Questions 'cause I'm new to truly competitive play...

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by FiguringItOut, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Hey all!

    45 yo male.3 5 NTRP. Reasonably fit - fast on foot. First time playing 6.5 Combo Doubles in local USTA league and 3.5 Singles in local USTA league. Never played highschool or college. Prior match play has been only whomever I could find to come to the courts and have a match.

    Question #1: I have a Wilson ProStaff recommended top tension is 63. I've figured out that when I string at 65, the ball does what I want. Because I used to play so infrequently, I'd string twice a year. Since I've been playing ALOT more, I'm noticing that as soon as the strings start sliding on one another (not a perfect grid anymore), it seems my ball starts flying on me. I'm assuming - but new so want to be sure - that means the tension has lessened and the ball will start flying more on me now - which is what I'm noticing is happening - but want to make sure my conclusion is correct. IF I am correct, that means I got 6 sets of doubles and 2 hours of practice on those strings before I need to take it in to be restrung; for you more experience players, does that sound about right for life-expectancy for string tension?

    Question #2: My last match was on a court under lights that were on the side - that meant the baseline and beyond was a quick fade to black. I swung and didn't even make contact on several balls. I've learned I struggle more than others under lights (even when I watch the ball into the strings), but to completely miss a few is new. Has anyone else figured out how to deal with that? - I know I can't be the only one who's ever struggled with this.

    Question #3: When I used to play against no-pace/pushers in pick-up games, I learned to move forward through the ball and to generate racket-head speed to counter. But in these leagues, I'm experiencing something different. Guys are generally stroking the ball (rather than just pushing) but often the ball comes towards me, my brain does the trajectory calculations, I put myself in position to intersect the ball - but then the ball does not continue towards me after it hits the court (and they're not putting backspin on it) - it's as if it hit the court, lost momentum and just kind of gives a whimper of a bounce - because it didn't keep coming, I've already swung and I'm meeting the ball way out in front of me - which causes it to go long because it wasn't in the hit zone for me to impart spin to make the ball dive. So my question is: are they doing something to the ball that isn't back spin that I'm unfamiliar with OR is my brain failing to chart the trajectory post-bounce accurately?

    Question #4: Because I'm playing more now, I'm finding that my thighs are tired all the time. I stretch them pre- and post- match - and I drink lots of water with Ultima Replenisher. I get 8-9 hours of sleep a night - what more can I do, specifically, to speed recovery of muscle in my thighs?

    Thanks for any help you can give - and if you decide to dish out some snark, just make sure it's funny ;-)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
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  2. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Hall of Fame

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    What kind of string is it?

    I think a fair amount of people struggle under the lights in any sport. I didn't like playing night games in baseball and I prefer outdoor courts in the daytime in tennis. I just make sure that I am keeping an eagle eye on the ball at all times. Obviously some courts will be lighted better than others but any time there are variances it can make it difficult. I guess I don't have any specific advice other than concentrating on watching the ball at all times even when it isn't your shot (dubs). Depth perception seems like it is the first thing to go when lighting isn't good. Make sure you arrive early enough to let your eyes get used to lights. It is way easier to transition into night from day than it is to jump right on the court under lighting. That said, if your match *starts* under darkness and full lights, get there early and warm up watching the ball intently. Your eyes need to warm up and adjust just like your body especially at 45+.

    I'm far from an expert but it seems like you need to pay attention to the stroke the person is using (slice) and pick up the spin of the ball so you can predict what will happen when the ball hits the court. Easier said than done, of course. I just know which people in league hit this way and try to pick up tendencies with new people as they come into the mix.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
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  3. TenS_Ace

    TenS_Ace Semi-Pro

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    Study this video 100 times,execute it and all the other stuff won't matter;)

     
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  4. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Thanks for reply! Strings are Wilson Stamina 17gauge
     
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  5. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Hall of Fame

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    For #3, just put in the rally time with various opponents, not just matches.
    You will start to build a better reaction to various paces and spins and depths
    You will learn to move back for heavier strokes.
    After a few months, it becomes more automatic.
    There is no shortcut to this. Just try to practice the correct strokes.
     
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  6. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Thank you!
     
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  7. Traffic

    Traffic Hall of Fame

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    #1. Looks like Wilson Stamina 17g is a S-gut.

    What type of game do you play? Hit flat? Topspin? Slice?

    I'm not familiar with this string, but as the strings start to lose tension, it can gain power on you. Also, as the mains get notched, you won't see the snap-back of a fresh stringing and you have somewhat locked stringbed. But the s-gut should still provide you with deflection to provide you with access to spin. It's not a "auto"-restring if this happens with sgut.

    You can also try hybriding it with a poly in the cross to tone down the power even without going as high in tension. The poly will also allow the sgut to slide easier so it snaps back in place.

    Or better yet, try a low powered multi like Head Velocity at mid-tension. It provides a lot of control and is still easy on the arm. Plus, after 10% tension loss, plateaus and plays consistently until it breaks.

    #2. Playing outdoors, playing indoors, playing outdoors with lights all vary your sense of depth and speed. It took a while for me to get used to playing at night under lights again. I play indoors a lot and even going to another club with different lights messes with me initially until I can adjust to it. I think the more you play at different courts, the quicker you are able to make the adjustment.

    #3. I think @TimeToPlaySets provided a good response. Nothing really to add. Just need more experience playing with a variety of players with varying playing styles.

    #4. I'm roughly your age and when I started playing consistently at the beginning of this year, I'd walk funny for a couple of days. I'd have a hard time getting back onto the court again because I'm sore all over. I can say that after 6mos of playing consistently, things are a lot better and I can play multiple days in a row. Staying injury free will be key to your continued play and improvement.

    Also, think of other activities you can do for fitness. I ride mountain bikes when I'm not playing tennis or at least I'll go for brisk walks and occasionally swim. Other activities help to use your muscle groups in slightly different ways to help recovery and cross-train.
     
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  8. Nacho

    Nacho Professional

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    Question 1: Really a matter or preference. I like how the strings wear over time, so usually stick with them. Lots of factors involved like type of string, gauge, racket, etc....Depending on how you hit you really don't loose much tension (a few pounds). However, if you like them on the tighter side its because you like the control it gives you, so your timing for restringing sounds suitable, but expensive unless you know how to string yourself.

    Question 2: beside what you are doing, I used to wear sunglasses before I played so my eyes would adjust to the darkness when I took them off....Sometimes works. Otherwise you have to play a little more conservatively and swing methodically, don't go for bigger shots

    Question 3: no idea what you are talking about here, except that you maybe have played someone recently who puts different spins on the ball by the way they hit it. I would suggest watching how they swing can countering with forcing them to swing differently. If they like your nicely hit ball, give them something high and deep to hit so they pop it up without spin or mis hit it. short balls infuriate these players as well...But hard to know based on your description

    Question 4: 2 things: engage in a stretching program. And not what you think, but get with a trainer and have them help you out with a pre and post match stretching program. For example: Some squats and lunges to warm up your muscles beforehand, and then static stretching afterwards. I also strongly suggest Yoga....2) Glutamine powder mixed in with a smoothie or drink can also aid in recovery.
     
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  9. mmk

    mmk Hall of Fame

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    Question 4 - At 61 I'm a fair amount older than you, only play singles, and against guys ranging from late 20s to mid 60s mostly on hardcourts. Thighs don't give me a problem, because I do things like take 7 flights of stairs a couple times a day at work, sometimes running up them to see if I can beat the elevator (almost, usually a few seconds behind it). And when I get a chance to go to the gym, I spend most of my time on leg machines. Most pros have well developed quads for a reason.
     
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  10. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    #4 Buy yourself a foam roller and roll out your legs in the morning when you wake up and after you get home from tennis. It will hurt like heck for the first couple weeks but it will help.

    J
     
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  11. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Give it another 5 years... it won't be just your thighs that are hurting. All the vision/eyesight stuff is pretty normal at that age. The thing is you still remember well how it used to be. In a few years this will be the new "normal".

    Sucks... doesn't it? But don't give up... Now is the time to work on ending points fast. It's the only way you'll be able to play competitive singles longer. I rarely play 3Hr matches any more. As soon as I get a neutral ball I can control direction/location/spin, win or lose the points going to be over in 3~4 shots.
     
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  12. Dartagnan64

    Dartagnan64 Hall of Fame

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    #1: Many strings (polys and multis in particular) have fairly rapid drop in tension over first few hours then stabilize out for a bit before becoming unplayable. We all love that fresh stringbed feel, but it doesn't last. You either change your strings every match like the pros, or you learn to adapt to lowering string tensions as you play. Or use a string with improved tension maintenance like natural gut, luxilon 4G or Babolat Origin.

    #2: Lights and darkness can be an issue as our eyes age and we develop presbyopia. Can't rapidly adjust our focal length and pupil aperture like our younger days. Stand further back and give yourself a bit more time to see the ball.

    #3: Your opponents are likely using biting slices rather than floaty slices. The biting type tend bounce lower and shorter rather than pop up like floaty slices that pushers use. There is backspin, but just enough to grab the court. This is a seasoned doubles player shot. You have to learn to step forward and get low to return it. And learn to slice it back yourself, or lob it.

    #4: Welcome to middle age. Squats, Squats and more Squats. And play on clay. The jarring from sudden stops on hard courts is detrimental to all leg health, starting in the muscles then moving to the tendons and eventually your joints.
     
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  13. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Thank you for all the info! I play a flat backhand and a moderate topspin forehand - though I'd like to learn to flatten it out!
     
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  14. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Thank you! I'm going to look into Glutamine!
     
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  15. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Wow. Rather morbid but necessary wake up call. I NEVER thought about my age contributing to the eyesight stuff - but I did start wearing reading glasses this year. Oy. I hate those crafty older guys who place the ball - I like the idea of blasting everyone of the court like Gonzo ;-). Guess I better get over that - or develop both!! Thanks for the reminder to adjust to the game I love so I can play it 'til I die.
     
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  16. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Very rarely is anyone able to hit through their opponent consistently at a given level. That only happens when significant discrepancy in levels between the 2 players.

    Also... I hear a lot of this "my opponent got to everything" crap. Opponents only get to everything because it's hit to a place where they can get it. The key in learning points early is recognizing when your opponent is defending and move in for the kill. How often do you see guys who have their opponents in trouble but let them off the hook? I see it all the time.

    A lot of guys practice groundstrokes constantly but they work on volleys, approaches and overheads once in a while.
     
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  17. Dark_Angel85

    Dark_Angel85 Rookie

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    Hi, just sharing my thoughts,

    Q1: Not just the tension, but what strings do you use? If you're using multifilaments/nylons/kevlar, then yes, after a while, it'll tend to loosen and become dead. Polys get loose too but do not bend out of shape giving the impression that they're still good but are in fact just as dead after a while which means very little action goes into the ball during contact thus not giving you the same trampoline effect and spin generation as you'd like. You'll have to play with and test to see how often you need to restring cause everyone has different needs/playing time/strokes that affect durability. A lot of good articles online about strings and their effects as a good starting point.

    Q2: If it's just too dark and you're not used to it, I guess it's a matter of playing more and getting used to it... but can't be help if it IS JUST too dark. However, if it's the issue of glare, there are glasses with no power but just glare filters that might help. I know of some players who put on clear glasses at night to filter just glare.

    Q3: All variables being equal i.e. same court, weather, balls; different players will have different strokes (even though we might think he slices, but there's not much backspin to it as predicted or something like that)... and as the game progresses one will have to adjust all the time to the other player's type of balls. It's good you noticed this and will have to work on different kinds of ball spins/bounces. I think there are a few good videos online talking about the prep of the stroke/getting into position which might help you be more ready for different kinds of spins/bounces/trajectories... in the end, it's all about getting into the right position with your lil' steps, adjusting all the micro-level positioning to ensure you're always ready to change your stance a bit to suit the different bounces that might be coming. it's not easy! I think I'm still trying to do that consistently and it gets tougher the better you play (of course, because the opponents get better too at mixing it up!)

    Q4: I forgot where it was online, but I did read that stretching BEFORE an intense match/workout isn't good. It's good to stretch AFTER an intense workout. Before a match, doing dynamic warm ups (not static warm ups as what a lot of post-match stretching is) and other forms of pre-match routines like tossing a ball around, or lightly hitting with a partner, and stuff like that will be better to prevent injuries/cramps/others.

    Personally, I tried following this mantra and it seems to work for me, and the article I read seemed to be have decent amount of science behind it. I think you can still google for it as it's not too long ago that I read this.

    p/s: A lot of other things like compression clothing around the legs, while-match supplements that I see some people take, might help as well... but I personally don't use it so I don't dare to vouch for it.

    Hope my sharing helps~
     
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  18. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Wow. As an inexperienced competitor, hearing that hitting through someone is not a good long-term strategy is VERY helpful. Thank you! And, yes, my volleys suck. I intend to work on that once I get some time and cash to rent a ball machine :) Thank you!
     
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  19. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Unless the levels of the players are really that different.

    Depth >>>>> Pace
    Location >>>> Pace
    Spin >>>> Pace

    Applies to the pros as well. Check this thread out...

    https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/fastest-groundstrokes-in-the-mens-game.578713/

    Ever hear of Andrey Kuznetsov?
     
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  20. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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    Thank you! All good info - but what really struck me was your tag line, "Tennis = 5% talent, 15% power, 80% state of mind". Watching guys like Marat Safin and Nick Kyrgios implode - despite their mind-blowing talent - sober reminder to we lesser-gifted players!
     
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  21. FiguringItOut

    FiguringItOut New User

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  22. Dark_Angel85

    Dark_Angel85 Rookie

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    Yes. I really love these 2 players you mentioned and really wish they can find that balance of being outlandish (which if you ask me is nothing wrong, just different personas) and also finding that zen state of mind needed to make it big - I'm looking at you KYRGIOS! Safin's out already! :sad
     
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