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Cindysphinx
05-29-2009, 06:22 AM
Well, darn. I was doing the line-ups for our last 3.5 ladies team matches, and I am short a singles player for one of the matches. Most of the other available players do not play singles at all, primarily because of lack of mobility.

This means I need to get ready to play singles in a little over two weeks.

Which means I need to figure out (1) how best to use that time to get ready, and (2) what on earth I should do as far as a strategy during the match.

This is my second year as a 3.5, and I have only played one 3.5 singles match, about a year ago. Against a pusher. On clay. It was a nightmare. I started out trying to push with her, but she was adept at banging every ball on the middle of the baseline until I missed. Then I started trying to generate offense. "Offense" for me meant "missing." First set was 0-6.

In the second set, I decided to try every trick in the book. I S&V, followed returns to the net, launched sneak attacks on the net, hit drop shots. I would say my success with these strategies was about 42%. Which meant I lost the second set 3-6.

I would like to think I am a stronger player now, but I am not a more experienced one when it comes to singles. The likely opponents seem to be singles specialists who have done well against women I know. Uh oh.

This is not gonna be easy. I am particularly worried given how hard Topaz has had to work to become competitive at singles. :wrings hands:

Any ideas on the best way to get ready and put on a decent showing -- or maybe even win? There are so many things I don't know. I need a one-size-fits-all plan that I can execute with my limited strokes (topspin groundies and lobs for FH and BH, volleys and overhead, slice and flat serve, and inside-out FH approach).

sureshs
05-29-2009, 06:47 AM
I prefer to play singles. Last nite I was playing singles with a junior girl and just getting grooved into returning her topspins to my backhand, when 3 old guys dragged me off to play doubles with them.

Singles is both easier and harder than doubles. It is easier because

1. you don't need to worry about the net guy when returning serves
2. weak shots by your partner will not result in smashes aimed at you
3. bad technique of your opponent will get her nowhere (in club play, quite a few doubles players have bad technique but have learned to compensate for that with shrewd tactics)
4. Reflexes have to be faster in doubles

It is more difficult because:

1. you need to run more
2. weak serves from you will get pummeled without a net person to block them
3. you need to have all the strokes and proper technique

But give me singles any time

cak
05-29-2009, 06:49 AM
I'm waiting to hear what the singles specialist say.

My coach told me to keep returns deep. If I want to come in my approach shot should be up the middle to her backhand. Don't approach on things she can lob, or hit an angle on. If I do hit short expect an angled return. If she hits short I should try to angle the return. Also mix up my shots. Hit some topspin, some slices all in the same rally. Try and mess up her timing. In singles its easier to get in a grove, so don't let her.

That said, I've been successful (read pulled in wins) when called upon to play singles by just going to my push game. I have the temperament for it, so it doesn't bum me out. It doesn't sound like that would work for you.

raiden031
05-29-2009, 06:51 AM
I prefer to play singles. Last nite I was playing singles with a junior girl and just getting grooved into returning her topspins to my backhand, when 3 old guys dragged me off to play doubles with them.

Singles is both easier and harder than doubles. It is easier because

1. you don't need to worry about the net guy when returning serves
2. weak shots by your partner will not result in smashes aimed at you
3. bad technique of your opponent will get her nowhere (in club play, quite a few doubles players have bad technique but have learned to compensate for that with shrewd tactics)
4. Reflexes have to be faster in doubles

It is more difficult because:

1. you need to run more
2. weak serves from you will get pummeled without a net person to block them
3. you need to have all the strokes and proper technique

But give me singles any time

I disagree with the bold statements. I find that in singles you can win just by being consistent, even if your shots are not very effective and your technique is lazy and poor. Since doubles is more of an attacking game, you need to have skills and be more versatile. I find that pushers are extremely easy to beat in doubles because of their lack of skills and inability to play offensively. I think you need good technique to develop an offensive game and to be able to hit efficient, effective shots with little time to react.

sureshs
05-29-2009, 06:52 AM
I disagree with the bold statements. I find that in singles you can win just by being consistent, even if your shots are not very effective. Since doubles is more of an attacking game, you need to have skills and be more versatile. I find that pushers are extremely easy to beat in doubles because of their lack of skills and inability to play offensively.

True. I just put up a list. Obviously, there are more dimensions to it. That is the problem with lists.

raiden031
05-29-2009, 06:55 AM
True. I just put up a list. Obviously, there are more dimensions to it. That is the problem with lists.

No, but I think you have them reversed.

sureshs
05-29-2009, 07:00 AM
I don't know about that. From what I see, there are way too many adults who have played doubles for years and still cannot hit a decent backhand or a second serve. They have managed by finding the right partner and learning to lob or drop shot - basically by developing their court sense. In singles, they are unbearable to watch. On the flip side, players who mainly play singles have much better form, but often lose in doubles because they don't have consistent partners or are suckered by the tricks of the doubles players. However, they are OK in doubles, unlike the doubles players who suck at singles.

charliefedererer
05-29-2009, 07:03 AM
The general idea would be to play your own game, but anticipate making adjustments based on your opponents strengths and weaknesses, and then execute.
If your opponent has a weaker side: Exploit it not only by hitting more shots to it, but setting up with a drive to the stronger side, followed by a crosscourt shot to the weaker side that she has to hit on the run.
If your opponent is a grinder: Try to wrong foot her. Set up side to side patterns, then YOU choose what is your best stroke to go back to the same side to wrong foot her.
If your opponent has consistent returns from either side: Serve to the corners, and hit their return to the opposite corner.
(Obviously if she has inconsistent returns with either her backhand or forehand then exploit it.)
Since you play a lot of doubles: I assume you have a pretty good net game, so use controlled aggression to hit deep approach shots on short balls and take the net.
If your opponent is easily holding serve against your nonaggressive returns: Take more chances on attacking the second serve.
If your opponent is aggressive and hitting powerfully, but is not consistent: Then work all the harder to get back one more ball for them to miss.

sureshs
05-29-2009, 07:05 AM
Bottomline is whatever your preference is, it is better to play singles for the workout. My doctor asks me: what exercise do you do? I say: tennis. She asks: singles or doubles? I say: mostly doubles, because that is what the oldies force me to do. She says: switch to singles, totally different cardiovascular activity and benefits.

Verno Inferno
05-29-2009, 07:28 AM
Hi Cindy,

When I entered singles league play, I only began having good results when I did a few things. And these you can adopt without the benefit of practice, since you have limited time to prepare.

(1) Get there early and warm up my serve for 20-30 minutes before the opponent arrives. Otherwise, I hand over the first set. In singles, you need the sense of urgency immediately and a cold, stiff serve is going to hand over early games and probably the first set. Better yet, you may win the first set simply because your opponent didn't take the time to warm up her serve. This is also part and parcel of the Winning Ugly strategy of letting them serve first. You may go up 3-0 quickly against someone "better" than you because they served 2 games cold, and you started your serve in mid-set form.

(2) Start with some sort of strategy and stick with it until it starts to fail. I guess you already did this in your last match, but since singles strategy all depends on you by your lonesome, it's probably worth repeating. It really helped me to walk in with a plan, even if it's not opponent-specific. Without the plan, you have no idea what's working and what's not working. Mine, for example, has been to use the first set to dink back first serves and be super aggressive on second serves. I learn on those first serve points whether I can hit with my oppenent. On second serves I learn whether or not I'm going to be able to win points at the net by drilling them deep to the backhand. If not, I need to go to plans b and c or d.

But those two things upped the winning percentage without my needing to improve one stroke. (1) Warm up siginficantly the serve so that you increase the probability of winning the first set; and (2) make up some sort of strategy to stick with for the first couple of sets, even if it's very basic. Then change it when you begin to see that their strengths outmatch your strategy.

- verno

PS: Oh.... I think I just read that you had a lob. As i'm sure you know, in singles lobbing to someone's backhand is often a huge pain in the rear. They either have a terrible backhand "overhead" or you are forcing them to run around it and maybe be in terrible position to hit it.

Jim A
05-29-2009, 09:09 AM
I've always focused on singles, I would rather be involved directly with every point and plus my mid-court volley is a bit weak.

My match the other day was against someone who was playing a singles match for the first time.

I made it a point to keep him on the baseline and take advantage of his weak 2nd serve.

Also I made him hit on the run a bit (he made note of his inability to do so early in the match) while not allowing him to come to the net on his terms

I will say this, hit your strokes. I watched one of our players playing doubles the other night and everything was a freakin underspin lob. Then after we lost that match, he plays a fun set of singles and is just ripping it. Shots like that would have clinched the doubles match in lieu of dinky doubles

Don't be afraid to be out there for 5-8 strokes per point, move back to your comfort spot, for me its about a foot left of center, but hit some backhands etc early

most of all have confidence in your game and use what makes you a good doubles player in your match, hit some deep approach shots to the backhand and come in (doesn't have to be hard just deep and well placed..or make them pass you while on the run, use the serve to set up the start of the point, go body/backhand about 80% of the time and then swing one out wide/down the T

goober
05-29-2009, 09:19 AM
I don't know about that. From what I see, there are way too many adults who have played doubles for years and still cannot hit a decent backhand or a second serve. They have managed by finding the right partner and learning to lob or drop shot - basically by developing their court sense. In singles, they are unbearable to watch. On the flip side, players who mainly play singles have much better form, but often lose in doubles because they don't have consistent partners or are suckered by the tricks of the doubles players. However, they are OK in doubles, unlike the doubles players who suck at singles.

At 3.0-3.5 you might be able to get away with a weak second serve or poor BH. Much harder to get away with that stuff at higher levels. But I do agree you can seriously hide some deficiencies in doubles that would get exposed in singles. Of course the reverse is true as well.

sureshs
05-29-2009, 09:30 AM
At 3.0-3.5 you might be able to get away with a weak second serve or poor BH. Much harder to get away with that stuff at higher levels. But I do agree you can seriously hide some deficiencies in doubles that would get exposed in singles. Of course the reverse is true as well.

Sure, at higher levels everything has to be good. It is not like the Bryans cannot play singles.

I am not sure the reverse is true. I have not come across singles players who suck at doubles. Maybe first couple of times if they have never played dubs before. Also, the "better" players try to play singles, and that quality also translates into doubles. The weaker/older/unfit ones stick with doubles for ever. Just like in the pros, where the singles dropouts play doubles till a ripe old age. It was not the case when JMac, Martina or Laver played, but it is the case now.

MNPlayer
05-29-2009, 09:44 AM
Well, darn. I was doing the line-ups for our last 3.5 ladies team matches, and I am short a singles player for one of the matches. Most of the other available players do not play singles at all, primarily because of lack of mobility.

This means I need to get ready to play singles in a little over two weeks.

Which means I need to figure out (1) how best to use that time to get ready, and (2) what on earth I should do as far as a strategy during the match.

This is my second year as a 3.5, and I have only played one 3.5 singles match, about a year ago. Against a pusher. On clay. It was a nightmare. I started out trying to push with her, but she was adept at banging every ball on the middle of the baseline until I missed. Then I started trying to generate offense. "Offense" for me meant "missing." First set was 0-6.

In the second set, I decided to try every trick in the book. I S&V, followed returns to the net, launched sneak attacks on the net, hit drop shots. I would say my success with these strategies was about 42%. Which meant I lost the second set 3-6.

I would like to think I am a stronger player now, but I am not a more experienced one when it comes to singles. The likely opponents seem to be singles specialists who have done well against women I know. Uh oh.

This is not gonna be easy. I am particularly worried given how hard Topaz has had to work to become competitive at singles. :wrings hands:

Any ideas on the best way to get ready and put on a decent showing -- or maybe even win? There are so many things I don't know. I need a one-size-fits-all plan that I can execute with my limited strokes (topspin groundies and lobs for FH and BH, volleys and overhead, slice and flat serve, and inside-out FH approach).

At this point, you'll pretty much have to play with the game you have. I have recently been trying to raise the level of my singles after playing primarily doubles for a few years. I am starting to slowly develop a feeling for it and realize how different it really is. It requires more patience and a different kind of point construction.

Of the top of my head:
1) Be mentally prepared to hit more balls than in doubles. As many as it takes.
2) If you have the time on a given shot, try to hit it a least a little bit away from your opponent. Making them move even 1 or 2 steps can make a huge difference. No need to go for too much or you will miss, though.
3) Hit deep, past the service line, if at all possible. This is is actually more important than #2. If you can do this at 3.5 consistently they will probably not be able to attack you and you will have the chance to outlast them.
4) Be somewhat relaxed if possible so you can move well.

You do not have enough time to really develop the court sense you generally need to succeed at singles before this match so I tried to give you simple advice. Try to play some practice matches and take them seriously in the next two weeks. This is probably the best preparation you can have at this point. Hit the shots you are comfortable with as best you can. You are not going to get any new ones in 2 weeks.

Good luck!

skiracer55
05-29-2009, 09:49 AM
Well, darn. I was doing the line-ups for our last 3.5 ladies team matches, and I am short a singles player for one of the matches. Most of the other available players do not play singles at all, primarily because of lack of mobility.

This means I need to get ready to play singles in a little over two weeks.

Which means I need to figure out (1) how best to use that time to get ready, and (2) what on earth I should do as far as a strategy during the match.

This is my second year as a 3.5, and I have only played one 3.5 singles match, about a year ago. Against a pusher. On clay. It was a nightmare. I started out trying to push with her, but she was adept at banging every ball on the middle of the baseline until I missed. Then I started trying to generate offense. "Offense" for me meant "missing." First set was 0-6.

In the second set, I decided to try every trick in the book. I S&V, followed returns to the net, launched sneak attacks on the net, hit drop shots. I would say my success with these strategies was about 42%. Which meant I lost the second set 3-6.

I would like to think I am a stronger player now, but I am not a more experienced one when it comes to singles. The likely opponents seem to be singles specialists who have done well against women I know. Uh oh.

This is not gonna be easy. I am particularly worried given how hard Topaz has had to work to become competitive at singles. :wrings hands:

Any ideas on the best way to get ready and put on a decent showing -- or maybe even win? There are so many things I don't know. I need a one-size-fits-all plan that I can execute with my limited strokes (topspin groundies and lobs for FH and BH, volleys and overhead, slice and flat serve, and inside-out FH approach).

...let me add some of my thoughts:

- First of all, please don't call your strokes limited. You've worked hard on your game, you've got lots of match experience, you've won matches, that doesn't happen unless you're beyond the limited stage. As I said in another thread, one of the things I've noticed in watching and coaching others is that everybody at whatever level has strengths. The NTRP system kind of ensures that all 3.5s, for example, pretty much play *roughly* the same game, but I've seen 3.5s with returns that put them ahead of the pack, and 3.5s with so-so serves and just okay returns but with great athleticism, movement, and above 3.5 level groundstrokes, which makes them stand out in baseline rallies.

So identify your strengths, and yes, your weaknesses, and take it from there. A tennis match is really about trying to give yourself as many chances as possible to control and win points with your strengths, and to use tactics that will prevent your opponent from picking on your weaknesses. I'll give you a broad hint: you play a lot of doubles, and are very comfortable volleying and at the net generally, and because doubles is about getting the upper hand early and shortening the point in your favor, you already have a feel for what it takes to structure points to create winners or force errors. A lot of 3.5 singles specialists play pretty defensive or neutral tennis most of the time, and only go to the net to shake hands at the end of the match, so if you show up at the net, they probably won't like it much.

- Accept your early matches as a learning process. Make it a fun, new thing, learn as you go, and the results will take care of themselves. I almost always play singles, rarely doubles, so when I do play doubles, I always have to tell my partner "Just give me a set and everything will click in...I have to remember how to play with somebody else on the court." Same will be true of your early matches in singles, so have patience with your efforts. It'll come, it always does.

- Next, I'm not sure there is any one size fits all strategy for anybody. What I'd say is for the first few games of your first match (true also if you get to play a practice match), just try to get your rhythm and flow. It's going to be strange to realize that you have to move for every ball and hit every ball that comes over the net. Just get the rhythm of your court movement and strokes down. I like what Jim A said about "Don't be afraid to be out there for 5 or 8 balls." That's how you get your rhythm, by hitting a bunch of balls. So: to start with, lots of strong but safe first serves in. I'd say serve strong right down the middle of the box, so you're getting at least 60% of your first serves in. Same deal with the return: high over the net, deep in the court, lots of top, and if not right down the middle, then at least a couple of feet inside the side lines. Get 90% of your returns back, and give yourself a chance to get some rallies going on your return as well as your serve. Then, as I said, just find your rhythm and timing: lots of topspin balls deep, high over the net, and so forth.

As that all starts to work, you can break out into something more aggressive. As in, start tagging some weak second serves, or even go after a first serve or two if the score warrants it. Say you get up 0 - 30 on her serve, and the next serve is a helium ball. Give it a ride, and come to net. If that works...do it some more! In the warmup and the first few games, you'll also figure out whether or not she likes the net. If she doesn't, a good possibility, guess what? Try bringing her in. Doesn't necessarily have to be a drop shot, a short, soft angle will often work. You have a good lob, right? Bring her in, throw a rainmaker up over her head, and when she gets that deer in the headlights look and starts running for the baseline, guess what? It's your turn to come into the net.

- I also like what Jim A said about having confidence in yourself. My ex-coach, Sam Winterbotham, who is now the Head Men's Coach of the Tennessee Vols, said that he wants his players to have the following qualities:

(1) Be honest.
(2) Always give your best effort.
(3) Always believe in yourself.

The third one is what Jim A is talking about, and it's really key. I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again. A bunch more years ago than I like to think about, I reached the final of a tournament in Breckenridge, Colorado. My opponent was, on the books, supposed to use me to mop up the court. I was playing well, so I thought "Well, we'll see about that." Then, during the warmup, I broke a string...in my only racket...which shows you how smart I was in my relative youth. A bunch of my buddies were watching, nobody had a spare racket, and you could hear a pin drop, except for my roommate who said "Nice going, Ace...now what?"

So here's what: I cut the string (it was one of the center mains), tied it off as best I could, and went ahead and played the damned match anyway. My strategy? No long points! Serve and volley, chip and charge, because maybe I can hit a serve and a backhand volley with this setup, but it ain't gonna cut it for groundies. And, believe it or not, it worked. I won 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. My opponent was beside himself. I don't think he actually believed he got beat by a guy with a fishing net for a string job. But hey, it happened, I swear. I totally believed in this story I told myself about how I was going to win the match anyway, and it worked. You get the point, end of sermon.

- Don't just believe in yourself, have fun doing it. This is a game we're talking about. You might win, especially if you believe in yourself, but if you lose, they won't take you out and shoot you. A singles match is a great one on one duel, where, and we've all had these special matches, on occasion you and your opponent play so well and so creatively that you create a whole separate world that the spectators can see but can't really understand or experience. And that's an experience worth having...

goober
05-29-2009, 09:57 AM
Sure, at higher levels everything has to be good. It is not like the Bryans cannot play singles.

I am not sure the reverse is true. I have not come across singles players who suck at doubles. Maybe first couple of times if they have never played dubs before. Also, the "better" players try to play singles, and that quality also translates into doubles. The weaker/older/unfit ones stick with doubles for ever. Just like in the pros, where the singles dropouts play doubles till a ripe old age. It was not the case when JMac, Martina or Laver played, but it is the case now.


When I say higher levels I don't mean Bryans, I was thinking more 4.0-4.5. I have played dubs with 3.0-3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 levels guys and at each level it is a completely different game. At 4.5, the points are over very quickly. Big serves and everybody goes for their shots. At 3.0-3.5 it is a lot of dinking and lobbing. 4.0 is in between.

I use to be singles only when I first started out. I would say it took me a good 5-6 months to be ok in dubs. A lot of my singles strategies and style of play just didn't translate well to dubs. What got exposed were my poor volleys, overhead that was not consistent, and return of serve.

sureshs
05-29-2009, 12:17 PM
I use to be singles only when I first started out. I would say it took me a good 5-6 months to be ok in dubs. A lot of my singles strategies and style of play just didn't translate well to dubs. What got exposed were my poor volleys, overhead that was not consistent, and return of serve.

It is a whole different game at the recreational levels. At the pro level, pretty much everyone has everything down, and it is a matter of specialization for singles or doubles. At the club level, it also fluctuates widely with the partner. When my partner plays well, I also play well. When he/she is really bad, I don't feel motivated. If my partner is responsible for us being down 15-40 by just giving away the points, I don't feel I should give my best for the next point. If he throws weak lobs and I have to run for shelter, it is also no fun. I am sure he is saying the same things about me. I also don't like partners who try to communicate, because it is my feeling that at the 3.5 or 4.0 levels, all this fancy stuff is completely overridden by basic technical flaws. Just shut up and play is my philosophy.

jwr1972
05-29-2009, 12:32 PM
My 2 cents:

1. Hit consistently to the middle of the court but deep(preferably with topspin to keep them pinned back) to see if they know the basic rule about doing this right back or if they try and push things and rack up UEs by going for a shot they don't have. Don't be afraid to use this a lot.
2. Don't hit your serve to the same place with the same spin with the same power. Don't be predictable with your serve.
3. Look for the weaker side and pound it from time to time(deep or short/angled). Be ready to move in at any point since you are in the doubles mindset most of the time.
4. Think one shot ahead so that your feet can be ready to move after your current shot.

Nellie
05-29-2009, 12:41 PM
My advice - take your time and be relaxed! be conservative in your shot choices, but hit the shots (good full swing, not poking at the ball).

I would stay close to the baseline and to the middle to minimize your distance of travel.

From a strategy standpoint, I would focus more on getting the ball back than hitting winners. Also, I would suggest intentionally hitting some balls short and low - Most 3.5 women I see cannot do much with that ball except to scoop it back to you. also do not be afraid to throw in some moonballs.

seleswannabe
05-29-2009, 02:48 PM
All of the above are good tips. I started really practicing my return of 2nd serve this year and I get a lot of free points on that. Might be something you want to practice before the big match! Good luck and stay positive. Take it one point at a time.

North
05-29-2009, 03:09 PM
If you want to get better at singles (rather than just want to win) then keep coming to the net as much as possible. It takes a long time to be able to win consistently that way but there is no substitute for learning to play and win with an aggressive game than by playing aggressively until you get better at it. You will lose a lot for a longer time than most people's egos (and maybe USTA teammates) can tolerate, though.

If you just want to win, then keep the ball deep. All the time - serves, returns, groundstrokes - consistently deep and down the middle. Hitting really severe angles can hurt you if you are not used to setting up points for singles play. Doesn't have to be moonballs (though they are very obnoxious and can be effective unless you play someone who is good at swinging volleys or otherwise plays very aggressively - not common in women's 3.5 play).

You will be bored to tears (well, I find it deathly boring) but if you can keep doing it, you can win that way against pushers and singles players who are somewhat better than you.

Cruzer
05-29-2009, 03:12 PM
Singles is 70% footwork. Since you have to hit every ball getting yourself into the right position to hit it. 3.5 players can generally hit a good grounsdtroke or volley if they are in the right postion. It's getting there that is the tricky part.

North
05-29-2009, 03:15 PM
Singles is 70% footwork. Since you have to hit every ball getting yourself into the right position to hit it. 3.5 players can generally hit a good grounsdtroke or volley if they are in the right postion. It's getting there that is the tricky part.

Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention that but like Cruzer says. Never stop moving your feet in singles. Never. Not even when you are (fill in the blank with anything you think might be OK to stop your feet moving). Never.

Cindysphinx
05-29-2009, 04:24 PM
OK, I've read everything. How's this for a plan?

In the next two weeks, I will try to get in some singles matches. This will be difficult; my dance card is already pretty well booked.

I will pick one shot that I think needs the most work and will yield the most benefit: approach shots. I will practice approach shots with my practice partner until I have grooved it and feel comfortable.

During the match, I like the advice of not going for winners and just being steady at the beginning of the match. That said, I will work to move my opponent around, even just a step or two, with each shot.l Since I have no shot tolerance to speak of, I will keep it interesting and mix in some topspin moonballs, just to drive my opponent wild. If I hit a good one to the BH, I will follow it in.

If I lose the first set, all bets are off and I'm taking the net. So look out!

Thanks, everyone! I'll report back after whatever happens happens.

Cindy -- who will not stop moving her feet except during changeovers :)

subaru3169
05-29-2009, 04:29 PM
i grew up as a singles player, but i'm not sure what i can say that can help since i only know my own game.. but generally, i'd put great emphasis on footwork because when you're there, you have a really good chance to get the ball.. if you have bad footwork, you're more than likely to be out of position

since you're mainly a doubles player, i'm assuming your net play is good.. so i'm gonna say to make sure your groundies are solid.. i don't know if ppl will disagree with me or not, but i was taught that my objective in singles play for groundies is to hit them deep, preferably no man's land.. i used to do drills over and over again so i think it's pretty important

for strategy, try not to hit down the center and to move your opponent side to side during rallies.. if they hit it to you in the center, you are the one in control so take advantage.. also, be sure to recover and head right back to the center as quickly as possible after each shot you hit.. moreover, if your opponent hits you a shorter ball that hits the service line or shorter, be sure to come up and make an opportunity ball or finish the approach shot

what i said is super duper general as there is much more to it than these type of guidelines.. for more detailed strategies, i'd youtube it.. bolleteri<sp> has some good words of wisdom

and g'luck on your match!!=)

RoddickAce
05-29-2009, 04:47 PM
^^Good advice.

Practice some of the footwork patterns mentioned in this thread:http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=3466370

The link SA posted, http://www.jezgreen.com/the-steps-in-tennis, is really helpful.

Also, try to pull your opponent wide with sharper angles and then hitting behind them. This usually draws a weak reply so after you wrongfoot them, go to net and finish the point.

Hitting dropshots or short slices, then hitting a semi-moonball passing shot is very effective too.

skiracer55
05-29-2009, 06:15 PM
OK, I've read everything. How's this for a plan?

In the next two weeks, I will try to get in some singles matches. This will be difficult; my dance card is already pretty well booked.

I will pick one shot that I think needs the most work and will yield the most benefit: approach shots. I will practice approach shots with my practice partner until I have grooved it and feel comfortable.

During the match, I like the advice of not going for winners and just being steady at the beginning of the match. That said, I will work to move my opponent around, even just a step or two, with each shot.l Since I have no shot tolerance to speak of, I will keep it interesting and mix in some topspin moonballs, just to drive my opponent wild. If I hit a good one to the BH, I will follow it in.

If I lose the first set, all bets are off and I'm taking the net. So look out!

Thanks, everyone! I'll report back after whatever happens happens.

Cindy -- who will not stop moving her feet except during changeovers :)

...it's positive, it's simple, and it's realistic, which means it's doable. And you have a Plan B, which is important. Go out there and give it a rip...you might surprise yourself...

serve and Justin
05-30-2009, 02:11 AM
my thing is numbering the court...the ad service box is service boxes being 1 and 3...behind 1 is 4 behind 3 is 2...I try to hit 2 evens and an odd or 2 odds and an even...keep your opponent moving...

Cindysphinx
05-30-2009, 03:50 PM
OK, this is not good. Not good at all.

After doubles practice today, I hit some groundstrokes. I had two teammates on one end, and I was by myself on the other end.

I couldn't keep the ball on the court for more than a couple of shots. I hit long a lot, or wide. My running shots were erratic. My approach shots didn't have enough oomph on them. This even though I thought I was in good position much of the time.

There may not be enough time to fix all that ails me . . . :(

skiracer55
05-30-2009, 05:43 PM
OK, this is not good. Not good at all.

After doubles practice today, I hit some groundstrokes. I had two teammates on one end, and I was by myself on the other end.

I couldn't keep the ball on the court for more than a couple of shots. I hit long a lot, or wide. My running shots were erratic. My approach shots didn't have enough oomph on them. This even though I thought I was in good position much of the time.

There may not be enough time to fix all that ails me . . . :(

...the transition from lots 'o doubles to more singles is not easy, and if you can't get a lot of quality singles time on court before your (ahem) NTRP singles match, I strongly advise you not to worry about it. Just do what one my coaches told me and don't think your way through a match, play your way through it. See what I said, above, about getting your rhythm and getting some long rallies, initially. So your last experience on court maybe tells you there is a problem with your groundstrokes; I don't think so. It's a problem with, hitting groundstrokes in singles is way different than hitting groundstrokes in singles. Finally, see what I said, above. Your next NTRP singles match is a game, not a life or death experience. Just watch the ball, hit it hard, and don't think...

Jim A
05-30-2009, 08:46 PM
playing against 2 people isn't going to be a realistic view of your singles prowess since they are going to be in much better position to hit each shot than you will be on the other end

a good singles drill to do when you have 3 people is to play nifty fifty or something to that effect (basically you feed the ball in and then count strokes, when you win/lose the point the stroke total is what is won by you/opponent

you can also play 3-2-1 (play til 21 or so) where you get
3 points if your opponent hits into the net or you hit an outright winner
2 points if you win a point at the net (or opponent hits into net while forcing play)
1 point if your opponent hits one long/wide

also just play some 10point tiebreakers and get a feel for what you like when it comes to returning, hitting your groundstrokes, finding your spot on the court

how the game should be played by those of us on a msg board and in real life can vary greatly. Today I had the chance to hit with a real solid 3.5 (good in league play, made the semis of the last tournament, etc) and we played quite a few 10pt'ers..in reality I should be hitting hte ball deep, moving him around and waiting for chances, well that didn't work well at all...I shortened up my points, attacking 2nd serves and hitting about 90% on 1st/2nd serves, varying placement and going for an aggressive shot at my first opportunity. I was up 2-1 in the 'breakers before changing back to a more tempered game and promptly dropped 3 of 4. Surely I need to work on my consistency,etc but if I was in a match with this person, I'd be using what was working regardless

ttbrowne
05-31-2009, 06:31 AM
Yesterday my son didn't show (Cop got him) and I had to play #1 3.5 singles. This 27 year old got to everything! He was steady, not overpowering, and mobile. We had a lot of exchanges, many ads/deuce/ad/deuce's but in the end he was just a set of wheels. He was good WITH wheels. I lost 2 & 2.
I tried the old Winning Ugly breakdown halfway thru..."Who's doing what to whom?" Ya might try that. Just break the set down at the break and ask yourself that question.

subaru3169
05-31-2009, 10:56 AM
aww don't worry, cindy.. it does take some time.. practice hitting loopers into no man's land as that should at least get you into the habit of spinning the ball into the court instead of going long

Topaz
05-31-2009, 11:45 AM
Cindy, you've gotten great advice here. I will add my couple of cents.

What I've learned at 3.5 singles this year...by Topaz.

*There are so many different types of players out there in 3.5 land, it honestly boggles my mind. I've just finished playing my 10th singles match for NOVA, and every match has been so completely different, with perhaps two of my opponents being similar in playing styles to each other.

*There are the bangers, who hit hard and flat with a lot of pace. The bangers I've played against so far have also been pretty darn good, and these are the matches where I've felt overpowered.

*There are the jackrabbits, who run EVERYTHING down and return it in the court. I do not classify them as pushers, first because that seems to be a derogatory term and these ladies were good players, and jackrabbits run everything down AND hit a good shot while they're doing it. One jackrabbit I was able to tire out and beat. The other jackrabbit (a great, great match for me, actually) got sloppy, starting missing her very awesome FH, but still beat me in a match tiebreak.

*Of course, there are the dinkers. They hit that ball with little pace, low, and in the middle of the court. This *should* be an easy ball to put away, but I have found that 3.5s in general really struggle with this shot. The dinkers have mastered this shot, and if you can get to it, just kind of push it to a corner and get ready to volley. As it is very often said, bringing dinkers up to the net is usually a good strategy, but I struggle trying to bring people up on purpose.

*Then there are the Others. The tricky lefties, the 3.0s playing up that you slaughter, the headcases....etc etc...one thing I always remember is that...this is 3.5. We are ALL capable of a meltdown at any moment! So, even if it seems like you are down and out...DO NOT GIVE UP!!!

*Try to pay attention to your opponents strengths and weaknesses and habits. My opponent yesterday NEVER took her FH down the line. She had an awesome CC FH, but NEVER DTL. So, eventually, I just camped out on that side of the court, pounded FHs CC for a while, and then I took *my* FH DTL (which is my favorite shot!). :) Today, in thinking about that match, I realized that she never took her BH DTL either. Of course, as you know, if you see a weakness, you can exploit it.

*But if you don't see a weakness, go with your strength! My opponent today was solid off of both sides. So I went with my patterns (or tried to...it was a toughie today). I wanted to move her around the court a bit, corner to corner, as I noticed she wasn't real quick on her feet. I had better success when I moved her up and back in the court though (and she did a good job of doing that to me, too!).

I think I have suffered in some of my close matches by not being aggressive enough. In my match yesterday, I was almost in 'awe' of how aggressive my opponent was being...she was taking it to me in the first set. And then I realized...hey, I have a pretty darn good FH, too!!! I play 'scared' a lot of the time, and I'm really working on going out there and not being 'afraid' to just hit the ball like I do in practice!!! Now, hopefully, you aren't as much of a headcase as I am and that won't be a problem!

shell
05-31-2009, 03:00 PM
Cindy, having seen your posts regarding dubs, I think you will be fine in singles. Yes, it is different, but really not that much in women's league play. I've played 3.5s playing up, 4.0s and I play up regularly at 4.5, and I have seen mostly the same things across the board - to varying amounts of ability.

Some thoughts from my experience:

1. Women's league tennis is never about the serve. I have only played one match where a 4.5 had a serve that was formidable enough to cause damage in the match. ALL the others were varying degrees of put it in play. GET YOUR RETURN IN. No different than the dubs that you already play. And in fact, somewhat easier since there is no net person to worry about. Get it in play and start the point.

2. If out of position, roll a blooper as deep as you can. If you find yourself against a net rusher (most are not) then lob. Again, your dubs experience should translate well for this. If out of position, throw up a lob. Did I say this twice? Well, that's what I meant. Give yourself a chance to reset the point. Not too many of women at your level, and a bit higher, have great overheads. Give yourself a chance to reset the point. Don't feel like you have to do too much, because you don't.

3. Attack the net if you find yourself with an attackable shot. Go for it! You will be surprised how many easy volleys you will find yourself with. Don't be afraid! The great passing shot is not really something I have found to be sustained throughout a match. Hit your approach as well as you can and be ready.

4. Keep the ball in play. Do you see the trend here? You will find all kinds of players, but if you can dig deep and hit some extra shots, you will find yourself with some options. Don't be fooled into thinking you have to go for crazy winners. Most points are won the simple way - wait it out.

There you go! You have the skills to do well. Don't psych yourself out because you play mostly dubs. It's the same damn stuff at our level :)

skiracer55
05-31-2009, 06:17 PM
Cindy, having seen your posts regarding dubs, I think you will be fine in singles. Yes, it is different, but really not that much in women's league play. I've played 3.5s playing up, 4.0s and I play up regularly at 4.5, and I have seen mostly the same things across the board - to varying amounts of ability.

Some thoughts from my experience:

1. Women's league tennis is never about the serve. I have only played one match where a 4.5 had a serve that was formidable enough to cause damage in the match. ALL the others were varying degrees of put it in play. GET YOUR RETURN IN. No different than the dubs that you already play. And in fact, somewhat easier since there is no net person to worry about. Get it in play and start the point.

2. If out of position, roll a blooper as deep as you can. If you find yourself against a net rusher (most are not) then lob. Again, your dubs experience should translate well for this. If out of position, throw up a lob. Did I say this twice? Well, that's what I meant. Give yourself a chance to reset the point. Not too many of women at your level, and a bit higher, have great overheads. Give yourself a chance to reset the point. Don't feel like you have to do too much, because you don't.

3. Attack the net if you find yourself with an attackable shot. Go for it! You will be surprised how many easy volleys you will find yourself with. Don't be afraid! The great passing shot is not really something I have found to be sustained throughout a match. Hit your approach as well as you can and be ready.

4. Keep the ball in play. Do you see the trend here? You will find all kinds of players, but if you can dig deep and hit some extra shots, you will find yourself with some options. Don't be fooled into thinking you have to go for crazy winners. Most points are won the simple way - wait it out.

There you go! You have the skills to do well. Don't psych yourself out because you play mostly dubs. It's the same damn stuff at our level :)

...this is very simlar to what I said above, and above all, keep it simple:

- The worst you can do is lose, and if you do, they probably won't take you out and shoot you.

- Watch the ball, hit it hard, and don't think. Play your way through the match, don't think your way through the match...

spiderman123
06-01-2009, 07:40 AM
Is there any book called "The art of singles"? If not, that is a shame.

Cindysphinx
06-01-2009, 08:33 AM
Is there any book called "The art of singles"? If not, that is a shame.


There should be. I have looked for such a book and come up empty.

Eh, who needs a book? I have you guys!

Shell, I am going to do everything you say. If my opponent wants to beat me, she will have to hit winners, 'cause I plan to keep the ball on the court.