Play Up Next Year?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by michael_1265, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    I'm in a quandry about moving up to a 3.5 team next year. I thought it would be an easy decision, but I'm not so sure at this point. Here is the situation: I'm 43, and I picked up tennis in my 20s after I got out of the Army. Played a little tennis in college, and palyed singles with friends semi-regularly until I stopped in about 1994. Picked it up again in spring 2007, playing on a USTA 3.0 team (doubles). I was 5-3, playing with both more experienced guys and other newbies. This year, on the same team, I am 1-2, playing exclusively #2 doubles with a newbie partner.

    My game: I'm 6'4" , and I play topspin and slice off both sides, good variety of shots, good net, and a very good first serve (as in, a solid spin serve that I can locate fairly well, hit under pressure, and have about 70% go in).

    Weaknesses: A second serve that is not a lollipop but needs work and dealing with a kick serve to my backhand (I switched from 2 HBH to 1 during the season last year, and I only miss the 2 on return of serve). Also, I need to learn how to close out matches. And I still make some really goofy shot selections at inopportune times.

    So here is my problem: I want to get better, and I need to decide if moving up is a good idea. The top player on our team, who recently came down from 3.5 after losing a step or two, feels that I will have no problem in 3.5s. As a counterpoint, I haven't exactly dominated in the 3.0 league, but that is hard to do in doubles, with so many variables. The rub is that I'm not getting any younger, and I would like to achieve 4.0 at some point in my life.

    So, my question is this: Should I do another year of 3.0, or should I push my capabilities and move to 3.5?

    On a connected note, I am trying to reserve a spot on a 7.0 mixed team this fall. I hope I can get a taste of the typical 3.5 skill level.

    Mike
     
    #1
  2. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I think you should play at the highest level you can be competitive, even if you lose most of those matches. I'm playing both 3.0 and 3.5 this year but I can't say I expect to win all my 3.0 matches because there will always be players who are competitive at 3.5 but who still play 3.0. But you should know when you're ready just by seeing the average competition at each level.
     
    #2
  3. goober

    goober Legend

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    I wouldn't base how well you are doing solely on 3.0 doubles results. Play some singles and see how you do. I would be leaning towards playing up based on what you have said.
     
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  4. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    That's what has made me think I'm ready to move up. Looking at skill levels as subjectively as I can, I would say that I sit at the 85th percentile when comparing myself to everyone I have faced on the other side of the net.

    I'm leaning heavily toward moving up.
     
    #4
  5. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    For me personally I have played up the last 3 seasons. It is the only real way to get better as you learn nothing from players at your own level (ok a little but not as much)
     
    #5
  6. cak

    cak Professional

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    Can't you play both? That would be the best of both worlds.
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed.

    If not, play up. I think the difference between the top of 3.0 and the bottom of 3.5 will be manageable.

    I think you could be bored when you have to face the bottom of 3.0, though. Some people like winning 6-0, 6-1 in 45 minutes, but I don't.
     
    #7
  8. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Add a vote for play up. 3.5 isn't really anything special, and even if you don't win a lot of matches at first, you'll learn and become a better player.
     
    #8
  9. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Actually I myself am more nervous about playing 3.0 singles than I am about playing 3.5 doubles, not for any reason other than there are alot of 3.0 singles players who are much better than some of the 3.5 doubles players. So there's alot of overlap between the levels. But certainly the worst thing about 3.0 tennis is the low-end players who are just a bore to play against and provide no challenge whatsoever.
     
    #9
  10. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    One more vote here for playing up.

    Listen - at 3.0, the problem can be invisible. You can get away with really bad court position and footwork - which you do not want to get used to. I am sure your strokes are competitive at 3.5 - but maybe, just maybe, 3.0's have lulled you into positions on the court, where you shouldn't be.

    I have just noticed, that in the 3.0 matches I watch at tournaments - both opponents seem to be in all the wrong places, usually put there by weird shots, or stuff like that. But then they stay there?! And run all over the court trying to get to the next shot.

    I agree with playing up to where you can still compete.
     
    #10
  11. goober

    goober Legend

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    You sound like a young up and coming player looking to advance up the NTRP scale. Why are you still playing 3.0? From your other posts it seems like you can compete already with 3.5-4.0s.
     
    #11
  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    A quick amen to that.

    I played a 3.0 player today (I'm a 3.5). I got away with so much crap you wouldn't believe it. Horrible approach shots, laughable passing shots, crap lobs. Won lots of points with that nonsense.

    It was good practice in many ways, but a decent 3.5 would have eaten me for breakfast. Playing up will help you develop better habits.
     
    #12
  13. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I didn't get bumped by the computer last year and also the 3.0 team I'm on has a very competitive captain who really wanted me to play for him, and may have a good enough group for Nationals. If I was bumped to 3.5 I would never appeal down though because that would be lame. Another factor is that I prefer singles, and know that my opportunity to play singles is more limited at 3.5 since alot of the 3.5 singles guys are better than me and probably could compete at 4.0 if they wanted. I am not ready for 4.0 singles yet definitely, but may be competitive in doubles with them if I had a decent partner. Next year I am going to play 3.5 and 4.0 (if I can find a team), regardless of what my rating says.
     
    #13
  14. goober

    goober Legend

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    Ahh that explains it. The 3.0 team needs you:) Funny I met someone with a similar story. He stayed at 3.0 when he was really a strong 3.5/weak 4.0 so he could help his team to nationals. Unlike you though he deliberately avoided playing up and admitted to keeping some matches close so he didn't get DQed. I guess he was honest about it at least. He didn't see it as unethical, rather that he was a team first guy and he was helping his friends. He did take his team to nationals and after he did his duty he played 4.0 the next year lol
     
    #14
  15. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    If this was my first year, I would not have self-rated at 3.0 but at 3.5. Also I would never intentionally lose games in a match to keep it close. My ideal goal would be to get double-bumped to 4.0 but I know that ain't happening because I'm not good enough yet nor will I play enough matches against 3.5 players for that to likely happen. I was thinking of playing some 4.0 sanctioned tournaments in hopes of increasing my rating without any threat of a 3.0 DQ, but I have to perform well though for it to actually work. :)
     
    #15
  16. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    play up for sure, the quickest way to improve is to play people who are better than you
     
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