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View Full Version : What is life like at your USTA level?


Cindysphinx
02-11-2007, 07:06 AM
I'm not sure where I'm going with this exactly, but since I don't have a sports psychologist I'll raise the issue here. :)

I'm a 3.0. This will be my second season at 3.0. Based on last season's results, the computer believes I stink. I lost all of my matches in Spring 2006. I've taken a boat-load of lessons, changed to a control racquet, played a lot and practice a lot, so I'm better now.

I think it would take a miracle for me to win so convincingly at 3.0 this year that I make it to 3.5. My mixed results and combo results are better than my on-level results, but those won't help me. So I have at least one, probably two, seasons ahead of me at 3.0.

The trouble is I'm starting not to like 3.0 play. It's not that my partners make errors, or we don't win. I make errors, and we win often enough. And my teammates are great ladies and friends.

It is the style of play at 3.0 that is making me want to pull my hair out. The endless one-up, one-back. The pushing. The flat-out refusal to come to net. The camping in no-man's land. The poo-poohing of doubles strategy.

I did a drill class a few weeks back, and I was put on a court where I was the weakest or maybe second-weakest player. My 3.5 partner that day was a tennis goddess. We talked about what we would do on each point. She loved to come in. She encouraged me to come in, even if I missed. She totally understood strategy. I had so much fun!

What to do? I'm going to try to get on a 3.5 team, but I'll have to try out, and it's very hard to get on a 3.5 team as a 3.0 unless you're pals with someone. I was thinking of playing singles on the the theory that might be a faster route to 3.5, but it won't be if I lose.

So. For the folks at the lower levels (or folks who were once at lower levels), did you ever feel like this? How long did it take you to move up a level, and what helped? Is 3.5 "the promised land?" Or is this likely a case of "be careful what you wish for" because I'd be unhappy at 3.5 too?

cak
02-11-2007, 09:57 AM
Are you sure the computer believes you stink? All those loses in 2006, where are the opponents now? Did they all get moved to 3.5? If so, the computer doesn't think you stink. You may have a lot higher rating than you think.

It sounds from your description that 3.0 doubles is driving you crazy, so 3.0 singles might be a good solution. It may get you to 3.5 faster, especially if you win. Doubles may get you to 3.5 faster, especially if you play with someone the computer thinks is worse than you and you win.

Mathematically, if you play against good players, and win, the amount the computer bumps you depends on how much you win by and how much difference there is between your ratings. If you and your partner's combined rating is lower, the computer gives you more ratings boost for the win. If your combined rating is higher than your opponents you may get no credit for winning. And yes, if the folks you are playing against have a much higher combined rating, and you lose, but closely, you still get the ratings boost. This is why playing up, with a good partner, may not get you bumped. If her rating is on the high side of 3.5, and you are winning in close matches against folks that are mid to low 3.5s, you won't get any ratings boost.

That said, worrying about your rating, especially when you are the captain and have control over who you play with and when you play, is probably counter productive. My caution story: I am a doubles player. I showed up at a match I wasn't scheduled to play to cheer for our team. I was wearing flip flops and shorts, and had just come off vacation. My captain was standing there in full uniform, she was the backup player for the day. The 1st singles player called and said she couldn't make it. She asked if my racket and shoes were in the car (which of course, they are always in the car...) and put me out in singles because "it was against a good singles player, and she didn't want to mess up her own rating." Yes, it was a good singles player, having a less than stellar day, and I won. I got bumped to 3.5, and my captain didn't. Since our section does rerating twice a year, and I only play one league were the matches count, I can tell it was the last two games of the season that put me over, and that singles match was the last game.

I spent one year in 2.5, two years in 3.0 (One on appeal, I didn't think I was ready for 3.5), and the last year in 3.5. I never played up to get bumped. And I can say the players playing in 3.5 are much better than those in 3.0. But the pusher game is alive and well. I can also say the higher you get the more players playing up there are. In 3.0 I rarely ran across a 2.5 playing up. In 3.5 I often run across a 3.0 playing up. Our team needs 3.0s, as we don't have enough 3.5s, and many end up playing against other 3.0s in the 3rd position or 2nd singles, so they aren't beating 3.5s, they are beating, or losing to 3.0s.

Voltron
02-11-2007, 10:03 AM
I play singles USTA tournaments in a VERY competitive B16s area. (4.0 to 5.5) Pushers are still out there, but they are easy to beat once you get in their heads. I would listen to Cak's advice, I don't quite understand the bumping system, but I would do as he says, it sounds right.

tennis-n-sc
02-11-2007, 01:40 PM
There are some sports adages that hold true even in club level tennis. 1) Ya gotta pay your dues. In other words, all these matches at any level are preparing you for future matches. Learn from them. 2) Get match tough. You do it by playing matches at any level, including tournaments. 3) Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. Take all the lessons and clinics you can afford. Work the ball machines. It will all come together and you will be tough to handle. 4) Have some fun. You appear to be taking this all to serious. Lighten up and recognize that it is a GAME. You'll never shake the world in USTA play. About the best you can hope for is to be a big fish in a little pond. Big deal. But I can the drift from some of your other posts you are trying to do too much. Lighten up and laugh, at your self if possible. You'll move up but you'll have the same issues at every level if you aren't having fun. Enjoy the journey, young lady. :)

North
02-11-2007, 01:47 PM
Is it the USTA ratings stupidity that you are most concerned with or the fact that at 3.0, you play a lot of pushers and find them harder to beat than you would have thought?

goober
02-11-2007, 02:15 PM
So. For the folks at the lower levels (or folks who were once at lower levels), did you ever feel like this? How long did it take you to move up a level, and what helped? Is 3.5 "the promised land?" Or is this likely a case of "be careful what you wish for" because I'd be unhappy at 3.5 too?

I self rated at 4.0 my first USTA season. I found the level of competition about right.

Happiness is a state of mind. The fact that you are unhappy has nothing to with whether you are playing 3.0 or 3.5. The style of play and same shenanigans I assure you will still be there at 3.5.

You really need to sit down and write out 5 reasons why you are lucky/happy to be playing tennis. That is all the matters or you shouldn't playing this game.

Topaz
02-11-2007, 02:28 PM
I'm a 3.0. I have, at times, played up at 3.5. In the NOVA leagues, it seems that there is a huge range of 'skill' at the 3.0 level. What I have found is the big difference between 3.0 and 3.5 is consistency. The 3.5s just aren't going to make those errors.

I have been playing 6.0 mixed for the first time, and I am very disappointed in the 3.0 guys. They all seem to just want to hit the crap out of the ball every time, and end up piling up errors like they are going out of business.

Today I played in a small tournament at my club with my 4.0 guy neighbor, and we won...easily. I'm thinking 7.0 mixed, if I ever do mixed again, will be a much better fit.

And yes, I'm a 3.0, but I take a doubles clinic once a week, and take private lessons. I play as much as my schedule and budget will allow. In doubles you will find me all over the net (and even sometimes in singles...though I haven't had the success at singles that I have had in doubles) and I know my strategies and I'm not afraid to poach. For the criticism that the 'lower' levels take on these boards...you won't necessarily find that in a 3.0 match around here. They can be *very* competitive.

I hope to play well enough during the spring indoor and summer outdoor USTA seasons to get bumped up to 3.5 for next year. If I do, I will not be one of the people appealing down to 3.0. That's not how I roll.

Cruzer
02-11-2007, 02:37 PM
If you want to get moved up to 3.5 you can either play 3.0 singles and win a lot or win all your doubles matches without losing a set along the way. It almost sounds like you are more competitive than the other doubles players on your team and if that is the case they are not going to help you get a higer rating. If your objective is get to 3.5 then you pretty much have to approach every USTA match with the objective to win 6-0, 6-0. Show no mercy on the court. Never let up not matter what the score is.

North
02-11-2007, 03:52 PM
You really need to sit down and write out 5 reasons why you are lucky/happy to be playing tennis. That is all the matters or you shouldn't playing this game.


I'm glad to see this. I try to play with a sense of gratitude - that I am healthy, am able to play, and have all my arms/legs/eyes/etc. I try to just have fun and enjoy being out there doing my best. I quit league tennis because it just wasn't fun and now have a lot of playing partners with whom I play very competitively - but with a better perspective on why we all play.

JLyon
02-11-2007, 04:52 PM
4.5 here Arkansas after 8 seasons in Texas. There seems to be a stigma here once you hit 4.0 you do not want to get bumped to 4.5, so most 4.5's will sit 3 years or play down to get back to 4.0. Very disappointing. In Texas it was the same except nobody wanted to get above 4.5, which explains the large number of sandbaggers.

magmasilk
02-11-2007, 07:10 PM
i was in a similar boat - outgrew a flight faster than my rating.

i think you should keep looking for a 3.5 team. what were you going to do once you got moved up to 3.5, what team would you play on? If you aren't quite 3.5 skills yet you could always play on a 3.0 team and sub part-time on a 3.5 team ... that will also give you potential to move up faster than just playing 3.0 and dominating.

d

JHBKLYN
02-11-2007, 09:02 PM
As they say, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Where I'm from, the 3.0 ladies and 3.5 ladies' talent aren't that far off and you have the same so called pushers, people playing 2 back and never come to the net, etc. etc. The 3.5's are a bit more consistent and obviously no beginners on that level. But the style of play isn't like Sharapova vs Serena, it's similar to 3.0 with more consistency. 4.0 is where the ladies are pretty good!

A fast way to move from 3.0 to 3.5 is for you to play 3rd doubles (providing your format is 2 singles and 3 doubles) with a strong doubles player and beat everyone badly. But remember, once you move to 3.5 you need to prove that you belong or you may be bumped down again. 3.5 is not the promise land because if you are unable to win at 3.0, you're probably not going to win in 3.5.

As others said , just play your best and let the NTRP computer decide (though I think it's a bit quirky) where you should play. You may also want to be pals with a 3.5 captain so you can get on without trying out. Oh yeah, and have fun. :)

JHBKLYN
02-11-2007, 09:14 PM
My caution story: I am a doubles player. I showed up at a match I wasn't scheduled to play to cheer for our team. I was wearing flip flops and shorts, and had just come off vacation.

I spent one year in 2.5, two years in 3.0 (One on appeal, I didn't think I was ready for 3.5), and the last year in 3.5.

That reminds of an incident with this guy who was in his early or late 50s who got bumped up from 3.0 to 3.5. The computer must've thought he was a good player because he won most of his matches by playing 3rd doubles against weak competition. The captain had to appeal and get him bumped down, and the reason was he ain't that good and he can barely see and he would get killed at the 3.5 level. :lol:

BTW, are you undefeated when wearing flip flops and shorts to matches? :p

zapvor
02-11-2007, 09:23 PM
I'm not sure where I'm going with this exactly, but since I don't have a sports psychologist I'll raise the issue here. :)

I'm a 3.0. This will be my second season at 3.0. Based on last season's results, the computer believes I stink. I lost all of my matches in Spring 2006. I've taken a boat-load of lessons, changed to a control racquet, played a lot and practice a lot, so I'm better now.

I think it would take a miracle for me to win so convincingly at 3.0 this year that I make it to 3.5. My mixed results and combo results are better than my on-level results, but those won't help me. So I have at least one, probably two, seasons ahead of me at 3.0.

The trouble is I'm starting not to like 3.0 play. It's not that my partners make errors, or we don't win. I make errors, and we win often enough. And my teammates are great ladies and friends.

It is the style of play at 3.0 that is making me want to pull my hair out. The endless one-up, one-back. The pushing. The flat-out refusal to come to net. The camping in no-man's land. The poo-poohing of doubles strategy.

I did a drill class a few weeks back, and I was put on a court where I was the weakest or maybe second-weakest player. My 3.5 partner that day was a tennis goddess. We talked about what we would do on each point. She loved to come in. She encouraged me to come in, even if I missed. She totally understood strategy. I had so much fun!

What to do? I'm going to try to get on a 3.5 team, but I'll have to try out, and it's very hard to get on a 3.5 team as a 3.0 unless you're pals with someone. I was thinking of playing singles on the the theory that might be a faster route to 3.5, but it won't be if I lose.

So. For the folks at the lower levels (or folks who were once at lower levels), did you ever feel like this? How long did it take you to move up a level, and what helped? Is 3.5 "the promised land?" Or is this likely a case of "be careful what you wish for" because I'd be unhappy at 3.5 too?

that sucks you lost every match. you must suck though,haha :P

tennis goddess....doesnt sound right. if you hate the style of play at 3.0, just change it. go up to the net and put it away. turn it into singles baby. thats what i would do.

and yes, you should just do singles if you want to bump up. you said you switched rackets, rpacticed, etc etc so it should be much easier now. good luck :)

tennis-n-sc
02-12-2007, 03:17 AM
I'm glad to see this. I try to play with a sense of gratitude - that I am healthy, am able to play, and have all my arms/legs/eyes/etc. I try to just have fun and enjoy being out there doing my best. I quit league tennis because it just wasn't fun and now have a lot of playing partners with whom I play very competitively - but with a better perspective on why we all play.

North, great points by you and Goober, not only for tennis but for life. I love tennis for a wide variety of reasons. But I am 61 years old and can see the sunset. It makes me ever mindful that every match is a gift, no matter how well I or my opponnent play. I am still competing well with guys half my age but have begrudgingly accepted that my matches aren't as technical as they once were. I'm just happy to be out there. Thanks to you and Goob for reminding me.

rasajadad
02-12-2007, 04:10 AM
Two things-
You could be losing doubles matches by employing improper court position. Just becasue someone is a 3.0 doesn't mean they can't read a book!

Second, go enter a 3.5 tournament. See how you measure up. (Remember, fitness level counts highly.)

raiden031
02-12-2007, 06:21 AM
Cindy,

Sounds like you and I have alot in common. I don't like 3.0 play because the speed of the game is too slow. At that level, you're more likely to get stuck with a partner that frustrates you because of major weaknesses. I find it difficult going from my baseline bashing game to the doubles dinker game and I am overhitting alot because I am not used to the slow pace. I am realizing more and more how bad my netplay is, and thats kinda holding me back. It sounds as if you are more serious about developing in tennis with proper technique, unlike alot of your peers. Since you can't always guarantee you'll have a strong partner to help you win, your best bet is to play singles as much as possible in USTA play. But still play doubles to better your game, but less so in USTA if you want to move your rating up.

Or the problem could simply be that it takes longer to develop consistency with proper technique than it does with comfortable technique. I know that consistency is my main problem, because I get alot of compliments about my groundstrokes and serve, yet I still lose the matches.

cak
02-12-2007, 06:58 AM
A fast way to move from 3.0 to 3.5 is for you to play 3rd doubles (providing your format is 2 singles and 3 doubles) with a strong doubles player and beat everyone badly.

You would think this would work, but it doesn't. If you are really playing against the worst players on the other team (though there is no guarantee they didn't flip their lineup too) it is possible that you are playing against a team with average rating of 2.5 and you and your strong partner have an average rating of 2.9 or better. In that case, if you beat them by anything less than 6-0,6-0 your rating will actually go down.

For that matter I've seen doubles partners that went 11-0 playing 1st doubles not get bumped. So you really can't count on stellar play to get moved up either. It helps if the 3.0 ladies from your section win Nationals, so whatever you can do in your power there....;-)

raiden031
02-12-2007, 07:01 AM
You would think this would work, but it doesn't. If you are really playing against the worst players on the other team (though there is no guarantee they didn't flip their lineup too) it is possible that you are playing against a team with average rating of 2.5 and you and your strong partner have an average rating of 2.9 or better. In that case, if you beat them by anything less than 6-0,6-0 your rating will actually go down.

For that matter I've seen doubles partners that went 11-0 playing 1st doubles not get bumped. So you really can't count on stellar play to get moved up either. It helps if the 3.0 ladies from your section win Nationals, so whatever you can do in your power there....;-)

I play with a woman who went 8-0 in league play at 3.5 singles last year and did not get bumped up. She played against a few 4.0 players in tournaments and didn't do well against them, but definitely dominates the 3.5 arena.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2007, 07:55 AM
Lots of great observations here.

Zapvor:

that sucks you lost every match. you must suck though,haha :P


No, I didn't suck. I **SUCKED!!!** :)

Yeah, it was that bad. Coming off of a successful season at 2.5, I expected 3.0 to be a breeze. I was surprised that pushing the ball back up the middle short wasn't enough to win at singles at 3.0. Go figure. :)

Tennis-n-sc, I think you're onto something. I know my remarks on the board sound competitive and intense. Guilty as charged, but I plead mitigating circumstances. I'm 45. I don't know how many years I have to play tennis. I feel like I need to improve every time I step onto the court or I will be dinking the ball etc. for the rest of my life. So yeah, I'm crazy possessed about improving as fast as I can. I should relax and enjoy the ride a bit. Maybe 45 is not so old after all.

CAK, thanks for the reality check that 3.5 won't be some sort of tennis nirvana where all players play "correctly." It will still be a mixed bag; maybe there's something to be said for being a big fish in a little pond as long as the computer will allow.

North, no, it's not the ratings stuff that gets me, if I understand your question. There are people who view their ratings as a commentary of their worth. I know someone who was 3.0 and appealed up to 3.5 because all of her friends moved up. That is nonsense, IMHO. And it's not that I can't beat the pushers. I have been doing OK lately. It's just that it is frustrating when a partner is insisting you do X when you know full well that X is wrong in doubles. And then the other team scores points because we are doing X. Gah!

You know, there is one of my teammates who might make a good doubles partner for me. She has huge weaknesses in her game, but then again what 3.0 doesn't? Where she's strong is that she believes that positioning and strategy matter, and she is dead serious about improving. We have our first match together in a couple of weeks, and we're going to enter a tournament in May come hell or high water. So I'll let you know.

And I'll keep looking for a 3.5 team! :)

lordmanji
02-12-2007, 09:32 AM
hey cindy you sound a bit like me. right now im a 2.5 (self-rated as advised by my captain but should be a minimum 3.0) playing in the mixed doubles league. im always trying to improve my game: ive fixed my forehand so now its got good technique, switched from a flat serve to a kick and have pretty decent footwork.

in my recent doubles match which i double faulted quite a bit, i asked my capt. if he had any advice and he advised me to develop a DINK!!!! i completely lost respect for him at that one moment and told him theres no way im gonna do that, that i'd rather work on consistency of my new serve otherwise why even bother? (btw, the kick serve IS a second serve)

that's not all. he also said i swung too hard even though i had a total of two unforced errors off bh/fh the entire set, none of which i tried to waste the ball - just going for my complete stroke, which is necessary for my racket and proper technique. again, i lost confidence in him. but what else can i expect? ive read up on tennis quite a bit and likely know more than he does in certain areas.

though losing the match sucked partly due to my double faults, im not playing to dink stuff over. im playing to improve as it sounds like you are and though losing in the short run stings, in the long run therell be pay off. the same goes for your opponents. if they're just pushing stuff over or whatever, its still up to you to beat them. each opponent still offers a chance to work on areas of your game.

raiden031
02-12-2007, 09:38 AM
hey cindy you sound a bit like me. right now im a 2.5 (self-rated as advised by my captain but should be a minimum 3.0) playing in the mixed doubles league. im always trying to improve my game: ive fixed my forehand so now its got good technique, switched from a flat serve to a kick and have pretty decent footwork.

in my recent doubles match which i double faulted quite a bit, i asked my capt. if he had any advice and he advised me to develop a DINK!!!! i completely lost respect for him at that one moment and told him theres no way im gonna do that, that i'd rather work on consistency of my new serve otherwise why even bother? (btw, the kick serve IS a second serve)

that's not all. he also said i swung too hard even though i had a total of two unforced errors off bh/fh the entire set, none of which i tried to waste the ball - just going for my complete stroke, which is necessary for my racket and proper technique. again, i lost confidence in him. but what else can i expect? ive read up on tennis quite a bit and likely know more than he does in certain areas.

though losing the match sucked partly due to my double faults, im not playing to dink stuff over. im playing to improve as it sounds like you are and though losing in the short run stings, in the long run therell be pay off. the same goes for your opponents. if they're just pushing stuff over or whatever, its still up to you to beat them. each opponent still offers a chance to work on areas of your game.

You can't really blame your captain for wanting to win. From his point of view, he'd rather win matches than have someone practice new things at his team's expense. You should just tell him "this is the way I play, take it or leave it", but don't necessarily say that you are working on using proper technique rather than getting the ball in play.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2007, 11:23 AM
That's an interesting debate. Do league players have an obligation to, for lack of a better expression, "dink one for the team."

I can only speak for my team, but let's say a teammate lost the first set using their developing forehand and asked me whether they should ditch that and go back to the dink shot for the second set. As captain, I would say no. Many teams are in it to win. We are in it to improve. Losing with good technique is better than winning with pushing unless you're happy to remain a pusher forever, IMHO.

That's what my pro said, anyway. In the early going, he told me to be prepared to lose a lot more, but don't ever dink shots out of fear of losing. If the stroke isn't working, keep tinkering with it, move your feet more, focus more, figure out what element of the shot is off. But don't abandon ship.

lordmanji
02-12-2007, 11:53 AM
You can't really blame your captain for wanting to win. From his point of view, he'd rather win matches than have someone practice new things at his team's expense. You should just tell him "this is the way I play, take it or leave it", but don't necessarily say that you are working on using proper technique rather than getting the ball in play.

to clear the air, my kick serve is not something new. ive been developing it for over half a year, tinkering with the mechanics and have just recently started to add more power (but not trying to "hit hard").

yeah, i know he wants to win despite having several talks with him where he says it is just for fun and it doesnt matter if we finish last (he said that). but its ridiculous for him to advise that i DEVELOP a dink. i dont think dinks are something you even need to develop. but that's beating a dead horse. at this point, i havent hit a dink in over half a year and to suddenly dink in a match cause my serve stops to go in the result would probably be ugly and inconsistent.

the way i see it, my serve has been improving bit by bit. what was before a 20 percent chance of going in it's now a 40-50 percent chance of going in on each serve. with some more time, i'll have a reliable second topspin kick then move on to an american twist before moving on to...you get the idea.

besides, my returning scores enough cheap points to make up for any double faults i do.

lordmanji
02-12-2007, 11:56 AM
That's an interesting debate. Do league players have an obligation to, for lack of a better expression, "dink one for the team."

I can only speak for my team, but let's say a teammate lost the first set using their developing forehand and asked me whether they should ditch that and go back to the dink shot for the second set. As captain, I would say no. Many teams are in it to win. We are in it to improve. Losing with bad technique is better than winning with pushing unless you're happy to remain a pusher forever, IMHO.

That's what my pro said, anyway. In the early going, he told me to be prepared to lose a lot more, but don't ever dink shots out of fear of losing. If the stroke isn't working, keep tinkering with it, move your feet more, focus more, figure out what element of the shot is off. But don't abandon ship.

cindy: exactly. most club players have incredibly ugly shots that they've DEVELOPED due to a fear of losing and is ironically now their normal but technically fallible shot in terms of pace and consistency. i'd rather lose first than later if the cost is sound technique.

i think your team will be very strong in the future. one day you will play a match and all your hard work will come to light and you'll blow away your opponents. or you can keep playing to win and dink serves, slice fhs and bhs and moonball.

i made ue's off of lobs in my first two matches but in this match it was easier to put away those balls. sticking with what i learned in the first set we beat them 6-1. now that was only my third league match and my partner's first so as we get tougher mentally as well, we'll be a force to reckon with.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2007, 12:58 PM
Lordmanji, I'm curious. You say you have a "kick" serve. Do you mean slice serve, or do you mean a true kicker (with topspin, toss a bit farther back, hits the court and forces opponent back)?

lordmanji
02-12-2007, 01:27 PM
Lordmanji, I'm curious. You say you have a "kick" serve. Do you mean slice serve, or do you mean a true kicker (with topspin, toss a bit farther back, hits the court and forces opponent back)?

true topspin kick. and im working off throwing it at one location which i'll use to later deliver a topspin/slice and twist.

some of my double faults came when - since im adding more pace -kicked ball long by about half a foot, which i think is fine since its better to miss long than hit the net.

raiden031
02-12-2007, 01:32 PM
I have heard the term kick serve to refer to either a topspin serve or a twist serve, and I never know which people are referring.

cak
02-13-2007, 08:54 AM
hey cindy you sound a bit like me. right now im a 2.5 (self-rated as advised by my captain but should be a minimum 3.0) playing in the mixed doubles league. im always trying to improve my game: ive fixed my forehand so now its got good technique, switched from a flat serve to a kick and have pretty decent footwork.

in my recent doubles match which i double faulted quite a bit, i asked my capt. if he had any advice and he advised me to develop a DINK!!!! i completely lost respect for him at that one moment and told him theres no way im gonna do that, that i'd rather work on consistency of my new serve otherwise why even bother? (btw, the kick serve IS a second serve)

that's not all. he also said i swung too hard even though i had a total of two unforced errors off bh/fh the entire set, none of which i tried to waste the ball - just going for my complete stroke, which is necessary for my racket and proper technique. again, i lost confidence in him. but what else can i expect? ive read up on tennis quite a bit and likely know more than he does in certain areas.

though losing the match sucked partly due to my double faults, im not playing to dink stuff over. im playing to improve as it sounds like you are and though losing in the short run stings, in the long run therell be pay off. the same goes for your opponents. if they're just pushing stuff over or whatever, its still up to you to beat them. each opponent still offers a chance to work on areas of your game.

So exactly why are you playing TEAM tennis? If it's all about you, what do you need the team for? If you can't find individual matches for practice (and heck, to hone serves you don't even need an opponent) you could sign up for tournaments, or ladder leagues. Then you don't need to have confidence in your captain. It's all on you.

As a captain there is nothing more frustrating to me than a person who signs up just to work on their own game. It's even worse if they are playing doubles. You get all sorts of emails that NO ONE wants to be on the court watching their partner double fault points away so they can get a kick serve in (at 2.5 no less, where ANY serve in the box gives you a 50/50 chance to win the point...) They are out there to play, and that's not playing.

There is nothing wrong with going for the win. Surprisingly, that is also something that needs to be practiced, it IS an area of your game. Matches aren't an efficient place to work on serves. Matches aren't an efficient place to work on grooving your volleys or ground strokes. USTA Matches are an excellent place to work on what your whole game looks like, including finding a plan B or even C when plan A is not working. (And for those looking to move up in USTA ratings, winning counts, pretty strokes don't.)

sureshs
02-13-2007, 09:34 AM
I'm 45. I don't know how many years I have to play tennis.

Another 45. Dodo Cheney is still winning at 90+.

lordmanji
02-13-2007, 11:43 AM
So exactly why are you playing TEAM tennis? If it's all about you, what do you need the team for? If you can't find individual matches for practice (and heck, to hone serves you don't even need an opponent) you could sign up for tournaments, or ladder leagues. Then you don't need to have confidence in your captain. It's all on you.

As a captain there is nothing more frustrating to me than a person who signs up just to work on their own game. It's even worse if they are playing doubles. You get all sorts of emails that NO ONE wants to be on the court watching their partner double fault points away so they can get a kick serve in (at 2.5 no less, where ANY serve in the box gives you a 50/50 chance to win the point...) They are out there to play, and that's not playing.

There is nothing wrong with going for the win. Surprisingly, that is also something that needs to be practiced, it IS an area of your game. Matches aren't an efficient place to work on serves. Matches aren't an efficient place to work on grooving your volleys or ground strokes. USTA Matches are an excellent place to work on what your whole game looks like, including finding a plan B or even C when plan A is not working. (And for those looking to move up in USTA ratings, winning counts, pretty strokes don't.)

im playing team tennis to HAVE FUN. winning along the way is nice, too. it's not just to work on my own game although im doing that at the same time. you know, multitasking...and im new to team tennis, it was only my third match. i lost my first match 0-6, 1-6, second match 6-7 1-6, and third match 6-7 4-6 0-1. i am getting better on my terms and in the near future wins will soon come.

and like i said about my kick serve, it goes in 40-50 percent of the time in match play, 60-70 in practice sets. it's not like im just practicing my serve out there. ive practiced it on my own and in my practice sets and hitting those serves is simply an extension of putting practice into real life situations. i think this you'll agree with.

if you want to talk about winning, then let me tell you that it's usually my partner that loses the point - not to get egotistical - through a ue, not me. yes, i'll double fault occasionally but i more than make up for it on everyone else's service.

you're right that usta matches are a great way to find other ways to win, but if it's just a stroke that's off you're better off correcting it than trying an unpracticed stroke. and believe me ive sliced shots before -and missed some due to non practice - just to get the ball in play and it's not a good feeling hoping the other player will lose rather than winning it on your own terms.

regarding the "winning counts, pretty strokes dont" comment, let's just say that i can out-rally anyone of my official 3.5 male teammates who have ugly strokes and who will never move up to 4.0 because theyre practicing something over and over that inherently limits their ability to get better. it's like investing in a vending machine. sure you can make reasonable amount of money but your reward isnt gona be much. now if you invest in a restaurant, that's what id rather and am doing.

Cindysphinx
02-13-2007, 12:28 PM
CAK:
As a captain there is nothing more frustrating to me than a person who signs up just to work on their own game.

CAK, I understand what you're saying, but I'm not on board just yet.

Off the top of my head, I can think of three reasons why people play league tennis:

1. To win.
2. To have fun.
3. To improve their tennis game.

Why would Reason No. 3 be unacceptable? I can certainly understand that many players/captains want to win, and this is the most important thing to them. But hey, 2.5s and 3.0s are at the bottom of the heap. Even if you win sectionals at that level, you're still a pretty crummy tennis player, so what have you got? But if you play to improve, you'll at least reach your potential someday.

That said, there's nothing wrong with playing to win and expecting players/partners to do whatever it takes and make whatever adjustments can be done to win that match on that day.

It just means the "improve" crowd had better not be on the same team as the "win right now" crowd.

As for why play team tennis if you're just or primarily looking to improve, well . . . because it feels good to win, it feels good to improve, and it feels best of all to win because you improved. Playing league tennis lets you test out your improved strokes under pressure, and it lets you test them out against a huge variety of opponents. I don't see why that's a big problem, so long as players and captains communicate about these things. It seems that lordmanji and his captain need to have a talk, and if the captain isn't OK with lordmanji's approach to his matches, then perhaps an amicable parting would be in order.

Here's a serious question, though:

For those who are playing league tennis primarily to win (as opposed to the other two reasons I listed), what's the payoff for winning that you don't get when you lose?

Topaz
02-13-2007, 01:03 PM
im playing team tennis to HAVE FUN. winning along the way is nice, too. it's not just to work on my own game although im doing that at the same time. you know, multitasking...and im new to team tennis, it was only my third match. i lost my first match 0-6, 1-6, second match 6-7 1-6, and third match 6-7 4-6 0-1. i am getting better on my terms and in the near future wins will soon come.

and like i said about my kick serve, it goes in 40-50 percent of the time in match play, 60-70 in practice sets. it's not like im just practicing my serve out there. ive practiced it on my own and in my practice sets and hitting those serves is simply an extension of putting practice into real life situations. i think this you'll agree with.

if you want to talk about winning, then let me tell you that it's usually my partner that loses the point - not to get egotistical - through a ue, not me. yes, i'll double fault occasionally but i more than make up for it on everyone else's service.

you're right that usta matches are a great way to find other ways to win, but if it's just a stroke that's off you're better off correcting it than trying an unpracticed stroke. and believe me ive sliced shots before -and missed some due to non practice - just to get the ball in play and it's not a good feeling hoping the other player will lose rather than winning it on your own terms.

regarding the "winning counts, pretty strokes dont" comment, let's just say that i can out-rally anyone of my official 3.5 male teammates who have ugly strokes and who will never move up to 4.0 because theyre practicing something over and over that inherently limits their ability to get better. it's like investing in a vending machine. sure you can make reasonable amount of money but your reward isnt gona be much. now if you invest in a restaurant, that's what id rather and am doing.

A lot of what you say doesn't add up. You are a 2.5 that can out rally your 3.5 teammates? A 2.5 with a kick serve? A 2.5 who double faults yet blames UE on their opponent? If you have all these tools and skills, then why aren't you winning 2.5 matches???

I'm confused.

jagsv650
02-13-2007, 01:03 PM
I don't get it when I hear players that are 3.0 wanting to get bumped up to 3.5 so they can play 3.5 tennis. I'm a 3.5 right now and want to be a 4.0 next year so I joined a 4.0 team this year. I thought I would just be a sub but have actually played first doubles in all of our team matches. I've lost in each of the first 3 matches (6-1,6-3 / 6-4,7-5 / 7-5,7-5) but feel that will be changing soon. Even if I don't get moved up next year I'll still play 4.0 again. If I do get moved up to 4.0 you better believe I will be looking for a 4.5 team to play on. In the mean time my 4.0 experience is giving me a ton of confidence for my 3.5 matches.

raiden031
02-13-2007, 01:29 PM
I don't get it when I hear players that are 3.0 wanting to get bumped up to 3.5 so they can play 3.5 tennis. I'm a 3.5 right now and want to be a 4.0 next year so I joined a 4.0 team this year. I thought I would just be a sub but have actually played first doubles in all of our team matches. I've lost in each of the first 3 matches (6-1,6-3 / 6-4,7-5 / 7-5,7-5) but feel that will be changing soon. Even if I don't get moved up next year I'll still play 4.0 again. If I do get moved up to 4.0 you better believe I will be looking for a 4.5 team to play on. In the mean time my 4.0 experience is giving me a ton of confidence for my 3.5 matches.

Probably because 3.5 players don't want 3.0 players on their team because they will lose.

jagsv650
02-13-2007, 01:50 PM
Probably because 3.5 players don't want 3.0 players on their team because they will lose.

Well you would have to think 4.0 players don't want 3.5 players on their team but my 4.0 team has 3 3.5 players on it. My 3.5 team has 2 3.0 players on it. The best way to get better is to play up.

raiden031
02-13-2007, 01:57 PM
Well you would have to think 4.0 players don't want 3.5 players on their team but my 4.0 team has 3 3.5 players on it. My 3.5 team has 2 3.0 players on it. The best way to get better is to play up.

I guess it depends on if there are enough players at the specified level to fill the teams. I would imagine its easier to find 3.5 players than 4.0 players. Also I'm sure it depends on the captain.

lordmanji
02-13-2007, 02:21 PM
A lot of what you say doesn't add up. You are a 2.5 that can out rally your 3.5 teammates? A 2.5 with a kick serve? A 2.5 who double faults yet blames UE on their opponent? If you have all these tools and skills, then why aren't you winning 2.5 matches???

I'm confused.

to clear things up, i played a year of tennis in high school so by ntrp standards i should self-rate as a 3.0 minimum. i spoke w my captain about what i should rate as and he said i should give myself options meaning to play on 6.0 and 7.0 mixed doubles team. not to sandbag, but cuz i had potential and also cause im new to league tennis.

i dont know if you play league tennis but there are alot of older players there who are 3.5. most of my teammates are older and i can easily hit them off the court when it's singles. the younger 3.5s i can hold my own. but as it worked out, there were enough players on 7.0 team so i stayed on only 6.0 team.

about my kick serve, i said its developing. i'll make ue's on my serve but for the majority of ues its my female partner that makes the majority of them due in part cuz they hit it more to her.

about why i lose matches, here's all the reasons i can think of: my first partner had the mobility of a 70 year old and it was her first match as well as mine. result: 0-6, 1-6. the second match was against the top team in our league and i was out of gas after the hour long first set cuz i didnt eat a proper breakfast since i set alarm clock wrong. result: 6-7, 1-6. the third match i was not used to the position of BLOWING AWAY the opponent, let up for the first few games in the second set and was unaggressive at net due to tightness and lack of confidence on only my backhand volley wing. result: 6-1, 4-6 0-1(tiebreak).

btw, these aren't 2.5 matches. the players have ranged from 2.5 to 3.5. and as its my first time in a league, it takes some adjustment but if you look at my progress i think the results speak for themselves. also, there's the matter of partner performance. we are not losing only because of me.

i hope this clarifies my background to you.

p.s. is it me or am i getting a lot of hostility for saying i have a kick serve? it makes me wonder if some of the posters here are jealous that their set ways are being one-upped, their world "rocked" if you will. well i do have a kick serve and have gotten quite the number of compliments on it, for all you doubters.

jagsv650
02-13-2007, 02:32 PM
I guess it depends on if there are enough players at the specified level to fill the teams. I would imagine its easier to find 3.5 players than 4.0 players. Also I'm sure it depends on the captain.

I think to many players just except playing at the level the usta rates them at.

Cindysphinx
02-13-2007, 05:13 PM
p.s. is it me or am i getting a lot of hostility for saying i have a kick serve? it makes me wonder if some of the posters here are jealous that their set ways are being one-upped, their world "rocked" if you will. well i do have a kick serve and have gotten quite the number of compliments on it, for all you doubters.

Well, you're getting some hostility because a true kick serve is a fairly high-end shot. Someone who has rated correctly at 2.5 or even 3.0 doesn't often have a kick serve, or serve 110 mph, or have an American Twist. So those sorts of skills at your level do raise some red flags about sandbagging. And when you say you can spank 3.5s, it does make me want to ask "How come you didn't rate as 3.5 then?" It's not envy or jealousy; it's just an atypical profile so people want to know what's going on.

But you seem like a nice guy, and you are losing, which suggests that you rated properly. :)

Cindysphinx
02-13-2007, 05:15 PM
I don't get it when I hear players that are 3.0 wanting to get bumped up to 3.5 so they can play 3.5 tennis. I'm a 3.5 right now and want to be a 4.0 next year so I joined a 4.0 team this year. I thought I would just be a sub but have actually played first doubles in all of our team matches. I've lost in each of the first 3 matches (6-1,6-3 / 6-4,7-5 / 7-5,7-5) but feel that will be changing soon. Even if I don't get moved up next year I'll still play 4.0 again. If I do get moved up to 4.0 you better believe I will be looking for a 4.5 team to play on. In the mean time my 4.0 experience is giving me a ton of confidence for my 3.5 matches.

I'm 3.0. 3.0 ladies are a dime a dozen. If you're filling a 3.5 team and you go through the list of available players, you will see a huge number of 3.0s looking for teams. Why even try out those players when there are plenty of computer-rated 3.5s looking for teams? So if I were a computer-rated 3.5, I could more easily find a 3.5 team.

Gotta go earn that 3.5 rating, I guess . . .

I think it might be easier for a 3.0 lady to "play up" at 7.0 mixed than get on a ladies' 3.5 team, though. The 4.0 guys need partners, but a lot of 3.0 women don't want to play mixed at such a high level.

Topaz
02-13-2007, 05:36 PM
Well, you're getting some hostility because a true kick serve is a fairly high-end shot. Someone who has rated correctly at 2.5 or even 3.0 doesn't often have a kick serve, or serve 110 mph, or have an American Twist. So those sorts of skills at your level do raise some red flags about sandbagging. And when you say you can spank 3.5s, it does make me want to ask "How come you didn't rate as 3.5 then?" It's not envy or jealousy; it's just an atypical profile so people want to know what's going on.

But you seem like a nice guy, and you are losing, which suggests that you rated properly. :)

Yup, Cindy just kinda summed up my thought process right there. 2.5s aren't 'supposed' to have a kick serve, developing or not.

Topaz
02-13-2007, 05:39 PM
I'm 3.0. 3.0 ladies are a dime a dozen. If you're filling a 3.5 team and you go through the list of available players, you will see a huge number of 3.0s looking for teams. Why even try out those players when there are plenty of computer-rated 3.5s looking for teams? So if I were a computer-rated 3.5, I could more easily find a 3.5 team.

Gotta go earn that 3.5 rating, I guess . . .

I think it might be easier for a 3.0 lady to "play up" at 7.0 mixed than get on a ladies' 3.5 team, though. The 4.0 guys need partners, but a lot of 3.0 women don't want to play mixed at such a high level.

Cindy, I just played, and won, a small mixed tournament this weekend. My partner was a 4.0, and I'm rated a 3.0. I had no less than four people tell me I should be a 3.5. I would agree that it might be easier to get on a 7.0 mixed as a 3.0 lady than a 3.5 lady's team, unless of course you know someone! I'm not having a great time at 6.0 mixed, and playing as a 7.0 combo this weekend was so much better! Having a strong partner relaxed me enough that I played at the top of my game, too.

I'm also hoping to find a 3.5 lady's team to play 'up' on, and I'm a 3.0 benchmark (went to districts last year), but still...I haven't been able to convince anyone yet! It is frustating, to be sure!

Topaz
02-13-2007, 05:43 PM
to clear things up, i played a year of tennis in high school so by ntrp standards i should self-rate as a 3.0 minimum. i spoke w my captain about what i should rate as and he said i should give myself options meaning to play on 6.0 and 7.0 mixed doubles team. not to sandbag, but cuz i had potential and also cause im new to league tennis.

i dont know if you play league tennis but there are alot of older players there who are 3.5. most of my teammates are older and i can easily hit them off the court when it's singles. the younger 3.5s i can hold my own. but as it worked out, there were enough players on 7.0 team so i stayed on only 6.0 team.

about my kick serve, i said its developing. i'll make ue's on my serve but for the majority of ues its my female partner that makes the majority of them due in part cuz they hit it more to her.

about why i lose matches, here's all the reasons i can think of: my first partner had the mobility of a 70 year old and it was her first match as well as mine. result: 0-6, 1-6. the second match was against the top team in our league and i was out of gas after the hour long first set cuz i didnt eat a proper breakfast since i set alarm clock wrong. result: 6-7, 1-6. the third match i was not used to the position of BLOWING AWAY the opponent, let up for the first few games in the second set and was unaggressive at net due to tightness and lack of confidence on only my backhand volley wing. result: 6-1, 4-6 0-1(tiebreak).

btw, these aren't 2.5 matches. the players have ranged from 2.5 to 3.5. and as its my first time in a league, it takes some adjustment but if you look at my progress i think the results speak for themselves. also, there's the matter of partner performance. we are not losing only because of me.

i hope this clarifies my background to you.

p.s. is it me or am i getting a lot of hostility for saying i have a kick serve? it makes me wonder if some of the posters here are jealous that their set ways are being one-upped, their world "rocked" if you will. well i do have a kick serve and have gotten quite the number of compliments on it, for all you doubters.

Thanks for clearing up, and see Cindy's comments, as she summarized my confusion quite nicely!

IMO, you should've rated at least a 3.0.

lordmanji
02-13-2007, 06:10 PM
Well, you're getting some hostility because a true kick serve is a fairly high-end shot. Someone who has rated correctly at 2.5 or even 3.0 doesn't often have a kick serve, or serve 110 mph, or have an American Twist. So those sorts of skills at your level do raise some red flags about sandbagging. And when you say you can spank 3.5s, it does make me want to ask "How come you didn't rate as 3.5 then?" It's not envy or jealousy; it's just an atypical profile so people want to know what's going on.

But you seem like a nice guy, and you are losing, which suggests that you rated properly. :)

hey cindy, topaz,

yeah i see what you're saying. to add to this, i'd say that i'm getting stronger with each match. i think when i started out i was maybe a strong 2.5 but now with more match play, confidence and practice outside matches, i think with my inconsistent serve as it is right now im probably a solid 3.0 or weak 3.0.

i knew i'd have a hard time adjusting to league play, to recreate practice results into match results so that's a huge part of the reason why i self-rated as 2.5 (i have a group of people i play recreationally on the side, though) i didn't do so to beat up on 2.5s and in actuality it's been the reverse :grin:

i just hope i win once before the season ends to validate my "bragging."

jagsv650
02-14-2007, 05:03 AM
I'm 3.0. 3.0 ladies are a dime a dozen. If you're filling a 3.5 team and you go through the list of available players, you will see a huge number of 3.0s looking for teams. Why even try out those players when there are plenty of computer-rated 3.5s looking for teams? So if I were a computer-rated 3.5, I could more easily find a 3.5 team.

Gotta go earn that 3.5 rating, I guess . . .

I think it might be easier for a 3.0 lady to "play up" at 7.0 mixed than get on a ladies' 3.5 team, though. The 4.0 guys need partners, but a lot of 3.0 women don't want to play mixed at such a high level.

I just looked at the womens 3.5 league here (in SC) and saw they have 12 teams. Almost every team has at least 1 3.0 women and some have 2 or 3. I understand every area is different but it seems like there might be some oppertunities out there if you go looking for them. My mens 4.0 league has 4 teams in it. I called the captian of each team asking if they could use me on their team. I figured if all I got to do is practice with them it would make me a better player, it has by the way.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to preach to you here. My point is don't just let the USTA dictate to you which level you play. If you want to play up go look for the oppertunities to do so.

PS- You can always do what my 6.5 combo did. We entered the same team in 6.5 and 7.5 for the experince. We won 1 match out of 7 but there were many 3 set matches. We didn't get blown out of any of our matches and it was great experience.

tennis-n-sc
02-14-2007, 05:34 AM
I just looked at the womens 3.5 league here (in SC) and saw they have 12 teams. Almost every team has at least 1 3.0 women and some have 2 or 3. I understand every area is different but it seems like there might be some oppertunities out there if you go looking for them. My mens 4.0 league has 4 teams in it. I called the captian of each team asking if they could use me on their team. I figured if all I got to do is practice with them it would make me a better player, it has by the way.

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to preach to you here. My point is don't just let the USTA dictate to you which level you play. If you want to play up go look for the oppertunities to do so.

PS- You can always do what my 6.5 combo did. We entered the same team in 6.5 and 7.5 for the experince. We won 1 match out of 7 but there were many 3 set matches. We didn't get blown out of any of our matches and it was great experience.

What part of SC?

jagsv650
02-14-2007, 05:37 AM
What part of SC?

Hilton Head

Cindysphinx
02-14-2007, 06:31 AM
Oh, I do intend to try. And if I have to submit to a try-out, I will.

I would imagine captains wouldn't be very impressed with me on paper. There's that losing season last year. And there's the fact that I couldn't practice with the 3.5 team. I have my own 3.0 team to practice with, and I can't do two tennis team practices each weekend.

So I need to find a 3.5 captain who will take a 3.0 that won't practice with her team. Wish me luck! :D

Laker
02-14-2007, 07:15 AM
Sorry for the off topic but may I ask, talking about 3 or 3.5 tec., which ranking or scale do you refer to?
Any link?
Thank you.

sue20852
02-14-2007, 09:53 AM
Oh, I do intend to try. And if I have to submit to a try-out, I will.

I would imagine captains wouldn't be very impressed with me on paper. There's that losing season last year. And there's the fact that I couldn't practice with the 3.5 team. I have my own 3.0 team to practice with, and I can't do two tennis team practices each weekend.

So I need to find a 3.5 captain who will take a 3.0 that won't practice with her team. Wish me luck! :D

Cindy,
What about having your own 3.5 team if there are many 3.0's wanting to play up? It could help your rating by playing up -- a win-win for all.

Sue

Cruzer
02-14-2007, 11:39 AM
So I need to find a 3.5 captain who will take a 3.0 that won't practice with her team. Wish me luck! :D

Yeah, you will need a lot of luck. My wife captains the 3.5 team at our club and her philosphy is "if you don't come to practices, then you don't play unless I have absolutely no one else available". That will likely translate into going to a match 40 miles away at 6:00 pm on a Friday evening and playing in the no. 1 singles spot. You are likely better off entering a few 3.5 tournaments.

Sakkijarvi
02-14-2007, 03:58 PM
<Guilty as charged, but I plead mitigating circumstances. I'm 45. I don't know how many years I have to play tennis. I feel like I need to improve every time I step onto the court or I will be dinking the ball etc. for the rest of my life. So yeah, I'm crazy possessed about improving as fast as I can. I should relax and enjoy the ride a bit. Maybe 45 is not so old after all.>

Cyndy, you're onto something here. I feel your 'pain', seeing as I'm turning 45 in two months...

...but really, playing tennis without being in a state of 'seeker' would be flat out boring, NOT 'a game worth playing' as in the "Inner Game" book. I'm enough of an athlete to dink around all I want but my goal it to pursue this sport until I climb as high as I can. Already, after a little over a year, I have a tennis game that I never had, nor could have imagined, years ago hacking away at the town parks with my teenage friends.

I came back to the game and joined a singles league, a "3.5-" league. Went 7-5, then 12-2 and won it. Went up to the 3.5+ league, went 9-6 and am now 3-1 (and the one loss I will avenge as I killed the guy in the first set and let up on him, then got cold...he thought I "threw the match"...)

Needless to say, my path to improvement is similar to yours in that I assume you also work out with a pro at some point, hit against walls, practice serves during nice weather, drop and hit, all that. Where we differ is that I am going 'lone wolf' on this one...non USTA singles leages, to be followed this spring by USTA tournaments near my home. Then more singles leagues, etc. I kicked the tires on the 3.5 team at my club and was frankly nonplussed by what I immediately felt was the 'scene'.

Since I am responsible to only ME I can 'work on my game' during matches all I want...in fact I consider this a commitment to improvement that makes me a better and more disciplined athlete, putting advancement of my craft over winning an individual match. In the long run it has paid off as I have proof: guys that hammered me when I first appeared on the scene can't handle the depth and pace of my ground-strokes now, nor my serves.

It hasn't been that long since I felt my game 'bump up' a level. I enjoy pouncing on short shots now, instead of just keeping the rally going. Getting second serve aces instead of nerfing them in.

I say to you...if you think this is a game worth playing...keep moving forward. Just wanting to improve is a vital first step.

Sakki

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 09:29 AM
North, great points by you and Goober, not only for tennis but for life. I love tennis for a wide variety of reasons. But I am 61 years old and can see the sunset. It makes me ever mindful that every match is a gift, no matter how well I or my opponnent play. I am still competing well with guys half my age but have begrudgingly accepted that my matches aren't as technical as they once were. I'm just happy to be out there. Thanks to you and Goob for reminding me.

Great attitude. I have to agree with you that being able to play tennis is bonus time, especially after nearly dying from an infection at 38.

To Cindysphinx:
What many of the posters say is true.

Just because you think players are pushers at 3.0, doesn't mean you won't encounter them at 4.5. I've seen many "golden retriever" types at 4.5, and as one poster said, you have to learn to beat them. I've also seen doubles players at 4.5 who refuse to move up, because their ground game are so solid, and they have the speed to run down drop shots. They also hit perfect topspin lobs, which defuses the guys who rush the net.

After speaking with some folks at USTA, they told me men usually appeal their NTRP down, while women usually try to appeal their NTRP up. I don't know why women are more concerned about rating than men though. Men usually want to their NTRP down so they have more options to play, while women usually want to play at a higher NTRP. Anyway, it's just a number.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose, but what matters is your differentials. If you lost to a really strong opponent who got moved up, then your rating wouldn't change much. If you beat a really weak opponent, your rating wouldn't change much. If you consistently beat mid-level players, you will move up.

Playing singles help. Partnering with weak players and winning really helps.

And if you get desperate, play an Open tournament. That should bump you up fast if you really are at the edge.

My suggestion would be to enjoy yourself, and implement the skills you need at 3.5 while playing 3.0. I know women can be difficult, but if your skills are at 3.5 rather than 3.0, they will accept you despite your NTRP rating. Wouldn't it be better to be a person of substance with a lower NTRP rating than a hollow person with a higher NTRP rating?

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 09:37 AM
Thanks for clearing up, and see Cindy's comments, as she summarized my confusion quite nicely!

IMO, you should've rated at least a 3.0.

lordmanji, I have to agree with Topaz ... you should have rated at least a 3.0.

I know you played 2.5 to help you, but think about how you're helping tennis grow by destroying the beginners?

Playing high school tennis gives you an advantage over true beginners.

Again, 2.5 is the level for absolute beginners.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 09:44 AM
That's an interesting debate. Do league players have an obligation to, for lack of a better expression, "dink one for the team."

I can only speak for my team, but let's say a teammate lost the first set using their developing forehand and asked me whether they should ditch that and go back to the dink shot for the second set. As captain, I would say no. Many teams are in it to win. We are in it to improve. Losing with good technique is better than winning with pushing unless you're happy to remain a pusher forever, IMHO.

That's what my pro said, anyway. In the early going, he told me to be prepared to lose a lot more, but don't ever dink shots out of fear of losing. If the stroke isn't working, keep tinkering with it, move your feet more, focus more, figure out what element of the shot is off. But don't abandon ship.

Great attitude!

It's always better to lose a match doing your best while trying to improve, rather than win a match using skills that should have been outgrown a long time ago. That is exactly why some players get "stuck." They prefer winning over improving.

LordManji ... seriously, after reading more descriptions of yourself, you would have been a solid 3.0 within a couple of weeks, and are now closer to 3.5 level. Does winning really matter that much to you and your captain?

lordmanji
02-15-2007, 11:13 AM
Great attitude!

It's always better to lose a match doing your best while trying to improve, rather than win a match using skills that should have been outgrown a long time ago. That is exactly why some players get "stuck." They prefer winning over improving.

LordManji ... seriously, after reading more descriptions of yourself, you would have been a solid 3.0 within a couple of weeks, and are now closer to 3.5 level. Does winning really matter that much to you and your captain?

please carefully reread my posts and you'll find my reasoning.

kylebarendrick
02-15-2007, 01:25 PM
please carefully reread my posts and you'll find my reasoning.

You played a year of high school tennis. According to the USTA self-rate chart, you MUST rate at no less than 3.0: "High school tennis athlete may not self-rate below 3.0 and should consider their high school experience when self-rating". No other explanations are necessary.

raiden031
02-15-2007, 01:26 PM
You played a year of high school tennis. According to the USTA self-rate chart, you MUST rate at no less than 3.0: "High school tennis athlete may not self-rate below 3.0 and should consider their high school experience when self-rating". No other explanations are necessary.

lordmanji is a SANDBAGGER! Woo hoo!

Cindysphinx
02-15-2007, 02:02 PM
He rated 2.5, but he's playing at 3.0 isn't he? Did I misunderstand?

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 04:29 PM
He rated 2.5, but he's playing at 3.0 isn't he? Did I misunderstand?

No, from the way I've read it, he's playing either mixed 6.0 or mixed 7.0. Either way, it's an unfair advantage that his captain wanted, and that he agreed to.

hey cindy you sound a bit like me. right now im a 2.5 (self-rated as advised by my captain but should be a minimum 3.0) playing in the mixed doubles league. im always trying to improve my game: ive fixed my forehand so now its got good technique, switched from a flat serve to a kick and have pretty decent footwork.

please carefully reread my posts and you'll find my reasoning.

Lordmanji, you can give many reasons why you think you should self-rate so low, even with high school tennis experience. But you are destroying the playing experience for any legitimate self-rate. A 2.5 is a beginner. USTA tennis has become more of an arms race than anything else, and it's because of poor self-rates.

If you are a person of integrity, then you should stop playing mixed doubles for that captain instead of saying any excuses. You should also tell that captain to stick it where the sun don't shine.

Otherwise, you are yet another cheater. :mad:

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 04:32 PM
I have heard the term kick serve to refer to either a topspin serve or a twist serve, and I never know which people are referring.

Both the twist and the topspin are kick serves. Some now believe the topspin serve and the twist serve are the same, but they are slightly different.

A slice kick would be a topspin kick serve with a slice.
A topspin kick serve would be a serve that kicks straight from the point of contact.
A twist kick would be a topsin kick serve with a counter-intuitive spin (ie. spins opposite of a slice).

cak
02-15-2007, 04:38 PM
It's always better to lose a match doing your best while trying to improve, rather than win a match using skills that should have been outgrown a long time ago. That is exactly why some players get "stuck." They prefer winning over improving.?

I'm trying to parse this, and I'm getting a bit confused.

If you discount NTRP ratings, and are just going for what looks good, I totally agree. You don't need to win to improve how good your strokes look. On video you will look much better if you stick to flashier, harder shots.

If by "stuck" you mean not moving up in NTRP ratings, well, to move up you need to win, preferrably win big. It doesn't matter how pretty the shots look.

I disagree that any tennis skill, even a dink serve, is outgrown. The people in my experience that improve (by any measure) the fastest is the one that adds skills, but doesn't drop any. And I've seen games where a 4.0 uses a dink serve as a successful option. Sure, there are some shots that are only dusted off occasionally, but they still have them, and practice them.

At our club we have those that play every USTA match to win, no matter how ugly. And those that won't go back to sissy shots no matter what. The ones that stick to those hard hit, flashy shots look much better than the others, but stay at the same NTRP level for a long time. The folks that move up are those that win.

J011yroger
02-15-2007, 04:47 PM
I have heard the term kick serve to refer to either a topspin serve or a twist serve, and I never know which people are referring.

R, They are all kind of the same, just a different angle of attack on the ball, it is really tough to classify something in a distinct category when there are a million different ways to strike the ball. Most people who talk about hitting a kicker have at least some twist to it, but it varies from person to person. Some come more or less straight in, and some really bust a right when they hit the court.

It is kind of like a slice backhand, where some peoples have that nasty leftwards sweeping arc, that stays low and jumps sideways when it hits, and some peoples are more straight.

(Note: All examples for right handers.)

J

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 04:52 PM
Actually, I teach players how to hit underhand serves ... it's actually pretty devastating at doubles, when players are expecting a hard serve.

Dink serves and strokes also work if you frequently add it to your mix ... your opponents won't know what you're going to hit until you do.

However, players that just dink only tend to get stuck in a rut and never improve. That's why, if you don't care if you win or lose, you should try the strokes you've been practicing rather than going for the safe dink.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-15-2007, 05:01 PM
R, They are all kind of the same, just a different angle of attack on the ball, it is really tough to classify something in a distinct category when there are a million different ways to strike the ball.

Exactly ... that's why when someone refers to a kick serve, it can mean just about anything that kicks.


Most people who talk about hitting a kicker have at least some twist to it, but it varies from person to person.

Actually, most people do not have a twist. It's usually a topspin kick or a slice kick. Twist kicks throw off most players because for a right hander, it kicks left.

Some come more or less straight in,

Topspin kick.

and some really bust a right when they hit the court.

Slice kick.

All serves have a similiar ball toss and service motion, but depending on the strike, a different spin. But for simplicity sake, everyone refers to it as either a kick serve or a topspin serve.

lordmanji
02-15-2007, 05:12 PM
He rated 2.5, but he's playing at 3.0 isn't he? Did I misunderstand?

im self-rated 2.5 and im playing mixed doubles 6.0. sometimes im paired with a 2.5 lady, or a 3.0 lady but never a 3.5 lady. do the math and you'll find it doesn't even add up to 6.0 whereas most of the teams i play are two 3.0s.

for you guys who are too lazy to read the previous posts - and guys like you who jump to conclusions usually are the lazy, quick to anger type - my reasons for self-rating as a 2.5 are this:

- captain suggested it since im new to league tennis and he thought i should play on 7.0 team though the latter didn't pan out.

- im not playing in a 2.5 league. im playing in a 6.0 mixed doubles where most players are 3.0 so if you understand the definition of sandbagging, im playing UP or at the very least at my actual level.

- i played high school tennis for a season years ago and it was a single season that was quite short. i didnt pick up tennis five years later until after college and i think its ridiculous to think that my skills are the same as in high school.

J011yroger
02-15-2007, 05:14 PM
When you say slice kick, I believe you are actually talking about a topspin/slice serve, which is what many use for a hard spin first serve, It comes in hard, and hops a little and goes left, as compared to the real pure can opener slice serve which is hit with mostly sidespin that sweeps left and continues to hook left after hitting the ground. I would not call either one of those a kick serve. Kickers either come in straightish and jump straightish, or come in sweeping left, and jump right when they hit.

Note: All my left/right descriptions are from the servers point of view, from a right handed server. Not the returner.

Note2: This wording is what I have found to be true when people are talking in the US, I don't know if you are from here or a different country.

As far as underhanded serving, I can't imagine doing that, ESPECIALLY not in dubs. Doubles players crowd the baseline, or stand as far inside it as possible to get the jump on the opponent, if you are giving them a soft underhanded serve, they will jump on it, and have two people at the net that you have to get that killer return past.

There is something to be said for changing pace and spins to not let your opponent get grooved, but by all means keep the ball deep. Slice one, hit a heavy topper, flatten one out, change paces, never give them the same look at the ball twice...That can be an effective strategy, but once you get to playing higher level players, who are looking for something they can attack with every shot you hit, if you cough up something short, you are going to instantly be on the defensive. And the next shot you hit will most likely be either to dig an approach shot out of a corner, or a serve/return to start the next point.

J

lordmanji
02-15-2007, 05:18 PM
No, from the way I've read it, he's playing either mixed 6.0 or mixed 7.0. Either way, it's an unfair advantage that his captain wanted, and that he agreed to.





Lordmanji, you can give many reasons why you think you should self-rate so low, even with high school tennis experience. But you are destroying the playing experience for any legitimate self-rate. A 2.5 is a beginner. USTA tennis has become more of an arms race than anything else, and it's because of poor self-rates.

If you are a person of integrity, then you should stop playing mixed doubles for that captain instead of saying any excuses. You should also tell that captain to stick it where the sun don't shine.

Otherwise, you are yet another cheater. :mad:

i think its ridiculous what you're saying. i dont even know if you play league tennis, but from my limited experience i have played male 2.5s and although their strokes suck, they're pretty consistent and at the start of the season gave me trouble. so i think that when the season started i was a practical 2.5 in competitive tennis play. since then, im prob a solid 3.0 now.

p.s. dink serves are for the weak.

cak
02-15-2007, 06:35 PM
p.s. dink serves are for the weak.

I've seen a dink ace at the 4.0 level. Return person was standing 4 feet behind the baseline and wasn't quick enough to believe it was over and get to it. Dink serves are particularly useful against folks that see a soft one, want to tee off on it, but can't regulate their power and nail the ball out. You can get lots of service winners in 2.5/3.0 because of that.

And from his descriptions, I believe lordmanji's a legit 2.5, for this season anyway.

jagsv650
02-15-2007, 06:56 PM
p.s. dink serves are for the weak.


I feel sorry for the partner of the player that hits a dink serve to me because they're seconds away from eating a ball. I don't normally go after other players but if a person hits un underhand serve or a dink serve to me then I let their partner have it. It's very unusual for it to happen a second time in a match.

Now if it's an actual second serve that they just don't get much oomf on I won't do that. I've hit second serves that I just hit a little thin so I know how that is but I would never dink one on purpose.

Actually tonight my 3.5 team had practice and we were mixing it up a bit. My normal doubles partner was playing with the captain of the team aginst me and another player. My normal partner underhand served me one and I hit it hard just to the right of my captain and told him he was lucky he's my teammate. Well all I can say is he set my normal partner straight on this tactic against me.

lordmanji
02-15-2007, 09:05 PM
I feel sorry for the partner of the player that hits a dink serve to me because they're seconds away from eating a ball. I don't normally go after other players but if a person hits un underhand serve or a dink serve to me then I let their partner have it. It's very unusual for it to happen a second time in a match.

Now if it's an actual second serve that they just don't get much oomf on I won't do that. I've hit second serves that I just hit a little thin so I know how that is but I would never dink one on purpose.

Actually tonight my 3.5 team had practice and we were mixing it up a bit. My normal doubles partner was playing with the captain of the team aginst me and another player. My normal partner underhand served me one and I hit it hard just to the right of my captain and told him he was lucky he's my teammate. Well all I can say is he set my normal partner straight on this tactic against me.

my brother doesn't have much of a second serve so he'll dink it maybe 20percent of the time. the first time i'll be caught off guard and maybe miss it but after that its easy pickings. personally i feel that people that use dinks shouldnt even be on the court. they obviously no longer wish to improve their game and its a tricky and disrespectful maneuver.

raiden031
02-16-2007, 12:14 PM
Cindy,

You should play singles against me one time. I can tell we are both more knowledgeable than our playing ability shows, and can give tips to one another. I can give you top spin that no woman at 3.0 (or even 3.5) would ever give you. Not that handling my spin would necessarily do you much good, since the women probably won't give you that kind of spin. You're probably the only person I know (that is local) that actually wants to improve rather than stay and win at 3.0, so I'd like to find ways to help you move up. Actually I should rephrase that as you being the only person wanting to put the required effort in to improve.

I want to be a tennis instructor part-time some day, but obviously I don't have the skills to be one yet, but I want to see if I can give useful feedback.

raiden031
02-16-2007, 12:17 PM
Raiden.Kaminari,

I've been meaning to ask what is the origin of your username?

Topaz
02-16-2007, 01:33 PM
- i played high school tennis for a season years ago and it was a single season that was quite short. i didnt pick up tennis five years later until after college and i think its ridiculous to think that my skills are the same as in high school.

I can totally back you up on this one...I played two years of tennis in high school. Of course, my high school was very rural and only the football and basketball teams mattered. Our coach sucked, we sucked, but we had fun!

High school experience doesn't necessarily equal a higher rating!

Cindysphinx
02-16-2007, 01:50 PM
im self-rated 2.5 and im playing mixed doubles 6.0. sometimes im paired with a 2.5 lady, or a 3.0 lady but never a 3.5 lady. do the math and you'll find it doesn't even add up to 6.0 whereas most of the teams i play are two 3.0s.



Lordmanji, you didn't say this clearly early, but for some reason this is what I assumed. Others reached the opposite conclusion, but now I think we all understand.

So long as the ratings of you and your partner are below what the league requires, I personally think you're OK.

And again . . . *you've been losing* so I think we can safely conclude you're not cheating.

Either that, or you're a terrible cheater. :)

Cindysphinx
02-16-2007, 01:55 PM
Cindy,

You should play singles against me one time. I can tell we are both more knowledgeable than our playing ability shows, and can give tips to one another. I can give you top spin that no woman at 3.0 (or even 3.5) would ever give you. Not that handling my spin would necessarily do you much good, since the women probably won't give you that kind of spin. You're probably the only person I know (that is local) that actually wants to improve rather than stay and win at 3.0, so I'd like to find ways to help you move up. Actually I should rephrase that as you being the only person wanting to put the required effort in to improve.

I want to be a tennis instructor part-time some day, but obviously I don't have the skills to be one yet, but I want to see if I can give useful feedback.


Thanks, Raiden!

Tell you what. I'll let you know when we need either a fourth for doubles or (when the weather warms) when we need another for singles. I will let you take me out and, erm, show me a thing or two. Just promise not to laugh, OK?

As for this . . .

I can give you top spin that no woman at 3.0 (or even 3.5) would ever give you.

:) :D http://www.well-temperedforum.groupee.net/Custom/Graemlins/rotfl.gif
http://www.well-temperedforum.groupee.net/Custom/Graemlins/happydance.gif

Cindysphinx
02-16-2007, 01:56 PM
Question: what is a dink serve?

I assumed it was a weak push serve by someone desperate to avoid a double-fault, but now it sounds like something else.

kylebarendrick
02-16-2007, 02:28 PM
High school experience doesn't necessarily equal a higher rating!

High school experience doesn't necessarily equal greater skill, but according to the self-rating guidelines you cannot self-rate below 3.0 if you have high school experience. Period.

J011yroger
02-16-2007, 02:38 PM
Question: what is a dink serve?

I assumed it was a weak push serve by someone desperate to avoid a double-fault, but now it sounds like something else.

That is a dink serve allright. I don't mean to ruffle feathers but people who say dink serves are good, useful, or some other thing, are usually people that lack a reliable topspin second serve, or don't want to put in the effort to develop one.

J

Raiden.Kaminari
02-16-2007, 02:51 PM
That's my point exactly ... if you have ANY experience, you should self-rate as a 3.0, never as a 2.5.

2.5 is for beginners. Most people move out of 2.5 pretty quickly, because you're not supposed to be blasting away true beginners. Anything else is akin to being a bully.

USTA NTRP intentions and the reality have slipped a little, where sometimes you see 3.5 level players self-rate 2.5 (essentially cheat) so that the captain can have a sure win, especially at mixed doubles. A strong 3.5 with a inexperienced 2.5 self-rated player is expected to win at most 50% of the matches, especially against a 3.0 pair (if they can get the ball to the 2.5 player). Anything more than 50%, and you can bet you have a sandbagger.

USTA specifies players should self-rate themselves at the level they expect to be at the end of the season. Does this happen? Not so much if you do as a captain suggests.

Lordmanji: So while you continue to justify your results, the scores really speak for themselves. Yes, partnering with a 2.5 player would mean you lose badly. But what about those other matches that were close? If you were partnered with a 3.0, those close scores indicate that you are a 3.0, and should never play in the future as a 2.5.

The worst self-rate I saw was a "2.5" player who could hit a twist serve, do a jack-knife backhand (ie. verticle jump to hit a high ball to the backhand side in the air), and do a few more things that made us think he was the 4.0 player, and not the 2.5 player. My 6.5 combo partner and I ended up picking on the real 4.0 player to win the match in tie breaker.

Dinks:
3.0 men can be inconsistent. In fact, they usually bang away at balls.

And I love giving them dink serves. I just tell my women partners to duck beneath the net. And we win almost 100% of the points because the balls usually hit the back fence or hit the net.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-16-2007, 02:53 PM
Raiden.Kaminari,

I've been meaning to ask what is the origin of your username?

Raiden Kaminari basically means lightning and thunder.

It's my tag that I've used since the '80s on mainframes. It described how I would rush into things, and make some noise, both on the court, and in the computer world.

Cindysphinx
02-16-2007, 03:43 PM
USTA specifies players should self-rate themselves at the level they expect to be at the end of the season. Does this happen? Not so much if you do as a captain suggests.


What? USTA thinks folks who have never even played league tennis should self-rate at the level they think they'll be when they finish the season? That's just silly. Heck, I'm computer-rated at 3.0, and I don't even know whether I'll be 3.5 by the end of the season.

I think it's OK to do what lordjamnji did (although the high school bit seems a bit dodgy, but it doesn't sound like much experience). Go with 2.5, but if it turns out you are better than that, stop playing that level and play up. If he's playing 6.0 mixed with a 3.0 partner, it's no harm, no foul as far as I'm concerned.

I have a player who self-rated 2.5 in September. She was 2.5 for about 5 minutes. She improved dramatically and quickly. She no longer "plays" as a 2.5. She treats herself like a 3.0. I asked our league coordinator about this and she said it was fine to handle it in this unofficial manner.

That said, she is now playing 7.0 mixed, and her 2.5 rating prevents her from playing with a 4.0 guy (can't have more than 1 point difference between partners). As a result, she has to pair with a 3.5 guy, which means they are playing 7.0 mixed but are only 6.5. So she's appealing up.

Trouble is, appealing up takes time. I think USTA could help by automatically granting applications to appeal a rating upward and not making players wait.

Topaz
02-16-2007, 05:51 PM
High school experience doesn't necessarily equal greater skill, but according to the self-rating guidelines you cannot self-rate below 3.0 if you have high school experience. Period.

Really? I didn't know that one, but started as a self-rated 3.0 anyway. And in my first season I LOST EVERY SINGLE MATCH by scores no closer than 6-2. So, I should've rated as 2.5, and I was shocked that I wasn't dropped.

That's one of those seasons that I wish would magically disappear from Tennislink history...forever.

Topaz
02-16-2007, 05:53 PM
That's my point exactly ... if you have ANY experience, you should self-rate as a 3.0, never as a 2.5.

2.5 is for beginners. Most people move out of 2.5 pretty quickly, because you're not supposed to be blasting away true beginners. Anything else is akin to being a bully.



Ok, but what if, even with your previous experience, you are still a beginner? My high school coach taught me the strokes WRONG!!! I basically had to start all over again when I started playing 13 years later. Heck, there are days when I still feel like a beginner!

Raiden.Kaminari
02-17-2007, 12:50 AM
Ok, but what if, even with your previous experience, you are still a beginner? My high school coach taught me the strokes WRONG!!! I basically had to start all over again when I started playing 13 years later. Heck, there are days when I still feel like a beginner!

Honestly, there are days we all feel we can't hit the ball. I still have my 3.0 shots (where I frame the ball with a ground stroke and it lands at least 3 courts parallel to me).

But 2.5 is really for the absolute beginners. Even with the "wrong" strokes (whoever is teaching you should be adding to your strokes, not telling you that you have "wrong" strokes), you still have more experience on contact point, court positioning, etc. than an absolute novice.

For 2.5, the rallies usually end before three or four hits without pace. Anything more, and you're already venturing into 3.0 territory.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-17-2007, 12:52 AM
Really? I didn't know that one, but started as a self-rated 3.0 anyway. And in my first season I LOST EVERY SINGLE MATCH by scores no closer than 6-2. So, I should've rated as 2.5, and I was shocked that I wasn't dropped.

That's one of those seasons that I wish would magically disappear from Tennislink history...forever.


Kendrik is correct ... Here is the form:

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_7372.pdf?12/20/2005%205:08:52%20PM

You did the honorable thing and self-rated correctly.

By the way, look at your history with pride. If anything, it shows that you are improving over time (growing). It's better than my record, which is devolving over time (dying).

raiden031
02-17-2007, 03:04 AM
2.5 is ONLY for people who have NOT played ANY sports competitively. Read that again if you have to. Anyone who has played ANY sports competitively is supposed to self-rate at 3.0 because they can ANTICIPATE quick improvement due to their athletic ability.

raiden031
02-17-2007, 03:44 AM
Cindy et al,

I had another good match last night and won. We started off 1-4 because our male opponent was very good at the net and was killing us. He was especially troublesome as he was able to serve & volley well, even though his serve was kinda weak. I decided to hit every shot near the woman regardless of their positioning and it worked great. I figure if he's going to S&V, I have two net people to choose from and obviously choosing him wasn't working. His first serve was like my second serve (medium pace), but his second serve was the largest dink ever. I mean it was like straight up and straight down, and I hit it right at the woman every time. She didn't want to move back even though he was asking her to stand at the baseline on his second serves. Their problem was the inability to adapt to us hitting every ball at the woman. She was too slow to react at net, and I think she should've at least stood on the service line, rather than the front third if they wanted any chance to beat us. My serve was on fire as well. I was serving at 5-0 and after serving nearly flawlessly the entire match, I had a few double faults which kinda annoyed me, but we won the next game.

So we went from being down 1-4 to a final score of 7-5, 6-1 to win the match.

The male was undefeated in this league prior to our match.

Topaz
02-17-2007, 05:26 AM
Honestly, there are days we all feel we can't hit the ball. I still have my 3.0 shots (where I frame the ball with a ground stroke and it lands at least 3 courts parallel to me).

But 2.5 is really for the absolute beginners. Even with the "wrong" strokes (whoever is teaching you should be adding to your strokes, not telling you that you have "wrong" strokes), you still have more experience on contact point, court positioning, etc. than an absolute novice.

For 2.5, the rallies usually end before three or four hits without pace. Anything more, and you're already venturing into 3.0 territory.

By 'wrong' strokes, I mean I wasn't even holding the racquet correctly, and it wasn't corrected until I started playing again two years ago. Our high school coach was a kid a few years older than us, and we didn't spend anytime on things like...oh, technique, positioning, etc. A few girls knew how to play and he kind of let them on their own, and the rest of us just concentrated on getting the ball over the net and into the court.

I'm a solid 3.0 now, having gone to districts last year, but I had always wondered if I should have started out at 2.5 and worked my way up instead of getting slaughtered that first season!

Topaz
02-17-2007, 05:28 AM
Kendrik is correct ... Here is the form:

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_7372.pdf?12/20/2005%205:08:52%20PM

You did the honorable thing and self-rated correctly.

By the way, look at your history with pride. If anything, it shows that you are improving over time (growing). It's better than my record, which is devolving over time (dying).

Thanks for link...I had no idea, and as a captain, I like to know all my rules! ;)

wilsun
02-17-2007, 06:59 AM
The last league I played on was 4.5 I am a 4.0. So were most of my team, We did not even come close to winning. I think our competition all sandbagged and were at least 5.0 or better. The self rating system in my opinion has to go. Everyone should be rated by the usta before the season starts.

J011yroger
02-17-2007, 07:22 AM
Yea but even in the days of the old self rate, sandbaggers would play poorly in front of the rater in order to get a low rating, and if you had more classic polished strokes you would be rated higher, and if you were a hacker that won you would get rated lower.

J

lordmanji
02-17-2007, 07:26 AM
Honestly, there are days we all feel we can't hit the ball. I still have my 3.0 shots (where I frame the ball with a ground stroke and it lands at least 3 courts parallel to me).

But 2.5 is really for the absolute beginners. Even with the "wrong" strokes (whoever is teaching you should be adding to your strokes, not telling you that you have "wrong" strokes), you still have more experience on contact point, court positioning, etc. than an absolute novice.

For 2.5, the rallies usually end before three or four hits without pace. Anything more, and you're already venturing into 3.0 territory.

i think your prescriptions for an ideal tennis league are pretty lofty. take the last match i played. the guy was a 2.5, had been playing league tennis enough to have a pretty decent flat serve and i guess his second serve was good too since he didnt double fault once the entire three sets. he also didn't miss much though his technique sucked. you're saying that a guy like that compared to a guy (me) who only recently picked up tennis again after a five year hiatus aren't on the same level? youve gotta be kidding me. maybe the league should have a rule that says if you play as a 2.5 that counts as "competitive experience" and they're forced to become 3.0s in the next season then?

regarding self-rating where you think youre gonna end up, ive never heard of that. correct me if im wrong. but from the people i know they self-rated at the level they think they were at presently. in league tennis i think im a 2.5. the other day my knees were wobbly from the nerves and pressure even though i can serve fine elsewhere.

3 of the 4 guys i have played in mixed doubles were 3.5 and two 3.0s. the last guy was a 2.5 that had been playing for a while. so i suggest you remove your black and white glasses and find some grey in your life.

10sfreak
02-17-2007, 09:13 AM
Cindy, why can't you just find enough like-minded 3.0 girls to form your own 3.5 ladies team? That way, you can still play in 3.0 ladies and compete well, and also have the experience of playing 3.5 tennis. Best of both worlds. Y'all may not do too well at the 3.5 level, but playing against those ladies will help you improve.

Cindysphinx
02-18-2007, 01:25 PM
Why don't I form a 3.5 team? Because I'm already captaining a 3.0 team. If I took on another team, my husband would divorce me!

Nah, I just want to dabble in 3.5, *preferably with a real 3.5 at my side.*

10sfreak
02-18-2007, 02:30 PM
Why don't I form a 3.5 team? Because I'm already captaining a 3.0 team. If I took on another team, my husband would divorce me!

Nah, I just want to dabble in 3.5, *preferably with a real 3.5 at my side.*

Yeah, I see what you're saying, but when some of the girls on my mixed-doubles team wanted to play at 3.5, and couldn't get on a team, they just created their own. Couldn't you get one of your teammates to captain it? Just a suggestion...

Maybe recruit a couple of 3.5s to play on your team...

cak
02-18-2007, 06:40 PM
Nah, I just want to dabble in 3.5, *preferably with a real 3.5 at my side.*

But don't you want to play 3.5 to improve? Why would you want to play with someone who could carry you? Wouldn't you prefer to play with someone as close to your level as possible so you would be both be played?

I'm a 3.5 captain with some 3.0 people on my team. They are playing up to improve, so I'm playing them with people who play about the same level as they do. (I'm not using level as NTRP, but who plays as good as they do, for some it is another 3.0, for some it's a 3.5.) Putting a good 3.5 with them wouldn't help their game, would annoy the 3.5, and wouldn't help the team. In general, I've found players play better as teams when they both feel they are the same level as their partner.

Cindysphinx
02-18-2007, 07:17 PM
Why would I want to play with a real 3.5 at my side?

Fear. Plain and simple. :)

Seriously, you make a good point. And the fact is, beggars can't be choosers. If I can get on any 3.5 team, I'll take whatever partner they have.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-18-2007, 08:15 PM
i think your prescriptions for an ideal tennis league are pretty lofty. take the last match i played. the guy was a 2.5, had been playing league tennis enough to have a pretty decent flat serve and i guess his second serve was good too since he didnt double fault once the entire three sets. he also didn't miss much though his technique sucked. you're saying that a guy like that compared to a guy (me) who only recently picked up tennis again after a five year hiatus aren't on the same level? youve gotta be kidding me. maybe the league should have a rule that says if you play as a 2.5 that counts as "competitive experience" and they're forced to become 3.0s in the next season then?

regarding self-rating where you think youre gonna end up, ive never heard of that. correct me if im wrong. but from the people i know they self-rated at the level they think they were at presently. in league tennis i think im a 2.5. the other day my knees were wobbly from the nerves and pressure even though i can serve fine elsewhere.

3 of the 4 guys i have played in mixed doubles were 3.5 and two 3.0s. the last guy was a 2.5 that had been playing for a while. so i suggest you remove your black and white glasses and find some grey in your life.

It's fairly obvious that you, your captain, and in fact many other players haven't bothered to read the form:

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_7372.pdf?12/6/2004%204:12:22%20PM

There's also a new presentation on the USTA website:

http://national.usta.com/leagues/HelpTutorials/Mentor_Terminal.aspx?screen=ab050000.html

Too many players like you and your captain justify that what they're doing is normal. It isn't.

The description is exactly what was intended for USTA tennis. Not the arms race that it has become.

Simply put, what has happened is that many competitive captains and players have decided to cheat their way to winning. Plain and simple. If you ask me, I would suspend most of the "competitive" captains and players because they aren't helping grow tennis, they're only trying to shrink it. Lucky for many poorly rated players, there are USTA committees of like-minded volunteers who want to win at all costs.

Even at the 4.0+ levels, we have competitive college and even Div.1 players coming in and self-rating as 3.5, 4.0, and even 4.5. They don't have injuries, aren't obese, and have remained physically fit. Yet they think they should self-rate at the lower levels because the captains and their teammates asked them to.

It is documented on the USTA website and several sections that you should self-rate based on the PDF, and also where you realistically expect to be. If you're a beginner to tennis but have experience in other sports (ie. an athlete), you're supposed to self-rate as a 3.0 because chances are you will improve to 3.5 sooner than later (and I've seen this personally, where an Olympic athlete self-rated himself 2.5, but after year end ratings were published, he was a 3.5 (because he really was)).

USTA say the majority of players don't cheat, but for some reason, the players that are ultra-competitive do cheat, and try to cheat the system at that. That's why you see most of the grievances filed against "competitive" teams because they were more than willing to push the limit of fair play.

And yes, LordManji, you are someone who should have self-rated at least a 3.0. Instead of thinking about your own game, why don't you go to some public park, find someone who has a $25 racquet that is trying to hit against the wall. That player who can not sustain a rally is a 2.5 player. Then try to teach that player a kick serve. And then ask yourself the question, was I truly a 2.5?

A computer rated 2.5 player is either a sandbagger, or someone who doesn't possess the skills to win enough games against a 3.0 to become a 3.0. The player you described is a sandbagger.

They used to have verifiers at Districts, Sectionals, and Nationals. There can only be so much improvement over time, and when players were out of that range, they would be removed from the court and their matches defaulted.

Some sections have been talking about "roving" verifiers, to go out and nail the competitive teams. I sure wish it was implemented, because then the amount of cheating occuring would go down.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-18-2007, 08:17 PM
Why would I want to play with a real 3.5 at my side?

Fear. Plain and simple. :)

Seriously, you make a good point. And the fact is, beggars can't be choosers. If I can get on any 3.5 team, I'll take whatever partner they have.


I have to agree with Cak.

Here's what I tell my HS students ...

If you want to improve, play with a weaker player.
If you want to get stronger, play with a weaker player or someone at the same level.

If you want to be lazy and not improve, partner yourself with the strongest possible player.

sue20852
02-21-2007, 08:22 AM
I have to agree with Cak.

Here's what I tell my HS students ...

If you want to improve, play with a weaker player.
If you want to get stronger, play with a weaker player or someone at the same level.

If you want to be lazy and not improve, partner yourself with the strongest possible player.

I would add:

If you want to win, play with a stronger player.

That has been my observation through match results analysis.

Sue

cak
02-21-2007, 12:24 PM
And, of course, if you want the team to win, put those weak players on the bench. A lineup with strong/weak players matched up (like a combo team) will not do as well as a lineup with the same level players playing together. I've actually found if you put two weaker players together they will often rise to the occasion and play together as a team, where as you put each of those weak players with a strong player and they will not play as well, trying to let their stronger partner take everything, and the teams will lose.

Earlier someone was blaming their loses on their higher rated partner hitting more errors. The problem is, you put a stronger player with a weaker player the stronger player will often find the weaker player isn't going for stuff they normally would, leaving it for their stronger partner. Then the stronger partner finds they have to be much more aggressive than normal to get points, and that means they will make more errors. The lower rated player will come off the court blaming the loss on the higher rated player, who "wasn't playing that well."

oldguysrule
02-21-2007, 12:35 PM
And, of course, if you want the team to win, put those weak players on the bench. A lineup with strong/weak players matched up (like a combo team) will not do as well as a lineup with the same level players playing together. I've actually found if you put two weaker players together they will often rise to the occasion and play together as a team, where as you put each of those weak players with a strong player and they will not play as well, trying to let their stronger partner take everything, and the teams will lose.

Earlier someone was blaming their loses on their higher rated partner hitting more errors. The problem is, you put a stronger player with a weaker player the stronger player will often find the weaker player isn't going for stuff they normally would, leaving it for their stronger partner. Then the stronger partner finds they have to be much more aggressive than normal to get points, and that means they will make more errors. The lower rated player will come off the court blaming the loss on the higher rated player, who "wasn't playing that well."

I like your insights on the mental side of tennis.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-22-2007, 03:51 PM
And, of course, if you want the team to win, put those weak players on the bench. A lineup with strong/weak players matched up (like a combo team) will not do as well as a lineup with the same level players playing together. I've actually found if you put two weaker players together they will often rise to the occasion and play together as a team, where as you put each of those weak players with a strong player and they will not play as well, trying to let their stronger partner take everything, and the teams will lose.

Earlier someone was blaming their loses on their higher rated partner hitting more errors. The problem is, you put a stronger player with a weaker player the stronger player will often find the weaker player isn't going for stuff they normally would, leaving it for their stronger partner. Then the stronger partner finds they have to be much more aggressive than normal to get points, and that means they will make more errors. The lower rated player will come off the court blaming the loss on the higher rated player, who "wasn't playing that well."

Well put ... I'm usually baffled when the weaker player blames the stronger player, when all (s)he did was alley camp (if they were on court at all).

Raiden.Kaminari
02-22-2007, 03:54 PM
I would add:

If you want to win, play with a stronger player.

That has been my observation through match results analysis.

Sue

True ... but it's hilarious when even the strong player can't win with a weak player. And then blames the strong player for the loss.

sue20852
02-23-2007, 03:50 AM
True ... but it's hilarious when even the strong player can't win with a weak player. And then blames the strong player for the loss.

Playing partner with a stronger player does not guarantee a sure win. It just increase the win's probability. The loss is not a bad loss, with 2 or 3 breaks. The win is likely by 2 or 3 breaks also. The match result looks better for the weaker player.

Sue

thehustler
02-23-2007, 06:36 PM
I started my first year at 3.5. I knew I was too athletic for 3.0 and I was quickly bumped to 4.0 after one year. I've been there for the last 3 years now. I've learned a lot, taken a few lumps, some steps forwards and backwards. Now I'm sprinting in the right direction. I haven't changed much this year in my game. I'm forcing myself to come to net more since I have the speed to get up there. I don't have the proper serve grip, or a couple other things technically correct, but I have fixed one major thing in my game that has helped more than any tennis tip I've ever read. I've improved my mental game. I tell myself that I am already a 4.5 player. I tell myself that I already have a kick serve, that my volleys are correct, that I focus better on the ball and that I do not worry anymore about any situation that I'm in. Result? I'm doing what I do, which is wear people down. I'm volleying better, my serves are way harder now than ever before and I'm so much more confident than ever. This is my first year of playing on a league, and I'm being told by everyone that I'm on my way to 4.5. I felt that way a little bit last year, but I really didn't believe it. Now I do.

To me the most important thing in tennis, or anything in life is believing in yourself. Tell yourself that you're already a 3.5 player. Tell yourself that you're awesome at net, that you already have certain skills, and I bet that in no time you'll be playing 3.5 tennis and will be bumped up by the end of the year. You really have to believe it though. You need to feel worth it and you will be doing just great. This way of thinking has totally changed my life and I know it will do the same for you or anybody else. Good luck.

Raiden.Kaminari
02-27-2007, 12:10 PM
I started my first year at 3.5. I knew I was too athletic for 3.0 and I was quickly bumped to 4.0 after one year. I've been there for the last 3 years now. I've learned a lot, taken a few lumps, some steps forwards and backwards. Now I'm sprinting in the right direction. I haven't changed much this year in my game. I'm forcing myself to come to net more since I have the speed to get up there. I don't have the proper serve grip, or a couple other things technically correct, but I have fixed one major thing in my game that has helped more than any tennis tip I've ever read. I've improved my mental game. I tell myself that I am already a 4.5 player. I tell myself that I already have a kick serve, that my volleys are correct, that I focus better on the ball and that I do not worry anymore about any situation that I'm in. Result? I'm doing what I do, which is wear people down. I'm volleying better, my serves are way harder now than ever before and I'm so much more confident than ever. This is my first year of playing on a league, and I'm being told by everyone that I'm on my way to 4.5. I felt that way a little bit last year, but I really didn't believe it. Now I do.

To me the most important thing in tennis, or anything in life is believing in yourself. Tell yourself that you're already a 3.5 player. Tell yourself that you're awesome at net, that you already have certain skills, and I bet that in no time you'll be playing 3.5 tennis and will be bumped up by the end of the year. You really have to believe it though. You need to feel worth it and you will be doing just great. This way of thinking has totally changed my life and I know it will do the same for you or anybody else. Good luck.

Excellent post. Someone who was honest and who is heading in the right direction :)

goober
02-27-2007, 03:36 PM
Cool I am going to start telling myself I am a 7.0 level player with Federer-like qualities :D

AndrewD
02-27-2007, 05:37 PM
Here's what I tell my HS students ...

If you want to improve, play with a weaker player.
If you want to get stronger, play with a weaker player or someone at the same level.

If you want to be lazy and not improve, partner yourself with the strongest possible player.

The key isn't who you play with, it's who you play against. You can learn a lot by playing with a stronger partner, it can force you to raise the level of your game and, sometimes, it just helps to see - up close- how a better player does things. However,it doesn't matter who you play with if your opposition isn't able to challenge you.

thehustler
02-27-2007, 10:30 PM
Cool I am going to start telling myself I am a 7.0 level player with Federer-like qualities :D

You seriously can do that if you honestly believe that is possible and that you are worth it and deserve it. Heck I'm switching jobs and going into real estate from working in computers. I tell myself that I'm already a great broker and that people will just want to work with me because of the kind of person I am. I'll have my license in a couple weeks when I pass the final test and whoever hires me will be glad they did. All those people out there looking to buy or sell will be even happier that they decided to go with me. Anything is possible as long as you truly believe.

sue20852
02-28-2007, 03:47 AM
The key isn't who you play with, it's who you play against. You can learn a lot by playing with a stronger partner, it can force you to raise the level of your game and, sometimes, it just helps to see - up close- how a better player does things. However,it doesn't matter who you play with if your opposition isn't able to challenge you.

You are absolutely correct. Playing against stronger players raises the level of your game, provided your partner is on the same page. My ideal match for improvement is: partner with a strong player and play against strong players.

Thanks.
Sue

sue20852
02-28-2007, 03:54 AM
You seriously can do that if you honestly believe that is possible and that you are worth it and deserve it. Heck I'm switching jobs and going into real estate from working in computers. I tell myself that I'm already a great broker and that people will just want to work with me because of the kind of person I am. I'll have my license in a couple weeks when I pass the final test and whoever hires me will be glad they did. All those people out there looking to buy or sell will be even happier that they decided to go with me. Anything is possible as long as you truly believe.

Many professionals after retirement are becoming real estate agents. I think it is probably difficult to switch from a real estate career to a computer career. Simple fact is: a real estate license is easier to acquire than a computer license. That said, I think self believe is a strong influence to achieve one's goal, but it is no guarantee.

My 2 cents.
Sue

Caswell
02-28-2007, 05:54 AM
I've just finished my first full year after a nine-year post-high school layoff. It's been humbling starting out of the bottom again, but I'm still having a blast.

Playing singles for our club's "weaker" 3.5 men's team, and usually the last line of mixed for our A2 team (local league, with A2 division being mostly 4.0's).

High hopes for this season in 3.5's. Definately won't go to regionals - that's for our club's stronger 3.5 team - but I just hope to win my matches in convincing fashion and get my computer rating bumped up from 3.0 so that next year I can play on the stronger team (and maybe the weaker 4.0 team).

In the past few months I've made a big jump with my footwork, and everything has improved dramatically. Had a big win last night in mixed with another quickly improving player, beating a couple of 4.0's 6-4, 6-4. Our previous match was a drubbing of a couple of 3.5's with a 6-2, 6-1 win.

beernutz
02-28-2007, 08:49 AM
Many professionals after retirement are becoming real estate agents. I think it is probably difficult to switch from a real estate career to a computer career. Simple fact is: a real estate license is easier to acquire than a computer license. That said, I think self believe is a strong influence to achieve one's goal, but it is no guarantee.

My 2 cents.
Sue

We don't license computer professionals here. We just bag 'em and tag 'em with homing devices. Sort of a catch and release program.

Raiden.Kaminari
03-01-2007, 12:05 PM
The key isn't who you play with, it's who you play against. You can learn a lot by playing with a stronger partner, it can force you to raise the level of your game and, sometimes, it just helps to see - up close- how a better player does things. However,it doesn't matter who you play with if your opposition isn't able to challenge you.

You are absolutely correct. Playing against stronger players raises the level of your game, provided your partner is on the same page. My ideal match for improvement is: partner with a strong player and play against strong players.

Thanks.
Sue

There is a flaw in that logic.

If everyone followed that logic, then why would a higher level NTRP player practice/play against a lower NTRP player?

If it was true, then who does Federer practice against? You just have to go back and look at who Agassi, and top pros used to practice with, and you will find they practiced with just about anyone, usually less than 500 in ranking.

Also, as a strong player, I don't mind partnering with weak players. However, weak players think they are getting better when usually they are watching me play singles (until I stop trying to cover them and tell them to play doubles, and not watch me play singles).

J011yroger
03-01-2007, 02:06 PM
Everyone says you get better by playing stronger players, but if you only play against stronger players, you never learn to dictate play, and never learn to dominate weaker players. When you play stronger players, you are usually on the defensive, when you play weaker players you are usually on the offensive. You need to play both, the trick is that when you play weaker players, you cannot play down to their level, you cannot make it close. You have to dominate them, to try to win every point.

I tell my students you want to play 25% weaker than you, 50% at or about your level and 25% better players. Honestly you want a tournament playing junior winning about 2/3 of his matches, so you could adjust that down just a lil.

J

Cindysphinx
03-01-2007, 04:39 PM
So . . . if I'm a 3.0, I should play a few matches of 5.5 combo, just to practice dictating play?

Could I be offered the choice to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon instead?

10sfreak
03-01-2007, 04:46 PM
So . . . if I'm a 3.0, I should play a few matches of 5.5 combo, just to practice dictating play?

Could I be offered the choice to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon instead?

Cindy, if you're a pretty decent 3.0, DO NOT PLAY IN 5.5 COMBO!!!!! Aarrgghh! It'll drive you nuts! I think you'd be better off finding a 6.5 team, rather than playing in 5.5 combo. Just my opinion...

J011yroger
03-01-2007, 04:51 PM
No, but if you want to work harder at becoming a singles player, you should play some 2.5s.

Cindy, what I am mostly talking about is competitive players, if you want to get better play tournaments, leagues, whatever.

I am not talking about fun. I personally love hitting against big pace, and topspin, I would love to play a 5.5 former sat/future player, or highly ranked 18s open or 35s player. That is what I live for.

I don't like playing, pushers, junkballers, moonballers, no pacers, S&V players, lesser players, unorthodox players. But I do, to get better, to expose my weaknesses, to shore up my game, to make sure that when I run into one of the above players, I can beat them in a tournament.

If you just play against people whom you enjoy playing against, you become like the guy who goes to the gym and only does bench presses and bicep curls, and has spindly little legs.

The problem is when people play lesser players, and sink to their level, play at their speed, or react to their actions. If you and another 3.0 player played against 2 2.5 players, once a week, with it made known to your partner, that the only reason you are playing these guys is for you to totally destroy them, 6-0 6-0 and try to win every point by any measure, I think you would be pretty impressed with how you played when you returned to play against your equals.

Then again, if I was so smart, I would be on the tour right?

J

Raiden.Kaminari
03-01-2007, 06:01 PM
LOL ... jo11yroger. I like your last comment.

Cindysphinx ... I hate to say this since I don't know you, but you're like many of the club players who keep asking me to give lessons (but whom I don't waste time giving lessons to).

Even when I was a 5.5, I didn't mind hitting against lower NTRP players. Of course, the lower NTRP players would brag they were able to keep up with me. Until they actually challenged me to pizza; let's just say I put on a lot of weight after I went to college.

jo11yroger said it exactly. You need to dominate the lower NTRP players. If you play / practice against higher NTRP players, you will develop bad habits because you are defensive. This in turn, limits your ability to grow.

I still practice regularly against the slower and medium paced players, and work on shots that I still need to develop (or can no longer hit). Of course, now that I'm older and slower, I am no longer improving as fast compared to when I was younger, but I still need to hit with the lower NTRP.

sue20852
03-02-2007, 08:15 AM
There is a flaw in that logic.

If everyone followed that logic, then why would a higher level NTRP player practice/play against a lower NTRP player?

If it was true, then who does Federer practice against? You just have to go back and look at who Agassi, and top pros used to practice with, and you will find they practiced with just about anyone, usually less than 500 in ranking.

Also, as a strong player, I don't mind partnering with weak players. However, weak players think they are getting better when usually they are watching me play singles (until I stop trying to cover them and tell them to play doubles, and not watch me play singles).

My observation is not for everyone to follow, of course. I think it is one of many ways to improve my game. Mentally I am more challenged and thus perform better. I do play with and against "below-me" players for specific improvements, and I play with any player for the joy of playing.

I am glad you don't mind partnering with weaker players. I find that sentiment in many stronger players.

Sue

tennis-n-sc
03-02-2007, 08:37 AM
My observation is not for everyone to follow, of course. I think it is one of many ways to improve my game. Mentally I am more challenged and thus perform better. I do play with and against "below-me" players for specific improvements, and I play with any player for the joy of playing.

I am glad you don't mind partnering with weaker players. I find that sentiment in many stronger players.

Sue

Actually, around here, higher level players would not like to be caught dead on court with a lower rated player. It is amusing because they all want to play "up" with guys rated higher than themselves but will not play with a player lower rated, even socially.

Sakkijarvi
03-02-2007, 12:58 PM
I've been playing in two club singles leagues and find a mix of players, from top to bottom...and enjoy the variety. There are two guys in my current league I haven't beaten yet, two that I've been beaten by but usually beat now, and others I know I'll beat every time, only a question of how much sweat I'll have to expend.

Nursing a calf injury right now, I'm glad to have a beatable baseliner to play Monday night. When I suffered the injury I was up 5-0 in the first set and had to settle in and let my opponent continue what he was doing: tanking and beating himself. It ended up 6-2. Second set, again, avoided limping, went up 5-0, and held on 6-2. If the guy had picked up on my injury he may have gathered himself and rallied....but his mental game has been shot lately and he and I are both playing 'him'.

I've played up against 5.0 and 4.5 players and enjoy the opportunity. But I'm currently a 3.75...playing in a 3.5 league and winning 2/3rds of my matches, currently 5-2 on this season. Playing up has helped me move my game forward by exposing weaknesses, but to date the work I've put in and the time spent doing that has helped me at MY LEVEL...it takes a lot of work to go up a '.5' in this sport.

Sakki

AP328
08-06-2007, 03:30 PM
Both the twist and the topspin are kick serves. Some now believe the topspin serve and the twist serve are the same, but they are slightly different.

A slice kick would be a topspin kick serve with a slice.
A topspin kick serve would be a serve that kicks straight from the point of contact.
A twist kick would be a topsin kick serve with a counter-intuitive spin (ie. spins opposite of a slice).

so if I, a right-handed player, serving from the ad court, hit a serve that spins towards the side line, that would be a "twist" serve. It's almost like a screwball in baseball.

AP328
08-08-2007, 08:38 AM
LOL ... jo11yroger. I like your last comment.

jo11yroger said it exactly. You need to dominate the lower NTRP players. If you play / practice against higher NTRP players, you will develop bad habits because you are defensive. This in turn, limits your ability to grow.

Ok, you lost me a little bit there. (did not read all previous posts, so it could be in there)

I thought you improve by playing better players. How dominating do you have to be before you seek out better players to raise your level of play?

lostinamerica
08-08-2007, 08:49 AM
so if I, a right-handed player, serving from the ad court, hit a serve that spins towards the side line, that would be a "twist" serve. It's almost like a screwball in baseball.

A twist serve is not like a screwball. The serve is avariation of the topspin serve. It arcs over the net like a topspin serve while curving like a slice. When it bounces it bounces sharply the opposite direction it was curving and up. It usually travels somewhat slower than a slice/flat serve.

A screwball is like a slice only spinning the opposite direction.

AP328
08-08-2007, 03:36 PM
A twist serve is not like a screwball. The serve is avariation of the topspin serve. It arcs over the net like a topspin serve while curving like a slice. When it bounces it bounces sharply the opposite direction it was curving and up. It usually travels somewhat slower than a slice/flat serve.

A screwball is like a slice only spinning the opposite direction.

Hmmm..ok...but why would it travel slower than a slice? Slower than a flat serve makes sense, but I would think a slice kick & twist kick would be pretty close in speed.

A screwball may or may not break downwards when thrown. If it does, then it most likely has more of a topspin rotation, in addition to the sideways rotations.

J011yroger
08-08-2007, 05:12 PM
Ok, you lost me a little bit there. (did not read all previous posts, so it could be in there)

I thought you improve by playing better players. How dominating do you have to be before you seek out better players to raise your level of play?

You need to play 25% people worse than you, 25% better than you, and 50% approx your level.

If you only play people who are better than you, you never develop the mental toughness you need in close matches with people of your level, and you never develop the ability to dictate play against lesser players.

And when I talk about playing better or worse players, it should never be so lopsided that one person is struggling to win points. A 3.0 playing practice sets against a 5.0 isn't gonna help anyone.

J

counterpunchingrules
08-08-2007, 05:17 PM
4.5 here Arkansas after 8 seasons in Texas. There seems to be a stigma here once you hit 4.0 you do not want to get bumped to 4.5, so most 4.5's will sit 3 years or play down to get back to 4.0. Very disappointing. In Texas it was the same except nobody wanted to get above 4.5, which explains the large number of sandbaggers.

same thing in arizona

AP328
08-08-2007, 07:54 PM
You need to play 25% people worse than you, 25% better than you, and 50% approx your level.

If you only play people who are better than you, you never develop the mental toughness you need in close matches with people of your level, and you never develop the ability to dictate play against lesser players.

And when I talk about playing better or worse players, it should never be so lopsided that one person is struggling to win points. A 3.0 playing practice sets against a 5.0 isn't gonna help anyone.

J

J-

Thanks...that makes sense. If I play both singles and doubles, does that make a difference? I mean, I won the majority of my doubles matches, but I played mostly 3rd doubles. Some of them had strong records, others did not.

W/L: 10-2; 3rd Set matches: 4-2

J011yroger
08-08-2007, 09:04 PM
J-

Thanks...that makes sense. If I play both singles and doubles, does that make a difference? I mean, I won the majority of my doubles matches, but I played mostly 3rd doubles. Some of them had strong records, others did not.

W/L: 10-2; 3rd Set matches: 4-2

Nah, it is the same for singles and dubs.

J

AP328
08-09-2007, 07:00 AM
I'm not sure where I'm going with this exactly, but since I don't have a sports psychologist I'll raise the issue here. :)

I'm a 3.0. This will be my second season at 3.0. Based on last season's results, the computer believes I stink. I lost all of my matches in Spring 2006. I've taken a boat-load of lessons, changed to a control racquet, played a lot and practice a lot, so I'm better now.

I think it would take a miracle for me to win so convincingly at 3.0 this year that I make it to 3.5. My mixed results and combo results are better than my on-level results, but those won't help me. So I have at least one, probably two, seasons ahead of me at 3.0.

The trouble is I'm starting not to like 3.0 play. It's not that my partners make errors, or we don't win. I make errors, and we win often enough. And my teammates are great ladies and friends.

It is the style of play at 3.0 that is making me want to pull my hair out. The endless one-up, one-back. The pushing. The flat-out refusal to come to net. The camping in no-man's land. The poo-poohing of doubles strategy.

I did a drill class a few weeks back, and I was put on a court where I was the weakest or maybe second-weakest player. My 3.5 partner that day was a tennis goddess. We talked about what we would do on each point. She loved to come in. She encouraged me to come in, even if I missed. She totally understood strategy. I had so much fun!

What to do? I'm going to try to get on a 3.5 team, but I'll have to try out, and it's very hard to get on a 3.5 team as a 3.0 unless you're pals with someone. I was thinking of playing singles on the the theory that might be a faster route to 3.5, but it won't be if I lose.

So. For the folks at the lower levels (or folks who were once at lower levels), did you ever feel like this? How long did it take you to move up a level, and what helped? Is 3.5 "the promised land?" Or is this likely a case of "be careful what you wish for" because I'd be unhappy at 3.5 too?

Cindy,

I completely understand where you are coming from. I also just completed my second season as a 3.0. I did ok in 2006, went 4-2 (1-1 in singles). I took several group lessons and felt like I was improving. Then I moved out of VA :-(

I have been very fortunate to play a LOT of tennis since then. We had a strong season and I went 10-2 (2-0 in singles). However, I played mostly 3rd doubles (8/10). Without spending hours on Tennislink (though I'm on my way), it's hard to know how good my opponents were according to the computer. Most were ok, the two singles players were not.

Here are my observations on 3.0/3.5 play...

1) First and foremost, because 3.0 is the next step up from beginner, the differences within the level are more pronounced. Since many are working on developing their strokes & style, you won't see as much work on strategy. As you move to the top of the level, you should see more people willing to work with you on a more aggressive net approach.

2) The NTRP computer...don't try to figure out when it "thinks" it should move players up or down. I am convinced it was set-up by the same guy who invented the college BCS!! (Before I start getting responses...yes, I understand the NTRP algorithm and how it is supposed to work.)

3) 3.0 play - Fitness and mobility are limiting factors in the reaction. A significant number of players in our 3.0 are 50+. Some are impressive and I hope to be so fortunate over time. (I won two matches in the playoffs with a partner who's 72) However, other players can become limited to playing mostly push & lob. It can be frustrating, but you have to find a way to keep playing your game. Additionally, many 3.0 players have no intention of moving up. So they will play the same style forever. I see that a lot in doubles. They may not be able to move, but if you hit it anywhere near their racket, they can volley it back.

4) 3.5 play - Like others have said, there are still pushers up there too. I also thought I would want to play 3.5 next season, but I'm not sure. Since I played mostly 3rd doubles, I don't know how I would fair against the best players at the 3.0 level. (Yes, I realize teams don't always field team in order of strength, but most 3rd doubles players aren't the strongest)
I don't think 3.5 is the "promised land", but overall, it should be more consistent.

5) I would try to find a partner who is willing to play the style you want and just focus on that. Surely, you can find someone willing to strategize with you. Also, maybe you can play some tournaments with that 3.5 player from your lesson. It would give you a look at the next level.

Anyway, that's my rambling observation.

P.S. There was a women's 3.0 singles match during the playoffs...I watched some of it before I played. They played 3 1/2 hours...only two sets!! They just hit back and forth to each other and neither of them moved. Everyone was talking about it.

Cindysphinx
08-17-2007, 10:28 AM
AP328, thanks for bumping this up. It was interesting to read what I wrote way back when and contrast that with my experiences this season.

The upshot is I still haven't found The Perfect Partner For Me, but that's OK. I played court one mostly at 3.0, and I got plenty of challenge. I also played 3.5, and the air was awfully thin up there, if you know what I mean.

So I'm happy to stay at 3.0 one more year and work on putting some of my newly accquired skills into practice, while continuing to dabble in 3.5.

As far as partners go . . . some day my prince(ess) will come, as they say. :)

AP328
08-17-2007, 02:59 PM
AP328, thanks for bumping this up. It was interesting to read what I wrote way back when and contrast that with my experiences this season.

The upshot is I still haven't found The Perfect Partner For Me, but that's OK. I played court one mostly at 3.0, and I got plenty of challenge. I also played 3.5, and the air was awfully thin up there, if you know what I mean.

So I'm happy to stay at 3.0 one more year and work on putting some of my newly accquired skills into practice, while continuing to dabble in 3.5.

As far as partners go . . . some day my prince(ess) will come, as they say. :)

No problem...early start ratings come out Monday, so I'm hoping for another year at 3.0 also. I may join a 3.5 team too so I don't get stuck without a team in January should I get bumped at the year of the year.

Eviscerator
08-17-2007, 03:50 PM
I have not read the responses so I have no idea if this advice has already been given. Just because you have a 3.0 rating, it does not prevent you from playing up at 3.5, and I would encourage you to do so. The rating only prevents you from playing down, so moving up will help in 2 ways. First the competition will improve (i.e. the style will suit you better), and winning a few matches at the 3.5 level will probably move you up to that level.
However, keep in mind that many people do not play doubles properly at the lower levels, including women's 3.5-4.0 in so far as both players taking over the net. I've even seen some 4.5's that play one up and one back, so it is important for you to find a partner who likes to come to net, regardless of what level you wind up at.

New Kid On the Block
08-20-2007, 08:41 PM
Life is good at 3.5, who knows maybe i will be bumped up.