Strategy, or just find a stronger partner...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by LeeD, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Just got thru playing with an older gentleman who served mostly to the forehand side, but with speeds well below what I'd consider "60mph", meaning a full on sitter serve. No variety of spin, speed, or placement.
    He held a couple of times, despite his serve. 3 sets. He also complained I didn't help him during his service games by poaching (I tried on about 50%, but the returns were just over the net and hit hard, something I don't relish poaching on). He also complained I didn't cover my overheads, which I didn't due to his weak serve, and the ball landing within 4' of our baseline. I'm no track star, and within 5 years of him.
    The opponent's were one guy recently promoted to 4.0, and the other a steady tournament 3.5. My partner would be mostly an erratic slow moving 3.5 with me a much more erratic, equally slowmoving maybe 4.2 compared to the opposition. We split the first 2, then lost in the tiebreaker in the 3rd.
    I thought we did fine, considering the opposition was tournament tested level, and taking the sets serriously. As usual, I didn't need to take this seriously, until my partner lamented on my lack of poaching and putaway overheads. By then, it was too late.
    Yes, they picked on him every chance they got. Yes, I could have done more by poaching more and slamming away every overhead. No, I didn't have the physical ability to put away overheads that land that close to the baseline, or to put away poaches that were thigh high and moving decently fast (from forehand returns)
    I'll probably forget this one next week, but my partner swore he'd never try to play with me again. That would be OK, but I play about once every 3 weeks, so it's hard to pass on playing partners.
     
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  2. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    I presume that the gentleman is not your normal partner. I would ignore his remarks as he doesn't have a clue about how relatively weak his game is. Next time you run into him, try and set it up so that he is on the other team. Then you can 'pound' him and have him blame his partner.

    There's not much you can do strategy wise if your opponents are any good. Their shots will find him no matter what you try to do.
     
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  3. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I have no use for dubs partners that are critical. There are ways to make constructive suggestions about how you can play better together. Your guy was just a bone head. I hear you about not wanting to turn down a chance to play, but sometimes you just need to say no.
     
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  4. tvu

    tvu New User

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    Doubles requires good communication - and encouraging words - even when you didn't make that shot(goes both ways). Have a friendly chat, and if nothing changes, then it's time for new partner.
     
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  5. FoxHound

    FoxHound New User

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    Try playing with both of you back, and then move forward as play dictates. I play with some retired gentlemen and although I can run down the lobs i prefer not to. The guys I play with have sitter serves and good groundstrokes. so i get passed down the line, crosscourt and lobbed all the time just because the serve is so weak that they can do what ever they want with it. Playing both back takes away the down the line and lob. this also seems to throw them off as well. It seems to put pressure on them to try something different so it tends to make them over hit or net the balls. Also they will try the drop shot but usually everyone is better at moving forward for a drop shot than backwards for a lob.

    I guess just try giving the returning team a different look. you'll neutralize their weapons and really give youself a chance to start the point from a neutral position.

    Also theres never anything wrong with bringing in a ringer from the local club.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Thanks, Foxhound.
    The thought never occurred to me, as I play an average of once every 3 weeks, and am out of the loop. I didn't say anything, but I just couldn't believe a near 3.5 player would choose to always serve to the forehand side with a weak, slow, soft spinning sidespin serve. I guess I need to find more players of my level, but that's hard to find in playground pickup courts.
    My problems is that while I don't like to lose, I also don't need to win, meaning close sets are better than lopsided. Best would be 3 tiebreakers, all close.
     
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  7. FoxHound

    FoxHound New User

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    Glad I could give you something to try.. And I hear you on the pickup games.. Run it buy your partner but I have a feeling that he won't like the both back formation if he thinks that youre not poaching enough because you wont be poaching at all now lol. Try the stratgy first if hes still a jerk about it then its time to use craigslist to find some other hitting partners and playing with someone at your skill level will be much more rewarding.
     
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  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    You may indeed to write your partner off as hopelessly clueless.
    That's obviously up to you.

    But people can be momentarily way more angry right after a loss, and yet be more reasonable later on. [Baghdatitis broke 4 racquets yesterday at AO - probably he won't do it again.]

    In some ways, his anger was a compliment - he perceives you as a much superior player. As such his anger was largely based on the feeling that you just weren't trying.

    IF you decide he's someone you might want to play with again, you may want to consider approaching him next time you see him.
    You could mention you were sorry there was a misunderstanding about what he expected from your play. That you were reluctant to do a lot of poaching and go after a lot of overheads lest you be considered a "ball hog". You might mention your ankle woes won't allow you to be as agile as he thinks you should be.
    If he replies that he was a little hot under the collar after a close loss and sees your point, there is potential hope for play together again.
    If he remains belligerent ... well, he's just a jerk.

    But as I started, if your overwhelming sense is that he is hopelessly clueless then indeed just forget about it.
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Or maybe I'm hopelessly clueless, expecting to find my partners to analyse and diagnose the match during play, and come up with something different than what is barely passable.
    For now, I just have to accept my fate....as the second best player at the courts (for noon doubles), just expect to get someone weak and trying to hit within himself. At least I don't get partnered with the weakest when the guy guy shows up.
     
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  10. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    What a good posts. You nailed it for the most part.
    Lee, I feel the pain in this one from both sides a bit. Im usually the better of 4 and often get the worst of 4 for a partner. Usually this 4th best guy is a little clueless which accounts for 80% of why he is the worst out there.

    On the other hand, while I can serve some big serves, I don't normally serve that big for several reasons. Then main one is that due to past injuries etc.. pain is often involved.
    At times my partner may feel and/or say that my serve is giving us problems. So In this case, I can feel for your partner who may feel that you didn't give your best believing that the serve was too much of a problem. My take on it is quite different though. When I have a partner who is solid at net, I have no problem holding serve, even at quite high levels of play. On the other hand, if the netman is weak, often my serve will not be enough to protect him and he will be exposed. Opponents can achieve 2 objectives by going at his weakness at net and avoiding my S&V approach. I don't think this fits the case you mentioned, but it does make me consider it.

    When playing with a weak net man, I will usually stay back to entice them to hit back to me and therefore keeping it away from my netman and also avoiding the lob during my dash in. When I get a good approach opportunity, then I get in tight, but ready to deal with lobs better than when on S&V. This way once in the point, they are less likely to pick on my partner during the heat of an exchange. Helps to win more or at least make a match of it with a weaker partner.
     
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    What about when the partner stands just behind center of service court, cannot put away or pressure ANY high volleys (can put away drop shots to him when he's standing there), and mishits at least 2 high volleys EACH AND EVERY game for two losers.
    I did appreciate his effort to take away all center balls, as I am basically crippled, but it would be nice if he could hit even 3 pressuring volleys out of 20 attempts....actually closer to 30 high volley attempts. Or at least 30% IN to anywhere on the opponent's court.
     
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  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Lee, you know from past discussions that I can't abide partners in no-mans land, but love to see it across the net!
     
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  13. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    How about when one's partner is returning serve? I though it was okay to stand slightly behind the service line (to close the gap and be ready to return poaches)? Of course, one shouldn't be rooted there...
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    My take.
    If my partner can consistently return low and angled, I stand 3' inside my service line when I"m not recieiving. If my partner sprays the ball and having problems, I stand 1' behind my service line for defensive purposes. If my partner only hits weak high returns, we lose.
     
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  15. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Ah, 1969.
    I was 20, shaping surfboards for a living, spending the late winter/most of spring on Oahu, living at my childhood home with 2 of my surfing buds, 3 blocks from OceanBeachSF, at the beginning of my bigger wave riding days, just bought a 250CZ motocrosser (with low pipes, Koni shocks, Rental bars), and little did I know I'd be joining the Army for a 8 year hitch.
     
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  17. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    Makes sense. Actually, when I have a really weak partner who is usually also a nice guy (mercifully), I stand at the baseline when he's returning. I tell him to run to net as soon as he can - basically, to stand two feet from the net and tomahawk the ball if it's within reach. I stay at the baseline and play singles... :) it actually works sometimes!
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Interesting strategy.
    Might not work if your opponent's are tournament tough 3.5 and 4.0 consistent players who depend on legs and will to win.
    And my partner must have been in his 60's, with me well into that...neither having the legs to reach net position without hitting balls from NML.
    Remember, from mid service line position, I cannot crabskip back to the baseline to retrieve lobs over my head. Of course, neither does my serving partner ever come inside the baseline after he serves.
     
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  19. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    Ask him if he is playing up or back,because either of those would be better than what he is currently doing. If he has a problem with it,advise him that you can't do it on your own,and you need to work as a team if he wants to win. No man's a land is a place you pass through at times,but not a very good place stay.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    In his defense, he's short at 5'4", doesn't move well, as neither do I, and our opponent's love to lob. We actually sorta both play from just behind our service lines.
     
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    you got it. From just behind the svc line you can face the poacher and help call the svc line on serve, then
    read your partners return.

    as you say, if the poach happens, you are right there to cover the gap,
    if the return gets thru, you follow to good net position, and
    if the return is lobbed, shanked, or any reason to be defensive, you can retreat to help defend at the BL,
    looking to get back to net on a good approach shot.
     
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  22. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, when older and coverage is tough, that is a special situation where playing some no-mans land may be how it is. Just hope it's that way for both teams! : )
     
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  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yes, both teams tend to stay in place just behind the service line. The opposition was a sloth moving 3.5 and a slow moving recently promoted 4.0, but 10 years younger than either of us.
    Oh, the horrors of old man's tennis.......
    Seems nobody young can get noon times off work.
     
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  24. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It's just so awesome we have a sport we can play most of our lives;

    even if we have to make a few concessions. lol
     
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  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    :)
    Well, I was pretty decent surfer up to age 30, and now 32 years later, needing only a foot longer board, seem to be pretty decent. Of course, can't handle tough beachbreaks, or bigger waves, or heavy crowds.....sorta like old man's tennis not handling 30 year olds, or retrievers who want to stay on court for 3 hours to play one match, I guess.
     
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  26. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    As my mom told me, "Just smile and be pleasant."
     
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  27. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Great advice from your mom and I need to practice that more! lol
     
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  28. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    3 against 1?

    I've played with statues and oil paintings, so I feel your pain.

    There's no point in playing at the net if your partner can't set you up with a decent serve. Stay back.

    You didn't mention what happened when you served. I thought I remember you having some monster serve that should have put both your opponents on their heels. Did your weak partner blow it for you at the net too? I can't count how many times I've hit a good first serve for a floater return that my partner promptly dumped into the net.

    What happened in the games you were returning serves?

    If you were playing 3 against 1, as I have on occasion, then there's not much you can do about it other than grin and bear it. We've all been there.
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Lefty 4.5 level serve, 5'11" tall, can solicit mishit returns to "within reach" of my netman partner about half the time.
    He managed to tip the ball with the edge of his racket about half the time, and did bunt it down the middle the rest. I don't mind the bunt's down the middle, but tipping the ball with his frame can be annoying, especially twice each of my service games. He knew I couldn't run normal, so he tried to take shots he couldn't really reach.
     
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