Getting Schooled by 4.5 Player Video

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Here are some points from yesterday playing my buddy who is a strong 4.5 level player. He can take it easy and still give me fits. I play him almost weekly, just to let some here know that I do play against some higher level players.

 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
Nice points. I think your serve has gotten a lot better, plus you returned pretty well.

One thing that I noticed is that you hit a lot of tough balls to his BH. I imagine the 4.0's you are used to playing would have trouble with them, but this guy got them all back with decent depth. The problem is, you let him get away with floating them back. if you close on the net or even cheat in a couple of steps, you can take them in the air, which puts a lot more pressure on him.
 

President

Legend
Your opponent puts a lot of pressure on you with his style, I think if you split step more often you will be ready to receive his shots better.
 

Surion

Hall of Fame
Sorry to ask this, but why do you hit all those loopy shots?

Your serve looks pretty good, but you could do a lot better, since you neglect some parts of the kinetic chain.
Your BH slice looks kind of awkward, but you don't seem to miss it, so that's fine.

Good returning, but your forehand looks awkward, too.
Similar to your serve, you just neglect some parts, that are necessary for more speed and control.

But as long as you are consistent with your style, it's fine.

You just could do better with some (significant) changes.
 

Lance L

Semi-Pro
A few thoughts:
-Your return of serve is not strong enough. I would try moving back far enough so you can get a good crack at it, even if that means moving back quite a bit. If you are ever going to move up to this level you have to be able to return his serve(which is a good serve) deep and down the middle, not a floater but with pace. It can be slice, but just not a floater. Once you return serve move up to near the baseline for the point.
-You are often caught by a deep ball and moving back on contact. You have to train yourself to stop moving back once the ball is coming to you. At that point, you have what you have as far as court positoning. If that means you hit a half volley from the baseline, so be it. Heck, you may have to hit a volley from just inside the baseline, but that is preferable to falling back. You, and you alone, decide how you move to the ball. He has a good drop shot, so you can't play deep, you have to play near the baseline and train yourself to deal with the deep ball at your feet.
-To go with the previous point, the reason it is important to be assertive when hitting, not moving back, is that in order to improve you need a strategy to win. To me you are thinking "Just get it in". I know it is hard since he is better than you, but you have to try. He is at a level that he won't loose by missing, you have to beat him, and you need a strategy for that. Yours will be different than mine, but here is mine: Hit deep and hard down the middle until I generate a short ball. Then I add pressure by hitting an angle or just harder and down the middle and come to the net, where I press the advantage and hopefully win the point. That is it. Now, I like the net, so that works for me. Also lots of drop shot/lobs off of short balls.
-You really, really need a strategy more than "Keep getting it in until he misses." Even if it doesn't work, you have to try.
 

10isMaestro

Semi-Pro
Tactically, quite a many of those returns could be better. You do tend to read well his serve, get into a good hitting position... But then you float them back, sometimes even floating a forehand slice right in the middle of the court. Don't get me wrong: you do hold your end of the deal in that match, but you could give him more for his money.

A more technical point regards your forehand. You have two hands: use them. Sometimes, you waste loads of power by failing to turn your shoulders properly. I understand he is a good opponent, but I saw you waste perfectly good opportunities on your own terms, without being forced to do it, because you did not enjoy the time and space he gave you to punish him more. Another pointer is your tendency to reverse your forehand... Usually, that means you're LATE and I've seen you do it while tackling sitters in no man's land. If you're going to move forward, specifically because it forces you out of position for defense, you have to be incisive, you have to hurt your opponent. From what I see, you are more than good enough to make it happen, even if he is indeed quite solid.

A last point: if you're going to hit short and low, make sure you are the one leading the rally. You don't draw in a competent net player without first making sure he won't have a hard time getting into a good position once he approaches the net. Drawing players forward, even mildly forward, is a great idea, but you need to do it on your terms or, else, you'll be in trouble.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Very good player you are against. He makes it look easy - moving and taking balls off the rise to defeat you. Notice how your loopy shots don't push him back. But this is way easier said then done..

I see some strategies here to counter him - but I don't think you can make a tactical adjustment and beat him. Looks to me like he isn't giving full effort yet.

Like a lot of good players you just have to get better overall - better footwork on the baseline to counter his ability to take time away. Hit better returns and rally balls to keep him at least in neutral situations.. It's about executing better most of the time - nothing wrong with your tactics and strategy IMHO..

You fitness level seems amazing - like 20 years younger then your age at least.. Just diet and exercise?
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Very good player you are against. He makes it look easy - moving and taking balls off the rise to defeat you. Notice how your loopy shots don't push him back. But this is way easier said then done..

I see some strategies here to counter him - but I don't think you can make a tactical adjustment and beat him. Looks to me like he isn't giving full effort yet.

Like a lot of good players you just have to get better overall - better footwork on the baseline to counter his ability to take time away. Hit better returns and rally balls to keep him at least in neutral situations.. It's about executing better most of the time - nothing wrong with your tactics and strategy IMHO..

You fitness level seems amazing - like 20 years younger then your age at least.. Just diet and exercise?

Yes your right it's about executing better most of the time, plus better footwork. Also I definitely need to get better at returning serve, most guys I play do not have that good of serve. That is the problem with trying to get better at returning it's very hard to practice, I don't have any good servers that want to go out and bang a bunch of serves to me.

As far as my fittness goes I play tennis around 5 days a week all year plus I do weight training at least 3 days a week. I have also started to add some running to build up my cardio, I hate it when I get winded after some long points and not completely recovered for the next point. I am retiring later this year which will give me more time to improve my fittness and my tennis game.
 

oble

Hall of Fame
Ya he makes it look easy, which it is for him because I cannot pressure him much.
He really doesn't get fazed by your deep loopy shots at all, since he's so good at taking it on the rise instead of getting pushed back. The benefit of giving yourself time to get back into position with your loopy shots is practically gone when he plays like that. I'm not completely familiar with the US rating system but I'd imagine players of his level and above is where they really have no problem handling these shots.

As far as my fittness goes I play tennis around 5 days a week all year plus I do weight training at least 3 days a week. I have also started to add some running to build up my cardio, I hate it when I get winded after some long points and not completely recovered for the next point. I am retiring later this year which will give me more time to improve my fittness and my tennis game.
Don't be hard on yourself. Your fitness is really good for your age. To train for faster recovery between points, you may want to try interval training instead of just plain running.
 
Looks like you're trying to target his backhand. Unfortunately you don't have the tools to attack it properly. So if I were you, I would stop targeting his backhand and start taking advantage of his slower speed and handsy shotmaking (unless he's so good he isn't trying in which case it doesn't matter what you do). In other words, hit the ball crosscourt and make him go down the line to beat you. You should be able to chase his shots down and he might get frustrated making errors when he tries to pull the trigger to put you away.
 

Rino

Banned
Here are some points from yesterday playing my buddy who is a strong 4.5 level player. He can take it easy and still give me fits. I play him almost weekly, just to let some here know that I do play against some higher level players.

Have you thought about possibly looking to attack him on the return of serve more? You give him quite a few loopy, short returns which he eats for dinner. :)
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Looks like you're trying to target his backhand. Unfortunately you don't have the tools to attack it properly. So if I were you, I would stop targeting his backhand and start taking advantage of his slower speed and handsy shotmaking (unless he's so good he isn't trying in which case it doesn't matter what you do). In other words, hit the ball crosscourt and make him go down the line to beat you. You should be able to chase his shots down and he might get frustrated making errors when he tries to pull the trigger to put you away.
Okay but if I don't have the tools to attack his backhand which is definitely his weaker side then how am I going to attack his forehand?
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Have you thought about possibly looking to attack him on the return of serve more? You give him quite a few loopy, short returns which he eats for dinner. :)
He is one of the best serving player that I face, I am not used to that good of serve so I am fighting just to get it back. But your right I have to do more on the return.
 
Okay but if I don't have the tools to attack his backhand which is definitely his weaker side then how am I going to attack his forehand?
I didn't say to attack his forehand. Just hit the ball crosscourt unless you have a reason not to (e.g. approaches, passing shots, a wide open court DTL, etc). If he chooses to go crosscourt also, you'll get into a lot of long rallies which you like. If he tries attacking DTL, you'll have an easier time chasing down his shots and he'll make more errors.
 

Rino

Banned
He is one of the best serving player that I face, I am not used to that good of serve so I am fighting just to get it back. But your right I have to do more on the return.
Perhaps a specific area you could concentrate on in training. Im also facing a lot of good servers this year - has been a baptism of fire, and Ive had no other option but to improve my return of serve by specifically focussing on it at training or else Ill keep getting beat.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I didn't say to attack his forehand. Just hit the ball crosscourt unless you have a reason not to (e.g. approaches, passing shots, a wide open court DTL, etc). If he chooses to go crosscourt also, you'll get into a lot of long rallies which you like. If he tries attacking DTL, you'll have an easier time chasing down his shots and he'll make more errors.
Okay I will give it a try because I am not doing much damage to him with what I am doing now.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Perhaps a specific area you could concentrate on in training. Im also facing a lot of good servers this year - has been a baptism of fire, and Ive had no other option but to improve my return of serve by specifically focussing on it at training or else Ill keep getting beat.
I would like to work on return more also, but it's hard to find a good server to hit you a bunch of serves. In the spring I am going to set my ball machine up on a table so I can practice returns with it.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
Go on the attack! He wants to put pressure on you, so you can either fight back and maybe win the point or keep giving him balls to hit until he puts one away.

I'm sure you will make a bunch of UE's, but you aren't going to beat this guy by hitting neutral/defensive loopers and hoping for errors.
 
D

Deleted member 120290

Guest
I disagree with other posters who say you can do more with your return against this player. He has good pace, spin, disguise and placement on his serves. That combo makes it very difficult to start even on the ROS let alone pressure him. You would have to be a pretty high level player to be able to take advantage of his serves. You seem to hit the balls in the middle of the court a lot more in this video which allows him to control virtually every point. I suspect if your opponent really wanted to, he could hit to your backhand, attack the net and win 80%+ of the points.

For you to beat a player like this would require you to completely revamp your game.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I disagree with other posters who say you can do more with your return against this player. He has good pace, spin, disguise and placement on his serves. That combo makes it very difficult to start even on the ROS let alone pressure him. You would have to be a pretty high level player to be able to take advantage of his serves. You seem to hit the balls in the middle of the court a lot more in this video which allows him to control virtually every point. I suspect if your opponent really wanted to, he could hit to your backhand, attack the net and win 80%+ of the points.

For you to beat a player like this would require you to completely revamp your game.
Okay but I am just trying to get better and give guys like him a better battle, never mentioned anything about being able to beat him. I do agree about the return of serve, I am doing a lot just to get his serve back with any consistency. To watch his serve on video and actually face it is a lot different, like you mentioned with his placement,spin, speed and disguise it is very good.
 
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VexlanderPrime

Guest
That guy is playing like a 3.5... Is he intentionally going easy on you?

Regardless you gotta develop some weapons. Your FH and BH are just asking for people to tee off on them. Your FH swing is too vertical, the racket face is open and you aren't following thru. Maybe work on that. Develop a FH he has to respect so he can't come to the net so easily
 
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VexlanderPrime

Guest
Well going by TT standards I would be a 2.5 level player and my buddy a 3.5.
Edited. Just saying, he's really not hitting shots I'd expect from a 4.5. Solid all court shots tho but nothing that would be 4.5

Your serve looks smooth tho!
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
That guy is playing like a 3.5... Is he intentionally going easy on you?

Regardless you gotta develop some weapons. Your FH and BH are just asking for people to tee off on them. Your FH swing is too vertical, the racket face is open and you aren't following thru. Maybe work on that. Develop a FH he has to respect so he can't come to the net so easily
I have not seen any 3.5 level players serve that good or hit volleys anything close to what my buddy does.
 

mightyrick

Legend
I have not seen any 3.5 level players serve that good or hit volleys anything close to what my buddy does.
He's definitely not a 3.5. I'd put him at a strong 4.0. He may be playing in non-sanctioned 4.5 leagues, but I'd have to see him against other NTRP 4.5s in an actual tournament to see if he is that high. I'm not seeing it, though. He would not beat any 4.5 I know simply due to lack of fitness and poor movement.

If you want to beat him, you're going to have to move him. In the video you posted, he really doesn't need to move. All he is doing is walking fast to the incoming ball and redirecting it with a chop or a block on the BH side. His forehand is very similar. Then he comes to the net for a volley and maybe an overhead.

If he was forced to move more, you'd start drawing errors. But I don't think I saw him pulled off the court once.
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
That guy is playing like a 3.5... Is he intentionally going easy on you?

Regardless you gotta develop some weapons. Your FH and BH are just asking for people to tee off on them. Your FH swing is too vertical, the racket face is open and you aren't following thru. Maybe work on that. Develop a FH he has to respect so he can't come to the net so easily
Really? I think you need to re-evaluate your view of 3.5. The opponent made some volley errors, granted. But I thought he showed good control with his shots and played some good slices WITH depth. 3.5? You're having a laugh - No.

TLM yes he is a level above you - he has better technique than you and seems a more seasoned player overall. You have good movement and I like your persistence - you forced him into making a few errors at the net. You've improved though and there isn't any reason why that shouldn't continue but I think you need to expand your shot making slightly in order to so.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
He's definitely not a 3.5. I'd put him at a strong 4.0. He may be playing in non-sanctioned 4.5 leagues, but I'd have to see him against other NTRP 4.5s in an actual tournament to see if he is that high. I'm not seeing it, though. He would not beat any 4.5 I know simply due to lack of fitness and poor movement.

If you want to beat him, you're going to have to move him. In the video you posted, he really doesn't need to move. All he is doing is walking fast to the incoming ball and redirecting it with a chop or a block on the BH side. His forehand is very similar. Then he comes to the net for a volley and maybe an overhead.

If he was forced to move more, you'd start drawing errors. But I don't think I saw him pulled off the court once.
His specialty is doubles and he plays on the 4.5 team at my club and is one of the top players, so he is most definitely a 4.5 level player. On a lot of points he is taking it easy on me.
 

dimkin

Hall of Fame
tough matchup, tlm.
- Your opponent is a very solid player, and he might have been just toying around and not showing his full arsenal.
I do believe that he is a 4.5, given how easily he was able to adjust to your shots
- He displayed a very crafty FAST court game on what seems to be a FAST court, kind of Pete vs Andre on Pete's court.
Maybe against a baseliner you'd have had more of a rythm, whereas in that match your opponent simply didn't give you any.

And a cc fh with a full western is a difficult shot to execute - dl is easier, as it requires even more of a full kinetic chain and
proper involvement of the body.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
tough matchup, tlm.
- Your opponent is a very solid player, and he might have been just toying around and not showing his full arsenal.
I do believe that he is a 4.5, given how easily he was able to adjust to your shots
- He displayed a very crafty FAST court game on what seems to be a FAST court, kind of Pete vs Andre on Pete's court.
Maybe against a baseliner you'd have had more of a rythm, whereas in that match your opponent simply didn't give you any.

And a cc fh with a full western is a difficult shot to execute - dl is easier, as it requires even more of a full kinetic chain and
proper involvement of the body.
Yes very true he does not let me get any rythm going. I play him a little better outside.
 

kiteboard

Banned
Here are some points from yesterday playing my buddy who is a strong 4.5 level player. He can take it easy and still give me fits. I play him almost weekly, just to let some here know that I do play against some higher level players.

This guy would not win a 4.5 tournament in norcal. Doesn't have any weapons. Isn't very fast. No spin, etc.
 

indianballer

Semi-Pro
So if he would not win a 4.5 tournament in NorCal does that mean he is not a 4.5 level player? After the tournament is everyone except the winner knocked down to 4.0?
Ha ha.... funny. No the losers get flogged by kite board with a weirdly strung tennis racket. But kite board will have a new racket strung right before each spanking because somehow it makes his rec 4.0 fh and bh better and more committed. I saw a video of kite board on here but it was taken down. It was terrible form. You would beat up on kite board tlm so ignore him.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Ha ha.... funny. No the losers get flogged by kite board with a weirdly strung tennis racket. But kite board will have a new racket strung right before each spanking because somehow it makes his rec 4.0 fh and bh better and more committed. I saw a video of kite board on here but it was taken down. It was terrible form. You would beat up on kite board tlm so ignore him.
I never saw his video but his form couldn't be worse than mine.

I just don't get someone stating that a player that could not win a tournament at their level somehow means that they are a level lower.
 

Tennisanity

Legend
I think you just need to develop some flatter shots because he has no problem handling your loopy FHs and they enable him to just saunter back and forth on the baseline. But overall not too bad for playing against a 4.5. Don't listen to the guy who said he's a 3.5, clearly clueless.
 

mightyrick

Legend
This guy would not win a 4.5 tournament in norcal. Doesn't have any weapons. Isn't very fast. No spin, etc.
Tlm clarified. He is a 4.5 doubles tournament player. So basically that translates to 4.0 singles player.

That guy would definitely do well against 4.5 doubles teams I have played against.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Tlm clarified. He is a 4.5 doubles tournament player. So basically that translates to 4.0 singles player.

That guy would definitely do well against 4.5 doubles teams I have played against.
With a lot of players this is true but he can definitely play 4.5 singles and does at times but he likes doubles better. He would destroy most
Any 4.0 guys in singles, except of course in NorCal.
 

mightyrick

Legend
With a lot of players this is true but he can definitely play 4.5 singles and does at times but he likes doubles better. He would destroy most
Any 4.0 guys in singles, except of course in NorCal.
I agree. He would beat most guys in 4.0 singles. Like I said... I think he's probably a strong 4.0 singles player. A strong 4.0 will beat more 4.0s than not.

That doesn't make him a 4.5 singles player.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I agree. He would beat most guys in 4.0 singles. Like I said... I think he's probably a strong 4.0 singles player. A strong 4.0 will beat more 4.0s than not.

That doesn't make him a 4.5 singles player.
I think if you watched him play all out against a better player than me you would change your mind.
 

mightyrick

Legend
I think if you watched him play all out against a better player than me you would change your mind.
I don't disagree there, either. I even said that I'd have to seen him playing against a 4.5 singles player to see if he is capable of hanging at that level.
 
Glad so many have said it before me, but I'm sure every regular tournament 4.5's are rolling their eyes.

So that's what a 4.5 looks like outside of norcal? Man, the rest of you have it good. I know good 3.5 who would take it easy on him.
 
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