Somewhat-Less-Than-Excellent Adventures Of Topaz, Cindy & Alice: The 3 Racqueteers!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    My 4.0 captain is a guy. He is not a pro. He is a 3.5 player who plays regular and senior.

    In the fall, he put together an 8.0 mixed team. He contacted me for this new team off of the list of players looking for teams (I was looking for 7.5 ladies combo, not 8.0 mixed). Intrigued, I went to a few practices. I learned that the team had no 4.5 men (other than a couple of self-rates who had rated too high IMHO), so I would be with a 3.5 guy or a 4.0 guy. I figured that since I still struggle at 7.0 mixed, I had no business signing up for 8.0 without a solid 4.5 by my side, so I took a pass.

    Then this spring, a 3.5 woman I knew approached me and said he was starting a new 4.0 team and needed players, so I volunteered.

    I have to say, I am liking this captain. Sure, we don't agree on everything concerning doubles strategy. But he runs actual practices with drills that make sense. Given how hard it is to convince anyone I know to practice, I really appreciate this. He really emphasizes net play and volleys and aggression, and I like this. He is slowly but surely fixing some fairly entrenched positioning problems among the players.

    And by golly, he is a complete and total character. I have a sense that there is a whole lot of interesting stuff in his backstory. He gives people nicknames (I am "CC," our Doubles One team is "Double A" and another lady is "Six" for reasons I do not understand). Last night, he exchanged line-ups and then took attendance like a substitute teacher, requiring the players from the other team to raise their hands when he called their names. Everyone was having a really good time watching this.

    He is such a *guy,* though. I mean, no female captain would ever send out a match report that says anything that could be remotely construed as negative. His match reports strike me as consistent with the way Dudes here talk about themselves and their matches: Brutally frank. Feelings? People have feelings? Puh!

    His players seem fiercely loyal to him, and I have a feeling I will be playing on his teams in the future because there is a lot there to like.

    Cindy -- hoping she doesn't get the new nickname "AS" -- for Awkward Strokes
     
    #51
  2. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    Some may prefer that over being called a "sissy". :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
    #52
  3. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    Some may prefer that over being called a "sissy".
    :)
     
    #53
  4. TennisND

    TennisND Rookie

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    Cindy,

    It's hard to get the good team captain. Luckily mine is a good cheer leader and well-planned lady. We got beer after the game too. But we don't have lots of practice as I expected. Did you have lots of team practice since it's crucial for mixed or doubles?
     
    #54
  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    This is the only team I have ever been on that had actual practices.

    On my mixed team, my captain gave up because no one came. Same story on the team I captain; I long ago stopped trying. Even when these other teams did have a practice or two, it was just everyone playing doubles. Which means no one does anything differently and we all just make the same old positioning, shot selection and stroke mistakes we always do. Propose doing a drill -- even something as important as volley-to-volley practice -- and no one will do it. In contrast, this captain has started every practice with a good 30 minutes of volley-to-volley drills from the service line.

    So this team's practices are one of the team's best features. We even have one lady who is on an opposing team who attends our practices! I'd rather be on a losing team that helps me improve than on a winning team where I keep making the same old mistakes, that's for sure.
     
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  6. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Spot on; most think practice is nothing more than playing as usual. My last Reston team, when it practiced at all, just did the same old thing, time after time. I kept telling this one lady - a very nice 3.5 player, singles and doubles - that when her husband hit a short ball to me in the deuce court, I was going to hit it down the line every time and she should recognize that and shade toward the alley when he hit that shot.

    How many times did she take my advice? Nada, zilch, zero. Easy point every time.

    *sigh*
     
    #56
  7. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Sure I can...the overhitting is a result of my technique, not the racquet. I'm very sure I could overhit with a KPS88. In fact, I think I already did back in January!

    The ktour helps, but yeah...I can still launch it into the back curtain and be surprised by it. Actually, I'd rather that happen than I get tight, and start hitting short.

    My goal is to play how I've been practicing to play...even if I screw it up and don't win. I don't want to play the 3.5 hacker/dinker game, because that won't work on high levels.
     
    #57
  8. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    sure it will...just look at tfm, hahaha. but seriously, don't be snotty about the "3.5 hacker/dinker game," chickie--because it's what i aspire to achieve by the end of the season!

    you have beautiful, solid strokes--have you read those posts singing your praises over there??--so i don't really see you as the "hacker/dinker type." you play with deliberation and integrity, but whew! those things take up time to set up. which is why i sincerely believe that hacking/dinking is a pricelessly valuable skill, especially on a doubles court.

    and cindy? you know who plays awkward tennis? those bryan boys. they own the patent on ugly, self-defensive volleys.
     
    #58
  9. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Well, maybe I didn't describe what I meant quite well...but the strokes I mean are ones that are not necessarily going to move a person up a level. Like Cindy, I aspire to move to 4.0, though I'm not sure it will happen this year. I actually feel like I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do this year. I've worked my butt off, but until I actually get into match play...who knows? See my comments on the 'dinker' below.


    Why thank you! By 'over there', do you mean the TWMAC thread? Uh, I'll have to disagree with you there. Then again, I've been there for a very long time and have been ridiculed with repeated taunts of 'dropshot' until I was in tears, called 'slowpaz', and had my record from last year (a badly losing one) made fun of. And some people wonder why it appears that I have no sense of humor. It is defeating to work so hard, log on, and see those kinds of things. I, uh, wasn't laughing. Yeah, I know I've got a chip on my shoulder, but it didn't get there by itself, trust me.

    The dinking I refer to is the stuff I see in singles, really...because it gets me the short ball that I want, but it is low instead of high, and I have a hard time figuring out what to do with it.

    I had a girl that I played twice, in two different tournaments, last year in singles. She was nothing but junk. Frustrated the crap out of me until I just didn't care what happened because I couldn't hit it hard (it would go out or into the net) and if I dinked back, she would simply lob me, as her dink would get me in horrible position on the court. That was her only game, and against me, it worked beautifully. I simply didn't have the tools to counteract that game, and I hope I do now, as a lot of women at 3.5 seem to have that game down pat!

    Hmmm, I hope I get a rematch with her this summer! :twisted:
     
    #59
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Topaz, I am thinking this whole thing is discouraging for a different reason.

    There is this 3.5 singles specialist woman on my 4.0 team. She is . . . wow. Um. Maybe I'll just describe her strokes.

    She doesn't really have a reliable backhand. Her volleys aren't so hot. And her shots have no spin and are flat and don't have any discernable spin. Let's say she does not hit a heavy ball. She gets around the court well and can reach most things, although I think I could take her in a sprint and possibly a shorter distance race. Her serve is a push deep into the middle of the service box, although it is possible that she can aim it. I played her once in practice doubles and she didn't do well.

    She beat a 4.0 player 6-0, 6-0 last night. My captain's report praised her brilliant tactics. She hit every ball deep, up the middle. When the opponent hit an angle, she just looped it back deep up the middle. This went on for 43 minutes and the match was over.

    And the opponent probably hung herself after the match.

    Now, if that is what will move you to 4.0, my AS ("awkward strokes") do not stand a chance.

    Cindy -- who has decided there must have been a typo and the captain really meant "awesome" strokes
     
    #60
  11. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Hmm, well, not really...you did say she hit everything back deep right? So, even if she wasn't hitting the snot out of the ball, she was keeping it in the court, keeping it deep in the court, and getting to a lot of balls. Those are three really important things there, IMO. She stayed patient, and her opponent was probably going nuts. Also, if it was only over in 43 minutes...it sounds like her opponent made a lot of errors...because it doesn't sound like your teammate made the errors.

    Having not seen this person, again, I would say that she played a smart match, regardless of what her strokes look like.

    I know, for *me*, that many of problems (control) came from bad technique, so we set about fixing that. I still struggle, especially when I'm nervous, with keeping the ball deep in singles. Even if it is in the center of the court, if it is deep, then my opponent probably won't hit a winner off of it.

    Right? *scratching head* Are we talking about the same thing and basically agreeing with each other?
     
    #61
  12. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Uh, guilty, :oops: but didn't realize at the time that it hurt you so. Have not done it since, I hope. If I do it again, feel free to kick my butt.

    If she did, she's twice dumb. It's still a game, should be fun win or lose. If someone's game gives you trouble, do some thinking during the match and find an answer. Or work on beating that particular person's game between matches. It's an intellectual challenge as much as a physical challenge.

    And as long as your strokes work, don't let anyone else's labels bother you. I've been called everything you can think of by guys I beat or push to their limits - dinker, pusher, slicer, dicer, crafty, consistent, overachiever - everything except good. And that's okay; as long as I've given my best between the lines, I can walk off the court with a good feeling, win or lose.

    Unless the other guy's a jerk, of course; then it gets personal. But that's another story.
     
    #62
  13. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    was she sporting a korean-lite 5 o'clock shadow at noon? did she try to scam your racquet during a changeover? did she have a soul-crushing cackle too???
     
    #63
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    But Topaz -- hitting 500 (or whatever the number is) groundstrokes to the center of the baseline is *boring.* It is boring to do, it is boring to watch, it is even boring to think about.

    Really, what other sport rewards boring, conservative tactics to that extent? You think the person skating in a straight line is going to win the Gold? You think the wrestler who never attempts a takedown but just lies face down on the mat is going to be on the cover of a Wheaties box? Or the diver with nothing in her repertoire but a swan dive, even if it is a really good one? Even Muhammad Ali stopped his rope-a-dope when the time was right and threw an actual punch.

    Maybe I really should stay away from singles . . .
     
    #64
  15. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    ^^^Yup, been called boring, too. *sigh*
     
    #65
  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Aargh. I think I know why I am reacting so badly to this lady's double-bagel.

    People who are pushing 50 often set goals. A common one is to run a marathon. I didn't want to do a marathon. Instead, I decided to try to make it to 4.0. That's my marathon.

    And now I find that you can essentially be a pusher and destroy a 4.0 in less than an hour? What kind of goal have I set? Even if I reach it, I will still be surrounded by pushers. Maybe I'll even be a pusher myself?

    Maybe I need a different goal . . . .
     
    #66
  17. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Well, I *did* try to get you at the net! :twisted:

    It was a bad season last year, and I was brutally honest about it, and yeah...just didn't need to be made fun of. I'll be sure to kick your butt (and anyone else's...*coughcoughTFMcoughcough*) if ya do it again, ok?

    Honestly though...I'm scared stiff that bad season is going to happen again...I'm somewhat petrified for my first singles match. I'm scared that all that hard work...won't pay off. Instead, I should be strutting onto that court with confidence right? I hope I can channel it before Sunday!

    I am my own worst enemy.

    And right there, in bold, is my biggest weakness, I think.

    I don't think you're a dinker, and I wouldn't put you in the slice and dice category, either. You hit with topspin sometimes, and underspin other times...keeps your opponent guessing. Let's see, I would call that...all court craftiness. I wish I had some!

    Lol, no...she was pretty pale, and had an impressive boob job!

    Well, but she didn't have to do more than hit boring shots to win that match. It is obviously a shot she does very, very well, and shame on her opponent for not forcing her to have to change her tactics.

    Just because this one 4.0 got beat doesn't mean other 4.0s are going to go down as easily.

    IMO, someone who hits consistently deep into the court isn't a pusher. That's the foundation of some good solid strokes and strategy...you add the pace (and maybe spin) later. If you hit short in the higher levels, you'll get punished more often than not for those short shots.

    I think you're on the right track Cindy! Don't think so much!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
    #67
  18. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    i know that you're really busy until friday, but you should do something fun & non-tennisy on friday. do something that makes you proud of yourself. because if you can carry that feeling of pride and accomplishment--whether it's from playing music or baking--to your match, i'm sure that you'll be able to focus better, and to play *your* game sunday.

    ...and monday night, when i have the shakes before my first match, you're welcome to cut & paste my pie-in-the-sky, pollyanna motivational speech right back at me!
     
    #68
  19. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Actually, I think that is really great advice...only I'll be at school Friday night, doing the musical *again*.

    But, then, I'll be done! And it is definitely non-tennisy, and if the kids remember even half of their lines (*crossing fingers*), then it might even be fun!

    And if that doesn't work, then we go to 'plan B'...drinking a shot (or two) before my match! :shock:
     
    #69
  20. magmasilk

    magmasilk New User

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    the hard work already payed off. you are better. however, you can't control what happens on the other side of the net. as for being scared, fear of losing is probably worse than actually losing. and smile during the match!
     
    #70
  21. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    ^^^Heh, heh...I'll try my best to smile once and a while, even if it is at an egregious error! Thanks for the boost!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
    #71
  22. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    It does not matter as long as it wins you matches. Does this player do it in every single match? If she does and she still has a winning record (sounds like she does to earn the "specialist" tag), then this speaks more about her opponents.

    If one strategy is working so good to earn you a double bagel, you would be crazy to change it just for the sake of variety. It actually takes a lot of skill to do something well for an entire match.

    And Topaz, you need to work on your short swing topspin to handle those dinks and dinkers. You maybe are hitting too flat (or forgetting that you are hitting from the middle of the court). It should be dink-GoodTopsinInvertedU-Dink-BAM OHorVolley(because you have closed in)
     
    #72
  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Topaz, I'm fighting the same demons. 2008 was an absolute nightmare. Big $$$ spent on lessons, countless hours of practice. Will 2009 be more of the same?

    The other thing that is fear-inducing is that I don't have the luxury of hanging around on Court Three or playing the weaker opponents. We don't have any dominant doubles players. Everyone's pretty good, but "pretty good" is about as good as it gets. I'm playing at higher levels, so that alone is enough to cause yet another losing record. And on two of my three teams, I'm not the captain and therefore have to take whatever partner I get.

    I am working on the schedule for the first few matches now. I could put myself in at No. 2 singles. But I'm afraid that if I lost badly, then it would prove that all this energy put into groundstrokes was a waste of time and I should have watched TV instead. So I will play No. 1 doubles and lose there instead. :(

    Oooh, this is turning into a pity party, huh?
     
    #73
  24. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    Cindy, have you thought of switching racquets? Isn't the golden rule that poor performance is usually the racquet's fault?

    I've switched racquets multiple times myself. I still suck, but I'm hoping one of the switches might work some day. Besides, buying racquets is fun.
     
    #74
  25. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    Now that I think about it, I've never seen you discuss your gear. What are you swinging anyway? And what about strings, grips, etc...
     
    #75
  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Me, I'm officially vintage.

    I use the AeroPro Drive, the old one in black and yellow, not the current model. I guard my rackets, as I know I couldn't replace these two if anything happened to them.

    I am currently stringing with Wilson Sensation on the, erm . . . is the mains? That's because I bought a whole reel of the stuff and I'm not throwing it in the trash. I'll switch to something better when I run out. And then I am using either Spiky Shark or ProLine II on the crosses.

    My true love is Luxilon, and I can't decide whether it is worth the extra money. I mean, Luxilon might be better, but I think I could get equally good results by moving my feet.

    I don't know my tension. I hand the racket and string to my pro, and $15 later he hands me a freshly strung racket. I know he thinks I need control, so he probably does it pretty tight. (Wait, I'm confused. Tight is for control, right?)

    I just started using ProSigma overgrips. Man, these things are sweet!

    And I usually wear black skirts. Black is slimming. Slimming is good.
     
    #76
  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Please, something on the top also.
     
    #77
  28. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ha! Will do, just for you! :)

    Hey, I looked up the woman that my teammate double-bageled. She's self-rated at 4.0, and this was her second 4.0 singles match on Court Two. Last time around she lost 6-0, 6-1.

    So we clearly have someone who self-rated much too high according to the USTA guidelines and not the Real World.

    This restores my faith in humanity and confirms the natural order of things, 'cause I just couldn't wrap my mind around this woman being dominant in 4.0 singles . . .
     
    #78
  29. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    cindy, i've been thinking about your "approaching 50; Must Set & Accomplish a Goal" mindset. so....I'm wondering, what happens if you do reach 4.0 before 50? heaven-sent confetti & streamers? and alternatively, what happens if you're still a 3.5 player? a cosmic "wah-wah-wah"?

    i'm not asking to mock you, or to try to change you...you seem rather immutable, anyway. i'm just asking because i'm an accomplished, life-long slacker, and i'm just curious about all this goal-setting. i can understand the desire to master a skill so that you can enjoy it, but where's the fullfillment from being rated? and by an external, and intrinsically flawed, rating system at that?

    granted, i won't be approaching 50 for another year or two, and i'm not even close to breaking the 4.0 ranking barrier, so what do i know? maybe in a couple of years, maybe i'll actually have won a match, and then things like goals and ratings will be illuminated for me.
     
    #79
  30. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Why set this 4.0 goal? It's a good question that deserves a serious attempt at an answer. I have a feeling that this is going to turn into a bit of a ramble, but here we go anyway.

    I have friends who play socially and have no interest in playing USTA or anything else competitive. One lady doesn't even wish to keep score; she is fine just hitting the ball around.

    Why, then, do the rest of us not approach tennis in this way? Why do we keep score? Why do we play league? Why not just "master" the game by hitting the ball until it is time to go get lunch? We'd still be able to get better or at least know if we were getting better, right?

    I think it is because this sport and all sports (and perhaps even human nature) cry out for an objective measure of skill and progress. You don't really and truly know whether you have a good serve until another person tries to return it. None of us ever gets to know how difficult it is to return our groundstroke or how heavy it is. Our only measure of this is whether people we know to be of similar skill handle it easily or not. The USTA rating system is imperfect, but it is the only way of knowing who is of similar skill.

    I guess your question really has two parts, then. The first question is why set a goal for age 50. It seems like a way to deny that you're getting on in age, I suppose. You'll notice that people often pick something physically demanding when they set these age-related goals (marathons, climbing mountains, Xtreme sports, adventure travel). I've never heard anyone say that their goal for age 50 is to eat an entire pie.

    The second part of the question is why have 4.0 as the goal. I think the reason is that the USTA rating system is the only objective measure we have of amateur tennis progress. I could, I suppose, try to get a tournament ranking but I can't easily play tournaments (due to family obligations). Besides, setting a goal of a particular ranking or winning a particular tournament is really the same sort of thing -- measuring one's progress by a rather arbitrary and objective measure.

    And if I don't make it to 4.0? I haven't thought about that much. Between you and me, I don't think I will make it. Most people don't. Lots of things could derail me (needing to get a job, health problem, injury). Will I cry into my towel? Probably not. But if I do make it, it will be objective (if imperfect) proof that I did get better.

    And if I make 4.0 early? That's easy. I can just appeal down. :)
     
    #80
  31. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    4.0 level of play is more fun.
    Players have reliable strokes. Employ sound strategy. You get a better playing experience. Generally more polite, and adhere to the spirit of the code. Less drama.
    Last Sunday I stepped off the court from my 3.5 match directly onto my 4.0 match. It was night and day difference. I'm glad to be leaving 3.5 after this year.
    I played down for health reasons. I chose a last place 3.5 team to join in order to get weekly matches. My weight is now 221 lbs. Down from 251 Jan. 2008.
    I was able to handle the schedule in advance style of my 3.5 Captain. This past year was a success, so overall I'm happy with my 3.5 experience.
    But I'm looking foward to just playing 4.0.
    Robby C
     
    #81
  32. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    I turn 47 this year. I'll be 50 in the 2012 season. The guys I played with on those winning Independent teams from the 90's are still here playing Senior 4.0. I look foward to reuniting with my old teammates at the Grownup level.
    Good luck Cindy. I hope you reach your goal.
    Robby C
     
    #82
  33. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Check it out: Page 29, USTA Mid-Atlantic 2009 Yearbook, NTRP Final Rankings, Women's 3.5 Singles (No. 3 = someone we know) and Women's 3.5 Doubles (No. 5 = someone we know).

    Not too shabby; not too shabby at all. :) Well done, very well done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
    #83
  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Got a link? I can't find it.
     
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  35. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    hey, cindy! i just looked at your profile, and we have the same birthday! it's like alice301=bizarro world cindysphinx!

    oh, i figured out why i couldn't understand your 4.0 goal-setting. it was because i haven't gotten past the primary and secondary qualities of substance a la john locke (primary: definite & measurable properties of substance--your zippy, spinny serve; secondary: your responsive perception--"ooohh, that racquet contact was right-on") to get to the tertiary quality: the effects of a substance (your serve) on another substance (your opponent), which as you point out, is really what sports is all about.

    so yeah. i need to play some more matches. and uhh, actually experience a win.
     
    #85
  36. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    And on page 29 under men's 3.5 doubles at #3 is someone else we know, too! A tip of the hat to you as well, sir!

    Cindy, the yearbook came in the mail for me yesterday (and it looks like Xisbum, too). Not sure there is a link. It is from the tournaments I did last summer. Not really a reflection of my actual skill, unfortunately, just a reflection of my ability to go out there and do it again and again.
     
    #86
  37. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Things I learned today while captaining my first DC match:
    *leaving early is good
    *always check with the opposing team for defaults before handing your line-up in at the desk
    *don't play like a 2.5!!! :(

    So, today started off really great. Needless to say, after 3 13 and 1/2 hour workdays, I was pretty exhausted last night and went to bed at 10:30pm. I woke up feeling pretty good nice and early. I puttered around a bit, then got ready for the match. My plan was to go out and hit against a wall before heading to the site.

    However, when I got to the car, I noticed that the tennis balls my co-captain had given me were all hard court balls, and none of the were clay court balls (we were scheduled on the clay today). I wasn't sure if this was going to be a problem or not, but since it was so early, I decided to run to Sports Authority, pick up some clay court balls, then head to the site and warm up on the wall there.

    And that ended up being a good plan for several reason. First, I also got to pick up a new tank to be embroidered with my indoor team's name. I got a bra, too, but I'm not going to have that embroidered. :twisted: And, it gave me a large head start on match time so that the 45 minutes I spent in traffic on the f*cking bridge didn't actually make me late, just not insanely early.

    And, what a surprise to walk into the bubble to go to the ladies room, and as I walk out I thought I heard someone say 'Hey Topaz'. I looked back for a moment, but I wasn't sure I heard correctly. I went back in later to put on my ankle brace and sure enough, fellow TTWMACer Zapvor was manning the desk!!! Sorry about blowing you off the first time Zappy!

    Ok, this is where things get tricky. We were about 10 minutes to match time, and 2 women were stuck on the bridge. They were supposed to be on #2 and #3 dubs. So, just in case they didn't make it in time, I did a last minute switch so I would have a full court at #2, and if we had to default, it would be on #3. Then I handed in the line-up. Then I checked with the opposing captain to give her the court assignments (as we were home team), and found out that they were defaulting #2 singles.

    I begged, I pleaded, but there was no way to get that line-up back and put my #2 singles in for #3 dubs. Damm*t!!!

    It ended up being ok, though, as everyone made it just in the nick of time, and the running they did to get there from their cars made for a nice warmup.

    Now, my partner and I, who I LOVE playing with, were on court #1 doubles. We had a tight, tight first set, came back from 1-4 down to win it 7-5. We were both playing very tight, but I was doing okay. I had a rough time serving, as my toss was right in the sun, but no doubles. And eventually, the sun moved, and I was ok.

    However.

    The second set was quite possibly the worst set of tennis that I have EVER played in my life. I am NOT exaggerating here. I think I should have at least tried playing lefthanded. We were down 0-5, with me serving, when somehow I managed to hit a few winners. We were locked in a tight game at 1-5 when we ran out of time. We lost on games.

    I almost want to laugh, because seriously...I was playing *that bad*. Horrible. Part of me is thinking 'well, at least you got that out of your system', but there is a tiny part that is really, really worried.

    It is all in my head, too. I'm well aware that I'm a basketcase. I'm working on it. But it was so scary to suddenly just not have *anything* working. I'm so embarrassed, and I feel I need to buy my partner a car in order to make up for my horrible playing. She was tight, too, but she didn't go away for a whole set like I did. UGH!

    I have to give a big shout out to Alice, though...for calling and helping me put my head on straight! Alice, it means more than you! You rock!

    So, the good news is that #1 dubs was the only court we lost, and all my other players had a really easy time of it. Ok, next time, I'm on court #3!!!!!!!!
     
    #87
  38. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Also, just got talked into signing up for FlexLeague 3.5 singles with a friend. We'll see how that goes!
     
    #88
  39. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Topaz, I'm really sorry to hear about the loss. Or more specifically, sorry to hear you didn't feel you played well, which is more important. It probably wasn't as bad as you think. Right?

    Regarding the line-up, you're not entitled to shuffle after you learn of a default. Which is why it is dangerous to stack and put your good players on the lower courts. They might wind up sitting on the bench while your weak players get spanked. You'll always find my top players on Courts One or Two for that reason (unless I take a head count and know for sure that I see 8 opponents).

    Me, I wasn't in the line-up today. I played my husband in some singles. He's a 2.5. I won 6-0. And guess what? I played badly!

    Cindy -- who really suffered in our first hot day of the year
     
    #89
  40. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Oh, I know, but at that point our entire #3 doubles team wasn't there yet, and if I had checked with the opposing captain first, then I could have shifted my #2 singles to #3 doubles to at least have one person there. But then my two gals showed up just in time to get on the court, so that worked out. I felt horrible for the gal who showed up on time, very responsible, and then didn't get to play. :(

    OH, I love the heat! I say bring it on! :) Of course, I was slathered with sunscreen yesterday, too. That is something I need to be better about this year. I'm also starting a nice 'ankle-brace' tan line! :oops:
     
    #90
  41. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Alrighty then.

    Had my first singles match tonight at #1 with my indoor NOVA team. Spent the whole day pretty much petrified, but tried to follow Alice's excellent advice of doing something non-tennisy (I didn't go shopping, but my apartment looks great!).

    Got there really early, commiserated over the feeling of having to throw up with our other singles player. I knew a lot of the women on the other team, and one came up and gave me a high five and said 'Number 5!!!' (referring to my 2008 3.5 singles ranking in the section due to my many wins...in the consolation brackets of NTRP tournaments last summer). That was kinda cool! She plays at my club, and I"ve known her for quite a while.

    But I wasn't playing her, I ended up playing K, a woman who was on my mixed team! Hunh. Ok, so, this was my gameplan:
    1. Feet.
    2. Eyes/Head...on the ball, not popping out too soon.
    3. Breathe!

    I did the first two ok, and not sure if I was breathing, really, for the entire match.

    So, we get started, and I had a specific game plan for at least the first 3 games of the match (I served first). First serve, *bam*, FH winner. OK, now that's a great start!

    And, for once, I did have a great start, and took the first set 6-1. Yay!

    Then, kept it up in the second set, and was up 5-2, serving for the match. And yes, gentle reader, that is when the wheels starting coming off. Suddenly I was netting things left and right. Ok, deep breath...tried to stay focused and not get upset.

    But the full choke was on. At 5-5 I felt a bit of panic. She holds, I'm serving 5-6 to stay in the second set. And serve and play a great game! Jeesh! Where was that when I was serving at 5-2 and 5-4?!? Jeez, I am *such* a freakin' basketcase!

    OK, so, 6-all, and we start our second set tiebreak. She's serving, nets the first serve, and the buzzer goes off. I won on games.

    And this is the glory of the timed match. Usually it bites me in the ass because I'm a slow start, but coming out with a gameplan made a huge difference.

    We came off of the court, and the opposing team's pro was there...someone I used to work with a long time ago. I was happy to see her, and was giving her a hug, when I also mouthed to my waiting team 'I won'.

    And they cheered! :) Because I was the deciding match for the team win! HOLY SH*T!!! Good thing I didn't know, because I would have choked like you wouldn't have believed!

    I was also glad the pro was there...because she saw me choke, and was able to tell me...my feet. I stopped moving my feet. It is so bizarre...because I was trying to remind myself of that, and I didn't feel like I wasn't moving them as well, but wow...

    Ok, so lessons learned:
    *come out strong and with a gameplan
    *really, really, really need to move those feet when I'm tight and/or trying to close things out

    Final score 6-1, 6-6. Timed match.

    Should have been, 6-1, 6-2. But I did some things very well, and I definitely know what I need to improve upon for next time.
     
    #91
  42. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    *****CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!*****

    Seriously, this is huge! An honest-to-goodness singles win. You should be so proud!!
     
    #92
  43. Xisbum

    Xisbum Semi-Pro

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    Cool. Next time, play the second set like it doesn't matter. You'll be surprised. Keep it up. Lady. :)
     
    #93
  44. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Thanks Cindy! I'm especially happy that I was able to contribute in a big way to the team win, too.

    I'm wondering, though, if this will make me more tight for the next one, or if I will relax a bit and have more confidence. I hope it is the second one!

    Also, not sure if I'm going to be able to move in the morning...gosh, I'm sore!
     
    #94
  45. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Thanks Xisbum! I will try that next time...and maybe a shot or two may help, too? :)
     
    #95
  46. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    hey, great job topaz! especially on keeping your focus on The Plan in the first set. and the best thing is that hopefully you'll be able to remember what that felt like, in order to re-create it for yourself next time. which hopefully won't be against me...

    i've been working on visualizing myself finding my way out of the dreaded "where did my groundstrokes/serves/brain go?" hole since our last conversation. this is my checklist for climbing my way out:
    • relaxing my arms & shoulders
    • keeping my feet moving
    • picking a smart target for each shot
    now when you go shopping (there's an ATLoft in frederick, btw), it'll be a celebratory excursion!
     
    #96
  47. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What was your specific game plan for the first three games of the match?

    I'm playing this morning. I think my plan will be to pass 5 good shots over the net and see if she can hang. If she can, then I'll start pounding her backhand. If that doesn't work, I'll start moonballing. If that doesn't work, I'll charge the net indiscriminately.

    If that doesn't work, I'll retire.
     
    #97
  48. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Went to play with my friend. She is a 3.0 singles player who isn't really 3.0. Plays 3.5. Good serve, pretty strokes, pretty volleys.

    We decided to spend the time practicing, which is helpful. Then it was getting hot so we decided to play a 10-point tiebreak. Final score: 10-3 for me.

    You will notice no celebration from me. I served two double-faults, for one thing (!). And I had no strategy. I just returned the ball a few times and she made mistakes with her backhand. Mistakes a stronger player would never make. And she went for a lot of winners that hit the alleys. Winners a stronger player would make.

    I hit only one high-quality shot: An inside-out FH approach shot. Everything else was crap.

    Afterward, she said she thought I had a good strategy -- hitting to her BH. What she doesn't know is that I had no strategy. I play ad court, so my strongest shots are the CC BH and inside-out FH. Had she been a lefty with a weak BH, she would have killed me. On account of how I can't hit the ball the other direction. :(
     
    #98
  49. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    But, Cindy! That's all it takes sometimes. You stayed patient, and let her make the mistakes..meaning that *you* did not make the mistakes! Sometimes you don't have to hit winners...to win!

    Now, you know what holes you need to plug up, too, though, when you do face those stronger opponents.

    Ugh, I'm stuck inside...I wanna go outside and play!!!
     
    #99
  50. alice301

    alice301 New User

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    that's exactly what our coach was trying to get through to us this morning during our practice! to "work the point;" that is, to set up good cross-court shots.

    i am sooo unprepared to play my singles match tomorrow morning! ack! i had planned to play a practice singles match this afternoon, but my son has terrible timing and is home with a fever today.
     

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