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Cindysphinx 01-29-2013 04:13 AM

Maybe I should have eased up?
 
A teammate invited me to sub in for some social doubles. She is 4.0, as am I. We are hoping to partner this season, so I was delighted to have a chance to test drive the partnership.

Opponents were her husband (former teammate of mine who is rated 3.5 but has now improved to 4.0 IMHO), and a lady I hadn't met.

I do not know her level, but I would say 3.0. I say this based on the serve (high push 15 feet over the net) and inability to handle spin or pace.

Anyway, I played my usual game. That's lots of spin and aggression on finishing shots.

For instance, I had an overhead and she was at net. I did not aim "at" her. Instead, I aimed for her doubles alley and hit the overhead as hard as I could for a winner. She hadn't budged from the net, and instead turned and ducked, but I didn't hit her.

Another example: Sometimes I would smack her soft serve hard. Other times I would hit a topspin moonball that she couldn't time. And one time I, erm . . . hit a drop shot. On my serve, I hit my usual slice or topspin serve, which she often did not return.

And then there was that time when I had a BH sitter close to the net and (hoping not to miss it like I had missed the last two) I hit it hard in her general direction (again not hitting her but spooking her).

You get the idea. I did not take any groundstrokes down her line, finish points into her abdomen, or otherwise target her. We played her male partner, and there were some amazing rallies as he covered pretty much the whole court. Everyone was smiling and laughing and joking.

Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

Where's the line, do you think?

IA-SteveB 01-29-2013 04:23 AM

Full throttle all of the time. No exceptions.

Seriously, though. If she didn't say anything, maybe she appreciated the challenging shots thinking it could help her?

In my opinion, people who can't play against varying levels of competition should not even consider playing. You can't clone yourself and play against your better looking counterpart so you have to expect to encounter higher level players. I never expect anyone to back off their game for me and I'd be insulted if they did. As The Rock, Dwayne Johnson says ... Just Bring It.

Overdrive 01-29-2013 04:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IA-SteveB (Post 7176953)
Full throttle all of the time. No exceptions.

Seriously, though. If she didn't say anything, maybe she appreciated the challenging shots thinking it could help her?

This.

If it's a social game, it depends on who you are playing against. Because it's your former teammate and a stranger, I don't think you did anything wrong. However, I think he could've told her how your overall style was. I think it was her partner's fault that she couldn't hit a majority of your shots. Plus, I don't think you should hesitate playing your best against anyone (in my opinion).

:)

blakesq 01-29-2013 05:13 AM

stop worrying so much about what others think.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7176943)
A teammate invited me to sub in for some social doubles. She is 4.0, as am I. We are hoping to partner this season, so I was delighted to have a chance to test drive the partnership.

Opponents were her husband (former teammate of mine who is rated 3.5 but has now improved to 4.0 IMHO), and a lady I hadn't met.

I do not know her level, but I would say 3.0. I say this based on the serve (high push 15 feet over the net) and inability to handle spin or pace.

Anyway, I played my usual game. That's lots of spin and aggression on finishing shots.

For instance, I had an overhead and she was at net. I did not aim "at" her. Instead, I aimed for her doubles alley and hit the overhead as hard as I could for a winner. She hadn't budged from the net, and instead turned and ducked, but I didn't hit her.

Another example: Sometimes I would smack her soft serve hard. Other times I would hit a topspin moonball that she couldn't time. And one time I, erm . . . hit a drop shot. On my serve, I hit my usual slice or topspin serve, which she often did not return.

And then there was that time when I had a BH sitter close to the net and (hoping not to miss it like I had missed the last two) I hit it hard in her general direction (again not hitting her but spooking her).

You get the idea. I did not take any groundstrokes down her line, finish points into her abdomen, or otherwise target her. We played her male partner, and there were some amazing rallies as he covered pretty much the whole court. Everyone was smiling and laughing and joking.

Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

Where's the line, do you think?


chatt_town 01-29-2013 06:43 AM

Personally....I would have worked on things I don't do well and if were ripping backhands to where she was then so be it. She's on the court so she needs to learn. If everyone is going to push the ball to her...she will never learn how to play.


QUOTE=Cindysphinx;7176943]A teammate invited me to sub in for some social doubles. She is 4.0, as am I. We are hoping to partner this season, so I was delighted to have a chance to test drive the partnership.

Opponents were her husband (former teammate of mine who is rated 3.5 but has now improved to 4.0 IMHO), and a lady I hadn't met.

I do not know her level, but I would say 3.0. I say this based on the serve (high push 15 feet over the net) and inability to handle spin or pace.

Anyway, I played my usual game. That's lots of spin and aggression on finishing shots.

For instance, I had an overhead and she was at net. I did not aim "at" her. Instead, I aimed for her doubles alley and hit the overhead as hard as I could for a winner. She hadn't budged from the net, and instead turned and ducked, but I didn't hit her.

Another example: Sometimes I would smack her soft serve hard. Other times I would hit a topspin moonball that she couldn't time. And one time I, erm . . . hit a drop shot. On my serve, I hit my usual slice or topspin serve, which she often did not return.

And then there was that time when I had a BH sitter close to the net and (hoping not to miss it like I had missed the last two) I hit it hard in her general direction (again not hitting her but spooking her).

You get the idea. I did not take any groundstrokes down her line, finish points into her abdomen, or otherwise target her. We played her male partner, and there were some amazing rallies as he covered pretty much the whole court. Everyone was smiling and laughing and joking.

Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

Where's the line, do you think?[/quote]

beernutz 01-29-2013 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7176943)
A teammate invited me to sub in for some social doubles. She is 4.0, as am I. We are hoping to partner this season, so I was delighted to have a chance to test drive the partnership.

Opponents were her husband (former teammate of mine who is rated 3.5 but has now improved to 4.0 IMHO), and a lady I hadn't met.

I do not know her level, but I would say 3.0. I say this based on the serve (high push 15 feet over the net) and inability to handle spin or pace.

Anyway, I played my usual game. That's lots of spin and aggression on finishing shots.

For instance, I had an overhead and she was at net. I did not aim "at" her. Instead, I aimed for her doubles alley and hit the overhead as hard as I could for a winner. She hadn't budged from the net, and instead turned and ducked, but I didn't hit her.

Another example: Sometimes I would smack her soft serve hard. Other times I would hit a topspin moonball that she couldn't time. And one time I, erm . . . hit a drop shot. On my serve, I hit my usual slice or topspin serve, which she often did not return.

And then there was that time when I had a BH sitter close to the net and (hoping not to miss it like I had missed the last two) I hit it hard in her general direction (again not hitting her but spooking her).

You get the idea. I did not take any groundstrokes down her line, finish points into her abdomen, or otherwise target her. We played her male partner, and there were some amazing rallies as he covered pretty much the whole court. Everyone was smiling and laughing and joking.

Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

Where's the line, do you think?

I can't speak for the 3.0 lady obviously but when I'm in a social doubles match with better players I don't want anybody taking it easy on me. The speed of the game at higher levels is something you have to experience and acclimate yourself to if you hope to someday get to that level yourself. As long as players weren't targeting her 100% (or close to that) of the time or hitting screaming liners or overheads at her then all is fair imo.

I know when I'm the higher rated player playing with someone lower than me is it pretty annoying when our opponents hit every shot to my partner hoping to generate a UE. I understand that that is good strategy but many times before the match my opponents have professed that 'we are all just here to have fun' but then the desire to win takes over and the higher rated player becomes a spectator for much of the match.

samarai 01-29-2013 07:00 AM

If they didnt complain, what is there to worry about.

Maui19 01-29-2013 07:34 AM

I've always felt that if you have some doubt in your mind, then there is something to it. JMHO.

JackB1 01-29-2013 07:41 AM

Whenever I play against opponents that are more than 1/2 level away, I dont play my usual "win at all costs" game...especially if it's a fun, social game. I will instead try and work on things that need working on. Like I will serve all "kick serves" or try and hit all one handed topspin backhands...or try varying the height of my shots...or work on variety: slice, top, flat, etc.)

You did nothing "wrong"...but you could have taken a different approach. They shouldn't hold it against you though. It's your choice "how to play".

tennis_ocd 01-29-2013 07:55 AM

I agree nothing wrong either way. But me? Social match vs. someone a full 1.0 lower? I think I'd ease up; hit returnable serves, groundies etc. Given the disparity, just more enjoyable all around.

LuckyR 01-29-2013 07:59 AM

Cindy,

I guess I am the lone poster (until the three posts above snuck in) who would remind you to pay attention to those little voices that make you feel unsettled with your (or other people's) behavior. As anyone with any life experience knows most communication is nonverbal. So the fact that the lady said nothing is meaningless, it is likely that a perceptive person, like yourself, picked up on some things coming from her, or recalled in your own experience "bank" a similar situation you dealt with, that was the source of that feeling you felt.

Of course if you didn't have such a feeling at the time and you are just ruminating after the fact, that is a bit different.

Everyone agrees that you are completely within your rights to play any 'ol way you want on a tennis court, but my guess is there are completely "legal" tennis antics that you just won't do. Sounds like your subconscious thinks you may have... erm, done some of that.

None of us was there, so we are equally likely to be right or wrong. You were there. I'm just saying if your mind is telling you something, it is likely correct.

spot 01-29-2013 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7177346)
I'm just saying if your mind is telling you something, it is likely correct.

In my experience, many women spend a ton of time worrying that they may have slightly offended a teammate or opponent even though nothing at all was done wrong and the other person didn't think twice about it. Telling a woman "if you are worried that someone may have been upset then its likely that they were" is pretty terrible advice in my opinion.

I think in a social match the proper balance is to not pick on the weaker player so that the better player on the opposing team doesn't get left out. Personally I will work on my chip and charge and just try and hit deep volleys so that the shots are not intimidating but that is about all I will do to adjust.

sureshs 01-29-2013 08:35 AM

Humble brag alert

LuckyR 01-29-2013 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 7177364)
Telling a woman "if you are worried that someone may have been upset then its likely that they were" is pretty terrible advice in my opinion.


Well that's one opinion. Ladies, any comments?

OHBH 01-29-2013 09:19 AM

There is no need to ease up on the weaker opponent as long as you do not pick on them too much. My last mixed doubles match was really lame because I pretty much stood there for two hours while every ball was directed to my partner until she gave them a simple putaway. I simply play my game.

Cindysphinx 01-29-2013 11:23 AM

Hmmm.

As I think back on the social matches I have played, one sticks out in my mind. I was partnered with the weaker player. The two opponents broke all the normal conventions of doubles (e.g. keep it crosscourt) to get UEs from my partner. I would serve, they would go DTL past her or hit it right at her. We would play two back and they would send every ball to her.

I guess I should take solace in the fact that our male opponent saw 75% of the balls.

I will also try to take some comfort from how my partner played, as she is a regular member of this group. She played pretty much as I did in that she didn't pick on the lady and went for her shots. And the 3.0 lady did hit a few winners.

Part of my second-guessing is that I hate hate hate being the weakest player on the court. I feel awful when I miss, I find myself shrinking. Then again, if I knew my opponents were patronizing me by pushing the ball to me, I wouldn't like that much either.

The other part of my second guessing is that, as I said earlier, the lady was having a lot of trouble with topspin. I was receiving in the ad court, and I would often return her serve with balls that kicked up up pretty high on her. Toward the end of the two hours, I could hear hear partner telling her mid-point "Back up! Back up! Back up!" She would not back up enough and the ball would bounce too high for her to reach.

And then I would feel like a tool.

tennisee 01-29-2013 12:36 PM

I have to play a fair bit of mixed social at my club, and take the view that the purpose of social is for everyone to enjoy themselves as much as possible, including me. So it's quite a complex thing, judging not only everyone else's skill levels, but what their attitudes to the game are.
Eg, that lady on the other side has come out expecting to hit a few balls vs my partner who really wants to win at all costs...
So I generally just play how I want to; thinking that that the fact that I'm even considering all stuff this probably puts me ahead of the others consideration wise. In your case I'd be thinking I don't really enjoy feeling like a tool, so I won't play in a manner that brings on those tool feelings, and that is my right.

ian2 01-29-2013 02:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7176943)
...Here is my question: Do you think I maybe should have played in a more genteel fashion? Part of me thinks I should have just rolled my service returns back to her. The other part of me was there to practice the things I am learning in lessons, and it would look a little weird for me to push the ball to her but smack it when hitting against the guy.

Where's the line, do you think?

Short answer: yes IMO :-)

In a social setting like this, where there is a large disparity in skill level, a true mark of a (much) stronger player is the ability to modulate and control his/her game to make it a fun experience for all involved. Just as you said: you could have brought the heat when hitting to the guy, and intentionally toned it down when hitting to the 3.0 woman... nothing weird about it, in this setting. The points would be extended (for her benefit, and everyone else's), and you could practice control and precision. I'd see this as a challenge: it wouldn't be easy to hit your shots in a way that gives a "playable" ball to her, yet keeps him from poaching easily. Again, takes a lot of control, precision, maybe even some disguise?

As an example, a few times I played social doubles with my 4.0 friends and their son, an Open level player. Of course, he could finish a point at will on his first shot, nearly every time. But we had lots of fun long rallies, precisely because he orchestrated those rallies and kept them going. It took serious skill (on his part) to play this way. And of course he'd still hit winners, but mostly when the point "played itself out", or when he'd space out for a moment and forget the setting :-)

Of course, social setting doesn't necessarily mean "non-competitive"... no need to tone it down in a social match if opponents are of a similar skill level. And in a competitive match, the gloves are off for sure.

Cindysphinx 01-29-2013 03:20 PM

Ian, you make good points. Especially the point about how it takes tons of control to hit a ball the 3.0 can return while still avoiding the 4.0 guy.

In fact . . . I have to be honest with you . . . there is straight up no way I could ever do that! If I hit a medium-paced ball the 3.0 could handle, the 4.0 guy will feast on it.

The only way I know to get the ball past the 4.0 guy is a topspin lob (didn't want to spend the whole match lobbing, especially since I knew the 3.0 could never have tracked it down). Or stand in and try to hit a dipper or angle. Which isn't a ball the 3.0 can handle either. (I did go down his alley once, but that was payback because he had burned me twice in my alley. :) )

Thanks for your comments, everyone. This social match was the first time I can recall when I wasn't partnered with the weaker player, when the weaker player had a partner three USTA levels stronger(taking gender into account), and when the weaker player was two USTA levels lower than myself and my partner.

BTW, doesn't anyone want to know the scores? :)

I think my partner and I won the first set 6-4. Next set we won 6-2, I think. Ten point tiebreak just to use up the remaining time was not completed but was perhaps 6-3 when we had to vacate the court. So it didn't feel like a beatdown at the time.

SwankPeRFection 01-29-2013 09:30 PM

If everyone was having a good time, why are you worried? If she was ****ed, she would have acted ****ed at you.

Anyway, 6-4, 6-2 isn't a shutout by your definition of needing to take it easy. Either the guy did a good amount of work or that lady was doing ok... or you guys just made some errors.


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