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Cindysphinx
06-09-2009, 01:13 PM
I have a singles match looming in my future, and I have one nightmare scenario that I cannot seem to shake:

What will I do if my opponent hits the ball consistently deep and primarily up the middle?

This particular horror occurred in my last (and so far at 3.5 *only*) singles match. The lady just bounced slow-ish shots off of the center hash the entire match. She totally owned me.

I feel like I lack a strategy if someone hits consistently with depth and a bit of topspin.

I can't dropshot. I mean, I could, but it isn't advisable from a deep position.

I can't charge the net. I'm too deep.

I can't move her off the court with a sharp angle. I'm too deep and I'm in the middle.

I could take the ball on the rise or half-volley it, but I am more likely to botch the shot and cough up a short ball.

What triggered this episode of PTTS ("Post Traumatic Tennis Syndrome"), you ask? I was doing a 90-minute semi-private lesson today. I'm not gonna lie -- my lesson partner could kick my tail anytime she feels like it. She is much stronger from the baseline than I am. She hits a heavy, topspin ball that drives me into the back fence. I was missing and missing and missing. I didn't think I could do anything other than try to drive the ball back and hope that she missed, but she never did.

Any ideas?

Cindy -- glad her lesson partner is on her team

subaru3169
06-09-2009, 01:27 PM
i'm not sure your understanding of singles is accurate.. if your opponent keeps hitting it back to you down the middle, YOU are in control of the point

if you want to charge the net, hit it to a corner and come straight up by following the ball.. having them run should at least give you enough time to reach the service line

otherwise, be patient and place your balls corner to corner.. then wait for their mess up, create the opportunity ball and finish the point

Steady Eddy
06-09-2009, 01:57 PM
Stay calm and keep hitting them back. If they can return 90% of the shots, they are a good player. But, if you can return 95% of their shots, then you are an even better player, (and you will win 2 points for every one of their), you'll kill them. Hitting 95% back is more a matter of concentration than stroke mechanics, you can do it. The trouble is when you think "How do I end the point now?" When you get impatient and go for a winner is when the loser often happens. Unless you're very advanced, tennis strategy can be pretty boring.

FloridaAG
06-09-2009, 02:03 PM
Having read your posts, knowing that you are trying to cut back on overagressive groundies etc., if she is just hitting you middle balls, I would just run her from side to side - you don't need to kill it, you don't need to cut it too sharply - just forhand corner, backhand corner - back and forth, ultimately she will miss or give you something to drive and come to net which you like anyway.

If you are running her and she keeps hitting it to you in the middle, she will tire and you will be able to win.

Topaz
06-09-2009, 02:15 PM
I think many of you are missing a key point...in her scenario, Cindy's opponent is hitting *deep* to the middle. Not a short ball.

Cindy, when I get those, I just concentrate on hitting it deep back. If I can, I will start to try to go to a corner, but still concentrating on depth. Though, you know as well as I do, that if you do hit it short, you're not necessarily punished for it...depends on the skill of the opponent.

When you are backed up, play good defense...it isn't the time to try to do something offensive. Try to figure out what to hit her that doesn't *let* her hit those deep, loopy shots to the middle...and then feed it to her over and over again.

It isn't easy, but the challenge is part of what makes singles so fun (IMO)! I think it was Andre Agassi who once said something along the line of - 'every opponent is a puzzle that I need to figure out'.

TennisDawg
06-09-2009, 02:16 PM
If you're opponent just hits everything down the middle then he/she can't place the ball very well, doesn't matter if the balls are coming back deep. Make your opponent run and work the ball from side to side corner to corner. Eventually and fairly quick, you will get a short ball then you place it to the corner and go into net. I would be patient and return the ball down the middle until you get the right ball and then attack. Even if your opponent returns the ball it will come back down the middle or short and you are still in charge. Make your opponent do the running from side to side. Seems that the nightmare you dread may be a dream come true

Spokewench
06-09-2009, 02:59 PM
If she is putting her ground strokes down the middle deep to you; just keep thinking each time you hit that you have a plan of where you want to put your ball, start by hitting to the deuce corner, then the ad corner and then I would hit again to the backhand corner (most people's backhands are their weakness); hammer the backhand for a while and then try the opposite corner again. I think that if you keep an opponent moving they will eventually send you a sitter you can go to net on or perhaps you will get a chance to go down the line and approach. I would just work on placing the ball each and every time I hit and wait for that chance when I am seeing I am the offensive person to come forward.

UnforcedError
06-09-2009, 03:11 PM
I think Topaz has the best advice so far. Even at much higher levels deep down the middle aren't balls that are easy to attack. If it is really deep generally the goal is to do the same until you get a ball that is a bit shorter. Then you need to try to steer the point to something that is favorable to you. I think it is good to have a general plan for points of how you want them to go so when you have your opportunity you don't have to think too much about it.

-Do you want to move your opponent side to side with sharper angles
-Or maybe front to back with drop shots.
-If your backhand is stronger than maybe you want to steer toward backhand rallies.
-Hit inside out forwards until their backhand breaks down.
-Get to the net as soon as possible and finish there.

If you are playing a person that is approximately the same level as you there has to be areas where you are stronger, you just need to figure out what those are and come up with a plan of how to get there.

Julieta
06-09-2009, 03:26 PM
I have a singles match looming in my future, and I have one nightmare scenario that I cannot seem to shake:

What will I do if my opponent hits the ball consistently deep and primarily up the middle?

This particular horror occurred in my last (and so far at 3.5 *only*) singles match. The lady just bounced slow-ish shots off of the center hash the entire match. She totally owned me.

I feel like I lack a strategy if someone hits consistently with depth and a bit of topspin.

I can't dropshot. I mean, I could, but it isn't advisable from a deep position.

I can't charge the net. I'm too deep.

I can't move her off the court with a sharp angle. I'm too deep and I'm in the middle.

I could take the ball on the rise or half-volley it, but I am more likely to botch the shot and cough up a short ball.

What triggered this episode of PTTS ("Post Traumatic Tennis Syndrome"), you ask? I was doing a 90-minute semi-private lesson today. I'm not gonna lie -- my lesson partner could kick my tail anytime she feels like it. She is much stronger from the baseline than I am. She hits a heavy, topspin ball that drives me into the back fence. I was missing and missing and missing. I didn't think I could do anything other than try to drive the ball back and hope that she missed, but she never did.

Any ideas?

Cindy -- glad her lesson partner is on her team

Topaz is right on with this. In every match, it really is a case of playing your game, but also figuring out what drives the person nuts. I have heard many pros - people who get paid to play tennis and the kind of people we assume never have any problems - say things like "I was really scared in the match so I just tried to figure out what she didnt like." It happens to everyone. Notice how you win points and keep repeating that, even if it is totally obvious. I think you are going to have to grind a bit. I think though that taking the ball early - as early as you can - is the best strategy here and that includes possibly hitting half volleys or taking it out of the air outright (might be tougher if you havent practiced that). Or you can chose just to take one side early, for example I like to hit my two-hander early but not my forehand. You may not have to hit half volleys but can just hit early - make sure you just see the ball and go hit it. Often this type of player relies heavily on time to get set up. If you take that time away, they start making errors. As Topaz says, I would not worry so much about hitting a short ball because it doesnt sound like she is necessarily the type of player to act on that. It sounds like she is going to stay out there all day and see if you fall apart first. But she needs time to chase everything down and if that is gone, she may crack. Good luck and just have fun with it. It is all a learning experience.

Cindysphinx
06-09-2009, 04:20 PM
I think many of you are missing a key point...in her scenario, Cindy's opponent is hitting *deep* to the middle. Not a short ball.

Cindy, when I get those, I just concentrate on hitting it deep back. If I can, I will start to try to go to a corner, but still concentrating on depth. Though, you know as well as I do, that if you do hit it short, you're not necessarily punished for it...depends on the skill of the opponent.

When you are backed up, play good defense...it isn't the time to try to do something offensive. Try to figure out what to hit her that doesn't *let* her hit those deep, loopy shots to the middle...and then feed it to her over and over again.

It isn't easy, but the challenge is part of what makes singles so fun (IMO)! I think it was Andre Agassi who once said something along the line of - 'every opponent is a puzzle that I need to figure out'.

Hmmmm. Figure out what she doesn't like.

I can relate to this, as I surely do it in doubles. There is definitely gold in them their hills when it comes find to finding things opponents don't like in doubles. Many hate lack of pace, or sidespin, or lobs, or facing two at net, so I'm happy to oblige.

I think I need something of a head start in singles, though. What would be the first thing to try? Then the second thing?

I think my first choice might be a ridiculous topspin lob or moonball, so see if I can back her up or get her to take the ball too high.

Second choice might be . . . pound the backhand?

Third choice might be . . . slice, but I think I'd miss too much from deep.

I think I need to be more creative.

Topaz
06-09-2009, 04:48 PM
Cindy, are you trying to figure out what to do against the opponent, or against that singular shot (deep center)?

You may be panicking prematurely...in 15 singles matches, the one thing that has given me trouble are the women who hit flat, low and hard. Nobody has had good enough topspin to 'hurt' me with a deep, center ball...but again, I don't try to go offensive against it...I just return it back deep myself. Don't out-think yourself before the match even happens! ;)

When is the match?

OrangePower
06-09-2009, 05:03 PM
Keep hitting moonballs to the backhand. If your opponent can consistently hit those back deep without giving you something to attack, then kudos to her. But I'd bet 95% of women at this level will not be able to do so. Of course, this only works if you can be more consistent at hitting those moonballs to her than she is at getting them back deep :-)

Cindysphinx
06-09-2009, 05:04 PM
Cindy, are you trying to figure out what to do against the opponent, or against that singular shot (deep center)?

You may be panicking prematurely...in 15 singles matches, the one thing that has given me trouble are the women who hit flat, low and hard. Nobody has had good enough topspin to 'hurt' me with a deep, center ball...but again, I don't try to go offensive against it...I just return it back deep myself. Don't out-think yourself before the match even happens! ;)

When is the match?

Tuesday.

Flat, low and hard, huh? I don't know what I would do about that either. So you mean their ball lands shorter in the court but stays low? And so you hit into the net? Or you can't reach it?

I dunno. I like having a plan. I always try to have one in doubles, and over time I have figured out what adjustments I can execute. In singles, I am worried I will get involved in some gawdawful pushfest that I won't enjoy and will lose anyway.

Nellie
06-09-2009, 05:07 PM
Cindy -

Deep and up the middle is a "red ball" that you return defensively with a medium paced reply that is high over the net, preferably slightly cross court or to a weaker side. Do not worry if you have already played the same shot 10 times. It should not matter because your strategy remains the same - return the ball defensively.

When the ball is short and over the middle, the ball is "green" which means you flatten it out for a more aggressive shot or approach.

If you find yourself making a lot of unforced errors despite hitting conservatively, than you got problems and need to go to plan B. My recommendation move the ball around with a shorter slice - not a drop, but something that lands with slice at an angle and around the service line, thereby requiring the opponent hit the ball while moving forward and to the side, a tough shot for many people.

Sakkijarvi
06-09-2009, 05:20 PM
My recommendation move the ball around with a shorter slice - not a drop, but something that lands with slice at an angle and around the service line, thereby requiring the opponent hit the ball while moving forward and to the side, a tough shot for many people.

I was going to post this exact same advice, glad I read all the way through. I played a USTA 4.5 woman in a singles match over the weekend (first time for me against a woman in singles -- I'm male) and she was super consistent, hit very deep, few mistakes. She is very athletic, quick (in much better shape than I) but was in her comfort zone on the baseline. So I sliced, both backhand and forehand, with angles, short and low, bounce in front of the service line. This made her move in, often at an angle, which opened things up for me to pound a forehand, or lob a backhand deep to her backhand side and begin the process over again. Many very long rallies, like a clay court match although on hard court. Great workout.

volleyman
06-09-2009, 07:22 PM
Well, this is a bit late, assuming the match was today, be here are a couple of ideas:

1) Drop shots and short slices to draw her into the net. Get her off that baseline and make her hit from much further into the court than she likes. If she's not comfortable or effective in the short court, the drop shots don't need to be perfect. For extra pressure, follow some of those drop shots and short slices into the net.

2). Hit a deep moonball down the center and follow it into the net. If she's grooved to hitting deep down the center, you should have nice balls to volley away for winners. The first couple of times you get the surprise bonus, and you might completely fluster her out of her game plan. Just remember to mix it up - she might start hitting shorter to make your volleys harder, so if stay back, you can get a ball to come in on.

The basic idea behind both tactics is to move the game away from her strengths towards yours. Get her out of her comfort zone and she's likely to not play as well.

RoddickAce
06-09-2009, 07:39 PM
Hit corner to corner and make her run, then when you get a relatively shorter ball, hit a sharp angle to draw her wide and then hit behind her and come to net to finish the point if necessary.

raiden031
06-09-2009, 07:50 PM
Unfortunately, it takes good all-court skills to beat a player who can hit the ball deep down the middle every time. I would start off working the ball to the corners to get them running. I wouldn't get too ambitious by trying to paint the lines or anything, but just enough to get them on the run. If this doesn't disrupt their play, then this is where your all court skills come to play. At this point you are doomed to lose if you remain at the baseline. Instead you need to start making your way to the net by S&Ving and/or approaching on short balls. Also you should work in some drop shots to throw them off. This is where you discover if your opponent is just a lame pusher, or a formidable opponent. If they can hit passing shots or lob it over you dependably, then you are in trouble.

I've hit a roadblock where most of my opponents are pretty good at hitting steady shots deep, but they also can beat my net attack game as well, which is particularly frustrating. This is something that was not an issue for me against 3.5s, that if they happened to really be that consistent form the baseline, then I could always disrupt them by going after the net.

FloridaAG
06-10-2009, 03:43 AM
I don't know - just cause a ball is deep and middle does not mean it cannot be directed side to side unless there is significant pace on it, which fro the OP, I highly doubt is the case. Take two steps back and there is more than enough time to run this lady ragged. Now if Cindy can't do that with a soft shot that happens to be deep, than that is different but I have seen lots of ladies like her oppnent and it seems to me this should be doable. If not, then biding her time, returning in kind and the other suggestions are fine.

Xisbum
06-10-2009, 04:13 AM
Tuesday.

Flat, low and hard, huh? I don't know what I would do about that either. So you mean their ball lands shorter in the court but stays low? And so you hit into the net? Or you can't reach it?

I dunno. I like having a plan. I always try to have one in doubles, and over time I have figured out what adjustments I can execute. In singles, I am worried I will get involved in some gawdawful pushfest that I won't enjoy and will lose anyway.

So what happened? We're all curiosity cats out here. :)

Cindysphinx
06-10-2009, 04:29 AM
Next Tuesday. I have a whole week to wring my hands over it!

It has been raining so much here that I haven't been able to get with my pro or my hitting buddies. Not to mention all of the end-of-year school stuff and graduation activities.

Still, I have a lesson today, and I have a hitting session on Monday. If that doesn't get me ready, then I just won't be ready.

To make matters worse, I really want to win this match. My poor, pitiful team is in a battle for last place in the division. We have played 12 singles matches this season. We won two through default and one through an injury retirement. *We have lost every other singles match!* This goes a long way to explaining our 1-5 record.

The last thing the team needs is for me to jump out there in singles and lose.

Xisbum
06-10-2009, 04:44 AM
Next Tuesday. I have a whole week to wring my hands over it!

It has been raining so much here that I haven't been able to get with my pro or my hitting buddies. Not to mention all of the end-of-year school stuff and graduation activities.

Still, I have a lesson today, and I have a hitting session on Monday. If that doesn't get me ready, then I just won't be ready.

To make matters worse, I really want to win this match. My poor, pitiful team is in a battle for last place in the division. We have played 12 singles matches this season. We won two through default and one through an injury retirement. *We have lost every other singles match!* This goes a long way to explaining our 1-5 record.

The last thing the team needs is for me to jump out there in singles and lose.

Don't put extra pressure on yourself. That's worth at least 3 or 4 points a set - for the other player. Relax and just play.

I volunteer to give you some practice with deep middle shots this weekend, if you'd like. Just tell me when and where. :)

Topaz
06-10-2009, 04:45 AM
^^^Hey, I can play Saturday!!! Did you see my TWMAC post? Nobody ever answers me when I ask to play!!!

jrod
06-10-2009, 04:57 AM
I was going to add my 2c but I thought it was too late...

A number of posters have already provided some good recommendations in terms of how to respond to this type of opponent. I'll add my perspective in summary form:

Some Pointers:

1) Your opponent does not seem to take advantage of your short replies. This is good since it allows for some variation in your reply.

2) Your opponent has weaknesses which you need to assess up front. You've suggested they don't like deep topspin and may have issues with achieving consistency off her BH wing. I suspect they also have issues coming to net from what you've stated. Perhaps she is a poor mover?

3) Know which shots of your's are most reliable. Specifically, know which of your shots you can rely upon to go on the offensive with. Also, what situations are you looking to create (i.e. short ball to approach on, draw her in to pass or lob, etc.).

Strategy:

1) Not all of your opponents balls will be the same. A certain percentage of them represent opportunities for you to create leverage in the rally. You need to be able to quickly recognize these balls. For example, some of the balls will be in your strike zone on your most dependable wing. Use these balls to create leverage by putting your opponent in a somewhat less advantageous position. You don't have to hit super aggressively to do this. Placement & consistency are far more important.

2) A certain percentage of the balls you attempt to create leverage on will succeed. On these weaker responses you need to increase the pressure on your opponent. You shouldn't have to overhit since you've solicted a ball that permits you to be in an even better position to hit a more aggressive reply without increasing your risk of making an error.

3) Rinse and repeat (to quote you) until you either force an error or hit a high percentage winner.

Good luck!

Cindysphinx
06-10-2009, 06:10 AM
Don't put extra pressure on yourself. That's worth at least 3 or 4 points a set - for the other player. Relax and just play.

I volunteer to give you some practice with deep middle shots this weekend, if you'd like. Just tell me when and where. :)

I can't! I'm already booked to play doubles with two who are trying to get ready for Districts.

I do owe you some singles, Xisbum. You are No. 1 on my dance card!

Xisbum
06-10-2009, 06:15 AM
^^^Hey, I can play Saturday!!! Did you see my TWMAC post? Nobody ever answers me when I ask to play!!!

You usually attract several other players, and I didn't want to be a part of any official "gathering of the clan," so to speak. I just want some leisurely hitting, and may have to pull out of that if the injection tomorrow doesn't go well. I really hate being undependable. :(

If you want to just hit a few, I'm game. If you want to play some competitive sets, I'm probably not your pigeon - not yet, anyway. :)

hoodjem
06-10-2009, 06:21 AM
Can you figure out her weaker stroke (backhand), and repeatedly hit to that?

Topaz
06-10-2009, 08:15 AM
You usually attract several other players, and I didn't want to be a part of any official "gathering of the clan," so to speak. I just want some leisurely hitting, and may have to pull out of that if the injection tomorrow doesn't go well. I really hate being undependable. :(

If you want to just hit a few, I'm game. If you want to play some competitive sets, I'm probably not your pigeon - not yet, anyway. :)

Ha, like who? Not one response. Just a bunch of crickets chirping.

You got my number if you want to hit, right? I may try to schedule a flex league match since I'm suddenly available. I honestly don't know how it happened that I have a weekend day without a match!!!

Cindy, sorry for the hijack....

Anyway, Cindy, it is a WEEK away! And you've been stressing over this for how long already? Having a strategy is good, you want that...but I still am concerned that you're thinking way *too* much!

Move your feet. Watch the ball. Get it back one more time than your opponent does! :) See, super easy!

Ok, yes, you can hit me now! *ducking*

Cindysphinx
06-10-2009, 11:26 AM
Ha, like who? Not one response. Just a bunch of crickets chirping.

You got my number if you want to hit, right? I may try to schedule a flex league match since I'm suddenly available. I honestly don't know how it happened that I have a weekend day without a match!!!

Cindy, sorry for the hijack....

Anyway, Cindy, it is a WEEK away! And you've been stressing over this for how long already? Having a strategy is good, you want that...but I still am concerned that you're thinking way *too* much!

Move your feet. Watch the ball. Get it back one more time than your opponent does! :) See, super easy!

Ok, yes, you can hit me now! *ducking*

Ha! I had my lesson, and my pro came up with a brand new game plan along the lines of what you all have suggested.

He said the New Master Plan is that I am to assess my opponent when I meet her. I should expect her to be around my age and toting about 50 extra pounds. I will then move her side to side by hitting high-quality shots. After three games of this, she will be spent and will hand me the match.

I thinks he has decided I am worrying too much. :)

subaru3169
06-10-2009, 12:06 PM
lol you probably are worrying too much, cindy.. just remember to have fun

so many nice players out your way, wish i can go out there and play with you guys one day

BounceHitBounceHit
06-10-2009, 12:14 PM
I have a singles match looming in my future, and I have one nightmare scenario that I cannot seem to shake:

What will I do if my opponent hits the ball consistently deep and primarily up the middle?

This particular horror occurred in my last (and so far at 3.5 *only*) singles match. The lady just bounced slow-ish shots off of the center hash the entire match. She totally owned me.

I feel like I lack a strategy if someone hits consistently with depth and a bit of topspin.

I can't dropshot. I mean, I could, but it isn't advisable from a deep position.

I can't charge the net. I'm too deep.

I can't move her off the court with a sharp angle. I'm too deep and I'm in the middle.

I could take the ball on the rise or half-volley it, but I am more likely to botch the shot and cough up a short ball.

What triggered this episode of PTTS ("Post Traumatic Tennis Syndrome"), you ask? I was doing a 90-minute semi-private lesson today. I'm not gonna lie -- my lesson partner could kick my tail anytime she feels like it. She is much stronger from the baseline than I am. She hits a heavy, topspin ball that drives me into the back fence. I was missing and missing and missing. I didn't think I could do anything other than try to drive the ball back and hope that she missed, but she never did.

Any ideas?

Cindy -- glad her lesson partner is on her team


Choose your best groundstroke and run around the other (ie if your backhand is weak, run around it to hit forerhands) and hit deep shots to her weaker side, then get her on the move. She sounds VERY one dimensional and will likely begin to break down if taken from her 'comfort zone'. BHBH

sureshs
06-10-2009, 12:15 PM
I think many of you are missing a key point...in her scenario, Cindy's opponent is hitting *deep* to the middle. Not a short ball.


That is what I thought when I read the start of the OP. The she says the ball bounces of the center hash. How can that be deep?

Edit: Never mind. Think she meant the center of the baseline. Somehow that doesn't make sense either at this level for someone to consistently hit with such accuracy.

BounceHitBounceHit
06-10-2009, 12:15 PM
Ha! I had my lesson, and my pro came up with a brand new game plan along the lines of what you all have suggested.

He said the New Master Plan is that I am to assess my opponent when I meet her. I should expect her to be around my age and toting about 50 extra pounds. I will then move her side to side by hitting high-quality shots. After three games of this, she will be spent and will hand me the match.

I thinks he has decided I am worrying too much. :)

Your pro sounds smart. :) BHBH

sureshs
06-10-2009, 12:19 PM
Inside-out forehand is the way to go

LuckyR
06-10-2009, 01:51 PM
Ha! I had my lesson, and my pro came up with a brand new game plan along the lines of what you all have suggested.

He said the New Master Plan is that I am to assess my opponent when I meet her. I should expect her to be around my age and toting about 50 extra pounds. I will then move her side to side by hitting high-quality shots. After three games of this, she will be spent and will hand me the match.

I thinks he has decided I am worrying too much. :)

Well, that is true but be care which side to hit to on shots from someone who can hit deep. Just because she is standing near the ad sideline (from retrieving your last great shot) doesn't mean your best play is to the deuce side. You need to hit to the side that you can hit the best ball from.

Singles is a diagonal game, your opponent is playing a vertical game, and you must make her pay (and pay and pay), for this error.

Xisbum
06-10-2009, 01:56 PM
I can't! I'm already booked to play doubles with two who are trying to get ready for Districts.

I do owe you some singles, Xisbum. You are No. 1 on my dance card!

Appreciate that, really do. I'm just trying to get our match in before knee replacement turns me into part Arnald. :) "I'll be bak."

skiracer55
06-10-2009, 02:40 PM
...somebody who likes to hit deep down the middle usually wants you to oblige him or her...by hitting back deep down the middle, which is the easiest way they can keep hitting deep down the middle. Hitting short slices, moving them around, etc., are all good ideas. I had a whole discussion of footwork and what everyone's ideal hitting zone is. Someobody who hits consistently deep down the middle is no different, in some ways, than somebody who hits consistently anything. The key word is "consistently."

If they're going to do something consistently, they need to have the ball come into their ideal hitting zone pretty much in the same place every time. If that doesn't happen, they're going to shank a few. So your job is to not let her get in the groove, and my take is that the best way to do that is...variety! Even if you hit from side to side, to an extent, that's putting a consistent pattern up for her to tee off against. I say hit some junk, hit some hard flat balls, and by all means, go to the net. If somebody's going to hit the same shot to me, over and over again, there's no way I'm going to stay on the baseline, because I know exactly where to do my split step and which side I'm gonna volley from. Don't give her a pattern...it'll drive her crazy and you'll have a lot more fun.

Also re a post I did a while back, remember that the two most important shots in the game are the serve and the return, in that order. Doesn't mean you have to have a Sampras serve or an Agassi return. Just make sure you do something on your serve and your return that doesn't let her get into the rhythm of deep down the middle. Short, sliced, junky returns, ridiculously wide serves with a lot of slice in the deuce court, ridiculously wide serves with a lot of kick in the ad court, serves right at her if she can't handle that...you get the joke. Find out what she doesn't like and give it to her, lots of it, and you may never see a deep ball down the middle...

shell
06-10-2009, 06:54 PM
Cindy, girl, did you forget everything I have said before! :twisted: You are way too stressed about this. Nobody is going to be significantly better than you! If they are, then you will lose. It is really just that simple.

You just need to remember what you do best, keep the ball in play and take advantage of a shot that you can. If super chick can hit the ball deep, with topspin forever, then she just might win. But you've got some game, in particular some net game from what I gather. Use it! Maybe super chick is comfy grooving her topspin deep, but is she comfy moving a little and having to produce a passing shot? Is she comfy moving in for a shorter shot? Find what she doesn't like and do it. I bet you are better at the net. I bet you can return well. I bet you can keep the ball in play until you can force something.

Personally, I have never met super chick. I have lost some matches, but I have never faced super chick across the net. My guess is that you won't either.

I bet you can do it. :)

Cindysphinx
06-11-2009, 03:36 AM
No, Shell! I didn't forget, honest!!

I'm feeling better about the whole thing now. I figured out yesterday why my lesson partner's deep, heavy balls were giving me so much trouble. I just couldn't seem to get out of my own way, and I couldn't get the balls in my strike zone.

I had developed a bad habit of backing up on deep balls down the middle. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Gotta turn to the side first. Doing that one thing meant I could get the ball in the strike zone and even hit on the rise. My topspin was better, so I was able to hit some short angles from deep positions.

So now I am ready . . . .

TsongaEatingAPineappleLol
06-11-2009, 03:45 AM
Move out of the way to you preferred side and hit angles to the corners. Believe me, I beat all my friends all the time because of this and passing shots constantly and I tell them I know exactly when and where to hit the ball every time. Also, try to hit to their weak side.

Cindysphinx
06-11-2009, 04:11 AM
Move out of the way to you preferred side and hit angles to the corners. Believe me, I beat all my friends all the time because of this and passing shots constantly and I tell them I know exactly when and where to hit the ball every time. Also, try to hit to their weak side.

First things first: I really dig your screen name and avatar!! :) :) :)

About moving to the preferred side . . . this may be an A-HA moment for me. My pro kept telling me to get away from the ball. I didn't process this into "Get to the side quickly and aggressively, and then you can adjust back or forth as needed."

I am going to pay a lot of attention to this during the match. Good things should happen!

skiracer55
06-11-2009, 09:19 AM
...heavy balls. So it's really a two-step process, where you first have to figure out how to neutralize something you don't like (a. k. a., get the ball back, take the offense if possible, but if you have to be neutral for a shot or two, that's fine, as long as you're still in the point).

The second part is, how do you take advantage of deep and heavy? Or short and sliced? Remember, you don't know what you're going to get, and deep and heavy is only one possibility. See what I said, above. Anybody who hits pretty much the same ball is a one-trick pony. Show him or her a trick he or she doesn't like, and you're on your way to taking control of the points and the match...

Cindysphinx
06-15-2009, 08:04 AM
Ho boy. My big singles debut is tomorrow night. Let's see. What has happened since I last checked in with you guys?

Um, I got a vote of no-confidence, sort of. For this match, I'm playing myself and another non-singles player in singles. My feeling is that we are in the cellar for this season, so I might as well treat it as a rebuilding year. Since my singles players are now 1-9 in contested matches this season, maybe I should test out some new faces?

So I am using one of the singles/doubles hybrids in doubles instead of singles. When she saw the line-up, she wrote and offered to play singles for me if I didn't want to. She mentioned how this team has three tough singles players. :gulp:

No. In the words of Dinara Safina, I will not be a "big chicken." I will get out there and try to play some singles, by gum.

I have had two tune-up sessions, playing sets with friends. I lost 7-5 to a 3.5 player who drove me wild by pushing short-ish shots to the mid-court. I missed too many approaches. I also missed an insane number of easy service returns, often missing four straight and handing her the game.

Then I played a 3.0 player today, and I won 6-2 as I usually do. Again, I missed too many approach shots and makeable service returns.

The problem with the approach shots is I try to take my FH up the line, but I don't get around on it and instead push it long. I've decided to take more of these balls crosscourt with angle, hoping to finish the point rather than just set up the volley. That seems to be working a bit better.

The problem with the service returns is I don't breathe and therefore do a short swing. This results in a miss or a sitter at the T. I have no answer, other than to try to suck a bit less.

My next chance to fix these things out will be during the match. :gulp:

Wish me luck!! :) :) :)

Xisbum
06-15-2009, 08:21 AM
^^^You got it; good luck and stay relaxed. It's still just tennis. :-)

seleswannabe
06-15-2009, 10:13 AM
Good luck Cindy!! We'll all be anxiously waiting for a match report :)

zebano
06-15-2009, 10:14 AM
Good luck. Take a deep breathe and remember to have fun.

subaru3169
06-15-2009, 10:17 AM
g'luck cindy!!

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 09:18 PM
Well, I'm back. I lost the match. And honestly, I am very sad about it.

It started off brilliantly. I watched my opponent in the warm-up, and what my teammate had told me about her was true: She was a backboard. Quick around the court, effective-but-awkward-looking groundstrokes. Still, I wasn't seeing a lot of pop on that 1HBH, and I could see she wasn't good at net.

I won the toss and served first. I started off with an immediate double-fault. That woke me up, and I started totally cracking my serve. This caused her to push the return short. I ran up and approach with my FH to her BH. And what do you know? A floater. I volleyed this ball cross-court for a winner.

And then I did the very same thing what felt like about a bazillion times.

I came in on *everything.* It was ridiculous. If I got it to her BH, I came in on it. I do not think I missed a volley or overhead the entire first set, and every single point I won was a volley/overhead winner. I just couldn't miss. I went up 3-1. Then 4-2. I didn't think there was any way she could beat me if I just kept crashing the net. I felt like I had a good chance to win.

That's when I started to have a problem. At 4-3, the serve tightened up a little, and I started missing my approaches a bit -- a little wide, a little short. I couldn't find a way to approach to the other side to mix it up, and I missed when I tried. I started getting tired, as all of that approaching is exhausting, so I wasn't getting back for my overheads well. She started making me hit my BH, and I couldn't drive the ball well enough to make trouble. She won the first set, 6-4.

On the changeover, I wasn't sure what, if anything, to do differently. By this point, I was in trouble. I desperately needed to hit some of these FH short balls crosscourt to mix it up. Every time she hit a low hard shot, I missed. Her serve was weak, but I kept missing when I tried to hit a decent return. I needed to bring her in and then lob her.

All of these things I could do in isolated spurts, but I just couldn't execute any of it well enough to turn it around.

Finally, I decided I'd just go for my shots and live with it if they didn't go in. They didn't. I lost the second set 6-0.

So. I think I am well and truly hopeless as a singles player and ought to just stick to doubles. I will never win at singles if I try to play it like it is doubles, and if I can volley well, why bother with singles? I just don't have the groundstroke chops I need for singles, and after all the effort I've put into it, I've grown weary of trying.

subaru3169
06-17-2009, 01:39 AM
aww there there, that's ok.. at least you tried.. you just broke down mentally, but your strokes were still there apparently.. otherwise, you wouldn't have been up in the beginning.. i think you may just need practice on your strokes more to be more consistent and play more practice singles sets to be more effective in matches.. singles matches are a totally different entity and your attitude and strategy can not be the same

til next time.. don't be too bummed about it

seleswannabe
06-17-2009, 03:26 AM
Big *hugs* to you for giving it your best. I am in the opposite boat as you, so I know from personal experience that trying something new takes a lot of courage. Good for you that you put yourself out there and really tried.
To me it sounds like you just need more singles match play to be able to handle the mental pressure. You certainly have all the tools to win, you just need more experience.
Heal those wounds and get back in there!

Power Player
06-17-2009, 04:28 AM
I am so glad I don't overthink everythign to this extreme. If someone is hitting the ball to the middle, I would THANK them. I would stay more to the left so I could use my forehand and figure out if they can handle heavy topsin and then drop shots.

I play guys who place the ball down both lines and run you all over the place. Having someone just hit down the middle would be a very refreshing change.

OrangePower
06-17-2009, 02:48 PM
Well, I'm back. I lost the match. And honestly, I am very sad about it.

It started off brilliantly. I watched my opponent in the warm-up, and what my teammate had told me about her was true: She was a backboard. Quick around the court, effective-but-awkward-looking groundstrokes. Still, I wasn't seeing a lot of pop on that 1HBH, and I could see she wasn't good at net.

I won the toss and served first. I started off with an immediate double-fault. That woke me up, and I started totally cracking my serve. This caused her to push the return short. I ran up and approach with my FH to her BH. And what do you know? A floater. I volleyed this ball cross-court for a winner.

And then I did the very same thing what felt like about a bazillion times.

I came in on *everything.* It was ridiculous. If I got it to her BH, I came in on it. I do not think I missed a volley or overhead the entire first set, and every single point I won was a volley/overhead winner. I just couldn't miss. I went up 3-1. Then 4-2. I didn't think there was any way she could beat me if I just kept crashing the net. I felt like I had a good chance to win.

That's when I started to have a problem. At 4-3, the serve tightened up a little, and I started missing my approaches a bit -- a little wide, a little short. I couldn't find a way to approach to the other side to mix it up, and I missed when I tried. I started getting tired, as all of that approaching is exhausting, so I wasn't getting back for my overheads well. She started making me hit my BH, and I couldn't drive the ball well enough to make trouble. She won the first set, 6-4.

On the changeover, I wasn't sure what, if anything, to do differently. By this point, I was in trouble. I desperately needed to hit some of these FH short balls crosscourt to mix it up. Every time she hit a low hard shot, I missed. Her serve was weak, but I kept missing when I tried to hit a decent return. I needed to bring her in and then lob her.

All of these things I could do in isolated spurts, but I just couldn't execute any of it well enough to turn it around.

Finally, I decided I'd just go for my shots and live with it if they didn't go in. They didn't. I lost the second set 6-0.

So. I think I am well and truly hopeless as a singles player and ought to just stick to doubles. I will never win at singles if I try to play it like it is doubles, and if I can volley well, why bother with singles? I just don't have the groundstroke chops I need for singles, and after all the effort I've put into it, I've grown weary of trying.

Rather than being sad, you should feel very encouraged by this match. For most of the first set, you had a strategy that was working and you were executing it effectively. So, were you able to keep it up, you would have had an excellent chance of winning.

It sounds like things went downhill not because of anything your opponent came up with as a counter, but rather because you tightened up and got fatigued. Knowing that, you can go out and improve on these areas - more singles matchplay will get you mentally tougher and confident, so you don't tighten up, and more singles practice and maybe off-court conditioning can combat the fatigue. And then you'll be ready to kick butt!

skiracer55
06-22-2009, 08:40 AM
Rather than being sad, you should feel very encouraged by this match. For most of the first set, you had a strategy that was working and you were executing it effectively. So, were you able to keep it up, you would have had an excellent chance of winning.

It sounds like things went downhill not because of anything your opponent came up with as a counter, but rather because you tightened up and got fatigued. Knowing that, you can go out and improve on these areas - more singles matchplay will get you mentally tougher and confident, so you don't tighten up, and more singles practice and maybe off-court conditioning can combat the fatigue. And then you'll be ready to kick butt!

...you can play singles if you want to, you just have to figure out if it's worth the effort...which will include, at least as you get back into singles, probably more losses than wins. If, on the other hand, this experience tells you that doubles is your thing and you're not interested in singles, then by all means go back to playing doubles exclusively and don't look back. Remember, tennis is a game, not a firing squad...

Cindysphinx
06-22-2009, 09:58 AM
...you can play singles if you want to, you just have to figure out if it's worth the effort...which will include, at least as you get back into singles, probably more losses than wins. If, on the other hand, this experience tells you that doubles is your thing and you're not interested in singles, then by all means go back to playing doubles exclusively and don't look back. Remember, tennis is a game, not a firing squad...

Ah, but there's one thing you failed to consider: I have a personality disorder.

**I cannot back away from a challenge just because I am not initially successful at it.**

This personality disorder has served me very well in school, as nothing fired me up more than a few middling grades in a tough class early in the school year. It has served me well professionally too.

And it means there is no way I can stop playing singles just because I can't win or don't enjoy it. I can earn the right to walk away from it when I have proven to myself that I can do it.

I wonder if they have a drug for this little personality disorder. It's exhausing.

So. It's back into the coal mine for me. Singles practice match against a 4.0 singles player on Monday. My goal is simply to work on my defense by running everything down and getting it back somehow.

:sigh:

skiracer55
06-22-2009, 10:53 AM
Ah, but there's one thing you failed to consider: I have a personality disorder.

**I cannot back away from a challenge just because I am not initially successful at it.**

This personality disorder has served me very well in school, as nothing fired me up more than a few middling grades in a tough class early in the school year. It has served me well professionally too.

And it means there is no way I can stop playing singles just because I can't win or don't enjoy it. I can earn the right to walk away from it when I have proven to myself that I can do it.

I wonder if they have a drug for this little personality disorder. It's exhausing.

So. It's back into the coal mine for me. Singles practice match against a 4.0 singles player on Monday. My goal is simply to work on my defense by running everything down and getting it back somehow.

:sigh:

...I think that's a totally great attitude, and based on that alone, I'm sure you're going to be successful. Try not to think of it as a coal mine, however. My coach last summer said a player should always try to do two things in a match: (1) Do your best. (2) Have fun. It's a game, it's not a firing squad.

Also try to get out of the mode that says it's gotta be offense or defense. In fact every match...and a whole lot of points...consist of both. If you've got issues with your ground strokes, fine, fix 'em up. But use your strengths. What did you find out that was good in your last match? First, that your serve can be a weapon and give you cheap points, and second, you've got net skills that a lot of players don't have, and you can make hay with those skills.

You want to have a mindset that says that you want to start a point dictating the play (the serve is the most important stroke, the return is second), and you want to hold the upper hand to conclude a winning point...but your opponent has a vote, too. When, not if, she gets the upper hand, find the court with your next shot, even if it has to go up the middle, hustle to get back into position, then try to retake the offensive.

You've got a practice match coming up, so try some stuff. If your opponent is a 4.0, yep, you're going to get to work on your defense, but that alone isn't going to get you ahead. You'll have to pick your moments, but you have to take it to her and try to gain the upper hand, otherwise you'll hit a lot of balls and likely be on the wrong side of a losing score. So try some stuff...serve and volley, chip and charge, draw her into the net, if she doesn't like slice from the baseline, give her a bellyful of that...you get the idea...

precision2b
06-24-2009, 06:21 PM
Ah, but there's one thing you failed to consider: I have a personality disorder.

**I cannot back away from a challenge just because I am not initially successful at it.**

This personality disorder has served me very well in school, as nothing fired me up more than a few middling grades in a tough class early in the school year. It has served me well professionally too.

And it means there is no way I can stop playing singles just because I can't win or don't enjoy it. I can earn the right to walk away from it when I have proven to myself that I can do it.

I wonder if they have a drug for this little personality disorder. It's exhausing.

So. It's back into the coal mine for me. Singles practice match against a 4.0 singles player on Monday. My goal is simply to work on my defense by running everything down and getting it back somehow.

:sigh:

That’s the spirit!!! It drives me crazy when I fail at something I like to do!!! I will practice, read, ask question, anything I can to be more successful at it. And it has served me well professionally also…

Cindysphinx
06-24-2009, 06:43 PM
That’s the spirit!!! It drives me crazy when I fail at something I like to do!!! I will practice, read, ask question, anything I can to be more successful at it. And it has served me well professionally also…

Ah, but think how much more sleep we would get if we were slackers!! :)

precision2b
06-25-2009, 08:14 AM
Ah, but think how much more sleep we would get if we were slackers!! :)

Yep, your right but ohhhhh how sweet it is when you achieve your goal… :p

deltox
07-04-2009, 01:04 PM
overcoming defensive tennis which she is playing is done one of two ways

out defense them, lotsa stamina used and lotsa room for errors

turn up the heat, more errors will be made but play aggressively and go for the big winners every time you get a chance.

i hate playing people like you describe, everything is just... back in play constantly.

Ronaldo
07-04-2009, 08:40 PM
Dunno, the best result I ever had was to hit deep down the middle and wait for my opponent to initiate an attack. He melted. Hit the last three points into the net, then the fence, and finally a creek. He quit. Every opponent had him beat but eventually over hit. I listened to their pain.

PushyPushster
07-06-2009, 06:50 AM
And it means there is no way I can stop playing singles just because I can't win or don't enjoy it.

*cough* OCD *cough*

Just say'in. :)