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pmacino
01-05-2009, 01:59 PM
My apologies if this is a little long; But; I would love to get some viewpoints.

Background...

I'm a recreational player who is looking to join a USTA team this year for league play. I have not self-rated yet, but need to do so very soon as teams are locking. My wife was a collegiate scholarship player and I hit with her regularly, but never really "tried" at tennis, as it was "her thing". In the past I have always been a successful multi-sport athlete. I'm in my early 30's and in good physical shape...4-5 serious workouts a week focusing on performance/intervaln intensity training.

I've been playing tennis more seriously since this last fall. By serious I mean really studying the game, it's fundementals, and I am willing to be coached. I currently take weekly 1:1 lessons from a pretty solid club pro, plus at the same time I took small group lessons through our Parks and Rec.

For the class through the parks and rec. I was conservative and not trying to be something I'm not (overrate), I signed up for a beginners' class and was told by the instructor to head to the intermediate group for the next 7 week session after hitting with them twice. Intermediate classes are geared for 3.0. I ended up finishing through the beginners' class since I had paid for it and since the other class was full. By the end of the 7 weeks I was ready to move on. If I went to the intermediate class, I don't know how I would fit in with the others...The next class starts in February.

The club pro that I have coach me weekly 1:1, has moved on from stroke mechanics with me as the main focus and is now working with me on footwork, recovery, and game-play strategy. Serves are becoming solid, groundstrokes and volleys are improving each time I hit. I can hit with spin and pace. My biggest challenges are my backhand consistency and mental preparation/experience.

So, what started out as an effort to have more parity with my wife led to my competitive side taking over and changing gears. I started looking at playing in USTA teams a couple of weeks ago. The USTA teams in my area (Seattle Metro) are very competitive. One team won the 4.0 nationals last year, etc...and they hold conditioning twice a week on top of hitting, even for the 3.0 team...you get the picture.

Last night I hit with one of the teams and had no problems hanging with the 3.0s, but since I'm new, came to the practices a couple of weeks late, and they have returning experienced 3.0 players, I'm not on the top of the priority list for singles; which I'd prefer. If I elect to play. 3.0 doubles...no issue, I have a spot. Fundementally, I would not consider attempting to play 3.5 having never played seriously.

I'm hitting again on Friday w/another group (team that won nationals) in the area and imagine I'd be looking at the same scenario.

So the question is...

Having a little background on me (Lower Competitive Experience with Tennis/High Potential/High Commitment). Should I take a lower spot (2.5) to play singles, get my feet wet, and look to play up with fun as the motivation? Or should I stick to 3.0 and play doubles even though it isn't my first choice? Or am I being cavallier for that matter?

I realize that 3.0 isn't that high of a bar considering some of the players here...I'm not a Prima Donna and am looking for insight for the best long term path. I am asking this as a recreational player turning competitive. I have no expectations that I need to be a 4.0 my first year of playing competitively. I figure I need to start somewhere, where that somewhere is, is what I'm looking for. :)

Thanks,

Phil

blakesq
01-05-2009, 02:14 PM
ASk your club pro or your wife what your proper "rating" is, and start there, they should have a very good idea of where you are at (especially the club pro). Playing at 2.5 sounds like its going to be too easy/boring for you.


My apologies if this is a little long; But; I would love to get some viewpoints.

Background...

I'm a recreational player who is looking to join a USTA team this year for league play. I have not self-rated yet, but need to do so very soon as teams are locking. My wife was a collegiate scholarship player and I hit with her regularly, but never really "tried" at tennis, as it was "her thing". In the past I have always been a successful multi-sport athlete. I'm in my early 30's and in good physical shape...4-5 serious workouts a week focusing on performance/intervaln intensity training.

I've been playing tennis more seriously since this last fall. By serious I mean really studying the game, it's fundementals, and I am willing to be coached. I currently take weekly 1:1 lessons from a pretty solid club pro, plus at the same time I took small group lessons through our Parks and Rec.

For the class through the parks and rec. I was conservative and not trying to be something I'm not (overrate), I signed up for a beginners' class and was told by the instructor to head to the intermediate group for the next 7 week session after hitting with them twice. Intermediate classes are geared for 3.0. I ended up finishing through the beginners' class since I had paid for it and since the other class was full. By the end of the 7 weeks I was ready to move on. If I went to the intermediate class, I don't know how I would fit in with the others...The next class starts in February.

The club pro that I have coach me weekly 1:1, has moved on from stroke mechanics with me as the main focus and is now working with me on footwork, recovery, and game-play strategy. Serves are becoming solid, groundstrokes and volleys are improving each time I hit. I can hit with spin and pace. My biggest challenges are my backhand consistency and mental preparation/experience.

So, what started out as an effort to have more parity with my wife led to my competitive side taking over and changing gears. I started looking at playing in USTA teams a couple of weeks ago. The USTA teams in my area (Seattle Metro) are very competitive. One team won the 4.0 nationals last year, etc...and they hold conditioning twice a week on top of hitting, even for the 3.0 team...you get the picture.

Last night I hit with one of the teams and had no problems hanging with the 3.0s, but since I'm new, came to the practices a couple of weeks late, and they have returning experienced 3.0 players, I'm not on the top of the priority list for singles; which I'd prefer. If I elect to play. 3.0 doubles...no issue, I have a spot. Fundementally, I would not consider attempting to play 3.5 having never played seriously.

I'm hitting again on Friday w/another group (team that won nationals) in the area and imagine I'd be looking at the same scenario.

So the question is...

Having a little background on me (Lower Competitive Experience with Tennis/High Potential/High Commitment). Should I take a lower spot (2.5) to play singles, get my feet wet, and look to play up with fun as the motivation? Or should I stick to 3.0 and play doubles even though it isn't my first choice? Or am I being cavallier for that matter?

I realize that 3.0 isn't that high of a bar considering some of the players here...I'm not a Prima Donna and am looking for insight for the best long term path. I am asking this as a recreational player turning competitive. I have no expectations that I need to be a 4.0 my first year of playing competitively. I figure I need to start somewhere, where that somewhere is, is what I'm looking for. :)

Thanks,

Phil

rallyjunkie
01-05-2009, 02:25 PM
If the captain thinks you could win more matches than the current starters at singles you will get your chance.

Probably stay at 3.0, learn what you can, try to play practice tiebreaks or 21s with the singles guys and guage where you stand.

Maybe since you need experience of playing real matches you should play on both teams. If it's possible.

kylebarendrick
01-05-2009, 02:47 PM
The self-rating guidelines make it clear that if you are a strong athlete in other sports then you should not rate below 3.0. That sounds like the position you are in.

Play on the 3.0 team. If you can beat the other singles players, then you'll end up playing some singles. If not, then a season of experience playing 3.0 doubles is reasonable.

Cruzer
01-05-2009, 03:11 PM
My wife was a collegiate scholarship player and I hit with her regularly, but never really "tried" at tennis, as it was "her thing".

If your wife was college tennis player then she is likely at least 4.0 and probably higher. Play a few competitive games, tiebreaks or even sets if you can against her and see how you do. One rule of thumb I have seen is that women can be competitive against a man that is one level below them in USTA rating parlance.

JavierLW
01-05-2009, 06:02 PM
My apologies if this is a little long; But; I would love to get some viewpoints.

Background...

I'm a recreational player who is looking to join a USTA team this year for league play. I have not self-rated yet, but need to do so very soon as teams are locking. My wife was a collegiate scholarship player and I hit with her regularly, but never really "tried" at tennis, as it was "her thing". In the past I have always been a successful multi-sport athlete. I'm in my early 30's and in good physical shape...4-5 serious workouts a week focusing on performance/intervaln intensity training.

I've been playing tennis more seriously since this last fall. By serious I mean really studying the game, it's fundementals, and I am willing to be coached. I currently take weekly 1:1 lessons from a pretty solid club pro, plus at the same time I took small group lessons through our Parks and Rec.

For the class through the parks and rec. I was conservative and not trying to be something I'm not (overrate), I signed up for a beginners' class and was told by the instructor to head to the intermediate group for the next 7 week session after hitting with them twice. Intermediate classes are geared for 3.0. I ended up finishing through the beginners' class since I had paid for it and since the other class was full. By the end of the 7 weeks I was ready to move on. If I went to the intermediate class, I don't know how I would fit in with the others...The next class starts in February.

The club pro that I have coach me weekly 1:1, has moved on from stroke mechanics with me as the main focus and is now working with me on footwork, recovery, and game-play strategy. Serves are becoming solid, groundstrokes and volleys are improving each time I hit. I can hit with spin and pace. My biggest challenges are my backhand consistency and mental preparation/experience.

So, what started out as an effort to have more parity with my wife led to my competitive side taking over and changing gears. I started looking at playing in USTA teams a couple of weeks ago. The USTA teams in my area (Seattle Metro) are very competitive. One team won the 4.0 nationals last year, etc...and they hold conditioning twice a week on top of hitting, even for the 3.0 team...you get the picture.

Last night I hit with one of the teams and had no problems hanging with the 3.0s, but since I'm new, came to the practices a couple of weeks late, and they have returning experienced 3.0 players, I'm not on the top of the priority list for singles; which I'd prefer. If I elect to play. 3.0 doubles...no issue, I have a spot. Fundementally, I would not consider attempting to play 3.5 having never played seriously.

I'm hitting again on Friday w/another group (team that won nationals) in the area and imagine I'd be looking at the same scenario.

So the question is...

Having a little background on me (Lower Competitive Experience with Tennis/High Potential/High Commitment). Should I take a lower spot (2.5) to play singles, get my feet wet, and look to play up with fun as the motivation? Or should I stick to 3.0 and play doubles even though it isn't my first choice? Or am I being cavallier for that matter?

I realize that 3.0 isn't that high of a bar considering some of the players here...I'm not a Prima Donna and am looking for insight for the best long term path. I am asking this as a recreational player turning competitive. I have no expectations that I need to be a 4.0 my first year of playing competitively. I figure I need to start somewhere, where that somewhere is, is what I'm looking for. :)

Thanks,

Phil

If the format of that league is the similar 2S / 3D format, you just have to consider that on any team only 2 people get to play singles every week.

Even if you are good, you may sometimes be called to play doubles. I suppose it depends on what the goal of the team is but any team that is going to Nationals probably has a "team first" attitude about it.

Which means that it's members are there to do what's best for the team, not just what is in the best interest for them.

In that regards unless you find a team that doesn't have this philosophy (just a random assortment of players who just show up to play tennis and dont care about how the team does), this separates League tennis from other match formats. (tournaments, ladders, etc...)

I think it's a little much to expect them to buy you over as far as playing singles, but Im sure you dont expect that either.

But I think your best play is just to play on the 3.0 team, contribute the best you can for the team and maybe along the way you can demonstrate that you have some value to the team (not just that you want to...) at singles as well.

If that's not acceptable then either find a team that doesnt care, is desperate for singles players (not always possible because like you there is an overabundance of player who only "prefer" to play singles and not a whole lot of singles spots out there). Or play tournaments. (if you do awesome in a tournament that features a lot of top players that is a good way to get noticed by team captains)

I think playing 2.5 is a joke. It's not worth the singles experience. Maybe you dont have a lot of actual match experience (and I know a lot of guys who are very well trained coming out and I will admit skillwise they are better then me, but they lack match experience at first), but 2.5 is probably so easy that you may not learn anything anyway.

You can play your own teammates in 3.0 outside the confines of the league match to gain some expereince and it would be more worth it probably.

pmacino
01-05-2009, 06:40 PM
Hey all,

Thanks there is some good thoughts here and I appreciate it.

From a couple of different views and for different reasons it looks like I should do the 3.0 team learn/progress through it. That is what my gut was telling me, but with being locked into a rating, I wanted some unbiased opinions on the matter.

I'll double check with my coach tomorrow and get his input too. I'm sure it won't differ much in logic from what you have suggested.

Like I said I'm not a Prima Donna and have played team sports in the past and your guidance makes total sense to me. The teams I'm checking out are all about team first.

Thanks,

Phil

JavierLW
01-05-2009, 07:22 PM
Hey all,

Thanks there is some good thoughts here and I appreciate it.

From a couple of different views and for different reasons it looks like I should do the 3.0 team learn/progress through it. That is what my gut was telling me, but with being locked into a rating, I wanted some unbiased opinions on the matter.

I'll double check with my coach tomorrow and get his input too. I'm sure it won't differ much in logic from what you have suggested.

Like I said I'm not a Prima Donna and have played team sports in the past and your guidance makes total sense to me. The teams I'm checking out are all about team first.

Thanks,

Phil

That's cool, hopefully you didnt take my post personally.

I think it's common that a lot of new players are in the same boat that you are in and it's sometimes hard to see the dynamics of it since tennis is not really a "team" sport per say (it's not once you get on the court anyway, it just is when you start talking about captains making lineups and players dealing with them and such....).

I know of a lot of situations where Ive been on teams and we had someone who was obviously doing well at doubles and one week we were missing people so we had to stick them at singles. If they were dominate and it was clear that they rarely lost, they sometimes rarely played doubles again.

Ive had other situations where I even put my best player at doubles most of the time because sometimes it made more sense at the time. (we had two singles players who werent really that far off from him at singles, but he was WAY more valuable then they were at doubles and I wanted all 3 of them on the court)

pmacino
01-05-2009, 09:26 PM
That's cool, hopefully you didnt take my post personally.

I think it's common that a lot of new players are in the same boat that you are in and it's sometimes hard to see the dynamics of it since tennis is not really a "team" sport per say (it's not once you get on the court anyway, it just is when you start talking about captains making lineups and players dealing with them and such....).

I know of a lot of situations where Ive been on teams and we had someone who was obviously doing well at doubles and one week we were missing people so we had to stick them at singles. If they were dominate and it was clear that they rarely lost, they sometimes rarely played doubles again.

Ive had other situations where I even put my best player at doubles most of the time because sometimes it made more sense at the time. (we had two singles players who werent really that far off from him at singles, but he was WAY more valuable then they were at doubles and I wanted all 3 of them on the court)

Not at all. I appreciate the perspective. Right now, I'm all about playing. I figure this year will be about building and learning. I'm good with that. :)

pmacino
01-06-2009, 10:05 AM
Just an update after hitting with my coach today...

He suggested I play 3.0. He was concerned that I wouldn't be happy playing 2.5 for the sake of potentially playing singles and that I should continue to strech myself.

Thanks again for your input.

goober
01-06-2009, 10:10 AM
Just an update after hitting with my coach today...

He suggested I play 3.0. He was concerned that I wouldn't be happy playing 2.5 for the sake of potentially playing singles and that I should continue to strech myself.

Thanks again for your input.

Good choice. Given your background you would have been bored with 2.5 real quick. I think you will probably get bored with 3.0 in 6-12 months if you start taking tennis seriously

pmacino
01-06-2009, 10:27 AM
Good choice. Given your background you would have been bored with 2.5 real quick. I think you will probably get bored with 3.0 in 6-12 months if you start taking tennis seriously

Perfect, that should give me a full season to play around. :)

Storm_Kyori
01-06-2009, 12:14 PM
I've also been comtemplating playing .5 up and joining 3.5 men's in my area. I hit with with both. The player run team I'm on has players 3.0-4.5 so there's a bit of everything. I can hang with the 3.5 during rallies, but my consistency on serve is what kills me in singles, dubs I enjoy and find that I can rely on my partner if my serve isn't doing so well. I decided to stay at 3.0 for a few reasons mainly, I want to pretty much dominate that level. I would like to win most of my matches and have played the guys at 3.0 level around here and beaten them at least a few times before moving up.

AS for your wanted input 2.5 usually they get bumped anyway or are 3.0's that are rusty or need a few matches to get back in the groove. 2.5 will be bit slower and once you star getting better you'll want to hit with more challenging players, so try 3.0. Your game won't suffer from playing at that level, I'm will only get better.

beernutz
01-06-2009, 12:49 PM
Based on what you wrote about yourself, I think you should play 3.0. I know very few 3.0s here (or 3.5s for that matter) who take weekly 1 on 1 lessons from a pro. Combine that with having a former college-level tennis playing spouse and your athletic background and I don't think you'd be happy below 3.0 even if you were winning. I would be surprised if you don't play up or get bumped up to 3.5 very soon anyway if you keep doing what you are doing. </$.02>

pmacino
02-21-2009, 09:40 AM
Just a quick follow-up. I wanted to say thanks to everyone, I did end up going 3.0 for the season and know it was the right move. We had our first match last week and have our second tomorrow.

Even though my doubles partner and I lost our first match, there were a lot of positives and I gained a lot on confidence for it being my first match. I even held serve one game "game-5" with 4 aces...so, that helped me mentally! I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's match.

Just for fun I put together a little video of my backhand from my 1:1 practice the other day. My footwork is a little sloppy and slow, but it was my ninth hour of tennis (3rd session) in a 48 hour period. I was starting to feel quite fatigued. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip8EghyBA8o

mixertefera
02-21-2009, 10:17 AM
interesting back hand looks like you are going to hit it 2h and pop it's one looks OK kind of funny form but as long as it works