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-   -   Grinders make me want to retire (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=446075)

Roddick85 11-18-2012 02:03 PM

Grinders make me want to retire
 
Just came back from my usual league sessions at my local club and i'm feeling so mad, I just feel like calling it quits and hanging the racquet. I've been taking private lessons this past couple of weeks because I want to address weakness in my games and take it to the next level (i'm 4.5). While i've noticed improvements in the aspects of my game I was working on, i'm still getting burned by grinders.

I played 3 matches today (we play 3 matches, 40 minutes each) and the first 2, I was playing people that I consider to be at my play level but that don't have any "big shots". I was hammering my serve/forehand and hitting my 1 handed backhand the best i've hit it in my entire life. I had some great angles, but that didn't prevent me from getting burned 6-1. Even the club's pro was watching my game and he thought I was serving great, that even he wouldn't of done the return, but the grinder just kept putting everything in play.

Similar story in the 2nd match, lost 6-4. 3rd match was against some guy that's a 5.0, needless to say I got burned 9-0. I hit a total of 4 aces in my 3 matches, which is about my usual average.
While I didn't expect to beat him, I once got a 6-3 out of him. Thing is, I feel I've improved a lot in the past couple of weeks, and it's not like i'm playing bad, yet I always loose badly when I attend that league. In the last weeks of attending, I have a 5-21 record which is awful and it's gotten to me mentally, I just feel like breaking my frame and selling all my gear and quitting.

The pro and my 3rd opponent think i'm nut, they say I have way over average power and a good baseline based offensive game that maybe needs to be slowed down a bit and tuned, and that I need to finish my points better, my net game lacks. But then again, that's why i'm taking lessons (worked on my net game yesterday), I feel I've improved, yet I have no result in terms of Win-Loss. For sure my game could always be better, that's the case for all of us, but when you get the feeling you played pretty good and you get burned, it's very tough to take mentally. My confidence level is at an all time low now and i'm not sure i'll get through this. It's not like i've lost matches before or had some tough loss in my 15 years of playing, believe me I did, but it never made me doubt my ability as a tennis player, and I always felt like I would get over this. This time I don't feel like I can do anything to shake this up, feels very different.

anantak2k 11-18-2012 02:12 PM

Is there a rule somewhere that I am unaware of which states that tennis needs to be played in a certain way or else it does not count?

sundaypunch 11-18-2012 02:16 PM

It is very simple. If you can't beat a grinder, your offensive game just isn't as good as you think it is. "Hammering" the ball isn't helpful if you play someone that can easily handle the pace. Also, once someone figures out that they can just keep the ball in play and you will screw up, you are toast.

If you hit the ball as well as you say you do, you should easily be able to beat a grinder. Stay at the baseline, take the ball early, get them moving and then finish the point with a smart approach shot and easy volley.

If your baseline skills are as good as you say, the obvious question is why you are unable to rely on forcing a short ball and having an easy put away?

LeeD 11-18-2012 02:16 PM

Winning is very separate from getting better at tennis. The two are not inclusive at all.
And getting better in tennis is a series of fits and starts, up and down, from where you started.
Appears you played important points badly. Your net game need shoreing up. When to apply WHICH shots might need review.
And possibly, just a tiny bit, the OTHER guys had a say on the results of the 3 mini matches.

sureshs 11-18-2012 02:30 PM

If you are a 4.5 and your opponents were too, nothing to be frustrated about.

A good practice session would be to play a solid 3.5 grinder to whom you need not serve big. Check to see if you can hit winners past him. If not, the offensive game needs improvement.

Timbo's hopeless slice 11-18-2012 02:32 PM

It sounds like you have reached a stage in your tennis where tactics start to play a bigger role. This is usually around the 4.5 - 5.0 mark where everyone can handle any amount of pace if they have time to set up.
(ie, you 'hammered it', sure, just straight to the other guy!)

Funnily enough, the solution is often pretty simple, go back to the most basic tactics. Hit CC until you get a shorter ball, then hit that into the open court. But be prepared to hit quite a few shots before you get the chance to end the point.

you might argue that this makes your tennis predictable, and that is true, but 'knowing' Nadal is going to spin it heavily to my BH doesn't make it any easier to deal with, and the same will be true of your opponents if you can 'hammer' your groundstrokes deep into the corners time after time.
THere is a big difference between being a 'grinder' and a 'pusher', remember, you can still be aggressive, just with a bit more strategy.

(my son has just gone through this, up until recently he has been able to just overpower his opponents with sheer weight of shot, but he has moved up an age division and now he has to place them better or they just come back with interest to a better part of the court..)

OrangePower 11-18-2012 02:33 PM

Let's not confuse a grinder with a pusher. A pusher does not have developed shots, and relies purely on your errors to win. Versus a higher-level grinder, who has developed shots, can put short balls away, but prefers to play a defensive high-percentage baseline game rather than going for aggression on rally balls.

A grinder will make you win the point several times over, since he is very good at neutralizing your offense by making deep recovery shots.

Also, sometimes when you are aggressive, it is hard to regain your balance quickly after a shot. Same goes for big servers. You will therefore find yourself off-balance or with poor footwork against a good grinder, since he will be getting back shots you don't expect to come back, and get them back deep and before you have fully recovered your position from the previous shot.

When I play grinders, I find I have to dial it back just a bit. Basically, make sure I can recover quickly enough, and pay attention to my footwork. I still go for aggressive shots, but more so in terms of placement than in terms of pure power. That lets me work the point more, to get my opponent so out of position that I can finish the point off with less chance of him being able to defend.

EDIT: I see Timbo was responding at exactly the same time I was :-) I agree completely with what he said.

Timbo's hopeless slice 11-18-2012 02:36 PM

lol, Orange, we need to liaise better!

I agree with everything he said, too..

oh, one more thing, don't give up!!!

this is just a stage, you hare playing better opponents and need some new strategies, that's all.

you would probably decimate people you used to play in other leagues these days, so chin up!

Rozroz 11-18-2012 02:39 PM

quitting??? wtf??
just relax and take a short break for a couple of days.
if you're hungry for Tennis you'll get over it and you'll figure out what to do.
if i were you i would video the next matches to know EXACTLY how you get beaten. so while depressed and eating your ice cream you can watch it over and over being your own judge till you realize what you HAVE to improve.
of course i'm not much better than you absorbing humiliating loses, but usually when it happens i could generally tell why i lost (either they were much better, or i just wasn't aggressive, had an off day etc..).

hope that helps. but seriously, don't sell your gear just yet!! ;)

NLBwell 11-18-2012 02:43 PM

LeeD is right. Winning is different than being good at tennis. I'm sure you are getting better.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roddick85 (Post 7023312)
I need to finish my points better, my net game lacks. But then again, that's why i'm taking lessons (worked on my net game yesterday)

You just don't have quite the entire game necessary to beat these guys. In order to play an agressive game, you have to have more parts to your game than a pusher or grinder. With more aggresive shots, you can gain the advantage in the points, but unless you are able to finish the points the opponent can get the point back to even. You then end up hitting lower percentage aggressive shots to no benefit and the odds are against you.
Working on the parts of your game your coach is helping you to improve on will enable you to take advantage of your stronger shots and you may find that you are suddenly beating these guys. Make sure you are working on your midcourt attacking game.
Don't get discouraged.

Roddick85 11-18-2012 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timbo's hopeless slice (Post 7023348)
It sounds like you have reached a stage in your tennis where tactics start to play a bigger role. This is usually around the 4.5 - 5.0 mark where everyone can handle any amount of pace if they have time to set up.
(ie, you 'hammered it', sure, just straight to the other guy!)

Funnily enough, the solution is often pretty simple, go back to the most basic tactics. Hit CC until you get a shorter ball, then hit that into the open court. But be prepared to hit quite a few shots before you get the chance to end the point.

you might argue that this makes your tennis predictable, and that is true, but 'knowing' Nadal is going to spin it heavily to my BH doesn't make it any easier to deal with, and the same will be true of your opponents if you can 'hammer' your groundstrokes deep into the corners time after time.
THere is a big difference between being a 'grinder' and a 'pusher', remember, you can still be aggressive, just with a bit more strategy.

(my son has just gone through this, up until recently he has been able to just overpower his opponents with sheer weight of shot, but he has moved up an age division and now he has to place them better or they just come back with interest to a better part of the court..)

What you described is exactly my current problem.

Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate. I've cooled off a bit and put away the idea of "retiring", I think I was just too mad and hot headed after today.

LeeD 11-18-2012 03:18 PM

Did you respond to the "winning desire, or losing thread" ?
I responded with...."if you want to win all the time, play lousy players, and never get better. If you want to improve your game, you will lose more often than win, but your game get's better"....

Roddick85 11-18-2012 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7023438)
Did you respond to the "winning desire, or losing thread" ?
I responded with...."if you want to win all the time, play lousy players, and never get better. If you want to improve your game, you will lose more often than win, but your game get's better"....

I don't want to play lousy players just for a cheap "win", it's of no value in my book. Already told that to the pro hence why he makes me play good players. After the league was over we talked and he said the exact same thing as you and I told him, I like competition and I want to get better and better, but at the sametime, I want those lessons to pay off and I thought I noticed some improvements already, probably not enough for what i'm aiming for. Perhaps i'm not patient enough and was expecting too much too soon.

I think Timbo's hopeless slice said it best. My basic strategy of just blowing my opponents off court by overpowering them worked until a certain level, since I've moved up, people just use that against me. So I need to think of a better strategy and keep improving my strokes, especially my net game. Thinking back about my mini-games today, I think i'm over-estimating some of my big shots (serve/forehand) that I always think it will be a winner or that the point is over, so I kinda freeze there and when those shots get returned back, it's like wow how is that even possible, and yes it does upset me.

TheCheese 11-18-2012 03:32 PM

Learn to set up points. You don't need to hit so many hard shots in a row to win a point. If you set up the point right, you can get them out of position safely and then hit one good shot to end the point.

Even better yet, be able to set up and win points without having to hit any risky shots.

If you've ever watched pro matches in person, it's clear that they're not hitting their shots as hard as possible all the time. There's a reason for this. You don't want to hit a risky shot unless there's a point. Hitting a really hard and risky shot when your opponent is in position is pointless unless you're much better than them.

jmnk 11-18-2012 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7023325)
Winning is very separate from getting better at tennis. The two are not inclusive at all.
[...]

Quote:

Originally Posted by NLBwell (Post 7023363)
LeeD is right. Winning is different than being good at tennis. I'm sure you are getting better. [...]

hmm, maybe I'm missing something. If winning and getting better are not the same - how do I know if I'm getting better if I do not win??

LeeD 11-18-2012 05:00 PM

You get better at tennis by hitting smarter and stronger shots...against smarter and stronger opponents.
Look at your individual shots, it's consistency and power, placements and what it's hit against.
Serves are easy to spot improvement, or a step backwards.
Volleys should be equally apparent.
Winning or losing is often purely mental, something you might be able to learn thru instruction, but needs to be applied by you and you alone.

InspectorRacquet 11-18-2012 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmnk (Post 7023576)
hmm, maybe I'm missing something. If winning and getting better are not the same - how do I know if I'm getting better if I do not win??

Because getting better is progressive, meaning you will not always win when you are trying to improve. When you are trying to improve, that area of your game is in development and isn't "match ready."

When you have mastered the area you are trying to improve, you are no longer improving, but have improved. Only then will you start seeing results. If winning doesn't come even after that, it's time to keep improving.

Say Chi Sin Lo 11-18-2012 05:54 PM

Stop breathing in your own ego. If the balls come back enough to draw errors or deep enough to hurt you, then you haven't "hammered" anything in.

Timbo's hopeless slice 11-18-2012 07:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 7023659)
Stop breathing in your own ego. If the balls come back enough to draw errors or deep enough to hurt you, then you haven't "hammered" anything in.

I disagree, actually.

If the average 4.5 has a 100mph groundstroke hit straight to him, I'm tipping he will hit back.

does that mean it wasn't 'hammered'?

jmnk 11-18-2012 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7023583)
You get better at tennis by hitting smarter and stronger shots...against smarter and stronger opponents.
Look at your individual shots, it's consistency and power, placements and what it's hit against.
Serves are easy to spot improvement, or a step backwards.
Volleys should be equally apparent.
Winning or losing is often purely mental, something you might be able to learn thru instruction, but needs to be applied by you and you alone.

Quote:

Originally Posted by InspectorRacquet (Post 7023588)
Because getting better is progressive, meaning you will not always win when you are trying to improve. When you are trying to improve, that area of your game is in development and isn't "match ready."

When you have mastered the area you are trying to improve, you are no longer improving, but have improved. Only then will you start seeing results. If winning doesn't come even after that, it's time to keep improving.

sure, that's all nice, let's collectively pat ourselves on the back.
The reality is that OP stated he has played 2 matches against '[players] that I consider to be at my play level but that don't have any "big shots". (I'm not even considering the third one against a stronger player). He lost 64 and 61. How can you tell that he is improving, or that he has improved? Because OP says he 'feels' the improvement? Are you suggesting that if he has not been practicing he would have lost 60 and 60 so losing only 4 and 1 is to be considered improvement? all I'm saying that one is improving when he keeps beating folks he has always beaten, and at least gets better results against folks he had never had any success against. Anything else is just, well, wishful thinking.


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