Finally Figured Out The Secret To Mixed

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I have always found 7.5 and 8.0 mixed to be difficult and frustrating. I spend the entire first set trying to figure out how to rally with the guy and how to return his serve.

    If his partner is serving, I then have the challenge of somehow getting the ball past the guy if he is poaching -- and they always are because I play deuce and his FH volley is in the middle. The whole time, my female opponent cowers at the net, one foot in the alley.

    Last week, I finally played a solid 7.5 mixed match. We fell behind 2-5 in the first set and 0-3 in the second. Final score was 7-6, 6-3. A come-from-behind win in mixed. That's a first.

    I learned two things:

    1. I stood farther back to return the guy's serve. This challenged him to beat me with placement rather than pace and gave me more time.

    2. I didn't take a backswing for any shot I hit to the guy. I think I was constantly mistiming the ball because of the increased pace and spin. Once I shortened (no, eliminated) my backswing, I was able to rally with him and keep a consistent contact point.

    I guess there might be a third thing, but one that is beyond my control. I had a 4.0 partner who was a dream. Good at net, lightning fast. Made a lot of errors, but I didn't care. I was enjoying the show he was putting on!
     
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  2. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

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    I just started a mixed 8.0 league w/ the girlfriend ( yikes!) and was playing against a guy with a huge kicker & he was schooling me bigtime, but then I moved way in & started hitting my returns w/ much improvement. No great revelation, just never faced a kicker quite that good before.
     
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  3. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    your 'secrets' don't apply just to mixed. it works when you're playing anyone who serves and hits harder than you can comfortably handle.
     
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  4. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    When I face that(big time kicker....I lob it back(preferrably deep) and have my partner get back and depending on how he reacts we work our way in at some point.

     
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  5. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    The errors aren't that uncommon when one is covering that much court(you stated you kept one foot in the alley). It sounds like he was hitting more balls than normal but it also sounds like he's up to the task.

     
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  6. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    Most women I play that can handle my kick serve just lob it back. And I can tell you that if they are getting it deep, it becomes a serious pain in the ...

    When women attempt to return my serve traditionally (at my feet), they rarely get it in play or set it up nicely. Yet, that %$#@ing lob gets very tiresome to run down.
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't keep one foot in the alley. My opposing females do.
     
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  8. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    More women can handle pace than can handle spin. I only hit kick serves in doubles, until the returner moves in. Then they get I though in a good number of flatter serves, which get on them in a hurry.

    I don't think there is any one secret to playing mixed. The deal is that the skill set of your opponents is likely to be more varied than in non-mixed, and there are apt to be some real holes. Then it is a cat and mouse game. You find and exploit the holes, they respond, then you respond to their response.

    I am kinda warming up to mixed for a change of pace.
     
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  9. goober

    goober Legend

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    The secret to 8.0 mixed is to get a strong 4.5 male and pair up with a 3.5 F who can volley like a 4.0 :)
     
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  10. crystal_clear

    crystal_clear Professional

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    i found it difficult not to have backswing as it is like muscle memory to me. :( It is good you can switch between backswing and no backswing.
     
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  11. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I C....well we wore out this supposedly 4.5 woman the last two weeks and that's how she plays. On top of net with one foot in the alley...so I hit everything right down through her box on the ad side returning from the deuce court when the man was serving...he was reaching and hitting backhands back and I was on top of the net cleaning house all day. :) She also vollied with two hands so whenever she backed one foot off the net..I'd just slice the ball as hard as I could right to her and walllahhh...it was in the bottom of the net most of the time.

     
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  12. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Welcome to my world.

    I never understood people who tried to take full swings on returns, especially against big servers. It's all about turning the shoulders and driving through the ball smoothly. If you make good contact, the power will be there. You can also use this on groundstrokes when the ball is coming in fast.

    Just keep in mind that the same thing applies to volleys. If the guy whacks it at you (or near you), DON'T SWING. Just block it in the direction you want it to go. Most people miss volleys in those situations because they swing at the ball and don't make solid contact.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, totally! The backswing on groudies is in muscle memory. And for me, that muscle memory is based on playing women at 3.5. The ball is moving more slowly.

    The only way I could figure to save some time to handle the increased pace was on the backswing. And of course we're not supposed to have a big 'ol backswing on service returns anyway. It's supposed to be a very compact swing. Right? :)
     
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  14. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    The best way to practice compact swings is to practice swinging volleys. Have a buddy hit a low lob so you can step up around the service line and hit a swinging volley at around waist or chest height.

    The key is to use shoulder turn, a smooth swing, and solid contact rather than a big backswing and high swing speed. Once you can consistently drive through those swinging volleys, you should be able to do a similar swing when returning serves and big groundstrokes.
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    That's interesting.

    I was working with my pro on the compact swing for service return.

    The way he did it was he stood in front of me but off to the side. He hand-fed a ball. As soon as I struck my FH, he fed another one, so I had no time to recover properly. I found I could hit very good drives, but only if I eliminated the backswing because there simply wasn't time. Shoulder turn and forward swing were more than enough, even on a ball with no pace.
     
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  16. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    That could work too, but I imagine the player doing the drill might start back-stepping a bit in an effort to buy more time, developing a bad habit of moving backwards in situations when there's little time to react.

    On returns, you want to be moving at least slightly forward if at all possible. That's because the more you're moving forward, the less you have to swing at the ball to get power into it. If you're moving backward, you have to swing faster to compensate, which increases your chances of bad timing/mis-hit.
     
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  17. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Cindi. This is a great play if used once or twice per return game. Lob return right over the girl deep. then the guy will be scrambling to get the lob and you will be at net putting away easy volleys.
     
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  18. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Damn...that's a good point...and who was that said you can't learn anything from this site? Good point Spaceman.

     
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  19. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    or overhead...lol...now on the flip side if a woman does that to me...I serve from the middle of the court and run austrailian and if she lobs it mannnnn o mannnn...look out...I'm coming through with the tomahawk.:) I'm much closer to being able to get set up to hit the overhead....and that's generally from anywhere inside the green(court). :) I love overheads. lol Probably my third best shot right behind my backhand and the out finger.lol

     
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  20. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    This is how I do it in 8.0. lol. Being a high 4.5, I am the best player on the court. Although the woman on the other side is usually a 4.0, my partner gets a lot of easier balls at net because I make the opponents hit weaker shots. They have a choice, which is to go to my partner with an easier shot or play it to me at the baseline but I will continue to put balls in tough spots with more spin and/or pace than they can handle.

    Also, I play a lot of Australian in doubles. I make the weaker player have to hit down the line to me, which keeps the net person on the other side of the court out of the point. My partner is capable of holding her own against the other woman long enough for me to poach off a ball. Most opponents aren't used to this style and don't know how to deal with it.

    As for my serves, I use a lot more spin in mixed than in men's doubles or singles. I find that pace on the serve is wasted, but the spin produces weaker returns. Also, I will change pace a lot so that they don't know what's coming. Most 4.0s have a favorite serve or location and can't vary it as much as I can.
     
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  21. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    We do this drill a lot at Drew, where I coach. It really helps to get the hip rotated and there is virtually no backswing.
     
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