I have been hitting with some old college players that are about 2-4 years removed. One played #1 at a top 50-60 school for D1 and another played 4-6 at a top 10 school for D1 when he was there.
One player has been out of college for about 4 years and the other has been out for either 2 or 3, but I cant remember. I just wanted to shine some light on what an experience it has been. These players are obviously not as good now as they were back in their college days, but you can definitely still tell what the keys to success are at that level of play.
1- Shot Selection- Their shot selection is by far the best I've ever seen. The way they set up points is amazing. Big top spin followed by a short slice or any brutal combo. The thing about their shot selection is that it always keeps you guessing. If I hit a big shot they don't try and out hit me(even though they could) they just send it back very deep.
2- Depth- This is pretty self-explanatory. The difference in depth is a huge deal. About 70% of their balls are landing within 3-4 feet inside the baseline. That doesn't seem too deep, but wow it is! Especially with their pace. Not only the depth on their shots, but it also forces me to hit deeper too because if I leave a ball hanging just a little that point is long gone.
3- Slice- My slice isn't all that amazing, but even when I do hit it well I'm still at a major disadvantage. They eat slices up all day if they are not skidding off the baseline practically. If I can hit a topspin/flat backhand I'm choosing that route whereas if I'm playing a lower level people it's nice to throw in that change up.
4- Attitude- One of the players asked me if I'm loud usual and I answered "Well I can get loud, but I'm trying to break that habit." Then he went on to explain how much of a waste it is. There's the obvious letting your opponent know that you're frustrated, but most of all it lowers your energy when you don't need to. Might as well use that energy to hit the next ball and to think what you need to do better.
Let me know any things you have guys have noticed with playing players that are or have been above your level and why you think they are so successful!
here are my strokes-