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mmichaud
02-12-2009, 06:03 AM
I am a 35 yr. old 4.5-5.0 level player. In the league I am currently in, I find myself often in the position of playing 4.0-4.5 players, often older than me, who are a) very consistent, b) hit with much less pace than I like to hit. I have the hardest time with these players. I often find myself hitting "down" to their level and trying to outlast them. Then I run out patience (mostly because I'm not enjoying myself) and try to hit "out"--but end up spraying balls everywhere.

I'm not sure I would call this kind of player with whom I struggle a "pusher"--maybe a counter-puncher would be a better term? In any event, these players (and it seems that there are a lot of them out there) drive me nuts. And sometimes I feel as though I'm not willing to do what I think it's going to take to beat them (repeatedly pick on a single weakness, like a backhand; or, simply outlast them at a very moderate pace) because then when I leave, I feel like I didn't even get much of a match or workout. I find myself losing to these 4.0-4.5 players, but then if I play against a 4.5-5.0 player the next week, I often win.

I'm wondering what advice any of you would have, short of not playing such players (which, given the league I'm in, doesn't appear to be an option) for how to deal with the kind of player I'm describing.

mm

Steady Eddy
02-12-2009, 06:22 AM
I'm not sure I would call this kind of player with whom I struggle a "pusher"--maybe a counter-puncher would be a better term? In any event, these players (and it seems that there are a lot of them out there) drive me nuts. And sometimes I feel as though I'm not willing to do what I think it's going to take to beat them (repeatedly pick on a single weakness, like a backhand; or, simply outlast them at a very moderate pace) because then when I leave, I feel like I didn't even get much of a match or workout. I find myself losing to these 4.0-4.5 players, but then if I play against a 4.5-5.0 player the next week, I often win.

I've seen alot of matches that look like what you're describing. I think you know what you have to do, but you don't like the answer. "And sometimes I feel as though I'm not willing to do what I think it's going to take to beat them (repeatedly pick on a single weakness, like a backhand; or, simply outlast them at a very moderate pace)" Maybe it's not that important for you to win, so you might want to practice your more advanced game. But, in sports, sometimes you have to do what's necessary if you want to win. A football team might run up the middle every time, or a golfer might play an iron off the tee on a narrow course, you do what's necessary. These guys don't give you many free points. So you've got to cut down on your errors, even if that means taking some pace off the ball. Sorry, that's probably what you don't want to hear.

ronalditop
02-12-2009, 06:27 AM
against this type of players i love to use drop shots. they hate that, since they want for the point to be as long as it can be. i also go to the net often, trying to short the points, since if i just wait for their paceless shots, i got bored, and if that happens i get frustated and lose focus.

Tennis Dunce
02-12-2009, 06:37 AM
Charge the net. If you're not a net-rusher, become one.

spot
02-12-2009, 06:42 AM
You are having trouble beating players who have more patience than you plain and simple. There is no other advice other than to play smarter. If they aren't attacking you back then hit your best shot over and over. If you aren't able to put them on the defensive while you are hitting your best shot on a ball that they aren't attacking you on then you probably aren't the better player.

Geezer Guy
02-12-2009, 06:59 AM
A) (and maybe slightly off subject) sounds to me like you're either giving yourself too much credit, or you're not giving your opponents enough credit. There's no way a 5.0 player should lose to a 4.0 player. (Well, maybe there's the occasional lesser skilled opponent who may have your number, but not a whole league full.) ... but, enough of that...

B) Sounds like you prefer more of a high-risk, high-reward type of game, where you and your opponent hit out and one of you will either hit a winner or an error fairly quickly. You may be able to beat this type of player. However, against one that won't make errors it sounds like you're usually the first to make the error. Against this type of player you need to control your impulse to hit out on everything. Pick and choose the balls to go after. When you get a short ball or have a big opening, then by all means take a rip at the ball. When you get a rally ball, just rally it back. Work the point smartly. If you're indeed more skilled, you should be able to control the point and move your opponent into unfavorable positions. Then, go for your shots. And, as you know, always expect the ball to come back, and always be ready to hit one more shot.

LeeD
02-12-2009, 07:49 AM
Variety is the key.
YOU have to provide the short angles, drops, lobs over the backhand, change of pace, change of depth, and mostly, change of spin.
Remember the thread on sliced backhand grips? Read what I say about that, consider I got it first from RaulRameriz. Don't discount changes of pace, spin, and bounce heights.
For groundies, against a softer hitter, the ball drops vertically more, so YOUR strokes have to have a longer strike zone to hit center and consistent. Turn more sideways, move into the ball each stroke, don't go for winners, but instead go to wide backhand and forehand.
What the steady eddy's (sorry SteadyEd) want you to do is get frustrated and hit out, or into the net. What YOU want to do is make them constantly adapt to YOUR variety filled game, so they get taken OUT of their game.
I practiced with one TomBrown for like 20 times in my 3rd and 4th years. Took maybe 15 before we played even.

Kevo
02-12-2009, 08:53 AM
I think Geezer Guy hit the nail on the head.

I won't go into the level thing again, but it sounds to me like you are not confident enough in your strokes to actually beat someone with them. It's one thing to collect errors from an opponent and win, and another thing entirely to force errors or create openings to consistently hit winners.

I think you need to take these opponents as learning opportunities, especially if they are not forcing errors from you or hitting winners by you. Work on point construction. Work on breaking down their weaker shot. Use the opportunity to develop ways to open up the court so you can feel comfortable hitting winners. Once you get up to the 4.5 level or so you really need these skills to get higher. Most of the 4.5 players I have played have the ability to hit winners fairly consistently from inside the court. To beat these players you really need to have the ability to hit balls that keep them from striking first. This means moving the ball around and keeping it deep. A slightly weaker counter puncher is a great opponent to practice these skills with. Force yourself to create an opening no matter how long it takes, and don't hit any one shot winners.

Nellie
02-12-2009, 09:12 AM
It seems to me that you need to play smart - as the better player you should be able to (1) sustain the rally longer and (2) better recognize and exploit a weak ball. I think that you should not go for low percentage shots, but continue to work the ball around, looking for a chance to move forward and apply pressure to force an error/ hit a winner.

mikeler
02-12-2009, 10:10 AM
Geezer Guy summed it up well. I also like the suggestion of charging the net. One guy I play who likes to hit soft shots changed his entire game to adapt to my net rushing. I forced him out of his comfort zone by making him hit hard passing shots. Do something to make your opponent uncomfortable.

Steady Eddy
02-12-2009, 01:39 PM
Charge the net. If you're not a net-rusher, become one.I forgot this. Try this, and if it doesn't work, there's also the option of pulling them to the net. An older guy is pretty tired after scrambling for a short ball. If you follow it up with a lob, he'll have alot of trouble running back for that lob, so that his smash better be an outright winner 'cause he'll be out of gas.

raiden031
02-12-2009, 01:50 PM
It makes no sense to me that this guy is borderline 5.0 and losing to 4.0s. I feel like someone that accomplished should know how to handle a solid 4.0 player no matter what type of game they throw at him.

Maybe I'm overestimating the abilities of a 5.0 based on the ntrp discussions from my 2 years on this board.

SlapShot
02-12-2009, 01:52 PM
It makes no sense to me that this guy is borderline 5.0 and losing to 4.0s. I feel like someone that accomplished should know how to handle a solid 4.0 player no matter what type of game they throw at him.

Maybe I'm overestimating the abilities of a 5.0 based on the ntrp discussions from my 2 years on this board.

I don't think that you're overestimating it at all. A legitimate 4.5-5.0 level power player should have the strokes to beat a 4.0-ish consistency player 6-2, 6-2 90% of the time.

mmichaud
02-12-2009, 03:51 PM
Steady Eddy...thank you for your response to my thread...you are totally right. I have recently relocated to where I am now. In my old home, I had a network of 12+ guys who I knew and played with frequently. I could pick and choose my matches. Now I'm in a league where I show up once a week and they tell me who I'm playing. For now, one singles match per week is all I get--no hitting sessions, no practice sets. Just show up, warm up quickly and get in as much as you can in 1.5 hrs. I do find myself feeling, in the middle of matches, that I don't care if I win or not. I find myself wishing I just had a guy to hit with, forget about keeping score. The "program" that I'm in now, playing once a week (w/ court time at $60 per hour outside of this "league") is just not a good way to improve my game. Instead, it's just a weekly test of ego and I guess I'm just not sure I'm up for it. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I appreciate it.

mmichaud
02-12-2009, 03:55 PM
Spot, you are spot on, too. In my life, patience is often an issue. So, it's no surprise that this carries over to my tennis game. I would much prefer to get into a slugging match and let it fly. I need to get smarter with these guys who don't hit the ball hard. If I want to win (and as I said earlier, this is a question for me at this point--how much I care about winning, given how little I'm playing), I've got to learn that there are other ways to win besides the way I currently know how. Thanks for your post. That first sentence of yours hit it right on the head.

mmichaud
02-12-2009, 04:06 PM
A) On one level, you are right, I'm not giving my opponents enough credit. I guess it comes down to what you value and there's a lesson in here for me. We all give credit on the basis of what we value or respect. I perhaps don't respect, enough, guys who hit a lot of balls at a moderate speed and make few mistakes. But if that is a successful strategy for beating me, then I suppose I should learn to give them more credit or more mistake--this is one of those moments where I find myself saying that I "should," but, knowing myself, probably won't.
B) This comes up later in the thread...I never said I was a 5.0 or that these guys I'm losing to are 4.0s. I put the ranges: 4.5-5.0 (me) and 4.0-4.5 (them). Perhaps I need to go read the NTRP to clarify exactly what those numbers mean. I'd be curious to hear what they mean to others reading this thread. In particular, what distinguishes a 4.5 from a 5.0 in your mind (singles).

C) When you wrote: "Sounds like you prefer more of a high-risk, high-reward type of game, where you and your opponent hit out and one of you will either hit a winner or an error fairly quickly. You may be able to beat this type of player. However, against one that won't make errors it sounds like you're usually the first to make the error" you've nailed it, exactly. It's almost odd to see my type of game right there in black and white. I am the one to make the error and I feel like it's often a result of my a) impatience, b) frustration that the balls don't have enough pace coming at me, so I end up overhitting, or getting into these push fests where I'm basically pushing the ball back to try to outlast a guy. I can see, here, that this is exactly, I think, what the guy on the other end is hoping I'll do. I can play smarter than this. There's something between hitting out and pushing it back--right? Many who have responded on this thread have given good ideas, and now I'm thinking about where that "third" or "fourth" or "fifth" way is and realizing that changing tactics really is something I'm going to need to work on.

Thanks Geezer Guy...you gave a lot to think about here. I appreciate your help.

mmichaud
02-12-2009, 04:09 PM
I think you're right on in thinking about these kinds of players as learning opportunities. And this is something I've thought of before--the sort of what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger type thing. So, they are learning opportunities. The problem is, there's no pleasure for me in them. This is MY problem. And it seems that if I want to beat these players, I need to learn to find pleasure in figuring out how. Plain and simple. Thanks for your input Kevo. Work on point construction. This is sage advice.

mmichaud
02-12-2009, 04:15 PM
For the record, again, I never said I am 5.0 and they 4.0. There is a range and they are somewhere around 4.5 (but not stronger than) and I am somewhere around 4.5 (and probably stronger than). With players who are clearly 4.0 level players, I have no problems.

Raiden031 writes: "Maybe I'm overestimating the abilities of a 5.0 based on the ntrp discussions from my 2 years on this board." Could you point me to a few of these discussions?

I'd like to thank EVERYONE on this discussion board who contributed to my questions. I'm in a new state, a new tennis network, and missing, I think, the chance to talk with guys about my game (and theirs). You all have made me feel welcome here and I look forward to reading and learning from you and occasionally, perhaps, offering some advice of my own. So, thanks!

LeeD
02-12-2009, 04:24 PM
Funny ding...
I'm always in your case. I like to dictate points, hit hard and angled, and win points in the fewest strokes possible.
Today played a pretty good former USPTA NorCal #ONE 4.5. He says he's better now, because he plays more often and uses a more powerful racket.
His winning points, took 3-7 shots, lots of running, usually ending in my errors due to negligence, boredom, or going for too much.
My winning points, clean winners untouched, usually 2-3 shots, my losing points, negligence, boredom, or going for impossibly too much.
What's more fun for you?
For me, MY game is more fun to play. I dictate the points, the other guy reacts and runs. The other guy has fun making me run, but anytime I get N, B, or TM, I could end the point.
Unfortunately, and this applies to you, my game takes more shotmaking, more variety of strokes, spins, and placements, takes more concentration and forethought, and more explosive use of muscles and movement.
You can beat your nemesis, but if you want to BEAT your nemesis player, you gotta put out more effort. He does what he does, period. To make it happen, first strike, you gotta concentrate MORE.

raiden031
02-12-2009, 06:51 PM
For the record, again, I never said I am 5.0 and they 4.0. There is a range and they are somewhere around 4.5 (but not stronger than) and I am somewhere around 4.5 (and probably stronger than). With players who are clearly 4.0 level players, I have no problems.

Raiden031 writes: "Maybe I'm overestimating the abilities of a 5.0 based on the ntrp discussions from my 2 years on this board." Could you point me to a few of these discussions?


Well the reason I am skeptical is that by definition of the system, a player at a given level is supposed to beat players of lower levels handily in most cases. From what I've seen of 5.0 players at my clubs and also heard about how posters here describe that level of play, it is a very accomplished player (like top 5% of all players), and they compete in open-level adult tournaments. Someone who is a strong 4.5 to 5.0 should know exactly what they need to do to beat a 4.0 of any style. Thats all I'm saying.

Perhaps I need to go read the NTRP to clarify exactly what those numbers mean. I'd be curious to hear what they mean to others reading this thread. In particular, what distinguishes a 4.5 from a 5.0 in your mind (singles).


Then there is this line which makes me think you are self-rating yourself by the NTRP descriptions and somehow you think that they are lower rated because maybe they don't have the shotmaking ability you have, but that is irrelevant when it comes to NTRP because if you can't beat those players, then your NTRP level is lower than theirs.

Okazaki Fragment
02-12-2009, 07:00 PM
Well the reason I am skeptical is that by definition of the system, a player at a given level is supposed to beat players of lower levels handily in most cases. From what I've seen of 5.0 players at my clubs and also heard about how posters here describe that level of play, it is a very accomplished player (like top 5% of all players), and they compete in open-level adult tournaments. Someone who is a strong 4.5 to 5.0 should know exactly what they need to do to beat a 4.0 of any style. Thats all I'm saying.


Then there is this line which makes me think you are self-rating yourself by the NTRP descriptions and somehow you think that they are lower rated because maybe they don't have the shotmaking ability you have, but that is irrelevant when it comes to NTRP because if you can't beat those players, then your NTRP level is lower than theirs.

I just want to add that most of the time, everyone described in the threads turn out to be 3.5s. For some reason, that's the level when everyone starts to think that they're really awesome.

Steady Eddy
02-12-2009, 07:30 PM
I just want to add that most of the time, everyone described in the threads turn out to be 3.5s. For some reason, that's the level when everyone starts to think that they're really awesome.That's been my experience. There are lots of 3.5s out there. I'm one of them. Very rarely does anyone overpower me. And I almost never crush anyone who knows how to play. There are lots of people who can crush me, but they don't go to public courts looking to hit with just anybody.

Are 5% of the people who play tennis really 5.0? That sounds high to me. It used to say that 5.5s can get to the semi-finals of any local tournament and always win social matches. That sounds like way less than 1% just by definition. So 5.0 is 5%? I think it'd be much lower than that.

Mick
02-12-2009, 07:34 PM
if you are a 3.5 and you play against a 3.0, sometimes you would feel like you are a 5.0 :)

pushing_wins
02-12-2009, 07:39 PM
do you find yourself blowing leads?

what happens when a good player coughs up a short ball to you? how is it different?

Okazaki Fragment
02-12-2009, 07:43 PM
That's been my experience. There are lots of 3.5s out there. I'm one of them. Very rarely does anyone overpower me. And I almost never crush anyone who knows how to play. There are lots of people who can crush me, but they don't go to public courts looking to hit with just anybody.

Are 5% of the people who play tennis really 5.0? That sounds high to me. It used to say that 5.5s can get to the semi-finals of any local tournament and always win social matches. That sounds like way less than 1% just by definition. So 5.0 is 5%? I think it'd be much lower than that.

I would think they would consist of less than 1% too. There's a huge drop off in number from 4.5s to 5.0s, in my experience.

Okazaki Fragment
02-12-2009, 07:44 PM
if you are a 3.5 and you play against a 3.0, sometimes you would feel like you are a 5.0 :)

That problaby explains it. If you're a 3.5, you can pretty much destroy anybody starting tennis (3.0s) or anybody else who doesn't really play tennis much (majority of the population).

pushing_wins
02-12-2009, 07:54 PM
get their phone numbers

arrange practice matches with them

jamauss
02-12-2009, 07:58 PM
Geezer Guy nailed it and Tennis Dunce is also right about how you need to be able to end points at the net.

Just a little side-story here...

I could've sworn you were talking about me in your post. I'm a 4.5 player and I played in a 4.0 league a few months ago. I went into the league smugly thinking to myself, "I'm playing down a level - I should beat these guys easily!"

"Should" is the operative word, there.

What I hadn't factored in (or didn't even know) was - these guys (mostly) were lifetime 4.0's. They'd been playing a style of tennis for many years that will never really take them higher (or lower) than 4.0. They didn't lose a lot of points off of unforced errors and didn't win a lot of points off of winners either. They won by allowing me to beat myself. They mixed up the amount of pace on their shots a lot. Sometimes on accident and sometimes on purpose but, that really didn't matter - it kept giving me a different look on my shots when I was used to playing with baseline basher and net guys that either gave me a target for a passing shot or allowed me to use their pace for winners - something these 4.0's didn't do at all. I wasn't used to it.

I did win a couple of matches just by virtue of my opponent making errors because of the pace of my shots but more often the 4.0 I was playing was just good enough to send most of my shots looping, fairly deep, back over the net, requiring me to hit more and more shots. You can probably guess the rest of the story. I'd get frustrated or lose patience and end up going for more than I needed to and hit the ball "just" long or wide and before I knew it we'd split the first two sets and I was on the losing end of a match point in the match tiebreaker.

But it didn't happen on accident. These 4.0's knew I had a bigger serve, bigger groundies, etc. But they'd probably beaten guys like me before with consistency and lower-risk tennis so they just played that style again.

Luckily for me, in this league (that I'm currently in - another 4.0 league) I realized that I just need to play within myself, be willing to keep myself in points a little longer, and have patience. Even if I get down a little bit I'm not thinking I need to go for bigger shots or end the points quicker - I just need to match them on consistency and wait for my openings to hit a bigger ball at the right time.

So far I'm undefeated this season. The points are lasting 4-6 shots more on average I would say. However, I'm on the winning side more often now. I'm just waiting for the short ball or weak service return before I attack. I'm also coming to net more because I realized that these 4.0's really can't consistently hit passing shots *or* lobs that I can't run down. My volleys might not look as pretty as Federer's but they don't have to be, considering my opponents.

Anyway - just thought I'd share my story because yours reminded me so much of it.

P.S. - one last thing I just remembered - when I play against these guys that hit with such lesser pace - you have to pull back on your shot just a little more and play it a little safer. I've just tried to focus on keeping the ball deep and hitting plenty of topspin on it - make them play a few short hops each game, and it usually wins me a free point here and there.

Steady Eddy
02-12-2009, 08:20 PM
I would think they would consist of less than 1% too. There's a huge drop off in number from 4.5s to 5.0s, in my experience.I'm starting to think that tennis ranks are like poker. The rank of the hands in poker is:
Straight/flush
Four of a kind
Full House
Flush
Straight
3 of a kind
2 pair
one pair

I looks like alot of classifications of hands. But if you play without wild cards, it seems all you ever see is: pair, 2 pair, and sometimes 3 of a kind. You can play entire evenings and not see anyone get a straight or higher. They are so rare, it's almost like they don't exist.

This is like tennis. If you go to a public park, you hardly ever see anyone past 3.5. The higher kinds are so rare it's like they don't exist. They're around. But they don't hit much at the public parks. The really serious players work on their game at private courts with their pro. They don't sign up for mixers, drop in, or hacker tournaments. So if you're a weekend warrior, don't look at those NTRP ratings as a ladder you can climb. If you are: self taught, can't afford a pro, and don't practice daily with one, most of those levels are inacessible to you. If you're a good athlete, you might become a 4.0. If you believe you're better than that, you just aren't.

jessey
02-12-2009, 09:19 PM
I'm starting to think that tennis ranks are like poker. The rank of the hands in poker is:
Straight/flush
Four of a kind
Full House
Flush
Straight
3 of a kind
2 pair
one pair

I looks like alot of classifications of hands. But if you play without wild cards, it seems all you ever see is: pair, 2 pair, and sometimes 3 of a kind. You can play entire evenings and not see anyone get a straight or higher. They are so rare, it's almost like they don't exist.

This is like tennis. If you go to a public park, you hardly ever see anyone past 3.5. The higher kinds are so rare it's like they don't exist. They're around. But they don't hit much at the public parks. The really serious players work on their game at private courts with their pro. They don't sign up for mixers, drop in, or hacker tournaments. So if you're a weekend warrior, don't look at those NTRP ratings as a ladder you can climb. If you are: self taught, can't afford a pro, and don't practice daily with one, most of those levels are inacessible to you. If you're a good athlete, you might become a 4.0. If you believe you're better than that, you just aren't.

So sad...:(

raiden031
02-13-2009, 04:29 AM
That's been my experience. There are lots of 3.5s out there. I'm one of them. Very rarely does anyone overpower me. And I almost never crush anyone who knows how to play. There are lots of people who can crush me, but they don't go to public courts looking to hit with just anybody.

Are 5% of the people who play tennis really 5.0? That sounds high to me. It used to say that 5.5s can get to the semi-finals of any local tournament and always win social matches. That sounds like way less than 1% just by definition. So 5.0 is 5%? I think it'd be much lower than that.

You're probably right about the percentage. Maybe it is 1%, I was just being generous to all the 5.0 wannabes out there.

But threads like this annoy me because time after time they come up, where someone says they are a 4.5 who doesn't know how to hit a second serve or something. I'm thinking how can someone be a 4.5 and not know how to serve? I work my tail off developing my game and would say that I have some good strokes all around, but would still get beat easily by a 4.5. I'll be lucky to win 4.0 matches this year, but at least I know I can destroy the average 3.5. And I don't care what kind of game the 3.5 player has, I will beat them unless they are at the very top of the level.

What does it take for people to stop misusing the NTRP system? People look at it and determine they are a high rating because they feel like they have good strokes, and then people with crap strokes who own them are somehow lower-rated than them. I mean comeon, a 4.5-5.0 *advanced* player asking for advice on beating a lesser opponent?

mikeler
02-13-2009, 04:42 AM
To me the fun in tennis is working the point, so I like playing against these types of players. It's fun jerking my opponent all over the court in a 20 shot rally and then finishing off an easy volley while my opponent is gasping for air and disappointed about losing the point. I guess what I'm saying is I enjoy torturing my opponent. There is a sick satisfaction I get when I see them have to take extended time between points to catch their breath. :twisted:

PS You have to be in good shape to play like this. :)

pushing_wins
02-13-2009, 07:23 AM
honestly, why do people like to rehash old stuff?

net play, ntrp self perception, etc etc

skiracer55
02-13-2009, 08:50 AM
...and more about contrasting styles, namely, an attacking player against a good defensive player. So if you're an attacking player, your A game, and what you should start with, is to play short, aggressive points and to try to hit winners or force the other guy into an error. So you basically have to do all the things mentioned above...go to net, open the court up, use variety, and so forth, and you have to believe in the plan, and stick to it.

Until, of course, you have One of Those Days and your A game isn't working. In this case, you have to switch to something that you may not like very much, but will get you a win when you're not hitting your shots the way you want to.

So.even if you're a quick strike kind of guy, you have to be able to grind it out, especially on days when your weapons have deserted you. One of my former coaches was Dave Hodge, an Aussie who played on the ATP tour for a couple of years after playing #2 at Baylor during his college career. He coached me when he was Men's Assistant at CU Boulder, then went on to be Men's Assistant at Stanford, and is now one of the National Team coaches in Tennis Australia. Dave is one of the best S&vers I ever saw, but I saw him grind his way through a semi-final match in the Denver Open one year on a day when his first serve and forehand totally went south for a set and a half. He won based on the strength of his slice backhand, second serve...and patience. Then the next day, he went out, found his S&V game again, and won the final in straight sets.

To a large degree, this is all about something Brad Gilbert said, which, to paraphrase it, was something like 5 days a year, you're in the zone, and you're thinking seriously about quitting your day job because you know you can beat anybody playing like this. A (different) 5 days a year, you're playing like total garbage, and your grandmother could beat you. On one of these days, you just soldier on, try your hardest, and take your beating, knowing that nobody in the history of tennis has either one or lost every match he or she ever played. Everything in between, which is all the other days of the year, where it's a rock fight between your and your opponent, and not much to choose between you...well, those days are what make you a tennis player...

LeeD
02-13-2009, 08:59 AM
Absolutley, SkiRacer...
We are judged by our worse days. We judge ourselves by our best days.
Big hitters can win, but they also need some amount of fetching and retreiving skills to win.
Weak pushers can win with their game, but they also need some volleys, overheads, and an occasional strong serve to win.
Having more tools is just more weapons at your disposal.
I've always believed in first strike, dictate the point style of tennis. I've also always be one of the fastest retrievers as well.... 30 years ago.

dennis10is
02-13-2009, 09:10 AM
A) On one level, you are right, I'm not giving my opponents enough credit. I guess it comes down to what you value and there's a lesson in here for me. We all give credit on the basis of what we value or respect. I perhaps don't respect, enough, guys who hit a lot of balls at a moderate speed and make few mistakes. But if that is a successful strategy for beating me, then I suppose I should learn to give them more credit or more mistake--this is one of those moments where I find myself saying that I "should," but, knowing myself, probably won't.
B) This comes up later in the thread...I never said I was a 5.0 or that these guys I'm losing to are 4.0s. I put the ranges: 4.5-5.0 (me) and 4.0-4.5 (them). Perhaps I need to go read the NTRP to clarify exactly what those numbers mean. I'd be curious to hear what they mean to others reading this thread. In particular, what distinguishes a 4.5 from a 5.0 in your mind (singles).

C) When you wrote: "Sounds like you prefer more of a high-risk, high-reward type of game, where you and your opponent hit out and one of you will either hit a winner or an error fairly quickly. You may be able to beat this type of player. However, against one that won't make errors it sounds like you're usually the first to make the error" you've nailed it, exactly. It's almost odd to see my type of game right there in black and white. I am the one to make the error and I feel like it's often a result of my a) impatience, b) frustration that the balls don't have enough pace coming at me, so I end up overhitting, or getting into these push fests where I'm basically pushing the ball back to try to outlast a guy. I can see, here, that this is exactly, I think, what the guy on the other end is hoping I'll do. I can play smarter than this. There's something between hitting out and pushing it back--right? Many who have responded on this thread have given good ideas, and now I'm thinking about where that "third" or "fourth" or "fifth" way is and realizing that changing tactics really is something I'm going to need to work on.

Thanks Geezer Guy...you gave a lot to think about here. I appreciate your help.

If you believe that you are in-between a 4.5 - 5.0, you should have more than enough firepower to force errors or hit to the open court consistently against these players, and/or you have enough consitency/placement/tenacity to grind them down. Something doesn't quite square up.

Instead of worrying about your rating and their ratings just concentrate on trying to play at your best. Winning should take care of itself.

pushing_wins
02-13-2009, 09:22 AM
dont you guys get bored of talking about the same thing over and over again?

even the op has lost interest. he is not even around.

mikeler
02-13-2009, 10:03 AM
dont you guys get bored of talking about the same thing over and over again?

even the op has lost interest. he is not even around.


You just don't want people to learn how to beat your style of game. I'm assuming your style matches your user name. :)

skiracer55
02-13-2009, 10:18 AM
Absolutley, SkiRacer...
We are judged by our worse days. We judge ourselves by our best days.
Big hitters can win, but they also need some amount of fetching and retreiving skills to win.
Weak pushers can win with their game, but they also need some volleys, overheads, and an occasional strong serve to win.
Having more tools is just more weapons at your disposal.
I've always believed in first strike, dictate the point style of tennis. I've also always be one of the fastest retrievers as well.... 30 years ago.

...we used to talk about the all-court game, and being an athlete and a dogged competitor...but I guess that doesn't count in the Nick Bolletieri era of "Big serve, big forehand, that is all you need to know...", right?

LeeD
02-13-2009, 10:28 AM
Yeah, I kinda reckon it to the current USPTA junior mold.... stiff looking serve, identical forehands and two handed groundies, textbook volleys that might or might not actually be effective, clone overheads, and only classic grips with no regards to what the PRO tennis players are actually doing.
:shock::shock:

plumcrazy
02-13-2009, 10:41 AM
I am a 35 yr. old 4.5-5.0 level player. In the league I am currently in, I find myself often in the position of playing 4.0-4.5 players, often older than me, who are a) very consistent, b) hit with much less pace than I like to hit. I have the hardest time with these players. I often find myself hitting "down" to their level and trying to outlast them. Then I run out patience (mostly because I'm not enjoying myself) and try to hit "out"--but end up spraying balls everywhere.

I'm not sure I would call this kind of player with whom I struggle a "pusher"--maybe a counter-puncher would be a better term? In any event, these players (and it seems that there are a lot of them out there) drive me nuts. And sometimes I feel as though I'm not willing to do what I think it's going to take to beat them (repeatedly pick on a single weakness, like a backhand; or, simply outlast them at a very moderate pace) because then when I leave, I feel like I didn't even get much of a match or workout. I find myself losing to these 4.0-4.5 players, but then if I play against a 4.5-5.0 player the next week, I often win.

I'm wondering what advice any of you would have, short of not playing such players (which, given the league I'm in, doesn't appear to be an option) for how to deal with the kind of player I'm describing.

mm
Dude I had the same problem you do. I'm 4.0-4.5. Back in the fall I played a guy during the regular season who beat me bad. All he did was push the ball and hit it with no pace. One month later we played in the league championship match. In the first match I fell into his trap. I hit back with no pace and just fell to pieces and got very frustrated. When I played him again, I told myself I would play my game not his. I played aggressive, came to the net more, and ran him around. I didn't let him dictate the match. I hit out on my shots and feel more comfortable when there is pace but I found out that if I just take my time and trust my strokes I could hit any ball back with or without pace. For 3 weeks after he beat me, I set my ball machine to a soft toss and just practiced hitting the way I do when hitting a normal pace ball. For me it came down to confidence. He kinda messed up because before we played the 2nd time he told me that he beat me because I got frustrated. So, practice hitting soft balls with no pace in practice so you can build confidence, be aggressive, dictate the match, play your game not his, come to the net a little more than normal. Hope this helps and good luck!!!

Geezer Guy
02-13-2009, 01:05 PM
... I have recently relocated to where I am now. In my old home, I had a network of 12+ guys who I knew and played with frequently. I could pick and choose my matches. Now I'm in a league where I show up once a week and they tell me who I'm playing. ...

Best of luck in your new situation. I'll be in the same boat one of these days. Our house is on the market, and the wife and I will be retiring in another part of the country. I'll be starting all over with my tennis contacts. New buddies, new team, new everything. I really do want to retire to a better climate, but I'll miss my buds here. Just hang in there. When you find someone in the league you really like hitting with, get his number and invite him to a mid-week hit. Good luck.

halalula1234
02-13-2009, 04:11 PM
mental strenght, consistency and placement is the key really. They dont hit soo hard so you get time to set up a lot more and can place your shot easily on where you want and you dont even need to put so much pace into it.

LeeD
02-13-2009, 04:17 PM
Well, that sure sounds easy...
And I had to employ most of my strokes, vary the placment, depth, and locations, hit net skimmng angles followed by almost moon topspin shots, just to play decently.
Maybe I AM getting old.