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View Full Version : Mixed Emotions about Playing Mixed Combo


Angle Queen
10-08-2010, 04:45 PM
Mixed Combo is new to us here. Until this year, all mixed play has been at the .0s level (rather than the 0.5s combo favors).

I somewhat reluctantly agreed to play for a newly formed 7.5 team (after having played both 7.0 and 8.0 in the past). Childcare hassles, an indifferent/unsupportive spouse, new team and the new format all had/have me troubled. But I committed anyway and now am about to begin. Season's actually been underway for a few weeks but we got a bye and a forfeit so my first actual match is this weekend.

Had a realistic team practice last night...and I came away with very mixed emotions. I was paired up with a solid (if not top-tier) 4.0 and we scrimmaged against another similar pair. Except that our (YOUNG!) male opponent so dominated the entire affair. If his serve was in, the point was either over or unwinnable. At net, he poached, coached and jumped his way to again completely control the point. Our entire strategy became one of "keep away."

That said, my (new-to-me) partner and I pulled off a very surprising 6-4, 7-6 win.

So why am I so troubled? Well, at first I was so shell-shocked. His kick serve and groundstrokes had so much pace, I counted myself lucky to even get the ball back in play. Nice little slice of humble pie needed. I consider(ed?) myself a strong 3.5...yet I couldn't even begin to make any kind of real play on his ball. Normally, I love mixin' it up with the boys but I just felt completely overwhelmed.

But then as I began to mull the situation over, I realized we did win the "match" -- even if was mostly because of their "errors" rather than our winners or smart play. And my male 4.0 partner admitted to struggling with the kick serve too. I only wish I felt a bit more chemistry with my partner although he was unfailingly polite and supportive.

So I'm going to try to view this as an opportunity to hone my defensive skills, look for small victories and try to enjoy a few stolen hours away from the stresses of real life.

Do any of ya'll have any words of wisdom to help me try to put this into perspective? (Just as an aside, I didn't feel this out-of-place when I played up at 8.0.)

Cindysphinx
10-08-2010, 05:12 PM
Hmmm. I played 7.5 mixed combo for the first time this summer. I am currently playing 8.0 mixed for the first time with the same team and often the same 4.0 partner.

What I am learning is not to give the opponents too much credit. Yeah, so. He has a kick serve (or a twist or a heater or something else you don't see in ladies play). Big deal. Just take your time and get it back. Then it's on.

I have to say, I felt much more comfortable in 7.5 mixed than 8.0 mixed. In 7.5 mixed, all I have to do is be more solid than my female counterpart. We're both 3.5s, I'm a decent 3.5, no problem. I am finding 8.0 a touch more difficult because I have a hard time being more steady than a 4.0 woman -- especially if she is a strong one.

Still, each match is better than the last.

Also, I have had my pro work with me on service returns. It is easy to get rocked back on your heels, and then you are finished. Getting into a habit of moving forward to cut off angles makes a big difference.

Funny thing. I am scoring huge points with my topspin lobs. These 8.0 players tend to rush the net. So I stay back and hit topspin lobs, preferably down the deuce alley. So if you have a good offensive lob or topspin moonball, don't be afraid to use.

Cindy -- who is hitting so many lobs that it feels like she's playing 3.0 again

michael_1265
10-08-2010, 05:25 PM
even if was mostly because of their "errors" rather than our winners or smart play

And their errors sprang from the fact that they played a lower percentage type of tennis than you did, right? You won, period, and that's all that matters. Given that you had trouble with his kick serve, the likelihood is that you really have the upper hand on him after playing him a few times and getting used to it. Don't diminish your own skills because someone else has a "big" game.

I played a 6.5 match last week (I'm a 3.0) against a team with a 3.5 man who had first and second serves and a forehand all bigger than mine. Guess what? He threw in a few double faults with those big second serves, got too cute with the forehand and piled on a dozen unforced errors, and in the end, it was an easy day at the office.

My first 7.5 match (Richmond VA) is this weekend also, coincidentally.

Mike

Angle Queen
10-08-2010, 05:58 PM
My first 7.5 match is this weekend also, coincidentally.Man, it's a small world.

But thanks (Cindy too!) for the words of encouragement. I do feel like once I see that kind of pace on a more regular basis, I might catch up with it. While I had a wildly successful Spring season, I haven't been playing much of late except in a non-USTA league I affectionately title "Ladies Who Lunch But Play Tennis First". There is little pace and absolutely no kick serves. ;)

And after further contemplation, I think maybe the reason I didn't feel out-of-whack at 8.0 (even though I clearly was)...was because of my own expectations. I knew I was the weakest player on the court and so did everyone else. A point won (or rather, not lost) by me was merely a bonus. Or at least it felt that way.

And like Cindy, I found myself lobbing more than I thought I ever would again.

Good luck in your match, Mike! Weekends tend to get away from me so I may not check back for a bit...but I'll try to post any "post" match thoughts. Any more commentary greatly appreciated.

michael_1265
10-08-2010, 06:28 PM
Man, it's a small world. I'm in the Richmond area too. But doubt I'll be seeing you on the other side of the net on Sunday. There aren't any "Mikes" on our opposition's roster. :-) But perhaps later in the month?

But thanks (Cindy too!) for the words of encouragement. I do feel like once I see that kind of pace on a more regular basis, I might catch up with it. While I had a wildly successful Spring season, I haven't been playing much of late except in a non-USTA league I affectionately title "Ladies Who Lunch But Play Tennis First". There is little pace and absolutely no kick serves. ;)

And after further contemplation, I think maybe the reason I didn't feel out-of-whack at 8.0 (even though I clearly was)...was because of my own expectations. I knew I was the weakest player on the court and so did everyone else. A point won (or rather, not lost) by me was merely a bonus. Or at least it felt that way.

And like Cindy, I found myself lobbing more than I thought I ever would again.

Good luck in your match, Mike! Weekends tend to get away from me so I may not check back for a bit...but I'll try to post any "post" match thoughts. Any more commentary greatly appreciated.

Thanks! Same to you. I'm looking forward to getting on the court with my 4.5 counterpart. Finding a way to get court time on 7.5 combo as a 3.0 has been a real challenge. Last year, we were a 7.0 team, and putting me with a 3.5 women was not so bad. This year, that is not a winning preposition.

Lobs are so underrated. I love it when a dominant 3.5 or 4.0 takes the net after hitting a mediocre approach shot, absolutely sure that his presence will have a lower level player like me shaking in my Asics Gels. Can I thread the needle consistently at my level? No, and that's where the topspin lob comes in. I love it when the realization hits, and I always get the image of a Wile E. Coyote, realizing that his plan has failed, eyes wide, legs spinning backwards in desperation. Most satisfying, though, is following that lob in and volleying away the return, if there is one. In my experience, a lot of higher level players won't stoop to answering my lob with a lob, and that is a huge tactical mistake.

Anyway, hit 'em clean this weekend. Definitely share your results. Perhaps we will meet before the season is over.

PS: I play for the large neighborhood off Atlee Station Road in Hanover. We're heading southside this Sunday. I'm trying to figure out if you're Southside or a West Ender. I'm not a member, but a bunch of my friends play for a local club many know unaffectionately as "Jerkwood".

Angle Queen
10-09-2010, 04:08 AM
Thanks! Same to you. I'm looking forward to getting on the court with my 4.5 counterpart. Finding a way to get court time on 7.5 combo as a 3.0 has been a real challenge. Last year, we were a 7.0 team, and putting me with a 3.5 women was not so bad. This year, that is not a winning preposition. Your counterpart is a top notch player, although she's a recent (and reluctant) bump-up.

Lobs are so underrated. I love it when a dominant 3.5 or 4.0 takes the net after hitting a mediocre approach shot, absolutely sure that his presence will have a lower level player like me shaking in my Asics Gels. Can I thread the needle consistently at my level? No, and that's where the topspin lob comes in. I love it when the realization hits, and I always get the image of a Wile E. Coyote, realizing that his plan has failed, eyes wide, legs spinning backwards in desperation. Most satisfying, though, is following that lob in and volleying away the return, if there is one. In my experience, a lot of higher level players won't stoop to answering my lob with a lob, and that is a huge tactical mistake.+1

While I rarely start a lob war, I usually win them...especially against (3.5) men. We'll see about the 4.0s.

mlktennis
10-09-2010, 05:01 AM
Southsider...west ender...jerkwood. It's like Gangland -tennis style :)

Angle Queen
10-09-2010, 05:52 AM
LMAO

Indeed. We have one screwed up city/metro area. There's also the "born-heres" "been-heres" and "come-heres". Richmond can be a great place to live and raise a family (decent job market and relatively low cost-of-living)...but we're stuck in the Past. With a Capitol P. All puns intended.

But we have a vibrant tennis community (were Top-3 in the Best Tennis Town competition this year) with plenty of places to play -- from the very high end, West End...Country Club of Virginia, to the boys at "Jerkwood" to the free facilities at Bryd Park and Belmont Recreation Center.

michael_1265
10-09-2010, 06:16 AM
Your 4.5 counterpart is a top notch player, although she's a recent (and reluctant) bump-up.

+1

While I rarely start a lob war, I usually win them...especially against (3.5) men. We'll see about the 4.0s.

Ha. I'm neither. I play for that club. Relatively new member there, mostly because I'm neither a West Ender nor Southsider and there aren't too many options on Northside (or East End for that matter). Sorry it has that reputation...and while there are some folks there that confirm it, most of the ones I've met or played with are nice people.

I'd kind of figured out who you were (there aren't too many 3.0 "Mike" men playing 7.5) in Richmond. And our teams are indeed set to meet up on the 24th. If you do some detective work, you can figure out who I am.

Nice detective work! To be honest, everyone I know at the club is fine; I just played at 7:30 AM on the clay courts this morning with a bunch of the guys. Southside, though, hates the club. Much the same way as I feel about Robious:-)

I'll have to do my own detective work. The only person that I know on your team is Dale. We work for the same company, but different locations.

Mike

Topaz
10-09-2010, 06:16 AM
I can vouch for the high level of tennis in Richmond...we always have an eye on those Richmond teams come VA districts time! (I'm on NOVA)

michael_1265
10-09-2010, 07:10 AM
I can vouch for the high level of tennis in Richmond...we always have an eye on those Richmond teams come VA districts time! (I'm on NOVA)

It's funny; I was discussing this with a someone from Roanoke. I mentioned how teams from NOVA seem to be dominant, and she said she felt the same way about us. A neighbor of mine has been on a lot of the teams that have advanced from our area, and she is playing do well that I think she is worried about a double bump. She is 28-1 in playoffs.

Cindysphinx
10-09-2010, 07:11 AM
While I rarely start a lob war, I usually win them...especially against (3.5) men. We'll see about the 4.0s.


Yes, the lob is definitely underrated and underpracticed.

I actually taught myself to hit topspin lobs. No lessons, no nothing. I took my hopper out, tossed a ball in the air and tried to topspin it to the opposite baseline. Through trial and error, I found that using SW-ish grip worked best. Shoulder turn was key. Low contact point was helpful. 2HBH topspin lob is easier for me to hit than FH.

The funny thing is that players almost seem to fall into two categories: those who can lob and those who cannot. I know players who simply cannot hit an offensive lob. So if their opponents come to net, the only thing they can do is try to blast through them. Not easy against strong volleyers.

As for lob wars, I'm trying to learn to win them against other people who have topspin lobs. I've found the only that really works is to move forward and take their lob as an approach volley. Then I can get to net, and they have to try to lob off of a ball that didn't go deep and stayed low.

Angle Queen
10-09-2010, 07:43 AM
I can vouch for the high level of tennis in Richmond...we always have an eye on those Richmond teams come VA districts time! (I'm on NOVA)

It's funny; I was discussing this with a someone from Roanoke. I mentioned how teams from NOVA seem to be dominant, and she said she felt the same way about us.
I also find it interesting how different regions seem to dominate...or so it seems. When I first started playing again (as an adult), it was the Virginia Beach teams that seemed to rule. Then it was (and IMHO, still is) NOVA. They just have soooo many options up there. The ability to play for multiple states (VA, MD, DC), so many leagues...and independent clubs/setups. Here in Richmond, most of the clubs have fairly strict rules and generally prohibit non-members from playing on club teams. So, unlike "independent" teams, we're not "Super" Teams, so to speak, and must draw from whatever our membership happens to be.

A neighbor of mine has been on a lot of the teams that have advanced from our area, and she is playing do well that I think she is worried about a double bump. She is *** in playoffs.She should be. I see her at 4.5 next year. Her friend also has an outstanding record this year and should be a 4.5 next year too.

I'll have to do my own detective work. The only person that I know on your team is ****. We work for the same company, but different locations.I think **** is one of the Good Guys. EDIT: I have played with him in the past. But he took it all in stride, hit with that massive topspin...and, although we lost both our matches, we had a good time.

SweetH2O
10-09-2010, 08:10 AM
LMAO

Indeed. We have one screwed up city/metro area. There's also the "born-heres" "been-heres" and "come-heres". Richmond can be a great place to live and raise a family (decent job market and relatively low cost-of-living)...but we're stuck in the Past. With a Capitol P. All puns intended.

I guess I'm a "born-there" and "been-there". Born and raised there (southside) for my first 18+ years until college. Cool hearing about all the areas of town again and remembering how there's lots of stigmas about each one.

Topaz
10-09-2010, 10:55 AM
AQ, this area does give us lots of opportunities to play, that's for sure. I usually play NOVA and DC, but I've also played Loudoun (or, at least tried to, the distance and the time of their matches made it pretty difficult) and I'm attempting Moco (in MD) this fall. We'll see how that goes! I have friends who play literally around the entire beltway and DC.

But, I do think the Richmond area and NOVA are similar in that there are lots of leagues, and lots of representation at the VA district tournament. The one NOVA team that won 3.5 districts this year was actually in my team's flight for our regular indoor league...we had to face them twice during the regular season and then again at districts (albeit with a different team than my indoor team). So, we get the same faces a lot, too (and the same arse whoopings!).

I know we always are wary of Richmond and VA Beach teams. NOVA teams can be strong, but if they are representing a smaller league (say daytime outdoor or evening outdoor) they didn't have to go through nearly as much as the indoor teams did to get to districts.

michael_1265
10-09-2010, 11:12 AM
I also find it interesting how different regions seem to dominate...or so it seems. When I first started playing again (as an adult), it was the Virginia Beach teams that seemed to rule. Then it was (and IMHO, still is) NOVA. They just have soooo many options up there. The ability to play for multiple states (VA, MD, DC), so many leagues...and independent clubs/setups. Here in Richmond, most of the clubs have fairly strict rules and generally prohibit non-members from playing on club teams. So, unlike "independent" teams, we're not "Super" Teams, so to speak, and must draw from whatever our membership happens to be.

She should be. I see London, I see....her at 4.5 next year. Her friend, also on your 7.5 team (I believe), also has an outstanding record this year and should be a 4.5 next year too.

I think Dale is one of the Good Guys. He was the unlucky one to be stuck with me...at 8.0 last year. But he took it all in stride, hit with that massive topspin...and, although we lost both our matches, we had a good time. I'm glad to be back on a team with him again.

Now you really have enough info to get the 411 on me. :p

Okay, you made it easy. And what a perfect name for the detective work you've been doing:-)

As far as my neighbor goes, we play singles occasionally, and she usually pummels me, but I have taken a set (out of about 15) from her. She convinced me to play some 3.0 singles last spring, and compared to her, the 3.0 men were easy picking. Her friend, and my teammate, also lives on the same street, as does another 4.5 man and a 3.0 man. We are THE Tennis Cul-de-Sac of KC.

You are right (in your other post) about Richmond. The past is thick. I like it here, and we intend to stay for the long haul, but I am a Yankee at my core, and I truly believe that Monument Avenue would be more aptly named "The Street of Second Place Trophies".

The funny thing is, I recently saw one of your posts about drama your club in the form of mixed doubles partner-swapping. I remember thinking that it must not be all that uncommon, because I work with a guy who ended up with the short end of the stick in one of those transactions. It turns out that it was the same transaction.

I'm not sure if I will play the 24th, but if I do, and you do, I'll make sure to say hi. Just look for the big, goofy (6'4" and 230 lbs), middle aged guy. I might drop by and watch even if I don't play.

Mike

OrangePower
10-10-2010, 11:05 AM
To Michael and Angle Queen:

Just a heads-up; from the posts in this thread, anyone with a bit of curiousity and familiarity with tennislink can easily figure out who you both are.

You might not care from a personal point of view, but it also means that posts you've made (or will make) about teammates and opponents can leave clues that would allow those people to be identified also. Could be embarrasing to them and you if you ever have less-than-kind things to say, especially to people who might be in your area and know you all.

Angle Queen
10-10-2010, 11:58 AM
^^

Point well taken, Orange. And while I have tried to be somewhat vague...I know the trail is easy. In that vain, I have always tried to keep my comments above-board....nothing that I wouldn't say in person, to that person or to other tennis folks...and we all know how that grapevine works.

I will, however, go back and redact a few things...so that "future" readers won't have as easy a time figuring things out or referring to specific folks who are not TT members.

Thanks, again, for the heads up and the reminder that the 'net is not 'nonymous. :-)

"Post" match thoughts coming up after some clean up work by me (that perhaps Mike can emulate).

Angle Queen
10-10-2010, 12:12 PM
Well.

Our match today was tight. Lost it 10-8 in the third. But the team won...so I guess that's what matters. There was some controversy on both courts beside us (I'll be asking about one of the "issues" in the "rules" thread)...but our particular line/match was quite friendly: good line calls, good points, good sportsmanship all around. I felt like I matched up well with the other woman...and both men were similar, albeit with different strengths. Could have gone either way.

Didn't particularly like the commotion on both sides of us...but, eh, you deal with it.

Didn't feel completely overwhelmed.

Ready to play again when I'm in the lineup.

michael_1265
10-10-2010, 01:59 PM
To Michael and Angle Queen:

Just a heads-up; from the posts in this thread, anyone with a bit of curiousity and familiarity with tennislink can easily figure out who you both are.

You might not care from a personal point of view, but it also means that posts you've made (or will make) about teammates and opponents can leave clues that would allow those people to be identified also. Could be embarrasing to them and you if you ever have less-than-kind things to say, especially to people who might be in your area and know you all.
Thanks for the heads up. I would never post a negative about a player here, in any case. The indirect references are just an internet habit.
Mike

michael_1265
10-10-2010, 02:14 PM
Well.

Our match today was tight. Lost it 10-8 in the third. But the team won...so I guess that's what matters. There was some controversy on both courts beside us (I'll be asking about one of the "issues" in the "rules" thread)...but our particular line/match was quite friendly: good line calls, good points, good sportsmanship all around. I felt like I matched up well with the other woman...and both men were similar, albeit with different strengths. Could have gone either way.

Didn't particularly like the commotion on both sides of us...but, eh, you deal with it.

Didn't feel completely overwhelmed.

Ready to play again when I'm in the lineup.

Sorry to hear that you didn't pull out a win. Same here.

We came up against a big-hitting man and a very consistent woman. In the first set, after adjusting to his kick serve, everything went our way. I think I might have made one volley error out of 15 opportunities. My partner hit her normal variety of outright winners. 6-1. In the second set, they sucked the wind out of our sails by lobbing everything. I felt like I was in a 2.5 match. 1-6. In the tiebreak, I had a couple of unfortunate unforced errors, and we went down, 5-10. They played smart tennis. Very frustrating, because it felt like we were the better team. You have to prove it, though.......

Angle Queen
10-10-2010, 03:07 PM
Sorry to hear that you didn't pull out a win. Same here.

We came up against a big-hitting man and a very consistent woman. In the first set, after adjusting to his kick serve, everything went our way. I think I might have made one volley error out of 15 opportunities. My partner hit her normal variety of outright winners. 6-1. In the second set, they sucked the wind out of our sails by lobbing everything. I felt like I was in a 2.5 match. 1-6. In the tiebreak, I had a couple of unfortunate unforced errors, and we went down, 5-10. They played smart tennis. Very frustrating, because it felt like we were the better team. You have to prove it, though.......Thanks for the update. Our loss wasn't quite as frustrating since we felt like we matched up well. With only one break in each set, lots of deuce point and a tight tiebreak....I think we just came up a few points short.

But I was able to wash away some of the "OMG-what have I gotten myself into" thoughts. Doesn't mean I won't run into another steam-roller...but I'll definitely try to take it stride.

michael_1265
10-11-2010, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the update. Our loss wasn't quite as frustrating since we felt like we matched up well. With only one break in each set, lots of deuce point and a tight tiebreak....I think we just came up a few points short.

But I was able to wash away some of the "OMG-what have I gotten myself into" thoughts. Doesn't mean I won't run into another steam-roller...but I'll definitely try to take it stride.

In retrospect, it was a really odd situation for me. We hit them off the court in the first set. I am not exagerrating when I say I had double the winners (predominantly volleys and overheads) as I had unforced errors in the first set, and for a 3.0, that's insane. I am not used to being adjusted to; usually I am the one doing the adjusting. Amazingly, I never thought to lob. What a dummy.

On the positive side, my net skills are finally coming together. It's taken a long time. In the past, I've gotten away with a lot just because I cast a big shadow up there. Playing against 3.5s and 4.0s eliminates that advantage.
I think that I can hold my own now......

My next match is at 6.5 on Saturday. I'm playing #1 with a strong lefty. It should be fun.

J011yroger
10-11-2010, 02:16 PM
Is your mixed combo season at the same or different time than regular mixed?

J

Angle Queen
10-11-2010, 03:46 PM
Is your mixed combo season at the same or different time than regular mixed?*sigh*

Different. Combo mixed is new to us and is played in the fall. Regular mixed is in the Winter (Jan-Mar). I had just lucked into a nice regular mixed team earlier this year and was disappointed to learn of the league switch to a Combo mixed fall. I was forced to find a different team. But I suppose change is good; I've met some new people, gotten to play with some really good 4.0s and we'll get on with the business of trying to win our division. Doubtful...but always a hope. :)

J011yroger
10-11-2010, 03:53 PM
*sigh*

Different. Combo mixed is new to us and is played in the fall. Regular mixed is in the Winter (Jan-Mar). I had just lucked into a nice regular mixed team earlier this year and was disappointed to learn of the league switch to a Combo mixed fall. I was forced to find a different team. But I suppose change is good; I've met some new people, gotten to play with some really good 4.0s and we'll get on with the business of trying to win our division. Doubtful...but always a hope. :)

Well, I can see where it would be strange for you, but I think it would be pretty cool to allow people who used to be mixed partners but had to break up because someone got bumped to play together again.

J

Angle Queen
10-11-2010, 04:07 PM
^^

Now you've touched on a sore spot. When I first heard of the switch, I was convinced it was a conspiracy to do just that: allow some of the bump-ups to play with their old partners. But in the end, they probably did it for their stated reasons: to give mixed partners the option to combo (rather than one, perhaps, having to play "up").

I am seeing a lot of husband/wife teams this fall...so maybe that's a good thing?

J011yroger
10-11-2010, 04:21 PM
^^

Now you've touched on a sore spot. When I first heard of the switch, I was convinced it was a conspiracy to do just that: allow some of the bump-ups to play with their old partners. But in the end, they probably did it for their stated reasons: to give mixed partners the option to combo (rather than one, perhaps, having to play "up").

I am seeing a lot of husband/wife teams this fall...so maybe that's a good thing?

I think so, a few people I know took up tennis because of their spouse, then they play together, then the new player gets bumped, and they can't play anymore because they would be killed at the higher level.

4.0 guy plays 7.0 with his 3.0 wife, wife gets bumped to 3.5 after 2 seasons, and now they can't play 7.0 and if they play 8.0 they get killed because the new bumpee is at the bottom of her new level playing against someone in the middle of the next level up.

J

dlk
10-23-2010, 02:43 PM
I think so, a few people I know took up tennis because of their spouse, then they play together, then the new player gets bumped, and they can't play anymore because they would be killed at the higher level.

4.0 guy plays 7.0 with his 3.0 wife, wife gets bumped to 3.5 after 2 seasons, and now they can't play 7.0 and if they play 8.0 they get killed because the new bumpee is at the bottom of her new level playing against someone in the middle of the next level up.

J

I think this is exactly correct. But in my area, it seems like the same old teams or level of play.

michael_1265
10-24-2010, 04:42 PM
Nice match today. You trounced us pretty well. I dropped by to watch, since I wasn't playing. I didn't know you were on court until later, or I would have said hi.

Angle Queen
10-24-2010, 04:57 PM
Nice match today. You trounced us pretty well. I dropped by to watch, since I wasn't playing. I didn't know you were on court until later, or I would have said hi.Thanks. I was one of the ones...over with all the kids. (Two of us had childcare issues and our non-playing teammates thankfully stepped in). I kept looking for someone who fit your description...but I was a bit preoccupied...and left when ya'll pulled out the adult beverages. Sorry I missed the chance to say Hi! as well.

I was a bit surprised by your team's lineup today. Our opponents gave us 0.5 point and played "Queen's Style"...and, shhhhh, we took advantage. Despite the line score, there were some good points and I give them lots of credit for hanging in there against my very young, very talented partner. I was merely the window-dressing today.

Still formulating my thoughts on the whole Mixed Combo experience, though. Each week has brought different styles/collection of talent and I'm waiting to pass final judgment. As we're only half way through the season, there's still plenty of time yet to convince me that, like rain, it's a good thing.

Brownie points to any poster who gets the reference in the last sentence.

michael_1265
10-24-2010, 06:02 PM
Thanks. I was one of the ones...over with all the kids. (Two of us had childcare issues and our non-playing teammates thankfully stepped in). I kept looking for someone who fit your description...but I was a bit preoccupied...and left when ya'll pulled out the adult beverages. Sorry I missed the chance to say Hi! as well.

I was a bit surprised by your team's lineup today. Our opponents gave us 0.5 point and played "Queen's Style"...and, shhhhh, we took advantage. Despite the line score, there were some good points and I give them lots of credit for hanging in there against my very young, very talented partner. I was merely the window-dressing today.

Still formulating my thoughts on the whole Mixed Combo experience, though. Each week has brought different styles/collection of talent and I'm waiting to pass final judgment. As we're only half way through the season, there's still plenty of time yet to convince me that, like rain, it's a good thing.

Brownie points to any poster who gets the reference in the last sentence.

The 7.5 combo format has hurt us as a team, I think. We just aren't structured to put 7.5 teams on the courts every week. That being said, it's an awesome group, with the best captain ever, and we hope to finish strong. I left at 3:00 to play against your club at on my 6.5 team.

It always scares me when I see players as young as your partner. It's not a common demographic for USTA, which is filled with 40-somethings whose kids have gotten big enough to allow them to pursue a hobby. Young & skillful is hard to beat.

You did have quite the child care facility going over there today......

Angle Queen
10-26-2010, 03:27 PM
The 7.5 combo format has hurt us as a team, I think. We just aren't structured to put 7.5 teams on the courts every week. That being said, it's an awesome group, with the best captain ever, and we hope to finish strong. I left at 3:00 to play against your club at on my 6.5 team.Yep, I think lots of teams are struggling with the new 0.5 format. It'll probably take our area a few years to get some of the kinks out. Glad to hear you also think highly of your captain. It's a pleasure when you get to play with a really good group of people, lead by someone who is so capable.

It always scares me when I see players as young as your partner. It's not a common demographic for USTA, which is filled with 40-somethings whose kids have gotten big enough to allow them to pursue a hobby. Young & skillful is hard to beat. It IS scary when you walk on court with someone whose mother is watching the match too. And I have been on the other side of young folks, in our own intra-team practices and in a match this season...and that combination of youth and skill...usually prevails over us old farts. But it's really nice to see them out on court. I worry sometimes that we're losing those 20-somethings (esp the ones who spent most of their teens honing their skills). It is an interesting dynamic. The 20s are spent chasing partners...with whom....they go on to have children...often in their 30s. Hence....

You did have quite the child care facility going over there today......It's a real challenge sometimes to play League. We're most fortunate that our club offers child care at all. But the hours are somewhat limited and don't mesh well with weekend league play. Hence...having to rely on your spouse or teammates to take over. Paying for sitters can get expensive, especially if weather forces a late cancellation of the match. Last year, I was on the hook for ~$90 to get in one crazy (non-USTA but still) league match.

Angle Queen
11-27-2010, 05:10 PM
Well now. The season is over (at least for me...one more team match, I'm not in the lineup, and we're middle of the pack...so no playoffs are in the picture).

And I've gotta say, my impressions haven't changed all that much. Let me first mention that I was on a good team with a good captain and some good people. Went 2-2 with the wins satisfying ones (including dishing out a bagel set and winning one 15-13 in the third for the team victory). Even the losses (which also included being handed a bagel set) weren't terribly disappointing. I had a good partner and we played well together. Just got beaten by better players that day.

But the bottom line is: I do not like the Mixed Combo format. I found the huge disparity in skill levels extremely disheartening. In our old format (the 7.0 I played as a 3.5)...there was at most a 0.5 difference amongst any of the four players on court. In the combo format, it's seems like all he77 broke loose with the partnerships. The 4.5 guys served bombs...and their female partners (even if they had good ladies serves) seemed powder-puff by comparison and it was impossible to get into any kind of rhythm. I just didn't feel like I could contribute in any meaningful way. The few volley winners I had...were outright flukes, lucky to even get my racket on them. My serves were crushed...as were any (admittedly) not-so-good lobs. And same thing on my side; my male partner invariably took them (which was OK with me but probably didn't do much for my skill development).

And finally, I found the emotions...ran much stronger than I expected. While we didn't have much drama on our particular courts over the season, others did during the match. Arguing over line calls digressed into shouting "don't talk to my wife like that." I know the Combo format probably made it easier for husbands and wives to play to together (2 of the 4 teams I/we faced were married) but I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. My spouse does NOT play and even if he did, there's no way I'd play with him. Hats off to those who can.

I usually pride myself in trying to take something positive away even from an unrewarding experience....but not this time. I will not be playing Mixed Combo next year.

Anyone else have a more positive experience with Mixed Combo this year?

michael_1265
11-27-2010, 06:01 PM
Well now. The season is over (at least for me...one more team match, I'm not in the lineup, and we're middle of the pack...so no playoffs are in the picture).

And I've gotta say, my impressions haven't changed all that much. Let me first mention that I was on a good team with a good captain and some good people. Went 2-2 with the wins satisfying ones (including dishing out a bagel set and winning one 15-13 in the third for the team victory). Even the losses (which also included being handed a bagel set) weren't terribly disappointing. I had a good partner and we played well together. Just got beaten by better players that day.

But the bottom line is: I do not like the Mixed Combo format. I found the huge disparity in skill levels extremely disheartening. In our old format (the 7.0 I played as a 3.5)...there was at most a 0.5 difference amongst any of the four players on court. In the combo format, it's seems like all he77 broke loose with the partnerships. The 4.5 guys served bombs...and their female partners (even if they had good ladies serves) seemed powder-puff by comparison and it was impossible to get into any kind of rhythm. I just didn't feel like I could contribute in any meaningful way. The few volley winners I had...were outright flukes, lucky to even get my racket on them. My serves were crushed...as were any (admittedly) not-so-good lobs. And same thing on my side; my male partner invariably took them (which was OK with me but probably didn't do much for my skill development).

And finally, I found the emotions...ran much stronger than I expected. While we didn't have much drama on our particular courts over the season, others did during the match. Arguing over line calls digressed into shouting "don't talk to my wife like that." I know the Combo format probably made it easier for husbands and wives to play to together (2 of the 4 teams I/we faced were married) but I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. My spouse does NOT play and even if he did, there's no way I'd play with him. Hats off to those who can.

I usually pride myself in trying to take something positive away even from an unrewarding experience....but not this time. I will not be playing Mixed Combo next year.
Anyone else have a more positive experience with Mixed Combo this year?

Sorry yours didn't go better. I think I messaged you on my overall experience. I like my captain and my team, so I will play with them as long as there is a spot for me. That being said, as a 3.0, there aren't as many opportunities to play as there were in 7.0. I played almost every week on my 6.5 team, though, so I got plenty of court time. No complaints, really. I wish I had won more, as usual. I gave away one match, but had some solid wins, too.

Cindysphinx
11-28-2010, 04:42 AM
I played 7.5 mixed combo after several seasons of playing 7.0. I played all four matches with a 4.0 who had been bumped up this year. We went 2-2, with one loss being a third set tiebreak and the other loss being a blowout.

I thought the experience was good and will play again next year. I agree that the disparity among partners can be huge. The only exception was the one 4.0 woman/3.5 guy pairing we played (whom we beat).

Perhaps the difference in our experiences, AngleQueen, was that the 7.5 combo season was a transition for me? I was used to facing 3.5 guys and 4.0 guys in 7.0 mixed and had figured out how to deal with it, more or less. It was a way to test the waters against 4.0 guys who didn't have a 3.0 woman they had to protect, for one thing. By the time the season had ended, I felt reasonably equipped to play 8.0 mixed, where I would be dealing with 4.0 guys with 4.0 female partners who were better than me.

I didn't encounter any arguments or weirdness, although I saw a fair amount of that in 7.0 mixed. I wonder if the married couples who play together have any idea how they behave with one another. I have seen more eye-rolling on those married teams than in any other situation.

Anyway, I am very much hoping I don't get bumped. I would like one more season of 3.5 so I can continue to have partners who will protect me. If I am limited to playing 8.0 mixed with 4.0 partners, I will have to consider whether it is worth it. I can only be on so many teams, and I will be eligible to play seniors come January. That might be more fun than trying to handle the serves of 4.5 guys in 8.0 mixed. 'Cause that is no walk on the beach!

J011yroger
11-28-2010, 05:03 AM
I don't understand why you are saying combo mixed has a bigger difference in levels?

In regular mixed a girl can play against a guy who is 1.0 better than her. As in a 9.0 team a 4.0 girl can play a 5.0 guy, in 8.0 a 3.5 girl can play a 4.5 guy. But in Combo don't you all have to be within .5 of each other? A 4.5 guy couldn't play 7.5 combo with a 3.0 girl right?

J

Angle Queen
11-28-2010, 05:13 AM
I don't understand why you are saying combo mixed has a bigger difference in levels?

In regular mixed a girl can play against a guy who is 1.0 better than her. As in a 9.0 team a 4.0 girl can play a 5.0 guy, in 8.0 a 3.5 girl can play a 4.5 guy. But in Combo don't you all have to be within .5 of each other? A 4.5 guy couldn't play 7.5 combo with a 3.0 girl right?Yep....he can. At least in our league. And it happened more than I would have thought. We didn't have one such combination on our team but most of the teams in our flight did. And I'll tell ya...the 4.5s who can carry a 3.0...are more like a 5.0...and quite frankly, the 3.0s...were sometimes fudgey self-rates.

Angle Queen
11-28-2010, 05:17 AM
Perhaps the difference in our experiences, AngleQueen, was that the 7.5 combo season was a transition for me? I was used to facing 3.5 guys and 4.0 guys in 7.0 mixed and had figured out how to deal with it, more or less. It was a way to test the waters against 4.0 guys who didn't have a 3.0 woman they had to protect, for one thing. By the time the season had ended, I felt reasonably equipped to play 8.0 mixed, where I would be dealing with 4.0 guys with 4.0 female partners who were better than me.I'm in a transition phase too (as I'm somewhat expecting the bump up). I can mostly hang with the 3.5 guys...even run-of-the-mill 4.0s (gals and guys)...but most of the 4.0 guys who played...seemed to be at the top of their rung...and way out of my league. I fully anticipate getting run over next season but I'll take my lumps, work to improve and live with it. The thing I liked about playing 7.0 and 8.0...was you saw more evenly matched teams across the board. W-L record aside, it was just more fun for me.

J011yroger
11-28-2010, 05:40 AM
Yep....he can. At least in our league. And it happened more than I would have thought. We didn't have one such combination on our team but most of the teams in our flight did. And I'll tell ya...the 4.5s who can carry a 3.0...are more like a 5.0...and quite frankly, the 3.0s...were sometimes fudgey self-rates.

Aha! Ok, I see the point then. I thought they had to be within .5 of each other.

That's a little silly then.

Thanks for clearing it up.

J

michael_1265
11-28-2010, 06:18 AM
I wonder if the married couples who play together have any idea how they behave with one another. I have seen more eye-rolling on those married teams than in any other situation.

It's funny; for the most part, I didn't see that this year. We faced a couple in 6.5 (3.5 W, 3.0 M) who just amazed me. She was a ball machine, with a lots of variety. He had some serious offensive firepower. His serve went south in the second set to the tune of 10 or 12 doubles, and the only vibe I got from her was positive, and they were communicating on every point. They pulled it together and won the second set breaker. I have to think they'll be together when their grandkids get married.