New to League Play - A little nervous

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by brandonw, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. brandonw

    brandonw New User

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    Hello all,

    My lowly (because of me, not the other players) 3.0 singles league starts tonight. I'm new to league play, so needless to say, I'm more than a little nervous about this upcoming match. With all of the etiquette talk that gets thrown around this board, I'm also fairly apprehensive about making some colossal etiquette error during warm-up and getting berated (either verbally or on these boards).

    So, I know that I'll probably settle in not long after the match begins but I'm just looking for a little bit of quick advice or tips from all of you well-versed league veterans floating about the TTW boards.

    It will probably come down to me just trying to remember to breathe in and out regularly, so maybe this post is more carthartic than anything. Still, any little pointers you have would help. Thanks in advance.
     
    #1
  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Are you playing singles?

    If so, just get four balls back, deep. Wait for errors from equally nervous opponent. Collect high fives from teammates.

    It's that simple, mate. :)
     
    #2
  3. brandonw

    brandonw New User

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    Yep, I'm playing singles. My wife offered to come and watch me play, but I think a) it would make me even more nervous and b) I'd probably be embarassed to be the only 3.0 in history to have a cheering section.

    Thanks for the advice, Cindy. Until I can shake off some jitters, I think I'll be a stereotypical novice pusher and wait for the unforced error, at least until I can open it up with some confidence. Now if only I had a reliable 2nd serve...
     
    #3
  4. Hank Hill

    Hank Hill New User

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    Hi,

    I just started playing competitively this season too (3.0), so I'm obviously not the most experienced on here, but these things work for me:

    Check out if your opponent has a weaker bh or fh during warm up and attack the weaker one when you start the match.

    If you find you're nervous think of the match as a warm up if that will reduce nerves. Don't try to go for big winners until you feel settled in to the match.

    I know a lot of people scoff at making the opponent hit errors, but imo it's as much as a skill to force that as it is to hit the clean winner.

    good luck
     
    #4
  5. A.Davidson

    A.Davidson Semi-Pro

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    Hi, brandonw.

    You seem to have done the thing that most players never do - you've realized that you're nervous!

    Because of this, you can remember to, as you say, "breathe in and out", and you won't be so tense - great!

    As for etiquette, some of the stories on here are the worst of the worst. You will most likely have a great time, and you probably won't encounter any of the legendary monsters that ocassionally pop up in stories posted by users here.

    Good luck, and have fun!
     
    #5
  6. Curveball

    Curveball New User

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    Brandonw, I think one thing I see over and over from the 'new guy' (including me when I new), was that the new guy often causes lots of problems for the court next door.

    1) Don't run after your wild balls on the next court! They'll get them for you.
    2) Don't run behind another court during a point.
    3) Don't cause delays for a servers second serve (by hitting back wild balls, etc)
    4) Don't run your mouth a lot trying to psych people out. Not cool where I play and not the way you want to play unless its with really close friends.
    5) Be friendly and most will be forgiven.

    I know I was guilty of 1, 2, and 3 the first few times I played and no one bothered to correct me, but I got some nasty looks for it. I wish someone had just told me. Seems like common sense, but if you don't know, then you don't know.

    Anyway have fun, most of the people seem to be friendly and light hearted except right during the middle of a point.

    Oh, and you should definitely read 'The Code' and the rules if you haven't.

    The code - http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_2292.pdf
    The rules - http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_16051.pdf?2/9/2007 8:54:17 PM


    Cheers!
     
    #6
  7. naffi

    naffi Rookie

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    You're not lowly. Believe, man, believe!
    When nerves hit me while I'm playing, I try to remember that I started playing tennis because I wanted to have fun. Laugh as much as you can, even (especially) at your misses. And move your feet, because that's the first thing to stop when you get nervous. I wouldn't worry about the etiquette because if you're concerned about it, you probably aren't going to do anything intentionally jerky. You'll be fine.

    http://www.tenniswithattitude.blogspot.com

     
    #7
  8. kairosntx

    kairosntx Professional

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    Great post Curve! We sometimes forget the simple things that a beginner needs to know when starting out.

    It's already been said Brandon but I will repeat to emphasize it. Get the ball back one more time! Four times was suggested. I can tell you this- Without fail, every single match at 3.0 is won by the player that makes the least number of errors. ( I guess technically depending on how the points in the game go- Love games, several dueces, etc- you could win by making more errors, but you get my point)

    Relax. Keep getting the ball back past the deep (past the service line) and exploit the weekness when possible. Always lob to the backhand side so even if it is a short lob they will be hitting a backhand overhead which will be a week return.
     
    #8
  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Once you have read the Code and Rules, put them in your tennis bag. If your opponent claims such and such is in the rules/Code, simply say "I have the rules/Code. Should we look it up?"

    If your opponent is correct, then you know you are doing things properly. If your opponent has no idea what he's talking about, he will back down. You'd be amazed at the stuff people will make up and then call "a rule."

    I've never once had to consult the rules during a match. I just like knowing that we could.
     
    #9
  10. k_liu

    k_liu Rookie

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    Remember to breathe in and out, take deep slow breathes, and remind yourself you are out there to have fun.

    Good luck
     
    #10
  11. brandonw

    brandonw New User

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    Curve et al,

    I appreciate the tips. It was unforced-error-city for me last night as I lost 2-6, 3-6. Next week's strategy is going to be a lot more of just getting the ball back over one more time (ala Borg), as has been suggested.

    The thing I found incredibly frustrating during the match is that I usually hit with a 4.5 friend of mine who gives ample pace, so I ended up crushing quite a few balls about 3 feet beyond the baseline. This cost me at least a couple of games as the league has gone to the timesaving measure of no-ad scoring, immediately punishing me for going for it at 40-40. More topspin, less power next time.

    I'm having fun just getting to play some quasi-competitive tennis, though. I really enjoyed it, minus the excessive grunting (actually, I think it was just yelling) made by a guy on a nearby court whenever he served (2nd serves too). Thank goodness it was doubles so he only served half as often. What does "the code" say about telling someone to lock it down?

    Brandon
     
    #11
  12. Caloi

    Caloi Semi-Pro

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    :???:I'll be in the same boat in a couple weeks. I am starting league play for the first time as well as soon as the weather gets nicer. Seems Spring has decided to take its time getting to Colorado.

    I was going to ask similar questions before mine starts. I figure at worst is I get warned or scolded for dropping F-bombs. I am pretty critical of myself and tend to talk to myself as I play. I also need to stop doing that during play as I've screwed up my neighbor in a friendly match by cursing to myself and he stopped going for a ball on his side thinking I'd called a ball out. "F***" and "Long" don't sound alike to me but whatever.:|:)

    Sorry to hear about your loss but it was experience under the belt. Take it and move on.

    Good luck on the rest of the season!
     
    #12
  13. JesseT

    JesseT Rookie

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    Three things that get me through most jitters:

    1) They can't eat you
    2) Odds are, play enough times and probably play someone who's not wearing underwear. I take comfort I'm not that person, that day
    3) If you're going to beat me, prepare to work for it

    Seems to work for me in singles and doubles (30-7). In mixed...I haven't solved that one yet (0-13).
     
    #13
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yo, Brandon! Congratulations at getting the first one under your belt!

    After you dropped the first set, what adjustment did you make to turn things around in the second set?
     
    #14
  15. brandonw

    brandonw New User

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    Cindy, if by "turning things around" you mean winning 1 more game than I did in the previous set, yet still losing 6-3?

    Well, I just made too many unforced errors and should have focused on the one more ball back mantra. My opponent couldn't have been a nicer guy. In fact, perhaps he was too gracious when said "man, you really beat yourself" after we finished the match. It was like a pat on the back and a punch in the stomach at the same time. I'm going to shake this off and play looser, but still rally-oriented next week.
     
    #15
  16. kairosntx

    kairosntx Professional

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    ^^^ I had the same reaction at first. I had to go back up and look at Brandon's scores to see the difference in 1st and 2nd set scores. But after the first set you need to evaluate and adjust. What went right, what went wrong, am I going for too many shots, can I exploit a part of my opponents game more, serve placement/pace/spin, etc.

    As you get experience you will make these adjustments as you play. You build a match strategy as the match progresses. We sometimes forget this and then end of the first set it a good time to stop and think about match strategy.

    I think the ball back mantra is especially important in the first couple of games of a match.
     
    #16
  17. skierpaul

    skierpaul Rookie

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    If you end up playing doubles, remember its your job to call the serve long if your partner is receiving serve. So you need to stand on the service line and watch the adjacent service box.

    At least thats what I got yelled at in my first game after not playing for a dozen years!
     
    #17
  18. Tennisman912

    Tennisman912 Semi-Pro

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    BrandonF,

    Welcome to League play. The keys in the beginning are just relaxing and enjoy getting the competitive juices flowing. It gets better so enjoy it. Remember Arthur Ashe's advice: "If you keep it in play for 5 shots (anywhere) you will win over 90% of the time." At 3.0 it will be closer to 100%. More points are lost than won. Remember that. Play smart and have fun. Good Luck

    TM
     
    #18
  19. Curveball

    Curveball New User

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    Congrats

    Congrats brandonw. Sounds like a decent first match. Actually sounds a lot better than most of my matches this week, so I'm glad to hear you got that one behind you and got a little more experience in.
     
    #19

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