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Cindysphinx
09-22-2010, 06:48 PM
I have my very first 8.0 mixed match coming up. Against one of the top teams. I have a 4.5 partner I've never met, who looks like a doubles specialist.

How do I get myself into these jams, anyway?

All right. I have a game plan. I am going to park myself on the net and see if my partner can cover the whole court by himself. Me = 10% of court nearest where the net and the alley intersect. Him = everything else.

Any pointers on getting through this?

Did I mention that my serve has been a little dodgy lately?

Jracer77
09-22-2010, 07:15 PM
Good strategy there :), Also, run immediately to the other side when a lob goes up on your side, never double fault, never lunge for any balls across the middle when you are at net (your partner has that covered). You need to worry about keeping the ball in play, not hitting winners. When you have to hit a volley, try to make it a penetrating offensive volley (don't think you have to hit a winner). Hopefully you've learned to hit a high looping crooscourt groundstoke when needed off the opposing womens (usually slower) ball. This will keep the opposing net man from eating you alive when he's at net. Sometimes you have to go at the guy at net or down his line to keep him honest. Don't linger in no-mans land, like many women who mostly play with other women tend to do. Just a few things off the top of my head.

tennis tom
09-22-2010, 07:37 PM
Any pointers on getting through this?


Give your partner a call and tell him about your strategy. See what he thinks about it. Another alternative would be to sit on the bench and let your partner cover the whole court.

Nellie
09-22-2010, 08:22 PM
Your partner knows pretty much what to expect - no need to apologize for your skill set. Just have fun and play your game (maybe a little conservatively.)

!<-_->!
09-22-2010, 09:52 PM
Isn't mixed season over already?

spaceman_spiff
09-23-2010, 01:03 AM
Don't be afraid to step over and try to kill off points though.

If your partner is a 4.5, he should have a pretty good serve, which means he should be able to force some pretty weak floaters from the other team. If they're within easy reach, step over and put the point away. (Really give it a whack or go for the killer drop volley; don't just put it back in play.)

A good partner will have the ability to set you up with plenty of chances to put the point away, and he'll appreciate it if you do that from time to time. It saves him a lot of work.

kaissoz
09-23-2010, 02:17 AM
You are a really good game plan going :) I'm a 4.5 getting ready to play at 8.0 Nationals later this year. My partner has been coming through the ranks from the 2.5s (I believe just like you), and she's still getting a lot of coaching to this day.

This was her first year playing 8.0, and when I first partnered with her, she had the natural tendency to close the center and reach for balls there. That would be the right strategy in 3.5 women's doubles, but in mixed, it makes the situation a bit difficult because just reaching to put the ball back in play is not good enough, especially against strong pairings. now at best, you find yourself on the defensive when you probably had the edge in the rally until that point. Moreover, you leave the alley open, and the gap feels larger than it is to the opposing guy, since he doesn't feel the pressure from dealing with a world class volleyer.

Since then, I've asked her not only to stand a lot closer to the alley than she regularly does in women's, but also a lot closer to the net. That way if the guy wails the shot at her, even if she gets a frame on it, it could still go in. I don't serve and volley systematically as a result, since I might need to cover for the lob return. I ask her to stand a lot closer to the net than normal when I return as well, and close in right away unless my return is a floating lob, as the top pairings will very most likely try to go back to her right away.

When you are serving, yes, try never to double fault, and sometimes just putting a soft ball is the best serve. It gives your partner more time to fake or poach, and more time to your opponents to think about the return and miss... :) They might be able to wail the returns and hit winners at the start of the match, but they might not be able to do the same late in the set if the score is close.

When she returns, I'm often standing back, especially on the guy's serve, but also on the women's serve if the guy is a heavy poacher. If things aren't going well and you feel the court is too small on your returns, then perhaps you could suggest that to him.

Also, some people joke about the 3.5 women just putting her serve in and then going to sit on the bench... :) I haven't really tried that strategy to be honest, but I know my partner has been able to come out with great shots in clutch moments in the many close matches we've had so far. I'm not sure if she would have been able to do that if I had been overreaching for balls all day long, as I think it would have made her tighter as the match goes on.

In general, I feel attitude is one of the most important factor. you might end up being the obvious weakest player on the court if you are facing a 4.0/4.0 pairing, but your partner will understand your limitations. After all, he has limitations of his own as well. Don't get discouraged, nor intimidated, keep on trying your best. You might go through a spell where you feel you are completely over exposed and overmatched, only to hit a great shot at a clutch moment. Hopefully, your partner will fully recognize and acknowledge that when it happens, and try to keep the momentum going.

Good Luck!

J011yroger
09-23-2010, 03:01 AM
Wait...wait...wait...

You have been on here for four years, posting about playing in leagues, and doubles strategy, and now you are thinking of abandoning all of that just because of some stupid number attached to people you don't even know?

Ok, I usually play mixed with *very* good girls, so my perspective is a bit skewed, but this year I will likely be playing 9.0 with a 4.0 girl partner, and so maybe I can give you some insight on what I expect from her.

1. Positive attitude, and effort put forth. I don't want to hear about how good the other team is, I want to hear about how you are excited to go out and play them. I want your attitude about playing 9.0 to be "Heck yea! I get to play with a 5.0 guy and kick some ***!" not "Oh no I am going to have to play against 4.5 guys and get embarrassed."

2. Don't try to do stuff you can't do. Don't try to serve harder than you can, don't try to clobber balls that you can't clobber. Just serve your serve, return your return, and hit your shots. If your shot isn't good enough and I get pasted with a ball, it is no big deal, you say sorry, I shrug and say no worries, we play the next point, and I have a nice red mark I can show off after the match. Just like if my men's 5.0 partner sits up a ball and I get drilled, no big deal.

3. Don't not do the things you can do. Just like all players you have strengths and weaknesses, don't shy away from what you are good at, or be tentative on shots you can hit. If I hit a shot, and a floater comes back, put the thing away. It is a tennis ball, it doesn't know who hit it, it doesn't have some magical property when a 4.5 guy frames it and it comes floating back at 3mph. Put that sucker away and let's get on to the next point.

4. Keep trying no matter what, and only play this point. So important for both of you. It doesn't matter if you haven't gotten back any of the man's serves in this game or the last, when the next one comes, keep after it, and don't give up.

5. Be supportive of your partner. As the stronger player, a lot of the onus is on him. I know I can't double fault, I can't miss returns, and I have to steal points at the net that we have no business winning. So just like you are compiling your list of things you feel you have to do in the match, so is your partner. And from my perspective, his list is a bit more daunting.

a. Never, ever, lose your serve.
b. Do not miss shots.
c. While not missing any shots play as aggessively as possible with the intention of winning as many points outright as possible still without missing.

C is the tough one, where the guy has to find the fine line of seeing just how good a shot he can hit while never missing.

The thing to remember is that nobody (at least no rational person) is expecting you to do something you are not capable of. What they ask of you is that you perform up to your capabilities.

Yea, so my 4.0 girl partner can't return a 4.5 man's serve well. Who cares? I spent a set untangling myself out of the ^&*$*&@ curtain trying to return Todd Paul's lefty slice serve. We have all been there.

As the higher rated man your partner has a good chance of being the best player on the court. So he knows he can beat the other two players. That isn't what this is about. This is about seeing if the two of you can beat the two of them.

J

Cindysphinx
09-23-2010, 06:56 AM
That point about putting away volleys is a good one, but it is one of the bigger challenges in higher level mixed.

I mean, I stand there covering your section of alley, with my partner doing all the work. All I'm thinking about doing is a split step when they hit, and keeping my racket up. Finally, there is a floater. I desperately want that ball not to come back, but my opponents' court coverage is perfect and they have good hands. It's all I can do not take a massive backswing, and the pressure makes me too conservative.

Well, I am not going to lob, no matter what. I'll hit my serve and stay back. If they come up, I am going to play the ball as well as I can up the middle and hope my partner has very good hands!

spot
09-23-2010, 07:06 AM
Well, I am not going to lob, no matter what

Seriously? That sounds like a pretty terrible gameplan. I think one of the biggest things about playing mixed is for the woman to understand when she is in a defensive position and to hit a defensive shot. IF you get in trouble then your get out of jail free card is to lob the opposing woman and to make her try and take a couple steps back and hit an overhead or to make her partner cover that court behind her. If the guy is at net then crosscourt lob.

Cindysphinx
09-23-2010, 07:12 AM
I tend to start relying on lobs in situations for which they are inappropriate. I just get the lob yips. Better, I have found, is to drive the ball up the middle unless I truly don't have time to set up.

I mean, my choices are often to lob the woman off of the guy's groundstroke (very difficult to control) or lob the man off of the woman's groundstroke (which I can control but which he can often smash).

I dunno. Do you 4.5 guys who play mixed want your partner to lob?

GregOz
09-23-2010, 07:40 AM
I dunno. Do you 4.5 guys who play mixed want your partner to lob?

If I had a partner who said she wouldn't lob, I'd find a new partner. At every level of the game you want your partner to play the right shot at the right time - regardless of which shot that might be.

cneblett
09-23-2010, 07:48 AM
Lob if it is right shot. I actually will tell my partner on returns to try and lob the return down the line, go down the line on a return, etc. It helps her know that I am ok with the shot. If they hit a short lob, no problem, I will try and get the h$%%# out of dodge. Returning the womens server with a down the line lob, if you can hit it deep is a good play because it will often have the other women hitting on the run, and I can poach and blast the putaway. The most important part of this is to hit it deep enough. If you do it early and well you can start to keep the partner more at home.

JRstriker12
09-23-2010, 08:09 AM
Time to give your partner a call and see what he wants to do.

IMHO - I prefer an active partner in mixed. I'd rather my partner stay at net, go for volleys and shots - and miss, rather than make themselves small, sit on one area, and yell "yours"....

Then again, I'm only 4.0.

Cindy, if I were you - I'd stay agressive and just be ready for any weak shots that come back after your 4.5 parter hits his shots.

If you play timid, the other team will pick on you all match. If you show that you can smack a few volleys, they they will feel like they have no safe place to go after your partner hits the ball and they may make a few more mistakes or feel like they have to go for more than they should -(my two cents).

Spokewench
09-23-2010, 08:15 AM
Wait...wait...wait...

You have been on here for four years, posting about playing in leagues, and doubles strategy, and now you are thinking of abandoning all of that just because of some stupid number attached to people you don't even know?

Ok, I usually play mixed with *very* good girls, so my perspective is a bit skewed, but this year I will likely be playing 9.0 with a 4.0 girl partner, and so maybe I can give you some insight on what I expect from her.

1. Positive attitude, and effort put forth. I don't want to hear about how good the other team is, I want to hear about how you are excited to go out and play them. I want your attitude about playing 9.0 to be "Heck yea! I get to play with a 5.0 guy and kick some ***!" not "Oh no I am going to have to play against 4.5 guys and get embarrassed."

2. Don't try to do stuff you can't do. Don't try to serve harder than you can, don't try to clobber balls that you can't clobber. Just serve your serve, return your return, and hit your shots. If your shot isn't good enough and I get pasted with a ball, it is no big deal, you say sorry, I shrug and say no worries, we play the next point, and I have a nice red mark I can show off after the match. Just like if my men's 5.0 partner sits up a ball and I get drilled, no big deal.

3. Don't not do the things you can do. Just like all players you have strengths and weaknesses, don't shy away from what you are good at, or be tentative on shots you can hit. If I hit a shot, and a floater comes back, put the thing away. It is a tennis ball, it doesn't know who hit it, it doesn't have some magical property when a 4.5 guy frames it and it comes floating back at 3mph. Put that sucker away and let's get on to the next point.

4. Keep trying no matter what, and only play this point. So important for both of you. It doesn't matter if you haven't gotten back any of the man's serves in this game or the last, when the next one comes, keep after it, and don't give up.

5. Be supportive of your partner. As the stronger player, a lot of the onus is on him. I know I can't double fault, I can't miss returns, and I have to steal points at the net that we have no business winning. So just like you are compiling your list of things you feel you have to do in the match, so is your partner. And from my perspective, his list is a bit more daunting.

a. Never, ever, lose your serve.
b. Do not miss shots.
c. While not missing any shots play as aggessively as possible with the intention of winning as many points outright as possible still without missing.

C is the tough one, where the guy has to find the fine line of seeing just how good a shot he can hit while never missing.

The thing to remember is that nobody (at least no rational person) is expecting you to do something you are not capable of. What they ask of you is that you perform up to your capabilities.

Yea, so my 4.0 girl partner can't return a 4.5 man's serve well. Who cares? I spent a set untangling myself out of the ^&*$*&@ curtain trying to return Todd Paul's lefty slice serve. We have all been there.

As the higher rated man your partner has a good chance of being the best player on the court. So he knows he can beat the other two players. That isn't what this is about. This is about seeing if the two of you can beat the two of them.

J

I absolutely love your attitude! This is the way it should be.

Ripper014
09-23-2010, 08:24 AM
Doubles is doubles... the problem for some of us is mixed as has been mentioned in other threads. I personally struggle playing mixed doubles because I don't have the ability to aggressively go after the woman when the opportunity arises.

Now to answer your question... playing doubles is pretty straight forward, you want to play to their weaknesses and away from their strengths. I think you can assume that you will be seeing a lot more balls than you normally see... so put yourself in positions on the court which are more favorable for you. As you said closer to the net, and when you have opportunity go after your shots and punish the net person who has less time to react.

Play within your own comfort level and communicate with your partner so you know how much court he can comfortably cover. He may be the better player but even he cannot win a match alone. Keep a high percentage of your first serves in... and play every return away from the net person... either over or around them. Lob deep... your partner will appreciate something out more than being hit with an overhead off a short ball.

In other words... just play... you are not going to get any better between now and your match. Your best option is to build better communications between you and your partner.

spaceman_spiff
09-23-2010, 08:32 AM
That point about putting away volleys is a good one, but it is one of the bigger challenges in higher level mixed.

I mean, I stand there covering your section of alley, with my partner doing all the work. All I'm thinking about doing is a split step when they hit, and keeping my racket up. Finally, there is a floater. I desperately want that ball not to come back, but my opponents' court coverage is perfect and they have good hands. It's all I can do not take a massive backswing, and the pressure makes me too conservative.


Just keep in mind that, if a floater is coming your way, your partner wants you to end the point, not just conservatively keep the ball in play. As long as you're playing smart shots, he shouldn't get mad if you miss. Just keep it simple: hard at the feet of the net man/woman, hard through the hole, or short angle away from the net man/woman. He might get mad if you're going for shots he's in a better position to hit, but that's a completely different issue.

When in doubt, smash it hard down the middle. If it comes back, it'll most likely be weak and you'll at least have given your partner more time to get to the net so that you're both set up to put away the next shot. Plus, showing that you're not afraid to smash it (with smart shots) puts more pressure on your opponents: if it goes to your partner, he'll smash it; if it goes to you, you'll smash it; there's no escape.

Now, if you're trading forehands with the other man from the baseline, it might not be a bad idea to lob DTL over the lady just to change things up. The odds of you beating the guy in a forehand rally are low, especially if the guy isn't giving your partner anything to pick off. Lobbing over the lady allows you to change the point, taking away some of the angles the guy has to work with and forcing him to beat you with his backhand. Or, it could simply give you loads of time to approach the net and force the guy to come up with something special.

JoelDali
09-23-2010, 09:42 AM
Another 1 star for cindy ... :(

Disgraceful thread rater is back.

http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/12700000/heartbroken-sad-songs-12767085-288-396.gif

sphinx780
09-23-2010, 09:45 AM
I think Jo11y summed it up best...don't go into the match expecting to do anything other than what you normally do. Play your game, and know that you're partner will be playing his...

So what if you are playing 8.0...you and your partner are an 8.0 team together so there should be no worries on level issues...your opponents won't be 2 4.5 players. If they're both 4.0...you have a stronger player on your side then either one of them. It all evens out.

Just remember, the doubles strategy's you have used to win matches up to this point still apply...stick with smart tennis and you'll be right in there.

J011yroger
09-23-2010, 11:05 AM
I tend to start relying on lobs in situations for which they are inappropriate. I just get the lob yips. Better, I have found, is to drive the ball up the middle unless I truly don't have time to set up.

I mean, my choices are often to lob the woman off of the guy's groundstroke (very difficult to control) or lob the man off of the woman's groundstroke (which I can control but which he can often smash).

I dunno. Do you 4.5 guys who play mixed want your partner to lob?

Heck yea!

Lob away.

As a player, I like my chances of cutting down a passing shot from a woman two levels lower than me, and I can barely volley to save my life.

If you can lob and get it in the back 1/3 of the court, that is probably your best bet.

Might not be a bad idea to adopt a continental grip and block/lob the man's serve back too.

Basically, if your lob is good and you lob normally in womens dubs, lob in 8.0.

If your lob sucks in womans dubs and you only hit passing shots there, then only hit passes in 8.0.

Don't try to do what you can't do, and don't not do what you can.

People miss overheads all the time. I do it with astonishing frequency.

Give it a shot.

Especially if your opponent misses a few in the warmup.

J

J011yroger
09-23-2010, 11:09 AM
I absolutely love your attitude! This is the way it should be.

Thanks! Now I just need to find a ringer 4.0 girl dumb enough to play with me!

lol

J

Tarboro
09-23-2010, 11:56 AM
I've not played mixed in some time, but one of the most frustrating parts of playing doubles in general is how effective a desperation lob return is off a good serve. When I hit a good serve, particularly to my female opponent, I'm anticipating a weak return that my partner can put away, if it even comes back at all. If she just sticks her racquet out and hits a defensive lob, my partner is completely out of the point, she has time to recover from the awkward position my serve left her in, and I'm left with a dilemma: hit something semi-defensive back and lose the advantage of serving or try to hit a big shot off a high-bouncing lob with no spin.

LuckyR
09-23-2010, 02:00 PM
Another vote for just going out and playing doubles like you do regularly. By choosing to do 8.0 mixed with a 4.5 guy and 3.5 girl, you guys have chosen the most unbalanced team that is realistically possible. Naturally the other team is going to figure that out in about 1 - 2 minutes, so even though you are going to take only "10%" of the court (actually you are responsible for more than that, as you know), you are likely to get >> 10% of the action.

As such, your partner should be fine with that, since you guys agreed to the teaming. In my experience more well balanced teams tend to do better so it will interesting to see how you guys do.

Good luck!

Xisbum
09-23-2010, 02:38 PM
Then again, I'm only 4.0.



Correction: "I'm only sandbagging at 4.0."

LOL, good buddy, LOL.

JRstriker12
09-23-2010, 03:33 PM
Correction: "I'm only sandbagging at 4.0."

LOL, good buddy, LOL.

LOL! touche'

Angle Queen
09-23-2010, 04:47 PM
Wow. This thread has some of the most level-headed advice/strategy I've seen on forums in a long time.

Cindy...I think you're over-analyzing this. It's doubles. Ok, on steroids...but it's still doubles. And that means it's about teamwork. Ask your partner what he likes/wants. That gives you two big brownie points: you know how men (ok, that's sexist...but IMHO, true) like to be treated as if they're the best part of the partnership (and in this case, given the NTRP ratings...it's probably quite accurate ;) )...and, more importantly, you've taken the first step in setting up the lines of communication that are needed to make any partnership successful. Even play a practice or scrimmage match if you can...even against some of his other 4.5 buddies. It'll get you used to the significantly increased pace that I think you'll see. And ask for...and try to take his comments, suggestions, corrections in stride. It should be a good learning experience for YOU!

I had to play 8.0 (as a medium-level 3.5) last January...and, even though I lost all three matches, they were close. While I was definitely the least skilled player on the court, I surprised my opponents...and myself...with some of the things I was capable of.

Also, as I'm sure you've seen over the years, some of the most frustrating teams/pairs to play are the ones with the most disparate skills/styles. You never know what you're going to get: pace, no pace...angle, depth...or a plethora of mishits...that just seem to have a way of dropping in.

Attitude is everything. Just go for it!

J011yroger
09-23-2010, 06:29 PM
^^^ In addition, don't be afraid to tell the guy, "I like to do/am good at A, B, and C, but I don't like to do/am not very good at X, Y, and Z"

That way if I know you don't like to lob I won't suggest lobbing the return, and if I know you like to be active at the net I can say "Hey, I am just going to belt this one right at him, and you poach."

J

AlpineCadet
09-24-2010, 12:01 AM
Wait, what? Someone is playing 9.0 with a 4.0 partner? I recently watched an 8.0 mixed match and BOTH rivals obviously played college tennis. I saw things I shouldn't have seen in this town, and both sides looked evenly paired. My world is unfolding here on TTW, and I'm about to call TW_Staff/Mods on this one, seriously. :shock::confused::evil:

travlerajm
09-24-2010, 01:23 AM
I've played a lot of 8.0 league, playing as a strong 4.5, usually with weak 3.5 partners. I've manged to win nearly 90% of my matches.

The one thing that is critical for the 3.5 gal to realize is that she absolutely MUST hug the net. If you take a few steps back and worry about covering the lob, you will become the target, and you will lose.

You MUST be closer to the net than your partner when both of you are at net - this will help tempt your opponents to hit to your partner instead of playing the 2-on-1 game against you.

Don't worry about covering the lob - if your partner is a strong 4.5, he should have no trouble rolling across behind you for the smash.

If your partner is righthanded, I highly recommend playing Aussie on deuce points when he serves. This will discourage your opponent from simply lobbing you on returns (because then your partner can always cover the lob over your head with a regular overhead). Also, if your partner is righthanded, he should play the ad side on return games. This will again take away the lobs - and you should start either all the way at net or all the way back when your partner returns.

travlerajm
09-24-2010, 01:30 AM
In my experience more well balanced teams tend to do better so it will interesting to see how you guys do.

Good luck!

This is not my experience at all!

I've been to sectionals several times at 8.0. The best teams are always the ones with the best 4.5 guy. A strong 4.5 (aka 5.0) can usually dominate two strong 4.0s and take over the match.

I've also been to sectionals several times at 9.0, where the opposite is true. The team with the best gal on the court usually wins at the 9.0 level. This is because at 9.0, all players are usually good enough to be able to pick on a weak player and it's harder for one player to take over the match, so your gal needs to be strong.

Angle Queen
09-24-2010, 03:34 AM
I've played a lot of 8.0 league, playing as a strong 4.5, usually with weak 3.5 partners. I've manged to win nearly 90% of my matches.I'm surprised you can't find a strong 3.5 partner to play with. Ya'll would be unstoppable. :-P

...

Also, if your partner is righthanded, he should play the ad side on return games. Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling it the "ad" side. I'm so tired of my tennis GFs calling it the "backhand" or "forehand" side -- of course, it all depends on which is a player's dominant hand...and that fact aside, in my experience, the deuce side player hits as many critical backhands, particularly on service returns...where it's either a difficult inside-out, crosscourt return...or the even harder DTL/alley shot from a serve up the T.

And for goodness sakes, the stronger player -- all-around -- should be playing the ad side on return games. Let's face it, it's the "money" point. You won't believe how many women I play with who insist on playing the ad side in even-level Mixed...or worse...Combo.

By all means, Jolly...or Traveler...if you're ever in the Richmond VA area...we need to hook up and play a few mixed rounds with some of the screwed up mixed teams around here. I'm sure I could learn a lot from you two. Your attitudes seem terrific. :)

Cindysphinx
09-24-2010, 04:22 AM
I'm surprised you can't find a strong 3.5 partner to play with. Ya'll would be unstoppable. :-P

I think I know the problem: All 3.5s are weak! :)


Thank you, thank you, thank you for calling it the "ad" side. I'm so tired of my tennis GFs calling it the "backhand" or "forehand" side

I played tennis for about three years before I could figure out what on earth people were talking about when they said BH or FH side. I mean, when I play ad side, I can go the whole match without hitting a BH groundstroke. What then?

And for goodness sakes, the stronger player -- all-around -- should be playing the ad side on return games. Let's face it, it's the "money" point.

Yes, generally this is true. But I have found it is best to let the weaker play ad side when:

1. That is the side she says is her stronger side. I violated this rule once (after we lost the first set with me playing deuce). I suggested we switch. At which point I learned that my partner was helpless to hit any BH service return. So they served her up the middle the remainder of the match. Whoops. And when I started playing 7.0 mixed, I took the ad side because I had no crosscourt FH but could go inside out.

2. When my partner has no, zip, nada BH volley. If we put that BH volley in the middle, we have a problem as balls zip past my partner's ear but she either doesn't take them or buries them in the net.

LuckyR
09-24-2010, 07:14 AM
This is not my experience at all!

I've been to sectionals several times at 8.0. The best teams are always the ones with the best 4.5 guy. A strong 4.5 (aka 5.0) can usually dominate two strong 4.0s and take over the match.

I've also been to sectionals several times at 9.0, where the opposite is true. The team with the best gal on the court usually wins at the 9.0 level. This is because at 9.0, all players are usually good enough to be able to pick on a weak player and it's harder for one player to take over the match, so your gal needs to be strong.


I don't doubt that at Sectionals/Nationals your observation is absolutely correct. Certainly having a true 5.0 matching up against two 4.0s is going to be a blood bath, though many would find that the 5.0 wasn't hitting very many balls.

I wasn't refering to that, I was refering to a true 4.5 (middle of the pack) paired with a true 3.5 gal (also average) going up against two 4.0s (also average).

I play against folks who are truly a 0.5 better than myself in doubles all the time and they are not dominating the match, trust me.

spot
09-24-2010, 09:57 AM
And for goodness sakes, the stronger player -- all-around -- should be playing the ad side on return games

I couldn't disagree any more with this. The only thing that matters on the ad/deuce thing is which formation will get your team return serve better. If the girl is better at Ad then let her play ad. I'll just put it this way- I'd easily rather have the girl receiving ont he ad side with a chance to break than with the guy receiving on the Ad side where the other team has a chance to hold. Winning more points is the key thing.

kylebarendrick
09-24-2010, 10:33 AM
At the 2010 US Open, Bob Bryan partnered with Liezel Huber in the mixed doubles. Clearly Bob is the stronger player and the stronger returner. He played the deuce court on returns. I presume this was based on where he felt most comfortable since he plays the deuce side in men's doubles as well.

sphinx780
09-24-2010, 11:07 AM
^ Plus one on that, it depends on where each is most comfortable returning...as a 4.5 playing with my wife, a 3.5...I played the Deuce return, getting us ahead in most service games right out of the gate instead of having to dig out each time.

Over the past 4 years, we were right on the 70% win mark.

J011yroger
09-24-2010, 12:06 PM
By all means, Jolly...or Traveler...if you're ever in the Richmond VA area...we need to hook up and play a few mixed rounds with some of the screwed up mixed teams around here. I'm sure I could learn a lot from you two. Your attitudes seem terrific. :)

Attitude...check.

Actual doubles play...Needs improvement.

lol.

I will let you know if I come down that way, actually will start a thread. I did a similar thing going north last year, and it was a ton of fun, and met a bunch of cool posters.

J

Cindysphinx
09-24-2010, 05:35 PM
OK, that did not go well at all. We lost, -2 and -2.

On the bright side, my 4.5 partner was an absolute doll. Very supportive and kind, good attitude. I was tempted to look at him while he hit because I just couldn't understand the things he could do with the ball. Unreal.

And that's it for the bright side, pretty much.

It was awful. We played the team that won the division this spring. Our 4.0 female opponent did not miss a single ball in the warm-up (!). That's right, 15 minutes of warming up with every ball spot on target. Her serve was really good, too. I think in many ways she was stronger than her 4.0 partner. She played ad court and did a lot more damage against us than he did.

In the first set, I was All Errors All The Time. I couldn't handle the guy's serve, meaning that I could touch it but I couldn't do anything but pop it up or send it to the net player. In the second set, I returned a little better, but then he poached and I had no answer for that. Lobbing the return worked well, but I can't guarantee a decent success rate with that.

I did do my job when my partner served, in that I finished points decently. Still, too many balls went unplayed down the middle because I was being too conservative. On my own serve, I held once per set by hitting serves with as much spin on them as possible -- they would return them defensively and my partner would finish. Trouble is, I had too many DF at really bad times and first-ball errors.

I have to say, I regret having signed up for this team. Returning is my biggest weakness, and I am just not ready for serves of the strength I saw tonight. Geez, I was under relentless pressure the whole time, trying to hit lobs and passing shots. And when I hit a good drive and came in, the woman *ripped* the ball right past me -- I never touched it once. Being the weakest player on the court is not my idea of a good time. It's just embarrassing.

I think I will go wash this bad taste out of my mouth with Tequila.

Cindysphinx
09-24-2010, 05:46 PM
Wait!! Wait!! Tennislink may have saved my massive ego.

I looked up my 4.0 female opponent. Get this:

For 2010, she is 29-0 in 4.0 singles, including five wins at districts and sectionals. She is headed to nationals.

She is 4-0 in 9.0 mixed.

She is 3-0 in 8.5 ladies combo.

She is 3-1 in 4.5 ladies doubles.

She is 3-2 in 4.5 ladies singles tournaments. She doesn't even bother playing 4.0 in tournaments -- must be too boring.

Well then. I guess I should count myself lucky that I held a couple of times against someone like that. Dang.

JoelDali
09-24-2010, 05:51 PM
Well at least you tried.

Imagine the 4.5 guys playing the Bryan Brothers.

It hurts to suck at all levels.

Angle Queen
09-24-2010, 06:27 PM
Wow, Cindy. Given the situation, I don't think -2 and -2 was all that bad. I mean...you two were a new partnership and it was clearly a step up in level of play for you. Hats off to you for trying it. And I'm sorry you're regretting it. Your captain had to know you and your abilities (and the lack thereof?) but still wanted/accepted you on the team. Take that for what it's worth and run with it. Learn everything you can from playing "up," hold your head high (or duck if they're really gunnin' for ya)...and have a good time. It's just tennis. :-P

And I'm glad to see some honest discourse here over stronger/weaker players and which side they should play. I'll still stand by my earlier opinion, especially given the generalities we usually speak of...but know there are always exceptions. Husbands and wives who've played together for many years have it worked out and know who plays best where. 'Nuf said on that one. As for Bob and Liezel...well...when you're two of the top doubles players in the world...I guess they can play on whatever the he77 side they want to too. Besides, with Bob as a lefty...that setup made them incredibly strong up the middle.

J011yroger
09-24-2010, 06:37 PM
Ummmm Cindy....when you get the opportunity to be the weakest player on the court, I humbly suggest you leap at it.

To regret signing up for a team that just provided you a HUGE learning experience, seems a little...I don't know what it is.

J

Edberg
09-24-2010, 06:41 PM
Sandabaggers are pathetic losers. People that play up want to be better than they are. Everyone else just deals with these tools.

I play up because I like a huge challenge.

decades
09-24-2010, 06:46 PM
At the 2010 US Open, Bob Bryan partnered with Liezel Huber in the mixed doubles. Clearly Bob is the stronger player and the stronger returner. He played the deuce court on returns. I presume this was based on where he felt most comfortable since he plays the deuce side in men's doubles as well.


my theory is that the stronger player on the deuce side can make the team succeed. I play with a guy who is usually always better than his partner and he plays the deuce side all the time. I tried to figure out why.

one, the inside out backhand return is a tough return and he can do more with it than the other player.
two, he has a very good backhand overhead so he can take overheads that are toward the ad side of the court.
three it allows the weaker player to hit mostly forehands provided they position themselves correctly.
four this goes to my last point. this guy covers way more ground meaning he can pin the weaker player to left side of the court where they can focus on hitting forehands.
five if he can deliver some ad points and put break point pressure on the sever by doing well on the deuce side, the weaker player may get lucky with a second serve and take the point.

this guy is pretty ruthless about his doubles. He always attacks the weaker player on the other side.

kylebarendrick
09-24-2010, 09:56 PM
I guess I have a simplistic view...

If you take the stronger player and put them on the side where they are less effective and then put the weaker player on the side where they will be less effective, I can't help but think this makes the overall doubles team less effective.

There may be some synergies between specific people that can benefit from having both players on their weaker side, but that is likely the exception rather than the rule.

XFactorer
09-24-2010, 11:02 PM
I'm playing my first 9.0 match this Sunday with a partner I've never played with. I'm also signed up for 8.0 mixed, too. I'm excited.

My main strategy is to hit to the weaker player; in most cases it will be the female player. And I will treat her equally. So, if I hit it at a male player, I will hit it at a female player. Male/female is a non-issue for me. We're all just tennis players and it's a smart play to keep it to the weaker player.

AlpineCadet
09-25-2010, 01:31 AM
This thread is unreal.

Cindysphinx
09-25-2010, 05:44 AM
I'm playing my first 9.0 match this Sunday with a partner I've never played with. I'm also signed up for 8.0 mixed, too. I'm excited.

My main strategy is to hit to the weaker player; in most cases it will be the female player. And I will treat her equally. So, if I hit it at a male player, I will hit it at a female player. Male/female is a non-issue for me. We're all just tennis players and it's a smart play to keep it to the weaker player.

They certainly had no reservations about hitting the ball at me. This worked well early on, but then I started doing some serious net-hugging and put away some balls so they thought better of it.

The thing they kept doing to my poor partner is lobbing over me in the ad court while he was moving to net. This was really frustrating for me, because I would never ever allow this in ladies doubles. I would adjust and play farther back. But no, I needed to keep up my net hugging ways so they didn't pass me, and my partner confirmed that this is what they wanted us to do. He would often get a racket on these balls, but he didn't always hit an offensive shot and they would make him pay. When they broke him, that's how they did it.

Cindysphinx
09-25-2010, 05:48 AM
You know what else was weird?

No one announced the score. Sometimes my partner would announce it at 30-all, but I didn't hear it at other times.

So I played the whole match with no clear idea what the score was, as I have trouble keeping track of the score. I would ask my partner now and then, but I didn't want to bug him too much. I would know a game ended when one team handed the balls to the other.

Is that typical among higher-level players?

tennis tom
09-25-2010, 07:53 AM
No one announced the score. Sometimes my partner would announce it at 30-all, but I didn't hear it at other times.

Is that typical among higher-level players?

Yes.

It's important to know the score because your shot selection is based on the percentages. If you're ahead 30-0, 40-0, or 40-15, you should be poaching. If you're even or behind on the score, you should be playing a safe return.

tennis tom
09-25-2010, 07:58 AM
The thing they kept doing to my poor partner is lobbing over me in the ad court while he was moving to net.

Living proof of why the "one up/ one back" strategy doesn't work.

AceKing
09-25-2010, 11:08 AM
Living proof of why the "one up/ one back" strategy doesn't work.

Just the opposite actually. This (lobbing the weaker net person) is one of the situations where it would work well.

XFactorer
09-25-2010, 12:05 PM
They certainly had no reservations about hitting the ball at me. This worked well early on, but then I started doing some serious net-hugging and put away some balls so they thought better of it.

The thing they kept doing to my poor partner is lobbing over me in the ad court while he was moving to net. This was really frustrating for me, because I would never ever allow this in ladies doubles. I would adjust and play farther back. But no, I needed to keep up my net hugging ways so they didn't pass me, and my partner confirmed that this is what they wanted us to do. He would often get a racket on these balls, but he didn't always hit an offensive shot and they would make him pay. When they broke him, that's how they did it.

Oh, suck. however, I might have to employ that in my game this Sunday. I like to lob, but quite often I do it at inappropriate times if I have lots of time to think about it. The times that I do hit a good, winner lob is when I'm on the run and I'm basically backed against the wall (figuratively).

I'm thinking about ripping it to the net player plenty of times. I figure my rips are fast and low enough that A) partner can put-away-volley it out of the air or B) it won't come back over.

But, then again, I'm afraid the net player will get hit. And it'll look worse (for some reason) if it's the girl that gets hit. But, I dunno the etiquette and intricacies of competitive mixed doubles. This is my first season and I've been recruited to two teams.

pennc94
09-25-2010, 12:55 PM
My experience is that a 8.0 mixed partnership where the male has a 4.5 rating and his female partner has a 3.5 rating is doomed to failure unless the male is nearly a 5.0 or a recent 5.0 bump-down. This is not very fun tennis nor does is it serve any developmental purpose. You end up not playing like a doubles team using traditional doubles strategy (setting up your partner). You end up playing to cover the weaker partner and/or preventing your opponents from exploiting the weaker player.

Oh yeah, I have noticed at lower level matches I have watched how the score is over-announced. Also, lower-rated teams LOVE flipping those game score cards at the net - even before the change over! Not sure why that is.

tennis tom
09-25-2010, 04:51 PM
Just the opposite actually. This (lobbing the weaker net person) is one of the situations where it would work well.

Living proof of why the "one up/ one back" strategy doesn't work.


The thing they kept doing to my poor partner is lobbing over me in the ad court while he was moving to net....

... I needed to keep up my net hugging ways so they didn't pass me,..

He would often get a racket on these balls, but he didn't always hit an offensive shot and they would make him pay. When they broke him, that's how they did it.

Just the opposite actually. This (lobbing the weaker net person) is one of the situations where it would work well.

Yes it was working against Cindy's team in favor of their opponents, that's what I was saying, is that what you're saying?

J011yroger
09-25-2010, 05:21 PM
Is that typical among higher-level players?

Yes, in men's 5.0 and men's open, and some invitation only money tournaments I have played, the score is almost never announced.

I can't speak for anything else.

J

Jracer77
09-25-2010, 05:53 PM
Yes, in men's 5.0 and men's open, and some invitation only money tournaments I have played, the score is almost never announced.

I can't speak for anything else.

J

Geeez.....you just never stop do ya? As a self rated 5.0 who never won a 5.0 match and I doubt was never invited to play in an invitation only money tournament, I'm sure you CAN speak with authority about scores being announced with all those recent close matches you had with lowly 3.5 and 4.0 players. Dude, people like you make my skin crawl and I'll be glad to tell you that to your face if I ever meet you.

Jracer77
09-25-2010, 06:19 PM
Digest this. That 4.5 league player you lost to on April 11th proceeded to go 1-3 in USTA 4.5 adult league singles. You can always be counted on for your periodic buffoonery....no doubt.

J011yroger
09-25-2010, 06:30 PM
You can always be counted on for your periodic buffoonery....no doubt.

Thank you for your tireless support through thick and thin, and your wishes of good luck, in the upcoming mixed season for me.

Hopefully I will put up some good results in my next few tournaments before the national and finish the year in the top 5 of my section.

I am new to league play, but I am confident that I can post a better record in 5.0 next year due to your support and encouragement.

J

Jracer77
09-25-2010, 06:49 PM
Thank you for your tireless support through thick and thin, and your wishes of good luck, in the upcoming mixed season for me.

Hopefully I will put up some good results in my next few tournaments before the national and finish the year in the top 5 of my section.

I am new to league play, but I am confident that I can post a better record in 5.0 next year due to your support and encouragement.

J

Well , actually since I wasn't born yesterday I know that those rankings are next to meaningless. Your 5-14 record this year in weak tournaments has gotten you your current ranking because nobody plays the amount tournaments you do. I doubt they have any desire to get some inflated ranking by playing tons of tournaments as you do.

AlpineCadet
09-25-2010, 10:17 PM
The internet is a place to feel safe when you're living your internet life. Whether you're a 4/5/5.0/Open player, just keep us updated with your progress. :)

Turbo
09-25-2010, 10:34 PM
I agree that it's best to be on whatever side you do better on. Just because the ad points are the "money" points doesn't mean anything. You've got to get there first. And a lot of times a good start helps mentally. Also, I return serve much better on the deuce side so if my partner doesn't care, I take that side. I can be offensive with most serves and that's a huge advantage.

One of the worst things to do is miss the return of serve, so I put a lot of importance into it.

J011yroger
09-26-2010, 05:00 AM
I agree that it's best to be on whatever side you do better on. Just because the ad points are the "money" points doesn't mean anything. You've got to get there first. And a lot of times a good start helps mentally. Also, I return serve much better on the deuce side so if my partner doesn't care, I take that side. I can be offensive with most serves and that's a huge advantage.

One of the worst things to do is miss the return of serve, so I put a lot of importance into it.

Another thing worth considering, is that while most who give advice say that putting your two strongest returns in the middle is advisable because the highest percentage serve in dubs is T so that the net partner can be involved, a lot of the times, especially mixed leagues, you are playing indoors and the presence of the curtain makes the wide serve the go to serve for some players.

J

Turbo
09-26-2010, 10:01 PM
Another thing worth considering, is that while most who give advice say that putting your two strongest returns in the middle is advisable because the highest percentage serve in dubs is T so that the net partner can be involved, a lot of the times, especially mixed leagues, you are playing indoors and the presence of the curtain makes the wide serve the go to serve for some players.

J

Sure, but that also depends on the level you are playing against. I find that most people don't find my backhand on their serves, even though I play the deuce side (I'm right handed). Sometimes when I play 9.0 mens I'll see it, but I'm pretty good at running around my BH, and I can also stretch out wide for serves.

I think until you get up to the 5.0 level, you usually won't see consistent, accurate 1st serves up the T (unless that's their go to serve - and they usually can't hit it on both sides).

And when I play 8.0 mixed, I concentrate more on serving to their weakness than hitting up the middle - especially to the weaker player. My 3.5 partner probably wouldn't be poaching that much anyway.