Should you work on dealing with disruption/gamesmanship

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Clive Walker, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

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    When I was a kid playing in the park with my Dad, he always made me serve into the sun (refusing to change ends), he always taught me to deal with gamesmanship, (stopping me in the middle of a 2nd serve at 30-40 to waft an imaginary wasp as an example), or to remind me that I had not lost my serve in a while at a change of ends.

    He did this (unbeknownst to me at the time) as a method of teaching me to deal with the kind of thing that goes on in competitive sport

    Net result- I deal with that kind of thing now far better than most of my peers. I always serve into the sun. I never worry about gamesmanship and I let any comment drift over me without a care.

    There's a hell of a lot I'd like to improve in my game, but this? I've got sorted.

    Just wondering if anyone else actively works on this side of the game?
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I do.

    Whenever I play a practice match, I challenge myself in some ways to make it uncomfortable.

    For instance, i will serve with the wind at my back or the sun in my face.

    I choose to serve first, because I am less warmed up. I will decline courtesy offers of a first serve (ball rolling on court). I will play FBI so that I have to hold without my best serves.

    When I have challenging match conditions, I feel better equipped to handle them because I have faced them before.
     
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  3. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I enjoy playing in less than optimal conditions with sun, wind, heat etc. Like Cindy, I will always choose whatever presents the best challenge for me. I don't like to play indoors that much.
     
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  4. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Hi Clive,

    Yup, your father was a very wise tennis man and he's made you into one too. I always request to serve into the sun for rec matches. When the match becomes about gamesmanship, it is no longer tennis but about something else--maybe four old farts trying to impress each other. I'm competitive at that too and work at beating them at that low level also--the goal being to get them to pack up their bag, walk-off and never having to see their wretched carcass again.

    Game on!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Same here for first. I like to challenge myself to serve cold.

    Second: not sure. We usually do FBI in social doubles, but that actually does NOT challenge you, right?
     
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  6. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    I never resort to gamesmanship, but I guess that depends on your definition. I really hate "gamesmanship" because I think its like the lamest of the lame tactics a person can use to win.

    When someone tries to fluster me like that I usually respond with beaning them or extending zero courtesy to them. I know that makes me sound really bad, but I assure you, these "gamesmen" know what they're doing and they deserve it. It's part of their game to get into my head and beaning them is a great way to make them stop and boost confidence at the same time. I know, I know, I sound like an ass, but im really not like that.

    Here are some notable examples:

    1) Their female player constantly yelling "WATCHOUT! WATCHOUT!" as a short overhead comes over to our side. Legally, I can call a hindrance, but that just makes them think they got into my head.

    Solution: Slam over head right at them and say "Sorry, I kinda got distracted when you yelled." and you'll see that they learn the first time, every time.


    2) Guy is standing at the net with his racket over the net while his partner serves. My partner asks him not to do that, he said "it's not illegal."

    Solution: Blast the ball straight at him. He will back up.


    3) Same guy from #2 pops up early at the net and flails his arms in the air as my partner is hitting the second serve.

    Solution: Blast the ball straight at him, as low as you can, as hard as you can. Do not hit it long. Keep that ball low since hes standing upright and has his arms in the air and is not in any normal "ready" position.


    "Sorry. I was trying to hit line. That's a good serve. It's got a lot of spin on it. I almost whiffed."


    4) Guy on opposing team calls out "FAULT! SECOND SERVE." while you're serving after your first serve goes out, presumably to pressure you.

    Solution: While his partner receives and he is at net, serve as hard as you can, as fast as you can right at him on a second serve after he does that. Whether you hit him or not, say "Sorry, I was kinda nervous and it was a bad toss but I swung hard anyway."



    I believe in court justice. I dont believe in cheating. I dont believe in calling a ref unless its regarding to bad line calls.
     
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  7. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

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    court justice

    Court justice. The best kind of justice.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Really what you are challenging by deciding to serve cold is the health of your shoulder :shock:
     
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  9. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I agree but I don't think all your examples are necessarily gamesmanship.

    Definitely #3 and #4 are. They are being done for no reason other than to throw you off.

    #1 could be legit. Baseline opponent could be legitimately trying to warn net opponent to keep him/her from getting creamed.

    #2 is bad tennis positioning, but not gamesmanship IMO. If anything it makes it very easy to lob the net person. And also if the net player actually makes contact with the ball on your side of the net it's your point.
     
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  10. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Well, #1 is against the rules and is a hindrance. You cannot yell like that as the ball is going over to your opponents side of the court. You can yell all you want while the ball is coming over to your side. You cant make noises if your opponent can play the ball, while the ball is traveling to their side of the court.

    Saying "Watch out! Watch out!" might as well be saying "Let it go!", "Mine!" or, "Out!" while your opponent is backing up to hit an overhead.

    #2 is bad positioning, but you also have to consider that its very distracting when hes dangling his racket over the net. He was also asked nicely to stop doing that to which he replied "its not illegal".

    Suffice to say, he quit all those ****nanigans after I tagged him twice with forehands and one accidental time with a backhand serve return. The backhand he ran into trying to poach. The forehands were obviously nonverbal communication, the backhand was just bonus entertainment.
     
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Don't worry - we are not talking about 140 mph serves here for the opening point :)


    I serve those later in the match.
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Unlike some of the posters here, Suresh knows he can start at 50% and gradually dial up the effort as he warms up. I agree, no need to start at 100% unless you're playing for dollars.
     
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  13. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    I dunno... I laugh out loud at people trying to game me... tight game, I miss my first serve, opponent says something like "Easy now, you haven't double faulted all day." I laugh out loud and usually say something like "double fault this.." as I give them my best kick serve.

    If its a matter of them shrinking the court... that's different. Then I'll start playing mean... that isn't gamesmanship, its cheating.


    For court conditions, I have a solid service game, so to be serving into the sun is not helpful for the team. It is what it is and I can adjust some by moving back or forth along the line and changing my serve set-up angle... but I play that if the sun is a factor, the weaker serve (doubles obviously) should take the sun. Same as if you had a lefty partner... why should a righty serve into the sun if the lefty on the team doesn't have a sun problem serving on that side?

    The game is/should be dynamic enough with variable conditions and different opponents that I don't see the benefit of volunteering difficulties on yourself.

    Do you get credit from your opponent- "Hey, nice game. Tough loss on your part, but the way you kept your composure serving into the sun... playing with your off-hand.... keeping one hand tied behind your back... was spectacular!"

    Or if you are playing a doubles team with one really good server and the other is average or weaker... if the better server is getting ready to serve, looks into the sun, and is obviously going to have trouble... do you suggest they let the weaker server serve into the sun to give your team more of a challenge with the good server not having the sun issue, or do you feel slightly more optimistic about your chances of breaking him since you know he can't serve 100%?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
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  14. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Or you could just warm up first. But if time is money and you can't afford the extra 15 mins to warm up first, then yeah, better take it easy to start.
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ahahaahahaha! :)

    The point is to be able to win points off of a warm-up serve. If you can do that in practice, you know you win points even when you're not serving your best. Builds confidence.
     
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  16. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    Yeah, but intentionally trying to "bean" someone is bad form.
     
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  17. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Your problem solving techniques seem to lack subtlety. :shock::lol:
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
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  18. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Beaning people happens even by accident. There is never an "accidental" incident of gamesmanship. I believe gamesmanship is the "worst form" of all. It has nothing to do with the game. At best its a mental assault on your opponent, at worst it just serves as an irritant.

    Amongst friends we harass each other all the time. In league theres no place for that. If you wanna bean people, fine, thats part of the game whether its intentional, accidental, or unintentional. Gamesmanship is not part of the game at all.
     
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  19. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I'm so focused on what I'm doing (even yelling at myself) that I don't even notice if someone is trying gamesmanship. Of course there are a few guys who out and out cheat - line calls, even surreptitiously changing the score on the net post. One guy used to run up to the net waving his arms and racket when the opponent had an overhead, but I don't think it was gamesmanship so much as nuttiness. I just completely focused on the ball when hitting overheads and didn't allow myself to have any clue where he was on the court so he couldn't distract me. About the third overhead he ran into the way of one. He didn't do it again.
     
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  20. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Okay, but you've just said that you bean people intentionally, in part to help "boost your confidence." So the fact that beaning can happen accidentally seems pretty much irrelevant.

    And it's certainly possible for something innocently intended to be misinterpreted as gamesmanship.

    Uh-huh. So is it okay to bean people unprovoked to intimidate them, or is it only okay when you want to punish them for alleged gamesmanship?

    Just trying to get a sense of how your values system works here...
     
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  21. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    I dont see how you read the part where I said it boosts my confidence but then jump to the assumption that I bean people "unprovoked". You're either selectively reading, or intentionally leaving out parts.

    I only bean people in retaliation for "gamesmanship" the same way some people hook line calls after being hooked themselves. Some people call refs or write appeals. Some people just let themselves mentally crumble.

    It boosts my confidence when I bean (or nearly bean) someone after they try their hand at gamesmanship. I know when they stoop to that they're getting desperate, much like making bad linecalls, because its that point where they can no longer play you straight up and have to resort to other methods.


    I never agree to calling for a ref unless someone is adamant about it. I also never make intentionally bad line calls. I dont do those things because I feel they're not part of the game. I feel like beaning people is part of the game its just that most people dont do it to be nice and I agree. When someone resorts to "guerrilla tactics" like calling officials, hooking lines, or gamesmanship, I just do away with the "being nice" and therefore elect to hit the ball at them instead of trying to avoid them.
     
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  22. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    If NTRP is ever playing someone who actually has great hands/reflexes, all they'd have to do is **** him off in some way, then come to net every point. NTRP will just hit it straight at him every shot. Would probably be a quick match. :D
     
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  23. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    I'm somewhere with NLBwell. "Gamemanship"? I didn't even really know what that meant til I started played USTA (and reading TT posts). Either there's so little of it at my (admittedly low) level, or I'm oblivious to it. I tend to chalk it up to idiosyncrasies, naivety, stupidity or something else beyond my comprehension and figure I don't have the time or patience for it. Outright cheating...that's different than gamesmanship...it's lying or cheating. Different story. Still tend not to let it get me worked up, though. If it's a social match that was privately arranged, I just decline in the future. For USTA or prescribed matches, I just accept it as a the Way It Is.

    I can't imagine actually practicing the things the OP describes just so they wouldn't be an issue. :oops:
     
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  24. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    An example of gamesmanship I often see is the server who only calls the score out if they are ahead. They would never call the score out if they're down 15-40, but when they're up 40-15 they always call it out loud and clear. Sometimes I'll retaliate by calling the score for them--in the middle of their service motion.

    Another gamesmanship thing they'll do is journey to the far reaches of the court to gather up a ball that is not needed. They'll do it to try to throw off your rhythm. Sometimes they're old guys who need to catch their breath. I don't mind it so much if it's of necessity, I don't think they are even conscious of it sometimes.
     
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  25. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    You could always just ” win”, In my experience that usually works against someone that is trying to game you. Hitting someone intentionally is a D-bag move.

    Do you at least say sorry after you hit them? Or just say vamos!?
     
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  26. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    In the distance I can hear him sing, "It's gooooooooooooood!"
     
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  27. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Whenever I hit someone I always say sorry whether I was trying to or not. I also say sorry if I hit an errant shot that goes towards them. I did a lot of sorry-saying today because the sun was really bad and I had a few errant serves that went "in the direction" of the net player when I was serving on the deuce side and trying to serve the returners backhand.

    If it was as easy as "just win" im pretty sure a lot less people would resort to any tactics other than simple play.

    I mean, if I was as good as you, I would never have to hit in the direction of anyone at anytime for any reason. Every time I would hit an overhead its always well clear of people, I may even call out where im going to hit it so they can get out of the way. Every time I attempt to pass it always paints the line well clear of any of their players and they always call it in. Sounds like a fantastic game you have.

    Making bad line calls is a d-bag move to me.
    Gamesmanship is a d-bag move to me.

    Beaning people is a part of the game, intentionally or not. When you play high level tennis you cannot expect people to just "avoid you". In social tennis people play very nice. High level competitive games people do get beaned all the time and you cannot let it distract you. Beaning people and getting beaned by people is inevitable especially when the ball is moving fast.
     
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  28. kelkat

    kelkat Rookie

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    Back to the original thought of the OP -- good job, Dad! What a wise man he is.

    Me? I admit it, I'm a weanie. I want things perfect. That's why the majority of my season is indoors. The only thing I have to content with is playing matches at certain other clubs.... where the lighting so poor it's like playing in your Grandfathers basement.

    Yes, I need to buck-up.
     
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  29. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Sometimes when I practice I have my wife stand next to the court and scream ethnic epithets at me. I've also had her wave foreign flags when I'm trying to serve.
     
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  30. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Macenroe is probably the best example of the GREAT BENEFIT of utilizing gamesmanship to one's benefit. He would throw one of his pissyfits when behind, going off on anyone within ice-pitcher reach, while his opponent stood or sat idly by--losing their rhythm. Invariably, when play resumed, Macenroe would pull ahead having destroyed his opponent's match momentum. As the OP's father wisely taught him to prepare to ward off such gamesmanship moment's, I wonder if johnny mac's old man taught his son how to effectively utilize such disruptive incidents for personal benefit and gain-- his old man certainly didn't discipline his son not to. And now his old man is a high up USTA official.
     
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  31. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    NTRPolice,

    You say you bean people in response to gamesmanship, suggesting this is akin to hooking in response to hooking.

    If that is how you view things, then you should bean in response to beaning and use gamesmanship in response to gamesmanship, no?
     
    #31
  32. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    "Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face"

    There is some arsehole out there that will get under your skin.
     
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  33. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    He's hitting the ball as hard as he can at people, not for reasons related to the tennis, but to send a message and cause mental duress in his opponents. It is gamesmanship. He is using gamesmanship as a response to gamesmanship, whether he will admit it or not.
     
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  34. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Now that's one supportive wife :)
     
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  35. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    No, because hooking, making intentionally bad line calls regardless of the situation is cheating. Beaning someone is not cheating under any circumstance.

    I've never made an intentionally bad line call in my life.

    If you define beaning someone as gamesmanship then I agree. I dont define beaning someone as gamesmanship. I dont see how beaning someone is at all the same as yelling across the net when your opponent is hitting, making bad line calls, or waving your arms in the air is the same.

    You can bean someone and its not at all malicious. You cannot with good intentions make bad line calls, yell when your opponents are hitting, or wave your arms in the air.
     
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  36. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    I agree, you can. But you can also bean someone maliciously, and what you have described in this thread absolutely qualifies. If you can't see that I don't know what to say. It's the intent behind the beaning, and your intent has been made crystal clear, and it is not really any different from the intent behind many other forms of gamesmanship.
     
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  37. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Well, for starters I dont want anyone to think that I do this all the time.

    I rarely have to get to this level because most people are sensible. It's not like this mode has an on/off switch. It takes a while to build up to this and there are always verbal "warnings" and "politeness factors" people arnt considering. Beaning people intentionally is a last resort but I just want to be clear that I wont hesitate to do it if there is no respect between both sides of the net.

    Many people use gamesmanship because its considered the most harmless form of cheating so many people dont question it or retaliate and thats exactly what they do it.

    Every once in a while someone who is committing petty crime gets the book thrown at them. 3 strike rule.
     
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  38. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    When you start to react to your opponents attempt at "gaming", i.e. intentionally trying to peg them, you have already mentally lost and are falling right into their trap. You are letting their actions bother you and not focusing on YouR gameplan.

    I think the op's point was that because his father trained him to deal with the "gaming" at an early age, he is now mentally stronger and doesn't let those petty things affect the way he plays.

    I realize pegging people is part of the game and sometimes happens unintentionally, but your original post made it sound like you intentionally peg people whenever you feel they are trying to "game" you...and it sounded like an everyday thing.
    I'm glad that since then, you have further clarified. I mean, at least you say sorry :) .

    I think that if you're playing for money, anything goes, but c'mon it's just league man. No matter how "high-level" this league is, at the end of the day it's just for fun. I am only a 4.5, not a touring pro, but still, as someone else mentioned, hitting the ball straight at me will only result in a simple drop volley out of your reach.

    As far as intentionally going after someone regularly.... well as Key would say, C'mon Man!
     
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  39. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    "Sometimes when I practice I have my wife stand next to the court and scream ethnic epithets at me. I've also had her wave foreign flags when I'm trying to serve.

    Now that's one supportive wife "

    Nah - that's just her idea of a good time. Think about it, screaming epithets and verbally abusing her husband when he hasn't done anyting wrong? IT's what wives live for!
     
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  40. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    I just had to deal with some major gamesmanship today. 90% of the people I come across here are so nice and friendly and seem to play to get better. But once in a while you come across a douch e bag who will do anything to get a win.

    The person I was playing today was using all forms of gamesmanship. He seemed to deliberately make me wait minutes at a time in between my serves to begin with. Any ball near the line = out. At some point he was calling lobs that I hit without even looking back!!! What the heck... the worst was how he constantly yelled c'mon in the middle of the point and when I told him that's hindrance the guy starts swearing off about how he is not saying c'mon and that's just how his grunts sound...

    That's blatantly lying to my face unless I am deaf. Anyway, I absolutely don't know how to deal with people like this and really let it effect my game. This is something I obviously need to work on. But it's very hard to because usually when you find a cheater like this, you never play with them again.

    I come across people like this about 20% of the time in tournaments and for some reason I react to it by simply not even wanting to play this person anymore and I just want to get off the court ASAP. I want to change this attitude of mine and feed off this and motivate myself to play better but it never seems to work. I get motivated for a few points but then after having to constantly wait in between my serves I just completely lose motivation again.

    I really can't be letting stuff like that bother me so much and just focus on my game but I have been finding it ridiculously difficult to do. In my mind I am always thinking this is just a 4.5 match, people are supposed to be playing to enjoy the game and improve. It's not like we are pros playing for money... I just can't seem to understand the need to win at any cost at this level.
     
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  41. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    The antics of folks who try to gain an advantage on me by behaving badly do not bother me. Exception: when someone starts making obvious bad calls to win. I am not talking about the occaisional questionable call...I'm talking about having to hit the ball a foot inside the lines, or else it's out! My solution: return the favor, and tell them that they can expect to have the same zone that they are giving me. If this does not work, you have two options: 1) quit the match on the spot. 2) finish the tainted match and do not play that individual again.
     
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  42. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If the guy calls your lob long and he didn't even turn around to see it, you're in for a long day on the court. Get your cell phone out and make an appointment with your shrink right-off. Or pack your bag, shake his hand and say you forgot you had to pick-up the laundry and walk-off. Things are not going to get any better--you will not be playing tennis this day, that's for sure.

    What kind of match is this? If it's a non-sanctioned match, that doesn't count towards a ranking, then it's just for practice or recreation. If it's a tournament, you call for an official to stand by the net post and observe which will usually stop the antics. Although sometimes the perp will call out the official too--not good for the guys file in the long run--tournament officials talk to each other too and they'll keep an extra eye out for him, the tournament world is not that big.

    If it's a league match you get a captain to complain to and file a grievance with the league. If it's rec, or some computer dating match, explain the rules to the perp--that he has 20 seconds between points and 90 on the change-overs. Start monitoring with your watch and call "TIME". Give him the required warnings and then take the point. Play by the rules just as if there was an umpire--call them yourself--but you must know what the rules are!

    I sometimes call code violations on myself just for grins, when I curse or throw my racket. I'll call "TIME" on myself if I get into a long-winded story on the change-over and finish it on the next one. Officiate your match as if you were the chair-umpire.

    Get in his head like he is getting into yours--compete at it--get into his head better! If he's cheating, cheat better! After all this is NO LONGER TENNIS, but something else-- Make Darwin proud!
     
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  43. Orange

    Orange Rookie

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    A club in my area has players who frequently practice gamesmanship. One team was caught receiving coaching by texting. What these players must be unaware of is the fact that they are a frequent topic of conversation among other teams.
     
    #43
  44. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,067
    Ah, coaching.

    I was playing a league match, and my teammates were playing on the neighboring court. One opponent started struggling with her shots, and she was getting frustrated. On a changeover, her teammate on the next court said something like, "Debbie, just relax. You're not following through. Just focus and finish over your shoulder." Blatant coaching, while I am standing right there listening.

    So I broke in and cheerfully said, "Hey, I'm not getting as much topspin as I would like on my shots. Do you have any pointers for me too?"

    That ended the little coaching conference.
     
    #44
  45. corbind

    corbind Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,308
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Clever way of ending it
     
    #45

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