What What I To DO???

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Annika, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    566
    I play in a round robins league for the County.

    Anyhow, my partner and I are both seniors. Our opponents were about 30 and 35 years old. They played smartly and kept hitting high deep balls which kept the person playing back working hard. The net person could not reach any of those high balls to put away.

    After losing the first set 7-5, we were tired. But they continued with their playing style. And we went on to lose 6-1.

    We or I honestly believed if we could play the same in the 2nd set we could pull out a win. :oops: What was I thinking? Was there anything we could have done under the circumstances to win (taking age and endurance into consideration)?

    We play by USTA rules.
     
    #1
  2. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    566
    That topic should be: What Was I To Do? i'm so tired...
     
    #2
  3. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,020
    This is one of those...

    ..."not enough information" questions, but there's some clues to start with. What I think you're saying is that you were playing one up and one back, and the net person wasn't getting any business because the other team kept lobbing over the net person's head. Without getting into all the other variables, there's kind of two things you can do, at least for starters:

    - Play both back. Now you don't have a net person, but it wasn't doing you any good, so you might as well both play back, hit groundies, and share the load so you don't get as tired. Assuming that they're staying back, at least some of the time, it's now a groundstroke contest, where the team with better groundstrokes wins.

    - Don't let 'em lob as much. There's a lot of different ways you can make this happen, but, especially if they're staying back on the baseline and lobbing over the net person, you're playing into their hands if you hit full length, through the court groundstrokes right back to them. Hitting a lob is more difficult if you have to stretch, reach for low shots, that kind of stuff, so maybe hit some short, slice angles and see how that works.

    Does that sound like a start?
     
    #3
  4. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    I'd say "No. Taking endurance into consideragion, you were doomed to lose." You just barely lost the first set. Probably, if a couple of points had gone the other way you could have won the first set. However, you didn't have enough gas left to close out the match. Even if you'd won the first set you'd still probably have lost the second set 6-1 - right? Then you play a third set? By now you're even more tired - how you possibly going to win that?

    My advice: You played a stonger team. You didn't like their strategy and didn't seem to have a counter for it. Somehow, though, you nearly sent the first set to a tie-breaker - and then anything's possible. You need to improve your fitness, or else come up with a playing style that allows you to finish points quickly so that you have enough juice to get through a match without improving your fitness. A baseline slugfest does not play to your strengths.
     
    #4
  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,069
    Oh, dear. You were run ragged by lob queens. I have *so* been there. I remember a match against a couple of lob queens in which I worked so hard that I literally had sweat dripping off of my pony tail.

    I agree that the net player simply has to get into the point. How? Either play two back, or have the net player stand in no-man's land and take each ball headed her way as an overhead or swinging volley.

    Another possibility is to avoid giving the lob queens the balls they like. If you can slice, that can make lobbing more tricky. Best of all is a short angled ball -- the closer they are to net, the less margin for error they have in getting a lob over the net player without knocking it long.

    The other thing you can do is accept your predicament (running out of steam against younger players) and have both of you play the whole match at the service line (or one step behind it). If they are really going to lob all night, then you can just stand there and take every ball as an overhead, or if you think it is going deep then let it go and pray. No running, as you are too gassed. This means the returner and server *must* come in after striking the first ball, and the net player can never start right on the net.

    Even if your overheads stink, I guarantee they will improve over the course of two sets! :)
     
    #5
  6. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    1,319
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Change it up. Play two back. Try australian formation.


    [
     
    #6
  7. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,411
    Location:
    expanding my Ignore List
    You don't say if your team tried to move forward and be aggressive instead of trading lobs. You also don't mention how aggressive the other team was about taking the net.

    So you could try to:
    * Hit better approach shots to make lob returns less likely - maybe try to slice and keep the ball low and come in behind rather than waiting for a lob
    * Play both back and be more patient
    * Get in better shape - running a few feet to the baseline is not exactly the ultimate test of endurance. Don't cop-out and pull the 'senior' card. I'm close to being a senior and still win a lot of matches against younger players by out hustling them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
    #7
  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,069
    Oh, wow. Harsh, man.

    Playing a 1-up, 1-back formation where you switch for every lob against a couple of lob queens is exhausting. It's not a cop-out for any recreational player to become fatigued under these circumstances.

    Let's cut OP a break here. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to train to the point where you can outrun a couple of younger lob queens, there is no shame in that.
     
    #8
  9. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    4,411
    Location:
    expanding my Ignore List
    I'll be 51 in a few months and I can still outrun a lot of younger guys who don't do enough endurance work. What I lack in talent and technique, which is significant, I try to make up for in hustle. IMO it is a lot easier to improve your endurance than it is to improve your technique, especially when you are an 'old dog' who has played the same way for a long time.

    But I understand your mindset. I quit playing mixed after being partnered up with numerous women who apparently considered it a personal insult to have to actually run after a ball.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
    #9
  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,069
    I scramble just fine, thanks.

    I try to be a teensy bit understanding of players our age who don't or can't.
     
    #10
  11. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    I think we have all been through this in one way or another... it even happens in some lower end men's matches. However in most mixed and men's matches some of the players move well enough to hit overheads. Personally I always try to make a point of taking special care of early lobs in a match, trying to make an impression to the other side not to lob.

    As for you case... it is a tough decision to address, you are probably up against a better team as mentioned above. Since the precentages are not in your favour you will need to play a higher risk game, it also sounds like you would be better off shortening the points.

    Since you have not provided much information... options would be to bring them to the net... be more aggressive by poaching off the return of serve and going for winners in the short court. Also note which side they struggle more with and attack it... (backhand/forehand). Anticipate a lob off their shots and be prepared to back pedal and hit overheads.

    It is obvious you cannot win playing their game so your best option is to try something different. Shortening the points will provide you more energy to compete longer into the match.

    Sometimes at the end of the day you just have to shake their hands and admit they are a better team.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
    #11
  12. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,619
    We usually try to volley short and to the backhand side when were getting lobbed a lot. I'm talking about when they don't have control of the net.
     
    #12
  13. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,773
    I agree with the comments above. In general, if the net person is not involved, you need to change something. I would suggest both you and your partner moving to the service line area. Being "at the net" doe not mean playing right up. Instead, being near the service line allows you to take deep shots in the air and still get to the short shots.
     
    #13
  14. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    792
    If your net person is being taken out of the match with those high balls, I'd suggest playing 2 back. Try to hit short, sharp angles to pull them out wide and leave the middle of the court open. Playing 2 back also gives them a different look, and forces them to resort to new tactics.
     
    #14
  15. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,020
    Oh, yeah, I almost forgot...

    ...play two back, either on the baseline or wherever happens to be the likely setup spot for a smash, and do some overhead practice...
     
    #15
  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,069
    Wait, I just thought of something I used to do all the time at 3.0 and 6.5 combo.

    You have a couple of lob queens. One or both are at the baseline, driving you wild with lobs. You and your partner are at the baseline, having given up on 1-up, 1-back, for the reasons you state in your OP.

    Now what?

    If you stay 2 back against their 2 back, two things happen. First, you probably lose because you are playing their game. Second, you are bored out of your skull because you are playing the most gawdaful-looking tennis possible, and you are concerned someone you know may see you playing like this. :)

    Once you're two back, you don't have much to think about, so set your mind on anticipating opportunities to launch sneak attacks. Watch your opponents and try to predict when they are going to hit a crap shot. When you see them about to hit that crap shot, run up and punish it -- short angle, big smash, whatever. The main rule for sneak attacks is you need to take these balls out of the air. If you bounce these balls, then they have time to get organized. No, you want volleys, overheads, swinging volleys -- any ball you can take in the air and make land in their court.

    Signs that a weak shot is a'comin' your way include: High ball going to your opponent's BH, any running BH or FH, any ball either opponent can barely reach. There are probably others, but that will get you started in "reading" a lob exchange.

    Oh, the looks on their faces when they are concentrating on launching their umpteenth lob only to strike the ball and see you charging the net. Sweet revenge!
     
    #16
  17. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    If it came down to going back to the baseline and hitting moonballs with 4 people... I would consider going to the net and shaking their hands. I am just not wired to hit moonballs for 2 or 3 sets.

    You win...
     
    #17
  18. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    566
    "lob queens" :) I tried going back to the baseline and helping my partner in her long rallies BUT as soon as they hit one down the middle, she thought we'd lose too many points playing like that. ROFL :shock:

    Hmm. I'm rethinking if I should play Combo because I play about a 3.5 BUT I cannot carry a 3.0 player at this time esp if we play two young, fit gals.

    Did I tell you we follow USTA rules and regulations. It's fun! I will return to doubles in the spring hoping to bring my level of tennis up in doubles. ((I've been trying this for 25 years now)) :oops:
     
    #18
  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,069
    Yes, sometimes your opponents are just better.

    I found that playing 6.5 combo as the 3.5 did wonders for my net game and overall aggressiveness. I'd encourage you to stick with it. You might need a partner who understands court positioning a bit better, though . . .
     
    #19
  20. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Messages:
    457
    Location:
    Lavalette, WV
    my brother had a tactic he used:

    "moonball and sneak"

    you hit a moonball - not a lob - a moonball.
    when the ball is about 3/4 of the way across, you opponent
    will most likely let his attention focus 100% on the ball and 0% on you.

    That's when one or both of you SPRINT to the service line, do a split step,
    and step forward into a first volley, preferably sharply angled.

    Even if you miss, it can and will totally screw up thier mind. They will be looking at you not at the ball, and you will see them literally trying to change their strokes 1/2 way through the swing, and we all know what happens when you do that.

    Try it, you'll like it!
     
    #20
  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,069
    Absolutely!

    Plus it is a lot of fun. It's like playing red-light-green-light on a tennis court!
     
    #21
  22. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,905
    Are you aware of the actual time rules?

    A lot of players dont take full advantage of them.

    Mainly you get 90 seconds on every change over, and you get 120 seconds between sets.

    That's a LOT of time to catch your breath, more then most people realize, especially if they are used to playing indoors where they dont even change ends most of the time. (most of us just towel off take a sip of water and go back out to play)

    Maybe you were doing that though, but if not, you are well within the rules to take all the time you are allowed.

    You get 20 to 25 seconds between points as well, although I dont think that's really all that much more time then most people normally take, but you can at least take your time when you are serving, no need to rush thru every point.

    It's tricky though because if you are playing well but just happen to be behind, you can throw yourselves off by taking too much time. But you dont want to get tired either, so it's a catch 22.....
     
    #22

Share This Page