Originally Posted by schmke
The truth is that you give yourself the greatest opportunity to improve your rating by playing with the weakest partner possible as the expected result is lower and thus there is more upside, and even a loss could improve the losing teams ratings. Playing with a strong partner can actually hurt your rating if you don't win by enough. Your ladies looking to get bumped up should be looking for the weakest partner that they can carry to a win and that will help both of them a lot.
Bottom line: I don't know anyone who successfully "managed" their rating to achieve a higher rating.
By that I mean that the people I know who are desperate to move up but do not channel that desperation into better strokes and fitness seem to fail year after year.
When one of my tennis buddies is bumped up, I can often tell you with great specificity what they are now doing differently to yield better results. It shows in their results, it shows in their play.
For purposes of this thread . . . OP says she gave up two games to a player who is possibly at the very bottom of the next lowest rating level. Yikes.
The ladies I know who cannot seem to bump up tend to "leak" games to vastly inferior opponents. Sometimes the problem is that they cannot handle the lack of pace or wonky spins that the inferior player is sending. Sometimes they cannot handle the pressure or play with a lead. That "game leakage" -- not their partners, court assignment, etc. -- is why they do not move up.
Clearly, someone who is 3.0-3.5 should not lose games to someone who rarely wins games at the 2.5 level. If OP's rating dips because of those two games she coughed up, well . . . that shows OP has work to do on her game and needs to serve up a double-bagel next time.