Worst day since awhile

tlm

G.O.A.T.
FiReFTW You are sounding more and more like TTPS even though it's probably not your intent. Someone who feels that most rec players bunt the ball, and you don't want to be like them. So you take lessons, try to accelerate your learning curve, and then struggle mightily with any sort of consistency when having to adjust to balls of different paces and not in your strike zone. Then you get upset and start threads like these or console yourself saying how most rec players bunt the ball in certain situations because your UTS12/13 buddy said so, how difficult it is to master shots, and so it's ok to not have any consistency because you are practicing "real strokes" as opposed to those other rec pushers.

As I said before, I know at least 2 guys in their early 40s (so at least a decade older than you), who play better than you despite starting in the last couple of years. You as usual assume they are probably doing that because they bunt the ball while you are playing beautiful strokes that have a higher upside. No such thing. Their strokes are quite good and have nice pace too. Granted both of them are pretty athletic and fluid like you are, but more so. However, I don't see either fretting about so many things. They practice, play, and move on.

Stop overthinking. Play more. Accept your losses and try to be a neutral observer in terms of where your strokes take you. Don't assume you have a higher upside because your strokes are more fluid. Despite what you believe there are a lot of rec players with good strokes. Maybe not having a personalized stroke that the rec player across the net has...the stroke or serve you deem ugly with a lower upside...might ironically be holding you back. You never know. Just enjoy the game and more than that..enjoy the process.
A lot of good points made here. I remember a few years back a couple of pretty good 4.0 level players that were on my wife’s 4.0 team that worked a lot with the club pro. They looked really good and could hit those beautiful strokes when being fed easy shots and relaxed rallying and they took a ton of lessons.

But come match time their strokes would break down when under pressure and having to hit all different kind of shots. I would hear them talk about how they have the better strokes and hit the ball harder than their opponent and can’t believe they lost. One of them got so frustrated that she ended up quitting and the other went strictly to playing doubles.
 
If you're hitting 3 double faults in a row it is not the strongest part of your game. A lot of low level rec players have fast paced serves with no control. Great when it goes in. Else the oppoent knows a double fault is coming. Until you get your 2nd serve working well, you can't consider your serve as a very strong or the strongest part of your game.
Seconded. For starters, a good idea in fact is to take the pace off the first serve a tad to make more of them go in. Again, it's about playing to smart targets rather than going for 110%. Now here I come again with the annoying music parallels but this idea of going for your 70/80% shot that goes in 9/10 times is similar to what great live performers do. Just yesterday, bunch of us were discussing how great shredders like Paul Gilbert never look like they are having to work very hard to play the ridiculously difficult stuff that they do. That's because they only compose stuff that takes 70% of their ability to perform, giving themselves margin for the bad days. If they wrote stuff that would take 100% of their ability to perform, they would fail badly even if they were slightly off on the day. This isn't dissimilar to what pros do and is what recs should do as well. Don't hit your BEST serve unless, unless, maybe, when you are already 5-2 40-0 and can afford to chance your arm.

This doesn't automatically mean the option is to just tap it in and pray hard that the other guy doesn't say thank you very much and hit the easy return winner (which, if he is a good player, he will do 9/10 times and force the error the 1 other time). Instead, hit your full swing but without pressing or forcing the RHS at all, just a nice, loose swing and swing to a target. Think whether you are going into him, down the T, wide, etc. For the second serve, maybe just toss a smidgen higher so you get spin going. That's unless you already have a good kick serve. I don't so I simply toss higher to get some spin on it.

Does it work? Well, today, in a nearly complete set with a player better than me, we had three breaks in all at 5-4, one each for both right at the beginning and the third (which I conceded) off a one point deuce at 4-4. I still made maybe four double faults in my four service games which is too many. But it's a lot better than DF-ing thrice in a row.

Speaking of which, another point to note: IF you are getting into a double fault spree, just STOP. Pause. Take a deep breath and relax. You ain't go no shot clocks in rec tennis and you most likely also don't bounce as many times as Nadal or Djokovic so you can 'cheat', take your time to serve.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Speaking of which, another point to note: IF you are getting into a double fault spree, just STOP. Pause. Take a deep breath and relax. You ain't go no shot clocks in rec tennis and you most likely also don't bounce as many times as Nadal or Djokovic so you can 'cheat', take your time to serve.
Also, if you don't have a good 2nd serve, tap the ball in. No one cares that you do. Or if you are stubborn and just want to swing away because you think swinging away will one day magically land those 2nd serves, then don't get upset when your performance swings around like a pendulum. My 2nd serve didn't improve because I decided to keep swinging away in games. It improved because I worked and worked and got to a point in practices where I was consistently landing it in, which is what gave me the confidence in games too. Until that point, there is no shame in just getting it in than commiting a plethora of double faults.
 
Also, if you don't have a good 2nd serve, tap the ball in. No one cares that you do. Or if you are stubborn and just want to swing away because you think swinging away will one day magically land those 2nd serves, then don't get upset when your performance swings around like a pendulum. My 2nd serve didn't improve because I decided to keep swinging away in games. It improved because I worked and worked and got to a point in practices where I was consistently landing it in, which is what gave me the confidence in games too. Until that point, there is no shame in just getting it in than commiting a plethora of double faults.
Agree completely. I know recs find this unflattering, but a weak tapped in serve that almost doesn't get to the returner is more likely to get netted by the return than one coming with decent pace but right into the slot. Again, I speak from experience. My coach gave this very simple advice that us recs find so hard to keep in mind, "Your first opponent is the net. If you don't beat the net, you can't beat the guy on the other side of it." Ergo, AT LEAST tap it in and make him play. Doesn't matter if he hits a return winner but when you're on your second serve, you HAVE to get it in. At any cost.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Seconded. For starters, a good idea in fact is to take the pace off the first serve a tad to make more of them go in. Again, it's about playing to smart targets rather than going for 110%. Now here I come again with the annoying music parallels but this idea of going for your 70/80% shot that goes in 9/10 times is similar to what great live performers do. Just yesterday, bunch of us were discussing how great shredders like Paul Gilbert never look like they are having to work very hard to play the ridiculously difficult stuff that they do. That's because they only compose stuff that takes 70% of their ability to perform, giving themselves margin for the bad days. If they wrote stuff that would take 100% of their ability to perform, they would fail badly even if they were slightly off on the day. This isn't dissimilar to what pros do and is what recs should do as well. Don't hit your BEST serve unless, unless, maybe, when you are already 5-2 40-0 and can afford to chance your arm.

This doesn't automatically mean the option is to just tap it in and pray hard that the other guy doesn't say thank you very much and hit the easy return winner (which, if he is a good player, he will do 9/10 times and force the error the 1 other time). Instead, hit your full swing but without pressing or forcing the RHS at all, just a nice, loose swing and swing to a target. Think whether you are going into him, down the T, wide, etc. For the second serve, maybe just toss a smidgen higher so you get spin going. That's unless you already have a good kick serve. I don't so I simply toss higher to get some spin on it.

Does it work? Well, today, in a nearly complete set with a player better than me, we had three breaks in all at 5-4, one each for both right at the beginning and the third (which I conceded) off a one point deuce at 4-4. I still made maybe four double faults in my four service games which is too many. But it's a lot better than DF-ing thrice in a row.

Speaking of which, another point to note: IF you are getting into a double fault spree, just STOP. Pause. Take a deep breath and relax. You ain't go no shot clocks in rec tennis and you most likely also don't bounce as many times as Nadal or Djokovic so you can 'cheat', take your time to serve.
Good post. It’s funny that you mention only going 70-80% on your shots, that is exactly what my coach has been preaching to me.
 

BetaServe

Professional
FiReFTW You are sounding more and more like TTPS even though it's probably not your intent. Someone who feels that most rec players bunt the ball, and you don't want to be like them. So you take lessons, try to accelerate your learning curve, and then struggle mightily with any sort of consistency when having to adjust to balls of different paces and not in your strike zone. Then you get upset and start threads like these or console yourself saying how most rec players bunt the ball in certain situations because your UTS12/13 buddy said so, how difficult it is to master shots, and so it's ok to not have any consistency because you are practicing "real strokes" as opposed to those other rec pushers.

As I said before, I know at least 2 guys in their early 40s (so at least a decade older than you), who play better than you despite starting in the last couple of years. You as usual assume they are probably doing that because they bunt the ball while you are playing beautiful strokes that have a higher upside. No such thing. Their strokes are quite good and have nice pace too. Granted both of them are pretty athletic and fluid like you are, but more so. However, I don't see either fretting about so many things. They practice, play, and move on.

Stop overthinking. Play more. Accept your losses and try to be a neutral observer in terms of where your strokes take you. Don't assume you have a higher upside because your strokes are more fluid. Despite what you believe there are a lot of rec players with good strokes. Maybe not having a personalized stroke that the rec player across the net has...the stroke or serve you deem ugly with a lower upside...might ironically be holding you back. You never know. Just enjoy the game and more than that..enjoy the process.
Should we give a name to those players who think they deserve a higher upside because of their beautiful strokes? Let's call them the Instagram tennis players.
 

Chadalina

Legend
So far from what ive learned and how ive done things and how im practicing at the moment ive come to some realizations, if you want to really make a shot solid it takes a long time, because theres just way too much things to learn and to drill till it becomes good.

Theres a big difference in learning how to hit a pretty good forehand, backhand, volleys etc...

and theres a big difference in learning how to hit all of those shots above in different situations and hitting different types of shots and drilling all of that so much that its quality and consistent.

Example:

Forehand volley mid court
Forehand volley closer to net
Forehand volley very close to net while cutting balls
Forehand volley stretched wide

Then all of those 4 above each separately against:

Low dipping topspin shots
Slices
Mid balls
Higher balls
Slow balls
Very fast balls


Then learning to hit these different types of volleys against most of those above (some types are not used in some situations above, but used in at least a bounch of them) :

Deep punching volleys
Backspin volleys
Drop volleys
Angled volleys

But learning to hit all these things above in all these situations against all these different balls, and drilling and practicing all these things to the point where its at a very solid quality level in both precision, consistency and mastery, will take quite a long time, and this is just one stroke, forehand volley in this case.

Im sure I forgot some things, but if you only count each of the above spots against each of these balls its 4x6 so 24, and if you count that each of these will be viable to use at least 2 types of volleys its 48 total

There are also Backhand volleys, Forehand, Backhand, Return of serve forehand, Return of serve backhand, Slice backhand, Slice forehand, Drop shots on both forehand side and backhand, Swinging volleys, Overheads, Backhand smash, Defensive shots, Speciality shots, Flat serve, Slice serve, Topspin serve, Kick serve

I probably forgot a few,

But thats around 20 more strokes added to that 1 volley stroke that has 48 different situations/types etc.. so thats around 1000 total slightly different things to learn and become good at, so basically what your saying is, you can get really good at for example a mid court forehand volley against mid balls using a punching volley plus using a backspin volley BOTH in 20 mins practicing both, (using 20 of the rest mins for other things) assuming you practice for 1 hour every single day? Because thats what kind of timeline you have for these 1000 things then in order to master this all in 2 years

and then there are footwork patterns for all these shots, and then there are also other things that are important

Then theres also applying this and transfering it to match play under mentally tough conditions and trusting it there

Sorry but you will not ever in a million years be able to get good at all of this in 2-3 years, even 5-6 years its not possible in my opinion, I think you can cover most of the important ones, but not completely all of them at least not to a solid good level.

You can learn to hit some basic decent shots in a short amount of time, but really covering all of them in depth to a pretty good proficient level takes ALOT of time ALOT of dedication ALOT of drilling.

Infact I would say you will probably need to risk and prioritize which things are more important and which are less, because theres not enough time to really cover everything to a really good proficient level even in 10 years
As long as you enjoy hitting the ball you will continue to improve. Enjoy the game. No stress like its a chore to hit a fh (self pressure). Instead of thinking about 100 different things, just hit as many as you can, everything else will fall into place.

Never judge progression based on results until your show ready :) Remember your a work in progress.

In your practice sets use a stronger version of your 2nd serve as the first. Its technically the same serve twice and fresh in memory, it also helps the rest of your game (they return it). You want to practice in practice, not hit 100 aces :)
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame

Look at what was linked at the end of the ET video I just watched from BetaServe. Seems too appropriate. Personally, I don't agree about the shot targeting and waiting for opponents to miss, but overall worth a watch. If I became a better player aiming for bigger targets (albeit, purposeful like they said), then I doubt going back to aiming for small targets like the lines will make me better. And if waiting for errors works against 5.0+ players, it'll certainly work on 4.5 players. That being said, the mental difference between "I'm going to sit out here as long as it takes" and "please miss! please miss!" is huge. The former shows that they want to play tennis, the latter doesn't want to play tennis, they just want a free win.
 

ptuanminh

Hall of Fame
I just feel a good balance is best and playing even pick up matches against a wide variety of players is very important. No lessons or drills can get you used to playing under pressure and becoming match tough. Plus being able to adjust during a match well can only come from playing matches. Add in all the weird styles of players that you face in rec tennis also.
I am not putting down the importance of mental strength and match toughness. Between 2 players of same level, its the deciding factor. But if you have glaring weakness, 4.0 caliber players will find a way to get there.
I see you are practicing your FH. If you have the time and resource, try practicing your FH A LOT for 3 4 months. By a lot, i am saying 5 times a week, 2 hours each time. Keep in mind the footwork factor too. If you try it, you will see your FH will get to a whole different level. Cheers.
 

Look at what was linked at the end of the ET video I just watched from BetaServe. Seems too appropriate. Personally, I don't agree about the shot targeting and waiting for opponents to miss, but overall worth a watch. If I became a better player aiming for bigger targets (albeit, purposeful like they said), then I doubt going back to aiming for small targets like the lines will make me better. And if waiting for errors works against 5.0+ players, it'll certainly work on 4.5 players. That being said, the mental difference between "I'm going to sit out here as long as it takes" and "please miss! please miss!" is huge. The former shows that they want to play tennis, the latter doesn't want to play tennis, they just want a free win.
Exactly. I don't agree with the part about high level players targeting tiny targets. If those tiny targets are too close to the lines, THAT'S a recipe for disaster. But agree with most of the other things said in the video.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
It REALLY isn't that complicated. I know people who have developed solid all around games in 1-2 years. Again, they ALL had the benefit of coming from athletic backgrounds, and some had good teachers on top of that. I've seen others who developed a solid baseline game and a competent net game in 1-2 years.
So that would make them a solid 4.5 (UTR8) player then, at least thats my definition of really learning a solid good all around game.

If so then thats amazing and insane and the must be extremely athletic and talented, im obviously not like that, so for me it does not apply.
I know how to hit alot of shots solid but I still have man holes to fill in.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
If you're hitting 3 double faults in a row it is not the strongest part of your game. A lot of low level rec players have fast paced serves with no control. Great when it goes in. Else the oppoent knows a double fault is coming. Until you get your 2nd serve working well, you can't consider your serve as a very strong or the strongest part of your game.
Thats a good point, lets say potential weapon then, but still a liability when my 2nd serve is very poor.

Thats why its just hilarious that when my serve is working that day and not DF alot its extremely hard for anyone to break me and even my coach struggles, but when its not working and im DF alot its hard for me to win service games even against much lower level players than those that have a hard time when its working, beause i gift so many points for free.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
FiReFTW You are sounding more and more like TTPS even though it's probably not your intent. Someone who feels that most rec players bunt the ball, and you don't want to be like them. So you take lessons, try to accelerate your learning curve, and then struggle mightily with any sort of consistency when having to adjust to balls of different paces and not in your strike zone. Then you get upset and start threads like these or console yourself saying how most rec players bunt the ball in certain situations because your UTS12/13 buddy said so, how difficult it is to master shots, and so it's ok to not have any consistency because you are practicing "real strokes" as opposed to those other rec pushers.

As I said before, I know at least 2 guys in their early 40s (so at least a decade older than you), who play better than you despite starting in the last couple of years. You as usual assume they are probably doing that because they bunt the ball while you are playing beautiful strokes that have a higher upside. No such thing. Their strokes are quite good and have nice pace too. Granted both of them are pretty athletic and fluid like you are, but more so. However, I don't see either fretting about so many things. They practice, play, and move on.

Stop overthinking. Play more. Accept your losses and try to be a neutral observer in terms of where your strokes take you. Don't assume you have a higher upside because your strokes are more fluid. Despite what you believe there are a lot of rec players with good strokes. Maybe not having a personalized stroke that the rec player across the net has...the stroke or serve you deem ugly with a lower upside...might ironically be holding you back. You never know. Just enjoy the game and more than that..enjoy the process.
Yes your right im thinking about things too much and stressing to much to the point where i feel frustrated with tennis, instead of just focusing on miself and just enjoying getting better and improving and seeing changes which is a really fun aspect of this.
 
So that would make them a solid 4.5 (UTR8) player then, at least thats my definition of really learning a solid good all around game.

If so then thats amazing and insane and the must be extremely athletic and talented, im obviously not like that, so for me it does not apply.
I know how to hit alot of shots solid but I still have man holes to fill in.
My uncle who lives in Illinois is a 5.0. Sure, that makes him not a NorCal/SoCal 5.0, whatever that means, but I have played him and he IS a really good player. BUT he is also in his 50s and has had his heart operated on. What I am saying: he is GOOD athletically, but not amazing. For sure I have played players who were way more athletic than him, irrespective of whether they could match his strokes. And here's the thing: his strokes aren't necessarily textbook, though they are pretty solid and not exactly horrible form-wise. His forehand is kinda flattish, Tomic-like, doesn't actually get as much underneath the ball as you're told you should. But he READS the game so well. His decision making is spot on and he will ALWAYS get that one extra ball back in. His returning is amazing too. Say 3.5-4.0 ish players get shocked to find maybe their BEST serves coming back with interest.

So I don't think there's a checkbox of elements that make up a high level rec player. It's a mix and match but they all boil down to a few fundamentals - they can control their serve points, they are consistent enough to lead you to beat yourself and they can go from defence to offence on a dime.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Also, if you don't have a good 2nd serve, tap the ball in. No one cares that you do. Or if you are stubborn and just want to swing away because you think swinging away will one day magically land those 2nd serves, then don't get upset when your performance swings around like a pendulum. My 2nd serve didn't improve because I decided to keep swinging away in games. It improved because I worked and worked and got to a point in practices where I was consistently landing it in, which is what gave me the confidence in games too. Until that point, there is no shame in just getting it in than commiting a plethora of double faults.
Im not saying i should be swinging like crazy, its a good idea ro maybe tone it down to 70-80% but confortable spin, if i swing like that in practice i can make alot of serves, so i kinda dont see the point of bunting it in since i know how to spin the serve in, its more about applying this in matches and not being tight knowing if i miss this i give away a free point.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
My uncle who lives in Illinois is a 5.0. Sure, that makes him not a NorCal/SoCal 5.0, whatever that means, but I have played him and he IS a really good player. BUT he is also in his 50s and has had his heart operated on. What I am saying: he is GOOD athletically, but not amazing. For sure I have played players who were way more athletic than him, irrespective of whether they could match his strokes. And here's the thing: his strokes aren't necessarily textbook, though they are pretty solid and not exactly horrible form-wise. His forehand is kinda flattish, Tomic-like, doesn't actually get as much underneath the ball as you're told you should. But he READS the game so well. His decision making is spot on and he will ALWAYS get that one extra ball back in. His returning is amazing too. Say 3.5-4.0 ish players get shocked to find maybe their BEST serves coming back with interest.

So I don't think there's a checkbox of elements that make up a high level rec player. It's a mix and match but they all boil down to a few fundamentals - they can control their serve points, they are consistent enough to lead you to beat yourself and they can go from defence to offence on a dime.
Yeah I agree, good point.

Anyway I know where in losing most points and which parts need to be improved during the winter now.

So I know what my focus will be, and im excited to see hos it translates next summer in matches!
 

Keendog

Semi-Pro
Mate, are you still playing for money? If not, who gives a rat’s? If you aren’t then just hit the skin off it and find your inner zen when it works. Meant to be fun, innit. Internet reach around, sheezuz.
Reach around must mean something else over there...
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
So that would make them a solid 4.5 (UTR8) player then, at least thats my definition of really learning a solid good all around game.

If so then thats amazing and insane and the must be extremely athletic and talented, im obviously not like that, so for me it does not apply.
I know how to hit alot of shots solid but I still have man holes to fill in.
You don't give yourself nearly enough credit. If your serve is as good as you say it is, you clearly have a good amount of athletic ability. The problem is clearly your head. All the players I'm talking about had a really good head or were taught discipline in their tennis. They weren't flashy players. And the thing is, getting better wasn't a matter of improving their strokes, it was further improving their head.

The difference between me playing at a 4.0/4.5 level and 5.0 level is purely my head. Knowing where to position, when to attack, when to defend, where to hit and which shot to use, shot tolerance, and analyzing my opponent. Yes, it's a big jump, but that's the point - your mental ability makes a huge difference.

A 3.5 has all the tools they need to play at a 4.0 or even 5.0 level if they have good legs. They just need the head to play at a 5.0 level with a few less tools or lower quality tools than your average 5.0 player. But the fact is, your level is the weighted combination of all of your skills, physical, mental, and technical. I know a 5.0 lefty that got to where he is without being able to hit a serve to a righty's forehand. He basically had 2 serves, a big lefty slice or twist to the backhand of a righty. But he's a monster at net and an absolute wall from the baseline.

Just change your mindset to winning points by rallying rather than hitting winners or forcing errors and enjoy the rallies. It's legitimately the fastest way to get better.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Yes your right im thinking about things too much and stressing to much to the point where i feel frustrated with tennis, instead of just focusing on miself and just enjoying getting better and improving and seeing changes which is a really fun aspect of this.
You are doing good . No matter how much wise advice we give you, all of us also get frustrated ;). It is just human nature.

To you this is more than just a fun activity. That’s fine. You can have long term goals of playing at a high rec level.

Do realize that no matter what you do you might never go past 4.5. What if your limit is 5.0? Then what?

That’s why win or lose, happy or frustrated after the game, always be thankful for being blessed enough to do something that you enjoy doing. Always feel that joy the next time you walk out on the court.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
You are doing good . No matter how much wise advice we give you, all of us also get frustrated ;). It is just human nature.

To you this is more than just a fun activity. That’s fine. You can have long term goals of playing at a high rec level.

Do realize that no matter what you do you might never go past 4.5. What if your limit is 5.0? Then what?

That’s why win or lose, happy or frustrated after the game, always be thankful for being blessed enough to do something that you enjoy doing. Always feel that joy the next time you walk out on the court.
Well I just want to reach my potential whatever it may be, and I don't want to have regrets that I didn't do all I could in order to do that.

The level I reach is not that important in retrospect, its more like I know aproximately how people play at certain levels, and I know what levels alot of junior u18 girls here are, and also what kind of level some ex junior guys here are and some coaches like my coach etc... and I just want to reach something close to that because thats pretty decent level to me, and would also enjoy playing against such players and being competitive if that makes sense to you, and that range im talking about is from UTR8 to UTR10 or so, and all these players look quite good to me when I watch them play, so that would be really good for me, to play similar to that, do you get what I mean?
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Well I just want to reach my potential whatever it may be, and I don't want to have regrets that I didn't do all I could in order to do that.

The level I reach is not that important in retrospect, its more like I know aproximately how people play at certain levels, and I know what levels alot of junior u18 girls here are, and also what kind of level some ex junior guys here are and some coaches like my coach etc... and I just want to reach something close to that because thats pretty decent level to me, and would also enjoy playing against such players and being competitive if that makes sense to you, and that range im talking about is from UTR8 to UTR10 or so, and all these players look quite good to me when I watch them play, so that would be really good for me, to play similar to that, do you get what I mean?
Yes. That’s a realistic goal. No reason why you shouldn’t achieve it. All the best.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
You don't give yourself nearly enough credit. If your serve is as good as you say it is, you clearly have a good amount of athletic ability. The problem is clearly your head. All the players I'm talking about had a really good head or were taught discipline in their tennis. They weren't flashy players. And the thing is, getting better wasn't a matter of improving their strokes, it was further improving their head.

The difference between me playing at a 4.0/4.5 level and 5.0 level is purely my head. Knowing where to position, when to attack, when to defend, where to hit and which shot to use, shot tolerance, and analyzing my opponent. Yes, it's a big jump, but that's the point - your mental ability makes a huge difference.

A 3.5 has all the tools they need to play at a 4.0 or even 5.0 level if they have good legs. They just need the head to play at a 5.0 level with a few less tools or lower quality tools than your average 5.0 player. But the fact is, your level is the weighted combination of all of your skills, physical, mental, and technical. I know a 5.0 lefty that got to where he is without being able to hit a serve to a righty's forehand. He basically had 2 serves, a big lefty slice or twist to the backhand of a righty. But he's a monster at net and an absolute wall from the baseline.

Just change your mindset to winning points by rallying rather than hitting winners or forcing errors and enjoy the rallies. It's legitimately the fastest way to get better.
Yeah I know I still have problems with my head, but my serve is not a consistent weapon yet, when its clicking and im having a good 60-70% 1st serve in then it really is a weapon, I managed to lose a set 6:7 against an official UTR8 junior, which is pretty good level, but my 1st serve was really hot and going in, and its a big weapon when that happens, but when im having a bit of an off day and my 1st serve is like 45-50% in and im having to hit alot of 2nd serve, I don't yet have that reliable quality 2nd serve to back it up, and even tho in practice I can hit a decent amount of them in (tho it needs alot more consistency still) I don't trust it in matches and I always think about not missing when im up there for a 2nd serve, and then im making lots of double faults, and I would easily get bageled by that player then, so since my 1st serve is strong but my 2nd serve is not reliable yet, im having to really rely on my serve clicking when I play, if it is my level is much higher then if im struggling with it, if that maeks sense.

But yes I agree with ur last part, I do need more patience and point build, im trying to finish points off too soon at times, but ive improved this alot, its gradualy getting better, 1 year ago all I did was try to blast the ball, now im playing much smarter and more patient, but im still making quite bad decisions way too many times and making wrong shot selections alot of times.
 
My uncle who lives in Illinois is a 5.0. Sure, that makes him not a NorCal/SoCal 5.0, whatever that means, but I have played him and he IS a really good player. BUT he is also in his 50s and has had his heart operated on. What I am saying: he is GOOD athletically, but not amazing. For sure I have played players who were way more athletic than him, irrespective of whether they could match his strokes. And here's the thing: his strokes aren't necessarily textbook, though they are pretty solid and not exactly horrible form-wise. His forehand is kinda flattish, Tomic-like, doesn't actually get as much underneath the ball as you're told you should. But he READS the game so well. His decision making is spot on and he will ALWAYS get that one extra ball back in. His returning is amazing too. Say 3.5-4.0 ish players get shocked to find maybe their BEST serves coming back with interest.

So I don't think there's a checkbox of elements that make up a high level rec player. It's a mix and match but they all boil down to a few fundamentals - they can control their serve points, they are consistent enough to lead you to beat yourself and they can go from defence to offence on a dime.
People get too hung up on what they think is "proper" form so when they see someone who deviates, they immediately downgrade the person's perceived ability/skill.

But there are many ways up the mountain. Some of which aren't even immediately visible: for example, how do you know how mentally tough someone is during warmup?

I think the 3Fs [footwork, fitness, focus <mental toughness> and spacing] are foundational. I think they are the deciding factors in a lot of matches. And yet they may not at all be apparent while watching someone warm up. People don't consider these things as weapons; I do.
 
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@FiReFTW,

Regarding your quote "Well I just want to reach my potential whatever it may be": did you listen to the Litwin interview? He addresses this specific point early on.

"The message I picked up from 35 years of teaching is 'I'm not playing as well as I can play.' [match vs practice]. I always thought people wanted to be great: I want to be like Djokovic, etc. But they were really saying 'I want to play as well as I can play'"

"The noise going on in my head is the wrong noise: worry, fear, can't do it…and I just started to, one by one, train those pieces out."

So much in this interview deals with just the issues you bring up. I highly recommend it.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
@FiReFTW,

Regarding your quote "Well I just want to reach my potential whatever it may be": did you listen to the Litwin interview? He addresses this specific point early on.

"The message I picked up from 35 years of teaching is 'I'm not playing as well as I can play.' [match vs practice]. I always thought people wanted to be great: I want to be like Djokovic, etc. But they were really saying 'I want to play as well as I can play'"

"The noise going on in my head is the wrong noise: worry, fear, can't do it…and I just started to, one by one, train those pieces out."

So much in this interview deals with just the issues you bring up. I highly recommend it.
But at the end he narrows it down to hitting well with players in the UTR 8-10 range. That is a reasonable goal to shoot for.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
But at the end he narrows it down to hitting well with players in the UTR 8-10 range. That is a reasonable goal to shoot for.
Yes but being competitive with them in matches, not hitting well with them like rallying with them, I can already do that.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
@FiReFTW,

Regarding your quote "Well I just want to reach my potential whatever it may be": did you listen to the Litwin interview? He addresses this specific point early on.

"The message I picked up from 35 years of teaching is 'I'm not playing as well as I can play.' [match vs practice]. I always thought people wanted to be great: I want to be like Djokovic, etc. But they were really saying 'I want to play as well as I can play'"

"The noise going on in my head is the wrong noise: worry, fear, can't do it…and I just started to, one by one, train those pieces out."

So much in this interview deals with just the issues you bring up. I highly recommend it.
I already saw that when you first showed me but il watch it again now.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Yes but being competitive with them in matches, not hitting well with them like rallying with them, I can already do that.
Yes. I understood what you meant.

However you are already falling back into your previous trap now.

Instead of saying you rally well with higher players, but want to get competitive in matches, tell yourself over and over you are the same player who struggles with lower players. So that should be your first goal. To be clearly better than the players you deem are lower because you are one of them right now. Else you will fall back in that same unrealistic expectations - frustration loop.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Yes. I understood what you meant.

However you are already falling back into your previous trap now.

Instead of saying you rally well with higher players, but want to get competitive in matches, tell yourself over and over you are the same player who struggles with lower players. So that should be your first goal. To be clearly better than the players you deem are lower because you are one of them right now. Else you will fall back in that same unrealistic expectations - frustration loop.
yeah, good idea.
 

Sea70

New User
Fire, There are a lot of different mental issues players go through. The most common is what you can see at almost any tournament. A player makes a few mistakes, they start getting frustrated. They can’t handle the frustration, tense up and make more mistakes which gets them more frustrated. If tennis was scored like a basketball game, I would guess 99% of the time when someone falls into this state, they will not be able to recover and lose. However in tennis, you will lose the first set but if you can learn to reset , you can still have a chance in the second set and if you win that, it’s like starting from 0 for the third set. Since your familiar with utrs, I would say it’s hard to get past a 7 if you can’t reset your brain for the second set.
This is why games like 21, drop feed games and 10 point tie breakers will not teach you how to compete in tournaments. They are ok for working on technique and strategy. And drilling will not help this at all. I’m not saying to not drill but you need the right balance to improve.

Then there are pressures in playing tournaments. Being seeded is one. The pressures as you go deeper into a tournament is another . I wouldn’t worry much about these for now.

I think what you’re going through is more related to expectations because you’ve over trained and haven’t played enough correct practice matches. I just read that you’re going to train this winter and be ready for next summer. You should go back and read my last post about Jr training. That wasn’t an example, I’ve seen it a lot. Don’t fall into that trap.


You can classify opponents into 5 categories,

1. The ones that are much better than you. 99% of the time, they are going to win.
2. The ones you are going to try to win. These are the ones you can win around 25% of the time.
3. Competitive matches. Either person has a chance of winning every time they play.
4. The ones you should win. These are the ones you win around 80% of the time.
5. The ones you’re just too much better than. You should win 99% of the time.

Number 4 Is the hardest to play for most players. These are the matches that are going to put you under the most pressure.. Try to classify your opponents into the right category based on results . If someone is winning you more than 75% of the time but your still classing him as a 4, you’re going to end up disappointed for no reason. If you’re playing someone for the first time, classify them as #2.
If you play a couple of # 2,3 and 4 practice matches a week(more #4), in 6 month I don’t think you’ll be dealing with these mental issues and will get you to the next level.

What does your coach think of all this?
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Fire, There are a lot of different mental issues players go through. The most common is what you can see at almost any tournament. A player makes a few mistakes, they start getting frustrated. They can’t handle the frustration, tense up and make more mistakes which gets them more frustrated. If tennis was scored like a basketball game, I would guess 99% of the time when someone falls into this state, they will not be able to recover and lose. However in tennis, you will lose the first set but if you can learn to reset , you can still have a chance in the second set and if you win that, it’s like starting from 0 for the third set. Since your familiar with utrs, I would say it’s hard to get past a 7 if you can’t reset your brain for the second set.
This is why games like 21, drop feed games and 10 point tie breakers will not teach you how to compete in tournaments. They are ok for working on technique and strategy. And drilling will not help this at all. I’m not saying to not drill but you need the right balance to improve.

Then there are pressures in playing tournaments. Being seeded is one. The pressures as you go deeper into a tournament is another . I wouldn’t worry much about these for now.

I think what you’re going through is more related to expectations because you’ve over trained and haven’t played enough correct practice matches. I just read that you’re going to train this winter and be ready for next summer. You should go back and read my last post about Jr training. That wasn’t an example, I’ve seen it a lot. Don’t fall into that trap.


You can classify opponents into 5 categories,

1. The ones that are much better than you. 99% of the time, they are going to win.
2. The ones you are going to try to win. These are the ones you can win around 25% of the time.
3. Competitive matches. Either person has a chance of winning every time they play.
4. The ones you should win. These are the ones you win around 80% of the time.
5. The ones you’re just too much better than. You should win 99% of the time.

Number 4 Is the hardest to play for most players. These are the matches that are going to put you under the most pressure.. Try to classify your opponents into the right category based on results . If someone is winning you more than 75% of the time but your still classing him as a 4, you’re going to end up disappointed for no reason. If you’re playing someone for the first time, classify them as #2.
If you play a couple of # 2,3 and 4 practice matches a week(more #4), in 6 month I don’t think you’ll be dealing with these mental issues and will get you to the next level.

What does your coach think of all this?
Yeah good advice, I need to work and drill hard this winter but I also need to play alot of sparring matches against a variety of opponents, worse, same level, better, my coach alread told met his.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Btw @Sea70 you are on this forum for a while but you post very rarely, how come you chose to be so involved in me and my thread and offer advices? And also what level are you? Or are you a coach?

Btw I agree with you about number 4 being the hardest to play... I love to play against Nr2, and even against Nr1... Nr3 is a bit harder because I want to win and dont want to lose, but Nr4 is by far the hardest, because I know they can beat me if I don't play good, but I feel like im better so I don't want to lose to them and I would not be happy with that.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Btw @Sea70 you are on this forum for a while but you post very rarely, how come you chose to be so involved in me and my thread and offer advices? And also what level are you? Or are you a coach?

Btw I agree with you about number 4 being the hardest to play... I love to play against Nr2, and even against Nr1... Nr3 is a bit harder because I want to win and dont want to lose, but Nr4 is by far the hardest, because I know they can beat me if I don't play good, but I feel like im better so I don't want to lose to them and I would not be happy with that.


That is because you are deriving the 80% statistic based on your opinion of their strokes. You should revise who you think of as #4


If they were truly #4 you would not struggle against. them.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
That is because you are deriving the 80% statistic based on your opinion of their strokes. You should revise who you think of as #4


If they were truly #4 you would not struggle against. them.
Not quite 80%, but im talking about people that are slightly worse than me and I do beat most of the time, but I tend to be very tight because I know they can beat me if I don't play well and I don't want to lose anyway because I consider miself better, and I then im super tight and don't really play as well as I could, I do tend to win most times but its a scrappy win if you know what I mean, and it doesn't feel that satisfying because I didn't really play that well and was tight and made too many easy mistakes.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Not quite 80%, but im talking about people that are slightly worse than me and I do beat most of the time, but I tend to be very tight because I know they can beat me if I don't play well and I don't want to lose anyway because I consider miself better, and I then im super tight and don't really play as well as I could, I do tend to win most times but its a scrappy win if you know what I mean, and it doesn't feel that satisfying because I didn't really play that well and was tight and made too many easy mistakes.
Love your passion to improve but you are all over the place brother.

I don’t think you are listening well even though you say you are. How can they be “slightly worse” than you but lose to you most of the time? If someone is slightly worse it should be a 55/45 split in terms of results given that they have a chance on days your level dips slightly.

You need to be realistic of where you currently are at and I don’t think you are. You have received some good advice on this thread. However nothing will change until you accurately assess what your current level is. I am not sure at this point in your journey if your ego will allow you to do that. Again love your passion and hope you find joy in this game.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Love your passion to improve but you are all over the place brother.

I don’t think you are listening well even though you say you are. How can they be “slightly worse” than you but lose to you most of the time? If someone is slightly worse it should be a 55/45 split in terms of results given that they have a chance on days your level dips slightly.

You need to be realistic of where you currently are at and I don’t think you are. You have received some good advice on this thread. However nothing will change until you accurately assess what your current level is. I am not sure at this point in your journey if your ego will allow you to do that. Again love your passion and hope you find joy in this game.
A guy I played with 5 times has beaten me once (the first time we played, which was last year at the start of summer) and after I won 4 times, I feel like im better clearly now but apart from 1 win I had the other 3 were very scrappy, I felt pressure needing to beat him because I consider miself better and I expect miself to win, otherwise it feels disapointing, and I know this is not the right mindset to have, trust me, I realize its a bit self destructing, but its really hard to just remove this.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that im so passionate and put lots of effort into tennis and work hard, and then losing to someone like this would kind of make me feel like it was all for nothing and ive regressed or something, I just have a very weird mentality about this I know, I need to figure out a way to delete this from my head.
Because I tend to make way too much mistakes that I usually don't and sometimes even find miself to not swing as fast not wanting to miss in some situations where I might be down 40:30 so its kind of holding me back I feel, this annoying mentality of mine.
Again I realize its wrong and its negative and its affecting me, but I can't get rid of it for some reason.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
If you are consistently beating him you are the better player. No doubt. The difference is you are thinking of yourself as much better than he is which doesn’t seem to be the case.

Instead of using match results as a measure to gauge players, gauge them by what it takes to beat them. If you consistently get pushed to the brink to beat someone they are much closer to your level than you think.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
If you are consistently beating him you are the better player. No doubt. The difference is you are thinking of yourself as much better than he is which doesn’t seem to be the case.

Instead of using match results as a measure to gauge players, gauge them by what it takes to beat them. If you consistently get pushed to the brink to beat someone they are much closer to your level than you think.
Yea I guess but its just it frustrates me that I tend to get so tense and unwilling on those points where im 15:40 and a chance to break, or im on my serve and its 30:40 etc.. you know? Because I don't want to lose the game/match to someone not on my level and then I get tight and make stupid misses or im afraid to swing out and slow down my swing, and you know yourself that you tend to make much more mistakes like that, than if you just played normal, those things annoy me the most, that I can't play relaxed and not care at all, like I play against someone who often beats me, so im completely relaxed and don't care, since they are "supposed" to beat me, so if anything I have the mental edge here, to cause an upset, if that makes sense.
So even when I win im not completely satisfied because some of those points where I really didn't play good and slowed down my swing or made really bad mistakes because of it and it feels a bit unsatisfying.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Yea I guess but its just it frustrates me that I tend to get so tense and unwilling on those points where im 15:40 and a chance to break, or im on my serve and its 30:40 etc.. you know? Because I don't want to lose the game/match to someone not on my level and then I get tight and make stupid misses or im afraid to swing out and slow down my swing, and you know yourself that you tend to make much more mistakes like that, than if you just played normal, those things annoy me the most, that I can't play relaxed and not care at all, like I play against someone who often beats me, so im completely relaxed and don't care, since they are "supposed" to beat me, so if anything I have the mental edge here, to cause an upset, if that makes sense.
So even when I win im not completely satisfied because some of those points where I really didn't play good and slowed down my swing or made really bad mistakes because of it and it feels a bit unsatisfying.
You described of what makes playing matches tough. It’s a close score or you have a break point and you get a ball you can attack but you are hesitant to let it loose. That’s what makes this game so interesting and nerve wrecking at times. All the lessons and drilling in the world are not the same as playing a match and learning how to perform in these situations.

I think all of us go through what you described in match play, depending on the situation and how well your playing that day determines on what you do in these situations. For me it has never become easy or automatic but the more matches you play will help you get used to making the right decisions.
 
Yea I guess but its just it frustrates me that I tend to get so tense and unwilling on those points where im 15:40 and a chance to break, or im on my serve and its 30:40 etc.. you know? Because I don't want to lose the game/match to someone not on my level and then I get tight and make stupid misses or im afraid to swing out and slow down my swing, and you know yourself that you tend to make much more mistakes like that, than if you just played normal, those things annoy me the most, that I can't play relaxed and not care at all, like I play against someone who often beats me, so im completely relaxed and don't care, since they are "supposed" to beat me, so if anything I have the mental edge here, to cause an upset, if that makes sense.
So even when I win im not completely satisfied because some of those points where I really didn't play good and slowed down my swing or made really bad mistakes because of it and it feels a bit unsatisfying.
The pattern you keep repeating is "yes, but...": you agree with what's being posted and then offer a reason [excuse?] for why you do it. What I don't see you doing is working out a plan to stop doing those things. Perhaps you're emotionally not ready for that change.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
The pattern you keep repeating is "yes, but...": you agree with what's being posted and then offer a reason [excuse?] for why you do it. What I don't see you doing is working out a plan to stop doing those things. Perhaps you're emotionally not ready for that change.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
He keeps evaluating himself as much better than he is. You can see by the examples he gives of where he is frustrated.

From my POV if you're consistently struggling and have to play hard throughout to win, that player is very close to your level, regardless of the fact that he might never have beaten you. Plus I don't think he's played a good sample size at the 4.0 level to legitimately claim that he has gotten past the gatekeepers at that level. He's using empirical evidence of a few people he's played against to certify himself as already having crossed that level. This wrong self-assessment then causes him to get frustrated and puzzled that he's not able to beat those folks more easily, and also causes him to wonder why he struggles against higher-level players who he wrongly considers his peers due to his incorrect self-assessment.
 
He keeps evaluating himself as much better than he is. You can see by the examples he gives of where he is frustrated.

From my POV if you're consistently struggling and have to play hard throughout to win, that player is very close to your level, regardless of the fact that he might never have beaten you. Plus I don't think he's played a good sample size at the 4.0 level to legitimately claim that he has gotten past the gatekeepers at that level. He's using empirical evidence of a few people he's played against to certify himself as already having crossed that level. This wrong self-assessment then causes him to get frustrated and puzzled that he's not able to beat those folks more easily, and also causes him to wonder why he struggles against higher-level players who he wrongly considers his peers due to his incorrect self-assessment.
I think he's wired that way. Unwiring and learning a new way to look at things will take a concerted effort.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
Yes but being competitive with them in matches, not hitting well with them like rallying with them, I can already do that.
Then you already have all the tools necessary to achieve your goal. I'm playing with people I CAN'T rally with and beating them. MOST people play worse in match conditions because they feel most of the emotions that you're feeling in matches, some manage it better than others. I don't feel those emotions nearly as much because I approach everything differently now, so I actually play better in matches than I do in practice. This all changed in the span of about 2 months. Nothing changed in my technique. I saw myself as inferior to everyone. Even with players that I should crush, I saw them as players I want to face and test myself with.

All it took was 2-3 days a week at the gym, 2 days of 10-20 minutes of "tennis conditioning", some lob practice, and a change of perspective. I knew for a while my aggressive style had a lot of issues. I tried to play a more consistent yet still aggressive style. Now, I go totally for consistency. I label myself a pusher and do my best to fulfill that fantasy. Of course, I can't be beaten with the conventional tactics or strategy of beating a pusher - I have a very potent short ball game and a ton of variety.

Once I master consistency, then I will slowly add back more aggression from the baseline to get to the ideal style of play that I want (which is controlled, all court, aggressive tennis). As it is now, I'm fully content to let people give me free points trying to hit past me, and I will punish them if they let up and give me a short ball.

A guy I played with 5 times has beaten me once (the first time we played, which was last year at the start of summer) and after I won 4 times, I feel like im better clearly now but apart from 1 win I had the other 3 were very scrappy, I felt pressure needing to beat him because I consider miself better and I expect miself to win, otherwise it feels disapointing, and I know this is not the right mindset to have, trust me, I realize its a bit self destructing, but its really hard to just remove this.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that im so passionate and put lots of effort into tennis and work hard, and then losing to someone like this would kind of make me feel like it was all for nothing and ive regressed or something, I just have a very weird mentality about this I know, I need to figure out a way to delete this from my head.
Because I tend to make way too much mistakes that I usually don't and sometimes even find miself to not swing as fast not wanting to miss in some situations where I might be down 40:30 so its kind of holding me back I feel, this annoying mentality of mine.
Again I realize its wrong and its negative and its affecting me, but I can't get rid of it for some reason.
Again, most people feel the same pressure and thoughts that you do. That's why most people are stuck at whatever level.

However, accept those "misses that you don't usually do" as a part of your current game. I guarantee you, they ARE the mistakes that you usually do. Tennis shots are percentages. If you normally make 70%, some days you'll have 90% success rate, and other days you'll have 50% success rate. The shot itself is 70% success rate, but you view the 90% and 50% as two different shots, believing yourself to own a 90% success rate shot rather than a 70% success rate shot that fluctuates from day to day and match to match.

Some players are lucky in that they are very consistent, even when they aren't. If their shot is 70% success rate, they'll be 70% every time. These players are lucky because they can easily and immediately evaluate that their shot isn't where it needs to be, and they can easily see progress as they slowly (or quickly) raise the success rate because of how consistent they are, even in their mistakes from day to day.

Thinking you're clearly better than someone is a mental trap. You expect an easy match and get tight when things don't go as you expected. The big 3 always except tough matches from their opponents, which is why it's so hard to upset them, and why they rarely choke or get tight in big moments.

Every player you play, EACH POINT, is a new opponent. The only difference is that you have slightly more information on your opponent than the last time. At the very minimum, you should treat each player you face every match as a brand new opponent. You don't know if they improved their game or not since the last time you played, or if they'll play the best match of their life that day. Your expectations of an opponent should start and end from what you see in the warm up, and be adjusted over the course of the match to get the clearest picture you can of your opponent.

The more you analyze the sources of your mental pressure and deal with them head on, the better you'll get, without even having to step onto a court or pick up a racket. Tennis is all problem solving, so start practicing that by problem solving the issues in your head. I guarantee that you're mechanically at the level you want to be at already, but your head simply hasn't caught up.
 
You didn’t lose a 4.0 match out of how many? Were they all singles matches? Were they official league matches? You took 4 games of trav and that means what besides nothing.

A legitimate rating comes from playing league or tournament play and it’s a lot more than a few matches. But I guess beings you don’t need to play matches to improve then with maybe 2 more matches you will be a 5.0. lol
I disagree. Minh has a dynamic computer rating in the high 4.0 range on both TR and TLS - by definition that is a legit 4.0.
 
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