Friday, July 31, 2009

Playing B...

B is a fellow teacher, which means, like me, she has some time to play during the day for two months. A few summers ago, we started meeting up regularly to play, and she never lost to me...until last summer. B is super fast...almost deceivingly so...so while you're sitting there admiring your winner, she runs it down, gets it back, and you're so flustered that you make a mistake! She is also capable of putting the ball away herself, but most of the time, because she is so consistent, she doesn't need to.

We've already played once this summer, when I was in some severe back pain, and somehow I squeaked out a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 win. B is really good at hitting a high, deep looper, and when I loop it back, she'll take my looper off of the bounce and hit a short, flat, low shot that I can barely get to. The first time we played, because of my back, I didn't even *try* to get to them.

We played again today, and even though I was moving better and playing better, I lost! GRRR! I lost 1-6, 6-7. Predictably, it took me an entire set to warm up. I also switched racquets (and thus, strings) for the second set. I think I may be due for restringing. Using cheap PSGD is great on the pocketbook, but I'm starting to wonder if it loses tension too quickly. I launched a lot of stuff way out of the court today. Yikes! Still trying to 'fix' the serve. When I get it right, it is great. The problem is...I only get it right maybe 30 percent of the time!!!

I also play a higher risk game than B, and I'm wondering if I should be doing that at this point...instead, maybe I should be working on becoming more consistent myself. Yeah, I have great put-aways, but if I can't keep the ball in play long enough to get that put away shot, then I don't get to win many points with it. As usual, I'm pretty sure the problem lies with my feet as well as my head. Must get the feet in position, and musts keep head down through the shot. Even B could see me pop out of my shots sometimes.

We're playing again Tuesday morning! I'm trying to not worry too much about winning/losing, and instead work on the things that I need work on...my weaknesses. So, before we play, I will try to come up with 3 weaknesses that will be my focus for that match, and stick to working on them during the match no matter what the score!

***************

Tomorrow is full of tennis! First clinic, then meeting up with some TWMAC folks to hit, and then heading to the Asian festival all nice and sweaty and gross! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Also...

Funniest moment of hitting tonight...JRK and his new best friend say hello to the camera!

video

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Friends don't let friends...play each other in singles!

Today, in preparation for playing singles at districts this weekend, one of the other singles players on my team (S) and I met up to play a practice match.

On paper, she should win. She has a far better record than me, and has taken some scalps along the way (KZ being one of them). She, I suppose, could be classified as a 'pusher', though I don't like the negative connotations that go with that label. To me, consistency is gold, and something that I still consistently...lack. Like me, she is a teacher, only her medium is PE, and she can run everything down, return it into the court, and do it for hours. Her only weaknesses is that she doesn't hit with much pace (this could also be a strength at 3.5 since generating our own pace while keeping the ball in the court always proves to be a singular challenge), she has a weak serve (see 'no pace'), and she will not hit winners...on purpose. Her short dinks sometimes end up being winners, but I'm not sure if she means for them to end up that way or not. And lastly, she is quite uncomfortable at net, so bringing her up on purpose is a good strategy (if you can execute it!).

So, again, since I was denied my chance to play 'the diamond' and practice coming in, I was excited to try it out today.

It was a tight first set, with S edging me out 6-4. I was having trouble, like I usually do, returning her soft serve...I kept launching it out. I also wasn't coming up enough...when I did, I usually won the part. I still don't always pick the right time to do it, but that's why we're practicing, right?

Second set, I noticed some patterns in her baseline play (notably that she always tries to pass me cross court from her backhand), she really didn't like if I got some slice on my serve, and I was able to come in A LOT more, which put pressure on her. She tried coming in herself, but made errors and then gave up on it. I was also more patient, I think, and waited for my moments to hit a winner, and my most successful shot was my FH down the line. On returns, since they were so soft and slow, I set up like a regular groundstroke to hit them, and focused on placement and setting up the point rather than trying to hit a winner. Ironically enough, lots of times this resulted in a winner!

We still played long games, but this time I seemed to have the edge, and I took the second set 6-2. Like during regular league play, we don't play a full 3rd set at districts...instead we do the 'champion's 10 point tiebreak', so that is what we did today. After a few long rallies, I raced out to an 8-1 lead. Again, I showed that I get too lazy and/or sloppy when I'm ahead, and it wasn't until it was 8-6 that I finally won the next two points and won the match.

I'm not too 'gloaty', though, since I know I play better (and more relaxed) when it doesn't 'count' for anything. She was peeved, though, I could tell. She is a very friendly, though competitive person, and I think she expected me to hit enough errors that she would win easily. I can't blame her...that is my M.O. But maybe, just maybe...I'm starting to change that.

Tomorrow is packing and clinic at night. Maybe some light workout in the morning. Thursday we head down (possibly without our own captain, as S told me that the rumor is she decided to play with another team of her's that is also headed down to districts. Not. Cool. IMO. I don't care how shorthanded *they* are...she's *our* captain!!!).

I hope to remember to take the camera so I will have some pictures to go along with match write ups from districts!

I'm excited, because I played well and I executed a game plan! When I lost the first set, I adjusted instead of just doing the same thing over and over again.