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-   -   Played 4.0 for the first time...... (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=475254)

Sox Fan 08-29-2013 08:09 PM

Played 4.0 for the first time......
 
I have been playing 3.5 doubles the past few years - both USTA and in some club leagues. Have been getting a little bored with doubles and my game seems to have improved a lot so I signed up for a 4.0 league and played my first match tonight. The idea is to push myself a bit and see if I can get to be a solid 4.0.

Lost 1-6, 1-6 to a guy who was like a human backboard.

The good news is all the games were competitive, I don't there there was a love game the whole match and a few deuce games. The last game had, I think, five deuces. Although the score looks awful I did not feel like I didn't belong on the court with the guy. Some observations:

1. Way more of my good first serves came back. Biggest difference from playing 3.5 where I could dominate with my serve.

2. I lost most of the long points. Seemed like long rallies all end up with him eventually hitting deep to my backhand and then me making an error or hitting a short ball.

3. I had some success playing serve and volley and chip/charge on his second serve.

4. Definitely need to work on my backhand and on my return of serve. The rest of my game was pretty solid.

5. Need to get in better shape. Singles involves a he'll of a lot more running than doubles.

Any advice anyone has on making the transition from 3.5 to 4.0 would be appreciated.

EatMyForehand 08-29-2013 10:01 PM

Keep playing 4.0 players and up. You'll start noticing other things you can improve on. That's how you're going to make that transition.

Also don't be afraid to ask your opponent about your game and how you could improve.

boramiNYC 08-30-2013 01:05 AM

continue to study and learn better technique. it will give you many more options to build your game upon and higher tolerance in dealing with different kinda shots defensively. also study and learn court positioning skill based on the geometry of the court. quick and precise shot recognition (trajectory, spin, speed) is another skill you can work on. good conditioning is also essential for all of these to be more effective.

Baxter 08-30-2013 04:14 PM

[quote=Sox Fan;7704232]1. Way more of my good first serves came back. Biggest difference from playing 3.5 where I could dominate with my serve.../QUOTE]

I play both and that's the main difference I see as well.

Mr.Lob 08-31-2013 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sox Fan (Post 7704232)
I have been playing 3.5 doubles the past few years - both USTA and in some club leagues. Have been getting a little bored with doubles and my game seems to have improved a lot so I signed up for a 4.0 league and played my first match tonight. The idea is to push myself a bit and see if I can get to be a solid 4.0.

Lost 1-6, 1-6 to a guy who was like a human backboard.

The good news is all the games were competitive, I don't there there was a love game the whole match and a few deuce games. The last game had, I think, five deuces. Although the score looks awful I did not feel like I didn't belong on the court with the guy. Some observations:

1. Way more of my good first serves came back. Biggest difference from playing 3.5 where I could dominate with my serve.

2. I lost most of the long points. Seemed like long rallies all end up with him eventually hitting deep to my backhand and then me making an error or hitting a short ball.

3. I had some success playing serve and volley and chip/charge on his second serve.

4. Definitely need to work on my backhand and on my return of serve. The rest of my game was pretty solid.

5. Need to get in better shape. Singles involves a he'll of a lot more running than doubles.

Any advice anyone has on making the transition from 3.5 to 4.0 would be appreciated.

Did you find any weaknesses from opponent you could exploit, other than your net play? Did you try bringing him in with a short slice, how was he with hitting a lob? Drop shots? If you can hit good passing shots, lure him in.

I'm a 3.5 in men's doubles league,though in watching some of these "rate me"
videos I'm probably closer to a 4.0.

TomT 09-01-2013 02:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sox Fan (Post 7704232)
I have been playing 3.5 doubles the past few years - both USTA and in some club leagues. Have been getting a little bored with doubles and my game seems to have improved a lot so I signed up for a 4.0 league and played my first match tonight. The idea is to push myself a bit and see if I can get to be a solid 4.0.

Lost 1-6, 1-6 to a guy who was like a human backboard.

The good news is all the games were competitive, I don't there there was a love game the whole match and a few deuce games. The last game had, I think, five deuces. Although the score looks awful I did not feel like I didn't belong on the court with the guy. Some observations:

1. Way more of my good first serves came back. Biggest difference from playing 3.5 where I could dominate with my serve.

2. I lost most of the long points. Seemed like long rallies all end up with him eventually hitting deep to my backhand and then me making an error or hitting a short ball.

3. I had some success playing serve and volley and chip/charge on his second serve.

4. Definitely need to work on my backhand and on my return of serve. The rest of my game was pretty solid.

5. Need to get in better shape. Singles involves a he'll of a lot more running than doubles.

Any advice anyone has on making the transition from 3.5 to 4.0 would be appreciated.

The transition from 3.5 to 4.0, similar to the transition from 3.0 to 3.5, is basically just being able to hit a little harder, with slightly better placement, more consistently. If your stroke mechanics are basically ok, then it's just a matter of more court time, more practice, more matchplay. If not, then no strategy or tactics or anything else will make you competitive at higher levels, imho.

Post some videos if you have them.

josofo 09-01-2013 05:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TomT (Post 7711121)
The transition from 3.5 to 4.0, similar to the transition from 3.0 to 3.5, is basically just being able to hit a little harder, with slightly better placement, more consistently. If your stroke mechanics are basically ok, then it's just a matter of more court time, more practice, more matchplay. If not, then no strategy or tactics or anything else will make you competitive at higher levels, imho.

Post some videos if you have them.

most of the better 4.0s are consistent as heck and are just not going miss that many easy shots (not going to blow you away with power but good forehands, good short court play). the only exceptions i see is if its a younger guy who is just starting league tennis. they usually will be a bit more aggressive but will make more mistakes (i do better vs them).

colowhisper 09-01-2013 07:48 AM

4.0 to 4.5 is where strategy starts to to be much more important, mechanics should be sound for all strokes. You should know your tools and weapons well, and be able assess your opponent's weaknesses and attack them. Have someone chart a few matches for you (or video and then chart yourself) to learn more about your game. Learning a bit more about playing percentages will help too, google "wardlaw directionals."

gmatheis 09-01-2013 08:39 AM

Look for the part of your game that loses you points and work on that because the higher you go the better opponents will be at finding your weaknesses and exploiting them.

So if you have a weak second serve, an inconsistent backhand, have trouble putting away short balls, don't like coming to net, etc.

Chas Tennis 09-01-2013 05:08 PM

Often the stronger 4.0 players on a USTA Adult team are playing singles.

How well do you do at 3.5 USTA singles? I'd guess at singles most USTA 3.5 singles players would beat the bottom 50% of the 4.0 doubles level players, or so.

Check the record of the player that you just played, especially if he is on one of the more competitive teams.

Sox Fan 09-13-2013 07:36 PM

Thanks for all the responses. Played my second 4.0 match last night and did much better. Lost but it was a good match (6-7, 4-6). I played much better - served really well and returned serve better than the first match.

Not planning any drastic changes to my game. Simple areas of focus for now:

1. Play and practice more to improve consistency of groundstrokes. Need to hit more balls each week.

2. Continue to come to net whenever possible. This worked pretty well again.

3. The serve is my best weapon. Had 3-4 aces last night and forced a lot of errors. Last night I think it mixed it up really well: probably 50% hard slice, 25% flat bombs and 25% top spin. Let it fly with full swing top spin second serves and it worked well. Probably should practivce serve more to stay sharp.

Sox Fan 09-13-2013 07:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chas Tennis (Post 7713035)
Often the stronger 4.0 players on a USTA Adult team are playing singles.

How well do you do at 3.5 USTA singles? I'd guess at singles most USTA 3.5 singles players would beat the bottom 50% of the 4.0 doubles level players, or so.

Check the record of the player that you just played, especially if he is on one of the more competitive teams.


Only played doubles in 3.5 USTA. So, I am adjusting to both 4.0 as well as singles. Will see if I can find his USTA record.

thegreatgiroux 09-18-2013 01:02 AM

You can't take any points off! they aren't going to make any mistakes for free like the average 3.5 player. You need to have your feet under you EVERY point. To me, that was the biggest change I needed.

Baxter 09-18-2013 02:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sox Fan (Post 7756473)
The serve is my best weapon. Had 3-4 aces last night and forced a lot of errors. Last night I think it mixed it up really well: probably 50% hard slice, 25% flat bombs and 25% top spin. Let it fly with full swing top spin second serves and it worked well. Probably should practivce serve more to stay sharp.

That's a 4.0 serve. Most 3.5s have low % flat first serves and crappy second serves. You don't see serving like that in 3.5 except at playoffs.

austintennis2005 09-18-2013 12:51 PM

its such a fine line between winning and losing games for the most part..im a 4.5 and have lost to 5.0's 1 and 1 and to an outside observer we would appear to be pretty even.. same with me beating a 4.0 1 and 1... they seem almost as good as me---the difference is that the higher caliber player is SLIGHTLY better in almost all areas of the game and also have an extra gear they can go to when they really need it...lets say one player is only 5 % better than the other--over a few points the lesser player could win their fair share but the longer the match goes the odds eventually will catch up with them and the better player will pull away... in other words a player that is 5% better will win 95% of the time

JackB1 09-19-2013 06:52 AM

I am a high 3.5/low 4.0 who plays both levels and the thing about 4.0 is, that these guys know how to win the important/crucial points. I can be competitive with most 4.0's and never get blown out, but winning can be difficult. It seems like they know what to do when they need the point.
They are better at adjusting and figuring out how to win as the match goes on. It's almost as if you have to "learn how to win" at that level before you can start doing it yourself.
When playing at a higher level than you are used to, everything is magnified....your weaknesses are exploited and you must take advantage of your opponents weaknesses. Most
of these guys will win the long rallies, so you then need to go for more and shorten the points. Try different tactics and find something that works. If you sit back and let them play
their game against you...you will lose.

TimeSpiral 09-19-2013 07:10 AM

Nice job making the jump to 4.0 singles! It's tough out there. I play in Florida, an NTRP 4.0 Flex League, and it's tough.

I'll offer a few things, from my experience (winning about half my matches).
  • Don't underestimate your opponents.
  • I love the attitude, that you belonged with your first opponent, but a double breadstick is a thorough shalackin'. It might have seemed like you were competing, but that's a cruise control victory for your opponent. Not tryin' to be an *** at all, but trying to underscore the first point: don't underestimate your opponent. He was likely doing things, like shot selection strategy, that you weren't quite picking up on.
  • Play a patient, smarter game versus opponent's like this.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pbarrow (Post 7711469)
4.0 to 4.5 is where strategy starts to to be much more important, mechanics should be sound for all strokes. You should know your tools and weapons well, and be able assess your opponent's weaknesses and attack them. Have someone chart a few matches for you (or video and then chart yourself) to learn more about your game. Learning a bit more about playing percentages will help too, google "wardlaw directionals."

This is a great bit of advice. Without a good understanding of shot selection basics (the Wardlaw Directionals is a good place to start), you are probably making a ton of low percentage errors without even realizing you're taking a risk. Once you start developing this sense of "what to do, when to attack, and how to play patiently," you start to notice the players who don't, who make tons of change of direction and low percentage errors.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sox Fan (Post 7756473)
Thanks for all the responses. Played my second 4.0 match last night and did much better. Lost but it was a good match (6-7, 4-6). I played much better - served really well and returned serve better than the first match.

Not planning any drastic changes to my game. Simple areas of focus for now:

1. Play and practice more to improve consistency of groundstrokes. Need to hit more balls each week.

2. Continue to come to net whenever possible. This worked pretty well again.

3. The serve is my best weapon. Had 3-4 aces last night and forced a lot of errors. Last night I think it mixed it up really well: probably 50% hard slice, 25% flat bombs and 25% top spin. Let it fly with full swing top spin second serves and it worked well. Probably should practivce serve more to stay sharp.

Great work! You came really close to a big achievement: your first 4.0 set. You'll get there, for sure.

Your serve sounds solid. The serve is one of the primary keys in breaking through to the 4.0 level (at least in my area). Breaks of serve are a lot more important now.

If you're not already using a sound shot selection strategy, I'd reiterate the importance of at least being familiar with it. Players at the 4.0+ level should know it, and probably do.

Since you're a natural doubles player, I would definitely utilize your net skills. Net play is absolutely viable and will punish the baseliner who lacks a decent pass off both wings.

Good luck!

TimeSpiral 09-19-2013 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JackB1 (Post 7767317)
I am a high 3.5/low 4.0 who plays both levels and the thing about 4.0 is, that these guys know how to win the important/crucial points. I can be competitive with most 4.0's and never get blown out, but winning can be difficult. It seems like they know what to do when they need the point.
They are better at adjusting and figuring out how to win as the match goes on. It's almost as if you have to "learn how to win" at that level before you can start doing it yourself.
When playing at a higher level than you are used to, everything is magnified....your weaknesses are exploited and you must take advantage of your opponents weaknesses. Most
of these guys will win the long rallies, so you then need to go for more and shorten the points. Try different tactics and find something that works. If you sit back and let them play
their game against you...you will lose.

Great observations. This is the, "find a way to win," line you hear professional commentators use often, and it's very much relevant to the rec level.

"Make your opponents beat you with their worst shot when it really counts," is also another saying in this same vein.


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