What is a girls role in mixed doubles?

Searah

Semi-Pro
is it just to survive?
first set. it's just all out power game.. footwork.. communicating.. "yes all my months of practicing ground strokes is going into effect!.. and we lost 2-6.

next set.. depressed but still trying.. and we lost 1-6.

ok final set.. just lob. drop shot. lob. drop shot. and we win 6-3.

this keeps happening.. i come to tennis all energyd up and we just lose when i try rely on a groundstroke game. but we usually always win when i get depressed/not in mood and just depend on lobbing/drop shotting. it's not even good lobbing, it's just a position lob.

in social enviroment i get to play "how i want" that is hitting winners and such but in competitive scene.. it's like everyone is already experienced with groundstrokes so nothing i throw at them will work.
 

golden chicken

Professional
Maybe have a friend chart your matches to help you identify where the points break down for your team? Or video and the xhart it yourself later?

Both teams should work together to minimize their own errors and then to hit in patterns that produce winning situations.

For conventional doubles, often times that means you hit around 80% of your power and you make sure it goes exactly where you want it to. That's often much better than hitting it hard into a general area and then having the net player punch it away because you hit it too close to them. Sometimes you need to hit softly so the net person has to hit up and then your net person can put it away at their feet. Sometimes you want to hit right between your opponents and see if they can handle whose ball it is.
 

esgee48

Legend
Role depends on strengths and weaknesses of players on the team. It is not based on sex but rather on skills.

At the level I fool around, just hitting hard does not work. They take 1-2 steps and rip one back. I take 1-2 steps and hit back hard. This can go one for 5-8 shots. Then I will lob one over the net guy or pull him off the court or he pulls me off the court. You have to get the other team to cough up a weak reply. For me, that means lobs over net guy, sharply angled ground strokes, volleys or overheads. You have to make the opponents move and hit on the run. Based on opening post, appears like you figured it out by set #3.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Your questions makes no sense here. The role of ANY player, female/male/mixed in doubles is to work as a team. Find what works for them, protect against what is bad for them as best they can, and then reverse that on the opponents to exploit thier weaknesses and protect aginst their strengths.
Tell your story walking.

J
 

user92626

Legend
@ChaelAZ

It's a very legit question and makes all the sense. She's new to competitive league, tournament scene where everyone is already experienced. She only knows "social tennis". Competitive tennis and social tennis can be vastly different. Then, there's tactics, tacit understandings, mindsets of competitive, mixed dubs that only experienced (and not necessarily good) players know. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

I only routinely play weekend (very) competitive mixed dubs and they already have distinct patterns. General stuff, like you post, don't cut it.
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
Sometimes good to have someone take the supportive role. Even in non-mixed doubles, when both players have an aggressive mentality, they can get all crossed up and step on each other's toes. If you're going aggressive, and it's not working, then sometimes setting things up for your partner can work better. I know thats what I do. I'm usually in the supportive role myself. And it helps for your partner's confidence too. When you set up enough easy shots for them, they start believing they can hit more difficult shots too, so they do.

In the supportive role, you're more thinking about how to help your teammate rather than how to defeat the other team. Not that you won't try to hit a winner if you get a really good opportunity though.

In my opinion it's not all set in stone. Some teams play better if both players are uber aggressive. But depending on the mentality and skills of the team that may not work. If you have better success playing more passive, and more trying to survive, then you should try pursuing that line of thought more.
 

zaph

Semi-Pro
is it just to survive?
first set. it's just all out power game.. footwork.. communicating.. "yes all my months of practicing ground strokes is going into effect!.. and we lost 2-6.

next set.. depressed but still trying.. and we lost 1-6.

ok final set.. just lob. drop shot. lob. drop shot. and we win 6-3.

this keeps happening.. i come to tennis all energyd up and we just lose when i try rely on a groundstroke game. but we usually always win when i get depressed/not in mood and just depend on lobbing/drop shotting. it's not even good lobbing, it's just a position lob.

in social enviroment i get to play "how i want" that is hitting winners and such but in competitive scene.. it's like everyone is already experienced with groundstrokes so nothing i throw at them will work.

Your problem is simple, doubles is about taking the net, winning from the back of the court is much harder than in singles.

I am not a great volleyer and my serve is basically a shot to start the rally, so I thought serve volleying in doubles would be tennis suicide. I won virtually every point, I was astonished how effective it was, when you have another player to help you cover the net. Even lobbing didn't help our opponents, if they hit short it is a free point if you take it out of the air.

Stop sitting at the back of the court and come forward.
 
@ChaelAZ

It's a very legit question and makes all the sense. She's new to competitive league, tournament scene where everyone is already experienced. She only knows "social tennis". Competitive tennis and social tennis can be vastly different. Then, there's tactics, tacit understandings, mindsets of competitive, mixed dubs that only experienced (and not necessarily good) players know. I wouldn't even know where to begin.

I only routinely play weekend (very) competitive mixed dubs and they already have distinct patterns. General stuff, like you post, don't cut it.
My thought, and perhaps @ChaelAZ's and @Enga's also, is that the title presumes the girl/female is the weaker of the pair. This might not be the case. Even if it is, the girl might still do some things better than the guy.

The point would be to work with one's partner to figure out strengths and weaknesses and try and craft a team solution.
 
is it just to survive?
first set. it's just all out power game.. footwork.. communicating.. "yes all my months of practicing ground strokes is going into effect!.. and we lost 2-6.

next set.. depressed but still trying.. and we lost 1-6.

ok final set.. just lob. drop shot. lob. drop shot. and we win 6-3.

this keeps happening.. i come to tennis all energyd up and we just lose when i try rely on a groundstroke game. but we usually always win when i get depressed/not in mood and just depend on lobbing/drop shotting. it's not even good lobbing, it's just a position lob.

in social enviroment i get to play "how i want" that is hitting winners and such but in competitive scene.. it's like everyone is already experienced with groundstrokes so nothing i throw at them will work.
Your experience means your opponents have lousy OHs.

What exactly happens when you attempt a GS game? Do you make a lot more errors, do your opponents overpower you, etc? There wasn't enough in your description other than you lost 2 sets convincingly when hitting GSs.

The first thing I'd do is dispense with the "nothing I throw at them will work" thinking; that's learned helplessness. Instead, spend some time observing these teams play each other and watch for patterns and weaknesses. Maybe go with a better/more experienced friend who can do some "play by play" commentary and point out things you might be missing.

As far as your GSs, did you try:
- hitting with little pace
- slicing
- hitting short
- hitting at the net person

All of these variations will produce information you can use to hone your strategy.
 

badmice2

Rookie
My experience in mixed have been that most female players are better against steady pace regardless of speed, especially in rally situation. Most of the time it sets up the net men for crosses. Therefore the stop-and-go game seems to be effective and it takes the element of “comfort” out and forces them to reposition, at times where they may feel out of place.

If the craft work, use it. Goes to show that you got more game than the average pair you’re competing against.
 

Morch Us

Semi-Pro
Assumptions (please correct if any are wrong).
1. you are the "girl" and you are asking about your role in mixed.
2. you are the weaker link in the team.
3. when you say "groundstroke game", you stay in baseline and try to hit good baseline shots with as much power/spin you can manage.

Here is the biggest issue. You are not optimizing the strength of your team. Since you are the weaker link, by trying to engage in a baseline rally you are pretty much not even considering getting your (stronger) partner involved in the game. If he gets involved, it is just pure chance. When lobbing, even though it is your "weaker" shot, it gives enough time for your partner to get invovled. Remember, even if he does not even tough the ball, just his involvement, and presence of being in position to attack on next ball, can extract errors out of the opponents, if he really is the stronger link of the team. So it is not really that you should not hit good shots, it is just that, you should mindfully try to use your stronger link in the team, if the intention is to win the match. This may actually mean hitting NOT to open court, ALLOW your opponents to hit a shot, which provides maximum chance for your partner to engage in. Essentially "setting it up" for the stronger link.

Even the "weaker" link would have some strengths, so you have to optimize those as well. As a general rule of thump, the weaker link should position as aggressive position as possible so that you don't have to try too hard to finish the opportunities provided (for example would be hard to miss a volley from close to net position). And the stronger link should be able to set up points comfortably. But in some situations it is not possible, for example when the weaker link is returning or serving. Then the weaker link should try not to be over-aggressive, and setup the points such that the stronger link can get involve and take over. It is also important that when your opponents target you, don't get into the mode of trying to prove them wrong by hitting good shots. Instead try to get out of the trap, and get your stronger link involved, if winning is important.

If you try to play singles on one half of the doubles court, it is inevitable that you loose.

So to answer your question, your main role is to get the stronger link involved, and move in to positions you can be comfortable for you so that you don't get targeted, and can still play aggressive support.

Your role is NOT to overpower your opponents (above your skill level), or to play as good as your stronger partner, or to prove to opponents that you can hit good shots (when they target you).

Your weaker shots worked better than your stronger shots (if it happened), only because that unknowingly allowed more optimal usage of your stronger link (your partner). You biggest weapon in doubles is your partner, and not your strongest shot.

i come to tennis all energyd up and we just lose when i try rely on a groundstroke game
 
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xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
To win, you give your opponents what they don't like and do your best to end points off of their mistakes (without making mistakes from going for too much). If they don't like drop shots and lobs, your job is to drop shot and lob. If they don't like slices, your job is to slice. If they don't like flat balls, your job is to hit flat balls. This is basic tennis. Choose the easiest to execute shots that your opponent doesn't like to draw weak replies from them, then punish the weak replies. Pace doesn't always get the job done, and even if it does, it isn't the only way to get the job done. Most people don't like drop shots and lobs, while most people don't mind dealing with normal groundstrokes.

If you want to win with your groundstroke game, you have to work harder on it and accept the fact that you'll get beaten to a pulp 100 times by players near your level before you start winning against them. Rome wasn't built in a day. If you really want to rely on your groundstroke game, be patient and give it time and work on it. Imagine telling a seasoned baseliner to learn to serve and volley. Winning points with it as a change up is one thing, but winning matches is a whole different beast.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
first set. it's just all out power game...we lost 2-6.

next set.. but still trying [the same thing]...we lost 1-6.

final set.. just lob. drop shot. lob. drop shot...we win 6-3.
It should not have taken you and your partner the loss of two lopsided sets before trying something different. To me it shows a lack of tactical awareness on your part, or communication with your partner, or both.

You should have thrown in the lob and junk balls as early as the first set to figure out how the other team handles certain exchanges, especially if you were aware that your usual game was not working against them.
in competitive scene. everyone is already experienced with groundstrokes so nothing i throw at them will work.
Well yes, that's why they're your peers for the most part. You probably don't hit with enough power and / or spin to trouble your peers, so either you're going to have to be more tactics-savvy with your normal groundstroke game, or you're going to have to introduce some variety in your shots to make your normal preferred style more efficient when you do get a chance to use it.

Also, this isn't the 50s, there's no "women's role in mixed doubles", it's just "the weaker partner's role in doubles, mixed or otherwise", and the answer may differ depending on the attributes of the team.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
Some really good info from @Morch Us

Assuming you are playing 6.0 MXD, one of the weapons I feel is underutilized are good lobs. If they are deep enough, it allows your side to get into a good aggressive position and puts your opponents on the defense. It is also an unconventional shot to return. When you are on a practice court, what do you practice the most? -->baseline rally. So unless you are the strongest baseline rally-er on the court, this is not something you want to engage in. If you throw up a lob or a good drop shot or slice that stays very low, it gives you an advantage because you have just given your opponent something they don't like to hit.

One of my last 6.0MXD I played, my partner was a good singles player. She would hit very consistent groundstrokes from baseline that was looping and lots of topspin. Our opponents had a male player that was 6'-5" and the ball would be in his wheelhouse. We lost the first set in tie-break. For the 2nd set, I asked her to keep her ball low even though it was lower percentage and also try a few more lobs. I didn't do anything differently on the 2nd set, but those adjustments she made got us 6-2 win. We did go on to win the super tie.

Our opponent female had very good lobs and was amazingly consistent as well. So we were able to level the playing field a bit by taking easy volleys at net out of the equation. At that point, it was whichever side was more active at net, mid-court volleys and OH.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Unbalanced doubles of any sort is a challenge since as in all sports the best way to win is to get the ball in the hands of your playmakers. So for mixed and unbalanced men's doubles the weaker player by default should be doing all they can to avoid having the ball come their way if they want to maximize their chances to win. And for the opponents they are trying to get the ball to the weaker opponent to maximize their chances.

So really if you want to win, make it stupid for the opponents to hit your way.

Position close to the net near the doubles alley when you are the "net" person.

When you are the baseline player, either get to the net ASAP or learn to lob and love it. I've played countless women who think they hit decent groundstrokes only to be totally frustrated by me poaching every darn one of them and volleying them away for winners. The bad players keep trying and get more and more frustrated, the smarter ones start lobbing.

And I'll take most women on in a CC baseline rally war as will most better male players. If the guy hits good groundies, don't even try that strategy.

And here are the things all women need to drill to become better mixed players:
1) Serving to the BH (down the T to deuce and out wide to ad) - must be able to do this in your sleep
2) High first serve percentage
3) keep groundstrokes low over the net
4) lob returns
5) reaction volleys from on top of the net

If you are good at those 5 things, you will be a sought after commodity in mixed.
 
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