How Well Do You Adjust To Different Surfaces

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
This is like a semi-rant and part question, so first the rave:

Today I had a match for my club, it was over an hour away by car. We had heard that the team weren't very good and thought we could handle them easily even though we were away. How wrong we could be, when we got there we looked at the surface and were pretty annoyed, it was astroturf......

Now we are used to playing on macadam, which is a hard court surface. The minute we started warming up we knew that we weren't going to fair well, we were all over the place swinging and hitting thin air. For those of you who have never played on astroturf here is a brief and concise description: the ball doesn't bounce, it skids. Now, we have a team and due to us being used to hard courts rely on topspin for kicking the ball up, however this gave our opponents easy shots since the ball didn't kick as much. However for our opponents, they had been training there and were used to the bounce/skid of the ball, and being trained on the surface had much more flatter FHs which i dare say kicked more than ours since it just skidded off the court.

Now, here's my personal rant: I played crap, the surface completely threw off my timing on both wings. I looked like an idiot, just running here and there with their balls just skidding off the court, what made it worse was that my opponent had literally NO backhand, all he did was slice it, however since this surface seems to nullify the effects of topspin it seemed to make slice skid even more than normal, which meant i couldn't attack any of his wings properly. In the end we lost. I have absolutely NO doubt that were this match played at home, or on a hard court (i forgot to mention that they are probably the ONLY astroturf tennis courts around here) that we would have absolutely demolished them without a doubt however as it is we lost.

Anyways now to the question: Is there a way so that i can adjust to surfaces easier? Since those were probably the only courts using astroturf around here i can't practice on them so is there another method? I'm stuck with good old macadam. Also i guess i would like to know how long it takes you to adjust to different surfaces.......

Sorry for it being so long, but i appreciate any help that could be given :)
 

fishuuuuu

Hall of Fame
Only practice and patience.

Adapting to surfaces is as easy as you make it. Myself I've played on synthetic grass, clay, hardcourt, and indoor hardcourt (no idea what it's called). Some worlds apart, I'll say.

It just takes time =]
 

peter

Professional
fishuuuuu said:
Only practice and patience.

Adapting to surfaces is as easy as you make it. Myself I've played on synthetic grass, clay, hardcourt, and indoor hardcourt (no idea what it's called). Some worlds apart, I'll say.

It just takes time =]
Yup. You just have to bit the bullet and play and play and play on the courts. I myself have played on the following surfaces:

Outdoor: standard road asphalt, clay (classic red and "canada tenn"), syntetic grass
Indoor: felt carpet, thick carpet, hardcourt (two different types)

I always have problems when I have to switch to another without being able to practice one the surface for atleast a number of times... But that's me - I'm a notorious slow adapter. Other people might adapt quicker.

That's the biggest problem with the outdoor season here in Sweden - last year *all* the tournaments I participated in had to move atleast one of my matches to some indoor court due to rain... And then I get to meet some young player that practices both on clay and indoor all summer whereas I only play on clay during the summer season. Well, you can all guess the outcome of those matches :)
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
Yeah, fast surface means that flat shots are king. Slice is good too since the balls stays low and topspin is less effective. Try hitting lobs and dropshots on an extremely fast surface, very difficult. It takes me 20-30 hours of court time to adjust between fast and slow surfaces. I am starting to feel comfortable on slow surfaces again now. It does make you a better player to play on different surfaces and learn how to adjust. You have to take your racquet back much sooner on the fast surface and learn to stay down for those fast low incoming those balls. Never underestimate opponent or surface until you have proven you can dominate them consistently under any conditions (but still don't underestimate them as they may have improved since the last time you played them).
 

kicker75

Rookie
Well, the only thing you can really do is practice on a surface similar to the astroturf you played on. However, if you want to be able to handle even more of a flat, skidding ball game, try playing on a gymnasium floor. The game is extremely fast, topspin means nothing really, and slice becomes an offensive shot. Doing this, and then going back to astroturf, you'll be ready for a "less intensive" but similar match.

...but don't ever think you should beat your opponents unless you've beaten them before.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
kicker said:
but don't ever think you should beat your opponents unless you've beaten them before.
I personally had never played them, however our team captain (who just so happened to be on holiday that week) had played them and said we stood a good chance. my moral of the story - never underestimate playing away.
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
Yeah, it's easy to struggle on a new surface that may bounce differently or if the lighting is bad or in your eyes on the serve, or if the indoor ceiling is too low to feel comfortable lobbing. You just try to do your best and hang in there each point at a time and try to figure out what will work on that day for you as quickly as possible.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
kehven said:
try to figure out what will work on that day for you as quickly as possible.
hehe, i thought i had it all worked out, here was my master plan:

What i don't like - the bounce

Opponents weakness - his lack of a backhand

My Solution - Approach the net, therefore eliminating the bounce and try to approach off a shot to his bh.

My downfall - never wear hard court shoes on astroturf, the lack of grip i got was poor, i could hardly get to the net quick enough due to a lack of grip, and when i did get there i was either late, or couldn't push off to get to the wide balls. This was made worse by the fact that i need new tennis shoes since the tread is already worn out..................
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
Another thing about going to net on a fast surface means the passing shots will come back lower and harder than what you might be used to and it's harder to get in after the serve since the groundstrokes bounce deeper and faster so it's harder to hug the baseline and then move into net since short shots are rare against guys who are used to hitting flat or sliding slice (balls don't really skid, but slide as they don't slow down much) on fast courts. But if you can get in to net, do it, and always wear shoes with good traction on any surface!
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
I mainly learned to just hit harder and flatter on fast courts and still don't go to net that much on them unless it's the obvious thing to do. I learn to play a step farther behind the baseline and take different angles to get to the ball as the sliding ball usually bounces deeper so you don't need to charge in as much but can run more side to side. It takes a while to learn how to place the ball on fast courts but with enough practice you can learn how to place it in the corners and even be aggressive with your shots but at first my goal was to just get balls back into the center of the court as I relearned my timing and tried to stay in points instead of making to many UEs as I learned the surface. But it's hard to play defense on a fast surface so eventually you need to work on aiming closer to the lines if you want to stay competitive.
 

Return_Ace

Hall of Fame
kehven said:
Another thing about going to net on a fast surface means the passing shots will come back lower and harder than what you might be used to and it's harder to get in after the serve since the groundstrokes bounce deeper and faster so it's harder to hug the baseline and then move into net since short shots are rare against guys who are used to hitting flat or sliding slice (balls don't really skid, but slide as they don't slow down much) on fast courts.
Thanks for that tip :), i learnt not to come in after the serve after the first few trys :), so i stuck with approach shots............another unnfortunate thing was that my slice bh wasn't working well that day, oh well, thats just a minnor error easily corrected with practice.

kehven said:
and always wear shoes with good traction on any surface!
Well, my loyal BFII's hold up well on hard courts, its just that astroturf with its thin layer of sand that made me slide, but then it wasn''t like a slidy slide more like a slide but you jerk to a stop.......
I ordered some barricades off the net, except they phoned back the next day saying they didn't have my size -.-, so i guess i'll stick with the BFII's until i can go to my proshop and gets some BIII's or the new Yonex SHT303's or maybe some Lotto Raptor's hmmmmmmmmmm decisions, decisions.........
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
yeah approaches are very difficult on a fast surface. I tend to hit more groundies in the net when on a fast surface as the ball comes in lower and flatter and often goes out lower. On approaches the same can happen so then you readjust and aim a little higher and then the ball sails long as it's hard to approach on a fast surface, controlling the incoming and out going pace. Then when you do make a good approach shot, you opponent uses the extra pace against you for a hard passing shot but if you can volley it or tell it's sailing long, it should be your point as he will have trouble getting to your volley or little time hitting his next passing shot.
 

kevhen

Hall of Fame
When I play on a fast surface I just put on my Lindsey Davenport mask and try to hit pretty hard and fairly close to the lines and stay aggressive. It's too hard to play a defensive type game. I serve very big then too.
 
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