Tennis Fallacies.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by dozu, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    you've heard them before.... e.g.

    the 7th game fallacy - as if this is really the most important game... that's BS, the 1st thru the 6th games are just as important, so you enter the 7th game up 4-2 instead of 3-3...... actually, pure statistically speaking, 7th game is slightly less important than the 1st thru the 6th, as a set can end with 6-0, which renders 7th game meaningless.

    the 'get to 30 first in a game' fallacy.... nothing can sound more silly... so silly I don't even wonna bother with a counter-argument.

    what other illogical stuff have you heard?
     
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  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    "He needs a huge first serve now" - duh, everyone needs it all the time.

    "He needs to work on his first-serve percentage" - yeah, right. He needs to manipulate that percentage number rather than just hit the serves in.

    "The momentum has swung back to him after it shifted to his opponent" - that is the same thing as he was winning, then losing, then winning again.

    "Today was not his day" - which means he lost.

    "Needs to cut down on those unforced errors" - really? Like keeping the ball inside the lines?
     
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  3. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    "Best time to get a break is when you've just been broken." - About as good as the 7th game fallacy.

    "The serve is the most important shot in the game." - Haven't heard that in a while, but it was once popular. Dementieva disproved that every time she won.

    "The big server has the advantage in the tie-breaker." - Ok, maybe if you're Pete Sampras.
     
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  4. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Well, the 7th game, can be important but I would agree that all games are important as dosu says.

    However, I do like players trying to get "up" in any game. I don't know the exact odds but think they are very much in your favor if you go up 30-love in any game. As a coach, I always want my players to get ahead in any game.
     
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  5. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    ^^^ papa, I think 'get ahead in any game' is a fallacy LOL
     
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  6. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    #6
  7. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    excellent read !

    so hypothesis 10 (7th game) is indeed complete nonsense.
     
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  8. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    I don't think all games are as important and it has a lot to do with psychology. Getting broken in the 1st game is much different than getting broken in the 7th in terms of mental strength to come back.
     
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  9. papa

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    A fallacy in that you think you should consistently play from behind? You seem rather savvy in terms of tennis, so I'm guessing I'm missing something.
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    "You need to consolidate a break by holding your serve" - I suppose just winning the game should suffice?
     
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Darn why no right/wrong summary for each of them? I don't have the time to read the full article.
     
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  12. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am curious about "try to hit one more ball in."

    Does it really make a difference as claimed? Or is it usually a foolish waste of energy trying to chase down an impossible shot, or getting it back in only to be put away? What %tage of these chased-down shots actually end up winning the point for the chaser?
     
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  13. purge

    purge Hall of Fame

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    in tennis you only have to win one point. the last one
     
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  14. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Ha, it is a lot of reading. Economists are a wordy bunch!
     
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  15. DjokovicForTheWin

    DjokovicForTheWin Banned

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    What if you get injured after winning the second last point and can no longer continue? That point becomes the last point for you even though you won it, but lost the match.
     
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  16. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    not sure.... but this is the closest one I can think of -

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_cause_and_consequence

    what I meant was - asking a player to get ahead is the same as asking s/he to win...

    actually I don't think the 'getting ahead' mental cue is useless, it prolly makes the player aware of the score situation and play better.

    I am just saying logically speaking this is 'circular' with asking the player just to win the match.

    If the above makes sense at all... lol.
     
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  17. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    OK, see where your coming from.

    What I've found is that it (winning first two points) lets them (players) get into the game without having to play from being behind. Being ahead/behind is not an absolute indication of outcome but when we consider that a game is winning four points (assuming no-adds), winning the first two is 50%. Even if you play even from that point on, you'll win.

    With kids, they often go for too much on a lot of shots - if they play more conservative for the first couple, its gives them an edge, IMO.
     
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  18. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    My coach used to preach 'one more ball in' when I was a junior and I believe it does make a difference. The conversion rate of chasing down these balls may not be very good, but that's no reason to dismiss it. Getting one more ball in keeps the point going when it otherwise wold have ended. Sure most of the time it may result in another putaway shot for your opponent, but it also gives your opponent one more chance to make an error - we've all missed easy putaways in our time. If you let it go, you've definitely lost the point, if you chase it down, maybe you steal a point here and there that your opponent thought he had, and you never know when one point can make a difference.

    Another effect of putting in the effort to chasing down every ball you can is that it shrinks the court for your opponent. Even if you don't win that point, you are sending a message to your opponent that you will make the effort toget every ball and that may make your opponent aim closer to the lines or hit harder next time at the expense of control. You can force errors with hustle.
     
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  19. Ptrac

    Ptrac Rookie

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    The 12th game is the most important duhhh
     
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  20. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    These are all petty...

    You wanna know whats really BS? Tennis clubs believing that catering only to adults between the ages of 50 and death will help make the club grow. Once a week hit warriors going out there with their slice forehands and feeling all important and getting their panties in a bunch when there are junior lessons going on on the court next to them or they have to play an hour later/earlier cause of junior programs. They're retired anyways, why does it matter so much?
    Juniors are the future of the club, and ones that will most likely become members and play the game for decades to come and bring in more members. Yet clubs don't care about that, they'd rather run the easy Adult Round Robins and ignore the kids, then wonder why they're losing members (age) and not getting new ones.
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Fantastic answer.
     
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  22. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Good points and its not just the exclusive clubs that have this attitude/problem - I see/and hear about it all the time.

    The problem here is that clubs have to cater to those that buy the membership to keep these places afloat - more often than not, its the people your referring too. They are the ones who keep the money flowing in through by spending in the restaurants, pro shops, special events, etc. etc.

    So the question is how do you keep everyone happy and the solution in many cases (not all but most) is the hours (time of day) that certain groups play. For instance, seniors generally prefer mornings whereas younger players are attracted to afternoon or evening play. Works to some extent but unfortunately not always.

    You probably have seen the attitude when we have teams involved, especially when we need all the courts. Most are not pleased if courts are not available to THEM for "whatever" reason.

    Unlike yourself, unfortunately most players are well, self-centered and not too interested in the future - too bad but that's what were dealing with. Those that pay feel they alone have all the rights while those much younger feel they should be showcased. Somehow there has to be a balance.
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I was moved on Sunday to accomodate a bunch of kids playing some league, and did not like it. I make a reservation for a court because I want that court (in this case, close to the changing room and no court on one side), and I am a paying member. It sends the signal that some members are more important than others, and that cannot be allowed.

    I like juniors and hit with them whenever I can, because I like the challenge. But, I don't agree with you that they are that much important to the club. Most juniors move on to college and a job, perhaps elsewhere, and many will not play again till they are settled with job and family. The oldies are the life-blood of the club and won't go anywhere else.

    We lost a club pro (he moved) and he was never replaced. Oldies don't want pros occupying courts and don't care for lessons. This became a huge issue in the club, but finally the oldies won. They feel that they should have a good chance of finding a court when they want to play, and even with 1 out of the 4 pros gone, I notice an improved availability of courts for myself.
     
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  24. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Its effect depends on how successful you are at retreiving and/or how successful your opponent are at hitting. If your opponent is too good and you too suck, then it's a foolish thing to do or even be a fast track to injury and indefinite retirement. Case in point, nobody could say that Nadal is a quitter or even bad as retriever, but you can arguably say that in the last USO final he played like he quit in the 4th set. Live to fight another day.

    Be smart, no saying works all the time. All sayings don't work at one point or another. :)
     
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  25. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    All good observations...

    ...but you have to have a plan, which doesn't mean it has to be complicated. But most players go out there and just hit balls until the last point is over...usually, not in their favor...and then wonder what happened.

    To take the seventh game truism, there probably isn't any good reason, no real data that I know of, for believing in it. Unless, of course, you believe in it enough do the work to get to 3 all, then break in the next game to go ahead in the set...or actions to that effect...in most of the sets you play.

    A corollary of the above is that whatever works for me as a game plan or mantra doesn't have to apply to you or all other tennis players. Here's an example of a very simple, straightforward strategy that one of the top ATP pros is being coached to use:

    - First serve goes out wide, on both sides.

    - Second serve always goes to the backhand.

    - The default rally ball is cross court.

    - Look for a chance to hit a big forehand on your second shot in the rally.

    Would that work for everyone? (Hint: This guy has a 130 mph serve and a big forehand)? Maybe, maybe not. On the other hand, the above game plan has a very neat, compact, easy to remember aspect, doesn't it? Takes a lot of the decision making out of each point. If you wanted to employ such a strategy, what would you have to do? (Hint: work on your serve, most important shot in the game, work on your return, second most important shot in the game, work on your footwork and stroke production so you can hammer a forehand cross court, in the court, 9 times out of ten...)
     
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  26. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Interesting and well worded.
     
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  27. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Anchovies on pizza... bad idea!!!

    Oh, and while I'm at it... decaf coffee. What's up with that?
     
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  28. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    Can I have a BigMac with extra cheese, and a DIET coke pls.
     
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  29. BMC9670

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    Both clubs I play at designate 1-2 courts for lessons/clinics. They may be free to play on, but it's understood that lessons/clinics take priority. This diffuses this situation.

    What I find just as annoying, though, is when I'm working with a kid or group of kids doing basket feeding/drills and a guy sets up in the court next to us (courts grouped by twos) and starts practicing serves, then proceeds to get angry when our balls roll (or fly) into his court. What do they expect when walking on to an adjacent court full of 6-10 year olds?
     
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  30. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    It's hugely important. Back around 1980 I verified that Vic Braden was right -- the average public parks player rarely hits more than three shots in a row without making an unforced error. So every ball you get back, no matter how weakly, carries a significant chance of winning the point. That's why retrievers, who do nothing more than try to get every ball back, are so difficult for us to beat.
     
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  31. TTMR

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    Surely with graphite racquets and larger headsizes, that number has gone up. Though I do agree, the effort is still worth it at low levels.
     
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  32. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    I had a guy this summer who really took exception with me using all the courts for kids team practice although I had advised everyone and put up signage regarding the 2 hour period - 3:30 - 5:30 three days a week. He kept up the complaining which was getting annoying to me and embarrassing to the kids. I finally moved the kids around to accommodate his machine and misc stuff he was there with (balls, baskets, folding chair, cooler, tennis bag, etc.).

    Would you believe he then just sat in his GD folding chair for the next hour and didn't hit one ball - just sat there.

    Had another who was smoking and I reminded him that it was a no-smoking environment around the courts, especially with so many kids around. He preceded to inform me that what "HE" did was none of my business and refused to put it out. I told him it was my business and if he didn't put the thing out or leave, I would have him arrested. He left and I haven't seen him since.
     
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  33. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, consider this...

    ...it may be a little harsh to call the list of items we've been discussing as out and out fallacies. I prefer to think that a lot of these items have a grain of truth, or are true some of the time, in some situations.

    So let's examine a little further the "7th game" dictum. Is there anything to recommend the 7th game of the set as the swing game? I think there's a case for it. My former coach Dave Hodge, was, successively, Men's Assistant at CU Boulder and Men's Assistant at Stanford, and is now one of the coaches for Tennis Australia. He also played on the ATP for about 2 years. Dave once told me that at the Futures and above level, it's not usually the case that both players come to a match primed to go out and play Miracle Tennis and win every point. They both know that they're pretty evenly matched, and that, early in the first set, it's critical to start off well by holding serve and trying to deduce a stategy for breaking your opponent's serve. The idea is to play percentage tennis, lots of first serves in, lots of returns back, accept the fact that it's probably going to be 3 all before you figure out what you need to do to win serve most easily...and, more important, break serve.

    Thus, the criticality of the 7th game. Does this have any application at a less-than-ATP level? It certainly should, if you believe in NTRP. I know...there are different levels of 4.0s, especially if sandbagging is a factor, but I'd say that lots of 4.0 matches are, well, pretty evenly matched, to start off. So let's say I'm coaching two 4.0s in a practice match. Here's what I'd say:

    "Okay, guys, here's the drill. First game, on your serve, first serve goes heavy right down the middle of the box, right at your opponent. I don't want to see any second serves on the first two points. If you get up 30 love, good on ya. Now I want you to try something different on your serve...maybe out wide to the forehand. If that works and you're up 40 love, do two things: (1) File that information away for later, but don't go back to the well right away. (2) Try something adventurous in the ad court.

    What happens if you're not up 30 love? First, ask yourself why. Did you get both first serves in? No? Did they go right down the middle of the box? Double no? Okay, you are now in the penalty box, and until you can show me that you can walk, you ain't gonna run. First serves in, right down the middle of the box, until you start winning points.

    Okay, returner, your job is to get returns in play. Make the other guy play. If you hand him stupid errors on the return, he'll love you forever and start serving better, probably. I don't mean push the ball, it's essential that you find your stroke and your depth on the return. Deep down the middle is just fine. Short down the middle isn't great...but it's a hell of a lot better than into the net. Try to make the guy run, try to make him hit lots of balls, if you break serve, fine. If you don't as long as you're holding serve, you're just finding your stroke and figuring out what you need to pull out of your bag of tricks when you do get an opportunity to break serve.

    Players ready? Play."

    [A decent interval occurs, ending in a 3-3 score].

    "Okay, guys, it's now 3-3, well done! Yeah, I know, neither one of you is going to bagel the other guy, but on the other hand, you're not going to get turfed, either. You've both hit a bunch of balls, and you've got your movement and timing going. I still want you to play smart tennis, but when you see your opportunities, especially to break, I want you to step up and come up with the kind of bold moves I told you to try out, sparingly, while you were getting into the match...remember that part?"
     
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  34. jht32

    jht32 Rookie

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    ^ No doubt, the 7th game is very important IF the score is 3-3. But the next game is very important if the score is 4-4 or 5-5 too.

    If the score is 5-1 in your favor, the 7th games is not as "important/critical" because even if you lose, you will have other chances to close out the set.

    So while there is some truth to it, a more appropriate rule would be something like "the game becomes more important when the score is close and the set is winding down." But of course, that doesn't have quite the same catchiness as the "the 7th game is the most important"
     
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  35. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    You could look at it that way..

    ...I think the whole idea of 3-3 is that the set is not winding down. It's in midstream, and per the post I made above, it's likely to be the ideal time to make your move and get the break, then ride it out by holding your serve. Absolutely true that if it turns out to be 5-1 instead of 3-3, it's a different ball game. What I was trying to show was a concept of why 3-3 might occur more often than not, and what that means re the 7th game.

    One of the the things I believe we don't talk about enough, and is critical to the game of tennis, is rhythm. I once heard someone refer to Ashe's game on grass as "lyrical." A point has rhythm...or, if it doesn't, if it feels ragged and rough, it may be because you ain't got rhythm. It's as important to play cleanly, smoothly, and efficiently, as it is to play powerfully and explosively. As we say in ski racing, "Always quiet, never frozen."

    Correspondingly, a well-played set has its own rhythm, and if both players are evenly matched and playing according to the script, I think the 7th game is likely to be the swing game. But if it doesn't turn out that way, guess what? You still have to try to win the set. My philosophy is that you have to try to impose your game, your rhythm on your opponent and the situation. But it's always well to realize, as Peter Burwash once pointed out, that tennis, is, at base, a series of controlled emergencies...
     
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  36. uzzi

    uzzi New User

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    Sounds very similar to the mindset of some members at my club, as well. Luckily there has been an infusion of younger members over the past few years that is changing the demographics at the club.
     
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  37. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Some of us thought that you can be a tennis player, even a fairly decent one, without having to play USTA Santionced League. However, we were educated that the only thing that matters is the crucible of competition which only the USTA can provide. You are not a tennis player if you've never played USTA.

    You must pay the USTA and only then are you considered a tenis player.

    When you die, the only thing that matters would be your NTRP rating. I'm shocked that people are writing about Jobs. What NTRP rating did he achieve in his life?

    All that CNN or Time or Fox or W. Post need to print is Steven Jobs, unrated NTRP. They should burry him in an unmarked grave for his failure to get a rating.
     
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  38. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    someone needs to tell you and Joel that not too many people think you are clever when it comes down to it...
     
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  39. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree that the 7th game can be seen as a pivotal point in a set. In a reasonably close match, the score can only be 4-2, 3-3, or 2-4 when you reach the 7th game.
    6-0 is already decided and 5-1 is almost decided.
    At 4-2 or 2-4, that 7th game is enormous and will mostly decide if the player behind will be in this set. At 3-3 a player is very much at a point where he knows where to go to get that hold or break if it is going to happen. 7th game is the first one where a tight set has taken shape and is time to bust a move.
     
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  40. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    skiracer55, if your not already a coach, you should be - I like your approach to the game.
     
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  41. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    We get it. You don't play usta. Get over it we don't care. Stop mentioning it.

     
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  42. Jracer77

    Jracer77 Rookie

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    I think I told them (are they really two separate similarly annoying people?) the same thing a couple of years ago....obviously nothing has changed
     
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  43. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I doubt it. At a many levels of tennis if you can get 3 decently hit shots over (decent is a relative term of course), not great shots just decent, you stand a very good chance of winning a rally.
     
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  44. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks much...

    ...I actually do coach, not for money, just to give something back to the game. Summer before last, I did some group clinics for both a 3.0/3.5 and a 4.0/4.5 group in Longmont, CO. This summer, I continued that on a one on one basis, and also coached a couple of Colorado folks I met through TW. So...if you're located on the Front Range of Colorado, send me a PM if you want some coaching...
     
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  45. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Unfortunately, I'm on the east coast but think, based on your comments, that you'd be an excellent coach. In addition to giving lessons and clinics, I coach high school & middle school kids myself.
     
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  46. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Good on ya...

    ...coaching is a good thing to do. You never know, I make it back East once in a while, or you might even get to Colorado!
     
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  47. BeGreat

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    this is probably one of the most important contributions on TT.

    I remember years ago I posted a link to a study that disproves the fallacy that string tension/material has a significant impact on the outcome and i got stoned for that.

    here are other fallacies i'd like someone to study:

    1. Footwork pattern drills are important. in my opinion, they're importantly only because they develop muscles and give you strength and endurance to move around. but, the way coaches present these drills is to make it seem like doing the drills will allow you to hit the ball like federer.

    2. split step is valuable

    3. you have to keep your head still while hitting the ball. i don't know people who move their head around while striking the ball. the ball is on the racket for a fraction of a second, how much can you possibly move your head in that time??


    I think a lot of today's fallacies have been passed through generations of "coaches" and "experts" whose theories have gone untested. these coaching academies like the bollittieri place get lucky and produce a grand slame winner every now and then. so, they market on their occasional success by trademarking techniques and giving them complicated names, etc. and then they sell the hype.


    no one examines whether there is a CAUSAL relationship between a drill/technique/strategy and the outcome.

    tennis drills/coaching lessons rely on a tried and true strategy: correlation. it's no different from selling Air Jordans back in the day or Sprite that makes you dunk better.

    this is a great thread topic.
     
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  48. yonexpurestorm

    yonexpurestorm Rookie

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    what are gonna do, not split step?
     
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  49. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    I'll take a whack at some of these although I don't remember your post about racquet tension or string. Were your stating/arguing (at that time) that both didn't have any effect on either control or pace?

    #1 We do footwork drills for the purposes you mentioned

    #2 The split step is valuable in that it prevents the player from favoring one side vs the other on most shots - when one knows, with pretty good assurance where the shot will be, then its not important.

    #3 Keeping the head quite/still during the hitting process, is very important. We're not talking about just the fraction of time the ball is on the strings. When the head is bobbing/moving as the ball is making its final approach, its very difficult to make clean contact. Try it yourself and see what happens.

    Several people and groups have spent a lot of time studying/evaluating many of the things you mention with the use of high speed cameras and other methods. Unfortunately, some myths do get passed down but most have been throughly evaluated and continue to be studied. As the game changes due IMO to equipment improvement/technology, we will continue to see change.
     
    #49
  50. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,005
    Let's take another approach...

    ...and here's the way it goes:

    - There's a whole lot of...discussion...in this forum where what we appear to be trying to do is to get nuclear physics, or whatever, to prove that successful tennis consists of x, y, and z. Where x, y, and z are typically things like "The only way to hit the Modern Forehand is...[insert 1000 word screed here]. I really like what Peter Burwash said, which is that "Tennis is a series of controlled emergenices." As soon as you concentrate on any specific element as the Holy Grail ("The only forehand worth having is one with an incredibly heavy amount of topspin" or "The only way to hit a forehand with an incredibly heavy amount of topspin is to do a, b, and c."), I can name you fifty instances where that dictum is patently not true. On a tennis court, there always have been, and continue to be, lots of different ways to skin a cat in terms of effective stroke production.

    - Having said all that good stuff, there are some immutables, like efficient, repeatable stroke patterns, efficient, effective athletic movement, and sensible, thought out games plans that most players totally ignore in favor of considerations like "Do you think Brand X of hybrid strings will automagically turn me into a 4.0? " (Answer: No...not even close).

    So here's a general plan for all players, where the third item is maybe the most important and least considered:

    - Item number 1, and the base for everything, is stroke production. Remember what I said above about "efficient, repeatable stroke patterns"?
    That's the key, not whether you're hitting with a SW or FW grip on the forehand. I generally use a SW grip on the forehand...but McEnroe used a Conti to great effect, as do I when it's called for. If you can hit 8 balls out of 10 in the court and hurt your opponent, I don't give a rat's ass what you're using for a grip or stroke pattern, your stroke production is fine, and it's time to move on and deal with other stuff. If on the other hand, you have a finely tuned SW forehand grip and all you can serve up is a helium ball...well, time to take up shuffleboard, chum.

    - Okay, you've progressed past the point where you've got some strokes that can do damage and fall in the court more than once in a blue moon. Next question is, How good of an athlete are you? If I can feed you 20 forehands in the same spot and you can do something with them, I'm semi-impressed. Now, let me run you around a little bit and see if you can still do the same thing. If I can make you dig and you can still hurt me with 8 out of ten, balls, congratulations...you're a tennis player, or well on your way to becoming one.

    If not...back to the gym, sparky. It's not just footwork drills, you need to become a better athlete, all the way around. A lot of high-end tennis requires making radical moves to pull off impossible shots in tough situations. So you can spend all day doing footwork drills, but you also need to become more flexible, quicker, more agile, more resilient, so you can improvise on the fly when things get tough on a crucial point.

    If you've mastered all that stuff, now it's time to talk strategy. I'll do that as a separate post, entitled "Pattern play."
     
    #50

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