Maybe I should have eased up?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    A teammate invited me to sub in for some social doubles. She is 4.0, as am I. We are hoping to partner this season, so I was delighted to have a chance to test drive the partnership.

    Opponents were her husband (former teammate of mine who is rated 3.5 but has now improved to 4.0 IMHO), and a lady I hadn't met.

    I do not know her level, but I would say 3.0. I say this based on the serve (high push 15 feet over the net) and inability to handle spin or pace.

    Anyway, I played my usual game. That's lots of spin and aggression on finishing shots.

    For instance, I had an overhead and she was at net. I did not aim "at" her. Instead, I aimed for her doubles alley and hit the overhead as hard as I could for a winner. She hadn't budged from the net, and instead turned and ducked, but I didn't hit her.

    Another example: Sometimes I would smack her soft serve hard. Other times I would hit a topspin moonball that she couldn't time. And one time I, erm . . . hit a drop shot. On my serve, I hit my usual slice or topspin serve, which she often did not return.

    And then there was that time when I had a BH sitter close to the net and (hoping not to miss it like I had missed the last two) I hit it hard in her general direction (again not hitting her but spooking her).

    You get the idea. I did not take any groundstrokes down her line, finish points into her abdomen, or otherwise target her. We played her male partner, and there were some amazing rallies as he covered pretty much the whole court. Everyone was smiling and laughing and joking.

    Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

    Where's the line, do you think?
     
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  2. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Full throttle all of the time. No exceptions.

    Seriously, though. If she didn't say anything, maybe she appreciated the challenging shots thinking it could help her?

    In my opinion, people who can't play against varying levels of competition should not even consider playing. You can't clone yourself and play against your better looking counterpart so you have to expect to encounter higher level players. I never expect anyone to back off their game for me and I'd be insulted if they did. As The Rock, Dwayne Johnson says ... Just Bring It.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
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  3. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    This.

    If it's a social game, it depends on who you are playing against. Because it's your former teammate and a stranger, I don't think you did anything wrong. However, I think he could've told her how your overall style was. I think it was her partner's fault that she couldn't hit a majority of your shots. Plus, I don't think you should hesitate playing your best against anyone (in my opinion).

    :)
     
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  4. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    stop worrying so much about what others think.

     
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  5. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Personally....I would have worked on things I don't do well and if were ripping backhands to where she was then so be it. She's on the court so she needs to learn. If everyone is going to push the ball to her...she will never learn how to play.


    QUOTE=Cindysphinx;7176943]A teammate invited me to sub in for some social doubles. She is 4.0, as am I. We are hoping to partner this season, so I was delighted to have a chance to test drive the partnership.

    Opponents were her husband (former teammate of mine who is rated 3.5 but has now improved to 4.0 IMHO), and a lady I hadn't met.

    I do not know her level, but I would say 3.0. I say this based on the serve (high push 15 feet over the net) and inability to handle spin or pace.

    Anyway, I played my usual game. That's lots of spin and aggression on finishing shots.

    For instance, I had an overhead and she was at net. I did not aim "at" her. Instead, I aimed for her doubles alley and hit the overhead as hard as I could for a winner. She hadn't budged from the net, and instead turned and ducked, but I didn't hit her.

    Another example: Sometimes I would smack her soft serve hard. Other times I would hit a topspin moonball that she couldn't time. And one time I, erm . . . hit a drop shot. On my serve, I hit my usual slice or topspin serve, which she often did not return.

    And then there was that time when I had a BH sitter close to the net and (hoping not to miss it like I had missed the last two) I hit it hard in her general direction (again not hitting her but spooking her).

    You get the idea. I did not take any groundstrokes down her line, finish points into her abdomen, or otherwise target her. We played her male partner, and there were some amazing rallies as he covered pretty much the whole court. Everyone was smiling and laughing and joking.

    Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

    Where's the line, do you think?[/QUOTE]
     
    #5
  6. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I can't speak for the 3.0 lady obviously but when I'm in a social doubles match with better players I don't want anybody taking it easy on me. The speed of the game at higher levels is something you have to experience and acclimate yourself to if you hope to someday get to that level yourself. As long as players weren't targeting her 100% (or close to that) of the time or hitting screaming liners or overheads at her then all is fair imo.

    I know when I'm the higher rated player playing with someone lower than me is it pretty annoying when our opponents hit every shot to my partner hoping to generate a UE. I understand that that is good strategy but many times before the match my opponents have professed that 'we are all just here to have fun' but then the desire to win takes over and the higher rated player becomes a spectator for much of the match.
     
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  7. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    If they didnt complain, what is there to worry about.
     
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  8. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I've always felt that if you have some doubt in your mind, then there is something to it. JMHO.
     
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  9. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Whenever I play against opponents that are more than 1/2 level away, I dont play my usual "win at all costs" game...especially if it's a fun, social game. I will instead try and work on things that need working on. Like I will serve all "kick serves" or try and hit all one handed topspin backhands...or try varying the height of my shots...or work on variety: slice, top, flat, etc.)

    You did nothing "wrong"...but you could have taken a different approach. They shouldn't hold it against you though. It's your choice "how to play".
     
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  10. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    I agree nothing wrong either way. But me? Social match vs. someone a full 1.0 lower? I think I'd ease up; hit returnable serves, groundies etc. Given the disparity, just more enjoyable all around.
     
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  11. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Cindy,

    I guess I am the lone poster (until the three posts above snuck in) who would remind you to pay attention to those little voices that make you feel unsettled with your (or other people's) behavior. As anyone with any life experience knows most communication is nonverbal. So the fact that the lady said nothing is meaningless, it is likely that a perceptive person, like yourself, picked up on some things coming from her, or recalled in your own experience "bank" a similar situation you dealt with, that was the source of that feeling you felt.

    Of course if you didn't have such a feeling at the time and you are just ruminating after the fact, that is a bit different.

    Everyone agrees that you are completely within your rights to play any 'ol way you want on a tennis court, but my guess is there are completely "legal" tennis antics that you just won't do. Sounds like your subconscious thinks you may have... erm, done some of that.

    None of us was there, so we are equally likely to be right or wrong. You were there. I'm just saying if your mind is telling you something, it is likely correct.
     
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  12. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    In my experience, many women spend a ton of time worrying that they may have slightly offended a teammate or opponent even though nothing at all was done wrong and the other person didn't think twice about it. Telling a woman "if you are worried that someone may have been upset then its likely that they were" is pretty terrible advice in my opinion.

    I think in a social match the proper balance is to not pick on the weaker player so that the better player on the opposing team doesn't get left out. Personally I will work on my chip and charge and just try and hit deep volleys so that the shots are not intimidating but that is about all I will do to adjust.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Humble brag alert
     
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  14. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Well that's one opinion. Ladies, any comments?
     
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  15. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    There is no need to ease up on the weaker opponent as long as you do not pick on them too much. My last mixed doubles match was really lame because I pretty much stood there for two hours while every ball was directed to my partner until she gave them a simple putaway. I simply play my game.
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hmmm.

    As I think back on the social matches I have played, one sticks out in my mind. I was partnered with the weaker player. The two opponents broke all the normal conventions of doubles (e.g. keep it crosscourt) to get UEs from my partner. I would serve, they would go DTL past her or hit it right at her. We would play two back and they would send every ball to her.

    I guess I should take solace in the fact that our male opponent saw 75% of the balls.

    I will also try to take some comfort from how my partner played, as she is a regular member of this group. She played pretty much as I did in that she didn't pick on the lady and went for her shots. And the 3.0 lady did hit a few winners.

    Part of my second-guessing is that I hate hate hate being the weakest player on the court. I feel awful when I miss, I find myself shrinking. Then again, if I knew my opponents were patronizing me by pushing the ball to me, I wouldn't like that much either.

    The other part of my second guessing is that, as I said earlier, the lady was having a lot of trouble with topspin. I was receiving in the ad court, and I would often return her serve with balls that kicked up up pretty high on her. Toward the end of the two hours, I could hear hear partner telling her mid-point "Back up! Back up! Back up!" She would not back up enough and the ball would bounce too high for her to reach.

    And then I would feel like a tool.
     
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  17. tennisee

    tennisee Rookie

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    I have to play a fair bit of mixed social at my club, and take the view that the purpose of social is for everyone to enjoy themselves as much as possible, including me. So it's quite a complex thing, judging not only everyone else's skill levels, but what their attitudes to the game are.
    Eg, that lady on the other side has come out expecting to hit a few balls vs my partner who really wants to win at all costs...
    So I generally just play how I want to; thinking that that the fact that I'm even considering all stuff this probably puts me ahead of the others consideration wise. In your case I'd be thinking I don't really enjoy feeling like a tool, so I won't play in a manner that brings on those tool feelings, and that is my right.
     
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  18. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    Short answer: yes IMO :)

    In a social setting like this, where there is a large disparity in skill level, a true mark of a (much) stronger player is the ability to modulate and control his/her game to make it a fun experience for all involved. Just as you said: you could have brought the heat when hitting to the guy, and intentionally toned it down when hitting to the 3.0 woman... nothing weird about it, in this setting. The points would be extended (for her benefit, and everyone else's), and you could practice control and precision. I'd see this as a challenge: it wouldn't be easy to hit your shots in a way that gives a "playable" ball to her, yet keeps him from poaching easily. Again, takes a lot of control, precision, maybe even some disguise?

    As an example, a few times I played social doubles with my 4.0 friends and their son, an Open level player. Of course, he could finish a point at will on his first shot, nearly every time. But we had lots of fun long rallies, precisely because he orchestrated those rallies and kept them going. It took serious skill (on his part) to play this way. And of course he'd still hit winners, but mostly when the point "played itself out", or when he'd space out for a moment and forget the setting :)

    Of course, social setting doesn't necessarily mean "non-competitive"... no need to tone it down in a social match if opponents are of a similar skill level. And in a competitive match, the gloves are off for sure.
     
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  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ian, you make good points. Especially the point about how it takes tons of control to hit a ball the 3.0 can return while still avoiding the 4.0 guy.

    In fact . . . I have to be honest with you . . . there is straight up no way I could ever do that! If I hit a medium-paced ball the 3.0 could handle, the 4.0 guy will feast on it.

    The only way I know to get the ball past the 4.0 guy is a topspin lob (didn't want to spend the whole match lobbing, especially since I knew the 3.0 could never have tracked it down). Or stand in and try to hit a dipper or angle. Which isn't a ball the 3.0 can handle either. (I did go down his alley once, but that was payback because he had burned me twice in my alley. :) )

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. This social match was the first time I can recall when I wasn't partnered with the weaker player, when the weaker player had a partner three USTA levels stronger(taking gender into account), and when the weaker player was two USTA levels lower than myself and my partner.

    BTW, doesn't anyone want to know the scores? :)

    I think my partner and I won the first set 6-4. Next set we won 6-2, I think. Ten point tiebreak just to use up the remaining time was not completed but was perhaps 6-3 when we had to vacate the court. So it didn't feel like a beatdown at the time.
     
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  20. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    If everyone was having a good time, why are you worried? If she was pissed, she would have acted pissed at you.

    Anyway, 6-4, 6-2 isn't a shutout by your definition of needing to take it easy. Either the guy did a good amount of work or that lady was doing ok... or you guys just made some errors.
     
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  21. doubleshack

    doubleshack New User

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    Really? 6-4, 6-2, what are you worried about? A double bagel is one thing, but this is a decent match. The weaker player probably loved the challenge (wouldn't you?). You did good!
     
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  22. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    As long as everyone was laughing and joking--no problemo.

    The lines vary depending on the length of the footfaults.
     
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  23. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    lol, I think I've come to realize what to expect by Cindy's meaningful exaggerations sometimes.


    "Guys, I played this match today and we like totally killed our opponents!!!" The score was 7-6, 7-5. ;) :p
     
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  24. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    To wrap up, two 4.0s beat a 3.0/3.5 pair 6-4, 6-2 and are worried about keeping the foot down too hard.
     
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  25. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    Exaggeration is a literary tool, and Cindy used it to better bring the point across... as she often does :) No need to turn this into a conversation about scores of a particular match... especially a social match. That wasn't Cindy's point. The point was, what do you (as a stronger player) do in a social match when one (or possibly both) of your opponents are much less skilled? It was a valid question; anyone who plays both competitive and social tennis can easily recognize this, and most likely have participated in these kinds of matches, on both sides of the equation :)

    Me, I'd still prefer to win, even in a social match. But I think I've learned to realize (lately... wasn't always the case) that social matches are mostly about all players having fun. Now, if I could only apply the same attitude to team practices...
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, Ian gets me. :)

    Well, the whole experience was new, as I was faced with a big disparity in skill in our two opponents, plus a disparity in skill in this lady versus my partner and myself.

    The moral of the story is I will have a lot more sympathy when men who play mixed wring their hands about how to play.

    Or not. :)
     
    #26
  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I see little reason for a stronger pair to team up together.
    Better than strongest play with the weakest, while the two middle level players play together.
     
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  28. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    I've organized/set up "draws" for a number of socials over the last few years. What happens, people request to be partnered with someone. It could be a spouse, a child, a friend, whatever. And quite often you get a 4.0 guy wanting to play with his "2.5" wife (meaning, a complete beginner), or something of that nature. I usually break the "draws" into two or three groups by skill level. But what about that couple? Well, if I have two groups, one 3.5- and the other 4.0+, I'll put this couple in the "lower" group. So, the 4.0 guy ends up playing against 3.0 or 3.5 ladies. Not good, but IMO better than the alternative: having him and his wife play against two 4.0+ players. Before the social starts I'd gently suggest to the 4.0 guy to be, well, gentle. Some would follow this suggestion and some wouldn't, to a rather comical effect sometimes. Still, it's all good fun :)
     
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  29. Rumruner

    Rumruner New User

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    I missed the question. What was the problem?

    I missed the question. What was the problem?
     
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  30. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    This was probably how it was. The other team's 3.5 was a guy, who, by Cindy's reckoning, is closer to a 4.0 in his level of play. A 4.0 (or very high 3.5 even) guy would typically be the best player when the other 3 are 2 4.0 women and a 3.0 woman.

    Anyways, I think there was nothing wrong with how things played out. Alot of it just depends on the personality of the person in question, but most of the 3.0 women I've played in social mixed (which admittedly isn't many) typically have wanted to see how they can do against my and other better players 'good' shots and expect nothing less.
     
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  31. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I think you need to occupy your mind more with thoughts of awesome new rackets and less with feelingz of some noobs :)
     
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  32. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    The price of nice

    The difference in your game and a 3.0 game isn't so ridiculous that you should have to "play down" too much. Having said that - in a friendly match you shouldn't try to humiliate a clearly lesser opponent by playing your most aggressive, in-your-face game. I like to make sure everyone has a fun time, and if I see that one person is being creamed, I give them a break by hitting them some easy shots. If I'm really that much better than them, I should be the magnanimous one, and not worry about who's "beating" who.

    And having said that, why would it occur to you that it would possibly be okay to wipe up the court with someone who ostensibly is your friend, just out to hit a few balls? Why wouldn't you always be a mentor, instead of a jerk? If you have to ask yourself the question... you probably know which one you are.
     
    #32
  33. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Silly girl.

    Which is it? Am I so lame that my 4.0 game is indistinguishable from a 3.0 game, or am I a jerk for wiping the court with my 3.0 opponent with my superior 4.0 game?

    Gotta think before you type . . . .
     
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  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Humble brag has gone beyond control
     
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  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, as the superior player, you NEED to show them, at least once.
    After that, you can take it easy on them.
     
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  36. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    You've answered your question, yourself. You are both - lame to presume that you are so much better than your opponent, and also a jerk for wiping up the court with someone whom you think is your "inferior". Actually - it's your choice - lame or jerk, or perhaps more appropriately - both.
     
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  37. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Cindy has exactly one anti-Cindy on this forum, and they have been going at each other for years! Cat fight time!
     
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  38. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    3.0 lady has epic spider veins. You can actually see the blue blood shifting in the vein while she serves. Hopefully she can get surgery to correct it because it looks horrific when she wears short sexi skirts.
     
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  39. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    Blue blood huh? She must be an alien then. :p
     
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  40. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Your first sentence says it all:

    "Social doubles"

    You should have eased up.

    League play would have been a completely different story.
     
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  41. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    Well, you need to remember this. 3.5M = 4.0W or better. Also, sometimes the computer rating the system gives doesn't reflect well on someone's ability to play. It reflects on their ability to WIN.

    When I played mixed, I had several 4.0C women blame me for the losses. Funny thing is, when we'd play a singles match against each other, I'd win 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 (depending on how much messing around I'd do with some shots or if I'd let them hold a service game.) Canadian against two 4.0C women would be 6-4, 6-3, or 7-5 (depending on which girls were paired together). At the time I was ranked a 3.5 by the computer, so ya... it's not all apples to apples.

    Play your game and see what happens. Unless you're playing a social match and you see that after 4 games (giving everyone a chance to serve) the score is a one way shutout, there should be no reason why you cannot just play and not back off. In social settings I usually don't worry too much about winning/losing. If we're playing doubles or singles and I'm better than the opponent, instead of winning 6-3 or better, I try and work on something else which would cause the score to be closer to a 7-5 or 7-6 scenario. When I say work on something else, I either work on harder shots I'm trying to get better at hitting (like service return winners, drop shots, inside out single handed backhand, etc. If I miss, I miss.) Sometimes I even let the score fall to 0-4 or 0-5 to get my mind in that (you're losing mindset) and then dig the set out as practice for my focus. If we're playing doubles and winning convincingly, there has been times where we'll win the first set, lose the second because we're messing around, and win the third in a close score just to make it interesting and extend the match.

    Bottom line, I think in a social settings, it should be up to the better player to try and extend the match as much as possible so as to give everyone a chance to really play. No one likes to lose, but extending some points out at the right times makes for a really interesting time on court and everyone enjoys themselves.
     
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  42. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    When I play social rounds of golf, I try to keep the score as close as possible to make the match as fun and exciting as possible. Everyone goes home happy and can't wait to play another round of golf.

    I'll do the same when I start playing social tennis and my tennis proficiency returns to my former level where I can do these things.
     
    #42
  43. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    After 35 years of playing very high level tennis (once on grass) I find it difficult to dumb down my game for the sake of other's feelings.
     
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  44. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Start worrying about what you think of your game and behavior.
     
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  45. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Pretty much sums up the thread! :razz:

    -Fuji
     
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  46. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    When I left the SCTA junior tour in 1984 I was often asked to play charity events for Korean orphans and battered trailer prostitutes in Ojai, Ca.

    While many of my partners were high level several were 3.5 or below and it was a struggle to not want to crush them and make them quit the game.

    Cindy's struggle is universal. Playing against uncoordinated 3.5s is very exhausting. When you reach 4.5 you are better equipped to deal with low level social mixed dubbles slobs.
     
    #46
  47. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    803
    thread creed

    I'm not anti-Cindy, have often agreed with her - but also certainly am not the only one who finds fault from time to time with her endless self-important, puffed-up postings. Does she get paid for this? I hope so because she spends an inordinate amount of time writing volumes about the minutiae of each and every match she plays.

    These types of boards become freaking boring if not for a few mix-up meows. Give me creds for at least keeping things interesting.
     
    #47
  48. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,783
    ^^^ That is the right spirit :)
     
    #48
  49. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    Well, I think I have a definitive answer on whether I struck the right balance: A repeat invitation to play with this group.

    Thank goodness for that.
     
    #49
  50. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    274
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    You could be right but I don't think it's necessarily a definitive answer to your question about striking the right balance.

    The group could have been very polite or forgiving in nature. They may have asked you to come join them again with the hopes that you would have declined on the basis of there not being up to your skill level.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
    #50

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