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View Full Version : Longer rallies in higher ratings?


gordo
01-19-2009, 08:03 AM
I was playing a match yesterday (both 3.0-3.5 players). I noticed that we didn't have very many rallies that were more than 2 or 3 hits each. Is there any correlation between length of rally and player ratings? I guess I am assuming that as your rating goes up your number of errors goes down but do the number of errors ever decrease enough to get rallies that go for longer?

william7gr
01-19-2009, 10:45 AM
I would think so because the better a player is rated the more consistent he/she is.

gordo
01-19-2009, 10:51 AM
Can anyone else comment based on personal experience?

Okazaki Fragment
01-19-2009, 11:24 AM
In general, yes.

However, it's highly variable. 3.5 pushers playing each other would have much longer rallies than a net rushing 4.5. Hell, 3.5 pushers often have longer rallies than the pros.

gordo
01-19-2009, 12:59 PM
How long are average rallies for say 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 etc.?

Jim A
01-19-2009, 02:03 PM
I find 2-3 shots for a 3.0 and typically more like 5-6 when playing a good 3.5, takes longer to create a point and the unforced errors drop down..

raiden031
01-19-2009, 03:05 PM
I don't think the level equates to longer rallies. I don't see too many particularly long rallies at the pro level (at least on the men's side).

I think at the higher levels the # of aces goes up, the # of winners goes up, and the # of forced errors goes up because these require more skill. While these players are also more consistent, they are able to negate the longer rallies by hitting more aggressive shots to end points sooner.

So overall the quality of the rallies go up, but not the # of shots.

ten10
01-19-2009, 03:28 PM
This has been the biggest difference in going from 4.0 to 4.5. I had incredibly long rallies in nearly all my 4.0 matches (10 strokes wasn't unusual). I was always the last one on the court even though set scores could be 6-1 and 6-2. At 4.5, points are over after 3-5 strokes. The skill set necessitates hitting and going for more winners. At first I missed the long rallies, but not anymore. I expect more of myself than just getting the next ball back.

GeoffB
01-20-2009, 09:33 AM
The conventional wisdom seems to be that 4.0 tennis generally has the longest, most grueling matches.

4.0 players are good enough to rally without error for long periods of time with decent power and directional intent, but the attacking game isn't quite as developed. So not only do points go on for a long time in 4.0 - the players don't just stand there. 10+ stroke rallies with lots of court coverage are common. It's pretty rough.

I'm a 4.0, and I just lost a 6-4, 6-4 match that went well over two hours. I'm looking forward to developing the net game and power/precision to end these points earlier ;)

jbetti
01-20-2009, 11:00 AM
It depends very much on the style of play. Two 3.0 or 3.5 pushers can have a point last forever. I remember way back in high school I had a point last over 70 strokes, because both me and my friend were afraid to swing out and miss, so we just kept softballing shots back to each other.

However, some 3.0 and 3.5 rallies can be very short because of eratic play.

At higher levels, two baseline bashers can have long rallies (10-20 strokes) at a much faster pace than lower level players can, because their strokes are more reliable.

However, at higher levels, you get bigger serves and more coming to net, so a lot of point end quickly on either winners or missed aggressive shots.

jbetti
01-20-2009, 11:02 AM
I agree with other posters who said 4.0 can tend to have the longest rallies, and for exactly the reasons they explained.

I was a 4.5 recently, but I haven't played in a few months, so I'm back down in the 4.0 ranks for now.

LuckyR
01-20-2009, 12:31 PM
The length of rallies depends more on style than quality. Two players playing high percentage tennis will have longer rallies than folks playing lower percentage tennis be it beginner or Pro. Remember that as long as the players are evenly matched, a higher skilled player can keep the ball in better on a given shot than a lower skilled player, but higher skilled players are dealing with tougher shots than lower skilled players so it cancels out.

GeoffB
01-20-2009, 02:36 PM
The length of rallies depends more on style than quality. Two players playing high percentage tennis will have longer rallies than folks playing lower percentage tennis be it beginner or Pro. Remember that as long as the players are evenly matched, a higher skilled player can keep the ball in better on a given shot than a lower skilled player, but higher skilled players are dealing with tougher shots than lower skilled players so it cancels out.

If offense and defense stayed proportional to skill in the way you described, this would be true. But I suspect offensive and defensive abilities develop unevenly as your typical player improves. So while I agree with your general analysis, I'd say that it counter-balances, but doesn't quite cancel out.

JoshDragon
01-20-2009, 02:48 PM
How long are average rallies for say 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 etc.?

It depends on their playing style. 3.0 probably wouldn't have as long of a point because they haven't developed the consistency necessary for longer points.

smoothtennis
01-20-2009, 08:57 PM
Funny - I just charted part of a match with myself (high 4.0) and another high 4.0 for 27 points. The average including serve was 7.3 hits per rally.

I played a 4.5 last night, as Ten10 said, rallies were a little shorter because he or I needed to end points more aggressively. If I got off the first aggressive shot, he would get in trouble and have to play catch up, same thing if I let him get off the first aggressive shot. We were not banging for winners either. But if I got a neutral ball, I HAD to do something with it - hard shot to corner, etc. If I let a ball sit up, he would bang it deep, and keep me moving. So nobody was hitting back these neutral mid court balls if you know what I mean.

I did watch some Open matches last year where rallies were close to 10 on avg, and others where they were no longer than 4 hits on average. It just depended on the style and skill gap between players more than anything.

GeoffB
01-21-2009, 08:18 AM
If I got off the first aggressive shot, he would get in trouble and have to play catch up, same thing if I let him get off the first aggressive shot. We were not banging for winners either. But if I got a neutral ball, I HAD to do something with it - hard shot to corner, etc. If I let a ball sit up, he would bang it deep, and keep me moving. So nobody was hitting back these neutral mid court balls if you know what I mean.


I definitely know what you mean. This has started to happen for me in 4.0 as well. When I play a good 4.0, I have to actively keep control of the point. An easy shot up the middle may not be put away for a winner, but it allows my opponent to determine the next sequence of shots - ie., he can decide if I'll be running to the corners, hitting a series of backhands, and so forth. So even if winners aren't common, "pushing" neutral mid court balls is no longer an option.

BTW - I said earlier that I think that 4.0 is the peak for grueling matches. I still believe this, but I should add that I think the curve substantially levels off after this point. In other words, I think that the average point becomes a bit shorter as you move into 5.0 and beyond, but not nearly as much shorter as they are at, say 3.0 and lower.

smoothtennis
01-21-2009, 08:53 AM
I definitely know what you mean. This has started to happen for me in 4.0 as well. When I play a good 4.0, I have to actively keep control of the point. An easy shot up the middle may not be put away for a winner, but it allows my opponent to determine the next sequence of shots - ie., he can decide if I'll be running to the corners, hitting a series of backhands, and so forth. So even if winners aren't common, "pushing" neutral mid court balls is no longer an option.

BTW - I said earlier that I think that 4.0 is the peak for grueling matches. I still believe this, but I should add that I think the curve substantially levels off after this point. In other words, I think that the average point becomes a bit shorter as you move into 5.0 and beyond, but not nearly as much shorter as they are at, say 3.0 and lower.

Yep - exactly. Higher level 4.0 is about getting control and really dictating the way the points are played with strong placement and sometimes pace. You have to really find that power/control balance, get it deep and work those points. The first short ball usually spells doom for somebody.

LuckyR
01-21-2009, 08:57 AM
If offense and defense stayed proportional to skill in the way you described, this would be true. But I suspect offensive and defensive abilities develop unevenly as your typical player improves. So while I agree with your general analysis, I'd say that it counter-balances, but doesn't quite cancel out.


I see your point and I don't disagree with it. But what you are calling a diference in offense and defense, I am calling difference in style, so I was accounting for your observation, under a different name. After all, you can call shot X offensive and shot Y defensive, but you are only performing one act (hitting your shot) not two seperate acts (like football).

beernutz
01-21-2009, 12:36 PM
I agree with other posters who said 4.0 can tend to have the longest rallies, and for exactly the reasons they explained.

I was a 4.5 recently, but I haven't played in a few months, so I'm back down in the 4.0 ranks for now.

So you just decided to play down a level because you hadn't played in a few months?

Nellie
01-21-2009, 12:46 PM
I don't know - I have had to watch too many lob rallies in 3.0 women's tennis. I see scores at 3.0 where, after 1.5 hours, the match will end 5-3 in the first set of 7-5 in in a two hour match (slated for three sets).

NetMaster70
01-21-2009, 02:38 PM
I agree with Nellie _ I've seen some very long matches by steady 3.0 women which seemed to go on forever. I can't see any coorelation between level and length of rallies.

At the Pro level the type of service would definitely have some impact on the length of rallies _ with longer rallies on clay than grass.

LeeD
01-21-2009, 02:43 PM
At any level, one or the other can choose to end the point. You can hit it out, hit it into the net, just plain ole miss.
You can hit a winner, a forcing shot, or get it in.
No matter the level, it's up to the players.

jmjmkim
01-29-2009, 09:50 PM
I think more so than longer rallies, more points are won by progression of game strategy or a clean winner, resulting from a good set up shot or a net volley winner. 3.0 and 3.5 rallies have a lot more unforced errors.

At higher levels, players are rallying to get into position for a offensive shot, or to play to the opponent's weakness, whether it be the backhand low/high or the weak forehand wide/short.

Sometimes, watching 4.0-4.5 matches are really enjoyable, especially if they are evenly matched, because it is not really about the strokes, but their strategies. The ball is slower paced, so the net is definitely like taking the flag in stratego.

aceroberts13
01-31-2009, 05:59 PM
I'm a 3.5 right now due solely to the fact that I can't sustain rallies. Its so frustrating. But then again I haven't played in about 6 months and before that it was years so I'm slowly getting it all back. I can keep pace with all the club players in my area (for the most part) but my consistency has suffered. I often get criticized by my teammates in my corta league because they think I'm trying to hit the ball too hard. It's a catch 22. I've got to hit harder and closer to my normal pace so I can regain my level of play, but I've also got to try and help my team win and not look like a ****ed off idiot swinging for the fences. :mad: