Playing UP or DOWN to your opponents Level

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by JB, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. JB

    JB New User

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    I'm a 3.5/4.0 player who plays for both my club's 4.0 and 3.5 teams. One would think that I would have better results playing in theh 3.5 league. But, I haven't. I've won both 4.0 matches and lost my 3.5 matches. Both time I lost I have played an opponent who I should have been able to beat. They pushed the ball back with very little pace. For some reason, I played horribly against both of these guys. It was like my game had regressed! When I played in the 4.0 matches, I played at a higher level - my shots were much cleaner and more fluid.
    Obviously there is something that happens to me mentally when I play a more aggressive, better player.

    Do any of you guys/gals play up and/or down to your opponents level?
     
    #1
  2. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

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    I used to do this all the time, but I have learned to be more consistent and impose my game on others better. When I first started playing tennis I played with quality players who hit lots of winners, and I couldn't get away with hitting junk to them. So, when I finally played a junkballer I was boggled at what I should do, because all my typical put aways were not coming into play. Initially, I played less aggressive because I did not want to go for more than necessary, but this led me to push instead of hitting through the ball. You need to find a balance that allows you to play within yourself, and then attempt to do it against most of your opponents, but you have to have an effective plan B so that you can handle the junkballer when you face him. You know from experience that it is a completely different game when playing a player who hits the ball with sufficient pace and spin. You cannot expect to construct points in the same manner when someone is taking the pace off the ball. One of the pushers that I consistently played against would attempt to hit most of my balls low and short so that I couldn't open up with my groundstrokes. He just was not willing to hit from the baseline at times, and that forced me to set up volleys along with touch shots to win the points. In order to learn how to hit effectively against him I went out to the courts with ten new balls and I would just drop the ball around the service line, and then hit it to a certain spot on the court. After I made contact with the ball I would move closer to the net to mock an anticipated volley. This drill has been so valuable for beating hacks. Overall, the best thing you can do is improve the weak areas of your game.
     
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  3. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Some players like yourself handle pace better than others. My backhand definitely likes incoming pace and struggles more with junk. But some players struggle with lack of pace. A good 4.0 player should pick up on that and stop hitting the ball so hard and start giving you more junk until you learn how to hit slower paced balls more effectively. To improve my backhand against junk, I am starting to drop in practice rally balls to my backhand side so that I learn to hit my backhand when there is no pace. Good luck in beating the 3.5's.
     
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  4. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    This actually accentuates a major difference between the 4.0's and 4.5's, I think the bench mark of a 4.5 play is that he can punish the pushers with enough strategy and power without much problem.
     
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  5. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, 4.5's eat up my off-pace shots so I have to hit everything aggressively against them, otherwise I spend all my time running around the court. But luckily most 4.5's keep the points short against me!
     
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