When A Teammate Keeps Losing . . .

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I have a tennis buddy. We practice together a lot. We have been teammates for 3 years. We get along well. She is 3.5, but we both think she has the ability to make it to 4.0.

    She is a singles player, and she is losing matches she thinks she should win. I think she should win them also. She tends to dominate the first set, lose the second, then lose the tiebreak. To the extent I have been able to see the tail end of her matches, I see her pushing the ball, scooping the ball, and hitting very short. She tends to try to use advanced technique (e.g. open stance 2HBH) when a more conventional approach might be more consistent.

    As an outsider, I have ideas about what is going wrong. She has ideas about what is going wrong also. She has never put the question to me directly ("Cindy, what do you think I'm doing wrong?"), but if she did I would have an answer.

    My answer would be:

    1. Find one pro you trust and stick with that pro. She tends to take lessons from several different pros at once, even taking lessons from two different pros when she was vacationing at a resort. There is no single pro who knows her game and can make suggestions on what should be fixed.

    2. With the guidance of that one pro, decide what is most lacking in her game and work on it until it is better.

    3. Stop tinkering with an already strong serve and work on the things that are costing her points.

    4. Learn to volley, because nine months of our annual season is doubles.

    So. The next time she complains about how badly things are going, should I just continue to keep my mouth shut?

    When I mull this question, I ask myself whether I would want someone to tell me why I am losing or not getting the results I want. Probably not -- I already have a pro who tells me. Still, it gets hard to offer a sympathetic ear again and again without offering anything concrete in the way of suggestions. It's also hard to hear that her last lesson with Random Tennis Pro was spent getting a few pointers on her serve but no time was spent on volleys. . . .
     
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  2. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Cindy!!! Stop making threads about me!!!!
     
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  3. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    It appears she needs some coaching on how to play matches and manage what is going on between her ears. There are some pros that provide very good information about mental aspects of how to play your match. It is an ongoing process that is just like learning to improve the mechanical aspects of your game.
     
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  4. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Simple...
    Do not change a winning game!
    Change your game when the other guy is winning.
     
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  5. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    In my experience she is not changing her play intentionally. Rather she has Fear of Winning and as such is unconsciously changing her game due to this fear.

    It would be the uncommon person who would get the solution from a Pro. Usually a book on the Mental Game does the trick.
     
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  6. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    It sounds like nerves to me. Not that I have ever experienced such a thing, but ummm... I have heard about it.

    I agree with LuckyR - there are several tennis books that might help. Personally, I'm always helped by revisiting "The Inner Game."
     
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  7. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    yeh, if she tends to dominate at first then lost second set and TB, then it sounds like its either to do with fitness or a mental thing.


    Of the points you mention, (3) seems like the most crucial. Identify and work on weaknesses, whether its a stroke, movement, fitness, or mental. And if you know her well and get on, then why dont you try to gently offer this advice rather than waiting to be asked, i think i prefer t when i get unsolicited advice politely. I can never ever imagine asking another player for advice who is not my coach, maybe its a guy thing, but if it was offered, i would gratefully take it on board.
     
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  8. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Next time she laments just ask her if she wants to hear any of things you've noticed while watching her? If she says yes, then start with her strong points that you feel make her a good player, and she should leave alone, and then transition into the weaker elements you notice that pop up during matches. Finish by telling her the only problem with her getting better at those is she will then get bumped to 4.0 and you won't get to play with her anymore. ;-)
     
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  9. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    How does she play the first set? Does she push and play short shots then too? Seems like her opponents have her figured out by the 2nd set. Then she gets a second wind and goes into a tie break in the 3rd set. (Topaz, actually it sounds more like me.) I personally think too many lessons and different pros can get one confused.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
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  10. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Haha, so I'm not the only one relating to Cindy's teammate?

    I am a slow start (usually). I will drop the first set, and either win the second or run out of time in the second. Granted, this has happened less this year than last, but I'm still losing like crazy.

    I will readily admit that many of my own issues are in my head, and I've already read more than one mental tennis book. I think I also play too many matches, and I'm just tired (in more than one way). That makes it even harder to get up for the next match and have any type of confidence that you will win.
     
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  11. subban

    subban Rookie

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    She could try to improve her fitness and increase her stamina. It could be a case where she loses stamina as the match progress and can't get to the ball as early as she used to in the beginning of the match and therefore hits the ball late which can cause unforced errors or just a pusher type ball.
     
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  12. decades

    decades Guest

    maybe better physical fitness which would give confidence to go for shots...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2010
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  13. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    Do you plan on providing her a list of suggestions you gather from this thread? I don't think that will go very very well. Since you don't even know if she wants to hear your opinion of what she's doing wrong, she certainly isn't going to want to hear the opinion of people that she knows nothing of their qualifications.

    Seems pointless to me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Urg. It's so hard to know what to *say.*

    We had a conversation about her match last night (she called me). She said she was frustrated that she had to hit so many second serves (her second serve is a more conservative version of her first, meaning it is still a strong serve and not a cream puff).

    I decided to say something.

    The something I said was that she shouldn't sweat it if she has to hit second serves. A good first service percentage might be 50%, I said. That means you should expect to have to hit second serves half the time, so it's no big deal if that happens. Rather than lament the missed first serve, just hit the second, be ready for the ball to come back, and play the point from there.

    Why do people get so darn wound up about their serves? Everybody has good serving days and bad serving days. I think maybe she gets so upset that her first serve isn't firing that she feels on defense when she really shouldn't?
     
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  15. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

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    Tell her. I wouldn't couch it as, "This is why you're losing!" though. Maybe something along the lines of, "I think you could really up your win % if you did a few things differently ..." No harm in that - I think she might really appreciate the advice.
     
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  16. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Sounds kinda like "Does this make my butt look big?" Can she handle the truth?

    Seems like there are several tactfull ways to tell her what you want to tell her. The next time she comes even CLOSE to bringing up the topic, try one of these:
    I had the same problem, and I...
    Hmmm, well, have you ever thought about...
    Interesting that you say that. I was reading on the web and it said...

    If she's complaining about something, she's (in my opinion) looking for ways to deal with what she's complaining about. I think it's valid for you to share your insights - as long as she brings it up first. She know's you're not a pro. If she thinks your ideas are worthless she can thank you politely and then ignore what you said.

    (Although, on second thought, I've been married long enough to know that sometimes when women complain about things they do NOT want the guy to try and fix it - they just want him to listen. So, you'll have to figure out what the deal is here. Good luck.)
     
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  17. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    If there is ever a time that you aren't in the line up, get your video camera out and tape her match. If she wins, you all can celebrate and watch it together. If she loses, then she can use the tape to learn from. I've picked up stuff on video that teaching pros didn't and anyone that is not a beginner can pick up on fundamental errors. I'm willing to bet the issues aren't technical in nature and more to do with movement, shot selection etc.
     
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  18. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    Does she know how to play a match?

    I ask only because when I hit with our #1 guy, I normally win..however he has the better strokes..

    we played for a bit yesterday and when we were done he was lamenting his serve...and I asked him if he noticed any patterns during our tiebreakers (we typically play 10 pointers in lieu of sets) and he didn't...

    I was keeping the points short...going for it on my returns and hitting about 85% on 1st/2nd serves mixing it up,..and whenever he was able to hit 5-6 strokes to pull me off the court with a mix of deep balls and a short angled forehand to easy open court or just pounding my backhand with depth and pace he would dominate...if I won a rally it was keeping him in the middle of the court...

    never dawned on him....so he has been winning the first set then losing the last 2 as people adjust and he gets down because he's not serving 90% at 85mph....

    I think required reading for all league players should be the part in OPEN where Gilbert deconstructs Agassi's game ...its Winning Ugly in 2 pages...
     
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  19. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Tell he to think after the 1st set,,,pretend match didn't start and play another 1st set..
     
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  20. Larrysümmers

    Larrysümmers Hall of Fame

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    I think everyone can somehow relate to this. I know I can :(
     
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  21. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Does she frequent TTW? If so, you've probably successfully executed your sly plan. If not, you should recommend it and maybe even mention the thread you saw by this incredibly empathetic Cindy-something that made you think of her.:wink:
     
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  22. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    I couple of guesses, which is all anyone can really do when we're talking about women (Oprah's words, not mine):

    * If her game plan is to win with 1st serves then she either needs to work on 1st serves or change her game plan. I think a lot of advice would be to develop a more complete game plan. The other interesting statistic is 1st serve win % and second serve win %. As an example, yesterday I served about 10 service games. I bet my win % was only marginally better on 1st serves than 2nd serves, and in your description of her serve I bet that would pan out for your friend too.

    * Just ask her what she things she needs to do, and ask her how she's going to accomplish that. If she talks about improving her strenghths, ask her if she thinks she has any weaknesses. Try to lead her into developing a more complete game plan and a more complete approach to the game.

    Obviously she has the skill and ability, she just needs the game planning and a positive mental attitude.
     
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  23. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Dump this loser off the team, she'a a choke! Instead of spending someone's hard earned money on tennis tips and being a tennis pro wharlet, she should see a shrink about why she chokes. Be a real friend and tell her the truth.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
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  24. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Inside tennis this issue has a note about Liezel Huber shouting at Cara Black that "You are not good enough any more to be my partner."

    Cindy, you should try something like that.
     
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  25. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    Really? That's disappointing to hear. My impression of her is that she would have more class than that.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Probably a phony like most people who appear genuine in public.
     
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  27. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    So, what do people who are genuinely nice seem like in public?
     
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  28. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    a-holes...
     
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