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raiden031 12-20-2006 10:27 AM

How to pair up for mixed doubles
 
I'm curious how you would pair up your players for a mixed doubles league. Lets say there are 7 men and 7 women.

Would you pair them up both sides from strongest to weakest so you have a couple of guaranteed wins at the expense of some guaranteed losses, or would you match strong and weak together to have more of a balanced team? What would be your strategy?

oldguysrule 12-20-2006 11:35 AM

First of all, the number one rule in mixed doubles is to have fun. (most of the time) This is the order that I would consider.
1. Who wants to play together? similar personalities? Can you get along and have fun? Husband/wives together (usually)

2. Pair players who play similar styles.

3. Pair players that complement each other regarding which side to play. (duece vs. ad)

4. Match ability level. It is usually no fun to have a really good player paired with a really weak player. Two 3.5's should beat a 4.0 and a 3.0 for example.

Cindysphinx 12-20-2006 01:46 PM

Hey, when you get the answer, Raiden, let me know!

My experience has been that a doubles team is only as strong as the weakest player. I haven't seen much benefit from putting a strong and weak player together and hoping the strong one can do the heavy lifting. The other team figures out who is strong and adjusts strategy to isolate the good player.

So I usually try to put two winning combinations together and just hope for the best on the third court.

I also won't put two brand new players together on the same court at the beginning of the season. I like to pair new players with veterans, which helps with jitters and stategy during the match.

For some reason, I've had good results putting two weak players together on Court Three. I guess anything can happen on a tennis court, so putting four strong players on Courts One and Two with weak players on Court Three works very well indeed for winning 2-1.

bluegrasser 12-20-2006 02:22 PM

I'll take the foxy one, it usually works...

JW10S 12-20-2006 02:43 PM

In mixed doubles there is an old cliche that I have found to be true more times than not--'it's the woman who wins it and the man who loses it'. It means that the team with better female player is often the one that wins. You start with that idea first...

Fedace 12-20-2006 02:45 PM

I usually like to play with the hottest white girl since i like white girls(Not a racist statement), since i am asian myself.

xtremerunnerars 12-20-2006 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 1126249)
I haven't seen much benefit from putting a strong and weak player together and hoping the strong one can do the heavy lifting.

Hate to butt in on the adult forum, but that's so true. It's the reason i'm trying to find a new group to play with. I'm the best of the four (being modest) and i have to play with the girl 1.0 below me. If i played with either of the other two people, the match would be a landslide.

It's usually close, with my team winning actually. I just poach and serve well, so we hold usually and break every now and then.


This brings up the argument on finding a new group, especially if you see the same people every day (school for me, work for most).

AndrewD 12-20-2006 10:18 PM

Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.

Of course, you've most likely got a team that gels well together. In that case, I'd always aim for pairing the teams in order of strength. If they're all at the same level, or only one team is strong, match on how they click.

slewisoh 12-21-2006 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewD (Post 1127075)
Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.

I don't think your observation is sexist at all, as most women I know (myself included) will personalize what is happening around them. I've only seen one woman who was successful with a jerk. There was nothing remarkable about her game at all, but her ability to ignore the abusive jerk on her own court was amazing! Nothing the guy said or did upset her. She just went about her business on the court as if he didn't exist.

I don't want a male partner who treats me like a delicate flower but I also don't want someone who feels he must compensate for me with overwhelming displays of testosterone...I know what my role is in mixed, so I most appreciate a guy who will work with me to take advantage of our combined skills.

I also have not witnessed too many successful husband/wife teams. You would think people would treat their loved ones with even more kindness and respect, but I've typically seen the opposite. My husband and I are nice to each other when partnered but we are awful when we face each other - too competitive!

Dr. Van Nostrand 12-21-2006 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldguysrule (Post 1125987)
.....
1. Who wants to play together? similar personalities? Can you get along and have fun? Husband/wives together (usually).......

I have found there 75%-80% of husbands/wives cannot play together particularly at a competitive level. For hit-and-giggle social tennis most husband and wife teams can tolerate each other. I know many couples that started out with the intention of playing mixed doubles together both socially and competively but after a season or two of trying to play league tennis together they find that the idea just doesn't work. My wife and I have managed to survive playing together for about 8 years.

sureshs 12-21-2006 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JW10S (Post 1126359)
In mixed doubles there is an old cliche that I have found to be true more times than not--'it's the woman who wins it and the man who loses it'. It means that the team with better female player is often the one that wins. You start with that idea first...

Not when the guy has a huge serve and/or a good poacher. Such guys can usually carry the team at the 3.5 levels, whether mixed or men's doubles. In fact, just being a tall guy is enough, as long as he is willing to stand a little up close to the net. The other side returner at these levels gets flustered by that alone.

oldguysrule 12-21-2006 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Van Nostrand (Post 1127612)
I have found there 75%-80% of husbands/wives cannot play together particularly at a competitive level. For hit-and-giggle social tennis most husband and wife teams can tolerate each other. I know many couples that started out with the intention of playing mixed doubles together both socially and competively but after a season or two of trying to play league tennis together they find that the idea just doesn't work. My wife and I have managed to survive playing together for about 8 years.

Congrats...My wife and I are in our 5th year of playing together. We have several husband/wives that play together in our area. To be honest, I can't imagine playing mixed doubles if it wasn't with my wife.

sureshs 12-21-2006 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldguysrule (Post 1127661)
To be honest, I can't imagine playing mixed doubles if it wasn't with my wife.

You are a good man, sir

tennis-n-sc 12-21-2006 10:26 AM

Here's how I do it and we've been pretty good. I put my strongest guy and gal together at # 1 and go down in order of strength. I have a bit of a different approach on the most important member of the team. In my opinion, it is the gal. Her job is neutralize the male opponent while her partner beats the opposing gal. And, I have found, that in USTA mixed league play, for the most part the social aspect goes out the window. The women I play with are very competitive and fearless.

raiden031 12-21-2006 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldguysrule (Post 1127661)
Congrats...My wife and I are in our 5th year of playing together. We have several husband/wives that play together in our area. To be honest, I can't imagine playing mixed doubles if it wasn't with my wife.

My wife refuses to play tennis at all. I would love it if I could play doubles with her, but that will never happen because she doesn't like sports. Although she cares about looking fit (not necessarily being fit, but looking it) and goes to the gym to do cardio. I just don't get it.

JW10S 12-21-2006 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 1127644)
Not when the guy has a huge serve and/or a good poacher. Such guys can usually carry the team at the 3.5 levels, whether mixed or men's doubles. In fact, just being a tall guy is enough, as long as he is willing to stand a little up close to the net. The other side returner at these levels gets flustered by that alone.

That is just why the female is so important. A big server only serves every 5th game. A female that can hold her own serve and break the other female's serve makes the difference in mixed. I won several Open level mixed tournaments with my sister (in fact we never lost a match together). I am 6'4'' with a big serve and she is more than a foot shorter. But she was able to return the other male's serve consistantly enough that I was able to poach while most often the opposing female could not return my serve or do enough damage returning my sister's serve. In not every match we won was I the stronger of the 2 male players but in nearly every case my sister was the stronger female--that's why we won. She could set me up and I could finish. That's why the 'male loses it' part of the cliche is true. If the man cannot finish when his partner sets him up he'll lose it for them.

wally 12-21-2006 02:14 PM

It seems I'm a lucky guy based on what I read here. My wife is a former college player. I only took up the game 10yrs agao when we got married with a goal of getting good enough to hit with her and play some mixed doubles.

to make a long story short this is one area where I check the old male ego at the door and let her make the calls. She's a very good experienced doubles player and I quickly learned if I followed her suggestions we played better and had more fun.

I do agree with the above posters It is indeed the male that can just suck the fun right out of mixed doubles match. So my piece of advice for you guys out there is
1.) find out who has the higher level of experience/ability. If its the woman then let her make the calls and take a bit of advice. If its you be gentle with your suggestions remember its not what you say its how you say it.
2) check the little hyper competitive guy. most mixed doubles is good fun For you single guys you can sometime meet some nice women this way, but there is no way they'll stick around to chat if you've been an *** whole

OK I'll get off my soap box now:D

Cindysphinx 12-21-2006 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1127918)
My wife refuses to play tennis at all. I would love it if I could play doubles with her, but that will never happen because she doesn't like sports. Although she cares about looking fit (not necessarily being fit, but looking it) and goes to the gym to do cardio. I just don't get it.

I can't get my husband to play tennis either. I feel your pain, Raiden.

He golfs. Golf. Can you imagine? :)

rasajadad 12-22-2006 05:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AndrewD (Post 1127075)
Cindysphinx,

I'd say, without any suggestion of sexism, that a mixed doubles team succeeds or fails on the strength of the male player. I don't mean strength in terms of his ability to play tennis but how he handles the mixed-doubles format. While I know there are a lot of women with lousy attitudes I'd say I've met 20 times more guys who could drain all the fun out of the game (and they seem to up that tempo when they play mixed). Even guys who are absolutely fine in a men's doubles format can lack the right attitude. Sometimes it's just the general 'vibe' they give off, other times it's making the woman feel superfluous, rather than part of a team. Men seem to be able to play without support from their female partner (I do realise I'm generalising but that is all you can do) whereas the women I've played with and against (mixed is integral to club comp here in Australia) don't. That's especially important if you've got weak pairings as a supportive male with the right attitude can add a couple of extra games to a losing score.

Of course, you've most likely got a team that gels well together. In that case, I'd always aim for pairing the teams in order of strength. If they're all at the same level, or only one team is strong, match on how they click.

I'll add my 2 cents worth as I played in an 8.0 mixed league last winter. I always paired with a different player in my four matches. Only one of whom I'd had any experience. If winning is your goal, knowing your partner is key number one. (No matter how good or bad either of the players are.)

Second priority for me is communication level. Is my partner going to talk to me? Or are they expecting me to come up with strategy, positioning, etc...

Number three variable is the stronger partner's willingness to crack balls at the weaker opponent. (No matter whether it's the right shot or not.)

TriCitiesTennis 12-22-2006 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1125908)
I'm curious how you would pair up your players for a mixed doubles league. Lets say there are 7 men and 7 women.

Would you pair them up both sides from strongest to weakest so you have a couple of guaranteed wins at the expense of some guaranteed losses, or would you match strong and weak together to have more of a balanced team? What would be your strategy?

Raiden:

I might be able to help you a little bit.

On my mixed doubles team, I have a girl that I can play with that I know that anytime we step on the court together that her and I can beat anyone in our ranked level. (For whatever reason USTA has not bumped us up - we are 3.0'
s).

When we are playing teams that are not as strong in the league, I will split her and I up so that she is playing with a more average guy (while still being the #1 or #2 player on the court) and I will split up to play with a weaker lady.

So far this theory has never gotten us beat. We do have a husband and wife team....but as a captain...I urge against playing husband/wives together.

My thoughts are to always place your best two players together unless you know you are going to roll, then split them up and win two courts.


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