My thoughts on competitiveness

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by omega4, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. buruan

    buruan New User

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    I think both sides have ups and downs.
    I personally stopped playing league tennis, not because of the guys on the other side of the net, but for the guys on my side of the net.

    I just cant get competitive spirits going when playing tennis, I dont want to talk strategy, and I dont want to single out the weaker player.
    I want everyone to enjoy the game.

    With that attitude I quickly came to realize that most of the guys on teams don't agree and want to win.
    So in order to be fair to them I stopped playing league and became a sparring partner for the team. They call me up on every practice but I dont need to play the matches.

    Works for both.

    Being ultra competitive is not a bad thing as its made out to be many times, and neither is being not competitive at all.
     
    #51
  2. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    To be honest it sounds like you were the one who was unreasonable here. It sounds like you let his reputation cloud what was pretty reasonable behavior into making you act like a middle schooler so you called him a name then took your ball and went home.

    Him telling you that you have only played 2 games and that it isn't a changeover is reasonable. Maybe his attitude was far more confrontational than you wrote but just him saying "this is no time for a break" is reasonable. Him asking to see marks on clay is reasonable and entirely within the rules. Him not being in ready position when you wanted to serve is reasonable.

    There are a ton of things that he could have done that I think would make it perfectly legitimate for you to walk off- but you didn't mention those in this story.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  3. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Well, to be fair, I will talk strategy with my teammate and single out weaker players as needed, as I do want to help my team win its tennis league matches.

    What I will NOT do is ignore the other team or give them the "cold shoulder" treatment. I will be friendly with them and engage in good conversation between points and before / after the match.

    Hopefully, they will be like-minded and reciprocate and be just as friendly towards me. As some have mentioned, it might lead to some non-league friendly tennis games down the road.

     
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  4. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I don't know about that.

    Canadian was just toweling off. It wasn't like he was taking a formal break, since he wasn't sitting down and eating/drinking.

    If someone is sweating and wants to towel off, who am I to tell them that they can't do so? I'm OK with an opponent toweling off after a point within a game and would not say anything to them about it.

    Personally, I would not walk out on a match, as I'm already there to play. But I would ignore the offending player and any comments or actions directed my way.

    Life's too short to spend worrying about what people like that say, think, or do....

     
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  5. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Every team needs to find its balance. For men's we have 3 teams and they are all on different scales of the competitive/social scale.

    The first team is totally cut throat- the guys are there to win and so they add whoever they can to improve the roster. The lineups are done entirely with team goals in mind. We let anyone play on that team that would like to but you are not guaranteed any playtime.

    The lowest team is far more balanced. Everyone will play 3 of the 7 weeks if they have good availability (though if you only make yourself available 3 times you should not expect to play all 3) But in the biggest weeks and in playoffs the team will play the best players. This is a good balance because people don't get pigeonholed and they can stretch to play a line higher than they otherwise might. We keep the roster on this team a bit smaller to make sure that everyone gets a lot of playtime.

    There is one guy on the team who we have forbidden to become captain because he wants what we call the 'utopian' team. He wants everyone on the roster to play the same amount without regard to skill or to the opposition. He wants to play to improve and simply doesn't want the pressure of winning or losing to interfere with that. It BOTHERS him that the best players on the other teams will play every week they are available. But once again- the reason I wake up early to drive 45 minutes to play is that I care about team goals. If the team goals weren't there then I would just wake up at my normal time and go play a pickup match. This guy is being squeezed down the lineup a bit so we will see how long he remains happy on the team.
     
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  6. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    If you think his behaviour is "reasonable", I'm glad we'll never play.
     
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  7. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    omega- I think its reasonable for him to go towel off. I also think its reasonable for the opponent to say that it wasn't a changeover. It doesn't bother me if people grab a quick drink between games but I can understand why someone would say something. If they got into an argument about him toweling off then its a different matter- simply saying that "this isn't time for a break" doesnt' get anywhere near the line where it is reasonable to quit the match.
     
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  8. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Yeah- I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out what got you so worked up over this. As far as you said he

    1. Told you that after the 2nd game that it wasn't a change over.
    2. Wasn't ready when you went to serve.
    3. Asks to see marks on clay (when this is explicitly allowed in the rules)

    It definitely sounds like you made the correct decision to quit playing league tennis.
     
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  9. TheCanadian

    TheCanadian Semi-Pro

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    Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

    1.) He told me that it was "no time for a break" when I was towelling for maybe 10 seconds after two games that lasted 25 minutes in the blistering sun. Maybe that's your definition of reasonable behaviour, but not mine.

    2.) He turned his back towards me on purpose just when I was about to serve. It was an obvious mental ploy and not because he wasn't ready.

    3.) He didn't ask to see marks against me, but he does it all the times with others. He's the only player I can think of who does it so regularly like there's a grand conspiracy in the city to cheat him; he makes bad calls himself all the time. He was banned from re-joining our Sunday league, so he's definitely a problem. Everyone in the city knows about him and his reputation is pretty bad.

    At any rate, if you have no issues with his behaviour it's probably because there's a similarity, in that case I'm really happy I don't have to play people like you. Life's too short.
     
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  10. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I see where you're coming from. For me, I thought the other person was being a bit anal by mentioning that it wasn't a change over, even if he was being reasonable. All Canadian wanted to do was towel off his sweat.

    While they didn't get into an argument per se, the other player seemed to want to start one in effect by saying what he did to Canadian. My thoughts again are along the lines of "allowing an opponent to towel off his sweat or get a drink" isn't that much of a big deal to mention to my opponent.

    But I admit, I'm pretty easy going when it comes to little things like this. I figure there are bigger issues to stress over during a match. If I beat my opponent, I want it to be by through my skill, not by denying my opponent little niceties like toweling off or getting a drink.
     
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  11. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I don't blame you for walking out on behavior like that. Your opponent wasn't exactly acting in the best spirits of the game, even if it can be argued that what he did wasn't entirely unreasonable under the guise of gamesmanship.

    I think I would have continued playing the match if I were in your position, only if to see if I could beat my opponent and "stuff" my victory in his face. However, I would not have bothered to engage him in friendly conversation or bother playing a friendly non-league tennis match on our own.

    To be honest, sometimes players simply don't know any better. I've corrected some fellow golfers' behaviors on many occasions, with most thanking me because they didn't realize that what they were doing or saying would be regarded as offensive.

    However, I don't think that was the case with your opponent in question.

    I saw a USTA regional tournament last week where 2 girls that were 11 or 12 years old playing in a singles match where questioning just about EVERY call that their opponents made. A referee had to be called in to stop the girls from bickering with each other over every point.

    It's a little sad when children learn at an early age to be so antagonistic towards their opponents.

     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OP, you seem to be confusing jerk behavior with competitiveness.

    One can be intensely competitive on the court without behaving like a tool or sucking the fun out of the game.

    I don't understand the attitude "You'll never find me being upset because we didn't make the playoffs." It's all about goals and expectations. If you believe you are strong enough to make the playoffs and set that as a goal, it is upsetting to fall short.

    Heck, I remember how everyone felt when our ladies team made it to nationals but lost a 10-point match tiebreak in the deciding match in the finals. Why shouldn't we be sad about this? True, it mattered not at all in the grand scheme. It just meant our trophy was a few inches smaller than the champion's trophy.

    Still, it mattered. We had worked hard, yet we fell short.

    If others can brush that off without caring, fine. I think it would be a bit unnatural to fail to care.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    FWIW, I don't see what the big deal is. If it isn't a changeover, all you have to say is, "Whew! Mind if I grab a quick drink?" 99% of people will say, "Go ahead."

    One percent of the opponents will say, "No, it's not time for a changeover!" In those instances, you walk over to your bag, take a swig, and then walk back over to resume play. If I want a drink or to wipe my forehead, go ahead and try to stop me.
     
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  14. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Hi Cindy,
    No, I know the difference between jerk behavior and competitiveness.

    While I agree that competitiveness does not necessarily make one a jerk, I also don't think that these 2 attributes are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, I see more jerks that are competitive than jerks that are not when it comes to playing sports.

    Likewise, I don't understand why some players get upset when they don't make the playoffs in something like league tennis. It's not like these players lost out on winning vast sums of money. All they lost out on is bragging rights and there's nothing to stop them from competing for bragging rights again the following year.

    Losing does not take away anything from all the hard work one has put in and the results that one has achieved. Losing does not take away from all the new friends made over the course of a season of playing fun, quality tennis.

    The point of my OP topic was it's hard for me to understand why some players are so competitive over something like league tennis when it's probably not as important as one's job, career, making friends, physical well-being, etc. It's not like losing has diminished one in any way.

    While I won't go so far as to say that it's unnatural for some to care so much about losing at relatively trivial things like league tennis, it is a little hard for me to understand why it upsets some to the extent it does.

     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  15. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    My original post is about that one percent who are so competitive that they would act in an obnoxious manner, if not unreasonable as to spot's point.
     
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  16. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Because we choose to play a team sport because we like having bigger team goals. If I didn't care whether the team won I wouldn't wake up early to drive 45 minutes to play. I wouldn't play line 5 and wait 3 hours for my chance to play. I wouldn't schedule around tennis to make sure that I am available for playoffs. I do all those things because I value being a part of a team. I want the team to do well and I stick around after my matches to watch the rest of my team play.

    I played college lacrosse. I was never going to be a professional and no matter how hard I worked then playing it wasn't going to change my life. But I am thrilled that I got a chance to play and am good friends with several of my teammates. Being on a team has value to me.

    People care about league tennis because they enjoy being a part of a team. They are competitive because they like competing. None of this excuses people who act like petulant children when they lose or when they feel like an opponent isn't behaving properly but that has nothing to do with the competitiveness of the person.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  17. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I enjoy being on teams and shooting for bigger team goals. I enjoy competing against others and winning.

    But things like league tennis will never be my end all be all in life. As a result, I won't be ultra competitive in attitude and I won't be upset if my team and I lose.

    For me, it's all in good fun.

     
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  18. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You are confusing the desire players have to win (competitiveness) with how they display themselves when things don't go as planned (immaturity).

    Whether the external display is a tantrum, unsportsmanlike behavior or gamesmanship, it is all based in a decision to give preference to stroking one's ego when it is bruised, over being an adult about it.

    There are those who behave well because they don't care about the outcome, there are others who care a great deal and would do any and all things that are legal and sportsmanlike to win, but who would never act like a jerk when they lose. The two are completely seperate.
     
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  19. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    No, I'm not.

    My original post has me stating that I don't understand why some are so competitive in something like league tennis.

    The thread has morphed to include discussion about the resulting behavior of some (not necessarily all) competitive players.

    And I'm perfectly fine with the thread's discussion taking that change in direction.

    But please don't confuse the thread's changing discussion with my supposedly confusing one topic for another.

     
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  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    No worries, my post was less about what your personal opinion/understanding is/was, just conveniently using your post as a jumping off point for what I stated.

    No harm, no foul.
     
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  21. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Sounds good to me!
     
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  22. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Just so I am clear ....

    1) If I disagree with you on something, I should just avoid the thread.

    and

    2) That I should not expect discussions about tennis competitors on a competitive tennis discussion board should be more substantial than none of it matters anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  23. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    For what its worth ... I do agree that some league tennis folks are so concerned with winning that they cheat, lie, or try mind games.

    However, this is a far different issue than simply trying hard to win and placing some importance on winning.
     
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  24. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    You have to understand that to some people, every little thing they can put over on someone else, every "inside" deal, every freebie, is a little tick in a box that makes them feel better about themselves. These are the people who go on the internet and tell everyone what financial geniuses they are, who bought everything "off a truck" and paid half price, who "know a guy" who gets them in places for free, etc.


    What leads a guy to call a ball that's 6 inches inside a line out because of a friggin' 4.0 league match, I'll never know. I just laugh at it, maybe pass a comment, but I know in my heart what just happened on that clean winner off that weak 2nd serve. There's no money at the end of it so I don't care enough to pummel the guy.

    I would imagine though, that if I were playing challengers or something where people still make their own calls and a guy was hooking me, there might be some problems.

    The foot faulting thing is rampant in my league to the point of absurdity..I'd say at least 75% of the guys foot fault on every serve. There's only one of them who can actually hit it over 80 MPH, and even then his first serve % is like 20%, so I don't bother, but again, i laugh at it, and I wonder if he ever plays USTA what would happen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  25. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    And it's those league tennis players who are so concerned with winning that they cheat, lie, and play mind games that I was referencing when I wrote "some players take league tennis way too seriously" in my original post.

    I'm not critiquing those players who compete to win and enjoy winning. Even I enjoy winning. But I won't act dishonorably or jeopardize potential future friendships just to win a league tennis match or tournament.
     
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  26. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    No, I'm saying you can continue to enjoy your "perversions" so long as they don't impede with my ability to voice my opinions.

    I'm also saying that you can expect whatever you wish regarding discussions on a competitive tennis discussion board. It's just my opinion that some are overly concerned and competitive over things that aren't really that consequential at the end of the day.

    But to each their own, right?

    Which is why I asked in my original post "am I the only one who feels this way....".

     
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  27. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I hear you. If someone insists on cheating point after point because they believe their league tennis match means absolutely everything to them, I won't stand in their way.

    I may politely say something once but then leave it at that and not make a big fuss over it.

    I just make a mental note to never deal with them in business or life, as I think someone who would consistently cheat over something as inconsequential as league tennis is someone who is not worth getting to know better or become friends with.

     
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  28. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Yep, different strokes for different folks. The point I was making was that all competition requires the athlete to take risks, and in tennis, what these generally are are things like risking losing a match, risking not winning a match by pushing the ball and trying not to lose the match instead of trying to win it...stuff like that.

    And yeah, you can get hurt on a tennis court, too. But compared to ski racers, bike racers, and other athletes of that ilk, in terms of real risk, tennis players are babies. All you have to do is watch the shameful charade that Azarenka put on at the 2013 AO Women's Final.

    So in terms of USTA league matches, not just my opinion because others in this thread have said the same thing, you play a USTA league match, and what's the worst that can happen? Answer: You lose, in which case you probably don't have to rehab a broken back, and they probably won't take you out and shoot you, either.

    And what's the best that can happen? You win the match, and you're the 3.5 champion in your hood, and you get a $4.95 Wal-Mart trophy, not the Wimbledon trophy...



     
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  29. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I hear you, friend.

    But if tennis players are babies, then we golfers are embryos.

    We golfers rarely, if ever, get injured while playing unless it's a serious pre-existing injury, in which case we shouldn't be on the course in the first place.

    I think the worst injury I've ever seen while playing golf was someone who was hit in the nuts by a golf ball that ricocheted off a tree limb as he was trying to punch out of the woods.

    Yes, it was funny. I tried my best not to laugh but it was one of those moments that you couldn't script any better if you tried.

     
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  30. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Yep, I hear you...

    ...and I hear you re people who are stoned adrenaline junkies...and maybe even like getting hurt. All I'm saying is: Yes, be competitive, in USTA leagues or whatever. But don't be a jerk. Whether you win or lose is significant, at any level. Just don't kid yourself about what it all means, in terms of the panoramic view, and if you have to be a real jerk to win a $4.95 Wal-Mart trophy because you sandbagged, or made a bunch of bad line calls, or gamemanshiped your opponent out of the match...yeah, ya won, tiger...so how's it feel? Or more importantly, how's is going to feel 30 years from now when you're in a wheelchair?
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is the truth but it is seldom acknowledged. Most club players cannot cross 70 mph when FFs are counted, and low percentage is not glossed over. However, all sorts of claims are made, not only in this section but also in the Tips section. In reality, most of the faster servers FF, and more to the point, their serve breaks down completely if it is pointed out. It is not like they can still serve well from a few inches back. Then if you subtract the obvious faults, you are left with pretty slow first serves and dinky second serves, most of the time. Of course, it is never admitted. There are a few genuinely fast servers at the 4.5 level, but again most have played junior or college tennis and are at 4.5 just due to age/work/etc.
     
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  32. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    That's why I personally try to hit hard FHs and I kinda do better in that regard then most of my co-members at the club (but only up to 4 level). Also working on being able to do that on the 1HBH and I have glimpses of hope :)


    As for the serve, I don't believe in second serves at club level (something that I've read Boletierri saying as well).

    And how do most people FF? I don't walk into the court and more often then not I use the hybrid stance, so at the most I jump into the court after the impact...

    From what I've seen only people that walk into the serve (something that I thought was even forbidden by the rules), FF...

    Please correct me if I'm wrong!
     
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  33. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Everyone has their own opinion but for most people emotional trauma is way, way more scary than physical trauma. That's why the stress hormone level is higher for public speaking than for landing a jet on an aircraft carrier at night.

    Thus the fear of crashing a bike IMO is much more easily suppressed than undergoing the emotional drubbing of getting blanked 0-6, 1-6.

    The Azarenka incident from my perspective underscores the ridiculous lengths tennis players, specifically, will go to to avoid the tremendous ego crush that losing a tennis match entails (especially when compared to the relatively mild annoyance of finishing smack dab in the middle of the peloton).
     
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  34. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Agree and also to me emotional trauma happens, b/c I feel that I should be able to do better etc- whereas a physical trauma is more of an accident.
     
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  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Then what do you do on the second serve?
     
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  36. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I don't really care if people foot fault or not and don't really watch. I don't foot fault, but my opponent last week pointed it out to me, and every single person playing doubles in this league match foot faulted on every single point, and by about 6-7 inches. If your not coming to net there is little to no advantage but I was amazed.

    I think you are wrong about the service speeds though. At a match last year someone brought out a radar gun and about 8 of the people there were consistently putting the ball in between 100 and 110. These were for the most part low to mid level 4.5 players with only 1 or 2 of them with college experience. None of us were anywhere near a decent college level at this point.
     
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  37. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    No offense, but you're wrong. Tennis, yeah, I can buy that. But stuff like ski racing and bike racing, you're gonna get hurt, the only issue is how often and how bad. Lindsey Vonn is arguably one of the best women racers of all time, and her career may be over, thanks to bad luck and a race that shouldn't have been run at all, do to the crappy conditions. I don't like losing a ski race, and the emotional trauma that goes along with it, but those issues and concerns are always tempered with the understanding that if I hang it out, today, and things don't work out, I'll be in the Steadman/Hawkins clinic in Vail next to Lindsey. Doesn't stop me from ski racing, but when I do have a bad day, it's a little easier to swallow when I realize that I did my best and still ended up base side down .

    So to return to the narrow arena of tennis: yep, I agree that on a tennis court, you'll have some accidents and injuries, but most players perceive that "not doing well/not winning" is the most traumatic possibility. If that's your comfort zone, fine. But one thing I said in another thread is that if you want to be a tennis player, you need to do a lot of stuff, as an athlete, off the court, including some stuff that's just plain tough, and, yes, has a degree of risk to it...and not just the risk of losing.

    My summer cross training is road biking, and here in Boulder, Colorado, you can get all the vertical challenge you want. About every two weeks, just when I either (a) think I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread or (2) think I ought to quit tennis and take up shuffleboard, I get on my road bike and ride the 20 or so miles and 4000 foot elevation gain from Boulder to Ward. It's a ***** of a ride, and it's really humbling, but it's also a really powerful truth serum: After I finish that death march, I always think "If I can do that...and I just did...I can do anything..."



     
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  38. spperry

    spperry Rookie

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    I wouldnt say I take it that seriously but my issue was I got worried about losing and then started just trying to make sure I got every ball in and not make mistakes.

    Then I would laugh when I thought about it after, how your mentality can change playing matches regardless of the level ( I just play social leagues)

    I am better now and just go for my shots, better to lose 6-0 and go for it than just block all day to win.

    I think some people just focus so much on winning they lose sight of the enjoyment part.
     
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  39. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    It is a fool's errand to try to equate the physical risk of tennis matchplay with that of daredevil activities like downhill ski racing or MTN bike racing. Heck, probably the highest mortality risk of Pro tennis is catching AIDS from a groupie.

    By the same token it is well established that the psychological burden of an activity like tennis matchplay, which is a zero sum game (every point won is a point taken from the opponent), without a clock that can be run out, without teammates that can be blamed, with a predetermined amount of accumulated sets/games/points that must be won regardless of how well you play at the start of the match, is much more intense than say activities that have no offense nor defense, have a clock that can be run out, that have teammates that can be blamed, that are judged etc.
     
    #89
  40. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    This is a good thought.

    I think the equivalent of tennis (and other singular sports) can be found in other sports, but only at specific positions. For instance, the pitcher on a baseball field may feel the same "pressure" as a singles tennis player. This one position, more times than not, will determine the outcome.
     
    #90
  41. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Serve better then on the first one? (The first one being more of a warm-up).
     
    #91
  42. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    True not to mention that in team sports, I could play general like Napoleon and be better off :)
     
    #92
  43. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Those two are the reasons, that better players then me don't quite like to play league matches anymore, at club level.
     
    #93
  44. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    This is a totally new perspective on recreational tennis. You say that Nick advocates this?
     
    #94
  45. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    This raises a couple of interesting points, thank you!

    a) High risk activities/sports. I have to confess that are not for me; done just a little tiny bit of rock climbing, more or less accidental and stayed the hell away from bikes and such.

    b) Training hard as an athlete to be a better tennis player. That's hard to have find the dedication to do it as well, even when young. I do confess though, that I've trained about year to become a club cyclist (when I wasn't sure that I'd be ever able to run again) and it was tough (based not only on personal experience, but from the pros).

    More props to you, I just do a little bit, probably not enough though!

    Cheers!
     
    #95
  46. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    As a guy who grew up playing competitive tennis, I'm much more competitive in sports than in my career.
     
    #96
  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Probably depends on the sample set. There was a guy who moved here from NorCal and he had a huge serve (and was a huge guy). He then moved again. I suppose his group would have players like that.

    The FF issue, again, is not because it is an advantage, but because the guys who FF often cannot serve in any other way. The mental tension kills them. So I don't care how fast they serve while FFing - their serve speed is only to be counted when they are not. They have one grooved motion with a FF - and they can't get grooved again if asked not to FF.

    The doubles league FFing is atrocious. I sometimes watch on weekends before my court time arrives, and it is out of control.
     
    #97
  48. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    This is right on the money.
     
    #98
  49. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I read this tip from him in the "Ask Nick" column at tennis.com around last year - he said that "a weak second serve was the biggest flaw at club level" (I paraphrase, can't find that article anymore). I may be creatively applying his broader strategy, of course...
     
    #99
  50. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    The question was asked, can they start their serving farther back, so that they don't step into the court?
    Or would that still be against the newer rules? Walking into the serve that is?
     

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