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View Full Version : Somewhat-Less-Than-Excellent Adventures Of Topaz, Cindy & Alice: The 3 Racqueteers!


Cindysphinx
04-16-2009, 04:38 AM
Pssssst! Topaz! Are you out there? How has your 2009 been going?

Over here across the river, it's been tough sledding. I'm losing. A lot.

Ladies 3.5 Day -- 2-4
Mixed 7.0 -- 2-3
Combo 7.5 -- 0-4
Combo 6.5 -- 4-2

Oh sure, I have my excuses. Two of the mixed losses were because my partner has chronic ankle problems. One loss was a retirement at 1-3, the other one should have been a retirement. And sometimes there is no excuse, like my sad double-fault on set point in a tiebreak.

Not only that, my pro is busting my chops. I told him I'd like to try to make it to 4.0 by the time I turn 50. This would require me to fight the effects of gravity, as the natural order of things is to move down as you age, not up. He said we should go for it. I then said I thought we didn't need to work on net play to reach this goal because "I'm good at net." Without missing a beat, he said -- and I am quoting here -- "Who told you that? Those ladies?" Ouch. He then explained that, no, I am not "good at net." This is because my form breaks down when I am under pressure. Having fast hands or getting the racket on a lot of volleys is not the same thing, he explained, as being good at net. Ugh. I'm afraid he is right. So we are working on it, but he is not at all impressed with what he is seeing. And neither am I.

There are some bright spots, though. I had a recent killer 3.5 win against a tough team on Court One because I had a solid 3.5 partner (a lefty who plays deuce!). I can get way more serves back in mixed, and it is unusual for me to miss a service return in ladies. My 6.5 team went undefeated and is headed to the state championships in October. And *finally* I can take my forehand cross-court.

Best of all, I took a set off of a 3.5 singles specialist friend. Uh huh. I was serving at love-40, 4-5 and won the set 7-5. Which is proof my groundstrokes are getting better. Huzzah!

Anyway, it's going to be a tough spring, which is the source of my anxiety. I'm playing on that ladies 3.5 team that wants to go to The Big Show. I'm playing on a new 4.0 team. I've still got the 3.5 team that I captain. And I'm going to stop captaining 6.5 and am starting a new 7.5 team for the fall, so there's some more stress for ya.

So that's what's new with me. And you?

Cindysphinx
04-16-2009, 04:58 AM
Wait!! I forgot the best part! I went to Indian Wells this year. Just me and the girls, no husband, no kids, no dog.

Ho, boy. I totally got my money's worth. We were in row 10 behind the baseline, and we were there for Monday-Wednesday, so third and fourth round matches. Our last day was the Wednesday marathon session that ran from 11:00 am to about 1:00 am. We saw:

Verdasco/Kohnschreiber
[some women whose names ended in -ova]
Djokovic/Warinka
Federer/Gonzalez
Roddick/Ferrer
Safina/Azarenka
Nadal/Nalbandian

I saw all my favorites, especially Verdasco. When Verdasco whipped Gasquet in Stadium 2, I had lucked into a seat in the second row on the baseline, about 15 feet from the sideline. The first row was reserved for players and their coaches/friends. The match is about to start, and in comes Verdasco's entourage to sit in the front row. His cute little girlfriend was in the seat right in front of me. Whenever he hit a massive winner, he would turn to her and give this amazing look. I pretended he was looking at me. ::swoon::

Cindy -- who thoroughly enjoyed Bryan/Bryan v. Nadal/Lopez

drakulie
04-16-2009, 05:00 AM
WOW!!!! Look who's back!!!! :)

SJS
04-16-2009, 05:03 AM
Hi Cindy!
Welcome back! As a long time captain of women's teams, your posts were the reason I started following this forum.

Happy to hear you're still very involved in tennis. I don't think your goal to reach 4.0 is unrealistic. I have a friend who started as a 3.0 about 5 years ago. She turns 50 this year and was also bumped to 4.5. Of course, she had an athletic background in other sports and has worked very hard. It sounds like you're working hard, too, so good luck!

Venetian
04-16-2009, 05:15 AM
It's Cindy! I missed these adventures...

drakulie
04-16-2009, 05:23 AM
^^^^me too. :) :evil:

GPB
04-16-2009, 05:40 AM
Cindy! I might not have been vocal in your threads, but I also miss your presence on these boards. Keep your stories up; Adult League & Tournament Talk just isn't the same without them!

Xisbum
04-16-2009, 06:49 AM
Welcome back, kiddo. Glad to see you still playing and still writing. We have a match to play one day soon.

Hey, Lady Topaz and I are meeting some other buds Saturday at Wakefield, somewhere in Arlington (I know; I get lost over here in VA too). You should join us. Think about it.

P.S. I was bumped to 4.0 in Memphis at 49, just a few months before the big 5-0.

Kaptain Karl
04-16-2009, 07:24 AM
Hey, stranger! Good to see you posting again.

Remember to check-in at the Office. You have lots of mail piled up in your box.

- KK

Joeyg
04-16-2009, 10:20 AM
Sheeeeeeee's baaaaaaaack!

No offense, nice to see you back.

LuckyR
04-16-2009, 10:33 AM
Wait!! I forgot the best part! I went to Indian Wells this year. Cindy-- who thoroughly enjoyed Bryan/Bryan v. Nadal/Lopez


Where did you sit for that match? We were behind the near baseline. Very fun (if not great) match. I had to laugh out loud when Mike let an early Nadal forehand go "long", only to have it land about 3-4 feet "in" due to the level of topspin he had probably only rarely encountered before.

Cindysphinx
04-16-2009, 12:01 PM
Lucky, i didn't get courtside chairs for that one. I was maybe three rows up into the bleachers on the side, again on the baseline. That would be the baseline closer to the food court. I liked that position because I would also see the huge stadium screen. There was a lady with binoculars who kept updating us on the Roddick score.

I liked that Nadal was so clearly out of his element in doubles at net. A couple of lame volleys (the kind where he just stuck his racket in front of his face) and some obvious frustration. I thought Nadal's partner was a really solid doubles partner, though.

I also liked how Bob would yell "Mike!" for any ball he couldn't reach. :)

Cindysphinx
04-16-2009, 01:34 PM
Hey, stranger! Good to see you posting again.

Remember to check-in at the Office. You have lots of mail piled up in your box.

- KK

Pardon????

saram
04-16-2009, 02:51 PM
I was wondering where you have been. Great story about Nando at IW!

Topaz
04-17-2009, 04:57 AM
Cindy! I just saw this now! Don't really have much time right now...will update later, ok?

Also, Xisbum...we're meeting in Annandale! LOL Cindy, check out the TWMAC thread if you want more info, ok? I posted it in there yesterday morning.

Xisbum
04-17-2009, 11:20 AM
Cindy! I just saw this now! Don't really have much time right now...will update later, ok?

Also, Xisbum...we're meeting in Annandale! LOL Cindy, check out the TWMAC thread if you want more info, ok? I posted it in there yesterday morning.

Told you I can get lost in a closet. All those As confuse me - Arlington, Annandale, Alexandria. How about a Beantown or Charleston in there somewhere? :confused:

Topaz
04-17-2009, 01:17 PM
Just got our indoor league schedule today...we start April 26. DC starts April 25. Whoo boy, here we go! ;)

We have 22 matches in our indoor league! That's right...23 3.5 ladies teams, and we play each one once.

A quick updatey for Cindy:

Topaz has:
*taken lots and lots of clinics, lessons, and has been working pretty hard
*managed to actually win two 7.0 mixed matches, 2-4 overall
*did pretty well in practice league doubles, won the last three, but I don't really keep track of all of them
*switched racquets to the kTour
*is putting some lead on the kTour
*keeps reinjuring her stupid ankle :( :(

I've got 3 teams lined up right now:
1. Indoor NOVA (where I'll be playing singles...*gulp*)
2. DC (where I'm...captaining...*gulp*...but have brought on two women to play doubles with...should be fun)
3. Outdoor NOVA? Not sure this is going to happen yet or not. We usually don't start until May, and it is a small league, so still waiting to hear back about this team from our captain.

Cindysphinx
04-17-2009, 01:53 PM
Just got our indoor league schedule today...we start April 26. DC starts April 25. Whoo boy, here we go! ;)

We have 22 matches in our indoor league! That's right...23 3.5 ladies teams, and we play each one once.

A quick updatey for Cindy:

Topaz has:
*taken lots and lots of clinics, lessons, and has been working pretty hard
*managed to actually win two 7.0 mixed matches, 2-4 overall
*did pretty well in practice league doubles, won the last three, but I don't really keep track of all of them
*switched racquets to the kTour
*is putting some lead on the kTour
*keeps reinjuring her stupid ankle :( :(

I've got 3 teams lined up right now:
1. Indoor NOVA (where I'll be playing singles...*gulp*)
2. DC (where I'm...captaining...*gulp*...but have brought on two women to play doubles with...should be fun)
3. Outdoor NOVA? Not sure this is going to happen yet or not. We usually don't start until May, and it is a small league, so still waiting to hear back about this team from our captain.

Dang, 22 matches! My three teams combined will have about 30 matches. Hence the need to join so many teams.

Regarding instruction, what exactly are you trying to fix/improve? My own pro told me the other day What My Problem Is, and I would be interested to hear what yours is.

Topaz, let's get together and play singles. I mean it. I can promise you truly unconventional play, complete with bizarre and unpredictable journeys to the net. I have been working very hard on groundstrokes and suchlike, and I need to keep playing practice matches. The little bit of singles practice I have had so far has already yielded modest improvement.

Regarding your team, shout out if you are short on players. I know a couple of high 3.0s who might be interested.

Ankle? What ankle?

Cindy -- who is going to wind up playing in that 4.0 match on Tuesday but who is totally stoked about the partner her captain gave her

Spokewench
04-17-2009, 03:23 PM
You two are so lucky to be in an area with so much tennis. I live in a rural area where people are really having a hard time with travelling to matches, etc. so they are not putting teams together. I was trying to put a 3.0 team and a 3.5 team together and no one in either Sedona or Prescott put another team together; so I bit the bullet and starting recruiting absolutely every available player in Flagstaff. I have now managed (I think) to put together two 3.0 teams and two 3.5 teams, just barely and I am the captain of all 4 teams! I should be committed, but it was the only way I could get anyone to play!

Like I said, you are very lucky!

alice301
04-17-2009, 06:35 PM
Topaz, let's get together and play singles. I mean it.


cindy, i feel like already know you; in fact, some people suspected that i WAS you at first (don't worry: some people suspected that i was really a hairy middle-aged man too--suspicious batards).

but i'm alice (not really, but i'll learn to respond to it eventually), and i met topaz at a tw mac meet. she was all that was lovely and entertaining, and i can't wait to play her in the singles ladder, which sup set up. which you should join too, so that we can all play singles. together. hopefully in maryland, and not in va, where i get lost as a matter of course.

i can't wait to see your brand of bizarre and unpredictable tennis; my own gift for frameshots is nothing short of a miracle.

Topaz
04-17-2009, 07:19 PM
Dang, 22 matches! My three teams combined will have about 30 matches. Hence the need to join so many teams.

Yeah, there was talk of splitting us into two flights, but I think the captains voted it down. We got our schedules today, and I'm thrilled because there are not many 9:30-on a school night matches.

Regarding instruction, what exactly are you trying to fix/improve? My own pro told me the other day What My Problem Is, and I would be interested to hear what yours is.

Uh, everything! LOL Probably the one thing that needs the most work right now if my serve...I can't seem to get any pop on it at all. Also working on actually having a strategy in singles, and of course, *implementing* the strategy! That seems to be the difficult part. And, lastly, working on a BH slice.

Topaz, let's get together and play singles.

Ok! You know, once I hit summer break, I'm freeeeeeee!

Ankle? What ankle?

The right one...reoccuring tendonitis. :( Feels much better today, though *knock on wood*, but I'll be wearing my brace for the whole season like a good girl.

Have fun at 4.0. The two 4.0 dubs matches I played last year were by far the two most enjoyable matches of my season.

You two are so lucky to be in an area with so much tennis.

I know! :) I'm not *really* complaining! *wink*

Good work on organizing though...that's not an easy job, and many times there are people wanting/willing, but nobody steps up to take that leadership role. You know...because of all the work involved!

cindy, i feel like already know you; in fact, some people suspected that i WAS you at first (don't worry: some people suspected that i was really a hairy middle-aged man too--suspicious batards).

LOL. Alice speaks the truth! When she first popped up and starting posting in the TWMAC thread, I was thinking "Cindy?" But, at least I never thought Alice is a hairy middle-aged man!

but i'm alice (not really, but i'll learn to respond to it eventually), and i met topaz at a tw mac meet. she was all that was lovely and entertaining, and i can't wait to play her in the singles ladder, which sup set up. which you should join too, so that we can all play singles. together. hopefully in maryland, and not in va, where i get lost as a matter of course.

i can't wait to see your brand of bizarre and unpredictable tennis; my own gift for frameshots is nothing short of a miracle.

Slowly but surely, we are getting some gals in the TWMAC!

And yes, Alice's frame shots are a sight to see...except when you're the one on the other side of the net going WTF???? LOL

Cindysphinx
04-18-2009, 05:44 AM
cindy, i feel like already know you; in fact, some people suspected that i WAS you at first (don't worry: some people suspected that i was really a hairy middle-aged man too--suspicious batards).

but i'm alice (not really, but i'll learn to respond to it eventually), and i met topaz at a tw mac meet. she was all that was lovely and entertaining, and i can't wait to play her in the singles ladder, which sup set up. which you should join too, so that we can all play singles. together. hopefully in maryland, and not in va, where i get lost as a matter of course.

i can't wait to see your brand of bizarre and unpredictable tennis; my own gift for frameshots is nothing short of a miracle.

Well, hi there!!

There is a singles ladder? Really?

What level are you? Hmmm, I guess I gotta run over to the DC Board and catch up . . .

Spokewrench, that is some accomplishment! I'm from Arizona, so I know the areas you are talking about. I would imagine they have larger populations than they did back in the day, but it cannot be easy to find players there.

Then again, you probably don't have to deal with the dreaded Timed Matches that Topaz and I suffer through. . . .

Have you considered starting a combo league? That might be an easy way to get through the winter and fall.

Cindysphinx
04-18-2009, 05:55 AM
Topaz, regarding having a strategy in singles . . .

I have one. And I don't mind telling you what it is (on account of how I can't execute it very well anyway). It is . . .

[drumroll]

The Circle!

Yes, The Circle changed my life. The Circle is the idea that you draw an imaginary circle around the T. The diameter of the circle depends on how good you are. Maria Sharapova's circle is huge because she is awesome. My circle is puny because I stink (it's maybe 6-8 feet in diameter, but I'm not good at estimating distances so I could be wrong).

Anyway, the strategy is simply that you hit every ball outside of the circle. A short ball is perfectly fine, so long as it is outside the circle. Short angles are just as good as deep angles. In fact, short angles are preferable because they force the opponent to run and to leave their court open. Where should you aim? Wherever you feel like aiming, so long as you keep the ball out of the circle. So you hit whatever shot you are comfortable hitting and are set up to hit.

In my case, I only own a few shots: CC FH, inside-out FH, CC BH, topspin moonball off of both sides, volleys and overheads. I do not own any slice, drop shot, inside out BH, BH down the line. So I don't attempt those shots.

The Circle is working for me much better than what I used to do, which was run opponent side to side or hit wherever they were not. This didn't work because I made too many errors hitting shots I wasn't comfortable hitting or in position to hit. It also felt like everything I did was purely reactive. With The Circle, I feel more in control because I am choosing where to hit within the range of my pitiful tennis abilities.

There ya go.

alice301
04-18-2009, 09:49 AM
What level are you? Hmmm, I guess I gotta run over to the DC Board and catch up . . .


i just finished losing all 3 of my matches in my first-ever usta league (mixed 7.0), and i'll be starting my first womens 3.0 season in a few weeks (playing singles).

i'm excited to play singles becasue i've been playing doubles and losing, and the grass (the har-tru?) is always greener on the other side, right??

Topaz
04-18-2009, 05:30 PM
i just finished losing all 3 of my matches in my first-ever usta league (mixed 7.0), and i'll be starting my first womens 3.0 season in a few weeks (playing singles).

i'm excited to play singles becasue i've been playing doubles and losing, and the grass (the har-tru?) is always greener on the other side, right??

Alice, I think you are incredibly brave to come out and play your very first matches ever at 7.0 mixed!

Maybe we can have a mod change the title? The Somewhat-Less-Than-Excellent Adventures of Topaz, Cindy, *and* Alice!!!

alice301
04-18-2009, 07:18 PM
Alice, I think you are incredibly brave to come out and play your very first matches ever at 7.0 mixed!

not incredibly brave; incredibly & blissfully ignorant in the ways of the (sandbagging usta) world. but now that i got my "first time" over with, *cue the shania twain canadian twang* yeah, i feel like a woman!

Maybe we can have a mod change the title? The Somewhat-Less-Than-Excellent Adventures of Topaz, Cindy, *and* Alice!!!

ooohhh...a threesome? shouldn't we at least charge admission?!?

Cindysphinx
04-19-2009, 07:06 AM
Ditto!

Now how do we reach a moderator to change the title?

Alice, you *are* brave. How did those 7.0 matches go? Did you learn anything? What was your partner like?

Ah, maybe it is time for a flashback. I remember my first 7.0 mixed match . . .

[insert watery special effects that suggest a flashback scene is coming]

I was a 3.0, and I had a 4.0 self-rated partner who wasn't a real 4.0. He was a former junior player who knew how to do exactly two things: Serve incredibly hard flat serves and hit a big forehand. This meant he couldn't help me at all when I was serving on account of how he couldn't volley.

So the other guy (high 3.5) steps up to serve to me for the first time. Whippo! Serve goes right past me before I could move. I do not think I returned more than a couple of his serves all night. I had all of my old tricks that worked well against 3.0 women, though. Like charging the net indiscriminately. The opposing guy gave me quite a haircut when I tried it. His partner was a 3.5 who was experienced at mixed doubles, and she had no trouble blocking my partner's bullet serve and toying with me whenever she needed a quick point.

Finally, we were match point down and the opposing guy was serving to me. I decided no way was he going to ace me on match point. The guy stepped out way wide toward the doubles alley. Uh oh. What did this mean? Uh . . . It meant he was going to serve wide! I decided. I edged over a bit to protect my pitiful backhand. And he launched a missil right up the T for a clean ace.

Very humbling, that.

alice301
04-19-2009, 07:55 PM
How did those 7.0 matches go? Did you learn anything? What was your partner like?

it's a small, small world! i just looked up the woman who i played in my first-ever match on tennislink, and you know what?? you played (and won) against her last year at finals! i'm going to have to sift through your posts now! ...so that should give you a pretty good idea of how MY match against her went: little ole' 3.0 me, in my first match, against a woman who's earned herself a nice little stack of usta playoff handtowels.

in two of my matches, i was a 3.0 player paired with a 3.0 partner, playing two 3.5 opponents. so yeah, i left the court after each match practically baaa-ing; i felt like such a sacrifical, slaughtered lamb. and umm, i'm not really an athletic type of person (if you listen carefully, you'll hear the snickers from those who know me well, and recognize just what an understatement that is) so this idea of athletic competition is completely new to me, and i'm still trying to unpack that text.

but i really am excited about the spring, to play singles where i could conceivably win a point from the baseline (yay!), against opponents who are also ranked 3.0 like me (double yay!!).

and i've been thinking about my goals for my spring matches, and so far, i only have one: to be more self-encouraging during the match. see, i noticed that i'm very encouraging with my partners but really negative to myself, which i realized is nothing but counter-productive. how about you two? or anyone else? what goals would you set for yourself?

Xisbum
04-20-2009, 03:30 AM
and i've been thinking about my goals for my spring matches, and so far, i only have one: to be more self-encouraging during the match. see, i noticed that i'm very encouraging with my partners but really negative to myself, which i realized is nothing but counter-productive. how about you two? or anyone else? what goals would you set for yourself?

My goal is always to hit the next ball back in the court. Keeps things simple and focused. I also try to forget the last shot, because good or bad, you can't play it again.

How's your head? I have a big bruise on my chest where Topaz nailed me with a net clipper Saturday. She was fierce on us net guys. :shock:

P.S. You ladies don't mind if we guys post here every now and again, do you? We'll keep out if it's a private club.

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 04:06 AM
No, it's not a private club! What kind of club would it be with three women rattling around by themselves? A convent, I guess.

Alice, I have a new goal. It is a reaction to something my pro told me in his Latest Scolding. You know, lectures where every sentence seems to begin with, "You know what your problem is?" He said I want to hit everything hard. Even when I should hit defensively. Even when I am out of position or off balance. Even when a hard shot will not allow me time to recover my position.

So my new goal is no errors on makeable balls. If my opponents want to win a point, they will have to hit a winner. Me, I'll be hitting solid shots with good technique to the right location. I'm just not seeing any women who are successful at 4.0 who are wild. I gotta be more steady and methodical if I want to hang with those ladies.

Alice, I went 1-2 in the playoffs, so it should be easy to find that opponent in TennisLink. I remember the one win. One opponent (the 3.5 player) inexplicably fell down very early in the match. It was weird. She didn't play well and it turned out she also had a bad back. And I heard her husband had been diagnosed with something awful, so she was totally out of sorts. Perhaps her performance against you means everything is better now?

alice301
04-20-2009, 04:07 AM
I also try to forget the last shot, because good or bad, you can't play it again.

that was my goal for this past winter! to have a plan before each point...not that i was always going to be able to execute it, but so that i would stop thinking about the previous point.

How's your head?

i've had a headache all weekend, but i'm not sure if it's from my rattled brain, or from the sun poisoning rash (new face wash with orange peel+weekend of sunshine=ouch & yuck), or from sitting through my nephew's high school production of les mis, complete with gunfire & a wailing marius...

I have a big bruise on my chest where Topaz nailed me with a net clipper Saturday. She was fierce on us net guys. :shock:

yeah...sometimes i think that i'd be safer joining a roller derby team: at least i'd be wearing protective gear!

P.S. You ladies don't mind if we guys post here every now and again, do you? We'll keep out if it's a private club.

just for you, i'll make a special honorary membership card. tie-dyed. in electric blue. and orange. i'll even add some neon purple.

Spokewench
04-20-2009, 12:13 PM
Well, hi there!!

There is a singles ladder? Really?

What level are you? Hmmm, I guess I gotta run over to the DC Board and catch up . . .

Spokewrench, that is some accomplishment! I'm from Arizona, so I know the areas you are talking about. I would imagine they have larger populations than they did back in the day, but it cannot be easy to find players there.

Then again, you probably don't have to deal with the dreaded Timed Matches that Topaz and I suffer through. . . .

Have you considered starting a combo league? That might be an easy way to get through the winter and fall.

I was on a combo league last Fall. It was the first time they did that set up here.

alice301
04-20-2009, 12:43 PM
Alice, I went 1-2 in the playoffs, so it should be easy to find that opponent in TennisLink. I remember the one win. One opponent (the 3.5 player) inexplicably fell down very early in the match. It was weird. She didn't play well and it turned out she also had a bad back. And I heard her husband had been diagnosed with something awful, so she was totally out of sorts. Perhaps her performance against you means everything is better now?

yeah, i heard about her bad back too. but i see that she played on 3 teams this past winter, and is playing on 4 teams in the spring. and that her husband is playing on no less than 5 teams this year. so here's to their health. cheers. i can only hope that when i'm battling chronic pain and medical scares, that i'll continue to ruthlessly crush my opponents.

PushyPushster
04-20-2009, 01:05 PM
I had all of my old tricks that worked well against 3.0 women, though. Like charging the net indiscriminately.

Had to laugh at the above. I'm glad to see you back Cindy - this board is way more interesting with you participating.

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 01:42 PM
Alice, now I'm not sure we're talking about the same opponent. The 3.5 I played at Districts hasn't played this year.

Hey, Pushy. Good too see ya, and thanks!!

spiderman123
04-20-2009, 02:08 PM
Maria Sharapova's circle is huge because she is awesome.

Interesting idea.

Need to try that.

Cindysphinx
04-20-2009, 06:11 PM
Oh, man. Things are getting chaotic at 4.0, and we haven't even played our first match.

I was supposed to play Court Two paired with a 3.5 with great hands. We practiced Saturday and did great. I was stoked.

Woke up to an e-mail about a line-up change. It seems that the lady on Court Three was being moved to singles (for reasons too delicate to state here). Now I was on Court Three with Raiden's old 6.0 doubles partner, an athletic and nice 3.0 I played a few matches with when we were both 3.0s.

Got lunch and came back to another e-mail saying I would now be playing Court Three with a different 3.5 with whom I have never played. We both suffer the same weakness (overhitting), so our opponents would be wise to show up wearing safety goggles, 'cause we can be a little wild. Interestingly, we both take lessons from the same pro and therefore have the same philosophies about shot selection, net play and the like. Who knows? Maybe we will do some damage . . .

zapvor
04-21-2009, 09:42 AM
Wai, no kids, no dog.


I saw all my favorites, especially Verdasco. When Verdasco whipped Gasquet in Stadium 2, I had lucked into a seat in the second row on the baseline, about 15 feet from the sideline. The first row was reserved for players and their coaches/friends. The match is about to start, and in comes Verdasco's entourage to sit in the front row. His cute little girlfriend was in the seat right in front of me. Whenever he hit a massive winner, he would turn to her and give this amazing look. I pretended he was looking at me. ::swoon::

Cindy -- who thoroughly enjoyed Bryan/Bryan v. Nadal/Lopez

so you pick him over lopez?

Topaz
04-21-2009, 04:37 PM
^^^Zap, the 'Lopez' here is Marc Lopez, who is usually Nadal's partner when he ventures into the world of doubles...not Feliciano Lopez.

Topaz
04-21-2009, 04:38 PM
Anybody get started yet?

I have two matches this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday.

Let the fun begin!

alice301
04-21-2009, 05:14 PM
Anybody get started yet?

I have two matches this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday.

Let the fun begin!

oh, boy! you're playing singles, right? i'm sure that you'll do great because you'be been working so hard on your game all winter. is there any one thing that you're especially worried about? i wish that we could get a singles match in between now and then, but i know you have big big plans for thursday night! and i'm leaving town on friday. at least the weather will be wonderful all weekend for your matches.

our first two matches have been postponed because of the rain. so now my first match is next tuesday. after a winter of playing doubles, i'm worried about going out to play singles and feeling *all alone*.

Topaz
04-21-2009, 05:27 PM
Oh, oh, oh! Let's take a moment to admire our new title!

THANK YOU KAPTAIN KARL!!!

Topaz
04-21-2009, 05:29 PM
oh, boy! you're playing singles, right? i'm sure that you'll do great because you'be been working so hard on your game all winter. is there any one thing that you're especially worried about? i wish that we could get a singles match in between now and then, but i know you have big big plans for thursday night! and i'm leaving town on friday. at least the weather will be wonderful all weekend for your matches.

our first two matches have been postponed because of the rain. so now my first match is next tuesday. after a winter of playing doubles, i'm worried about going out to play singles and feeling *all alone*.

Ummm, one of them is singles. Don't want to say too much more. I pretty much let my heart out in this thread last season, it was ugly, and some people used it to make mean comments. So, if you find me holding back a bit...that is why.

Oh yeah...there is something I'm worried about...keeping it in the court! LOL! That was always my biggest challenge!

See now, I think, in doubles, that there are just way too many people on court!

alice301
04-21-2009, 06:40 PM
Oh yeah...there is something I'm worried about...keeping it in the court! LOL! That was always my biggest challenge!

what, are you hitting with an oversized prince racquet or something?? you can't possibly be overhitting with your ktour, can you? if you are, is it time for new strings? don't wait until they break to replace your strings!

See now, I think, in doubles, that there are just way too many people on court!

well, there is that...at least i won't have to worry about pegging my partner with a serve...even as he's rolled himself up into a little ball against the net...in the alley...

Cindysphinx
04-21-2009, 07:58 PM
OK. I'm back from my first ever 4.0 match.

As I said, it was chaotic. There was yet another partner change, with my third partner calling in sick. This left me with a 3.5 partner I have played with before, the singles player who is working through her Vision Confusion and Alley Cowering. Uh oh.

We carpooled over, and we talked strategy. I said my goal for the night was to keep my unforced errors to a bare minimum, to make them play. I said I'd be thinking about using good footwork to put every ball in my strike zone and i wasn't going to take the net unless I had earned the right to be there. My partner worried me. She said she was going to take some service returns DTL and go at the net person early in the match. I tried to discourage this, warning that these 4.0s can volley but probably wouldn't poach much. I didn't win the argument.

We warmed up, and I could see that we had drawn Rock Steady opponents who weren't going to be giving up free points. I thought I played fine, but my partner was having all kinds of problems early on. The two opponents would follow their shots to net immediately. This left my partner trying to pass them or lob them or something them, and she was missing like crazy. I held my first service game (dealt with their net assault by coming in also and by hitting approach shots at their feet). I don't recall what happened in my second service game, but we surely lost it somehow.

In the second set, my partner settled down and started hitting those groundstrokes, and we made them play. Before we knew it, we were up 4-1. They caught up, and we played a second set tiebreak, which we lost 5-7. I made two critical, unforgivable volley errors late in the second set when they were serving at 5-6. Even missed a high BH volley wide. What the heck? I never miss that shot. So we lost the set 6-7.

Still. They were both 4.0s, and we are 3.5s. In fact, we drew the only 8.0 pair the other team fielded. Fortunately, we took one singles court and the other two doubles courts. Which means our team (which only has three 4.0 players) is 1-0.

You should have seen the grin on our captain's face! :)

For me, the shots that were working well were my approach shot (was putting them with pace at the feet of the net players), my topspin lob (man, that shot is money in the bank!), and my serve (no double-faults, a few forced errors). I made a very high percentage of service returns and didn't miss many groundstrokes. I had some spectacular lob chases and one insane half-volley winner, and I finished some crosscourt rallies by taking a short ball up the line.

I was not happy with my volleys, though. I just didn't put enough weight on them and played a little scared in that department. I also didn't get into points as often as I would like, as the opponents seemed quite proficient at hitting sharply crosscourt or keeping their groundstrokes quite low and hard.

Still, this is a huge improvement from a year ago, when I couldn't hit a decent groundstroke . . .

Xisbum
04-22-2009, 03:23 AM
OK. I'm back from my first ever 4.0 match...
So we lost the set 6-7...

Still, this is a huge improvement from a year ago, when I couldn't hit a decent groundstroke . . .

Nice job; you didn't embarrass yourself or your partner, and you played a close match against what sounds like solid 4.0 players. We better schedule our singles match soon or you'll get too good for me. :)

Cindysphinx
04-22-2009, 03:59 AM
Nice job; you didn't embarrass yourself or your partner, and you played a close match against what sounds like solid 4.0 players. We better schedule our singles match soon or you'll get too good for me. :)

Thanks!

Our captain issued a long match report with his take on the various matches. He had the choice to have us play on clay or hard, and he chose clay. He explained his decision as believing it would give me an opportunity to use my speed and "stroke awkwardness" to disarm the opponents.

Uh oh. What does this mean? I'm awkward? Gee, I don't feel awkward. A little bloated, perhaps, I'll give you that. But awkward?

tfm1973
04-22-2009, 04:20 AM
He explained his decision as believing it would give me an opportunity to use my speed and "stroke awkwardness" to disarm the opponents.

*laughs* that's hilarious. you don't exactly have textbook strokes. i guess us 4.0 and below usually don't. but yours are especially ugly effective. do you remember the first time i played mixed in practice against you? i told you that i really couldn't read your strokes. as in i approach the net and i watch you take your racquet back for a groundie and then :confused: because i don't know where the fudge you're going to hit the ball. usually followed by :shock: that actually went over the net? and :( i hope my partner can get to that.

stroke ackwardness. muahahahahahaha. hilarious. :)

Topaz
04-22-2009, 05:12 AM
Cindy, that is a great result! ('awkward strokes or not) Keep showing that you are competitive at the 4.0 level (matters not if you win) and come November the computer will say 'by gosh, let's move her up!' ;)

Your 4.0 women's team has a guy captain? Is it their pro?

Topaz
04-22-2009, 05:32 AM
Edited and deleted: never mind...got my people confused

Cindysphinx
04-22-2009, 05:38 AM
Cindy, that is a great result! ('awkward strokes or not) Keep showing that you are competitive at the 4.0 level (matters not if you win) and come November the computer will say 'by gosh, let's move her up!' ;)

Your 4.0 women's team has a guy captain? Is it their pro?

My 4.0 captain is a guy. He is not a pro. He is a 3.5 player who plays regular and senior.

In the fall, he put together an 8.0 mixed team. He contacted me for this new team off of the list of players looking for teams (I was looking for 7.5 ladies combo, not 8.0 mixed). Intrigued, I went to a few practices. I learned that the team had no 4.5 men (other than a couple of self-rates who had rated too high IMHO), so I would be with a 3.5 guy or a 4.0 guy. I figured that since I still struggle at 7.0 mixed, I had no business signing up for 8.0 without a solid 4.5 by my side, so I took a pass.

Then this spring, a 3.5 woman I knew approached me and said he was starting a new 4.0 team and needed players, so I volunteered.

I have to say, I am liking this captain. Sure, we don't agree on everything concerning doubles strategy. But he runs actual practices with drills that make sense. Given how hard it is to convince anyone I know to practice, I really appreciate this. He really emphasizes net play and volleys and aggression, and I like this. He is slowly but surely fixing some fairly entrenched positioning problems among the players.

And by golly, he is a complete and total character. I have a sense that there is a whole lot of interesting stuff in his backstory. He gives people nicknames (I am "CC," our Doubles One team is "Double A" and another lady is "Six" for reasons I do not understand). Last night, he exchanged line-ups and then took attendance like a substitute teacher, requiring the players from the other team to raise their hands when he called their names. Everyone was having a really good time watching this.

He is such a *guy,* though. I mean, no female captain would ever send out a match report that says anything that could be remotely construed as negative. His match reports strike me as consistent with the way Dudes here talk about themselves and their matches: Brutally frank. Feelings? People have feelings? Puh!

His players seem fiercely loyal to him, and I have a feeling I will be playing on his teams in the future because there is a lot there to like.

Cindy -- hoping she doesn't get the new nickname "AS" -- for Awkward Strokes

spiderman123
04-22-2009, 06:03 AM
Cindy -- hoping she doesn't get the new nickname "AS" -- for Awkward Strokes

Some may prefer that over being called a "sissy". :)

spiderman123
04-22-2009, 06:04 AM
Cindy -- hoping she doesn't get the new nickname "AS" -- for Awkward Strokes

Some may prefer that over being called a "sissy".
:)

TennisND
04-22-2009, 06:42 AM
Cindy,

It's hard to get the good team captain. Luckily mine is a good cheer leader and well-planned lady. We got beer after the game too. But we don't have lots of practice as I expected. Did you have lots of team practice since it's crucial for mixed or doubles?

Cindysphinx
04-22-2009, 06:57 AM
Cindy,

It's hard to get the good team captain. Luckily mine is a good cheer leader and well-planned lady. We got beer after the game too. But we don't have lots of practice as I expected. Did you have lots of team practice since it's crucial for mixed or doubles?

This is the only team I have ever been on that had actual practices.

On my mixed team, my captain gave up because no one came. Same story on the team I captain; I long ago stopped trying. Even when these other teams did have a practice or two, it was just everyone playing doubles. Which means no one does anything differently and we all just make the same old positioning, shot selection and stroke mistakes we always do. Propose doing a drill -- even something as important as volley-to-volley practice -- and no one will do it. In contrast, this captain has started every practice with a good 30 minutes of volley-to-volley drills from the service line.

So this team's practices are one of the team's best features. We even have one lady who is on an opposing team who attends our practices! I'd rather be on a losing team that helps me improve than on a winning team where I keep making the same old mistakes, that's for sure.

Xisbum
04-22-2009, 07:29 AM
This is the only team I have ever been on that had actual practices.

On my mixed team, my captain gave up because no one came. Same story on the team I captain; I long ago stopped trying. Even when these other teams did have a practice or two, it was just everyone playing doubles. Which means no one does anything differently and we all just make the same old positioning, shot selection and stroke mistakes we always do. Propose doing a drill -- even something as important as volley-to-volley practice -- and no one will do it. In contrast, this captain has started every practice with a good 30 minutes of volley-to-volley drills from the service line.

So this team's practices are one of the team's best features. We even have one lady who is on an opposing team who attends our practices! I'd rather be on a losing team that helps me improve than on a winning team where I keep making the same old mistakes, that's for sure.

Spot on; most think practice is nothing more than playing as usual. My last Reston team, when it practiced at all, just did the same old thing, time after time. I kept telling this one lady - a very nice 3.5 player, singles and doubles - that when her husband hit a short ball to me in the deuce court, I was going to hit it down the line every time and she should recognize that and shade toward the alley when he hit that shot.

How many times did she take my advice? Nada, zilch, zero. Easy point every time.

*sigh*

Topaz
04-22-2009, 08:19 AM
you can't possibly be overhitting with your ktour, can you? if you are, is it time for new strings? don't wait until they break to replace your strings!
..

Sure I can...the overhitting is a result of my technique, not the racquet. I'm very sure I could overhit with a KPS88. In fact, I think I already did back in January!

The ktour helps, but yeah...I can still launch it into the back curtain and be surprised by it. Actually, I'd rather that happen than I get tight, and start hitting short.

My goal is to play how I've been practicing to play...even if I screw it up and don't win. I don't want to play the 3.5 hacker/dinker game, because that won't work on high levels.

alice301
04-22-2009, 01:03 PM
I don't want to play the 3.5 hacker/dinker game, because that won't work on high levels.

sure it will...just look at tfm, hahaha. but seriously, don't be snotty about the "3.5 hacker/dinker game," chickie--because it's what i aspire to achieve by the end of the season!

you have beautiful, solid strokes--have you read those posts singing your praises over there??--so i don't really see you as the "hacker/dinker type." you play with deliberation and integrity, but whew! those things take up time to set up. which is why i sincerely believe that hacking/dinking is a pricelessly valuable skill, especially on a doubles court.

and cindy? you know who plays awkward tennis? those bryan boys. they own the patent on ugly, self-defensive volleys.

Topaz
04-22-2009, 01:29 PM
sure it will...just look at tfm, hahaha. but seriously, don't be snotty about the "3.5 hacker/dinker game," chickie--because it's what i aspire to achieve by the end of the season!

Well, maybe I didn't describe what I meant quite well...but the strokes I mean are ones that are not necessarily going to move a person up a level. Like Cindy, I aspire to move to 4.0, though I'm not sure it will happen this year. I actually feel like I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do this year. I've worked my butt off, but until I actually get into match play...who knows? See my comments on the 'dinker' below.


you have beautiful, solid strokes--have you read those posts singing your praises over there??--so i don't really see you as the "hacker/dinker type." you play with deliberation and integrity, but whew! those things take up time to set up. which is why i sincerely believe that hacking/dinking is a pricelessly valuable skill, especially on a doubles court.

and cindy? you know who plays awkward tennis? those bryan boys. they own the patent on ugly, self-defensive volleys.

Why thank you! By 'over there', do you mean the TWMAC thread? Uh, I'll have to disagree with you there. Then again, I've been there for a very long time and have been ridiculed with repeated taunts of 'dropshot' until I was in tears, called 'slowpaz', and had my record from last year (a badly losing one) made fun of. And some people wonder why it appears that I have no sense of humor. It is defeating to work so hard, log on, and see those kinds of things. I, uh, wasn't laughing. Yeah, I know I've got a chip on my shoulder, but it didn't get there by itself, trust me.

The dinking I refer to is the stuff I see in singles, really...because it gets me the short ball that I want, but it is low instead of high, and I have a hard time figuring out what to do with it.

I had a girl that I played twice, in two different tournaments, last year in singles. She was nothing but junk. Frustrated the crap out of me until I just didn't care what happened because I couldn't hit it hard (it would go out or into the net) and if I dinked back, she would simply lob me, as her dink would get me in horrible position on the court. That was her only game, and against me, it worked beautifully. I simply didn't have the tools to counteract that game, and I hope I do now, as a lot of women at 3.5 seem to have that game down pat!

Hmmm, I hope I get a rematch with her this summer! :twisted:

Cindysphinx
04-22-2009, 01:40 PM
Topaz, I am thinking this whole thing is discouraging for a different reason.

There is this 3.5 singles specialist woman on my 4.0 team. She is . . . wow. Um. Maybe I'll just describe her strokes.

She doesn't really have a reliable backhand. Her volleys aren't so hot. And her shots have no spin and are flat and don't have any discernable spin. Let's say she does not hit a heavy ball. She gets around the court well and can reach most things, although I think I could take her in a sprint and possibly a shorter distance race. Her serve is a push deep into the middle of the service box, although it is possible that she can aim it. I played her once in practice doubles and she didn't do well.

She beat a 4.0 player 6-0, 6-0 last night. My captain's report praised her brilliant tactics. She hit every ball deep, up the middle. When the opponent hit an angle, she just looped it back deep up the middle. This went on for 43 minutes and the match was over.

And the opponent probably hung herself after the match.

Now, if that is what will move you to 4.0, my AS ("awkward strokes") do not stand a chance.

Cindy -- who has decided there must have been a typo and the captain really meant "awesome" strokes

Topaz
04-22-2009, 01:48 PM
Hmm, well, not really...you did say she hit everything back deep right? So, even if she wasn't hitting the snot out of the ball, she was keeping it in the court, keeping it deep in the court, and getting to a lot of balls. Those are three really important things there, IMO. She stayed patient, and her opponent was probably going nuts. Also, if it was only over in 43 minutes...it sounds like her opponent made a lot of errors...because it doesn't sound like your teammate made the errors.

Having not seen this person, again, I would say that she played a smart match, regardless of what her strokes look like.

I know, for *me*, that many of problems (control) came from bad technique, so we set about fixing that. I still struggle, especially when I'm nervous, with keeping the ball deep in singles. Even if it is in the center of the court, if it is deep, then my opponent probably won't hit a winner off of it.

Right? *scratching head* Are we talking about the same thing and basically agreeing with each other?

Xisbum
04-22-2009, 02:11 PM
Then again, I've been there for a very long time and have been ridiculed with repeated taunts of 'dropshot' until I was in tears...

Uh, guilty, :oops: but didn't realize at the time that it hurt you so. Have not done it since, I hope. If I do it again, feel free to kick my butt.

And the opponent probably hung herself after the match.


If she did, she's twice dumb. It's still a game, should be fun win or lose. If someone's game gives you trouble, do some thinking during the match and find an answer. Or work on beating that particular person's game between matches. It's an intellectual challenge as much as a physical challenge.

And as long as your strokes work, don't let anyone else's labels bother you. I've been called everything you can think of by guys I beat or push to their limits - dinker, pusher, slicer, dicer, crafty, consistent, overachiever - everything except good. And that's okay; as long as I've given my best between the lines, I can walk off the court with a good feeling, win or lose.

Unless the other guy's a jerk, of course; then it gets personal. But that's another story.

alice301
04-22-2009, 02:25 PM
I had a girl that I played twice, in two different tournaments, last year in singles. She was nothing but junk.


was she sporting a korean-lite 5 o'clock shadow at noon? did she try to scam your racquet during a changeover? did she have a soul-crushing cackle too???

Cindysphinx
04-22-2009, 02:34 PM
But Topaz -- hitting 500 (or whatever the number is) groundstrokes to the center of the baseline is *boring.* It is boring to do, it is boring to watch, it is even boring to think about.

Really, what other sport rewards boring, conservative tactics to that extent? You think the person skating in a straight line is going to win the Gold? You think the wrestler who never attempts a takedown but just lies face down on the mat is going to be on the cover of a Wheaties box? Or the diver with nothing in her repertoire but a swan dive, even if it is a really good one? Even Muhammad Ali stopped his rope-a-dope when the time was right and threw an actual punch.

Maybe I really should stay away from singles . . .

Xisbum
04-22-2009, 03:21 PM
^^^Yup, been called boring, too. *sigh*

Cindysphinx
04-22-2009, 04:57 PM
Aargh. I think I know why I am reacting so badly to this lady's double-bagel.

People who are pushing 50 often set goals. A common one is to run a marathon. I didn't want to do a marathon. Instead, I decided to try to make it to 4.0. That's my marathon.

And now I find that you can essentially be a pusher and destroy a 4.0 in less than an hour? What kind of goal have I set? Even if I reach it, I will still be surrounded by pushers. Maybe I'll even be a pusher myself?

Maybe I need a different goal . . . .

Topaz
04-22-2009, 05:50 PM
Uh, guilty, :oops: but didn't realize at the time that it hurt you so. Have not done it since, I hope. If I do it again, feel free to kick my butt.

Well, I *did* try to get you at the net! :twisted:

It was a bad season last year, and I was brutally honest about it, and yeah...just didn't need to be made fun of. I'll be sure to kick your butt (and anyone else's...*coughcoughTFMcoughcough*) if ya do it again, ok?

Honestly though...I'm scared stiff that bad season is going to happen again...I'm somewhat petrified for my first singles match. I'm scared that all that hard work...won't pay off. Instead, I should be strutting onto that court with confidence right? I hope I can channel it before Sunday!

I am my own worst enemy.

If she did, she's twice dumb. It's still a game, should be fun win or lose. If someone's game gives you trouble, do some thinking during the match and find an answer. Or work on beating that particular person's game between matches. It's an intellectual challenge as much as a physical challenge.

And as long as your strokes work, don't let anyone else's labels bother you. I've been called everything you can think of by guys I beat or push to their limits - dinker, pusher, slicer, dicer, crafty, consistent, overachiever - everything except good. And that's okay; as long as I've given my best between the lines, I can walk off the court with a good feeling, win or lose.

Unless the other guy's a jerk, of course; then it gets personal. But that's another story.

And right there, in bold, is my biggest weakness, I think.

I don't think you're a dinker, and I wouldn't put you in the slice and dice category, either. You hit with topspin sometimes, and underspin other times...keeps your opponent guessing. Let's see, I would call that...all court craftiness. I wish I had some!

was she sporting a korean-lite 5 o'clock shadow at noon? did she try to scam your racquet during a changeover? did she have a soul-crushing cackle too???

Lol, no...she was pretty pale, and had an impressive boob job!

But Topaz -- hitting 500 (or whatever the number is) groundstrokes to the center of the baseline is *boring.* It is boring to do, it is boring to watch, it is even boring to think about.

Really, what other sport rewards boring, conservative tactics to that extent? You think the person skating in a straight line is going to win the Gold? You think the wrestler who never attempts a takedown but just lies face down on the mat is going to be on the cover of a Wheaties box? Or the diver with nothing in her repertoire but a swan dive, even if it is a really good one? Even Muhammad Ali stopped his rope-a-dope when the time was right and threw an actual punch.

Maybe I really should stay away from singles . . .

Well, but she didn't have to do more than hit boring shots to win that match. It is obviously a shot she does very, very well, and shame on her opponent for not forcing her to have to change her tactics.

Aargh. I think I know why I am reacting so badly to this lady's double-bagel.

People who are pushing 50 often set goals. A common one is to run a marathon. I didn't want to do a marathon. Instead, I decided to try to make it to 4.0. That's my marathon.

And now I find that you can essentially be a pusher and destroy a 4.0 in less than an hour? What kind of goal have I set? Even if I reach it, I will still be surrounded by pushers. Maybe I'll even be a pusher myself?

Maybe I need a different goal . . . .

Just because this one 4.0 got beat doesn't mean other 4.0s are going to go down as easily.

IMO, someone who hits consistently deep into the court isn't a pusher. That's the foundation of some good solid strokes and strategy...you add the pace (and maybe spin) later. If you hit short in the higher levels, you'll get punished more often than not for those short shots.

I think you're on the right track Cindy! Don't think so much!

alice301
04-22-2009, 06:38 PM
Honestly though...I'm scared stiff that bad season is going to happen again...I'm somewhat petrified for my first singles match. I'm scared that all that hard work...won't pay off. Instead, I should be strutting onto that court with confidence right? I hope I can channel it before Sunday!


i know that you're really busy until friday, but you should do something fun & non-tennisy on friday. do something that makes you proud of yourself. because if you can carry that feeling of pride and accomplishment--whether it's from playing music or baking--to your match, i'm sure that you'll be able to focus better, and to play *your* game sunday.

...and monday night, when i have the shakes before my first match, you're welcome to cut & paste my pie-in-the-sky, pollyanna motivational speech right back at me!

Topaz
04-22-2009, 06:56 PM
i know that you're really busy until friday, but you should do something fun & non-tennisy on friday. do something that makes you proud of yourself. because if you can carry that feeling of pride and accomplishment--whether it's from playing music or baking--to your match, i'm sure that you'll be able to focus better, and to play *your* game sunday.

...and monday night, when i have the shakes before my first match, you're welcome to cut & paste my pie-in-the-sky, pollyanna motivational speech right back at me!

Actually, I think that is really great advice...only I'll be at school Friday night, doing the musical *again*.

But, then, I'll be done! And it is definitely non-tennisy, and if the kids remember even half of their lines (*crossing fingers*), then it might even be fun!

And if that doesn't work, then we go to 'plan B'...drinking a shot (or two) before my match! :shock:

magmasilk
04-22-2009, 06:58 PM
Honestly though...I'm scared stiff that bad season is going to happen again...I'm somewhat petrified for my first singles match. I'm scared that all that hard work...won't pay off. Instead, I should be strutting onto that court with confidence right? I hope I can channel it before Sunday!

the hard work already payed off. you are better. however, you can't control what happens on the other side of the net. as for being scared, fear of losing is probably worse than actually losing. and smile during the match!

Topaz
04-22-2009, 06:58 PM
^^^Heh, heh...I'll try my best to smile once and a while, even if it is at an egregious error! Thanks for the boost!

spiderman123
04-23-2009, 04:30 AM
But Topaz -- hitting 500 (or whatever the number is) groundstrokes to the center of the baseline is *boring.*

It does not matter as long as it wins you matches. Does this player do it in every single match? If she does and she still has a winning record (sounds like she does to earn the "specialist" tag), then this speaks more about her opponents.

If one strategy is working so good to earn you a double bagel, you would be crazy to change it just for the sake of variety. It actually takes a lot of skill to do something well for an entire match.

And Topaz, you need to work on your short swing topspin to handle those dinks and dinkers. You maybe are hitting too flat (or forgetting that you are hitting from the middle of the court). It should be dink-GoodTopsinInvertedU-Dink-BAM OHorVolley(because you have closed in)

Cindysphinx
04-23-2009, 05:35 AM
Topaz, I'm fighting the same demons. 2008 was an absolute nightmare. Big $$$ spent on lessons, countless hours of practice. Will 2009 be more of the same?

The other thing that is fear-inducing is that I don't have the luxury of hanging around on Court Three or playing the weaker opponents. We don't have any dominant doubles players. Everyone's pretty good, but "pretty good" is about as good as it gets. I'm playing at higher levels, so that alone is enough to cause yet another losing record. And on two of my three teams, I'm not the captain and therefore have to take whatever partner I get.

I am working on the schedule for the first few matches now. I could put myself in at No. 2 singles. But I'm afraid that if I lost badly, then it would prove that all this energy put into groundstrokes was a waste of time and I should have watched TV instead. So I will play No. 1 doubles and lose there instead. :(

Oooh, this is turning into a pity party, huh?

Venetian
04-23-2009, 08:44 AM
Cindy, have you thought of switching racquets? Isn't the golden rule that poor performance is usually the racquet's fault?

I've switched racquets multiple times myself. I still suck, but I'm hoping one of the switches might work some day. Besides, buying racquets is fun.

Venetian
04-23-2009, 08:45 AM
Now that I think about it, I've never seen you discuss your gear. What are you swinging anyway? And what about strings, grips, etc...

Cindysphinx
04-23-2009, 11:12 AM
Me, I'm officially vintage.

I use the AeroPro Drive, the old one in black and yellow, not the current model. I guard my rackets, as I know I couldn't replace these two if anything happened to them.

I am currently stringing with Wilson Sensation on the, erm . . . is the mains? That's because I bought a whole reel of the stuff and I'm not throwing it in the trash. I'll switch to something better when I run out. And then I am using either Spiky Shark or ProLine II on the crosses.

My true love is Luxilon, and I can't decide whether it is worth the extra money. I mean, Luxilon might be better, but I think I could get equally good results by moving my feet.

I don't know my tension. I hand the racket and string to my pro, and $15 later he hands me a freshly strung racket. I know he thinks I need control, so he probably does it pretty tight. (Wait, I'm confused. Tight is for control, right?)

I just started using ProSigma overgrips. Man, these things are sweet!

And I usually wear black skirts. Black is slimming. Slimming is good.

sureshs
04-23-2009, 11:17 AM
And I usually wear black skirts.

Please, something on the top also.

Cindysphinx
04-23-2009, 12:51 PM
Please, something on the top also.

Ha! Will do, just for you! :)

Hey, I looked up the woman that my teammate double-bageled. She's self-rated at 4.0, and this was her second 4.0 singles match on Court Two. Last time around she lost 6-0, 6-1.

So we clearly have someone who self-rated much too high according to the USTA guidelines and not the Real World.

This restores my faith in humanity and confirms the natural order of things, 'cause I just couldn't wrap my mind around this woman being dominant in 4.0 singles . . .

alice301
04-23-2009, 05:40 PM
cindy, i've been thinking about your "approaching 50; Must Set & Accomplish a Goal" mindset. so....I'm wondering, what happens if you do reach 4.0 before 50? heaven-sent confetti & streamers? and alternatively, what happens if you're still a 3.5 player? a cosmic "wah-wah-wah"?

i'm not asking to mock you, or to try to change you...you seem rather immutable, anyway. i'm just asking because i'm an accomplished, life-long slacker, and i'm just curious about all this goal-setting. i can understand the desire to master a skill so that you can enjoy it, but where's the fullfillment from being rated? and by an external, and intrinsically flawed, rating system at that?

granted, i won't be approaching 50 for another year or two, and i'm not even close to breaking the 4.0 ranking barrier, so what do i know? maybe in a couple of years, maybe i'll actually have won a match, and then things like goals and ratings will be illuminated for me.

Cindysphinx
04-24-2009, 03:33 AM
cindy, i've been thinking about your "approaching 50; Must Set & Accomplish a Goal" mindset. so....I'm wondering, what happens if you do reach 4.0 before 50? heaven-sent confetti & streamers? and alternatively, what happens if you're still a 3.5 player? a cosmic "wah-wah-wah"?

i'm not asking to mock you, or to try to change you...you seem rather immutable, anyway. i'm just asking because i'm an accomplished, life-long slacker, and i'm just curious about all this goal-setting. i can understand the desire to master a skill so that you can enjoy it, but where's the fullfillment from being rated? and by an external, and intrinsically flawed, rating system at that?

granted, i won't be approaching 50 for another year or two, and i'm not even close to breaking the 4.0 ranking barrier, so what do i know? maybe in a couple of years, maybe i'll actually have won a match, and then things like goals and ratings will be illuminated for me.


Why set this 4.0 goal? It's a good question that deserves a serious attempt at an answer. I have a feeling that this is going to turn into a bit of a ramble, but here we go anyway.

I have friends who play socially and have no interest in playing USTA or anything else competitive. One lady doesn't even wish to keep score; she is fine just hitting the ball around.

Why, then, do the rest of us not approach tennis in this way? Why do we keep score? Why do we play league? Why not just "master" the game by hitting the ball until it is time to go get lunch? We'd still be able to get better or at least know if we were getting better, right?

I think it is because this sport and all sports (and perhaps even human nature) cry out for an objective measure of skill and progress. You don't really and truly know whether you have a good serve until another person tries to return it. None of us ever gets to know how difficult it is to return our groundstroke or how heavy it is. Our only measure of this is whether people we know to be of similar skill handle it easily or not. The USTA rating system is imperfect, but it is the only way of knowing who is of similar skill.

I guess your question really has two parts, then. The first question is why set a goal for age 50. It seems like a way to deny that you're getting on in age, I suppose. You'll notice that people often pick something physically demanding when they set these age-related goals (marathons, climbing mountains, Xtreme sports, adventure travel). I've never heard anyone say that their goal for age 50 is to eat an entire pie.

The second part of the question is why have 4.0 as the goal. I think the reason is that the USTA rating system is the only objective measure we have of amateur tennis progress. I could, I suppose, try to get a tournament ranking but I can't easily play tournaments (due to family obligations). Besides, setting a goal of a particular ranking or winning a particular tournament is really the same sort of thing -- measuring one's progress by a rather arbitrary and objective measure.

And if I don't make it to 4.0? I haven't thought about that much. Between you and me, I don't think I will make it. Most people don't. Lots of things could derail me (needing to get a job, health problem, injury). Will I cry into my towel? Probably not. But if I do make it, it will be objective (if imperfect) proof that I did get better.

And if I make 4.0 early? That's easy. I can just appeal down. :)

robby c
04-24-2009, 08:37 AM
4.0 level of play is more fun.
Players have reliable strokes. Employ sound strategy. You get a better playing experience. Generally more polite, and adhere to the spirit of the code. Less drama.
Last Sunday I stepped off the court from my 3.5 match directly onto my 4.0 match. It was night and day difference. I'm glad to be leaving 3.5 after this year.
I played down for health reasons. I chose a last place 3.5 team to join in order to get weekly matches. My weight is now 221 lbs. Down from 251 Jan. 2008.
I was able to handle the schedule in advance style of my 3.5 Captain. This past year was a success, so overall I'm happy with my 3.5 experience.
But I'm looking foward to just playing 4.0.
Robby C

robby c
04-24-2009, 08:48 AM
I turn 47 this year. I'll be 50 in the 2012 season. The guys I played with on those winning Independent teams from the 90's are still here playing Senior 4.0. I look foward to reuniting with my old teammates at the Grownup level.
Good luck Cindy. I hope you reach your goal.
Robby C

Xisbum
04-25-2009, 07:21 AM
Check it out: Page 29, USTA Mid-Atlantic 2009 Yearbook, NTRP Final Rankings, Women's 3.5 Singles (No. 3 = someone we know) and Women's 3.5 Doubles (No. 5 = someone we know).

Not too shabby; not too shabby at all. :-) Well done, very well done.

Cindysphinx
04-25-2009, 08:23 AM
Check it out: Page 29, USTA Mid-Atlantic 2009 Yearbook, NTRP Final Rankings, Women's 3.5 Singles (No. 3 = someone we know) and Women's 3.5 Doubles (No. 5 = someone we know).

Not too shabby; not too shabby at all. :-) Well done, very well done.

Got a link? I can't find it.

alice301
04-25-2009, 11:01 AM
hey, cindy! i just looked at your profile, and we have the same birthday! it's like alice301=bizarro world cindysphinx!

oh, i figured out why i couldn't understand your 4.0 goal-setting. it was because i haven't gotten past the primary and secondary qualities of substance a la john locke (primary: definite & measurable properties of substance--your zippy, spinny serve; secondary: your responsive perception--"ooohh, that racquet contact was right-on") to get to the tertiary quality: the effects of a substance (your serve) on another substance (your opponent), which as you point out, is really what sports is all about.

so yeah. i need to play some more matches. and uhh, actually experience a win.

Topaz
04-25-2009, 11:05 AM
Check it out: Page 29, USTA Mid-Atlantic 2009 Yearbook, NTRP Final Rankings, Women's 3.5 Singles (No. 3 = someone we know) and Women's 3.5 Doubles (No. 5 = someone we know).

Not too shabby; not too shabby at all. :-) Well done, very well done.

And on page 29 under men's 3.5 doubles at #3 is someone else we know, too! A tip of the hat to you as well, sir!

Cindy, the yearbook came in the mail for me yesterday (and it looks like Xisbum, too). Not sure there is a link. It is from the tournaments I did last summer. Not really a reflection of my actual skill, unfortunately, just a reflection of my ability to go out there and do it again and again.

Topaz
04-25-2009, 12:00 PM
Things I learned today while captaining my first DC match:
*leaving early is good
*always check with the opposing team for defaults before handing your line-up in at the desk
*don't play like a 2.5!!! :(

So, today started off really great. Needless to say, after 3 13 and 1/2 hour workdays, I was pretty exhausted last night and went to bed at 10:30pm. I woke up feeling pretty good nice and early. I puttered around a bit, then got ready for the match. My plan was to go out and hit against a wall before heading to the site.

However, when I got to the car, I noticed that the tennis balls my co-captain had given me were all hard court balls, and none of the were clay court balls (we were scheduled on the clay today). I wasn't sure if this was going to be a problem or not, but since it was so early, I decided to run to Sports Authority, pick up some clay court balls, then head to the site and warm up on the wall there.

And that ended up being a good plan for several reason. First, I also got to pick up a new tank to be embroidered with my indoor team's name. I got a bra, too, but I'm not going to have that embroidered. :twisted: And, it gave me a large head start on match time so that the 45 minutes I spent in traffic on the f*cking bridge didn't actually make me late, just not insanely early.

And, what a surprise to walk into the bubble to go to the ladies room, and as I walk out I thought I heard someone say 'Hey Topaz'. I looked back for a moment, but I wasn't sure I heard correctly. I went back in later to put on my ankle brace and sure enough, fellow TTWMACer Zapvor was manning the desk!!! Sorry about blowing you off the first time Zappy!

Ok, this is where things get tricky. We were about 10 minutes to match time, and 2 women were stuck on the bridge. They were supposed to be on #2 and #3 dubs. So, just in case they didn't make it in time, I did a last minute switch so I would have a full court at #2, and if we had to default, it would be on #3. Then I handed in the line-up. Then I checked with the opposing captain to give her the court assignments (as we were home team), and found out that they were defaulting #2 singles.

I begged, I pleaded, but there was no way to get that line-up back and put my #2 singles in for #3 dubs. Damm*t!!!

It ended up being ok, though, as everyone made it just in the nick of time, and the running they did to get there from their cars made for a nice warmup.

Now, my partner and I, who I LOVE playing with, were on court #1 doubles. We had a tight, tight first set, came back from 1-4 down to win it 7-5. We were both playing very tight, but I was doing okay. I had a rough time serving, as my toss was right in the sun, but no doubles. And eventually, the sun moved, and I was ok.

However.

The second set was quite possibly the worst set of tennis that I have EVER played in my life. I am NOT exaggerating here. I think I should have at least tried playing lefthanded. We were down 0-5, with me serving, when somehow I managed to hit a few winners. We were locked in a tight game at 1-5 when we ran out of time. We lost on games.

I almost want to laugh, because seriously...I was playing *that bad*. Horrible. Part of me is thinking 'well, at least you got that out of your system', but there is a tiny part that is really, really worried.

It is all in my head, too. I'm well aware that I'm a basketcase. I'm working on it. But it was so scary to suddenly just not have *anything* working. I'm so embarrassed, and I feel I need to buy my partner a car in order to make up for my horrible playing. She was tight, too, but she didn't go away for a whole set like I did. UGH!

I have to give a big shout out to Alice, though...for calling and helping me put my head on straight! Alice, it means more than you! You rock!

So, the good news is that #1 dubs was the only court we lost, and all my other players had a really easy time of it. Ok, next time, I'm on court #3!!!!!!!!

Topaz
04-25-2009, 01:10 PM
Also, just got talked into signing up for FlexLeague 3.5 singles with a friend. We'll see how that goes!

Cindysphinx
04-25-2009, 07:01 PM
Topaz, I'm really sorry to hear about the loss. Or more specifically, sorry to hear you didn't feel you played well, which is more important. It probably wasn't as bad as you think. Right?

Regarding the line-up, you're not entitled to shuffle after you learn of a default. Which is why it is dangerous to stack and put your good players on the lower courts. They might wind up sitting on the bench while your weak players get spanked. You'll always find my top players on Courts One or Two for that reason (unless I take a head count and know for sure that I see 8 opponents).

Me, I wasn't in the line-up today. I played my husband in some singles. He's a 2.5. I won 6-0. And guess what? I played badly!

Cindy -- who really suffered in our first hot day of the year

Topaz
04-26-2009, 02:57 AM
Regarding the line-up, you're not entitled to shuffle after you learn of a default. Which is why it is dangerous to stack and put your good players on the lower courts. They might wind up sitting on the bench while your weak players get spanked. You'll always find my top players on Courts One or Two for that reason (unless I take a head count and know for sure that I see 8 opponents).


Oh, I know, but at that point our entire #3 doubles team wasn't there yet, and if I had checked with the opposing captain first, then I could have shifted my #2 singles to #3 doubles to at least have one person there. But then my two gals showed up just in time to get on the court, so that worked out. I felt horrible for the gal who showed up on time, very responsible, and then didn't get to play. :(

OH, I love the heat! I say bring it on! :) Of course, I was slathered with sunscreen yesterday, too. That is something I need to be better about this year. I'm also starting a nice 'ankle-brace' tan line! :oops:

Topaz
04-26-2009, 05:53 PM
Alrighty then.

Had my first singles match tonight at #1 with my indoor NOVA team. Spent the whole day pretty much petrified, but tried to follow Alice's excellent advice of doing something non-tennisy (I didn't go shopping, but my apartment looks great!).

Got there really early, commiserated over the feeling of having to throw up with our other singles player. I knew a lot of the women on the other team, and one came up and gave me a high five and said 'Number 5!!!' (referring to my 2008 3.5 singles ranking in the section due to my many wins...in the consolation brackets of NTRP tournaments last summer). That was kinda cool! She plays at my club, and I"ve known her for quite a while.

But I wasn't playing her, I ended up playing K, a woman who was on my mixed team! Hunh. Ok, so, this was my gameplan:
1. Feet.
2. Eyes/Head...on the ball, not popping out too soon.
3. Breathe!

I did the first two ok, and not sure if I was breathing, really, for the entire match.

So, we get started, and I had a specific game plan for at least the first 3 games of the match (I served first). First serve, *bam*, FH winner. OK, now that's a great start!

And, for once, I did have a great start, and took the first set 6-1. Yay!

Then, kept it up in the second set, and was up 5-2, serving for the match. And yes, gentle reader, that is when the wheels starting coming off. Suddenly I was netting things left and right. Ok, deep breath...tried to stay focused and not get upset.

But the full choke was on. At 5-5 I felt a bit of panic. She holds, I'm serving 5-6 to stay in the second set. And serve and play a great game! Jeesh! Where was that when I was serving at 5-2 and 5-4?!? Jeez, I am *such* a freakin' basketcase!

OK, so, 6-all, and we start our second set tiebreak. She's serving, nets the first serve, and the buzzer goes off. I won on games.

And this is the glory of the timed match. Usually it bites me in the *** because I'm a slow start, but coming out with a gameplan made a huge difference.

We came off of the court, and the opposing team's pro was there...someone I used to work with a long time ago. I was happy to see her, and was giving her a hug, when I also mouthed to my waiting team 'I won'.

And they cheered! :) Because I was the deciding match for the team win! HOLY SH*T!!! Good thing I didn't know, because I would have choked like you wouldn't have believed!

I was also glad the pro was there...because she saw me choke, and was able to tell me...my feet. I stopped moving my feet. It is so bizarre...because I was trying to remind myself of that, and I didn't feel like I wasn't moving them as well, but wow...

Ok, so lessons learned:
*come out strong and with a gameplan
*really, really, really need to move those feet when I'm tight and/or trying to close things out

Final score 6-1, 6-6. Timed match.

Should have been, 6-1, 6-2. But I did some things very well, and I definitely know what I need to improve upon for next time.

Cindysphinx
04-26-2009, 06:01 PM
*****CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!*****

Seriously, this is huge! An honest-to-goodness singles win. You should be so proud!!

Xisbum
04-26-2009, 06:05 PM
Alrighty then.

Had my first singles match tonight at #1 with my indoor NOVA team. Spent the whole day pretty much petrified, but tried to follow Alice's excellent advice of doing something non-tennisy (I didn't go shopping, but my apartment looks great!).

Got there really early, commiserated over the feeling of having to throw up with our other singles player. I knew a lot of the women on the other team, and one came up and gave me a high five and said 'Number 5!!!' (referring to my 2008 3.5 singles ranking in the section due to my many wins...in the consolation brackets of NTRP tournaments last summer). That was kinda cool! She plays at my club, and I"ve known her for quite a while.

But I wasn't playing her, I ended up playing K, a woman who was on my mixed team! Hunh. Ok, so, this was my gameplan:
1. Feet.
2. Eyes/Head...on the ball, not popping out too soon.
3. Breathe!

I did the first two ok, and not sure if I was breathing, really, for the entire match.

So, we get started, and I had a specific game plan for at least the first 3 games of the match (I served first). First serve, *bam*, FH winner. OK, now that's a great start!

And, for once, I did have a great start, and took the first set 6-1. Yay!

Then, kept it up in the second set, and was up 5-2, serving for the match. And yes, gentle reader, that is when the wheels starting coming off. Suddenly I was netting things left and right. Ok, deep breath...tried to stay focused and not get upset.

But the full choke was on. At 5-5 I felt a bit of panic. She holds, I'm serving 5-6 to stay in the second set. And serve and play a great game! Jeesh! Where was that when I was serving at 5-2 and 5-4?!? Jeez, I am *such* a freakin' basketcase!

OK, so, 6-all, and we start our second set tiebreak. She's serving, nets the first serve, and the buzzer goes off. I won on games.

And this is the glory of the timed match. Usually it bites me in the *** because I'm a slow start, but coming out with a gameplan made a huge difference.

We came off of the court, and the opposing team's pro was there...someone I used to work with a long time ago. I was happy to see her, and was giving her a hug, when I also mouthed to my waiting team 'I won'.

And they cheered! :) Because I was the deciding match for the team win! HOLY SH*T!!! Good thing I didn't know, because I would have choked like you wouldn't have believed!

I was also glad the pro was there...because she saw me choke, and was able to tell me...my feet. I stopped moving my feet. It is so bizarre...because I was trying to remind myself of that, and I didn't feel like I wasn't moving them as well, but wow...

Ok, so lessons learned:
*come out strong and with a gameplan
*really, really, really need to move those feet when I'm tight and/or trying to close things out

Final score 6-1, 6-6. Timed match.

Should have been, 6-1, 6-2. But I did some things very well, and I definitely know what I need to improve upon for next time.

Cool. Next time, play the second set like it doesn't matter. You'll be surprised. Keep it up. Lady. :)

Topaz
04-26-2009, 06:09 PM
Thanks Cindy! I'm especially happy that I was able to contribute in a big way to the team win, too.

I'm wondering, though, if this will make me more tight for the next one, or if I will relax a bit and have more confidence. I hope it is the second one!

Also, not sure if I'm going to be able to move in the morning...gosh, I'm sore!

Topaz
04-26-2009, 06:10 PM
Thanks Xisbum! I will try that next time...and maybe a shot or two may help, too? :)

alice301
04-26-2009, 06:32 PM
hey, great job topaz! especially on keeping your focus on The Plan in the first set. and the best thing is that hopefully you'll be able to remember what that felt like, in order to re-create it for yourself next time. which hopefully won't be against me...

i've been working on visualizing myself finding my way out of the dreaded "where did my groundstrokes/serves/brain go?" hole since our last conversation. this is my checklist for climbing my way out:

relaxing my arms & shoulders
keeping my feet moving
picking a smart target for each shotnow when you go shopping (there's an ATLoft in frederick, btw), it'll be a celebratory excursion!

Cindysphinx
04-27-2009, 03:37 AM
What was your specific game plan for the first three games of the match?

I'm playing this morning. I think my plan will be to pass 5 good shots over the net and see if she can hang. If she can, then I'll start pounding her backhand. If that doesn't work, I'll start moonballing. If that doesn't work, I'll charge the net indiscriminately.

If that doesn't work, I'll retire.

Cindysphinx
04-27-2009, 07:38 AM
Went to play with my friend. She is a 3.0 singles player who isn't really 3.0. Plays 3.5. Good serve, pretty strokes, pretty volleys.

We decided to spend the time practicing, which is helpful. Then it was getting hot so we decided to play a 10-point tiebreak. Final score: 10-3 for me.

You will notice no celebration from me. I served two double-faults, for one thing (!). And I had no strategy. I just returned the ball a few times and she made mistakes with her backhand. Mistakes a stronger player would never make. And she went for a lot of winners that hit the alleys. Winners a stronger player would make.

I hit only one high-quality shot: An inside-out FH approach shot. Everything else was crap.

Afterward, she said she thought I had a good strategy -- hitting to her BH. What she doesn't know is that I had no strategy. I play ad court, so my strongest shots are the CC BH and inside-out FH. Had she been a lefty with a weak BH, she would have killed me. On account of how I can't hit the ball the other direction. :(

Topaz
04-27-2009, 08:11 AM
You will notice no celebration from me. I served two double-faults, for one thing (!). And I had no strategy. I just returned the ball a few times and she made mistakes with her backhand. Mistakes a stronger player would never make. And she went for a lot of winners that hit the alleys. Winners a stronger player would make.
:(

But, Cindy! That's all it takes sometimes. You stayed patient, and let her make the mistakes..meaning that *you* did not make the mistakes! Sometimes you don't have to hit winners...to win!

Now, you know what holes you need to plug up, too, though, when you do face those stronger opponents.

Ugh, I'm stuck inside...I wanna go outside and play!!!

alice301
04-27-2009, 08:28 AM
Sometimes you don't have to hit winners...to win!


that's exactly what our coach was trying to get through to us this morning during our practice! to "work the point;" that is, to set up good cross-court shots.

i am sooo unprepared to play my singles match tomorrow morning! ack! i had planned to play a practice singles match this afternoon, but my son has terrible timing and is home with a fever today.

alice301
04-28-2009, 09:03 AM
why do i play tennis? it's such an unrequited love. lost my first match: 6-2; 6-2.

what went terribly wrong:

double faulted away every single service game
hit many, many winners into the doubles alleys...too bad i was playing singleswhat went well:

after the match, my captain told me that she loved me just the same, and then my other captain trash-talked my opponent. i luuurrrve them.
my 3 serves that went in were snappy
set up my feet well, and followed through on most of my strokesthat's all. oh, and my opponent had been bumped up to 3.5 last year but appealed to play 3.0. i figure that i did my part, on behalf of all 3.0 women in our league, in losing to her so decisively that she gets bumped back up again!

what i'll do going forward:

hits buckets of serves
practice singles matches
put my water bottle in the freezer before the match--i was braising (cooking in my own juices) out there today.

Cindysphinx
04-28-2009, 11:07 AM
Awwww. That's OK, Alice. It's all about building a game, right?

On the water bottle thing, I fill mine halfway or more with water and then freeze solid. Then the next day I fill it the rest of the way with ice and water. As the ice block melts, you have lots of cold water. I also bring an extra bottle of water to add to the ice block. I don't bother with a cooler. So far, I haven't needed one.

On the serves, I remember my serve used to let me down a lot. Oh, I would go practice with my hopper. But there didn't seem to be a way to simulate the pressure you feel when you are down break point.

What I do now is I go out and I see how many *good* second serves I can hit in a row. Once you get a little streak going, you start feeling pressure because a miss will start you at zero (kind of like a match!). No fair pushing crap serves; ya gotta use your best second service motion. If you make one but you know in your heart of hearts it was crap, you don't get to count it. My record is 17 good ones in a row.

Topaz
04-28-2009, 11:44 AM
why do i play tennis? it's such an unrequited love. lost my first match: 6-2; 6-2.

what went terribly wrong:

double faulted away every single service game
hit many, many winners into the doubles alleys...too bad i was playing singles

Alice, that is not a bad score for your first match!

Oh, I had a terrible time adjusting to not using the alleys when I first decided I wanted to play singles. Even still, the other night, I say under my breath 'd*mn nice doubles shot, too bad you're playing singles!'


what went well:

after the match, my captain told me that she loved me just the same, and then my other captain trash-talked my opponent. i luuurrrve them.
my 3 serves that went in were snappy
set up my feet well, and followed through on most of my strokes

Excellent! I think it is very smart that you are keeping track of positives, as well as things to work on. The good news is that serves (like Cindy said) you can practice on your own!


that's all. oh, and my opponent had been bumped up to 3.5 last year but appealed to play 3.0. i figure that i did my part, on behalf of all 3.0 women in our league, in losing to her so decisively that she gets bumped back up again!

What? *sigh* See, this is sucky. If the woman got bumped to 3.5, then that's where she should be playing. So, you actually played a 3.5 and got four games (at least four games is considered a competitive match by the USTA computer)!

what i'll do going forward:

hits buckets of serves
practice singles matches
put my water bottle in the freezer before the match--i was braising (cooking in my own juices) out there today.

I need to hit some buckets myself. And I usually have a huge cooler of water for singles matches...and that is inside! I would need a fire hydrant nearby to play outside! ;)

I love your attitude...you've got a good start!

Topaz
04-28-2009, 03:56 PM
So, what's up next for everyone?

I have doubles in DC on Saturday (crossing fingers that it doesn't get rained out), then singles Monday evening. My captains put me up at singles #1 and put another singles player (much stronger and more proven than me) and #2 doubles. :shock: Is it possible to be nervous already?

I know some of the singles players on the opposing team. Anyway you slice it, I can't have a mental walkabout like I did during the last match. This will definitely be a tougher test!

Alice, you play on Tuesdays right?

Cindy, will I be seeing you on the muddy clay this weekend? ;)

skiracer55
04-28-2009, 04:28 PM
...what is this thread about, again?

Topaz
04-28-2009, 04:32 PM
^^^Tennis.

alice301
04-28-2009, 05:15 PM
^^^it's about thinking about watching the ball, thinking about hitting the ball to the right place, and not thinking too much. i think.

Cindysphinx
04-29-2009, 04:08 AM
I play on Friday night, No. 1 doubles against a fierce team. Got a good partner who tends to show up rusty, though. Gotta find a way to hang around in the first set while she finds her mojo.

I also have an invitation to play singles on Friday at a country club. Which would mean clay. I guess I should accept. I'll still have enough gas in the tank to play that night, right?

I had a bad experience yesterday. Very embarrassing. On Sunday, I played in the heat. Then I practiced/played singles on Monday in the heat. Then I worked out on Tuesday morning, and the weather was fine. Then I was supposed to play singles later that morning, as the weather heated up. Around 8 am, I started feeling dizzy right after breakfast. I didn't want to cancel and disappoint my friend, so I went anyway.

We hit around a while, and I felt basically OK. We started playing a set and I started to feel it. Whenever I exerted myself or ran, I would feel dizzy and shaky afterward. I was OK if I stood in one spot. I wanted to keep going because my friend is trying to tune up for a singles match. I couldn't move and sprayed the ball like mad. After about the third game, all I could do was stand at the center hash and throw up lobs. Score was 6-0. I thought I had hydrated well, but I guess not?

alice301
04-29-2009, 01:07 PM
ok. hit bucketfulls of serves this morning. the first 6 (!!) serves i hit went in effortlessly. then i missed a couple and then got a bunch more in. if the weather isn't horrible tomorrow, i'll hit some more. at this point, my goal is a rock-solid second serve. if i ever play another match where i throw up 24 double faults, i'm going to beat my racquet into a gardening tool.

my right wrist and elbow are finally starting to feel strong again, so i hit some forehands with the ball machine. dumped many into the net, but then got into a groove of stepping into my shot--kinda like a baseball player stepping into a pitch--and it made all the difference. i also focused on hitting within the singles court. i'm swearing off doubles until i can remember the difference!

i have another singles match on tuesday morning, and i already feel better prepared for it. ugh. of course next tuesday afternoon, i'm sure that i'll just be moaning about something else...

alice301
04-29-2009, 01:16 PM
I also have an invitation to play singles on Friday at a country club. Which would mean clay. I guess I should accept. I'll still have enough gas in the tank to play that night, right?

will your match on friday night be on clay too? if not, will you be thrown off by the difference?

I had a bad experience yesterday. Very embarrassing. On Sunday, I played in the heat. Then I practiced/played singles on Monday in the heat. Then I worked out on Tuesday morning, and the weather was fine. Then I was supposed to play singles later that morning, as the weather heated up. Around 8 am, I started feeling dizzy right after breakfast. I didn't want to cancel and disappoint my friend, so I went anyway.

We hit around a while, and I felt basically OK. We started playing a set and I started to feel it. Whenever I exerted myself or ran, I would feel dizzy and shaky afterward. I was OK if I stood in one spot. I wanted to keep going because my friend is trying to tune up for a singles match. I couldn't move and sprayed the ball like mad. After about the third game, all I could do was stand at the center hash and throw up lobs. Score was 6-0. I thought I had hydrated well, but I guess not?

you're lucky you made it through the match still vertical! someone at my club actually passed out one evening last fall, during one of our warm spells. like you, she'd just overexerted herself over a period of a few days in the heat. be careful! imagine how mad you'd be, to lose a match because of something you actually had control over!

Xisbum
04-29-2009, 01:18 PM
i have another singles match on tuesday morning, and i already feel better prepared for it. ugh. of course next tuesday afternoon, i'm sure that i'll just be moaning about something else...

Uh, you have another singles match Sunday, too, Kiddo. :)

Xisbum
04-29-2009, 01:21 PM
I play on Friday night, No. 1 doubles against a fierce team. Got a good partner who tends to show up rusty, though. Gotta find a way to hang around in the first set while she finds her mojo.

I also have an invitation to play singles on Friday at a country club. Which would mean clay. I guess I should accept. I'll still have enough gas in the tank to play that night, right?

I had a bad experience yesterday. Very embarrassing. On Sunday, I played in the heat. Then I practiced/played singles on Monday in the heat. Then I worked out on Tuesday morning, and the weather was fine. Then I was supposed to play singles later that morning, as the weather heated up. Around 8 am, I started feeling dizzy right after breakfast. I didn't want to cancel and disappoint my friend, so I went anyway.

We hit around a while, and I felt basically OK. We started playing a set and I started to feel it. Whenever I exerted myself or ran, I would feel dizzy and shaky afterward. I was OK if I stood in one spot. I wanted to keep going because my friend is trying to tune up for a singles match. I couldn't move and sprayed the ball like mad. After about the third game, all I could do was stand at the center hash and throw up lobs. Score was 6-0. I thought I had hydrated well, but I guess not?

Nothing to fool with, Cindy. I went to the hospital twice in Memphis with heat exhaustion, a step away from heat stroke. Watch your salt and those other electrolyte thingies; I was sweating away all my sodium and paid for it dearly.

Be careful out there.

sureshs
04-29-2009, 01:30 PM
2 weeks ago my doubles partner quit at 4-4 because the heat was making him dizzy.

Cindysphinx
04-30-2009, 03:59 AM
Alice, the transition from clay to hardcourt no longer bothers me. I take lessons on clay in the winter and hardcourt in the summer. The main difference is that with clay I have to be careful not to set my feet too soon because of the bizarro bounces.

Yeah, working to get a reliable second serve is time well spent. My own mental drill for the second serve is to make sure that, no matter what else happens, to accelerate the racket. The natural tendency when a serve is important is to "be careful," which translates into slowing the racket down as you swing. That is a guaranteed double-fault.

Say. Did I ever tell you my serve grip story? No?

I had been playing just a few months and still hadn't played a competitive match. I was taking a drill class, and we were working on serving. This one guy saw me serve and told me I had the wrong grip. He said I needed to serve with Continental, and if I continued serving with my forehand grip I would never develop a good serve and would be limited because I would never serve with any spin. I hit a couple of serves with this new grip, and I had no control at all. The serves didn't even land in the court. It felt very awkward and weird.

He said he'd make me a deal. He said that he wanted me to serve (including some practice with the hopper) with that grip for two weeks. He said that if I didn't feel comfortable with the new grip at the end of that time then I could go back to my old grip.

It didn't even take the full two weeks. I am so grateful that someone steered me away from serving with the wrong grip. I think my arm would fall off if I tried to serve with a forehand grip now. Because of this guy's advice, I can now hit varieties of spin that vex and annoy my opponent. I have a long way to go with my serve, but at least I don't have to also fix my grip.

Thank you, Ed!!

alice301
04-30-2009, 06:13 AM
Uh, you have another singles match Sunday, too, Kiddo. :)

oh, that's right...game on, X!

alice301
04-30-2009, 06:19 AM
Yeah, working to get a reliable second serve is time well spent. My own mental drill for the second serve is to make sure that, no matter what else happens, to accelerate the racket. The natural tendency when a serve is important is to "be careful," which translates into slowing the racket down as you swing. That is a guaranteed double-fault.


yep. that's exactly my problem. i get so tense that i can barely swing my racquet at all. stiff arm & shoulder=serves that hit the back fence...without bouncing. i knew it was going to be bad when i showed up at the courts and i was so nervous that i sounded like a chipmunk that had been inhaling helium.

Topaz
05-01-2009, 05:11 PM
Doubles is up tomorrow for me, though I think there is a great possibility of being rained out. I really, really, really hope we don't, even though we're playing what looks like a pretty tough team.

If we do get to play, my goal is going to be *not* choking in the second set!

Cindysphinx
05-01-2009, 07:56 PM
Doubles is up tomorrow for me, though I think there is a great possibility of being rained out. I really, really, really hope we don't, even though we're playing what looks like a pretty tough team.

If we do get to play, my goal is going to be *not* choking in the second set!

Oh, *Snap!*

Got a win on Court One doubles in our 3.5 season debut, against a lady that destroyed two of my teammates last season. By my side was my Big Serving Amazon partner, who serves like a Dude. The one who is very rusty and who needs time to find her mojo. I believe she has played 3 USTA matches in 2009 and doesn't practice. Many layers of rust there.

Normally, she serves first because she has a first serve that is flat-out unreturnable for 3.5 women. My job is to put away any balls they manage to frame. Alas, she wasn't sure how her serve would behave, so I had to serve first. I was immediately broken. Same old story. Groundstroke error from me. Volley error from partner. Winner from opponent. Groundstroke error from me. Lob winner from opponent. I think I only held once or twice all night.

It didn't matter, though. I made up for it by making a nuisance of myself at net. We fell behind early, going down 2-4. We steadied ourselves as our opponents visibly tightened, and we rebounded to take the set 7-5. Then we calmly took the second set 6-3. It was a fun match.

I can definitely see huge improvement from last season at net. I wasn't panicking if I had to hit a half-volley. I had winners off of balls I would have booted last year. Still, I need to stop blasting volleys right at the opponents and I need to use my head and find the empty court. Shots came back that shouldn't have come back. Doh!

My groundstrokes were a bit constipated, which was frustrating. If I stayed back, I got into these protracted push rallies with one opponent, and the minute I came in she lobbed my partner and sent me scrambling back to cover every single lob. This was often enough to cause me to hit a pitiful defensive shot with subsequent loss of point. The only way I could win points on my serve was to wait for a chance to hit a lob or go down the line, and I didn't always make these shots. I was drenched in sweat from running down all those lobs.

Still, a win is a win. Our opponents defaulted both singles courts, we won the three doubles courts, so we went 5-0. We sit alone in first place in our division.

Better enjoy it. This will not last long. :(

JoshDragon
05-01-2009, 08:07 PM
Wait!! I forgot the best part! I went to Indian Wells this year. Just me and the girls, no husband, no kids, no dog.

Ho, boy. I totally got my money's worth. We were in row 10 behind the baseline, and we were there for Monday-Wednesday, so third and fourth round matches. Our last day was the Wednesday marathon session that ran from 11:00 am to about 1:00 am. We saw:

Verdasco/Kohnschreiber
[some women whose names ended in -ova]
Djokovic/Warinka
Federer/Gonzalez
Roddick/Ferrer
Safina/Azarenka
Nadal/Nalbandian

I saw all my favorites, especially Verdasco. When Verdasco whipped Gasquet in Stadium 2, I had lucked into a seat in the second row on the baseline, about 15 feet from the sideline. The first row was reserved for players and their coaches/friends. The match is about to start, and in comes Verdasco's entourage to sit in the front row. His cute little girlfriend was in the seat right in front of me. Whenever he hit a massive winner, he would turn to her and give this amazing look. I pretended he was looking at me. ::swoon::

Cindy -- who thoroughly enjoyed Bryan/Bryan v. Nadal/Lopez

That sounds like it was fun. I'm planning on going to one of the majors some time soon. Or maybe one of the Masters tournaments. I've been wanting to go ever since I started watching tennis nearly 4 years ago.

Cindysphinx
05-01-2009, 08:14 PM
I have nothing but positive things to say about Indian Wells. I have been to US Open and Legg Mason. Indian Wells is way better for the money, IMHO. The setting is just so intimate!

JoshDragon
05-01-2009, 08:37 PM
I have nothing but positive things to say about Indian Wells. I have been to US Open and Legg Mason. Indian Wells is way better for the money, IMHO. The setting is just so intimate!

Just out of curiosity, which year/s did you go to see the US Open?

Cindysphinx
05-02-2009, 03:49 AM
US Open was 1995, Sampras v. Agassi final. Also saw the boys and girls finals, I think. I have a memory of going again for one day of the early rounds few years later, but I have no idea what year it was. I believe they have since built a new larger stadium, which is a minus in my eyes.

I prefer the Masters' events, where you have two top players facing each other, one right after another. Less interesting IMHO is Federer beating the pants off of some wide-eyed guy who is happy he didn't lose in qualifiying at a major again.

Topaz
05-02-2009, 10:48 AM
Quick update...more will come later when I have more time!

The good news:
*Team won
*Partner and I won a nailbiter 6-2, 1-6, 1-0 (10-8 )
*No traffic

The bad news:
*I missed my exit and ended up lost in DC!
*I got a parking ticket
*Had at least arguments during our match, and at one point wondered if I was going to have to pull my partner off of one of our opponents! :shock: Ok, so, maybe exaggerating a bit, but it was an *interesting* match.

More later! This match might just need a whole thread of its own! It involved a contentious 'let' call, and I was thinking 'if only Cindy were here then we would know what to do!' :)

Topaz
05-03-2009, 05:17 PM
No more updates? Quiet weekend?

Ok, I have to add a bit more detail to the craziness that was Saturday.

Of course, with the weather, the speculation as to whether or not the match would happen had my phone ringing nice and early. I do really like how, for DC matches, the coordinators are on site the whole time, so if it rains there, then I'll know. It is very normal here for it to be pouring 10 miles away, but dry down at the courts.

So, I head out like normal, having checked the traffic and seeing things were good. So good in fact, that I drove right past the exit to Hains Point! LOL Whoops! Only, now, I have no clue where I'm going, and the lane I'm in ends up exiting on 12th ST. Ok, number streets, I can do this! LOL I make my way back over around the National Mall, and see signs for East Potomac Park. I felt like I could figure it out, but I've never one to the park from this direction, and it is tricky with all the little roads there. Sure enough, I turned too soon, and ended up driving around the reflecting pools (I think?), though, the monuments were the only thing helping me out at the point! Washington on my left, Lincoln on my right! I *somehow* found the park and the courts, and breathed a huge sigh of relief as I still had 30 minutes before our start time. Maybe that's why I didn't notice the 'no stopping/standing' sign posted?

My team all gets there with plenty of time, we hand in the line-up, and the rain manages to hold off. As we walk onto the courts, I glance over to my car, and sure enough, there is a cop writing me a ticket! And not just me, he was just going down the line of cars! Yikes! So, I throw down my things, introduce myself to my opponents like this 'Hi, I'm Topaz, and a cop is writing me a ticket, please warm up without me, I'll be right back!'. I take off running to the cop, and say that I'm fine with the ticket, please don't tow me. He says "I'm not going to call a tow truck for 30 cars, but you didn't hear that from me' and I run back to the court.

Our opponents gave us the slowest and most horrible warm-up in the history of warm-ups. They would strollllllll to get a stray ball and basically put no effort into it whatsoever. I think the run to my car was a better warmup! It basically didn't bother me, though, and I just went about business.

We get started, and it seems like it is going to be a pretty competitive match. And then, it showed signs of being a contentious match, too. For instance, I'm receiving serve:

-serve goes wide-
Me: 'out' (with a hand signal)
Opposing net person: 'Ace! You go girl!' (with a hand slap to her partner)
Me: Uh, ladies, I called it out. We make the calls on our side.
Opposing net person: That was an ace! She (pointing to my partner) said it was good.
-evidently my partner had signaled good, and nobody heard my out call (which I"m pretty sure of since I had the better look) while the other girl was yelling and screaming 'ace'-
Me: Ok, I didn't know that. Carry on.

We start rolling in the first set. They are overhitting, and serving pretty poorly as well. We wrap up the first set 6-2. My partner, however, is really having an issue with the stalling that the opponents are doing. They are playing horrendously slow (probably to break up our momentum). I know if we say something, they are just going to yell at us again, so I say 'hey, don't let them see it if bothering you, or they will get worse'.

I will give credit where it is due. They really adjusted their game in the second set and 'fixed' where they went wrong in the first set. They started rolling in the second set, and suddenly no longer stalling. My partner (love her to death) would go to get the 3rd ball, and they would try to stop her, and she said 'no, that's ok, i'm going to get it'. Hahaha!

Then this is where I needed Cindy. I will try to make this as clear as possible:

I'm receiving serve
a stray ball enters our court from an adjacent court
i see it, but do not call let
i hit the ball
women from the other court call let
my return goes into the net

At this point, my partner hits the ball to the server and says 'take 2'.

And that is when h*ll breaks lose. One of the opponents (net girl) starts *screaming* 'oh no you don't! Don't try to do that! That is our point' and on and on. Really, just out of nowhere, totally rude, and completely uncalled for. My partner says 'but they called a let, I was distracted by the ball'. Net girl says 'But SHE (me) hit it already'.

However, I'm also pretty sure that players on another court can't call a let on someone else's court. However, these courts are also very close to each other, and they called it so nobody would step on it.

Now, I think the net girl was right, because the let was called after I hit the ball. However, her behavior and they way she handled herself was just disgusting. Totally, again, completely uncalled for. I'm still in shock just kind of thinking about it. My partner is one of the most straight up players I know, and when she said 'take two' it was in the most calm, non-confrontational voice you've pretty much ever heard.

At this point I say 'Hey! We are not arguing with you. We are discussing what happened. Let's just play tennis.'

We lose the second set 1-6.

And won the match tiebreak 10-8!!!

Ahhh, the best revenge against opponents like these, is to beat them!

Oddly enough, they were sweet as pie after the match.

Turns out that this team has a reputation for gamesmanship tactics. There were some things going on on the other doubles courts, too (but not on the singles courts to my knowledge). My team took all the courts, and we more than likely won't see them again this season. But if I'm still around when we play them next season, I'm going to take the pages from The Code addressing time issues and line calls and lets, print them out, and give copies to my team so if/when those things come up, when they start having someone yell in their face, they just hand them the rules.

Oh, the team also tried to walk onto the courts before the designated time, and got called back off by one of the coordinators. They are not a new team...they know they can't go on until the whistle blows.

Cindy, I'd be very interested in your take on this (especially the 'let' situation), and also if you've had any similar experiences with the gals on this team.

Venetian
05-03-2009, 07:23 PM
Nice job beating them Topaz =)

Cindysphinx
05-03-2009, 09:00 PM
Topaz, I don't know the team you played, but I vaguely know one of your opponents. Has a Serena Williams FH (except the part about it landing in the court) and no BH to speak of. I'd love to know if that has improved.

Anyway, I think the way The Incident should have been handled is point to your opponent. Neither of you two called a let. Now, say you had struck your return as a high lob, and your partner noticed the rolling ball while your shot was still in the air and called a let. In that case, I would say a let would be appropriate.

And yes, bring the Code to matches. It's the only way to win an argument with some people.

Congratulations on what officially qualifies as a winning streak!!

As for me, I play 3.5 on Wednesday and 4.0 on Friday. I do not see any winning streaks in my future. :(

Topaz
05-04-2009, 02:16 AM
Topaz, I don't know the team you played, but I vaguely know one of your opponents. Has a Serena Williams FH (except the part about it landing in the court) and no BH to speak of. I'd love to know if that has improved.

Haha! Nope, hasn't improved, and her partner had no FH to speak of, so that's pretty much how we rolled through the first set. They switched sides the second set, and stopped overhitting as much, but still...on MP it was a BH into the net by the opponents that won us the match.

Anyway, I think the way The Incident should have been handled is point to your opponent. Neither of you two called a let. Now, say you had struck your return as a high lob, and your partner noticed the rolling ball while your shot was still in the air and called a let. In that case, I would say a let would be appropriate.


OH, and I agree. It was the rudeness with which they treated my partner that I had a big problem with. And, she just heard someone say 'let', she didn't know where it came from...we were right on the end by the road/river, and you know how noisy it is down there sometimes. They were just utterly ridiculous in their gamesmanship...beware if you play them!


And yes, bring the Code to matches. It's the only way to win an argument with some people.

Congratulations on what officially qualifies as a winning streak!!

As for me, I play 3.5 on Wednesday and 4.0 on Friday. I do not see any winning streaks in my future. :(

I have it, just not in my tennis bag...will rectify that before the next match.

Good luck! Don't sell yourself short!

skiracer55
05-04-2009, 08:03 AM
No more updates? Quiet weekend?

Ok, I have to add a bit more detail to the craziness that was Saturday.

Of course, with the weather, the speculation as to whether or not the match would happen had my phone ringing nice and early. I do really like how, for DC matches, the coordinators are on site the whole time, so if it rains there, then I'll know. It is very normal here for it to be pouring 10 miles away, but dry down at the courts.

So, I head out like normal, having checked the traffic and seeing things were good. So good in fact, that I drove right past the exit to Hains Point! LOL Whoops! Only, now, I have no clue where I'm going, and the lane I'm in ends up exiting on 12th ST. Ok, number streets, I can do this! LOL I make my way back over around the National Mall, and see signs for East Potomac Park. I felt like I could figure it out, but I've never one to the park from this direction, and it is tricky with all the little roads there. Sure enough, I turned too soon, and ended up driving around the reflecting pools (I think?), though, the monuments were the only thing helping me out at the point! Washington on my left, Lincoln on my right! I *somehow* found the park and the courts, and breathed a huge sigh of relief as I still had 30 minutes before our start time. Maybe that's why I didn't notice the 'no stopping/standing' sign posted?

My team all gets there with plenty of time, we hand in the line-up, and the rain manages to hold off. As we walk onto the courts, I glance over to my car, and sure enough, there is a cop writing me a ticket! And not just me, he was just going down the line of cars! Yikes! So, I throw down my things, introduce myself to my opponents like this 'Hi, I'm Topaz, and a cop is writing me a ticket, please warm up without me, I'll be right back!'. I take off running to the cop, and say that I'm fine with the ticket, please don't tow me. He says "I'm not going to call a tow truck for 30 cars, but you didn't hear that from me' and I run back to the court.

Our opponents gave us the slowest and most horrible warm-up in the history of warm-ups. They would strollllllll to get a stray ball and basically put no effort into it whatsoever. I think the run to my car was a better warmup! It basically didn't bother me, though, and I just went about business.

We get started, and it seems like it is going to be a pretty competitive match. And then, it showed signs of being a contentious match, too. For instance, I'm receiving serve:

-serve goes wide-
Me: 'out' (with a hand signal)
Opposing net person: 'Ace! You go girl!' (with a hand slap to her partner)
Me: Uh, ladies, I called it out. We make the calls on our side.
Opposing net person: That was an ace! She (pointing to my partner) said it was good.
-evidently my partner had signaled good, and nobody heard my out call (which I"m pretty sure of since I had the better look) while the other girl was yelling and screaming 'ace'-
Me: Ok, I didn't know that. Carry on.

We start rolling in the first set. They are overhitting, and serving pretty poorly as well. We wrap up the first set 6-2. My partner, however, is really having an issue with the stalling that the opponents are doing. They are playing horrendously slow (probably to break up our momentum). I know if we say something, they are just going to yell at us again, so I say 'hey, don't let them see it if bothering you, or they will get worse'.

I will give credit where it is due. They really adjusted their game in the second set and 'fixed' where they went wrong in the first set. They started rolling in the second set, and suddenly no longer stalling. My partner (love her to death) would go to get the 3rd ball, and they would try to stop her, and she said 'no, that's ok, i'm going to get it'. Hahaha!

Then this is where I needed Cindy. I will try to make this as clear as possible:

I'm receiving serve
a stray ball enters our court from an adjacent court
i see it, but do not call let
i hit the ball
women from the other court call let
my return goes into the net

At this point, my partner hits the ball to the server and says 'take 2'.

And that is when h*ll breaks lose. One of the opponents (net girl) starts *screaming* 'oh no you don't! Don't try to do that! That is our point' and on and on. Really, just out of nowhere, totally rude, and completely uncalled for. My partner says 'but they called a let, I was distracted by the ball'. Net girl says 'But SHE (me) hit it already'.

However, I'm also pretty sure that players on another court can't call a let on someone else's court. However, these courts are also very close to each other, and they called it so nobody would step on it.

Now, I think the net girl was right, because the let was called after I hit the ball. However, her behavior and they way she handled herself was just disgusting. Totally, again, completely uncalled for. I'm still in shock just kind of thinking about it. My partner is one of the most straight up players I know, and when she said 'take two' it was in the most calm, non-confrontational voice you've pretty much ever heard.

At this point I say 'Hey! We are not arguing with you. We are discussing what happened. Let's just play tennis.'

We lose the second set 1-6.

And won the match tiebreak 10-8!!!

Ahhh, the best revenge against opponents like these, is to beat them!

Oddly enough, they were sweet as pie after the match.

Turns out that this team has a reputation for gamesmanship tactics. There were some things going on on the other doubles courts, too (but not on the singles courts to my knowledge). My team took all the courts, and we more than likely won't see them again this season. But if I'm still around when we play them next season, I'm going to take the pages from The Code addressing time issues and line calls and lets, print them out, and give copies to my team so if/when those things come up, when they start having someone yell in their face, they just hand them the rules.

Oh, the team also tried to walk onto the courts before the designated time, and got called back off by one of the coordinators. They are not a new team...they know they can't go on until the whistle blows.

Cindy, I'd be very interested in your take on this (especially the 'let' situation), and also if you've had any similar experiences with the gals on this team.


...I really don't know how you folks put up with this stuff. Win, lose, or draw, this just doesn't sound like my idea of fun any more, which is why I never play NTRP anything, just age group and Men's Open tournaments, where this kind of stuff rarely, if ever, happens...

Topaz
05-04-2009, 08:12 AM
It is the exception, not the rule. I'm not going to sit out of playing great tennis on a great team just because one team in the league plays it kind of stinky.

skiracer55
05-04-2009, 05:23 PM
It is the exception, not the rule. I'm not going to sit out of playing great tennis on a great team just because one team in the league plays it kind of stinky.

...let's do as Allen Ginsburg once suggested, and eat reality sandwiches. You're not playing great tennis, you're playing NTRP 3.5 doubles, which, by definition, is not great tennis. To an extent, of course, I'm wrong...if it's great to you, then that's all that counts. However...isn't it ironic that the whole NTRP scheme is designed to do pretty much antithetical things which are?

- Make everyone feel wonderful about the fun, friendly competition he or she experiences at whatever level he or she happens to find him or herself, and

- Clearly delineate the great from the not-so great in more or less objective terms. If you're a 7.0, you're great, if not, well...you get the picture.

Let me give you an analogy from another sport that will perhaps explain where I'm coming from. I'm 60 years old, and my winter competitive sport is Masters alpine ski racing. We don't have any ability ratings, just age groups...which also exist in USTA tournaments. Oddly enough, my age class (Men's 60-64) is one of the most competitive overall in the entire Master's field. At a 2009 Rocky Mountain Master downhill, where all of us on the podium in my class were clocked at 65 mph plus, I was fifth in my age class. A great result, because the guy who won, my friend Jerry Sorenson, was 4th overall, in a field that included 20 something ex-college racers, ex World Cup racers, and ex World Pro Championships winners. Of course, if I'd have won my class, that would have been great, but the fact that I was something like 13th overall kind of made up for it.

So, on the one hand, it's fine to keep up with this chat room, but you need to understand that what you're doing is basically only a very small part of the larger world of tennis. You've got the 3.5 NTRP thing pretty well wired...is that all there is to life? You have to realize that every tennis player...Roger Federer, the Williams sisters, whomever...was by any reasonable definition, at one point, a 3.5 player..but they quickly left that in the dust. Isn't that a goal to strive for, being not only better, but much better than you were last year? As opposed to "here's how to counter-gamesmanship Team B in the next league match..."

Cindysphinx
05-04-2009, 05:54 PM
Boy, I just don't know what to say, SkiRacer. So I'll throw out random observations:

Yes, NTRP makes people everyone "feel wonderful about the fun, friendly competition he or she experiences at whatever level he or she happens to find him or herself." Why is that a bad thing? What is wrong with knowing that, each time you take the court, you have a chance to challenge yourself and perhaps win and feel good about your play?

One of the reasons I found foot racing (10Ks, 10-miler distance) to be so unrewarding was that there was no way I'd ever win anything. Oh, I might shave a few seconds off of my personal best. Yawn. Or I might wake at the crack of dawn, run as hard as I could, and be no faster than the last time I tried it. Scrolling down through hundreds of names in the race results to find my name buried in the middle of the pack wasn't especially fun or rewarding.

Yes, I know that the exploits of three women playing low-level league tennis is a very small part of the larger world of tennis. And therefore what? I long ago came to grips with the fact that I am a very tiny and unimportant component of anything I happen to enjoy doing in this world. When I played piano more, my pitiful little recitals were a small part of the larger world of music. That was OK. I liked doing it, and that was all the justification I needed.

I kind of like this board because people come here and share their weird little experience in the tennis world. Nothing any of us says or does makes a bit of difference to the tennis world at large. Me, I'm fine with that, and I'm just pleased to have found people who like tennis as much as I do.

alice301
05-04-2009, 06:05 PM
You're not playing great tennis, you're playing NTRP 3.5 doubles, which, by definition, is not great tennis.

OMFG! *slaps forehead* thank you, thank you, thank you for your astute observation...without your comment, i would never have roused myself from my delusion that i was a touring professional.

i watched topaz play yesterday, you tool, and she does play great tennis, as a result of hard work & dedication, and you know what else? it's fun to play with her! it's grrr-8! your overblown, pompous & condescending dictates? not so much.

Topaz
05-04-2009, 06:54 PM
...let's do as Allen Ginsburg once suggested, and eat reality sandwiches. You're not playing great tennis, you're playing NTRP 3.5 doubles, which, by definition, is not great tennis. To an extent, of course, I'm wrong...if it's great to you, then that's all that counts. However...isn't it ironic that the whole NTRP scheme is designed to do pretty much antithetical things which are?

What is your problem here? I've met great people and had great experiences playing tennis. I've had great wins, and great losses. If my little experiences aren't enough to be great to you...well, jeez, I don't really care. Go read someone else's thread...someone much more worthy of your time.

Make everyone feel wonderful about the fun, friendly competition he or she experiences at whatever level he or she happens to find him or herself, and

- Clearly delineate the great from the not-so great in more or less objective terms. If you're a 7.0, you're great, if not, well...you get the picture.

Uh, what is your point here, and what does it have to do with anything I said? Yes, I know I'm a 3.5. I don't do this professionally, so the improvements I've made to get here are pretty *great* in my opinion.

Let me give you an analogy from another sport that will perhaps explain where I'm coming from. I'm 60 years old, and my winter competitive sport is Masters alpine ski racing. We don't have any ability ratings, just age groups...which also exist in USTA tournaments. Oddly enough, my age class (Men's 60-64) is one of the most competitive overall in the entire Master's field. At a 2009 Rocky Mountain Master downhill, where all of us on the podium in my class were clocked at 65 mph plus, I was fifth in my age class. A great result, because the guy who won, my friend Jerry Sorenson, was 4th overall, in a field that included 20 something ex-college racers, ex World Cup racers, and ex World Pro Championships winners. Of course, if I'd have won my class, that would have been great, but the fact that I was something like 13th overall kind of made up for it.

This doesn't explain anything...other than you felt the need to stroke your own ego here. If you've actually read the thread, you will see that we are quite honest here, and haven't ever pretended to be something that we are not.

So, on the one hand, it's fine to keep up with this chat room, but you need to understand that what you're doing is basically only a very small part of the larger world of tennis. You've got the 3.5 NTRP thing pretty well wired...is that all there is to life? You have to realize that every tennis player...Roger Federer, the Williams sisters, whomever...was by any reasonable definition, at one point, a 3.5 player..but they quickly left that in the dust. Isn't that a goal to strive for, being not only better, but much better than you were last year? As opposed to "here's how to counter-gamesmanship Team B in the next league match..."

What. The. Hell.

Listen, you don't have to read. What in the world led to such a rude, condescending reply? I have made great friends and had great experiences playing tennis, even at my oh-so-lowly level of 3.5. Who are you to judge that?

I've been very clear of my goals here. I was sharing a not so great experience I had. My partner and I, however, did not partake in the gamesmanship. And my only suggestion to deal with it, if you were actually reading, was to take a copy of the rules. What is your problem with that?

Ummm, my life so far has involved more than one trip to hell and back. I don't need any lectures. Take your crap and peddle it elsewhere. I'm having fun playing tennis, and nothing you can say is going to take that away from me.

You don't like the thread? Again, feel free to leave. We won't miss you.

Topaz
05-04-2009, 06:56 PM
Yes, I know that the exploits of three women playing low-level league tennis is a very small part of the larger world of tennis. And therefore what? I long ago came to grips with the fact that I am a very tiny and unimportant component of anything I happen to enjoy doing in this world. When I played piano more, my pitiful little recitals were a small part of the larger world of music. That was OK. I liked doing it, and that was all the justification I needed.

I kind of like this board because people come here and share their weird little experience in the tennis world. Nothing any of us says or does makes a bit of difference to the tennis world at large. Me, I'm fine with that, and I'm just pleased to have found people who like tennis as much as I do.

Very well said Cindy. Couldn't have said it better myself.

OMFG! *slaps forehead* thank you, thank you, thank you for your astute observation...without your comment, i would never have roused myself from my delusion that i was a touring professional.

i watched topaz play yesterday, you tool, and she does play great tennis, as a result of hard work & dedication, and you know what else? it's fun to play with her! it's grrr-8! your overblown, pompous & condescending dictates? not so much.

Ahhh, Alice! Well, hey...we might never be touring professionals, but at least we wear the same dresses they do!!! ;)

Topaz
05-04-2009, 07:09 PM
OK, onto tonight's match report. Here's a disclaimer:

Yes, I know I'm nothing but a lowly, pitiful 3.5. I know what I do matters naught to some others, but just to myself. And that's why I do it. :) Any questions? Take a number! Please feel free to ignore this post and any others.

Played #1 singles. My opponent was a very nice, tall lady who I did not know at all. The warm-up...well, it scared me a bit! I could tell, right away, that I was going to have to work hard in this match. But hey, that is ok...hard work never hurt anyone, right?

I served first, which pleased me, and went out with my first-3-game strategy. Only this time, I just didn't *quite* execute it as well as I did before...didn't quite place the serves, overhit the FH. It was like everything was just a bit off kilter, ya know?

And my opponent, C...wow, she could just get everything back. And she usually got it back deep, although she wasn't hitting with a lot of pace. I have to say, I had my opportunities. I had plenty of short balls to put away, and again, I would *just* miss, over and over and over again. I was also noticing that I was not being patient, and would not last more than 3 strokes in a rally before making an error.

And just like that, I lost the first set 1-6.

Ok, at least that left plenty of time, right? So, onto the second set. We hold serves, with my serving a marathon game to hold and keep it at 2-all. I just kept telling myself 'hang in there, you never know what can happen'.

And I broke her to take a lead at 3-2. And suddenly...I could *feel* it...I just relaxed. Everything clicked. Everything fell into place. I was moving well, everything I hit was in, and I started putting away those short balls. I hit one BH down the line winner that just even amazed me! I found two things worked on this gal...hitting behind her when I would see her break to the other direction, and short angles. I had to go for those short angles.

I have to say, that set of tennis was probably the best I've every played. I did it...I found the zone!!! And I won the second set 6-3!

Time for the match tiebreak, first one to 10 wins. And...as quickly as I had discovered it...I lost it again. Again, I was *just* missing on my FH, and it seemed to me that she was going for just a bit more, and not missing. On match point, we had the longest point of our entire match...I stopped counting after 15 strokes (I'm not kidding here people)....but one of my FH went every so wide, and the match was over.

So, yes, a loss...but one that I can take some good things from.

The Bad.
*Lack of consistency in that first set.
*The streakiness of my playing has me a bit concerned.
*Too much overhitting in that first set.
*Loss of focus in the TB.

The Good
*I didn't panic, and I didn't get down on myself.
*My rebound in the second set.
*I found the Zone! Now, I just have to learn how to keep it!

So, really...the things that I have to work on...maybe a bit more strategy (I didn't really know what to do with this girl to win a point in that first set), but mostly mental.

And, this is one of the things I love about tennis! It works your brain and your body! :)

My opponent couldn't have been a lovelier person, too. This is the rule. Not the exception. So, yes, a loss, but I had fun playing that match, I really did. And I have several things to take away from it to both work on as well as say 'good job.'

Topaz
05-04-2009, 07:10 PM
Good luck tomorrow Alice!!!! :) Remember to breathe!

magmasilk
05-04-2009, 08:16 PM
...eat reality sandwiches. You're not playing great tennis, you're playing NTRP 3.5 doubles, which, by definition, is not great tennis ... If you're a 7.0, you're great, if not, well...you get the picture ... but the fact that I was something like 13th overall kind of made up for it

Of course no one can be a 7.0 at everything. Federer probably isn't a 7.0 in abstract algebra. And in 25 years, when you're dust in the dirt, no one will remember where you placed in some random ski event. So how do we go on; what's the point? Maybe, we can take satistfaction in self-improvement, for our own pleasure with no need of outside approval. And maybe if we work hard enough, every so often, we can hit a perfect drop shot that even federer would think is great.

Xisbum
05-05-2009, 02:32 AM
OMFG! *slaps forehead* thank you, thank you, thank you for your astute observation...without your comment, i would never have roused myself from my delusion that i was a touring professional.

i watched topaz play yesterday, you tool, and she does play great tennis, as a result of hard work & dedication, and you know what else? it's fun to play with her! it's grrr-8! your overblown, pompous & condescending dictates? not so much.

But what do you really think, Allie? Come on, you can let loose here because this person deserves it. :)

Xisbum
05-05-2009, 02:37 AM
What is your problem here? I've met great people and had great experiences playing tennis. I've had great wins, and great losses. If my little experiences aren't enough to be great to you...well, jeez, I don't really care. Go read someone else's thread...someone much more worthy of your time.



Uh, what is your point here, and what does it have to do with anything I said? Yes, I know I'm a 3.5. I don't do this professionally, so the improvements I've made to get here are pretty *great* in my opinion.



This doesn't explain anything...other than you felt the need to stroke your own ego here. If you've actually read the thread, you will see that we are quite honest here, and haven't ever pretended to be something that we are not.



What. The. Hell.

Listen, you don't have to read. What in the world led to such a rude, condescending reply? I have made great friends and had great experiences playing tennis, even at my oh-so-lowly level of 3.5. Who are you to judge that?

I've been very clear of my goals here. I was sharing a not so great experience I had. My partner and I, however, did not partake in the gamesmanship. And my only suggestion to deal with it, if you were actually reading, was to take a copy of the rules. What is your problem with that?

Ummm, my life so far has involved more than one trip to hell and back. I don't need any lectures. Take your crap and peddle it elsewhere. I'm having fun playing tennis, and nothing you can say is going to take that away from me.

You don't like the thread? Again, feel free to leave. We won't miss you.

You tell him, Lady Topaz. I'm surprised he came down from the clouds long enough to read your post. As my frat brothers used to fondly say in Anglo-Saxon language you ladies would never use, and excuse my manners for doing so, F him. ;)

Cindysphinx
05-05-2009, 02:40 AM
Oh, Topaz. You are amazing. I'm terrified to play singles (let alone Court One), and here you are winning sets and matches. Keep it up!!!

Topaz
05-05-2009, 02:49 AM
And maybe if we work hard enough, every so often, we can hit a perfect drop shot that even federer would think is great.

Or, maybe one perfect BH down the line! ;)

Oh, Topaz. You are amazing. I'm terrified to play singles (let alone Court One), and here you are winning sets and matches. Keep it up!!!

Heh, heh...I'm going to try. I have a wonderful team and captain, and they gave me a big hug after the match before they even asked the score, as they were watching and they knew it was a dogfight. They also know that I'm transitioning to singles this year, and have said win or lose, they will keep playing me. Once you're on this team, you are part of a family really...as corny as that sounds.

Xisbum
05-05-2009, 03:12 AM
And I broke her to take a lead at 3-2. And suddenly...I could *feel* it...I just relaxed. Everything clicked. Everything fell into place. I was moving well, everything I hit was in, and I started putting away those short balls. I hit one BH down the line winner that just even amazed me! I found two things worked on this gal...hitting behind her when I would see her break to the other direction, and short angles. I had to go for those short angles.

I have to say, that set of tennis was probably the best I've every played. I did it...I found the zone!!! And I won the second set 6-3!

This is it! This is the feeling that lets you treat every match - a social hit with friends, a tournament finals, the deciding USTA team tennis match - the same. Once you can sustain that feeling through a whole match, you're in tennis nirvana. You just can't wait to hit the next ball. And you don't have to win every match to keep that feeling, when you feel you have played to your best level. Sometimes, other people are just better on a given night, but nobody wins them all - except maybe the Almighty skiracer dude.

Great progress, Lady Topaz, a big mental step for you. I think before this year is over, you'll have that feeling for every game of every match you play. I believe in you. :)

Topaz
05-05-2009, 08:21 AM
Xis, yeah, it was pretty cool...I just need to learn to hang onto it and not let it go! Really is just a mental thing for me at this point. I mean, sure, there are things I need to work on with my strokes, but I don't think anything stroke-wise is holding me back at all (in contrast to what sometimes happens with my head!).

Topaz
05-05-2009, 01:54 PM
A few more reflections (dedicated to skiracer!):

*One of my captains commented last night that she saw me be quite successful when I came in and either volleyed or took the ball out of the air. She thinks I should do it more often. Thoughts? One of our other singles players is actually a Serve and Volleyer (yes, a 3.5 woman S&V singles player), and it is very effective.

*Holy moly, my legs are just so tired today. Up until the season I have been working out 6 days a week. My plan is to never lift the day before a singles match with at least 2 days of lifting a week. Other workouts will be fit in as I can get them in. Today I"m supposed to lift, and I'm just sooo tired! :(

*Eating. My gosh...I've been eating everything that isn't nailed down today! I count calories, and I know I'm way over what I normally eat. I was fine before/during/after my match last night, and I ate a small snack after the match and some chicken when I got home. But still...today = ravenous. Is this normal? Is it just part of adjusting to singles after having been used to playing doubles? Plus, this was a much more physical match than my last one, too.

Alice, I hope you didn't get rained out...again!

alice301
05-05-2009, 02:55 PM
ha! it was a knock-down, in-the-trenches, dogfight today. and i won! yipee! i'm so high right now that i can't even think in complete sentences.

first set:

had shin splints as soon as we started playing. you know that pain where with every step, you can almost feel the individual muscle fibers tearing? yeah, not fun to chase down dropshots on the hardcourt.
got confused on the score: thought i was up 4-2, but it was actually 3-3.
amidst the pain and confusion, lost the set 6-3second set:

shin splints went away, and i found my way to the land that topaz described: i felt relaxed and my feet felt fancy-free. racked up a 5-2 lead.
lost my way (or maybe my opponent found her own happy place), to be tied at 6-6.
tiebreak: maintained a lead throughout, to win 7-4.match tiebreak:

lost my way again to trail 7-2.
then my opponent seemed to lose her way, and tied to 10-10.
won my two service points.final score: 3-6; 7-6 (7-5); 1-0 (12-10)

OrangePower
05-05-2009, 03:12 PM
ha! it was a knock-down, in-the-trenches, dogfight today. and i won! yipee! i'm so high right now that i can't even think in complete sentences.

first set:

had shin splints as soon as we started playing. you know that pain where with every step, you can almost feel the individual muscle fibers tearing? yeah, not fun to chase down dropshots on the hardcourt.
got confused on the score: thought i was up 4-2, but it was actually 3-3.
amidst the pain and confusion, lost the set 6-3second set:

shin splints went away, and i found my way to the land that topaz described: i felt relaxed and my feet felt fancy-free. racked up a 5-2 lead.
lost my way (or maybe my opponent found her own happy place), to be tied at 6-6.
tiebreak: maintained a lead throughout, to win 7-4.match tiebreak:

lost my way again to trail 7-2.
then my opponent seemed to lose her way, and tied to 10-10.
won my two service points.final score: 3-6; 7-6 (7-5); 1-0 (12-10)

Well done!

Not to nit-pick, but how would you be serving two points starting at 10-10 to win 12-10? I thought in all tiebreakers the service alternates at odd totals. Or do you play the match tiebreak differently?

Xisbum
05-05-2009, 03:18 PM
ha! it was a knock-down, in-the-trenches, dogfight today. and i won! yipee! i'm so high right now that i can't even think in complete sentences.

first set:

had shin splints as soon as we started playing. you know that pain where with every step, you can almost feel the individual muscle fibers tearing? yeah, not fun to chase down dropshots on the hardcourt.
got confused on the score: thought i was up 4-2, but it was actually 3-3.
amidst the pain and confusion, lost the set 6-3second set:

shin splints went away, and i found my way to the land that topaz described: i felt relaxed and my feet felt fancy-free. racked up a 5-2 lead.
lost my way (or maybe my opponent found her own happy place), to be tied at 6-6.
tiebreak: maintained a lead throughout, to win 7-4.match tiebreak:

lost my way again to trail 7-2.
then my opponent seemed to lose her way, and tied to 10-10.
won my two service points.final score: 3-6; 7-6 (7-5); 1-0 (12-10)

On no, I'm in trouble now. You will still be on this euphoric high Saturday morning, and I'll be toast. Lord have mercy. :|

Nice comeback, by the way. Good playing.

alice301
05-05-2009, 03:26 PM
Well done!

Not to nit-pick, but how would you be serving two points starting at 10-10 to win 12-10? I thought in all tiebreakers the service alternates at odd totals. Or do you play the match tiebreak differently?

you know, i was wondering the same thing as i was typing, but i was so confused the entire time--it was the first tiebreak experience for both me and my opponent. fortunately, my captain was there to walk us through it.

so i guess it must have been 10-11 when i started to serve. and now i can't even remember if i did serve to win. it was all such a blur. i'm hoping that the more matches i play, the more i'll actually be able to remember the match!

Topaz
05-05-2009, 04:01 PM
Yayyyyy Alice!!!

Way to hang in there! Wow, I think you must play well under pressure! :)

I'm sensing a trend in our matches here...and that is 'streakiness'! LOL But, that means the momentum will swing back if we just *hang in there* like you did today!

Oh, I'm so proud! I'm *beaming*!!!! :)

Cindysphinx
05-05-2009, 04:07 PM
Wow! You two are totally on a roll. Congratulations!!!

I play tomorrow night. Doubles, Court 1, new partner. So what does that make her, Partner No. 53?

Topaz
05-05-2009, 04:09 PM
^^^Hmmm, are you sure it isn't #54?? ;)

Good luck!

alice301
05-05-2009, 05:11 PM
Way to hang in there! Wow, I think you must play well under pressure! :)


hahaha. last week under pressure, i cracked like a ripe melon. 24 or so double faults, remember?

so how did i manage to win today? i moved my feet. my pro had told me that it's much easier to control your feet than it is to control your arms, and it was totally true! i just focused on setting up my feet for the shot i wanted, and on making sure that i was balanced on my back leg, and i found that i was able to swing my arms freely.

there's one thing i feel really bad about. my opponent got me a bunch of times with her slice dropshot. most of the times, i was able to mutter "nice touch," as i tried to stop myself from crashing through the net. but the last time she did it was when we were neck-in-neck in the match tiebreak, and she apologized, saying "i'm sorry i keep doing that." and instead of saying something gracious like, "well, it's certainly effective," i just snarled, "i know." and now i feel awful. hopefully i'll see her soon so that i can apologize. i guess it's yet another aspect of the game that i'll be working on improving...

Cindysphinx
05-06-2009, 03:47 AM
hahaha. last week under pressure, i cracked like a ripe melon. 24 or so double faults, remember?


there's one thing i feel really bad about. my opponent got me a bunch of times with her slice dropshot. most of the times, i was able to mutter "nice touch," as i tried to stop myself from crashing through the net. but the last time she did it was when we were neck-in-neck in the match tiebreak, and she apologized, saying "i'm sorry i keep doing that." and instead of saying something gracious like, "well, it's certainly effective," i just snarled, "i know." and now i feel awful. hopefully i'll see her soon so that i can apologize. i guess it's yet another aspect of the game that i'll be working on improving...

Heh, heh. Don't sweat it. She probably didn't even notice.

I've only had an opponent complain about my shot selection once. My partner and I were losing 6.5 combo, and time was running out. We had lost the first set 2-6, and we were down 1-4 in the second set. We were cooked.

So my delightful partner and I decided to go with the Emergency Plan: Ridiculous lobs on every single shot. And what do you know? Our opponents had no overheads at all. We'd throw up a lob, and they'd miss wide, into the net, long, no matter how easy the smash should have been. If a lob got over their heads, we crashed the net and hit volley or smash winners. It could not have helped matters that my partner and I had a case of the giggles whenever they missed a smash. We couldn't help it. It was high-larious!

On the changeover, one of the opponents snarled loudly enough for us to hear, "So I guess they're going to lob now." And I cheerfully said, "Darn skippy!" My partner started giggling again. Time lapsed at 90 minutes with us having won the second set 6-4, so we lost on total games.

No way was I going to apologize for finding their weakness. I do feel a bit badly about the giggling, though. OK, that's a lie. I don't feel badly at all! :twisted:

magmasilk
05-06-2009, 01:46 PM
But Topaz -- hitting 500 (or whatever the
number is) groundstrokes to the center of the baseline is *boring.* It
is boring to do, it is boring to watch, it is even boring to think
about.

Really, what other sport rewards boring, conservative tactics to that
extent? You think the person skating in a straight line is going to win
the Gold? You think the wrestler who never attempts a takedown but just
lies face down on the mat is going to be on the cover of a Wheaties box?
Or the diver with nothing in her repertoire but a swan dive, even if it
is a really good one? Even Muhammad Ali stopped his rope-a-dope when
the time was right and threw an actual punch.

So, has anyone here served underhand when
they didn't have a physical reason to do so? Man, I don't care if I am
match point down and I know an underhand serve would win the point. I'm
not doing it.


Ridiculous lobs on every single shot. ... On the changeover, one of the opponents snarled loudly enough for us to
hear, "So I guess they're going to lob now." ... No way was I going to apologize for finding their weakness. I do feel a
bit badly about the giggling, though. OK, that's a lie. I don't feel
badly at all! :twisted:

I guess I am in something of a philosophical mood today, 'cause I've been thinking about this conversation all night. What is it that causes players to be exquisitely sensitive to the deficiencies in another player's game yet have no idea that they have the very same deficiencies?

i know it kinda unfair to take words out of context and i sometimes wish i could literally quote my wife (i know better) ... but it is interesting that i noticed some possible incongruities :)

p.s. not a personal attack, actually i asked topaz a couple months ago after a clinic if she thought you'd post again ... your post keep it interesting around here.

Cindysphinx
05-06-2009, 01:51 PM
Sorry, man. I don't follow you. I guess you're going to have to draw me a picture. If you're brave enough . . . :)

skiracer55
05-06-2009, 06:27 PM
Boy, I just don't know what to say, SkiRacer. So I'll throw out random observations:

Yes, NTRP makes people everyone "feel wonderful about the fun, friendly competition he or she experiences at whatever level he or she happens to find him or herself." Why is that a bad thing? What is wrong with knowing that, each time you take the court, you have a chance to challenge yourself and perhaps win and feel good about your play?

One of the reasons I found foot racing (10Ks, 10-miler distance) to be so unrewarding was that there was no way I'd ever win anything. Oh, I might shave a few seconds off of my personal best. Yawn. Or I might wake at the crack of dawn, run as hard as I could, and be no faster than the last time I tried it. Scrolling down through hundreds of names in the race results to find my name buried in the middle of the pack wasn't especially fun or rewarding.

Yes, I know that the exploits of three women playing low-level league tennis is a very small part of the larger world of tennis. And therefore what? I long ago came to grips with the fact that I am a very tiny and unimportant component of anything I happen to enjoy doing in this world. When I played piano more, my pitiful little recitals were a small part of the larger world of music. That was OK. I liked doing it, and that was all the justification I needed.

I kind of like this board because people come here and share their weird little experience in the tennis world. Nothing any of us says or does makes a bit of difference to the tennis world at large. Me, I'm fine with that, and I'm just pleased to have found people who like tennis as much as I do.

...and I'm sure nobody much liked what I had to say, but consider the following:

- It may not seem this way, but I'm not against you, I'm for you. In a sense, it's okay to say "I'm happy being a big fish in a small pond", but that's pretty limited, and it is, in my opinion what is totally wrong with NTRP, which is that it is self-limiting. When I was growing up on a tennis court, there were two divisions back East, which was the toughest division along with California. And they were Juniors and Mens. From the time you were 14, you played both. When I was 16, I lost in the semis of a local tournament, 6-3, 6-3 to a guy who was 12th in the East, which was not trivial.

I didn't like the fact that I lost, but it never occurred to me that I couldn't win. Later that summer, I was lucky enough to watch Chuck McKinley in an exhibition. Chuck had just won Wimbledon, and was short and square...5' 7", and about 160 lbs., as I remember...which is about what I was at the time. He looked like the waterboy on the varsity football team, but he had won Wimbledon. I figure if he could, so could I. I never did, but I never stopped trying to be the best I could be...which is different than figuring out how to stack the lineup so you can win the next league 3.5 match. Be the best you can be...starting tomorrow. The NTRP rating will take care of itself.

One of the issues you have is, from one of your recent posts, you'd like to make 4.0 by age 50. You can do it, IMHO, but not if you worry about how your team is going to do in your 3.5 league this year. I told you two years ago if you wanted to find out what the gap was between where you are now and where you want to go, go play a Women's Open tournament and see what that tells you. What I said was "You'll be surprised...there will be some things you've wondered about that you'll find out are actually quite good...maybe you've got an uncanny ability to get lots of tough serves back, which will frustrate a player at any level, but you don't know that until you've played somebody who is supposedly ten times as good as you. There will also be some things that you think you're doing well that will turn out to be absolute crap...as in "My volley is pretty solid...don't need to work on that any more"..until, of course, you fan the first 10 volleys into the nearest creek. So...have you played in a Women's Open event yet? If not, do so, immediately. It'll tell you 100 times more than anything your pro can tell you, or what you can get out of any of these forums.

- So what does "getting better" take, regardless of whether it's getting to the next NTRP level? There are a bazillion answers, generally consisting of things like

- "The key to a better serve is 'driving from your knees'"...which is part of a good serve, but not the whole thing.

- "Practice makes perfect". Fine, as long as you are practicing the right things. If you're practicing poor stroke production, you're just practicing your mistakes.

- "The key to 4.0 and above is that you have to be a better athlete." Horse manure. It's one of the most important components, but it's not the only item. John Roche, who is a great athlete who played for the Denver Nuggets, is a regular winner in the Men's 4.0 or something like that in Colorado...because he's a great athlete. His strokes and strategy leave something to be desired, however, so he'll probably never be any better than what he is.

Make no mistake, however...your athletic ability, which can be learned, and is not all genetic, is a strong component of a tennis player on the move. I'm not playing much tennis this year, because my left shoulder is still recovering from a ski racing injury, and I have to put in 150 miles a week on the road bike to get ready for Ride the Rockies in June. But when I start my ride every day, I watch tennis at the Harvest House in Boulder, and it's usually, I hate to say it, Women's 3.5 singles or doubles, and the problems are exactly the same, day after day, year after year: poor movement, late preparation, which results in inconsistent swing path, inability to step into the ball to impart pace, and poor directional control over the shot. It's not the only cure, but if you want to be a better player, be a better athlete. If you haven't yet done it, drop your racket, pick up any of the tennis videos about better footwork, and read it, know it...live it. I did, and it made a huge difference.

- "Your mental strength is the most important thing." Yes, and no. One of my best coaches was Dave Hodge, Men's Assistant at CU Boulder 2003-2004. He had just finished a career as #2 at Baylor, followed by two years on the ATP, and he was now starting his coaching career. He's now one of the National Team coaches of Tennis Australia. What he told me about the mental side of tennis was "Well, you always have to be confident. There are times when your training and results tell you you're the best, but even if that isn't the case, you have to always walk on the court believing you're the best." So there it is...the mental edge in tennis is easy. Prepare well, if possible, but even if you can't, walk on the court believing you are the best...why think anything else? For all you know, your opponent may be having a nervous breakdown because her favorite tennis socks burned up in the dryer. However...prepare well, and you won't have to wonder if you're the best.

That's the long view. I think the short view is simpler...but more difficult.
And here it is...stop going through the same door. As we used to say when I was teaching skiing, "If you don't like the way you're standing on your skis, change it." I taught skiing for 6 years, and what it taught me was the old saw, which is that everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die. Everybody wants to play, and win, like Nadal, or Safina, or whomever, but very few people are willing to throw away the Bad Stuff they are doing to make a change that will change the way they hit the ball.

Everybody...Federer, Nadal, whomever...was at one point, a 3.5 player. If you look at videos of the early days of some of the greats, they look incredibly clueless...you wonder how they ever got a ball in the court. But they figured out how to do it, and once they did that, they realized they had to make yet another change to not only get the ball in the court, but get it in deep...8 times out of 10. So there it is...you want to get better? Throw out the junk...resolve to unwire your bad habits...and replace them with stuff that works, all the time. It might take a while...changing from a weak, inconsistent Continental forehand to a robust, dependable, Semi-Western forehand took me five years, under 4 different coaches, and thousands of hours of sweat on the court. But now it's automatic. So do you want to get better? That's what it takes..

magmasilk
05-06-2009, 07:19 PM
Sorry, man. I don't follow you. I guess you're going to have to draw me a picture. If you're brave enough . . . :)

paraphrase:

1. topaz, hittin' the same shot over and over and over is booooring ...sort of like marriage without the ring.

2. i'd never hit a toolish shot just to win, not even to win wimbeldon and meet prince william.

3. lobs, lobs, lobs with a side of giggles because i can and it works.

4. mirror, mirror on the wall ... do i think winning trumps style, i guess i do, why didn't someone tell me?

Cindysphinx
05-06-2009, 07:38 PM
paraphrase:

1. topaz, hittin' the same shot over and over and over is booooring ...sort of like marriage without the ring.

2. i'd never hit a toolish shot just to win, not even to win wimbeldon and meet prince william.

3. lobs, lobs, lobs with a side of giggles because i can and it works.

4. mirror, mirror on the wall ... do i think winning trumps style, i guess i do, why didn't someone tell me?

I think at best you've established the following: Sometimes Cindy thinks winning trumps style and sometimes she doesn't.

Me, I'm totally OK with that!

Cindysphinx
05-06-2009, 08:09 PM
...and I'm sure nobody much liked what I had to say, but consider the following:

Yeah, I think you're kind of right there. Your post wasn't well received, although I'm willing to believe it was well-intentioned.

Since most of these remarks seem addressed to me, I'll give you my reactions to a few things:



- It may not seem this way, but I'm not against you, I'm for you. In a sense, it's okay to say "I'm happy being a big fish in a small pond", but that's pretty limited, and it is, in my opinion what is totally wrong with NTRP, which is that it is self-limiting.

No, I disagree. NTRP is not "self-limiting. NTRP is supposed to have one main purpose: To make amateur tennis more enjoyable by increase the chances that players will have competitive matches.

There is nothing whatsoever to prevent anyone from playing up. In fact, I am doing that this year. With NTRP, the sky is the limit. At the same time, NTRP makes sure I don't waste time playing against players who are too weak to return my shots.

I know *you* don't like NTRP and won't play USTA, and that is your right. Me, I think it is terrific.


I never did, but I never stopped trying to be the best I could be...which is different than figuring out how to stack the lineup so you can win the next league 3.5 match. Be the best you can be...starting tomorrow. The NTRP rating will take care of itself.

I hope you understand that I am not interested in participating in gamesmanship, strategy or trickery to reach my goal of a 4.0 rating. I plan to get there the old fashioned way -- by improving my play.

That said, yes, I do try to put together line-ups so that my teammates and I will collect a team win. Much the same way that when I play chess, I try to capture my opponent's king. There is nothing wrong with participating in a form of competition and trying to win.

One of the issues you have is, from one of your recent posts, you'd like to make 4.0 by age 50. You can do it, IMHO, but not if you worry about how your team is going to do in your 3.5 league this year. I told you two years ago if you wanted to find out what the gap was between where you are now and where you want to go, go play a Women's Open tournament and see what that tells you. What I said was "You'll be surprised...there will be some things you've wondered about that you'll find out are actually quite good...maybe you've got an uncanny ability to get lots of tough serves back, which will frustrate a player at any level, but you don't know that until you've played somebody who is supposedly ten times as good as you. There will also be some things that you think you're doing well that will turn out to be absolute crap...as in "My volley is pretty solid...don't need to work on that any more"..until, of course, you fan the first 10 volleys into the nearest creek. So...have you played in a Women's Open event yet? If not, do so, immediately. It'll tell you 100 times more than anything your pro can tell you, or what you can get out of any of these forums.

Thanks for the suggestion to play in a Women's Open Event, but I'll pass. Why?

Because tournaments are very inconvenient for me. I cannot set aside an entire weekend wondering when I will have a match. I also do not wish to pay entry fees to risk getting bounced in the first round. League is easy because I know exactly where and when I will be playing, and I can play during weekdays and on weeknights when it is most convenient for me. I have lots of time for tennis, but I do work within certain constraints.

How can I know if my volley is solid, to use your example? By playing 3.5 ladies. And 4.0 ladies. And 7.0 mixed.

I mean, let's understand something here. **I am not, nor will I ever be, an elite tennis player.** Not gonna happen. There will always be someone on the planet -- heck, someone in this area code -- who can punish my best shots. So what? Why do I need to measure myself by that yardstick? Personally, I think that would be kind of silly, bordering on the delusional.

But when I start my ride every day, I watch tennis at the Harvest House in Boulder, and it's usually, I hate to say it, Women's 3.5 singles or doubles, and the problems are exactly the same, day after day, year after year: poor movement, late preparation, which results in inconsistent swing path, inability to step into the ball to impart pace, and poor directional control over the shot. It's not the only cure, but if you want to be a better player, be a better athlete. If you haven't yet done it, drop your racket, pick up any of the tennis videos about better footwork, and read it, know it...live it. I did, and it made a huge difference.

Um . . . how to put this gently?

*That's why we are 3.5s!*

If we did all these things correctly, we wouldn't be 3.5. We would be rated higher.

Honestly, I just do not see your point, even a little bit. Some people wish to play at a higher rating level (or simply improve). Of that group, some will do the necessary work and will reach their goal. Some will try but fail. Others will just wish they could improve. Others don't care one bit whether they improve.

Here's a question for you, then. What is so wrong with someone being a middle-of-the-road, average tennis player that offends you so very much?

I think the short view is simpler...but more difficult.
And here it is...stop going through the same door. As we used to say when I was teaching skiing, "If you don't like the way you're standing on your skis, change it." I taught skiing for 6 years, and what it taught me was the old saw, which is that everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die. Everybody wants to play, and win, like Nadal, or Safina, or whomever, but very few people are willing to throw away the Bad Stuff they are doing to make a change that will change the way they hit the ball.

:shrug:

I like my door, so I'll keep going through it if it's OK with you.

I am enjoying 3.5 tennis. I am having some success, I am getting better. I think I can get to 4.0, but I think I have zero chance of getting to 4.5. I'm OK with that.

I honestly don't understand why you think I'm unwilling to make changes to improve. I work on my game *constantly.* I get results consistent with my meager natural ability. What's the problem, then?

It might take a while...changing from a weak, inconsistent Continental forehand to a robust, dependable, Semi-Western forehand took me five years, under 4 different coaches, and thousands of hours of sweat on the court. But now it's automatic. So do you want to get better? That's what it takes..

OK, I see another problem.

This is a hobby. I do not aspire to be a pro. I do not have thousands of hours of time to put onto a tennis court. Not if I'd like to stay married and not be accused of abandoning my children.

Honestly, I'm happy. I am having a great time with tennis. I like to improve. I am improving. I am making shots I used to miss. My footwork is better than before, but still not perfect, of course. I am playing tougher opponents and am winning those matches. I am testing myself by learning to play singles. And did I mention that I'm happy?

If it's all right, I'll just keep plodding along, with Topaz, Alice and any willing TT members to lift my spirits and inspire me with their own tales of daring do. I warn you, they will be 3.5 adventures, so you might want to look away . . .

Cindysphinx
05-07-2009, 04:15 AM
OK, I had my match last night. Court One, 3.5 doubles, new partner (let's call her "53").

I like 53. This is her first year as a 3.5, so it has come as something of a shock to the system. Her old 3.0 tricks don't work. She has trouble volleying with the increased pace. Still, she is very interested in improving. We take a clinic together, and she is about to start private lessons to work on volleys. She is a very steady player who doesn't hit with power, but I figured my job would be to finish points for us.

We got off to a nasty start. Opposing team held, so I served next. In a flash, I was broken. Two volley errors from my partner, a couple of winners from the opponents and that was that. They held, and then my partner started serving. And, bless her heart, she played like a champ! She flat-out willed her shots to go into the court. She held. We got to 2-4 and then reeled off the next games to win 6-4. Second set was pretty easy. We won 6-3.

The good news:

*I am doing very well at net. I had some poaches and put away some very tricky volleys.

*My lobs helped me hold serve to close out the first set, as these opponents were coming to net relentlessly.

*I'm hitting some nice approach and mid-court shots and approach volleys. I've finally broken my habit of taking a huge backswing for half-volleys and am getting those shots back in play now.

The bad news:

*I am not holding serve. In my last two matches, I was broken almost every single time I served. I'm still not sure why this is happening; I'm not double-faulting. I think I am not hitting a good second ball, and I am never quite sure whether to S&V early in a match or stay back. Whatever I pick seems to be the wrong decision.

*I am not hitting very good first serves at all. There's just no pace. That leaves me hitting two second serves, or just one second serve. I'm slicing, so it is making my opponents miss some, but I would like to be able to generate a bit more pace.

*I am still not really attacking my groundstrokes. I panic, I rush, I have no confidence that I can sustain a decent crosscourt FH rally long enough to let my partner get involved.

Next up is a 4.0 match. Given the partner and the opposing team, I am not at all optimistic.

skiracer55
05-07-2009, 09:18 AM
Yeah, I think you're kind of right there. Your post wasn't well received, although I'm willing to believe it was well-intentioned.

Since most of these remarks seem addressed to me, I'll give you my reactions to a few things:



No, I disagree. NTRP is not "self-limiting. NTRP is supposed to have one main purpose: To make amateur tennis more enjoyable by increase the chances that players will have competitive matches.

There is nothing whatsoever to prevent anyone from playing up. In fact, I am doing that this year. With NTRP, the sky is the limit. At the same time, NTRP makes sure I don't waste time playing against players who are too weak to return my shots.

I know *you* don't like NTRP and won't play USTA, and that is your right. Me, I think it is terrific.




I hope you understand that I am not interested in participating in gamesmanship, strategy or trickery to reach my goal of a 4.0 rating. I plan to get there the old fashioned way -- by improving my play.

That said, yes, I do try to put together line-ups so that my teammates and I will collect a team win. Much the same way that when I play chess, I try to capture my opponent's king. There is nothing wrong with participating in a form of competition and trying to win.



Thanks for the suggestion to play in a Women's Open Event, but I'll pass. Why?

Because tournaments are very inconvenient for me. I cannot set aside an entire weekend wondering when I will have a match. I also do not wish to pay entry fees to risk getting bounced in the first round. League is easy because I know exactly where and when I will be playing, and I can play during weekdays and on weeknights when it is most convenient for me. I have lots of time for tennis, but I do work within certain constraints.

How can I know if my volley is solid, to use your example? By playing 3.5 ladies. And 4.0 ladies. And 7.0 mixed.

I mean, let's understand something here. **I am not, nor will I ever be, an elite tennis player.** Not gonna happen. There will always be someone on the planet -- heck, someone in this area code -- who can punish my best shots. So what? Why do I need to measure myself by that yardstick? Personally, I think that would be kind of silly, bordering on the delusional.



Um . . . how to put this gently?

*That's why we are 3.5s!*

If we did all these things correctly, we wouldn't be 3.5. We would be rated higher.

Honestly, I just do not see your point, even a little bit. Some people wish to play at a higher rating level (or simply improve). Of that group, some will do the necessary work and will reach their goal. Some will try but fail. Others will just wish they could improve. Others don't care one bit whether they improve.

Here's a question for you, then. What is so wrong with someone being a middle-of-the-road, average tennis player that offends you so very much?



:shrug:

I like my door, so I'll keep going through it if it's OK with you.

I am enjoying 3.5 tennis. I am having some success, I am getting better. I think I can get to 4.0, but I think I have zero chance of getting to 4.5. I'm OK with that.

I honestly don't understand why you think I'm unwilling to make changes to improve. I work on my game *constantly.* I get results consistent with my meager natural ability. What's the problem, then?



OK, I see another problem.

This is a hobby. I do not aspire to be a pro. I do not have thousands of hours of time to put onto a tennis court. Not if I'd like to stay married and not be accused of abandoning my children.

Honestly, I'm happy. I am having a great time with tennis. I like to improve. I am improving. I am making shots I used to miss. My footwork is better than before, but still not perfect, of course. I am playing tougher opponents and am winning those matches. I am testing myself by learning to play singles. And did I mention that I'm happy?

If it's all right, I'll just keep plodding along, with Topaz, Alice and any willing TT members to lift my spirits and inspire me with their own tales of daring do. I warn you, they will be 3.5 adventures, so you might want to look away . . .


...that's all fair enough. I'm hard-wired to push the envelope. My winter competitive sport is Masters Alpine Ski racing...a really dumb sport, because you can get hurt, even badly, which has happened to me and all of my buddies. I'm 60, my training partner is 66, and our favorite events are Super G and downhill, where we've been clocked at over 70 mph...and we've also crashed and ended up in the ER. But all the times we do make it to the finish line, win or lose, we all say the same thing, which is "What a rush...this is way better than you-know-what." I pretty much have the same approach to tennis, biking, you name it.

That way of looking at life ain't for everybody, however. I think I've severely misjudged you and your homies, and for that, I apologize. A lot of people are miserable doing whatever sport they're involved in, regardless of whether they win or lose. I'm happy doing the loony stuff I do, and I'm fully convinced that you and your friends are happy in your 3.5 adventures. There obviously ain't much I can do to help you out except to say "Enjoy...tennis is for life."

Topaz
05-07-2009, 10:06 AM
I think I've severely misjudged you and your homies, and for that, I apologize.[/B] A lot of people are miserable doing whatever sport they're involved in, regardless of whether they win or lose. I'm happy doing the loony stuff I do, and I'm fully convinced that you and your friends are happy in your 3.5 adventures. There obviously ain't much I can do to help you out except to say "Enjoy...tennis is for life."

And to be honest, I really do think you did. And admitting that is quite gracious on your part. There are others on this board who would rather poke their own eyes out than admit that they were wrong...especially if it comes to 3.5 women's tennis!

To be clear, Cindy, Alice, and I, I think it is safe to say, all have very different goals as well as responsibilities in life. Both Cindy and Alice are also mothers, and balancing that job with *anything* else is always going to require sacrifice.

I'm a bit luckier in that I'm the only one I'm looking after, however, I have a full time job that often saps...well, to put it nicely, just about everything I have.

I can only speak to my goals and where I have been.

Places I have been include a women's open tournament. In fact, after drawing a 3.0 in the first round (and getting slaughtered by a 5.0 in the second round) I actually ended up ranked in women's open singles in my section last year. Pretty much a total farce of a ranking. There are plenty of women in 3.5 without a ranking who could beat me. So, how much does that actually mean as far as playing ability?

And if you really pay attention and have been here long enough, you'll know that I've also faced 5.0s (and possibly higher) in a National tournament.

Great experiences, all of them. However, how beneficial would that be to me rather than playing (and learning to win) matches at my *actual* level? Not so much. So, I stay and play at 3.5, working on my game, because that is where I need to learn to play and win. Once and I while I may dip my toe in the 'open' and 'age group' pool, but again...the majority of my play will be at my actual, current level.

I am not 'hung up' on an NTRP so to speak, but I know I associate moving up with *improving my game*. So I work on the things that need improvement, and I know full well that I may not win right now, but it will come.

This thread is chronicle our very different experiences in leagues (and for me, possibly some tournament play over the summer)...along the way, surprises (such as an opponent with horrible sportsmanship) may happen, and we're going to write about them....the good, the bad, and the ugly. It really is as simple as that. I think we are all pushing the envelope in our own way.

alice301
05-07-2009, 02:00 PM
"What a rush...this is way better than you-know-what."

...could be that you're not doing it right. just kidding. downhill skiing is actually my first love too. nothing comes even close.

skiracer55
05-07-2009, 05:23 PM
...could be that you're not doing it right. just kidding. downhill skiing is actually my first love too. nothing comes even close.

..."Slalom and GS are just events...downhill is a cult..." Best wishes, ladies, and if I can help you, let me know...in the meantime, study this carefully:

- http://www.rmmskiracing.org/snownews/SnowNews-2003Feb.pdf

- http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles/RMalm-2006-03-Goals.pdf

- http://www.rmmskiracing.org/articles/RMalm-2001-10-DayJob.pdf

Cindysphinx
05-08-2009, 08:38 PM
Lost another 4.0 match tonight against a pair of 4.0 opponents, 6-7, 3-6.

It was kind of a weird match. We really hung in there in the first set. One opponent had fierce groundstrokes, and the other was just steady. We lost the tiebreak due to hideous and unnecessary UEs. 2-7. It wasn't even close.

In the second set, our opponents started making some horrendous errors at net. I mean, wow. One in particular was just gifting us free points off of floaters we were hitting.

**So they started playing two back.** That's right, two 4.0s willingly giving up the net and retreating to the baseline.

My eyes lit up. I saw this as our opportunity to take the net and pressure them. I told my partner that I would be following all returns to the net, and either S&V or follow the first groundstroke in when serving. It was totally working. Either they would miss into the net, or they would give me something to volley with the whole court open to me. I didn't need a good volley; any lame volley was good enough with them both at the baseline.

Alas, I could Not Not Not get my partner to implement this strategy when serving or returning. Nope, she stayed back and rallied with them. It just was not working, IMHO. Plus, we were having time trouble, as we needed to win that set by at least two games. We needed to finish the points more quickly.

The whole second set consisted of me saying versions of, "OK, they are handing us the net on a silver platter, we have to get up there and make them hit passing shots." She stayed back, passing up all opportunities to come in. It was the wrong move, IMHO.

I'm not blaming my partner for this loss. Not at all. I goofed up a lot, including when I failed to serve out the first set. But you have to be able to play tennis more than one way. If your opponents are going to play two back, I don't see how you don't move forward and make them pay.

Eh. Next match is with a different lady. Let's call her Partner 54. I have never met her, so we shall see. I hope she can transition to net . . . .

Topaz
05-08-2009, 09:25 PM
Cindy, you are doing great! You've put up two very close and competitive scores in 4.0...keep doing this, and you're going to have to change your signature again!

Do you have anything close to a regular partner on any of your teams? I think you need someone who has the same idea as strategy as you do...and is also strong at net. I'm a bit amazed that you do as well as you do considering your rotating cast of partners...and not meant as a put down at all. But just think of the damage you could do with a partner that you know and that complements you well!

Topaz
05-08-2009, 09:30 PM
Lost at #1 singles again, 4-6, 4-6. Pulled my groin (yes, I said groin) in the middle of the first set when my opponent blasted a FH behind me and I was trying to change direction. I think it will be fine...just needs a bit of rest.

*sigh*

I'm having a moral dilemma.

See, I'm pretty sure I could have won that match if I had dinked her. Any time that I *did* dink her (by hitting short unintentionally) she flailed to get at it and buried it in the net. She was very tall and lanky, and moving forward was not her strength.

So, why didn't I do it?

Well, I'm working on hitting deep, so I kept trying to hit deep and move her around. Only, I seemed to be feeding her right in her strike zone. *bam* *bam* *bam* Winner after winner, and I'm scrambling around like an idiot.

She also found her serve halfway through that first set. I think I was aced 3 times, and put enough weak returns up that she put away.

The only good thing to come from this match is that she *forced* me to go for more on my service games. I had to...I *had* to hold to have any chance, since I couldn't break her at all. I actually ended up acing *her* at one point.

But, not enough. Still not enough. I'm amazed that the score was as close as it was, 'cause it sure felt like I was being blown off of the court.

*sigh*

I think I need a drink. Or two. Or ten.

Cindysphinx
05-08-2009, 09:54 PM
Cindy, you are doing great! You've put up two very close and competitive scores in 4.0...keep doing this, and you're going to have to change your signature again!

Do you have anything close to a regular partner on any of your teams? I think you need someone who has the same idea as strategy as you do...and is also strong at net. I'm a bit amazed that you do as well as you do considering your rotating cast of partners...and not meant as a put down at all. But just think of the damage you could do with a partner that you know and that complements you well!

I'm not the captain of this team, so I take whatever partner I get. There is one lady I partnered with once who loves to come to net. She's one of my clinic ladies who is the one always begging the pro to have us play No Bounce Doubles. Alas, she has been given to one of the 4.0 ladies and has been tasked with playing Court One on the 4.0 team. I won't get to partner with her until I captain 7.5 this fall.

On the 3.5 team I captain, I'm playing Court One, so I give myself whichever player is strongest. Then again, it is just 3.5, so there's a lot more latitude about which playing styles will be successful.

But yes, these are competitive results. And the matches have been fun and challenging. We're doing much better than expected.

Cindysphinx
05-08-2009, 09:59 PM
Oh, Topaz, I'm sorry.

Did you try to implement The Circle? With The Circle, you don't just hit deep. Deep balls are often right in their wheelhouse. Short balls -- balls that just skim the net, short angles to either side -- are perfectly acceptable and with the type of opponent you describe are often preferable. So long as it's not a sitter at the T, so long as it makes them run, it's a good shot.

Still, it sounds like you really stepped up on your service games. Congratulations on that!!

alice301
05-09-2009, 04:09 AM
topaz, i'm so bummed that you lost, and even more bummed that you injured yourself. as for your moral dilemma, i just read an article about using unorthodox strategy to beat a stronger opponent: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

the way i see it, good strategy is about exploiting your opponent's weaknesses and utilizing your strengths. when my opponent won all those points using her drop shot on tuesday, i figured that it was my fault for setting her up for those, and for not anticipating them more. she exploited my weakness of playing too far back and having shin splints, and maximized on them using her deft touch shots. it's not your responsibility to give your opponents a good hitting session, you know!*

*disclaimer: i'm losing the will to play you in singles, by the way...

Topaz
05-09-2009, 04:55 AM
Oh, Topaz, I'm sorry.

Did you try to implement The Circle? With The Circle, you don't just hit deep. Deep balls are often right in their wheelhouse. Short balls -- balls that just skim the net, short angles to either side -- are perfectly acceptable and with the type of opponent you describe are often preferable. So long as it's not a sitter at the T, so long as it makes them run, it's a good shot.

Still, it sounds like you really stepped up on your service games. Congratulations on that!!

I *try* to implement the circle...the short angle balls are the ones that I feel least comfortable hitting...so I guess I know what I need to work on, right?

Yeah, even though I lost my last two matches, I served well in both of them.
Just, ugh...starting to get that same feeling I had last season...even though I'm *am* doing much better.

Gotta love my captains though...they are so supportive...they know I'm still kind of learning the 'singles' ropes, and they have total faith in me. Really makes me want to bring them a win.

My team did win, we swept the doubles, so we are actually still undefeated as a team! LOL

topaz, i'm so bummed that you lost, and even more bummed that you injured yourself. as for your moral dilemma, i just read an article about using unorthodox strategy to beat a stronger opponent: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

the way i see it, good strategy is about exploiting your opponent's weaknesses and utilizing your strengths. when my opponent won all those points using her drop shot on tuesday, i figured that it was my fault for setting her up for those, and for not anticipating them more. she exploited my weakness of playing too far back and having shin splints, and maximized on them using her deft touch shots. it's not your responsibility to give your opponents a good hitting session, you know!*

*disclaimer: i'm losing the will to play you in singles, by the way...

Why are you losing the will? LOL You may win you know!!!

That is exactly my dilemma....I'm having 'hit deep' drilled into my head, and when it is clear that a short dinker will win me the point, I"m very confused as to what to do! ARGH!

The groin (I feel funny just saying that) feels better, but it needs at least a day more of rest or at least light activity.

Cindysphinx
05-09-2009, 06:00 AM
Just to be clear, the short angle isn't a dink. It also doesn't have to be that short, or that much of an angle. The idea is to make your opponent move and recover, move and recover. So you have to find that balance between trying for too much of an angle from your position and not trying for enough.

Topspin is the only way to make it work. Besides pushing/dinking, that is.

onehandbh
05-10-2009, 11:52 AM
See, I'm pretty sure I could have won that match if I had dinked her. Any time that I *did* dink her (by hitting short unintentionally) she flailed to get at it and buried it in the net. She was very tall and lanky, and moving forward was not her strength.

I think I need a drink. Or two. Or ten.

You could've done the following:
hit short to one side to make her dig it out. Then hit
deep to the opposite corner. If her movement is really
that poor then don't hit quite as short, just enough so that
she can barely get it. If someone has such a huge
weakness in moving forward you *HAVE* to take
advantage of it or else you're doing your team a
disservice. I mean would you want one of your
teammates to lose just b/c she wanted to practice
her baseline dropshots all match long? But if you're all just
playing for fun and don't care about winning then it doesn't
matter. Just have fun:)

Topaz
05-10-2009, 12:21 PM
^^^I worked on some short slices today! Yes, I know that I could and *should* have done that...grrr...as stupid as it sounds, it just didn't occur to me! But at least I feel 'armed and ready' for my next match!

Cindysphinx
05-10-2009, 06:06 PM
Next up: Another 4.0 doubles match. With a new partner, Partner 53!

I was going to play with a different lady -- a total unknown to me who hasn't played league for 3 years. Captain switched it up to give me this lady who takes lessons with my pro. I played against her in very close 7.5 combo match last season, so I know her style. She plays aggressively, especially at net.

So we'll either win or we'll be completely wild and go down 6-0, 6-0.

I think I am going to have to serve first. :sigh:

Swissv2
05-10-2009, 06:38 PM
Lost another 4.0 match tonight against a pair of 4.0 opponents, 6-7, 3-6.

It was kind of a weird match. We really hung in there in the first set. One opponent had fierce groundstrokes, and the other was just steady. We lost the tiebreak due to hideous and unnecessary UEs. 2-7. It wasn't even close.

In the second set, our opponents started making some horrendous errors at net. I mean, wow. One in particular was just gifting us free points off of floaters we were hitting.

**So they started playing two back.** That's right, two 4.0s willingly giving up the net and retreating to the baseline.

My eyes lit up. I saw this as our opportunity to take the net and pressure them. I told my partner that I would be following all returns to the net, and either S&V or follow the first groundstroke in when serving. It was totally working. Either they would miss into the net, or they would give me something to volley with the whole court open to me. I didn't need a good volley; any lame volley was good enough with them both at the baseline.

Alas, I could Not Not Not get my partner to implement this strategy when serving or returning. Nope, she stayed back and rallied with them. It just was not working, IMHO. Plus, we were having time trouble, as we needed to win that set by at least two games. We needed to finish the points more quickly.

The whole second set consisted of me saying versions of, "OK, they are handing us the net on a silver platter, we have to get up there and make them hit passing shots." She stayed back, passing up all opportunities to come in. It was the wrong move, IMHO.

I'm not blaming my partner for this loss. Not at all. I goofed up a lot, including when I failed to serve out the first set. But you have to be able to play tennis more than one way. If your opponents are going to play two back, I don't see how you don't move forward and make them pay.

Eh. Next match is with a different lady. Let's call her Partner 54. I have never met her, so we shall see. I hope she can transition to net . . . .
If you felt you and your partner should have been attacking at the net yet your partner stayed back - that truly does affect your play. This happens at all levels; I have seen it time and time again from 6 doubles-Division 1 doubles-to professional doubles.

Two partners who have a good understanding of strategy (when to attack, when to defend, and where to stand), are confident in each others playing style, know what each other will do in any situation, and have good communication are the 4 main factors for a winning doubles team.

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 03:57 AM
Yeah, we have totally different ideas about strategy, even though we have partnered 13 times now and have read the same books.

Of the things you identify -- having the same ideas about when to attack/defend, where to stand, how to communicate -- we still aren't doing well. I don't know what else to do to kickstart things or even whether it makes sense to keep trying. We have both read Art of Doubles, and we practice singles together but still it isn't an effortless pairing at this point.

An example. We were both at net in a recent match. Lob goes over her head. I see she has no play on it, so I take off after it. I am running full out and thinking I can reach the ball. If I neglect to yell, "COME BACK WITH ME!!" she will stay at the service line, even though this issue is covered in Art of Doubles.

In our last match, this happened three times. The first time, she stayed at the service line despite my plea to fall off the net. I barely reached the ball and threw up a weak defensive lob, which bounced at the T. The opposing player crushed this ball right at my partner's feet, and she couldn't return it, of course.

Would the result have been different had she come back to the baseline and defended the overhead from there? Perhaps. But if we can't even get in synch on that level, when shouted positioning requests are disregarded . . . I'm not optimistic about the future of this pairing because it is hard enough to play without also having to direct traffic.

skiracer55
05-11-2009, 10:33 AM
Yeah, we have totally different ideas about strategy, even though we have partnered 13 times now and have read the same books.

Of the things you identify -- having the same ideas about when to attack/defend, where to stand, how to communicate -- we still aren't doing well. I don't know what else to do to kickstart things or even whether it makes sense to keep trying. We have both read Art of Doubles, and we practice singles together but still it isn't an effortless pairing at this point.

An example. We were both at net in a recent match. Lob goes over her head. I see she has no play on it, so I take off after it. I am running full out and thinking I can reach the ball. If I neglect to yell, "COME BACK WITH ME!!" she will stay at the service line, even though this issue is covered in Art of Doubles.

In our last match, this happened three times. The first time, she stayed at the service line despite my plea to fall off the net. I barely reached the ball and threw up a weak defensive lob, which bounced at the T. The opposing player crushed this ball right at my partner's feet, and she couldn't return it, of course.

Would the result have been different had she come back to the baseline and defended the overhead from there? Perhaps. But if we can't even get in synch on that level, when shouted positioning requests are disregarded . . . I'm not optimistic about the future of this pairing because it is hard enough to play without also having to direct traffic.

...I don't play doubles, but if I did, before ever walking on the court with a partner, I'd want to have a long fireside chat about what we were going to do to avoid the experience you've just had, which is two singles players occupying the same court.

I haven't read The Art of Doubles; I probably should. I just looked it up on Amazon.com and cruised through the reviews just to get a sense of what was going on. I think my point is that reading a book is one thing, putting whatever you learned into motion is something else.

A few years back, doubles was pretty simple...serve and volley, chip and charge. It doesn't work that way any more because even at the WTA and ATP levels, there are lots of different strategies...one up one back, both back, both up, and so forth. I still think the best way is serve and volley, chip and charge, but guess what? If my partner stays back on the baseline, and I serve and volley, that ain't gonna help us much.

So, in short, in advance, ya gotta sit down with your partner and figure out who's going to do what, when, and with and to whom. And those are general strategies for any match, as in, "I serve, but I don't volley. I notice you like being at the net...but you never poach. So wuddia think we ought to do about that? Because there's no point in your being at the net if all you are is an extension of the net post..."

Where an answer to that might be "Ya know, I do have a pretty strong serve to the backhand that usually produces a helium ball...so if I'm feeling froggy and I'm pretty sure I can get a gopher ball off a serve to the backhand in the deuce court...how about if I tell you that's where I'm going to try to serve before the point starts and you take off a'poaching?"

That sort of takes you past the realm of your "general" strategy, and into the realm of talking with your partner after each point to assess what went wrong/right and to figure out what you're going to choreograph for the next point. The top teams on the WTA and ATP may use signals, but in general, they communicate via a short discussion before each point as I've described above. The Bryans, for example, because of their special relationship and years of playing together can almost play by ESP...but they still talk to each other before each point.

You talked about kick starting the discussion, I think that's what you're going to have to do. So just do some talking and see where it leads you, and whatever you decide, remember the KISS principle. A general strategy could be something like:

- "We both like the net...if we're already there...but we're not real crazy about running up there." Now, you're talking about a one up/one back strategy, which used to be considered sub-optimal, but a number of the Chinese women use it on the WTA to pretty good effect. In this strategy, you're trying to do three things:

- First, figure out how to get the net player loose on an easy ball to punch it away for a winner.

- Second, what the baseline player has to do to help the net player do the above while not making stupid errors or handing a helium ball to the other team (remember, they like hitting volleys, too).

- Third, what to do if #1 and #2 above, don't produce a lot of easy, fun winners for the net person. That usually comes down to seeing what's going on and adjusting according. Is the net person moving enough, and in the right way? Because you're going to get some easy winners hit to you, but more often than not, you're going to have to make a move to get your racket on the ball. Is the baseline person doing enough to help feed the net person? Feeding comes in two ways: First, a really ideal situation would be that the baseliner has an incredible first serve that always produces a pop-up right to the net person...who doesn't take a step but just belts the ball away for a winner. The more likely scenario is something like, the server has a decent serve that the returners manage to keep away from the net person...but the returners always hit the return 2 feet above the same spot of the net. So the net person probably can't poach all the time, but...again, if you talk with your partner, you can say stuff like "Ya know...every time you serve to the backhand in the deuce court, they just float a return back deep to you...on this point, you hit the same serve, and I'm gonna take off as soon as they aren't looking...you cover me by moving the other way."

If you're trying the one up, one back strategy and none of this is working, you pretty much have your answer as to what to do next, which is "let's both stay on the baseline." This is more often a returning team scenario as opposed to a serving team scenario, but there's no reason why it can't be the "best" serving team scenario if, as a team, you just can't make it happen at the net, either temporarily or in the long term. Just because you may like hitting volleys doesn't mean you ought to stay at the net if it's not winning you points and matches.

The returning team strategy is fairly similar. Most people start with the returner on the baseline, obviously, and the returner's partner at the net. Everybody pretty much just naturally falls into this alignment, but you have to ask yourself if it's really the best idea. If the returner's partner isn't getting into the play...crossing, breaking up the serving teams plays at the net...at least some of the time, then this formation is not real productive.

It is true that the Lone Netplayer with No Shots to Hit keeps the serving team from hitting the full width of the court...but this may not be good, either. If both teams are one up/one back, now it's a baseline duel between the two people who stayed back, where it's no longer really doubles...it's a singles exercise in who can play the steadiest and most conservatively. If this is really the game I wandered into, and if I'm not coming to net, then percentage wise my best play is to rally back with lots of margin over the net and within the lines, keeping the ball away from the net person, until the other baseliner makes an error or feeds a gopher ball directly to my partner. This, to me, is a very taxing and difficult way to play doubles, but it can work.

So those are two kind of rudimentary strategies that can work for one up/one back...as long as both partners know the game they're playing and what each is supposed to do. And I'll bet you that, carefully and conscientiously practiced, these two simple strategies will win lots of 3.5 (and maybe even 4.0) matches. If this doesn't seem like very much fun doubles, it probably isn't, but it's likely to be winning doubles. If you want to progress beyond this, now you're talking about more complex strategies, and the skills to go along with them, and, as always, a clear, agreed upon agreement with your partner concerning who's going to do what, and when. For example:

"Ya know...I really hate this one up/one back thing, but I don't have the skills/mobility to chip and charge. However...I notice that most of the time, when I'm returning, our opponents just stand there on the baseline like statues, waiting for a full length return, just like they usually get in singles. And when they get that kind of return, which doesn't force them to move at all, they tend to give you, the net player, a Fuzz Sandwich. So wuddia ya say we try this, at least some of the time? All these folks we play love to run back and forth on the baseline...but they don't much like coming forward. So what say I drop a short angled return in the service box...should be no big deal, because their net player never moves a step...and sort of sneak in a step or two and see what happens? Bet they'll be stumbling over their feet so hard that they gopher a ball up to you or hit me a short one, in which case, I'm on my way to join you at the net..."

Sound good?

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 10:52 AM
Ya know, as long as we're talking philosophically here . . .

The issue with this particular partner isn't a lack of pre-match communication, planning, chit chat, talking, supporting etc. It is a lack of doubles instincts.

When any of us first set foot on a doubles court, we know nothing. Even if we have read every book out there, we still don't have the instincts to recognize what is going on and what must be done about it. That takes time and experience.

Doubles is a lot like driving, actually. You have to just get a sense of things. You have to have awareness of what is happening and what is likely to happen and what it all means for you. You learn to expect the unexpected, to anticipate, to separate the likely from the unlikely. When I taught my daughter to drive, I was taken aback with the extent to which she lacked driving instincts. If I didn't tell her to take evasive action, to make this or that movement, to watch for this or that event, it wasn't going to happen.

With doubles, it is the same. And this particular partner lacks doubles instincts. Hence the need for shouted instructions, like "Come back with me," and "I'm going to approach, come with me" and the complete lack of communication during points. I don't know what else to do. As we play at a higher and higher level, it isn't getting any better.

No amount of pre-match consultation is going to fix these issues. Just as talking to a new driver about awareness on the road won't imbue them with instincts that they simply do not have.

Can someone play doubles well without doubles instincts? I wonder.

alice301
05-11-2009, 12:17 PM
... if I can help you, let me know...in the meantime, study this carefully:

you can't, we didn't, and no.

...I don't play doubles...I haven't read The Art of Doubles...Sound good?

i do, i have, and could you possibly be any more of a blowhard?

skiracer55
05-11-2009, 12:19 PM
Ya know, as long as we're talking philosophically here . . .

The issue with this particular partner isn't a lack of pre-match communication, planning, chit chat, talking, supporting etc. It is a lack of doubles instincts.

When any of us first set foot on a doubles court, we know nothing. Even if we have read every book out there, we still don't have the instincts to recognize what is going on and what must be done about it. That takes time and experience.

Doubles is a lot like driving, actually. You have to just get a sense of things. You have to have awareness of what is happening and what is likely to happen and what it all means for you. You learn to expect the unexpected, to anticipate, to separate the likely from the unlikely. When I taught my daughter to drive, I was taken aback with the extent to which she lacked driving instincts. If I didn't tell her to take evasive action, to make this or that movement, to watch for this or that event, it wasn't going to happen.

With doubles, it is the same. And this particular partner lacks doubles instincts. Hence the need for shouted instructions, like "Come back with me," and "I'm going to approach, come with me" and the complete lack of communication during points. I don't know what else to do. As we play at a higher and higher level, it isn't getting any better.

No amount of pre-match consultation is going to fix these issues. Just as talking to a new driver about awareness on the road won't imbue them with instincts that they simply do not have.

Can someone play doubles well without doubles instincts? I wonder.

...I run across this in coaching ski racing all the time. There are a ton of people who have kinesthetic and situational awareness (the equivalent of "doubles instincts") to at least some degree and an unfortunate few who have no awareness. And I can coach anybody, in any sport, but I have to work a lot harder with folks who don't have any of that awareness.

So I think you've already answered your question, which is if you find yourself on the court with somebody who, in your opinion, has no doubles instincts, after the match, thank her politely for her efforts and go find another partner. Doubles partnerships and chemistry are not easily or simply put together....kind of like any other partnership in life. For me, personally, I pretty much stick to being a lone wolf on court, but if I seriously wanted to play doubles, I'd first want to have a good doubles partnership, regardless of the skills we both had or the results we expected.

Somebody famous in the annals of tennis, I forget whom, said words to the effect that it's best if an honest friendship is at the base of a successful doubles partnership. So if I were going to play doubles, I'd first look for somebody with whom I'd want to go out for a beer after a match and talk about something other than tennis. Then I'd worry about what we were going to do on the court...YMMV....

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 12:49 PM
Just to clarify . . .

I captain one team. I play on other teams. I do not get to choose my partners on the teams where I am not the captain. Even on the teams I captain, there may be interpersonal reasons why I will give myself a partner who perhaps isn't the best fit.

So "Don't play with her anymore" isn't a very practical solution, I'm afraid.

Swissv2
05-11-2009, 02:24 PM
So during the point if you say out loud "come up", does your partner refuse to come up? If so, then you two are gonna have to talk it through.

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 02:44 PM
So during the point if you say out loud "come up", does your partner refuse to come up? If so, then you two are gonna have to talk it through.

Yes. They just don't come up.

Say opponents are both up, and my partner and I are both at baseline (or I am at net and she is at baseline). We throw up a lob over the net people, so they relinquish the net and give chase.

Partner will not come up. She knows intellectually that she should, because pros have told her this, I have told her this, books have told her this. She doesn't. I've no idea why. I guess she's just not used to it. So I can gesture with my hand and say "Come up!", and still she won't come up.

There's no talking it through. It's about having doubles instincts. People simply cannot be coaxed to do what they are not comfortable doing.

This isn't all that unique. I have the same trouble in singles. I don't come up when my opponent is in trouble and is about to cough up a weak shot. I just don't have those singles instincts yet. Yet I play singles against a woman with highly developed instincts for coming up when I am in trouble. She has very poor volleys, but still she will come in. 'Cause she knows her presence at net makes it difficult for me to get away with a crap shot, and she knows that a crap volley will win the point. I need to develop those singles instincts . . . .

Swissv2
05-11-2009, 03:11 PM
There is a considerable difference in doubles than singles. Singles, you internalize your strategies (unless you have a coach that tells you 'hey, I noticed that...*insert mistake here*') but doubles is all about responding to the communication of your teammate.

Better tuning one's instinct requires making the effort to do the right thing in practice than to only practice what one is "comfortable" with. (egads). I hope your partner can at least do that, otherwise unfortunately you will have to take a step back and learn how to play baseline doubles, which is, tbh, detrimental to your game.

Topaz
05-11-2009, 05:42 PM
*sigh*

Another loss at #1 singles, 5-7, 2-4 (time ran out).

I served great, I mixed up my shots (drives, topspin roll-overs, slice even!), and still...I lost.

I feel like I'm *thisclose* to making a breakthrough, but the issue is...break through what?? Every match has been so different, yet the score lines are all so close...but never in my favor (save for one).

Ugh.

I'm going to bed. :(

alice301
05-11-2009, 06:06 PM
awww. i feel your pain, topaz. when i played Xisbum on saturday, almost every game went to deuce multiple times. but in the end, the score was just 6-1, 6-2. and then i lost to everybody else (except for sappy but that's because he was precoccupied with...what? buffalo? broncos? sushi? who knows?).

so i was discouraged until i realized that yeah, i was losing matches, but at least i was playing tennis. and you, at least, are playing good tennis...and that's according to your #1 critic, who was impressed with your playing on saturday.

skiracer55
05-11-2009, 06:49 PM
Just to clarify . . .

I captain one team. I play on other teams. I do not get to choose my partners on the teams where I am not the captain. Even on the teams I captain, there may be interpersonal reasons why I will give myself a partner who perhaps isn't the best fit.

So "Don't play with her anymore" isn't a very practical solution, I'm afraid.

...and I can see where this is going, so I will softpedal it, but what it comes down to, once again, are what are your goals...honestly? If you wanna play the best you can, at the NTRP 3.5 level, then the cards you get dealt, including the doubles partners you get, are...what you get. If they have not doubles awareness...you're out of luck. You will either win, or you will lose. You have to decide, not me, whether this is a satisfying experience or not, but because if you cannot choose whom you play with (and I agree that this is a realistic constraint), then in terms of affecting the outcome, you are out of luck. Period. Personally, I'd stop worrying about it. One of the things I've learned, in 50 years of coaching tennis, bike racing, ski racing, running, and whole bunch of other things, is that 99% of the people over age 30 can't change. They want the result, but they don't want to go through the effort of making whatever changes are necessary to produce the performance that might produce that result. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

So here's my advice: Stick to singles, at least in terms of the results (Isn't that what we're really talking about?) that you care about. In terms of "just the two of us" on court, you will probably have some great doubles matches/wins, and you will probably have some absolutely execrable experiences...regardless of whether you play well, poorly, or in between, simply because your partner will do a whole bunch of things that don't add up to victory. Just enjoy the high spots, blow off the low points, and don't worry too much about it. As my drunken roomate in Summit County used to say, back in the 70s and 80s, (I think), "Most people drive themselves crazy and waste too much of life trying to make sense out of life, which is a waste of time, because life doesn't make sense.

One could say the same thing of doubles tennis, at just about any level. If you're a control freak, you're SOL, unless you're one of the Bryans, so if you want to play doubles, enjoy your wins, don't take your losses too seriously, and, most of all "watch the ball, hit it hard, and don't think."

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 06:57 PM
Maybe it's almost time to change the thread title to "The 3 Losing Racqueteers!"?

I lost another 4.0 match, 1-6, 5-7.

Only this time, my partner was a Net-Playing Goddess. Oh, somebody help me. I have fallen in love!:grin:

This new partner has been taking lessons from my pro for years, so our philosophies are totally in sync. Add in the fact that she can volley. It was a match made in heaven.

Our opponents were two 4.0s who are are crazy strong. The one who played deuce court has beaten me before in 7.5 combo and doesn't seem to know what an unforced error is. My partner and I decided early that she would serve up the middle and I would poach. On the very first serve of the match, I went flying across the net. And came *nowhere near* touching the ball. This lady just rolled her FH out for an impossible angle.

Meanwhile, my partner and I just couldn't get it together. We were broken every time we served in the first set. We played 1 up, 1 back and eventually buckled under the pressure of both of them being up. My partner was backpedaling when she shouldn't at net, and I was missing groundstrokes long or sending them high over the net for easy put-aways. It was kind of ugly.

In the second set, we decided that, by golly, we had both paid huge sums to this pro to purchase these volleys, and it was high time we got our money's worth. You never saw two 3.5 chicks coming in to net so relentlessly. That was our strategy: S&V, return and come in. Every single point. We tossed in the occasional lob just to mess with their heads, and this too was effective. We had a chance to serve for the set at 5-4 but made just a few misses and got broken.

Then it was time for me to serve it to a tiebreak at 5-6. First point was a double-fault. The steadier lady had actually been missing her great FH returns if I sliced the serve as hard as I could. I decided to serve her another big fat helping of slice pie. Trouble was, I sliced both serves so hard they, uh, didn't make it over the net. Love-15.

Next point was an approach volley I tried to hit that went long. Love-30.

Next point I got the slice right and the returner missed into the net. 15-30.

Next point I came in again but we lost a long volley exchange, and I can't remember anything about it because it was a blur. 15-40.

Next point I came in, the return was high, and hit I my approach volley down the middle for a winner. 30-40.

Next point I came in again, hit the approach to the returner but it didn't have enough depth, and she hit it up the middle unplayed for a winner.

Still. I'm really happy with how this went. It was real progress. I feel like this match shows that S&V should be my new default setting. It felt so easy! It totally turned around the match.

And this new partner said she loved playing with me, and I sure loved playing with her. Now I just gotta get the captain to let me partner with her more in the future. I think I have found The One!!!!

Swissv2
05-11-2009, 07:24 PM
Good to hear you found your doubles partner, Cindy! Glad to see you dabbled with poaching. It will take a little while to get good at poaching, so don't give up (even though I hear that first return was 'crazy good').

I will give you a bit of what I do in doubles/mixed doubles as I have been quite successful at it and hope its helpful in some way.
Scenario #1: When I play mixed doubles and I am serving, I usually say to my partner, "if I serve down the middle, and you see the opponent reaching in any way, go ahead and poach. If you see the returner just standing there, stand your ground because they will likely hit a good angled shot."
Note #1: As the server I pay attention to the returner also. For the most part I float up just a little bit to the AD side waiting for the ball to to be hit by the opponent. If the ball looks like it is going towards the AD side, I continue my movement and I am there to get it. If the ball is returning deep to the deuce side, then I take a couple steps towards the deuce side and back my partner up. My doubles partner and I usually save a lot of points this way.
Note #2: Due to serve speeds being slower, returners have the ability to hit cross court the majority of the time. Floating up but not fully committing to any side allows me to back my partner up if they try to poach but the return angle is deep to my side.
Scenario #2: if I am playing a very good mixed doubles team *or find out that I am playing a very good mixed doubles team after we start*, then I change it up. I try my best to serve out wide, and have my partner take a mini-step towards the alley. In that way, we open up the court quite a bit, each partner is separated, and my partner just has to volley either to the feet of the net person or the open court. Even if I hit the wide serve softly, the other team has a more difficult time going cross court or rarely at that.
Scenario #3: In high level doubles, I usually talk to my partner right before the serve. It is my partner at net who usually calls what he or she would like me to do. He or she simply states (serve it wide, to the person, or down the middle and they will fake, poach, or stay). I do have the ability to say no or yes to what my partner requests, then once the decision is made, it is my job as the server to do exactly what we have planned.
If I serve it wide, I usually try to come up - as the ball will most likely be hit at a wide angle when returned.
If I serve it to their body, I come up as they will be blocking the ball back. These serves I usually crank up the speed quite a bit.
If I serve it down the middle with not enough pace, I stay back as their returns most likely will be deep. For the most part my partner and I try to hit these serves very hard with good spin. The main rule I keep is: if the opportunity arises to poach, take the chance.

It will only make you better, and your doubles partner will be able to read your play and know what to do. This only forces the opponents to come up with a great return just to get the ball in play.

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 07:33 PM
...
what are your goals...honestly? If you wanna play the best you can, at the NTRP 3.5 level, then the cards you get dealt, including the doubles partners you get, are...what you get. If they have not doubles awareness...you're out of luck. You will either win, or you will lose. You have to decide, not me, whether this is a satisfying experience or not, but because if you cannot choose whom you play with (and I agree that this is a realistic constraint), then in terms of affecting the outcome, you are out of luck. Period. Personally, I'd stop worrying about it.

Um . . . .

What are my goals? I want to play as well as I possibly can at 3.5 ladies, 4.0 ladies, 7.0 mixed. Once I am doing that, I want to move up to 4.0 and play 8.0 mixed. I do not aspire to anything beyond 4.0.

Within that, I would like to square away my FH and get more steady with my half-volleys. I would like to add a kick serve. And of course I need to improve my footwork, a lot.

I will continue to be a doubles player because that is where I am strongest and doubles is what I enjoy. I will continue to practice singles on my own time, and I am looking forward to playing Topaz when school lets out.



One of the things I've learned, in 50 years of coaching tennis, bike racing, ski racing, running, and whole bunch of other things, is that 99% of the people over age 30 can't change. They want the result, but they don't want to go through the effort of making whatever changes are necessary to produce the performance that might produce that result. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

First, this doesn't even make sense. I didn't pick up a tennis racket until I was 44, I think. I've gone from 2.5 to 3.0 to. 3.5. My game looks *nothing* like it did back then. So why on earth would it make sense for you to say that 99% of people over 30 can't change? That idea has no relevance whatever here in this discussion.

You know, when I was looking for a tennis pro, I didn't care to work with anyone with this philosophy. I wanted someone to help me change, someone who would take me seriously despite my advanced age. I found that guy, thank goodness. If I thought for a minute he didn't believe in me and believe I could improve, I would can him immediately.

So here's my advice: Stick to singles, at least in terms of the results (Isn't that what we're really talking about?) that you care about.

Thanks, but I'll stick with doubles if that is OK with you. I enjoy it. Just because it has been a struggle to find a compatible partner does not mean I should chuck doubles into the dust bin.

It means I should keep playing with different people until I find a decent pairing.

Cindysphinx
05-11-2009, 07:36 PM
Good to hear you found your doubles partner, Cindy. Glad to see you dabbled with poaching. It will take a little while to get good at poaching, so dont give up (even though I hear that first return was 'crazy good').

One should note that poaching on a middle serve may require you to make the decision based on how well the ball was served. At your level, good thing is you can react after the ball hits the service box on the opponents side. If you see the opponent reaching, then you can scamper and post. If you see the opponent hunkering down, stand your ground. Your serving partner should also be able to tell if the serve has taken the opponent off balance too.

Swiss, I have said in other threads that one thing I have noticed about high-3.5 and 4.0 women is that the returns *far* outstrip the serves. These players have played mixed and are used to returning the heaters the men are serving. They are not at all bothered by any serve most women their level can hit.

But yes, I need to keep poaching. I do think it caused this otherwise steady woman to miss a few times.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go lie in bed and have wild fantasies about getting this new partner to leave her combo team and join my new combo team. She did say she doesn't get to play enough matches on her team . . . .

Swissv2
05-11-2009, 08:29 PM
Swiss, I have said in other threads that one thing I have noticed about high-3.5 and 4.0 women is that the returns *far* outstrip the serves. These players have played mixed and are used to returning the heaters the men are serving. They are not at all bothered by any serve most women their level can hit.

Totally agree. I too have observed ladies that are used to mixed doubles having great return of serves. That is why, even though my partner may choose to poach, I do not fully commit to one side though I am floating over to the AD side after serving. I have experienced many times that the returners usually burn a return by the poacher at the net so that leaves me able to back my partner up. Unfortunately, my strategy can be challenging if the returner burns one down the line.

I have to go lie in bed and have wild fantasies about getting this new partner to leave her combo team and join my new combo team.From her responses so far, chances look good :) Good luck in your effort.

Xisbum
05-12-2009, 03:52 AM
awww. i feel your pain, topaz. when i played Xisbum on saturday, almost every game went to deuce multiple times. but in the end, the score was just 6-1, 6-2. and then i lost to everybody else (except for sappy but that's because he was precoccupied with...what? buffalo? broncos? sushi? who knows?).

so i was discouraged until i realized that yeah, i was losing matches, but at least i was playing tennis. and you, at least, are playing good tennis...and that's according to your #1 critic, who was impressed with your playing on saturday.

Buffalo sushi, perhaps?

You know, if you cure that habit of opening your racquet face at inopportune times, your matches would be much closer. Don't know that I could win 1&2 if you don't give away those points.

Just an observation, not a critique.

skiracer55
05-12-2009, 09:33 AM
Um . . . .

What are my goals? I want to play as well as I possibly can at 3.5 ladies, 4.0 ladies, 7.0 mixed. Once I am doing that, I want to move up to 4.0 and play 8.0 mixed. I do not aspire to anything beyond 4.0.

Within that, I would like to square away my FH and get more steady with my half-volleys. I would like to add a kick serve. And of course I need to improve my footwork, a lot.

I will continue to be a doubles player because that is where I am strongest and doubles is what I enjoy. I will continue to practice singles on my own time, and I am looking forward to playing Topaz when school lets out.




First, this doesn't even make sense. I didn't pick up a tennis racket until I was 44, I think. I've gone from 2.5 to 3.0 to. 3.5. My game looks *nothing* like it did back then. So why on earth would it make sense for you to say that 99% of people over 30 can't change? That idea has no relevance whatever here in this discussion.

You know, when I was looking for a tennis pro, I didn't care to work with anyone with this philosophy. I wanted someone to help me change, someone who would take me seriously despite my advanced age. I found that guy, thank goodness. If I thought for a minute he didn't believe in me and believe I could improve, I would can him immediately.



Thanks, but I'll stick with doubles if that is OK with you. I enjoy it. Just because it has been a struggle to find a compatible partner does not mean I should chuck doubles into the dust bin.

It means I should keep playing with different people until I find a decent pairing.


...I have absolutely no idea where I was going with all that, and I don't actually think in those terms. Sorry...I think you've figured out the answer, which is to find a compatible partner...

Cindysphinx
05-17-2009, 08:34 AM
Topaz, Alice? You guys out there?

I'm in a bit of a hiatus right now. Pro is on vacation, no matches on the radar until Thursday. I'm using the time to let everything heal.

I've also been reviewing the horrific video of me hitting forehands. I think I've decided to make a major change -- I want to start hitting my FH open stance. My footwork currently is very confused, but the shots where I use open stance seem to have better . . . well, better everything. Especially shoulder turn. The transition isn't going to be easy, but I think it will really improve things long term.

Topaz
05-17-2009, 12:34 PM
*waving*

Still here!

And...after some thought...decided not to 're-hash' each match on here as much. Why? Well, first of all, that's a whole lot of matches. Second, still a bit 'gun shy' after last year. Third, the 'ski-racer' incident didn't help convince me.

So, still trucking along, but one of the things that holds me back is...thinking too much. So, rehashing and agonizing over these matches is not actually very good for me. I need to be able to let it go (no matter what happens) and look forward to the next match. 'Cause there is always another match!

And while I know I shouldn't care what a bunch of anonymous people on an internet board may comment on...I do get tired of the patronizing and ignorant comments.

That being said...Cindy...am I ever going to see you at 'the Point'??? Has your captain ever said anything to you as to why you haven't been scheduled yet? Jeez, it isn't like you're not a strong player!

Shoulda gotten you on our team! Grrrr!

Cindysphinx
05-18-2009, 04:09 AM
*waving*

Still here!

And...after some thought...decided not to 're-hash' each match on here as much. Why? Well, first of all, that's a whole lot of matches. Second, still a bit 'gun shy' after last year. Third, the 'ski-racer' incident didn't help convince me.

So, still trucking along, but one of the things that holds me back is...thinking too much. So, rehashing and agonizing over these matches is not actually very good for me. I need to be able to let it go (no matter what happens) and look forward to the next match. 'Cause there is always another match!

And while I know I shouldn't care what a bunch of anonymous people on an internet board may comment on...I do get tired of the patronizing and ignorant comments.

That being said...Cindy...am I ever going to see you at 'the Point'??? Has your captain ever said anything to you as to why you haven't been scheduled yet? Jeez, it isn't like you're not a strong player!

Shoulda gotten you on our team! Grrrr!

I suspect I'll be in the line-up soon. It's just part of being the new kid on a well-established team with many fixed partnerships. I don't have a partner, so I guess someone has to be willing to take me on. There are several other players who also haven't played, so I'm not too concerned.

The funny thing about DC is that you pay these huge match fees up front. That creates some pressure to get enough matches to make it worth it. If I only get two matches, that would mean each match cost $35. If we were paying by the match as we do in my state, then I wouldn't much care if I played or not.

Yeah, the dynamic here at TT is, um . . . interesting at times. I understand your concerns, and you've put up with far more nonsense last year than I ever did. Still, the helpful and fun people around here far outnumber the few who aren't. So I'll stick around . . . .

Topaz
05-20-2009, 05:13 AM
Ok, so, not a post to re-hash my matches, just to share some funny stuff that has happened lately:

#1 - a mouse in the house! Rodents on the court. EEK! During a women's match, too, LOL. And yes, this is *indoor* tennis!

#2 - total brain lapse during match, not only regarding score, but who is serving. It went like this: I'm serving, I lose the first 2 points. Inexplicably, opponent serves next (neither of us catch it) and wins the next point. Then, we realize something is up. We go back to me serving at love-40...I go on a tear and win the next six points. LOL We were laughing about the screw-up, and I think it relaxed me.

#3 - Two gals (sisters) on one of the other teams in our league played in the qualies for a 10,000 ITF women's tournament this past weekend. They didn't win, but uh...hello? What are they doing (self-rated!) at 3.5??? The answer: blowing people away on the singles lines. Will be interesting to see how this develops. I haven't played against that team yet.

#4 - both of my teams are doing well...still early to make any post-season predications, but I would say both teams have a shot at playoffs in their respective leagues.

Cindysphinx
05-20-2009, 05:23 AM
My team is hurting. We are 1-2, and we haven't played 2 of the top three teams yet. My singles players are having their heads handed to them (we won two singles matches through default, one through retirement, and we lost the other three). I have one solid player out with bad tennis elbow. How bad is it? She got an injection, sat out a month, and arranged to take a lesson with my pro to see what about her technique is causing the problem, but she had to quit after hitting three balls in warm-up because of the pain.

Part of the problem is that we had a top player leave after twice committing to play on the team (wanted a shot at going to Nationals on a better team), and then we had another player flake out. That's three unexpected departures. That left us short-handed, so we had to take on some weaker players to replace them.

Last season we finished 5-4. This year will probably be the worst finish of any team since I started captaining. Ugh.

oldhacker
05-20-2009, 05:49 AM
Cindy - if you are mainly playing doubles you don't want to be binning your closed stances forehand. Closed stance is by far the best position to move forward into the net from and the net is where you have got to be in doubles.

I've also been reviewing the horrific video of me hitting forehands. I think I've decided to make a major change -- I want to start hitting my FH open stance. My footwork currently is very confused, but the shots where I use open stance seem to have better . . . well, better everything. Especially shoulder turn. The transition isn't going to be easy, but I think it will really improve things long term.

Cindysphinx
05-20-2009, 06:01 AM
Cindy - if you are mainly playing doubles you don't want to be binning your closed stances forehand. Closed stance is by far the best position to move forward into the net from and the net is where you have got to be in doubles.

Aw, crap. You're right.

Xisbum
05-20-2009, 06:31 AM
I have one solid player out with bad tennis elbow. How bad is it? She got an injection, sat out a month, and arranged to take a lesson with my pro to see what about her technique is causing the problem, but she had to quit after hitting three balls in warm-up because of the pain.

Ask her if she's tried natural gut string, Cindy. I had bad tennis elbow in the early 90s, got the injection (which hurt almost as much as the TE) that didn't work and pretty much just laid off tennis for about 4 months. The pain was still in the background until someone convinced me to try natural gut; I did, and the pain just went away. I stayed with gut for about 10 years before going back to synthetics, and the pain has not returned.

Not a doctor, obviously, but it might be worth a shot - no pun intended.

Cindysphinx
05-20-2009, 07:12 AM
I may mention it. I really need her back for Districts in October.

Cindysphinx
05-21-2009, 05:38 AM
This story is so weird you are going to think I am making it up.

I met for doubles yesterday with two women I knew and one I didn't know. Before we started, we were chatting a bit. One lady said she was tired because she just mowed the lawn. Someone said she should get her son to do it. I said I had stopped mowing our lawn, and my husband wanted to make our 11-year-old son do it. I said I was opposed to this because our lawn is tricky and has three tiers. I said, "I don't want him handling a lawn mower. He'd probably lop off an arm or something."

My friend gave the newcomer a look. The newcomer paused and said, "Yeah, that happened to my sister-in-law when she was young. I don't know the details, but she was riding her bike, the neighbor was mowing the lawn, and she fell and he lost control of the mower and it cut her arm off. My husband says he remembers a lot of running and screaming, but no one would tell him what was going on. My husband doesn't like to talk about it."

Needless to say, this cast a bit of a pall over the proceedings.

No matter what I say, it seems I am always Stepping In It . . .

Oh, it turned out that this new lady is a wonderful person and awesome player. I hope she will join our new 7.5 combo team this fall. What a find!!

Nellie
05-21-2009, 06:54 AM
That's not so bad. Last week, I was mocking chiropractors to a friend (I believe that I may have called them "quacks"), only to find out that her father is an instructor at a school for chiropractors.

Topaz
05-25-2009, 05:28 AM
*clearing throat*

First of all, a disclaimer. This post will contain discussion of league tennis matches. If such discussion, with its ups/downs, ins/outs, good moments/bad moments, in some way offends you, then I suggest you go read something else (perhaps yet another thread on those evil pushers and how some men play womanly tennis and win). If you feel the need to insult me because of my discussion of league tennis, then be ready for my response, which may contain hostility and/or aggression. If you feel the need to judge me, again, be ready to be judged right back. And finally, do not assume, because I am a woman, that I don't know jack about tennis.

There now, glad we got that out of the way.

My match yesterday was one for the books. You know when you're standing around, waiting for your court time for your match to start, and the members of the opposing team walk in, and you 'size' them up a bit? Well, I was standing with two teammates when this *very* tall (well over six feet) woman walks in...and sure enough, there was my opponent!

She was a lovely woman, by the way, as have all (but one!) of my singles opponents have been so far (out of seven matches I think?). She had that kind of 'Steffi Graf' hook forehand, and was able to get a great angle off of that side. She was much weaker on her backhand, so after the first 3 games, with us on serve (2-1), I decided to attack that side.

She held for 2-all, and then we played a marathon game in which I *finally* held for 3-2. By this point, we were playing these ridiculously long points. And, if you lost one of those points, it was heartbreaking, because you put so much darn work into it! She was hitting flat and hard, and I was feeling physically over matched, but tried to adjust by shortening my loopy FH backswing.

I hit some ridiculous winners, and she, of course, was dominant any time she was at net (unless I had a look at a FH down the line, which is my favorite shot). I some trouble with her serve, too, just controlling my return...she hit is so hard, if I swung at all on my return, it went way out.

This match was the first time I felt it necessary to actually sit down on the changeovers. Again, by far, the most physical and tiring match I've played. And folks, I am not out of shape. I've worked my arse off over the 'off season', and work out no less than six times a week. But anyway (just trying to ward off any 'you should get in shape' comments)...

She ends up taking the first set 6-3. We were both slowing down a bit though, and it was hot and humid and just overall kinda gross (and this is indoor!). No ventilation at all. Ok, so, my strategy for the second set is to slow her down, and try to take some of the power out of her shots by looping some things back. Well, it didn't start off well, as she went up 3-0. Again, these insanely long points, and deuce in all of them, but I would make some stupid error at the exact wrong time!

Still, the idea was to slow things down, and after two more marathon games, I got it back to 2-3. Two more marathon games, she's up 5-2. I dug my heels in...even though, because of our timed format, there was no way for me to win the match. I fought tooth and nail, and won the next game. 3-5. She's serving. I win the first two points...and thinking, hey, maybe I could at least get this back on serve...and then *buzzzzzz*! So, I lost, 3-6, 3-5 (timed).

By far, again, I know I'm repeating myself, but I've never played such a hard hitting match with such long points before. The last time I played a match where I felt over powered had lots of short points. The hard hitting combined with the long points...whew...well, I was a hurting monkey by the end of that match. Some of my teammates and I had brought some after-match munchies, and it was a while before I even felt like I could eat, though it helped to finally get in some air conditioning.

The thing I'm taking from this...I need to come up with some strategies for when I feel physically overwhelmed and overmatched. I'm barely 5'4", and one of my captains said it best when she described my opponents' legs as 'stopping at Topaz's neck'!

alice301
05-25-2009, 06:02 AM
^^^way to hang tuff, topaz! as i've said before, you're like the big sister i never had, being able to do things now--things that i can only hope to do one day. the timer thing is just heartbreaking. it's like being punished for doing the right thing, which in this case means grinding it out, point after point.

and honestly, i don't know how you can say that your were "physically overwhlemed and overmatched"! YOU were overwhleming and overmatching HER in the second set, chica!

Xisbum
05-25-2009, 06:39 AM
My match yesterday was one for the books. You know when you're standing around, waiting for your court time for your match to start, and the members of the opposing team walk in, and you 'size' them up a bit? Well, I was standing with two teammates when this *very* tall (well over six feet) woman walks in...and sure enough, there was my opponent!

She was a lovely woman, by the way, as have all (but one!) of my singles opponents have been so far (out of seven matches I think?). She had that kind of 'Steffi Graf' hook forehand, and was able to get a great angle off of that side. She was much weaker on her backhand, so after the first 3 games, with us on serve (2-1), I decided to attack that side.

She held for 2-all, and then we played a marathon game in which I *finally* held for 3-2. By this point, we were playing these ridiculously long points. And, if you lost one of those points, it was heartbreaking, because you put so much darn work into it! She was hitting flat and hard, and I was feeling physically over matched, but tried to adjust by shortening my loopy FH backswing.

I hit some ridiculous winners, and she, of course, was dominant any time she was at net (unless I had a look at a FH down the line, which is my favorite shot). I some trouble with her serve, too, just controlling my return...she hit is so hard, if I swung at all on my return, it went way out.

This match was the first time I felt it necessary to actually sit down on the changeovers. Again, by far, the most physical and tiring match I've played. And folks, I am not out of shape. I've worked my arse off over the 'off season', and work out no less than six times a week. But anyway (just trying to ward off any 'you should get in shape' comments)...

She ends up taking the first set 6-3. We were both slowing down a bit though, and it was hot and humid and just overall kinda gross (and this is indoor!). No ventilation at all. Ok, so, my strategy for the second set is to slow her down, and try to take some of the power out of her shots by looping some things back. Well, it didn't start off well, as she went up 3-0. Again, these insanely long points, and deuce in all of them, but I would make some stupid error at the exact wrong time!

Still, the idea was to slow things down, and after two more marathon games, I got it back to 2-3. Two more marathon games, she's up 5-2. I dug my heels in...even though, because of our timed format, there was no way for me to win the match. I fought tooth and nail, and won the next game. 3-5. She's serving. I win the first two points...and thinking, hey, maybe I could at least get this back on serve...and then *buzzzzzz*! So, I lost, 3-6, 3-5 (timed).

By far, again, I know I'm repeating myself, but I've never played such a hard hitting match with such long points before. The last time I played a match where I felt over powered had lots of short points. The hard hitting combined with the long points...whew...well, I was a hurting monkey by the end of that match. Some of my teammates and I had brought some after-match munchies, and it was a while before I even felt like I could eat, though it helped to finally get in some air conditioning.

The thing I'm taking from this...I need to come up with some strategies for when I feel physically overwhelmed and overmatched. I'm barely 5'4", and one of my captains said it best when she described my opponents' legs as 'stopping at Topaz's neck'!

Nice job, Kiddo. You just need to turn around about a half dozen points in a match like that and you'll start winning 'em.

You're Black Mamba; you can do it. :D

P.S. Allie has almost reached edit status. Big hand for the little lady.

Cindysphinx
05-25-2009, 07:42 AM
Ah, Topaz. Sorry about the loss. It sounds like you drew a really tough opponent. I mean, they say there are things you can do against tall opponents, but I simply don't have those shots yet.

The one thing I have done in singles when time is becoming a problem and I need to shorten the points is S&V. It actually works against some players because . . . because no one ever does it at our level! The other thing that can work is I will hit every FH as a slice DTL. This is a low shot to their BH. Plus, it has the advantage of being something no one has seen before at our level!

That said, I don't play much singles and certainly don't win at singles, so you're probably better off not listening to me!! :)

I play tomorrow, doubles. Tough opponent. Good partner, but we could take a beating if we draw the wrong type of opponent.

Cindysphinx
05-27-2009, 04:45 AM
OK, now I'm getting discouraged.

In my last two matches, we lost but I felt I played really well. In particular, I had been able to S&V, which was both effective and fun. In my clinic on Sunday, I did really well in no-bounce doubles, so I was feeling good about my transition and net game.

Last night, I couldn't do a single thing right. I was playing Court One against one of the top teams. They sent their Big Fish out to Court One. My partner is a nice lady who just moved up from 3.0 this year, so she had never even seen opponents like this before.

I was awful. We were awful. I just couldn't seem to strike a good volley most of the time. I was intimidated, I admit it. Heck, I felt intimidated before I got out of my car! That left me not stepping into my shots, and you know where that leads.

I feel guilty for not supporting my partner better. I don't mean with my attitude, but with my play. I'm supposed to be the veteran, but I just wasn't doing anything helpful when she served. She was so bummed that her usual stuff wasn't working, but I couldn't seem to get in the points or do anything useful when I did. I did figure out in the second set that these opponents had very dodgy overheads and couldn't take balls on the rise or out of the air. I started lobbing like mad, and that was good for a few points (and quite a few laughs!), but it's hard to win a whole set that way.

I am starting to think this whole idea of making it to 4.0 is ridiculous.

Now to make matters worse, I may have to play my next match with the captain of my other team. That team is the competitive one, and we absolutely must win the team match. If I play like I did yesterday, she and I will lose, and it will be my fault because she wins a lot. Oh, ugh . . . .

Xisbum
06-01-2009, 02:33 PM
Any of the Racqueteers up for some clay court tennis this weekend?

Doc did alright today, so I didn't fire him; said we would go through one more series of injections into the knee, and if it doesn't work, we will start exploring knee replacement. I might have a new knee by this time next year!

Meanwhile, I'm looking for some playing time; not going to let this old knee go gently into that good night. ;-)

Cindysphinx
06-01-2009, 03:35 PM
Oh, man. I can't. I have a match on Saturday and a house guest.

Good luck with the knee, though. I know it has been a long and tough struggle.