Getting Better Can Be a Bit Awkward . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by winstonplum, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. winstonplum

    winstonplum Hall of Fame

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    I played tennis from the ages of eight to sixteen quite regularly. And then played maybe ten times in the next fifteen years. Life just happened. Anyway, when I played again for the first time three years ago, I was playing against a 3.5 and held my own. For the first six months he owned me; then I started to get the old timing back, get fit, etc. Then the tables turned and I began to own him. Then we stopped playing because it was kind of boring for both of us. And so it goes.

    I'm a pretty solid 4.0 now. I'm play 3-4 times a week. I love tennis immensely. Some of the 4.0s that owned me a year and a half ago, I dispatching quite easily now. Obviously, there's another echelon of 4.0s to beat before, IF, I could ever consider myself a 4.5, and I know that if I can call myself a legitimate 4.5 that will be the end of the road as I'm approaching forty.

    I'd like to hear others' opinion/thoughts about what happened when you just keep beating a guy 3,2,2 or 2,1,2 on and on, and, well, it just gets kind of boring. Do you talk about the fact you shouldn't really be playing each other anymore? Is it awkward for you? I've had this weekday morning match going with this guy for a year and a half and it's just kind of a waste of time now. Anybody have a similar experience?

    I'm not bragging. I'm sure that moving from being an out-of practice 3.5 to nudging up against 4.5 over the course of three years is probably a very common occurrence.
     
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  2. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    I always think that the more practice partners you have the better. Its good to play a variety of abilities so that you plays people better than yourself and people not as good so you can practice shots you wouldnt in a close match.
     
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  3. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I've got a regular partner that had a child 2 years ago and his time is really limited. Currently, he plays me every week and that's it. I play him and 2-3 others every week and maybe a league match or two. Obviously, I'm more practiced than he is.

    We used to go about 50/50 on who would win and it was usually tight. Now, it's around 2&3 when we play all out and he can barely survive. He's totally accepting of it. Frankly, it's his free time to excercise and he's just happy to be on the court.
     
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  4. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    It's even tougher when it's family.

    Growing up playing my Dad (who is a great player) I usually lost all the time.

    Then I got a little more interested and we started going back and forth on wins/loss

    and now I am even better and add that he is getting older it's hardly a contest.

    but He still enjoys playing but would often get upset at always losing.

    so now we just Hit...do some drills maybe a mini game that gives him advantage...like he plays doubles lines and I get no second serve etc..
     
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  5. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Correct, 30% with players better, 30% worse, 40% the same level.
     
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  6. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I would not stop hitting with the guy just because he is weaker than you. Try using the hitting time to work on new things such as S&V or attacking the net. You can also make it competitive by playing to your partners strength - for example, play a lot of balls to his forehand side if that is his strengths to make it harder for you to win.

    Also, try to work in some equal or stronger competition too - find a new partner or join a leauge to get better comp.
     
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  7. winstonplum

    winstonplum Hall of Fame

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    That's good advice. I should start working on some serve and volley. Sometimes I think that, but then my competitive juices kick in and I play my strengths. I realized yesterday though that our competition has "jumped the shark." It's time to work on some things, even if I lose playing serve and volley.
     
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  8. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

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    I think that it holds you back. When you're always winning, like every time, you develop bad habits. You don't need to push yourself, try new things, add variety to your game, etc. You win by doing whatever one thing beats the player.
     
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  9. TXdad

    TXdad New User

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    If it's no longer fun probably time to move on; however it is possible for you both to get something out of it, you can pick on a weakness of his (serve to the backhand, slices, drop shots, whatever) and he will get better at dealing with those and you will get better at hitting them. Comes from experience lol, hit with an ex top ten Tex open player who can crush me if knees are feeling ok.
     
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  10. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I get why people say this and it can be good advice. But I want to practice my A game too as well as my B and C. Especially if I am playing the weaker opponent on day 1...knowing that day 2 or 3 is an opponent that will test my A game.

    Ie, Federer doesn't play around when he's up big. He will finish someone off quick knowing that his body needs the rest and his game needs to get to max performance by the end of the week. Same theory, minus the millions of dollars on the line. Details.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    King of a puddle or just another fish in a big sea?
    Expand your horizons, play more different players.
    I used to play lots with a No.2 for a Div111 school. He'd beat me mostly 4's and 2's, and in the last 30 sets, every single time. He was also my doubles partner.
    When we played tournaments, I'd usually go deeper than him. In doubles, he'd hold me up, me failing every single match.
    I quit tennis for motocross, he got better and eventually became a solid A raked NorCal player.
    Expand your horizons, but don't forget your roots.
     
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  12. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    IMO, if you want to get better fast, play against the best competition you can find that doesn't completely overwhelm you. There is no substitute for playing against speed.
     
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  13. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I have a buddy that when we started playing about 10-12 years ago was my equal on the court. I could out serve him but his groundies were always better than mine. When I had kids and finished grad school, he took command of our rivalry. Then he had kids and I spent more time on my tennis and he fell behind. It goes in cycles.

    Now we play once a week and that is all he plays. It is mostly just an excuse to drink and socialize after a hit. It works out because he always wants to work on something specific. So usually he is working on serve and volley ... so I get to focus on returning. It all works out.

    Now even though we are not close in tennis skills ... it is not about competition it is about spending time with a good friend.
     
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  14. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Make TT better, use the Ignore List!
    Good thing he didn't get bored and dump you during this six-month period.
     
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  15. winstonplum

    winstonplum Hall of Fame

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    ^ touche.

    10touches
     
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  16. CFreeborn

    CFreeborn New User

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    Join USTA and play some tournaments @ 4.5. That should give you a pretty good idea of where you fall in the scheme of things.
     
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  17. Tennis Truth

    Tennis Truth Rookie

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    If someone is getting 2 or 3 games from you per set, then they are obviously good enough for you to hit with. Your levels are not THAT far apart.

    If you are beating somone 0-0, or 0-1, then it might be time to move on to playing someone who challenges you more. After several of those kinds of beatdowns, usually each player realizes it is not that competitive.
     
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  18. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    At 40 4.5 isn't the end of road unless you have specific physical limitations or time constraints on practicing (which most of us do). But if you're in good shape and everything works, you have to be playing at a very, very high level before being 40 in and of itself is an issue - IMO.
     
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  19. winstonplum

    winstonplum Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. Anyway, I probably will never have enough time to do all the practicing, outside of matches, to move past 4.5
     
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  20. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I think it's time for you to join some local social tennis mixers and find a whole new crop of hitting partners. You should know a bunch of people, not just one.
     
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  21. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    Getting Better Can Be a Bit Awkward .--Quite true,yet as some mentioned here playing or working out with higher rated players will improve your game,,I think however, getting lessons from a pro or near pro will speed the process, then just go out and beat the higher rated players,,,lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
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  22. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Having read this thread over the last week, I played my normal hitting buddy this past week. While I normally serve and volley ... go for big returns and usually win easily. This week I decided to throttle back ... force him into protracted rallies by forcing him from side to side. Generally giving him hope by pushing instead of finishing points.

    I still won the set easily (6-1), but after the match he was delighted that he had played so much better than usual. I did not have the heart to tell him why.
     
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  23. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    One other point that many peeps here either dont mention or dont do,,tennis is a lot of book work too, reading then doing what you have read will pay dividends.
     
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  24. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    Someone may have already suggested this, but I would say keep playing him and when you do, try things you are not comfortable with. If you play a baseline game, serve and volley more against him. It takes you out of your comfort zone, somewhat equalizes things, and gives you a chance to develop areas of your own game that you may not have worked on previously. Then when you DO play others at your own level or better, you have a bigger, better arsenal of strokes to use against them.
     
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  25. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    LOL. Saying that age has little or nothing to do with it is just not very realistic. Look at the USTA lists of 5.0 players and see what percentage of them are over 50. Or over 40 for that matter, There are some, but these are usually the studs who were even better than that in their youth and have slipped just a bit to rest at 5.0. They aren't moving up to 5.0 after 40---they are holding onto what they already had by staying in great condition and playing a heck of a lot. Usually they also are tennis naturals who had a lot of God-given natural talent to begin with. That is not to say all the rest of us have to despair---we don't. Age doesn't have to be the killer to our game. Most players who start dropping off do not do so because they get older per se, but because AS they get older they work out less, they play less frequently, they work at their game less, they gain weight, they have families or other interests that take time away from their game, etc. It isn't the aging itself that erodes their skills so much but what getting older means as a way of life. Those who are good and keep after it remain good for a very, very long time. And as seniors, they are still the cream of the senior crop. And as super-seniors, they are the cream of the super-senior crop. I topped out as a solid 4.5 in my early forties, but left the game all but socially for several years when I went back to grad school. But at 56, I am still a strong-very strong 4.0, and could probably return to the 4.5s if I had the time to devote to really working at my game. Tennis really IS the sport for a lifetime, my friend. One of the best things about it! ;-)
     
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  26. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Since no one has asked already, are you playing in USTA league or tournaments?
     
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  27. GrandSlam45

    GrandSlam45 Rookie

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    I still play regularly with a guy who I can easily beat 6-0 6-2 IF we play a match. We stopped playing matches long ago. Instead we use the time for drills or to practice our strokes. Despite our un-competitive matches, we still have amazing baseline rallies, so he makes a good hitting partner.
     
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  28. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    I think what he is saying is that, unless you have a specific problem that doesn't allow you to get better ( dodgy knees, tennis elbow etc) you can actually improve though you are over 40. For example, since 40, I have improved over the last few years in the consistency of my quality shots. I am probably a little slower and don't hit the ball quite as heavy as I did, but placement, court craft and confidence have all improved making me a much better overall player.

    Same can go for anyone else.
     
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