Doomed to being just a 3.5 NTRP player?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by soyizgood, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Jaeger

    Jaeger New User

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    That sounds a lot like my situation (maybe like all 3.5s). I'm going to give a big push to 4.0, but if I don't get there I may give up on tennis and focus more on fitness and sports that don't require hand-eye coordination. 3.5 is fun for recreation but it's more like "unforced errors" tennis than "hitting winners" tennis. Good luck to you.
     
  2. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    Isn't that just "tennis"?
     
  3. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster Semi-Pro

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    How much time have you spent working on your foot work? The biggest problem I see with 3.5's is that they are not in the optimal position to hit the best shot they are capable of hitting. How much time do you spend working on your tactics? When you come up against someone with a weak backhand( 95 percent of 3.5's) do you go after it with a vengeance? If you come up against someone with a weak net game, do you consistently bring him to net where he is uncomfortable?

    Do you know what the weaknesses in your game are besides your mental attitude? Do you work on those weaknesses?

    I am an old guy 52, I can stand toe to to with any 5.0 or 5.5 and hit it as hard or harder with the same level of stroke competence. But since I am an old guy and move like a 4.0, I am only a 4.5. I play people your age who can run like the wind and are human back boards, the reason I beat them is because I play smarter and I know my weaknesses. I know that if I get into extended rally's the longer the point goes on the better the chance I have at losing it. So I go after their main weakness, I move them around and as soon as they are at a disadvantage, I go for the winner.

    Let me ask this also, if you lose a tennis match does your family go hungry? Do you lose your job? Is there someone standing court side waving a big sign that calls you a loser? No is the answer to all of these questions, so guess what...........who cares if you win or lose? I go into a match with only one thought, play the tennis I am capable of playing and most importantly, have fun. Being on a tennis court and playing a game is a hell of a lot more fun than going to work. If you cannot find the joy in the simple act of hitting a really good shot then you need to take a break for a while and come back with a fresh attitude.

    If you can find the fun again in playing a really good point and not worrying if you win or lose, then the wins will pile up faster than you would believe.
     
  4. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    From time to time I hit with a guy that teaches tennis and basketball. He's given me tips on my forehand and serve. He thinks I do fairly well when hitting off-balanced, but he wants me to strike the ball near the top of the racquet more. He also thinks I should be willing to hit open stance more often. I mostly hit neutral stance off both wings. He thinks I sometimes look too eager to hit hard.

    I sense he wants me to be more of an offensive player that can dictate rallies while maintaining balance and control. One of things he wants me to do is loosen my grip on my forehand and hold the racquet even lower.

    He suggested I get the BLX 90 or 95, but since I've hit with mostly 11oz racquets I'm afraid of the steep learning curve getting used to a heavier racquet. I'm already complaining about the Youtek Speed MP and I did not have good experiences hitting with the m-Fil 200+, the Gamma G325, or the Gamma iPex 7.0 MP which were all 11.5oz or over. Heck I hated the Liquidmetal Radical MP and that's 11.4oz strung.

    I can see the logic behind going to more of an open stance (maybe semi-open at least). The problem I'm seeing is that I would have to react sooner and take some pace off my stroke in the process. It took me a while to go from closed to neutral stance. I can only imagine the trouble of going open stance and adjusting my front shoulder in the process.

    As for the serve, I guess I tend to make mistakes when I put pressure on myself. I made 10 DFs vs the 4.0 and 4 DFs vs the 3.5. I need to make sure I don't drop the front shoulder too quickly. That and work on a safer version of my 1st serve that I can use for my 2nd. The 1st serve when it was on was effective in forcing defensive returns or shots they couldn't return.

    Mentally, I probably am more loose vs 4.0s than vs 3.5s. I treat 4.0 matches as those I have nothing to lose but play my game. I probably look at 3.5 matches as those I HAVE to win to show I'm making progress.
     
  5. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    OK, that's another problem I see right there. You should be playing the player, not the player's rating. Ignore what your opponent's rating is and play the ball. In fact, try not to know what your opponent's rating is before you play him as that will just fool with your head during the match. It doesn't matter what his rating is. If you want to win, you still have to win points and play smart and play to your opponent's weaknesses. Heck, I've played against plenty of guys who played much better than their rating and plenty of guys who played much worse than their rating so it really didn't matter what their ratings were. I still had to win points if I wanted to win. Focus on the ball, not your opponent's rating.
     
  6. Djlpenguin

    Djlpenguin Rookie

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    Because once you believe you are the best you can be, it will become true and you will stop improving.
    Edit: Oops, didn't really read you post. Sorry!
     
  7. Federerx16

    Federerx16 Rookie

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    This thread is fascinating.
     
  8. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    Yes it's true that 4.0 isn't regarded as being as good of a player compared to 4.5-5.0's. But the same thing can be said how 6.0's view lowly 5.0's, and pro's laugh at 6.0's.. The truth is some people play their whole life and never make it to a strong 4.0 who can win big draw usta tournaments. For someone who took the game up late in life and plays at the park against weaker opponents you can't expect to be much better than them when you enter a tournament and expect to beat better players who probably have more experience. If 3.5 really is lowly enter 3.5 usta tournaments and make it your goal to be #1 in 3.5's.. If you are getting beat by most 4.0's it does not make sense to lose early everytime and make your confidence shot. Also, the number 1 thing that seperates advanced players is technique and footwork. It's like trying to learn karate all on your own at the park and then entering a karate tournament. Chances are you are going to get beat by someone who took karate lessons and trained at a dojo..
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  9. gjr

    gjr New User

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    doomed to be a just a 3.5 player

    well guys read some of your post to tell you the usta boosted up a lot of peoples rating 794,000 this year you practice you play some tournaments in singles, doubles mixd doubles even with people a higher rating than you ,if you make it to a quarter final ,semi tinal or finals you rating is being boosted they are getting rid of the clog at 3.5 level everyone in the world is a 3.5 all the college guys
    from every college in the world d1,d2,d3 etc showing up at tournaments from a 4.5 to a 5.5 they love 4.0 players not bad yeah he`s just a short glass a
    short glass of water well to bring in teaching pros in too from camps, clubs to play amateur tournaments 5.0 to 6.0 well just keep practicing and playing
    you will get to 4.5 ntrp
    hope i helped you

    gjr
     
  10. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    I'm a new guy here and just skimmed the thread, so take my advice with a grain of salt. That said, when I skimmed the thread, I noticed that every one of the OP's posts had one common thread - the OP is losing because of what's going on between the ears. For example, I saw posts talking about throwing racquets and self-deprecating comments in virtually every post. How can you expect to win matches when your emotions are so out of control and self-destructive?

    Perhaps you should concentrate less on the mechanics and equipment aspects of tennis and spend some time learning about sports psychology. I'll be frank and admit that I have no idea what advice to give you about how to get a better mental attitude. And such advice would sound trite and formulistic from a stranger over the internet. But there are probably a dozen books in your local library that you can read and that can help you recognize what's going on mentally and provide tools and exercises to help you help yourself.
     
  11. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    Apparently, I don't have enough posts to edit my prior post but I have an experiment that the OP might want to try. Take out a 3x5 index card and write down this on it with a thick black sharpie: "Hit 3 balls cross-court at 75% pace and then hit the next one down the line and rush the net."

    The next time you're losing a match, pull out the index card and read it and try this strategy. No matter what happens, hit 3 balls at 75% pace cross court then hit the 4th ball down the line and rush the net. (The only thing you should think to yourself when hitting the first ball is "cross court 1." When hitting the second ball, you should be thinking only "cross court 2." When hitting the third ball, think only "cross court 3." When hitting the fourth ball, think "down the line and rush the net."

    By doing this, you're taking your mind out of the game as the strategy is automatic and pre-decided. Try that for one game and see if you play better following an automatic strategy rather than making up a strategy during a point. If you do better with an predetermined strategy, you can make up 5 different 3x5 cards with 5 different strategies to mix things up. The important part of the exercise, however, isn't the 3x5 card or what's on it - it's what you're thinking when you're hitting a shot. You've got to get your brain thinking "cross court 1" (or some other simple saying) during a shot rather than "damn it, I'm better than this guy I can't believe I hit that last shot into the net, I'm such a loser, why can't I beat a 3.5, is something wrong with me, oh crap, I just hit another ball into the net."
     
  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    If you're stuck at any level, and think you can improve, first work on conditioning, then take tennis seriously, then post a vid of your overall game.
    It's easy to see where and why you are stuck, if you're willing to expose your weaknesses to a general audience.
     
  13. gjr

    gjr New User

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    doomed to be a just a 3.5 player

    read some more posts on everyone trying to get better and we all understand
    this to get better at this game of tennis you can quote me on this on every
    thread this a tough game to master everyone has their excuses including me
    my synopsis is

    FOR AS MUCH TIME YOU PUT IN THIS GAME OF TENNIS , THE REWARDS ARE VERY LITTLE!

    ( what a little 12yr old beat a college tennis player ? ) naa can`t happen


    gjr
     
  14. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    Tonight I played a set against a junkballer I encountered once before. This guy has a 1HBH and a 2HFH. At one point I was really upset at myself for blowing 5 break point chances early. Moron, idiot, dumbass came out of my mouth in frustration.

    Lost my cool after I made a DF to fall down 15-40 @2-2. Yet, I was able to get it together. Saved one BP by lunging at a drop shot to make my own dropper. Then saved the other one with a body serve. Held at 3-2. Finally broke the guy for 4-2. Went on to win 6-2. I could have won this 6-0, but a win will do.

    My opponent said I hit a heavy ball, that my shots were deep, and that I have good topspin. He frustrated me with his constant slicing in the early going (he also hit reverse slices for his 1st serve by default). But I've played guys like him before and knew how to counter it (attacked his weak 2nd serve by hitting deep, made him move from side to side, threw in a few slices and drop shots, varied my shots which kept him off guard).

    My serve was looking the best it had been perhaps ever. Only 1 DF, about 4 aces, good amount of service winners, only one game was I in trouble, and I hit a good % of 1st serves in. Oh and the pace was quite to my liking. I simplified my service motion and have been better at timing my contact. The 2nd serve could be better, but it was serviceable tonight.

    My backhand was pretty much on the mark. The forehand is still a bit of a question mark but I did well using it to setup my backhand and to vary the location/depth/spin.

    I think my nagging left knee will force me to play more resourcefully. I suspect it's a strained ligament but I've had this for months. I cut down my practice time, but fortunately I haven't noticed any drop off in my play. Since I see real improvement in my play even though I'm practicing less that's less pressure on me.

    Last week a high school girl was practicing with me. She plays for her school. After I hit with her I gave her a bit of advice after I analyzed her play. She was receptive and agreed with most of my analysis. I then helped her improve her serve and she immediately was hitting harder while they landed in. Glad to know I could help even if it's been a struggle to help myself.
     
  15. Winning Ugly

    Winning Ugly New User

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    I don't know whether this will give the OP hope or depression. I am 58 and have been playing tennis since I was 22. Pretty much taught myself (actually Iused to "shadow play" in my grad school dorm room with Borg, Solomon, Connors, Dibbs, Vilas et al during PBS Monday night broadcasts.) Very quickly got to 3.5, and at 25 was visaully rated at 4.0 (where I lasted like a month until getting destroyed by people who were fitter (i.e. nonsmokers) and more competitive. Over the years I did the odd clinic, even went to a tennis camp once. My game evolved and improved, but not that drastically -- I stayed at the 3.5 level.

    Here's the thing. I developed many friends through the game, quit smoking, proudly fought back from 2 ACL tears and 3 other knee operations without losing my 3.5 rating, won way more matches than I lost, occasionally beat a 4.0 in club matches (and certainly avoided being bageled by them). But, I also dropped a match to a 3.0 now and then. I guess I was "doomed" to be a 3.5 player. It bugged me a little bit but the fun far outweighed the frustration.

    About 2 years ago, in response to another knee issue, I got back to working out, dropped 15 pounds, and started playing a bit more frequently.

    Finally, after all these years (and some help from slightly weakened standards), I found myself "early start" bumped to a 4.0! At 58! Now who knows if I'll stay there when the final rankings come out, and certainly a season at 4.0 might humble me beyond belief. But for a non-jock with 2 bad knees to even sniff 4.0 tells me that if you stay fit, try to learn a little each year, play the best competition who will put up with you, and really try to play the best shot for every situation (i.e. think) then you will surely love the game -- and probably get another .5 at some point!

    GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!!!!!!!
     
  16. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    I enjoyed reading your post.
     
  17. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    Congrats! you are not longer 'just a 3.5' :)

    Seriously, good luck- keep enjoying the game and stay healthy.
     
  18. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    With thinking like that, you will have great difficulties advancing.
    You are thinking too much and comparing yourself too much to others.
    My advice is to:
    1. Quit worrying about results of the match, keep your head in the game at hand, don't look back or forward.
    2. Work out to gain some strength.
    3. Start measuring your performance against YOUR capabilities, not someone else's. Be able to answer "YES!" to this question win, lose, or draw: Did I make my best reasonable effort in preparing for and playing this match? Even if you WON the match and your answer is "NO", then you have work to do.
    Good luck. Personally, I think you love the game and only you can decide if it is worth it.
     
  19. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    (1) IMHO, there's no such thing as being the best you can be. You can always be better if you're willing to put in the effort to be better.

    (2) My suggestion is to focus more on your execution of your shots and your game and let the chips fall where they may. Just execute your game and make your opponent deal with that. If you are executing your shots and gameplan as best you can on any given day, there's nothing more you can do anyway. You can't control who or what is on the other side of the net. That mental approach will help you win matches. Also, if plan A works well on Monday, but, not on Tuesday, have a plan B to go to when needed. Conversely, if you focus too much on winning rather than execution, your execution will tend to suffer. Execute your shots and gameplan and the winning will take care of itself.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  20. Sreeram

    Sreeram Professional

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    if you backhand breaks against 4.0 level player then it might not be prob with your backhand being bad on that day. I cannot expect something being bad after so much practice. It is because he broke your backhand either by topspin or pace or varying pace to your backhand. Normally players think they lost the match because their backhand gave away on that day but what they dont understand is your oponent broke your backhand by some intensional or unintensional strategy.Try to find what did that and work on improving your stroke against it.
    I used to play with my friend and one day he said against me only he makes so mach mistakes in backhand then i told him it was my strategy to hit balls with excessive topspin to his backhand whenever i needed a point badly.
     
  21. Morrowreze

    Morrowreze New User

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    I think I did a similar thing to what it sounds like you have done. I used to always want to practice and put in long hours on the court. I thought that this was the only way to become a better player. When I thought of the player I wanted to be, a necessary condition for his success was a certain number of hours on the practice court and playing matches. Needless to say, this is not true.

    I ended up trying to practice and play as much as I thought I should instead of as much as I wanted to. And when I hadn't practiced as much as I thought I should, I would go into matches thinking "you haven't put the work in, you'll never win this match". Conversely, when I did practice as much as I thought I should have, I thought that I had to win the match. Because I had put in the tie and effort I thought I couldn't lose the match unless I would never be as good as I wanted to be. Which ended up giving me some serious nerves during matches. From what I've read it sounds like you have a similar psychological problem so I hope this advice helps!

    MR
     
  22. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    I got a video camera for Xmas. I tested it out hitting with a friend. Let's just say I was disgusted with my forehand setup. My shoulders were not so square, I was trying to brush up on the ball prior to contact, I looked uncomfortable hitting forehands, and not getting much movement from my legs in my opinion.

    I've tried a few ideas to address this in the past 2 weeks. Opening my shoulder earlier, putting my left hand on my racquet during takeback, ditching semi-open stance for neutral stance, testing out a variety of racquets I have. Throw in a whole bunch of ideas I've come up for my forehand the past 4.5 years and it was easy for me to realize I have made this WAY too complicated.

    So during my last hit-around today I decided to try hitting the way I did before I tried to "modernize" my forehand. As expected I hit some balls out with this sudden change. But on balls I was ready for I hit with a lot more control, got depth and pace without much effort, and I struck the ball much more cleanly. I'll have to video myself to see if there's really a difference, but I felt there was. I still need to work on hitting precise cross-court forehands, but the inside-out forehand was working pretty well. I don't hit as loopy with this setup, but I can still clear the net without a problem.
     
  23. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    just post a video.

    I am not convinced you have found the solution... too many amateurs play 'trial and error' tennis... on some days something might work for a while, but it stops working the next day.

    with enough practice, nobody is doomed to be 3.5

    practice with a purpose... not just blindly hitting balls.
     
  24. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    the way i see it, if someone can't get to 4.0 and are at the 3.5 level, he can strive to be the roger federer of the 3.5, as we know 3.5 are not all equal just like 7.0 are not all equal: there's roger federer and there's the guy who would lose in the first round of every tournament :)
     
  25. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    My forehand struggles just irritates me to death. Before I changed my setup, I was very aggressive with the forehand. Sure I hit some balls out or into the net, but just as often I would cause my opponent problems because I could hit deep and hard. Trying to spin the ball has created so many problems for me. I get spin, but not much for control and the forehand breaks down like an old Yugo.

    If I go back to my old forehand setup, I'll still need to adjust the contact point, swingpath, and how I handle high/low balls. I suspect I'll be moving more relaxed and be not so mechanical. I'm not playing any tournaments for a while, so no major hurry to implement the change.
     
  26. soyizgood

    soyizgood G.O.A.T.

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    Played doubles today. It was awful. The first set I played we lost 6-1. I made 5 DFs in my two service games with only one ace. I lost my temper, I was bad mouthing myself during points, I felt no enthusiasm in the set, and nothing went right. End of that set I tossed my racquet at the fence.

    One of the guys tried to give me words of wisdom. I tried to listen even while I was grumbling and berating myself. It's true that tennis isn't much fun for me when I'm playing matches or even pickup sets. I'm more relaxed in warm-ups, but when I play I get more tense and mechanical. Folks have tried to advise me to develop a short-term memory when playing. Just play and forget about anything else, basically. I'm naturally VERY critical of myself and it's just natural for me to get down on myself when things aren't working.

    The past 4+ years my struggles have been with my serve and forehand. It seems every time I'm ready to believe I've made progress on those areas I get tested and fail. I can serve well in practice, but can't land serves in matches consistently. My forehand still is more spinny that what I would like and it's likely going to take me a while to undo my old ineffective technique.

    The 2nd pickup set played my side lost 6-4. Only one game was broken and guess what... it was my serve that was broken. It's moments like these that make me wonder WHY I try so much to improve, yet get nowhere. I feel I'm a better player than a year ago, but nowhere closer to my goals of getting wins and building consistency.

    This inconsistency has bothered me so much that I may even consider getting a coach. But I realize my main weakness is mental. This is just a frustrating situation for me. :(
     
  27. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    it's understandable to get nervous in matches, which will get better the more you play matches.

    but good mechanics do not break down that easily.

    without seeing how you play, I bet $5 that you don't relax enough in your overall game. players muscle the ball have such little margin for error, they hit ok during warm up.... then the form breaks down under pressure.
     
  28. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I agree with the DZ. Good mechanics don't break down like that. Even under pressure. So my assumption is the strokes are just not very good and when you get one in poster thinks wow my FH is great! But then 1 in 10 is not good in a match. There has to be a fundamental flaw in the stroke. It can be as simple as he is not employing a full swing in matches.
     
  29. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

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    Unless you just enjoy beating yourself up I would probably stop playing matches all together. That is horrible that you treat yourself this way. Tennis is supposed to be fun and always a good way to stay in shape and be competitive.

    If you want to keep playing I would first focus on winning in your 3.5 division before even thinking about 4.0. You are losing too many 3.5 matches to even think about 4.0.

    If you want to play matches just play and if lose whatever hopefully you learn something and if you win enjoy it. Go get yourself an ice cream at mc donalds after a match. Make it fun for yourself.

    Everyone always wants to play better and win more. That is just a natural thing but beating yourself up will not win you a match or make you a better player. Watch some more videos, get a coach to help you, video your practice and post it, read up on more strategy but don't get down on yourself.

    Remember in any match 1 person will win and 1 person will lose.
     
  30. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Sounds like some serious sandbagging going on,
    with 3.5s hitting multiple winners off your kick second serve (unless you are pretty slow).
    Play to enjoy the game, and enjoy learning new things about better strokes without the pressure of winning, and likely you will find yourself getting better at a quicker rate!
     

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