Getting rid of my "nice guy" playing habits.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ti286, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. ti286

    ti286 Banned

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    I recently took up the game after 10 years off.

    I noticed that I have resumed with old habits which contributed to a losing match record and subsequent quiting.

    They are:

    1. Not split stepping during opponent's serve to avoid distracting him with my movement and noise.
    2. Immediately calling anything within 2 inches of any line in.
    3. Letting my opponent warm up as long as he wants; keeping my warm up brief to be nice.
    4. Not attempting winners so as not to embarrass my opponent.
    5. Deliberately extending points so my opponent gets to play more tennis in the match.
    6. Always providing the balls.
    7. Not picking on my opponent's weakness (usually backhand) so as not to embarrass him.

    A lot of this translates into my personal and professional lives, where I don't assert myself enough.

    I've taken tennis again so I can develop the confidence that will shed me of my "nice guy" habits on and off the court.

    But so far...I'm doing all the same passive things again.

    Is this truly excessive sportsmanship, or are some of these habits how the game should be played?
     
    #1
  2. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    some of it is exsessive. there playing JUST like you...your NOT gonna embaress them, and if you do its because they dont practice as much....reward yourself for your hard work, go 100% every point, and dont worry about your opponent to much. i am like you with shorteneing my warmups and extending theres if need be. i think thats not very good, but its something i also do.
     
    #2
  3. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    Why do some players seek out those players who routinely beat them? Wouldn't that be contrary to what your're thinking? I can be too polite as well - but I also want to be honest. Most opponents want you to give them your honest best, and would feel very insulted if they knew that you were letting up.
     
    #3
  4. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Actually to my eye it is a mixed bag:

    1- Huh? You are thinking too hard. Play your game of tennis, the rest is neurosis.

    2- This is the easiest to advise on: if you see it out (you can see court in between the ball and the line) it is out, otherwise it is in.

    3- You warm up as much as you need and let him warm up as much as he needs.

    4- Strange as it sounds you could be winning more points with this advice than if you were going for winners.

    5- The tone of this topic and the last one (#4) sounds like you are playing a guy several skill levels below yourself, sort of a patronizing tone. Is that your attitude?

    6- This can be a shrewd move if you have a preference. I always provide the balls for serious matches...

    7- See #5.
     
    #4
  5. Counter

    Counter New User

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    #5
  6. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    Lol, i'd almost consider this unsportsmanship...sportsmanship in my opinion is doing your best to win the match anyway you can, FAIRLY (no cheating line calls and stuff) and ofcourse no cursing and things of that sort.

    1. Split stepping shouldn't disturb the server..unless you're squeaking your feet a lot and as loud as you can intentionally..
    2. If you're not sure i'd call it in, but if it looked out certainly, call it out by all means and don't back down on your answer.
    3. Choose to warm up as long as he does..? Don't really understand.
    4. Sounds like you're in a different league then the other guy...this makes you sound arrogant..which is closer to unsportsmanship.
    5. Same as #4, finish off as soon as possible.
    6. if you like a certain brand, provide your own balls, nothing wrong with that.
    7. This is just a strategy used to win in tennis, its your opponents fault for training his forehand more then his backhand, or not strengthening his weaker wing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2009
    #6
  7. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    When this guy still gets his ass kicked by the same opponents, he is going to have a nervous breakdown.
     
    #7
  8. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    I'm kinda with you here...

    #2 he can do what he wants. Being generous on line calls is one thing, but if you're calling balls in if you clearly know they're long, that's just bull.

    #3 is just plain stupid to mention. That doesn't mean anything.

    #1 is terrible since it NEVER distracts the other player. I've never once noticed any opponent split step when I hit the ball.

    #4 this is fine if you're clearly on a level well above them, you both know that, and you're trying to help him get better or not totally blow him off the court. In that case, this is a common occurrence. But if you're both on the same or similar level, then just do it! It won't embarrass him at all! If it does, he's a little crybaby and shouldn't play sports or games with the intention of winning. Or maybe you're scared to hit a winner cause you think you'll miss? Or you think it won't be a winner even if you made it in?

    #4 and #5 are the exact same. But Agassi did the same thing in his older years because he wanted to tired out the opponent a little more each point before finishing it off. So he'd run them side to side an extra 5 shots or so THEN hit the winner or wait for the forced error. It was because in his older age he knew he couldn't keep up physically with all these rising young players.

    #6 I do that too... So what's wrong with this?

    #7 I've got to say, I'm the same here. I pick on their strength, tear it apart, then move on to abusing them on the entire court. I'll make them return my serve with their weaker wing though if it's an important point.

    Doing things for the reason of not wanting to embarrass the opponent is stupid. You want them as bruised up as possible when they leave the court! (Not actually, but you get what I mean) The opponent shouldn't ever be embarrassed that he lost. He should feel that either he played a better opponent, or didn't play as well as he wanted. The former won't cause embarrassment while the latter causes disappointment (and sometimes embarrassment if he was THAT off).
     
    #8
  9. ubermeyer

    ubermeyer Hall of Fame

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    i consider myself pretty nice in real life (except on these boards lol) but these things are not "nice" in tennis, they are just losing strategies, except for #6 which there is no need to stop doing, unless you're losing a lot of money like this.

    other than that, you really need to stop doing this stuff, i don't see how you can beat anybody who is even .5 NTRP below you like this
     
    #9
  10. armsty

    armsty Hall of Fame

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    Wow. If you're going to play competitive tennis there's no point unless you're going to be competitive. So grow a pair and smash some winners.
     
    #10
  11. SourStraws

    SourStraws Rookie

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    Some of those things are ridiculous...If your opponent cant keep it within the lines...Thats not your problem lol

    S.S.
     
    #11
  12. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    I will never remember all the things you mentioned, unless I go back to look (and I'm too lazy for that)- so any way.

    I think this is a non-issue. First of all, if you are playing someone who is has less ability, why not extend the rallies, try new things, just practice your game. If it's a friendly game, who cares?

    If the player is obviously better than you, then the point is moot. You will not be able to do those things, you will have to really play just to keep up.

    But, since you do sense ther is a problem and you are dissatisfied with your present behavior, I would suggest finding a practice partner who will push YOUR limits and give YOU some room to grow.

    Some of the things, if I remember right, sounded like they may be verging on a compulsive personality problem and are beyond the scope of a tennis board- especially If that kind of behavior extends into your "real" life.
     
    #12
  13. Arzon

    Arzon Rookie

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    Okay

    I used to have this same problem when I was 12 and I first joined my clinics and my local club, especially when I was playing with a girl.

    I think all of this "nice guy" tennis is a result of a lack of self confidence.

    You think that by going easy on an opponent, either better or worse than you, is going to make them like you better. You think by playing nice to them and not hitting winners, they are going to think "wow, what a nice guy!" and be better friends with you.

    NOPE

    Not only does that make you loose matches constantly that you should've won, it makes others think lowly of your game. It can also give a bad image as if you were patronizing them, or mocking your opponent's tennis abilities.

    Seriously. Just stop caring and go all out.

    If you decided to rip that HUGE forehand winner down the line and win the point, what bad can come out of it? You will earn some respect, some confidence in your game, and more. They aren't gonna think "He just hit a winner on me. What a jerk!" No. They play tennis to be competitive. They're gonna say (or think) "Nice shot!" or something like that. If you win, great!. If you loose, great also. At least you will loose knowing you tried your best.

    If this is not your case, then completely ignore my post. But I just know that I kinda was in the same situation as you
     
    #13
  14. boojay

    boojay Hall of Fame

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    I feel for you OP. My suggestion is to play against stronger players than yourself, that way you won't feel bad, but rather pleased with yourself whenever you're able to hit a good shot. But if you have no choice, I'd say use it as a training tool. In an actual match, any goes, but during regular hits, work on various aspects of your game and don't sweat the little things too much.
     
    #14
  15. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    It sounds more like obsessive/compulsive behavior or some sort of borderline personality disorder.

    Play your game and stop worrying about what your opponent is doing, thinking and feeling.

    As for providing the tennis balls... tell your opponent ahead of time who's turn it is to provide the balls.
     
    #15
  16. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    Geez, it almost sounds like you are playing against a 5 year old with a fragile self esteem.

    Go play the way any guy (good, bad, or anywhere in between) is supposed to play.

    :)

    r,
    eagle
     
    #16
  17. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    keep at it, dont change a thing.

    our world can use more nice guys... people are too mean in general
     
    #17
  18. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    If you want to win, you have to find a way to work within your own psychology.

    What you have to remember is that when you lose because you didn't try ruthlessly to win, you cheated your opponent out of the opportunity for an honest victory over you, which isn't nice. That's also true if you call his balls in that you know are really out. (If you're not sure, well, you're supposed to call them in. If that puts you at a slight disadvantage, I wouldn't worry about it because you can always compensate by playing tougher and better.)

    Also, if you play less than your best against a weaker opponent, it shows contempt for him. If you truly respect him, you will admit to yourself that no matter how far ahead you get in the score, until the last point has been played your opponent might still raise his game and catch up. Ruthlessly nailing down the victory shows respect for your opponent's potential to raise his game.

    Learn to split-step quietly while awaiting serve; your opponent will be looking at the ball and he won't even see you.

    You can still win, even if you always provide the balls, so you can live with that.
     
    #18
  19. Nonentity

    Nonentity Rookie

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    1. Not split stepping during opponent's serve to avoid distracting him with my movement and noise.

    Neither i or anyone i know gets distracted by split step. plus you are not doing it on purpose. Your niceness falls on deaf ears here.

    2. Immediately calling anything within 2 inches of any line in.

    -I do this too sometimes, but most of the time the opponent will not see it. If they do see you calling a ball out they would assume you have bad eye sight and in some unfortunate cases, will make bad calls on htier side because they think you won't see it.

    In a friendly match i don't believe it matters, but i always tell my opponents i play close points.

    3. Letting my opponent warm up as long as he wants; keeping my warm up brief to be nice.
    -You warm up against each other, so wouldn't you both get the same amount of warm up?

    4. Not attempting winners so as not to embarrass my opponent.
    = Your opponents will be more frustrated by their own errors than having winners hit against them. Hitting winners shows power and demands respect. When you hit frequent winners, the opponents will know they got beaten by a better player, it is not embarrassing, but it IS embarrassing when they see that you are toying with them, not hitting your best shots.

    5. Deliberately extending points so my opponent gets to play more tennis in the match.
    see # 4. Except if you are playing a friendly match.

    6. Always providing the balls.
    -Not a bad habit. I usually provide the new balls too, then throw them in a ball hopper after im done with the match. No real loss there, plus you always play with whatever balls you want.


    7. Not picking on my opponent's weakness (usually backhand) so as not to embarrass him.
    - again see #4.
     
    #19
  20. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Buy and read The Inner Game of Tennis.
    One of the points that Gallwey make is that you are cheating your opponent of their chance at good competition if you are not playing your best. You are also cheating yourself. You may get more carryover into other aspects of life after reading this book. Just don't expect to have a total personality changeover.
     
    #20
  21. ti286

    ti286 Banned

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    I should note that I had few of these problems when playing for my high school and one year for my college. I badly wanted to win for myself and my team.

    But now I meet opponents through online resources (usta.com). The matches are more social than competitive. We talk before and after the match. So I feel a responsibility to make the match worthwhile...extend the points, don't make controversial line calls, don't exploit weaknesses. And I'll feel very guilty if we play and I simply go for winners and keep the points 4 strokes or less.

    If these were tournaments, I'd be more secure in playing "all out." But this is a new kind of tennis for me, and I'm having to adjust.

    I'm actually considering paying teaching professionals to play matches with me. If I pay them, I feel no obligation to be nice. As expensive as it may be, I may have more fun playing tennis this way.
     
    #21
  22. moroni

    moroni Rookie

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    1. it wont distract him unless you are making an squeeking sound with your shoes
    2.well if you think that the ball is out you should call it unless you know otherwise but think that your opponent did not see it
    3.you warm up with him so if he warms up more wouldnt you have warmed up more??
    4.i would rather be baagled by an opponent than know that he is going easy on me jusst because 'im not on his level' ---i go easy on weaker opponents if i have consequtive matchs in one day
    5.well thats okay if you are prctising rallies but i usually attempt winners whenever possible
    6.i always provide the balls .. because im very specific about balls i like heavier balls so thats not being nice thats being smart
    7.i dont pick on a weakness if im playing a weak player but if im playing an equal i have to in order to win ....(i really hate to lose)
     
    #22
  23. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    Here's a novel idea.

    Win your matches, and make them quick. Then you have the REST of the time to casually hit.
     
    #23
  24. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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  25. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    Interesting. Sounds like you already have a plan and really don't want vs need to get rid of your "nice guy" playing habits.

    So, why make this thread?

    r,
    eagle
     
    #25
  26. ti286

    ti286 Banned

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    Well, I'm trying to develop a competitive instinct. One where I can smile and chat before a match, beat my opponent, then smile and chat afterward.

    Business operates the same way, right? You're friendly in your greeting, then there's conflict as you reach an agreement on terms/price, then you end with more relationship building.

    I'm also a businessman, and I've had problems with assertiveness and perhaps give too much ground on deals. I hope that through tennis I can overcome these problems.
     
    #26
  27. ti286

    ti286 Banned

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    :shock: It's apparently available to download free here:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=zA...esult&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=&f=false
     
    #27
  28. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    Gotcha.

    Yes, you have to be civil, cordial, and friendly in business. But you also have to have a streak of competitiveness to be in business and stay ahead of your competition.

    There's a friendly and social way to play tennis where you compliment your opponent for good shots and good sportsmanship.

    There's also the wrong way where you are ultra competitive to the point of being abrassive and grates on your opponents. Examples? Stepanek who glares at opponents and Hewitt with his over the top come ons and fist pumps.

    Finally, I don't think you are giving your opponents enough credit for being mature enough to handle losing points or matches. I don't think they will crumble, cry, shun you, or avoid playing you ever if they lose a match or two.

    This is just a game. It doesn't define you.

    Now go out there and play the game like you are able and supposed to play.

    r,
    eagle
     
    #28
  29. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I think my assumption in my first post is correct, you are way better than your competition and you feel guilty blowing them out of the water in a social situation.

    No harm there but be aware that anyone who is not a complete dolt will be aware of this and their attitudes about it will vary, considerably.
     
    #29
  30. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    Well, you can tell me you are being completely honest and I'll have to take your word for it, but I will point out why a lot of this APPEARS to be BULL-oney.
    1. You assert elsewhere on this board "it seems I have a right to keep my feet moving" and "I've never heard of a player complain about shuffling feet" So listen to yourself.
    2. Maybe you lack the cojones to call a ball "out" that you see "out" and are letting yourself off the hook.
    3. ??? You don't warm up with your opponent? You are obligated to if your opponent wants it. And he is obligated to warm up with you if you want it.
    4. That's your explanation. I don't attempt to hit winners for 2 reasons. To not make UE's. To run almost any opponent over 30 years old (I'm 59) around when it is ~85F or hotter during a 3 set outdoors match. The real reason I do this to one guy is because I don't like him and I get to be an SOB by doing this to him.
    5. See answer #4.
    6. That's a manipulative move.
    7. You might have already embarrassed him by your #6 manuever.
    Once again, I don't really know you, but it would be reasonable to assume you are a classic fearful passive-aggressive type of personality. The assertions you make almost make me think you are coming up with a rationale for being a jerk. The most honest thing you posted may be "nice guy."
    Sorry for the sharp criticism, but maybe you should take a long hard look at your behaviour, you seem to have some realization of that by posting here. Good luck.
     
    #30
  31. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    My advice to the OP is two-fold:

    1. Play each ball on its merits, regardless of whether your opponent is old or young, good or bad, male or female. Even a beginner can hit a winner if the ball hits his/her sweet spot at the right time. Acknowledge good shots and keep going.

    2. Make the line calls as you see them - nothing more, nothing less. Period. If this causes dissent, hold your ground gently but firmly.

    This won't prevent you from being a nice guy, if that is indeed your personality, and you don't have to become nasty.
     
    #31

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