A Captain's Thoughts On A Decent Season

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, we got stomped in the first round of the playoffs last night, 1-4. My partner and I lost in straight sets -- to a team we should have beaten easily. Ahem.

    Anyway, this season was unusual for us in a number of respects. We were mostly a team of experienced 3.5s -- no recent bump-ups. Most of us play mixed also. Most of the women who have dominated us in the past were bumped. We expected to improve greatly on our .500 record in the last few spring seasons.

    We did improve. We finished in second place in our flight, at 9-2 (it could have been 10-1, but I didn't put out a strong line-up for one match because I knew we would finish second regardless of the outcome of that match). And we abandoned our previous approach of playing everyone equally.

    Still, there is just no way around the fact that you can't get very far without terrific singles players. My best singles player only played three matches (giving up a total of six games) because of scheduling glitches, and then left for the summer weeks ago. My second best singles player went 2-6. My third singles player was 2-2 (one win against a 3.0). My third and fourth singles player were both 0-2. I went 2-0, but one win was against a 3.0. With a singles record like that, it's a miracle we made the playoffs at all.

    What now? I guess we need stronger singles players and more overall depth. I've no idea how to manage this, though. I guess if I were serious I would join a singles ladder over the winter so I could meet new people and find a few singles players. Or perhaps even develop into a singles player myself.

    Or I could sit on my butt and not sweat it. :)

    Cindy -- whose second-trimester pregnant player took a nasty fall on the clay last night, but who seems to be OK
     
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  2. jonnyjack

    jonnyjack Rookie

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    Did your team play against the 3rd seed? If so, ouch on the first round loss.

    Unless you have awesome doubles teams, always need solid singles to at least split the singles matches. Otherwise it's lots of pressure on the dubs to sweep every time for a win.

    Our first playoff isn't until July 10. Definitely looking forward to it already. While we're playing the 4th seed, they would either be the #1 or #2 team if it wasn't for DQ's to their players.
     
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  3. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Sounds like that was a very good season for you. Though I actively recruited I got my three best players by sheer luck. So not sweating it is an option. I believe in team practice and I feel it's very important for doubles teams. Getting people to practice is challenging.

    The most fun I had this season so far was when I didn't even play. I watched my team kick ass from the sidelines. It was a blast.
     
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  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You know, it was a fun season. We had very few blow-out wins, so it was a challenge. We rarely got stomped.

    Funny thing, though. I took some time to look at the individual records of certain team members for 2009 compared to 2010. I would have expected the ratings adjustment to mean a computer-rated 3.5 player ought to show a higher winning percentage in 2010 than 2009, right?

    If I look at winning percentages in this league only,it looked like this:

    Player A -- Went 1-3 in 2009. Went 2-6 in 2010.

    Player B -- Went 3-3 in 2009. Went 5-3 in 2010.

    Player C -- Went 4-1 in 2009. Went 5-3 in 2010.

    Player D -- Went 2-3 in 2009. Went 2-1 in 2010.

    Player E -- Went 0-4 in 2009. Went 2-1 in 2010.

    So it was a mixed bag when you break it down on that basis. Most of the five players had mostly better results in 2010, but one was worse and one was about the same.

    Hmmmm.
     
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  5. Old school Paul

    Old school Paul New User

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    Cindy

    We have moved from a good team to a very good team this year on the strength of adding one singles player who is a kid home from college who was a top high school and junior player (now 21) and a guy who moved inbto the area. Our captain is always networking for new players and found these guys through a local club pro.
     
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  6. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Make sure you check the kid's I.D., you don't want the team DQ'ed for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, if he's caught drinking a beer after the match. Kudo's to your captain, he should be scouting for the US Soccer team.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
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  7. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    What level is this for?
     
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  8. Old school Paul

    Old school Paul New User

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    Javier

    We are playing 4.5 I believe Cindy is a 3.5
     
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  9. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    while it will be nice to have 2 singles players, just having 1 stud player that can get you a point week in and week out is key to winning

    there are so many serviceable doubles players that can win a match for men or women at 3.5

    I missed all year this season, but I don't know if my former team won more than 2 singles matches all year out of a total of 18 played. It was the difference between a 5-6 win and a 2 win season as even if a #1 would have lost a couple our other singles players would have faired much better moving down the ladder (most of our opponents play straight up)

    Your league seems to be quite different with the varying days of the week and times requiring deeper rosters..

    It does seem though that most women who play just never really learn how to play singles, they start playing doubles and learn to lob, volley and slice and are tossed out into the competition, again at least out here...
     
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  10. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Oh okay. I was just going to get ready to flame you big time if you were to say you were 3.0 or 3.5 or something nutty along those lines. :)
     
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  11. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Maybe a general email to the team saying you would like to get some regular practice sessions together for those interested in developing or improving their singles game? Cite yourself as new to singles and looking to improve. Even if you just have 4 respond you can get some courts side by side and practice at the same time. The group dynamic might allow for more discussion of singles strategies and tactics then just random social matches during the "off season".

    There are a number of recent posts here re: singles strategies, links to Directionals and court positioning videos, etc. There are numerous Youtube videos and Fuzzy Yellow Balls had a recent free video series. You could also do a group clinic with the focus specifically on singles.

    Maybe market it as a getting in shape undertaking as well. I know when I started playing singles again vs. just doubles I dropped considerable weight pretty quick.

    I found playing more singles helped my doubles game as it gave me more confidence in my strokes. You hit so many more strokes in singles than doubles....obviously every ball is for you...it gives one the chance to work through mistakes. So that's another marketing angle to get some turnout.

    Finally, just putting it out there that you want to improve the team's singles play with some practice or clinics might indirectly spur a team member to recommend someone they know that is a good singles player?
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You know, I was talking to one of my singles players over the weekend, and I've been mulling that conversation.

    Last year, she went 1-4. Each loss was to a player who was then bumped to 4.0. With the ratings adjustment, she and I both figured she would dominate this season.

    This year, she went 2-6 (and one opponent she beat was crazy-weak). That is just not good at all for a No. 2 singles player on a playoff-bound team.

    Anyway, she was lamenting how poorly her season had gone. She has started working with a pro, and she said he is working with her on her shot selection, specifically helping her see which balls to attack and which balls to play conservatively.

    Personally, I don't think shot selection is the issue. Instead, I think she needs to learn to hit volleys and overheads. I think she misses opportunities to come to net, but more importantly, her volleys are so weak that she usually loses the point.

    Rather than saying *that*, I said I thought she should ask her pro to evaluate her entire game and advise her on the first thing that should receive some attention, and then go with what he thinks. I would bet that the reason they ware working on shot selection is because she has guided the pro in that direction. I would bet that if the pro were asked his opinion that he would approach things very differently and could help her build the shots she needs over the next 10 months.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Athiker, those are good ideas, but we have some obstacles.

    In our area, we have the 12-week adult season in the spring, when teams play singles. For the other 9 months of the year, it's just doubles (apart from singles ladders at some private clubs).

    Now that we are into summer, it is nigh on impossible to get people together for a practice. We can gear up in September, but by then everyone is focused on doubles again (mixed or combo). So it gets hard to make the argument to play singles.

    Which leads me back to my idea of joining a ladder. I might look into it.

    Or I might say "Screw it" and just worry about the elements of my own game that I am trying to develop and stop worrying about singles matches in April 2011. :)
     
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  14. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    That sounds like that's pretty much what the problem is.

    You get better at singles by playing more singles.

    Players can use just as much experience at singles as they do in doubles, although it's different in some respect because every opponent you face is sometimes different and there are many ways to win. (versus doubles which rewards certain skills)

    Besides the physical aspect of it that you dont see in doubles.

    If they want to work on their singles game, they should play more tournaments, get involved in challenge ladders, etc... The better variety of opponents that they meet, the better off they are.
     
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  15. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    I did a singles ladder and it was fine, but then I did a Compass Draw and found I enjoyed that much more. Any in your area? Ours is set up so you play 1 match every 2 weeks (doesn't sound like much but its just about right scheduling wise). You are guaranteed a minimum # of matches, etc. I liked it b/c the matchup and the completion date was preset for you...you just had to schedule.
     
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  16. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    yeh,Cindy shot selection is really for when you have all the basic strokes, including a decent volley and OH. I am just starting to work on strategy now, after spending all my long tennis career (spanning 6 months now) learning the basic strokes. If i find a useful strategy that i cannot execute due to poor shots i go back and learn that shot, and learn hard, till i can execute that strategy. Having a strategy and shot selection that suits a weak game is not very forward looking IMHO.
     
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