PDA

View Full Version : Which partner would you pick?


Cindysphinx
01-05-2010, 03:26 PM
I'm wondering which player is the better partner for me. They stack up like this:

Groundstrokes: Karen has big groundies that many opponents struggle to return -- pace, depth, topspin. She will miss sometimes. Melissa has groundies that resemble Chris' Everett strokes from back in the day -- floaty, no spin, not much pace, but consistent and accurate placement. Melissa is in trouble if two opponents take the net and gets flustered if the net player is active, whereas Karen can blast a passing shot.

Serve: Karen has a topspin serve that opponents struggle to return. Trouble is, she DFs a lot. It is easy to poach off of Karen's serve, and Karen has never been broken when we've played together. Melissa has a very steady serve -- each one right up the middle of the box with no pace, spin or variety. It is hard to poach off of her serve, and she is more likely to be broken because opponents can tee off on it if they have the skills.

Volleys: I'd say they are about equal. Karen hits her volleys harder but misses into the net a lot. Melissa doesn't put much on her volleys and thus may hit sitters or not put away balls she should or get passed down the alley, but her placement is sneaky.

Movement: Neither is fast, but it is easier to get a lob over Melissa than Karen. Karen has much better footwork overall. Both will transition to net.

In general, Melissa is very successful against opponents who do not hit with pace but it gets ugly if the pace picks up. Karen doesn't mind pace but makes a lot more UEs; I sometimes do not hold serve when playing with Karen because of UEs. With Melissa, I often hold serve without her hitting a ball.

Who is the stronger partner?

BobFL
01-05-2010, 04:13 PM
Very hard to tell. Tennis is about matchups. If I have to pick one, I would go with Karen.

crystal_clear
01-05-2010, 04:24 PM
What is your style of play, Cindy?

damazing
01-05-2010, 04:37 PM
You basically described these players as the choice between consistency versus power.

I think the answer really depends on which way the teams in your league fall - and with the thought that the league style may have changed due to the ratings shake up.

I'd go with the power player because if your league has more power players the consistent one wouldn't be able to handle the pace and would likely be broken several times each match. If your league has more finesse players the power player would be able to overpower them with her shots and serve, and if she starts to double fault you can advise her to really ratchet down her serve "just get it in" and the opponents aren't likely to tee of on it.

rich s
01-05-2010, 04:40 PM
I'd pick whichever one is the stronger mental player and doesn't let emotion take her out of her game.....

fruitytennis1
01-05-2010, 05:09 PM
Karen in my opinion.

Cindysphinx
01-05-2010, 05:33 PM
Interesting. My pro says Melissa. He values consistency above all else and thinks tweaking Melissa's strokes to add power won't be that hard.

My own style is pretty aggressive, for better or worse. I rarely miss a groundstroke into the net. When I miss, I miss long.

It is a close question. I guess I could say that if I have to lose a tennis match, I would rather lose by my (and my partner's) own hand. If we keep missing we will lose, but at least we controlled our own destiny. The opposite problem (having your partner struggle with pace and lacking the power/spin needed) makes me feel kind of helpless, you know?

JavierLW
01-05-2010, 05:46 PM
I'm wondering which player is the better partner for me. They stack up like this:

Groundstrokes: Karen has big groundies that many opponents struggle to return -- pace, depth, topspin. She will miss sometimes. Melissa has groundies that resemble Chris' Everett strokes from back in the day -- floaty, no spin, not much pace, but consistent and accurate placement. Melissa is in trouble if two opponents take the net and gets flustered if the net player is active, whereas Karen can blast a passing shot.

Serve: Karen has a topspin serve that opponents struggle to return. Trouble is, she DFs a lot. It is easy to poach off of Karen's serve, and Karen has never been broken when we've played together. Melissa has a very steady serve -- each one right up the middle of the box with no pace, spin or variety. It is hard to poach off of her serve, and she is more likely to be broken because opponents can tee off on it if they have the skills.

Volleys: I'd say they are about equal. Karen hits her volleys harder but misses into the net a lot. Melissa doesn't put much on her volleys and thus may hit sitters or not put away balls she should or get passed down the alley, but her placement is sneaky.

Movement: Neither is fast, but it is easier to get a lob over Melissa than Karen. Karen has much better footwork overall. Both will transition to net.

In general, Melissa is very successful against opponents who do not hit with pace but it gets ugly if the pace picks up. Karen doesn't mind pace but makes a lot more UEs; I sometimes do not hold serve when playing with Karen because of UEs. With Melissa, I often hold serve without her hitting a ball.

Who is the stronger partner?

That's a common 3.5 dilemma.

Melissa might beat more opponents at 3.5 then Karen consistently, if Karen's "inconsistency" is really to the level where you're not sure if you'll win a match or not.

But if your opponents are strong enough Melissa may lose every single time and Karen might at least have a chance.

I dont know about women, but in the men's game I notice this seems to happen near the top of 3.5. A pusher can beat almost every 3.5 player, and male teams with no pace but are consistant can win most of the time if they are smart enough, but as they get to the 4.0ish players (many of which have been moved to 4.0 anyway), they will never win.

It really has to do with what you do best as well and which one compliments your game and what makes you feel more confident out there.

tennis24
01-05-2010, 05:53 PM
Karen sounds like the overall better player

Edward DFW
01-05-2010, 06:42 PM
Sounds like Karen has more ability and gets better results even though she is more inconsistent. Based on that, I would roll with her.

SlapShot
01-05-2010, 08:37 PM
I would prefer Karen, TBH, but then again, I'm a "Karen" style-wise as well. The problem in doubles as you start to face better opponents is that consistency without pace and intent doesn't get you anywhere, and you'll likely end up being off balance for the entire match.

As a personal example, when my 3.5 team was at sectionals last fall, my dubs partner and I had played an entire season of 4.0. The teams that we played had won most of their matches just by getting the ball back - we played offensively and were able to put them on the defensive, even though I have no doubt that we missed our share of shots. As a result, we swept through losing 1-2 games per set.

OrangePower
01-05-2010, 08:52 PM
Karen would be more fun to play with.

You would win more with Melissa.

That's because at the 3.5 level, many, many more points are 'lost' rather than 'won'. Next time you're playing a practice set try to keep track of how points end (or get someone to assist), and see for yourself. Especially if you are more of an aggressive player yourself, you will do better with a consistent partner.

So, it depends on where your priorities are. Have fun / improve, or win now.

equinox
01-06-2010, 05:31 AM
Pick the player you can shout at the most without her breaking into tears.

jrod
01-06-2010, 05:42 AM
Consistency wins. Pick the partner that offers the most consistency as a team when paired with you. Perhaps Melissa? Not entirely sure from what you've stated...

BMC9670
01-06-2010, 06:29 AM
Other things to figure into the decision is which player complements your game more and personal chemistry on the court.

My wife is a strong 4.5 and struggled playing with another strong player on her team. She then had better results with another player with a different style from hers (some perceive as "weaker", but it's really just different). They worked better together and the communication was better.

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 07:45 AM
They way you describe both players you speak of Karen in a positive light... and you tend to belittle Melissa's game. I personally would probably choose Melissa... being that I like to play an agressive game but find that more often than not I need to play a more consistent style of tennis to make up for my partners errors.

The few opportunities I have had a consistant partner on my team I have been able to unleash my game and go for shots... knowing my partner was going to be able to return a lot of balls and keep us in the match. It also defined our roles... knowing that he would hold us in the match... while it was my job to win key points. I find a lot of comfort in that. Plus it gives you more variety in your game as a team... which could prove a problem for opponents.

When playing with an aggressive player that hits a lot of winners and makes a ton of UE's... you can either win big... or go up in a ball of flame quickly.

Besides... I have always found that a consistant hitter can step up their games, they just need a little encouragement. They have the skills they just need to use them.

skiracer55
01-06-2010, 07:53 AM
Other things to figure into the decision is which player complements your game more and personal chemistry on the court.

My wife is a strong 4.5 and struggled playing with another strong player on her team. She then had better results with another player with a different style from hers (some perceive as "weaker", but it's really just different). They worked better together and the communication was better.


...whomever you feel most comfortable with, personality-wise, on the court, is always a big consideration....

Dave Mc
01-06-2010, 08:01 AM
There should be at least one really consistent player on your doubles team to be successful... either you or your partner. If you are very consistent, go with a powerful risk-taking partner... if you are the powerful risk-taker, go with a consistent partner. On the other hand, which of these ladies has the best potential to improve throughout the season? Will the powerful risk-taker eventually get more consistent? Will the consistent soft-hitter eventually learn to hit harder?

Gemini
01-06-2010, 08:29 AM
Karen.....

I need someone that can give me the opportunity to attack. Though Melissa is steady and accurate, it only helps if she can take the offensive when the opportunity presents itself.

sureshs
01-06-2010, 08:35 AM
Melissa has groundies that resemble Chris' Everett strokes from back in the day -- floaty, no spin, not much pace, but consistent and accurate placement.


It is Evert

sureshs
01-06-2010, 08:39 AM
Your choice is between Martina (Karen) and Chrissie (Melissa). Both are legends. Pick the one who is nicer to you (I suspect it will be Chrissie).

Cindysphinx
01-06-2010, 08:46 AM
Both women are equally delightful as partners. Both work hard on their games. No issues there.

Ripper, I'm surprised that you think the description of Melissa was more negative. I tried to describe them as neutrally as possible, resisting terms such as "pusher" or "mindless basher." I did feel it was important to point out Melissa's weakness, because saying she is consistent without explaining the downsides of the pace issue would lead to everyone saying "Of course you go with the most consistent of the two."

burosky
01-06-2010, 09:09 AM
You should go with the one who compliments your game. You mentioned that your style is more similar to Karen than Melissa. With this in mind, I would think Melissa would be a better compliment to your game because her game provides balance to your pair. Just my .02 cents.

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 10:21 AM
I'm wondering which player is the better partner for me. They stack up like this:

Groundstrokes: Karen has big groundies that many opponents struggle to return -- pace, depth, topspin. She will miss sometimes. Melissa has groundies that resemble Chris' Everett strokes from back in the day -- floaty, no spin, not much pace, but consistent and accurate placement. Melissa is in trouble if two opponents take the net and gets flustered if the net player is active, whereas Karen can blast a passing shot.

Serve: Karen has a topspin serve that opponents struggle to return. Trouble is, she DFs a lot. It is easy to poach off of Karen's serve, and Karen has never been broken when we've played together. Melissa has a very steady serve -- each one right up the middle of the box with no pace, spin or variety. It is hard to poach off of her serve, and she is more likely to be broken because opponents can tee off on it if they have the skills.

Volleys: I'd say they are about equal. Karen hits her volleys harder but misses into the net a lot. Melissa doesn't put much on her volleys and thus may hit sitters or not put away balls she should or get passed down the alley, but her placement is sneaky.

Movement: Neither is fast, but it is easier to get a lob over Melissa than Karen. Karen has much better footwork overall. Both will transition to net.

In general, Melissa is very successful against opponents who do not hit with pace but it gets ugly if the pace picks up. Karen doesn't mind pace but makes a lot more UEs; I sometimes do not hold serve when playing with Karen because of UEs. With Melissa, I often hold serve without her hitting a ball.

Who is the stronger partner?




It is just whenever you speak of Melissa there seems to be a negative statement... with Karen... if you say something negative you follow it up usually with a positive statement.. such as:


Melissa is in trouble if two opponents take the net and gets flustered if the net player is active, whereas Karen can blast a passing shot.

Karen has a topspin serve that opponents struggle to return. Trouble is, she DFs a lot. It is easy to poach off of Karen's serve, and Karen has never been broken when we've played together.

It just felt like you were praising Karen over Melissa... but I could be wrong. I tend to misread things...

Cindysphinx
01-06-2010, 10:34 AM
Maybe. But Karen was described as missing a lot -- volleys, groundies and serves. We all understand "missing a lot."

Is it easier to get a passive player to dial it up or to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down? That is the tricky question in deciding which one will do better over the long haul.

Razda
01-06-2010, 10:56 AM
I would go with the one I have a closer relationship with.

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 11:02 AM
Maybe. But Karen was described as missing a lot -- volleys, groundies and serves. We all understand "missing a lot."

Is it easier to get a passive player to dial it up or to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down? That is the tricky question in deciding which one will do better over the long haul.


We all miss... and missing a lot is subjective.

I am definitely the latter... I am an all court player that can off the ground and go to the net if it is needed. I don`t really have a preference... but if push came to shove... I like to serve and volley.

As an aggressive player I find it hard to dial down my game... it makes me feel like I am pushing and I don`t get as good a feel for the ball on my racket. I cannot speak for the passive player but I would think that they could transition up much easier than having someone transition down. Being more aggressive is just a mindset... being consistant and accurate is a skill. The reason Melissa is not that aggressive is she has learned that high precentage tennis wins matches... and she has problems with making unforced errors which is part of the game if you are going to take risks in an attacking game of tennis. Once Melissa accepts that fact that a few more errors are acceptable... I am sure she will easily transition up.

I have seen many consistant players learn to be hard hitting aggressive players as they level up... I have seldom seen aggressive, attacking, risk taking players get more consistant.

Here is a question for you... at a crucial time in a match... would you rather be playing with the risk taker... throwing the dice or the conservative player who you know is going to give you the opportunity to win the point or at worst force your opponent to do it.

It is a bit of the tortoise and hare scenario... the flash of the big game can sometimes make you forget to appreciate the meat and potatoes of a solid hitter.

skiracer55
01-06-2010, 11:09 AM
I would go with the one I have a closer relationship with.

...it's well to do the skills comparison, but if you're going to have an effective partnership, your partner has to choose to play with you as well as vice versa. If you're evaluating two competing house cleaning services, that's one thing, but I think forming an effective doubles partnership goes beyond just a skills assessment. My ultimate test for a doubles partner is always "Would I have fun on the court with him/her, and would I feel like having a beer with him/her after the match, win or lose?"

Spinz
01-06-2010, 11:11 AM
Go with Melissa and do drills where she is the set up player for you. A lot of really great doubles teams have a set up player and a finisher. What your pro is trying to get across is that doubles is about discipline. You have to make the shots.

Tennisman912
01-06-2010, 11:18 AM
I am with Ripper014, I would personally take the more consistent player every time. The most important part of tennis is being consistent and not beating yourself, especially at the levels where most can’t blow you off the court consistently. Life is always easier with a consistent partner as you have learned and referenced above. You can’t count on a flailer who over hits consistently as it is feast or famine. They make things more difficult than it needs to be. I don’t care how hard someone hits the ball if it only goes in 25% of the time. It always surprises me how many people never seem to learn this important lesson. You can’t win if you can’t keep it in play.

Let me give an example in my experience. I fill in in a 3.0-3.5 group after one of my groups if they get desperate (they seem to have a lot of no shows for some reason). I always win very easily with the partner who keeps it in play and we roll. No, I am not abusing people to show I am better. I am there to fill in and help them out as blowing them off the court accomplishes nothing IMHO. I play to their speed and only hit as hard as needed and try to demonstrate why I am doing the things I am doing and most seem to understand more of what a more advanced player is thinking and why. The partners who think hitting it hard equates to more success are always more of a struggle (or who may be trying to show they can hang). We still win but the sets are much closer than they should be.

A funny thing happens though. When they have me as a partner (we rotate every set), they notice how I never over hit the ball or rush a shot and only hit it as hard as needed. I explain all this philosophy if they ask and almost all do ask for pointers. Once I tell them the most important part of the game is keeping it in play and that I never hit 100% all out but 5-10% of the time. Soon they start noticing this in real time and those who see the light so to speak and dial it down invariably learn how much easier life is if you keep it in play and play within yourself, no matter what your skills are. They always comment how much it helps to see how to do it, but more importantly, the WHY of it. Not an apples to apples comparison with your scenario granted, but some parallels can be made.

But then I am a more aggressive, consistent player myself. If you were more passive, you might be better off with someone who takes more chances so what is the best partner for my game may not be best for you or someone else. Maybe you can switch between the two depending on who your opponents are as you have been playing a while and likely know many players (although this will be tougher this year with the ratings changes).

Good tennis

TM

sureshs
01-06-2010, 12:06 PM
You should go with the one who compliments your game.

I would prefer she went with some one who complements her game.

sureshs
01-06-2010, 12:07 PM
I would go with the one I have a closer relationship with.

Cindy is a married woman

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 12:12 PM
Cindy is a married woman

Happily..??? :) Could be hope for Razda yet...

raiden031
01-06-2010, 12:33 PM
He values consistency above all else and thinks tweaking Melissa's strokes to add power won't be that hard.


I have seen many consistant players learn to be hard hitting aggressive players as they level up... I have seldom seen aggressive, attacking, risk taking players get more consistant.


I am with Ripper014, I would personally take the more consistent player every time. The most important part of tennis is being consistent and not beating yourself, especially at the levels where most can’t blow you off the court consistently. Life is always easier with a consistent partner as you have learned and referenced above. You can’t count on a flailer who over hits consistently as it is feast or famine. They make things more difficult than it needs to be. I don’t care how hard someone hits the ball if it only goes in 25% of the time. It always surprises me how many people never seem to learn this important lesson. You can’t win if you can’t keep it in play.

Let me give an example in my experience. I fill in in a 3.0-3.5 group after one of my groups if they get desperate (they seem to have a lot of no shows for some reason). I always win very easily with the partner who keeps it in play and we roll. No, I am not abusing people to show I am better. I am there to fill in and help them out as blowing them off the court accomplishes nothing IMHO. I play to their speed and only hit as hard as needed and try to demonstrate why I am doing the things I am doing and most seem to understand more of what a more advanced player is thinking and why. The partners who think hitting it hard equates to more success are always more of a struggle (or who may be trying to show they can hang). We still win but the sets are much closer than they should be.

A funny thing happens though. When they have me as a partner (we rotate every set), they notice how I never over hit the ball or rush a shot and only hit it as hard as needed. I explain all this philosophy if they ask and almost all do ask for pointers. Once I tell them the most important part of the game is keeping it in play and that I never hit 100% all out but 5-10% of the time. Soon they start noticing this in real time and those who see the light so to speak and dial it down invariably learn how much easier life is if you keep it in play and play within yourself, no matter what your skills are. They always comment how much it helps to see how to do it, but more importantly, the WHY of it. Not an apples to apples comparison with your scenario granted, but some parallels can be made.

But then I am a more aggressive, consistent player myself. If you were more passive, you might be better off with someone who takes more chances so what is the best partner for my game may not be best for you or someone else. Maybe you can switch between the two depending on who your opponents are as you have been playing a while and likely know many players (although this will be tougher this year with the ratings changes).

Good tennis

TM

I know this is all pretty much standard gospel among teaching pros, but its something I have a really hard time swallowing. I'll start by saying I'm only going by what I've experienced in a short few years of adult league play.

It seems to me that the players who don't stagnate are the ones who take risks by pushing their game to the max. That means being highly aggressive, developing power, learning how to dictate play and control the points. You don't learn to do this by playing conservatively and keeping the ball in play. Since I'm talking about adults here, most of us don't have the opportunity to do drills where we are aiming for the corners for hours, so alot of our stroke development happens through our match experience. If we don't go for bigger shots during matches, then we will never learn to execute them nor develop the confidence to prepare us for higher levels of play, where we must hit bigger shots to survive.

The more consistent players seem to be the ones who stagnate because they don't have the guts to take risks and learn something new because they only care about winning in the present. Alot of them have poor mechanics that only allow for conservative play to begin with. This is one of those issues i have with the statement about adding power to someone's game. If they have consistent (but incorrect) strokes, then trying to add any power will result in failure because either 1) they will have to change their strokes to accomodate it or 2) will become too inconsistent and will stop attempting power because they will start losing.

I've always been a player who developed power early on, and sure I have my struggles with consistency and have just accepted that playing a power game with big strokes will require a ton more repetitions to master than if I played with a more conservative style. But in the end I have confidence it will pay off as long as I'm willing to continually put in the effort to get the strokes where they need to be. Everytime I get beat by a more conservative player it helps me discover the limits of my game. I can better judge when I should use my power and when I shouldn't. Its not like I sit there and go for a winner on every shot and never learn from it. I have developed tons more consistency than when I was a 3.0, even though I was hitting with probably the same amount of power back then.

Recently I've taken a few lessons with a good 5.0 teaching pro/men's tournament player in my area, and he basically told me to stay aggressive and to put my power to good use. He didn't tell me that I should only keep the ball in play, even when I have opportunities to attack.

Thats just my 2 cents, and why I vote for Karen all the way.

sureshs
01-06-2010, 12:35 PM
Happily..??? :)

She has a husband who pays for her expensive tennis habits. What else could she wish for?

Cindysphinx
01-06-2010, 02:01 PM
Responding to Raiden, Ripper and Tennisman while being too lazy to quote . . .

To me, tennis as your level improves isn't just about the MPH you can put on your shots. It is about having gears. I like to play aggressively. But I don't necessarily start the match with the most high-risk strategy/shots/positioning I can do. I start with plain vanilla tennis. If that is good enough, fine. Take the win and go home.

If not -- and as I play at higher levels I am finding it is not -- then I change gears. Might start S&V. If that doesn't work, then try lobbing. If that doesn't work, try junkballing and taking off pace. If that doesn't work, there's always poaching, Aussie . . . You get the idea.

Who is more likely to have gears and develop gears over time, Melissa or Karen?

Don't focus on the personality angle. I get along with both Melissa and Karen equally well. That's not a factor.

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 02:11 PM
Responding to Raiden, Ripper and Tennisman while being too lazy to quote . . .

To me, tennis as your level improves isn't just about the MPH you can put on your shots. It is about having gears. I like to play aggressively. But I don't necessarily start the match with the most high-risk strategy/shots/positioning I can do. I start with plain vanilla tennis. If that is good enough, fine. Take the win and go home.

If not -- and as I play at higher levels I am finding it is not -- then I change gears. Might start S&V. If that doesn't work, then try lobbing. If that doesn't work, try junkballing and taking off pace. If that doesn't work, there's always poaching, Aussie . . . You get the idea.

Who is more likely to have gears and develop gears over time, Melissa or Karen?

Don't focus on the personality angle. I get along with both Melissa and Karen equally well. That's not a factor.



I think for most people this is how they play tennis. I have a pretty strong game with lots of options available to me... (not all of them available everyday at my full command).

Like you I basically play my game and dare you to beat me... obviously if you are beating me I need to make adjustments to my game. I don't however find that there is as much variety in doubles, it is more about making good returns... controlling the net... and forcing your opponent to give you something you can end the point with. When I play doubles points seldom last more than 3 hits, it usually ends with a good serve... a good first volley and then the point is over on the next.

As mentioned earlier... I still feel it is easier for a consistant hitter to transition to a hard attacking player than it is for an aggressive attacking player to become consistant. I said it earlier... being an attacking player is a mindset (anyone can hit hard)... being consistant requires a skillset.

raiden031
01-06-2010, 02:26 PM
As mentioned earlier... I still feel it is easier for a consistant hitter to transition to a hard attacking player than it is for an aggressive attacking player to become consistant. I said it earlier... being an attacking player is a mindset (anyone can hit hard)... being consistant requires a skillset.

What level player are you talking about with this observation? Seriously every player I've met who started in the 3.0s or 3.5s within the past 2-4 years and is a 4.0 or 4.5 today has an aggressive (and sometimes inconsistent) game.

A consistent player is going to be used to a certain level of success. Trying to add power and learn to play more offensively is going to drop that level of success for a while, which alot of people just can't handle.

If you have a power game from the beginning you are naturally going to learn what works and what doesn't through match experience and tips from others so you will develop consistency over time. So you don't have to go from winning to losing in order to improve. You will go from losing just to winning as your consistency increases.

I completely disagree that anyone can hit hard, because I've seen many players who can't because they don't have the technique. Any pusher can be consistent without having much skill.

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 02:54 PM
What level player are you talking about with this observation? Seriously every player I've met who started in the 3.0s or 3.5s within the past 2-4 years and is a 4.0 or 4.5 today has an aggressive (and sometimes inconsistent) game.

A consistent player is going to be used to a certain level of success. Trying to add power and learn to play more offensively is going to drop that level of success for a while, which alot of people just can't handle.

If you have a power game from the beginning you are naturally going to learn what works and what doesn't through match experience and tips from others so you will develop consistency over time. So you don't have to go from winning to losing in order to improve. You will go from losing just to winning as your consistency increases.

I completely disagree that anyone can hit hard, because I've seen many players who can't because they don't have the technique. Any pusher can be consistent without having much skill.



I play about a 5.0 level... and many of those I have played with started off playing a fairly aggressive game... influence probably too much by what we saw on TV. The players that I felt were the best... started out with a good solid foundation... that was built on consistant play. I am not talking about just pushing the ball back but players with good stroke production. They then evolved taking more risks in their games... but there is a balance between being aggressive and taking unneccessary risks.

The other thing is we are talking about recreational league tennis... I doubt Cindy is going to advance much further than 4.0 max... no disrepect intended... at age 50 if you have not reach it yet... odds are that you won't.

Gemini
01-06-2010, 03:38 PM
Maybe. But Karen was described as missing a lot -- volleys, groundies and serves. We all understand "missing a lot."

Is it easier to get a passive player to dial it up or to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down? That is the tricky question in deciding which one will do better over the long haul.

I find it easier to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down just from personal experience. Just from my experience, when I try to ask a passive player to do more it generally causes him or her to lose control of his or her game and can result in more errors. On the flip side, if I ask the aggressive player to stay aggressive but use more spin or hit a safer volley it usually helps reduce the errors.

JavierLW
01-06-2010, 03:54 PM
I know this is all pretty much standard gospel among teaching pros, but its something I have a really hard time swallowing. I'll start by saying I'm only going by what I've experienced in a short few years of adult league play.

It seems to me that the players who don't stagnate are the ones who take risks by pushing their game to the max. That means being highly aggressive, developing power, learning how to dictate play and control the points. You don't learn to do this by playing conservatively and keeping the ball in play. Since I'm talking about adults here, most of us don't have the opportunity to do drills where we are aiming for the corners for hours, so alot of our stroke development happens through our match experience. If we don't go for bigger shots during matches, then we will never learn to execute them nor develop the confidence to prepare us for higher levels of play, where we must hit bigger shots to survive.



Well this is a thread about doubles, not singles.

And in doubles consistency is important. Whether that means your shots are threatening or not is a different story.

If you are constantly missing serves or returns you are screwing up your partner and you can keeping them from being able to get into any rhythm themselves. Which is really important in a game where you only hit the ball half of the time.

Usually at 3.0 or 3.5 though it's not really a matter of "oh they are going for it!", it's more of a matter of whether they are making smart shot selection decisions out there.

A lot of times players are trying to win the whole entire point on the first shot and they miss, when an aggressive shot right at the other deep player would of done nicely. (since you have someone helping you out)

Or they do not exhibit good technique. Maybe it looks like they are going for it because they are hitting the ball HARD, but they possess rapid jerky strokes that are unreliable and do not give their partners enough time to help out.

Keeping the ball in play is part of playing doubles at least when you are just trying to get in the point or gain the upper hand. Good teams win mostly every point on the 2nd or 3rd shot, but you have to have a good solid game plan to get you there.

Cindysphinx
01-06-2010, 04:42 PM
I find it easier to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down just from personal experience. Just from my experience, when I try to ask a passive player to do more it generally causes him or her to lose control of his or her game and can result in more errors. On the flip side, if I ask the aggressive player to stay aggressive but use more spin or hit a safer volley it usually helps reduce the errors.

Yeah, I guess that is my experience as well.

When I was a 3.0 and a new 3.5, I had a wonderful partner I liked a lot. We did very well together. She hit the ball crazy-hard. That was her thing. She won a lot.

We were playing a match and winning, as usual, with a big lead. She said, "You know what? We're winning. Go ahead and hit the ball as hard as you can at these guys." What happened? My shots went out. Way out. 'Cause I didn't have the technique to hit harder.

I think a lot of players who bash and make UEs could dial it back upon request. We all have a range of pace we can generate. The question is whether they decide to do it, and they may not.

D. Net Tricks
01-06-2010, 05:04 PM
I wish we knew more about what your doubles playing style is like these days. From your posts that I've read recently, I'm assuming that you're a now a seasoned 3.5 on the cusp of moving into 4.0 land. I'm also going to assume based on some of those other posts that you've got a fairly reliable hard first serve (any spin on that?) and that you do like to get into the net and also that you're happiest when you have a partner that is equally competent and comfortable engaging at the net.

In reading the groundstroke descriptions- I see no mention of slice or chip approach shots. If either can hit an effective low crosscourt slice service return (particularly if you are going to be playing the ad side) and if you are the net player that I suspect you are, then that might trump in that persons favor.
The fact that Melissa is uncomfortable with two opponents aggressively controlling the net would be a definite negative- unless she gets very comfortable quickly with either a topspin lob or some other method of pulling them off the net and converting a defensive position into an offensive opportunity (ie pulling them off and then getting in together). Karen's big groundstrokes will be ok at 3.5, but as you run into stronger 3.5 teams- I think most people will have learned how to turn big groundstrokes into opportunities for touch or put-away volleys. Still- I got to give a slight edge to Karen in this category based on the assumptions we've made about your own game. (Hopefully her big shots are going to create more set-up opportunities for you and you're dominating at net).

So Karen's double faults make things a bit tricky, but she's typically holding when she plays with you? Is she just beginning to work on this top-spin serve? And is she able to place it down the tee and occasionally serve out wide with any degree of success? Again, given your net skills- I'd have to give her a slight edge if she's any kind of an athlete and if she's continuing to work on her game in general and that serve in particular.

Volleys sound like a break even proposition- but what kind of doubles are you most interested in playing? If you like the net as much as I suspect you do- I see you playing shoot n move doubles and you'll need a partner that wants to get in and engage as a team. Who's more likely to work to catch up to you here?

Movement sounds pretty break even as well. But if Karen's got good basic footwork, then she's probably gonna catch on to tandem movement at the net more quickly and working together is gonna hinge on that. Who's more likely to work with you in terms of moving in and staggering with you through the course of a point?

I guess it all boils down to, who's going to set you up more to play the kind of tennis you want to play and who's going to be able to capitalize more on the set-ups you can create? Based on your descriptions, if Karen has any kind of a work ethic and she's willing to practice with you- that's probably where I'd focus if I were in your shoes. The one thing that might tilt the scales in Melissa's favor were if she seemed to be a significantly better athlete. Who's been playing longer and who seems to be capable of greater game development over the season? Those are the lingering questions that I have after reading the descriptions.

Let us know what you decide. Good luck- hope you have a great season and find a great partner.

fruitytennis1
01-06-2010, 05:23 PM
Cindy will you match to match be the strongest person on the court? If so pick melissa cause she will set you up without making errors. If your not going to be the strongest person on the court then go for karen- if she gets a little inconsistant tell her to cool it down a little.. If your playing people of equal level I would give the slightest edge to melissa.

Cindysphinx
01-06-2010, 05:26 PM
I am stronger than Melissa. Karen is stronger than me when she is hot; I am stronger when she is not.

Tennisman912
01-06-2010, 06:41 PM
Raiden,

You make some valid points but I believe you are confusing being consistent with just getting it back in play with no pace and bad strokes. First, most who have bad strokes will never change them. The majority stay at one level a long time. I am not advocating that, but that player can have much more success being consistent than over hitting everything. I strongly believe good mechanics are important and would advise learning correct technique. It makes life much easier. But good technique is not enough. What consistency means to me is level dependent. What I mean is that the consistent shots keep getting better and better against stronger and stronger play from your opponents but the basic principles are the same, the quality of the shots just change as you move up. Make no mistake, consistent players as a whole are much more successful than bangers at all levels.

I believe you can be consistent and aggressive at the same time. This is what I advocate. I am not saying you are pushing to be consistent. But a big part of that is shot selection, something most at the 3-3.5 to even many 4.0s are pretty bad at in general. Being consistent means hitting the right shot at the right time, not over hitting consistently (as so many do) or just as common, over hitting when out of position (as also many people do). It means not trying the hero shots when you can’t consistently put away volleys above the net or sitters (something most vastly overestimate their success rate at lower levels). It means not overhitting when pressed or playing above your level. It does not mean just keeping it in play at all costs.

I completely agree with being aggressive when the opportunity presents itself. I would expect someone to be more aggressive with a short ball they can step into. But I don’t expect them to swing as hard as they can to put it away with authority when they can do it consistently by not hitting it as hard. There are no bonus points for hitting the shot harder than needed. It is inconsistent and not needed. I do expect them to close in on the high ball and put it away or if not able to do that, place it deep to put away the next shot. And so on. I expect them to take that volley below the net and place it back deep and not try the hero shot they can only hit 1 in 10 times. I expect them to hit a solid return without pushing it. I don’t advocating swinging for the fences on the return as that is exactly where it will go. And then they wonder why they have such a hard time breaking serve. As they improve their skills, what they can do consistently keeps getting better and better.

I believe you might be taking being consistent to the conservative extreme. I agree with your pro’s advice to be aggressive. But you can be aggressive and consistent at the same time. How? At its core, by not over hitting every shot as you said happens frequently and which causes your rash of errors. You can hit a ball plenty hard at a 60-75% effort that you rarely need more than that IMHO.

I hope this makes sense. Do you understand what I a saying? But the Karen’s of the world mistake hitting the ball hard with impunity with winning tennis. They only remember the great shot and not the other five they put in the curtain when a solid, consistent shot to the open court is all that is needed. Never use more than needed.

Good tennis to all

TM

JHBKLYN
01-06-2010, 08:45 PM
I'm wondering which player is the better partner for me. They stack up like this:

and Karen has never been broken when we've played together.

Who is the stronger partner?

Is this a trick question? If Karen has never been broken when you've played together, what's there to think about? :)

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 10:57 PM
Is this a trick question? If Karen has never been broken when you've played together, what's there to think about? :)

The problem lies in Cindy winning her serve... Karen will make enough errors on her service game to cause her to lose it. Plus you still need to be able to break your opponent from time to time.

Ripper014
01-06-2010, 11:08 PM
I totally agree with Tennisman912...

When I speak of a consistant player getting more aggressive I am not advacating hitting the ball as hard as you can... it can mean hitting with more pace... hitting the ball deeper or with more angle. For someone that does not hit the ball hard it is a matter for them to do it in steps... you hit it 10% harder... then a little more until you get to where you want... the path to getting there is not one that is done overnight, and they will hit a few more errors... but in the long run I would choose this player over one that is trying to dial down their game. And this is coming from an agressive hitter.

Playing good tennis is about manipulating a good opportunity, being able to recognize them and taking advantage of them. Like I always like to say... make it easy for yourself, there is no need to overhit a shot... just take the winner. Take a que from the pro's if they have a winner they will usually just bunt it into the open court.

Cindysphinx
01-07-2010, 03:30 AM
Is this a trick question? If Karen has never been broken when you've played together, what's there to think about? :)

It is bizarre, no? How can Karen hold if she DFs a lot? Because when she gets her serve in, returners either miss or they hit conservative returns that I can pick off. If I don't pick off the return, Karen's next groundie will be good, so there's another chance to help her hold. There might be 1-2 DFs per service game, but she can hold if I do what I'm supposed to be doing.

And as Ripper said, we won't win if I don't hold also. This is especially so since I serve first with Karen because we never know when her serve will go to the Bahamas. The problem is that Karen doesn't have a second serve. She hits the same serve for first and second. I know she is working on this. I would love for her to learn to slice, as she is a lefty(!).

Topaz
01-07-2010, 04:30 AM
There are no bonus points for hitting the shot harder than needed.

This needs to show up on the main page of the forum, I think!!! :)

origmarm
01-07-2010, 05:01 AM
^^^ There are no bonus points but often a lot more enjoyment to be had :)

Cheers, Orig

Ken Honecker
01-07-2010, 05:24 AM
Karen would be more fun to play with.

You would win more with Melissa.

That's because at the 3.5 level, many, many more points are 'lost' rather than 'won'.

I couldn't have said it better! Me I'd go with Karen because that is the style that I enjoy but Melissa sounds more like my old doubles partner and we were a machine.

Gemini
01-07-2010, 05:26 AM
Yeah, I guess that is my experience as well.

When I was a 3.0 and a new 3.5, I had a wonderful partner I liked a lot. We did very well together. She hit the ball crazy-hard. That was her thing. She won a lot.

We were playing a match and winning, as usual, with a big lead. She said, "You know what? We're winning. Go ahead and hit the ball as hard as you can at these guys." What happened? My shots went out. Way out. 'Cause I didn't have the technique to hit harder.

I think a lot of players who bash and make UEs could dial it back upon request. We all have a range of pace we can generate. The question is whether they decide to do it, and they may not.

Cindy, that's it exactly!!! I'm also a bowler but I'm no where near the level of bowler that I am a tennis player. One key element in bowling that is become a bigger factor is revs. For the non-bowlers here, revs refers to the amount of ball revolutions that bowler can impart on the ball causing greater friction on the lane and thereby allowing you to play a larger portion of the lane. Revs is equivalent to primarily to topspin in tennis IMO.

A bowler that can generate more revs than the lane conditions dictate can almost always dial down the revs (with a softer hand) to accomodate his/her situation. Flip that with a bowler who doesn't naturally have enough revs to overcome the conditions and tries to generate more (revs) and errors really start to creep in.

The same concept applies in tennis for me. I want the crash/bash player because we can always work to harness that explosiveness. With the icy, surgical, steady player, I usually can't get them to "up" the power, spin, etc without introducing errors.

sureshs
01-07-2010, 05:51 AM
^^^ There are no bonus points but often a lot more enjoyment to be had :)

Cheers, Orig

It also:

Intimidates the opponents.

Provides practice for when hard shots are useful - they will not appear all of a sudden on demand if they have never been tried.

Cindysphinx
01-07-2010, 07:46 AM
^If you don't have power, you have to have a "power substitute." If you are in a situation where having power would really help (e.g. opponents who cannot run, opponents who take the net and can volley easy shots when they get there), what are you going to do if you can't dial up your power?

There are things that are good power substitutes (e.g. drop shots/lobs, taking the net before they do, blasting or hitting dippers), but I think as you aspire to move up that you have to have an answer for certain types of opponents who aren't troubled by paceless shots.

Topaz
01-07-2010, 08:24 AM
If I have an opponent who can't run, I focus more on placement than power.

If I have opponents who take the net I lob them.

Consistency before power is, IMO, a much more logical and effective progression when developing your game, for the same reasons that others have already mentioned. I think it is much easier to *add* power once your technique is solid than it is to undo bad technique because someone enjoys hitting hard.

Ripper014
01-07-2010, 09:05 AM
Cindy, that's it exactly!!! I'm also a bowler but I'm no where near the level of bowler that I am a tennis player. One key element in bowling that is become a bigger factor is revs. For the non-bowlers here, revs refers to the amount of ball revolutions that bowler can impart on the ball causing greater friction on the lane and thereby allowing you to play a larger portion of the lane. Revs is equivalent to primarily to topspin in tennis IMO.

A bowler that can generate more revs than the lane conditions dictate can almost always dial down the revs (with a softer hand) to accomodate his/her situation. Flip that with a bowler who doesn't naturally have enough revs to overcome the conditions and tries to generate more (revs) and errors really start to creep in.

The same concept applies in tennis for me. I want the crash/bash player because we can always work to harness that explosiveness. With the icy, surgical, steady player, I usually can't get them to "up" the power, spin, etc without introducing errors.


You can use the analogy of bowling if you want... I do bowl... though it has been a while.. my last league average was at 196 and my last game bowled was a 269. Did some recreational bowling with some friends and got locked into a pair of lanes. Anyway... I do throw a quite a few revs and can cover a lane... but like in bowling... you can throw all the revs you want, if you cannot hit the pocket it is useless to you. If you throw a straighter ball... but have laser like precision you can still score well on any lane conditions.

You do not need power to win in tennis... (you still cannot outrun a tennis ball, though many think they can). Tennis at this level is still a game that can be won with consistancy, precision and good shot selection. Power is all relative... but from what I have seen at the 4.5 and lower levels... many still struggle with these three concepts.

Ripper014
01-07-2010, 09:09 AM
If I have an opponent who can't run, I focus more on placement than power.

If I have opponents who take the net I lob them.

Consistency before power is, IMO, a much more logical and effective progression when developing your game, for the same reasons that others have already mentioned. I think it is much easier to *add* power once your technique is solid than it is to undo bad technique because someone enjoys hitting hard.


For once Topaz and I agree on something and she is not going to say my genitalia had something to do with my response. It is a good day!

Ripper014
01-07-2010, 09:14 AM
^If you don't have power, you have to have a "power substitute." If you are in a situation where having power would really help (e.g. opponents who cannot run, opponents who take the net and can volley easy shots when they get there), what are you going to do if you can't dial up your power?

There are things that are good power substitutes (e.g. drop shots/lobs, taking the net before they do, blasting or hitting dippers), but I think as you aspire to move up that you have to have an answer for certain types of opponents who aren't troubled by paceless shots.


I agree there are lots of good power substitutes, my favorite being angles... but one shot lost to this generation or players that is extremely effective at this level of play is the high defensive lob. Arantxa Sánchez Vicario made a living with this shot when she was a pro... I don't remember anyone ever hitting it more consistantly. When in trouble just throw up a high defensive lob to the baseline (in the backhand corner is even better)... I can guarantee you will be back in the point... and if you get it over their heads... go to the net.

MNPlayer
01-07-2010, 09:30 AM
Power vs consistency is such a simplistic way to look at it. There are so many aspects - how well can you put the ball where you want when you want to at the pace you want?

Other than the serve, much of this is determined by the ball you are playing. The best players seem to be very good at calibrating their shots to the conditions - they will consistently hit an aggressive shot when the opportunity presents and a neutral or defensive shot when under pressure.

At the 4.0 level, I am only starting to get a rudimentary feel for this. It requires you to have a automatic answers for a range of situations - what to do when you get a deep ball, short ball, volley, etc with all the variations on spin and height those can present. It is really fun though, to see strategic and tactical decisions play out, rather than just scrambling from shot to shot.

That said, I agree with those posters who had particularly emphasized consistency in doubles. If (big if!) you can control your height over the net, spin, and depth reasonably well, you don't need pace in doubles. The other guys will eventually pop something up for you to put away. The trick is to stay in the point until this happens or the other guys make an error.

I think winning with pure pace in doubles is harder because you have such small holes to hit into. How often do you hit a clean winner in doubles? Most clean winners are probably lobs, and those are control shots anyway.

Equating pace with "aggressive" play is also wrong - aggressive placement is just as important as pace, probably more. Especially in doubles.

jayserinos99
01-07-2010, 10:50 AM
...it's well to do the skills comparison, but if you're going to have an effective partnership, your partner has to choose to play with you as well as vice versa. If you're evaluating two competing house cleaning services, that's one thing, but I think forming an effective doubles partnership goes beyond just a skills assessment. My ultimate test for a doubles partner is always "Would I have fun on the court with him/her, and would I feel like having a beer with him/her after the match, win or lose?"


QFT.

IMO Cindy is overthinking this one and she should not just learn how to find a 'better partner', but try to be the best partner for everyone and have fun while she's getting better. One's game improves if they learn how to play against and with all types of opponents.

Gemini
01-07-2010, 10:50 AM
If I have an opponent who can't run, I focus more on placement than power.

If I have opponents who take the net I lob them.

Consistency before power is, IMO, a much more logical and effective progression when developing your game, for the same reasons that others have already mentioned. I think it is much easier to *add* power once your technique is solid than it is to undo bad technique because someone enjoys hitting hard.

You're right. It is easier to add power once your technique is solid.

As I have said earlier, in a match situation, I'll take the power player Cindy describes BECAUSE I've alway found it more productive to help someone tame their power and become more consistent during a match than to ask someone who does not innately have the power needed to create a forcing situation.

As some people have said, it depends on the pairing. I, personally, prefer a doubles partner (men's) that is the brute in our pairing. I can generate my own heat when I need to but I find that having a partner with a big serve and one groundstroke allows me to excel in the other areas of our partnership. Granted, none of my partners are inconsistent but they make a fair number of errors. We still manage to win because we manage the time and place for the errors.

Tennisman912
01-07-2010, 11:34 AM
Cindy and Gemini quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini I find it easier to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down just from personal experience. Just from my experience, when I try to ask a passive player to do more it generally causes him or her to lose control of his or her game and can result in more errors. On the flip side, if I ask the aggressive player to stay aggressive but use more spin or hit a safer volley it usually helps reduce the errors.
Yeah, I guess that is my experience as well.

When I was a 3.0 and a new 3.5, I had a wonderful partner I liked a lot. We did very well together. She hit the ball crazy-hard. That was her thing. She won a lot.

We were playing a match and winning, as usual, with a big lead. She said, "You know what? We're winning. Go ahead and hit the ball as hard as you can at these guys." What happened? My shots went out. Way out. 'Cause I didn't have the technique to hit harder.

I think a lot of players who bash and make UEs could dial it back upon request. We all have a range of pace we can generate. The question is whether they decide to do it, and they may not.””


I would respectfully disagree with the fact that people can dial it back on request. In my experience they cannot do it consistently even as they rise in level. If you counsel and coach them they may do it some in the moment. But put the pressure on, they get frustrated or worse, they over hit one spectacular shot that goes in and then all of the sudden they will forget all about the game plan of playing aggressive, consistent tennis and go back to their usual over hitting ways. Once they get another taste of success by over hitting, they seem to think they have figured out “the secret” and all is lost. You just have to hope you win the match before the inevitable “crash” comes. It is like a drug addict who wants another fix. They now want the fix and conveniently forget the success of their over hitting strategy in the long term or over the course of a match and instead place more importance on the short term fix (hitting a spectacular shot) vs. winning the war (winning the match).

This is my experience and it occurs at every level. I have a couple of peers who are classic over hitters. They know it. They blast a return into the back net and they say, gee I need to dial it down but you know what, they can’t do it consistently. Ever. They don’t seem to realize how much it hurts their chances of winning matches, especially against intelligent players who realize this and just keep it in play and let nature takes its course. Make no mistake, they hit some great shots but those are over shadowed by all the errors and it can’t be sustained throughout a whole match. But they lose a lot of matches they shouldn’t because they are addicted to trying to knock the cover off the ball.

My point is that in my experience very few over hitters ever permanently cure the disease so to speak. If someone has this personality and kills everything at the 3.0 or 3.5 level, they will still do it if they make it to the 4.5+ level and they don’t seem to realize how much it hurts their game. This person could be a phenomenal player if he learned to never hit over 70-80% with rare exception. The same can be said for every over hitter. If you give me a consistent, aggressive at the right time player, we will roll the over hitter 95%+ of the time. They will hit some great shots to be sure. But they will lose consistently against anyone not sucked into trying to out hit them and instead uses brains over brawn/power.

Also notice, that even though Karen always wins her serve, Cindy struggles to hold or at least stresses about it. Why IMHO? Because Karen can’t put away the cheese or easy volleys she gets consistently. Because she probably over swings on the volley and/or has poor technique. Heaven forbid Karen has an off serving day. Then it is game over before the first set is over and you know it on some level. Not a good feeling to be sure. How well does she return? Probably very erratically. Tough to break when you can’t get returns in. The final warning is the sentence above where Karen says “we’re winning so hit the ball as hard as you can.” Ding. Ding. Ding. No easier way to blow a match than by changing your game plan from what got you there to a “kill everything” strategy. Once it starts not working can you turn it back down to what got you there? Not many can do that consistently at any level, but especially at the 3.5 level. Karen has all the warning signs of a lifelong over hitter. Do you see them all? I hope so. Can she change her ways someday? Yes. But I wouldn’t count on it. And no, I have no ill will toward Karen and wish her all the best. This is for exploratory purposes only. But I have seen this play out many, many times. But I encourage you to keep in touch with Karen and see how she plays in 5 or 10 years, regardless of level. Pretty similar to how she plays now I would bet. Time will tell.

I have seen and played with may more players at every level who are held back by over hitting and poor shot selection than those who just can’t hit enough pace to move up or be competitive. If they have solid technique, they can learn to incrementally increase their power to the level required. The players who struggle the most are the one's who are not consistent for their level. If you only remember one thing, remember this last paragraph.

Good tennis all and no offense to Karen intended. I wish I could shorten these posts but there is so much to say.

TM

Topaz
01-07-2010, 11:48 AM
For once Topaz and I agree on something and she is not going to say my genitalia had something to do with my response. It is a good day!

Lol...miracles *can* happen! ;)

Ripper014
01-07-2010, 12:00 PM
I have seen and played with may more players at every level who are held back by over hitting and poor shot selection than those who just can’t hit enough pace to move up or be competitive. If they have solid technique, they can learn to incrementally increase their power to the level required. The players who struggle the most are the one's who are not consistent for their level. If you only remember one thing, remember this last paragraph.
TM

Again I agree with TM... I too have played a lot of tennis in my life, and seen a lot of tennis obviously. Being that I am not a tennis snob... I will play with anyone who asks... if I am just hitting against a wall at a local court and a beginner asks me to play... I am more than happy to indulge him/her. So I have seen and play with a wide gambit of casual, recreational and tournament players in my lifetime.

To echo TM's comments... I know very few aggressive players that can tone down their games... they lose their rhythm... timing, and feel for the tennis ball. Only the better players can do this comfortably, but that is because they have can play either way, with touch or power. IMHO it is much easier for a consistant player with good technique to ramp up their game.

Directed at Cindy... you have mentioned that if given a choice between having an all-court power player as a practice partner or a consistant one... you would choose the consistant one because with the all-court attacking player you would spend all your time pushing the ball back. Well for an attacking player to dial down... this is how they would feel they are playing... it is unnatural for them and take them out of their comfort zone, they would no longer be the player you knew.

But like I said earlier in this post... when a big point needs to be won in the match... I like knowing that my partner is solid and dependable... not some gunslinger taking potshots. I know it is more exciting... and flashy... but it does not put a win on the board as often as you think, unless they are that much better than their opposition and can overcome all the errors.

Jracer77
01-07-2010, 12:21 PM
Cindy and Gemini quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gemini I find it easier to get an overly aggressive player to dial it down just from personal experience. Just from my experience, when I try to ask a passive player to do more it generally causes him or her to lose control of his or her game and can result in more errors. On the flip side, if I ask the aggressive player to stay aggressive but use more spin or hit a safer volley it usually helps reduce the errors.
Yeah, I guess that is my experience as well.

When I was a 3.0 and a new 3.5, I had a wonderful partner I liked a lot. We did very well together. She hit the ball crazy-hard. That was her thing. She won a lot.

We were playing a match and winning, as usual, with a big lead. She said, "You know what? We're winning. Go ahead and hit the ball as hard as you can at these guys." What happened? My shots went out. Way out. 'Cause I didn't have the technique to hit harder.

I think a lot of players who bash and make UEs could dial it back upon request. We all have a range of pace we can generate. The question is whether they decide to do it, and they may not.””


I would respectfully disagree with the fact that people can dial it back on request. In my experience they cannot do it consistently even as they rise in level. If you counsel and coach them they may do it some in the moment. But put the pressure on, they get frustrated or worse, they over hit one spectacular shot that goes in and then all of the sudden they will forget all about the game plan of playing aggressive, consistent tennis and go back to their usual over hitting ways. Once they get another taste of success by over hitting, they seem to think they have figured out “the secret” and all is lost. You just have to hope you win the match before the inevitable “crash” comes. It is like a drug addict who wants another fix. They now want the fix and conveniently forget the success of their over hitting strategy in the long term or over the course of a match and instead place more importance on the short term fix (hitting a spectacular shot) vs. winning the war (winning the match).

This is my experience and it occurs at every level. I have a couple of peers who are classic over hitters. They know it. They blast a return into the back net and they say, gee I need to dial it down but you know what, they can’t do it consistently. Ever. They don’t seem to realize how much it hurts their chances of winning matches, especially against intelligent players who realize this and just keep it in play and let nature takes its course. Make no mistake, they hit some great shots but those are over shadowed by all the errors and it can’t be sustained throughout a whole match. But they lose a lot of matches they shouldn’t because they are addicted to trying to knock the cover off the ball.

My point is that in my experience very few over hitters ever permanently cure the disease so to speak. If someone has this personality and kills everything at the 3.0 or 3.5 level, they will still do it if they make it to the 4.5+ level and they don’t seem to realize how much it hurts their game. This person could be a phenomenal player if he learned to never hit over 70-80% with rare exception. The same can be said for every over hitter. If you give me a consistent, aggressive at the right time player, we will roll the over hitter 95%+ of the time. They will hit some great shots to be sure. But they will lose consistently against anyone not sucked into trying to out hit them and instead uses brains over brawn/power.

Also notice, that even though Karen always wins her serve, Cindy struggles to hold or at least stresses about it. Why IMHO? Because Karen can’t put away the cheese or easy volleys she gets consistently. Because she probably over swings on the volley and/or has poor technique. Heaven forbid Karen has an off serving day. Then it is game over before the first set is over and you know it on some level. Not a good feeling to be sure. How well does she return? Probably very erratically. Tough to break when you can’t get returns in. The final warning is the sentence above where Karen says “we’re winning so hit the ball as hard as you can.” Ding. Ding. Ding. No easier way to blow a match than by changing your game plan from what got you there to a “kill everything” strategy. Once it starts not working can you turn it back down to what got you there? Not many can do that consistently at any level, but especially at the 3.5 level. Karen has all the warning signs of a lifelong over hitter. Do you see them all? I hope so. Can she change her ways someday? Yes. But I wouldn’t count on it. And no, I have no ill will toward Karen and wish her all the best. This is for exploratory purposes only. But I have seen this play out many, many times. But I encourage you to keep in touch with Karen and see how she plays in 5 or 10 years, regardless of level. Pretty similar to how she plays now I would bet. Time will tell.

I have seen and played with may more players at every level who are held back by over hitting and poor shot selection than those who just can’t hit enough pace to move up or be competitive. If they have solid technique, they can learn to incrementally increase their power to the level required. The players who struggle the most are the one's who are not consistent for their level. If you only remember one thing, remember this last paragraph.

Good tennis all and no offense to Karen intended. I wish I could shorten these posts but there is so much to say.

TM

I couldn't agree more with what you have written here. I've seen many of the things you've spoken of here play out over and over again.....well said.

fruitytennis1
01-07-2010, 01:09 PM
I am stronger than Melissa. Karen is stronger than me when she is hot; I am stronger when she is not.

I more so ment comparing to the people on the other side

kylebarendrick
01-07-2010, 01:18 PM
The key though is your statement "if they have solid technique". Many 3.0s or 3.5s that are very consistent achieve that consistency by sacrificing technique: they don't take a full swing at the ball. There is no way that player is going to develop power without completely reworking their strokes.

So if you want to predict who will obtain both power and consistency, you need to look at their stroke technique as well as their desire/effort to improve. I don't think you can simply declare that a power player will never get consistent or that a consistent player can develop power - at least not at the 3.5 level.

skiracer55
01-07-2010, 01:42 PM
QFT.

IMO Cindy is overthinking this one and she should not just learn how to find a 'better partner', but try to be the best partner for everyone and have fun while she's getting better. One's game improves if they learn how to play against and with all types of opponents.


...tennis is not a job, it's a game...

crystal_clear
01-07-2010, 05:23 PM
I would agree with your coach's idea as he knows you gals better than anyone here. Besides, Melisa teaming up with you will bring balance to your team IMP provided you play aggressively.

Cindysphinx
01-07-2010, 05:47 PM
The key though is your statement "if they have solid technique". Many 3.0s or 3.5s that are very consistent achieve that consistency by sacrificing technique: they don't take a full swing at the ball. There is no way that player is going to develop power without completely reworking their strokes.

This seems to be where my opinion is different from my pro's opinion.

There is no way Melissa will generate spin and power with her current volley, serve and groundstroke technique. And when she does re-work them to hit better and harder, she might be just as inconsistent as Karen! :)

I spent half of 2009 re-working my FH. That is one stroke -- my volleys and serve, while far from perfect, do OK at 3.5 and 4.0. Re-working a stroke takes time and a huge commitment. If Melissa has to re-work her FH, BH and volleys to achieve 4.0 power and spin, isn't that going to take forever?

raiden031
01-07-2010, 07:24 PM
If I have an opponent who can't run, I focus more on placement than power.

If I have opponents who take the net I lob them.

Consistency before power is, IMO, a much more logical and effective progression when developing your game, for the same reasons that others have already mentioned. I think it is much easier to *add* power once your technique is solid than it is to undo bad technique because someone enjoys hitting hard.

I think there is a logical flaw here. I don't think you can really generate power without decent technique. What is required to generate power? Racquet head speed. In order to generate racquet head speed you must take a full swing and follow through. This is naturally going to set you in the right direction as far as technique, even though you might have some hitches you need to work out.

Again if someone starts off taking lessons and always told to hit at 70% or whatever and only hitting wardlaw cross-court, they will start playing matches and become comfortable playing conservatively. What is going to motivate them to start hitting bigger shots? Because they aren't used to hitting bigger shots, they will suffer in match play while they learn to add more to their shots. Once you are comfortable with a winning strategy, it is very hard to change it up. If someone is overhitting, they are going to win more by learning to dial down and control their use of power more. So the overhitter has more motivation to dial down than the conservative player has to dial up.

Plus another thing is that even if say you hit a shot that only goes in 10% of the time right now, well as you keep practicing that shot during your matches eventually that percentage will automatically go up because you just get better at that shot.

Ripper014
01-07-2010, 10:03 PM
This seems to be where my opinion is different from my pro's opinion.

There is no way Melissa will generate spin and power with her current volley, serve and groundstroke technique. And when she does re-work them to hit better and harder, she might be just as inconsistent as Karen! :)

I spent half of 2009 re-working my FH. That is one stroke -- my volleys and serve, while far from perfect, do OK at 3.5 and 4.0. Re-working a stroke takes time and a huge commitment. If Melissa has to re-work her FH, BH and volleys to achieve 4.0 power and spin, isn't that going to take forever?



It seems pretty obvious now you had already decided what you wanted to do... and you were using this forum to validate your decision. Sorry I cannot do that for you... without being able to actually see both players play... I would still choose Melissa, based on her style of play.

But good luck with your choice... but it is interesting that you think you know more than your pro, but then you might be right!

origmarm
01-08-2010, 12:46 AM
^If you don't have power, you have to have a "power substitute." If you are in a situation where having power would really help (e.g. opponents who cannot run, opponents who take the net and can volley easy shots when they get there), what are you going to do if you can't dial up your power?

There are things that are good power substitutes (e.g. drop shots/lobs, taking the net before they do, blasting or hitting dippers), but I think as you aspire to move up that you have to have an answer for certain types of opponents who aren't troubled by paceless shots.

For sure it's not good to rely solely on power. I guess I was just saying that if you get the shot that allows you to drive it through the gap then sometimes I'll just hit the hell out of it for the fun of it when a simpler shot would have sufficed. It was more of a statement on how, when tennis becomes all about playing the percentages all the time, it loses some of that enjoyment factor for me.

Gemini
01-08-2010, 04:22 AM
I think there is a logical flaw here. I don't think you can really generate power without decent technique. What is required to generate power? Racquet head speed. In order to generate racquet head speed you must take a full swing and follow through. This is naturally going to set you in the right direction as far as technique, even though you might have some hitches you need to work out.

Again if someone starts off taking lessons and always told to hit at 70% or whatever and only hitting wardlaw cross-court, they will start playing matches and become comfortable playing conservatively. What is going to motivate them to start hitting bigger shots? Because they aren't used to hitting bigger shots, they will suffer in match play while they learn to add more to their shots. Once you are comfortable with a winning strategy, it is very hard to change it up. If someone is overhitting, they are going to win more by learning to dial down and control their use of power more. So the overhitter has more motivation to dial down than the conservative player has to dial up.

Plus another thing is that even if say you hit a shot that only goes in 10% of the time right now, well as you keep practicing that shot during your matches eventually that percentage will automatically go up because you just get better at that shot.

I tend to agree with you. That's why I reason that a big hitting player has that room to harness that power. There've been a lot of assumptions that Karen's (the big hitter) unforced errors are due to poor technique when it could just be poor shot selection. I see it at all levels...not just the lower ones.

No offense to Melissa but I also want someone, as a partner, who can steel themselves when our opponents rush the net. From what Cindy's pointed out, they're both solid players with something to offer skill-wise but based on my needs as a doubles player, Karen's skill set is more formidable.

tfm1973
01-08-2010, 04:28 AM
I think there is a logical flaw here. I don't think you can really generate power without decent technique.

i gotta disagree raiden. i see literally dozens and dozens of players (guys and ladies) who hit a hard ball from the 3.0 to 4.5 level with less than textbook strokes. i'd argue just the opposite, that it's EASY TO HIT HARD without any training at all. and with racquet technology - it's even EASIER. you've never ran into a 50 year old guy with a widebody racquet the size of a tree stump?

Gemini
01-08-2010, 04:43 AM
i gotta disagree raiden. i see literally dozens and dozens of players (guys and ladies) who hit a hard ball from the 3.0 to 4.5 level with less than textbook strokes. i'd argue just the opposite, that it's EASY TO HIT HARD without any training at all. and with racquet technology - it's even EASIER. you've never ran into a 50 year old guy with a widebody racquet the size of a tree stump?

LOL!!! Well...yeah...that's true.

raiden031
01-08-2010, 04:46 AM
i gotta disagree raiden. i see literally dozens and dozens of players (guys and ladies) who hit a hard ball from the 3.0 to 4.5 level with less than textbook strokes. i'd argue just the opposite, that it's EASY TO HIT HARD without any training at all. and with racquet technology - it's even EASIER. you've never ran into a 50 year old guy with a widebody racquet the size of a tree stump?

I've ran into the 50 year olds with the huge racquets, but they are pushers!

I feel like all the typical overhitters have decent technique, at least on the surface where it looks like they are mostly doing it right.

The point I do want to stress is that technique is #1, and that if your technique is solid, you will eventually improve and become more consistent as you get more repetitions and experience on the court. But I think if you take two players with good technique, the player that takes more risks and goes for the big shots is more likely to keep improving because they will eventually develop consistency on these shots and they will also learn when not to jump the gun through match experience. Those that do not take these risks will get too comfortable keeping the ball in play and never feel ready to take on the risks.

Cindysphinx
01-08-2010, 05:30 AM
It seems pretty obvious now you had already decided what you wanted to do... and you were using this forum to validate your decision. Sorry I cannot do that for you... without being able to actually see both players play... I would still choose Melissa, based on her style of play.

But good luck with your choice... but it is interesting that you think you know more than your pro, but then you might be right!

Actually, I didn't make up my mind and then use the board to validate my decision. I had this decision to make. I asked my pro. I thought about it. I asked you folks. And then I decided to go with Karen.

There are several reasons for this.

First, why does Karen miss? Is it poor technique? Mental weakness? Something else? I think it is that she is still developing her sense of offense v. defense and thus goes for too much on what should be defensive shots. In contrast, why does Melissa miss (or get beaten)? It is because her technique does not allow her to play offense, so she winds up playing defense a lot. I don't think that is easily fixed -- even if she wants to play offense, she cannot.

Second, I was thinking about players I have known over the years who play like Melissa or Karen. I know other "Karens." The Karens who play a lot and take instruction seem eventually to learn when to hit big and when to hold back. I figure Karen will learn this.

Third, it is important to have fun out there. The thing I find least fun is when my opponents latch onto my partner, pin her ears back, and yank her around and there is nothing she or I can do about it. I'd rather go down in flames than deal with that.

Fourth, there's the question of experience. Karen has played mixed and 4.0 whereas Melissa has played neither. I think Karen is more ready for the higher levels where the pace is higher and opponents are much more likely to take the net.

So that's what I'll do, I guess.

Cindysphinx
01-08-2010, 05:36 AM
i gotta disagree raiden. i see literally dozens and dozens of players (guys and ladies) who hit a hard ball from the 3.0 to 4.5 level with less than textbook strokes. i'd argue just the opposite, that it's EASY TO HIT HARD without any training at all. and with racquet technology - it's even EASIER. you've never ran into a 50 year old guy with a widebody racquet the size of a tree stump?

I can't speak for Raiden, but I am not talking about simply hitting a hard ball. I see women in their 60s with giant rackets who can hit a hard ball. Big deal.

What good technique allows is hitting a heavy ball, a ball with spin.

This summer, I did a lesson with Karen and the pro had us rallying from the baseline with a goal toward consistency. I was having a miserable time trying to handle Karen's ball because it was so heavy. She wasn't trying to kill it, but it had topspin and seemed to jump up on me all the time. Of course, I was the one missing.

I've improved my own footwork and groundies enough that I can hang on the court with Karen now, thank goodness. But I do think it is incorrect to say that Karen's consistency issues are due to technical flaws.

Blade0324
01-08-2010, 05:40 AM
I'm late to the party with this one but Cindy IMO you should go with Karen. From what you describe she has the technique but it's just not polished enough to be consistant. I have played with a number of players like both of which you describe over the years and I would pick the player with more power. I think Melissa will get you killed at the net with her loopy floaty shots and in doubles anything floating will get punished against a good team.
If you play with Karen you could suggest that she hits many of her shots at about 80% power and see if the consistancy goes up too.

PushyPushster
01-08-2010, 07:05 AM
i gotta disagree raiden. i see literally dozens and dozens of players (guys and ladies) who hit a hard ball from the 3.0 to 4.5 level with less than textbook strokes. i'd argue just the opposite, that it's EASY TO HIT HARD without any training at all. and with racquet technology - it's even EASIER.

Gotta back you up on that. I've managed to develop FH pace (finally something other than push), but the technique is just abysmal. Racket head pointing almost straight down, arm moves forward while wrist bends, then a quick swat which slaps the ball over the net with topspin. I've polished that turd to a high-gloss sheen.

My ultimate goal is to advance beyond 4.0 while still keeping that shot in my bag. Just as an insult to the entire game of tennis.

Tennisman912
01-08-2010, 10:30 AM
Glad you made your decision Cindy. I hope it works out for you and I know you will make the best of it. You made the decision that is best for you and that is all that matters.

Good tennis

TM

athiker
01-08-2010, 10:32 AM
Just wanted to say I've really enjoyed this thread....some good chuckles and some good food for thought. I went back and forth a few times on who I would choose.

In my own 3.5 level experience I seem to win more w/ a consistant player. When I know all the groundies are going back over the net it lets me, at the net, focus on a good opportunity to end the point. We have a couple guys on the team that can hit big impressive winners, but make too many UE. One guy in particular, quick and athletic, has a big serve, when it goes in, and big forehand, but man, I just can't win with him! Other guys that aren't as flashy and don't even cover the court as well, I win with consistently. I'm a runner though, so I can cover that aspect.

But it could be the consistent players on my team are simply better all around players. They aren't as flashy, but are still good, consistent and smart. They don't hit puffballs, they just don't blaze either, so maybe its not a fair comparison to Cindy's situaion. Somehow, playing with them it seems like I play a better game as well...more of a rhythm maybe?...idk.

Hope you have a good season. With our group we mix and match depending on who is available that week. As captain last year I would occaisionally get requests for pairings, but the captain makes the final call.

Tennisman912
01-08-2010, 11:11 AM
Raiden,

You seem especially convinced that 70% isn’t hard enough the majority of the time and feel it is hard to up the power from there if you only learn to not hit hard. You are entitled to your opinion as much as the rest of us (even if I disagree and that is ok) and if we haven’t convinced you by now, we aren’t going to. I will take one more shot at convincing you. But I have a theory about why I think you feel this way and it is based on your pretty unique experience. Let me know if this is a factor as I believe it is. If memory serves, last season you received a double bump up from 3.0 to 4.0. That is a very large bump regarding pace, consistency, spin and so on, especially against the top of their level 4.0s. Even you admitted earlier in this thread that you have limited experience and with your very unique experience (and very rare and very impressive at the same time) makes sense to me why you feel that way. While the double bump is a great accomplishment and something to be proud of, it may not necessarily be best for your game’s long term development. Let me explain.

As a former 3.0, you obviously have some technical issues (as any 3.0 does) or you wouldn’t be playing there. But by throwing yourself “into the fire” of 4.0 play, it is inevitable that some technique gets thrown out the window to just survive the much higher pace of play, spin and general speed of play of 4.0 vs. 3.0, especially in the beginning and maybe the first whole season. Because technique is put on the back burner (unintentionally of course) to survive and to try and train you mind to speed up to the new level, your technique just can’t handle the extra pace and spin, especially in the beginning. You feel rushed and a bit behind the curve (as expected in this scenario). This combination and the fact you are in this unique situation mean you are a bit late a lot and have to swing very hard to overcome the fact you just don’t have the timing and consistency to hit the ball well without swinging very hard, because of the big jump in tennis level. So it seems pretty logical that based on your own experience, because you have to swing very hard, you think everyone else does as well. You have no other frame of reference so I believe this is why you feel this way and not because it is necessarily best, it is what you have experienced this whole season (as anyone in your situation would).

While a double bump is good thing, I believe an argument could be made you would improve faster by not skipping that level so you could refine your techniques more before throwing yourself into higher and higher paces of play where things get “compromised” just to survive and be successful now. When your techniques are more grooved, then the move up is exceedingly easier and more progressive. Don’t misunderstand, it is possible to be successful long term after the double bump but IMHO it will take you longer to develop at the higher level than the lower level because if you want to try and win, you have to speed up the mind and compromise some trying to do what you need to win. After you are used to it, then you can try and improve your techniques. The only exception would be if you don’t mind losing big every week so you don’t compromise technique, at least in the beginning, and develop at a more normal rate. But very, very few could take the beatings and not compromise their technique to survive now. I am curious if you think this could be a factor in why you feel you can’t be successful not hitting all out?

My point is that your unique experience gives you a skewed point of reference about what type of pace is really possible swinging less than full out. You will discover that as your timing and technique improves, you will be surprised how hard advanced players can hit the ball swinging only 50-70%. I believe you will understand and see this play out as you improve over time. I am not saying we never swing harder than that ever. But advanced players with good technique and timing IMHO rarely need to swing at 90% plus. Because they are in the proper position to not need too for one thing and a host of other factors not worth going into now.

One last example: In the instruction thread area, there is a thread about some people who recently hit with a 5.5 and other very advanced players and they were comparing what they noticed (on the second page know called Hit with a 5.5 player today). Notice the one of the unifying things of that thread. They all mentioned how well they moved, how they hit a heavier ball and how Consistently that hit that ball no matter what they gave them. Notice that they mentioned consistency over/before power in almost every post. Make no mistake they can hit all the power needed, but shot to shot, a solid consistent shot is what makes them the most advanced players, not overwhelming power. Just something to think about.


Because you have an exceedingly rare experience of a double bump, you have no other experience to compare the more typical progressions of most. This is just my theory about this situation and is not intended to be insulting or demeaning to you in any way. You have a very unique experience so I am curious to how you think things worked out. Now that you have a full season under your belt, I would be interested to see if you keep the 4.0 ranking and how your development is coming and whether you think you were better off playing 4.0 and skipping 3.5? What do you think? What have you learned this year and what would you change if you could? Am I nuts with my "theory"?

Good tennis all. Best of luck raiden.

TM

Cindysphinx
01-08-2010, 11:20 AM
Just wanted to say I've really enjoyed this thread....some good chuckles and some good food for thought. I went back and forth a few times on who I would choose.



Yeah, I went back and forth a few times as well. I mean, I asked my pro and was shocked that he thought Melissa was best for me. That rattled me. The pro isn't wrong very often, so he must be seeing something in Melissa that I am not seeing. Uh oh.

And then I asked you guys, and there was a split of opinion but lots of votes for Melissa.

I will let you know how it goes with Karen. I will have other playing opportunities with Melissa, so that will make it even more interesting.

jrod
01-08-2010, 12:15 PM
Yeah, I went back and forth a few times as well. I mean, I asked my pro and was shocked that he thought Melissa was best for me. That rattled me. The pro isn't wrong very often, so he must be seeing something in Melissa that I am not seeing. Uh oh.

And then I asked you guys, and there was a split of opinion but lots of votes for Melissa.

I will let you know how it goes with Karen. I will have other playing opportunities with Melissa, so that will make it even more interesting.


I haven't followed the entire thread, but which partner do you think makes you and her a better doubles team? are you saying it's Karen and your pro is saying it's Melissa?

Topaz
01-08-2010, 12:16 PM
Cindy, will you be exclusively playing with this partner in your upcoming season?

Cindysphinx
01-08-2010, 12:42 PM
Cindy, will you be exclusively playing with this partner in your upcoming season?

Exclusively? No. There are practical reasons why I actually do have to make a choice for one particular Tennis Event. For other events, there is no need to choose one over the other exclusively.

Cindysphinx
01-08-2010, 12:45 PM
I haven't followed the entire thread, but which partner do you think makes you and her a better doubles team? are you saying it's Karen and your pro is saying it's Melissa?

Yes, basically that is right.

I don't know about "better doubles team." It really does depend on the opponents. To play 3.5 doubles on Court Three against weaker 3.5 players, I would definitely want Melissa, as she shines against players like that. We have killed teams like that in the past. To play 4.0 against the No. 1 team, I would probably think Karen. We have done well against skilled teams in the past.

Too bad tennis isn't like football where you can make substitutions depending on how things are going. :)

jrod
01-08-2010, 12:54 PM
....
Too bad tennis isn't like football where you can make substitutions depending on how things are going. :)


Right...I believe you can make substitutions in WTT however.

SlapShot
01-08-2010, 01:17 PM
Right...I believe you can make substitutions in WTT however.

I'd love to be the designated server. Just come in and throw down heat. :)

MrCLEAN
01-08-2010, 04:52 PM
Which one has the prettier shoes? :razz:

J/K, Karen was my choice too. Let us know how it goes!

apor
01-08-2010, 05:13 PM
I would go with Karen. A better mover and some power? Sign me up. You two can work on her game to tone it down a bit when needed. The other player sounds like a consistent dinker/pusher.

baek57
01-08-2010, 05:59 PM
So this is what I gather from your descriptions.

Groundstrokes: Anytime your opponents are both at the net, which in doubles is often, you automatically lose the point with Melissa.
Serving: Anytime Melissa is serving, you will be put in an awkward position as the net player because opponents are teeing off on it.
Volleys/Movement: Both equally adept at volleying, however Melissa is vulnerable to lobs and has worse footwork overall.

You describe Karen to be the better player based on your descriptions of them and it isn't even a tossup. The only thing you say Melissa can do better is hit floaty, no spin, no pace balls more consistently which will get eaten up by poachers.

Topaz
01-08-2010, 06:08 PM
Exclusively? No. There are practical reasons why I actually do have to make a choice for one particular Tennis Event. For other events, there is no need to choose one over the other exclusively.

Is this in preparation for your upcoming season? Just curious...will you let us know how it pans out?

I get to play doubles tomorrow, yet again, with another mystery partner. That's whats happens to singles players during the off season!

Cindysphinx
01-09-2010, 06:57 AM
Is this in preparation for your upcoming season? Just curious...will you let us know how it pans out?

I get to play doubles tomorrow, yet again, with another mystery partner. That's whats happens to singles players during the off season!

Good luck, and yes, I'll let you know how it pans out.

Topaz, shoot me an e-mail if you want to join my 3.5 spring team. As a singles player, of course! :)

Cindy

cll30
01-10-2010, 05:20 PM
My game is sort of a cross between Karen and Melissa. If you every want to play mixed doubles let me know. :)

Cindysphinx
01-13-2010, 08:36 AM
It looks like I have an answer much sooner than I would have expected.

The Tennis Opportunity I had hoped to explore with Karen isn't going to work out for reasons not pertinent here. Neither of us are going to play.

I did, however, have a chance to partner with Karen recently. We lost a match we definitely should have won, and we almost got blown out.

Our opponents were two PhDs (Pushers, Hackers, Dinkers). In warm-up, I knew there was zero chance we could lose to these two women. Zero. Simply serve the ball any old way, follow it in, and dare them to put it at your feet or lob. When receiving their cupcake serves, hit a deep crosscourt return, stroll to the service line and hit your overhead or volley winner. Game, set match.

It was bad from minute one. On my end, I was nervous in the car on the way to the match. Tight, tight, tight. I could serve, but only about 40% of my normal quality. Very sluggish footwork. I wasn't making catastrophic errors, but I do well with no-pace tennis and I should have played much better than I did. This was the sort of match where I should have played two sets without a single missed groundstroke, but I didn't get there.

Karen had my struggles, only squared. As it turns out, she can't handle balls with no pace. Her serve was off, and she was missing a lot of returns on cupcake serves.

We fell behind 1-5 (!). Then we settled down and sent every single ball to the weak player, no matter where she stood on the court. We caught up to 6-6, and then lost the tiebreak. In the second set, we coughed up error after error to go down 2-5 before time ran out.

Afterward, Karen was utterly inconsolable. She says she hates players like this who hit junk all the time, and she doesn't understand why she missed so much. She is very upset and took it pretty hard.

I will continue to play with Karen, as I like her and anyone can have an off day. I've done my level best to tell her the trugh: Neither of us played up to our ability, and we need to take this loss, learn from it, and build upon it, and anyone can beat us if we don't execute. We can't just say we don't like PhDs.

But I did want to give the Melissa supports an "I told you so!" opportunity. Seems only fair . . .

Topaz
01-13-2010, 08:41 AM
^^^How many times do we see that at our level though? The 'power' player who can't handle no pace? A lot, right?

And that is because her technique hasn't developed to the point where she can create her *own* pace without making an error, which is quite common. And I think that is one of the reasons why many of us leaned toward Melissa. If Karen doesn't understand why she missed so much (like you said above) uhhh...she's got a way to go toward understanding stroke technique.

Remember your thread about confidence/hubris? Well, saying there is zero chance that you guys could lose to those gals before you play the match...it is a dangerous thing, right? I'm guilty of it, too! Tread carefully.

Thanks for the update, though!

Will you still have opportunities to play with Melissa?

Cindysphinx
01-13-2010, 08:43 AM
Yes, I will be able to play with both of them.

And Topaz?

There should have been zero chance we should have lost to these ladies. When we got our errors under control, they were no match for us, as we reeled off all those games in the first set. They didn't beat us. We beat ourselves. It felt like they hardly ever hit a ball. :(

Ripper014
01-13-2010, 10:11 AM
It looks like I have an answer much sooner than I would have expected.

The Tennis Opportunity I had hoped to explore with Karen isn't going to work out for reasons not pertinent here. Neither of us are going to play.

I did, however, have a chance to partner with Karen recently. We lost a match we definitely should have won, and we almost got blown out.

Our opponents were two PhDs (Pushers, Hackers, Dinkers). In warm-up, I knew there was zero chance we could lose to these two women. Zero. Simply serve the ball any old way, follow it in, and dare them to put it at your feet or lob. When receiving their cupcake serves, hit a deep crosscourt return, stroll to the service line and hit your overhead or volley winner. Game, set match.

It was bad from minute one. On my end, I was nervous in the car on the way to the match. Tight, tight, tight. I could serve, but only about 40% of my normal quality. Very sluggish footwork. I wasn't making catastrophic errors, but I do well with no-pace tennis and I should have played much better than I did. This was the sort of match where I should have played two sets without a single missed groundstroke, but I didn't get there.

Karen had my struggles, only squared. As it turns out, she can't handle balls with no pace. Her serve was off, and she was missing a lot of returns on cupcake serves.

We fell behind 1-5 (!). Then we settled down and sent every single ball to the weak player, no matter where she stood on the court. We caught up to 6-6, and then lost the tiebreak. In the second set, we coughed up error after error to go down 2-5 before time ran out.

Afterward, Karen was utterly inconsolable. She says she hates players like this who hit junk all the time, and she doesn't understand why she missed so much. She is very upset and took it pretty hard.

I will continue to play with Karen, as I like her and anyone can have an off day. I've done my level best to tell her the trugh: Neither of us played up to our ability, and we need to take this loss, learn from it, and build upon it, and anyone can beat us if we don't execute. We can't just say we don't like PhDs.

But I did want to give the Melissa supports an "I told you so!" opportunity. Seems only fair . . .


Nope no need... but people do not give PhD's the credit they deserve... they may not be pretty, they may not play the type of tennis game the majority of people would want to own. But what they do have is a lot of trophies... they play a type of game that forces players that are not as consistant to beat them. They usually do not beat themselves... and that is a great tactic at many levels of tennis (Andy Murray?). This is why I like to have a PhD type player on my side of the court. Not so much a true pusher, hacker, dinker but a partner who is solid and dependable. As long as my partner can keep us in a firefight... I can usually find a way to win enough points to put up a "W".

By the way Cindy, it is very big of you to share this story... My stock in CindySphinx has gone way up.......

Cindysphinx
01-13-2010, 11:28 AM
Nope no need... but people do not give PhD's the credit they deserve... they may not be pretty, they may not play the type of tennis game the majority of people would want to own. But what they do have is a lot of trophies... they play a type of game that forces players that are not as consistant to beat them. They usually do not beat themselves... and that is a great tactic at many levels of tennis (Andy Murray?). This is why I like to have a PhD type player on my side of the court. Not so much a true pusher, hacker, dinker but a partner who is solid and dependable. As long as my partner can keep us in a firefight... I can usually find a way to win enough points to put up a "W".

By the way Cindy, it is very big of you to share this story... My stock in CindySphinx has gone way up.......

Thanks, Ripper. That's nice of you to say.

You know, we all need to learn to handle PhDs. Two years ago, I would have been destroyed by PhDs. But I played a lot of 6.5 combo, which is where I learned how to play PhDs. Karen probably will need to sign on for 6.5 combo, but I don't know if she is up for it. Maybe I'll suggest it. Just not now. :)

Ripper014
01-13-2010, 11:46 AM
Thanks, Ripper. That's nice of you to say.

You know, we all need to learn to handle PhDs. Two years ago, I would have been destroyed by PhDs. But I played a lot of 6.5 combo, which is where I learned how to play PhDs. Karen probably will need to sign on for 6.5 combo, but I don't know if she is up for it. Maybe I'll suggest it. Just not now. :)


Not so nice... just stating the obvious.

If playing 6.5 combo is moving down... I don't think many people are open to playing down.

Winning at all levels is being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and those of your opponents... sometimes you have too much game for your opponent and there is nothing they can do. Other times it is your turn to earn the "L"... the challenge is finding ways to compete when you are in trouble... whether it is a case of the other team being better or when you are playing less than your best. Consider it a puzzle... and enjoy the process of figuring it out, rely on your playing experience to learn (and relearn) different ways to overcome a difficult match or bad day.

Basic strategy is don't change something that is working... and if it is not working don't be afraid to try something different.

Topaz
01-13-2010, 12:15 PM
^^^I learned a lot playing 6.5 and 7.5 combo last year.

I was undefeated when I was the weaker player, but struggled when I was the stronger player. I was solid enough to not lose the match, but not strong enough to win one.

Make any sense? lol

cak
01-13-2010, 05:02 PM
Thanks for coming back with the answer Cindy. I gotta admit, through this thread I was going back and forth. I was thinking I'd go for Karen too, because I'm the consistent one, but I appreciate a partner that can put it away. So then I was really torn. I think for a long time my partner was a Karen, and we did okay. She also had trouble with the soft game, but I actually prefer the soft game, so it evened out. But then as I moved up I got someone much more consistent, and it made a huge difference in my game.

Solat
01-14-2010, 01:52 AM
i haven't read all the replies but from all your posts i have read, being the avid follower of the life and times of Cindysphinx, you seem to want to play "proper" tennis. That is aggressive doubles, you are always looking for the best way to improve yourself and your team.

By the sounds of these players your confidence is higher with Karen, you can play more of the tennis you like to play, whether you win or lose is hopefully second to your enjoyment of being out there in the first place. If you feel you can't play your ideal "A" game with Melissa then you probably wont feel like are achieving your personal goals.

Cindysphinx
01-18-2010, 06:40 PM
OK, allow me to hop back in here to give Melissa her props.

I played a 7.5 combo match. Opponents were a 4.0 and a 3.5, neither of whom hit with pace or had great mobility. I could tell these were Placement Players. They lacked the tools to beat us. Nor would they give us the match with UEs. They could only win if we beat ourselves.

Melissa played great. Steady, steady, steady. Some of the points were quite long, with multiple balls going to Melissa and opponents obviously steering balls to her. No problem. Melissa simply out-steadied them until they either sent me something I could hit or Melissa found a cute angle. We won.

This is the first time I have beaten a 7.5 pair when I had another 3.5 player (instead of a 4.0) by my side.

Score another one for the Melissas of the world . . . .

Mdubb23
01-18-2010, 06:42 PM
It is Evert

Jim Rome, buddy.

Mdubb23
01-18-2010, 06:46 PM
Honestly, Cindy, from the way you've described each, it sounds like it's basically 50-50 between who you would benefit more with, depending on your opponents. If I were you, I would choose the one it's easier for you to get along with, who you would think would be more likely to will you along through a comeback, who you in general have more charisma with.

Ripper014
01-18-2010, 06:48 PM
OK, allow me to hop back in here to give Melissa her props.

I played a 7.5 combo match. Opponents were a 4.0 and a 3.5, neither of whom hit with pace or had great mobility. I could tell these were Placement Players. They lacked the tools to beat us. Nor would they give us the match with UEs. They could only win if we beat ourselves.

Melissa played great. Steady, steady, steady. Some of the points were quite long, with multiple balls going to Melissa and opponents obviously steering balls to her. No problem. Melissa simply out-steadied them until they either sent me something I could hit or Melissa found a cute angle. We won.

This is the first time I have beaten a 7.5 pair when I had another 3.5 player (instead of a 4.0) by my side.

Score another one for the Melissas of the world . . . .


Nice to hear Melissa is playing well... congrats on your win.

Gemini
01-19-2010, 05:06 AM
OK, allow me to hop back in here to give Melissa her props.

I played a 7.5 combo match. Opponents were a 4.0 and a 3.5, neither of whom hit with pace or had great mobility. I could tell these were Placement Players. They lacked the tools to beat us. Nor would they give us the match with UEs. They could only win if we beat ourselves.

Melissa played great. Steady, steady, steady. Some of the points were quite long, with multiple balls going to Melissa and opponents obviously steering balls to her. No problem. Melissa simply out-steadied them until they either sent me something I could hit or Melissa found a cute angle. We won.

This is the first time I have beaten a 7.5 pair when I had another 3.5 player (instead of a 4.0) by my side.

Score another one for the Melissas of the world . . . .

Glad to hear that you and Melissa pulled it off. Good luck with your future match-ups.

athiker
01-19-2010, 07:02 AM
Thanks for the updates...very interesting. Of course one match does not a season make, but still interesting. Have fun.

equinox
01-19-2010, 07:44 AM
Are they planning on sharing a bed or something?

spaceman_spiff
01-20-2010, 03:59 AM
I think you should give Karen another chance, but go into the match with a different mentality.

I love playing with an aggressive partner (men's or mixed) because it allows me to tone down my own aggression a bit when I'm in the backcourt. If I'm serving or returning, I take comfort knowing that I don't have to win the point by myself; all I have to do is hit a solid setup shot. If the other team hits something weak or predictable, I know my partner is going for the kill. If they don't, I just go for another setup shot, and so on until one of us ends up with a chance to put the point away. Much less pressure on me.

And, when my partner is serving or returning, I know there's a good chance he/she will end up setting me up for easy putaways, as long as he/she relaxes and knows that I'll be looking for the kill.

It's all about the one-two punch. One sets it up, and nothing more (don't overhit). The other puts it away, which should be easy(ish) if the setup was good. Despite any UE's, I usually win with an aggressive partner, often quite easily, without having to hit many winners myself (unless my partner is also having a good day in the setup department).

I think the problem you had in the match with Karen is that neither of you adjusted your aggression. You probably both played as though you were going to win the points by yourself (rally, setup, and putaway, or just attempted winners from bad positions), which is common with aggressive players. Anytime you go into a doubles match with that mentality and have an off day, you're going to make a lot of UE's.

Heck, even on a good day, you can make a lot of UE's with that mentality. I lost a match once with a partner who couldn't put a ball away to save her life (good consistency, absolutely no ability to end a point). I was playing really well, too: serves setting up all sorts of easy overheads, groundstrokes going in deep. But she was so ineffective at net, and our opponents were so aggressive, I ended up having to go for winners almost all the time. So, the UE count was pretty high that day.

Cindysphinx
01-20-2010, 06:56 AM
Oh, Karen and I will definitely have another go. Probably many more. Some good partnership are evident immediately, and others take some time to gel. I figure Karen and I will gel.

spaceman_spiff
01-20-2010, 07:26 AM
Oh, Karen and I will definitely have another go. Probably many more. Some good partnership are evident immediately, and others take some time to gel. I figure Karen and I will gel.

Be sure to think about that mentality as well. If you're nervous and playing like you have to win the points yourself, stop and remind yourself that you've got a partner just itching to step over and hit a winner. Remember, if your partner gets an easy putaway from one of your setup shots, that's just as good as you hitting a spectacular winner.

This always helps me calm down and just go for solid setup shots rather than something silly/above my level.