Shot Tolerance: The Elephant in Tennis Tips/Instruction

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Everyone here is so busy talking about the stretch shortening cycle, esr/isr, and post modern 90mph groundstokes but I guess it's no fun to talk about the boring stuff that actually wins matches.

I divide shot tolerance into two categories, improving number one makes you a higher level player, improving number two helps you win at your level.

1: The quality of shot you can handle. If you are unable to return someone's serve or are overwhelmed by their rally ball, you are going to have a tough time winning.

So if two 4.0s can rally comfortably with each other then you introduce a 5.0 into the equation suddenly the 4.0 will start missing. Two 5.0s could do a cross court cooperative drill all day, but ask them to do it with Rafa Nadal and they would be lucky to get three balls back.

2: How many quality balls for your level you can hit in a point. Are you good for 4, 6, 8, 10+?

A very common scouting report is "yea, don't worry about it, he looks like a rockstar in the warm-up but once you start playing he can't hit 3 balls in the court.

When a veteran player plays a match the first thing he does is see if his opponent is going to miss. If the opponent is going to miss, then he goes no further, kicks on the cruise control and 6-3,6-2, shake hands, nice playing, great to meet you. If he isn't going to miss and the opponent isn't going to miss, then he actually has to play tennis.

J
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Buckets o' truth.

Lots of effort put into trying to overwhelm the other guy's threshold for #1. It's where the sexiest gains lie.

I suppose it makes sense that that's mostly what you see here, since upping your thresholds for each of your two points is about exposure, development of consistency, and fitness. Can I deal with the incoming ball? Can I deal with it equally well all the time? Can I even get into position to do something with it?

That second group of questions are only answered through sweat equity. All the postmodernism in the world ain't gonna help you go sideline to sideline against a barrage of heavy incoming groundies.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
I think I tend to win or lose based on this a lot. I know if I play someone about my level I'm good for about 4-6 shots before screwing up. If they are good for >6 shots, I lose. If they are only good for 3 shots, i win.

If I play against a lower level person, such as my wife, I can rally almost indefinitely until she misses and gets a frame shot winner or misses the court entirely.

If I face a higher level player than I'm the guy getting frame shot winners or losers and the points don't go very far before that happens.

Of course style comes into play since some people intentionally shorten points by getting to the net ASAP, forcing either a winning volley or a winning passing shot/lob. Then it becomes a game of who''s better at specialty shots.
 

Fintft

Legend
Buckets o' truth.

Lots of effort put into trying to overwhelm the other guy's threshold for #1. It's where the sexiest gains lie.

I suppose it makes sense that that's mostly what you see here, since upping your thresholds for each of your two points is about exposure, development of consistency, and fitness. Can I deal with the incoming ball? Can I deal with it equally well all the time? Can I even get into position to do something with it?

That second group of questions are only answered through sweat equity. All the postmodernism in the world ain't gonna help you go sideline to sideline against a barrage of heavy incoming groundies.
I knew that lol And what Jolly said.

That's why when I play a shorter, skinnier guy I tell him (seriously) to "pick on someone of his own size"!! :D
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I think I tend to win or lose based on this a lot. I know if I play someone about my level I'm good for about 4-6 shots before screwing up. If they are good for >6 shots, I lose. If they are only good for 3 shots, i win.

If I play against a lower level person, such as my wife, I can rally almost indefinitely until she misses and gets a frame shot winner or misses the court entirely.

If I face a higher level player than I'm the guy getting frame shot winners or losers and the points don't go very far before that happens.

Of course style comes into play since some people intentionally shorten points by getting to the net ASAP, forcing either a winning volley or a winning passing shot/lob. Then it becomes a game of who''s better at specialty shots.
It still applies to attacking play, when I attack a guy with higher tolerance than I have it feels like I can't hit a better volley that that and I just got passed clean. When my shot tolerance is below the level of the attacker it feels like he could hit his volley right too me and it has so much stick and so much skid on it, it is all I can do to get it over the net.

In the second category it's a little different, having someone constantly attacking, S&V etc. has an attrition effect on people as does getting passed, so it's more the ability to go point after point instead of shot after shot.

J
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Rally threshold ... and we are talking singles only matchplay only (not practice rally .... it is different)

At my level 3.5
On their serve, I am going to hit 4-6 balls in a baseline rally, expecting that her ball lucky #9 or 13 isn't coming back
On my serve, I am at the net in 3 max to end the point
In a tournament did have a deadly duel at the baseline, point after point that way .... per my husband, he counted a total of 37 hits (combined) on one of them ... I won it, but I really hated that match and it began my move to a more S&V pattern.

Above my level at 4.0 ... this is only from one tournament that I got pushed up into 4.0 because I was the only 3.5 registered ....
On their serve ... baseline rallies lengthened ... probably more 6-8 balls hit per side ... perhaps because they were getting more back, but also I prefer hitting balls with some pace on them ... but I am going to lose this war of attrition
On my serve .... still at the net in 3 max ... its my best chance to win the point
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Everyone here is so busy talking about the stretch shortening cycle, esr/isr, and post modern 90mph groundstokes but I guess it's no fun to talk about the boring stuff that actually wins matches.

I divide shot tolerance into two categories, improving number one makes you a higher level player, improving number two helps you win at your level.

1: The quality of shot you can handle. If you are unable to return someone's serve or are overwhelmed by their rally ball, you are going to have a tough time winning.

So if two 4.0s can rally comfortably with each other then you introduce a 5.0 into the equation suddenly the 4.0 will start missing. Two 5.0s could do a cross court cooperative drill all day, but ask them to do it with Rafa Nadal and they would be lucky to get three balls back.

2: How many quality balls for your level you can hit in a point. Are you good for 4, 6, 8, 10+?

A very common scouting report is "yea, don't worry about it, he looks like a rockstar in the warm-up but once you start playing he can't hit 3 balls in the court.

When a veteran player plays a match the first thing he does is see if his opponent is going to miss. If the opponent is going to miss, then he goes no further, kicks on the cruise control and 6-3,6-2, shake hands, nice playing, great to meet you. If he isn't going to miss and the opponent isn't going to miss, then he actually has to play tennis.

J
This is a good post and very true.
 
Everyone here is so busy talking about the stretch shortening cycle, esr/isr, and post modern 90mph groundstokes but I guess it's no fun to talk about the boring stuff that actually wins matches.

I divide shot tolerance into two categories, improving number one makes you a higher level player, improving number two helps you win at your level.

1: The quality of shot you can handle. If you are unable to return someone's serve or are overwhelmed by their rally ball, you are going to have a tough time winning.

So if two 4.0s can rally comfortably with each other then you introduce a 5.0 into the equation suddenly the 4.0 will start missing. Two 5.0s could do a cross court cooperative drill all day, but ask them to do it with Rafa Nadal and they would be lucky to get three balls back.

2: How many quality balls for your level you can hit in a point. Are you good for 4, 6, 8, 10+?

A very common scouting report is "yea, don't worry about it, he looks like a rockstar in the warm-up but once you start playing he can't hit 3 balls in the court.

When a veteran player plays a match the first thing he does is see if his opponent is going to miss. If the opponent is going to miss, then he goes no further, kicks on the cruise control and 6-3,6-2, shake hands, nice playing, great to meet you. If he isn't going to miss and the opponent isn't going to miss, then he actually has to play tennis.

J
In other words,
1. How good of a receiver are you?
2. How good of a sender are you?
 

Gazelle

Legend
Very good thread by OP. People looked at Santoro and wondered how this guy could ever have become a top 50 pro. After all, there seemed nothing to his shots. Santoro didn't have a succesful career because he had great shots (though he had some good trick shots), but because he could handle his opponent's shots with surprising ease.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Very good thread by OP. People looked at Santoro and wondered how this guy could ever have become a top 50 pro. After all, there seemed nothing to his shots. Santoro didn't have a succesful career because he had great shots (though he had some good trick shots), but because he could handle his opponent's shots with surprising ease.
There are three guys around my area, who were on 5.0 teams with me or in money tournaments I played, like borderline ATP has-beens, and they don't look like they are doing anything when they play. It looks like they don't run, don't hit hard, etc.

You watch them play and it's like f'ing magic, whatever the other guy does they just kind of walk over and hit the ball back. And I just watch and think to myself that I must be missing some critical element of this tennis thing.

J
 

Fintft

Legend
It still applies to attacking play, when I attack a guy with higher tolerance than I have it feels like I can't hit a better volley that that and I just got passed clean. When my shot tolerance is below the level of the attacker it feels like he could hit his volley right too me and it has so much stick and so much skid on it, it is all I can do to get it over the net.

In the second category it's a little different, having someone constantly attacking, S&V etc. has an attrition effect on people as does getting passed, so it's more the ability to go point after point instead of shot after shot.

J

Yet the balance is tilted in the favour of the attacker, is it not(as I've learned from basketball)? Or for the person who controls te point as Chris Evert put it.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Yet the balance is tilted in the favour of the attacker, is it not(as I've learned from basketball)? Or for the person who controls te point as Chris Evert put it.
I would think yes if the attacker only came in on good balls, but it's a toss up if he comes in on everything.

J
 

Fintft

Legend
I would think yes if the attacker only came in on good balls, but it's a toss up if he comes in on everything.

J
I meant attacking in general (e.g. even from the baseline, not only S&V) and I think that what Chris Evert was getting to about who has the upper hand in modern tennis (by saying "the player who controls the point") was mainly about who takes the initiative.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I meant attacking in general (e.g. even from the baseline, not only S&V) and I think that what Chris Evert was getting to about who has the upper hand in modern tennis (by saying "the player who controls the point") was mainly about who takes the initiative.
I understand, but the key thing is to recognize when you can attack, if you try to make something out of nothing, you are going to have a bad time.

It frustrates me especially in doubles when people say you have to get to the net to win, and come in on bad shots and lose.

Yes being in control of the point and at net is a superior position, but you can't just run up there and expect to win simply by coming forward.

The better player can generate offense on what would be a neutral ball for the lesser player, goes back to #1.

J
 

Fintft

Legend
I understand, but the key thing is to recognize when you can attack, if you try to make something out of nothing, you are going to have a bad time.

It frustrates me especially in doubles when people say you have to get to the net to win, and come in on bad shots and lose.

Yes being in control of the point and at net is a superior position, but you can't just run up there and expect to win simply by coming forward.

The better player can generate offense on what would be a neutral ball for the lesser player, goes back to #1.

J
I agree especially with your last sentence!

And yes you can't always force the issue. Plus that even as an attacker you may want to give the your opponent a chance to make mistakes/inviting him to press (something that Brad Gilbert first told Aggassi, not to be a perfectionist on each shot).

As for the net play in doubles, I honestly don't play much doubles and b/c of that sometimes I stay back (from where I'm much stronger, being an aggressive baseliner). I'm talking about weak doubles here, like 3-3.5: last Friday all my passing shots worked against them and haven't been poached even once either (including after telling the net guy on the other team that I'll go CC FH on each FH return from the deuce side. He didn't quite believe me though as I had gone DTL even with some 1HBH returns from that side when he had been trying to poach. Anyhow no return got poached for about 2.5 hours and all passing shots worked, especially DTL).
 
I understand, but the key thing is to recognize when you can attack, if you try to make something out of nothing, you are going to have a bad time.

It frustrates me especially in doubles when people say you have to get to the net to win, and come in on bad shots and lose.
I think some people get overly dogmatic and stick to such rules of thumb regardless of whether it actually makes sense under the circumstances. They haven't yet developed their tennis IQ.

Yes being in control of the point and at net is a superior position, but you can't just run up there and expect to win simply by coming forward.
[/QUOTE

I guess I'd rather have someone who wasn't afraid to come in vs someone who clings to the BL and never comes in. It's easier to get the aggressive person to dial it back a bit than to get the passive person to crank it up a notch, IMO.
 

J J

Rookie
There are three guys around my area, who were on 5.0 teams with me or in money tournaments I played, like borderline ATP has-beens, and they don't look like they are doing anything when they play. It looks like they don't run, don't hit hard, etc.

You watch them play and it's like f'ing magic, whatever the other guy does they just kind of walk over and hit the ball back. And I just watch and think to myself that I must be missing some critical element of this tennis thing.

J
Umm... years more of tennis focused training than you. Simple.

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tlm

G.O.A.T.
There are three guys around my area, who were on 5.0 teams with me or in money tournaments I played, like borderline ATP has-beens, and they don't look like they are doing anything when they play. It looks like they don't run, don't hit hard, etc.

You watch them play and it's like f'ing magic, whatever the other guy does they just kind of walk over and hit the ball back. And I just watch and think to myself that I must be missing some critical element of this tennis thing.

J
When I watch the really good players that is what I notice it looks like they are never rushed and they are just taking it easy.
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
When I watch the really good players that is what I notice it looks like they are never rushed and they are just taking it easy.
That was what I used to really enjoy about watching Michael Chang. Not only could he get to absolutely everything, but he made it look so incredibly hard. You'd see him huffing and puffing and pumping those stubby tree-trunk legs, and he'd cramp and pour sweat while his opponents just glided across the court like homely ballerinas.

He was the sort of lunchpail toting retriever that the average working stiff could really get behind.

Federer can bite me.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
That was what I used to really enjoy about watching Michael Chang. Not only could he get to absolutely everything, but he made it look so incredibly hard. You'd see him huffing and puffing and pumping those stubby tree-trunk legs, and he'd cramp and pour sweat while his opponents just glided across the court like homely ballerinas.

He was the sort of lunchpail toting retriever that the average working stiff could really get behind.

Federer can bite me.
I sat courtside for a Delpo practice session at the 2009 USO and I was like "is this MFer even trying?" As he was laying down 105mph forehands with the amount of effort I use to pass the salt shaker.

J
 

J J

Rookie
I sat courtside for a Delpo practice session at the 2009 USO and I was like "is this MFer even trying?" As he was laying down 105mph forehands with the amount of effort I use to pass the salt shaker.

J
That's the PoMo fh

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Moz

Hall of Fame
I sat courtside for a Delpo practice session at the 2009 USO and I was like "is this MFer even trying?" As he was laying down 105mph forehands with the amount of effort I use to pass the salt shaker.

J
I hit briefly with Carlos Moya two years ago and he was so casual, but had so much time, that I felt like throwing my rackets in the bin and putting my track spikes on again.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I hit briefly with Carlos Moya two years ago and he was so casual, but had so much time, that I felt like throwing my rackets in the bin and putting my track spikes on again.
Yup, that feeling of I can't get the ball away from this guy.

J
 

J J

Rookie
Imagine being in the other side of the net from a player using the PoMo fh. One ball. That's all. One ball. You won't get it back. There is all kinds of formulas and stuff about it somewhere.

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GuyClinch

Legend
I don't worry or think about shot tolerance. Its just not a useful way to think about gaining wins in tennis. It's actually really bad for many players to concern themselves with. It's just way to simplistic even for rec players. And it gets people in trouble.

Sure - I understood your example - the hitter who plays high risk tennis and just hits themselves out of points. That fair - and that's common. But shot tolerance is too simplistic a concept.

Let me prove it with a recent counter example. This kind of scenario I am sure happens to others. I play in a tennis mixer and there is this older guy that I have now played two sets against. Suffice to say his shot tolerance is perfect. He plays safe respectable shots every single time. He is pretty consistent when the ball is near him - and has limitless shot tolerance. Perhaps its because he started later - but he is a safety first kind of guy..

Suffice to say I beat him 6-0, 6-0 in two sets now. Why? Well as my former coach said - you have to do more then just hit it back at this level. This rule of thumb is better then improving your shot tolerance. The key really to apply it is to think about percentages. For me this guy is super easy - just patiently move him around a bit. He will screw up if he is on the run. Bam - easy win. It's not really shot tolerance its that the hits me shots I can return at a high percentage - and I in turn can make him scramble just a bit to force him into lower percentages. Over several games you win..

No matter your game - pusher with wheels/hitter/serve and volley guy/counter puncher. What you are REALLY trying to do is tilt the percentages in your favour. It doesn't matter if the shot you go for is very aggressive - or safe. What matters is that your opponent is going to have a lower percentage response.

Say you are a super aggressive S&V guy. You have zero shot tolerance. You come in on EVERY shot. You always hit an approach then go for a winning volley. That can absolutely work - long as your opponent cannot force you to hit those approaches and volleys at a lower percentage then he can return them.

Think that big hitter is dumb? Maybe not. If he hits so hard to such good spots that your percentage falls really low - even if he is batting 60% he can still pull out the win.

The pusher - the good ones will use their wheels to turn mediocre balls into a high percentage safe shots for them. They use the opposite strategy so to speak. Maybe you can return 90% of their shots decently. They can return all those a 99% chance of success - so they win easily..

Is it there shot tolerance that gets them wins? Not really its all percentages. At the pro level in singles - guys have such good defense - that it takes a while to set up points. But they are still using this percentage plan. On doubles its quite the opposite - they go for brutally quick points - even at the cost of screwing up more. Shot tolerance doesn't even enter in to the thinking..

At rec levels where some guys have weak defense - you are going to see even more successful low shot tolerance tennis.. as well as guys who use just defense to win.. It's fun. But resistant to old school super simplified theories..
 

Limpinhitter

G.O.A.T.
Everyone here is so busy talking about the stretch shortening cycle, esr/isr, and post modern 90mph groundstokes but I guess it's no fun to talk about the boring stuff that actually wins matches.

I divide shot tolerance into two categories, improving number one makes you a higher level player, improving number two helps you win at your level.

1: The quality of shot you can handle. If you are unable to return someone's serve or are overwhelmed by their rally ball, you are going to have a tough time winning.

So if two 4.0s can rally comfortably with each other then you introduce a 5.0 into the equation suddenly the 4.0 will start missing. Two 5.0s could do a cross court cooperative drill all day, but ask them to do it with Rafa Nadal and they would be lucky to get three balls back.

2: How many quality balls for your level you can hit in a point. Are you good for 4, 6, 8, 10+?

A very common scouting report is "yea, don't worry about it, he looks like a rockstar in the warm-up but once you start playing he can't hit 3 balls in the court.

When a veteran player plays a match the first thing he does is see if his opponent is going to miss. If the opponent is going to miss, then he goes no further, kicks on the cruise control and 6-3,6-2, shake hands, nice playing, great to meet you. If he isn't going to miss and the opponent isn't going to miss, then he actually has to play tennis.

J
My definition of shot tolerance is completely different from yours. I've written about shot tolerance many times. Shot tolerance is an aspect of high percentage tennis. In a nutshell, it is the ability to remain patient, make high percentage shot selections, and wait for your opponent to make a tactical error or an unforced error. In my experience, many if not most amateur players (and some pros), get anxious when a point lasts longer than they are accustomed to, and they feel compelled to end the point quickly, which leads them to make a tactical error - low percentage shot selection that typically leads to unforced errors or leaves them out of position.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
My definition of shot tolerance is completely different from yours. I've written about shot tolerance many times. Shot tolerance is an aspect of high percentage tennis. In a nutshell, it is the ability to remain patient, make high percentage shot selections, and wait for your opponent to make a tactical error or an unforced error. In my experience, many if not most amateur players (and some pros), get anxious when a point lasts longer than they are accustomed to, and they feel compelled to end the point quickly, which leads them to make a tactical error - low percentage shot selection that typically leads to unforced errors or leaves them out of position.
I would consider that a part of my #2.

J
 

spun_out

Semi-Pro
I don't worry or think about shot tolerance. Its just not a useful way to think about gaining wins in tennis. It's actually really bad for many players to concern themselves with. It's just way to simplistic even for rec players. And it gets people in trouble.

Sure - I understood your example - the hitter who plays high risk tennis and just hits themselves out of points. That fair - and that's common. But shot tolerance is too simplistic a concept.

Let me prove it with a recent counter example. This kind of scenario I am sure happens to others. I play in a tennis mixer and there is this older guy that I have now played two sets against. Suffice to say his shot tolerance is perfect. He plays safe respectable shots every single time. He is pretty consistent when the ball is near him - and has limitless shot tolerance. Perhaps its because he started later - but he is a safety first kind of guy..

Suffice to say I beat him 6-0, 6-0 in two sets now. Why? Well as my former coach said - you have to do more then just hit it back at this level. This rule of thumb is better then improving your shot tolerance. The key really to apply it is to think about percentages. For me this guy is super easy - just patiently move him around a bit. He will screw up if he is on the run. Bam - easy win. It's not really shot tolerance its that the hits me shots I can return at a high percentage - and I in turn can make him scramble just a bit to force him into lower percentages. Over several games you win..

No matter your game - pusher with wheels/hitter/serve and volley guy/counter puncher. What you are REALLY trying to do is tilt the percentages in your favour. It doesn't matter if the shot you go for is very aggressive - or safe. What matters is that your opponent is going to have a lower percentage response.

Say you are a super aggressive S&V guy. You have zero shot tolerance. You come in on EVERY shot. You always hit an approach then go for a winning volley. That can absolutely work - long as your opponent cannot force you to hit those approaches and volleys at a lower percentage then he can return them.

Think that big hitter is dumb? Maybe not. If he hits so hard to such good spots that your percentage falls really low - even if he is batting 60% he can still pull out the win.

The pusher - the good ones will use their wheels to turn mediocre balls into a high percentage safe shots for them. They use the opposite strategy so to speak. Maybe you can return 90% of their shots decently. They can return all those a 99% chance of success - so they win easily..

Is it there shot tolerance that gets them wins? Not really its all percentages. At the pro level in singles - guys have such good defense - that it takes a while to set up points. But they are still using this percentage plan. On doubles its quite the opposite - they go for brutally quick points - even at the cost of screwing up more. Shot tolerance doesn't even enter in to the thinking..

At rec levels where some guys have weak defense - you are going to see even more successful low shot tolerance tennis.. as well as guys who use just defense to win.. It's fun. But resistant to old school super simplified theories..
Isn't shot tolerance about being able to neutralize any shot that's given to you? So your opponent blasts his best shot, and you return it no problem deep. Obviously, the issue of shot tolerance is a bigger one for amateurs than pros since pros are operating at a very close and consistent standard. Often, I play players who can play: you give them a good rally ball and they can smack it. But if you give them a bit more topspin, or perhaps a slice down low, they fall apart. Isn't this what it means to have a low shot tolerance? And I have also played those without a weapon but could neutralize most balls I give them. They give me lots of trouble because I normally win by challenging my opponents' shot tolerance. As the level goes up, it gets harder and harder to hit winners. Note that pros when get a nothing ball (a defensive shot that any of us can hit) that bounces near the baseline often choose not to blast it but to spin it back.
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
CRAIG O’SHANNESSY, a tennis analyst says in men's tennis at pro level 70 pct of rallies last no more than 4 shots. Now It's down to "first" strike tennis. He says practicing neutral rally balls are useless. Check out his videos on YouTube on these topics. The tolerance in terms of building a long rallies are no longer relevant.
Of coursre the tolerance has taken a new dimension in terms of absorbing high level serve to hit return winners. Even at level 4 rec tennis, these days my matches have very few long rallies.
Serves are big and returns are hit really hard on second serves from a few feet behind the baseline. In my estimation 90 pct of good first serves don't end up with more than 3 shots.
Big serve and return error or week return and the shot after serve is a point ender. The second serves have at least 3 shots, but rarely more than 5.
 
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J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
CRAIG O’SHANNESSY, a tennis analyst says in men's tennis at pro level 70 pct of rallies last no more than 4 shots. Now It's down to "first" strike tennis. He says practicing neutral rally balls are useless. Check out his videos on YouTube on these topics. The tolerance in terms of building a long rallies are no longer relevant.
Of coursre the tolerance has taken a new dimension in terms of absorbing high level serve to hit return winners. At level 4, these days my matches have very few long rallies.
Serves are big and returns are hit really hard on second serves from a few feet behind the baseline.
What's level 4?

J
 

GuyClinch

Legend
Isn't shot tolerance about being able to neutralize any shot that's given to you? So your opponent blasts his best shot, and you return it no problem deep.
No. That's not what the term means. It means not going for the risky shots too early in the point. That is basically all it means, IMHO.

Obviously, the issue of shot tolerance is a bigger one for amateurs than pros since pros are operating at a very close and consistent standard. Often, I play players who can play: you give them a good rally ball and they can smack it. But if you give them a bit more topspin, or perhaps a slice down low, they fall apart.
Sure but that's percentage tennis not shot tolerance. Shot tolerance is about 'tolerating' - aka 'enduring' balls that you might be able to do more with. Hence - the term shot tolerance. Very commonly you see guys involved in long rallies with a pusher. if one players 'shot tolerance' is too low he will try to bust out a winner. And thus he will lose.

But the problem with this is the cases where shot tolerance doesn't help at all - they don't help people come up with a strategy. And they don't help them win. Holding off on attacking is not useful - if it puts you in a worse position. If you are exchanging say backhands and your backhand is worse then your opponents - your 'shot tolerance' and your ability to 'hold off' from blasting an inside out forehand is not 'helping' you. Its hurting. You are on the losing end percentage wise - and are just digging a deeper hole.

It's like a bad investment.


Isn't this what it means to have a low shot tolerance? And I have also played those without a weapon but could neutralize most balls I give them. They give me lots of trouble because I normally win by challenging my opponents' shot tolerance. As the level goes up, it gets harder and harder to hit winners. Note that pros when get a nothing ball (a defensive shot that any of us can hit) that bounces near the baseline often choose not to blast it but to spin it back.
You are thinking too binary. Its not a choice between 'winners' and 'neutralized' balls - it never is. There are always shots that aren't stone cold winners but provide challenge such that you can twist the percentages in your favour. You are a perfect case. Your problem is not shot tolerance - its that you don't have a game plan to twist things in your favor..

I play lots of guys like this - all they think is either - wait till the other guy misses OR hit lots of winners. A better way to win at your level is analyze your opponents game and think of exchanges you can get into where you will have the edge. Then get into those exchanges over and over again. Even if you never hit a true winner you can create so many 'forced' errors you win easily.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
No. That's not what the term means. It means not going for the risky shots too early in the point. That is basically all it means, IMHO.



Sure but that's percentage tennis not shot tolerance. Shot tolerance is about 'tolerating' - aka 'enduring' balls that you might be able to do more with. Hence - the term shot tolerance. Very commonly you see guys involved in long rallies with a pusher. if one players 'shot tolerance' is too low he will try to bust out a winner. And thus he will lose.

But the problem with this is the cases where shot tolerance doesn't help at all - they don't help people come up with a strategy. And they don't help them win. Holding off on attacking is not useful - if it puts you in a worse position. If you are exchanging say backhands and your backhand is worse then your opponents - your 'shot tolerance' and your ability to 'hold off' from blasting an inside out forehand is not 'helping' you. Its hurting. You are on the losing end percentage wise - and are just digging a deeper hole.

It's like a bad investment.




You are thinking too binary. Its not a choice between 'winners' and 'neutralized' balls - it never is. There are always shots that aren't stone cold winners but provide challenge such that you can twist the percentages in your favour. You are a perfect case. Your problem is not shot tolerance - its that you don't have a game plan to twist things in your favor..

I play lots of guys like this - all they think is either - wait till the other guy misses OR hit lots of winners. A better way to win at your level is analyze your opponents game and think of exchanges you can get into where you will have the edge. Then get into those exchanges over and over again. Even if you never hit a true winner you can create so many 'forced' errors you win easily.
I feel everyone else aside from you has a different definition than this.

J
 

SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
I'm just going by OP's definition, since it's not a term I've ever had in my tennis lexicon.

To that end, it seems to me the ability to reliably move to and get set up for incoming shots is part is this "shot tolerance."

It's not so much about patience, as about your total ability as a player to weather the incoming storm. To "tolerate" his particular blend of pace, spin, placement, and consistency. Seems there's elements of mechanics, fitness, and psychology involved.

Not sure it's really quantifiable, but it strikes me as true.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
CRAIG O’SHANNESSY, a tennis analyst says in men's tennis at pro level 70 pct of rallies last no more than 4 shots. Now It's down to "first" strike tennis. He says practicing neutral rally balls are useless. Check out his videos on YouTube on these topics. The tolerance in terms of building a long rallies are no longer relevant.
Of coursre the tolerance has taken a new dimension in terms of absorbing high level serve to hit return winners. Even at level 4 rec tennis, these days my matches have very few long rallies.
Serves are big and returns are hit really hard on second serves from a few feet behind the baseline. In my estimation 90 pct of good first serves don't end up with more than 3 shots.
Big serve and return error or week return and the shot after serve is a point ender. The second serves have at least 3 shots, but rarely more than 5.
Now that I know you are talking about 4.0 tennis, would you be opposed to a little experiment?

Video, or chart, or have someone else chart a match you play.

If more points end by winners then continue to work on your first strike. If more points end on errors then maybe give my way of thinking some consideration.

You can track just yourself or better yet both of you.

J
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Oh, and here's another thing, the higher your shot tolerance the more winners you can hit because you can stay in the points longer until you get an opportunity.

J
 

atp2015

Hall of Fame
Now that I know you are talking about 4.0 tennis, would you be opposed to a little experiment?

Video, or chart, or have someone else chart a match you play.

If more points end by winners then continue to work on your first strike. If more points end on errors then maybe give my way of thinking some consideration.

You can track just yourself or better yet both of you.

J
Good idea.

No disrespect, I have heard "just keep" the ball in play advice many times. One double fault, and my doubles partners would say just keep it in. I followed up once or twice and found out mostly not useful in the long run.
I would double fault once in a while and force return errors/weak returns on most other serves than keep the ball in play by less than ideal serves on majority of second serves.
Mind and body are less cluttered if " free flow " is allowed than put in restrictions.
 
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SinjinCooper

Hall of Fame
Good idea.

No disrespect, I have heard "just keep" the ball in play advice many times. One double fault, and my doubles partners would say just keep it in. I followed up once or twice and found out mostly not useful in the long run.
I would double fault once in a while and force return errors on most other serves than keep the ball in play by less than ideal serves on majority of second serves.
Mind and body are less cluttered if " free flow " is allowed than put in restrictions.
The outlast methodology is, no doubt, far more useful in singles than in doubles.
 

spun_out

Semi-Pro
CRAIG O’SHANNESSY, a tennis analyst says in men's tennis at pro level 70 pct of rallies last no more than 4 shots. Now It's down to "first" strike tennis. He says practicing neutral rally balls are useless. Check out his videos on YouTube on these topics. The tolerance in terms of building a long rallies are no longer relevant.
Of coursre the tolerance has taken a new dimension in terms of absorbing high level serve to hit return winners. Even at level 4 rec tennis, these days my matches have very few long rallies.
Serves are big and returns are hit really hard on second serves from a few feet behind the baseline. In my estimation 90 pct of good first serves don't end up with more than 3 shots.
Big serve and return error or week return and the shot after serve is a point ender. The second serves have at least 3 shots, but rarely more than 5.
I think that this is once again the case where the numbers and the conclusions are not logically connected. Sure, pro rallies may not last more than 4 shots. And sure, this may mean that pros play first strike tennis. But this does not mean that practicing neutral rally balls is useless. I would argue that shot tolerance among pros is very even that players opt for first strike tennis. There is just no point in hitting the ball back and forth if neither of you will cough up a sitter. That is, they can have an extended neutral ball rally if they so choose. But at lower levels, how many of us can actually hit a ball with good spin and depth off a ball with good spin and depths 3 times in a row? How about 5 times in a row?
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Everyone here is so busy talking about the stretch shortening cycle, esr/isr, and post modern 90mph groundstokes but I guess it's no fun to talk about the boring stuff that actually wins matches.

I divide shot tolerance into two categories, improving number one makes you a higher level player, improving number two helps you win at your level.

1: The quality of shot you can handle. If you are unable to return someone's serve or are overwhelmed by their rally ball, you are going to have a tough time winning.

So if two 4.0s can rally comfortably with each other then you introduce a 5.0 into the equation suddenly the 4.0 will start missing. Two 5.0s could do a cross court cooperative drill all day, but ask them to do it with Rafa Nadal and they would be lucky to get three balls back.

2: How many quality balls for your level you can hit in a point. Are you good for 4, 6, 8, 10+?

A very common scouting report is "yea, don't worry about it, he looks like a rockstar in the warm-up but once you start playing he can't hit 3 balls in the court.

When a veteran player plays a match the first thing he does is see if his opponent is going to miss. If the opponent is going to miss, then he goes no further, kicks on the cruise control and 6-3,6-2, shake hands, nice playing, great to meet you. If he isn't going to miss and the opponent isn't going to miss, then he actually has to play tennis.

J
Has to be a mixture of shot tolerance and strategy (as GC is pointing out) though for you to win...correct?

If the goal is to win at your level (as the stated goal in your first post) or even easily beating players who are lesser than you, IMO handling their pace or whatever they're throwing at you is not a prime consideration because if it were difficult for you to do that, you're not at the same level as your opponent. I think beating players at your level and below depends much more on strategy and playing a style that maximizes your strengths. Too often when I've lost to players who I felt I should have no business losing to, happened because I've just gone and hit back balls without any clear intent or strategy on what I wanted to do out there than due to any issues with handling their pace or whatever they were throwing at me.

IMO, 'shot tolerance' comes more into play when you're trying to take the step up to the next level, and the only way you can work on that is play consistently against players at the next level to get a feel of what it takes, and even then it might not be enough, because you might not have what it takes to consistently win at the next level.
 
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