Ugh, played another "hitter"

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by leech, May 21, 2012.

  1. leech

    leech Rookie

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    After reading so many threads on playing the dreaded "pushers," I thought I'd start one on playing a "hitter."

    I challenged the #7 player on my singles ladder (I am 10th). I didn't find out until after the match, but he was recently bumped up to 4.5. He had a wicked forehand that he consistently placed deep in either corner. He didn't need a short ball to be able to unleash his forehand for a winner. His serve wasn't bad, either, so it wasn't always possible for me to avoid hitting to his forehand. So the match didn't last too long, and we had few long rallies as he steamrolled me in a 6-3, 6-2 win.

    I know that many tennis players try to develop overpowering serves and lethal forehands, but I think if I possessed those weapons, it would make tennis less enjoyable. I imagine that the points played would be extremely short, with no long rallies. I like being involved in some good exchanges; it's more fun and I get my exercise. If I can consistently crank a forehand to where my opponent can't even reach the ball, it won't be fun for either of us.

    I'm still going to try to improve my serve and strokes, but my enjoyment in tennis comes from being engaged in long points. A bit more enjoyable when I'm the one hitting the last shot, to be sure, but I would rather lose a match where each point was contested than win a match where I'm hitting service winners and one or two shots before hitting a winner.

    (We had enough time to play two additional full sets for fun....where I made some adjustments and actually won both sets 6-4, 6-4. I'm not going to pretend to think that this means I "solved" his game; I'm sure he has an extra gear or two that he didn't bring out in the practice sets.)
     
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  2. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Did you watch today's final between Nadal and Djokovic?

    They blast the ball and had quite a few long rallies. And yes I know they are pros and we are not even close to that.

    My point however is that no matter how strong a game you develop, and no matter how hard you hit, there will be people who can hit it back.
     
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  3. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Hmmm, I think you have a different mental make up than me. I get satisfaction from drilling a winner. I get some out of grinding out points too, but the ball leaving my strings cleanly and landing in an unhit-able location for my opponent just feels good.

    If you enjoy the rallies and just want to be able to outlast the "hitter" it's going to come down to your fitness and quickness. Doing HIIT training, agility ladders, and jump rope would be a good plan. Focus on the footwork stuff and your reaction to the pace will be better. It's all just timing and all you need to do is be ready earlier.

    Your court positioning will be different too. It's tough to play a heavy hitter while standing on the baseline. Increase the angle for reaction by playing a few steps back from the end line.
     
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  4. goober

    goober Legend

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    On the rec level, people who hit hard and go for broke often hit a ton of unforced errors. Matches and points tend to be very short with the big hitter hitting a winner/forced error or an UE on every point. For some people matches like this can be very boring to play and difficult to get into any type rhythm. I think this is what the OP was getting at.
     
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  5. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    I'm not so sure. I hit the last shot quite often. I hit it into the net, past the base line, wide...

    :)
     
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  6. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    I am a big hitter, and I played a practice set the other day with a guy with a dizzying amount of spin, slice, dropshots etc. He won 6-4. We were playing no-ad, and I lost a couple of game points on double faults, but still...

    The hardest part was that I never knew where the ball was coming. If I thought it was coming short, he would hit it deep. If I was behind the baseline, he would dropshot/lob me.

    So...mix up your game and confuse him. Or learn how to hit the ball harder so he can't blast winners by you. What are you doing to improve your game?
     
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  7. bharat

    bharat Rookie

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    there was a program on tennis channel by one of the uspta couches that focused on how to beat an aggressive baseliner, look it up, im sure they will air it again

    they talked about using spin, moonballs, changing pace and spin on every ball, body serves and coming to the net when there is an opening
     
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  8. decades

    decades Guest

    excellent humble brag. start off by saying you were torched. end up saying you beat him in straights, going home a victor. that's how we do it around here.
     
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  9. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    Pushing works! A lot of underspin and keeping the ball low works well, though. Heck it worked on me the other day.
     
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  10. leech

    leech Rookie

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    No, haven't watched that that yet. I did see their epic battle at the AO earlier this year. Amazing ability to play both offense and defense. I am relatively fit for my age, but I just couldn't reach the balls my opponent hit unless I happened to guess right. The only saving grace was that it was on clay so I was able to slide into some shots and extend the point at times.

    I did play someone that hit even harder than my last opponent, but he had very poor accuracy. Didn't stop him from hitting out the entire match, which was over very quick -- either he hit an unreturnable shot (maybe 10% of the time) or he made an unforced error. Not a fun match.

    Yup, had to mix up my game to get him out of his comfort zone. Although he stepped around his backhand whenever he could, I focused on hitting to that side almost exclusively and had better success. I also mixed in short slicers and invited him to the net. In the real match, I missed my passing shots but still had my chances. In the practice sets, I passed or lobbed him effectively.

    I'm not doing much to work on my game other than getting more repetitions by playing tons of matches. I don't have a goal of moving up to a certain NTRP level and don't want to invest the time/effort/cost of learning new stroke/serve mechanics. I'd rather use the time to play.
     
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  11. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Wrong thinking and reasoning, dude. Your stroke, whatever level, is only a weapon if your opponent is below your level. If you meet your equal, you will still have long rallies. It's a must. There's no way around this.
     
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  12. leech

    leech Rookie

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    I enjoy hitting winners, too, but would enjoy it better if it came after a few set-up shots. If I could consistently uncork a winner off a return of serve and serve up aces and service winners, I don't think I'd have much fun (or have too many matches).

    I definitely need to work on footwork, but I also need to avoid giving my opponents shots that allow them to use their weapon of choice. For example, my last opponent clearly preferred to hit balls that had pace. He started making errors when he had to move forward/back to return my shots.
     
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  13. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I'd understand your point if you easily beat the guy who was going all out for winners but your patient style of play just took him apart. Otherwise your thread is about how you don't like playing against people who are significantly better than you. And for someone who doesn't at all care about improving then that makes perfect sense- there isn't any upside to going out and being forced to take more chances in order to improve your odds of winning.

    People develop big forehands and serves so that they can beat the people who take advantage of guys who just keep the ball in play. When BOTH people have massive forehands then they counteract each other as you have to hit big enough to keep the other person from teeing off.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
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  14. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Spot on!

    OP thinks that winner is a special stroke that once learned you can just do it and call it a day.

    No one hits bigger, winner-like FH than Djokovic and Federer, but their FH become "regular" strokes when facing Nadal, and long, tedious exchange is ensured.
     
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  15. leech

    leech Rookie

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    True, it didn't help that he was a level or two above me. And I guess 4.5 players can get to more balls or know how to position themselves or put the opponent on the defensive so he can't unleash a forehand winner at will.
     
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  16. Top Jimmy

    Top Jimmy Semi-Pro

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    I call it the Pete Sampras match strategy. The pro's always said you could never get into a rhythm playing Pete, big serve, point over. Big serve, return, put away. Then he'd rip his forehand after slicing 20 backhands.

    Funny, I play the exact same way as Pete.

    And even funnier, I tried to learn to grind like a Nadal, switched to a APD, hit loopy top spin, grind out points...I lost soooo many matches. 3 months ago went back to a tour type racket, go for broke, big shots...I've won two tournaments in a row.

    To each their own.
     
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  17. prestiged

    prestiged New User

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    when i play recreational singles when im not practicing on my college team the last thing i wanna do is play somebody who is just going to float all of my shots back. i want to get beat, not lose by missing. but hey, its all different style. nothing is wrong with either.
     
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  18. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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  19. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Who kept track of the rally length of matches in 50k women's events back then? They had to have gone to some kind of video for the rally count. Even then, the camera person had to have been bored stiff, tired, and had to pee.
     
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  20. rh310

    rh310 Professional

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    I'm positive your opponent can rally just fine with someone at his level, or higher. A 4.5 doesn't have much of a problem with consistency.
     
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  21. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    When I read the title I thought you would go a slightly different direction.

    "Ugh, I played a 'hitter' today. I knew I was in for it when he was trying to blast winners all warmup. His first serve was a cannon but he got like 2 in the whole match. Every point he'd go for ridiculous winners that he couldn't make more than 30% of the time on the first ball. My whole night was getting one or two balls back and then going to chase it along the back fence or the next court over. Sure I'll take the win but all things considered it really wasn't a very fun evening of tennis."

    At least that's the 3.5 version of a "hitter," and I must say they are among the least enjoyable to play against in my experience. Give me a pusher over that any day.
     
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  22. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    Therein lies the root of the problem. Your opponent was a level or two above you. I'm sure if that same guy played against a 5.0 or 5.5 he will feel the same way you did.
     
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