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

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#51
I say any kid past age 12 with a 8 plus utr. Can deal with junk. That's a decent amount of kids.
I can see a 13y/o boy at our club with UTR 7 struggle on shots against a good slicer-dicer off-pace baller. But you have to look at it from a full match stand-point. While our junior may struggle on some points and even a few games. There are many other points where his speed and agility can keep the rally going and the adult will make the mistake. And let's not discount the fact that junior can hit some pressure shots that leave sitters for clean put-aways; or floater returns that he'd step up and volley or OH.

It's more a matter of mental maturity. Can he resort to high percentage rally with low UE vs trying to hit winners on everything. He has the tools (slice, lob, loopy topspin). But can he put them to use because everything looks like an easy sitter to put away. For the most part, the latter is what you may be seeing.
 

Wise one

Professional
#52
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.

It's very simple: half the teaching pros are idiots. The other half are morons.
 
#54
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.
I don’t know much about
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.
i would still bet my money on the experienced player (30 to 40 Y.O.), same UTR 11.
 
#56
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.
I think it’s valid to compare the random juniors because that’s what I think the
OP is getting at. Of course a UTR 13 junior will demolish the typical crafty club player. It should be an equal UTR rating comparison,
in that case I would still favor the experienced UTR 13.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#57
I think it’s valid to compare the random juniors because that’s what I think the
OP is getting at. Of course a UTR 13 junior will demolish the typical crafty club player. It should be an equal UTR rating comparison,
in that case I would still favor the experienced UTR 13.
regarding "random juniors"... most juniors that take lessons, clinics, etc... are trying to develop a baseline groundstroke weapon... so i can see, that during their development (say utr 7-8), having trouble with slice, s&v, etc...) because their fundamentals aren't fully there yet...
but once they get to say utr 9 (ie. 12y olds), the advantage of having a "ground and pound" from the baseline (given strings, racquet tech, etc...) is usually ahead of the typical rec (4.0-4.5'ish) dinkers & s&v'ers... and by utr9, they are often devleoping their all court game that gets them to utr10 and beyond.
 
#58
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.
if this is true, then its fortunate for him that the opponant does not have kryptonite in his bag.
 

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#60
also, ten hours a week is nothing to a dedicated player that lives tennis. so silly
Not sure what you mean.

I'm sure there are seasonal variations of how many hrs a week you play. Plus there is time off due to being sick or even injured, family vacations, holidays, etc. Plus, this is from age 6. Every year till 16.
 
#61
Getting good takes millions of reps and developing a rather simple grinding or power baseline game means you have less strokes to worry about and more reps of those.

Even federer who has of course a very variable game took some some time because he used to be too playful with all his options often toying around a little before he figured it all out and found the right strategy.

A guy like djokovic however has less options to worry about which means his game is stable at a younger age even if ultimate ceiling might be lower.
 
#62
It's very simple: half the teaching pros are idiots. The other half are morons.
If it wasn’t for teaching pros we’d have a generation of youngsters who’s forehands look like the 40 year old beer belly club player who thinks he can beat anyone and everyone without being able to hit a shot low to high
 

Wise one

Professional
#63
If it wasn’t for teaching pros we’d have a generation of youngsters who’s forehands look like the 40 year old beer belly club player who thinks he can beat anyone and everyone without being able to hit a shot low to high

You don't hit low to high to generate topspin. That's a distortion of the truth. You hit through the ball with a rising arc.
 
#64
You don't hit low to high to generate topspin. That's a distortion of the truth. You hit through the ball with a rising arc.
A rising arc implies hitting low to high. Players like Nadal aren’t generating massive amounts of topspin by simply hitting through the ball
 

Wise one

Professional
#65
A rising arc implies hitting low to high. Players like Nadal aren’t generating massive amounts of topspin by simply hitting through the ball

Yes, they are. You don't 'swing low to high'. That's just brushing the ball. I see lower-level players all the time trying to do that. Their shots are weak and uncontrolled.
 
#69
That's not the right way to describe it. I can hit slice using a similar swing. It's what you do at the moment of impact and follow through that matter.

Watch:
If you can hit a quality slice shot with a similar swing path then I will be rooting for you all the way to Wimbledon
 
#72
Pros hit drop shots all the time, and get big cheers from the crowd.
But your typical 3.5 rec player is "too good" for fake tennis drop shots, for some reason.

I hit with a older 4.0+ who slices, drop, lob, chop.
He has mastered placement, you will run, and he will never give you a clean ball to hit.
He has mastered the art of competition and sport, and does not hit big.
He will straight bagel a 3.5, and he can compete against 4.5.

I also practice with a young 4.5 trained (ex-junior) who hits tons of slices and drop shots.
He can drop shot from anywhere on the court. Pure finesse and touch that reveals a decade of competition.
I saw him destroy a 4.5 basher who played @ HS state level.
He is trained, so knows how to not give you what you want.
After the set, 4.5 junker told me he hit like one topspin FH to the basher in the entire set.

Topspin is the most overrated stroke in 4.5 and under tennis
Both of them will beat the majority of tennis players I've met.
Both have demonstrated to me a whole new dimension to this game.
Both have redefined my definition of a "good" tennis player.
(It's not the 1-dimensional baseline basher like you describe in OP)

I am modelling my game after theirs.
Junk, Junk, Bash. (Slice, slice, baby)

#winningUgly
I played against someone who sliced everything: FH, BH, approach, you name it. I have a hard time against him because I'm not used to that many shots with slice in a match. I really had to get low and concentrate on lifting up or else the ball would dive into the net. I can slice also but he's better at it than I because that's his entire game.

But, whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger so I welcome the chance to play him so I can work on that facet of my game.

Where you been?
 

2good4U

Professional
#73
NOTHINGS more one-dimensional than



Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
 
#74
NOTHINGS more one-dimensional than



Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
Serve and volley
There is.

BASELINE
BASELINE
BASELINE
BASELINE

Any 1 thing that you keep doing over and over is one-dimensional.
 
#75
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.
I have a lot of reading to do here to get caught up on all the replies, but you're not crazy. This is a pretty big issue.

I've been coaching high school teams for about fifteen years and I when I started out, I was struck with how one-dimensional the games of so many kids have become - lots of baselining with big topspin, not much else. My tennis upbringing was sort of inverted compared to these kids because I grew up serve and volleying on grass courts. My baseline skills developed later on, so it's been easy for me to recognize what the kids don't do out there.

Long story short, you're opening a huge can of worms with this topic. I mean that in a good way though. As a tennis teacher, I've noticed lots of folks with heavy tennis credentials who have been sounding alarms about the skill sets of each generation of players becoming more limited than the previous one. Lots of criticism falls upon a portion of the coaching culture that has become greedy and short-sighted.

The indictment against some "successful" teachers/coaches is that they take short cuts with training winning kids by focusing on developing big strokes and solid serves. At a local level, these sluggers win. But later on when they go up against opponents who have taken the time (and made the investment$$$) to develop a more complete skill set, they're at a significant disadvantage and even you can see it. As long as there are kids and parents with not so much patience to learn a full skill set, there will be coaches who will gladly fast-track those kids toward baseline slugger status in their local pond of fish.

I also think this is a serious issue because this one-dimensional style of play has percolated all the way to the top of the heap in the WTA. The vast majority of that action is so "baseline batting practice and nothing else" that I can't watch it that much anymore. Those players are really good, but they're really good at only one thing.
 
#76
My ex-D1 coach used to WIN junior tournaments
Other parents would criticize his parents about his style of play.
His parents were embarrassed that he was playing "fake" tennis.
He had to explain to his own parents, "Yes, but look who has the trophy"
Eventually, they came around to his thinking, and pushed back (Yes, but he beat your son, the score is the score)
Read *David and Goliath* by Malcolm Gladwell. My favorite story is about a basketball team that played a style that was criticized by other players, coaches, and parents because it was not "real basketball"; they won a lot.

This goes to every level of tennis, to the very top.
The Fed GOAT ATP #1 slices his BH 36% of the time.
Yes, the greatest player in the history of the game slices his BH 36%, far higher than the tour average.
Do you have a reference for that?

Also, it would be interesting to see the distinction between those with 1HBHs and those with 2HBHs [my guess is that those with 1HBHs are more likely to slice].

Yet, every coach will tell you never to slice the BH.
Clueless onlookers and fans, and even pro coaches can not reconcile who has the trophy.
I've never heard a coach say to never slice the BH.

What I do hear is waffling on whether to slice the FH ["well, you should really drive the ball; I guess if you HAVE to you can slice"]. There's tangible bias against a FH slice which doesn't make sense to me: if the BH slice has certain advantages, why wouldn't those advantages apply to a FH slice also? The people telling me not to slice my FH are assuming that my FH TS is markedly better, which isn't necessarily the case, or that it's always the better option, and I disagree there too.
 
#77
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.
My UTR fluctuated from 10 to 11 when I was playing competitively, and I wasn't a 5.5 player. And I had success flustering 9s and 10s with slices. Yeah it's not the hacks you'd see a rec player hit, but still.
 
#78
My UTR fluctuated from 10 to 11 when I was playing competitively, and I wasn't a 5.5 player. And I had success flustering 9s and 10s with slices. Yeah it's not the hacks you'd see a rec player hit, but still.
But if you're an 11 playing a 10, there are probably a lot of things you could have done to fluster them purely out of skill difference, no?
 
#79
But if you're an 11 playing a 10, there are probably a lot of things you could have done to fluster them purely out of skill difference, no?
I wouldn't say a lot of things, there isn't a huge difference between an 11 and a 10. But there are 10s who hate playing slicers, assuming you consistently slice their shots deep with decent penetration.
 
#80
I wouldn't say a lot of things, there isn't a huge difference between an 11 and a 10. But there are 10s who hate playing slicers, assuming you consistently slice their shots deep with decent penetration.
Yeah and a 4.0 playing slice is going to bother a utr 10 teenager of college player? No. Not happening. It's not the chops and slice that wins matches. It's the overall game. Which is why this whole thread is stupid. A trained junior player is not going to be bothered by some random adult player slicing and trying to serve and volley.
 
#81
Yeah and a 4.0 playing slice is going to bother a utr 10 teenager of college player? No. Not happening. It's not the chops and slice that wins matches. It's the overall game. Which is why this whole thread is stupid. A trained junior player is not going to be bothered by some random adult player slicing and trying to serve and volley.
It depends on what you mean by "trained". A UTR 5 could be trained. As I stated previously, I would assume a UTR 10 would swat me like a fly when I played S&V. You're assuming the "junior" in the thread title is a UTR 10; I'm not making any such assumptions.
 

Wise one

Professional
#82
I have a lot of reading to do here to get caught up on all the replies, but you're not crazy. This is a pretty big issue.

I've been coaching high school teams for about fifteen years and I when I started out, I was struck with how one-dimensional the games of so many kids have become - lots of baselining with big topspin, not much else. My tennis upbringing was sort of inverted compared to these kids because I grew up serve and volleying on grass courts. My baseline skills developed later on, so it's been easy for me to recognize what the kids don't do out there.

Long story short, you're opening a huge can of worms with this topic. I mean that in a good way though. As a tennis teacher, I've noticed lots of folks with heavy tennis credentials who have been sounding alarms about the skill sets of each generation of players becoming more limited than the previous one. Lots of criticism falls upon a portion of the coaching culture that has become greedy and short-sighted.

The indictment against some "successful" teachers/coaches is that they take short cuts with training winning kids by focusing on developing big strokes and solid serves. At a local level, these sluggers win. But later on when they go up against opponents who have taken the time (and made the investment$$$) to develop a more complete skill set, they're at a significant disadvantage and even you can see it. As long as there are kids and parents with not so much patience to learn a full skill set, there will be coaches who will gladly fast-track those kids toward baseline slugger status in their local pond of fish.

I also think this is a serious issue because this one-dimensional style of play has percolated all the way to the top of the heap in the WTA. The vast majority of that action is so "baseline batting practice and nothing else" that I can't watch it that much anymore. Those players are really good, but they're really good at only one thing.

I haven't watched the pros for years (except occasionally for laughs). It's utter garbage.
 
#83
It depends on what you mean by "trained". A UTR 5 could be trained. As I stated previously, I would assume a UTR 10 would swat me like a fly when I played S&V. You're assuming the "junior" in the thread title is a UTR 10; I'm not making any such assumptions.
The poster stated these are high school/ junior players heading for the NCAA. So way better than utr 10. I'm being generous. I'm actually pretty sure this thread is part fairytail.
 
#87
"NCAA" covers a wide range of skills, not all of which are "way better than UTR 10".
It seems he meant they were going off to big schools with tennis teams. If not then why not say they were going to schools with bad tennis teams? Or small schools with only club tennis? The meaning of his post seems obvious to me. That they were very good juniors going off to play college tennis at NCAA schools with tennis teams. Or am I mistaken in his intent since he never cleared up what he meant?
 
#88
I think the generalization the op made in the title shows a narrow view of what a junior is and statement about ncaa was a "well high school kids go to college right", and "college is ncaa, right". Op probably doesn't know that many top juniors don't even play hs tennis do to the lack of competition. Silly generalization
 
#89
I think the generalization the op made in the title shows a narrow view of what a junior is and statement about ncaa was a "well high school kids go to college right", and "college is ncaa, right". Op probably doesn't know that many top juniors don't even play hs tennis do to the lack of competition. Silly generalization
You are probably correct. But op never revisited this thread so we we won't know I suppose.
 
#91
The kids tend to copy what they see on TV; they watch the pros. Worst thing they could do!
Running out of educational options when both halves of the teaching pros and the pros themselves are bad. Spreading yourself pretty thin when you have to teach all the up and coming future greats.jk
 
#92
If it wasn’t for teaching pros we’d have a generation of youngsters who’s forehands look like the 40 year old beer belly club player who thinks he can beat anyone and everyone without being able to hit a shot low to high
True, but it will still take several more generations to feed out the bad teaching and teachers from 1970 to 1994.
 
#93
They are working on their bread and butter shots to be able to compete at a higher level which are baseline groundies because that is style that wins at the top level.

Variety takes time to learn as does tennis iq/strategy

Smashing hell out of the ball is fun just like driving cars fast and whatever else teenagers do to excess. Hitting your opponent off the court is far more appealing at this age.
 
#94
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.
Canadian tennis took off when we started bringing in Spanish and Eastern European coaches for our programs. USTA might be a little too proud an organization to think the Euros have an advantage in training tennis players.
 
#95
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.
With bigger rackets and bigger groundstrokes, all-court game is less effective. I think the dominant pattern you see in tennis is a big serve and then an initial big groundstroke to either win or take control of the point. Even on a really big groundstroke off of a sitter, most players move into the court but they do not approach they wait for weak reply and rip another groundstrokem usually you see players approach when in total control and most of the time they don't even need to finish the volley (winner) or they have to finish a very easy volley. they never get into a situation if it all possible where they're forced to hit a difficult volley. moving to the net just cedes too much real estate for your opponent to put the ball past you especially on a serve even if they block the ball accurately back it can pass you or force you into a very difficult volley whereas if you'd stayed back a little that same block you might be able to rip a groundstroke on. One two punch.

as for junior sure if they don't have as good a control of groundstrokes somebody approaching net can rattle them and they will try to do too much with it I think tends to be the predominant pattern. so if snv chip/charge can get some free points just getting into the head of your opponent. But if the opponent has just a bit more control they don't even need a lot of power they placed the ball low at the foot of the volley or they will get weak volleys and can just pass or lobbed the net player.

I'm a 3.5 player who played maybe a 20 year old who had been a top high school guy but hadn't even played for a while. This was a couple years ago (I was 45) and I tried serve and volley mix up Pace etc. but he had plenty of control and Pace that he could pass me nearly every time. The tacti failed I think I lost breadstick
 
#96
If you are always playing on surfaces where safe and high-margin topspin is effective, there isn't a lot of incentive to fully develop other kinds of playing styles.

Someone told me the other day that the US doesn't even have a national grass court championship for juniors. That seems crazy to me.
 
#97
I watched a few ITF matches recently with some decently ranked players on the boys and girls side.

One kid hit a slice on a consistent basis, and it was a really high quality slice backhand. I remember thinking, damn that is how you hit a slice. Low, penetrating, skidding off the court and probably the best slice I've seen in person. It didn't throw off the other kid at all.
 
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