This may surprise those of you who have read my other posts, but I have no complaints or bug reports here. I was hoping to encourage some of the other posters to discuss what they have found useful in developing their players.
I have only been playing for four days now, but my first impression is that in the early months it works very well to concentrate on developing the physical skills and not worry about winning matches (much less tournaments).
Improving a players physical skills increases their potentials for their technical skills. According to the documentation (and I have observed this in practice) the the farther a skill is below its potential, the more it will increase for each hour of practice. Therefore if you raise the potential as high as possible, the technical skill will increase more rapidly when you do work at it.
In the same vein, I think that if you spread the increases around pretty uniformly you might get a more rapid increase. By this I mean that if Emily (or whoever) puts in an hour of training on each of ten skills, the total skill percentage added will be slightly more than if she puts all ten hours into one skill. Over time it will all net out, but it allows a little faster improvement in the beginning.
By the same reasoning, I always use the Combo training for technical skills (with the 25 or 50% bonus) rather than training up a skill individually. If I ever reach the higher levels of play I might do some specific training to improve a particular weak part of her game, but I don't think that's necessary for 100+ ranked players.
Another reason to emphasize physical skills first is that you can prevent your opponents from getting some of the performance bonuses against you if your speed and reflexes are quite high. Also, I have found that Emily can beat players with half again to nearly twice her technical skills if her physical and mental skills are high.
And that brings me to mental skills. A reason I mentioned near the beginning that I don't worry about winning early is that I want to save as many experience points as I can to convert to mental skills. Positioning and tactics can give you bonuses or prevent your opponents from getting bonuses. All of the mental skills are important (as the documentation indicates), but I don't feel the need to train as many hours on concentration and cold blood because I have my players practicing a lot of yoga, which seems to bump concentration by about .2% per hour and cold blood by half of that.
I also spar many sets during tournament weeks, which I am not at all certain is realistic. It probably should have a much greater impact on available energy than it seems to. Usually when you arrive at a tournament you get six hours of training before your first match. I generally spar five sets and do an hour of yoga to recover most of the form I lost, though if none of the players available for sparring is good enough to give me a workout I might do some physical training instead. If the coach is with the player (I am running four players) and there are some spare experience points lying around I will probably do mental training instead.
In the early days the only times I spend experience points on boosting is: 1) If I am near the maximum 100 points and am likely to lose some of them anyway; 2) In a final round if the matchup looks at all iffy; 3) In an earlier round if winning would set up a match between my own players in the following round (I never waste points when my players play each other, of course), or; 4) To beat Justine Henin.
I have nothing against Ms. Henin. What I mean is that if I have a chance to beat a player who has a single-digit ranking, I will usually take it. Often it means I can coast through the next couple of rounds and pick up more prize money, and by the time my players are encountering the likes of Justine they have probably hit their maximums on their mental skills and need very few to maintain themselves. (On the other hand, in my second try at this game, playing on the Junior level, Emily ran into the number one and two ranked players in the world in a Class IV tournament that was held the same week as a Class III and a Class I. Why Huber and Henin were slumming is beyond me, but poor Emily spent 40 experience to boost past Huber in the first round, only to fall to Henin in the final when she wasted another 40. Still, I think it was well worth the expense.)
Does anyone else have suggestions, or examples of things that have worked for them? I think I need some guidance on when a ranking is low enough to qualify for a particular level of tournament (or for the qualifying tournament for a particular level of tournament). A few times now I've wasted weeks at a time by signing players up for tournaments that the game warned me I didn't have the ranking for, thinking that I would by the time the tournament rolled around, but I didn't, so I had to sit on my thumbs for more weeks until I could sign up for lower tier tournaments again.
And is there any way to get Emily (the default character) into doubles? I've tried matching her with the best partner who would agree to work with her, but I keep getting told that she isn't even good enough to get into the qualifying round for a futures tournament.
If she's not allowed to play she will never get a good enough ranking to play, so this is a pretty vicious circle she is stuck in.
In choosing tournaments, how much attention to you pay to geography? To court surface? To competing against other players in your own stable? Do you have a feel for how many weeks in a row you should compete? How many in a row you should rest (train)? At the lower levels, where there is a futures tournament every week, I am leaning toward four weeks competing followed by three weeks off, but I am certainly interested in hearing what has worked for other coaches.
What about doubles? I have thought of trying to pair a power baseliner (or better yet, a defender) with a volleyer, but volleyers seems to be as rare as hen's teeth, so I haven't tried that yet. (Punchers seems to be the most common, followed by defenders, then power baseliners, then counterers. Has anyone else seen differently?) The best team I have been able to form was two defenders, which I never thought would work. I had to break them up, though, because one of them wasn't ranked high enough to compete in qualifiers for singles in the same tournaments where they were winning doubles, even though she was the better of the two players.
If anyone has anything they would like to add, please do so. I started this thread to learn, more than to lecture.