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-   -   Have you ever won a tournament? How important was it (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=394212)

DeShaun 08-25-2011 09:23 PM

Have you ever won a tournament? How important was it
 
to go for you shots? To not be fearful of searching for your biggest game, even if this cost you a few points, due to unforced errors, here and there?

It seems wise to look for your big game early and often and if it's missing in action on that day, only then tone it down and play percentage tennis.

But if you have won a tournament or even made the finals or even just a deep strong run against a gauntlet of tough competitors before falling, how did you approach the matter of problem solving in a tournament format as to how to play someone where it was one and done and you had no prior awareness of your opponent?

Limibeans 08-25-2011 09:40 PM

Really depends on the tournament. Not all "open" tournaments are created equal. You have "opens" that have 3.5's and 4.0 pushers in them. You have "opens" that have players from foreign countries as well as the #1 and #2 singles players from your biggest local college.

It really depends on the contrast between your game and theirs.

Sometimes you have to out play them. Sometimes you can make them have to out play you. Younger, or inexperienced players will always try to outplay you. Older, or experienced players will try to make you out play them.

goran_ace 08-25-2011 09:53 PM

normally my thoughts were bigger picture like: hold serve, break serve. if anything, I used to play more conservatively in the first round or two and give my opponent a chance to give me the set/match on errors rather than try to force something if I didn't have to, basically saving my game/energy for the next round. not knowing your opponent isn't a big deal. you know your own game well enough to know what you should be doing out there. you learn enough about them in warmup and the first game or two.

DeShaun 08-25-2011 10:04 PM

Thanks guys, I appreciate your inputs.

I finished my match early tonight and had a chance to scout who I'll be playing tomorrow. It looks like he's not going to hit me off the court, and it looks like he's not going to outwork me, but it looks like he may try to out-"clever" me. I noticed before my match began, while he and his opponent were warming up, that it seemed to me that he was actually sandbagging during his warmup; couldn't seem to hit the broad side of a barn while his opponent, younger and fresher looking, was putting more effort into their warmup.

Anyways, late in their second (final) set, after my match had ended, I was seated on the bleachers watching them, and the guy that I'll be playing tomorrow appeared to have superior court generalship and showed decent poise during longer rallies, he wasn't pushing but he seemed to be waiting for his opponent to mess up which is basically what happened repeatedly towards the end of their match.

But there is the possibility, too, that he was not showing all his cards against tonight's opponent. So, I may find out tomorrow.

Fugazi 08-25-2011 10:08 PM

I've won 6 provincial singles tournaments (in Quebec, Canada), a long time ago. Under 12, it was all about consistency. Under 14, a few were about consistency on clay, and one was all about hitting on the rise like a mad man. Had about 5 private lessons the week before (plus the usual training), and my coach made me practice hitting on the rise every single chance I got. I won 4 matches, played my best tennis ever, lost a total of 16 games. My coach, who couldn't be there for my matches, gave me the best advice I ever got from him: "I don't want to hear about you being fearful or cautious out there, play aggressive". I did just that, played super aggressive, on the rise, and that was that.

DeShaun 08-25-2011 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fugazi (Post 5932432)
I've won 6 provincial singles tournaments (in Quebec, Canada), a long time ago. Under 12, it was all about consistency. Under 14, a few were about consistency on clay, and one was all about hitting on the rise like a mad man. Had about 5 private lessons (plus the usual training) the week before, and my coach made me practice hitting on the rise every single chance I got. I won 4 matches, played my best tennis ever, lost a total of 16 games. My coach, who couldn't be there for my matches, told me the best advice I ever got from him: "I don't want to hear about you being fearful or cautious out there, play aggressive". I did just that, played super aggressive, on the rise, and that was that.


See, I agree deep down with this advice, and I deny the idea that I may be harboring some confirmation bias because, I seem to impose a stronger psychological advantage over my opponents--to my benefit--when I choose to go for my shots, some of which will, of course, result in my committing unforced errors. It's the "others," resulting in devastating winners for me, that seem to prey on my opponents' minds, and seem to cause opponents to get tight or buckle late in matches. I hypothesize that the willingness to look constantly for an opening through which to make a very aggressive play on the ball can, in the cumulative, finally enervate many opponents.

joe sch 08-26-2011 03:07 AM

Winning a tournament is a great achievement in tennis since it usually means you have the consistency to beat 3 or more players at your level of play. Usually the opponents have diffent styles of play so to defeat them all in a weekend or multiday tournament is a sign of a strong mental and physical tennis player who knows how to complete and win. The higher the level of play, the greater the achievement.

Limibeans 08-26-2011 06:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeShaun (Post 5932427)
It looks like he's not going to hit me off the court, and it looks like he's not going to outwork me, but it looks like he may try to out-"clever" me. I noticed before my match began, while he and his opponent were warming up, that it seemed to me that he was actually sandbagging during his warmup; couldn't seem to hit the broad side of a barn while his opponent, younger and fresher looking, was putting more effort into their warmup.

People pull this bad warmup crap all the time. IMO, its nothing but a formality and should be removed. In doubles, its not too bad cause you can warmup with your own partner.

You should warmup and go through all the strokes on a practice court with someone who is good at feeding balls. If you depend on the pre-match warmup, the person could be spraying balls all over the place and you'll never get any volleys or overheads in.

Depending on the venue and size of the tournament, there may already be practice courts assigned. Just whatever you do, dont play warmup on a match court. People get really ****ed off if you do!

DeShaun 08-26-2011 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limibeans (Post 5932863)
People pull this bad warmup crap all the time. IMO, its nothing but a formality and should be removed. In doubles, its not too bad cause you can warmup with your own partner.

You should warmup and go through all the strokes on a practice court with someone who is good at feeding balls. If you depend on the pre-match warmup, the person could be spraying balls all over the place and you'll never get any volleys or overheads in.

Depending on the venue and size of the tournament, there may already be practice courts assigned. Just whatever you do, dont play warmup on a match court. People get really ****ed off if you do!


Warmups took place yesterday on the match court itself. I may propose we truncate our warmup today, if it looks like he's holding back, so we can get right down to the match.

dizzlmcwizzl 08-26-2011 03:52 PM

I always warmup prior to the 5 minutes we get for the match ... during that time I will give him good balls to warmup if he plays nice and if he does not I will end the warmup and begin play.

Once the match starts my focus is always on serves and returns. For me the serve is a weapon and the return is a weakness so they are very important to me. I always focus on these during my pre-match warm up period more so than anything else.

Finally, if I have a plan on how to attack the opponent based on prior knowledge I will not give up on the plan to soon. To often I have seen players tell me they were going to take the net in a match and then bag it when they miss their first volley. If my plan is not working by the end of the 1st set I will go to plan B, C etc.

DeShaun 08-27-2011 01:13 AM

I just lost to the guy. Not badly, but...

I recognized early in the first set that his shot tolerance per rally was greater than mine. This is what I feared: running into someone who almost never attacks, who is more consistent than me, and who very rarely hits with any kind of pace. And that's exactly whom I ran into.

Playing under the lights sort of hurt me game too, because every time I looked up when attacking a short ball I tended to lose track of the ball due to the overall glare and because of the refracted images of light bulbs in triplicate on my eyeglasses.

He's a better player than me and proved so, although I cannot remember the last time that I was straight setted 6-4, 6-1. One bright spot, though, is that I fought off four match points. He said afterwards that he has been playing off and on for about ten years. I'm not trying to be a jerk but if I'm playing the "I can out-consistency you" card in 3.0 draws nine years from now, just shoot me already.

This lesson makes me want to get back into another tournament so I can work on my shot tolerance per rally under pressure; it would be especially sweet if I could have a rematch against the guy from tonight because he seems pretty consistent if not even remotely menacing with his strokes (holy cow! how many UFEs did I commit? Answer: a gazillion)

gregor.b 08-27-2011 01:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeShaun (Post 5934723)
I just lost to the guy. Not badly, but...

I recognized early in the first set that his shot tolerance per rally was greater than mine. This is what I feared: running into someone who almost never attacks, who is more consistent than me, and who very rarely hits with any kind of pace. And that's exactly whom I ran into.

Playing under the lights sort of hurt me game too, because every time I looked up when attacking a short ball I tended to lose track of the ball due to the overall glare and because of the refracted images of light bulbs in triplicate on my eyeglasses.

He's a better player than me and proved so, although I cannot remember the last time that I was straight setted 6-4, 6-1. One bright spot, though, is that I fought off four match points. He said afterwards that he has been playing off and on for about ten years. I'm not trying to be a jerk but if I'm playing the "I can out-consistency you" card in 3.0 draws nine years from now, just shoot me already.

This lesson makes me want to get back into another tournament so I can work on my shot tolerance per rally under pressure; it would be especially sweet if I could have a rematch against the guy from tonight because he seems pretty consistent if not even remotely menacing with his strokes (holy cow! how many UFEs did I commit? Answer: a gazillion)

Dude I am guessing he is older and you are younger.Being an older guy he knows his strength.Patience.He knows your weakness.Impatience.Next time,be patient.Hit aggressively but not near sidelines,just with good depth and weight of shot.It will be hard to hit a quality shot off a heavy ball unless he hits it aggressively.When he starts to hit aggressively,he will start to miss.If he hits it weak,give him another heavy shot but DON'T MISS.Mount continuous pressure.That is the way to win against older more experienced players who don't have the same ball striking capabilities.

gregor.b 08-27-2011 01:47 AM

^^^^^^Also wear a hat to stop/reduce the glare.

DeShaun 08-27-2011 12:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregor.b (Post 5934732)
Dude I am guessing he is older and you are younger.Being an older guy he knows his strength.Patience.He knows your weakness.Impatience.Next time,be patient.Hit aggressively but not near sidelines,just with good depth and weight of shot.It will be hard to hit a quality shot off a heavy ball unless he hits it aggressively.When he starts to hit aggressively,he will start to miss.If he hits it weak,give him another heavy shot but DON'T MISS.Mount continuous pressure.That is the way to win against older more experienced players who don't have the same ball striking capabilities.

So I will try to lure him into trying for a more aggressive shot than he is comfortable trying and I will do this by mounting steady pressure by never going for broke on any one shot but avoiding any rally pattern where my only aim were to "just get it back." I wonder if I didn't accidentally fall into this type of rally pattern with him last night, where I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm a better mover than you...why don't I just get it back to you--since you're obviously not going to attack me--and we'll see who outlasts whom." Yeah I think I may have fallen into this mindset last night. Truth be told I started off the first set down 1-3, but fought back to 4-all. And the first set was nip and tuck.

dizzlmcwizzl 08-27-2011 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeShaun (Post 5935676)
-since you're obviously not going to attack me--and we'll see who outlasts whom." Yeah I think I may have fallen into this mindset last night.

We have a local guy who has been doing this since I have known him. When he was a 3.0 nobody knew how he was winning. He did the same thing as a 3.5, then as 4.0 and may get bumped to 4.5 doing the same thing.

This guy just has the plan to force you to out consistent him, which you cannot do. You watch the matches and cannot believe he is winning but EVERY opponent gets lulled into playing his game.

Bottom line when you play these guys is that you have to have a plan to attack and then keep hammering away. It is way to easy to become a rallying partner against someone who does not attack. Before you know it you have hit 600 grounds strokes in a match, have hit 12 errors and are down 5-1. You do not even really notice because the errors are surrounded by 25 shot rallys where you feel successful even though you lose the point.

DeShaun 08-27-2011 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl (Post 5935698)
We have a local guy who has been doing this since I have known him. When he was a 3.0 nobody knew how he was winning. He did the same thing as a 3.5, then as 4.0 and may get bumped to 4.5 doing the same thing.

This guy just has the plan to force you to out consistent him, which you cannot do. You watch the matches and cannot believe he is winning but EVERY opponent gets lulled into playing his game.

Bottom line when you play these guys is that you have to have a plan to attack and then keep hammering away. It is way to easy to become a rallying partner against someone who does not attack. Before you know it you have hit 600 grounds strokes in a match, have hit 12 errors and are down 5-1. You do not even really notice because the errors are surrounded by 25 shot rallys where you feel successful even though you lose the point.

He's a good player. I just need to execute a strategy that will force him outside of his game. I cannot tell you how many shots he hit last night that were all travelling about thirty-five mile per hour w/very light spin, that came into my side of the court at about shoulder height and then bounced to about chest height, but that is definitely his bread and butter rally stroke. He did not (need to) use angles and his shots did not have much spin on them but, dang, he was steady from his back court and boy. I kept waiting for him to take the net but he never did, and even when he had me stretched wide once or twice, he still clung to his baseline.

He's a good player I don't want to get into a consistency contest with. Maybe I could have gone to the net a few more times, especially since there were two occasions where I had gone to the net and he tried to lob me, but both times I managed to hit a pretty sweet overhead smash (although he did go on to win one of those points).

I guess I'm not sure how to attack his style of game. I tried everything I could last night. It's odd because I spent more time inside the baseline playing against him than I have ever spent in any match, short of playing a pure pusher, and yet, I would not classify him as a pusher because he had good follow through on his strokes, but I was constantly stepping inside my baseline to deal with his thirty-five mile per hour, lightly spinning shots.

goober 08-27-2011 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeShaun (Post 5935799)
He's a good player. I just need to execute a strategy that will force him outside of his game. I cannot tell you how many shots he hit last night that were all travelling about thirty-five mile per hour w/very light spin, that came into my side of the court at about shoulder height and then bounced to about chest height, but that is definitely his bread and butter rally stroke. He did not (need to) use angles and his shots did not have much spin on them but, dang, he was steady from his back court and boy. I kept waiting for him to take the net but he never did, and even when he had me stretched wide once or twice, he still clung to his baseline.

He's a good player I don't want to get into a consistency contest with. Maybe I could have gone to the net a few more times, especially since there were two occasions where I had gone to the net and he tried to lob me, but both times I managed to hit a pretty sweet overhead smash (although he did go on to win one of those points).

I guess I'm not sure how to attack his style of game. I tried everything I could last night. It's odd because I spent more time inside the baseline playing against him than I have ever spent in any match, short of playing a pure pusher, and yet, I would not classify him as a pusher because he had good follow through on his strokes, but I was constantly stepping inside my baseline to deal with his thirty-five mile per hour, lightly spinning shots.

Did you try bringing him in with dropshots and short angles? Your angle shots do not have to be hit hard just well placed.

Obviously you are not going to beat this guy the baseline so you have to come in and/ or you have to force him in.

dcdoorknob 08-27-2011 04:55 PM

Beating this type of player is definitely a right of passage as you move up. I can't say that I've completely mastered it myself, but it's just a work in progress.

The secret is to just know yourself and your game and to find that fine line. You can't just try to blast every shot past him (I promise this is what he wants other 3.0s to try to do). You obviously can't just try to purely outlast him. You have to be patient and stubborn in waiting for that opening that you know you can take, and then take it when it comes and finish the point.

In the mean time, you can at least try some variety in your regular rally shots to see if he's really as consistent responding every type of shot. See how he deals with some hack-slices, or some high moonballs to the backhand. Throw in some drop shots (you're often inside the baseline so you ought to have some opportunities for droppers). Try some slice approach shots, make him pass you. Obviously all of this can vary based on your own strengths and weaknesses, but definitely don't be afraid to mix it up a little until you find some chinks in that consistency armor, which will eventually show up with most 3.0 players. It's much easier to be mr. consistent if you're only having to hit one type of ball all night. And the nice thing is, even if you end up occasionally leaving something weaker/attackable for him, he's not likely to look to even take advantage of that.

Of course you'll also want to step in and drive the ball with purpose when the opportunity arises, but you just have to know yourself and don't get pulled into attempting to blast winners that you just can't make often enough. Instead focus on finding patterns of play that result in you getting a shot that you can put away with consistency, and then just execute those.

It's all easier said than done obviously. But learning to play with that type of controlled aggression is a skill you'll be able to use no matter how far you progress in your tennis.

Jim A 08-28-2011 01:30 PM

At 3.0

1. Hit to his backhand
2. Hit to his backhand
3. When 1/2 fail hit to his backhand some more

The 5.0+ version of the point looks like this
http://www.athleticdna.com/Traningti...-Kendrick.aspx

I played a few guys like this during my year at 3.0. They had good records ad could get a lot of neutral balls back. It was hard to hit them off the court.

However when they would lose that bit of consistency, the walls crumbles fast. I had a lot of 6-4, 6-1 type of matches at 3.0. Mostly I would hit to the backhand, some deep balls, others that landed around the service line to always make them move a little up/back in addition to side to side. That I hit flat and the ball stays a bit low seems to be an advantage for me, along with some slice on the bh side.

Also hit slightly behind them before making them run the other way. If they are worried about going behind them you will have quite a bit of court to put the ball away and not need to blast it. Most 3.0's just turn and run one way anyway, not a lot of lateral movement.

The up/back movement is key because as soon as they have to hit a low ball or while moving backwards you will have the short ball to attack and move to offense. No need to hit a winner right out, make him work and run a bit more.

lendl1986 09-01-2011 07:50 PM

I've noticed that at tournaments 2 things are very important:

1. Fitness
2. Consistency

By the semis or finals, you've played 4+ matches in 2 days. Those are not normal conditions, and they favor the athletes in the draw.

And you have to keep the ball in play because most of the players get nervous in tournaments...these situations favor the more consistent (if not flashy) players.

Thus, at the end of the tournament the winner may not necessarily be the "best" player...the one who on 3 days of rest could beat pretty much everyone in the draw.


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