Is variety overrated?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by sureshs, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Well, I think it was Chrissie's comment, from the voice. She was talking about how Sloane has more variety then Azzy, but how more variety means more things can go wrong (and how Azzy does a few things only and does it very well).

    If you look at Djokovic/Nadal vs Federer, do you think Fed's so-called variety is a liability or a strength?
     
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  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Variety always breeds more choices, which oftentimes can lead to confusion and mistakes.
    But variety also allows more varied shots, which can be applied in more different situations.
    Say you're walking into a gunfight at the OK Corral. Most of you bring sixguns single action, and a few lever action rifles of 8 round capacity.
    Should you bring your VulcanMiniGun with it's 200 rounds and 40 lbs weight?
    Should you bring your F-23 and the attendant servo crew and runway, fuel and weapons systems?
    Or should you bring a backup slingshot, a combat knife, and be done with it?
    Which would you choose?
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I will need to think about that
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Remember the movie "Predator"? With Arnie?
    Let's transpose it to reality. First of all, nobody, not even an additional 8 guys, can carry that much ammunition.
    What's the sense of the VulcanMiniGun? It eats up 1,000 rounds per minute of .223. CAR's and M's need .223 ammo. M's can be fired full auto, for maybe 3 clips max rapid loading. That's 60 rounds in a real minute.
    Why have Bros carrying 9mil? It don't penetrate jungle, it's an off sized round, it has no range, and it still needs 3 rounds to down a bad guy. It's carried in everyone's pistol belt, for emergency close range ONLY.
    And, none of the guns are compatible with the bad guy's 7.62x39 shorts! So you can't just use their ammo.
    So Predator is picking off peeps one by one. Does it make any sense to make a log stand with a 14" combat knife, and nothing else? That was stupid.
    You go into the jungle, expecting perps to use AK's. OK, get everyone on AK's or everyone on .223 using the same magazines! Don't mix guns.
     
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  5. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    such a good movie. saw it again recently. still holds up.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, love the Governor's of Montana..or whatever state, and California on there.
     
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  7. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Whoa Lee, what's with all the gun analogies? Should we be worried..? :) I think kitchen appliances could have suited your metaphors just as well.

    As for variety, well... I can see it both ways, good or bad.
     
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  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'm the cook in our relationship. I HATE it when g'f uses a colinder, 3 different stir spoons, a veggie spinner, several more strainers, cooking forks and spoons, different eating forks and spoons, and guess who cleans the whole menagerie up?
    I use the same fork and knife to cut, to serve, and to eat with.
    I also use them to strain the water/liquids, and wash AS I cook.
    I spend an hour a day cleaning up after my woman invades my kitchen and uses all her various accessories that I don't deem necessary.
    Waste clutter my life.
    OTOH, a simple life is a lonely life.
     
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  9. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    So variety is overrated? But c'mon, the veggie spinner is a good thing. Otherwise salad dressing doesn't stick and gets all watery. :)

    Camping would suit you. A swiss army knife to do everything !
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I don't eat salads, or veggies either.
    Ever need to clean up after a vegetarian? Or a veggan? Just a huge messy oily buttfuglay mess.
    Meat can be cleaned with soap and water.
    Veggies are an organic unsightly mess.
    I DO eat the lettuce in my BigMacs.
     
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  11. Pickle9

    Pickle9 Semi-Pro

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    woah, "your" kitchen? i thought you were homeless or lived with you gf's father or something.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    It's my kitchen because I'm the cook on every meal.
    Yes, I'm otherwise homeless.
    G/f's father lives in PuertoRico.
    I also drive g/f to work 4 days a week, and pick her up at work 5 days a week.
    And yes, I'm her gardener and sheetrock worker.
     
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  13. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    I don't think variety is overrated. I think it's a good option to have.

    you just need to learn when and where to use your skill.
     
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  14. BevelDevil

    BevelDevil Hall of Fame

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    Jessie was the star of Predator! Just like Stan was the star of the AO. And both met the same fate.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, Ventura was really cool!
    In reality, a big guy needs much more food, and double the water of a little guy in stress situations, like the jungle. Nobody really carried more than a couple of snacks. What did they eat? And where did they get their liquids?
    I know, it's a dollywood movie.
     
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  16. President

    President Legend

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    Isn't it your gf's house though? I seem to remember you posting that. Can't make the rules if she is paying your rent :)
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Was I making the rules?
    Or was I complaining about the state of existence?
     
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  18. North

    North Professional

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    I think people underestimate how effective variety can be but overestimate how easy it is to get good at mastering and using variety.
     
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  19. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Variety is the spice of life. Structured and sufficiently practiced variety provides a plethora * of ways to f - up opponent's game, and presents opponent with fewer strategic options.


    * http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QI8nj6PSPI
     
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  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    As far as tennis is concernd (as opposed to taking out invisible, well armed aliens), winning is about consistency. For most mortals it is easier to have high consistency with a few strokes. Fed is the exception. Barring him, variety may make you competitive in more matches, but you may win fewer overall than if you were more consistent with fewer strokes. Of course this supposes that you played a wide variety of styles, but the reality of Modern tennis is that you are likely to run into fewer, not more types of players.
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    ^^^^ Great post. I think to win today requires consistency and stamina, rather than fancy stroke making. At any level.
     
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  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    yeah, some pro like Nalbandian says he spends 60 percent of his training time on fitness, and less than 30 % on strokemaking.
     
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  23. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    not sure i agree with the premise that azarenka has less variety than sloane, anyway...

    with more variety, you have more strategic and tactical options. this is important as your opponent will adapt to your style. just having an additional well-developed stroke gives you a lot of strategic options.

    e.g. having a low, almost skidding, slice backhand is a great complement to otherwise top-spiny ground-strokes.

    How does this work?

    So, let's say you can have a grinding baseline game that focuses on topspin ground strokes. It all works well until you come across a player than can handle your high kicking shots as he is quite tall and is consistent enough to hang with you in rallies. Having the variety of a functional slice backhand gives you:
    - the ability to disrupt your opponent's rhythm in rallies. Junkballing high (topspin) and low (slice).
    - a deep and safe defensive shot if you are pressured.
    - an approach shot.

    Used at the right times, this could be enough to make your baseline game less predictable and force some errors from your opponent. All for the price of one stroke. What if you had a drop shot too?
     
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  24. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What if you had sooo many different shots that you don't have the time to practice them all?
    Jack of all, master of none.
    That's been my problem since my third year of tennis, as most of the better players explained to me. Work on a few options first, then add as you can if you have the time and inclination to practice the different options.
    Since I have TWO different second serves, and hit to 3 quadrants each, that's lots of possibilities for mistakes!
     
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  25. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    I know what you mean. Improved my serve this year. Now when I step up to the line I'm thinking "wide or down the T, slice or flat, etc". Whereas before it was "just get the ball in the box". Variety has made me sometimes indecisive.
     
    #25
  26. Metalica

    Metalica New User

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    Variety is good against players who likes to get into a rhythm. Tomic showed us all against Djokovic :D. But then again, he makes alot of stupid shots.
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I usually do not attend my 4.0 ladies team's matches to watch, but last week was an exception. I was able to watch my team contest two singles courts.

    The variety on display was really surprising.

    Our No. 1 singles player is a lady who is very skilled at figuring out what her opponent doesn't like and giving it to them for two hours. It looked like she rarely hit the same type of shot twice in a row. It would be drive, slice, moonball, drive, moonball, slice . . .

    Our No. 2 singles player hit topspin/flat on the FH and slice on the BH. First she would push the opponent one way with a deep shot. Then she would hit a dropshot to the opposite front corner. If the opponent reached it, she would lob or pass. Over the course of 2 hours, the opponent could not see this coming or reach many drop shots in time to do anything with them.

    This is a far cry from what I see in 3.5. There, singles players engage in these long (and IMHO dull) rallies where no one does anything but keep the ball deep. Since no one has the power to blast a winner from the baseline Sharapova-style, the winner is the more consistent player.

    The 4.0s seemed to use their variety to make their opponents miss. The 3.5s seemed to hang around and wait for their opponents to miss.
     
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  28. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    This is a good point. I'll add that being a master of one particular thing can hurt when that particular thing plays right into the strength of your opponent.

    For example, I've had loads of doubles partners who love the wide serve from the deuce side and can't hit a kicker (or sometimes even flat) down the middle to save their lives. Whenever they face someone with a big forehand return, they struggle to hold serve because their favorite serve goes right into the wheel house. But when I serve against those same opponents, I have enough variety to find their weaknesses and I usually hold serve much more easily.

    I don't have to be able to hit 17 different types of serve at any given point in a 3-set match. But, if I have different options to choose from at the beginning of a match that allow me to find a weakness, then once I find the weakness I can start using a couple types of serves for the rest of the match, hitting them better and better as the match goes on. It might be a combination of kick serves to the backhand with a sneaky wide slice thrown in from time to time. It could be flat serves at the forehand mixed with slice to the body. It could be as simple as slice to anywhere in the service box used over and over. (I won a singles match a few years ago using nothing but slice serves; the guy just couldn't handle them for some reason.)
     
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  29. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Variety is not a weapon in itself. It rather serves a purpose: that of preventing your opponent to be grooved into a pattern. In essence, it's useful to vary your game plan in order to support your game plan, not in order to make variety your primary tool.

    Using it to try and out-trick your opponent at every point would be pretty dumb, but doing it 10 to 20% of the time is smart.

    At the core of a game plan lays a principle: that of earning a statistical edge over your opponent. You do not want to win battles and loose the way; you want to win the war, rather. So, what do you do? Smart players design their strategy so that they put themselves in situations where in they are at least slightly likelier than their opponent to win many rallies and that's how you should be working: play the odds.

    Of course, Federer's ability to vary his play patterns and strokes plays in his favor... SO LONG AS HE DOESN'T EXAGGERATE.

    The point is that you can think of it like casino. You can "outsmart" a casino by playing only very few times.

    They always present games with a winning expected value for themselves... over an infinite number of attempts, gains registered by players will be negative and normally distributed around the average which is the expected value. However, if you do not play a lot (say, less than 20 games), you can get out without loosing... the more you play, the likelier it is that you will loose money.

    If you always do this at casino's, you have greater odds of presenting gains than someone who played a lot. Same with risky shots in tennis. You can be the odd statistic that is located far away from the expected value... it's possible. However, the more you take the bet of making that shot, the more you tend toward the average. Variety is a good thing. You can try this down the line return or go for a better angle during a rally... it's not dumb. You could also hit a few drop shots, vary your slice target to bring your opponent forward, etc. They all can work, but they're also all risky under certain circumstances.

    But remember the expected value: you may tempt the Devil at times, but do not make it an habit. Some of these strokes are easy winners, but their efficiency falls as their frequency increase: as the drop shot is used, the opponent learns to read it and starts to move earlier. Same idea here: limit their use.
     
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  30. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Many people overrate consistency... just as others lessen its importance.

    The point is not to be able to avoid mistake or to force your opponent into making some. The idea is that you have to consider yourself with regard to the other player in order to make sense of your options. It's always what you can, given the context and that context is, over an entire match, your opponent.
     
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  31. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    nice thread.
    A long as the wide array of shots are reliably hit without unforced errors then variety is a clear advantage. Example is when Jerzy has his dropshot going he can overwhem a pure baseliner. Also Radwanska's strength is her reliable wide variety of shots. In reality many of the players on TV who are said to have variety have "false variety" since they make too many unforced errors off of them.
     
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  32. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Variety = good. Some hit the wrong shot at the wrong time but in general, variety = good.

    Also, I feel like you need variety to handle different situation.

    Opponent has mediocre serve, OK you only need a compact topspin style return.

    Opponent has really, really big serve, you need a block slice return. I will use an underspin block on the FH and BH if the serve is huge. Nalbandian and Federer do this.

    Low ball in mid-court area, you need to the ability to slice it back deep.

    Normal rally ball, hit normal topspin strokes.

    Super wide hard ball while at baseline, you need squash style slice on FH and BH sides.

    You need variety to be a complete player.
     
    #32
  33. vil

    vil Semi-Pro

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    Is variety overrated? Hell no, if you know how to use it to your advantage.
     
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  34. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    No, I think variety allows you to adapt to more types of opponents and also be able to execute many more tactics. It also gives you a plan B, C, and D if your A game isn't there.
     
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