the hottest white girl since i like white girls(Not a racist statement), since i am asian myself.

xtremerunnerars
12-20-2006, 02:46 PM
I haven't seen much benefit from putting a strong and weak player together and hoping the strong one can do the heavy lifting.

Hate to butt in on the adult forum, but that's so true. It's the reason i'm trying to find a new group to play with. I'm the best of the four (being modest) and i have to play with the girl 1.0 below me. If i played with either of the other two people, the match would be a landslide.

It's usually close, with my team winning actually. I just poach and serve well, so we hold usually and break every now and then.


This brings up the argument on finding a new group, especially if you see the same people every day (school for me, work for most).

AndrewD
12-20-2006, 10:18 PM
Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.

Of course, you've most likely got a team that gels well together. In that case, I'd always aim for pairing the teams in order of strength. If they're all at the same level, or only one team is strong, match on how they click.

slewisoh
12-21-2006, 09:04 AM
Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.



I don't think your observation is sexist at all, as most women I know (myself included) will personalize what is happening around them. I've only seen one woman who was successful with a jerk. There was nothing remarkable about her game at all, but her ability to ignore the abusive jerk on her own court was amazing! Nothing the guy said or did upset her. She just went about her business on the court as if he didn't exist.

I don't want a male partner who treats me like a delicate flower but I also don't want someone who feels he must compensate for me with overwhelming displays of testosterone...I know what my role is in mixed, so I most appreciate a guy who will work with me to take advantage of our combined skills.

I also have not witnessed too many successful husband/wife teams. You would think people would treat their loved ones with even more kindness and respect, but I've typically seen the opposite. My husband and I are nice to each other when partnered but we are awful when we face each other - too competitive!

Dr. Van Nostrand
12-21-2006, 09:41 AM
.....
1. Who wants to play together? similar personalities? Can you get along and have fun? Husband/wives together (usually).......


I have found there 75%-80% of husbands/wives cannot play together particularly at a competitive level. For hit-and-giggle social tennis most husband and wife teams can tolerate each other. I know many couples that started out with the intention of playing mixed doubles together both socially and competively but after a season or two of trying to play league tennis together they find that the idea just doesn't work. My wife and I have managed to survive playing together for about 8 years.

sureshs
12-21-2006, 09:54 AM
In mixed doubles there is an old cliche that I have found to be true more times than not--'it's the woman who wins it and the man who loses it'. It means that the team with better female player is often the one that wins. You start with that idea first...

Not when the guy has a huge serve and/or a good poacher. Such guys can usually carry the team at the 3.5 levels, whether mixed or men's doubles. In fact, just being a tall guy is enough, as long as he is willing to stand a little up close to the net. The other side returner at these levels gets flustered by that alone.

oldguysrule
12-21-2006, 10:05 AM
I have found there 75%-80% of husbands/wives cannot play together particularly at a competitive level. For hit-and-giggle social tennis most husband and wife teams can tolerate each other. I know many couples that started out with the intention of playing mixed doubles together both socially and competively but after a season or two of trying to play league tennis together they find that the idea just doesn't work. My wife and I have managed to survive playing together for about 8 years.

Congrats...My wife and I are in our 5th year of playing together. We have several husband/wives that play together in our area. To be honest, I can't imagine playing mixed doubles if it wasn't with my wife.

sureshs
12-21-2006, 10:11 AM
To be honest, I can't imagine playing mixed doubles if it wasn't with my wife.

You are a good man, sir

tennis-n-sc
12-21-2006, 10:26 AM
Here's how I do it and we've been pretty good. I put my strongest guy and gal together at # 1 and go down in order of strength. I have a bit of a different approach on the most important member of the team. In my opinion, it is the gal. Her job is neutralize the male opponent while her partner beats the opposing gal. And, I have found, that in USTA mixed league play, for the most part the social aspect goes out the window. The women I play with are very competitive and fearless.

raiden031
12-21-2006, 12:35 PM
Congrats...My wife and I are in our 5th year of playing together. We have several husband/wives that play together in our area. To be honest, I can't imagine playing mixed doubles if it wasn't with my wife.

My wife refuses to play tennis at all. I would love it if I could play doubles with her, but that will never happen because she doesn't like sports. Although she cares about looking fit (not necessarily being fit, but looking it) and goes to the gym to do cardio. I just don't get it.

JW10S
12-21-2006, 01:41 PM
Not when the guy has a huge serve and/or a good poacher. Such guys can usually carry the team at the 3.5 levels, whether mixed or men's doubles. In fact, just being a tall guy is enough, as long as he is willing to stand a little up close to the net. The other side returner at these levels gets flustered by that alone.That is just why the female is so important. A big server only serves every 5th game. A female that can hold her own serve and break the other female's serve makes the difference in mixed. I won several Open level mixed tournaments with my sister (in fact we never lost a match together). I am 6'4'' with a big serve and she is more than a foot shorter. But she was able to return the other male's serve consistantly enough that I was able to poach while most often the opposing female could not return my serve or do enough damage returning my sister's serve. In not every match we won was I the stronger of the 2 male players but in nearly every case my sister was the stronger female--that's why we won. She could set me up and I could finish. That's why the 'male loses it' part of the cliche is true. If the man cannot finish when his partner sets him up he'll lose it for them.

wally
12-21-2006, 02:14 PM
It seems I'm a lucky guy based on what I read here. My wife is a former college player. I only took up the game 10yrs agao when we got married with a goal of getting good enough to hit with her and play some mixed doubles.

to make a long story short this is one area where I check the old male ego at the door and let her make the calls. She's a very good experienced doubles player and I quickly learned if I followed her suggestions we played better and had more fun.

I do agree with the above posters It is indeed the male that can just suck the fun right out of mixed doubles match. So my piece of advice for you guys out there is
1.) find out who has the higher level of experience/ability. If its the woman then let her make the calls and take a bit of advice. If its you be gentle with your suggestions remember its not what you say its how you say it.
2) check the little hyper competitive guy. most mixed doubles is good fun For you single guys you can sometime meet some nice women this way, but there is no way they'll stick around to chat if you've been an *** whole

OK I'll get off my soap box now:D

Cindysphinx
12-21-2006, 02:20 PM
My wife refuses to play tennis at all. I would love it if I could play doubles with her, but that will never happen because she doesn't like sports. Although she cares about looking fit (not necessarily being fit, but looking it) and goes to the gym to do cardio. I just don't get it.

I can't get my husband to play tennis either. I feel your pain, Raiden.

He golfs. Golf. Can you imagine? :)

rasajadad
12-22-2006, 05:44 AM
Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.

Of course, you've most likely got a team that gels well together. In that case, I'd always aim for pairing the teams in order of strength. If they're all at the same level, or only one team is strong, match on how they click.

I'll add my 2 cents worth as I played in an 8.0 mixed league last winter. I always paired with a different player in my four matches. Only one of whom I'd had any experience. If winning is your goal, knowing your partner is key number one. (No matter how good or bad either of the players are.)

Second priority for me is communication level. Is my partner going to talk to me? Or are they expecting me to come up with strategy, positioning, etc...

Number three variable is the stronger partner's willingness to crack balls at the weaker opponent. (No matter whether it's the right shot or not.)

TriCitiesTennis
12-22-2006, 10:44 AM
I'm curious how you would pair up your players for a mixed doubles league. Lets say there are 7 men and 7 women.

Would you pair them up both sides from strongest to weakest so you have a couple of guaranteed wins at the expense of some guaranteed losses, or would you match strong and weak together to have more of a balanced team? What would be your strategy?

Raiden:

I might be able to help you a little bit.

On my mixed doubles team, I have a girl that I can play with that I know that anytime we step on the court together that her and I can beat anyone in our ranked level. (For whatever reason USTA has not bumped us up - we are 3.0'
s).

When we are playing teams that are not as strong in the league, I will split her and I up so that she is playing with a more average guy (while still being the #1 or #2 player on the court) and I will split up to play with a weaker lady.

So far this theory has never gotten us beat. We do have a husband and wife team....but as a captain...I urge against playing husband/wives together.

My thoughts are to always place your best two players together unless you know you are going to roll, then split them up and win two courts.

TriCitiesTennis
12-22-2006, 10:51 AM
Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.

Of course, you've most likely got a team that gels well together. In that case, I'd always aim for pairing the teams in order of strength. If they're all at the same level, or only one team is strong, match on how they click.

Andrew -

As a well respected poster, Im surprised you went here. I will say that I am the strongest 3.0 in my area....but I play with a 3.0 girl who can play with me anyday of the week.

With that being said, the importance of the lady is very significant. Once you start playing against 3.5/4.0 level competition, the male will never see a ball to hit if the female is not a strong partner.

slewisoh
12-22-2006, 02:24 PM
Andrew -

As a well respected poster, Im surprised you went here. I will say that I am the strongest 3.0 in my area....but I play with a 3.0 girl who can play with me anyday of the week.

With that being said, the importance of the lady is very significant. Once you start playing against 3.5/4.0 level competition, the male will never see a ball to hit if the female is not a strong partner.

I don't think he's trying to start a "battle of the sexes here." I understood him to say that the man's ATTITUDE can make or break a mixed pairing.

I'm a 3.5 woman and I understand what you are saying as far as the value of the woman in setting up her male partner. But my ability to do my part is greatly affected by the attitude of my male partner.

Does he roll his eyes when I hit an easy one out? Does he run all over the court taking every ball to overcompensate for my estrogen levels? I can virtually guarantee a loss when partnered with that guy.

Does he strategize with me to help me hold serve? Does he appreciate my ability to run down a good lob? Does he give an enthusiastic high five when I put away a winner at the net? This man I can win with.

It's a whole different ball game when a 3.0 woman starts facing a 4.0 serve. The reality is many of the 4.0 men will have 4.5 level serves so the difference in skill level is heightened. A smart man will realize that it's not realistic for his partner to return the serve with any consistency. I've seen matches where the opposing woman put exactly one of my partner's serves in play. Unfortunately for us, it was during a tight 3rd set tie breaker and it put them up 9-8. Her partner then served for the win.

That being said, I think it's much more important for the woman to 1) develop a variety of returns so that she can deal with aggressive poaching and to 2) develop a strategy with her partner to hold her serve.

AndrewD
12-22-2006, 10:31 PM
TriCitiesTennis,

slewisoh got what I was on about. I did make a point of saying that what I was referring to wasn't skill level but attitude and I stand by that. In my opinion, more mixed-doubles teams fail (regardless of standard) because the guy has a rotten attitude than any other reason.

netman
01-04-2007, 02:40 PM
Started playing mixed about 3 years ago. Have to admit it took 2 seasons just to start to get handle on all the "Mars vs. Venus" dynamics at play in a match. Then another 2 seasons to begin to fully understand them. Figure another 2-3 seasons and I may actually be on the winning side of a reasonable number of matches :)

My observations to date are in line with what many of you have stated:

1. The weaker player determines the outcome. Either they are attacked constantly and can not respond, or their partner presses to hard and ends up with way too many double faults and unforced errors. This can be extremely frustrating for the stronger partner and lead to abnormal behavior on their part.
2. A weak serve is punished fiercely. So is the player stupid enough to be at the net when said serve is hit.
3. If the weaker player can consistently get service returns and volleys back in play, good things happen. If they can just hit their serves deep, no matter how soft, then get the resulting return back over the net a high percentage of the time, you win.
4. Having the same partner over and over really helps.
5. Women have an incredibly high tolerance for male ego-centric behavior.
6. Being polite to both your partner and the woman on the other team seems to surprise everyone on the court. Can't count the number of times the woman on the other side of the net has expressed surprise when I complement her for playing a great game/match or for hitting a great shot that torches us.
7. If you take it too seriously, its a miserable experience for everyone on the court.

So to answer the original question, match players as close in ability as is possible and let them play together frequently.

Mixed presents a whole different set of challenges from men's doubles and thats what makes it fun. Maybe its a better pursuit for the person who focuses on the journey, not the outcome.

-k-

marcl65
01-05-2007, 08:45 AM
Good thread, one I wish I'd read before laying out the schedule - this is my first time as captain. My problem is that I haven't seen half of my players play before so I don't know their level. Most of them are self-rated and from what I've seen people rarely rate themselves accurately, they either go too low or too high, and it's entirely unintentional.

1. The weaker player determines the outcome. Either they are attacked constantly and can not respond, or their partner presses to hard and ends up with way too many double faults and unforced errors. This can be extremely frustrating for the stronger partner and lead to abnormal behavior on their part.I've been surprised to find that most of the time my opponents DO NOT pick on the weaker player...unless they are down and in danger of losing. This applied to both mixed and regular doubles. I know this isn't always the case.
4. Having the same partner over and over really helps.I'm struggling with this a little. Since I have several new players I didn't want to have one experienced player "stuck" with the same partner the whole season but maybe this isn't a bad a thing as I initially thought. I'll see how they do together, I suppose if they're winning they can't be having too bad a time. I also have two brand spanking new players but I'd feel a little bad about always putting them together in the #3 spot.

Oh well, I'm not really doing this with the goal of going to sectionals. I know there are some teams out there that only play their "good" players with the weaker ones going in the #3 spot and only playing a one or two times in the season. My feeling is that they all paid the same fee so they should all get to play equally.

netman
01-05-2007, 09:33 AM
I'm struggling with this a little. Since I have several new players I didn't want to have one experienced player "stuck" with the same partner the whole season but maybe this isn't a bad a thing as I initially thought. I'll see how they do together, I suppose if they're winning they can't be having too bad a time. I also have two brand spanking new players but I'd feel a little bad about always putting them together in the #3 spot.

When you have new players it does make sense to try out different combos. Personalities, skills and temperament all need to mesh. Eventually you'll find combos that work. Thats when its important they stay together because they can learn each other's game and can devise tactics to cover weaknesses and accentuate strengths. The more they play together, the more these tactics become second nature and then they can concentrate on match strategies and point construction. This is true for all brands of doubles.

A captain in your situation needs to be a bit of a mad scientist, tinkering with pairings and trying to find the optimal combos. Should be a lot of fun.

-k-

flash9
01-05-2007, 10:16 AM
I'm curious how you would pair up your players for a mixed doubles league. Lets say there are 7 men and 7 women.

Would you pair them up both sides from strongest to weakest so you have a couple of guaranteed wins at the expense of some guaranteed losses, or would you match strong and weak together to have more of a balanced team? What would be your strategy?

We are really crazy! :shock:
I captain a 7.0 Mixed Doubles team where all seven couples are married and we played with our spouses! :lol:
A year later they are still married and actually want to do it again this summer! :roll: :grin:

marcl65
01-05-2007, 10:40 AM
A captain in your situation needs to be a bit of a mad scientist, tinkering with pairings and trying to find the optimal combos. Should be a lot of fun.Mad Scientist, I kind of like that. With everyone only playing roughly a half dozen matches, I figure I won't have the proper formula until 3/4 way through the season. But I think you're dead on in what you're saying. I looked at the record for one of the brand new teams in last year's men's 3.0 league. They lost every match until close to the end of the season at which point they went 3-1.

Netgame
01-12-2007, 03:33 PM
Here's how I do it and we've been pretty good. I put my strongest guy and gal together at # 1 and go down in order of strength. I have a bit of a different approach on the most important member of the team. In my opinion, it is the gal. Her job is neutralize the male opponent while her partner beats the opposing gal. And, I have found, that in USTA mixed league play, for the most part the social aspect goes out the window. The women I play with are very competitive and fearless.
I'm a 4.0 male and have good success in the men's league, but I have trouble in the 8.0 mxd. I can understand losing with a 3.5 female, but sometimes I get a good partner and I still can't stop the other team from hitting to my partner all the time. Thank you tennis-n-sc for explaining the key element of mxd playing. I hope my partner will understand when I tell her to neutralize the male player over there.

I think the best teams have 4.0/4.0 matched up together, unless you have a "real" 4.5 guy and a 3.5 girl who's really a 4.0.

Does anyone else get psyched out by the clock. I can't stop watching that darn clock (you only get to play up to 1 1/2 hours indoors). We can be 4 games up and I'm thinking about how many games we can play in the amount of time left, etc. I know....don't do that! Easier said than done.

cak
01-13-2007, 01:48 PM
Does anyone else get psyched out by the clock. I can't stop watching that darn clock (you only get to play up to 1 1/2 hours indoors). We can be 4 games up and I'm thinking about how many games we can play in the amount of time left, etc. I know....don't do that! Easier said than done.

At the end of the 90 minutes they determine a winner? In our league if your time runs out you need to schedule a time with your opponents to finish the match. Scores don't get entered until all individual matches are completed, often six weeks later. It's really a bummer when you can't finish the match, as rescheduling can be a bear, but it's better than calling whomever is ahead the winner.

slewisoh
01-13-2007, 07:20 PM
Our interclub league has a time limit and I hate it too! You wouldn't believe the gamesmanship that results. Our league plays a third set tie-breaker, so whoever is up by two when time runs out wins. I've seen teams who go up 4-0 in a tie break and then pull all sorts of delay tactics to run out the clock. Eyelash in the eye, tie the shoes again, "accidentally" knock a ball into adjacent courts...

That's when I have to remind myself that we are all a bunch of housewives - too many important things to get irked about.