Carrot, stick or mum's the word?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Maui19, Jun 3, 2012.

?

Carrot, stick or mum's the word?

Poll closed Jun 8, 2012.
  1. Carrot

    69.0%
  2. Stick

    3.4%
  3. Mum's the word

    27.6%
  1. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,659
    I play doubles with a lot of different people. When things aren't going well for me/us, different partners handle it in different ways. Some partners admonish me to play harder/smarter/better, others are supportive and encouraging, perhaps suggesting that we relax or something along these lines, while still other partners say nothing (or chat about other things).

    Personally, the supportive people work best with me. The admonishers get listened to the first time, but if they keep it up I ask/tell them to stop. The quiet folks are fine too, because I'm already working my arse off trying to figure out how to win more points.

    Which type of partner works best for you?
     
    #1
  2. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,509
    I couldn't vote because all three sometimes apply for me. It really depends on what frame of mind I'm in. I think when my team is losing I'm negative or quiet and when we're winning we support each other and compliment each other's shots. Alternatively, there are specific partners that I mesh really well with and those are the ones that have a really good net game and put away all the weak returns on my service games and ones that have a very fluid play style and close to mine. When things mesh well, we're both in the zone and luck is on our side with amazing shotmaking. It's an amazing feeling seeing and knowing that every point will end perfectly. When things are in the dumps, I usually get super quiet.
     
    #2
  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    I find what works best is to say what I plan to do or have noticed, and just hope my partner takes the hint.

    Say my partner won't take the net and is getting trapped in the back corner. I will wait for my turn to receive, then I will say, "boy, they are going to kill us if I stay back. I am coming in on my return." then when I do it and it works, I say, "Yup, that's the secret. We can win points if we come in."

    If my partner still stays back . . . I guess we are going to lose.
     
    #3
  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    2,440
    Location:
    Atlanta
    For me the tact I like to take is to talk about what we are going to differently on the next point rather than talking about the mistakes that were made on the last point. To me it sounds far better to say "Ok... on this next point lets focus on trying to make that guy beat us with his backhand" rather than "Stop hitting to that guys Forehand!". Though at some point if the "looking forward" approach isn't sticking then the direct line does have to be made.
     
    #4
  5. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,551
    Location:
    Augusta, GA
    For whatever reason I am typically the more vocal partner and I always go the supportive route.

    "Alright lets get this next point"

    always complimenting their shots

    even on a miss "good effort"

    If they are serving bad I say "Relax just get us in play and we will take care of it in the rally"

    and I often point out the other teams weakness to my partners and comment how they can't handle the pressure from some of my team mates shots... and anything else to help build confidence thru the match.

    .
     
    #5
  6. iantrevor

    iantrevor New User

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    Messages:
    8
    I went with stick because I'm pretty inexperienced in doubles so if I need to change something, I want my partner to tell me. Of course, I'd never turn down an encouraging word too.
     
    #6
  7. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,430
    Location:
    Make TT better, use the Ignore List!
    I'm the vocal one for sure. Not many things annoy me more than a partner who won't communicate both during and between points. My most regular partner knows me well enough to tell me to calm down if I get too jacked up. We are so far unbeaten in six matches and I credit a lot of that success to how well we communicate.
     
    #7
  8. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,122
    Chest bump
     
    #8
  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    I start with the obvious: things are going poorly.

    Move to what I think is the problem and ask what their opinion is of what the problem is.

    Based on that part of the discussion, I propose a solution.

    Of course, I never say the problem is: "you are missing a ton of volleys" or somesuch. If he is missing a ton of volleys, I'll say something like: "I am not hitting good enough groundstrokes and they are teeing off on them towards you." This may or may not be true, but I am not interested in truth, I am interested in winning the match and if throwing myself under the bus will do it, I am fine with that.
     
    #9
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    I had one of these carrot/stick things today.

    Opponents were having a field day with my partner, a singles player who hates the net and stays back. They would serve to her and then run to the service line. This left her trying to hit passing shots from deep in the court. It also allowed the net player to poach at will. Not good.

    My partner was receiving from behind the baseline. Personally, my first adjustment when this happens to me is to move as close to the service line as I dare.

    Rather than tell my partner she needed to move up, I said something like, "Boy, she is really charging the net. I'm going to receive closer to the net. That will freeze her."

    My partner did not understand, so I explained about how the server has to stop when the return is struck and how the poacher has less time if the returner stands closer.

    My partner decided to try it. Sure enough, the server stopped S&V.

    Just making observations about what is happening works wonders. Ordering people around does not.
     
    #10
  11. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,290
    Although I know it's often useless, I still tend to prefer the "admonisher" approach.

    I mean, I go being supportive and encouraging if I see my partners being tensed. However, if I know they could do better but continue to play stupid shots, I tend to remark slightly. I speak up somewhat when I see a better, easier strategy/approach to win. I feel like sometimes partners are too low confident, too wrapped up in whatever that they fail to see/feel easier approaches. How would being quiet in those situations help?
     
    #11
  12. texacali

    texacali Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    230
    I'm new to doubles and appreciate when my teammate lets me know in a "collegial" way another way or calms me down when I get tempermental.
     
    #12
  13. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,770
    Partner's need more support after they miss a shot. I'll tell 'em, "That was close, you'll make it next time, keep trying it until you it"--keeps 'em from tightening up.

    Also, if you're playing with a really good player or a pro, although they don't require it, they like to hear some kind words on occasion maybe after they've made an amazing shot so they don't feel taken for granted or used--an occasional look of awe is good too.
     
    #13
  14. CaldwellYSR

    CaldwellYSR Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    Shelbyville, TN
    I tend to give alot of "great shot"s and "way to go"s but if they're struggling I tend to keep to myself unless I see something constructive I can offer (which doesn't happen often after only 3 months playing and a few weeks experience in doubles ;) )
     
    #14
  15. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    803
    I guess I vote for carrot, but it depends on the person I'm playing with. My policy is, never "coach" your partner about what they're doing wrong, or why you're losing points. It's ok to strategize on ways to proceed and change up your game plan, but keep it friendly. I've never played with anyone who enjoys pointed criticism.

    Some players prefer the "silent treatment" though. If you play with someone often enough, you'll understand and respect that. I "chat" a lot less during a league match, because I'm more focused; most verbalization is about the match, and how to devise a winning strategy as partners. My partners understand that, and most of them have the same attitude.

    During a friendly match, we talk about all kinds of personal stuff, and the mood is always relaxed - it's just a different scenario.
     
    #15
  16. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    182
    Location:
    Bay Area
    This is one of the reasons why I don't like doubles as much as singles, I have to be a freaking psychologist on the court. Some people don't like to take direction, some people need little cheer-ups, some people get thrown off by tactics by the other team, and some people get all mopey after missing a shot, or all of the above. Are you that mentally fragile that you need little pick-me-ups during play?

    With that in mind, I try to keep everything simple with regard to communication to my partner. I try not to get mad at my partner, and give general encouragement ("Nice shot!"). When it comes to strategy, I'll say some general things, like this person is aggressive at the net, lob over him, or this person doesn't like slice, or this person's backhand sucks, or hit all balls at this person. But I won't say "Lob your service return", or "slice to his backhand", because my partner may not have those shots. Can't get blood from a turnip. My partner just has to hit the best shots that he can.
     
    #16
  17. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,038
    I just try to stay positive as much as I can when I'm losing due to an incompetent partner. I neither criticize nor give advice. I don't feel it's my place to give advice on the court, most of the players have been playing a lot longer than I have. Also, some of the players on my team really don't care how well they do, they are just out there to have a good time. Therefore, they don't really care what I have to say.

    I just focus on my game. Perhaps if I join a more competitive team, my views will change. I guess it depends on the company you're in.
     
    #17
  18. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,888
    I dont think there is really every a reason to get negative with a partner. You can give suggestions, just do it in a positive way!
     
    #18
  19. The Bawss

    The Bawss Banned

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    2,829
    Location:
    Lyon, France.
    I used to do that, until some started saying things like: Yeah well, maybe you could man up and not hand them easy sitters.
     
    #19
  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    Well, if you agree that the problem truly is you hitting pathetic groundies, why would you even converse with your partner? I agree, man up.
     
    #20
  21. CaldwellYSR

    CaldwellYSR Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Thats not the point. Saying something like that won't help the team win even if it's true.
     
    #21
  22. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    Actually it's not in the saying, it is in the doing.

    The purpose of this thread is to explore different folk's experience with their preference in communicating instructions to their partners. Everyone knows partners who are playing poorly: A) know they are playing poorly and B) don't really want to talk about that fact.

    Hence the choices of: carrot, stick or mum's the word.

    My approach is have a conversation (since saying nothing will impact... nothing!). But use phrasing that is non-confrontational so there is a possibility that a player can get past their ego enough to deal with the logic of a tactical change.

    Doesn't always work, but any integer is higher than zero.
     
    #22
  23. CaldwellYSR

    CaldwellYSR Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    Shelbyville, TN
    The one I quoted looked like you were condoning a partner saying "Man up and don't hit hand them easy sitters". That's why I was saying it won't help the team win to say that. I agree with non-confrontational approach being the best. I guess I was just confused as to what you were saying.
     
    #23
  24. CaldwellYSR

    CaldwellYSR Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Arg... I hate that it won't let me edit typos until I've reached 50 posts. Ridiculous I meant to say "don't hand them" not "don't hit hand them"
     
    #24
  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    I get it. No, the other poster was saying that was the response he got from using the non-confrontational approach I was describing. Must live in a different neighborhood...
     
    #25
  26. CaldwellYSR

    CaldwellYSR Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Some people have no morals ;)
     
    #26
  27. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,598
    I used to be really chatty during points and attempting to keep moral up, now I'm a lot quieter on court. I never talk during singles and since I play singles 95% of the time these days, it sort of carries over.

    -Fuji
     
    #27
  28. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,659
    I should have added another option: the icy silent treatment. I play with a couple guys that, when their partners makes a couple OEs, will just give them the silent treatment. The message is loud and clear: we are losing due to you.
     
    #28
  29. CaldwellYSR

    CaldwellYSR Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    179
    Location:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Haha yeah that might be the worst of them!
     
    #29
  30. Dave M

    Dave M Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,941
    Location:
    England
    I respond better to people who talk and have the stick approach.I know when things aren't going well on court, (i suppose we probably all do) it really winds me up if my partner starts saying "oh nice shot" when i've just made an awful error or bad decision, i used to prefer that type of partner untill a few years ago but now i seem to respond better to someone in my ear with helpful advice/tactics or just an insult to loosen me up!
     
    #30

Share This Page