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-   -   When is it unsporting for the guy to hit his biggest serve in mixed? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=436820)

Cindysphinx 08-21-2012 08:03 AM

When is it unsporting for the guy to hit his biggest serve in mixed?
 
I play 8.0 mixed, and one of my partners is a 4.0 guy. I enjoy him very much. Good serve, solid off of both wings. Pretty typical.

Anyway, we lost a close match this year. As we were leaving, he mentioned something about how he wished he hadn't held back on his serve to the woman. I replied i wished he hadn't held back either.

In light of our recent thread here in which a 3.5/4.0-ish guy said he held back to avoid hurting others, I put the two things together. Are guys in league mixed genuinely worried that they cannot hit their best serves for fear of hurting the woman?

I think it is reasonable to hold back on serving to the woman to avoid having to hit a weak second serve. Or because spin is more effective than pace. Or to avoid a DF, as there is no greater sin than DFing to the woman in mixed. But holding back on a serve to spare her a trip to the hospital?

Has anyone ever hurt a female opponent in a league match with a serve?

jservoss 08-21-2012 08:10 AM

I have certain rules I abide by when serving to the women. Basically no flat serves at the body and no spin serves that spin towards the body. I would rather get broken than be a dick.

spaceman_spiff 08-21-2012 08:16 AM

Personally, I don't hold back on serve unless I'm winning quite comfortably. As far as I've seen, the best players in this county are pretty much the same.

Still, it seems like common sense that, if you're facing a team that is good enough to beat you unless you hit your biggest serves, then they're good enough to face your biggest serves without getting hurt. That said, I go for angles rather than trying to jam people, so I'm not likely to hit too many.

(On a side note, I did get hit by a guy's biggest serve one day. I was playing on some courts foolishly built facing east and west, and I was blinded by the setting sun. I completely missed the ball and got hit on the stomach, but all I got was a bruise.)

SlapShot 08-21-2012 08:19 AM

I've got a very big serve for my level (or likely for most levels), and have played a lot of mixed. I rarely flatten out to the woman, mostly due to not wanting to appear to be any more of a jerk than I already am ;). When I do flatten out, I'm aiming at corners and certainly not hitting body serves. I've hit serves that were "flat" for me that crossed the baseline at shoulder height for my opponent, and I've had a 4.5 man duck out of the way of a flat serve (this was after he was previously hit in a sensitive area with a serve earlier in the match). I certainly wouldn't want a 3.5 or 4.0 woman getting pegged, no more than I would any other opponent, but it's a little bit more acceptable if you're playing same-sex than mixed.

It's not just the fact that it seems unsporting, but also, I have yet to meet a woman who has seen enough kick serves that she can judge the bounce and do much, if anything with the return, so that's a higher percentage play anyway.

An effective server should have more tools in his pouch than just the big flat serve anyway - I hit more slice and kick than I do flat playing doubles. The big flat one gets reserved for singles.

floridatennisdude 08-21-2012 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 6823002)
I play 8.0 mixed, and one of my partners is a 4.0 guy. I enjoy him very much. Good serve, solid off of both wings. Pretty typical.

Anyway, we lost a close match this year. As we were leaving, he mentioned something about how he wished he hadn't held back on his serve to the woman. I replied i wished he hadn't held back either.

In light of our recent thread here in which a 3.5/4.0-ish guy said he held back to avoid hurting others, I put the two things together. Are guys in league mixed genuinely worried that they cannot hit their best serves for fear of hurting the woman?

I think it is reasonable to hold back on serving to the woman to avoid having to hit a weak second serve. Or because spin is more effective than pace. Or to avoid a DF, as there is no greater sin than DFing to the woman in mixed. But holding back on a serve to spare her a trip to the hospital?

Has anyone ever hurt a female opponent in a league match with a serve?

I haven't played mixed competitively in a few years. But, I always found that a kick to the backhand or a slice that made them take a few steps was a better-higher percentage play.

Unless I was in a multiple deuce service game, I wouldn't bother going big to the woman. But, if they can handle kicks and slices, they would start to see some more pace.

No, I've never hurt someone with my serve. Can't think of a time when I ever hit someone with enough pace to even threaten injury.

kylebarendrick 08-21-2012 08:37 AM

4.0 (or 8.0) mixed is not a beginner's league. Women playing 8.0 mixed should understand what they are getting into - and many are very good. Most of them are not at all afraid to take advantage of you when you ease up your game.

If you are winning comfortably, there's no reason to scare anyone. Otherwise, play your game and expect them to abuse your shots if you ease up.

OrangePower 08-21-2012 08:39 AM

I would never hold back on my serve out of fear of hurting anyone... my most 'fearsome' serves barely break 100mph... that's not going to hurt anyone.

But I am curious to see how others respond - you know, that large group of TT posters who have 110-120+ mph serves...

olliess 08-21-2012 08:39 AM

I'm not sure I see the problem at 8.0 mixed. Anyway, from what I've seen, a lot of 3.5-4.0 women return (pretty) big flat serves reasonably well (sometimes more often than the guy) if you give them a ball they can reach, especially on the backhand side. As previous posters already said, kickers and slices seem to work better against the female partner anyway, so I'm going for most result for least risk/effort here. If the lady can obviously handle the kickers and I need to throw in some flat serves for variety, then I don't think it's jerky at all to hit right the flat serve at them once in a while, especially if they're standing way behind the baseline. Now if they stand well in, then I don't know if I'd slam a body serve right at them, but I haven't really seen that happen on a first serve anyway.

Now obviously if you're playing for fun with someone at lower level (male or female) and you can see that they aren't handling the pace on your flat serve, what are you going to do? Obviously it's jerky to keep hitting the flat serve right at them.

Alchemy-Z 08-21-2012 08:42 AM

Mixed I mostly do to enjoy playing with my wife....so looking like a D-bag in front of her by hitting body serves at some 120lb girl is not a good idea.

I always hit a top spin serve out wide...and if it;s the add court I can usually hit a kicker that can go over most shorter women.

so I get the points without blasting my flat serve.

it's also help me work more variety into my game since I had only stuck to my flat serve 80% of the time before.

goober 08-21-2012 08:45 AM

I don't know if the woman got hurt, but I have seen a 4.5 M hit a twist serve that spun right into the opposing woman's chest. Obivously she hadn't seen too many of these and was not expecting the bounce to go the opposite direction right into her.

I haven't really noticed anybody holding back on serves in mixed at 8.0 or 9.0 unless they are easily winning.

spot 08-21-2012 08:51 AM

First of all it should be clarified that this is talking about league matches with teammates. Pick up matches, social mixers, or even flex doubles leagues there is more leeway.

Even take out hte people with a good kicker where that is their most effective serve against women.

But other than that I think that guys should feel free to hit their biggest serve against the woman. The woman always has the ability to step back where there isn't any significant injury risk. If they stand way back then the wide serves become dramatically more effective. Plus I think that women who play mixed have mostly gotten to the point where they can block back pace so I really don't think its a big issue.

But I'm sort of on the outside of this conversation as I'm in the camp of thinking my kicker is a higher percentage play for us. I'd rather have the woman get stretched out and have to swing at a ball that is outside of her strikezone.

jservoss 08-21-2012 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangePower (Post 6823071)
I would never hold back on my serve out of fear of hurting anyone... my most 'fearsome' serves barely break 100mph... that's not going to hurt anyone.

But I am curious to see how others respond - you know, that large group of TT posters who have 110-120+ mph serves...

I am willing to hit my hardest serves, just not body serves. That being said, against women, spin serves are so much more effective that I don't think I have had to hit a flat serve all season.

I did manage to give a 4.5 guy a bloody nose last weekend at sectionals and I feel guilty enough about that. Had it been his partner I wouldn't show my face in the tennis community for a while.

tennis tom 08-21-2012 09:02 AM

Clearly his reason to be there is different than yours. You are there to win and he is there for social reasons to meet other women. He doesn't want to look bad, losing potential dates with opponents and spectators. This is semi-elite social tennis. Next time have him serve big with topspin, it's harder for the 3.5/4.0 ladies to return than big flat serves and the guy doesn't look like a big meanie. Bribe him with an offer he can't refuse.

tennis_ocd 08-21-2012 09:09 AM

They always get my second serve for a number of reasons - risk of hurting someone isn't one. (Really? Can one get hurt by a serve assuming remotely similar playing levels??)
- don't find it sporting
- not to generalize but most women I play with aren't active at the net and strong serve doesn't set up a winner
- spin seems to be effective enough to win the service game
- DFing to the woman is inexcusable

The real issue I struggle with is going hard at the net woman; am mortified when I try to take a return down the line and miss a bit inside. There's a balance between competition and winning points looking like a real jerk. I know it's mixed but it's a shallow win when I feel as though I picked on the woman and not the male.

(All above assumes the typical mixed; woman .5+ less than me. I do occasionally bump into the .5 better and I wish she'd go easy on me! -- Although they are typically better due to consistency and placement, not heavy pace.)

escii_35 08-21-2012 09:13 AM

8.0 Attracts attracts hard nosed 3.5 female doubles players and solid 4.0's . 7.0 and 7.5 is where things get a little more social. Since the strongest formation in 8's is 4.5/3.5 (look at sectionals and see what percentage of teams are 3.5/4.5), there will be more then a few cannon serves from ex-small collage players. My serve ain't not'in compared to those.

Mike Y 08-21-2012 09:19 AM

Maybe it is a regional thing. In my experience here Mixed is very competitive. I play 8.0 and 9.0, and I've never heard of anyone taking it easy on the girl in matches. In fact, it is completely expected to hit it as hard as you can at the girl and to target the girl. My team and partners would not be happy with me if I was taking it easy on a 3.5 girl, and I probably wouldn't be put into matches if I did that. The 4.5s with the huge serves will absolutely take it to a 3.5 girl, and they will be the target of every overhead. The 3.5 girls that are playing 8.0 Mixed are playing because they can handle those shots and can often return those serves often enough that it is not an automatic hold if the 4.5 is serving. I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage in Mixed because I don't have that huge fast serve or huge kicker, but I can usually make up for it in that if I hit it to a 3.5 or 4.0 girl, I hit it well enough and I am fast enough that they usually can't direct the ball away from me.

But I have been nailed in a match, my 3.5 female partners have been nailed multiples times, and I have hit women and men with many overheads, it is just a part of Mixed, and I have never seen any hard feelings shown from hard shots directed at the women. And I have never seen any injury from a tennis ball, as all these shots are mostly at the lower body.

Social matches are a different story, of course, you should use your own discretion.

KineticChain 08-21-2012 09:30 AM

It always surprises me that women don't understand the social stigma of a man exerting maximum force when physically competing with a woman. You have to understand men are brought up to respect women and treat them with extra care. It is seen as socially unacceptable between male peers to "go all out" when competing with a woman in a sport. I believe this social stigma is the underlying cause for taking it easy on a woman.
Tennis is a little unique in that below the pro level, the amount of skill/technicality a person has determines who is better. The more physically imposing player does not necessarily have an advantage. Despite this fact, I and most guys will still take it easy on women because it is pretty much hardwired in our brains. Now if I'm playing a D1 girl or higher... no mercy.

Govnor 08-21-2012 09:35 AM

I hadn't really given this much thought, but I actually was involved in this situation over the weekend.

I went easy on the serves for most of the match, but I hit them harder and flatter towards the end of the 2nd set (to make sure we won a close one). I don't have a monster serve, but it's fast enough. I didn't even think of easing up on the woman (who was good enough).

Maybe they thought I was a ******?

Larrysümmers 08-21-2012 09:54 AM

its a chivalry thing. females wouldnt understand lol

Cindysphinx 08-21-2012 10:24 AM

Yes but . . .

Who here has hit an opponent with a serve when the receiver was standing in a normal receiving position? I mean, it is really not that hard to duck or sidestep a ball struck from the opposite baseline?

I guess I can see getting tricked by spin -- I once had to catch a twist serve from a 4.0 guy. But . . . I *caught* it. Where's the risk of injury?

I mean, the biggest pro servers in the world do not send linespeople to the hospital. It is a rare thing to see a linesperson get nailed by a serve in a pro match. So why would a 4.0 guy think he is going to hit or even hurt a 4.0 woman with his serve?


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