Seeking responses from 4.0s, please? 3.0 having better success playing 3.5 Leagues. Why?

zipplock

Hall of Fame
Nice job on the win!!! Someone else mentioned this, but play ANYONE that will play regardless of if they are ranked higher or lower than you. You can always practice something when a match is easy and learn something you need to improve when a match is tough.
 

RVAtennisaddict

Professional
I find that against 3.0 and 3.5 players one of the challenges is they may not know where there balls are going. Against good 3.5 and up the players tend to hit balls and patterns that are more predictable and easier. This makes movement and your hitting easier.

The other issue with low level/low pace:
1) the higher/more aggressive player either generates the pace or lowers their game
2) you have so much time that you forget the basics- movements, early prep. So you miss the "easy shots"
3) you feel like you should be able to dominate and go for too much- either to much pace to control or going for the lines--- leading to some spectacular winners but more and more errors and you LOSE rather than them winning.
Same issue people have with "pushers"


my 2c

I find against people I know I should/can beat, counting shots, building the points I want helps me tremendously. IE I am going for point development and consistency (and possible to inflict maximal pain on my opponent- running). This actually makes them great practice for people I would consider same or upper level opponents.

Also helps with finishing. I.e. you have the easy open court or put away, and that is the shot you miss.... to much time, to much pressure to hit "that shot".
 
Male, Singles

Your input about the need to simply win the matches (playing percentage tennis) in order to get the ratings bump is what I needed to hear. I feel like I'm doing a disservice to my own development to simply get the ball back, but I KNOW I can do that and the other guy will eventually miss. But I'd rather hit winners than outlast the other guy. I need to work on developing patience. *Sigh*. Ok - thanks!
That almost kinda feels like something you see a lot in juniors, the younger side. Some kids technique wise look so much better and you can tell long term if they stick with it they'll likely become the superior player but in the present and short term that won't necessarily manifest itself in ratings or results in terms of score. Just stick with it, work on your game and you'll get there. Identify what you need to correct and improve on and pound away at it.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
It's interesting, with all the shut-downs our state has experienced, there has been two camps:
1. Practice as much as possible to come back to league playing better than ever
2. Not really ready to play yet

I play on a 3.0 and 3.5 team. Because of the freeze in ratings, there are some crazy good 3.0 players.
Just faced a pair last weekend. One was self rated (this one's gotta get DQ'd) player that's as good as our best 3.5 doubles player in our club. Super fast, lightning reflexes at net (all with frying pan grip) and keeps the ball in play at baseline. He was partnered with a guy that was very crafty, good use of lobs, slices and placement. Also kept the ball into play. (both our opponents also play on a 3.5 team)

Our game is a bit more power and net play. It was great tennis. We lost most of the game points. And in the end, we made 3-4 more errors at the wrong time or lets just say, we made 3-4 more errors than they did and that was the difference. 6-4, 6-2.

I was not unhappy with my performance. I think I could have played better and finished a few approach shots and OH which would have made all the difference. But I didn't and it gets chalked up on my record as a sounding loss against a S rated and 2.96 rated 3.0 opponent. I have no idea how that would factor into year end ratings...

BTW, I played a 3.5 match the previous day (both matches on D1) and felt the 3.0 opponents were stronger. So I wouldn't be too focused on your NTRP rating. If you are playing at 3.5 level, someone on a 3.5 team will give you an invite or multiple 3.0 teams will ask you to join their team. And if you are strong, they usually put you in the strongest spots on the line-up. So the quality of tennis is good no matter what.
 

FiguringItOut

New User
I find that against 3.0 and 3.5 players one of the challenges is they may not know where there balls are going. Against good 3.5 and up the players tend to hit balls and patterns that are more predictable and easier. This makes movement and your hitting easier.

The other issue with low level/low pace:
1) the higher/more aggressive player either generates the pace or lowers their game
2) you have so much time that you forget the basics- movements, early prep. So you miss the "easy shots"
3) you feel like you should be able to dominate and go for too much- either to much pace to control or going for the lines--- leading to some spectacular winners but more and more errors and you LOSE rather than them winning.
Same issue people have with "pushers"


my 2c

I find against people I know I should/can beat, counting shots, building the points I want helps me tremendously. IE I am going for point development and consistency (and possible to inflict maximal pain on my opponent- running). This actually makes them great practice for people I would consider same or upper level opponents.

Also helps with finishing. I.e. you have the easy open court or put away, and that is the shot you miss.... to much time, to much pressure to hit "that shot".
"3) you feel like you should be able to dominate and go for too much- either to much pace to control or going for the lines--- leading to some spectacular winners but more and more errors and you LOSE rather than them winning.


Appreciated the whole post, but resonated with this. Thanks!
 

smoothtennis

Hall of Fame
Male, Singles

Your input about the need to simply win the matches (playing percentage tennis) in order to get the ratings bump is what I needed to hear. I feel like I'm doing a disservice to my own development to simply get the ball back, but I KNOW I can do that and the other guy will eventually miss. But I'd rather hit winners than outlast the other guy. I need to work on developing patience. *Sigh*. Ok - thanks!
You would be very well served to focus not on 'winners' or 'outlasting' the guy. Place your focus where it really truly counts. Focus on optimal court position and readiness first, then on accurate ball placement for doubles. And do that consistently. If you have consistency and good shot placement - you both outlast your opponents, and winners will come naturally. This is not easy and requires a lot of understanding of many topics. I would then say for sure, never focus on just winners. Pro's don't go out and just hit winners, they have to set them up first. A winner is not a 'shot' right? A winner is a shot based on opportunity to a certain place on the court at a certain spin and pace. A drop shot is a winner. A lob is a winner. Anything can be a winner. Focus on placement.
 

Joe Garfield

Semi-Pro
In some ways, 3.5 is easier to play than 3.0 because of consistency and predictability. Less mishits and more defined style and strategy.

I can relate to the struggles with the short balls - it's mental (for me). I either put too much pressure on myself, or I "celebrate the win" too early and don't stay with the shot. So that's something I work on. Weak returns or short balls happen at 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 (the highest I've played so far.)

I can also relate to the excitement and challenge causing me to play better against stronger opponents. And also the thoughts of "I should win this" causing me to play worse against weaker opponents.

Tennis is a head game.
 
I am new to tennis (about 2.5 years) and perhaps about your level so I offer my thoughts so they can be critiqued as much as considered.

I think there was lots of good advice here. I like the idea of not trying to practice during a match. I remember a great coach once told me I can't play better than 100% on game day. So what you need to do is grow your 100% to be bigger and you do that in practice.


Equally important is to practice during practice. Don't be afraid that you will hit many short balls into the net during practice and look bad. During practice you need to practice. I do clinics with other players and I used to start pushing the ball to win the practice drills. I wouldn't try to hit an overhead smash off a high bounce etc. Try to hit those high balls out of the air even if you wiff often. Try to build your skill to put balls away in practice even if you look foolish in the short term. I have started doing this and I think it has greatly improved my abilities.

I don't know what my ntrp rating is but I think ntrp is a very rough measure of strength.

I have only played 3 sets of singles for one reason. My serves are not what I know they should be. I played some drills in a 3.0 and under clinic with a guy who I think would have at least a 7 utr rating and he would just kill my second serves every time. So I had to go easy on my first serve (to get more in) and also accept more double faults because I knew if I lollipopped my second serve he would win the point for certain. I hate practicing serves but, I know that getting a great serve would dramatically improve my game.

Also consider the converse. I learned how helpless I felt trying to cover the whole singles court on a weak second serve. If you can put away the lollipop second serves how many more points will you get? That technique seems like the short ball technique that stapletonj
gave some tips on in post number 28. In practice you should be really trying to gun those short balls when they are high above the net. If they aren't a winner they should at least set up a weak shot that you can then often put away at the net.

I strongly disagree with people who say don't move up until you win a certain number of games or matches. I think the ntrp ratings are far to imprecise to really care about that much. But most importantly when you play people better than you are, you learn how they easily beat you. Watch and learn. It will teach you what you need to avoid and it will also teach you what shots you need to practice to put away other weaker players.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I strongly disagree with people who say don't move up until you win a certain number of games or matches. I think the ntrp ratings are far to imprecise to really care about that much. But most importantly when you play people better than you are, you learn how they easily beat you. Watch and learn. It will teach you what you need to avoid and it will also teach you what shots you need to practice to put away other weaker players.
If you are playing up and I am "easily" beating you. I am ticked off. You have wasted my league time and my league dollars.

The entire point of having NTRP levels is to do the best possible to assure that players get a competitive match at level.

If you can't win at your level ... why in the world are you playing up to waste someone's time?

Height of self-centered behavior.

I won a match last night 6-0; 6-2. I barely tried, because I didn't have to. The only reason they got 2 games is that I started messing around trying to hit drop shots off their weak serve, and worked on taking every single ball as a volley (no matter where in the court) just to see if I can.
Yeah a weak weak pair playing up ... pathetic and shows no class to do that.
 
If you are playing up and I am "easily" beating you. I am ticked off. You have wasted my league time and my league dollars.

The entire point of having NTRP levels is to do the best possible to assure that players get a competitive match at level.

If you can't win at your level ... why in the world are you playing up to waste someone's time?

Height of self-centered behavior.

I won a match last night 6-0; 6-2. I barely tried, because I didn't have to. The only reason they got 2 games is that I started messing around trying to hit drop shots off their weak serve, and worked on taking every single ball as a volley (no matter where in the court) just to see if I can.
Yeah a weak weak pair playing up ... pathetic and shows no class to do that.
It may show self-centeredness but it also might be:

- Desire for bragging rights ["I'm playing up with the big boys!"]
- Mistaken belief that only by playing up can one improve
- Mistaken belief that playing up will improve one [way] more than at-level
- Impatience to advance before first paying one's dues
- Self-delusion as to their own skill

Yes, any rating system has imperfections. Now the "playing up" player will potentially compound those imperfections by adding another variable.

Within my level, I've given and received double bagels. Neither were all that much fun or challenging. Now imagine how much worse it would be if I was playing up when I got bageled or if my opponent was playing up when he got bageled.

If I'm winning 80+% of my matches, I'm likely good enough to get bumped [unless most of my Ws have come against bottom-of-the-bracketers]; therefore, playing up will probably be fine.

The fewer matches I win at-level, the less likely I'm good enough to get bumped up and I probably should stay where I am.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
If you are playing up and I am "easily" beating you. I am ticked off. You have wasted my league time and my league dollars.

The entire point of having NTRP levels is to do the best possible to assure that players get a competitive match at level.

If you can't win at your level ... why in the world are you playing up to waste someone's time?

Height of self-centered behavior.
It may show self-centeredness but it also might be:

- Desire for bragging rights ["I'm playing up with the big boys!"]
- Mistaken belief that only by playing up can one improve
- Mistaken belief that playing up will improve one [way] more than at-level
- Impatience to advance before first paying one's dues
- Self-delusion as to their own skill

Yes, any rating system has imperfections. Now the "playing up" player will potentially compound those imperfections by adding another variable.
What is more "fun" is the player that appeals up, and then plays up! Yes it happens ...

One case I just found was a 4.0S during 2019 that won 4 games in 4 matches and they ended up getting a 2019 3.0C. Now, that may have been a bit severe of a drop down, but nevertheless the player appealed up to a 3.5A, and then proceeded to join only a 4.0 team. To be fair, the scores improved a bit, and my ratings have them solidly in the middle of the 3.5 range, but that is still a really big gap to a stronger 4.0.

Also, given the silly 2 year rating period, there may be some justified situations, particularly at lower levels where players have really improved in the 18+ months since the matches their 2019 year-end rating is based on were played. I ran across a player who was a 2.5 in 2019, started winning 2.5 matches consistently in early 2020 and then played up at 3.0 in the Fall of 2020 with competitive results, then in early 2021 the 3.0 matches turned into good results, and this Spring appears to have appealed up and has played a few 3.5 matches losing in a super tie-break and winning in straights. It appears this was a manual appeal that was granted as I doubt the player was in range to appeal up, or they certainly didn't try doing it until February this year or so.

Of course, there are those that appeal down and then play up. I guess their argument is they get to play more than if they hadn't appealed down, or they are helping to fill out the roster at the higher level, but on the surface seems silly to appeal down then play up.
 
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