Pointers for Men in Mixed Doubles

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Jakes On A Plane, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Jakes On A Plane

    Jakes On A Plane Semi-Pro

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    I play mixed regularly and am captaining an 8.0 team for a 3rd year now. This is the first year where I have had more than one guy who hasn't played mixed at all. They both are high level 4.0's, half-competent 4.5's. They love pace, good serves, good net play, good off both wings at the baseline.

    They keep asking me for pointers. I've told them they may want to try lobbing a bit more; get used to slower-paced balls from the women; don't shy away from the woman, even at the net (just don't blatantly go after her!).

    I could definitely use a few more if you folks got some. I would love to hear some from the women's perspective (especially some 4.0's).

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    One of the biggest differences (for me) is the number of balls hit by the women that look like they are going long but drop in. If you are used to higher pace, you tend to read the trajectory of these slower shots as going long, but they drop in nicely (intentionally by the woman).
     
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  3. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    For me mixed begins and ends with the skill set of the female partner. If they are playing with a mid to high level 4.0 female then they won't have to change up their play style too much. You can expect that your partner will have decent hands at net, maybe no overhead put away and a serve that doesn't leave you wide open for attack. She will be able to have decent rallys and if you are active enough at net should be able to put away a fair number of balls. On your serve you may get some help if you get a weak reply with your partner putting away a sitter. On the return of serve your partner will do fine against the woman and may get some good reflex returns off of the mans serve. If she does you must capitalize and win all the points served to you so you can break them.

    Playing with a lower end 4.0 woman or as a 4.5 playing with a 3.5 woman the player will have to be more aggressive. You will need to cover most of the court as their mobility will come into play. Balls that the mid to high level 4.0 will hit at net will go right past the lower partner. Don't expect too much either at net and especially don't expect much on her serve, you may get lucky with opponents that can't hit off pace serves but they will figure out what to do on her second go around. On your serve, expect to have to win the points outright either on the serve or within the first or second shot. Don't expect your partner to get many returns back into play on the man's serve (if it is a decent 4.0). She may also have trouble with the woman's serve.
     
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  4. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

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    hit more balls to the weaker player. just like in regular doubles.

     
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  5. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Let the woman do what she does best. If she is a net player let her play the net and take an extra step in. If she is a baseliner then play the net and be a ****** at the net.

    Women who play mixed generally do better with pace rather than spin. They never face real spin while playing with women, they would rather a guy hit the ball hard at them than have topspin take the ball out of their strikezone or to drive them wide off the court.

    If the other team crashes the net, lob the girl. Again there are very few women who can take a few steps back at the net and attack an overhead.

    Don't be afraid to go australian against the guy when the woman is serving. Taking away the high percentage cross court return and taking away the return angle is often a better strategy than lining up normally.
     
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  6. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    What? Don't go after the woman? Look, it's 8.0 doubles. If the woman is truly a 4.0 and should be playing at that level, then she should be able to handle the net. I've played with plenty of women who are convincing 4.0 or better players and they usually have no issues with pace at the net. One is so good at the net that after a few games of putting away hard volleys, the guys end up avoiding her. lol

    Bottom line is this. Play the point as you would any other doubles point. If you have a winner down the line by a girl, take it. If someone gets pinged, apologize and move on. Don't hound on the girls, but also don't avoid them because you don't want to hit them. I've seen a ton of women who play mixed and get avoided and don't end up hitting that many balls and come out of the match pissed that they pretty much could have not even been there and it wouldn't have mattered. Everyone is there to play. Make them play the points out.
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Tell your guys that there is never any excuse to miss a service return off of the opposing female. Similarly, they should never DF to her.

    I think the biggest adjustment for guys who don't play much mixed is that you cannot stand there just waiting for your partner to set you up at net. Not gonna happen. You have to be active and a men*ace (how come this board considers "men*ace" to be an obscenity) up there. No matter how weak the female's serve seems to be, your guy should be faking and poaching and being as unpredictable as possible.

    If they have a drop shot, this is an excellent play against the opposing female, provided they follow it to net.

    Use spin, spin, spin. Also, don't be afraid to rally against the opposing female. It is tempting to try to crush the ball ("How dare she return my ball?!?"), but just use spin and angles to make life difficult.
     
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  8. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    What is the best way to get the hottest girl as the doubles partner ?
     
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  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Just impress them with your Nadal physique and your Nadal game.
     
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  10. AtomicForehand

    AtomicForehand Hall of Fame

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    Be the hottest, most talented, most charming guy yourself.
     
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  11. power level 800

    power level 800 Semi-Pro

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    But.... what if I don't have any of those qualities... :cry:
     
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  12. KFwinds

    KFwinds Professional

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    Cindy, I believe it is a flagged word because of the online tennis shop that uses that word as part of their name (like mid*west).
     
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  13. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Be the captain of the team and choose the lineups yourself.
     
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  14. goober

    goober Legend

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    Women like men in shorts with 5 inch inseems or shorter. Also nothing says bad boy like a mullet and a tattoo. Try it out!
     
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  15. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    It is TW's sandbox but that just seems a little too tin foil hat to me.
     
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  16. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Have either a big time serve first and second or a huge one hand backhand. Women look at these attributes as the do hands and feet. lol

     
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  17. NadalDramaQueen

    NadalDramaQueen Hall of Fame

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    It's a trap.
     
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  18. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Make sure your dri-fit Nike clothing is really smelly. They like that.
     
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  19. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    For 9.0 or 10.0 mixed, I agree that the team with the stronger gal usually wins. But for 8.0 mixed, I completely disagree.

    In 8.0, the team with the stronger guy almost always wins. I'm a strong 4.5 with years of experience in 8.0, and I tend to win at about 80% clip even though some of my partners have been on the weaker side of 3.5.

    Almost every single time I've lost in 8.0, it's because I got outplayed by my male opponent. But usually, I find it very easy to take over an 8.0 match, especially if I'm going against a pair of 4.0s - I can't remember ever losing to 2 4.0s.

    I like my 3.5 partner to stand 2 feet from the net. This allows me to field most of the shots. If they lob over her alley, I can roll across behind her and pound an overhead.

    If my partner's having trouble holding her own from her spot 2 feet from the net, then she needs to step aside and stand in the alley. That's how USTA 8.0 works.

    Also, I rarely use standard formations. When I serve in the deuce, I prefer to use Aussie as my standard formation to take away the lob return.

    On my partner's serve, I almost always start from the aussie position, because it's possible to poach without conceding the point if the returner gets the return past me (because my serving partner gets to start from the middle)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    #19
  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Here's a guy who understands mixed. It is a different animal completely, and it requires different skills. Most guys, I think, just play the way they always play and then get annoyed when they don't win.

    My new 8.0 partner (a 4.0 guy) gets it. I do not know how he plays men's mixed. When he partners, he considers it a mission straight from God to be a huge nuisance at the net. He misses a lot of volleys. It doesn't matter. By the time he is finished daring the opponents to get the ball past him, they have missed enough to offset any volleys he might miss.
    Uh oh. Travlrejm? You OK?

    I hope nobody targeted him because he was winning too many 8.0 matches . . . .
     
    #20
  21. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Former open player without much time to practice these days. So The rusty erratic serve (and the double faults that come with it) keep me from getting bumped up to 5.0. But the erratic serve is "serviceable" in 8.0 - so I consider myself an 8.0 specialist! I actually prefer 8.0 to "regular doubles" for another reason: because success depends much more on knowing the unconventional optimum strategy for each of the 8 types of points. It's a much more cerebral game, and very few teams 'get it'. The best teams are the ones where the guy is really strong, and both players know exactly what their roles are.

    My partners always enjoy the fact that I "call the pitches" on their serves. Instead of signals, I like to use a quick huddle between points to tell her which side she should cover (her forehand or her backhand). If I'm playing with a 3.5 partner whose forehand is much stronger than her backhand (which is often the case), then I use Aussie exclusively when she serves from the ad (for the reason above), and then call a poach only about 1/3 of the time (so she plays forehand side most of the time). By telling her where she needs to go (instead of telling her which direction I'm going to go) it simplifies the task in my partner's mind, and she can execute better. You'd be surprised how much difference this makes for mind of the typical 3.5 lady - it's one less think to process, so she can focus more on getting a good serve in.

    On deuce, when my partner serves, I like to start from the deuce side, but have my partner start next to the center line sometimes. This makes it easy for us to do a planned poach as a team (again I 'call the pitch' in the huddle and tell her which side to cover), and even if the called pitch is not to poach, having me start from the conventional deuce side makes it easy for me to execute a delayed poach-on-contact because I get to move left to right and smack a forehand volley, my more vicious poaching side. In most cases, the opponent returning from the deuce will be the lady, so the poach-on-contact strategy is usually effective.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Travlerajm, Will you marry me?

    (Sorry, LeeD, I have found another!).

    Honestly, I can count on two fingers the guys I have played with who understand Aussie and are willing to use it when the time is right.

    OK, Seriously . . . one of my friends told me of a problem she was having in mixed, and I'd like opinions on it.

    My friend is a 4.0 playing 8.0 mixed. She is a very consistent player, very old school. Conti grip on the FH. Likes to let the ball fall really low on the FH. Hits with not so much pace on serve, FH and BH.

    Anyway, she was playing this match against a good 4.0 guy who was active at net. By her account (after eating a bagel), she simply could not get the ball past the guy when returning the woman's serve. The only service return that worked was if she hit a slice that tagged the doubles alley and stayed low. Everything else (crosscourt, DTL, lob) he crushed.

    My advice to her was to stand as close to the service line as humanly possible and bunt the ball quickly crosscourt. That was my only idea.

    Any other ideas?
     
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  23. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    I don't recommend working on strokes during a match, but since her match is over I recommend she learn how to hit a proper stroke. Continental grips on groundstrokes are not going to get her anywhere. Letting the ball drop low at contact is going to be trouble. Your friend needs a coach not a way to compensate for technical deficiencies in her game.
     
    #23
  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Not gonna happen.

    She has played this way for 20 years, and she simply is not interested in going backward to learn a new way to play. She watched my entire process of changing to SW grip, and she made the conscious decision not to do the same.

    Her strokes are her strokes, and she is going to take them to her grave. There must be a way to handle the poaching opponent with a 4.0 woman's Conti strokes. Right?
     
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  25. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    Your friend is being stubborn and that's a shame. It sounds like she recognizes her deficiencies are the root cause of her trouble, but she is unwilling to correct them. Yes it may set her back some in the near term, but her long term prospects would likely be better. Hard to believe she would prefer the wall she has hit.

    I suppose she can hope not to play against an active volleyer. No way to know this ahead of time. Mix her returns with some lobs and hope for the best. Have her partner also play back so the net player doesn't crush her partner.
     
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  26. themitchmann

    themitchmann Hall of Fame

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    Cindy,
    I suggest having her mix in lobs, both down the line and cross court. I think your idea of taking the return early was a good thought as well.
     
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  27. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Cyndy,
    As someone who enjoys making life difficult for gals trying to hit returns past me, I'll let you in on a little secret: Guys like me like take away the easy shot and give you the hard shots. Your advice to crowd the service line was the right advice - if she doesn't do that she has no prayer to get it past me. But if she crowds the line, she has options.

    To get it past me, she doesn't have to hit it super hard, but it has to be accurate.

    Option 1. If you're going to get it past me cross-court, it's got to be a really sharp angle cross court (one that lands in the doubles alley inside the service line). If you aim for the typical deeper crosscourt return that you use with the lady friends, that's an easy poach winner for me (it crosses too close to the center of the court, which is my territory to defend). Again, if you don't have a lot of pace, you MUST crowd the service line to have a chance to execute this shot against me, otherwise I have time to cross and still reach it.

    Option 2. Keep me honest. You've got to make me think about staying. Use the down the line alley at least once per game against an active netman. Believe it or not, a soft shot can work great here, because higher over the net is the optimum trajectory (aim 8 feet or so over the net). It's a lower trajectory than you would hit a lob, but the extra height means I have to be completely underneath it to reach it (I can't reach sideways), effectively meaning I have to move about 4 extra feet to my left to reach it than if the shot was hit with only 3 feet of net clearance. The same principle works for passing shots in singles too.

    Option 3. Keep me honest with the lob. Active poachers like to cheat close to the net if you let us. Lob once a game to keep me honest. Even you miss your lob target and get it pounded, it will make me think about it and reduce my range a little. Don't be afraid to try it again.

    As a 4.5 guy, when I'm returning in the same situation against an active netman, I can usually watch the netguy out of the corner of my eye and be patient, wait for him to make a move, then guide it past him. As a 4.0 gal, that may be trickier, but you might try practicing the hold-and-poke strategy, because it's not as hard as to get the hang of it as you might think. I see a lot of 4.0 guys who take the opposite approach and overhit trying to bang it past me in this situation - the hold-and-poke strategy is the percentage play - there's always somewhere I can't quite cover.

    By "poke" I refer to any type of compact groundstroke.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
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  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    A follow-up, if I might.

    When I face an active male poacher, I like to lob sometimes. Trouble is, I cannot set up for a topspin lob and execute it if I crowd the service line. I need some time. Also, the closer I am to the net, the greater the chance I will knock it long.

    If I dropped back to the baseline to receive serve because I was planning to lob, would you notice that I was no longer crowding the net and anticipate the lob?
     
    #28
  29. themitchmann

    themitchmann Hall of Fame

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    You can chip the lob. It's still effective at taking the net player out of the equation, but you might not win the point on that particular shot.
     
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  30. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Tell her that you'll consider being her dubs partner if she go down the line on you.
     
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  31. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    If you back up near the baseline, it won't matter whether you lob or not. If you're not able to execute a powerful passing shot, I will generally have enough time to reach anything you can put up. That extra 0.2 seconds makes all the difference. If I'm a threat to poach your return, you're better off stepping in and using a flat lob that's easier to disguise and gets past me faster.
     
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  32. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    This. For advice to the guys.

    On the non-skill side, I'd advise: don't be jerk, show up on time, with a fresh can of balls (if you're not in a league that provides them), compliment your female partner when it's warranted...and even when not, say something encouraging like "good thought" or "you'll get it next time." I hate being the liability or mere window-dressing but it doesn't have to be a totally miserable experience for either partner. I am always worried that I've let my male-partner down. I will play better if you say/express positive things.

    Guess many of those things apply to any form of doubles but I find it even more important in mixed.

    Bingo. Like Cindy's friend, I'm a bit of old-school grip-wise (not even sure exactly what I use :oops: ) but these are three of my main tenants in doubles (mixed or ladies!). I've worked really hard to develop that short-angle, heavy cc shot. In fact, it is my fav and I love it in doubles because I have the extra 4' of the alley to work with.

    And she's gotta go DTL every so often. In fact, I often try it on the very first point of the match just to show that I can and will attempt it regardless of the serve's location or end result. Took awhile to find the BH up the alley from a serve up the T (on the deuce side) but it's been a god-send as I've moved up.

    As for the lob attempt, try to put it where the opponents might have some confusion on who's gonna take it. Not quite as effective placement in mixed since the guy usually does, but the 'mine/yours' debate is often enough to get you back in the point.
     
    #32
  33. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    So this is a 4.0 guy who crushed every crosscourt, DTL or lob that he got? Must be some 4.0. It seems like the guy has exceptional speed, reaction and the proper mechanics to execute those crushing shots. I'm scared of the guy now. I hope I don't see him on the other side of the net any time soon.
     
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  34. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    As for the original post, I would suggest learning the "L" formation specially if the woman is not a strong player or clueless about playing doubles.
     
    #34
  35. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    For the guys: Work on kick serves and actually practice returning slow short serves.
    The most effective guy is the quickest at the net who can cover the most court. In mixed, I'm not that great a partner since my movement at the net is relatively poor and the match can be dominated by the opposing net guy if he is exceptionally quick.

    When I played 8.0 mixed with my first ex-wife who was an excellent volleyer - she learned to volley first when learning tennis - she played the center of possible returns at the net and I played back and covered both alleys. I was very fast back then and we played to our individual strengths.
    We only ever lost one match - to the national championship team - and I had an easy volley on a match point for the win I dumped into the net.
     
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  36. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    This is hilarious! But it's true about the shorts. Especially white ones.
     
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  37. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I am a guy and play mixed in winter and summer leagues. About 4.0-4.5 level (A-3 in ALTA).

    I attack every 2nd serve from the woman unless she has a very good 2nd serve. Either hit it firm and deep and come in or slice it short and wide with some bite and come in.

    Play the woman, play the woman, and play the woman. Opponents hit good ball while you are back - lob over the woman. Opponents both come in but you have shot at the pass, hit a dipping topspin pass to the woman. Both opponents back, hit aggressive shot to woman. I only hit to the man, if I am in a defensive position and he is back - say he hits a good serve or ground stroke and his female partner is at net, then I go back to the man.

    Women don't like slice or kick serves. They don't see them very often and frequently will block harder serves back but really struggle with spinners.
     
    #37
  38. samarai

    samarai Rookie

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    I once played a match with a new partner and she wanted me to hit exclusively towards the woman. She got upset at times when I would hit towards the man just to get some rallies going. This was 7.0 league and it was clear the women was a very low 3.0. We easily won the match at 6-0,6-0 but that was an experience I never wanted to repeat.
     
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  39. bethany2

    bethany2 New User

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    I've been reading this thread and others about mixed doubles and keep reading that a 4.5M and 3.5W combination works really well.

    As a strong 3.5 female, would you all suggest that I play 7.0 or 8.0? I honestly thought that 7.0 would be my only option, but am now wondering if 8.0 might be better as I'm not sure I like being the stronger partner. Sorry if this is a dumb question, I'm new here (and somewhat to USTA)!
     
    #39
  40. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    ? It's all about the woman in mixed doubles. Unless the guy stinks, the other team is gonna hit everything to the woman. And either she can come up with the shots or you lose. Unless the other team is just weaker all around, of course.

    Playing with a woman who can't put the ball away is almost always a hopeless situation.
     
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  41. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    travlerjam knows his stuff. If the woman hits really weak shots you have to gamble more and try to hit those shots for her. Else she's going to hit a weak shot that the other guy is going to poach on. A weak women's shot makes it so that the next shot (or the one after that will force you into an error). So you try to poach often, cover your line, cover her lob when she's at the net. It's a lot things to cover.

    It's very important the woman be able to handle volleys and hard groundstrokes hit right at her while at net. If she coughs up a weak reply often at the net you're toast. You can cover the middle, your side, lobs over her but you can't cover the groundstroke at her while she's at net.

    So find one that can volley and you're set, everything else you can help out on.
     
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  42. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Dude...this is some good stuff. I will try some of this. I especially like what you said about telling her where to go as opposed to telling her where you are going. I have found that a lot of women for whatever reason don't keep up with the score or anything about the match so telling them what you are going to cover versus what they are going to cover is too much. I've heard basketball coaches tell me that it's easier to even coach women because they do exactly what you say whereas men will venture away from what you told them to do if they think they see an easier way. I will try that this weekend. Plus I do like what you said about some of the formations. I have to admit...I've been all about tradional mixed(you cover your side and I cover mine because as a general rule women don't move as well so I've always thought about it as starting the point off on the defense...but as you and Cindy indicated. The points you win on them hitting returns in the net could outway what you are losing. After all...you are starting the point off where you two know where the serve is going and should come back to before the point starts. Good stuff dude.


     
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  43. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    Damn...okay...good stuff again...check this out. What I do if on the deuce side is position myself where I am set to where I can lob most balls over presumably your backhand(assuming you are right handed). If you take one step to your right I do try and keep it high on the backhand where at worst case, you just end up putting it back into the court as opposed to hitting one of us between the eyes with an overhead. If she serves down the middle I can easily lob that most of the time with women serving. it's much harder in men's doubles because the serves are generally stronger. I'm going to try some of this stuff though. I mean we won 1 and 2 the last two of the 3 weeks but we had a match we lost and I think some of this would have helped us. They lobbed us to no end. The one thing we didn't do was hit the ball short. I was taught that a long time ago when you run into these teams that lob to no end...and the truth is we do it to unless we see that's what you want to do.lol By hitting the ball short in the court they have to put the lobs higher in the air to keep them from going long and it gives us both(we both crank overheads) a chance to camp under it as opposed to running as track meet as I did. I must have run to the service line and then back to the gate a lot trying to force deep high balls to the woman's(very short) backhand. I seriously think we will see them again in the playoffs and I'll have a plan set up for it.... it will start with some of what you have said here. Thanks bro.

     
    #43
  44. goober

    goober Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,491
    If you are a strong 3.5F you will be high demand in 8.0 mixed. The teams that usually go to playoffs will be filled 4.5M, 3.5F pairings. I haven't seen a team yet filled with 4.0M/4.0F go to playoffs.

    Just be prepared to be targeted in every match.
     
    #44
  45. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    It depends on what your goals are.

    If your goal is to have challenging and competitive matches where what you do on the court is really important, play 7.0. If you play line 1 or the tougher teams, then you will see very solid play from your opponents and will draw the occasional 4.0 guy.

    If your goal is to go to the playoffs or to win, then play 8.0. You will have a 4.5 partner, and he will dominate the court. You will be told where to stand, what to do, what not to do. If the ball gets past him, your job is to get it back any old kind of way so he can have another chance to finish the point.

    Honestly, the most unhappy stories I have heard from women in mixed involve being paired with a 4.5 guy. Their attitude toward their 3.5 partner can sometimes be that she is a load of bricks he must carry around the court. I fail to see how standing on the court while one's partner dominates everything can be a positive experience.

    In my case, I did play 8.0 mixed as a 3.5 with a 4.5 partner. He was very nice, and he did his level best to carry me. Trouble was, I really couldn't return serve or handle his pace at the baseline or at the net. And when we ran into 4.5 male/3.5 female opponents, I simply couldn't do a thing against the 4.5 guy. Blech.

    My most positive mixed experiences were playing 7.0 as a 3.5 (went to sectionals) and now playing 8.0 mixed as a 4.0 -- a 4.0 who can finally, sometimes, just now and then find the court when returning serve.
     
    #45
  46. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
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    I'm glad to see you coming around to my long-held belief that mixed is just not good tennis, given the way USTA encourages players of such varying skill levels to play together in a competitive setting.

    I don't see how it would be fun from the guy's perspective either, for a 4.5 guy playing with a 3.5 woman.
     
    #46
  47. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    On the contrary.

    I don't know if I have mentioned it here, but I have decided that 2013 shall be "The Year Cindy Finally Learns To Win At Mixed."

    I am sick and tired of how poorly I do in 8.0 mixed. I am lucky to get 1-2 wins a year in mixed. Meanwhile, women who I think are only slightly stronger than me do just fine. I had considered quitting mixed entirely, but I have decided instead to rise to the challenge.

    I am taking private lessons now with the sole goal of becoming stronger at 8.0 mixed. I asked my pro what we need to do to make that happen. He said I have two problems (well, I have a lot of problems, but two stand out concerning mixed).

    First, I panic when the pace picks up. He rallies with me from the baseline, increasing the pace on each of his shots until I crumble. Then we work on how I can absorb the pace rather than freaking out.

    Second, he is teaching me to block back serves with conti grip (I normally set up to receive with a SW on the FH and whatever grip I am supposed to have for 2HBH). So now I can keep a death grip on the racket throat, turn shoulders and move the racket forward into the ball about 8 inches.

    The result has been a 2-0 start in 8.0 mixed this year.

    The, uh, fact that I have a snazzy new 4.0 partner who mops up for me at net when I am serving doesn't hurt a bit.

    Mixed can be good tennis, but I need to learn to play better for that to happen.
     
    #47

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