Wanting to quit playing tennis

I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
The game comes disgustingly easy to some people. Richard Gonzales never had a lesson, can you believe that?

Don't worry about them. It's like money, some people are always richer, and they might not ever have worked hard. I'm sure you've gone farther than some people who have worked harder than you. I go for stretches where I don't play, but once I do play, I'm always very glad that I, sort of, learned the game.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Oh don't quit, you are not alone. I know a guy who played 20 years, spent thousands of dollars on lessons with D1 coaches and is barely 4.0 . So dont beat yourself up.:-D
Taking lesson does not mean you automatically get it. Its on you to do thousands of reps of what you learnt in the lesson to make it yours.
 
Oh don't quit, you are not alone. I know a guy who played 20 years, spent thousands of dollars on lessons with D1 coaches and is barely 4.0 . So dont beat yourself up.:-D
Taking lesson does not mean you automatically get it. Its on you to do thousands of reps of what you learnt in the lesson to make it yours.
That sounds like me, but more like 12 years instead of 20 years....I know the lessons don't magically make me better but it's also not like the only time I play tennis are during lessons. I also play lots of matches and tournaments outside of lessons....IT just makes me feel like I've wasted so much time and money
 
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ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
That sounds like me, but more like 12 years instead of 20 years....I know the lessons don't magically make me better but it's also not like the only time I play tennis are during lessons. I also play lots of matches and tournaments outside of lessons....IT just makes me feel like I've wasted so much time and money
On average, how many hours do you spend a week working on baseline game, volley, serves...?
 
On average, how many hours do you spend a week working on baseline game, volley, serves...?
Before Coronavirus? I'd play like 5 hours of tennis a week or so. I feel like I never have this mindset when I'm playing someone who's equally as good as me or better too....
 
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ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Before Coronavirus? I'd play like 5 hours of tennis a week or so. I feel like I never have this mindset when I'm playing someone who's equally as good as me or better too....
I mean, how many hours of practice on FH BH volley serve? Not just playing.
 
I mean, how many hours of practice on FH BH volley serve? Not just playing.
Like 1-2h a week. I get what you're trying to say that I haven't really practiced enough to make the lessons stick in. But then that just makes it seem like it was a waste of time and money for me to take lessons when I can't even learn it properly and still can get beaten by someone who's taken no lessons at all
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
Like 1-2h a week. I get what you're trying to say that I haven't really practiced enough to make the lessons stick in. But then that just makes it seem like it was a waste of time and money for me to take lessons when I can't even learn it properly and still can get beaten by someone who's taken no lessons at all
I guarantee if you practice enough to make the lessons stick, you will beat most guys who have taken no lessons at all.
Also taking lessons and not practice is really a waste of time and money.
 

E46luver

Professional
Random lessons will not make any difference.
Take a lesson 5 days in a row on a single stroke, and then you will see a difference.
A weekly lesson will make zero difference, even if you take that for 50 years.
It takes focus to correct a stroke.
You need a structured path of improvement.
That is why ATP players all employ a team of coaches.

Most people have no idea what "good tennis player" means.
Also, why do you think you are so much better?
Tennis only means one thing. Hitting one more ball than opponent.
The score never lies, only people lie to themselves.

Also, just because you're better, does not mean you will win 6-0 6-0.
I played a guy 6 levels above me UTR, and played a tie break that scored 4-7
No one wins every point.
 
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E46luver

Professional
OP is Federer playing Marcus Willis
Last set, Federer only won 6-4 against world ranked #772
Do you think Fed wanted to quit the sport?
 
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Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
Welcome To The Club
 

pencilcheck

Hall of Fame
I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
Don't be so entitled. Tennis skill is not about years, it is about mindset and mental stability and a lot of mindful practice.

You can quit if you want to but keep in mind this happens in a lot of other sports and other places other than sports as well (e.g. like work), so if you quit tennis, this situation might not escape you and you might find yourself having similar conversations.

However, I understand where you are coming from, I have similar feelings in the past, and I was fortunate that someone helped me getting out of that mud of despair that sucks me in the further I struggle.

To escape this mud of despair, I recommend you go through the trouble to understand yourself.

A lot of times the reason you lose is not because you can't hit the shot, it is because you are fighting with your inner self, the actual self that controls the shot production.

"inner self" is a part of you that you sometimes feel it when you are making a shot that you have no idea you did it, that live in your brain that controls all the shots unconsciously, a lot of times in a match that inner self will take over everything, a lot of times it will curl up and leave your conscious mind to defend for itself. Your "inner self" also has its own personality, most of the time it is like a child, very easy to show off, be happy, but very easily bored. Learning how to tame that inner self to have discipline and knowing the time to let it go wild and crazy is important to winning in a match.

There is a reason people call Novak a mental giant, because how much he trained his inner self to be as solid and consistent as possible. Keep in mind not a lot of people do that because that is asking for self harm, but as a recreational player, all you need to do is to discover this important fact and try to approach tennis a slightly different way.

If you feel any of the following when you start losing or starting to fear to hit certain shot or keep changing tactics then I think you have similar issues that almost 100% of the tennis players would have to go through (yes, even Fed, even now!).
1. Feeling frustrated, want to curse a lot
2. Feeling weird that some shot you think normally feels like it should go in somehow doesn't go in
3. Feeling powerless, because you don't know what you should be doing at any given situation
4. Feeling tired, because you have been spending so much of your mental energy and not working thus exacerbate that situation.


I would suggest the next time you hit tennis, think and ask yourself about those questions

1. What are you really really wanting out of the game? Is it fame? Is it just beating your opponent? Is it winning a tournament? or simply just a workout?
2. How much sacrifice are you willing to make to accomplish the goal?
3. Really think about it why you feel certain emotion when you make those losing shots, a lot of those emotions are coming from your inner self btw. e.g. What is the true reason you want to hit that winner that went out? What is the real reason you are scared and want to hit a lob instead of a passing shot? etc.
4. Now if you can unravel that, ask the following questions: What is your inner self telling you when you want to hit certain shot? Are you constantly fighting against yourself on what to do with each shot? e.g. maybe you think a DTL works, but your inner self is telling you that you should hit a CC. And often times this result in a shank because your body don't know what to do.
5. What communication or key word that your inner-self can understand and execute consistently?

For me, my keyword is "control". That's the only word I need to use to start winning because in the past I often tell me inner self to "hit winner". A lot of times it is not because it is the right time for a winner but because I have very little confidence in myself to have long rally or have full control of my shot.

Someone told me this and totally change my game, I am feeling much much better and I am starting to win games and matches more consistently now. It feels really awesome.

I think you should try it.
 

shamaho

Professional
Besides the great post by @pencilcheck , I'll just add that for some people (like me and many) all that amount of instruction and practice just makes you focus too much internally and in technique - that when you're competing you CANNOT do - or only a small amount and making a quick mental check of your feelings on tenseness, etc when all your focus should be outside on conditions, opponent, tactics, what works, what doesn't, etc.

And many times, for people who have little in instruction and technique, they have little baggage so they focus outside on HOW to win!

Consider your opponent as your greater teacher right now. You will be able to overcome your opponent, but you need to "grow" in areas other than technique.
 

penguin

Professional
That sounds like me, but more like 12 years instead of 20 years....I know the lessons don't magically make me better but it's also not like the only time I play tennis are during lessons. I also play lots of matches and tournaments outside of lessons....IT just makes me feel like I've wasted so much time and money
Unlike the other responders I do not think you should ignore this feeling. My view is this: if you are an amateur you can't practise enough to justify any coaching beyond a basic level because you won't be able to set up anything that won't fall apart on the court. You need strokes that come naturally to you and dont require a lendl-regime to keep alive. You need to mainly play games against people because that is how you actually see what has value and what isn't working for you, and also have a feel for what percentages you can expect from *your* shots that will allow you to make tactical choices on *how* to play an opponent. You can't be taught that because you have to feel these things instinctively which you develop from playing a lot. Once you have aged that much you might say"this particular shot I need to fix- I'll pay a coach to hit to that shot for a few hours so I can practise it" but you might not. You might just *enjoy playing* which is the actual goal right?


Coaching adult amateurs has a lot of scammy nonsense in it- most coaches do not have the ability to tailor something to suit you- they'll teach the same to everyone and look at good players- they are all completely different in how they do things.

So I would say- if you feel like you wasted time and money, maybe that's the time and money you had to spend to understand that you were wasting it. If you enjoy tennis and want to get better at it, spend the time playing that guy who beat you with no coaching and look for what he is doing that you are not. Physical freedom and spontenaity with unorthodox strokes will trump "coached" strokes without physical freedom and ease every time. The shot you do without thinking is the only one that can be consistent.

If you dont actually enjoy tennis and want to get better at it then stop now and question why you spent all that time and money on coaching!!


Oh and by the way if you've never experimented with different racquets and strings then you're probably playing with something that doesn't suit you at all, even if it might be a good racquet for someone else. It takes a little experimenting in to know what you play best with (headsize, string pattern, flex, balance, length,- brand is just the company that sold it to you). It might be you need different strings because yours are too soft or too stiff for you or [gulp] dead poly you've been using for years. our physical bodies are different so the physical tool we use to engage with the ball must also be, and dead poly will make anyone a worse player. Once you know what you need you can stick with it and improve your game by technique, but a change from unsuitable to about right gear makes a huge improvement to your game (then the work begins on playing better). Maybe your friend got a bit lucky on that front.
 

Miki 1234

Semi-Pro
I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
I did probably 100x more then you in every acpect of tennis and still there are 14 year old kids that are better at tennis then me.
What did they do to deserve this, well they were born more or less.
Then i look myself how much I improved and i think to myself im mf genius hehe.
Get over yourself its normal.
Also keep in mind there are people who worked way harder then you and play worse.
Its bad to compare with a single person thats why ranking exists in tennis if you really want to see a progress .
 
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tennisBIEST

Professional
I try to explain this to some of my junior players that have years of experience that they WILL encounter an athletic kid(Pusher) who plays soccer or some other sport primarily and the kid will have jacked up strokes but can flat out play the game of tennis. Meaning the athletic kid can keep the ball in play and run every ball down. The kid doesn’t give a **** about technique and probably can only hit forehands and is a competitive machine! This can frustrate the experienced players but you better be strong in the head and have command of your spin. This is the problem I see with kids not wanting to play kids at lower levels and only wanting to play up. They can’t handle slow pace, they over hit, they beat themselves. As for the OP whose spent a good amount on privates and is losing to a less experience player is just part of the learning curve. Pros hit really easy balls to their lessons....you need some funk. You need to mix in some clinics with all kinds of players and styles. There’s a billion ways to waste money just look at governments....tennis just doesn’t sound like a waste to me.
 

E46luver

Professional
@penguin advice is questionable. Basically, you're telling him to "Just play. No lessons. Change equipment" This is the exact formula that lifetime 3.0 and 3.5 players do. They spend literally 50 years at that level. In reality, one can get to 4.0 in just 2 years, if they take lessons, learn match smarts, and forget about equipment. I agree that strokes don't win matches, consistent play wins matches. You really can't give advice unless you know the rating of the player involved. And if you try to change strokes, you need to be prepared to lose to people you normally beat until your new strokes are stable and automatic
 

E46luver

Professional
@quencheu96 Why are you mad that the guy with less experience can win a set from you?
If he has 2 years experience, but had strokes of a 5.0 player, would you still be mad? I doubt it.
So, I think this is a case of pusher hate or junker hate. You think you're better since your strokes look better.
That does not mean you will always beat him. Have you analysed losing matches and seen your weakness against him?
Are you overhitting and making too many errors ? Lessons rarely cover smart shot selection
 
I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
Stop playing your friend. Find someone else around your level and purposely don't learn about how long he's been playing or how many lessons he's taken. Play and enjoy the game.

Obviously I'm being flippant. But there's insight buried in my reply: your happiness is being determined by results and, more importantly, your expectations. It sounds like you'd have a much better time if you learned to drop your expectations, forget about the results, and just play the game.

- No matter how good you are, there will always be someone better.
- No matter how well you learned, there will always be someone who learned more quickly, more easily, and with less effort.
- Everyone has a certain level of aptitude: your friend has more than you do. You can't change that.
- Everyone has a ceiling: maybe your friend's is higher than yours [that's not to say you can't improve; of course you can. But maybe the easy part is past and additional improvement will take more effort. Improvement is a matter of diminishing returns eventually].

My enjoyment of the game is not going to be diminished by the existence of someone like your friend; that's just the way it is. Your enjoyment hinges on continually beating this friend to justify the $ and time and effort you've spent. That's a setup for disappointment.

This applies to any area of endeavour. Some people, for example, can pick up a musical instrument and make beautiful music in a short amount of time whereas I feel like I'm playing a violin with boxing gloves on in comparison.

You have to think about how much of your happiness is determined internally by what you enjoy and value vs externally by what other people do and achieve.
 

penguin

Professional
@penguin advice is questionable. Basically, you're telling him to "Just play. No lessons. Change equipment" a) This is the exact formula that lifetime 3.0 and 3.5 players do. They spend literally 50 years at that level. b) In reality, one can get to 4.0 in just 2 years, if they take lessons, learn match smarts, and c) forget about equipment. I agree that strokes don't win matches, consistent play wins matches. d) You really can't give advice unless you know the rating of the player involved. e) And if you try to change strokes, you need to be prepared to lose to people you normally beat until your new strokes are stable and automatic
a) and if they are enjoying their tennis I would argue they're doing it right

b)didn't work for this guy did it. I see lots of players who are so focussed on what they "should" or have been told to do that they can't play for toffee

c) this is crazy. Sure forget about equipment if you have something that's OK. But that's pot luck if your first choice was uninformed. When you have played enough you should absolutely see whether you favour a more control or more spin or more power or more high or low launch angle or heavier or lighter or softer or stiffer setup. Maybe not in words, but try multiple kinds of racquet and strings before you marry one. I've seen so many players who were *terrible* transform into decent without doing anything different just because got a better racquet. And then people who were lucky with their first random selection say "oh equipment doesn't matter" it's brainless.

d) then you disagree with all the advice in this thread anyway. I disagree with you. My advice is to a guy who feels he wasted the large amount of time and money spent on coaching because he lost to someone who didn't have that. I am saying not to discount that feeling.coaching is not the only path. If he feels the way he feels it is my opinion he should try something else. If he spent all the time he would have put into coaching on actually playing then he will get different results.

e) yes, which is why you shouldn't do it just because some coach has a set way. Keep what you have and over time you find little tweaks that help you in context which nobody could have told you. If a technique works for you and isn't causing injury, why change it? Amateur players have no duty to be ambitious and ones who have very "studied" strokes can never improvise well doing stuff that doesn't come up in hitting sessions, and are unreliable because strokes that take a lot of practise to build take a lot of practise to maintain.


I am talking about amateur play here: I repeat the goal is to *have fun* (and exercise)
 

3virgul14

Rookie
I`m also self-taught and I first picked a tennis racquet when I was 34, never took a lesson. Played with some buddies and i picked a very good forehand topspin quite quick thanks to my pingpong background. Crushed all my buddies all the time 6-0 6-1s

After I moved to a new place, I started playing a lady who was upper league player in her country before, learned a lot about gameplay from her, how to finish points , close the net etc.. then I registered to a club about my 3rd year and i think in my first 17 matches i had 16 wins and 1 losses in the ladder, meanwhile played a challenger tourney in an other club and made to semifinals unbeaten.

The real story starts here, I have no idea about U.S ratings but I thought I was sth like 4.5 from the video comparisons found on youtube. Didnt know my ass is about to get whopped real good.

Went to ITF seniors tournament, first round easy, second round ; matched with an ex junior player , literally he was playing some other sport compared to my tennis, it was so fluid after a while - I think after 4 games - i stopped playing and watching him. He said he was injured and doesnt play much but now came back to test himself. He was amazing man, I felt like a clown haha. For like the first 20 mins of that matchup including warmup and till 1-1 I thought I had a chance, then he changed gears and smoked me.

Then one club owner and coach who is in the game for 30+ years told me i should play the advanced group, I said alright; well the main difference was compared to challenger i played before , those guys didnt hit out, didnt get tired, sliced BHs like Federer and my serves were a weakness now. Funny enough I won only 2 matches and lost 10 and one of the W was against the the owner / coach that invited me.. Confidence levels were going down the drain, rapidly..

So the steep upgoing graph was over, since then last 1.5 years I am trying to do things better, but like a scale, if i raise one aspect of my game other aspects suffer, total skill level progresses very slow and actually I even lose to the guys that I beat easily last year because they developed and I didnt.. This is difficult to assess, deep in my consciousness i know i gotta be patient and internalize the progress but the competitive part of me just wants to keep winning matches.. Difficult to fight that!

Its not a weekend hobby anymore , it is something you want to play high level and succeed, so either pay the price with hardwork or get used to beaten.. 3rd option is to enjoy the sport but then you shouldnt be competitive..
 
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D

Deleted member 769694

Guest
I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
Winning and losing isnt what tennis is about.

We arent playing for money, only fun
 

E46luver

Professional
Mainly think of the exercise. Tennis is one of the best - natural HIT.
Low level tennis does not compare to a HIIT workout.
Way too many breaks to ever truly get winded
I can play 3 sets and not get tired.
But try doing 7 minutes of straight burpees.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
OP...This is a rec activity. If you are not having fun take a break and try other things. Others cannot give you a reason why you should enjoy something.

Life is short. Do what you enjoy especially when we are talking about rec activities that are supposed to give you a break from your daily grind ( where you have less of a choice on quitting something if you don’t truly enjoy it).
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Low level tennis does not compare to a HIIT workout.
Way too many breaks to ever truly get winded
I can play 3 sets and not get tired.
But try doing 7 minutes of straight burpees.
It's not the levels. It's the mindset of the players.

Today a bunch of experienced players came out to play. They could hit well enough. Their doubles looked tight.

Even with the court rules against doubles with a park ranger checking in every hour, not a single one of them took to singles. They broke up their dubs, rallied a bit, for the park ranger to leave, then resumed doubles. Toward the end, they formed a 3 vs 3.

Almost all rec players are lazy @$$es or ego-fragile. They can't handle singles physically and/or mentally.

I can play solidly more than 5 sets of anything but singles and not get tired.

OTOH I have seen two 3.5 players playing singles and got exhausted.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
At some age, you realize that you aren't going to achieve your life's goals. But at least you have goals and put in the effort to attain them. I have a long list of things that I'd like to accomplish but I'm happy with where I am with my tennis - I try to improve but I don't beat myself up if I lose to this person or that person. Same thing goes with chess or learning new grad level subjects.

If you look over your life, I'm sure that you'll see some great achievements. I think that those who struggle with improving in tennis put in the effort in other aspects of life and achieves success in various other things.
 

Curious

Legend
Everyone wants to get better but not everyone is motivated enough. I suspect that’s the main reason why most people stay where they are.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
I guess folks play for different reasons. In my view, "winning" should be a secondary issue in rec tennis. Simply having fun and/or exercise should be primary issues. Just my view, of course.

If my right arm got hacked off and I had to relearn tennis as a lefty I'd be pretty sh1tty but I'd still play because the main reason I play is for exercise. Winning is nice - always better than losing - but... it's really not that important if large amounts of money aren't involved.
 

E46luver

Professional
Everyone wants to get better but not everyone is motivated enough. I suspect that’s the main reason why most people stay where they are.
No, there are motivated people who have stayed at 3.0 and 3.5 for 40 years.

The vast majority of players simply have no clue how to get better.
They think to get better, they just need to play more often.
They are literally clueless. They don't know what "practice" means.
They have never drilled with a coach.

With the right plan, you can get to 4.0 within 2 years.
But, there are people who are 3.0 and 3.5 who have played 5x a week for 20-30 years.
In fact, this describes the majority of players at tennis clubs.
 
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No, there are motivated peole who have stayed at 3.0 for 40 years.

The vast majority of players simply have no clue how to get better.
I'll take the opposite view: the vast majority of players have an idea of how to get better but they aren't willing/able to dedicate the time, energy, effort, and $.

They think to get better, they just need to play more often.
They are literally clueless. They don't know what "practice" means.
They have never drilled with a coach.
Another explanation is that they just don't care enough about the game to work at improvement; they are happy where they are. Perhaps it never even occurred to them to try and get better; they just play at their current level and then go off and live their life.

Would I spend time learning how to more efficiently
- brush my teeth
- tie my shoes
- drive
- etc

Probably not: even though I might be aware I'm not doing it as efficiently as possible, I don't care enough to remedy that; it's "good enough".

With the right plan, you can get to 4.0 within 2 years.
But, there are people who are 3.0 who have played 5x a week for 20-30 years.
In fact, this describes the majority of players at tennis clubs.
Because obviously they aren't following a plan. Or maybe their ceiling is below 4.0. Could be any # of reasons.
 

E46luver

Professional
Agree to disagree.
I've hit with at least 100 guys over the last 3 years.
They care enough about tennis to make it their primary activity outside of work (serious players)
I have literally never met a player who does not want to be better. Literally not one.
They just do the wrong things like buy new rackets and just play the same way year in, year out.

I will agree that if they were aware of what it takes to rebuild strokes, most would decline.
But, that's not why they don't improve. They aren't even asking the right questions.
Almost every 3.0 and 3.5 player I've met thinks improving means playing more often.
All that does is reinforce their bad technique for life

You must play with people who are past their prime (ex-juniors, ex-college, ex-ATP)
These are the only people who are not trying to get better.
 
You must play with people who are past their prime (ex-juniors, ex-college, ex-ATP)
These are the only people who are not trying to get better.
I'm pretty sure none of my opponents are ex-ATP. A small # are ex-college and/or ex-juniors. In other words, a fairly typical USTA rec league composition.

Pretty much everyone I play is past their prime [ie early 20s]. I did get crushed in doubles by a 12-year old last year.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Agree to disagree.
I've hit with at least 100 guys over the last 3 years.
They care enough about tennis to make it their primary activity outside of work (serious players)
I have literally never met a player who does not want to be better. Literally not one.
They just do the wrong things like buy new rackets and just play the same way year in, year out.
This is it.

There are probably only 1 or 2 right ways of doing things but there are infinite ways of doing the wrong.

Players can't get better, comparable to their efforts and resources, because right things are very very difficult. It's like finding a 5 dollar winning scratcher.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Another explanation is that they just don't care enough about the game to work at improvement; they are happy where they are.
This is just the can-do attitude. It's a type of motivational speech. And mostly that's all to it.

Fact remains that overwhelming majority of people are mediocre, poor and not so successful.

Do you think Dominic Thiem, Zverez, the new crops, don't care enough that they haven't achieve a Major trophy? Djokovic, Nadal, Federer care more? That's B.S.

Excellence, success is all difficult and rare defined by the principle of Nature, physics. Meaning, for example, only 10% can be successful, the other 90% must be mediocre. NOT the can-do attitude. The can-do attitude CANNOT make everyone successful.
 

E46luver

Professional
How many players do you know who want improve their backhand?
How many them have spent 5 sessions in a row hitting only BHs ? Almost none.
Doing something like this does not even cross the to 4.0 to 3.0 rec players mind.
They just do the same thing, with their friends, year after year.
 

pencilcheck

Hall of Fame
Playing devil's advocate from the popular view here.

Maybe the coach is just too bad, most people taking lessons just can't go anywhere. And to be honest, 90+% of the coaches don't know how to teach different people.

Some people have excellent physical attributes, and great sense of space, some people just don't get it.
Some people don't understand some concepts and lose balance, but if you are a coach that only knows one way to teach, you cannot be helping your student as they might not 100% get what you are saying.
 

kimboslice

New User
I would recommend mental refresh. Lots of great advice out here, but it comes down to your mental mindset. I too get extremely frustrated when I “lose” the sets as opposed to them actually beating me. But it’s all part of the game of tennis. It helps to prioritize why you play. For me, other than the exercise, it gives me something to improve on, and that drives me more than anything else.

I play tennis not to win, but to play the best I can against the opponent. I compare it to golf: the opponent is the course, and I’m trying to play my best with the conditions given to me.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I've been playing tennis for many years and have taken many lessons. I play with a friend of mine who hasn't played anywhere near the same amount nor received the same amount of instruction who I usually beat. However every time I lose a set, or a best of 3 match against him, it just makes me want to quit playing. It feels embarrassing and disappointing to lose despite having more experience than him. It makes me feel like my life has been a complete waste if someone can just pick up the same later in life and still beat me. Like what has been the point of me playing for so long, or the point of having taken lessons when someone without can still easily beat me?

Should I try to not have this mindset? If so, how. If not, should I actually just quit then?
Why did you start playing tennis in the first place?
 
This is just the can-do attitude. It's a type of motivational speech. And mostly that's all to it.
That's a really weak motivational speech: "Don't try to improve; be happy with where you are."

I don't think it's a sales pitch; I think it accurately describes a lot of people.

Fact remains that overwhelming majority of people are mediocre, poor and not so successful.
In other words, there is a normal distribution about a median. On this we agree.

Do you think Dominic Thiem, Zverez, the new crops, don't care enough that they haven't achieve a Major trophy? Djokovic, Nadal, Federer care more? That's B.S.
No, I don't think Thiem, et. al. don't care enough. But that's not the same argument as the original, which is dealing with rec players.

Excellence, success is all difficult and rare defined by the principle of Nature, physics. Meaning, for example, only 10% can be successful, the other 90% must be mediocre. NOT the can-do attitude. The can-do attitude CANNOT make everyone successful.
It sounds like you should be arguing @E46luver, who said that anyone can make 4.0 in a couple of years with the right plan. I obviously disagree because 40% of USTA are < 4.0. If he were correct, those 40% should be able to achieve 4.0, which you're arguing against.

So as much as you hate to admit it, we happen to be on the same side of this particular argument. I don't believe everyone can get to 4.0, like E46 does. I do believe everyone can improve, though. To believe otherwise means I think I'm already at my ceiling and I don't think anyone ever reaches their ceiling. However, that's a philosophical debate and I can't prove it.
 

E46luver

Professional
That is a straw man.
Obviously a morbidly obese 3.0 is not going to get to 4.0

I am only referring to those with the baseline potential to reach 4.0 in the first place.
There are tons of athletic, coordinated, and fit 3.5 out there.
There also unathletic nerdy 4.0 who never played a sport in their lives
but have learned to win matches (pusher, dink serve, etc)

40% of USTA is under 4.0
Not even 1% of them have any idea of how to correct strokes or improve strategy to win.
99% of them will stay at 3.5 and under for life, not because of ability, but because they are lost causes.
They will buy plenty of rackets and shoes, and discuss string tension, however.
 
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40% of USTA is under 4.0
Not even 1% of them have any idea of how to correct strokes or improve strategy to win.
99% of them will stay at 3.5 and under for life, not because of ability, but because they are lost causes.
They will buy plenty of rackets and shoes, and discuss string tension, however.
@schmke likely has the stats of what % move up to 4.0 every year. Pretty sure it's > 1%.
 

Curious

Legend
No, there are motivated people who have stayed at 3.0 and 3.5 for 40 years.

The vast majority of players simply have no clue how to get better.
They think to get better, they just need to play more often.
They are literally clueless. They don't know what "practice" means.
They have never drilled with a coach.

With the right plan, you can get to 4.0 within 2 years.
But, there are people who are 3.0 and 3.5 who have played 5x a week for 20-30 years.
In fact, this describes the majority of players at tennis clubs.
Ok how about this?
Motivation
Fitness
Practice the right way, volume and frequency.

I don’t know what else one would need to improve.
All three at the same time in rec tennis is literally nonexistent, not even two of them.
 

Cobaine

Semi-Pro
That is a straw man.
Obviously a morbidly obese 3.0 is not going to get to 4.0

I am only referring to those with the baseline potential to reach 4.0 in the first place.
There are tons of athletic, coordinated, and fit 3.5 out there.
There also unathletic nerdy 4.0 who never played a sport in their lives
but have learned to win matches (pusher, dink serve, etc)

40% of USTA is under 4.0
Not even 1% of them have any idea of how to correct strokes or improve strategy to win.
99% of them will stay at 3.5 and under for life, not because of ability, but because they are lost causes.
They will buy plenty of rackets and shoes, and discuss string tension, however.
So 60% of USTA members are 4.0 or above? That doesn’t seem correct.
 
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