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-   -   Why the 3.0 level is the “Island of misfit toys”. (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=440190)

TimeToPlaySets 09-15-2012 11:26 AM

Why the 3.0 level is the “Island of misfit toys”.
 
FunkyMonkey says:
Quote:

At the club level, consistency is key. No need to kill shots, or rip huge serves.
Just focus on starting the point, keeping balls deep and looking for opportunities for to move in (referencing short balls).
Sounds like you're a good student of the game. Keep it up.
I played doubles last night. Worthy of a short post-mortem.

It was a textbook 3.0 level “Island of misfit toys”.

Everyone had some sort of killer shot potential, but it was offset by huge unforced error rate and often a gaping Achilles' ...hole ...in their games. (incomplete game)
Recall the brilliant “Major League” (1989).
One guy crushes fastballs out of the park. But, he whiffs on a change up.
One guy can steal bases like the wind, but can only hit pop flys.
One guy can pitch 100mph fastballs, but has zero control.

It’s up to you to find that glaring undeveloped aspect of their game.
Last night, one guy could not toss the ball right. 50% of serves had a re-toss. But, then you’d frame the few serves that actually went in.
Most guys trying to KILL the serve. (Result = only 20% go in, but when it does goes in, guaranteed service winner)
Wild 2nd serves almost hitting the baseline. TONS of double faults. (Tennis: “You’re only as good as your 2nd serve”)
Like in golf, this fleeting glimmer of perfection is what keeps them doing the same "Plan A" over and over.
One guy had the wackiest serve I have ever seen. Remember the trick shot where you put so much slice on the ball that you can make it bounce back to your side of the net? One guy was serving like that.
I think I started laughing. First serve % was like 20%. Sometimes, the ball would not even reach HIS side of the net. It was comical. Yet, when it went in, it was impossible to return.

This all is a great metaphor for the human condition. People anchor on the remote outlier possibility (homerun), not what is most likely (strikeout). Lottery ticket mentality vs. Gov’t worker mentality? Tortoise vs. Hare?
If you do not embrace and respect basic probability, or you will lose 19 out of 20 matches (and the 20th is merely Taleb’s randomness, not skill)
This is why golf and tennis are thinking mens’ games. The impulsive always lose, over the long haul.

Mindful of the above, I’ve made big steps forward in the last few weeks.
In contrast, my serves were kept at 75% pace, and therefore, were mostly going in.
With merely that pace, and inherent lefty spin, I had plenty of service winners, and even had an ace or two every set.
I really held back on the groundstrokes until the ball was in the sweet spot = Lower unforced errors.
Otherwise, slice or block back. Just wait to hit the winner. But, that “pusher” mindset won lots of unforced points anyway.

3.0 is fun. No one is a beginner, and people can hit hard, but it’s a circus of randomness. Anyone can get hot or cold. Pro caliber shots buttressed by tragic miscues.
By 3.5, I think skills and games start to become more stable, homogenized, and complete. I will be there soon.
Harking back to Tolstoy’s opening line in Anna Karenina, “Happy 4.0’s are all alike, but mediocre 3.0s are all mediocre in their own way” Ha.

In conclusion, FunkyMonkey's quote above is spot on 100%.

rabidranger 09-15-2012 11:28 AM

What a great post. Describes my experience almost completely.

dizzlmcwizzl 09-15-2012 04:01 PM

I am going to have to stop posting if we are gonna start using Tolstoy quotes and correct grammar.

But in any event, nice post and if these "secrets" got out the 3.0 ranks would disappear.

NTRPolice 09-15-2012 11:16 PM

The "get it back" strategy starts to become ineffective at strong 4.0 level. At that level, you're required to go on offense and make plays especially on your serve. At 3.5 and low 4.0 you can just play defense and wait till someone makes a mistake or feeds a ball.

Rally speeds also play a big factor to level as you can beat a 3.0 with high pace and poor placement whereas a 4.0 would need decent pace to beat an easy poach as well as good accuracy.

Also, pointless errors regardless of level is never a winning strategy.

I define a pointless error as an error on a "rally" ball or an error on trying to hit a winner that didnt have a realistic possibility of going in. An error on a realistic chance of a hitting a winner is a good error.

What you say about the serves are true too. While most scrubs build their ridiculous first serve first (and then tap it over on thier second; common in 3.0 and even some 3.5), any decent player will build a strong second serve and use it twice.

TimeToPlaySets 09-16-2012 05:53 AM

Yes, I played a 4.0 and he wins almost any point that I hit to mid court. Very tight net game. The most glaring feature? He hits at 50% when he angles the ball away. The 3.0 will try to crush/slam the net balls (and hit it out or into the net)

any decent player will build a strong second serve and use it twice.


Yes!!! That's sort of exactly what I am doing at 3.0
I am hitting my first serve slower, and my 2nd serve harder.
Their pacing is starting to converge (compared to the typical "CRUSH the 1st serve, PLINK the 2nd serve")
And I am winning tons more service games this way.

tennis tom 09-16-2012 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NTRPolice (Post 6902103)
... any decent player will build a strong second serve and use it twice.

I'm gonna' play around with this today in my club dubs. I'm gonna' hit my second topper for firsts and spin a medium speed first in for a second. A big first often back fires in dubs because it doesn't give the server enough time to get towards the net and get set (split step) to volley. The receiver often blocks/shanks it back for a short dribbling winner.

TimeToPlaySets 09-16-2012 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennis tom (Post 6902426)
I'm gonna' play around with this today in my club dubs. I'm gonna' hit my second topper for firsts and spin a medium speed first in for a second. A big first often back fires in dubs because it doesn't give the server enough time to get towards the net and get set (split step) to volley. The receiver often blocks/shanks it back for a short dribbling winner.

I am going to try this as well. The other side of the coin is that if the serve is TOO slow, then the opponent might smash it back. No good if you've made it to the net. I guess one key is to hit the slow dribbler to their backhand. Putting away their return from net will get very frustrating for them, in light of the weak serving working so well (as they double fault all their booming serves)

fightfan 09-16-2012 11:20 AM

Haha, awesome post and so very true. Most serious players realize that consistency is the name of the game up to 4.0, but heck, a lot of players will find that defensive strategy too boring to be fun. I don't mind players who play either way. What kind of gets on my nerve though are the bashers who claim that pushers don't play "good" tennis even though they win. That entire argument could even be reversed, pushers saying bashers don't play good tennis because they don't keep balls in play and try to win. However, you almost never hear that argument. :)

OrangePower 09-16-2012 11:38 AM

^^^^^ Not just up to 4.0; I know several 4.5 players that win primarily through consistency, not having any major weaknesses, and smart play. They don't have 'weapons' per se, but still can get good results depending on the matchups.

TimeToPlaySets 09-16-2012 12:16 PM

Just to clarify, I am not espousing playing like a boring pusher. I get that. I am really just harping on being more consistent. Trust me, I hit plenty of hard winners, slams at the net, aces, etc. I ALSO reduced my unforced errors as well.

No one one that court walked off saying I was some wimp. I probably hit harder than all of them (except the serve, but my first serve % blew everyone's away, so I had the most service winners, by far) I was just more selective about when I went all out. Big difference!

TimeToPlaySets 09-16-2012 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fightfan (Post 6902866)
What kind of gets on my nerve though are the bashers who claim that pushers don't play "good" tennis even though they win. That entire argument could even be reversed, pushers saying bashers don't play good tennis because they don't keep balls in play and try to win. However, you almost never hear that argument. :)

In golf, someone who hits big boombing drives, but can't do anything else is not considered good. He's a hack. If he's crushing drives but chunking his chips and 3 putting for an 8, he's a hack who needs work. It would be crazy for him to think he's better than someone who consistently drives the fairway 200 yards every time and then hits green in regulation with a long iron and 2 puts. The only exception to this is a brittle 70 year old who drives 100 yards off the tee, and NEVER makes a mistake. He shoots in the high 80s, and beats most recreational golfers. It's hard to accept that guy is better than you, even if you shoot 10 strokes above him.

So, perhaps the analog in tennis is the guy who hits moderate topspin and is consistent with the occassional hard winner, slam, ace, etc. vs. a true pusher who can't even hit topspin has no 2nd serve but can win b/c they slap everything back. For the latter, it really is hard to admit he's better than you. But, it's chear the former is a better player than you.

To be perceived as good, don't hit too hard (you'll lose), or TOO soft (wimp).

mib 09-17-2012 12:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangePower (Post 6902889)
^^^^^ Not just up to 4.0; I know several 4.5 players that win primarily through consistency, not having any major weaknesses, and smart play. They don't have 'weapons' per se, but still can get good results depending on the matchups.

I know a guy who played 4.5 (now 4.0, where he is among the best) with the strangest technique you can imagine. Every shot is a slice and he barely ever hits a winner. Yet he is quick and barely ever makes a mistake either.

anubis 09-17-2012 05:15 AM

I'm playing in a local tournament here and I agree with the OP. Seeing a bunch of Mens 3.0 singles matches in progress at the same time, was both beautiful and ugly. Some people hit beautiful winners, and then turned around and lost their own service game @ love-40.

Some people were jumping around like lunatics, wasting a lot of energy, when all they had to do was retreat by a couple of steps to cover the majority of the court.

Others had this wonderful 80-90 mph+ first serve that they so spectacularly displayed during warmups. But by the time of the end of the second set, they were patty caking it over the net.


meanwhile, the 3.5's seemed to have their stuff together. They didn't patty cake it. They all maintained fast first serves. They had long rallies, no moon balling. Plenty of top spin, good placement. I couldn't really find anything wrong with their play... and its no wonder that quite a few of the 3.5's that also signed up for the 4.0 draw won in the initial round of 32, beating other 4.0s.

buruan 09-17-2012 06:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimeToPlaySets (Post 6903116)
So, perhaps the analog in tennis is the guy who hits moderate topspin and is consistent with the occassional hard winner, slam, ace, etc. vs. a true pusher who can't even hit topspin has no 2nd serve but can win b/c they slap everything back. For the latter, it really is hard to admit he's better than you. But, it's chear the former is a better player than you.

From reading these boards a long time (rarely posting) the cutoff for being a good player is the 100+MPH serve.
Nothing else matters.

I was a disciple of the Church of Big Serves as well, hardly working on any other parts of my game, until a rotator cuff surgery forced me to use very slow spin serves, I worked on improving other parts of my game, and haven't looked back.
Never enjoyed Tennis more, now that I am not a hostage of the "BIG" Serve anymore.


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