Why do Juniors tend to have a one-dimensional game?

#1
I noticed on here, and my own experience corroborates, that adults seem to outperform much better trained and athletically fit juniors. Usually it's the old "slice and chop" shots, serve and volley, etc., pre-contemporary game that flummox the Junior who is used to topspin / two-handed backhands all day on the baseline rallies.

I dont see how juniors would necessarily have such a one-dimensional game, but they all seem to. Whenever I see them rally it's the same thing (pound ground strokes at the baseline). Wouldn't some of them play old-school just to get an advantage? Are they overtrained? It just seeems like their game is based on playing only other juniors in a "keep it on the baseline" unwritten rule, that if broken by one player makes it one-sided.
 

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#2
I noticed on here, and my own experience corroborates, that adults seem to outperform much better trained and athletically fit juniors. Usually it's the old "slice and chop" shots, serve and volley, etc., pre-contemporary game that flummox the Junior who is used to topspin / two-handed backhands all day on the baseline rallies.

I dont see how juniors would necessarily have such a one-dimensional game, but they all seem to. Whenever I see them rally it's the same thing (pound ground strokes at the baseline). Wouldn't some of them play old-school just to get an advantage? Are they overtrained? It just seeems like their game is based on playing only other juniors in a "keep it on the baseline" unwritten rule, that if broken by one player makes it one-sided.
Probably the succession of skills they learn in their high performance classes. They typically focus on high percentage shots. Good net clearance, lots of topspin, deep to keep the rally going and not leave sitters for opponents. I'm not sure how often these classes focus on drop shots and junk balls. The players pick that up on their own as a way to mess with their opponents.

When my son practices with a friend, they'll play their usual style but toward then end, they'll start adding in the cute shots and junk balls.

In high school, there will always be one or two players on a team that play junk ball style. Lots of slice, lob, bump. Some of them have taken it to a very high level. The #1 player for my son's team 2 seasons ago was one of the best ones. He has a normal style of play. But he prefers to pick apart his opponent by absorbing their ball and returning a drop slice, They would move up and hit a defensive slice, it would be anticipated and returned with a lob. If they caught up to the lob and returned with a defensive lob of their own, it would be put away with an OH or volley winner. In this manner, these players would frustrate the hell out of their opponents to melt their game. Make no mistake, this boy can play. During try-outs, he was doing that to my son and he left a lob a little short and my son hit an OH, the boy anticipated where the ball was going and smacked a return so hard that the ball came right back for a winner before my son was finished with his OH motion.

We anticipate 2 hotshot freshmen coming onto the team next year. And a 3rd good player. My fear is the "good" player will face off junk ballers. It'll be interesting to see how he fairs as he is the typical stand 6' behind the baseline and bang away. He's got great volleys and overheads. But it's the off paced ball in different spots on the court that he has a hard time with. And these junkballers will get outclassed by really good players, but they can often get into the heads of the one-dimensional players.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
#3
I think it's one thing to say that the top level pros who are in their 30s seem more well rounded than the next gen younger counterparts.

It's a different thing to say that adults with old chop / slice shots outperform much better trained and athletically fit juniors.

If you're truly a high ranked jr, you will usually end up killing the lower ranked adult, regardless of the shots they throw at you. Now if you have two juniors or a young adult vs a jr, both equally fit and comparably ranked with contrasting styles...that's a different thing, and it will come down to who can impose their strengths more.
 
#4
But it seems like the chop shot / lob / drop volley "senior doubles" tennis strokes confuse the groundstroke guys more than vice versa.

The "Senior Doubles" doubles guy is used to absorbing pace, the Juniors seem unable to adapt well to the sidespin knuckleball stuff.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
#5
But it seems like the chop shot / lob / drop volley "senior doubles" tennis strokes confuse the groundstroke guys more than vice versa.

The "Senior Doubles" doubles guy is used to absorbing pace, the Juniors seem unable to adapt well to the sidespin knuckleball stuff.
It still comes down to rankings/level of play. A player like Johnny Mac can probably hold his own for a set against a high level junior even now, considering he's doing pretty well facing Roddick and Blake even now. Safin had a bad record against Santoro. However, they were both still high ranked pros, and Santoro had the ability to absorb the pace thrown at him by Safin.

OTOH, generic Senior Doubles guys are not at all used to absorbing the heavy balls that high level juniors these days throw out. The ones I have seen, the high level juniors crush the oldies, and it's not pretty. Most of them don't play those guys, because frankly it's a waste of time for both.
 

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#6
But it seems like the chop shot / lob / drop volley "senior doubles" tennis strokes confuse the groundstroke guys more than vice versa.

The "Senior Doubles" doubles guy is used to absorbing pace, the Juniors seem unable to adapt well to the sidespin knuckleball stuff.
Recently our club created a drills class for varsity HS players and 4.0+ adults. Its been interesting to watch.

Initially, the kids would have too many errors trying to put away every slow/short ball that was hit to them. The adults couldn't react to some of the pace of the juniors. But each started to adjust to the other's style of play. The adults had well placed volleys and kept the ball in play with driving slices and lobs. The juniors started to play a little smarter and stopped trying to hit winners on everything. Once the juniors did that, the adults couldn't keep up with the consistency and speed of the juniors.

Once it got lopsided, the coach started to team the junior with an adult.

So far, it's been a good format as the adults get quite a work-out. They also get to see fast footwork and pace. The juniors gets to see smart plays, good defense, and well placed shots that don't necessarily have the firepower, but is challenging to play.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
#7
I noticed on here, and my own experience corroborates, that adults seem to outperform much better trained and athletically fit juniors. Usually it's the old "slice and chop" shots, serve and volley, etc., pre-contemporary game that flummox the Junior who is used to topspin / two-handed backhands all day on the baseline rallies.

I dont see how juniors would necessarily have such a one-dimensional game, but they all seem to. Whenever I see them rally it's the same thing (pound ground strokes at the baseline). Wouldn't some of them play old-school just to get an advantage? Are they overtrained? It just seems like their game is based on playing only other juniors in a "keep it on the baseline" unwritten rule, that if broken by one player makes it one-sided.
Can't really judge a junior until they reach about 14. They get noticeably stronger at this age and that baselining pays off. It's at this point they turn the tables on slicing elders and start beating them down.

I noticed that kids today do work on volleys which is great news. There will always be a place for a little junk too a la Tomic & Murray.

They are still building their strokes and can still change their games. Apparently Edberg was a baseliner with a two handed backhand in juniors!
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
#8
Can't really judge a junior until they reach about 14. They get noticeably stronger at this age and that baselining pays off. It's at this point they turn the tables on slicing elders and start beating them down.

I noticed that kids today do work on volleys which is great news. There will always be a place for a little junk too a la Tomic & Murray.

They are still building their strokes and can still change their games. Apparently Edberg was a baseliner with a two handed backhand in juniors!
Nice video. Never knew that before about Edberg all these years. Sampras' case of switching from the 2hbh to a 1hbh is much more well known.

Wonderful advice in general for all coaches about encouraging the student's passion/style and supporting it.
 
#9
I noticed this too watching prospects and next gen atp players aswell as juniors of like 14-19 years old around my area.

99% of them are all about topspin forehand and topspin backhand from baseline and either engaging in long rallies and outhitting someone until they make an error, or bashing and going for winners with low net clearance (mostly girls).

Extremely little or no slices, dropshots, net aproaches, serve and volley etc..
 
#11
I noticed this too watching prospects and next gen atp players aswell as juniors of like 14-19 years old around my area.

99% of them are all about topspin forehand and topspin backhand from baseline and either engaging in long rallies and outhitting someone until they make an error, or bashing and going for winners with low net clearance (mostly girls).

Extremely little or no slices, dropshots, net aproaches, serve and volley etc..
Had this same discussion with @rogerroger917 about a week ago. rogerroger said that all the high level juniors are well rounded and do work on all aspects of their games, and you can see their competence at the net when they play doubles.

I guess they don't do it that often in singles because baseline play works the majority of the time and changing to an all-court style would require the willingness to lose considerably in the short run before they get good at it. Not sure though why more kids don't do it, because not everyone is cut out to be a baseline bashing champion. Wonder if the coaches are not encouraging different styles? You can see it in the Wilander video where one of the coaches says a kid rushing the net and continuously getting lobbed is the definition of insanity, and Wilander gently redirects the conversation to not question the approach but the thinking behind the approach. If an aggressive kid got the coach who asked that question, that coach would probably have told the kid to be a baseliner after getting lobbed a few times.

However, IMO, this is a bit different from what the OP in this thread is saying. I've never seen any senior doubles guy flummoxing a high level junior just because they can slice or chop. The different style will throw the junior off for a couple of points, but then they adjust. Usually the senior can't win more than a handful of points.
 
#12
I noticed this too watching prospects and next gen atp players aswell as juniors of like 14-19 years old around my area.

99% of them are all about topspin forehand and topspin backhand from baseline and either engaging in long rallies and outhitting someone until they make an error, or bashing and going for winners with low net clearance (mostly girls).

Extremely little or no slices, dropshots, net aproaches, serve and volley etc..
Watch any of the boys national tournaments. They all approach and volley. Watch the college players. They all do as well. It's just that it's very deliberate method to move up into the court. Majority of time is not needed. To much risk. Also no kid that's any good is missing junk balls from adults. That's a preposterous idea.
 

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#14
Had this same discussion with @rogerroger917 about a week ago. rogerroger said that all the high level juniors are well rounded and do work on all aspects of their games, and you can see their competence at the net when they play doubles.
Watching the top juniors play, it's amazing the subtle changes in their shots to throw off their opponents just a little to try to create an opening. What may look like bashing is actually slight changes in pace, spin and placement of the ball. Also a very strong understanding of a defensive situation and an offensive situation.

However, IMO, this is a bit different from what the OP in this thread is saying. I've never seen any senior doubles guy flummoxing a high level junior just because they can slice or chop. The different style will throw the junior off for a couple of points, but then they adjust. Usually the senior can't win more than a handful of points.
Agree. Even using a second or even a 3rd tier player, they are good enough to play 4.5 adult singles and 4.0 doubles. Well placed driving slices provide challenge to the juniors. But slice and chop will quickly get adjusted to.
Now bottom end varsity which would be tier 4 or 5 juniors, I can understand not having the consistency to return balls in general. Good juniors under the age of 14 can be challenged.
 
#15
Watching the top juniors play, it's amazing the subtle changes in their shots to throw off their opponents just a little to try to create an opening. What may look like bashing is actually slight changes in pace, spin and placement of the ball. Also a very strong understanding of a defensive situation and an offensive situation
My comment in that thread was based more on the pros and watching the higher ranked next gen guys having no plan B when the baseline stuff wasn't working. I guess I'm being too harsh. Nadal volleys very well now. However, it took him a while before he became confident enough to use it regularly even at big moments in the games. I'm sure the next gen kids will refine their games too as they go along. Plus the current crop of the big 3 are all time greats. So anyone will look one-dimensional in comparison. It's unfair to the youngsters to hold them to that standard immediately.
 
#16
Watch any of the boys national tournaments. They all approach and volley. Watch the college players. They all do as well. It's just that it's very deliberate method to move up into the court. Majority of time is not needed. To much risk. Also no kid that's any good is missing junk balls from adults. That's a preposterous idea.
But it depends what your definition is of variety is.

Take national juniors like you say, can they all volley good? Slice good? Dropshot good?

Of course they can, at this level they all know how to hit all the strokes extremely well.

Do they do it? Yes they do it like you said, but extremely rarely, they dont slice or dropshot that much, and they do aproach the net but rarely and mostly delibaretly like you said, when they almost won the point and stretched the opponent to finish easy volleys.
While majority is baseline heavy exchanges.
Think Nadal or Djokovic.

Or ballbashers that go for flat winners which is also prevalent with girls alot.

What I meant is that very very few juniors nowadays play an all court game with variety where they alternate slice and top alot, dropshots, serve and volley etc..
Think Federer or Tsonga type of player.
 
#17
That would be my question too. "Slice and chop shots" don't work against the juniors I've played. It's just an invite for them to take offense.
What I've seen (and certainly less skilled juniors than you have seen, but still high school decent level with powerful groundstrokes) is they do "take offense" since they are forced to move into the net to get the short ball, but they seem to have trouble with those shots. (especially that "scoop" balls that are below the netcord that I have seen senior doubles guy do without flinching, the junior plops them). They like to recieve shots with pace (hard ground strokes) and to move laterally, not weaker short balls or lobs that make them move forward/backward, and the slower speed of which throw off their timing.

So me playing them is like 3d vs 2d, though the 2d is very well-trained and much faster/younger.

The juniors just seem like "ball machine" shooters, harder hitters but without touch, designed to defeat one another in junior tournaments.
 
#18
What I've seen (and certainly less skilled juniors than you have seen, but still high school decent level with powerful groundstrokes) is they do "take offense" since they are forced to move into the net to get the short ball, but they seem to have trouble with those shots. (especially that "scoop" balls that are below the netcord that I have seen senior doubles guy do without flinching, the junior plops them). They like to recieve shots with pace (hard ground strokes) and to move laterally, not weaker short balls or lobs that make them move forward/backward, and the slower speed of which throw off their timing.

So me playing them is like 3d vs 2d, though the 2d is very well-trained and much faster/younger.

The juniors just seem like "ball machine" shooters, harder hitters but without touch, designed to defeat one another in junior tournaments.
Those are low level juniors. Just because someone is on a high school team doesn't mean much. I personally know some kids who are in a high school team and are not much better than I am. Standards vary.
 
#20
What I've seen (and certainly less skilled juniors than you have seen, but still high school decent level with powerful groundstrokes) is they do "take offense" since they are forced to move into the net to get the short ball, but they seem to have trouble with those shots. (especially that "scoop" balls that are below the netcord that I have seen senior doubles guy do without flinching, the junior plops them). They like to recieve shots with pace (hard ground strokes) and to move laterally, not weaker short balls or lobs that make them move forward/backward, and the slower speed of which throw off their timing.

So me playing them is like 3d vs 2d, though the 2d is very well-trained and much faster/younger.

The juniors just seem like "ball machine" shooters, harder hitters but without touch, designed to defeat one another in junior tournaments.
In my experience, you can't really pigeon hole anyone based on age. Some juniors all all-court players and some older guys are glued to the baseline. You just probe until you know what you are dealing with. Then just play the patterns you think will work.

A while ago, I played the #14 junior in the state at the time (Utah, so it's not a strong junior program). Like you, I assumed that if I played off-pace junk ball, he'd give me lots of errors. Using this prejudice (instead of probing him to really figure out HIS game), I lost the first set 6-0 in about 20 minutes. I actually beat him 7-5 in the 3rd set in that match, but I obviously had to change my tactics from the opening set.
 
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#21
All the ones I saw were 17-18 and college NCAA bound, though I don't what division
Then the senior doubles guys you saw might have been high level former players themselves. Forget 17-18 / NCAA College Bound. I've seen 13 year old girls demolishing rec adults who were throwing up chops/slices/s&v. It's not even a contest.

As I said, contrasting style by itself won't bother a high level junior. The only way an adult mixing it up can bother them is if the adult is at a comparable level as they are.
 
#22
A lot of people keep writing "junior" as if that describes skill level. It doesn't.

Use UTR. Against the juniors with UTR <= 8, I don't find a lot who have good touch and are eager to come to the net, for example. 9s are good at it but still might prefer the BL. I assume >= 10 would swat me like a fly.
 
#23
Kids want to hit top-spin winners like their favorite players and to impress their mates. Coaches want their kids hitting them to impress their parents and other coaches. Everyone's happy.
 
#24
they play like that because they are taught by usta coaches to do so.

this is why usa have very few top players or chanpions today.

how many world champions do you see have the usta textbook style?

euro players are even far more interesting to observe.
 
#25
A lot of people keep writing "junior" as if that describes skill level. It doesn't.

Use UTR. Against the juniors with UTR <= 8, I don't find a lot who have good touch and are eager to come to the net, for example. 9s are good at it but still might prefer the BL. I assume >= 10 would swat me like a fly.
I think quite a few people in this thread, myself included, have made that distinction, though we didn't word it as UTR or NTRP rankings. When saying that different styles by itself won't bother a jr as much as a comparable level adult, it was implied that "comparable level" meant similar rankings.

However, OP clarified that he's seen 17 year old / NCAA college bound kids being flustered by rec level guys employing slices/chops. I've never seen that. It's certainly possible, but the adults can't be generic rec adults in that case. Have to be former high level players themselves.
 
#26
All the ones I saw were 17-18 and college NCAA bound, though I don't what division
And playing on the team? A decent D3 team is utr10 at the bottom. That's men's 5.5 ntrp at the lowest spot. I don't know any juniors with utr 9 or 10 getting flustered by chop and slice. They won't like it. But they know how to play against it.

What you describe is not real world reality.
 
#27
I think quite a few people in this thread, myself included, have made that distinction, though we didn't word it as UTR or NTRP rankings. When saying that different styles by itself won't bother a jr as much as a comparable level adult, it was implied that "comparable level" meant similar rankings.

However, OP clarified that he's seen 17 year old / NCAA college bound kids being flustered by rec level guys employing slices/chops. I've never seen that. It's certainly possible, but the adults can't be generic rec adults in that case. Have to be former high level players themselves.
Maybe if it was ex D1 athletes playing serve and volley, guys with big games (5.5 plus ntrp) and knifing slices. Chop and dice from the rec crowd won't fluster a real competitive junior player.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
#28
I noticed on here, and my own experience corroborates, that adults seem to outperform much better trained and athletically fit juniors. Usually it's the old "slice and chop" shots, serve and volley, etc., pre-contemporary game that flummox the Junior who is used to topspin / two-handed backhands all day on the baseline rallies.

I dont see how juniors would necessarily have such a one-dimensional game, but they all seem to. Whenever I see them rally it's the same thing (pound ground strokes at the baseline). Wouldn't some of them play old-school just to get an advantage? Are they overtrained? It just seeems like their game is based on playing only other juniors in a "keep it on the baseline" unwritten rule, that if broken by one player makes it one-sided.
Juniors, unlike old adult farts, have to focus on academics, and just end up doing what they are taught. They barely have time to learn one solid way of learning. Those who are good soon leave the old slicing farts way behind.
 
#29
And playing on the team? A decent D3 team is utr10 at the bottom. That's men's 5.5 ntrp at the lowest spot. I don't know any juniors with utr 9 or 10 getting flustered by chop and slice. They won't like it. But they know how to play against it.

What you describe is not real world reality.
I am not sure what NCAA division 3 team you are watching where the low level players are 5.5, that is D1, not D3. I live in California. I get your point about slice and dice not working against good juniors, but you are exaggerating a little
 
#30
I am not sure what NCAA division 3 team you are watching where the low level players are 5.5, that is D1, not D3. I live in California. I get your point about slice and dice not working against good juniors, but you are exaggerating a little
I'm looking at utr. Look at cal tech for one.
Also the better D3 schools east coast are all utr 10 plus lower rung.
But the better D3 top out around 12.
 
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#31
I'm looking at utr. Look at cal tech for one.
Also the better D3 schools east coast are all utr 10 plus lower rung.
But the better D3 top out around 12.
Not familiar with the new UTR, but very familiar with the NTRP.... I will look into it. Bay Area 5.5's are former D1 very good players or former tour players , 5.0's are usually lower level D1 players. I would imagine D3 players would be 4.5's
 
#32
https://www.myutr.com/media/UTR_Player_Range.pdf

Here it says the range for college players is

UTR 6.5 - UTR 11 for D3
UTR 9 - UTR 13 for D2
UTR 11 - UTR 14 for D1

Not sure how accurate it truly is tho, as some people here have questioned the accuracy of it on this forum already.
For example nytennisaddict is a UTR9 and hes a solid 4.5 player, while this chart puts him pretty much at the top or even a bit over 4.5 and clearly in 5.0 on the NTRP scale.

I think its a decent way to see aproximate ranges but im quite interested how they are getting these numbers considering some are clearly off based on some people.
 
#33
https://www.myutr.com/media/UTR_Player_Range.pdf

Here it says the range for college players is

UTR 6.5 - UTR 11 for D3
UTR 9 - UTR 13 for D2
UTR 11 - UTR 14 for D1

Not sure how accurate it truly is tho, as some people here have questioned the accuracy of it on this forum already.
For example nytennisaddict is a UTR9 and hes a solid 4.5 player, while this chart puts him pretty much at the top or even a bit over 4.5 and clearly in 5.0 on the NTRP scale.

I think its a decent way to see aproximate ranges but im quite interested how they are getting these numbers considering some are clearly off based on some people.
You don't need any range. Just look at the school. And look at the players. What I stated is true. The D3 schools that actually compete and recruit tennis properly have incoming freshmen minimum utr 9. Usually 10. There are some d3 schools that have beginners on the roster. But that's not what I said.
 
#34
You don't need any range. Just look at the school. And look at the players. What I stated is true. The D3 schools that actually compete and recruit tennis properly have incoming freshmen minimum utr 9. Usually 10. There are some d3 schools that have beginners on the roster. But that's not what I said.
Yes, but I showed that to prove that it seems to be fairly inaccurate and im wondering what kind of analytics this myutr is doing to get this data considering its not completely accurate as seen from many different sources.
Its somewhat accurate but not completely.
 
#35
Yes, but I showed that to prove that it seems to be fairly inaccurate and im wondering what kind of analytics this myutr is doing to get this data considering its not completely accurate as seen from many different sources.
Its somewhat accurate but not completely.
Its accurate imo. I've seen a lot of small private liberal arts schools that have amazing facilities. Like world class tennis courts and complete tennis complex. But players are like 3.5 ntrp. Lots of those D3 schools with money but no players.
 
#36
Probably the succession of skills they learn in their high performance classes. They typically focus on high percentage shots. Good net clearance, lots of topspin, deep to keep the rally going and not leave sitters for opponents. I'm not sure how often these classes focus on drop shots and junk balls. The players pick that up on their own as a way to mess with their opponents.
More that rec players pick up odd junk shots to compensate for being nonathletic, slow, and out of position a lot. So those funky slices, odd pick up shots and such they do decent enough are more a function of practicing them often for lack of being able to get in position. I always say, it's only a lucky shot the first few times, but after that it starts becoming a skill...right or wrong. But totally agree that JR's are drilled to play percentage patterns without a lot of variation until they start getting to the 16's and up. And while it looks like boiler template tennis, that is also what makes the solid foundation they build on when they start getting their own stamp on their game in the teen years.
 
#37
I think its a decent way to see aproximate ranges but im quite interested how they are getting these numbers considering some are clearly off based on some people.
They take data from a bunch of sources, analyze it, and then come up with "ratings" which are essentially predictors of how two rated opponents will perform against one another. It's self-correcting, so if its prediction is off, it will adjust. Over time, and with increasing data points, the ratings become more reliable.
 
#39
I think you guys are vastly overestimating how strong “ crafty “ play really is.

I’ve watched old men do this type of OP slices and whatnot and I’ve never been impressed. I’m more impressed with the 40+ guys who have an amazing ground game. Saw two of these kind of guys a couple weeks ago. Really impressive. Rallying with so much pace and spin while talking about the Djokovic v Federer match that happened in Paris a while ago. Now that’s cool.

No one does this junkballing crap because it’s a surprise play.
 
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norcal

Hall of Fame
#41
they play like that because they are taught by usta coaches to do so.

this is why usa have very few top players or chanpions today.

how many world champions do you see have the usta textbook style?

euro players are even far more interesting to observe.
Euro players may have a bit more variety but for the most part all I see from young European and American players is two handed backhand, big forehand, the Europeans are just better at it.

Americans have very few high level athletes going into tennis, that is why they don't have champions (although I agree the USTA 'style' is one dimensional and boring - as is the case with most players world wide now).
 
#43
It takes a long time to master the variety of spins, drop shots, deep lobs, angle volleys. Juniors hit mostly topspin because it works on other juniors that’s why HS State champions hit a lot of topspin because it works. The player that can hit the best topspin usually wins. When a top junior plays an experienced player good player,
he’s very unfamiliar with the variety in his game,
he can’t dominate. He’s 1 dimensional, the experienced player will hit hard when he needs to not all the time, he hits slice to keep
The junior off balance and plays better defense. That’s why the match is 1 sided much of the time.
 
#44
It takes a long time to master the variety of spins, drop shots, deep lobs, angle volleys. Juniors hit mostly topspin because it works on other juniors that’s why HS State champions hit a lot of topspin because it works. The player that can hit the best topspin usually wins. When a top junior plays an experienced player good player,
he’s very unfamiliar with the variety in his game,
he can’t dominate. He’s 1 dimensional, the experienced player will hit hard when he needs to not all the time, he hits slice to keep
The junior off balance and plays better defense. That’s why the match is 1 sided much of the time.
Well.... hate to break it to you. In my state the high school state champion is a utr 13. Attending Yale this year as a freshmen as top 10 recruit. Complete game. Like I said. All the top juniors have complete games. You guys can't compare the random juniors you see that barely play having trouble with slice shots to trained junior players.
 

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Hall of Fame
#45
It takes a long time to master the variety of spins, drop shots, deep lobs, angle volleys. Juniors hit mostly topspin because it works on other juniors that’s why HS State champions hit a lot of topspin because it works. The player that can hit the best topspin usually wins. When a top junior plays an experienced player good player,
he’s very unfamiliar with the variety in his game,
he can’t dominate. He’s 1 dimensional, the experienced player will hit hard when he needs to not all the time, he hits slice to keep
The junior off balance and plays better defense. That’s why the match is 1 sided much of the time.
My experience is similar to @rogerroger917 . We had 2 freshmen HS students with UTR11. One of the boys' favorite game with drop shot, deep lob, come to net for volley/OH. Plus he's a lefty. But he can pound topspin baseline all day as well. Total complete game.

When he's playing against his peers at his level, he plays mostly topspin rallies. But what you don't see is the subtle changes they make to their shots; pace, spin, depth, angles to try to find an opening. To the casual observer, they are just standing behind the baseline and banging TS shots all day. They appear to do this because with the speed these guys have, a simple drop shot will get caught up and returned at an angle. If you draw them in and then try a deep lob, they don't miss OH. Especially our UTR11 freshman.

The UTR11 freshmen is able to anticipate every option his opponent has, then read the body language and shot percentage and narrows down the possibilities and prepares for a counter. The juniors that are college bound have seen it all. They've been competing in USTA tournaments since they were 6. That's training 10+hrs a week for the past 10yrs. That's over 5000hrs of tennis by the time they are 16.

I'm sure if you have a specific example of a State player that is unable to play at this lvl or if it was just a generalization. In that regard, we have a student from another state that went to State Championships last year. He joined our local HS team and didn't make the varsity cut and played JV last year. My son beat him 0,1. My son is not good enough with our local competition to make it to state singles.
 
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#46
Just got back from Tucson where my kid played at Winter Nationals and I was pretty impressed with the level of play there. The smaller boys are pretty darn crafty and the larger ones can really pound it. With girls, the majority is baseline play, no doubt.

Someone mentioned the USTA and their recommended style of play, I will add to this. When your child is upper level (Nationals level), the USTA invites your kid to camp, either in Carson or Orlando to their site, and they do tell you that your kid needs to be an All Court player. They mention that it is especially important that they work on this from 12-14, because after that, it's a hard habit to break and if you want your kid to be good, he/she needs to be comfortable from playing at the net, using slice, etc.

The USTA Development Coaches do NOT push base-lining. Quite the opposite.
 
#47
Just got back from Tucson where my kid played at Winter Nationals and I was pretty impressed with the level of play there. The smaller boys are pretty darn crafty and the larger ones can really pound it. With girls, the majority is baseline play, no doubt.

Someone mentioned the USTA and their recommended style of play, I will add to this. When your child is upper level (Nationals level), the USTA invites your kid to camp, either in Carson or Orlando to their site, and they do tell you that your kid needs to be an All Court player. They mention that it is especially important that they work on this from 12-14, because after that, it's a hard habit to break and if you want your kid to be good, he/she needs to be comfortable from playing at the net, using slice, etc.

The USTA Development Coaches do NOT push base-lining. Quite the opposite.
Agree. We are in Florida now. Didn't go as far as hoped.. last time to make a run. Oh well. Kids are freaking good. Staying thru the finals since we came all this way. Bitter sweet.

Even the doubles are super competitive.
 

time_fly

Professional
#48
I don't know about "top" juniors, which is not well defined anyway. But I do know that some of the teens I see ripping heavy, deep topspin balls back and forth all afternoon at the baseline -- that you assume would kill a weaker-hitting opponent -- actually don't know how to deal with junk because they seldom face it.
 
#49
I don't know about "top" juniors, which is not well defined anyway. But I do know that some of the teens I see ripping heavy, deep topspin balls back and forth all afternoon at the baseline -- that you assume would kill a weaker-hitting opponent -- actually don't know how to deal with junk because they seldom face it.
I say any kid past age 12 with a 8 plus utr. Can deal with junk. That's a decent amount of kids.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#50
But it seems like the chop shot / lob / drop volley "senior doubles" tennis strokes confuse the groundstroke guys more than vice versa.

The "Senior Doubles" doubles guy is used to absorbing pace, the Juniors seem unable to adapt well to the sidespin knuckleball stuff.
lol, it's because competitive juniors are standing 3ft behind the baseline, expecting the "senior doubles dinker" to actually hit the ball and reach them...
after a few games, they realize that the ball won't go further than the service line...
 
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