Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by PM_, Jan 9, 2006.
...and keep records?
No, but if I played seriously, I would. Not just writing notes on your opponent, but having somebody track one of your matches is a great way to improve. You can see exactly how many doubles faults you hit and when... how many unforced errors off forehand as opposed to backhand... etc.
But if I were even playing serious Open tennis, like 2 tournaments a month, many practice matches in between, I would probably take mental notes and write them down quickly later. Gleaning even one "weakness" in your opponent is probably worth a game or two.
Like here are the things I've noticed about the people I play with:
Guy 1: "can't hit cross court backhand passing shots... hits everything down the line or lobs it..." "always goes for down the line winner when stretched out wide..." "has a hard time hitting a forehand on the run off a slice shot..."
Guy 2: "misses long all the time off slice backhands up the line to his forehand..."
Guy 3: "if you keep attacking his backhand, he keeps swinging harder and harder on every shot until he almost invariably hits long..."
Guy 4: "tends to hit short, when he does, pick a corner and don't overhit, just hit deep and get ready for a high volley, don't swing on that shot either..." "if you slice to his backhand, always tries to slice it back, gets caught in crosscourt exchange, can't hit more than 3 slice backhands in a row..."
Guy 5: "when taken out wide, always goes for extreme angle crosscourt winner off both sides... cheat to that side... hit drop shot if his shot goes in and remember to miss LONG, even if he gets to it so what?..."
Dude, I'm bored. I really have no idea why I posted that stuff. Those really are the weaknesses I've noticed. At some point, though, when a player has no real shot weaknesses, it's all about identifying tendencies in shot patterns. That would take at least a set to really gauge.
I've started taking notes this season.
Nothing elaberate like above.
Just really simple.
Player, strengths, weaknesses, tactics.
Player: Mark, tall solid built guy.
Strengths: serve, forehand, net play.
Weaknesses: backhand, movement.
Player: Darren, little asian guy.
Strengths: kick serve, topspin fh + 2hb.
Weaknesses: mentally weak.
Player: Alan, older guy pirate looks.
Weaknesses: movement, backhand, temper!.
Tactics: hit lots of dropshots on him.
Yes. Not just what the opponents' weaknesses are but what the opponent tried that did or didn't work against me.
Eg: Opponent A - keeps trying to return down the line, without coming to
net, even when I repeatedly get to the ball and put it away with cross-
Opponent B - much tougher than usual to S&V against b/c opponent was
particularly good at returning right at my feet, giving me very difficult
I get an occasional surprise about things I thought I was OK at but am not, or vice versa. Like finding out I handle half-volleys (didn't think I was really getting many of them) a lot better than low volleys, which I perceived as a somewhat easier shot.
I don't get too compulsive about the opponents themselves, except to note glaring weaknesses. I mostly focus on the kinds of tactical things that work with different kinds of opponents given the skills I have.
No, I don't write anything and regard this useless.
In PRO tour such things may help to such ungifted players as Brad Gilbert. While he was writing others were winning Grand Slam tournaments without any writings.
Tennis is not mathematics and is not science as very often is mistakenly said, tennis is sport. And here in sport one very stupid boy may easily beat u while u see what is yr mistake, what are yr weaknesses, strength, and what is his weakness and strength.
What always makes me nervous - very long speech about determining "who is doing what to whom". But nobody asks what if u know the answer to this question already? What to do then ? My answer - nothing. Sometimes knowing doesn't help. He wins u intuitively, he doesn't think, he doesn't understand what is going on. He has simply more sportive talent than u, he wins u intuitively, he is stronger.
I actually do this. I found that Microsoft Excel is an awesome place to do this. I keep track of everything on there, also use it to keep track of my poker stats
It wasn't until a gifted player like Agassi started listening to Brad Gilbert's insights that his career resurged. At the ATP level it's not about how gifted you are, everybody's gifted, so things like fitness, strategy, and confidence will make the difference.
Every pro sport I know of uses film, or live observation, to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents, and then to formulate a strategy to exploit this knowledge. It's just common sense. In American football, they'll study plays, and in boxing, they'll study punching tendencies ("he leaves head totally open whenever he misses a left uppercut...), etc.
And tennis isn't literally mathematics, or a science, but math and science can certainly be used to improve a player and his/her chances of winning. It wasn't until Agassi became the ultimate percentage player that he started winning in ways that befitted his talent level. As for science, players now have personal trainers, nutritionists, and coaches who use the latest in bio-mechanics, biology, and sports science in general to make their player the best he can be.
Maybe you're underestimating what a huge deal the top levels of pro tennis has become. It's not like the players just practice mindlessly, eat whatever they want, and are told by the coaches to "hit the shot you feel like hitting." Coaches scout matches, and players are careful about what they eat, etc. Not only because they know this improves their chances of winning but, also, because athletes are some of the most superstitious people around and at some point it simply becomes a ritual that NEEDS to be adhered to simply for peace of mind.
Federer is probably the only guy who can do this.
I once wrote a note to my female opponent asking if she wanted to lock heads in battle er.. sorry, bed with me.
35ft6, I have such a big simpathy to the man on yr avatar that don't want to argue with u in details. Peoples taking notes in this thread are not PROs, for them it is definetly useless.
Fed is playing without coach and adviser what also crashes this theory in PRO level. The theory also can be disproved following this reasoning: if at PRO level everybody is more or less gifted and this fact plays not such a significant role as well as sportive intuitivety and gift of a player, then observing and mathematical or scientifical approach must come to first positions and help players to advance to first places in rankings. Then common hunting for great coaches and mathematicians must begin in ATP and not players but there coaches must own prizes and money. And generally the task is very simplified for players - just go into details, watching opponents' matches, engage good coach and a few mathematicians and that is all. But practice disproves this.
Also I'm tired to hear that how big role Gilbert played in Agassi's success and how great he was. I think it is just advertising trick and Agassi (thanks to his good attitude to Brad) confirmed this lightly. Because : "if the man - as u pointed out - played such a big role in Agassi's career why didn't he play the same role in his own career and why didn't he win a few GSs for himself ?"
I usually make mental notes. Once you play the tournament circuit in a given area you begin to see the same players over and over. I can predict what a lot of players are going to do in certain situations. I suppose if I ever got serious I should write it all down and really come up with a real game plan.
I think tracking your own progress is very valuable with % of first serves, pts won off first serve, unforced errors broken down by stroke and all kinds of other stats, but you need somebody watching you to take all the data down.
I have to agree with 35ft6 wholeheartedly here...Aykhan, I think you're underestimating the intensity with which the pro tours operate. every single advantage has to be squeezed into every match. Coaches spend tons of time scouting potential opponents for their player, and as far as i'm concerned watching footage of an opponent, going through mental visuzlizations of matchplay based on strategies devised form scouting reports and generally preparing to make the most of the weapons you have against your opponents biggest weaknesses is the biggest mark of a professional player there is. Along with practice sessions, diet and physical fitness it's another indication of how professional a player is.
Granted, there are some who may not use a coach all the time (Federer), but tha doesn't mean that they haven't got their own lists of 'player specs' t oconsult when they're prepping for a match.
When i was playing seriously i did have a bit of a book going concerning the top players; it was useful to consult, and certianly helped me feel more prepared, and thus more confident when going into a match against a tough opponent.
i personally just go and play
most people keep mental notes of their opponents, because you usually hear about them ,or if you dont, theres always some one who has played them.
thats what i do anyway!
i used to keep a file that contained match results, which included every point and match statistics to go along with it. its pretty handy .
you show your coach and then you work on your errors
I don't believe you...I don't know why but I just don't...
its called jealousy and hostility
He "crashes" this theory if you think everybody else has the same physical skills and talents of Roger. Roger proves nothing just as Einstein didn't prove that working at a patent office is the best way to come up with world shattering scientific theories. Roger is what's common referred to as an exception to the norm. And as far as exceptions go, Roger's exceptional.
I have no idea what you're talking about.
Brad Gilbert is known as a great tennis tactician, nobody said he's a great player. Great players win Grand Slams. Great tacticians coach great players to win Grand Slams. Big difference. What you're saying makes about as much sense as "if Angelo Dundee knows so much about boxing, why didn't he just win several title belts himself instead of training champion boxers?"
I do it all the time. I take a permanent marker and when they go for a bathroom break, I write "just got bageled" on their jerseys.
Jeez guys - can't you tell Aykhan is pulling your leg?
As a professional player himself, he probably has quite a book on all his opponents. He probably hires the best coaches, the best mathmaticians, and maybe even physicists and chemists. His touring entorage is a couple of dozen strong. Throw in the groupies that follow him around, and you've got quite a diverse crowd.
Justin Gimelstob doesn't think much of the quality of coaching on tour, so Aykhan has a point. Sound like the majority of players don't really receive much insight from their coaches, just have a guy to hit with & go to dinner with. And they are able to do just fine.
"The definition of a coach is someone who trains another by instruction, demonstration and practice. Few tennis coaches truly embrace or respect their profession enough to put in the work needed to master it. The biggest problem in tennis coaching is that most coaches fall into their profession by default. They either weren't good enough to make it as a player or they finished their careers and now view coaching as an extension of their playing days. Very few are committed and disciplined enough to really study the game and learn the finer points of coaching, as successful coaches have done in other sports."
"The ratio of real coaches vs. friends who pick up balls, organize practice courts and make dinner reservations is sadly disproportionate."
"I have always been amazed that coaches don't spend more time at tournament sites watching matches and studying opposing players' tendencies."
"The margin of victory in professional tennis is so narrow -- a few points can mean the difference between winning and losing a match. Why wouldn't a coach gather as much information on potential opponents in an attempt to give his or her charge every possible chance of being successful? Why don't coaches study what makes the top players so special?"
"The opportunity and access is right there for them, every day on the Tour. I really believe it comes down to laziness, arrogance, and indifference. Most tennis coaches believe they know everything they need to about the game. It's common for coaches in other sports to study other programs and other successful coaches -- basketball coaches learning from Bobby Knight or football coaches studying up on Bob Stoops."
Thanks for providing the Link to Justin's Blog. Sounds like he certainly has issues with some coaches.
I don't remember where, but I've read that most private coaches get a straight salary, plus expenses, plus a percentage of the players winnings. It seems to me like they would be VERY motivated to have their player win as much as possible. Aside from that, a player that doesn't win much may not be able to afford their coach. Seems like a coach would do everything possible for their player to win, just for job security sake. And, if the coach gets fired anyway, he'll have a better resume' with which to attract another player, or land an announcers job, or whatever.
I don't think that's the case, Geezer. I highly doubt any coach get any % of players earnings. Many aren't even rewarded after slam wins. Landsdorp ripped Sharapova & her family as being very cheap. He got no extras bonus when she won Wimbledon.
Clijsters coach also complained about not receiving a bonus when she won the US Open.
Pat Cash had money issues with Rusedski. Often agreements (esp with lower ranked players) are informal. With no contract(or a very limited one) no reason to be generous. Tony Roche said he never had a contract with Lendl or Rafter(or Federer currently) He said a handshake is enough for him. He's lucky those are nice guys.
I've read that Michael Chang gave Jose Higueras a $50 bonus after winning the French.
I know someone who coaches on the ATP - but on the doubles side where there is not a lot of money. He generally works with 4 guys and gets a flat salary (not much) plus expenses.
I would imagine some top singles coaches get a flat fee then a % of earnings.
And as far as not giving bonuses when the player wins a slam, if the coach expects one he should have it written into their contract.
I'm sure that well-known coaches don't work with every player who is ready to pay. They first chose potential "stars" and only after start working with them.
35ft6, we were not discussing was Brad tactician or a player, in the end this is the game of words. U as many people overestimated the role of Gilbert in Agassi's career, and in respond I told that if his role is so big and the talent of Agassi played such a secondary role that just Gilbert made him the star then why didn't he make himself star ?
IMO Agassi was GREAT from youth and Brad saw this fact before he know who is Agassi ( see his book Winning Ugly).
Then u first stated that all players in the first 10-20 have gift and so details such as observing yr opponents,writing and etc.. come to first importance. And Brad was in the first 10 somewhen in rankings. That is according u he had a gift also, so why couldn't make he himself great winner with his tactics and etc... ?
Yes, rackets play role, overgrips play role and the surface play role, examining of yr opponents play role, yes all these things play role - u are right, but altogether their role is 1% from pure skills "to can play tennis". They altogether have rather quietening and sedative effect for players in the meaning that "they are ready, they are prepared" than their real effect.
Because he didn't have the physical tools. Brad by all accounts was an overachiever in tennis, a guy with no weapons who beat opponents by out-THINKING them. A coach needs to be a great thinker, not have incredible hand eye coordination, strength, or foot speed.
In fact, I would argue that players who aren't as good become the better coaches. Here's an analogy, who do you think would be a better piano teacher, a musical genius who was a child prodigy, or a regular guy who had to practice like crazy. A person who could just play the piano at age 3 for some inexplicable reason, those types will never really THINK about piano, they don't have to. But a guy who has to struggle, he'll think about music/the piano, the mechanics of it, etc.
Agassi was a prodigy in tennis. He had incredible hands and eyes. Most people will agree that Agassi played too much by intuition in his early years, thinking his talent would get him through, that he could just out hit his opponent.
Brad, on the other hand, had to think his way into the top 10. He had to understand things that Agassi didn't. But once Brad's mind combined with Agassi's body, tennis history was written, no?
In the beginning you didn't ask why Brad didn't become a great player, you said something about winning Grand Slams. In Brad's time, very few players won Grand Slams. Today 4 different guys can win the 4 different Slams, but back then it seemed like 2, maybe 3 at the most, would share the Slams.
edit: actually, it's sort of incredible that somebody would say Brad's contributions to Agassi's current playing style is overestimated... Agassi, the way he plays now compared to the way he used to play, the difference is RADICAL... and Grad got lucky again with Roddick, who presumably was on his way to becoming number 1 with or without Brad...
the interviews with Clijsters & Sharapova's former coaches made it clear that they just received a flat salary, no % of players earnings. That's why they thought it would be fair to get a little something extra when they coached the player to a slam.
I have a feeling that most coaches of elite players aren't treated that well financially.
Well Moose $50 in Ecuador is worth about $500 so hopefully he spent it there!
To the OP:
Yes. I "Game Plan" every opponent I play ... might play... and whom I may meet again. On our local Ladder. In tournaments. Even "friendly matches."
Aykhan's messing with you guys. I've seen him play in the Brazil Open. He has a file in his laptop on everyone ... including clips of particular points with his commentary as a voice-over, telling himself how to play them next.
He's so "particular" he makes sure he eats the exact same meal against those he's beaten. He makes sure he eats differently if it was a loss before.
(I even heard he doesn't change his underwear until he loses...!)
Yeah, it doesn't even have to be that elaborate. Most people play every opponent the same way and wonder why they lost. It could be as simple as "I'm going to only hit approach shots to his backhand."
If he were Federer his underwear would look like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Yes, I had to do this a lot when I managed the girls tennis team. Recoridng their matches, and recording everything (even weather & time).
I do this for myself as well.
Equinox, tell us about the 4th person on your list:
Megan: big-chested blonde.
Strengths: distracting when she runs
Weaknesses: haven't noticed them
I played her too.
Ohh, really don't want to go into deep discussions. But I think u guys again overestimate the role of thinking, writing, watching yr opponent, u made from stupid tennis mathematics and also engaged files and soon laptops into the job. Definetly, Brad Gilbert with his book frightened a lot of u, guys.
I stay with my opinion. 35ft6, u gave good example about could a prodigy and genius player be a good coach and u told - NO. Now I want to turn yr example from the head to foots: could genius Mozart be placed in some frames drawn by some teacher ? Could there exist any teacher who could dramatically influence to Bethoven or Mozart ?
And similar - how do u think - could some coach dramatically influence to McEnroe, Federer, Connors ? I think - NO. If u understand me - u'll catch that u contradict uself. Tennis is sport. Here genius game is born INTUITIVELY thanking tremendous talent and feeling similar to that how music was born in the brain of Mozart. Yes, coaches can teach u first notes, technics and whatever, but then the game will flow itself. Teachers and coaches will admire and will study what a talent creates.
Please, stop urging me. I stay with my free and simplified approach to the game: go and play. Don't complicate yr brain in advance, u surely will see who is yr opponent after a few games.
Its all up in the head buddy. If you dont remember them, they arent worth remembering.
They both had teachers I believe.
Then ask them why they had/have coaches?
If you're joking, you have this character down pat.
I have it easy - I only play against one person, so it's pretty easy to get to know their strengths and weaknesses, or rather their strengths and my weaknesses! If I was playing against loads of different people I probably would take notes if I couldn't trust my memory - as I am that kind of anal person. But having said that I'm not very competative, so ....
Separate names with a comma.