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%.