how important is holding serve in ladies 6.0 doubles (two 3.0s)

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by lovin'it, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    I think the weakest game of the four, when I am on the court, is my service game, not only is my serve only average to decent, but, I am not at the net, and that is my strength. Yes, I do GET to the net, s/v, but this is a transition shot. I maintain, that this whole 'holding serve...breaking serve' concept is less relevant (NOT irrelevant) at this level with over 40 year old ladies. Rarely is the serve an ace, and it is generally, merely the first shot. I think that this concept of holding serve and breaking, is more a factor for powerful mens singles, where that serve is always an aggresive, offensive shot. that sets up the game.

    Why I say this, is this one lady I play who has a powerhouse partner who often double faults her blazing service game away....BUT, she is so strong on the other three games (huge overheads, tricky quick backhand, great poacher, surgically placed lobs, and 5'10" to boot!) that she is not a handicap! AND, if I see an ace on the court, it is hers. To myself, I just can't give my friend the credit for winning, as, while she is decent, she is no better than I am, and my partner and I are not as strong as this powerful partner. ONLY for my own ponderings, does this make sense....she is so smug about 'putting up with' these double faults, while I, to myself think...'yeah, but even if she loses her serve, that is only one in four games, less if she is the second server each set on average, and she wins the other three games with all her other GREAT STUFF! You are just along for the ride!" No, I will not quote you but it is really getting under my skin!!!!!!!
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, if one partner can't hold, then you have to be able to break the other team at will no matter how strong they are. So being unable to hold serve ever is a big handicap, even at our level.

    I don't think having a booming serve is necessary for us 3.0-3.5 middle-aged ladies. More important is being able to place the serve. If I'm trying to come in, I can often be more successful serving to a weak backhand, or if a player is strong on both wings, serving up the middle. Sheer pace doesn't frighten a lot of players.

    I'd say in the matches I've played that the team who can hold is usually the team who will win.

    I do, however, get frustrated with partners with huge first serves they rarely get in the box, though. These players usually have a total cupcake push serve, so there's little value in that huge first fault of a serve. Take something off that first serve, use some spin to push the returner around, and let's play the point.

    FWIW, I think the toughest players at our level are those who play the net well and aggressively, not the big servers. Man, those net players will rock your world!
     
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  3. SB

    SB Rookie

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    Food for thought: I had a neck injury once and had to serve underhand in a 4.5 (ladies) match. I never lost my serve.

    (I actually have a better serve than most women I play ... it is normally a weapon. I often win my serve in mixed, too. Almost always in 8.0, and about half the time in 9.0.)

    Getting the ball in the court is really the most important part. Serving underhand worked because it didn't bounce very high (use a little sidespin if you need to) and thus wasn't in the wheelhouse for a return, AND the slow speed gave me ample time to get close to the net.
     
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  4. MariaS

    MariaS Semi-Pro

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    You purposely served underhanded? May I ask why?
     
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  5. DRtenniS1112

    DRtenniS1112 Semi-Pro

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    Didn't you read, she had a neck injury.

    And to answer the OP's question, I would say that in all honesty it isn't that important but it sure does help if you can hold consistently cuz so few can.
     
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  6. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    My mom is now a regular 3.0 dubs player (used to be a solid B player back in the 1970s and 80s). She says holding serve is so important at that level!

    "Yeah 'cause there are so many breaks, that, if someone holds serve, her team is up a hold. Often all it takes is one hold per set and you win!"
    --Slice bh compliment's Mother, who incidentally has a good slice bh.
     
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  7. MariaS

    MariaS Semi-Pro

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    Sorry bout that. Hope your okay now. :sad:
    My partner served underhand because of her shoulder surgery. Many of our opponents were uncomfortable returning her serve. :)
     
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  8. cak

    cak Professional

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    I play 3.5 doubles, and haven't found it all that hard to break other lady's serves. I've noticed that often in a match the score looks like we are "on" serve, when we are actually exactly "off" serve. So if you partner can't hold serve, but can break serve all the time, you will win 6-2, 6-2 or even 6-1, 6-2 if you win the toss and elect to receive.
     
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  9. ironicqueery

    ironicqueery Rookie

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    I'm currently playing 3.0 doubles, and have been winning most of my matches. I find that it's not all that hard to break an opponents serve. I find that at this level, breaking serves are quite easy to come by. Most women I play against seem to prefer not to serve first, etc.
    I think solid net play is a key differentiator at this level. It really unnerves opponents when you have a menacing threat at the net.
     
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  10. Serve 'em hard

    Serve 'em hard Banned

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    I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing if the pros hold serve like 80 percent of the time or whatever, 3.0ish ladies hold serve maybe 50% of the time. IOW, it's basically doesn't matter at all over the course of the match, or indicate who's gonna win.
     
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  11. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    I've been watching this evolve, and at first I didn't think I was clear enough :), but, yes, it seems there is some agreement, it is surely better to win your serve than lose it, but, breaking serve with a threatening net person is sometimes easier than having that net person serving and only securely in for the fifth shot (after an approach shot) as seldom do these points even GET to a fifth shot!! So, friends, yes?? am I right in thinking to myself that my friend 'surviving' her partners lousy service game when that same partner is the reason the other three games are won is not such a charitable thing?? Yes, and I agree, what IS IT with these big servers that can't drop a lousy puff ball second serve in the hole....ego?? And, a thought, is it poor sportsmanship to do an underhanded serve WITHOUT an injury??? How is that so different from a fierce kick serve?? Easier, yes, but isn't the goal to get the point by dropping the serve in the box?? I actually don't think you should have to have an injury to use a underhand serve...commments?
     
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  12. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    I am commenting on my own comment...I think why an underhanded serve is frowned upon, but not illegal (without an injury) is the fact that it is easy to execute and somewhat difficult to do much with on the other side of the court....a big aggressive serve, while equally difficult to do much with on the other side of the court, is RESPECTED because it is a difficult serve to execute. So, really, it is a matter of respect, and just how that deals with sportsmanship, I am still pondering....
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You know, I play doubles with a number of different teammates, and I consider my net play pretty darn good for 3.0.

    These days, I have found it quite effective to have my partner serve first if her serve is average and consistent. I can go to the net and hit a couple of volley winners early, which helps her hold and *freaks out* the other team. By the time I am serving, my opponents have been rattled and perhaps don't return their best and never get a chance to find out that my groundstrokes aren't especially good.

    The times I serve first are usually because my partner is shaking like a leaf and asks me to serve first.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
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  14. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Just as an aside- for 3.0 women the Australian formation should be the default on pretty much all second serves. Those women are just dinking their second serves over for the most part- the net player is better off in the australian formation where they can take away the highest percentage return.
     
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  15. Serve 'em hard

    Serve 'em hard Banned

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    hey, speaking of formations, can a server's partner stand anywhere on the court they please, or is there some sort of rule about where and when someone can stand as the point starts?
     
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  16. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    they can stand wherever they want, altho if they get hit by the serve, it is the servers point.
     
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  17. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

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    There are a couple of things here.

    First, it sounds like your friend doesn't mind winning, since she hasn't changed partners. Next, your friend should realize that maybe she isn't winning because of herself, but because of her partner.

    I've found that many players have either excessive testosterone or ego, and refuse to "just get the ball in." I personally like Elena Dementieva's game, despite her weak serve (caused originally by a shoulder injury).

    The underhand serve is legal. I don't have my Friend at Court with me right now that has the specific USTA comment, but I use it regularly. The spin that gets put on it is very much like my twist kick serve, with less kick and pace. :) And more than anything, it adds even more variety to my service game.
     
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  18. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    yes, funny thing is, she is the capt. so she chooses her partner, hadn't thought of it that way, yes, she does 'enjoy the ride'. to the latter, so you use this underhand serve as a part of your game? I may look at it, too, as so many women like pace on the serve and use it against you, and WHO has much experience returning this LEGAL serve...hee hee hee...how I LOVE this game!!!
     
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  19. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    ok, I am content, she maintains that it is her 'slow and steady' that wins the game, I agree with the slow, but I just had to get someone else to support my thought. Would love someone to watch a match with us, count unforced errors vs. winners...but I rest contented that SOMEONE else understands...check is in the mail!!
     
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  20. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I play with 3 4.5 players who are great returners (super consistent baseliners) with average serves and often they end up with more breaks than holds in doubles play. They don't come to the net much either and have lengthy baseline rallies.

    You can win in doubles without holding serve but it's tough and you better be very good at most other aspects of the game.
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I still don't see how Australian helps in this situation.

    Then again, I can't seem to get Australian to work anyway. We get killed when we try it. We're clearly doing something wrong.
     
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  22. MariaS

    MariaS Semi-Pro

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    The thing I hate about not holding my serve in doubles...is the icy stare I get from my partner... :mad:
     
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  23. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

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    There was a female 3.0 player at our club that loved to captain. She always partnered herself with the strongest possible partner. She always blamed her partners if she loses. She always took credit for whenever she wins.

    This kept on for a few years, and finally she got bumped to 3.5 Then she was surprised nobody wanted to partner with her, despite feeling she was the strongest player at the 3.0 level. None of her former partners wanted to partner with her, and found more suitable partner. Her play time suddenly went from every match, to begging to be played.

    A few years at 3.5, and now she's beginning to captain again as the other former 3.0s have improved to 4.0 ...

    I'm just watching from the sidelines and thinking, "here comes a new batch of women she'll be tormenting."
     
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  24. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    Dear Raiden.K,

    Great post. I see this crap at one of the places I play. I've got a couple of follow-up questions, for you. I want to learn more about this....hoping my wife will never get close to this kind of situation.

    How did that lady improve while not being played very much?
    Why do people torment eachother?
    Does this political BS happen a lot in men's league tennis?
    I like and respect doubles a lot (and I understand the social component), but it seems like the BS would not happen much in singles.
     
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  25. SB

    SB Rookie

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    Seriously?

    Half the time it's the net player's fault if the service is broken (as long as you aren't double faulting). They should HELP out up there!

    Icy stares are never a good idea within a partnership.
     
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  26. SB

    SB Rookie

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    I love when people play Aussie against me. It gives me way more court to hit into. I REALLY love it when people with slow serves play Aussie against me, because I have time to see what they are doing and I can hit the return accordingly.

    I think speed is a necessity to play Australian, speed of players and speed of serve. Otherwise the returner has the upper hand.

    The only thing I can think is to play it when, say, you know that a returner always returns a FH crosscourt, and it's hurting the server but the net player can't reach it. Make her return down the line.

    Or if a team or player is just zoning on their returns, play it to mix things up and make them think a little bit and try to get them out of their rhythm. That's a more dangerous way, but it works fairly often. Then you can go back to the other way before she gets used to the Aussie formation.

    It takes a lot of practice, and sometimes you get burned. But the more you play it, the faster you'll figure out when to use it and when not to. It's just difficult to do behind a puffy serve.
     
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  27. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Cindy- when someone has a dink second serve the returner can do whatever they want with the ball. The benefit of the normal doubles formation is that the net player is there to put away weak returns- but against dink second serves there aren't any weak returns so its wasted position. It is better to line up in the australian formation where the net player takes away the highest percentage shot the returner has available. In Australian the returner pretty much has to just go back up the line with the return- that makes them hit over the higher part of the net, they have less court to work with, and they have no angle to work with. When someone isn't generating any weak returns on their serve Australian is a much better formation.
     
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  28. NoBadMojo

    NoBadMojo G.O.A.T.

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    I only do one 'ladies' doubles clinic these days, an i spend more time on the service return in the clinic than the serve, thinking that if they wish to get a better serrve, they will take lessons or otherwise practice their serve on their own (which they rarely seem to do).
    At the level being discussed here, the serve is mostly used to start the point and it is <often> much easier to have an effective service return than an effective serve..i've seen cases where 'holding the service break' is more important than 'holding the serve'
     
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  29. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    That's exactly what I was thinking! I had a match recently where I was serving well, but all the opposing team had to do was hit it to my partner at the net, and *bam*...they won the point. She missed every volley!!!
     
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  30. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    I have a lot of success with australian in the ad court service...but only use it when they give me a reason, or to grab a quick point (40/30 to not go to duece). I use it on the ad court if they are giving me a shallow, cross court sliciy return. 90 % of the time, the net girl should stay, just move to mix it up.... their safest return in dtl, which I am running into with a forehand (obviously switch if your moving backhand is better, which most people's isn't). If they can REALLY drive that dtl shot low hard and topspin, they may have me, most can't, especially since that ad court returner tends to rely on her net game more than her baseline drives. When I am in that returners shoes, I drive it as hard as possible dtl, trying to beat her there, or, lob over the net girl into the back ad court corner. They will generally have to take it with an awkward backhand off of a high, dropping ball, and this is a tough shot...I know, that is how I got beat the other day!! I love australian, and it has 'bought' me many games, but still can't find much use for "I". It is neither here, nor there, in my book, the net girl is always moving, and the angles seem too available.
     
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  31. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Topaz, where was she standing? Was she creeping backward?
     
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  32. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Well, she was standing at the net at times, and other times back by the service line. I think the bigger problems were that she didn't bend her knees to get to the low shots, she swings on her volleys, and her racquet face was just all wrong.

    That's all! *rolling eyes* Seriously...she was having a baaaaad net day.
     
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  33. cak

    cak Professional

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    When I'm playing with a partner who is having a bad day at net I start serving hard and wide. This makes the most likely return back to the server (but watch out, it might be extremely short back to the server). If I'm having a bad serving day, where they can tee off on my serve at my net guy I back my net guy up. Then again, I seldom play with folks that can't volley from the service line. If I happen to be playing with lovely ladies that can't handle pace at the net, and can't volley from the service line, they probably have slower reaction times, I put them on the baseline and cover the dinks, working my way up to net as fast as possible.
     
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  34. Serve 'em hard

    Serve 'em hard Banned

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    can someone give a quick refresher on what australian formation is? I guess it's different from the "I" formation?
     
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  35. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Hmm, good ideas, thanks!
     
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  36. MariaS

    MariaS Semi-Pro

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    I meant to say when I double fault. When I double fault in singles, only I can get angry at me!
     
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  37. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

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    She didn't. The other players improved and got moved up. Since she has a lot of experience captaining, newbies think she's a great captain. Until they play for her team once. Another issue is that many women refuse to captain, fearing the issues that come with being captain (politics, etc.) So she still gets to captain.

    My theory is that it's the "negative" way of life. People were tormented, so they torment when they get the "power." Some never break the cycle until someone with good intentions tries to help them. The key word is tries, because once I stopped help guiding some women, they return to normal mode and started excluding other players because they consider them weak, etc.

    Yes. Usually men know their limits, and won't try to go for strong teams. Or they won't partner themselves with the strongest partners. But notice how I said, "usually." There are men who behave like jerks, just like the women who behave like jerks. Unfortunately, I've seen more women behaving like jerks than men, but I have indeed seen a few men.

    It doesn't happen as much in singles, but then, sometimes if the opponent is a cheater, it can ruin your day. The politics of doubles is interesting unless you get two people synchronized well. It becomes interesting when a doubles pair loses. Mature players will say "we were defeated." Immature players blame their partners for the loss.
     
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