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.
Originally Posted by Pbarrow
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.
Originally Posted by Sox Fan
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.