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-   -   being the weak link in doubles league (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=428170)

IA-SteveB 06-14-2012 12:21 PM

being the weak link in doubles league
 
I play in a men's doubles league where you are placed on courts with three others and you play a set with each. The person with the most wins moves up a court the next week ... standard stuff. Anyway, I am a low 3.5 player and I had to play with three subs last week that were strong 4.5 players. Obviously, I was the weakest link. They played all played a 4.5 game and I just got trounced. I really was down on myself because the whole time it was in my mind that they were all thinking "great, I have to play with THIS guy now." They all seemed nice enough, but it's hard to not think they are looking down. It made the whole match entirely unenjoyable since I felt like I was a Toyota Prius drag racing with Ford Mustang GTs. It just sucks because I tended to get down on myself more because I was ruining good rallies with my weaker play. I was so glad when the night came to an end!

Just curious if others get down more with unforced errors when you are playing with better people or tend to get more self conscious about your game? That's something I need to work through for sure.

LeeD 06-14-2012 12:33 PM

NO 3.5 can be comfortable or confident playing with 4.5's. In fact, few 3.5's can even hang with 3 solid 4.0's.
You just got in over your head. At least enjoy the fact you got to see what advanced tennis looks like.

beernutz 06-14-2012 12:33 PM

Just the opposite in my case. When I play with better players I tend to elevate my game but when I play with weaker players I tned to let them pull me down to their level.

LeeD 06-14-2012 12:35 PM

I doubt anyone can enjoy playing with guys a full level above them, unless they already had the experience to at least KNOW what to do. Don't think a 3.5 KNOWS what to do, where to go, and when to go..

spot 06-14-2012 12:36 PM

You'd have to treat it like mixed doubles. And in practice that is pretty tough for the male ego to accept for most guys.

IA-SteveB 06-14-2012 01:22 PM

You are right about not knowing positioning. I didn't play doubles at all until this year. When someone asks you if you use hand signals and your response is "what?" you are out of your league. I know the league director was probably struggling to get subs to have full courts, but sheesh.

There are no singles leagues around, so I am stuck with this if I want regular tennis. :(

LeeD 06-14-2012 01:28 PM

Only way to understand positioning is to play lots of doubles.
Both players move as one, right and left, forwards and backwards.
Lob if you can't return away from the netperson, but lob DEEP and high.
Play your serves to the weak returning side, usually the backhand. No matter if it's more consistent than their big hitting side, you don't want to lose the point from the getgo.
Always volley low and up the middle, between the two players, service line deep unless you get a winner.

Nostradamus 06-14-2012 01:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 6632362)
I doubt anyone can enjoy playing with guys a full level above them, unless they already had the experience to at least KNOW what to do. Don't think a 3.5 KNOWS what to do, where to go, and when to go..

Decent 4.0 can hang with 3 guys that are 4.5 players. especially so, if he plays solid serve and volley.

Cindysphinx 06-14-2012 01:34 PM

OP, I feel your pain. We have all been the weakest link (totally sucks) or been in the awkward situation where someone is clearly the weakest link (totally sucks).

One of my teammates said the most insightful thing about this to me recently. I asked her how her doubles match went, and she basically said her partner was overmatched so it was hopeless.

What she said about the experience was pretty cool, though. She said, "Now I know how my partners all these years have felt about me. If they could be nice about it with me, I figured I could be nice about it with her."

So, OP. When the day comes when you are partnered with someone who can't do a thing right, remember your post today. :)

OrangePower 06-14-2012 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 6632364)
You'd have to treat it like mixed doubles. And in practice that is pretty tough for the male ego to accept for most guys.

Ha, that was the first thing that came to my mind also! A 3.5 male playing with a 4.5 male is pretty much equivalent to a 9.0 mixed team.

esgee48 06-14-2012 06:30 PM

3.5 + 4.5 = 8.0? A 9.0 MxD team will destroy an 8.0 MD team 95% of the time IMO.

GameSetMatchWin 06-18-2012 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IA-SteveB (Post 6632310)
Just curious if others get down more with unforced errors when you are playing with better people or tend to get more self conscious about your game? That's something I need to work through for sure.

I definitely get more self conscious about my game playing with people that are better than me. The amount of unforced errors I make depends on how much I focus on the ball when I'm nervous.
One time at a charity pro tournament, I got called up to play a point against Agassi, and there was no doubt there who was the better player. I'd never even played in a stadium before and throwing me out there in front of a huge crowd nearly gave me a heart attack. But at the same time, being more self conscious helps me focus on playing points one at a time, and in the case with agassi, i ended up hitting a winner on him!!! :)
Playing with better people is all part of the learning process. You did well sticking in there!

zcarzach 06-18-2012 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beernutz (Post 6632356)
Just the opposite in my case. When I play with better players I tend to elevate my game but when I play with weaker players I tned to let them pull me down to their level.

I have the same problem. I got beat this weekend playing a weaker player. Quite embarassing. He dragged me down to 3.5 and then beat me with experience :) Plus I always play like crap outside in windy 90 degree weather.

dcdoorknob 06-18-2012 11:03 AM

If I'm just playing I half level up, even if they are strong for their level, I can often (but not always) elevate my game to become fairly competitive, even if I'm not going to win very often. But I do at times find a certain form of clarity that comes from knowing that I need to come up with my highest quality shots consistently if I want to keep up.

In your case of playing a full level up (a 3.5 playing with 3 4.5s), I'm not sure there's much that can be done. You can try your best but it's going to be lopsided, the gap in tennis ability is just too big.

JMcQ 06-18-2012 11:56 AM

There are things you can do, as a 3.5 player playing with 4.5 players (or for that matter anyone playing doubles with players much better than them). First, you want to put your partner in positions where he can win the point at net. This means getting first serves in (so he can poach), hitting returns crosscourt that dip at your opponent's feet (so he can poach), etc.

Second, and more importantly, you have to avoid the tendency every player has when playing with/against players better than them - trying to do too much. You are not going to impress them by hitting 1 out of 10 forehand returns down the line, even if that 1 winner was the best forehand you've ever hit. Attack the middle. Give your team a chance to win the point. Similarly, you are unlikely to ace a 4.5; and when you miss your 1st serve by 100 ft, the 4.5 will make you pay if your second serve is weak.

Finally, and consistent with above, swallow your ego. Don't get mad and swear when you make mistakes so other players will think you're "better" than the way you're playing. No one expects you to be 4.5. Instead, keep your head in the match, listen to your partner, and hustle your a s s off. Trust me, your partner will appreciate your effort and will also be more willing to play with you in the future.

dcdoorknob 06-18-2012 01:02 PM

I mean I'm a 3.5 and have had the opportunity to play with some college age ~4.5 level guys recently. When we're 'just hitting,' I can keep up somewhat and at least rally with them (with less consistency or pace than they have, but at least it's a rally).

But on the occasions we've played sets, I try my best but it's just hard to keep up. I'd love to hit dipping crosscourt returns off of 4.5 level serves at will, but it doesn't happen very often. My first serve isn't bad for a 3.5, but it seldom seems to trouble these guys either. My best shots only rarely give them serious trouble (especially given that they don't often give me something that's easy to attack), meanwhile their rally-ball has more pace and spin on it than I'm used to seeing.

So yeah, if the gap is that big, just try your best on each shot. Keep hustling. Try not to get frustrated, and take your beating with dignity.

Cindysphinx 06-18-2012 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JMcQ (Post 6641759)
There are things you can do, as a 3.5 player playing with 4.5 players (or for that matter anyone playing doubles with players much better than them). First, you want to put your partner in positions where he can win the point at net. This means getting first serves in (so he can poach), hitting returns crosscourt that dip at your opponent's feet (so he can poach), etc.

Second, and more importantly, you have to avoid the tendency every player has when playing with/against players better than them - trying to do too much. You are not going to impress them by hitting 1 out of 10 forehand returns down the line, even if that 1 winner was the best forehand you've ever hit. Attack the middle. Give your team a chance to win the point. Similarly, you are unlikely to ace a 4.5; and when you miss your 1st serve by 100 ft, the 4.5 will make you pay if your second serve is weak.

Finally, and consistent with above, swallow your ego. Don't get mad and swear when you make mistakes so other players will think you're "better" than the way you're playing. No one expects you to be 4.5. Instead, keep your head in the match, listen to your partner, and hustle your a s s off. Trust me, your partner will appreciate your effort and will also be more willing to play with you in the future.

All good advice. When I am the one playing up, I tend to go for too much. This never works out.

Sometimes I am the stronger player, and I have learned something from when one of my opponents is weaker. At first, all I do is rally. If they are weaker, they will miss first. Then I know I don't have to take chances.

I think I will keep this in mind next time I am the weaker player. It is important to not start missing. If I let my opponent know I will cough up points on rally balls, he will settle in and coast to a win.

goober 06-18-2012 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JMcQ (Post 6641759)
Finally, and consistent with above, swallow your ego. Don't get mad and swear when you make mistakes so other players will think you're "better" than the way you're playing. .

haha- I like this line. I know quite a few people like this. Some of these guys I have known for years. They have missed the same type of shots over and over, yet they blow up and curse and yell at themselves like they are surprised that they made such an error.

CaldwellYSR 06-18-2012 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IA-SteveB (Post 6632310)
Just curious if others get down more with unforced errors when you are playing with better people or tend to get more self conscious about your game? That's something I need to work through for sure.

I play recreationally with some people around town. Mostly doubles because there are only 2 courts and about 4-12 people show up so we have a rotation on the two courts. Anyways I'm easily one of the worst players out there (also easily the newest as besides me the newest one has been playing 3 years). When I'm out there with them I tend to "play up" and do better than I did back home when I played people closer to my level. I mean I make alot of UE's and mistakes but I laugh them off and they don't matter as much because I'm kind of expecting them when I play those guys.

My mental game gets thrown when I'm playing people I know I can and should beat... and yet I can't seem to get the ball over the net and in :/


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