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-   -   How do you approach a match with a clearly superior opponent? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=192336)

PushyPushster 04-16-2008 06:59 AM

How do you approach a match with a clearly superior opponent?
 
So, I managed to back my way into the UltimateTennis playoffs seeded just about dead last. I'm trying to prepare mentally for my division-winning opponent. Here are the options I'm currently considering:

1.) The 'ole 'Hey, I'm an underdog so there's no pressure here' technique. Everything's just groovy.

2.) Put the Rocky theme on continuous loop and down a few raw eggs.

3.) Just curl up in the fetal position after taking the court in order to minimize the length of the beatdown.

Any ideas?

flash9 04-16-2008 07:03 AM

Enjoy the moment!
 
Relax and Swing through your shots!

Play your game.

It is very unlikely you will win if your opponent is that much stronger, but look at it as a great opportunity to play against a stronger player. :)

bluetrain4 04-16-2008 07:07 AM

Enjoy the challenge of seeing how good you can do. Can you win games, can you hit winners.? Try not to give too much away. See if you can find something to pick on, if they have any weaknesses.

bronco_mba 04-16-2008 07:08 AM

Go all Santoro on your opponent. Mix spins, pace, placement, etc., anything to keep your opponent off balance and uncomfortable.

Fedace 04-16-2008 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bronco_mba (Post 2256852)
Go all Santoro on your opponent. Mix spins, pace, placement, etc., anything to keep your opponent off balance and uncomfortable.

I like this idea the best. but if this is not your natural game, then you could be shooting yourself in the foot

LuckyR 04-16-2008 07:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PushyPushster (Post 2256829)
So, I managed to back my way into the UltimateTennis playoffs seeded just about dead last. I'm trying to prepare mentally for my division-winning opponent. Here are the options I'm currently considering:

1.) The 'ole 'Hey, I'm an underdog so there's no pressure here' technique. Everything's just groovy.

2.) Put the Rocky theme on continuous loop and down a few raw eggs.

3.) Just curl up in the fetal position after taking the court in order to minimize the length of the beatdown.

Any ideas?


Personally, I like #2. However from a tactical standpoint, I would go for less unforced errors rather than for more winners. I would make him earn the win, not hand it to him on a silver platter.

SlapShot 04-16-2008 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 2256930)
Personally, I like #2. However from a tactical standpoint, I would go for less unforced errors rather than for more winners. I would make him earn the win, not hand it to him on a silver platter.

Ditto. I just go out, play my game as smart as possible, and force the opponent to beat me. I play a lot more conservative when I'm not going to get free points myself.

smoothtennis 04-16-2008 07:57 AM

I have an Open coming up this weekend...and one way or another, I'll have to face a 5.0 or + no matter which direction it goes main draw or consolation.

My first goal is trying to get the return in, and get a rally going as best I can manange. If I can just get the ball in play, I think I'll be able to play some, and enjoy the crap outta playing a great player.

My second goal is to serve aggressive enough...to keep my opponent from taking the immediate offensive on the return.

Frankly, I just want to get the ball in play, and play out some good points. I am not even thinking about winning or losing--- just not looking like a total goof for showing up. :mrgreen:

And congrats on this opportunity to the OP. You should enjoy seeing what you can do on the court with better players. Depending on your game, technique, and skill level, I find...you have more weapons as you play up to a certain point if you have good stroke mechanics and footwork. At some point though, the better players tend to have serious weapons they can really punish you with. That's whats gonna happen to me! <smile>

SlapShot 04-16-2008 08:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smoothtennis (Post 2256994)
I have an Open coming up this weekend...and one way or another, I'll have to face a 5.0 or + no matter which direction it goes main draw or consolation.

My first goal is trying to get the return in, and get a rally going as best I can manange. If I can just get the ball in play, I think I'll be able to play some, and enjoy the crap outta playing a great player.

My second goal is to serve aggressive enough...to keep my opponent from taking the immediate offensive on the return.

Frankly, I just want to get the ball in play, and play out some good points. I am not even thinking about winning or losing--- just not looking like a total goof for showing up. :mrgreen:

And congrats on this opportunity to the OP. You should enjoy seeing what you can do on the court with better players. Depending on your game, technique, and skill level, I find...you have more weapons as you play up to a certain point if you have good stroke mechanics and footwork. At some point though, the better players tend to have serious weapons they can really punish you with. That's whats gonna happen to me! <smile>

What level are you at? I find it to be a blast playing with 4.5-5.0 players as a 3.5/4.0 player myself - it's tough to win points, but I find I play some of my best tennis.

spot 04-16-2008 08:46 AM

I couldn't disagree any more with the advice given so far. The key to beating someone better than you is to make them beat you with what they do the worst. Pound the backhand OVER AND OVER. Don't mix it up- POUND the backhand. Bring them to the net and lob them repeatedly to make them beat you with overheads. Find what they do the worst and keep making them do that every single point. In rec tennis people vary SO MUCH if you compare what they do the best to what they do the worst. Seriously- don't let that player get a single forehand return against you and I guarantee you you will do much better than if you "play your own game".

SlapShot 04-16-2008 08:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 2257168)
I couldn't disagree any more with the advice given so far. The key to beating someone better than you is to make them beat you with what they do the worst. Pound the backhand OVER AND OVER. Don't mix it up- POUND the backhand. Bring them to the net and lob them repeatedly to make them beat you with overheads. Find what they do the worst and keep making them do that every single point. In rec tennis people vary SO MUCH if you compare what they do the best to what they do the worst. Seriously- don't let that player get a single forehand return against you and I guarantee you you will do much better than if you "play your own game".

I know a lot of higher level players that have backhands that would hurt you just as much as their forehand. I would bet that if you aren't at the level of your opponent, and they have an unsteady backhand, you're probably going to have trouble really "pounding" any stroke. Most 4.0 and above players have a good, solid backhand - be it slice or topspin.

If you're not at their level, odds are, your lobs aren't going to be tremendously effective and you'll rarely be able to command the point.

Your best bet (if you are able) is to play to their weakness, but only if you aren't sacrificing your strength to do so. If you've got a solid FH and can direct it well, then by all means attack them at their weakness. If your backhand is terrible and they're directing your shots to their backhand crosscourt, you're going to work yourself into a less-than-positive situation.

ohplease 04-16-2008 09:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 2257168)
I couldn't disagree any more with the advice given so far. The key to beating someone better than you is to make them beat you with what they do the worst. Pound the backhand OVER AND OVER. Don't mix it up- POUND the backhand. Bring them to the net and lob them repeatedly to make them beat you with overheads. Find what they do the worst and keep making them do that every single point. In rec tennis people vary SO MUCH if you compare what they do the best to what they do the worst. Seriously- don't let that player get a single forehand return against you and I guarantee you you will do much better than if you "play your own game".

I agree with the sentiment, but there comes a point where exploiting what the other guy does badly is tough to do. Good players are often good precisely because they know how to hide or avoid their weaknesses.

spot 04-16-2008 09:36 AM

slapshot- even if they have a "solid" backhand its likely to be FAR less effective than their forehand. There are very few lower level players that can consistently attack off of the backhand side. And if you are playing against a better player than you, simply being in a sitaution where they can't attack you is a major victory

bumblebee 04-16-2008 01:43 PM

blast em off the court, james blake style... or u could pretend to be fabrice santoro XD

Cindysphinx 04-16-2008 02:12 PM

But see . . .

If you are supposed to follow Wardlaw's Directionals, you can't attack the backhand against a superior player, can you? If we're in a forehand crosscourt rally, I can't change direction to the backhand unless I get a weak ball to attack (yeah, right) or I get an inside ball, perhaps by running around the backhand (good luck against someone who is spanking the ball).

In general, however, Spot has won me over on his "attack the backhand" idea, for my level at least. I find that serving to the backhand is far more likely to give me a first ball I can work with.

Whether I make a hash of that first easy ball is on me.

LuckyR 04-16-2008 05:20 PM

Different people mean different things when they say "attack" the BH. For some it means hitting the ball to the right side of the court, for others it means hitting a deep penetrating ball there. Well if the guy gives you balls that you can hit deep, penetrating balls off of, then maybe he isn't a whole lot better than you. If you are merely hitting balls to the ad side of the court, well, haven't we all heard of the inside out FH? I don't think you are going to be in much of a winning position going there.

In my opinion, if winning tennis matches could be so easily broken down into a bumpersticker-like "strategy" like: Attack the BH, then there probably wouldn't be shelf after shelf of books on it and Forums like this one. Oh well, simple strategies for simple minds...

smoothtennis 04-16-2008 05:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SlapShot (Post 2257016)
What level are you at? I find it to be a blast playing with 4.5-5.0 players as a 3.5/4.0 player myself - it's tough to win points, but I find I play some of my best tennis.

In pure playing ability very strong 4.0 to weak 4.5. I've been playing 4.5 tourney's so far this year (1-3 record), then will do this Open, and back to play the 4.0 guys for the rest of the year I guess, unless it just isn't as fun. Mayby I expect too much of these 5.0's. I am expecting unreal killer forehands, explosive backhads with huge topspin, crushing returns, and serves at 115 mph, including massive kick and twist serves. I could be building this up in my mind, but it sounds incredibly fun, LOL!

Slapshot - So you've done this? How bad do you think the mismatch was? Were you able to get into any good long rallies? Your post encourages me!

spot 04-17-2008 02:54 AM

LuckyR- all I know is that I repeatedly beat people far better than me just by resolving to make them hit 90% backhands. People make it more complicated in their heads because they feel more proactive if they are "mixing it up" and might not feel mentally stimulated by doing the same return of serve over and over and over and over.

And books aren't necessarily focused on 4.0 and below tennis where backhands are so much weaker than forehands. And people don't pay for books that are 1 line long.

POUND THE BACKHAND!

PushyPushster 04-17-2008 03:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bronco_mba
Go all Santoro on your opponent. Mix spins, pace, placement, etc., anything to keep your opponent off balance and uncomfortable.

Heck, if I could do all that I wouldn't be seeded in the hundreds. You must not have read my screen name. ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot
And people don't pay for books that are 1 line long.

POUND THE BACKHAND!

Okay, I'm sold. Keep going to the backhand and prepare to lob. Both of those things are in my very limited tennis toolkit. We play tomorrow, so if the score isn't too embarrassing I'll post the results.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

shell 04-17-2008 04:28 AM

I've recently been in the same position. My strategy going in was to make something happen. What I forgot was the patience and consistency to wait for the right opportunity.

I would say be prepared to rally against balls that are not going to be comfortable, they will be deep and penetrating at that level. But also be prepared to change into an aggresive position if you get the chance. Take the opportunities given you and go for it, or set something up. They will come, but not often.

Hope this helps.

BTW - I lost. But I really feel that it would have been a better score line if I had played a little more consistently instead of feeling I had to hit a great shot. I didn't get blown off the court, which gives me some encouragement for the next time!

Good luck, and don't forget to have fun. These are great chances to feel a little different kind of tennis.


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