Level of aggressive play in mixed doubles USTA match?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by afunbee, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. afunbee

    afunbee New User

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    I am going to start 3.5 mixed doubles. I have a two part question.

    I prefer not to drill the lady at net or slam overhead to the lady. If opponents play this style, then I can adapt and do the same. However, rather than let opponent draw first blood, would it be appropriate to ask opponents if this is going to be level of play? I suppose it could backfire if I accidentally hit a hard one to the lady.

    Second question: if you are male player and the opponent lady has the control and power to HIT the net person very hard (at the lady or guy at the net), do you also say its open season for the male to hit lady at the net or slam overheads at her?
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Aim your overheads at the open court or at a player's legs.

    Aim your groundies wherever you think will win you a point.

    I am a 3.5 lady, and 3.5 men hit at me (and past me!) all the time. Remember, I have a 3.5 male partner, so you will have to hit this shot at me off of his serve or groundstroke, so you might not hit the shot you need to hit to beat me. Be warned that a lot of women in mixed will play the net tight; if they get a racket on your ball, it will likely be a winner.
     
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  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, and don't have a conversation with the opponents about how you all will play. If it's a competitive match, just go compete.
     
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  4. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    There is no real right answer... mixed is a strange animal. Like most things in life you will have to find the path that best works for you... for many of us it is to stay off that path all together.
     
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  5. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    So you are going to ask the opponents for permission to hit the lady with the ball to make sure its ok? LOL.

    Stop being a pansy and just hit the friggin ball.

    Oh and if you can't win a tennis match without drilling your opponents, then you just plain suck and need to learn how to place the ball.
     
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  6. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Come on now, I'm sure the OP isn't literally talking about drilling the opponents... you should never aim overheads directly at the body of opponents whether it's mixed or not.

    But sometimes it's a good play to hit an aggressive drive right at the net player, or go for a big flat first serve right to the body. For someone not used to playing mixed (and with some degree of male chivalry), it can be uncomfortable to do that against a woman.

    To the OP: if you're going to play mixed league, you have to get over it, and play as if you were playing against two men. The women who play mixed league know what to expect. If you can't get yourself comfortable doing that, then your best option is to avoid mixed league entirely.
     
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  7. svlin

    svlin New User

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    Whether you play mixed or female/men's only doubles, you really don't ever try to drill someone in the chest/face...generally I always try to hit to the weaker player whether its a woman or a man and I always aim at their feet or the open court on their side.

    I've never understood why you would try to hit a flat bomb at someone at net because you will either hit it out or they will simply block it back. The probability of hitting a low skidding volley back on a drilled shot is much higher due to net clearance (if you are in the ready position) than trying to retrieve a topspin dipper at the feet. Besides, if you hit a good enough shot to their feet, you will set yourself up for a sitter in which you can put away into the open court.
     
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  8. ALten1

    ALten1 Rookie

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    IMO the match dictates the aggressiveness of play. I've played where the match starts off friendly and everyone is talking between change overs. Then a team starts losing because everything is going wrong for that team and right for the other team, frustration sets in and all of a sudden the mood of the game changes along with the shot selection.

    On a seperate topic: Overhead put aways, I can't always control where I hit them, sometimes they go right toward a person and it's not always at there feet. I would estimate theres probably a six foot variance (three feet either direction of where I am aiming) as to where the ball will go. I always apologize afterwards, but a lot of times the people take it personally. Is the overhead something I will develop better placement with time?
     
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  9. ALten1

    ALten1 Rookie

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    Another question. I posted a story in another thread (biggest jerks) about being drilled at the net 3 or 4 times in a row by an opposing player. Kind of shots where if I would have just sat down below the net before he stroked it, the ball would have hit the back fence of the fly. A couple people commented that play was fine, trying to move me off the net. Now im reading comments on how that's not cool. Is this a play in doubles (mixed included) that I should use and not worry about it or as others have posted should I avoid doing it? Is there a time when it's acceptable to be the first to fire off a shot at the net person? Still learning the game and love the advice from the better players.
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I drilled my pal in the chest last week in clinic. Is the problem that I can't control my overheads? Am I wild? Did I want to intimidate her on purpose?

    No. The lob went up, and I never once took my eyes off of it. I was consumed by the desire to not miss it, to reach it before it fell too low, to make good contact, to put it away. I was in the deuce court, so I wanted a nice angle crosscourt. I had no idea where she was when I hit the ball.

    Oh, well. It happens. I apologized, but players who don't move back when a short lob goes up risk getting pegged.
     
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  11. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    There's a fine line between legitimate strategy, and being a pr!ck. Its not always easy to say when you should or shouldn't do it. From my experience, everytime someone has hit a shot that hit me or nearly took my head off, they were very apologetic because that wasn't the intent. On this board however, many people say you have a right to take someone's head off and shouldn't feel apologetic because its a legitimate strategy.

    If you're playing doubles and the net player is an ornament and not really very skilled, you don't really need to try to hit the ball right at them, but would be better to hit the ball past them or dip it low to their feet. If someone is aggressive at the net and giving you troubles, then it is more appropriate to blast one at them to show them you mean business.

    I just find it rare that actually hitting at the net opponent is the best shot, because if they are in good position sometimes just an easy block is all they need to do. If I have the opportunity to really hit a basting shot, I'd rather take it for a winner.

    Just use your best judgement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
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  12. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    I disagree with the below bolded statement. I aim overheads at the body of my opponent if the opponent crowds the net as I am going up for an overhead, like they are trying to force me to aim at a smaller portion of the court, wrong, I will aim for the center of his chest.

     
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  13. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Only an idiot would crowd the net against an overhead. Unless we're talking a really pathetic overhead, don't you think?
     
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  14. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    I agree with Orange Power, I make an attempt not to hit a person with an overhead. After all, it is an overhead, and you have time to direct it. If the opponent at net does not start to back up when they see an overhead going up, then they might get in the way. It is their responsibility to keep themselves safe. Otherwise, hit away - volley at the net person at their feet, away, whatever makes it work for you and the shot you are hitting. If I am playing mixed and the man doesn't shots at me at net and just lobs over my head, I will be quite disappointed!
     
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  15. ibeeskeef

    ibeeskeef New User

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    usually you can let the match dictate what needs to be done. If it is a serious, competitive match and you feel like you need to take some chances down the line by the female opponenet then you need to do it. Most matches that I find I feel guilty hitting at the woman are matches where the opponent is very weak and I don't need to hit it at her anway. I have had women that were scared of my shots on the court but I never hit a ball at them. There was no need to hit it at them because we were in control of the match anyway.

    I treat my mixed matches like I treat my men's doubles matches. Everyone is fair game. I don't aim at people's chest or head but if I poach at the net I aim at the other net person's feet, man or woman. The woman is given a racket just like the man and she can use it accordingly.

    One note: if you are forced to play with a very weak woman partner you may want to avoid hitting at the other team's woman simply because when the first ball goes at a woman from either side then all bets are off. If you need to protect your partner because she is weak then hitting it straight at their woman is a bad idea.
     
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  16. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    You guys are much better players than I if you have pin point control on your overheads. On most overheads, I am moving pretty hard from side to side or worse, moving back. I am concentrating on just getting the ball back (hopefully with some pace) and my aim is usually just one side of the court.

    Unless it is an easy sitter right at the net, if a person gets hit, it is their own them fault.
     
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  17. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Yeah I mean in most cases I think if you nail your opponents with an overhead, you are probably nailing them on the backside.

    I know I am talking mostly about what to do when you get a weak ball and are blasting a groundstroke.
     
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  18. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Quoted for truth! LOL
     
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  19. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    I guess I have played against idiots. I have also played against people who rush the net and stamp their feet as I am going up for an overhead. They also get a bullseye in the middle of their chest.

     
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  20. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    Steel your heart. Then rip that overhead at the net player - regardless of gender. Opponent should be giving some ground anyway to better cover the court or protect themselves.

    Then...walk up to the net and say
    "If you can't take the heat...get out of the box"
    [growl]
     
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  21. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    You need to find some new people to play with then. What you're describing is just being an ass and I wouldn't voluntarily play with people like that.

    My original comment was in the context of 'normal' people, where the opponent is not trying to distract you as you are going for the overhead. In this case if you have the option to hit it to their feet or away from them for the winner but yet you prefer to drill them in the body, then you're just being a jerk.
     
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^If someone rushed the net and stamped their feet as I was going for an overhead, I wouldn't even notice it. Seriously, I have a lot going on when it is time to hit an overhead. This is especially so given that my overhead was until recently on life support. It is very frail, my overhead.
     
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  23. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    I think hitting over heads directly at the net man can definitely be a legitimate strategy

    I played a men's doubles match where the opposing team had very effective lobs and were driving us crazy. Occasionally they would hit one short and we would hit into the open court, but over all they were beating us with the strategy.

    After assessing the situation I decided to hit all short lobs directly at the net man. They were not happy with this plan and asked me to stop hitting at the net man. I told them that their lobs were winning the match and I did not want them to lob. I told them that I was trying to make the lob a more risky shot by pummeling the net man. This strategy would limit the area available to hit into and thus would reduce their lobs effectiveness. My advice to them was to run off the court if the lob was short or to stop lobbing.

    Eventually the net person started playing deeper and deeper and we turned the match around and won
     
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  24. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Sorry I think you are completely in the wrong to do this. Unless you are a pro or college player, in which case maybe anything goes. But in recreation league or tournament play I think your behavior is an over-reaction and you could make the same point without taking the chance of hurting someone.

    Just consider if you hit an overhead into your opponent's face and fractured an eye socket. Is it worth it?

    Also, your strategy could easily lead to escalation on the court - if I was your opponent in this case, at some point I would start trying to peg you or your partner at any opportunity, and things could escalate from there.

    Unless you're a pro... it's just not worth it.
     
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  25. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    Great reply. Seems this question gets asked a lot at the club I belong to when we start playing mixed doubles. I could not have said it better.
     
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  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What do you mean by "at"?

    If the net person stays at net when I am hitting an overhead, I am very likely to hit it in their general direction. If I hit it to the deep player, she might be able to play it. I aim at the court next to the net person nearest their alley (because if I am near them toward the middle the deep player may get it back). I always aim down.

    Where I tend to peg people is if they are in one spot when the lob goes up but then they start moving a tiny bit, right into the place I had decided to try to hit.
     
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  27. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I think the 'at' here can be interpreted as 'trying to inflict bodily harm to'
     
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  28. svlin

    svlin New User

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    Although I would not do this in a match, I agree that this can be a strategy to turn the match around. They give you a racket for a reason, if you can't defend yourself, why are you standing at the net when a short lob is thrown up?

    As a tennis player you have to realize the consequences of your actions, and this includes throwing up a short lob and standing at the net to face it...that just isn't smart IMO and your probability of retrieving the overhead are less than if you retreated to the baseline.
     
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  29. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    What if the opponent is a man before the overhead, but not after? :confused:
     
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  30. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I completely disagree.

    I think this approach is the one you should take for a social match, but if you are playing in a league or tournament, this is a completely legit way to play in my opinion.

    Why does the guy hitting the overhead have to consider possible injury? Why can't the guy hitting the lob think about what he is doing? Why can't the guy playing the net think about it?

    If it is not worth it for the guy hitting the overhead, then it is not worth it for the guy hitting a weak lob and the guy standing by the net while a weak lob is served.

    If you are really worried about getting hurt, play away from the net, and don't serve up sitters that people can smash. And if you see a sitter, turn around. I don't think your eyesocket is going to fracture looking at the back the court away from the ball.

    I don't understand why it only falls on one side to play safe.
     
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  31. JHBKLYN

    JHBKLYN Rookie

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    I have to disagree with this also. Thought not a nice thing to do but totally legal. But not sure what their opponent is thinking but if someone is slamming a short lob, if you don't move back or concede the point, you're either stupid or stupidly-brave. But if it were me, I wouldn't slam it directly at the guy, I would hit into the open court.
     
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  32. dlk

    dlk Hall of Fame

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    I just wish I could aim my slams well enough to place the ball where I want it, forget the decision, I never get there.
     
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  33. kelawai

    kelawai Rookie

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    "It is their responsibility to keep themselves safe. Otherwise, hit away - volley at the net person at their feet, away, whatever makes it work for you and the shot you are hitting. If I am playing mixed and the man doesn't shots at me at net and just lobs over my head, I will be quite disappointed!"



    I don't understand, be gentle to the opponents. When I have an overhead, and both of them charge in about 5 foots to the net and leave me no room to hit. The question is, do I have to lob, so not to hit any of them or hit my shot out so I don't have to hurt neither of them.

    I would say I am wrong if I blast the shot at them while both were retreating to the baseline and play defense. If both opponent charges to the net (show no respect), I have every right to win the point with any legal shot. It's silly when you can put the shot away instead of playing defense for trying to be a gentleman.

    If I have frightened or my shot brush off the net person, I will tell him or her, blame it on your partner for set it up for me.

    One last comment. If I not good to play at fast pace level, don't play, if I am not good playing at 5.0 level, don't play. Play at your comfortable level and enjoy the game.
     
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  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    To answer the question . . .

    The guy who throws up the weak lob isn't *intentionally* throwing up a weak, smashable lob. He is trying to hit the baseline.

    The guy at the net isn't *intentionally* standing there, hoping to be hit. He is either inattentive or ignorant about positioning.

    If you aim your overhead at the net player's head, you are doing something intentionally. So yeah, I think you have the responsibility not to intentionally hurt someone.
     
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  35. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    To gameboy: see Cindy's response above, which is right on the money. I'm not talking about someone who is deliberately positioning themselves right in front of you as you are taking the overhead, or who refuses to turn around. We're talking about someone who is simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you have option of winning the point by hitting at their feet or away from them, or by pegging them. Why would you choose to peg them and risk causing them serious injury?

    JHBKLYN, you say you disagree but then you go on to agree :) Of course it's totally legal - I never said otherwise. But like you say it isn't nice. And like you say, you would not peg the guy directly, you would hit into the open court. So actually we agree... :)
     
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  36. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    I don't play much mixed doubles, but I have played some. You can take this for whatever you think it's worth.

    First: Most people playing USTA mixed doubles consider it serious business. This is not "social" doubles, this is "competitive" doubles. The players are going to "go after" the weaker opponent, and they're going to assume that's the woman until proven otherwise. No, I don't think you should ask your opponents ahead of time how serious they're going to play. You should just assume they're going to play to win in every way within the rules & code. At the same time, in my (usually unpopular) opinion, the guy should still attempt to be as much of a gentleman as possible.

    Second: In most cases, a 3.5 gal is not going to have the offensive power to be hitting her opponents hard and at will, and she will not have the defensive skills to protect herself from a 3.5 male that slamming overheads at her. I cannot in any stretch of my imagination think of a situation where this would be acceptable.
     
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  37. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    That is TOTAL BS!

    I don't care if you are doing intentionally anything, the result is what it is. If you are afraid of unintentionally serving up an easy overhead, then don't try to lob. If you keep lobbing, you are going to serve up a sitter every now and then. You already know that and you have assumed that that is worth the risk. I am going to make sure that that risk is higher than you believe.

    So let me get this straight. I am running and jumping to get overhead hoping that I can make it go where I want it to go. And while I am doing that, I am supposed to figure out and read somebody's mind on whether or not they are standing there for one reason or another.

    Hitting the guy is a pretty good way to get him to pay attention and be attentative. You are doing that guy a service.

    I just don't get you Cindy. You say you are 3.5 women, and you are telling me you can pinpoint your overhead to a size of somebody's head. If you can do that you are a MUCH better player than I. Even with a sitter, I would have a hard time hitting a target size of human body, let alone a head.

    When people hit at someone, they are not intentionally trying to hurt anybody. They are trying to win a point. Hitting at someone is a good way to make sure that happens.

    I don't understand why a guy who serving up the lob and the guy at the net are not doing ANYTHING "intentionally" but the guy at the net is "intentionally" trying to hurt someone.

    Smashing an overhead at someone is a valid doubles tactic. It is not something I am going to do in a mixed doubles at a woman player, but it is something I will definitely do if necessary in a male doubles match.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
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  38. precision2b

    precision2b Semi-Pro

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    I agree OrangePower

    And talks with a much higher pitch…. LOL!!! Very funny Steady Eddy
     
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  39. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    I beemed a guy really hard last week with a forehand volley, I didn't even try to hit him but it was square in the chest and pretty hard. He was pretty pissed off. I felt bad because it was totally not my intention but appeared that way. I will aim for your legs and feet but never above the gooch.

    :)
     
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  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You do what you gotta do.
     
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  41. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    If people actually do this against your overhead, then your overhead is probably not very potent.

    My overhead isn't the most reliable, but I hit it just hard enough that if someone hits a floater and I've got my overhead coming, even my best opponents will turn their back if they don't have time to back up into a more defensive position.

    So really there's not much to the overhead situation. 1) If the opponents can, they will back up and assume a defensive position and that means you can safely crush the overhead anywhere with a minimal risk of hitting them. 2) If the opponents are sitting ducks, then they should have enough sense to turn their back and get out of the way which also means they aren't likely to get tagged. 3) If they are stupid, they will stand right there as if your overhead is not a threat, in which case its fair game.
     
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  42. Perry the Platypus

    Perry the Platypus Rookie

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    In my opinions, control-able overheads should be fenced, hit to the open court, or as a last resort at the opponents feet. I prefer to fence them, just bounce it at a sharp angle in the opponents service box and have it bounce over the fence. It that hits them it is pretty much their own fault..... If I am falling back to hit the overhead behind my own service box then I'm not paying any attention to where my opponent is due to the higher degree of difficulty involved in hitting the shot. They have a responsibility to pay attention.

    In any event, intentionally hitting somebody above the feet with an overhead is bush league.

    Groundstrokes are a whole different story. Since many ladies like to sit on top of the net, it is not unusual for me to rip a forehand at them to back them up (it does work). I would rather have them off of the net so I can dip balls at their feet and then approach.
     
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  43. LafayetteHitter

    LafayetteHitter Hall of Fame

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    I would be careful at trying to adjust strokes based on who you are hitting to in a competitive match. Also if you back off the strokes when hitting to the female don't get offended if they blast an overhead right at you.
     
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  44. ALten1

    ALten1 Rookie

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    I think its genetically encoded in male dna to let up a little against a female. We are taught since birth to be polite, honor, and cherish until death.....sorry got carried away.

    Also if someone hits me with a tennis ball (worse was being hit in the throat at close range, couldn't swallow for a few minutes) and they apologize, then let it go. If they don't apologize, well then it's "own" like chicken bone. IMO most people don't try to peg their opponents especially the women. I would imagine most women don't want to go toe to toe with a guy.
     
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  45. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, and it is encoded plenty deep.

    I was at mixed practice yesterday. Loved my new teammates, one of whom is a wonderful 3.5 guy. Nicest guy you'd ever want to meed. But I kind of noticed something.

    When he served to the male, it was a smokin' good serve. Good enough to force some errors off of the male opponent. When he served to the female opponent (who was clearly having a devil of a time returning serve in her first mixed match ever), he hit considerably softer serve on both first and second.

    After a bit of this, I actually said something. I said he didn't have to hit overheads or groundstrokes or even volleys to the woman if he didn't feel comfortable, but he did have to hit his best serve. Without those free points, we'd be digging ourselves into a hole needlessly. He did ramp it up, but still not as much as he could.

    Come on, 3.5 fellas. Your serves are good, OK. But they simply aren't powerful enough to hurt a woman standing three feet behind the service line [edit: Whoops, I meant "baseline"]. So what's up with being reluctant to hit a good serve to the woman?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
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  46. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    My mother taught me better..???
     
    #46
  47. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    23,292
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Have you guys seen a women player that acts Macho ??? this is kind of annoying.... the other day, it was just a fun Mixed doubles match but this woman thought she could handle anything that i can throw at her,,,so she would stand in tight at the net while i was lining up a overhead..... I can hit the overhead pretty hard,,,so hard she probably would not see it coming at that close range.......
    So i hit one and it misses her by 2 feet,,,,,i was surprised as heck to see she didn't back up........so i said please back up if you see someone lining up a easy overhead.......then she said..." Oh no,,,that is ok,,i don't mind being hit." LOL

    Does this mean i can hit this woman and not feel bad ??
     
    #47
  48. LafayetteHitter

    LafayetteHitter Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    2,954
    Location:
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    I think Cindy made a good point. Most of the female players I play against get offended when you back off. They are out there for a challenge as well.
     
    #48
  49. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    23,292
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Yea right.,,,and if you hit one of them,,,you are the Devil's Spawn.....:evil:
     
    #49
  50. ALten1

    ALten1 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2009
    Messages:
    200
    I am guilty of never hitting my flat serve at the woman. I only hit the spin serves to them. Two exceptions: 1. My partner tells me to quit letting up and 2. The other male serves to my partner hard.
     
    #50

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