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02-19-2014, 10:19 PM #1
how to win when your partner is too weak
so we have an upcoming tournament. my group assigned me to partner with this person. i'm no where near an advanced player but at least i can smash, do net kills, do deep clears and lifts, and defend smashes with some kind of consistency. However, my partner is really weak. he does a lot of high serves which puts us on defensive position right away. when the opponent makes a clear on my side, i can smash. however, when on his side, all he does is make another clear which is not even good enough so our opponents will just make steep smashes on us. When i'm serving, i give him a good serve so the opponent is forced to lift but all he does is make another clear which again is not even deep enough. When defending, it's either a miss, or an outside shot for him. When I'm smashing in the back and the opponent makes a weak return, all he does is push on the back or worse, make a lob. It's really frustrating for me coz I'm really giving my all during practices and i feel like everything goes to waste because of him. and once i get frustrated, i start to make mistakes as well and don't feel like wanting to play anymore. It seems just ok for him that we're always loosing but I want to win. Is there any kind of strategy that I can do so we would have a little bit of chance of winning some games? Maybe do like a mixed-double style of play wherein i take all the shots on the back court and hope that i can sustain the attack?
02-19-2014, 10:34 PM #2
yep, that's all you can hope for is to try mixed doubles with him in front...
but then your opponents will just hit to him in front until they get a weak shot and smash
02-19-2014, 10:58 PM #3
Ask him why he doesn't smash a bit ...
02-19-2014, 11:40 PM #4
i wanted to but then he might get offended. sigh!
02-19-2014, 11:44 PM #5
Yes, mixed doubles strategy and he plays very tight to the net - maybe practice driving the shuttle at him and teach to drop or hit down at the net. Provided he is willing to learn and play the strategy - some recreational players just want to hit the shuttle - don't really care about strategy or winning.
Also, if he agrees might want to teach him to protect his face or wear protective glasses - as I'm sure the other team might try to smash in his direction at the net. Lot people stand up with their head over the net - can be dangerous!
02-19-2014, 11:55 PM #6
02-20-2014, 01:11 AM #7
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02-20-2014, 01:51 AM #8
There's nothing much you can do. I am pretty sure that your partner also tend to lift when he is at the net (instead of racquet up and kill at the net) and when the opponent hit a clear to you and you are at the back, he is still standing at his side and not covering your front ?
The only advice I can give to you is that when it comes to your serve, maybe you can serve high instead of serving tight and short. Reason is that if your partner plays like how I envision him to play, he probably stand to the side when you are receiving serve and doing the serve anyway so serving high may be more comfortable for him.
Also when you are at the rear, try to play every single shot to the centre, be it drop shot, clear or smash, this will cut down the angle of response and you may be able to follow up on your opponent's weak reply and take a point.
It is sad but in such games, it is more like 3 vs 1 (you) as your partner probably doesn't contribute much (and give away points to opponents) so you really have to rely on yourself and it is going to be a tough, uphill battle.
BTW, is your partner much older than you ?
02-20-2014, 02:26 AM #9
As it sounds like a group or team setting? And you have been relegated to be the designated baby-sitter of the weakest player? As others have said, it becomes a no-win situation if your opponents are evenly paired, as their basic strategy would simply to pressure your weak partner, and subsequently force errors from you when you try to overcompensate for your partner's shortfalls.
If you are considerable better than your opponents, there could be an off-chance you can outplay them by limiting your partner's involvement. Unfortunately with 21 point system each time your partner gets the service - might as well just hand your opponents the point.
So you have to ask yourself - do I really want to win the match? Or just have some fun given the situation?
If you really want to win, be brutally honest with your partner and tell him exactly what to do, not do, and when to stay out of your way. Sometimes you never know, maybe your partner could surprise you and raise their level to the match... But more often not.
Or just have fun and let the other team beat on you and your partner. Eventually they might take mercy.
Or do what I've done on some occasions - shove the partner out of the way and make the play. (Partner might not ever want to pair with you again - but that could be a good thing!). Enjoy!
02-20-2014, 03:53 AM #10
02-20-2014, 04:12 AM #11
Anyway, thanks for everyone's input. They are well received. I'll see how it goes during our next practice and update you guys.
02-20-2014, 05:34 AM #12
This is probably not the appropriate tournament to try your best and feel bad about failing to win.
Rather, try to play well. If you lose, then no problem as you did the best under the circumstances. Examine your own weaknesses during the match as these are the only things you can change for the future. There is always something to learn and to ask the coach how to help solve.
Move on to the next tournament.
02-20-2014, 06:00 AM #13
Everything you have said is an expression of aggravation towards this player. You are frustrated that he isn't "good enough" and that you can't enjoy playing with him.
Now consider his side of things. He probably knows he is not good enough. He probably knows he is losing matches. But... he is doing his best. So, I think he deserves some encouragement, and some sympathy - how would you feel if you thought you were letting everyone down? Pretty bad?
So, with that in mind... its no use being frustrated. You need to set yourself REALISTIC goals. Winning the tournament is not a realistic goal. It is not something you can influence, and it is not something you can expect or strive to achieve. If you were in different circumstances, with a different partner, then your goals could be different. However, do not confuse your WANTS and your GOALS.
Now then... Executing a strategy... THAT is a realistic goal, because it is something YOU can influence.
- You can make sure that you always lift straight and you always play a blocked defence, straight. This will ensure that you absorb the defensive pressure.
- When you smash, make sure you smash towards the middle, to give your partner the best chance of intercepting it (I don't care whether your partner is capable, play the tactics that are CORRECT!).
- When you are at the net, never lift.
- Keep your shot selection consistent, to make your partner feel at ease.
Now that you have decided on YOUR goals, now focus on how you can help your partner. Remember - they are struggling and doing their best. Help them out. Start with a phrase like "we are playing a tournament soon, would you mind if we did some practice at club night?"
Now, pick out several KEY things that you EACH need to practice. Every time you try to help your partner with something, ask them to help you with something in return e.g. they practice some serves to get them better, YOU practice your serve returns, or your defence, or your smash etc.
Give your partner advice, such as "there is a big gap at the front there, rather than lifting the shuttle, you could try and play it softly to the net instead - it might work, as I think they will struggle to get it back".
Can you see that this advice is aimed at giving them a simple GOAL. Keep reinforcing the goal. Congratulate them when they achieve the goal.
In this way, you can give them a few simple things to focus on, and in that way you may be able to help them to play with more consistency.
02-20-2014, 07:37 AM #14
Matt has very good points re encouragement.
1. Be prepared to lose. Face it. Then make the best of it. Treat it as just another game night or practice night. Accept it as a practice challenge.
2. For preparation, practice with your partner. Especially serves. As mentioned earlier, very high serves may just work at this level of play. Make sure they're almost touching the ceiling, all the way close to the rear service line. This trajectory is very difficult to smash and return, and I'll bet you'll get at least 6-8 free points.
3. Make sure to laugh and have fun.
02-20-2014, 11:29 AM #15
You may want to discuss with your partner, e.g. ask him if he would mind playing front more often. This is an assumption only, and you probably know better, esp. if you know your opponents. If you can successfully "hide" your weaker partner in the front, your opponents may not have the shots to "find" him.
As preparation, teach him and have him practice low serves (back hand preferred). This of course depends on how serious your partner is, and how much time you have left.
If you're competitive, you may want to join tournaments with your own chosen partner, and play at an appropriate level that you'd have a good chance.
02-20-2014, 12:39 PM #16
I think the key is does your partner want to win, if the answer is yes - then he will agree to the strategy - which get out your way and let you play 90% of the shots. He plays tight to the net and only hits the bird down!
If this is doable - I think the match could be won. I've done it with complete beginners as partner. On the court - I would be the strongest player - my partner the weakest.
02-21-2014, 11:29 AM #17