Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Adult League & Tournament Talk (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=35)
-   -   NTRP purgatory (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=439965)

leech 09-13-2012 08:05 AM

NTRP purgatory
 
This may be a premature post, but I suspect that (A) I'll be bumped up from 3.5 to 4.0 next season and (B) I'll have difficulty winning any matches or even being competitive at that level.

I'm new to organized tennis and started playing USTA leagues this year. I have horrible form but am able to get to a lot of balls. I prefer playing singles, and played exclusively singles for my adult league team. Although most of the games were competitive, I finished the season undefeated. I didn't play any doubles matches or make any attempt to make my match scores artificially closer, so I assume I'll be bumped up.

My problem is that I don't think I'll be invited to play singles at 4.0 (rightfully so, as I'd be among the worst players at that level) and I am horrible at doubles. Primarily because I'm so used to having the whole court to work with playing singles, it's difficult for me to return serves where they need to go (avoiding the net player). And the pace/placement of 4.0 servers are much harder for me to deal with. I've gotten a taste of it playing in the 7.5 combo league now, and I've not done well at all. In contrast, I'm breezing through the 6.5 combo league because no one that I've played hits with much pace.

So I'm not looking forward to the next USTA season. I figure I'll have to take my lumps playing doubles in the 4.0 league (I feel sorry for the team that picks me up) and either get better as the season progresses, or get bumped down. I don't know how likely it is for someone to get bumped down.

Did you feel overwhelmed by the competition after getting bumped up? How long did it take you to adjust and feel competitive? I feel like I don't belong at 4.0, but realize that I'm too good a match player for 3.5 (my strokes are not up to par for a typical 3.5 player; a teammate gave me a backhanded compliment by saying I play a lot better than I look!).

Mongolmike 09-13-2012 08:17 AM

Seems like a forced opportunity to improve your game... and there are a lot of paths to do that. I do see many 3.5s and 4.0s who have unorthodox swings... and if that's what you have, that doesn't mean you can't play at that level. Keep in mind, if your self evaluation is correct, you'll most likely be playing 2nd or 3rd doubles, or maybe 2nd singles.... most nights (unless there is stacking going on) you won't be matched against the opponents best players anyway, but 2nd tier players with holes in their games too. But again, isn't it about having fun and trying to continually improve your game?

Mike Y 09-13-2012 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leech (Post 6897262)
This may be a premature post, but I suspect that (A) I'll be bumped up from 3.5 to 4.0 next season and (B) I'll have difficulty winning any matches or even being competitive at that level.

I'm new to organized tennis and started playing USTA leagues this year. I have horrible form but am able to get to a lot of balls. I prefer playing singles, and played exclusively singles for my adult league team. Although most of the games were competitive, I finished the season undefeated. I didn't play any doubles matches or make any attempt to make my match scores artificially closer, so I assume I'll be bumped up.

My problem is that I don't think I'll be invited to play singles at 4.0 (rightfully so, as I'd be among the worst players at that level) and I am horrible at doubles. Primarily because I'm so used to having the whole court to work with playing singles, it's difficult for me to return serves where they need to go (avoiding the net player). And the pace/placement of 4.0 servers are much harder for me to deal with. I've gotten a taste of it playing in the 7.5 combo league now, and I've not done well at all. In contrast, I'm breezing through the 6.5 combo league because no one that I've played hits with much pace.

So I'm not looking forward to the next USTA season. I figure I'll have to take my lumps playing doubles in the 4.0 league (I feel sorry for the team that picks me up) and either get better as the season progresses, or get bumped down. I don't know how likely it is for someone to get bumped down.

Did you feel overwhelmed by the competition after getting bumped up? How long did it take you to adjust and feel competitive? I feel like I don't belong at 4.0, but realize that I'm too good a match player for 3.5 (my strokes are not up to par for a typical 3.5 player; a teammate gave me a backhanded compliment by saying I play a lot better than I look!).

When you move up a level, you have to work on your game, otherwise you will be stuck at that level. If you have weaknesses, work on them. If you are a well-rounded player, but don't have a lot of strengths, work on developing a strength. You are probably closer than you think if you have some glaring weaknesses. If you fix those, then you will likely be competitive. My backhand used to be a weakness, and when I got bumped I made a point to work on my backhand, and now it is a strength, and that makes a huge difference in my game, I don't have a side that is really attackable now (for my level).

leech 09-13-2012 08:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mongolmike (Post 6897298)
Seems like a forced opportunity to improve your game... and there are a lot of paths to do that. I do see many 3.5s and 4.0s who have unorthodox swings... and if that's what you have, that doesn't mean you can't play at that level. Keep in mind, if your self evaluation is correct, you'll most likely be playing 2nd or 3rd doubles, or maybe 2nd singles.... most nights (unless there is stacking going on) you won't be matched against the opponents best players anyway, but 2nd tier players with holes in their games too. But again, isn't it about having fun and trying to continually improve your game?

You're right, maybe the bottom tier 4.0 players that I'll likely face are in a similar situation as me. I just need to find a 4.0 team that isn't hell-bent on winning; think they'll need some patience with me.

I do want to get better, of course, but I really don't like doing drills or getting instruction. I realize this is a choice and there are consequences, but I prefer to use my court time playing matches. I like winning and don't mind losing if it's a competitive match, but getting blown out is no fun. I will work on my doubles game/strategy and hope it pays dividends soon! Thanks for the perspective/encouragement.

leech 09-13-2012 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Y (Post 6897313)
When you move up a level, you have to work on your game, otherwise you will be stuck at that level. If you have weaknesses, work on them. If you are a well-rounded player, but don't have a lot of strengths, work on developing a strength. You are probably closer than you think if you have some glaring weaknesses. If you fix those, then you will likely be competitive. My backhand used to be a weakness, and when I got bumped I made a point to work on my backhand, and now it is a strength, and that makes a huge difference in my game, I don't have a side that is really attackable now (for my level).

My main strength is my consistency and resilience. I have quite a few weaknesses, including a lack of a consistent, attacking serve, poor poaching skills, and just general lack of pace on my groundstrokes. I think I can improve my positioning and net play through experience playing doubles, but I don't think I'll make more than marginal improvements in my serve/groundstrokes. I'm 40, and probably on the decline in my tennis game that relies on my legs.

floridatennisdude 09-13-2012 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leech (Post 6897316)
You're right, maybe the bottom tier 4.0 players that I'll likely face are in a similar situation as me. I just need to find a 4.0 team that isn't hell-bent on winning; think they'll need some patience with me.

I do want to get better, of course, but I really don't like doing drills or getting instruction. I realize this is a choice and there are consequences, but I prefer to use my court time playing matches. I like winning and don't mind losing if it's a competitive match, but getting blown out is no fun. I will work on my doubles game/strategy and hope it pays dividends soon! Thanks for the perspective/encouragement.

Don't sell yourself short. A guy near me has horrible strokes, nothing for a serve, and knees that give him fits. He is the junk ball king of pushers. He got bumped from 4.0 to 4.5 and thought similar to you.

What he didn't realize is that his anticipation skills are quite good and he has an innate ability to not miss. He went over .500 for the 4.5 adult league last spring and is known as someone you'd hate to face on a hot day on clay.

Give yourself a chance before mailing it in.

goober 09-13-2012 09:06 AM

play singles in a flex league and maybe tournaments if you are so inclined. Play doubles on your regular 4.0 team. It will help your singles game and eventually you may even like it.

I started out playing only singles. My first season of USTA league play, I got bumped to a 4.5B because my team went to playoffs. I was way overmatched at 4.5 league singles and I was a subpar doubles player (even for 4.0) so I ended up not playing much at the next season. So I started playing a lot more doubles in practice. Now that I am getting older I hardly play any singles any more.

Govnor 09-13-2012 09:26 AM

I"m much the same as you. Much better singles player. I'm horrible at net. Being forced to get better at net would not be a bad thing. It will help round your game off.

You may do better than you think. You should practice your serves whenever you can. Video them, look at what you're doing wrong and fix it.

leech 09-13-2012 09:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goober (Post 6897415)
play singles in a flex league and maybe tournaments if you are so inclined. Play doubles on your regular 4.0 team. It will help your singles game and eventually you may even like it.

Fortunately I am in singles tennis ladder and have been fairly active in it. I have played 25 matches there (vs. a mix of 3.5 and 4.0 players and even one 4.5 player), in addition to my 8 USTA leage singles matches, so I get to play quite a bit. I didn't like the Flex league b/c the competition was not great -- it seemed half the players were playing up and it was not fun for either of us. I also signed up for a tournament this weekend, so that's another outlet to get my singles groove on.

I am playing a lot more doubles now than I ever have, being in a 6.5 and 7.5 combo league and playing social mixed doubles with my wife. Eventually I'll get the hang of it, I hope! I feel a lot of pressure to get my first serve in, or else exposing my partner as a target when they blast my weak second serve back at him. Something else to work on for me!

LeeD 09-13-2012 09:33 AM

I just don't get it!
Say you're at a bar and meet a hottie. Conversation shifts to tennis, she asks you what level do you play? You're gonna say you're a 3.5? Like beginner level competitive tennis?
Wouldn't you look better saying you play 4.5 or Open level tennis?
Now shift your hottie to a bunch of jocks. Same thing.
I won my second C or 3.5 tourney my 3rd year. I entered 12 consecutive A/Opens after that, and 2 Q's. Only lost in the first round a handful of times, and going 3 rounds in both the Q's for the TransAmerica tourney in SanFrancisco.
Why waste time cheery picking?

beernutz 09-13-2012 09:34 AM

If you went undefeated at 3.5 as a self-rated player I would have thought some 4.0 team would have already taken a chance on you. I think you're selling yourself short in your ability to improve too. I didn't start playing league tennis until I was 47 and after 5 years of being a stagnant 3.5 with a marginal record I've worked my *** off to improve my fitness and technique and got bumped in my local league to 4.0 and I have to believe I'm very close to getting the USTA 4.0 bump as well. I'd was undefeated in 3.5 singles at 53 last year against computer-rated 3.5s but I also kept running into undefeated self-rated 3.5 players such as yourself.:) At least I was glad to see that all four of them I lost to was Early Start Rated at 4.0.

leech 09-13-2012 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 6897467)
I"m much the same as you. Much better singles player. I'm horrible at net. Being forced to get better at net would not be a bad thing. It will help round your game off.

Funny thing is, I like going to net as much as possible when playing singles. But I wait for an opportunity, like a short ball or after I hit a nice approach shot. I don't like being up at net in doubles from the git-go. In fact, when I play with my wife, we both start the point near the baseline and I try to sneak my way up to net at some point during the point. Maybe I can try that with more other partners. I feel so out of the point when I'm hovering in a corner up at net. I guess I can experiment with more aggressive poaching.

leech 09-13-2012 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 6897483)
I just don't get it!

Why waste time cheery picking?

I would love to be proved wrong, but I think my natural talent level is at 3.5. I don't feel I'm playing down below my level. I think the chasm between the level of play at 3.5 and at 4.0 is rather large. Will see if I can make the adjustments necessary to compete. I'd love to be able to play well at the next level, but my rather limited experience playing 4.0s in my 7.5 combo league made me question whether I was ready for it.

leech 09-13-2012 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beernutz (Post 6897485)
If you went undefeated at 3.5 as a self-rated player I would have thought some 4.0 team would have already taken a chance on you. I think you're selling yourself short in your ability to improve too. I didn't start playing league tennis until I was 47 and after 5 years of being a stagnant 3.5 with a marginal record I've worked my *** off to improve my fitness and technique and got bumped in my local league to 4.0 and I have to believe I'm very close to getting the USTA 4.0 bump as well. I'd was undefeated in 3.5 singles at 53 last year against computer-rated 3.5s but I also kept running into undefeated self-rated 3.5 players such as yourself.:) At least I was glad to see that all four of them I lost to was Early Start Rated at 4.0.

That's awesome, beernutz, I'm glad your hard work paid off.

I have been approached by two 4.0 captains, one which fields uber-competitive teams and the other which has no playoff aspirations. I'm playing on the 7.5 team of the competitive captain, and I've performed underwhelmingly (1 win and 2 losses, but more importantly, played horribly in the two losses). I'm inclined to go with the lower pressure team (and might not have a choice, given how bad I've been playing).

leech 09-13-2012 09:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leech (Post 6897505)
I would love to be proved wrong, but I think my natural talent level is at 3.5.

I have doubts that I'd be a winning player at 3.5 doubles. I suspect that had I played a mix of doubles and singles this year, I would be in no position to be bumped up. But I was not thinking of anything other than helping my team win matches. Fortunately, my individual wins were not in vain, as our team pulled out a bunch of 3-2 wins to advance to Districts (where we lost both matches), despite not having the best players.

Ronaldo 09-13-2012 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leech (Post 6897316)
You're right, maybe the bottom tier 4.0 players that I'll likely face are in a similar situation as me. I just need to find a 4.0 team that isn't hell-bent on winning; think they'll need some patience with me.

I do want to get better, of course, but I really don't like doing drills or getting instruction. I realize this is a choice and there are consequences, but I prefer to use my court time playing matches. I like winning and don't mind losing if it's a competitive match, but getting blown out is no fun. I will work on my doubles game/strategy and hope it pays dividends soon! Thanks for the perspective/encouragement.

Get instruction and drill, play points at least once a week. You hate it but worth it in the long run. Like 5-20 yrs later.

leech 09-13-2012 10:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ronaldo (Post 6897571)
Get instruction and drill, play points at least once a week. You hate it but worth it in the long run. Like 5-20 yrs later.

I think you're right, on both counts (hating it and it being good for me in the long run). Perhaps I'll see how the first year goes without drilling/instruction, sort of as a baseline (my "before" state to which I can compare my "after" state). Then take a doubles clinic or something next summer.

Ronaldo 09-13-2012 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leech (Post 6897635)
I think you're right, on both counts (hating it and it being good for me in the long run). Perhaps I'll see how the first year goes without drilling/instruction, sort of as a baseline (my "before" state to which I can compare my "after" state). Then take a doubles clinic or something next summer.

Lucky to have an entire team willing to practice 3 times a week for nearly 6 yrs and take lessons on doubles strategy and drill. At least talk to more experienced players to discover what position to play under certain circumstances.

tenniscasey 09-13-2012 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leech (Post 6897505)
I would love to be proved wrong, but I think my natural talent level is at 3.5. I don't feel I'm playing down below my level. I think the chasm between the level of play at 3.5 and at 4.0 is rather large. Will see if I can make the adjustments necessary to compete. I'd love to be able to play well at the next level, but my rather limited experience playing 4.0s in my 7.5 combo league made me question whether I was ready for it.

You went undefeated at 3.5, so you shouldn't be there anymore. You'll lose more than you win as a low 4.0, just like almost every other low 4.0. The system is working as designed. I don't really understand how this creates "purgatory."

Ronaldo 09-13-2012 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tenniscasey (Post 6897780)
You went undefeated at 3.5, so you shouldn't be there anymore. You'll lose more than you win as a low 4.0, just like almost every other low 4.0. The system is working as designed. I don't really understand how this creates "purgatory."

Purgatory is the place sandbaggers go to suffer after sandbagging.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2006 - Tennis Warehouse