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Cindysphinx
12-05-2006, 06:39 AM
I'm taking the top half of my 5.5 combo team and I'm adding 3.0 and 3.5 players.

This is proving difficult. It is hard to get 3.5 women to agree to come for a try-out. Yet we've seen self-rated 3.5 women who couldn't compete with my players at all and so are really 3.0.

Plus, I'm finding that some players find the word "try-out" objectionable. I try to call them "meetings," or "practices," but still I have had 3.0s cancel foursomes with us if the word "try-out" is used.

Do your teams ever take players without hitting with them first?

Is there some other way to get new players other than having these one-hour foursomes with them, as this is getting quite time-consuming, not to mention the horror of finding indoor court time in winter? Once someone is on the team, I commit that players get their fair share of matches, so I can't just let anybody with a racquet join the team.

CrocodileRock
12-05-2006, 07:46 AM
Good post Cindy.

I almost never accept someone on the team without hitting with them first. I have done it a couple of times, and regretted it both times.

However, if you call it a tryout, many people will find that objectionable. It brings up the possibility of inadequacy, rejection, embarrassment, etc. What I like to do is invite someone out for some doubles, then have the four play 3 sets, changing partners each set. That way each person plays one set with each other person. One player will remember what the score of each set was, and I add up each person's games. The strongest player will win the most number of games, and the weakest person will win the fewest, so that way you can evaluate the new person's ability in relation to the other 3. If she is strong enough for your standards, you can invite her on the team. If not, you can still thank her for playing, and hope to play with her again sometime. Most of the time, either one person is strong enough to win all 3 sets regardless of partner, or one person is so weak, that they lose all 3 sets, regardless of partner. In any case, it shouldn't hurt someone's feelings if you don't call it a tryout.

Good luck with your team.

raiden031
12-05-2006, 08:12 AM
How can you put a 3.5 player on a 5.5 combo team? The lowest rating you can get is 2.5 right?

Also the word 'try-out' reminds people of their childhood where they were cut from the basketball or soccer team. The team that I just joined invited me to "play with them to see if I'm a good fit" which is a little less intimidating, but that session ended up being the only time playing tennis that I was very nervous. My serve was on fire after the butterflies went away and I was pretty dominating so they were happy to have me join.

tennis-n-sc
12-05-2006, 10:02 AM
How can you put a 3.5 player on a 5.5 combo team? The lowest rating you can get is 2.5 right?

Also the word 'try-out' reminds people of their childhood where they were cut from the basketball or soccer team. The team that I just joined invited me to "play with them to see if I'm a good fit" which is a little less intimidating, but that session ended up being the only time playing tennis that I was very nervous. My serve was on fire after the butterflies went away and I was pretty dominating so they were happy to have me join.

I agree about "the tryout". Terrible idea and you alienate players that will improve yet never play again for you because of the tryout. I have found it best to build a team from the ground up, expecting to lose matches in the early going and at the same time watching every player get better at the game and bond as a team should. I find the tryout to be more prevalent in women's league tennis around here, but very seldom used by them anymore due to the implications. There are better ways. Find them.

Cindysphinx
12-05-2006, 11:32 AM
How can you put a 3.5 player on a 5.5 combo team? The lowest rating you can get is 2.5 right?

Also the word 'try-out' reminds people of their childhood where they were cut from the basketball or soccer team. The team that I just joined invited me to "play with them to see if I'm a good fit" which is a little less intimidating, but that session ended up being the only time playing tennis that I was very nervous. My serve was on fire after the butterflies went away and I was pretty dominating so they were happy to have me join.

Because our 5.5 team is moving to 6.5 this year.

The way I do it is I get the strongest of my available players together and try to switch around partners as time permits. I just got back from a tryout, and we'll be offering the prospective player a position even though she wasn't the best player on the court. She is certainly a lot better than my current weakest player, so it's definitely a good acquisition for us.

I don't expect the new player to necessarily be on the winning pairs with each rotation; after all, she's playing the best players I have, and she's nervous. I just want to see their strokes, make sure they can move, make sure they don't have some glaring deficiency, make sure they aren't a royal jerk.

CrocodileRock
12-05-2006, 12:27 PM
:confused: Because our 5.5 team is moving to 6.5 this year.

I don't expect the new player to necessarily be on the winning pairs with each rotation; after all, she's playing the best players I have, and she's nervous. I just want to see their strokes, make sure they can move, make sure they don't have some glaring deficiency, make sure they aren't a royal jerk.

Do you actually have that problem with the women? I have never seen any woman acting unsportsmanlike (unsportswomanlike?), and hardly ever have a problem with a man, maybe once a decade. One of the best things about tennis to me is the quality of people involved. Virtually all behave pretty well, as opposed to some other sports I have tried.

cak
12-05-2006, 02:29 PM
If you want to have a serious enough team for actual tryouts, challenges, and ladders you want to recruit people that don't mind tryouts, challenges, and ladders. They might not be the best players when looking at pretty strokes, power serves, or consistancy. But they will be a better fit and have more commitment to your team.

I know that I am extremely reluctant to play on a team that has tryouts or challenges. I enjoy social matches 3 to 5 days a week. I can play USTA on top of that, and even attend practices. But I'm not giving up my hit and giggle games for serious matches, I need them for stress relievers, not stress causers. But then again, I play enough USTA and social matches that most people in the area know my game.

As for recruiting 3.5s in for a 6.5 combo, well, good luck. I played 5.5s as a 2.5, it was great fun. Played 6.5 two years later as a 3.5. Way less fun. This year I skipped combo, and I'm not sure I'll go back. On our club team they had to go outside the club to get 3.5s, but there were so many 3.0s even if they played them all equally some would have been relegated to 1 match.
So I don't think recruiting the higher level for 6.5 combo teams is that easy anywhere.

Topaz
12-05-2006, 05:51 PM
:confused:

Do you actually have that problem with the women? I have never seen any woman acting unsportsmanlike (unsportswomanlike?), and hardly ever have a problem with a man, maybe once a decade. One of the best things about tennis to me is the quality of people involved. Virtually all behave pretty well, as opposed to some other sports I have tried.

Oh yeah...there are *plenty* of jerks in women's USTA tennis!

World Class Forehand
12-05-2006, 07:05 PM
The captain for my USTA league team has a policy that you can only join his team if you are able to beat him.....That being said we have a pretty big roster

tennis-n-sc
12-06-2006, 04:22 AM
The captain for my USTA league team has a policy that you can only join his team if you are able to beat him.....That being said we have a pretty big roster

ROFLMAO! That would be my team also if I had that policy. I'd never get to play.:)

Cindysphinx
12-06-2006, 04:52 AM
If you want to have a serious enough team for actual tryouts, challenges, and ladders you want to recruit people that don't mind tryouts, challenges, and ladders. They might not be the best players when looking at pretty strokes, power serves, or consistancy. But they will be a better fit and have more commitment to your team.

In my case, it's not a case of trying to field a team that will win the division. It's about avoiding Players Who Will Cause Problems.

These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness. Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.

I know that I am extremely reluctant to play on a team that has tryouts or challenges. I enjoy social matches 3 to 5 days a week. I can play USTA on top of that, and even attend practices. But I'm not giving up my hit and giggle games for serious matches, I need them for stress relievers, not stress causers. But then again, I play enough USTA and social matches that most people in the area know my game.

I hear ya. I've never understood the competition for this or that within a team. I like our practices to be fun, and I don't see any reason to set up situations where people feel like they're being tested constantly. As my players know they'll get their fair share of matches, there's no reason to be intimidated if they take a beating from a teammate in practice.

As for recruiting 3.5s in for a 6.5 combo, well, good luck. I played 5.5s as a 2.5, it was great fun. Played 6.5 two years later as a 3.5. Way less fun. This year I skipped combo, and I'm not sure I'll go back. On our club team they had to go outside the club to get 3.5s, but there were so many 3.0s even if they played them all equally some would have been relegated to 1 match.
So I don't think recruiting the higher level for 6.5 combo teams is that easy anywhere.

Tell me about it!

If all goes well, we will have one computer rated 3.5 who is sticking around because she just moved up and likes us. Then I have the one 3.5 who is probably really a 3.0. Then I have one more 3.5 in the pipeline who is also self-rated.

Here's a related question: Do you ever reject prospects based solely on their record in TennisLink?

tennis-n-sc
12-06-2006, 06:51 AM
In my case, it's not a case of trying to field a team that will win the division. It's about avoiding Players Who Will Cause Problems.

[QUOTE]These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness.

Why not just give a battery of psychological tests and save the court time.

Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.

How do avoid the issue of those on your roster who are not decent players but are the friends of players that are good? In other words, do you kick off a friend of a friend and risk losing the good player because of your actions? Somehow I doubt it.

CrocodileRock
12-06-2006, 08:00 AM
In my case, it's not a case of trying to field a team that will win the division. It's about avoiding Players Who Will Cause Problems.

These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness. Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.

Here's a related question: Do you ever reject prospects based solely on their record in TennisLink?

OK Cindy, there are two kinds of teams out there - those that are serious about winning, and those that really don't care that much. Obviously, you are in the second group, and that's fine. But that group will have an *especially* hard time having tryouts, since from the outset you are saying that you are not trying to win the division, and everyone will have equal court time. Upper-level players will not be attracted to that agenda. You're limiting yourself to weaker players, which is OK. We all have different ways to enjoy tennis.

Our area used to have tryouts about 15 years ago, when there were too many guys who wanted on the club team. Personality was ignored, but everyone got along pretty good anyway. Eventually, we had enough guys for more teams. Now we tell the guys from the get-go that stronger players will have more court time, weaker ones will have less, unless we're eliminated, then we will try to equalize things. Until that point, we are not a democracy, and everyone does not have equal ability. At our sectionals, we had 3 guys who only played once in 6 matches. I was one of them, but it didn't bother me. The welfare of the team has to supercede any one person's welfare if you're trying to advance as far as you can.

Cindysphinx
12-06-2006, 09:24 AM
How do avoid the issue of those on your roster who are not decent players but are the friends of players that are good? In other words, do you kick off a friend of a friend and risk losing the good player because of your actions? Somehow I doubt it.

I don't think I understand the question.

No one gets on the roster who isn't a decent player. Therefore no one gets kicked off.

If someone had a friend and said, "She's not that good, but she's my friend so take her anyway, and she can be my partner only," I would decline. It's just easier all around if everyone is decent.

Yes, our philosophy of not trying to win the division means the best of the best players won't be interested in us. But they're already not interested in us. We're a new team. The best players want to get on a powerhouse team.

My experience with league is that there are three kinds of captains: Those who play everyone equally, those who play their best players more and are honest about that up front, and those who play their best players more but fib about it to get players.

I think it's awfully hard to build a team from scratch if you tell people up front that they may ride the bench the whole season. I think most people would prefer to be on a middle-of-the-pack team and get to play than be the alternate on a team headed to sectionals.

tennis-n-sc
12-06-2006, 11:29 AM
Hey Cindy, I'm not trying to be judgemental. Do what works for you and yours. What do you do when during tryouts, three potential candidates are better than any three on your last roster. Do you kick three off the old team to make room for these good players or leave the old roster in tack, thereby minimizing play for all?

sureshs
12-06-2006, 11:56 AM
These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness. Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.


I am a little concerned about the first reason. Being a captain is not about being a control freak or boosting your ego. (I am very careful about this at work with my group as I have gone thru much in earlier years as an underling) This is not a marketing executive job or for that matter even a paid position. Interpersonal skills that matter are only those which are used in doubles communication. If they walk away after a match without the obligatory socializing, it is none of anyone's business. "Selfishness" is an arbitrary judgement call. Mother Teresa is not applying for this league. "Diva issues" - I really can't comment about that but I cannot believe it is important. "Flirting with insanity" - leave that to the doctors please or someone else competent to judge that.

Sounds quite simply like you want people who you like. That is just not right.

BTW, I know I sound as if I am overreacting, but I see this kind of stuff happening everywhere, even in paid positions in large companies. This has gotten to the point where it is becoming the biggest obstacle in the workplace, worse than the discrimination and harrassment issues were in the past.

Ace
12-06-2006, 02:07 PM
Sounds quite simply like you want people who you like. That is just not right.



Are you serious??? This is an extra-curricular activity!!! Why would she want to spend her own time hanging around with people she doesn't like?

sureshs
12-06-2006, 02:11 PM
Are you serious??? This is an extra-curricular activity!!! Why would she want to spend her own time hanging around with people she doesn't like?

It is not a private house party. It is a USTA or some other league from what I can tell. The purpose is to play tennis, not hang around with people.

Otherwise she should advertise that only people she likes will be selected, in which case she will be given the boot as the captain.

Supernatural_Serve
12-06-2006, 02:20 PM
One approach could be to say to new players: "I am only guaranteeing you 2 matches" The minimum required by the USTA to proceed to districts.

That way they are effectively "trying out" and are basically being cut after 2 matches (if you aren't satisfied), that way you haven't made too big an investment.

Additionally, in USTA leagues, it seems like there's always a team or two in a league that aren't strong or are very strong so you can use new players against these teams based on your objectives, see what they can do against weak teams while knowing that you can carry the team match regardless what the new players do, or serve them up as bait to get swallowed by strong teams instead of having your stronger core committed players suffer a loss.

Ace
12-06-2006, 02:31 PM
It is not a private house party. It is a USTA or some other league from what I can tell. The purpose is to play tennis, not hang around with people.

Otherwise she should advertise that only people she likes will be selected, in which case she will be given the boot as the captain.

Have you been on a USTA team? I am friendly with all my teammates, and we hang out after the matches. That being said, I'm pretty easy going, and don't actually have problems with most people, but nobody needs to dictate to me who I will be hanging out with in my spare time. If there was somebody I absolutely hated, they definately won't be on my team.

sureshs
12-06-2006, 02:42 PM
If there was somebody I absolutely hated, they definately won't be on my team.

That would be your problem. But then you did not create the thread or complain about the quality of people, so I really don't have anything to go on.

There is of course a threshold. A guy who tells everyone how great he is and constantly belittles others when they miss a shot is not a good candidate. On the other hand, I find terms like "insanity", "diva", "selfishness" etc disturbing, as if OP is doing a mental psychoanalysis all the time of all women she is playing with.

Lots of people do that, BTW. One reason that Friday nite mixed doubles socials at our club has almost died out. The lady who organizes it is always after me to play but if I show up Friday evenings, I come prepared with a good excuse not to play (already commited to singles, too tired to play more than 1/2 hr, etc)

Kaptain Karl
12-06-2006, 05:49 PM
I run our Saturday Dubs, which is essentially "Drop-In." The "A Players" keep coming every Saturday because they know the more they play, the better the competition will be. It's not really a "Tryout" but it does help prevent ME from having to "play the heavy" on court and team assignments. You may want to try this Rotation System:

Traffic, work, etc. impact peoples' promptness, so whenever four players arrive (assuming everyone arrives within ten minutes of the Start) stick 'em on a court.

1 - W, X, Y and Z split into teams and play four games, following typical change-on-odd format, etc. (If W&X won 3-1, both W and X keep the "3"; Y and Z keep the "1".)

2 - Rotate partners. (This time everyone won their serve. Score is 2-2.) The Players' running scores are:
W & X = 5
Y & Z = 3

3 - Rotate partners. (This time A&D won 4-0.) The Players' running scores are:
W = 9
X = 5
Y = 3
Z = 7

4 - While this court was playing, the other courts of Players were also playing and keeping their running scores.

5 - If you have only eight Players, W & Z play the same Rotation with the top two Players from Court 2.

5b - If you have 12 Players (Assume identical results on all three courts.) you will have the beginnings of a "lineup". Court 1 has three Ws and a Z. Court 2 has two Zs and two Xs. Court 3 has one X and three Ys.

6 - Play the Rotations again ... keeping the running scores.

7 - It's possible the "X" from Court 3 could end up on Court 1 (if the Players on Court 2 are evenly matched). This Rotation isn't perfect, but at least the Top Players tend to play better players and the Bottom Players tend to play those of their level.

(I know the Male/Female pairings only complicate this, but ... maybe someone smarter than I can devise a better method.)

- KK

Topaz
12-07-2006, 02:18 AM
Do you ever reject prospects based solely on their record in TennisLink?

As a captain, I have never done that, because I know we play a lot more matches than what is recorded on TennisLink. However, I know other captains who do do that, and honestly, I can't really fault them for it. I've changed teams twice now, and I have always had to go through the 'proving myself' part. The problem on one team is that I would have to prove myself with a really weak partner. Doesn't matter how well I play if my partner doubles faults over 10 times in a set!

I know my previous record has been held against me by other captains. My first season I lost every match. My indoor captain decided she would dump me at #2 singles (I don't really play singles) when she wasn't benching me. I lost all of those matches. My outdoor captain watched me practice, saw what I had to offer, partnered me up well, and I went to districts with that team after winning all but one of my matches. Now, I have a benchmark rating, and I've had less trouble finding a new indoor team. ('Cause I wasn't staying with that other team!)

EDITED TO ADD: You know, after thinking about this, I realized I did use TennisLink my first season as a captain to look up and assess players. I didn't know anyone, so that was all I had to go on. You have to realize all the different factors that come into play though (opponents, partners, etc). If you look me up, you see what looks like two different players in one season.

Cindysphinx
12-07-2006, 06:09 AM
Hey Cindy, I'm not trying to be judgemental. Do what works for you and yours. What do you do when during tryouts, three potential candidates are better than any three on your last roster. Do you kick three off the old team to make room for these good players or leave the old roster in tack, thereby minimizing play for all?

No one gets kicked off. These people are my friends.

If I don't have three slots on my roster, I don't hold tryouts for three people.

It is this sort of thinking that means we will never win our division. But it means we will stay friends.

Cindysphinx
12-07-2006, 06:18 AM
I am a little concerned about the first reason. Being a captain is not about being a control freak or boosting your ego. (I am very careful about this at work with my group as I have gone thru much in earlier years as an underling) This is not a marketing executive job or for that matter even a paid position. Interpersonal skills that matter are only those which are used in doubles communication. If they walk away after a match without the obligatory socializing, it is none of anyone's business. "Selfishness" is an arbitrary judgement call. Mother Teresa is not applying for this league. "Diva issues" - I really can't comment about that but I cannot believe it is important. "Flirting with insanity" - leave that to the doctors please or someone else competent to judge that.

Sounds quite simply like you want people who you like. That is just not right.




I am sure there are teams like what you describe.

Me, I want to play with people who are nice and fun. I don't want *anyone* who is even slightly difficult. Being a player on a team run by someone else means you won't always agree with decisions that are made. Some folks get that, others don't. I don't have time for the latter, no matter how good they are. My sister captains in another state, and she has had doubles teams who "divorced" right before districts and insisted on playing singles, screaming fights on the court, constant complaints from players who want to play court one because they think they are better than they really are. Who needs that?

Hey, this is a hobby. It is how I use my free time. It takes me away from my husband and kids and dog. If it becomes stressful due to interpersonal issues -- if I have someone who has, erm, needs -- it's not worth it to me. I had one woman who hoped to join the team but treated my e-mails as though they were annoying spam ("I'm so busy, but I think I finally have a bit of time to deal with this tennis stuff. Now what is it that you want?") Thanks, but no thanks.

YMMV.

And, erm. . . . Have you ever met a tennis diva? Gotta have this partner. Gotta play this court. Gotta play this team. Gotta have the last word. Gotta have this practice slot. Gotta, gotta, gotta. Holy smokes!

sureshs
12-07-2006, 10:22 AM
I am sure there are teams like what you describe.

Me, I want to play with people who are nice and fun. I don't want *anyone* who is even slightly difficult. Being a player on a team run by someone else means you won't always agree with decisions that are made. Some folks get that, others don't. I don't have time for the latter, no matter how good they are. My sister captains in another state, and she has had doubles teams who "divorced" right before districts and insisted on playing singles, screaming fights on the court, constant complaints from players who want to play court one because they think they are better than they really are. Who needs that?

Hey, this is a hobby. It is how I use my free time. It takes me away from my husband and kids and dog. If it becomes stressful due to interpersonal issues -- if I have someone who has, erm, needs -- it's not worth it to me. I had one woman who hoped to join the team but treated my e-mails as though they were annoying spam ("I'm so busy, but I think I finally have a bit of time to deal with this tennis stuff. Now what is it that you want?") Thanks, but no thanks.

YMMV.

And, erm. . . . Have you ever met a tennis diva? Gotta have this partner. Gotta play this court. Gotta play this team. Gotta have the last word. Gotta have this practice slot. Gotta, gotta, gotta. Holy smokes!

I can see vaguely what you are saying, but how do you judge this stuff in one tryout anyway?

Also your sister's experience is not valid for you unless it happens to you. Bad stuff is always happening all around us.

I have played only once on a team - it was a WTT team early this year. We never had the issues that you mention.

These things get exaggerated, you know.

slewisoh
12-07-2006, 10:24 AM
No one gets kicked off. These people are my friends.

If I don't have three slots on my roster, I don't hold tryouts for three people.

It is this sort of thinking that means we will never win our division. But it means we will stay friends.

It would seem very awkward to invite one of your friends for a tryout and then not ask them to join your team. Has this happened to you?

From some of your previous posts you sound like a pretty competitive person, so it seems a bit dubious to me that you are in this just to have fun with your friends. Are you being honest with yourself about your goals for this team?

When you are forming a new team, I think it's most important to hook up with people you can practice regularly with. Find reliable people you can grow and develop with - that's what will make you a team.

Added: I just wanted to say if you manage to have a team that is made entirely of happy people with no issues, then write a book about it! I've never seen such a team, as these are human beings. You seem to be going for the Stepford Wives of tennis.

Cindysphinx
12-07-2006, 10:33 AM
So far, I haven't had a tryout and then not invited the person to join us. I imagine it will happen. I was on the other end of this once; did the tryout, didn't get asked to join the team. I survived.

Most people I encounter seem cool and reasonable. So far, no problems on my team. I did have a problem with another captain this fall (she overreacted to a mistake and ripped someone a new one in front of the whole team), so I simply left the team without playing a single match. So yeah, there are certainly people out there who will make your tennis life miserable if you let them.

Eh, I'm competitive. It's a competitive sport. But I'm not so competitive that I'm willing to run the team in ways that aren't fair or reasonable or honest to gain an edge. I'm also not willing to hurt people's feelings so we can win. If we lose, we live with it.

Kaptain Karl
12-07-2006, 10:40 AM
"ymmv?"

- Kk

Bolt
12-07-2006, 10:48 AM
"ymmv"

Your Mileage May Vary

sureshs
12-07-2006, 10:51 AM
I did have a problem with another captain this fall (she overreacted to a mistake and ripped someone a new one in front of the whole team), so I simply left the team without playing a single match. So yeah, there are certainly people out there who will make your tennis life miserable if you let them.


I would have done the same.

But notice in this case she was the captain. Now, you are the captain, so the role is different.

You mentioned email issues. Only issue we had on the WTT was that the organizer sent out email to everybody about practise times, and several people "replied all" in their email. One guy sent out a nasty email that he didn't want irrelevant emails in his mailbox. But he was correct, so that was that. Clearly he would be considered "unfriendly" but that should not matter, IMO.

In WTT, subs are allowed in the middle of a set, so if someone is having a bad day, he/she can be replaced, so situation does not get out of hand.

slewisoh
12-07-2006, 02:10 PM
In WTT, subs are allowed in the middle of a set, so if someone is having a bad day, he/she can be replaced, so situation does not get out of hand.

Now there's a shirt every captain should have printed up.

....................YOU CAN BE REPLACED.........................

:D