Social Mixed Conundrum

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Ironwood, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Ironwood

    Ironwood Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    North of the 49th!
    Played a club mixed social tournament with my wife last weekend, and had an encounter I've not experienced before! The one set fun tournament was open to all levels and gave us a chance to play together. Faced another pair in the opening round I had only occasionally seen around the club. Twice as I shapped to hit a drop volley off a weak return and as he took a first step to charge the net to retrieve the shot, I stiffened my wrist and lobbed the ball over him deep into the corner. The first lob went for an outright winner, his partner retrieved the second and I can't remember who won the point. But, after the second lob, he got all huffy that I was trying to emarass him and make him look the fool. My response was that if he couldn't recognize what was coming or quickly react to a change of direction, he should try to learn from it. I was playing a shot I would not normally attempt against better players, but against this opposition, I could readily hold the ball and play misdirection shots. He stormed off after our win. What say you? Was I wrong to have a little fun and play shots I would not normally have the chance to execute or should I dumb down my game to the opposition. When I have done that in the past, I have found I often make stupid unforced errors and lost games and sets, I should have handily won.
     
    #1
  2. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,400
    Location:
    Cackalacky South
    It isn't necessary for you to change they ways in which you enjoy tennis to suit an apparent psychological problem of your opponents. Its not like you were gunning for them at the net if a short ball was hit to you.

    Your trickery should be thought of as a learning experience to him - but he clearly had an issue with self esteem on the tennis court. A common problem of rec players. Goes to the root of why they play to begin with.

    This was an open social tournament right?

    I wouldn't have responded to him at all except with a polite hand up in the air at his complaint, and let's keep playing sort of thing, but that's just me.
     
    #2
  3. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,228
    My trainer told me that he wasn't used to playing someone like me. He hits a lot of drop shots and misdirections, and the majority of his opponents get pissed off and throw a fit, while I just chase them down, or lose the point.

    He even asked once if his drops pissed me off, and I said no way, keep doing it. It's going to make me better. That part is the truth.

    Some people just can't take competition at all.
     
    #3
  4. Coach Carter

    Coach Carter Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    315
    Location:
    West Point, GA
    I tend to do the "oh, I'm sorry"...and act like I got lucky. whether in a social or even in the mixed team league I'm in...it's all the same.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
    #4
  5. SweetH2O

    SweetH2O Rookie

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Powder Springs, GA
    These types of threads seem to pop up here a lot because it's hard to differentiate the competitive aspect from the social aspect of tennis. My general thought is that you are free to hit any legal shot that you well please. But I try not to go over the line to where the opponent thinks I am being rude.

    So once the opponent expressed his displeasure with such tactics I would have backed off and played regular shots from then on. Telling an embarrassed opponent to "learn from it" rarely goes well. It didn't sound like you were having any trouble winning the match, so why create bad blood at your club?

    If it's a truly competitive match then my reaction would be different.
     
    #5
  6. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Wake County, NC
    When he first complained, you could have asked him "Okay, you want me start hitting the balls right to you?" It makes the point.

    My wife and I play social mixed doubles every week with a variety of levels at our meet up. As long as the men aren't slamming balls right at the women, everything else is fair game.
     
    #6
  7. Ironwood

    Ironwood Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    North of the 49th!
    That's the way I tend to play social mixed, being male, the men are fair game as long as they aren't just beginners, and the women get balls suited to their game. We lost in the quarters to a balanced couple who pressured my wife in order to get the win....and that's fair game!
     
    #7
  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    FWIW, I love it when people can play misdirection shots. It is really a high-level skill. You won't see it at 3.5, that's for sure. In fact, you see the opposite -- people telegraphing their shots.

    But yeah, if someone complains about a shot in a social situation, I will cut them a break and stop.
     
    #8
  9. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,059
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    What is your level versus your opponent's level?

    If you're not that far apart, then any shot is fair game, even in a fun social tournament (except for trying to peg the guy of course).

    But if you are several levels better, and this is a "fun" tournament (as you put it), then I would not hit shots that basically show off how much better you are than him. There's no reason to embarass the guy; you can win easily without doing that, and there's really no need to prove how good you are in this situation. Where's the satisfaction in demolishing a weaker player anyway?
     
    #9
  10. Limibeans

    Limibeans Rookie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    162
    Any shot is a fair shot against an equally skilled opponent.

    Drop shoting old ladies when you're up 5-0 isnt not.

    Most of the time people get mad because they cant win with their cheese that probably works for them elsewhere. It depends on who you're playing, the venue, and the event. If you're playing for charity of whatever you're not going to certain things as if it was a tournament or league match.

    I'm going to stroke my ego here and say some people get offended when I play them left handed in social tennis. They know im a rightly because I serve and volley with my right, but switch to 2h FH/BH left hand for my ground strokes. I usually just say that im practicing, but the truth is that I can only "play down" so much with my normal right handedness.

    In social tennis I usually use it as time to test myself against "unorthodox" (nice way of saying junk balls) tactics and extreme "gamesmanship" (******* and moaning about everything). When I play social tennis I dont care about W/L. I just have fun and use it as an opportunity to practice. Let them win even, if you have to.
     
    #10
  11. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,143
    Hard to imagine anyone not being offended.
     
    #11
  12. Limibeans

    Limibeans Rookie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    162
    Those are the same people who think they can "handle" but they cant. Not too many "regular" players have seen a 100+ mph serve in person, but want to see one anyway. It looks slow enough on TV.

    If I played a touring pro and he played left handed I wouldnt be offended, of course, in social tennis. I wouldnt play left handed in a tournament even if I was well above the skill level of my opponent.

    In social tennis, I think some people need to be able to recognize when someone is acting in the best interest of a game. In social tennis you're not trying to 0-0 someone, you want to actually play.

    When I play left handed i'm just rallying and using the time to develop my 2h strokes to make it easier to teach girls who play that style.

    There are actually quite a few girls who play "left handed" but serve with their right hand. And that is how they actually play.
     
    #12
  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    ^Goodness. I need to come watch tennis where you are, Limibeans.

    Girls (presumably female players under age 18?) serve RH but then play LH. And you "teach girls who play that style"?

    I have to say, of all of the players I have known or opposed, there is exactly one who serves with the dominant hand and then hits a 1HFH off of both wings. That would be my favorite 7.0 3.5 mixed dubs partner. Still, I've never seen him do it (my back is to him), but that's what I've been told.

    Even he doesn't keep the racket in his non-dominant hand throughout the point. That's just weird.
     
    #13
  14. Limibeans

    Limibeans Rookie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Messages:
    162
    There are players who serve with one handedness and hit their ground strokes with another, sometimes volleys too. More often than not, they will have two hands on the racket on both sides. I've heard of people who play one handed on both sides, but ive never seen a person do it and be effective.

    I know girls (adults) who play college tennis who serve right hand and then use the non dominant hand on the bottom, which is effectively playing left handed. They call their left handed backhand their forehand, and their left handed two handed forehand their backhand.

    Most of these girls started young, where they adopted a "golf" or "softball" grip and applied it to tennis. Remember, two handed tennis is "backwards" compared to other sports that also use two hands.
     
    #14
  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    Ah, OK. I misunderstood you. When you said these players serve RH and then play LH, I thought you meant exactly that.

    Sure I've seen players with 2H on both sides. Marion Bartoli comes to mind. No big deal.

    Anyway, if you are playing socially and suddenly decide to start playing 2H off of both sides, I'd be shocked if anyone noticed or cared. A sudden decision to play with your non-dominant hand would be noticed and would be kind of insulting, though.
     
    #15
  16. BillH

    BillH Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    236
    I have known two players that serve with one hand and play groundstrokes with the other. They both were left handed and were taught, for some reason, to serve with their dominant hand and hit groundies with the non-dominant.
     
    #16
  17. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Messages:
    2,276
    I was playing a social doubles match yesterday and was really grooving my serves, a couple of second serve aces.
    On match point, I pointed, a la Babe Ruth in 1932, exactly to where the serve was going to go, and told him I was bringing the high heat. I then hit a serve easily 100+mph, and his reply didn't even hit the net.
    That was fun. He couldn't even get mad about it.
    People who care that much about a social doubles match...there's something wrong with them, no?
     
    #17
  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Messages:
    35,099
    The rule is not to embarrass either the male of female opponent, unless they appear ultra-competitive from the beginning (planning strategies, having mini conferences, etc). Sometimes they are a very competitive couple looking for a serious match to improve their skills (played one couple like that yesterday), and the guy was pissed of when they lost 4-6 to us. But that is what he wanted.

    In all other cases, egos must be catered to. For men, shouting "great serve" once in a while after deliberating hitting the return long will do it. For women, "great placement" is a big boost. "Great serve" is also good for women, but they might see through the trick. Shaking you head in disbelief at the effectiveness of a shot after deliberately not getting to the ball also works. Then, they will be happy even after losing to you, and the guy can leave the court with his chest puffed out and a swagger.
     
    #18
  19. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Messages:
    1,143
    So you are referring to yourself here? :confused:
     
    #19
  20. Taxvictim

    Taxvictim Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Messages:
    506
    Location:
    Wake County, NC
    One other guideline for social mixed is this: If my wife is serving and the male receiver hits a polite return back to her, I don't even try to poach.

    Limibeans is correct; you're there to play. We have a 4.5 in our married mixed group, and he constantly hits balls that are probably going out of bounds, just to keep the point alive and the ball in play.
     
    #20
  21. Caesar

    Caesar Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    765
    People have different ideas of what is considered polite social tennis. Some merely consider it to extend to not belting the ball at the woman. Others consider that you shouldn't excessively drop shot / lob elderly seniors and make them do running they're not up to.

    It's not at all unusual for deceptive/sneaky play to be considered a bit ungentlemanly in a fun / basically noncompetitive setting.

    Have you played much social mixed at your club before? Those sorts of competitions generally have a small group of people playing each other pretty regularly, and the unwritten rules are generally implicitly understood by people within that group. It may be that what you're doing, although seemingly inoffensive to you personally, is not the 'done thing' according to local custom for that competition.
     
    #21
  22. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    My wife is one such person. My wife is left handed but she plays most sport right handed (after playing softball as a teenager as a righty). She serves righty but ground strokes as a lefty. I thought this was rare but I guess its not.
     
    #22

Share This Page