To 4.5 Guys: "Get Out And Stay Out!!"

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Let me be clear. Despite my hyper-aggressive thread title, I think it is perfectly fine for 4.5 guys to sign up for 8.0 mixed and play as ruthlessly as they can.

    My question is whether the rules should be changed to disallow it. How about it, TennisMonkey? If you were running the show, would you change the rules?

    Granted. It is not a very accurate measure until we clean it up. Better would be to examine each 4.5/3.5 v. 4.0/4.0 matchup and see if there is a pattern. I would bet there would be.
     
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  2. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    How would you rate their 3.5 partners? Would you say that they are all higher end 3.5 on the cusp of 4.0 players?
     
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  3. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    as for changing the rules - yeps. i'm all for it. but i'd prefer a gender neutral rating system first. but barring that - a rule that says the lady partner in mixed must be equal or higher rated sounds good to me. should promote better dubs and more equal pairings. i'd sign that petition. well maybe after this 8.0 mixed season i'd sign it.
     
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  4. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    The problem with 4.5 is that it is giant spread (since it is the top end of most competitive USTA leagues). I know people who have played a lot and have worked up to 4.5 after 10 years and others who have serious credentials (varsity college /semi-professional players) working down the rankings. Without meaning to insult those working their way up the rankings, the players are, in no way, comparible.

    But I agree with your general premise. There is almost no way you (4.0 combo) can hurt the 4.5 with your shots and he is likely in good enough shape to run the whole court.
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Fascinating discussion.

    I would agree that what you are saying is the conventional wisdom -- it's all about how the woman plays and whether she holds. I am starting to feel differently about it.

    Take my match the other night (four 4.0s on the court). We won, 7-5, 6-4.

    Why, though? Why did we win that match? Remember, our opponents were a recent 4.5 move-down and a 4.0 woman who does way better in 8.0 mixed than I do. They should have crushed us, or more accurately, me.

    The difference wasn't the ladies. The difference was the guys. More specifically, the difference IMHO was how the two guys played the net.

    Neither guy S&V. My partner, however, is a poaching *beast.* (This, you should know, is exactly why I thought he would be a good partner for me.) If I put a serve into the box, he considers it his job to crush a poach, often so ferociously that it goes over the back curtain and into the hallway behind the court. My female opponent could not get the ball by him.

    I, on the other hand, could get my return past the opposing male consistently when the woman served. Is this because I have a killer return? No. I just tried to stand in as close as I dared and hit my FH crosscourt -- I only took one return up the line the entire night. I just think our opponents played a more conservative net style that didn't involve active poaching.

    So. One could conclude that I was simply a better returner than my female opponent. I disagree with that conclusion -- like I said, she wins more.

    I think the difference in the match was how the guys played.

    So. If we substitute a 4.5 guy into the picture, I would expect his net play to be strong enough to dominate the net when his partner is serving so that she can hold.
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'd have to do some analysis to figure that out, of course.

    In general, however, the top teams take only the very strongest 3.5 women. These are the women that everyone scratches their heads about because no one can understand why on earth they remain 3.5s when all of their peers have been bumped up.

    If I were bumped down to 3.5, I can promise you that my phone would ring off the hook with offers to play 8.0 mixed with a 4.5 teaching pro at my side.
     
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  7. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Cindy I agree with you about how the male plays the net.

    A lot does ride on how well the male can cover and poach when at the net.

    But I still believe that any pair of 4.0's that are average or above average would return the 3.5 females serve well enough to mitigate the opposing teams male trying to poach the net.

    A 3.5 serve is usually slow enough and lacks enough spin that its fairly easy to A. Lob a crosscourt shot deep pinning the 3.5 server in the back court or B. if the male is poaching too much hit one down the line to keep him honest. Then once you keep the male honest and he cant poach 1/2 to 3/4 across the net then its easy to blast returns at the 3.5 female who usually has zero chance of getting solid contact on it.
     
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  8. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I am too lazy to go look but I recall when people looked at the teams that made nationals they were overwhelming using 4.5 guy/3.5 girl combinations.
     
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  9. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Hi spot,
    I live between Buckhead and Brookhaven in the north part of Atlanta but inside the I-285 Perimeter.

    I used to play competitive high school tennis at a 4.0 but that was over 20 years ago. I'm just beginning to get back into tennis now after finding out how big the adult tennis scene is here in Atlanta.

    I honestly think I'm a 2.5 - 3.0 at the moment (everything is rusty except for volleying and poaching) but believe I can get up to a 3.0-3.5 after a month or two or three of rallying and playing sets.

    I just got a new Yonex VCore 100S to replace my Head Trisys 260 (Austria) racquet. Racquets have come a long way in 20 years....
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
    #59
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Honestly, this has not been my experience.

    You would be shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- at how often a 4.0 guy will botch a return of the 3.5 woman's serve. It is less pace than they are used to, bounces lower. Not to mention the enormous surge of testosterone the 4.0 guy must battle the instant that serve hits the box. :)

    If the 3.5 woman puts that serve to the T all night, a 4.5 guy should be able to feast on the returns all night.

    And remember . . . some of the 3.5 women (who are really 4.0s in 3.5 clothing) have pretty good serves. In other words, they are capable of directional control and some have good enough mechanics that their serves aren't necessarily sitters. Add in that they are used to absorbing pace and getting 1 or 2 balls back and you have plenty of opportunity for the 4.5 to dominate.

    IME (and speaking to some extent of the 3.5 women on TennisMonkey's team) where the 3.5 women are most vulnerable is with their net play. Alas, 4.0 guys are reluctant to hit at them when they are at net, and it isn't easy to send a solid shot to the woman when you have to do it off of the 4.5's serve or groundies.
     
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  11. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not too lazy. :)

    I went back and looked at 8.0 mixed nationals for 2012. I looked only at the semis and finals, on account of how I don't have all day to do this.

    I can give you the ratings pairings (ratings for 2012 before bumps) and how those various combinations did.

    4.5M/3.5W = 1 win, 2 losses

    4.0M/4.0W = 5 wins, 4 losses

    4.5W/3.5M = 3 wins, 2 losses

    What do you make of that?
     
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  12. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Since I'm not big into mixed doubles, I have to ask:

    Would the most "fair" team be a 3.5M/4.5F team? Honest question, it seems like that and 4.0/4.0 would eliminate a lot of the issues you talk about, but I rarely hear people metion the 3.5/4.5 combo.

    -Fuji
     
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  13. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Interesting- thanks for looking that up Cindy. The records aren't as interesting to me as the fact that just 3 of the 15 guys were 4.5 players.
     
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  14. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    I played against just such a combo this season and it was similar to what others have mentioned as the pattern for the 4.5/3.5 combination. The 3.5 guy was probably on the cusp of making 4.0 and the 4.5 partner was solid.

    Some of this gets into the mindset of doubles - the best way to win with a weak partner (whether male or female) is for the stronger partner to take over the court. I've seen players position their partners on a small part of the net in the alley and cover the rest of the court, I've also seen partners take all balls they can reach, even going so far as when they are both back to run in front of their female partner to hit shots and try to cover the entire court. This is not how I like to play mixed and maybe my results with weaker partners would be better if I were to do this, but I don't think it would be fun for me or my partner if I played that way.
     
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  15. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    3.5 women come in different flavors. I'd think a quick and mobile 4.5 male matched with a slow, net savvy 3.5 with great hands a very tough pairing.
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    In past seasons, I didn't win much 8.0 mixed.

    Despite that, I have faced three 4.5W/3.5M pairs. My record is 2-1. The one loss was when I had a 4.5 male partner, but the 3.5Ms serve was such a blast that neither of us could return it at all.

    In our two wins, we simply sent the ball to the 3.5 guy as much as possible. If we got his serve back, we took the net and he would make errors trying to blast through us. The 4.5 women were 4.5s because they were steady, not because they were powerful or could cover the whole court.
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Mmmm, I don't think so. The 3.5W with a 4.5M doesn't need great hands. She just needs to guard her alley and block anything that comes her way.

    What she does need is the ability to handle balls that get past her partner and to avoid panicking if she faces two at net.

    I remember when I first started playing mixed that the women who seemed to do best were women who had solid groundstrokes/returns. I had better volleys, but this did me no good because volleys didn't help me hold my serve in mixed.
     
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  18. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Okay, that makes sense. Thanks!

    It's just hard to imagine since here, competitively at least, we don't have the .5 rankings. It's all even numbers, and the only real way to get into tournaments and leagues (now) is at full level increments, such as 3.0, 4.0, 5.0 and Open. So at least in my experience, 3.0 doubles includes 3.0 and 3.5 players, so there isn't a lot of crazy blowouts. It's something I want to get more involved in though, even though I loath doubles haha.

    -Fuji
     
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  19. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

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    I keep clicking on this thread by mistake because it has the word "guys" I keep thinking it is the guys only and best legs thread.......
     
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  20. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    -Fuji
     
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  21. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    Around here, I think the 4.0/4.0 pairings win more often than not, but there are certain 4.5 guys who are doubles specialists and cover a lot of the net that have a crazy record in 8.0 mixed (and usually 9.0 as well).
     
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  22. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Really reading through this thread you can see one common theme being brought up slanted one way or the other to support which side of the argument your on.

    That theme is matchups and your strengths/weaknesses vs your opponents.

    Regardless of the rating of the pair if you cannot exploit your opponents weaknesses and play to your strengths then you will not win.

    Cindy your statistics show that regardless of 4.5/3.5, 4.0/4.0, 3.5/4.5 there is no overwhelming favoritism for one type over the other.

    No matter how strong a 4.5 male player is his 3.5 female counterpart will have weaknesses. If you can exploit them them then you have a chance of winning.
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is the only thread worth ..... reading
     
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  24. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Reading ???????????????

    Are there words typed somewhere on that thread?
     
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  25. RoachTennis

    RoachTennis New User

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    I always feel at a disadvantage when i play 8.0 with a 3.5 woman. If i do what i need to do to win I look like a jerk, if i do whats politically correct then they isolate her and we lose! Its always about isolating the woman at any mixed level! She will always be the weaker player. Theres the formula to win at mixed. Isolate the woman!
     
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  26. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    Hey Roach, did you get my email address? I wasn't able to get a hold of you through your profile.

    Cheers,

    -Fuji
     
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  27. RoachTennis

    RoachTennis New User

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    #77
  28. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    4.5 is not the issue, the 6'6" Del Potro height is.

    Cindy, I am 6'6" , my brother is 6'5 3/4"
    (He's really 6'6" too, but he is a known sandbagger)

    We are doubles partners. If I can get my brother to wear a skirt, can we play in your mixed league as a team?

    Of course, neither of us is even close to 4.5, so we'd fit right in......
     
    #78
  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Now that I would like to see!
     
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  30. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    A 3.5W guarding her alley/blocking anything that comes her way from a 4.0 guy is pretty much "great hands." A quick, active 4.5 guy can limit what gets back to his partner; extended 3.5W ground strokes isn't the winning formula for 8.0.
     
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  31. cak

    cak Professional

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    I've pretty much stepped out of USTA mixed play due to them allowing men to be 1 rating point higher than his partner. I also wouldn't be up to playing any combo league where the partners could be one full rating point apart. Can you imagine playing 7.0 combo with a 4.0 player and a 3.0 player? It just wouldn't be any fun.

    However, if they had a "queen's mixed" league, where the woman had to be equal or 1 point above her partner I'd be there. I tend to lean toward the theory that a 3.5 guy is somewhat equivalent to a 4.0 woman, so a 4.0 woman playing with a 3.0 guy wouldn't really be that huge of a skill level difference.
     
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  32. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    If you're not strong enough to play on a team, then find a team with lower expectations. Nobody likes a whiny-baby.... well, apparently some people do.
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Is it hot in here or what?
     
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  34. Chelsie1

    Chelsie1 Rookie

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    It's the guy that makes the difference. If he can really play he nevers hurts the woman-he outplays her. If his game is suspect, he will take her head off-chump.
     
    #84
  35. radicalpro

    radicalpro New User

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    Very interesting topic. I'm probably catching this toward the end of the discussion but just wanted to give my two cents. I've played a lot of mixed (7.0 as both 3.5 and 4.0; 8.0 as both 4.0 and 4.5; and 9.0 as 4.5). I've also played a lot of mixed tournaments at 3.5 and 4.0.

    Basically, I think it's all about how strong the guy is, but more so at higher levels. Sure, having a lady who can hold her own is great but I think the basic point is a strong guy will know how to protect his partner and dominate, especially at higher levels. And as some pointed out, 4.5 is a very wide range. Strong 4.5 guys will dominate 8.0 no matter how strong their 3.5 partner is. If you haven't seen this then the 4.5 guy is probably not a strong 4.5 or did not care to play all out.

    Like I said, this is more at higher levels. At 6.0, 7.0 and some lower 8.0 the strength of the lady will come into play a bit more since the guy may not be strong enough to dictate the match.
     
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  36. rainman007

    rainman007 Rookie

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    mixed should be odd numbered pairings instead of 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 it should be 5.5 6.5 7.5 8.5 and 9.5 It should be mandatory that the female is a higher rated player in the format.. IE 5.5 would be 3.0 female 6.5 would have the 3.5 female 7.5 the 4.0 female etc...

    But 4.5 should not have to stay out..
     
    #86
  37. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I would enjoy that sort of league.

    I, as a 4.0 woman, would happily play 7.5 mixed with a 3.5 guy. I played in the 7.5 mixed combo league this fall and it was fine.

    The only matches where I felt overmatched were when it was a 4.0 guy and his 3.5 partner. Then we had trouble. My 3.5 male partner couldn't hang with the 4.0 guy, and neither could I.
     
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  38. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    If we had this ^ rule, then there wouldn't be enough 5.0 gals to go around for the 4.5 guys. And there wouldn't be enough 4.5 gals for the 4.0 guys. It wouldn't work.

    As it is, 8.0 is becoming the most popular event in USTA league play. My region alone (northwest WA) had 40 8.0 teams! - that's a lot of teams to beat out just to make it to sectionals! Multiply 40 teams x 4-5 pairings per team and that's a lot of players signing up for 8.0.

    The number of teams show how successful the format it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
    #88
  39. rainman007

    rainman007 Rookie

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    we have a ton of 4.5 girls so the 8.5 would work HERE but no 5.0 girls so i guess unless there was an exception the the format at the top level cyndi would get her request and 4.5's would stay out of mixed.. Just because there has been a lot of success at the 8.0 format so far doesnt mean this wouldnt be more popular i know it would be alot more fun with this format..
     
    #89
  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well OK.

    But I think you could have a rule that 8.0 mixed is for 4.0s max, 7.0 mixed is for 3.5s max etc. (Allowing people to play up, of course).

    This would squeeze 4.5 guys a bit, granted. A small price to play to make mixed better for everyone.
     
    #90
  41. rainman007

    rainman007 Rookie

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    you and your parntner just have to hit 100 percent of your shots to the girl dont hit them away from the girl just to her if you hit them away the higher rated male hits the ball.. Hit 100 percent of the balls to the lower rated female.. I know alot of fun right??? i think having odd levels and requiring the female to be the higher rated of the two would balance matches out
     
    #91
  42. rainman007

    rainman007 Rookie

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    that would probably work too it would be better than what we have.. but u playing with a 3.5 man against a 4.0 woman and another 3.5 man all 4 players would be closer to even than 4.0 man/woman vs 4.0 man/woman...

    where 2 of the 4 are close to even instead of 4/4 close to even
     
    #92
  43. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I remember that match. We couldn't hit everything to the woman. The guy was a 4.5 move-down, and we couldn't handle his pace or serve.

    Still, it was a way more competitive match than when you have a 4.5M/3.5W mixed pair as opponents.
     
    #93
  44. pennc94

    pennc94 Semi-Pro

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    I agree with the idea of the 0.5 mixed idea with female having higher rating, but agree it may kill some leagues in some areas.

    The real problem people are forgetting is the flaw in NTRP. Why doesn't 4.0 mean the same for a man/woman/senior?!?!? These NTRPs need to be adjusted so any particular level means the same for all players regardless of sex or age.
     
    #94
  45. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    Bingo!

    10 Stay out!s
     
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  46. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    I agree that more competitive matches are the desired goal, but 4.0 doesn't mean the same thing within the level. A strong 4.0 should easily beat a weaker 4.0 and we all know it comes down to match ups anyways with different playing styles working better or worse against other types.

    I partner with one 4.0 woman who I would say is as good as me and would do quite well at 4.0 men's. I've also partnered with 4.0 women that I would argue could only compete at men's 3.0 if they played on a men's team.
     
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  47. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    How are you defining better?

    More vanilla? Lower competitive level? Less need to think outside the box to win?

    There are ways for a 4.0/4.0 team be competitive against good 4.5M/3.5 teams, but you need to open up your mind a little and and forget about the conventional strategies you're most familiar with. Hitting every ball to my 3.5 partner won't work - I do drills with my 3.5 partners to be able to handle hard stuff at net. And they stand really TIGHT. I never get down on them if they miss a shot, but I ALWAYS gently scold them if they back off the net! They learn fast that way.

    Lobbing my partner won't work either. She is trained: the moment the lob goes up over her head, she instinctively darts to her left to give me a smash window and be in position to clean up the potential messy floater defensive shot that comes back over the middle.

    You have to beat me another way, and you'll need to be clever about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
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  48. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    OK, make it 6.5Q, 7.5Q and OpenQueens and/or 9.0M. That let's the 4.5/5.0/5.5 men and women all mix it up however they like while keeping with this train of thought of a Queens or "Q" combo for the masses.

    EDIT to add: We actually have two 5.5 women here in town. That way they could play with their 5.0 SOs. LOL!

    Not so much. We also have ~35 8.0 teams and an equal number of 7.0 Mixed teams (about the same as last year). Let's compare with regular 4.0 Womens + 4.0 Mens from last year (we haven't had signups yet for this year). Hmmm....we had twice as many, 70, 4.0 teams of Adult league.

    The reason we have that many mixed teams is because it's played, around here, in the Winter. When it's the only game in town.

    Our club actually dropped one of its 8.0 teams this year and I've been told one of our current teams will not re-up next year, much of it grumbling, you guessed it, by the 4.0 women.

    Without some massaging of either the M/W or NTRP differences, I can't really see Mixed growing....and see even less opportunity for Mixed Combo (where the NTRP differences are inherently lopsided).
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
    #98
  49. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    All right ladies - I thought about this some more...

    Maybe you're right -- the current 8.0 format isn't really that fair for 4.0 players of either sex.

    I need to step back and see the issue from your angle. The current rule allows for up to 1.0 difference in NTRP, but in reality, the gap between a 3.5 lady and a strong 4.5 guy is 3-4 levels.

    I would be ok switching to an 8.5 format - I could still play my 3/4 court game that suits my skillset. You could still have 8.0 also, but I could see how the 4.0 players would rather sign up for 8.5 if given a choice.
     
    #99
  50. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    I'm a 4.5 and I play mixed 8.0 for USTA league and tournaments and I have a 90+ winning %. I think there are too many variables to say that 4.5s should stay out of 8.0 just because they're too strong. I've lost to a 4.0/4.0 combos simply because they know how to play a 4.5/3.5 pairing by attacking the 3.5 lady. Also, it's about what style the 4.0s play. At sectionals I played a 4.0 pair where all the guy did was lob deep with heavy topspin and the girl stayed at the net and put away volleys. Me and my partner lost.
    I don't think there's room for 4.0s to complain about playing a 4.5 in 8.0MX. It's just the nature of the game. Everybody has an equal chance to get a 4.5/3.5 pair to play on their team.

    I think the best combo is a good 4.0/4.0 combo. Two strong 4.0s should beat an average 4.5/3.5 combo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013

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