Is this unsportsmanlike?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Homey, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Homey

    Homey Rookie

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    I want you guys advice on whether I should hit a certain shot or not.

    I sometimes struggle against serve and volleyers, and people who come to net in general. I have a hard time passing them consistently.

    However, recently I have been hitting right at them.
    I am not talking about overheads, I am talking about groundstrokes that I hit from inside the baseline.

    For example: the server serves and comes in to volley. I return the first shot at their feet. They then pop up their second shot somewhere between the service line and the baseline. I then hit my next shot DIRECTLY at them with a great deal of pace. 90% of the time they are unable to hit the next shot, and sometimes it actually hits them in the body.

    Does anybody see anything wrong with this? I feel bad about going right at them, but I can always aim better if I have a target like a person up there. I struggle when I try to hit an open SPOT versus an OPPONENT.

    I want you guys honest opinion on whether this is unsportsman like, or is perfectly legitimate.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. heartman

    heartman Rookie

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    Fair game

    I'd say what you're doing is fine. Keep your shoulders down and swing through the shot - right done the middle takes away any angle your opponent might have, and makes it tough to get good strings on the ball.

    I'd say go for it - and don't apologize if there's contact. 'tis what it is.
     
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  3. slick

    slick Rookie

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    Not at all. What you describe is fair game and an acceptable strategy. It is similar to taking a second serve early in doubles and crushing it at the net guy. The pros do it and so should you. Keeps the net guy honest.

    Crushing a point blank overhead at a net guy isn't too cool especially if the net guy is already bailing on the shot. I never get upset when this happens though, it's only a tennis ball. Try getting hit with a 100mph lacrosse ball or hockey puck. THAT HURTS!
     
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  4. boilerfan

    boilerfan New User

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    Definately not unsportsmanlike if they are serving and volleying. Especially if you are aiming at their feet.

    If you are dropshoting a baseliner and then trying to drill them knowing they would never venture to the net is a bit more unsportsmanlike, but more annoying than unsportsmanlike in my book.
     
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  5. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    It's definately not unsportsmanlike.

    But unwise at some levels because the ball will come back easily especially against older guys with quick hands at the net. (Im talking about your putaway shots)

    It sounds like you probably just dont have enough experience to identify the open shot so like you say it's easier to just go at a target.

    I had that issue a few years ago as well but Ive been taking these really great doubles drills where they put us in doubles situations and Ive been seeing the open spot better thru repetition.

    It's just a warning because I go thru this in spurts. I get used to hitting it at people when I get away with it until I meet someone who can easily handle it and then it becomes really difficult. It's just better to find open court, when you watch even good 3.5 players (especially older guys) they just seem to have a knack for putting the ball in places where it's not coming back even if the ball is moving slow.
     
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  6. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    its called winning. is winning unsportsmanlike? as long as your not hitting him in the head its all fair game. if he gets hit its his own faul. his racket should have been up.
     
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  7. slick

    slick Rookie

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    ^^^^
    So true. I sometimes play with an older guy who subs in when we are depserate for someone to play. He can't serve, his groundstrokes are horrid (slices everything) and he can't run 2 steps, but, if you hit it anywhere he can reach it at net it is GONE. His racquet is giagantic weights about 8ozs and despite really slow feet he has very quick and incredibly sure hands. You can crushit at him from the service line and he will put it away most of the time. Amazing.
     
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  8. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    But they're playing serve and volley, so you hit it right to them? This gives them trouble? I don't see why they'd be a S&Ver is they can't even handle a ball right at them. Anyway, if it works, go for it. If it's a female player, (or even a male), and they say, "Hey, no fair!", then don't do it. But after this point whatever you're playing, it isn't tennis.
     
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  9. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Double post.
     
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  10. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    It's a very limited tactic. If I come to net and I know you're going to hit the ball at me I'll be very prepared for your shot. Might get tagged a couple of times but, end of the day, you're keeping me in the point by hitting my weak first volley straight back at me.

    Also, if you're good enough to hit a dipping return at the feet of the server you must be good enough to lob over them or hit a passing shot.

    I'm also guessing that your opponents aren't particularly good. A decent volleyer is not going to miss 90% of shots hit directly at them. Sure, it's a lot tougher when your first volley lands inside the service box but, even then, you're still in with a chance. If you hit that volley between the service line and the baseline those odds go up. If you know where the return is going, those odds increase even more.
     
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  11. nhat8121

    nhat8121 Semi-Pro

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    I have this tendency to hit right at people too

    I think from practicing that's unable to change in real game
     
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  12. coyfish

    coyfish Hall of Fame

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    Its only unsportsmanlike if you have a clear winner but choose to hit it right at the opponent.

    Other than that its a legit way to win the point.
     
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  13. zohnay

    zohnay New User

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    No way, that's fair all the way.

    It's just unsportsmanlike if you volley and slam their face on purpose :p

    Other than that its all good. :D
     
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  14. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    It's fair.

    I used to just tee off on the ball but now I'll try to get it at the right hip. That is a tough place for anyone to get a racket on and it's always a defensive shot if they do.
     
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  15. Sliceboy2

    Sliceboy2 Rookie

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    If he is cocky enough setting up to try to return your slam, go for it, its valid. If he is bailing out, turns his back and basically concedes the point, just try to avoid hitting him.
     
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  16. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Well, you try to make the distinction between overheads and the groundstrokes you are using, but hitting sitters from near the service line is basically the same thing. Congrats on the great returns of serve that are winning the points for you. How you dispose of the putaway is up to you. Most would probably agree that you are going to get more lucky returns of your putaway when you hit the ball at folks than away from folks, but it is your choice.
     
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  17. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    This is a very acceptable tactic against a net rusher. The single best place to aim the ball is at his right hip (presuming he is right handed) as this is an awkward place to volley from. (Of course if you notice either his forehand or backhand volley is particularly weak, that is the side to go to.)
     
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  18. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It's fair, but I wish I hadn't developed this habit.

    When I have a sitter at net, I tend to volley it at the feet of the net player rather than the open court. I don't know why; I just like a target. Trouble is, now I'm playing better players and I cannot seem to break this habit. And they are more likely to get the ball back, so I lose the point.
     
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  19. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    The higher the level, the less reliable this strategy is. It's certainly fair, but I personally wouldn't use it unless all other options available to me were lower percentage.
     
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  20. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    This was covered in another post but to recap:
    It's a wonderful tactic and works especially well against frail older women. ALWAYS hit a person when possible. You will win 90% of your points.
    Also, let out a loud grunt or howl as you do this. It adds to the intimidation factor. Then pump your fist in the air immediately after winning the point.
     
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  21. abbeytxs

    abbeytxs New User

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    Wait... so if I just say "Hey, no fair!" my opponents aren't allowed to hit at me anymore?! Sweet! How did I miss that in the rulebook? ;)
     
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  22. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    You either need to include some kind of sarcasm alert in your post or quit being such a jerk.

    If you are in fact using sarcasm to voice disapproval with the tactic of hitting directly at an opponent I would really like to hear what your objections are.

    Personally I like people to hit directly at me. If they don't how else am I going to get better at hitting those types of shots?

    When playing I also generally follow the Wee Willie Keeler suggestion to "hit 'em where they ain't" but I also think hitting directly at an opponent is a perfectly acceptable choice as well, as long as you aren't attempting to head hunt and that they are ready for your shot. I wouldn't for example intentionally hit someone in the back who had turned away from the net.

    Edited because I attributed the quote incorrectly.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2009
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  23. travelerb

    travelerb New User

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    Doesn't sound unsportsmanlike to me.

    Unsportsmanlike would be hitting it at an opponent who is standing out of bounds, even if your strategy is to have it hit them before hitting the ground to win the point.
     
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  24. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    I disagree with coyfish. YOu may have an option to hit a "clear winner" away from the net guy, but there are many reasons for not taking that option, it might be a harder shot, their ability to run down any ball may be superior to hitting back a body shot; etc etc.

     
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  25. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I always hit right at a net rusher just to see how they handle it. If they can't deal, I keep doing it until they stay back. If they can, I try and hit heavy topspin shots that will drop next to their forehand side.
     
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  26. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    It's not a rule, it's just advice. Especially if they have a violent boyfriend nearby. Oftentimes people suppose you can't (shouldn't) hit at a female player up at the net. If that's wrong, I'll play that way. But then it should be understood that whatever game we're playing, it's not tennis.
     
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  27. abbeytxs

    abbeytxs New User

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    I don't know what level you play at, but I would say that 90% of the high 3.5/4.0 on up women are not going to have any issue at all if you hit at them at the net. In fact, in my experience at that level, most of the women are better net players than the men.
    I also have yet to see any woman come play a mixed match with a "violent boyfriend nearby". Where exactly are you playing?
     
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  28. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Arizona. (See my profile). Not league matches, just get requests to play from people I'm networking with. One day, a woman tells me that last time we played, I'd hit her in the ankle, and left a bruise. I didn't remember this. She showed me the bruise, to incriminate me, I suppose. My thinking was that if it hit her ankle then I was legitimately aiming at her feet, not trying to hurt her. Still, during the warm up she hit me just to get even. I got the message, when playing with females, you've got to aim away from them even if this costs you the point. This really isn't tennis anymore, but why fight it? I don't aim at people, but I don't feel I should risk losing a point by aiming away from them either. But I can accept that some people just don't agree with me. So I don't play normally when there's women on the court.

    Oh, I've been rated at 3.5. That was a while ago, I haven't improved much since then, so I'd say I'm still a 3.5. In my experience I certainly wouldn't say that the women play the net better, curious.
     
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  29. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    it's fair game, if you don't mind it when the other guy returns the favor and does the same to you.
     
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  30. 120mphBodyServe

    120mphBodyServe Banned

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    Bah. If I'm playing a serve & volleyer and he's kicking my ass, I'm not going to take that!!!
    So stand a metre or 2 inside the baseline and just aim to make clean contact with the ball even if it is a block shot, using the pace of the serve. On kick serves you can't really block those, so just swing out and crunch the ball.. If you can...
     
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  31. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    It's like this; if you turn your back to your opponent when he's about to hit an overhead from close range, he shouldn't hit you. Since your position concedes the point, he should just block it over for an easy point. But if I'm standing there, saying "Bring it on!" by my body language, then to expect him to aim away from me, while I, at the same time, do all I can to still win the point...that's asking too much. One time, this guy was so near, I felt I had no chance at the return, so I ducked and covered up. I still got nailed with his 100 mph shot! Since I was already conceeding the point, I thought he could've just blocked it over. But if a person believes the game is better played with a rule that isn't in the rulebook, that's ok, as long as you share this belief before the match starts. Don't assume something is widely accepted when, (as this thread proves), it is not.
     
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  32. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    This is what the OP wrote:
    "For example: the server serves and comes in to volley. I return the first shot at their feet. They then pop up their second shot somewhere between the service line and the baseline. I then hit my next shot DIRECTLY at them with a great deal of pace. 90% of the time they are unable to hit the next shot, and sometimes it actually hits them in the body."

    I was thinking, it would not be difficult for an accomplished player to hit a short ball to bring someone up to the net and then hit the next shot directly at him with a great deal of pace. So, this person should not chase short balls if he can't handle fast balls hitting at directly at him. He should just concede the points.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
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  33. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Back in the day the popular book on tennis was Vic Braden's "Tennis for the Future". He discusses how to beat a pusher, (he used the term "dinker"). He said to bring him to the net, and then blast a shot right at him. So he didn't think it was unsportsmanlike. And many people hesitate when it comes right at them, they have to think, "forehand or backhand?". That hesitation, combined with plenty of pace makes for a winner against a poseur net player. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
     
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  34. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    WAR STORY TIME:

    I was playing a club type tournament back in the late 80s, doubles.
    3.5 or 4.0 division if I recall.

    I'm about 6'6" 220 lbs at the time and get a short soft overhead at the net.

    The opponent on the duece side runs towards me (still on his side of the net) and I mean RIGHT TOWARDS ME, waving his arms and racquet and yelling at the top of his lungs, stopping about 20 inches away still yelling and waving his raquet and arms right in front of me. (I told you it was a very short soft slow overhead, he actually had time to do all this)

    The temptation to just bean him was incredible, he was being such a jerk.

    I just caught the ball with my hand and claimed the point. He went berserk while his partner just stood there. He eventually calmed down and conceded the point. (after a little encouragment form the tournament referee).

    Very next pont (it was my serve) FOOT FAULT ! It took about 1/10 of a second for me to call for a line judge. The Director came out and asked if he really wanted to play like this. He shut up at that point and we went on from there.

    I guess the point is, 30 years later I remember the guy being a jerk. Play hard, don't whine when the ball is aimed at you if you are still trying to play the point, and relax, it's just a game. None of us on this board are ever goign to make a living at this stuff.
     
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  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Heh, heh. I have a similar story, Stapelton.

    I was doing drills with teammates. My partner and I were at net, and the opponents in the drill were one-up, one-back. The deep player has having trouble hitting clean passes, so she was lobbing. Many of her lobs were falling at the perfect place for me to hit my overhead, and for once I was actually hitting decent ones.

    I noticed that the net player wasn't reacting at all to my overheads, so I just hit them back to the deep player. Hey, it's just practice and I wouldn't want to bean a teammate.

    During the break, I mentioned to the net player that she needed to be careful because I would have slammed some of those balls in her direction in a real match, and she needed to be alert to the net player's overhead preparation so she could fall back and contest the overhead.

    She said she doesn't think you should back up when someone is hitting an overhead. Instead, she thinks it is a good idea to move forward and close the net. She says getting really close to the net will distract the smasher and make her miss. She says she has used this tactic successfully in 7.0 and 8.0 mixed.

    I was, um. . . . speechless, you could say.

    So any of you guys who are hitting away from the women in mixed are totally being played for suckers!
     
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  36. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Agreed, I've never seen a woman complain about shots coming at them at the net. There's not much they say can say if they do have a problem. Thats why they have 5.0 mixed for people that can't take the heat.

    Couldn't disagree more. What I've seen is that most of the women spend too much time at the baseline or are too passive at the net.
     
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  37. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    How about not playing with whiners?

    No he should hit it as hard as he wants. By conceding the point, you are getting out of the way and letting him have his winner. He shouldn't block a weak shot because you decide you aren't going to go for it.
     
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  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hmmm. Well, on my 7.0 mixed team, you could compare the 3.5 men and 3.5 women. (The best net players are the 4.0 men, but then you're comparing apples and oranges). I'd say on balance that more of the 3.5 men will try to play the net than the 3.5 women, although only one will ever S&V..

    But that doesn't tell you much. One reason the 3.5 women don't play the net is because the 3.5 guy doesn't want them to. The unspoken (and sometimes spoken) message from the men is "I got this, Li'l lady. You just let those balls come back through to me and I'll crush 'em for winners." I have certainly had male partners tell me this. I've also had male partners make it quite clear that they didn't want me attempting to come to net.

    Now, there are exceptions, and there is one delightful 3.5 guy who is always encouraging me to come to net when we partner. But he is definitely the exception. Most of the guys are desperate to hold their serve, and they don't believe they need the woman's help and don't think she can provide any. As for the opposing 3.5 or 3.0 women in mixed, they don't do anything other than stand at net and volley whatever balls they cannot avoid volleying.

    So let's be careful not to send messages to our female partners that they should stay back and be passive at net and then complain when they do exactly that.
     
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  39. 120mphBodyServe

    120mphBodyServe Banned

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    Old coach of mine did something similiar to me back when i was playing social doubles. I had an easy smash and i was really close to the net and he basically got in my face... I could have broken his teeth/nose/face if I had clobbered it like I should have...
    Never respected him after that.... He turned out to be an a$$hole...
    Got him back during a club tourney we were having, and I broke a string, so he restrung my racquet.. This was on a Sunday... Never paid him.
     
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  40. SiggeZ

    SiggeZ New User

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    #40
  41. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I know I don't. My philosophy is to let my mixed partner play within their own comfort zone (ie. always let them choose the side), and play the net or baseline however they like, utilizing their strengths as best we can. I know I can't teach them to do something new during a match because it will do little more than paralyze their game because its uncomfortable at first. I usually only make small tactical recommendations at most that will not take someone out of their comfort zone.

    But I dont see how anyone can actually observe that 3.5 women play the net better than 3.5 men. There is no comparison. I rarely would ever get poached by the women in any mixed match from 6.0 to 8.0 unless I hit the shot right to them. If a woman thinks 3.5 women are equivalent to 3.5 men, then play two 3.5 woman vs. two 3.5 men and they will see how wrong they are.
     
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  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I play the net better than certain male 3.5s I kknow. None.

    Granted, I don't poach off of service returns much in mixed. But neither do my male partners.

    Regarding the challenge you issue . . . If a particular female 3.5 doubles partner of mine and I were to have a volley war (meaning a game played where both teams start from the service line and see who can win the volley exchanges) against my two male doubles partners, the smart money would be on us.
     
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  43. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    That would be more the exception than the rule. Are you talking about 2 strong 3.5 females against 2 weak 3.5 men, or are you talking about players equivalent within the spectrum of the level for their gender (ie. strong vs. strong, weak vs. weak)?
     
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  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, I'm not sure I can mince the onion quite that fine, Raiden.

    What I am suggesting is that if you take away the advantage the 3.5 guy has with his serve, his groundies and his overhead and leave him just with his volleys, many will struggle.

    I mean, it sounds like you think that female mixed doubles partners bring *nothing* to the table. I don't think this is true, and I think it is quite likely that 3.5 women have developed a different type of game -- one that requires the precision needed for volleys. In my clinics, we work on this stuff constantly.
     
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  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think that might be true. I see women seriously playing this volley tennis no-bounce game during clinics or league practice. Men don't do wimpy things like that. They just start bashing balls from the baseline right away.
     
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  46. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I didn't say what is highlighted in bold. A woman on this board claimed that 3.5 women are generally better than 3.5 men at volleying. I was disputing that statement because it is wrong.

    Its ok for someone to say women are better than men (even when they are blatantly wrong), but is it is wrong to dispute it even though USTA themselves would back up the dispute (because 3.5 men are considered at a higher level than 3.5 women in their FAQ)?

    You have even said on numerous occasions that your teammates and partners of yours are not doing their part at the net and staying at the baseline too much. Now you are saying that 3.5 women are great volleyers and that it is their male partners' faults that they aren't playing at the net.
     
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  47. abbeytxs

    abbeytxs New User

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    As the woman in question I have to say "Wow, did I touch a nerve"?

    I never said that a 3.5 woman is better than a 3.5 man at everything. I said that in my experience, a high 3.5/4.0 woman is usually better at the net than most 3.5/4.0 men are. How you can call me blatantly wrong I have no idea. As I don't know you, I can't figure out how you could know what my experiences are.

    I'm not sure why you are feeling so offended by this. No offense was intended.
     
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  48. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I am not offended by what you wrote. I made a simple dispute that Cindy was offended by as she made the statement that I said females bring nothing to the table. I'm offended that I am accused of putting women down for pointing out that 3.5 men are generally better players than 3.5 women to dispute a statement I disagree with, especially when thats how the USTA rating system was designed.

    As I said, I strongly disagree that 3.5/4.0 women are better at the net than 3.5/4.0 men in most cases. You can point out a few cases where they are better but thats an exception, not the rule. But what you are saying is the same thing as saying that 3.0/3.5 men are better at the net than 3.5/4.0 men.
     
    #48
  49. abbeytxs

    abbeytxs New User

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    58
    I have absolutely no idea if a 3.0/3.5 man is better at the net than a 3.5/4.0 man. I have very little experience with mens tennis. I do have a lot of experience playing mixed at the 7.0 and 8.0 levels and I stand by my observations.

    I do not understand what you are saying about USTA's rating system and how it pertains to women net players versus men net players. I don't see what the rating system has to do with it.
     
    #49
  50. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    True. You didn't say that, and I apologize for implying that you did.

    I just wanted to communicate that I was getting that impression from this discussion and others that we have had. I mean, you have been quite forthcoming about your frustrations playing 7.0 mixed as a 4.0 guy. I can't argue with you on that; I would probably be frustrated as well.

    The thing I wanted to take issue with is the idea that women don't do anything better in tennis than men. When I have come across good volleyers at the 3.5 level, they have tended to be women. I have lost badly to these women, let me tell ya. Because they have great technique and touch with their volleys. The reason they are only 3.5 is that the strength elements of their game (serve, groundies, overhead) are less impressive, often due to age. Volley skills in doubles, as best I can tell, are timeless.

    The other thing I have noticed is that women 3.5-ish adult players seem much more likely to seek out instruction than guys of similar level. Guys seem to think that if they can hit a big FH and big serve, they know all they need to know. As Abbey said, it is the women who can be found in drill classes working on volley skills. In my own case, I figure I had darn well better get my volleys as good as they can possibly be, because I will never hit a serve as fast as many guys can. So I work on what I actually can improve.

    What makes this difficult is that you see more 3.5 guys than I do, but I see more 3.5 women than you do. My universe of 3.5 guys is my two mixed partners and a couple of 3.5 guys I partnered with in past years.

    Overall, a 3.5 guy may be physically stronger and physically faster. I don't see how that rules out the possibility that 3.5 women may be better at something that does not rely on strength or (in doubles) speed.

    Well, I'm not saying that my female teammates are "great volleyers." I am not even willing to call myself a "great volleyer."

    What I can say is that my 3.5 male partners aren't very good at net and do not take advantage of opportunities to come in. They hug the baseline. They try to win points from that position, frequently overhitting and missing. They won't follow returns to net to pressure the opposing female. They do not S&V. One 3.5 partner in particular started points on my serve with one foot in the doubles alley. He moved to 4.0. It was not on the strength of his net play, I can assure you! :)

    I have yet to see any male 3.5 player who could volley the way these two older 3.5 ladies did against me a year ago when they handed out a bagel and breadstick, that's for sure. These women simply didn't miss at the net.
     
    #50

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