How often do you play well?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by doubleshack, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. doubleshack

    doubleshack New User

    Dec 15, 2009
    How often do you walk of the court and say, wow, I really played well today?

    For those of you who don't like rambling, just stop here, the above question is really the point of my post.

    I can't tell you how many times I've walked off a court and me or my opponent(s) have mentioned how poorly they've played. However, I can count the number of times they (or me) have said, wow, I really played well today (hint: its a really small number). Hmmm, statistically, shouldn't that be an equal number?

    The reality is, we often know when we play poorly. However, when we play well, do we realize we are playing well, or do we think that is how we normally play, so we don't acknowledge it.

    So, here's the spouse and I played some mixed doubles tonight. We lost, but the male on the other team was way better and the female was not as good. Really good male, ok female, and good male, good female. Really/ok won over good/good, but it was a close match.

    I'm not going to debate who should win, but really/ok won. At end of the match, really told good they played well. Quite frankly, that was a risky statement. To tell someone they played well when they lost is a bit presumptuous. However, in this case it was accurate. And 'good' acknowledged, yes they did play well, even though they lost.

    So, anyway, that's what got me thinking...ignoring win/loss, do you acknowledge when you play well about the same number of times you state when you played poorly?

    I'm not trying to call anyone out, but in my own experience, I complain about playing poorly more often then I think I do well. But statistically, those should be about even. If I think I play poorly more often then I think I play well, then, I probably think I'm better then I really am.

    Wow, that did not come out as neatly as I thought it would. Ok, so writing is not my strong suit. But the point is, you walk off the court thinking you played below average, ok or above average. Shouldn't the number of times you walk off thinking you played poorly match the number of times you walk off thinking you played well be equal? If not, then maybe you don't have an accurate assessment of how you play.

    Ok, rambling over. Back to the original question, do you walk off thinking you played poorly the same number of times you walk off thinking you played well? If not, is that a reflection of a poor perception of can it truly be lopsided one way or the other?
  2. OrangePower

    OrangePower Legend

    Sep 7, 2007
    NorCal Bay Area
    Depends how you define 'well' and 'poorly'.

    For me to feel I played 'well', it isn't enough just to have played slightly above my average - it needs to be close to my best.

    So I walk off the court thinking I played well maybe 1 in 10 times.

    On the other hand, anything below average I consider 'poor'. So 5 times out of 10.

    The other 4 times out of 10, I think I played 'just ok'.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  3. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Sep 18, 2010
    Interesting question, mostly because your opponent plays a role in how you play. I've had opponents say they've played very poorly, not acknowledging that the quality of OUR shots made it difficult for them. I'm sure that happens in reverse.

    In my case, I generally feel that I played poorly in some parts of the match, and well in others. I usually feel that a part of my game (serving, forehand, etc) was good throughout, but usually I come away with mixed feelings.

    We bageled some guys the other day, and I felt I played poorly because I made a bunch of unforced errors and didn't hit many winners. Afterwards, one of my opponents complimented me on my play commenting that I was hitting a lot of balls deep with a lot of spin, and that made it difficult for them.

    So it really is hard to tell.
  4. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    I think it is all very subjective, and all about "expectations". Like Maui says, there may be a tendency to not admit the opponent played well, and being too harsh on yourslef when all that happened was the opponent played better on the day. So that's something to be avoided obviously.
    Personally I'm never too brilliant nor too lousy, and I'm quite satisfied with that. I feel consistency is what I am aiming for, and as long as I don't play too badly, win or lose, I'm pretty satisfied. Of course there will be times when I am absolutely playing above my rating and would "crush" an opponent of greater rating than me, but these occasions are few and far between :) So overall I would say 10% lousy (dissappointed but not fuming), 80% average (so I'm quite satisfied) and 10% brilliant (elated! :) )
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  5. The Don

    The Don Rookie

    Jan 30, 2009
    Makati City, Manila
    Whenever I have a good Breakfast and I sleep a Full 8 hours :) When I do those 2 things I have good concentration and I can focus well
  6. dlk

    dlk Hall of Fame

    Nov 26, 2009
    I think it follows common improvement pattern. Most of you higher levels can atteast to. I had many of those days, where I'd feel I did not play well, but of late (last 6 to 7 matches) I feel great, regardless of win or loss. Mistakes are down, pace is up, serve unchanged to slightly more consistent. I just believe I'm improving, therefore playing better, and since I see this improvement, I feel better after playing.
  7. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

    May 27, 2010
    That sounds about right
  8. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Mar 24, 2010
    It just so happens I had this experience last night. Playing mixed against 2 solid 4.0 players. Me and my 4.0 playing partner played and beat them by 2 mini breaks ... 7-6, 7-6. No breaks of service games. And I played as well as I can ever remember with several people asking me if I was going to get bumped up to 4.5 at year end. Good night all around.

    However, in my case I tend to go through spurts of good play. Where for 3-4 weeks I will be playing really solid tennis. At the beginning of this time I say "wow, I played well" often. BY the end of this period it is commong place and hard to compliment myself. However for the next two months I will be comparing my play to the glory of those 3-4 weeks. It becomes easy to see why I would say I played poorly during this time when I remember what I was capable of.

    Quite frankly if I do not feel I am improving I associate that with poor play.
  9. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

    May 27, 2010

    And over that 10-12 week stretch, you probably played in the zone for a week or 2 and then about average for the other weeks. I've been there and know that feeling..."Why can't I hit the shots today that I hit last week?!?!"
  10. jakemcclain32

    jakemcclain32 Banned

    Nov 5, 2010
    When I think I play well depends on these factors.

    1. First serve is decent, because I really don't have a second serve to brag about.

    2. My shots are precise. If I'm aiming for the back right corner, just between the line and the doubles box and nailing it every time, for example.

    3. Very few net shots. I can take going out or going wide, because it happens to everyone. I cannot stand hitting the net because it means my technique is way off.

    All honesty though, I think we're all our own worst enemy. Our opponents might thin we're the next Nadal or something, and we might think we played miserable.
  11. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

    Oct 20, 2007
    A few weeks ago I had a near perfect day. I'm a 48 yr old 4.0 rated Dbls player. I'm one of a handful of guys at my club that played college tennis at any level. I played non-scholarship NAIA. The top two guys on my college team were 5.0. The rest of us were 4.5. That was over 25 yrs ago.
    These days, I usually hit kick serves. Some days, I can locate the slice. Rarely does my flat serve show up.
    It was a beautiful Carolina Blue Sky Saturday morning! Somehow that day I got grooved early and often on all 3 serves. To the point it became laughable. You know, Serve and Walk-Serve and Walk. I averaged 2 aces a game for 4 sets. I lost track of total aces. Somewhere north of 20 in Dbls.
    After we quit one of my opponents remarked that although he had seen me serve that well, never that consistent.
    Of course the next two times on court I stunk up the joint trying to recapture the lost magic.
    So take those good days when they come, and store them in the archives for your rocking chair days.
    Robby C
  12. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

    Sep 7, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm in the same boat as Orange Power - to me, playing well is when I am exceeding my own expectations of improvement, which happens 1-2 times out of 10. Playing poorly usually happens when I'm tired and I forget my fundamentals...which is maybe 2-3 times out of 10. The other 5-6 times out of 10, I'm playing "at" my level/expectations. Nothing exceptional, but no reason to get too down on myself.
  13. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

    May 20, 2009
    Everybody's game goes up and down, usually within a match as well as match-to-match. So you play well for a while, then you suck for a while. This is almost 100% universal, from amateurs to pros. So when you beat someone you "shouldn't" have beaten, have some empathy - they were probably having a down day. If you lose to someone who should never have beaten you - same thing. If they gloat about it, they're just ignorant. Congratulate them on a good win, and move on.

    I find that mental and emotional issues play a big part in whether my game is on. If I'm stressed out about something, it's hard to push it out of my mind and just hit the ball - although I try to tell myself to do that. I also am one that plays better, if I've been playing a lot - at least 4-5 times a week. Other players tell me they play better if they've had some rest.

    My point is, it's just a week-in, week-out kind of situation with us club players. It depends on who you're playing (are you playing people rated higher or lower than you?), are you putting decent work in at the gym or on the road? Are you working with a coach or taking clinics? If you feel you're not playing at the level you should be, look at all these things.

    But remember that nobody brings their "A" game every time, not even the pros.
  14. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Jun 18, 2004
    My game has always been a high-risk high-reward game. There are days when I make some and miss some, there are different proportions of this but I won't comment afterwards too much on good to fine to OK to not too bad to not terrible. Then there are the days where everything is working, almost no serves are returned, I'm hitting clean winners on the serve return, and if there is a rally I'm just making the ball disappear with my forehand. On these, I'll say "I'm playing great!" Then there are the days when I can't hit a single ball on the strings (which is what happens when I play bad - moving head, lifting body, etc.). Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit more than the good days. Therefore, the really bad happens a lot more often than the really good.

    [Fortunately, after a lot of work on my bad habits, they are getting far less frequent.]
  15. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

    Aug 22, 2010
    Maybe one in every seven matches. But I think playing well has to do with whom you are playing against, and what kind of balls they are capable of hitting, by which I mean, the balls that you are being fed and whether they play to your comfort zone.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  16. HitItHarder

    HitItHarder Semi-Pro

    Jul 24, 2009
    I think most people, including myself, often forget that our opponent for any particular day has a huge impact on how we believe we played. I have one particular hitting partner I have played with once a week for almost two years.

    In the beginning, he was clearly better than me. I struggled to take more than a game or two off of him. As I improved, the matches got closer and I would ocasionaly take a match off of him. Then he would improve and the matches would become lopsided in his favor again. Then I would improve enough that I could win occasionally again. You get the picture.

    Often times, I will feel like I played poorly when I am beaten soundly. However, more often than not, it is just that he has raised the level of his play or developed a new tactic that I haven't adjusted to yet. The same goes for him. He left our practice match yesterday feeling he had played poorly, when in reality his poor play was likely a fact that I have recently improved my serve placement and become very aggresive on my serve return allowing me to press and forcing him to play more defensive.

    Also, we recently played doubles against a couple guys that are 3.0s and who have been very successful in our local USTA league, rarely losing a match. However, on paper and based purely on our higher ratings, we should beat these opponents every time and we did win all three sets we played against them. But two of the three sets were very competitive. Those two guys told me after the match that they played terrible. Honestly, I thought they played well. They just aren't use to seeing the amount of spin and pace we use in a typical match. I don't think they gave themselves enough credit.

    If I want a true indicator of my playing, I have to look at objective things like first serve percentage and UE's off of non-forcing shots and typical rally balls. UE's off sitters and such. I have to be careful not to blame my poor play on the fact my opponent hit shots that I could not effectively counter.

    I have low expectations. If I am hitting 65-70% of my first serves and not making a bunch of UE's off neutral balls, I had a good day on the courts.
  17. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    It's odd, sometimes I'll go into a match deciding to work on various aspects on my game. I could be losing but if I decided to work on my second serve. If at the end my second serve is working well I feel that I played well overall and I feel happy.

    I could be driving my backhand well but I may be making some more unforced errors because I wanted to work on that part of my game and yet I will be happy with the result. I know if I held back a bit more I would be more successful in the match but I know that it wouldn't lead to ultimate improvement.

    The key to all of this is my friends don't yell at me if I mess up (if I'm playing doubles) so the experience is more enjoyable. I have played in more competitive doubles in which to the others the result is the most important thing, not the way we played. They would rather play badly and win than play well and lose.
  18. kevoT

    kevoT Semi-Pro

    Jun 5, 2010
    When I play better than I normally do, I notice it, for I feel confident and not disappointed by some of the stupid shot choices that I sometimes make on an under average day.
  19. Totai

    Totai Professional

    Apr 7, 2010
    1% Wow, I can't even hit the ball! Feels like I never played in my life
    6% What am I doing/thinking! I hate tennis!
    13% Few terrible decisions and shots, things could be better.
    20% Alright play, no serious errors, feel like I could have played better
    20% Playing well, the racquet and ball do what I want them to do mostly
    20% Feelin good! good spring in my step, good spin, good pop
    13% Awesome! This feels great, I can do whatever I want, when I want!
    6% Woa, did I seriously just do that? woa, let me try again! wow! I love tennis
    1% Godmode
  20. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

    Sep 7, 2007
    Saudi Arabia
    Well......I play 3-4 times a week.
  21. Lajule

    Lajule New User

    Jan 20, 2009
    tuesday 2h
    friday 2h
    sunday 2h
  22. Pioneer

    Pioneer Professional

    Jan 26, 2010
    When my overgrip is unoverlapped and my strings are fresh I hit 2 aces per game
  23. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

    Jan 27, 2010
    Newtown, PA
    Assuming that you are defining "well" as "above average" and "poorly" as "below average" with "average" being the statistical mean of your playing ability, then it depends on the shape of the distribution curve of your play. If you have a highly skewed distribution where you are a world beater every once in a while and play "just OK" most of the rest of the time, then most itmes out on the court are going to be "below average".

    Just so that I have numbers to use for this example, suppose that you could actually determine your "real" NTRP-equivalent level of every match that you play. If your play is something like this:


    In this case, your "average" level of play is 3.65 and in 8 out of 10 matches, you played below average or "poorly". The reason is because of the outliers at the hgh end of the distribution. On the other hand, if your matches look more consistent, then you will have a more equal number of "good" and "poor" matches:


    In this case, your "average" is 3.5, and you have 3 above average "good" matches and 3 below average "poor" matches.

    Obvioulsy, all of this math is fake, but the concepts are still sound and people's perceptions of their own play could easily follow such a model where they think that they play poorly far more often than they perceive playing well because the good matches are much higher above their average (but less frequent) than the poor matches are below their average level (but more frequent).
  24. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

    Jul 27, 2010
    On the deuce side, looking to come in

    The number geek in me....loves your explanation.

    This year, I was in The Zone more than in past years, but a number of things contributed to that: The Big Bump (took out some of the top of my level, week-in-week out play with the same (terrific) partner and...well...just more playing time. I'm not pregnant or nursing and the kiddies don't put me through separation-anxiety he77 when it's time for Mommy to go play.

    If I'd had to put some numbers on it myself, I'd have said something similar to what you've postulated: 2 really good days, 2 really bad days...and 6 in the middle (out of a 10 match spread).
  25. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

    Feb 7, 2008
    Long Beach, CA
    I have gone from playing well every once in a while to every blue moon.

    When I am playing well, everything seem to slow down for me no matter how big my opponent hits. And my court coverage is spot on. Now, I am in Jame Blake mode; wondering what in the hell is happening to me. It's amazing how quickly it can turn for some people; going from God-lite mode to trying to figure out what end to hold the stick. But the one thing I have notice for me when I am playing well is my mind is clear No outside noise; no thinking into the future. Just being in the here and now. My goal is to find that place again.
  26. babar

    babar Professional

    Feb 19, 2004
    Everytime I am driving to the court thinking of how I want to play when I get there. :(

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