High-Altitude Tennis Strategy

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Ucantplay2much, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    I live at 5200 feet and read a lot of instruction but I haven't seen anything that specifically addresses the fact that playing at altitude is a somewhat different beast than playing below 1500 feet or so. I'm wondering if playing at altitude suits certain strategies better than others.

    High-altitude balls are supposed to help minimize the difference but people that I have talked to that play both have said that for a given amount of topspin, the ball moves a lot more. So, is the best strategy to simply add EXTRA spin or is it best to compensate other ways?

    For instance, is it better to concentrate on putting extra spin on the ball to get it to fall in when I hit from the baseline or is this futile and I should concentrate on improving touch instead? Is serve and volley a better strategy (a necessity?) than it is at lower altitudes due to the fact that you get to hit down rather than having to hit horizontally? Do you put a higher priority on hitting cross-court due to the extra length involved? Is it so hard to develop a really good kick serve that I'm better off working on an "easy" flat serve for a second serve?
     
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  2. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    Man, I really do feel for players who are stuck playing tennis at altitude. First of all the balls are made completely different than a real tennis ball. There's more rubber and the balls are like rocks. You have to really bring the racquet head acceleration at altitude. Even then, it's kind of a joke...really.

    The good side is when you get to a real tennis location, at an altitude thats actually conducive for the sport, your shots will fall in. The altitude can help your game in this regard. Especially hitting with real tennis balls again.

    There's a reason tennis isn't taken seriously in places like Colorado. It's everybody's like 8th sport, the snow worshippers are just killing time until they can make snow-angels. Just counting the days until they can hang out in the freezing weather and have "fun".

    Good luck to all of them with that.:)
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "easy" flat second serve is the poorest choice you can make. No spin, no speed, no bounce, just ready to get tattoo'ed.
    Twists and kicks go overhead.
    Hard slices are almost unreturnable due to skid.
    The idea of trading groundies is ridiculous when the ball constantly sails.
    And hi altitude ball will undoubtedly injure your arm over time, so don't hit so many damn rally balls.
     
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  4. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    That is not correct. I've played almost a year in high altitude on 4,500 ft. There I played on average 4 to 5 times a week for about 3 hours and my arm was (still is) totally fine!
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Right, we all practice with Tretorns all the time, because it will just strengthen our arms and make our games better.
    ONE year, and you know all about everything.
     
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  6. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    I've only played in Colorado, so I can't really comment on the difference. I can say that after getting really frustrated with my balls sailing long, I switched to a western grip and really hit a lot of topspin. The rubber in the balls don't bother my arm - especially in summer. You have to watch both your racquet and the balls though in Winter. I don't think the difference is all that great - especially at my level of 3.5.
     
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  7. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    I've had some luck with the hard slice, I should use it more often. Unfortunately my kicks just pop up right into the strike zone. I've found it pretty difficult to get them to really dive in the thin air and I've wondered if that is part of why the kick ain't kickin'.
     
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  8. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    I learned that the hard way recently. A friend of mine and I were feeding each other volleys and groundstrokes from a hopper on a cold night. Hitting the older balls was like hitting bricks. I should have just stopped but I'm too hard headed to do something that sensible... :)
     
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  9. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    Why this aggressive tone? I was just giving my point of view. Is that not allowed here? :rolleyes:

    That was my experience during that time and as long you have more profound experiences to share, I am not going to let you disregard my statement. During my one year, I have not only played in high altitude, but also in low altitude (e.g. in Phoenix, AZ). So I certainly think I'm able to compare how it feels in low altitude and in high altitude.

    And btw, why would I know all about everything? :shock: :confused:

    For those who are interested: I played with Wilson US Open balls 95% of the time.
     
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  10. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    High-altitude balls or regular balls? Altitude balls have more felt, stiffer construction and are lower pressure. Consequently, they're a bit harder on the arm. I've played with regular balls here a few times and they're absolutely SICK for serving, but they're also hard to keep in the court on groundstrokes.
     
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  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    High altitude balls are not the same as Tretorns (pressureless and yes, very hard). They feel about the same as the regular ones. The ball will go about 10% farther at the same speed at altitude, also spin will not curve the ball as much. You end up with much less margin of error (especially depth) at altitude. Spin can be very important in bringing the ball inside the baseline. The spin also is not slowed as much going through the air, so when it hits the court the ball can really jump. My spin serves can be devastating because they hop off the court so much, but my flat groundstrokes are very difficult to keep in the court. I've had to focus on more spin since I moved up here.
     
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  12. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    Really good point. I hadn't thought about the flip-side of the spin/air-resistance equation.
     
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  13. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    Wilson US Open - High-altitude ;)

    I haven't recognized a big difference to playing with regular Wilson US Open on low altitude.
     
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  14. Ucantplay2much

    Ucantplay2much Rookie

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    Just checkin' ;)
     
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  15. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    You're not a very bright person are you? Or you obviously haven't been playing long enough to differentiate hence you shouldn't be offering any opinion.

    Yippee, the world of the internet.
     
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  16. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Some pretty grumpy folks on this thread.
     
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  17. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    What's with all the insulting here on the board? The board staff is not too active, eh?

    Apparently, almost everybody here is an expert, so I'll leave it up to you to help out here. However, I won't let anyone disregard my opinion. If I want to state it, I will do it.
     
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  18. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    There are a couple of differences as many have mentioned. I lived in Denver for a number of years and this is what I experienced:

    1- The issue is thinner air. This leads to balls flying due to less resistance and spin having less of an effect for the same reason.

    2- The high altitude balls try to compensate for this by having a bit less internal pressure and some have a "fluffier" nap on the felt, some don't.

    In my experience the deadness of the balls do help with flat fliers somewhat, though this effect is reduced some when the balls are heavier (due to the heavier felt). IMO the nap difference is completely ineffective as far as making spin act normally.

    I had the best luck using more topspin. Not because it cut down on fliers due to the spin (like it would do at sea level) but because it is a natural way of cutting down on pace.
     
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  19. retlod

    retlod Professional

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    ^^^ Best description/advice in the thread so far.
     
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  20. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Why are all you ********s bagging on mirko?! He'll pwn you all 6-0, 6-0! But Clint would pwn mirko 6-0, 6-0. Haha.

    What the hell are you smoking?! Where the hell did you get these ideas?! Altitude difference doesn't mean the dimensions of the court or the net have changed! You still volley the exact same and still have to hit up on the serve. And put a higher priority on hitting crosscourt??? Buddy, you should already have the highest priority on playing crosscourt if you want to be a good player!

    Bottom line, the ball goes through the air faster, and therefore penetrates the court better. This means court speeds are faster. Now what does that mean in every other scenario? Attack, attack, attack! I don't mean go for broke on every shot, but be aggressive. Serve and volley is the classical way to take advantage of the court speed, but nowadays people baseline bash all day long. String tighter to keep the ball from flying, and let loose. Rallies are going to be shorter, that's one of the key differences of fast courts, so get the first strike or die. But seeing as you don't have a second serve... You have a long way to go before you can implement any strategy to begin with.
     
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  21. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    ??? It's common knowledge, to anyone who passed 6th grade science anyway.:confused:
     
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  22. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    This makes no sense...you don't know anybody or how they play.:confused:

    Are you a kid or something?
     
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  23. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Not true...

    ...in Colorado, we are true multi-sport athletes, and we do take tennis seriously. Most weeks in the winter season, you can ski in the morning, play tennis or go road-biking in the afternoon....
     
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  24. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Serve and volley...

    ...chip and charge, in general, play aggressively, and use plenty of spin from the baseline (topspin is good, but slice is nice, too)....
     
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  25. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I am jealous of the whole Colorado thing. With global warming skiing will only exist at high altitude... Whistler's going to prove to be a mistake in 20 years...and almost all east coast skiing places will be dead.
     
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  26. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    in mexico dity, the altitude is 7000 feet...
    Its no big deal actually, i have played at lower altitudes and all it takes is an adjustement of where do i hitthe ball... a little it under it, and all goes in, its quite fun actually.
    Going from a low place, must be a pain... tighten your strings, hit across your body instead of so much up and across...
     
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  27. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    At Colorado State University, they just tore out the tennis courts to make room for a PRACTICE facility for the football team...the COLORADO STATE..."football" team.

    Practically every tennis court along the front range (that you didn't have to pay an arm and a leg for) was cracked beyond repair, neglected, nets ruined, wind screens torn off etc. etc.

    I was actually delighted when I found a court that actually didn't have chasms and the net height was correct...too bad it was too cold to play.

    At the CU Rec Center, the courts are in a complete state of disrepair, and to boot, the racquetball and squash courts are used for storage areas.

    One good thing about playing in Colorado, you never have to wait for a court. Too bad you might break your ankle playing on one though.
     
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  28. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    Are you talking about the Colorado State in Fort Collins or the one in Pueblo?
     
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  29. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    ^^ Fort Collins. It's a shame really, it was such a nice facility.

    Then again Coloradans worship snow and ice so...
     
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  30. mikro112

    mikro112 Semi-Pro

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    Tennis is everything but important at CSU, I assume after reading your post. I did my MBA last year at CSU-Pueblo and we went to the round of 32 in the nationals and nobody but us cared. The courts at the school were also in a bad shape so that we couldn't use them. So, we had to play in the City Park, which was awesome because the courts were great.

    I loved playing tennis in Colorado though, because at least in PUeblo, the weather was ALWAYS nice so that we could play outside most of the time (in the winter as well).

    ----

    For the strategy, I couldn't see a notable difference between low altitude and high altitude. I had the same style on both. I assume it simply depends on your technical abilities to adapt to the differences quickly and it also depends on your style. My style is very mixed up, with lots of spin and speed changes in the rally. So, maybe that's the reason why I didn't have any problems adapting to the different altitudes.
     
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  31. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    I noticed my kicker still had the pace but not the kick. It had to do with the combination of the altitude and the type of ball that is used there. I got back home (elevation 1100 feet), and the disparity was immense. The kicker had bite, so much more pronounced bite. That's why it can be good to train (as in other sports) in high altitude because if you can tame your shots there, you can hit with nice punch and depth at an elevation where the ball can actually bite into the ether.

    I don't like those balls, and a lot of it was just being around too many passive tennis players (Colorado) who only play to amuse themselves. Too many mountain men with s**t eating grins because they have snot-icicles hanging out of their noses and frozen mustaches and beards. But I digress...

    I still don't know why they play pro baseball in Colorado...it's a farce really. But it's a market nonetheless.
     
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  32. salsainglesa

    salsainglesa Semi-Pro

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    so, will my kick bounce higher on sea level?
    cool!
    people will be jumpin :D
     
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  33. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    No, it will bounce higher at altitude -- if you don't take any speed off your swing.

    In the old days before they had high altitude balls, all tennis at altitude was serve and volley (and a lot of just serve). Since they now have high altitude balls, it really isn't that different than sea-level, except with a smaller margin for error.
     
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  34. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    What does one do in a place like Las Cruces? The USTA recommends using the high altitude ball at 4000 feet right? Las Cruces sits at like 3990 LOL. Can it be EITHER ball!?
     
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