Practice Partner Etiquette

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I have a few people I hit with on occasion. I have noticed differences in expectations. Maybe a bit of discussion on how practice hitting should go would be helpful? I have several partners, but for our purposes let's roll all of the issues onto the back of one hypothetical practice partner.

    1. Say my partner and I have balls in our pockets. If a rally ends and there is a ball near me, I will pick up the nearby ball and walk back to position even if we both still have balls in our pockets. This seems to annoy my practice partner, who has a ball in her hand and is ready to feed. She will sometimes respond by walking over to a more distant ball and picking it up while I wait for her.

    2. Sometimes a rally will end on her error. I pull a ball out of my pocket and feed right away, only to have her not play it or swat it away because she wasn't ready. Is there some cue I am missing that tells me when she is ready or not ready?

    3. Say I hit a ball that pulls her well off the court. If she gets it back, I will return it within her reach so we can continue rallying. When the reverse situation happens, she will smack the ball well out of my reach for a winner.

    4. When we are hitting groundstrokes, she will sometimes throw in a short slice or drop shot. I do not race forward to hit these balls. Instead, I bounce them twice and return it back to her at the baseline. I sense some irritation that I am not trying to reach the ball on the first bounce.

    5. Say we are practicing overheads, with one feeding and one hitting. I would like her to smash back to me so I can practice hitting lob off of a smash. She doesn't like to hit the smash to me because she says she would never do that in a match. Part of the issue here is that she feels like hitting directly to a practice partner trains you to hit directly to opponents.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Um...

    Yep, you and your practice partners generally need to talk about what you're going to do before a hitting session. If I'm coaching somebody that I have already worked with, I'll always start with something like "Okay, last time we spent a lot of time on groundstrokes, now it's time to move on to volleys, overheads, serves and returns. And here's the specifics of how we're going to make that happen..."

    Or, if it's one of my regular practice partners it might be something like "Ya know what? Dr. Dave and I have been starting off our sessions with Quickstart 78 balls because it gives us more time to get the stroke mechanics wired and forces us to create something in a rally instead of just banging away. So we're gonna do mini-Tennis, then 20 minutes of groundstrokes easy, then volley drill with both of us at the service line, then serves, returns, then play out the point...all with Quickstarts. Then we're going to switch to real balls for the last half hour and play out the points, I serve 10, then you serve 10."

    That kind of thing. Then if you both have a general understanding of where you're going, you're less likely to trip over stuff like "Where, exactly, am I supposed to hit the overhead when we're doing lob/overhead drills."

     
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  3. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    1. Makes sense to me on your view.
    2. I do the same thing ... feed right away. There shouldn't be much introspection in a practice session error.
    4. I do the same thing. I don't usually feel the need to rush around to get to a ball on one bounce in a practice hitting session. I know I can do it in a match and I don't need to practice running.
    5. Cobra Kai. Tell her to go for the knee.
     
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  4. tennixpl

    tennixpl Rookie

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    isn't in the rule book

    1. no way to resolve everyone has different tolerances for balls near them.
    i always wear shorts were i can stuff at least two cans of ball in left pocket so i can get a ball out fast and put it back in fast if my partner got theirs out first.---the only good thing about Mens longer shorts is when they have pockets that can do that

    2. Is there some cue I am missing that tells me when she is ready or not ready? yes look up and watch, if she looks read yit her fault if not wait 3 sec
    if they take longer something is wrong or they need to hurry up more.


    3. I always hit back to the person to allow them to keep the moving pace they have when recovering, usually i feel bad bc i didn't mean to hit one that wide. decide how long you are going to just hit, and then move on to practice where you are allowed to hit a winner off a opportune ball.

    4. let her be irritated unless she wants to play a match. if you choose to practice your movement to get to it then fine, else she hit a bad ball. i hit slice backhand that goes short some times, unless we are doing points this is bad on me my partner can let it bounce as many times as they want or just stop and pick it up and reset. its my fault

    5. no relation bc i can't feed an overhead to save my life...though she is just hitting with you the rest of the time, something she wouldn't be doing in a match she did fine. me thiks she can't control the where she hits the overhead, most ppl can't take the pace off it to control where it goes well, its not the hitting to you its the taking a little off it to get it to you. on this one id say feed her a high ball so you can see how she adjusts her hips to figure out where she plans to hit it.

    I rarely just "hit" bc the dynamic is so different. after 10 min so of just strokes ill start to move partner around more and have them do it to me, only rules is no intentional drop shots, the idea is to start to mimic more of a point, if a short ball is hit then its expected that they will come up and practice a put away shot.

    in the lower levels this is an issue i take with clinics and hitting partners, sure we need to keep developing stroke mechanics, but so much of the mechanic is foot work and if you aren't being pressed to move or you 'know' where the ball is going then it breeds bad match tennis.
     
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  5. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    1- In my age/experience group, there is more awareness than average about the risk of stepping on balls, which is a great reason not to let balls be close to where you are hitting. Clearly your first partner has no appreciation of this, hense their (to me) odd response. Perhaps a little enlightenment is in order.

    2- This partner is weird, don't internalize their antics. In most cases your behavior is considered courteous since if they missed a BH drive, a lot of players would immediately want another shot so they can "fix" their stroke right away.

    3- Your behavior is considered standard, though their shot (when hit on occasion) is not considered a bad thing, since part of the practice is to practice putaways. If they do it each and every time that is OK, but since you would know this, just hit the sort of shot your would during a match ie not right to them.

    4- This is a worse version of #3. Clearly this person is playing "points" in their mind, you are just rallying. This obvious disconnect is the issue.

    5- The rationale at the end makes complete and total sense. But is it uncommon so they should spell it out ahead of time. As to your preference speak up and say you would like to practice hitting lobs off of smashes.
     
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  6. floydcouncil

    floydcouncil Semi-Pro

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    Find new hitting partners who you click with so you don't have to explain your side of the story and get the majority TW consensus...

    Obviously this hitting partner's not it.
     
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  7. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    About picking up balls: It's just a matter of personal preference. I like to pocket any balls on my side. Others are not bothered by balls on court on their side. To each their own. If your practice partner gets irritated by how you handle this, that's his/her problem.

    Before feeding, make eye contact. It's pretty easy to gauge when the other person is ready. Once in a while a ball will be fed too early. If you realize that you've let it loose too early, raise a racquet/hand in apology. No big deal.

    People have different levels of competitiveness in hitting sessions. Some are looking more to groove strokes and get a good workout. Some try to "win". Usually it's somewhere in between - you want to maintain some rallies, but then after a while both players tend to go after it a bit more. This is good - need to practice finishing points as well as getting reps.

    The problem comes when one person is a much more competitive practice player than the other. In this case, either accept it, or find a different partner that is more like you.
     
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  8. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    going for winners is something many people want to practice....but at the same time so is working on strokes.

    Often to do BOTH and to keep it interesting instead of steady rallies my partner and I will play 10+winner.

    its a mini game Ball is fed you have to keep a rally for 10 shots after the 10th shot- play for the point/hard winners/drop shots/lobs whatever it takes.

    some times will will make mini rule between each point..like okay 10 cross court back hands and then start the point and if you have to hit a fore hand it doesn't count toward the 10 stokes only the back hands count...we typically count out loud on these.
     
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  9. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Let them bounce twice, set-up and hit a screaming winner with fist pump.

    Everyone has their own quirks and agenda during practice hits. Thankfully very few are really clueless. Should you bump up with someone who constantly returns feeds with drop shots I think you must politely ask for some deep practice bhs, be resigned to practicing short ball approaches or end session. Nothing she does is really a deal breaker.
     
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  10. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    C A T F I G H T !!!!!!
     
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  11. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    Usually my team mate and I have an unspoken rally for a bit then start wailing on the ball at each other...Followed by balls out action. And if we want to work on something in particular, no one really hesitates to say hey give me some back hands/ short shots/ deep/ etc.
     
    #11
  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK. It sounds like genuine miscommunication about goals etc. I just need to speak up by saying what *I* want to practice or have discussions about what we are trying to accomplish.
     
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  13. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Hard to cover everything in a pre-hit talk.

    I agree on 1) and that's quite common - people see pros getting a new ball back into play. Sometime have to remind them that we are, sadly, mortals. Quality over Quantity. Like you, I don't want any balls that might become an issue (or healthcare claim) in the way. Also have to dry my hand, adjust wristbands, etc - hard to ball with another orb already incoming.

    2) Wait. You didn't like her rushing you (see 1) but you want to get a ball in play ASAP. Her excuse is immaterial. Just wait until she's in the Ready position; hope she reciprocates.

    3) She's a moron. Should always hit back to the center to 'reset' the rally - unless you were doing some kind of drill that included simulating points or hitting winners.

    4) She's really a moron. Drop shots in practice are ridiculous. Could throw a 'didn't know you wanted to work on drop shots' comment - doesn't sound like she would care.

    5) Didn't know John McEnroe had a twin sister.

    Time for a new practice partner.
     
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  14. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I think some of the conflict arises out of the basic goals you and your partner have. It sounds like your goal is to keep the ball in play and work on consistency or a specific shot. Good goal. It sounds like your partner wants to play competitive rallies where she's trying to construct and then win the point. Also a good goal. The two goals are a bit in conflict however.

    How about talking with her about it? For X amount of time I want to hit hard but at each other and work on consistency with pace - no winners, no drop shots, just solid hitting. Then we can work on building points from a feed - after the first couple of shots anything goes. Subsets of this are volley practice (not passing shot practice), lobs off overheads, etc.

    On the ball pick-up thing - for me sometimes I just need to walk over and get a ball for a mental time out.

    On feeding - Sometimes your partner might need to mentally regroup after an error. Maybe they just need to catch a breath.
     
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  15. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I'm muscular so it takes a long time for my muscles to warm-up and for the synovial joint juices to get flowing. And I'm immobile due to hip arthritis so I won't chase after balls. While warming-up, I can hit the ball back to the hash every time, within a step of the receiver, at an easily returnable pace. I recognize that most rec players can't hit two balls to the same spot to save their lives, nor do they have a clue. If the player on the other side, thinks this skill of mine is an opportunity to utilize me as their personal free ball-machine to practice their winners, I will not oblige them very long.

    If they do not possess the technical skills to warm-up properly, I compensate by having a lot of practice balls, stuffing as many into my pockets as I can. There's a pouch thing made to hold balls kangaroo like around one's waist, but it makes you look dorky, that's why teaching pros have a shopping cart full of balls, most people like to go shopping.

    A ball hit right back at you is not that easy to hit either, that's a body shot, so you have to take a step to get out of the way. I'll hit to one side or the other and then I can see if they're going to run around their BH. I realize some people are more interested in warming up their legs then calibrating their strokes. I don't feel like waiting around while they are running the lines, they should have warmed-up their body before taking the court, with a short jog or a ten minute spin on an exercise bike, until breaking a sweat), so when I sense they are bored and unchallenged by a rhythmic center-court warm-up and prefer to run gazelle (or elephant like), I'll hit one ball towards the corner, then back to the hash and then to the other corner so they don't think I'M running THEM. This also helps me practice my directional ball control and is somewhat difficult to do well.

    Once properly warmed-up, (which takes me about two hours--and then I'm worn out), a good practice drill is to play out points. My coach used to have one player serve for a while, like fifteen minutes. You got three serves attempts to get a serve in, two first tries at a first serve and then a second serve, so the receiver has a chance to make a return, not keeping score but playing out the point. This drill resembles real play which is all about "serving and return of serve".
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What is a synovial joint?
     
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  17. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    SYNOVIAL JOINT:

    http://www.ask.com/wiki/Synovial_joint?o=2801&qsrc=999

    Suesh, there's this great thing called "google", it's almost making libraries obsolete except to house unemployed ball-boys, you should look into it, it would answer all your questions on the meaning of life.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
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  18. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Here, I will use it in a sentence for you:
    "I smoke synovial joints to help ease my arthritis pain. The Jamaican ones used to be the best but now the good stuff comes from Oregon."
     
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  19. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    That's a GOOD ONE! :twisted:
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I prefer the personal touch in the answers
     
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  21. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    That you have to pay for-- ***, grass or gas, but nobody rides for free.
     
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  22. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    Hitting Partners. Most of the time when I have a hitting partner, we talk about it and start out hitting basically to each other to warm up; and then we will work on different things that happen in a match; ie. our goal is to hit deep. If one of us hits a short ball, it is open season, we can hit whatever type of shot we want, put away, drop shot, or whatever to win the pt after that is the goal. This is just working on our short game and putting away points.

    Other shots, we talk about what our goal is and work on those shots overheads, etc. I personally do not think it is a problem to say hit an overhead towards the opposing player in practice. You are only working on your placement and that is never a bad thing.

    I think the key with hitting partners is to talk about the expectations. If the other player just has a problem with that, then it is time to look for another hitting partner.
     
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  23. Rob_C

    Rob_C Hall of Fame

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    I agree with her on this, I do the same thing. But, it's easily solved and you guys can do both.

    Just feed her overheads from one corner or another, or both, that way she can practice hitting overheads to the corners, and you can work on your lobs at the same time.
     
    #23
  24. Rui

    Rui Semi-Pro

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    1. You should move balls in your way. Sometimes, they are marginally in your way. If she breaks the rhythm to move one, I've been known to get one even farther away. I mean, the rhythm is broken anyway. Sometimes, I will keep the rhythm going even though there is a ball marginally in my way. I will play around it...usually forward.

    2. I've hit balls across the net without thinking. It's a reminder to get eye contact first.

    3. It's tolerable once. After that she's a jerk.

    4. Yeah, I will ignore drop shots. Short balls are good for transition practice. I'll hit the approach dtl and come in. A good practice partner will nail strokes at me and I'll volley them back. That is until someone hits one out of the middle, then anything goes.

    5. I'm with you. People don't seem to realize that if you can control the ball to the middle, you can control it away from the middle.
     
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  25. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    LOL. That last line has occurred to me more than once. Only in tennis do you warm up by hitting shots TO your opponent that you will absolutely try to hit AWAY from them once the match begins. I just try to give them whatever they want knowing full well that once play begins, they aren't ever going to see any of those shots again if I have anything to say about it. ;-)
     
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  26. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    I teach college English, I'm a Mensa member, and I have never run across the word before either. Geez, if you choose to use a word that 99% of the population won't recognize or know, you don't win any points by being condescending in response to an honest question.
     
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  27. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    This was a "PRACTICE" "ettiquwte" thread, therefore we were not keeping score--at least I wasn't. As a MENSA member and a somewhat serious tennis player, you should be familiar with body parts and the basics of anatomy like synovial joints and proprioceptors. Maybe you haven't had enough injuries yet, having a minimal understanding of human anatomy and physiology will help to prevent getting them.

    Professor, maybe it's time to take a summer class on the body and a little less Chaucer. Without giving Suesh a lie detector test, I don't know if his question was "honest" or not, who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men? For example if I didn't know what MENSA was, I wouldn't reveal my lack of knowledge by asking you to educate me, I would google it.
     
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  28. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    An Italian ex girlfriend that I once dated, upon seeing me in my birthday suit for the first time, exclaimed "thatta isa mensa member!"

    Who knew that storypeddler and I have so much in common!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013
    #28

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