Tournament Advice for New Player

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Doc K, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Doc K

    Doc K New User

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    OK guys, I'm looking for advice that goes beyond common sense. I've returned to tennis after a 20-year layoff and I'm playing in my first tournament in 3 weeks. Got a game plan for hitting 6 days out of 7 (3x matches, 3x practice/drill, one off day) till then. Hydration, flexibility work on the plan too.

    So what am I overlooking, besides maybe packing ice packs and Advil in my bag and bourbon if things go too far south?
     
    #1
  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Have fun, some of the guys playing tournaments take it way too seriously.
     
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  3. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    What level were you playing at back then?

    What kind of tournament are you signed up for now?

    Are you planning on drinking the bourbon or using it as linament? It may look a little strange to pull a bottle of bourbon from your bag, a couple of tall beers is more the norm, they resemble sleeves of balls a little better.

    Buy a neoprene wet suit and cut off pieces for injuries as needed, it will save you money in the long run.

    G'luck
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  4. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    How old are you? If you had 20 yr layoff, maybe 40ish? If so, don't overdo it between now and the tournament. Unless you're already in good physical shape, 6 days of tennis a week will leave you injured or at best very sore.
     
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  5. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Seems like WAY too much pre-tourney playing to me. It will do more harm than good in my opinion. :)
     
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  6. texacali

    texacali Rookie

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    I did the same exact thing almost one year ago. It was intimidating because I had not played a tourney in 30 years and little tennis in 20. Wasn't even sure I was at the right level. I mostly practiced my serve before and maybe hit some. What I had to remember was to breathe, relax and not be so anxious. I lost in the first round to a more experienced player but scores were 4 & 3....not too bad. Good luck.
     
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  7. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Even some park players are over the top when playing casual sets. I can think of at least 3 guys at my local courts who are waaaaay too serious. Screaming "come on!!!" so loud it disrupts traffic and dogs start barking, grunting on every shot (and they don't even hit that hard), giving *advice* to everyone... That last one I find most comical.

    OP - like mikeler says, have fun. I'm planning on entering a tourney in Feb, and that's the attitude I'm taking. :)
     
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  8. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    To the OP, good for you... you are clearly excited about this and doing all you can to prepare.

    In tourneys you will probably play against people you never played against before, even if you play leagues regularily in your area- which it seems like you haven't. So to that, here are a couple of suggestions:

    - When the draw is posted, start searching their names on the USTA tennislink site... see how successful they have been in other tourneys and leagues, and see if they have played vs anyone you know... then ask that person what the guy's game is like.

    -since you are taking drills, ask your club pro who knows your game best to get you the phone # of another member who would be a good match for you... preferably someone you have never played against before.
    When you call, if they are open to playing, let them know ahead of time that you are getting ready for a tourney and are looking to play against a "stranger" to you see if you can adjust during the match. This also lets them know to maybe bring their best game, that it is more than just a friendly get-to-gether for you. If it all works out well and they were real decent about it, offer to buy them a beer after the match as thanks.

    -3rd... day of the tourney, scout the competition. If others in your draw start earlier than your match, watch them. What does their serve look like, how does their FH and BH look, is one more prone to errors, how well do they move, do they lob, do they drop shot, etc., etc.. Look at the dbls and mixed draws for your level also... see if some of the guys in your draw are playing doubles too... if so, scout them.

    Good luck, more important, have fun. Keep in mind you could come away with future hitting/playing partners... so no sense making enemies!
     
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  9. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    That, and what do you do (or not do?) for a living? That's a lot of off-time to play tennis. Haha.

    I agree though, that is a LOT of tennis. You want to peak during the tournament, not run on empty.
     
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  10. Doc K

    Doc K New User

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    Thanks to all...

    I'm in decent shape. Not Nadal, but not Baghdatis either :)

    And to answer the post about leisure time, I'm a writer/professor. Perhaps the perfect career for a tennis player. I teach at a small liberal arts college and we have some brilliant lighted hard courts, and my home club has indoor and green clay, so I've got some flexibility.

    I've done a few flex leagues, and know most of the folks at my level in the area. Hoping this tourney (in suburban Jackson) will attract a few weekend warriors and more folks from across the state.

    Solid advice from everyone. Thank you.
     
    #10
  11. Jakes On A Plane

    Jakes On A Plane Semi-Pro

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    Black warmups, hood up with shades on, boom box on the shoulder, song is T.I - What Up, What's Haapnin', carry your racquets in hand. Let me know how it plays out!
     
    #11
  12. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Millsaps? Is there another one of these in in Jackson? :)
     
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  13. axel89

    axel89 Banned

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    Bs no way you are as fit or more than a top50
     
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  14. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

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    ^ Warm up for at least 45 minutes before your matches, take 30 minute-45 minute break before match time, stay loose.
    ^ Shorten up the Tennis Court aim 2 to 3 feet good from the lines
    ^ Ya only need to return the ball good one time better than opp to get the point
    ^ Dont double fault on serves, you'd be surprised how many players mishit slower 2nd serves( if they cant use your power-they are lost without a clue.)
    ^ Dont get upset if ya make a mistake, get over it, next point is too win.

    :)
     
    #14
  15. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    Your over analyzing this. Go out there and have fun and stay loose. A YOUR game and don't be afraid to lose.
     
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  16. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    I mean to say "play YOUR game"....typo
     
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  17. mhj202

    mhj202 Rookie

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    OMG! This is sooooo true. Like the OP, I took a 15 year break from tennis after college (ended D-II college tennis career senior year with a lateral meniscus tear in the knee at the play-in round of team nationals) and just really started playing again about a year ago.

    I played my first tournament match this evening (I play lots of matches at my club but they don't count for anything other than pride) and the guy I played tonight took it way too seriously.

    I knew it was going to be interesting when I got there earlier than I had planned (traffic was light and I had never been to this club so wanted to make sure I had extra time just in case I got lost) and he was already there and doing serious stretching and calisthenics (no joke) in the lobby more than 30 mins before match time.

    When the match started, he took 3-5 min breaks during changeovers, 2 min breaks between almost every game and then at least a 5 min break after the first set.

    Even worse, he was calling anything that was within 6 inches inside the line as out and then complaining about any ball I called out, even if it wasn't close. Eventually, even the guys on the court next to us (who were also playing in the tournament) started telling me that I was getting hooked.

    Life's too short -- I didn't want to argue with this guy so I went to the tournament director and requested a line judge. Once he found out who i was playing, he laughed and said this wasn't the first time he had to line judge on his court.

    In any case, I ended up winning but didn't enjoy playing with this guy at all.
     
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  18. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    YES!!! Good going!
     
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  19. SpitFire

    SpitFire New User

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    I'm also coming back to tennis after a 15 year hiatus. I'm really giving it a go playing competitively, in spite of having a demanding home life with a wife and two little girls. I try to average a tournament a month, but we'll see how that goes. So far I've placed 1st in 3 tournaments and lost in the quarters to the first seed in my areas Major Zone tourney (I'm still fuming over that 3-set loss).

    Since I'm no longer a young pup. I'm 32, so I still have a LOT left in me. However, I still have to really take care of myself.

    Tournament Prep. Begins the week before with tuning down the intensity of my workouts. Fresh strings the week before. New enough that they still have all the pop I need, but not so fresh, I don't know how they'll play. Bags packed and ready to rock the night before. I usually pack a fresh set of clothes for every match I expect to play along with extra shirts in case I need them. Lastly, a good pair of sandals. A full nights' sleep is a must every night.

    Tournament day. Wake up early...get to the courts at least an hour and a half before my match is scheduled. I like to have friends warm me up before I check in for my match. I take a pre-workout supplement a half hour before my match, usually as I'm checking in. Upon "warming-up" with the opponent, I'm feeling them out for their weakness that I plan to attack. Depending on how the match plays out determines what I do next.

    Post Match. If I win, I go into recovery mode. Shoes off, birkenstocks on. If I have another match scheduled for later in the day, I usually just go sit in my car and try to get some sleep. If I'm done for the day, then I go home, ice and heat my muscles and try and get as much sleep as necessary. Rinse and repeat as long as I'm winning. If I lose: I go sit in my car and have a pitty-party after congratulating and finish acting like a good loser.
     
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  20. goober

    goober Legend

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    In adult recreational league and tournament tennis 32 is a young pup. Trust me.
     
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  21. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    What he said. I didn't start playing organized tennis until I was 46 and I know lots of people who started at older than that. Last year I had the experience of playing one of my former students in league singles who was 32 years younger than me.
     
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  22. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Double post
     
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  23. mhj202

    mhj202 Rookie

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    So, how'd ya do against the young whippersnapper?
     
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  24. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Old man tennis held the day as I won 3 and 2 but that was one of his first league matches ever. He has gotten a lot better since then based on checking his tennislink. I do remember that both his fiance, now wife, and mom came to watch the match.

    He is from a tennis playing family as his dad is a well-known 4.0 who captains quite a bit and he plays league doubles with his older brother (also a former student).
     
    #24
  25. goober

    goober Legend

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    OT- but the last time I saw somebody bring their extended family to a match was a 4.0 tournament. He entered as a self rate and he either played in high school a long time ago or he started playing as and adult. He had his whole entourage (about 7-8 people) watch him lose 6-0, 6-0 in about 40 minutes. :)
     
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  26. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    That was clearly too much pressure for him to handle.

    I played a self rated guy in January who brought his wife to the match which was not a big deal. He warmed up great and was using what seemed like a pretty good forehand to move me side to side. We played a long first game and after going to deuce twice he broke me. His wife was really excited and positive pulling for and encouraging him. That was the last game he won and also the last time any game went to deuce. I honestly think the pressure of her watching was partially why he imploded.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
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  27. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    my wife has never had anything to do with sports in her entire life ...

    further more she has never seen me play, not once.

    I once had a match against her best friend's husband. Her friend came out to watch and later asked my wife why she doesn't come out ... Her reply "I dont have time for that non-sense"

    I like it better this way.
     
    #27
  28. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    +1. my wife has seen me play a match just once. league dubs match. afterwards she said, "i thought you'd be running more. points didn't last very long either. kinda boring."

    curse you woman! :evil:


    sorry to derail. hey OP - keep it simple and just take notice of what the guy wears and brings to the court.

    matching gear from head to toe and a 12 pack racquet bag with only 4 racquets = poser. likely wildly inconsistent. short day for you.

    scrubby non matching clothes and looks like he just finished mowing the lawn. carrying one racquet - possibly wooden. small thermos of water = tighten your laces and apply the diaper cream. you are about to be handed bagels and breadsticks. your entire tourney may be over in about 30 minutes.
     
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  29. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    I am coming up playing my 6th tournament after returning to tennis at age 34. I used to be a real hotshot young player in the Juniors. Playing as an adult is a new ballgame for me. Sounds like you get plenty of time on the court. Go easy for a few days before tournament. Drink a ton of water. Bring a sports drink, energy bar and piece of fruit..banana's are my no brainer.

    Most importantly I echo the other suggestions here ti simply make sure you are enjoying yourself.
     
    #29
  30. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    I am coming up playing my 6th tournament after returning to tennis at age 34. I used to be a real hotshot young player in the Juniors. Playing as an adult is a new ballgame for me. Sounds like you get plenty of time on the court. Go easy for a few days before tournament. Drink a ton of water. Bring a sports drink, energy bar and piece of fruit..banana's are my no brainer.

    Most importantly I echo the other suggestions here to simply make sure you are enjoying yourself.
     
    #30
  31. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Yeah +1 here too. My wife also plays league but has watched me play a match only once when most of our state tournament matches last year were rained out and we had to play a 4 game mini-match against the first place team to finish out the round robin part of the tournament on a Saturday night. She watched us blow a 3-1 lead with a chance to serve out the deciding game but instead we dropped four games in a row. I don't think she was too impressed with that display of intestinal fortitude. At least my kids weren't watching too.
     
    #31
  32. sovertennis

    sovertennis Semi-Pro

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    This was a remarkably valuable post--I played in a USTA tourney (M45s) for the first time in many years and these tips were very helpful. I beat a 4.5 guy in the first round pretty easily, then lost the second match 4-6 in the third to a guy ranked 6 or 8th in the section. Could have gone either way--he was more willing to go for shots (and he made enough of them) as the third set wore on, which was the difference. Here are a couple of take-ways for me:
    >>It's a long day. I got to the facility at 8 for my 9 start time (first match); won, then had 3 hours to kill before my next match. I watched some tv, chatted and watched other matches, but all that down time left me really flat and I got rolled in the first set of the second match. I made a good comeback, but lost, and the match went for over two hours, finishing at 3.30. (Curiously, had I won, I would have had to play the #1 seed 90 minutes later and would have not have been able to muster much fight. Is it usual to have to play three matches in a day?)
    >>Even with ample training, the guys who do well do so because they play a lot of competitive sets. Being able to drill at a high level (that's me) doesn't translate into being able to win a match. I think we all know this, I suppose.
     
    #32
  33. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    That's just too much tennis for one day IMO (3 singles matches). Probably asking for an injury too.
     
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