View Full Version : Which drastic measures to use to find practice partners?
11-19-2009, 07:36 AM
I started playing tennis at the age of 28 and have been playing tennis on and off for three years now. I am probably a 3.0-3.5. Apart from friends (who play tennis less than 10 days a years) and my wife (who has taken up tennis because she know I like tennis), I have difficulty finding practice partners. Partners found on the internet are almost always total newbies or higher rated players who are looking for 4.5+ partners.
The local indoor club that I play with has quite a few people in my skill level but almost everyone wants to pair up with someone higher than their skill level. The club once paired me up with another guy at my skill level for the 3.5-4.0 mens doubles league. That partner and I never got to practice together and just showed up for the match and lost almost every match.
Now, I am stuck with the reputation of being a mediocre player in the club and have difficulty finding someone to play with me. What's the solution out of this?
11-19-2009, 08:08 AM
I have been using the USTA find a partner and have found some good people to hit with that way. Otherwise meet people through league or tournament play.
11-19-2009, 08:17 AM
craigslist, tennisopolis, juump.com, and a myriad other tennis player sites, most of which start up and die, but eventually someone ends up contacting you somehow if you leave your profile there.
11-19-2009, 08:25 AM
If there are any clinics, walk-in classes, etc, get involved with those. You might find somebody there to play with. Suggest to some, at or about your level, that practicing what you learned in class will cement it in your play.
Take or make cards/paper slips with your contact information to make it easir to exchange contact information (and a pen to get theirs).
I was lucky enough to find a fellow who wanted to get together to drill rather than just play points. We have some differences in philosophy (whether drilling back and forth reinforces that rather than hitting to the open court) and do occaisionally degenerate into playing some rallys into points, but generally drill.
So if you are looking to find partners, try that. And see if you can find both the drilling partners and the guys that like to always play out points. (best of both worlds)
If you find somebody, write back and i will point out a website that has a few organized practice schedules that will get you started.
11-19-2009, 09:13 AM
I've had good success with the USTA find a partner service also.
As other have mentioned you can try craigslist and going to different
clubs clinics and meeting people who want to hit.
11-19-2009, 03:39 PM
finding somebody interested on practicing / drilling is always difficult, people don't focus enough in that aspect and they still want to improve by just playing sets. But even finding somebody in a steady basis to play is hard, it looks that everybody's busy schedule got in the middle. Even if you find somebody as interested as you you will realize that you will get together probably couple of times.
The best thing to do is joining USTA leagues or other leagues , as many as you can, there is a new thing in USTA also called flex leagues, i join as many as i can, in my town and the town nearby, my level and one level up, check the advanced search section of USTA leagues for leagues in your area. I look for local tournaments and usta tournaments too (although tournaments got more pressure involve, but still is match play and practice in the long run.
The flex leagues helped me a lot this year since i am a 3.0 almost a 3.5 but in the computer i am still 3.0 since i have not been able to play leagues this year. What i did is joining two 3.0 flexs and two 3.5s. In my matches at 3.0 i relax a lot and work on a lot of things, like my toss high, attacking weak serves down the line, etc. and it had worked beautifully. I am feeling more confident and agressive in my 3.5 matches because of that. So don't rush and try to get as many 3.0 matches as you can ( you will be more relaxed and remember : focus on working on your game) you will be surprised at how many points you will win that you thought you wouldn't and eventually you will improve to the next level.
With the flex just be ready to find that many people do not play or cancel , do not get discouraged and play the other oponents, that is why i join more than one league, you will never have too many matches to play anyway. Good Luck.
Are you a 3.0 or a 3.5?
If you're a 3.0, find a crew of that level, even if you beat them most of the time, you'll get something out of it. Once you get to the point that you can take all of them all of the time, you'll be well ready to hit with the 3.5's, and people of that level will take you seriously.
One thing I got lucky with is that there are two places near me where people just show up on the weekends and you get to play. However, these guys are all at around 4.0, so its best if you have at least a 3.75 game to play.
I was like you 1 1/2 years ago- a 3.0 just getting back into the game. I hit a lot against the wall. Boring, repetitive, whatever, but I got my strokes set. I also played everybody who would hit with me. With those that were weaker, you practice smoothing out your strokes and having proper footwork. Alternating slice and topspin, trying out new shots, working on consistency, etc.
With those that are stronger, you try to keep up and not bore them.
In time, if you're friendly and a good sport, not only will you better your skills, but you'll know a whole cast of characters who are all around your level and are willing to hit.
11-19-2009, 06:24 PM
If money is not an issue, a tennis ball machine is totally worth the money. There are medium size ones that fit in the trunk of the car and around USD600.00. Even once a week that you can hit for two hours tones of balls is excellent to groove your strokes. Remember that you improve your strokes by repetition, matches are not good for that.
Also , you mentioned that your wife wants to practice with you. Ask her to throw balls to you ( backhands, forehands, etc.), buy a good amount of balls ( more than 50 and work on it, you can feed balls to her too and help each other). The wall is good too, although i like the ball machine better. You can always rent one also for 10.00 an hour.
11-19-2009, 06:31 PM
One thing you could try is talk to a tennis coach in the area. They almost always have people they can link you with.
11-19-2009, 10:31 PM
THe club must have some 3.0/3.5 drills, doubles, ladders etc
go to them and meet new people, trade #'s hit with them on the side..
find people who like to drill, others who like to play sets and so on..
We have drop in by me, an easy way to meet hitting partners
tournaments also are a good way to find some like minded people
11-20-2009, 12:15 PM
i used craigslist to find a couple of local players for my team. I got two good guys from it...there ARE people looking there, at least here in NY. You don't need a stable of practice partners, just 1-2 that are available at the same time as you :)
11-30-2009, 06:34 AM
Folks, thanks for the good suggestions. I shall try them all and post updates here.
In finding a partner, I suppose the big barrier is to overcome the fear of being rejected. When a person (whom you think is your equal) is not interested in playing with you, they may have a variety of reasons for doing so. I realized this after reading several threads here at TT.
11-30-2009, 07:47 AM
I saw Suresh posting something about Craigslist, Tennisopolis, Juump, etc.
Disclosure: I'm part of Juump
Anyway, I wanted to ask your feedback on Juump. Its a startup and we had Vancouver,BC as our first test city. What makes us different from others is that we help connect people at the court level. So instead of just connecting people in Vancouver, we connect them to players, let's say, at the Stanley Park tennis courts or the Kitsilano tennis courts.
In other words, we help answer the question: Who plays at my courts?
What you'll see right now on the website is just the 1st "version". New features will be introduced soon.
Our second city is San Diego. We've added San Diego courts back in late October. In less than a month, we've actually attracted lots of signups already. Currently, the city map is fragmented (e.g., one can only see courts within a certain radius from one's zip code). But going forward, one will be able to see all the courts in San Diego, for example.
Lastly, right now, a person can only indicate one preferred playing facility. In the future, one will be able to indicate more than one.
Anyway - - - looking for some feedback from the folks in TennisWarehouse forum (note: we will have lots of new features soon. They're in development and took into consideration feedback here in Vancouver).
I am using the San Diego (and La Jolla) areas in Juump. The user interface could be better I suppose but I don't spend much time on it. I will try it out more.
The real test is how long your site will survive. It is an advertiser supported model I assume. I have registered in innumerable tennis sites over the past several years, and most are dead or inactive. What is the revenue model? I don't think any fees charged to teaching pros posting there makes any difference and I don't think there are any such fees. Google adwords may yield some revenue. What I do on these sites is that when I contact somebody or someone contacts me, we exchange our private emails, and then bypass the site completely. It will be a challenge to monetize these sites.
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