Any circumstances where it would be justified to criticise your dubs partner?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Torres, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    For example, if they're repeatedly making silly shot selections that are costing points game after game, or repeatedly going for big flat second serves, or trying to go for low percentage Djokovic style big winners set point down etc.

    Or is any form of criticism an absolute no-no?
     
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  2. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I would never criticize per se ... ie. never blame your partner for a lackluster performance.

    But during the course of play, or after a match it is ok (even encouraged) to discuss the teams performance and what you should be doing to improve the results.
     
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  3. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    During a match or after a match?

    During a match is obviously completely counterproductive, two players criticizing each other and arguing only benefits the opponents.

    After a match it depends. If you either think yourself or factually are a much better player than your tennis partner you should ask yourself why are you partnering with this person.

    However if you consider yourself more or less equal strength wise then if you want to run a brutally honest evaluation go for it, if you want to be a winning team you should get your strengths and weaknesses out in the open.

    But remember some people cannot handle the truth!
     
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  4. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    Yes.

    1. On a lunge volley on a low down the middle shot
    2. On service returns at the net player

    I am sure there are others but I recently yelled at 2 partners over this and would do it again.
     
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  5. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    This was during a match when I started piping up about his plays. I felt I had to say something to stop him giving away so many points. It was driving me crazy.
     
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  6. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    It could possibly be justified, but during a match you have to be very careful to be constructive about it. Yelling at your partner in frustration after blown shots is probably not going to ever help, but if he's really making bad decisions and you pull him aside during a changeover and tell him hey maybe it'd be better not to hit that particular shot right at the net man, that could be constructive. It's all in the delivery...
     
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  7. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    my doubles partner usually does criticizes every ball i miss.
     
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  8. Rjtennis

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    You could critize them for critizing you..jk. You should always be positive, getting down on your partner doesn't help anything.
     
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  9. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    criticizing usually will hurt. you need to sound more positive, not critical. Hence, you might say, "I think if you hit the return of serve deep and cross-court, they will not be able to handle it". I have no idea how to get some to double fault less in the middle of a match, other than say "Don't worry about, just go for your serve!". If your partner is amenable, maybe say "we should force our opponents to make the mistakes, so try to go for a higher percentage 2nd serve." Of course, that only works, if your partner HAS a higher percentage 2nd serve!


     
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  10. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Agree with you and other who have said that it's about how you say it.

    Try to find a way to get your point across as a suggestion or encouragement. Also, don't say "you", say "we".

    For example, if your partner is making too many errors because he is going for too much, say something like, "I think this match is ours to win or lose, we just have to play smart tennis and not give away points, and make them beat us!"

    I've had a partner who was prone to double faulting, when this would start happening, I'd say something like, "ok, on this next point, I'm going to poach, so set me up with a kicker." So then he would take pace off his 1st serve and most likely get it in.
     
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  11. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I definitely like this approach. You have to be careful when dealing with partners or you will find yourself playing a lot more singles matches when word gets around. :) You don't want to be known as "that guy."
     
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  12. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    This is a reason why I do not like playing doubles with just anybody. There is really only 1 person I like playing competitive doubles with on the team and that is a good friend whom I have known for ages. This way we can just rip into each other or bring each other up. We just know how to speak to each other.

    For doubles I really find it necessary to know your partner outside of tennis for things to work out well.

    I have 2 guys on the team that are always wanting to team up with me but find it necessary to tell me over and over what I am doing wrong. Look, I know what I am doing wrong but if you do not have advice on how to fix it...Save it.
     
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  13. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    If they are ugly
     
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  14. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Short answer to the OP's question: No.

    Seriously, why would you do that? If you don't like the way they play, get another partner. You're not their coach and 99 times out of 100, they will not appreciate your advice.
     
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  15. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    only in the same way your would "help" or "coach" a female mixed doubs partner.....
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What is interesting is that OP assumes his partner is doing the things he is doing on purpose.

    When folks keep making silly plays, it is usually because:

    1. They are just off that night.

    2. The opponents are giving them something they don't like (e.g. too much pace, too much spin).

    3. They don't have any other tools in the toolbox (e.g. no lob, no slice, no DTL).

    So what do you hope to gain by being critical?

    If you must say something, it helps to mention it after one of *your* errors. So if your partner is sending balls to the net player, wait until one of your returns is picked off. Then say, "Oh, man. We have to work harder to keep the ball away from the net player. Next time, I'm lobbing."

    When partner is making too many errors early in the rally, wait for you to miss and then say, "Wow, we really need to get five balls of the net to beat these guys. That's our number from now on -- five good shots without a miss."

    When they are double-faulting, there's nothing at all you can do. Sorry.
     
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  17. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    I guess it depends on definition. If by criticism you mean ragging at your partner for missing shots or whatever, then no, it serves no good purpose and will almost always be counter-productive.

    On the other hand, I certainly think you can talk to your partner about his/her shot selection and making better choices. I don't ever criticize a partner who is doing his best but comes up short due to some deficiency in ability. Sometimes a player is just having a bad night and nothing he does will help. If I know him to normally be a better player and believe he is simply off, I live with it. It happens. But I will say something (one-on-one and sensitively) to a partner who is simply making terrible choices re: shot selection. If he can't get a lob more than 6 feet past the net, why should I spend all evening running from cannonball overheads just because he feels sure that sooner or later his lob "will come around"? If he is feeding weak forehands right to the net man when he could hit cross-court, I will say something to him about it. Nicely. The first time. Then more sternly. If push comes to shove and he won't listen or change his game, I will simply stay out of harm's way and wait for the match to end---but I won't be playing with that same stubborn fool again. LOL.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
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  18. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    I had one, a former teaching pro, who showed up for my two matches with him 15 and 20 minutes late, and drunk off his ***.

    Didn't win either match with him. The other team took about two games to figure out the situation, and then every damned shot went to him.

    At least we were out of there quickly.

    I didn't get on him about that, though. What I gave him grief about was that he gave technical advice to the other teams after each game. The amusement and confidence it gave the other teams, to break his serve at love then get a lesson on how they should be volleying (finishing with "I'm a teaching pro, and I just gave you a $800 free lesson!"), was more than I could stand.

    "Hey! Teaching Pro! Save it for after we win a game."
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
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  19. Silent

    Silent Semi-Pro

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    It's all about how you say things. Don't present problems, offer solutions. "They can't keep up. If we make them play, they'll give us that easy ball we can attack"

    I guess the one time you could, and should, rip into your partner is if they're wearing white socks with black shoes. I mean this is tennis ffs.
     
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  20. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Really Really good doubles player can make your doubles partner better that he really is. but these guys are rare. What you can do is talk about strategy like "hey this guy's backhand overhead is crappy, when you get the chance, lob over his backhand side. and serve to the body and jam that guy in deuce court,, I am having some good success by doing that"
    "hey, and you don't have to go for big shots with these guys, make them play lots of volleys and passing shots, they will miss. they are not really consistent "

    These chit chat seem to be helpful most of the time.
     
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  21. directionals

    directionals Rookie

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    Nobody likes to be criticized. Nobody likes unwanted coaching. Since you are not your partner's coach, is your coaching wanted? Before the match, you two should know each other's strengths and weaknesses and talk about the general gameplan. When something goes wrong during the match, you just give encouragements. This can be as simple as clapping your partner's hand or showing a positive body language. If your partner is double faulting, I wouldn't say "don't worry about it. just go for it!" or else you're just making your partner more nervous.
     
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  22. MethodTennis

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    Pretty much solves all issues, if hes making unforced errors, in doubles its also you unnforced error. 'We' works wonders
     
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  23. Murray2012

    Murray2012 New User

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    I really appreciate getting advice regarding changing my play by my partner during matches. I am reasonably fit and technically OK but being newer to the game than most of them appreciate their advice re tactics for doubles and find it really helps. I have often found that by following their advice we have turned around matches. I am often paired with older doubles partners so that I can benefit from their tactical advice and I can run around and pick up shots that they cant get to and I think that approach works well.
     
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  24. sovertennis

    sovertennis Semi-Pro

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    ^^^
    This is perfect.
     
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  25. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    They haven't been possessed by aliens. Players can decide where they hit the ball, and when they're 6ft behind the baseline, whether its a good idea whether to attack the net player or whether on a big point its a good idea to try a big flat second serve....

    They only do that because they've never been told or they're to pig headed to learn.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
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  26. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    Could not agree more. I hate it to death when a partners starts coaching me, particularly when they condenscend to using "...what WE need to do is..."

    I've played with partners that get into a DF zone; I've done it myself. I just try to get them to laugh: "Yeah, it's happened to everybody playing on this court. It sucks, but eventually you'll get through it."
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    That's just not true.

    If I am lobbing short, it doesn't help to say "stop lobbing." I am probably lobbing because I am jammed or stretched or rushed.

    If I am sending it to the waiting racket of the net player, I promise you it isn't because I meant to hit it there.

    If I am struggling with my serve, the answer is sometimes to swing faster. This may look like I am "going for too much" but for some people this is the only way to loosen up.

    I say all of this because of a particular mixed partner I had once. Any mistake I made would result in some New Instructions. "Just hit it crosscourt." "Just get the serve in." "No more lobs allowed." "Get your return deeper." Geez, after a few hours of that I felt like a battered spouse.

    When I hit a bad shot, it is always always always unintended. Having my partner try to troubleshoot for me was quite unhelpful and made me so tight I could barely do anything.
     
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  28. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    You're confusing being off form / skill level issues, with poor shot selection and decision making. The former, you can't do anything about, but the latter is huge in doubles. Patterns, plays and placement is everything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
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  29. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Some men feel it is their genetic destiny to instruct all females within their presence in sports. They believe women really appreciate their insight.

    I have a secret technique I use to know when it will be helpful to give advice to my partner in mixed: if she asks for advice, I may offer some. If not, I keep my trap shut except to say nice shot, etc. In mens, I worry about my own shots and let my partner handle his.
     
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  30. prgault

    prgault Rookie

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    Interesting and relevant topic for me right now... I recently began playing in a quad league on Rubico after 20+ years of hardcourt doubles needless to say I struggled early on but feel like I am getting better on the clay. My major flaw in tennis is lack of movement due to weight (I am working on it) and fitness (my lungs are only 90% functional). I play for fun/exercise and have good and bad nights, and feel like on a good night I can hang with anybody in my (the bottom) quad. We rotate partners each set and there are two older gentlemen that have stunned me with there reaction to any missed shot (mine) One is worse than the other and will consistently stop, drop his racket, shake his head, mumble...whenever I miss or make a mistake. The other is a little less consistently obnoxious but has blown up at me once or twice. In forty plus years of tennis I have never run in to this and it really got to me at first. Now that I am playing better I sort of laugh it off, but just don't understand the mentality to act that way towards basically a stranger...I have seen some strange and bad behavior but never something like this...anyone else had this type of experience?
     
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  31. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    Just watched 2 of my team mates argue about this the other night. I was having an off night in practice and double faulted on game point. My partner was distraught and a team mate who we were playing against got ****ed and called him out on his double faults lol.....

    All just in time for playoffs come Sunday.

    I hate doubles sometimes because of this...But since the team captain asked me to do it...I'll do it.
     
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  32. dcdoorknob

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    Haven't come across anything that bad, but honestly if I did I'd likely find it funny due to the ridiculousness of it and I'd probably wait until this same guy made and error and do the same thing back to him in exaggerated fashion, assuming I could keep a straight face long enough.
     
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  33. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Are you sure that you're playing at the right level and its just one missed point? Nobody acts like that over one missed point.
     
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  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, OK.

    You asked for circumstances where it would be justified to "criticize your dubs partner." You didn't ask for advice on how to come up with a strategy you both can execute. You are looking to "criticize."

    I told you how it affected my play when one of my partners did this to me, but apparently the message was Not Received.

    Best of luck to you.
     
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  35. prgault

    prgault Rookie

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    Yes, it is a quad league and you move (or not) up or down based on the total number of games each week plus some other points for showing up etc. I usually stay in the bottom quad but have occasionally moved up for a week or so. I usually win at least one set, but can lose 7-5 or 6-0 just as easily.

    Of course it is not one missed point, while I will admit I SUUUCKED while making the transition to the soft courts, now I don't think I miss any more than anyone else in the quad. Here's the thing, I know what my weaknesses are, and am working on it. But I can't tell you the number of time I have set this guy up with an easy sitter with a strong serve or ground stroke, only to have him miss completely...and that's fine, it is why we are in the bottom quad. However I would NEVER react that way to one of his misses, and have never seen it before...

    Ahyhoo, I guess this was all sort of a vent, and since I am addicted to tennis I guess I'll just laugh, shake my head, shut up and serve....
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
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  36. prgault

    prgault Rookie

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    I really should try that...:wink:
     
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  37. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    BINGO. Exactly.
     
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  38. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    LOL. Reminds me of a practice my league team has. When we are playing a match, and one of our players does this racquet-dropping bit (accompanied by a look of disbelief) after a missed shot, every other player on our team who is on court and between points does the same thing---toss racquet loudly to ground, hands on hips, and two seconds of shocked facial expression. Then we go on with our matches. Opponents are surprised initially, but quickly realize the subtle pressure being implemented for the original offender to stop acting like a jack*** and just play. They usually start smiling or laughing out loud, and nothing ever is said aloud to the guy---or needs to be. Pretty cool to see, actually. ;-)
     
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  39. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    So---anytime your partner says something to you about your shots during the match, it is deemed criticism?
     
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  40. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    A little off topic, as the guy in question was doing it in frustration of himself, not his partner, but I was playing a doubles match last week and the guy on the next court let his racquet hit the court in frustration after missing. The woman, who was an opponent on my court, but on this guys team (it was mixed) was on a changeover, so she picked up her racquet too, threw it to the court, and yelled 'Solitdarity, brother!" It wasn't even to shame him so much as just to poke fun and have a bit of a laugh. I just thought it was funny.
     
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  41. RetroSpin

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    You didn't direct it at me, but I'll give you the short answer. Yes. Anything but "good shot" etc is offensive and annoying.

    If I'm playing doubles with one of the Bryan brothers, they can say anything they want to me. You, no.
     
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  42. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Are you serious?

    So your partner saying to you, "Trying to hit through the net player is costing us too many points" (after you've tried it 20 times and lost 19 points as a result) you would find offensive?

    Yours seems a very tunnel visioned attitude.

    If I was playing dubs and repeatedly playing a pattern that constantly hemhorrhages 2-3 points every game, I would strongly hope that partner says something to me and suggests an alternative. Not saying anything doesn't help you - it does a disservice to you and stops you from improving.

    Bob Bryan > Retrospin: 'You're ****"

    Your partner > Restrospin: 'Come on stop trying to hit 120mph 2nd serves, and hit a kicker, or at least get the ball in'.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
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  43. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Come on. Aren't you exaggerating just a tad?

    Fine. Let's go with it.

    If your partner is purposely trying to hit to the net player, you could say, "Wow. He has a great volley. Should we try lobbing his backhand?"

    Or "Wow, that guy is killing us. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get a big angle on my return."

    See what I did there? I talked about what I'm going to do, and I said something affirmative rather than something negative.

    After all, if it is so easy to hit a return away from the net player, I can lead by example, right?

    I would find that sort of remark to be utterly unhelpful. If you can't say something more insightful than that, it is probably better to pipe down.
     
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  44. dcdoorknob

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    I think it's helpful to be very thoughtful before you say anything both about if what it is you have to say is useful to your partner and of the tone with which you present it.

    On the other side I don't think all possible partners are such delicate flowers that you have to go out of your way to envelope every possible 'suggestion' with 13 layers of positivity and perfume to eliminate all possibly of hurting anyone's feelings. Clearly from this thread, some are, but not all. Sometimes a more direct approach can not only be effective, but preferable if you ask me.

    "He's covering his alley well, I don't think you should keep trying to pass him there so often." Would work better for me than this "what I think I'll do is make sure I hit my returns crosscourt *wink*wink*" business.
     
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  45. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Seriously. :shock:

    Frankly I wonder why those people who are offended and annoyed about just every little thing even want to play tennis. Why not instead have a weekly etiquette tea party and one up each other with manners:

    [​IMG]

    And please do not forget to keep the pinky up when drinking the tea, someone may be offended if you don't. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
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  46. prgault

    prgault Rookie

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    I would have to agree with this to a point. When I joined the league I was basically playing with strangers, so I would not expect any of the behavior I have noted. It seems like most of you have regular partners/team mates and I would be much more open to constructive criticism/coaching/advice in that situation, but still find the theatrics a bit much...

    P_
     
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  47. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The wink wink business is gold.

    I captain, so I hear what players say about each other. When players complain to me about their partners, the number one complaint is that the partner is critical of them. People are forgiving of weak tennis skills. They have absolutely no patience with critical partners.

    I think if you told some players that their partners complain that they are too critical, they would be shocked to hear it. I suspect they don't think they are being critical. They are merely "strategizing." Or they would say their partners should stop being so sensitive.

    The "strategizing," though, usually takes the form of telling the partner where and how to hit shots, usually offered right after the partner has hit the problematic shot. What these problematic partners don't get is that *their partners know perfectly well how to play doubles.* Pretty soon, the player who is being lectured concludes the other player is blaming them for whatever is going wrong, and the partnership withers.

    There is one lady in particular who has gone through partners like tissue paper. One by one, the partners put their foot down and ask not to partner with her ever again. Finally, I had an affable new player who didn't yet hate playing with her, so I put them together.

    I had an email discussion with the problematic player ("Sarah") before the match (using email so I would be sure the information would not go in one ear and out the other). I said that affable new player ("Ann") was an experienced doubles player who doesn't like too much strategizing and might be sensitive to any perceived criticism. I suggested that any helpful hints be couched in positive terms using the word "we" rather than "you", that it be offered as something Sarah was planning to do instead of a response to something Ann had just done, and that any discussions of strategy should not occur right after Ann makes a bad shot.

    It seems to have worked. Sarah told me afterward that she hadn't given any advice or tips during the match. And I haven't heard a word of complaint from Ann. Yet.
     
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  48. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Yeah, but from your various threads your team seems to be less about tennis and more about inter/intra team drama. Mildred doesn't want to play with Sandra, Sandra doesn't want to play with Gertrude, Mildred not happy if she's not picked etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
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  49. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    I'm talking real world. You're posing unrealistic hypotheticals.

    I'm assuming your partners are around your same level and not obviously insane, ok?
     
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  50. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    From your other posts I know that you have a pretty sophisticated understanding of the game. How would you react if I started telling you how to play during a match? It's highly patronizing. Maybe you wouldn't find it offensive, but plenty of people would.
     
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