Maybe Mixed Isn't So Bad . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    I think maybe I am finally getting the hang of playing 8.0 mixed.

    A few years ago, I almost ditched 8.0 mixed completely. I couldn't return serve. Male returners fired my serve back at me so I could never hold. My attempts to do anything at net were quickly foiled, and coming to the net against the guy was a non-started. The guys sliced me to bits. Lobbing for two hours wasn't going to cut it.

    Well . . . Things are looking up. I've played some social mixed lately, which has helped me get used to the pace and build some confidence. I have a new 4.0 partner who is supportive and a good net player. My groundstrokes are better so I don't get blasted off the court. If I force a defensive reply with my serve or get a couple of quality balls deep crosscourt, my partner will take advantage. I can slice a little my own self, which definitely helps.

    My net play is still pretty poor, but it seems I have a lot of company there in the 4.0 female mixed sisterhood. Gotta keep working on that bit.

    Mixed. Maybe someday I will actually prefer it?
     
    #1
  2. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Mixed can be fun, if the level of the players are somewhat similar.
    Nobody needs to blast the ball, but they do need to hit low, up the middle, and dipping shots.
    Returns of big serves can be lobs DTL, or short volley angles.
    Serves only need to get to the stronger player's weaker side, whether weak in consistency or weak in pure power.
    I play some version of mixed at least 1 out of 3 days. Usually in some version of 3.8-4.2 tennis levels, if such a thing exists.
     
    #2
  3. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,120
    No, it sucks.......
     
    #3
  4. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,120
    There is only one thing that men and women CAN do well together.














    (And that is dancing)
     
    #4
  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Doesn't HAVE to suck.
    When I was a rising 3.5-4.5, I played some mixed with my normal partner (No2 for CityCollege of SanFrancisco, and one 7.0 woman and her sister, a 5.5.
    Matches were really fun, new problems to be solved, and egos to be manipulated. I did the worse, of course. And no clear cut winner with the teams rotated every set.
    More lately, our 4.0 men's twosome can rotate thru with a former No1 NorCal 5.5 woman, and another female, a former No.4 UCBerk woman's varsity player. The sets are fun, ego's crushed, and lots of problem solving. Once again, I come out on the bottom. But it's still fun.
    Certainly better than rotating IN, two other 3.5 level guys.
     
    #5
  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Yes, live a happy life together.
     
    #6
  7. goober

    goober Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,491
    Social mix is fun and I play it all the time. Competitive mix is another bird which I prefer not to visit any time soon again.
     
    #7
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    I'll tend to agree there....
     
    #8
  9. bobbything

    bobbything New User

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    40
    I played 9.0 mixed for the better part of the last 5 years. I never really liked it at all. It really is a different brand of tennis.

    That said, I got roped into playing 8.0 next summer. I'm immediately regretting the decision. I have to play with a 3.5 woman and I'm told that it's not much fun.
     
    #9
  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Mixed, or any doubles, works better when all the players can defend as well as attack, even if the actual level is not the same.
    Playing doubles with 3 4.5's and one 3.5 doesn't work well. Or, in my case, 3 4.0's and one 3.0.
    And I've been awestruck being the only 4.0 in doubles with 3 5.0's. That was tough to get through.
     
    #10
  11. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    3,363
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    let me guess, you used to hang with Peanut Louie and her sister in between sessions of surfing with Russ Francis ? Love you Lee ! I'm for sure going to look you up when I'm in SF so I can hear more stories from back in the day !
     
    #11
  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Watched Russ go surfing at Kelly's with RayWershing. Russ cannot surf, but can wallow in typical Florida surf. Ray was pretty good, a good SoCal surfer. Neither came close to handling Kelly's or anything at OceanBeach. I'm one of the crew from the late '60s thru the early '80's, one of the big wave riders.
    Good guess. I went to dinner with Pea at least 4 semi dates, Marissa was the hardhitting 5.5, DexterLee of CCSF the other guy.
    Marcie didn't date. Marna was kinda mixed up. Mareen was cool, and Mom made me promise to act a gentleman. Dad was a martia arts instructor, at the very end of his career. Marissa was the most messed up person I ever met.
    Ronnie was the coolest, but almost gay cool. He was a solid low level A player, though rankings have him at higher level B's.
    I actually hit for close to half an hour with CeciMartinez. She lived at 32nd and Clement/California, right next to Dupont courts. We have hit a few times since.
    If you're an old timer, check this... I taught Jeff and Jerry Jue to swim at BerkeleyHigh in 1964.
     
    #12
  13. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,178
    Location:
    DE
    I absolutely love playing mixed ... all levels. My only pet peeve is when I hit a good serve that elicits a weak return and instead of putting away the ball my partner taps the ball back to the guy at the baseline.

    If you are playing mixed with me ... I dont care if you make an error 3 out of 10 put away volleys ... the other 7 better put them on the defensive.
     
    #13
  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Oh, MattWarshaw wrote and helped produce a book called "Mavericks" with a blue cover. It was printed around '85 or so. It recounts a story of the biggest day ever at OceanBeach, one with LarryMcGraw photo'd (4x6") with at least 6 times over his head, the height of the wave he almost made to the bottom. I was mentioned by name as one of two guys who should have been out that day (Dec 1980). I'm not BS'in about anything here.
     
    #14
  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    Please, take pity on me, kind sir.

    I'm *trying* to put that volley away. But the opposing guy is really fast so he gets to my shot that would have been a winner in ladies play.

    Besides . . . besides . . . you guys don't make it easy on us damsels. Half the time you are unhappy that we didn't put a ball away, and the other half of the time you are telling us to lay off balls because you're there. It makes a damsel hesitate and freeze and second-guess herself.

    And tap the sitter back to the other guy at the baseline.
     
    #15
  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Gender doesn't matter, as many weak player's are also men.
    All the stronger player asks for is....hit the shots you normally can handle, don't go for anything you've never done, and don't poach on low or high backhands, if you can't at least hit it low up the middle.
    Overheads, just hit it moderate deep and low up the middle.
    Volleys, try to hit to the opponent's feet, between them.
    Nobody is asking the weaker player to serve like Milos, volley like Edberg, and crush overheads like Sampras.
    Just play your NORMAL game, stay within yourself.
    That's what everyone is asking of me, and I don't bother to listen..:)
     
    #16
  17. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    182
    Location:
    Bay Area

    The best advice I can give you on that is to hit your winner toward the other lady, never toward the other guy. Even if the court is open on the guy's side. Also, it helps if you keep the ball low. No floaty stuff.
     
    #17
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    If a 4.0 woman hits her normal deep volley at the feet of a 4.0 man, she will win that exchange more often than not.
    Only when she pops it up, trying to hit too hard, does the man get the advantage.
    A solid shot to the feet of the opponent just sets you up for the putaway. It is NOT the putaway.
     
    #18
  19. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    557
    Mixed for me is probably the hardest of all to play competitively. It's really fun to play mixed socially, especially if your team is mixed and the other team isnt, haha.

    As a 4.0 woman playing 7.0 you will have to be really strong at net and you will probably not be allowed to many (if at all) errors. The dynamics here are so great since the ability range of a 3.0 is much wider than a 4.0.

    As a 4.0 woman playing 8.0 you will have to be able to keep the ball low at all times on volley exchanges, put away balls close to the net with overheads, or at least push/cut the ball deep or at angles that will close the point at least half the time.

    As a 4.0 woman playing 9.0 you're probably not a 4.0 and you probably know what you're doing.



    As the woman they will probably pick on you, but I think you like that. I can actually see you doing better in time at mixed (with a good partner) than in womens.
     
    #19
  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    Nope, exactly the opposite.

    My strength in ladies play is spin, as most 3.5/4.0 women hit flat and are not used to dealing with spin. I hit slice and topspin serves, only. I hit topspin moonballs. I stand in close for weak serves, hit sharp topspin angles, and hit the approach volley in the gap.

    None of this -- not one bit of it -- works in mixed 8.0. Guys are quite used to spin and they have overheads.

    It ain't pretty, my friend.
     
    #20
  21. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Worse for you, my dear, is that you are somewhat height challenged. What works as a normal chin high return of serve for me is well over the top of your head, at men's 4.0.
    And some 4.0 men kick their twists well over 6' high at the baseline, and in doubles, a hair higher! Longer court to hit into.
    Just hit to their feet, lob high when they crowd the net to avoid your low shots, and keep your serves to the side that you can handle their returns.
    Except for serves, 4.0 women can hang with dignity and confidence.
     
    #21
  22. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    557
    If your stuff works against the ladies I dont see why it wont work in mixed just as long as you're avoiding the guy.

    Mixed is a different animal. If you divide the court in half, im going to say 80% of the time im hitting to one particular side of the court because thats the side their woman is on. In men for example, its probably more 60/40 where im playing the side that is not being covered by their net player.

    Spin isnt all that great unless its in large quantity. As I said in my other post, the best thing a 4.0 lady can do in 8.0 is serve well (no doubles; no ducks) and keep the ball low. At net, volley well, put away sitters. Close to the net, if you cant topspin drive a winner, push it deep (low) or cut an angle and close in.

    And yes, dont moonball, unless those balls have a lot of topspin and are very deep in the court. You do not want their guy hitting overheads at any point in the match.

    Low. Very low. Low balls are very hard to lob and very hard to drive. A low ball will often be returned low, by which time you can close in.
     
    #22
  23. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,659
    I hit with women all the time, and play mixed from time to time. I play with some mixed with 4.5 women, and that's not too bad, but most of the other mixed is just pretty yucky.
     
    #23
  24. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,185
    I ALWAYS tell the woman to go for any ball she feels she can get at the net. If my partner turns to me and says, "Oh, I'm sorry I missed that volley," I'll always tell her I'm glad she went for it and that she should go for it again.
    If the woman is hesitating, that is the worst thing. Her overall game will suffer if she is in fear of missing or being criticized. As in all things, the woman will function better if she feels secure.
     
    #24
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    As in all things, the loweest level player will play better if he/she feels secure....and reinfornced.
     
    #25
  26. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    557
    If ANY player is hesitating, that is the worst thing.

    The most common mistake I see are players "letting off the gas" when they're wining, or even worse... losing...

    The mentality that "We're ahead, we have to make them catch up." is often improperly applied. Being ahead means you keep playing the way you're playing and force them to do something. Being ahead does not mean "holding on the the lead" by lowering your games level because that only works if theirs lowers at the same time.
     
    #26
  27. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,517
    Location:
    The crappest town in Britain
    An old coaching legend in English soccer once said that, if you're ever in the box and you're not sure what to do with the ball, put it in the goal and we'll discuss your other options later.

    In doubles, if you're ever at the net with a mid to high volley and you're not sure what to do, go for the strong put-away, always, every single time, ruthlessly, without hesitation. I guarantee you that, if you put away points over and over, no partner will ever complain about you not leaving the ball for him to play.
     
    #27
  28. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    10,750
    Most of the Craigslist 5.0s in my section abstain from mixed doubles. It's just not worth the time and trouble.
     
    #28
  29. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,178
    Location:
    DE
    I hear you ... and I have seen lots of doubles teams like this. So perhaps there is some PTMD (Post Tramatic Mixed Disorder) that is going on in mixed for the ladies.

    However, I will tell you that when we play together I will tell you to be aggressive every single time. If you have an overhead, a chest high volley, or you have poached .... hit it where you think you should and go for your shot. BUT never, ever bunt the ball back to the baseline ... be aggressive.

    You should not be worried I may take a ball from you. If I take a ball from you it will be because I have stepped in front of you... most likely while I am at the net poaching and you are at the baseline. You will have no doubt that it will be my ball and you should be covering the other side.

    When I play mixed ... I might take up 60% of the court surface .... but I still expect you to play your 40% like you own it.
     
    #29
  30. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,001
    Gets to a poach? Put it where he can't get away from it.
     
    #30
  31. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Messages:
    741
    dizzle -- that's also a pet peeve of mine. in men's dubs if you set up your partner with a wounded duck put away -- it's either crushed for a winner or it's blasted about 20 feet beyond the baseline and hits the back wall. but either way it's hit hard and with conviction.

    in mixed that wounded duck put away has a high chance of not being hit hard enough for a winner AND worse getting us out of position.

    and i do what others have suggested. i tell my partners to smack the ever loving crap out of it. in or out -- i'm happy. just go for it.
     
    #31
  32. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,540
    I play mixed leauge 2 seasons a year and like it a lot. But, I have an excellent female partner. She is 4.5 and I am older 4.0+. I think it works best in non-pro mixed when the woman is .5 ranking higher than the man. The man will still be stronger than the woman but the woman will be able to hold their own. Sorry, don't mean to be chauvinistic but my opinion is a solid 4.0 male will be slightly stronger than a solid 4.5 female. At least that is what I see on our team. We have several 4.0 guys who are stronger than higher ranked female partners.

    CindyS - do lots of volley drills. It is really great when your female partner can put away setups at the net. I try to use my serve and groundstrokes to illicit a weak ball and I love to see my partner spank it away.

    When I was young - some 30 years ago - I had a female partner who had been ranked in top 50 in the nation as a junior. We were in our mid-20s. We played hi-A level and it was an absolute joy to play with her. She had an old school game with classic long flat strokes but she could really bring it. Her serve was very solid and you could pick off volleys all day. She also had a complete game - great groundstrokes and volleys.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
    #32
  33. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,417
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Basically futile to find a 5.5 female who would play doubles with a 5.0 male. They get the pick and all the opportunities, not the 5.0 males. Plenty of 5.0 males, a much smaller selection of 5.5 females.
    And yes, a 4.5 female would fit right in with 4.0 doubles, if her game included volleying, overheads, and serve placement.
     
    #33
  34. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,086
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Mixed does suck... because it is set up such that more often than not players of quite varying skill levels are put onto the same court at the same time.

    IMO that just leads to sucky tennis.
     
    #34
  35. CFreeborn

    CFreeborn New User

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Interesting topic. I think I have finally found a compatible partner for
    mixed. We're eligible for 55's as well as 8.0. Great ( better than me) volleyer, reliable respectable serve and above all rock solid attitude.
    If one plays the odds, either players serve goes to the "weaker" player 50% of the time. That means the "stronger" player has a margin of error of 0%. Good luck with that. It's much more about keeping your composure, working as a cohesive team and playing to your partners strengths. I happen to have grown up with 3 older sisters, so I have a very healthy respect for the opposite gender... It doesn't hurt at all that my wife has met and likes my doubles partners long term life partner. In that sense all four of us are the team.
     
    #35
  36. CFreeborn

    CFreeborn New User

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    One more comment. As for finding suitable competition:
    If you begin the season unseeded you'll probable encounter some weaker teams in the early rounds. Grind 'em up and spit 'em out. Don't worry, it'll get much more interesting as you get closer to the finals.
     
    #36
  37. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,598
    Mixed is weird for me. I don't play enough doubles any more to really enjoy mixed, but I played it last time as a fill in for some 3.0's and it was interesting to say the least. The woman I was parters with was a very average 3.0 player that really didn't do much at net and left a lot of shots for me to get. I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to be, but it was a good time none the less!

    -Fuji
     
    #37
  38. goober

    goober Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,491
    I think competitive mixed would be improved a ton if they got rid of 8.0, 9.0 and switched to 7.5 and 8.5 with the requirement that the female player could cannot have a lower rating than the male player. Right now if you face a 4.5M /3.5F combo there is only one viable strategy for the most part, keep it away from the 4.5!
     
    #38
  39. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    Yeah, but you're the Ever So Awesome 4.5, which is like four USTA levels higher than a 3.0 woman. Of course you have to play every ball!
     
    #39
  40. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2006
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Mcr UK
    I always enjoy a good mixed match. Probably the fact that I seem to be a stronger mixed player than I am men's dubs. In winter here the league tennis is 2 sets of mens followed by 2 sets of mixed. In the league I play in I often end up struggling against the men, but when we split and play mixed I can dominate players I've just lost to in 2 sets of mens.

    I've never really thought it through too much but I guess my game has a few things women at our league level struggle with- A decent serve that I can hit flat into either side, or with heavy spin, as well as a willingness to cover for my partner
     
    #40
  41. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Location:
    On the deuce side, looking to come in
    Ya know, goober, that's a really good suggestion. Probably the best way to get four players of both genders with compatible skills sets.

    That...I'd play. I refuse to play mixed combo as it now stands. Those 4.5M/3.5F combos are killers to the average mixed pair.
     
    #41
  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    Yep, totally agree.

    I have certainly had fun, competitive matches where the women were 4.0 and the men were 3.5 (7.5 mixed combo). Mostly, I think mixed works best where everyone is on level. So only 4.0s and below can play 8.0 mixed, and so forth.
     
    #42
  43. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,598
    Bahaha I guess it's a bit of a jump in skill level! The thing was is that she wouldn't say anything! No "cover me" or "yours" or anything! I was at the baseline playing road runner hitting back high loopers away from the net person. She pretty well just stood there.

    And oh my dyna, her service games were rough. The people we were playing against freaking tee'd off on her pancake serves. :oops:

    -Fuji
     
    #43
  44. texacali

    texacali Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    230
    I played mixed for the first time ever last summer and I enjoyed it. I know some guys don't like it, but I discovered some of the 3.0 and 3.5 women were about equal or even better than some of the 3.0 guys on my previous men's 3.5. And as I found out, some of the women are more competitive and if the guy is not holding up his end, the women can get kinda bent out of shape.
     
    #44
  45. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    10,750
    3.0 mixed 5 days a week will bring you closer to rec league GOAThood.
     
    #45
  46. texacali

    texacali Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    230
    Excuse my naivete and late return to the game, but what exactly is GOAT?
     
    #46
  47. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,603
    Location:
    Baseline
    Social mixed is fun for giggles.

    I've tried competitive/league mixed and it just doesn't make sense to me. I don't bother anymore.
     
    #47
  48. burosky

    burosky Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,035
    Location:
    CA
    Agreed! I've posted something similar before I called "Queens Doubles". The main requirement is for the woman to be the higher rated player between the mixed pair. All else being equal, the man can no longer target the woman exclusively. This makes for a more even and competitive match.
     
    #48
  49. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,659
    texacali: GOAT=Greatest Of All Time
     
    #49
  50. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,430
    Location:
    Make TT better, use the Ignore List!
    I think it would be a good idea too but the 3.0 women would likely pitch a fit since they couldn't play mixed in such a system.
     
    #50

Share This Page