Papa's shifting triangles - Please expand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by bukaeast, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. bukaeast

    bukaeast Rookie

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    Papa you had the following reply in another thread. I can't completely (accurately, probably) visualize this. Can you come up with a diagram with the triangles labeled. I would apreciate a doubles illustration more...

     
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  2. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    sounds like another way to explain the basic directionals.
     
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  3. bukaeast

    bukaeast Rookie

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    I was under the understanding that it was maybe expected coverage areas and/or areas of differing percentages to hit to.

    but that is what I am asking for clarification about as well as defining the triangles that are shifting. It's all speculation until Papa responds with what he means.:)
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Consider...
    When you're at the center of your baseline, you have 2 distinct triangles to hit into, one right, one left. Up the middle should not be your option in normal singles play.
    Now stick yourself halfway to one of your sidelines. The target triangle changes.
    Now stick yourself 2' beyond your sidelines. Does your target triangle stay the same?
    Now place yourself backhand side service line, after your approach shot. Where is your hitting triangle?
    Now place yourself 5' from the net for the putaway volley.
     
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  5. Austinthecity

    Austinthecity Rookie

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    It's not really talking about directionals because directionals talk about percentage shots.

    Instead, it sounds to me like he's talking about shot selection. The triangles are based on your position and your opponents position only - not the path of the ball or any other variables.

    The yellow is where the opponent is and represents what he can get to. The pink are the "kill zones" and are shots he cannot get to.

    The first picture is 2 people on the baseline. The second is when one person moves up and shows how the triangles shift.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wow, good stuff! I wish I cold explain nearly as well as your diagrams.
     
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  7. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    I certainly will attempt to help you understand this stuff and LeeD has already started. This project, "hopefully" will be presented at an upcoming USPTA convention this spring. It should help a lot of players see things very differently and improve their individual level of play, boast confidence and enjoy the game even more.

    Most newer and intermediate players look at a court as a collection of squares and rectangles which can be quite confusing and prerhaps intimating. We tell them to look for angles through these boxes and rectangles but the mind doesn't see an angle as a target - so we, although well intended, confuse them more. We teach them strokes, footwork & strategy but they aren't sure where they should be aiming/directing the ball.

    Advanced players, now or former, look at the court very differently and see these shifting triangles that delineate the areas opponent(s) can effectively cover and what areas represent opportunity. Unless the opponent is glued to the court and doesn't move, these areas are constantly changing/shifting throughout play.

    These areas are also governed by a players ability. The higher a players skill set & mobility, the more court he/she can effectively cover/defend. However, "kill zones" exist for all players, they just are smaller. Club players, which most of us deal with, don't have the mobility or skills to cover most of the court and really only are effective covering very little.

    I think I have developed a system, where I can demonstrate, on court, where these zones/triangles are & how ability and placement play a key role in how they shift constantly throughout a point. When players see these area visually, on court, you can see the light bulbs go on - they never thought that way before and it makes so much sense.

    Much of what many consider as luck or skill is knowing not only where to aim but as importantly where you should be (and partner in doubles) to reduce opponent(s) opportunities. How many times have you played players like LeeD who just happen to always be in the right spot to pick off your shot - on some level he and others know this stuff - he's playing the odds because he knows not only where to position himself but has a pretty good idea about which shot your going to take base on where you are.

    This isn't magic or space age stuff. Players need to be confident in their positioning and understand what opportunities/targets that present the greatest potential. I've done many demos over the last couple of months and its very rewarding to hear the comments - it takes some of the mystery out of the process.

    The USPTA has in my opinion, always looked for ways to help their members become better professionals by providing them with effective teaching tools - I think this concept will help and hope to share it with them.
     
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  8. olliess

    olliess Semi-Pro

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    ++

    I think this cannot be overemphasized when forming a strategy for club players against club players.
     
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  9. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    papa
    where are you located and how do we contact you if we want to have some lessons???
     
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  10. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    dozu,

    Many of us are familiar with hitting directionals and use them when we teach the game - I would assume your referring to Wardlaw. However, this is quite different and really is not based on whether the ball crosses your body plane. Wardlaw's Directionals are very relevant in today's game and present general targets or better still, when to change direction on the ball.

    The system of triangles is more involved with your positioning and what opportunities exist on the opponent(s) side of the net. Newer or intermediate players are often frustrated because they fail to recognize these target areas and/or position themselves poorly exposing themselves to easy put-aways.

    You, as a more advanced player, probably know these tactics but a good percentage of the people that play our game, don't have a clue.
     
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  11. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, thanks for the kind comment. I spend a great deal of my time in Florida and the New England area where I'm involved with various tennis activities just about the whole year (clinics, lessons, High School coaching, playing, hitting, etc) - take a day or two here and there.

    I have several recent requests for additional clinics to teach the system and will also make it available to this forum - I've always enjoyed my participation here and certainly want to continue.

    I have been somewhat reluctant to talk a lot about my system here because it might give the impression that my motivation for participation in this forum is money. Yes, it has cost some money to develop and promote it but those costs can be greatly offset with a couple of sponsors which I think/hope I can attract. Going around presenting this system, which I've been encourage to do, does take time and money for travel, lodging and meals. One of my potential sponsors is a major tennis manufacturer so who knows, you might see me sooner than you (or I) thought possible.
     
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  12. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Papa has provided an excellent tool in choosing not only optimal shot selection based on current shot-making skills, but he shows how those options become exponentially more advantageous when players develop dependable and effective strokes. (These two combinations, in my opinion, make up the degree of skill and the level of competitive play in any individual.)

    Nice diagrams, too, Austin!

    Would like to have included your concepts, Papa, in my books as they would be a great supplement to the $10,000 strategy I included in Coaching Mastery, (a concept described to me by the great Hank Pfister!).

    Thanks for your contributions and helping others improve their game!
     
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  13. Pet

    Pet Semi-Pro

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    Well, but that shots are very risky, you only can play that shots a few times in a match, and in a oficial match practically never.
     
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  14. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    papa
    im in vero beach ,fl.
    you can pm me
    larry10s@yahoo.com
     
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  15. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    No, absolutely not, these shots are available throughout any game. The targets will vary somewhat depending on opponents skill sets but there always there.

    In singles, at a very high level, you have to work the point in many/most cases but the same principals will apply. Watch any pro match and you'll see this whole process constantly in action. They are working the point and oftentimes it takes many shots to achieve success - yes it can happen on the first shot like the return of service but generally they have to work it.

    The application to Club players, especially in doubles, is really relevant. Club players are constantly caught out of position or are unable to take advantage of the opponent(s) when they mis-position themselves. They aren't sure what the percentages are for various positioning factors and constantly are making shot choices that favor that actually favor the opponent(s).

    Please keep in mind that were not just talking about a couple of triangles that exist only on the alley sides - in the case of doubles, we have a couple of triangles that exist up the middle and toward the rear of the net person as one example. These triangles vary tremendously and present most of the high percentage opportunities. Keep in mind that the same opportunity/target does not present itself equally to you and partner because of the size/shape of the triangles and where the opponents are positioned.

    Hitting directly to an opponent cannot be avoided at times or for various reasons it is the "best" choice on a particular shots. Most Club players however, "generally" hit to opponents a high percentage of the time because it doesn't occur to them that it is simply not a good choice or more importantly, they are not aware of better possibilities.

    Going for higher percentage areas "might" be ok or strongly discouraged depending on the score. If I'm up, say 40 - love, the choices available to me are greater than if I'm behind so I'm actually playing the percentages.
     
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  16. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Dave, keep me in mind when you do another book - have always liked your books and have recommended them to many players, parents and coaches.
     
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  17. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    I think the actual fundamentals of shot-making are probably most important. At beginner and even intermediate levels, if you can consistently get the ball back as far away from your opponent as possible -- that's usually good enough to win.

    Things break down when opponents have good spatial (geometric) perception and always position themselves optimally. That's when knowledge of the triangles come in.
     
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  18. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Cayer

    Greetings
    A very brief and minor comment.
    Cayer in his book and DVD uses a rope to explain some triangles.
    He is complimentary( in mathematical meaning) to what you describe.
    Cayer to the best of my knowledge does NOT talk about singles in his book and DVD.
    There is however a video ( I do NOT remember where) discussing some high percentage coverage of a court in the case of singles.
    Just my 2 cents.I can expand if 2 cryptic.
    regards
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
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  19. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Papa isn't the only one playing with triangles!!!

    [​IMG]

    Cheers

    Ash
     
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  20. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Ash, can you make diagrams for S&Ving in singles?

    Thanks :)
     
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  21. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Certainly - my coaching rate is £35 per hour! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
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  22. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    awww, was hoping it could just be on here :(

    oh well lol
     
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  23. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ Sorry Manus but the one I have posted is part of a resource I am putting together for the RPT for coach education on doubles tactics. I might get around to doing some singles ones at some point!

    Cheers

    Ash
     
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  24. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    no problem, I'll just figure it out through practice and not visual :)

    good luck with your project :)
     
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  25. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, I certainly agree about stroke-mechanics/shot-making and place a heavy emphasis on it myself. And I also agree that keeping the ball away from the opponent is extremely important.
     
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  26. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    wow this is fantastic stuff. learning triangles would definitely take my game to an entirely different dimension. where can i read up more about this stuff in detail?
     
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  27. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Julian,

    I must admit I've never heard of Cayer but appreciate the information and will try to look it up. I have a tennis library consisting of about 35 titles and I'll be interested in what he says. Books have a way of wandering away mainly because I forget who I've lent them too but I'm doing a better job now.

    Thanks.
     
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  28. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Julian,

    Just ordered Cayer book from Amazon - in the process, I had a chance to see quite a few pages. My system is quite different and probably more geared to the Club player whereas his material appears quite technical and probably intended for rather advanced players.

    From what I saw, assuming its representative of the entire book, he's dealing with angles and I'm looking at areas (triangles). Although angles define triangles, I believe my approach is very different than his. I'm certainly not questioning his material (I've only seen maybe 30 pages) but believe my presentation is intended for a very different audience - players 4.5 and below.

    I look forward to receiving & reviewing his book. Again I appreciate the information.
     
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  29. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    #29
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wow, not being a jerk or anything, but I saw these areas of winners and areas of returnable balls before I start playing 8th grade baseball.
    Hit to some area, it's too far for the defense to reach. Hit over some, he reaches the ball and throws you out, or catches it.
    As adults, you should be able to figure that out.
    Maybe that's why I could play tennis pretty well with 3.0 strokes after 2 years.
     
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  31. Chanto

    Chanto Rookie

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    I kind of agree with LeeD here. But the thing is that most people won't see this during match play. It's just that people need to be conscious of this stuff.
     
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  32. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    LeeD, some people can figure out the angles to catch a fly ball in the outfield. Others can't. It's very funny when you see someone in the outfield who hasn't a clue on how to track the baseball while it is in the air. It's the same for for some tennis players, e.g. moving sideways for a wide serve vs. moving towards the serve to cut off the angle.
     
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  33. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    I will Larry, where are you located?
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh, sorry.
    I've played catch since I was 8, usually with 12 year olds.
    LittleLeague, they stuck me in center because I could catch and run.
    8th grade, they stuck me in left because I could catch and run.
    I sucked batting, going for homers every at bat. I can, however, hit the highest fly balls and popups of anybody on both teams.
     
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  35. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Before I forget

    1.A reasonable starting point is a picture in Page 120 of the book.
    You may wait with reading a post below till an arrival of the book
    2.I may try to find something simpler i.e a better picture from a book
    3.A triangle will be built from three lines:
    a) a boundary line how far,say, a SP ( a server partner) can reach
    b) a piece of a sideline
    c) a piece of a baseline
    A triangle/area is defined as an area which is covered by SP.
    An area of interest to a server is a leftover
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2011
    #35
  36. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Julian,

    Got the information from Amazon that book has been shipped and should arrive in a week. So I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    I do agree with your part 3 in that I also use these lines (baselines, sidelines & net)fully - my entire court is triangles. My "boundary line" (I use a different word but boundary works with me) is based on a few other variables - skill level of opponent, weaker wing, pace of shot, spin, and so forth. In other words, as you probably have already figured out, these triangles change quickly and frequently based on many rather simple factors. If you hit a fluff ball, the opponents coverage triangle expands and the kill zones shrink accordingly. Hit with pace, of course, the opposite is true. The thing I'm trying to get across to players, especially lower skilled players, is where the "opportunity" is and what they as intermediate players have to protect themselves and take advantage of.

    We had, actually still have, a thing in the USPTA called System Five - you might be familiar with it, developed in the early 90's. As you might have guessed, I'm not a big fan of that process because its too darn complicated and although it might have worked for some, it didn't appeal much to me. Be ok if you have five minutes to figure out each shot but unfortunately the game isn't played that way so I don't care for it - some might, I don't.

    So, I think Louis Cayer's material might be/probably is excellent, I've tried to develop a system where the average tennis pro can visually explain these things effectively on-court, using readily available materials, and allow players to play/understand/enjoy the game a little better.

    Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
     
    #36
  37. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Four pieces of info

    1.I will NOT be able to attend a spring convention
    unless a miracle will happen ( I attended winter meetings twice before).
    2.We can try to arrange a meeting between us at some moment
    3.Not sure whether a forum a best medium to interact
    from multiple reasons.Please put some thought into it.
    4.I do NOT know how to send you a private message to you-
    I think private messaging is activated lately here
     
    #37
  38. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    there is a vhs tape and a dvd by cayer

    There is a vhs tape and a dvd by cayer.
    I do have a copy of vhs tape.I do not have a dvd.
    He uses a rope connecting 2 players as a teaching device.
     
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  39. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    This is all good interesting stuff. but i have one comment.

    At club levels , i am not sure i need to look into triangles and etc.

    Being cognizant of Opponents strengths and weakness and Generally hitting the ball with good placement into OPEN court opens up quite a few options to score points.

    At Club level, matchups can be used to big advantage. Not every player at or below 4.5 level have every aspect of the game rounded out. Often by using those mismatches , one can win matches with surprising ease.
     
    #39
  40. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    ^^^ yup.... match up >>> directionals.

    most 4.5 and below (heck, even some 5.0 who has posted videos here) have visible swing flaws that can break down if you poke enough balls with some pace/spin/kick there, especially balls out of the strike zone.
     
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  41. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Monk,

    Like everything else in life this might/probably isn't for everyone. I suspect that you already use some of this, at least at some level to your advantage - that's great. Some players instinctively have this, most don't - at least that's what my conclusion is. What apparently comes natural to you, LeeD and others because maybe of other sports background, exceptional eye-hand or reflex abilities, having played and understood the game for years, etc., doesn't come that easily to many who pick up this game maybe a little later in life and not bring with them these types of abilities or backgrounds.

    I think when your involved teaching the game, you get somewhat of a special insight into the problems that newer or intermediate players face. Positioning and where & why they should concentrate on certain areas is a big problem for these players to overcome. I also think it one of the major reasons players either don't improve as rapidly as they believe/think they should or they frustrated and quit altogether.
     
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  42. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Yean, exactly right.

    I have always thought a good alternative name for tennis might be "the game of intimidation" - taking advantage of what's available on the other side while protecting your own flanks.
     
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  43. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Julian,

    I've tried that in the past without much success. I don't do any of that stuff for several reasons but basically, I don't think it works very well. Sure, you want to work as a team (doubles) but I'm not a big believer in fixed distances. However, others do use it and I've seen it and used it but was disappointed in the results myself. I think in higher levels of younger players it probably has its place because kids can wander all over the court without much regard for partner or get pulled wide and the other just stands watching - so it has its place.
     
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  44. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    It is a rope in different sense

    It is a rope in different sense.
    It is a rope indicating a boundary-I did NOT explain well.My fault.
    See boundries/sides of a left triangle of post #19 here.
    Cayer uses a rope to show that those boundaries are flexible/movable.
    It will become more clear when you will get a book.
    regards,
    Julian
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
    #44
  45. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Two points

    Hi,
    1.triangles do help with defense as well
    2.triangles allow you to "calculate/predict" the meaning of the phase "OPEN COURT".
    For some scenarios there is more than one option.
     
    #45
  46. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    May be i wasnt clear in what i said. What i meant to say was that there may be more easier approaches than triangles.

    I am a fan of triangles approach. In fact this is very similar to what i used to call as "triangle offense" (obviously borrowed from NBA--Phil Jackson's teams uses them) and used that concept to develop our game strategy against certain opponets.
     
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  47. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Segments of a net

    Another way is to see/visualize segments of a net through each an attacking ball will travel.

    There are scenarios however when some "body shots" are recommended as well
    in a violation of a triangles approach.
    The last subject,if I remember correctly,is discussed in
    Pro Tennis Lessons "Ultimate Winning Doubles" Strategy and Tactics for Men & Women!


    PS There is a similar scenario for an attack with a blocker/blocker in volleyball
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
    #47
  48. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    Papa, your approach is great and very welcome one. I am just trying to see who would be a good fit for this program.

    Like i said in earlier post, i am a big fan of Triangle offense in NBA and have incorporated some of those concepts into tennis to build our teams strategy against playing certain opponents. In other words, we put together our scouting report and some concepts of NBA's triangle offense for our best use to win matches for our teams.

    One obstacle i had was some of our team mates arent so gifted about understanding of triangles and their geometry and often confused themselves.This could be us over complicating things and may be you have a simpler approach.

    Still i have to say that, there is nothing more simpler than putting the ball into an open court and taking advantage of mismatches. The first one is a lot easier especially at sub 4.5 level. even if it appears like there is no open court at the first shot, after a few short rallies, one can easily find enough open shots.

    Mismatches require more keen observation and some experience but it is not hard to learn/pick up either.
     
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  49. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Hank Pfister

    Another approach is by Hank Pfister
    Singles strategies and Patterns of Play-disk #6
    of USPTA competitive player development conference 2005
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
    #49
  50. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Excellent post and thanks. Your sense of things seems right on target.

    And your also right, this isn't a blueprint for every shot or situation players face although the triangles are always there. I think it helps the player develop a useful mindset to the game which produces higher consistency, better shot selection, confidence, enjoyment and the like. Higher skilled player are already thinking this way which has, to varying degrees, helped them achieve success in the game.

    As you know, these triangles are always there even on first serves - the returner cannot get/cover most serves right up the "T" or wide slices. Sure they might get their racquet on some of these but the reply might be/probably will be very weak. So, the opportunity is on the next shot.

    Players just cannot cover the whole court. Those that think they can are called losers because any skilled player will run them ragged. They might luck on a few but unless they know positioning on both sides of the net, they are generally going to end up with the short end of the stick. Skilled players on the other hand are playing the odds. Sure, you might/probably will beat them on occasion but when one constantly fiddles with fire they are going to get burned - your not going to beat the odds on an ongoing situation.
     
    #50

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