Assessing player weaknesses during warm-up

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Buddy, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Buddy

    Buddy New User

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    During the short warm-up in doubles play, what routines do you follow to help assess a player's weaknesses. I can think ball feeds might include heavy topspin groundies, under spin and maybe high loopy shots to both the forehand and backhand. Maybe vary with some deep vs short shots to see their court coverage. At the net, test both wings with various high vs low shots. Overheads to both wings etc. would appreciate any insights on this crucial but overlooked part of my game.
     
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  2. Fearius

    Fearius New User

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    Personally I feel that trying to find out their weakness during a warm-up is bad mannered. You're trying to get ready for the match, you're not in the match yet.
     
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  3. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    The obvious answer would be to consider reading Brad Gilbert's "Winning Ugly". While I do think scouting for weaknesses is a good idea, don't purposely hit tough shots all over the place. You might not get the info you want that way considering that they won't necessarily run everything down during a warm up.
     
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  4. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    I don't trust anything I see during the warmup, because I know that a lot of people aren't really focused at the time. They're just trying to get their bodies moving and their blood flowing. Some even spend the time chatting with their partner. I've even played guys who intentionally tried to put their partners off during the warmup as a joke, especially when they're practicing overheads.

    I don't probe for weaknesses until the match actually starts. Then, I throw in different types of serves, try different types of point strategies, and make mental notes about my opponents' tendencies and habits.

    During the warmup, I try to give my opponent a chance to hit all of the shots they want to practice on both sides at the back and the net, because I'm not an *ss.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  5. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    presuming i didn't already warmup, in just focusing on my strokes.

    in general i have a better chance executing my game, vs exploiting what appears to be a weakness (the guys i play, most guys don't have an obvious weakness (visible during a cooperative hit) so we are usually just trying to out maneuver each other during the match)

    if i have already warmed up, then i will try to hit all shots to both wings of my opponent. and i'll even spend more time hitting my weaker shot (e.g. run around my fh)
     
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  6. collotennis

    collotennis Semi-Pro

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    Yes he mentions that in the book, it's a no brainier . just keep looking for opposites in the warm up. Give him high and Low ball see if he has trouble with either, slow and fast. Slice and topspin, high volleys and Low volleys. Attacking balls and defending balls.
    Just observe what he found easier to hit back and what's was more uncomfortable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  7. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I don't know why anyone would bother with assessing anything or trying to earn "knowledge" during a match. It's easy to see errors or come up with strategies during a game but it's significantly hard to execute what you want, which is always the biggest factor. It's the execution. Not the thinking, idea part.
     
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  8. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    Warmup can be used to see if they move their feet or are lazy. Hard to really tell since the match has not started yet and it does not count. However, good players always move their feet or are in position to hit the ball. You can determine if they generally have problems volleying or hitting OH, but again, it's what happens when it counts. :rolleyes:
     
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  9. OnTheLine

    OnTheLine Semi-Pro

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    So often the player you see warming up is not the same player that actually takes the court.
    You may see that they are more awkward with one particular stroke but usually not.
    Even at my lower level all the basics are there and warm up is not where I can assess much in strengths or weaknesses as people aren't "showing" their actual game.
    In warm up serves, I rarely if ever let them see my good 1st or 2nd. They will see a smooth quiet version of it ... just the motion but not the RHS or placement. I just want to be warmed up ...
     
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  10. Buddy

    Buddy New User

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    All fair points, so noted. I guess my query is applicable to the actual game (more so than the warm up). I play 4.0 level USTA in So Cal for reference. Particularly in doubles where it is more difficult to exploit the backhand for example, I don't believe a lot of players have a "routine" of identifying the other players' weaknesses. Once I am playing, I just tend to play. I am thinking that a routine would help my awareness or perhaps not.
     
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  11. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Hall of Fame

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    Dead giveaway that they are not confident net players: they stand extremely close to the net and put away every feed you give them. The ones to watch out for are more likely those who stand considerably further back [say, the SL] and calmly block everything back right at you. Those are the ones with control.

    Same thing with OHs: they let lobs go that require them to move more than a couple of steps and they hammer OH winners. The good ones track most everything down and hit 50-60% power right back to you.

    I see no reason to ignore the information that's there during warmup. At that point, my strokes aren't magically going to improve so I need to concentrate on my opponent, not myself. I already know my game; I don't know my opponent's. I won't hit DSs or other winner attempts, though.
     
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  12. Connors Fan

    Connors Fan Rookie

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    I too just try to give them balls to warm up with, as that is what I expect from them.

    That being said, I do watch for certain things. I watch if they run around one side or another. I watch what shots they tend to hit, though as many above posters have said, the warm up player is not always the game player you see, both better or worse. Happiest time for me is seeing a topspin ohbh. At my level, that means he is trying to hit a shot that he is very unlikely to be able to hit under pressure. If he can hit it under pressure, its unlikely he is my level, or has many other glaring holes.
     
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  13. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    "Winning Ugly" has a chapter on this.
     
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  14. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Hall of Fame

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    The only part I disagreed with was his suggestion to throw in a surprise lob when he was expecting a volley. I don't do that for the same reason I don't throw in a surprise drop shot when he's on the baseline.

    His book is great. I've read it several times.
     
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  15. Mareqnyc

    Mareqnyc Hall of Fame

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    I thinks it is naive to ignore the opportunity the warmup gives you to get some ideas about your opponent. I always do a basic "scan" of a guy specifically if I haven't seen him before. I try to figure if there is an obvious weak side and then just pound that side all day long. I give him a heavy high topspin to both sides mixed in with slice to see how he moves in-back. I take a note if he split steps well and how he moves. During volleys I do a couple of dippers a little to the side to see how he moves. I do not hit very hard, just give him a mix of different shots to see how he responds and what tendencies he has. Armed with that basic knowledge I come up with few tactics for the first set and if they work, win the match if not - adjust.
     
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  16. Mareqnyc

    Mareqnyc Hall of Fame

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    lol I hate when some guys do that - baseline rally and they drop shot you when you warm up. I am like "What in the F#@$ are you doing..."
     
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  17. steve s

    steve s Professional

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    Guess I am old school. I just use it to warm up, for both sides of the court.

    Then I play my game.
     
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  18. kiteboard

    kiteboard Legend

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    If you hit winners, they will get angry and hate you. If you show fake weakness, they will think that is an attackable side. If you hit honestly, down the middle, without probing, they will think you are an easy mark. If you probe, they will get angry. So, you either have to cooperate blandly, or choose the other path, the dark side angry one.
     
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