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-   -   "Rule" for Changing Strategy in Losing Doubles Match (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=461787)

peakay 04-26-2013 11:57 AM

"Rule" for Changing Strategy in Losing Doubles Match
 
Hey there,

Just recently lost a doubles match in our club tourney. The team we played was simply better, but the frustrating part was we didn't substantially change tactics during the match to give ourselves a chance.

Does anyone have a rule to follow for when to make a major change (change sides, lob vs drives, australian, etc.)?

The reason I am asking is I would really like to have a rule or axion I can rely on in case thigns start getting out of hand and I'm not being mentally very analytical. Something to fall back on so the match doesn't get too out of hand.

We were very close in the first set, tons of long deuce games, I thought we were going to win it or go to TB, but lost at 3. Then in the next set the games were still close, but it got completely away from us and before we knew it, we lost at 1. The match just seemed to go quicker and quicker and felt like we were done before we knew it. We never made any major tactical changes.

Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback!

mightyrick 04-26-2013 12:00 PM

What level are you and your partner? What level was the tournament?

And when things "got out of hand", what happened exactly?

JRstriker12 04-26-2013 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peakay (Post 7369747)
Hey there,

Just recently lost a doubles match in our club tourney. The team we played was simply better, but the frustrating part was we didn't substantially change tactics during the match to give ourselves a chance.

Does anyone have a rule to follow for when to make a major change (change sides, lob vs drives, australian, etc.)?

The reason I am asking is I would really like to have a rule or axion I can rely on in case thigns start getting out of hand and I'm not being mentally very analytical. Something to fall back on so the match doesn't get too out of hand.

We were very close in the first set, tons of long deuce games, I thought we were going to win it or go to TB, but lost at 3. Then in the next set the games were still close, but it got completely away from us and before we knew it, we lost at 1. The match just seemed to go quicker and quicker and felt like we were done before we knew it. We never made any major tactical changes.

Thanks in advance for any constructive feedback!

Don't think there's a single rule since what you do will depend in what's going on in the match.

Also, there's not always a lot you can do in that situation where the other team is clearly better.

It can also be a mental thing where you lose close, deuce games, then in the second set the other team has the momentum and wins the important points.

But in general:

1. If you get totally stomped in the first first set, making a change in the second set would be a good idea. If it's close an you are competitive, that doesn't always mean a massive change, it could be a small one such as playing to one player's weaker side more or poaching more.

2. Discuss with you partner and try to find put what type of points you are winning and figure a way to create the pattern - might be going Aussie, 2-back or switching sides, etc.

peakay 04-26-2013 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mightyrick (Post 7369754)
What level are you and your partner? What level was the tournament?

And when things "got out of hand", what happened exactly?

Club 4.5, which is probably more like USTA 4.25. They served really well and just kept the pressure on us at all times. My partner who is usually a great baseliner never got his game going, which left me few net opportunities. They attacked his backhand on the serve relentlessly.

We just kept losing tough games and they were always just a bit better than us and keeping us on defense. I can accept losing, but I felt we never took the time to change tactics and in the heat of a tough match. I just want to learn from it and would love to have a "rule" in mind or checkpoint to get us to slow down, try changing tactics and hopefully keep us from repeating the same performance.

LuckyR 04-26-2013 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peakay (Post 7369786)
Club 4.5, which is probably more like USTA 4.25. They served really well and just kept the pressure on us at all times. My partner who is usually a great baseliner never got his game going, which left me few net opportunities. They attacked his backhand on the serve relentlessly.

We just kept losing tough games and they were always just a bit better than us and keeping us on defense. I can accept losing, but I felt we never took the time to change tactics and in the heat of a tough match. I just want to learn from it and would love to have a "rule" in mind or checkpoint to get us to slow down, try changing tactics and hopefully keep us from repeating the same performance.

Good question. I am very aggressive in looking for ways to win unwinable matches, so I'll tell you my thought process. 1) are we successfully hitting the shots we are seeking to hit? Or to put it another way, are we missing shots but have sound strategy against this particular team or do we need a change in strategy? We have all had a change in fortune, (can't get a first serve in the first time, but serve well the rest of the match for example) but it is uncommon. Usually if you can't hit a certain stroke early in the match it won't suddenly start falling in later in the same match. For this reason I usually will try to change the strategy. 2) to figure out what to change to, you need to have a firm grasp on why you are losing points (a la Winning Ugly) and use that to adapt. Two back for first serves is a common change.

mightyrick 04-26-2013 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7369821)
to figure out what to change to, you need to have a firm grasp on why you are losing points (a la Winning Ugly) and use that to adapt.

^ 100% This.

OP, you have to really see what your opponents are doing to beat you. You can't be vague and just say they "played slightly better". Get specific.

LuckyR gives the example of playing two-back as an adjustment. This is usually done if one or both of you are weak returners and/or the opponent's server is strong. It gives both players more time and space to respond when your opponents are getting ready to smack your weak returns.

Another problem I see a lot is players not "holding the line". When your opponent is at the baseline getting ready to hit the ball, the player on the same side should always guard the down-the-line/alley shot. Lots of times, players will break to the middle too early which allows the opponent to hit an easy winner down-the-line.

So do like LuckyR says and really take inventory of the exact types of shots that are beating you. You can't make an adjustment unless you have this info.

pingu 04-26-2013 08:21 PM

In additional to others suggestions, I would also switch side with the partner.

peakay 05-01-2013 08:07 AM

Hey guys, sorry for the lag in getting back.

What i am looking for is a failsafe rule for WHEN to make a change in strategy/tactics, not what to do. I agree with the suggestions of what to do, but my problem was not implementing them soon enough as we were close in so many games.

Sometimes you just get beat, but I'd like to have a rule in mind as to when to get very serious about making a major change.

Thanks!

LuckyR 05-01-2013 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peakay (Post 7380191)
Hey guys, sorry for the lag in getting back.

What i am looking for is a failsafe rule for WHEN to make a change in strategy/tactics, not what to do. I agree with the suggestions of what to do, but my problem was not implementing them soon enough as we were close in so many games.

Sometimes you just get beat, but I'd like to have a rule in mind as to when to get very serious about making a major change.

Thanks!

As I mentioned, you need to figure out if you are just missing makable shots (which can improve within the match) or if your strategy is wrong (which will not improve during the match).

skiracer55 05-01-2013 11:10 AM

Never change a winning strategy...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by peakay (Post 7380191)
Hey guys, sorry for the lag in getting back.

What i am looking for is a failsafe rule for WHEN to make a change in strategy/tactics, not what to do. I agree with the suggestions of what to do, but my problem was not implementing them soon enough as we were close in so many games.

Sometimes you just get beat, but I'd like to have a rule in mind as to when to get very serious about making a major change.

Thanks!

...always change a losing strategy. As soon as you're down a break in the first set, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT...

LuckyR 05-01-2013 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skiracer55 (Post 7380690)
...always change a losing strategy. As soon as you're down a break in the first set, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT...

Well, assuming that you are using your best strategy to start (which just about everyone should be doing) then changing your strategy, to a by definition less well suited one, for any 'ol reason, is not going to net you extra wins, necessarily.

skiracer55 05-01-2013 11:44 AM

Think of it this way...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7380698)
Well, assuming that you are using your best strategy to start (which just about everyone should be doing) then changing your strategy, to a by definition less well suited one, for any 'ol reason, is not going to net you extra wins, necessarily.

You have an A game, which you'd like to use, but if it doesn't work, you have a B game you can pull out to grind out a win. For example, your A game is to play quick points and force the issue, but it it doesn't work, you have to go to your B game, be more patient, work the point longer, run all day if that's what it takes, to pull out the win.

In the original post, it said: "Then in the next set the games were still close, but it got completely away from us and before we knew it, we lost at 1."

That's always a sign that the other team is rushing you off the court, or, more accurately, you're rushing yourself off the court. The fix is thus:

- Slow down. Take some time to relax and regroup between points and games, to talk strategy with your partner and encourage him/her. Work out a conscious change in plans, and give it a try.

- Make the other team play. If they're overwhelming you and winning points almost before you can call out the score, throw up a few deep lobs, and, in doubles, don't try to hit winners right away, keep the ball down on the return and the next shot and give them a chance to take gas.

- Find out what they don't like, and give them lots of it. Nobody is perfect, at least not at this level, and the fact that you're winning points and games means you're doing something right? What is that something? Let's say the ad returner does pretty well with a serve right in his wheelhouse, but on a heavy kick out wide, gives you and up ball that you can do something with on the return. Fine, that guy gets nothing but heavy kick serves out wide until he figures out what to do with it, then you go for body serves (which is the usual progression..).

LeeD 05-01-2013 02:36 PM

And you gotta figure out if you're losing because you're not playing your game, or you're losing because THEY are playing a better game.
If both you guys aren't hitting your shots, simply changing strategy will accomplish little, since you never really gave it a try in the first set.
If both of you were hitting your best shots, and the opponent's were handling it easily, then ANY change is a change for the better, except for you guys hitting worse shots.

LuckyR 05-02-2013 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skiracer55 (Post 7380776)
You have an A game, which you'd like to use, but if it doesn't work, you have a B game you can pull out to grind out a win. For example, your A game is to play quick points and force the issue, but it it doesn't work, you have to go to your B game, be more patient, work the point longer, run all day if that's what it takes, to pull out the win.

I don't have a quarrel with the idea of changing, as I mentioned earlier, I aggressively look for opportunities to optimize our game. My comment was I would be very cautious advising abandoning Plan A after one game in a 2 out of 3 set match (you mentioned switching strategies after the first break).

mightyrick 05-02-2013 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peakay (Post 7380191)
Hey guys, sorry for the lag in getting back.

What i am looking for is a failsafe rule for WHEN to make a change in strategy/tactics, not what to do. I agree with the suggestions of what to do, but my problem was not implementing them soon enough as we were close in so many games.

Sometimes you just get beat, but I'd like to have a rule in mind as to when to get very serious about making a major change.

Thanks!

I think the end of a set is the time. Because this is the time when it is legal for you to actually change sides with your partner. Sometimes, moving your partner from forehand to backhand is the change that is needed. Many times, that isn't it. But the new set is a good time to refocus and apply a strategy adjustment.

user92626 05-02-2013 05:22 PM

I thought when you got pretty good, there's really only one right way to play. So there's no strategies or plans.

(Well, if you suck, there's definitely even less ways to play. :))

skiracer55 05-03-2013 12:03 PM

All true...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by LuckyR (Post 7383198)
I don't have a quarrel with the idea of changing, as I mentioned earlier, I aggressively look for opportunities to optimize our game. My comment was I would be very cautious advising abandoning Plan A after one game in a 2 out of 3 set match (you mentioned switching strategies after the first break).

...there is a case for saying you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so if you're just down a break, maybe you just keep playing and try to play the big points better. On the other hand..."Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results."

If you watch Men's Open doubles, for example, they're changing things up all the time. They use signals or talk about what each player is going to do on the next point. Maybe they started by serving out wide to the ad side returner, but the guy turns out to be grooved on that side, and can whistle the ball right past the net man, so maybe try some body serves and see if you can get the returner to cough a few up to the net man. Or maybe try using the I formation if the net man isn't getting much action. The ideal, IMHO, is to play serve and volley where the net man hits the volleys, not the server.

On a related note, see what I had to say in post #26 of this thread:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showt...t=hodge&page=2


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