What's your playing style and why?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HughJars, Jul 2, 2013.

?

What's your playing style

  1. Attack the net

    13.5%
  2. Baseline

    12.2%
  3. Counter-punching

    20.3%
  4. Junk-ball

    2.7%
  5. All-court

    48.6%
  6. Pusher

    2.7%
  1. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    My playing style in attack the net -serve/volley (as per Kaptain Karl's defintions).

    Why - cos I have found that coming in on the serve has helped my serving conistency, and I have quite a relatively big first serve. And I have grown to love volleying. Plus I dont have massively high aerobic endurance, or a consistent baseline game that I can maintain over a long rally. I like to end the point quickly.

    It's also my favourite style of play to watch by far - I wish there was more of it around.

    Just wondering what people's playing styles are and why they have adopted it. Will be interesting to get an idea of ratios of playing styles amongst rec and club players out there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
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  2. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    Based on Kaptain Karl's definitions I switch between a Baseline Blaster and a Counterpuncher, depending on my opponent and court surface.

    Against a big hitter I cut out a lot of my unforced errors by shortening my strokes and hitting with extra topspin. I mix short angles and deep topspin shots to keep them out of the groove. This is essentially Counterpunching.

    Against a defensive baseliner (pusher/retriever/some counterpunchers) I tend to increase the power on my shots and I try to step inside the court and force them so far back that I can hit a winner, usually with a big forehand, sometimes with a drop shot or volley. This is Baseline Blasting / All Courting.

    Against someone who rushes the net I tend to pin them back with big shots, before ripping short angle or down the line passing shots.

    Generally I guess I play a kind of 'modern baseliner' style, kind of like a budget version of Djokovic. There's points where I will just hang back and grind out a rally of 20 or so shots running side to side trying to get an angle, but the next point I might go for broke on a big forehand.


    I play at a lower 4.5 level on Indoor/Outdoor Hard Courts and Outdoor Carpet.
    My best shots are my various spin serves and my topspin groundstrokes. My flat shots lack the consistency I need for percentage play, I can volley - but only for an easy put away, my slice is solid - but some days it floats on me, and my dropshots only work well from about the service line.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
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  3. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Aggressive. Anything to allow me to finish the point: hitting hard and flat, slice and dice, hit with spin... Anything as long as I can end the point shortly. Have asthma and stamina issues, so I can't afford the grind party if I'm not in control of the point. Especially since I play on clay. So I don't know what to vote.
     
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  4. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    All-court. Approach the net on short balls, or I go in after I hit a big shot. I can volley, drop volley, and half volley pretty well. Sometimes mix in serve and volley. Groundstrokes are consistent with topspin but have lots of pace too. I can flatten it out also for a blitzing winner. Can slice pretty well. Can retrieve lots of fast balls (but with some direction).
     
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  5. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    Baseline for sure. I only come up to the nets to finish up easier points. I can definitely grind it out with most people.

    The two styles of play most used in high level junior tennis is baseline or counterpunching. Junk balling and pushing will get you killed, while serve and volley can easily be exploited.
     
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  6. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    no, juniors don't know how to cover the net. i assure that if stefon edberg and pat rafter can win majors serving and volleying on nearly every point and getting in on their returns a lot, then a junior could be successful with a similar style.
     
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  7. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    I am aggressive. I serve and volley, hit hard ground strokes and come in as much as I can. My game requires rhythm and when its on it is really fun. When it's off is not fun and I can lose some that I should win. I played a former high level junior last night and his comment as we cam off the court(I lost) was that he hadn't played someone who hit that hard in a long time.
     
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  8. Kilco

    Kilco Guest

    Serve and Volley is dead. Dead. It is not feasible with racquet technology and court speed anymore.
     
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  9. rafafan20

    rafafan20 Professional

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    I guess I'd consider myself an all courter, although if I had more chances to work on my volleys I'd probably be in the "attack the net" category. I serve and volley about 1/3 of the time. Come in on any weak ball and try to take moonballs out of the air
     
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  10. SmilinBob

    SmilinBob Rookie

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    Serve-and-Volley. Screw all that running around stuff.


    SmilinBob
    Charter Member, Serve-and-Volley Undead Zombie Army
     
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  11. wings56

    wings56 Professional

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    Base of my game is rooted in counterpunching. I have an exceptional serve considering that style of play so it can allow me to take more risks on my serve game. Mostly just from trying to finish points from the back of the court.

    I definitely tend to grind more on return games. Obviously the weaker of the opponent, the more I will try to win points sooner and move forward.

    My highest levels of tennis against the best opponents is typically a counterpunching style however.

    Why? Great question. It probably fits my personality. I like to relax and grind until I'm pressured and then I typically come up with good passing shots or take my opportunities as they arise. I feel more comfortable most of the time letting the opponent control the court.

    This poses problems at the highest levels because players controlling the point determine whether or not I will win. I will try to step up and be more aggressive, which I have had some success, but it is definitely out of my comfort zone.
     
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  12. Kilco

    Kilco Guest

    Sorry was a bit harsh in my statement. Yeah, its possible, just not at ATP level lets say. If you are good at it then keep it up, I know a guy who can beat ATP ranked players by serve volleying every time and slice returns and charge to net.
     
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  13. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I'm not sure I have a particular style, unless it would be called just bad tennis.

    I do enjoy hitting the occasional winner from the baseline. Hitting winners from the net is a lot easier though.

    As for viewing, I prefer to watch serve and volley tennis. Very exciting and demanding of a certain skill set that doesn't seem to be taught much any more. Historically, the ranks of the great champions have been dominated by serve and volleyers, opportunistic net attackers, and all court players. These days it seems to be the player with particularly great baseline skills and weapons who dominates. But guys like Nadal and Djokovic might be once in a few generations anomalies. Personally, I think that that style is so demanding that it will, say by 2100, have produced fewer champions than the net and all court styles. Just my two cents guess.

    At the rec level, if you have a marginally decent opportunistic net rushing game or serve and volley game, then you'll beat most anybody up to and including, say, 4.25 level players. Beyond that level the groundstroke passing shots get good enough that you have to be better than just decent at the net rushing game to dominate, and, as has been mentioned many times, that style of tennis just isn't taught from a young age as much as it used to be or as much as the grinding baseline game is. Again, just my relatively inexperienced guess. Corrections welcomed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
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  14. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Great post I think
     
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  15. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Well thanks HughJars. It's an interesting topic. I love sports and games where style can be considered and discussed.

    I guess my current opinion is that style itself is not usually the deciding factor in any sport or game, but rather it's the ability of the very best players to adapt successfully to whatever the situation demands.

    Imo, the one thing that always characterizes champions is mental toughness, regardless of their style of play.

    By the way, having begun my tennis watching in the late '60s, I've always regarded Aussie tennis with awe. My favorite players of all time are Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver. What would you call them? All courters? S&Vers?
     
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  16. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    Right now I think I am closer to S and V or net rusher than anything else. The reason is I really want to improve my net game, my serve and groundies are ok for my level, my net game is a bit below that. So I want to get really comfortable at the net, and the transition.

    I also try to come in on second serves, and though that serve is probably not strong enough to warrant it, that is fine because it is making me work on my second serve, and I am facing harder shots on transition and volleys, so I can learn more.



    I am playing a lot of doubles and that is helping a ton.

    When I become more proficient at the net, then who knows, I like the all court style, and at our level, its about playing in a way you think is nice and more fun isnt it, rather than just always playing to win win win?

    And if you learn to win with your preferred style, then thats fantastic.
     
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  17. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Agree with what I take to be the gist of your post. What's your level? Got any videos you can post?
     
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  18. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    I agree that mental toughness seperates the great from the good. Look at Rafa, maybe not the most skillful in some areas, but his mental toughness is second to none. Then look at Tomic. So much talent, but his head lets him down, He has still got a lopng way to go but.

    From the very grainy images Ive seen of Rosewall and Laver, first thing that struck me was the quality of their serving and volleying. And they used wooden rackets and couldnt even serve with their feet of the ground. They weren't booming huge athletes. They just had impeccable net skills.

    I guess thats one of the reasons I love serve/volley. Players showing skills at the net and not just relying on athelticism and power I admire. To me it pays hommage to the great players of the past - many Australian (including the guy in my avatar).
     
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  19. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    With all due respect, let's not pretend we know what's going on with pros, what goes through the head and whatnot. More than that, you guys speak as if you know how to tell talent from mental toughness or whatever. Comon, we have no inkling idea about them, their levels or what it takes. Ferrer looks like he's extremely tough but he barely cracks the top 4. Na Li seems extremely talented. What happened?
     
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  20. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Mental toughness is a talent. Not everyone has it, and not everyone can even learn it. But it's a behavioral trait that all champions have in common. To put it simply, it's a mental attitude or orientation that separates men from boys, adults from children, humans from dogs. It's the ability to remain calm and focused and rationally analytical under duress.

    Of course we do. Theirs a wealth of literature, biographies, journals, etc. that provide much more than just an 'inkling' about what it takes to be a world class performer at ... anything.

    The players that regularly beat Ferrer are bigger and stronger than he is, and just as mentally tough. Is there some mystery here as to why Ferrer will never be #1 as long as there are guys like Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, and Murray playing?
     
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  21. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Ok. This is an interesting observation to me in that it might give rise to some argumentation.

    I agree that Nadal's mental toughness is second to none. However, in keeping with the theme of this thread, I'm going to go out on a limb here and conjecture that it's actually Nadal's playing style, his movement, and the force and accuracy of his shotmaking, that gives him the edge that has made him a champion.

    Of course tenacity, which is a hallmark of Nadal's style, can be attributed to mental toughness.
     
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  22. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    I think this opens up the argument: what are the key superior biomechanical, physiological and cognitive attributes makes a tennis player "naturally talented" in tennis?

    Some I consider:

    Hand/eye coordination
    Propioception
    Aerobic and anaerobic endurance
    Height and limb proportions?
    Spatial awareness
    Muscular endurance
    Flexibility
    Muscle type ratios (fast twich > slow twitch maybe)?
    Natural cognitive ability to learn

    Of course many of these can be trained and improved. But what makes one person never exposed to tennis (with everything external constant) a naturally better player and developer than others?

    Id have to say mental toughness is mainly a construct of the external environment someone has been brought up in/expose to? What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
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  23. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    The answer to this could get a bit complicated, I think. I don't have any sort of solid, informed opinion on it, but I'd guess that it certainly has to do with the stuff you've mentioned so far. You want to venture some guesses as to which are more important? I have no good idea really. However, I will add to your list: tendon and ligament strength and connections. Neuronal/synaptic connections, amount and intensity. This is amenable to measurement as far as I know.

    I don't think that it's necessarily primarily due to the external environment that someone has been brought up in/exposed to. That is, I think that there might be internal biological factors that are more important than the external environmental factors in determining this. For example, some people are just more high strung, more nervous, more panicky than others due to their metabolism and other internal factors. These sorts of people are prone to being less 'mentally tough' than people who are less naturally nervous. Just a guess. I have no idea really. I would guess that some high strung people might be able to learn to be calm and focused under pressure, but that in general these types of people are less likely to be what we would call 'mentally tough' than their more naturally calm, less nervous, peers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
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  24. lightthestorm

    lightthestorm Rookie

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    To be a top player, whether at the junior, rec, open level, you need to be mentally tough for sure.

    It doesn't matter if you have all the athleticism in the world and the strokes. If you began to crack under the pressure at a big event... you will go nowhere. You need to have that "Until the Last Point" mentality. That's why I consider a Southerns match where I was down 5-2 in the third set but rebounded to win my best victory.

    But it does help if you are athletic. I've seen people that started when they were 15 become great faster since they could run a 4.4-4.5 40 yard dash... but that's just part of it.
     
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  25. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Not sure about the fast twitch is greater then slow twitch in tennis. I mean fast twitch, sure you can run to the ball faster BUT tennis does take a lot of running which benefits a slow twitch because they can run more. However, I think the best for tennis would be a combination of slow and fast twitch (type 2A)
     
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  26. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    i use high loopy topspin shots from the baseline. i consider myself an all court player because my plan is to open up a shot to get to the net.
     
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  27. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Serve and volley. Though I am too slow these days to really do it. But alas I do it anyhow...

    I'll come in on returns if I hit a decent one. I have a great volley and hit some great shots.

    And I get passed alot too!!

    I just detest long points, its like I am not doing something right if it takes more than 3 shots to end a point....
     
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  28. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Reason I thought fast twitch is that tennis is all stop/start sprints and short power movements relying on short term anaerobic energy stores (eg: creatine phosphate), rather than long endurance runs like soccer and obviously distance running.
     
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  29. BaselineB

    BaselineB New User

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    I'm an all-court guy, simply because I only started playing a couple of months ago. For instance, I don't have the consistency to be a baseliner yet so I have to make up for that with creativity at the net ... Once I figure out what my strong points are I'll change my style accordingly :))
     
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  30. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    All-courter when I'm on, no-courter when I'm not.

    Why? Well, I'm comfortable playing the entire court. I do tend to rush the net a little earlier than I should (and this gets me in trouble), but if I need to, I am capable of maintaining a rally. Granted, I play a rather aggressive game, so I do focus on net-rushing if possible.
     
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  31. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    Erm, I play doubles for my club, 2nd team, there are no singles matches, and I much prefer singles in terms of just playing.

    I have been playing under 2 years (including a 2 year break recently), so scope to improve everything including footwork, strokes, and temperament.

    No videos, perhaps I might do this a bit later. I do take some lessons when I want to work on something and feeling i get most of the technical support there.

    However I do pipe up on these forums when looking for matters of opinion rather than just clear black and white technical advice.

    My biggest breakthrough in recent months is not always slicing on my 1h BH and using topspin now, I have been told that it is a more solid shot than my FH now and that my FH is more of a "weapon" by my coach.

    The biggest impediment to my 1 hander topspin is preparation, rather than the actual stroke, so am working on that.
     
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  32. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

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    Yah I agree with you there but you need a combination of both. Look at Nadal, runs fast, never tires. Of course you can train to get a mixture of both fast and slow twitch :).
     
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  33. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Hit the ball as few times as possible - aka BTFOOTB, Beat the Fuzz off of the Ball.
    Big serve - if it comes back, put the ball away. Go for the return and hope enough go in to get one break.
    Doesn't work nearly as well as it used to when I was 20 or so. However, it does limit the amount of running I have to do.
     
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  34. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    This is an anecdotal evident that assessing pro's skills by amateurs is foolish and nonsense. I mean, how useful is it if something can be argued 10 completely different ways?
     
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  35. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    Excellent points
     
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  36. HughJars

    HughJars Professional

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    I know that here in Oz for Australian Rules Football there are sports scientists that get out and test youngsters identified as being 'talented' for all sorts of things (biomechanical/physiological/cognitive) to try and detirmine the liklihood of them becoming succesful footballers, and put forward their merit as a worthwhile investment for a team.

    They even do gene profiling and testing of parents!!!

    This type of work, might I add, would be the most awesome job I reckon.

    I wonder to what extent do tennis academies or centres of excellence etc take this sports science approach to recognising talent - or is it all from observation (i.e John Alexander standing at the side of a court with hand on chin, nodding).

    In saying that, the sports science approach has been getting a lot of flak in Oz in AFL, Rugby and Cricket in particular. AFL players produced by this system are amazing athletes, but they lack the game sense and ability to read the play that heroes of previous eras had.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
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  37. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    10 characters
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    "End the point before I get tired"....
    Old fart, getting older and slower, getting blinder, and losing patience...
     
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  39. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Mental toughness is real. But its very overblown - especially on amateur discussion boards. It's a little like self esteem is on child development discussion boards.

    I like the self-esteem example because everyone will understand what I mean I think. If you notice a lot of people are concerned with self-esteem. What they need to be concerned with for children instead is developing proficiency. If a child is proficient in various fields his self-esteem will naturally come. If you have a real talent its easy to have self-esteem. You might even hate Justin Bieber
    but because the dumb kid can actually sing he has tons of self-esteem.

    It's similar with mental toughness in tennis. If you have a good technical base and good fitness levels your game will allow you to play mentally tough. If we look at the pro level one thing that I remember hearing about Novak was that he lacked mental toughness because he lost so many 5 set matches.

    In reality he was gluten sensitive - and his fitness was not up to snuff. (Either that or he started to go on PEDs) Anyway with his improved fitness he has vaulted to #1. It wasn't a mental problem but a fitness problem.

    I think we heard that Sharapova lacked mental toughness. But a closer examination of her serve revealed some technical flaws. For this reason her serve lets her down. And thus she gets upset. But this is bound to happen because of her flawed form.

    I think at the amateur level this 'reversal' of cause and effect is EVEN MORE common. I see so many female players in mixed doubles upset about their game when their side starts to lose. And usually its the serve that gets them upset. Its not any lack of mental toughness though - its a bad serve technique.

    I see guys missing forehands and again getting very upset at their lack of mental toughness. These guys usually have bad technique though that lets them down when the going is tough.

    Most people are going to be mentally tough at something they are good at. And mentally weak in something they are bad at. So most of the time mental toughness is a skill problem.

    In baseball some statisticians have discovered there is no such thing as 'clutch' hitters. There are just good hitters and bad ones. Reggie Jacksons OPS was the same in the post season as the regular season.. It's easy to be clutch if you have home run power. Its not mental toughness.
     
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  40. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not at all. It is especially important in amateur play because no one has the perfect technique and does not have the time to master it. It is all about who can do more with what they have. You assume that proficiency is there for the asking. It is just not the case for club players for whom proficiency in tennis is a low priority to work and family. A club player who dinks his second serve and wins a match is a far superior player than his opponent who is always trying to serve like Federer and missing. The usual comment is: but the first guy will not rise in level. Well, guess what, the loser will also not rise in level most of the time, as observed in real life. The winner has just accepted reality and is in peace with himself.
     
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  41. Doctor of Tennis

    Doctor of Tennis Rookie

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    out of 46 votes I'm the 1st to pick junk-ball. Actually, I'm mostly a baseline player, but that is against players of my level or lower.

    When I play against better players I put out a lot of junk balls because that's the only way for me to do anything to bother them at all. It's fun to make the 5.0 player run with some drop shots once in a while. There's a former D1 player I play against and that's all I do, drop hot him every opportunity I get, haha. Yes I still lose to him, but at least I can win a few points here and there.
     
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  42. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Well if 'pushing' = mental toughness then sure a willingness to push will get you wins. But that's now how people are using it on this thread.

    Mental toughness is an ability to play at the highest levels of your play while facing adversity. So if you NORMALLY hit a nice forehand and then in a tight match it falls apart you 'lack' mental toughness. That kind of thing.. This is why Novak too heat for not being mentally tough. He was alright if he got out ahead but in long matches or when he had to come behind he didn't succeed. So he wasn't 'mentally tough'

    A pusher is often going to be 'mentally tough' because their game is easy to execute. Like it or not the pushing stroke demands less skill and thus whether you are facing a hard hitting opponent or a soft baller you can play your game.. They don't have strokes that break down under pressure.

    But that's neither here nor there. It's totally not related to the concept of mental toughness, IMHO.
     
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  43. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I was thinking about it.. A junk baller is often usually an all-courter though.
     
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  44. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I think under the 4.0 level - and maybe even the 5.0 level most peoples games are dominated by their flaws. We should have categories like..

    - no backhand. Can hit every other shot okay but the backhand reply is some weak sorry shot..

    - gets killed by lobs. Runs at the net and looks shocked if the opponent lobs over their head. Complains that no one plays tennis the right way.

    - slice and dicer. Old guy who sits back and destroys lots of players with nifty low flying slices but avoids playing anyone above 4.0.

    -double faulter. Inexplicably double faults around half their games. If they hit an ace - its going to three more double faults in a row because they almost got this.

    - basher. Tries to hit every ball as hard as possible in every situation. Short balls cause them to hit screamers against the fence..

    - hooker. No one knows what kind of tennis they play since they just cheat so much everyone just quits in frustration..
     
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  45. Doctor of Tennis

    Doctor of Tennis Rookie

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    haha, you have me figured out except I'm not a slicer/dicer and not a hooker, also I don't double fault that much, maybe 1 per service game. I used to be a basher also, but I've changed my tactics so now when I get a short ball, it's drop shot-lob combo time!
     
    #45
  46. johnchung907

    johnchung907 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Messages:
    162
    I'm a basher, that's all. I have a solid backhand, don't double fault a lot, and don't miss a lot of smashes (okay maybe 30% of the time I miss smashes)
     
    #46
  47. S&V Specialist

    S&V Specialist Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2012
    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    Texas
    Ever since I was a kid I've always attacked the net. I grew up playing many sports and had really good hand-eye coordination which helped me out a lot at net. When I was 15, I was 6'3", 200 pounds and could crank serves over 120 mph (seriously). I developed into playing a more all court game but still loved to attack the net.
    After developing my game all throughout highschool, I went to Stanford with a partial academic scholarship. I ended up being a walk on to the tennis team and soon had a full athletic scholarship. I graduated and reached a career-high #851 on the ATP circuit before having to get knee surgery and eventually took a couple of years off tennis. Bad knees have forced me to keep points short and that's why I play S&V.
    Also, now that I am 6'7", 235 pounds, my serve really allows me to be successful behind it at net.
     
    #47
  48. Brian11785

    Brian11785 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,505
    Location:
    TX
    I am a counter-puncher, if anything.

    I have developed the discipline to hit to put my opponents in weak positions instead of going for outright winners early in the point. My movement and anticipation are good. My groundstrokes off both wings are consistent and versatile. My net game and serve are terrible for my level.
     
    #48
  49. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,544
    Location:
    Arizona
    I'm a counter puncher. I don't think I chose it, just worked out that way. When I'd be in a match, I couldn't think of what to do except to get the ball back. But then the other player pulls me wide or rushes the net, it forces me to make a shot. But I'm always waiting for them to initiate something.
     
    #49
  50. halalula1234

    halalula1234 Professional

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,390
    Location:
    U.S
    I dont really know what my style is....I normally go for winners whenever theres a chance, and when im defending I try to look for opportunities to become offensive again.. I come into the net only if i hit a nice set up shot because Im a bit hot and cold there.

    I think im probably a counter puncher / all court
     
    #50

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