View Full Version : take take back what i said....being the better partner
10-29-2010, 08:01 PM
i have often commented on playing lower level tennis than my ranking and how it wont help my game..
for all of you out there who think by playing "only" with better partners in dubs to "improve" your game, your nuts..
i play 8.0 mixed where i'm the weak link in a 3.5/4.5 partnersip, I now have a better respect for my 4.5 partner and the pressure he's under.
i play 6.5 combo where im supposed to be the better player.
this is very hard to do! try it! it will make you focus and really think:
you have so much pressure to:
1. Be consistent
2. make your partner play their best
3. take the leadership responsibility on the court.
4. change what you think is your game to pressure the weaker opponent.
5. protect your partner!
i challenge you out there! can you do it!?
im now convinced it is VERY good for your game..
AND remember..someone did it for you..:)
10-30-2010, 06:10 AM
Oh, I agree completely.
For the first 2-3 years I played, I was the stronger player in most of my matches. This was not because I was any good. No, no, no.
It was because I was playing 2.5 with partners who were worse than I. Or playing 5.5 when I was the 3.0. Or playing 6.5 with 3.0 partners or as the 3.5 player.
Like you say, you simply cannot have a bad day or make stupid mistakes. I remember when I played 5.5 tennis, I told myself that the second ball over the net was my ball, no matter what. That's because a 2.5 player cannot get 3 balls over the net. Two is the limit. If I didn't get in the point by then, I would hear a scuffling sound behind me and the point would be over.
When I served or returned, I felt I absolutely had to come to net. If I stayed back, the opponents could take their time to decide when to pick on my partner. And when I did come in, I couldn't come in very far, because all of the lobs were mine.
The upshot was that I learned to be aggressive at net, for better or worse.
That said, tennislefty, I have given up on Playing Down (defined as being the stronger partner all the time). It was good while it lasted, don't get me wrong. Unlike you, I have not had a ton of experience at higher levels and being the weaker player. That too is a skill.
I feel that's what I need to work on. At the moment, I do entirely too much cowering. I am afraid to go for shots I could make in any other setting. I don't have confidence in my ability to trade groundstrokes or volleys with strong players. Playing 6.5 combo isn't going to help me with that.
Oh, and to your five-point list of things the stronger player must do, I would add:
6. When you get a put-away opportunity, you must put it away on the very first shot.
10-30-2010, 06:20 AM
I have done this lately in mixed , and yes, it is a welcome challenge! I have a big net game, and the opposing teams soon realize that their best opportunity is to find a way around (above) me at the net and hit to my partner. As the stronger player, we have to be encouraging...having been in her shoes before, I know what it is like when you keep losing points for your stronger partner. Keeping her focused and positive is a challenge. Keeping her from being intimidated is an even bigger challenge!
10-30-2010, 12:23 PM
Consistency is very important when you are playing as the higher "rated" player on your side of the court... valid point there, but it will only get you so far. If you want to improve your game to challenge people who are rated higher than you, then you are going to want to play people who are better/equal to you.
Case in point, I jumped from a C1 rating to A5 rating in men's double in Atlanta this season (equal to going from 3.0- to 4.0). In C1 I tended to play a "consistent" game, to not make errors, and force them to hit winners. This worked well for us, we rarely lost a match. At the start of our new season in A5, I brought this same game at first...and got hammered. As the season went on I've begun developed a more aggressive game playing with "better" players, and improved drastically in my mind in a short span of time.
Sure, the pressure is different when you know your partner is depending on you to play better, which will make you better, but nothing develops your game faster than playing people at a higher level (specifically when they can look at your last shot and tell you what you did wrong).
Just my 2 cents.
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