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Cindysphinx
03-09-2007, 04:24 AM
Another question about stacking. Yeah, I know some object to the perjorative being used to describe a perfectly legal practice, but I'll use it as shorthand anyway.

I don't understand how stacking would ever really achieve anything. Say strong players are "S" and weak players are "W." My doubles line-up is SS, SW, WW and my singles line-up is W, S.

If my opponent has a stronger team with more S's, they should beat us playing straight, so there would be no need to stack.

If my opponent were weaker with more Ws, they can't beat us no matter what they do, right?

If the teams are evenly matched, how could a stack possibly help?

I ask because I wonder whether teams who complain of losing due to a stack would probably have lost anyway.

Supernatural_Serve
03-09-2007, 04:40 AM
You: SS, SW, WW, W, S
Opponent: SS, SW, WW, W, S

You Win Match: 3-2 when this line up

WW SS SW W S

faces your opponent

SS SW WW S W

You have superiority on 3 (doubles 2 and 3 and singles court 1) of the 5 courts by sacrificing your weakest players to their strongest.

Cindysphinx
03-09-2007, 04:48 AM
So I win 3-2 either way?

Supernatural_Serve
03-09-2007, 04:53 AM
So I win 3-2 either way?

You: SS SW WW W S
Opponent: SS SW WW W S

Looks like anything can happen

You might go 5-0 or 0-5 or any combination or wins/losses since there is no obvious advantage on any court.

The prior scenario was designed to give you superiority on 3 courts while giving you inferiority on 2.

darkblue
03-09-2007, 04:56 AM
you'd have to know the ordering tendencies of the other team.
captains often go back on a team several years to see what they have done in a past vs strong competition or a critical decider match. then, you'd have to review what you have done in the past.
if the opposing team's captain has reasons to think that you (as a captain of your own team) stack at critical times, s/he may employ a full counter-stack strategy.

Supernatural_Serve
03-09-2007, 05:30 AM
you'd have to know the ordering tendencies of the other team.
captains often go back on a team several years to see what they have done in a past vs strong competition or a critical decider match. then, you'd have to review what you have done in the past.
if the opposing team's captain has reasons to think that you (as a captain of your own team) stack at critical times, s/he may employ a full counter-stack strategy.Its sick, but I know captains like this. Their heads are spinning minutes before a USTA match while filling out the line-up cards.

Cindysphinx
03-09-2007, 05:54 AM
See, the only time I've been on a team that deliberately stacked was on our mixed 7.0 team. We were playing the number one team, and we had a good squad but we had some weaknesses. All three of our teams were rated 7.0. But we played the weakest team on Court One, the strongest team on Court Two, and the medium team on Court Three.

The team on Court One lost, the strongest team won easily, and the medium team won a third set tiebreak.

So I figured stacking worked best (assuming it works at all) when a weak team was looking for an upset, not when two teams were relatively evenly matched.

cghipp
03-09-2007, 06:02 AM
I almost never stack. I think stacking puts the most pressure on the medium-strength players on a team, and in my mind those are not the players most likely to gut out a tough match and find a way to win.

DANMAN
03-09-2007, 07:51 AM
WE lost our only match at the 4.5 state tournament last year to a team that stacked against us. We did not play our strongest line-up (played 2 week courts), but we lost one we expected to win. We still won the state tournament, but I thought it was pretty "weak" that they stacked like they did. I played #1 doubles and would have wanted their best team, but got their 3 team and beat them 0 and 0.

freelancer
03-09-2007, 08:08 AM
The only time I'll ever stack is if I think we may loose all 5 lines. If I think their best players can beat my best players, and their weak players can beat my weaker players. That way my best players can beat their weaker players. And my weaker players were going to get beat anyway.

... I'm not sure that made much sense, but I'm still half asleep.

cghipp
03-09-2007, 08:19 AM
Another reason I don't stack is that I don't want to do to someone else what was done to me last week: I played #1 singles at 3.5 and had to play a girl who was a weak 3.0 at best. I don't like to have to come out and destroy someone. I want a decent match.

oldguysrule
03-09-2007, 10:00 AM
Here we go again....
You guys have got to change your perception of the lineup. Your court assignments should be done on a random basis. If you do this, then nobody can "stack" against you because they don't know where your "strongest" players will play. You can not control what other teams will do, so quit having an expectation of what they will do. Get on the court, hit the fuzzy yellow ball, and have fun.

If you set your lineup in a certain way, whether according to strength or "stacked", on a consistent basis then that gives the uber-captains a chance to employ strategy against you. If you set your lineup in a random fashion, the strategy is moved between the lines and may the best (wo)man win.

cghipp
03-09-2007, 10:16 AM
I'm pretty sure I don't have to change my perception at all. Your position seems inconsistent to me. On the one hand you're saying just get out there and play, and on the other hand you're saying you have to mix it up so the other captains won't be onto you. My whole point is that I could give a crap if people try to stack against my team. If they stack, fine. If they don't, fine. I will spend my mental energies on determining who plays best with whom and, as you said, let the best women win.

oldguysrule
03-09-2007, 10:32 AM
I'm pretty sure I don't have to change my perception at all. Your position seems inconsistent to me. On the one hand you're saying just get out there and play, and on the other hand you're saying you have to mix it up so the other captains won't be onto you. My whole point is that I could give a crap if people try to stack against my team. If they stack, fine. If they don't, fine. I will spend my mental energies on determining who plays best with whom and, as you said, let the best women win.

First of all, your right, everyone does not have to agree with me. I said that because your perception results in griping about what other captains do. (re: the comment about a decent match). I am always trying to find solutions so that people are happy and have a good time and that usually starts with your expectations and perceptions. So, play on.

My position though is very consistent. My lineup is random because a) it is easier, b) it doesn't create a pecking order on the team, c) the USTA encourages it, d) There is not usually an objective way to determine a ranking for your team (exceptions noted), e) it places the priority on playing tennis and winning each line, and f) we get to skip the conversations regarding stacking, because it doesn't exist.

cghipp
03-09-2007, 11:04 AM
I guess my gripe about my match had more to do with even putting a weak 3.0 on a 3.5 team. I don't mind people playing up - I do it myself - but I think when people join a rated league, they should have a reasonable expectation of match play against people who are around their same level. But that doesn't apply specifically to stacking. Other than that I don't gripe about the "stacking," because I don't care. But a random lineup just doesn't seem easier to me. It is very hard for the human brain to do anything that is truly random!

I understand what you're saying about stacking not existing, but when other captains talk about how they are going to do it, that calls stacking's existence into question. So I would say a random order is not stacking, but a calculated order IS stacking.

Cindysphinx
03-09-2007, 11:20 AM
Here we go again....
You guys have got to change your perception of the lineup. Your court assignments should be done on a random basis. If you do this, then nobody can "stack" against you because they don't know where your "strongest" players will play. You can not control what other teams will do, so quit having an expectation of what they will do. Get on the court, hit the fuzzy yellow ball, and have fun.

If you set your lineup in a certain way, whether according to strength or "stacked", on a consistent basis then that gives the uber-captains a chance to employ strategy against you. If you set your lineup in a random fashion, the strategy is moved between the lines and may the best (wo)man win.

Oldguysrule, there's one thing I have been unable to communicate, so let me try again.

In our section, the rules allow stacking/random court assignment. It is technically OK. Captains are free to do it. You are totally right about this, and I do not argue about this.

In our section, the *custom* seems to be that stacking is frowned upon. It is not a rule. It is a long-standing customer. Captains know which captains stack, and they think less of those captains because many captains view stacking as dishonorable -- putting the good of the few in front of the good of the many. I would not want to be one of those captains.

I would guess a very high percentage of teams at my level in our league don't stack. I can only think of one rampant stacker in my 3.0 division. And I've got a little something for her should we play her!

Because the anti-stacking custom still exists around here, stacking/random order increases the chances that random court assignment will put your weakest team against the other guy's strongest team. For this reason, players don't like it (either because they'll spend lots of time blowing out weak players or getting murdered by stronger players). League tennis is more fun is everyone gets a competitive match. The custom of playing teams according to strenth serves that purpose nicely, but it does make you vulnerable to those who would take advantage to get a leg up in the team match.

Hence my question: Under what circumstances is another captain most likely to benefit from stacking?

cak
03-09-2007, 12:36 PM
Hence my question: Under what circumstances is another captain most likely to benefit from stacking?

I think the existance of stacking/random court assignment is an absolute boon for any captain. Players can't tell by assignment if they are considered the best or worst player in the line up, so they can assume they are the best. Players can't tell if they are up against the best or worst players in the opposing lineup, so they can assume whichever makes them feel best. Its quite the ego saver.

I really like the idea of the first players to show up get to pick the court they are on. As a captain I hate worrying that people won't make it in time. Since everyone seems to have a preference (some like the "show" court, some want to be as far away from their adoring fans as possible...) its a great incentive to get them there early.

At our club there is one of those amazing captains that has a binder with past team lineups that has it all figured out what lineup they need to put out to win that match. She can win local season every year. But come districts, if you don't have the best players you are history.

andfor
03-09-2007, 01:07 PM
WE lost our only match at the 4.5 state tournament last year to a team that stacked against us. We did not play our strongest line-up (played 2 week courts), but we lost one we expected to win. We still won the state tournament, but I thought it was pretty "weak" that they stacked like they did. I played #1 doubles and would have wanted their best team, but got their 3 team and beat them 0 and 0.

What happended to you is what we call "getting beat on the card". The other captain looks like he got his #3 team against your #1 team. Although it's been repeated over and over here this is OK in my book as long as all 5 courts are trying their best to win shuffling your line-up is OK. Think about it. If you are playing a team with an unbeatable singles or doubles team and your team might if they matched up just right win 3-2 you would want the match ups in your favor so the team can win. After all this is TEAM Tennis we are taking about. If the indiviual matchups mean so much then play in a tournament where you have no control over who you play.

In the end it's a guessing just game anyway and part of the TEAM aspect of the game.

andfor
03-09-2007, 01:12 PM
Oldguysrule, there's one thing I have been unable to communicate, so let me try again.

In our section, the rules allow stacking/random court assignment. It is technically OK. Captains are free to do it. You are totally right about this, and I do not argue about this.

In our section, the *custom* seems to be that stacking is frowned upon. It is not a rule. It is a long-standing customer. Captains know which captains stack, and they think less of those captains because many captains view stacking as dishonorable -- putting the good of the few in front of the good of the many. I would not want to be one of those captains.

I would guess a very high percentage of teams at my level in our league don't stack. I can only think of one rampant stacker in my 3.0 division. And I've got a little something for her should we play her!

Because the anti-stacking custom still exists around here, stacking/random order increases the chances that random court assignment will put your weakest team against the other guy's strongest team. For this reason, players don't like it (either because they'll spend lots of time blowing out weak players or getting murdered by stronger players). League tennis is more fun is everyone gets a competitive match. The custom of playing teams according to strenth serves that purpose nicely, but it does make you vulnerable to those who would take advantage to get a leg up in the team match.

Hence my question: Under what circumstances is another captain most likely to benefit from stacking?

Custom smushdom. Hazing is also a custom but there are laws against it. You have the rules on your side. If you choose winning over "custom" the losers will follow and thus a new customer established. In the meantime anyone who complains is a sore loser.

It's never easy being a trailblazer. Come on Cindy, play hard and always play to win. As Al Davis once said"just win baby"!

Cindysphinx
03-09-2007, 01:36 PM
Nope. Sorry. The custom serves a great purpose (although I find CAK's arguments quite compelling). I won't do anything to undermine the custom.

Instead, henceforth I will take to referring to it as the "Code Of Honor." :)

DANMAN
03-09-2007, 02:33 PM
What happended to you is what we call "getting beat on the card". The other captain looks like he got his #3 team against your #1 team. Although it's been repeated over and over here this is OK in my book as long as all 5 courts are trying their best to win shuffling your line-up is OK. Think about it. If you are playing a team with an unbeatable singles or doubles team and your team might if they matched up just right win 3-2 you would want the match ups in your favor so the team can win. After all this is TEAM Tennis we are taking about. If the indiviual matchups mean so much then play in a tournament where you have no control over who you play.

In the end it's a guessing just game anyway and part of the TEAM aspect of the game.

I agree that it is ok. I just wanted the best they could throw at me. They beat us because of their strategy and it was obviously a good move. Had we played our strongest teams, they wouldn't have won more than a court, so in part, it is definitely our fault.

oldguysrule
03-09-2007, 02:34 PM
Oldguysrule,

Hence my question: Under what circumstances is another captain most likely to benefit from stacking?

Since there is no such thing as "stacking" except in the minds of those who choose to continue this discussion...the better question is: What do you gain by setting your court assignments according to the strength of your players?

Since court assignments are supposed to random, have you considered that the captains that you think are stacking are in fact following the correct procedure and shuffling the court assigments from week to week?

Do ya'll have challenge matches each week to determine who your best team is? You must have some objective way to rank your players. If not, how do you deal with a difference of opinion among teammates or other captains as to who the best players are?

Do your players always play with the same partner? If not, how do you determine the best team?

What if your third doubles team always wins big and wants better competition?

OTOH, what problems do you see happening if everyone said: "We are all 3.0's, so tell me which court to go to this week. I'll meet someone new and we will have fun playing tennis.

andfor
03-09-2007, 02:40 PM
Nope. Sorry. The custom serves a great purpose (although I find CAK's arguments quite compelling). I won't do anything to undermine the custom.

Instead, henceforth I will take to referring to it as the "Code Of Honor." :)

Cindy,

In the end you as Captain are the judge of which player is better than another. Your line up is a judgement call. I would advise against being influenced by what others think. Their motives based on their own judgemental basis is obviously cloulded by their own agendas. Your lucky I am not a captain (although I would like to be for more resaons than one) in your league given everyones predictability. ;) Even in the NCAA's teams are allowed to adjust their players in the line-up no more than two places in either direction, i.e. a NCAA #1 could be placed at #3 singles at any time and so on. In the USTA Team Tennis their are no such rules against how to place your players. The USTA tried to regulate line up orders based on strength about 15 years ago with a system. I think it was call "power roster". It failed..............

If you want to adhear to your leagues unwritten code of honor I can respect that. If you play to win I can respect that even more.

Sincerely,

Andy

Raiden.Kaminari
03-09-2007, 04:25 PM
Here we go again....
You guys have got to change your perception of the lineup. Your court assignments should be done on a random basis. If you do this, then nobody can "stack" against you because they don't know where your "strongest" players will play. You can not control what other teams will do, so quit having an expectation of what they will do. Get on the court, hit the fuzzy yellow ball, and have fun.

If you set your lineup in a certain way, whether according to strength or "stacked", on a consistent basis then that gives the uber-captains a chance to employ strategy against you. If you set your lineup in a random fashion, the strategy is moved between the lines and may the best (wo)man win.


Exactly!

That's why I usually:

1. Play Straight
2. If I'm ****ed at players showing up a few minutes before a match, I ask whoever arrived first which spot they want to play. Total randomness.

Let the other captains be stressed on how we do.

Cindysphinx
03-09-2007, 06:04 PM
Since there is no such thing as "stacking" except in the minds of those who choose to continue this discussion...the better question is: What do you gain by setting your court assignments according to the strength of your players?

Since court assignments are supposed to random, have you considered that the captains that you think are stacking are in fact following the correct procedure and shuffling the court assigments from week to week?

Do ya'll have challenge matches each week to determine who your best team is? You must have some objective way to rank your players. If not, how do you deal with a difference of opinion among teammates or other captains as to who the best players are?

Do your players always play with the same partner? If not, how do you determine the best team?

What if your third doubles team always wins big and wants better competition?

OTOH, what problems do you see happening if everyone said: "We are all 3.0's, so tell me which court to go to this week. I'll meet someone new and we will have fun playing tennis.


Fair questions. I'll take them in turn. (After I dispute your statement that "court assignments are supposed to be random." They are not "supposed to be random" any more than they are "supposed to be alphabetical." The rule as I understand it is silent and leaves court assignment to the captain.)

What do I gain by playing players according to perceived strength? Well, my better players get to play against the better players from the other team and are more likely to get a competitive match. If they wish to move up, a good showing will help them improve their rating. My weaker players avoid the tougher competition and feel good when they can win on court 3 instead of getting killed on court 1.

Captains who stack around here are not "following the correct procedure." They are following a permitted procedure, but they are blowing off the custom and preference of the other captains.

We do not have challenge matches, so I have no objective support for my court assignments. (Another reason to allow captains to do whatever they want.) When I do the line-up, however, I have a decent idea of who could whip whom. That's because we have a *big* range of talent on my team. I am recruiting now, and as I see the new players, I think to myself things like, "Hmmm. She could help us on court 2 but not court 1."

My players don't always play with the same partner. We're still a fairly new team.

If my court three players want to try court three, all they have to do is ask. I've never had a court three player ask to play court one. I've never had a court one player ask for court three, although on my previous team weak players definitely asked not to be put on court one.

On the last question, I am not sure what you're proposing. Are you proposing that I not tell the players ahead of time who they'll partner with? If so, I won't do that. My players very much want to practice with their partner in the week before a match and work out things like which side to play, who should serve first, etc. The stronger players would *flip out* if they had to play with the weaker ones, and next season they might find a new team because of it.

Yes, I could assign courts based on arrival times of the teams of players, but my players show up on time. We've never defaulted a match in three seasons, and we do not have alternates come to the match. Besides, if someone is harried from being stuck in traffic, the last thing I want is to give them additional stress from a scolding and the embarrassment of a poor partner or inappropriate court assignment.

travlerajm
03-09-2007, 06:35 PM
How about if tennislink generated a computerized team order of strength, without showing the rating? That would be awesome. It would eliminate stacking if teams were forced to play in order of the computer-generated rating.
And this idea would mean that DNTRP ratings could still be kept secret (we'd just know who was ahead of whom on our team).

cak
03-09-2007, 06:51 PM
How about if tennislink generated a computerized team order of strength, without showing the rating? That would be awesome. It would eliminate stacking if teams were forced to play in order of the computer-generated rating.
And this idea would mean that DNTRP ratings could still be kept secret (we'd just know who was ahead of whom on our team).

It could be done, it's done right now in the NorCal TPI database. But a quick gander of the TPI database which uses the DNTRP algorithm tells me that either there are problems with rating doubles team this way, or I am way, way off on who I thought were good teams. And I really wouldn't want to be the pro or captain posting that list....you thought the ladies had angst over ratings, wait til you rank them.

oldguysrule
03-09-2007, 10:15 PM
Cindy,
I think I understand your choice to make your court assignments based on the strength of your players. It is what works for your teams in your local league. What I don't understand is why you keep questioning the choice that others make and you seem to look down on those who don't make court assignments the way you do. My questions were mainly rhetorical to try to illustrate the problems that most teams experience with your approach.

To be honest, your answers to those questions totally blew me away. I think the guys are much easier to deal with.

tennis-n-sc
03-10-2007, 04:29 AM
Here in the good ole UPTA of the South Carolina District of the Southern Section, stacking is commonly used to try to ensure a card win. It is also common for the captain to out think him/herself and lose all lines. It is a crap shoot based on tendencies of the opposing team, which Tennis Link is great at exposing. I have been to state several times and sectionals once. Expect stacking at these championships every time. The point is to advance. Having said all that, I seldom stack anymore and let the chips fall where they may. It isn't fair to weaker players to be sacraficed at # 1 every week so a stronger player-s can be more assured of a win. So I suppose my trips to state playoffs have stopped. :)

CrocodileRock
03-10-2007, 05:37 AM
It isn't fair to weaker players to be sacraficed at # 1 every week so a stronger player-s can be more assured of a win. So I suppose my trips to state playoffs have stopped. :)

I have been sacrificed more times than not at sectionals, and never once have I considered it unfair. When I have been captain, I have sacrified others many times and will do it many more when it seems appropriate. I define appropriate as when the other team has an unbeatable singles player. Whoever we put against him will lose, so we might as well put a weak player, and use our strongest against their weakest. It's better to split the singles rather than lose both. Like someone above said, this is a team concept. All players should be willing to play their part (even if it is a sacrifice) to help their team take three wins each time out. If someone doesn't understand this, they should avoid team tennis, or be prepared to stay home when the playoffs roll around.

SJS
03-10-2007, 06:04 AM
Since there is no such thing as "stacking" except in the minds of those who choose to continue this discussion...


Oldguysrule,
Should we give up? I made my first ever post to any message board asking the original question regarding playing in order of strength. This was because I just can't get it thru to my players that there is no difference between Ct 1 or 3.
I am a captain of women's teams in one of the largest leagues in the Mid-Atlantic. Starting last year the vast majority of captains at my level and in MY league understood that there is no difference in the court order. You were just as likely to see the strongest team at #3 as at #1 at any given match. So there could be no stacking or no "sacrificing" since I would have no idea where the strongest players may be. It's purely a guessing game.
Our league coordinators have been telling us this for years. It did take a while for the "custom" to change at the captains level in my league but as evidenced by the responses on this board it's going to take even longer for others.

cak
03-10-2007, 07:14 AM
I have been sacrificed more times than not at sectionals, and never once have I considered it unfair.

As a doubles player, I have been sacrificed at number 1 singles three times. Won two of them. You just never know. (Now if they told me to go out there and lose, well they would be sorely disappointed.)

Cindysphinx
03-10-2007, 08:41 AM
Cindy,
I think I understand your choice to make your court assignments based on the strength of your players. It is what works for your teams in your local league. What I don't understand is why you keep questioning the choice that others make and you seem to look down on those who don't make court assignments the way you do. My questions were mainly rhetorical to try to illustrate the problems that most teams experience with your approach.

To be honest, your answers to those questions totally blew me away. I think the guys are much easier to deal with.

I don't have a problem with the various methods of people who are playing in other places that don't have a custom of "playing straight."

I do have a problem with people in my area who undermine the custom around here. Not a huge problem, but a problem.

It's kind of like how it is annoying when someone doesn't abide by the customs that amount to "rules of the road." There's no law that says you should let someone make a lane change so they don't miss their turn, and some folks do not.

Those folks are annoying and make life needlessly difficult for everyone else. Doesn't mean I'll give them the finger, though. . . .

10sfreak
03-10-2007, 09:14 AM
I have been sacrificed more times than not at sectionals, and never once have I considered it unfair. When I have been captain, I have sacrified others many times and will do it many more when it seems appropriate. I define appropriate as when the other team has an unbeatable singles player. Whoever we put against him will lose, so we might as well put a weak player, and use our strongest against their weakest. It's better to split the singles rather than lose both. Like someone above said, this is a team concept. All players should be willing to play their part (even if it is a sacrifice) to help their team take three wins each time out. If someone doesn't understand this, they should avoid team tennis, or be prepared to stay home when the playoffs roll around.
CR, I agree with your post wholeheartedly! Your experience, both as a player and a captain, seems to mirror mine.

tennis-n-sc
03-10-2007, 10:33 AM
I have been sacrificed more times than not at sectionals, and never once have I considered it unfair. When I have been captain, I have sacrified others many times and will do it many more when it seems appropriate. I define appropriate as when the other team has an unbeatable singles player. Whoever we put against him will lose, so we might as well put a weak player, and use our strongest against their weakest. It's better to split the singles rather than lose both. Like someone above said, this is a team concept. All players should be willing to play their part (even if it is a sacrifice) to help their team take three wins each time out. If someone doesn't understand this, they should avoid team tennis, or be prepared to stay home when the playoffs roll around.

Careful there Croc. You'll set a tendency that will be easily read.;) It all depends on what you want out of league play. I have left the arena with regard to winning everything at any cost and competing now is the thing, not just with me but the guys I play with. We'll leave the winning of championships to those professional league teams that thrive on such endeavors.

tennis-n-sc
03-10-2007, 10:36 AM
For those of you that think stacking does not exist, you just aren't living in the real world. It may be informal and without guidelines, but it is there. It is recognized by all that I know. If there was no such thing, how come everyone knows what stacking is? Get real.

CrocodileRock
03-10-2007, 04:40 PM
It all depends on what you want out of league play.

I couldn't agree more sc. We all define fun different ways, but can hook up with like-minded folks to get what we want.

If Cindy's team wants to play order of strength, and give equal court time to each player, it's OK with me.

If oldguys' team wants to completely mix it up every time, making it hard to beat them, that's OK too.

One of the teams here is more interested in the beer party in the parking lot after the match than playing the match itself. That's OK too.

tennis-n-sc
03-10-2007, 06:00 PM
I couldn't agree more sc. We all define fun different ways, but can hook up with like-minded folks to get what we want.

If Cindy's team wants to play order of strength, and give equal court time to each player, it's OK with me.

If oldguys' team wants to completely mix it up every time, making it hard to beat them, that's OK too.

One of the teams here is more interested in the beer party in the parking lot after the match than playing the match itself. That's OK too.

LOL. We played a team from Louisana once that actually had the beer party before the match. They had a great time and it all made for some interesting footwork.:p

10sguy
03-10-2007, 06:25 PM
How about this? Captains put each singles player and each doubles team on separete slips of paper; Both captains do this and then proceed to draw the slips out, one at a time. The first two singles players drawn for each team play each other as do the other two . . . same for doubles. Simple and sane!

Raiden.Kaminari
03-10-2007, 08:06 PM
It could be done, it's done right now in the NorCal TPI database. But a quick gander of the TPI database which uses the DNTRP algorithm tells me that either there are problems with rating doubles team this way, or I am way, way off on who I thought were good teams. And I really wouldn't want to be the pro or captain posting that list....you thought the ladies had angst over ratings, wait til you rank them.

Unfortunately, the TPI database no longer is close to the DNTRP algorithm.

The DNTRP algorithm has been modified for players age 50 and less.

TPI still works for players age 50 and above.

JHBKLYN
03-10-2007, 08:16 PM
In our NYC league, there is a point system for 1s, 2s, 1D, 2D, 3D. In the regular season, it is best to put your best at 1s and 1D since they are the most points. But if you win any 3 out of 5, you will win for the day.

Now for the playoffs, there is no point system, it's the best 3 out of 5 matches so captains would put their best players at 2S and 2D or 3D but since everybody knows that's the strategy, it's a cat and mouse game. Last year, one of my teams was only good enough to win 3 out of 5 matches during the regular season. Come playoff time, in order to beat the top team, we had to stack the weakest players at 1s and 1D but only if they played their regular lineup. That's exactly what they did and we won our league by winning 3 out of 5.

So stacking does work and as others mentioned, it is a team sport, and if sending certain players out there to be sacrificial lambs so the "TEAM" can advance, everyone was all for it. :)

JHBKLYN
03-10-2007, 08:19 PM
As a doubles player, I have been sacrificed at number 1 singles three times. Won two of them. You just never know. (Now if they told me to go out there and lose, well they would be sorely disappointed.)

Maybe your captain doesn't realize you are a good singles player? Or are you the captain and sacrificed yourself?

Kevo
03-10-2007, 08:22 PM
I have really enjoyed this thread. It has given me an opportunity to rethink my strategy on lineups this coming season. I had just planned on playing everyone "straight up" because all the stacking I have seen in the past kind of irked me. And by stacking, I mean captains trying to achieve certain advantageous matchups by moving people around to particular lines. After reading oldguysrule's comment on random ordering, I am going to do that. That way anyone who tries to stack against us will end up potentially hurting themselves, and if we end up in a bad match up, it's just the way the cards fell.

Kevo
03-10-2007, 08:55 PM
I made a simple little program to generate a random lineup. Feel free to try it out and offer suggestions if there is anything else that might be useful for it to do.

Mac Version (OS X) (http://www.digital-cohesion.com/RandomLineupMac.zip)
Windows Version (98, 2000, XP) (http://www.digital-cohesion.com/RandomLineupPC.zip)

volleyman
03-10-2007, 09:25 PM
This has been a fascinating thread.

Down here in the Triangle region of NC, I have noticed that people have a tendency to play in straight up strength order. However, that changes when teams who feel they have a shot a winning a league title face off, especially of one of the squads has a well-known monster singles player or doubles team.

Also, it seems a custom in this area to keep strong doubles teams together, even if that means "sacrificing" a weaker player in a singles spot.

Finally, in leagues like the ones in Durham, where you play each team twice, all bets are off for that second match.

cak
03-11-2007, 06:59 AM
Maybe your captain doesn't realize you are a good singles player? Or are you the captain and sacrificed yourself?

Good singles player? I'm not a singles player at all. I played doubles even in high school.

Kevo
03-30-2007, 12:46 PM
I picked up my team's schedule on Wednesday and just got around to all the associated reading materials. I was somewhat surprised to see "Teams are encouraged to field players in order of strength." I suppose that means I shouldn't randomize my lineup. I know that this "suggestion" is not followed by a good number of teams, so I'm not sure how I should approach it. I was really looking forward to being able to ignore this stuff with my random lineup generator, but now I have to rethink my plan.

Cindysphinx
03-30-2007, 03:13 PM
I think I got the answer to my question at our last 6.5 combo match.

We were playing a team with a poorer record on the season, but with more 3.5 players on its roster than we have. This was a must-win match for us; our remaining matches are against tough teams we will never beat.

I put my undefeated powerhouse team (6.5) on Court One. I put a solid team (6.0) on Court Two. I put myself and a weak player (6.0) on Court Three.

The opponent stacked, big time. They put a 6.0 team on Court One and put a 6.5 team on Courts Two and Three.

We won Court One, 6-0, 6-0. We lost Courts Two and Three in tie-breakers.

This week, we play a strong team, and I have two very weak players in the line-up. Those players usually play (and lose) Court Three. I could stack and put them on Court One, couldn't I?

Nah. I can't. They would *flip out* if I put them on Court One. It would be a blatant sacrifice, and they would be upset to be treated like last week's garbage. Even though the sacrifice would give us a prayer of eeking out a desperately-needed team win, it's just not worth it.

CrocodileRock
03-30-2007, 07:59 PM
I picked up my team's schedule on Wednesday and just got around to all the associated reading materials. I was somewhat surprised to see "Teams are encouraged to field players in order of strength." I suppose that means I shouldn't randomize my lineup. I know that this "suggestion" is not followed by a good number of teams, so I'm not sure how I should approach it. I was really looking forward to being able to ignore this stuff with my random lineup generator, but now I have to rethink my plan.

Kev, I can't believe some people still think this way after all the discussion here.

Again, here is the link:

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_15309.pdf?11/30/2006%207:40:46%20PM

Go to page 18 of 24, where you will find the following:

"A local rule requiring playing order of strength is in violation of the national regulations. Any rule dealing with this issue needs to be removed from your section, area, or local rules."

So not only is your rule explicitly forbidden by USTA, it's also a pretty bad idea, even if it wasn't forbidden.

Simply put, if you always play order of strength (or any other pattern), you are predictable. If you are predictable, opposing captains will know which players to use against you and where to put them to win a majority of the matches.

In other words, playing order of strength means that you will lose matches that you could have won, had you played randomly. Likewise, when you play teams like that, you can beat them even if they appear stronger on paper, if you line up your strengths against their weaknesses, rather than go strength to strength.

CrocodileRock
03-30-2007, 08:10 PM
Nah. I can't. They would *flip out* if I put them on Court One. It would be a blatant sacrifice, and they would be upset to be treated like last week's garbage. Even though the sacrifice would give us a prayer of eeking out a desperately-needed team win, it's just not worth it.

(buries head in hands and shakes it)

By your own admission, changing the lineup like this gives you a chance of winning, yet you refuse to do it because it might hurt someone's feelings?

Everyone has a role to play if the team is to advance as far as possible, even if it is "sacrificial lamb". By using your weakest line against the opponents' strongest line, you free up your two strongest lines to oppose their two weakest lines. It's simple math to me.

If someone flips out over their team role, then they aren't much of an asset to the team anyway. They should go play singles tournaments if individual glory is more important to them.

Speaking of roles, it is the captain's role to structure the lineups to give the team the greatest chance of winning the match. That means playing order of strength sometimes, and sometimes not. If the captain is not doing this, then (s)he is not doing right by the team.

Topaz
03-30-2007, 08:24 PM
(buries head in hands and shakes it)

By your own admission, changing the lineup like this gives you a chance of winning, yet you refuse to do it because it might hurt someone's feelings?

Everyone has a role to play if the team is to advance as far as possible, even if it is "sacrificial lamb". By using your weakest line against the opponents' strongest line, you free up your two strongest lines to oppose their two weakest lines. It's simple math to me.

If someone flips out over their team role, then they aren't much of an asset to the team anyway. They should go play singles tournaments if individual glory is more important to them.

Speaking of roles, it is the captain's role to structure the lineups to give the team the greatest chance of winning the match. That means playing order of strength sometimes, and sometimes not. If the captain is not doing this, then (s)he is not doing right by the team.

You know, I *totally* understand what you are saying here...I really do. However, the one time I was used as a sacrificial lamb, I was p*ssed! Why? Why didn't I just take one for the team? Well, because I paid for a match, not to be crushed. Also, because I cleared my schedule to play a match, not to be crushed. I expected a level playing field, a chance to win, and instead I was off the court in about 40 minutes and fuming. I joined the team to play tennis, and tennis was not played that night.

That captain has lost her team by the way...we all went separate ways because it was clear that she wasn't able to balance her insane need to win with treating her players like humans. And all her scheming? Didn't work. I ended up going to districts with *my* team, that I co-captain, where the emphasis is finding and working with strong doubles teams, and she stayed home.

Just my experience.

CrocodileRock
03-30-2007, 09:26 PM
Thanks topaz.

I appreciate where you are coming from too. I can't judge your sacrifice without knowing any of the details, but if it bothered you that much, it's good that you found a better way to enjoy league tennis. For me, that's the bottom line.

It seems like most of the people here who agree with the "random" approach are male, and most of the ones who like "order of strength" are female. Are women just more likely to get their feelings hurt over this and resent it?

Speaking personally, I have been sacrificed before, sacrificed others as captain, and played against sacrifices many times. It never bothered me a bit. In fact I was glad to do it if it helped the team somehow. Maybe it was a small contribution to make to the team, but at least it was something.

equinox
03-31-2007, 05:15 AM
I've sacrificed players in the past. Mainly during my junior years. If our 4th player lost 2-3 early matches 6-0,6-1 and our 1's was only having close wins, we'd swap them for the rest of season.

Topaz
03-31-2007, 05:21 AM
Thanks topaz.

I appreciate where you are coming from too. I can't judge your sacrifice without knowing any of the details, but if it bothered you that much, it's good that you found a better way to enjoy league tennis. For me, that's the bottom line.

It seems like most of the people here who agree with the "random" approach are male, and most of the ones who like "order of strength" are female. Are women just more likely to get their feelings hurt over this and resent it?

Speaking personally, I have been sacrificed before, sacrificed others as captain, and played against sacrifices many times. It never bothered me a bit. In fact I was glad to do it if it helped the team somehow. Maybe it was a small contribution to make to the team, but at least it was something.

Well, I've run into stacking before in women's leagues...it is more likely to come from an experienced captain, I think...one who studies the other teams' line-ups and such. It is also more likely during the actual USTA season, when there is something to gain from winning.

My experience I wrote about was during the off season...there was no 'prize'! The first place team got t-shirts. But she saw we were playing a strong team and I think it was more of an ego thing. So she threw me up at #1 with a 2.5 lady who barely plays against two women who were straight off a trip to Nationals and were going to get bumped up to 3.5 at the beginning of the next USTA season. They were p*ssed as well, because they also paid and came out for a match, and because of my captain's arrogance, they didn't get one. She was more concerned about trying to get a 'win' in a league that didn't count for anything! And it didn't matter...our team still lost. And I remember, she didn't tell me in advance, she waited until I got there to tell me she was changing the line-up. I had left my clinic class early to get to this match, and really...I would have been much better off staying and learning something that getting my behind handed to me!

I did stay with that team through that next indoor USTA season, and she did the same kind of stuff. I actually got benched for a month after losing my first match. Her 'stronger' players she played every match. So, they got pushed up to 3.5, the ones she didn't play got dropped to 2.5 (including my partner in the match I described above), and the team is gone. All of that, and like I said before, the team didn't make it to districts. But my outdoor team, that doesn't pull stuff like that, did. I believe, in looking at my scores, if I hadn't played outdoor that season, I also would have dropped to 2.5. It was then that I said NO MAS!!!

I do think there is a time and place for stacking, but everyone has got to be on board with the plan!

Ha ha...okay, didn't mean to turn this into a big ole vent about my old team!

equinox
03-31-2007, 05:24 AM
You know, I *totally* understand what you are saying here...I really do. However, the one time I was used as a sacrificial lamb, I was p*ssed! Why? Why didn't I just take one for the team? Well, because I paid for a match, not to be crushed. Also, because I cleared my schedule to play a match, not to be crushed. I expected a level playing field, a chance to win, and instead I was off the court in about 40 minutes and fuming. I joined the team to play tennis, and tennis was not played that night.

If you can't go on court and provide a competitive match say 6-3,6-4 against the oppositions best then you really should be playing at lower grade. Btw you have a chance to win evertime you step onto a court. Reason you don't win is because you've already beaten yourself senseless in your own mind. Btw tennis was played that night, but you were probably to emotionally upset to notice.

Stop complaining and hit the ball.

Cindysphinx
03-31-2007, 06:26 AM
If you can't go on court and provide a competitive match say 6-3,6-4 against the oppositions best then you really should be playing at lower grade. Btw you have a chance to win evertime you step onto a court. Reason you don't win is because you've already beaten yourself senseless in your own mind. Btw tennis was played that night, but you were probably to emotionally upset to notice.

Stop complaining and hit the ball.

Oh, come on. So anyone who can't take 7 games over two sets off of opponents at the same NTRP level is mentally weak? Isn't trying hard enough? Needs to drop down a level? Sheez.

Topaz, your experience is exactly what I'm worried about. The two players I might wish to sacrifice have lost all their matches. I imagine they would like a decent shot to win one and have something to feel good about.

And I imagine they would say, "Hey! How come we have to take a beating? How come the strong players aren't expected to step it up and pull of an upset to get us the team win?"

These two players are leaving my team at the end of this season, so I guess I could go ahead and treat them like crap. It doesn't seem right somehow, though. This is just combo. If we finish second-to-last in the division, what difference does it make in the grand scheme of things? It would mean that most if not all of the team members didn't get the job done over a 12-week season. Why saddle these two women with an embarrassing loss when our current record is the result of everyone's failures? Give them a fair chance to win, and if they don't, it's on them, not me.

Even if this were the spring season and a trip to nationals were on the line (theoretically, that is), is it worth upsetting two people who have committed no sin other than having poor tennis strokes?

Cindysphinx
03-31-2007, 06:33 AM
Thanks topaz.
It seems like most of the people here who agree with the "random" approach are male, and most of the ones who like "order of strength" are female. Are women just more likely to get their feelings hurt over this and resent it?




It's not a gender thing. It is a regional thing. Topaz and I are in the same geographic area, and stacking is still not generally accepted here. It is considered gamesmanship, something weak captains do. I wouldn't want a reputation as a captain who stacks.

I remember when my mixed 7.0 captain (a guy) was setting the line-up against a powerhouse team. We put our heads together and eventually decided put our weakest team on Court One. He was *very* concerned about looking like a jerk. The thing that convinced him was that all three teams were rated legitimate 7.0, so it wasn't an obvious stack.

The stack worked. Court One lost, Courts Two and Three won in close matches, handing an undefeated powerhouse their only defeat. Had the weak team been rated 6.5, I know he would never have agreed to put them on Court One and would have preferred to play straight and lose the team match.

Topaz
03-31-2007, 08:19 AM
If you can't go on court and provide a competitive match say 6-3,6-4 against the oppositions best then you really should be playing at lower grade. Btw you have a chance to win evertime you step onto a court. Reason you don't win is because you've already beaten yourself senseless in your own mind. Btw tennis was played that night, but you were probably to emotionally upset to notice.

Stop complaining and hit the ball.

I was at the correct level, our opponents were not. Read the post...they got back from Nationals, and were 3.5s playing in the 3.0 league. In the 'fun' league. That I pay for, and cleared time out of my schedule for.

I had no problem winning matches at Districts, with a different team, and a different captain with a different philosophy.

And I will complain as much as I want, thank you very much.

Topaz
03-31-2007, 08:20 AM
And I imagine they would say, "Hey! How come we have to take a beating? How come the strong players aren't expected to step it up and pull of an upset to get us the team win?"


BINGO!!!!!

cak
03-31-2007, 12:46 PM
The stacking issue is definitely not a gender thing. Women in NorCal do the random court assignment stuff all the time. And as much as we might call it sacrifice, it's really an opportunity to exceed expectations. People are put in lineups with no expectation of winning, and win all the time. (And it's that much sweeter when they win.) Perhaps in NorCal the leagues are closer than they are out east, but here, if you are a 3.5 playing in 3.5 leagues you have a chance to win everytime you step on the court. If you are playing up then it's assumed you are playing up to play against better players. How annoying would it be to sign up for a 3.5 team and spend the season playing other 3.0 players?

But I do see a difference between teams thinking they are playing for the team win, and teams that figure the whole season is one big practice season. I play team tennis for team wins. I feel better when the team wins even if I lose, than I do if I win and yet the team loses. I know there are "teams" out there that are really in it to get everyone another two hours of tennis a week. They are made up of players that want a good match, but really aren't interested in the team record. Different strokes.

Kevo
04-01-2007, 08:35 PM
Kev, I can't believe some people still think this way after all the discussion here.

Again, here is the link:

http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_15309.pdf?11/30/2006%207:40:46%20PM

Go to page 18 of 24, where you will find the following:

"A local rule requiring playing order of strength is in violation of the national regulations. Any rule dealing with this issue needs to be removed from your section, area, or local rules."


Thanks for posting that. I think I remember someone mentioning this earlier, but I didn't actually have the reference. I am definitely going to be random now. I really wanted to use my random lineup generator anyway. :-)

tennis-n-sc
04-02-2007, 04:45 AM
This is a good thread and it looks like stacking is a regional type thing but hard to nail down. Around here, stacking is fairly common amongst teams fighting for a playoff berth. Teams that are already out of contention tend to play more straight up. Also around here, stacking is primarily generated based on the other teams tendencies. Sometimes a captain may stack to hit the other teams strengths. But no on likes to be the sacraficial lamb all the time. And I detest a captain that never takes a sacrafice or always plays at the weak line to simply enhance their rating or protect their rating. At some point, a player has to play the big boys (or girls). I like to be the player or have players that say, "I want to go against their best." That's the true measure of a player, even knowing they will likely lose. What thrill is there in beating another teams weakest team, especially if you think you are your team's best.

pagepa
04-03-2007, 01:14 PM
Since there is no such thing as "stacking" except in the minds of those who choose to continue this discussion...the better question is: What do you gain by setting your court assignments according to the strength of your players?

Since court assignments are supposed to random, have you considered that the captains that you think are stacking are in fact following the correct procedure and shuffling the court assigments from week to week?

Do ya'll have challenge matches each week to determine who your best team is? You must have some objective way to rank your players. If not, how do you deal with a difference of opinion among teammates or other captains as to who the best players are?

Do your players always play with the same partner? If not, how do you determine the best team?

What if your third doubles team always wins big and wants better competition?

OTOH, what problems do you see happening if everyone said: "We are all 3.0's, so tell me which court to go to this week. I'll meet someone new and we will have fun playing tennis.

oldguysrule, I agree. In USTA league play when everyone has the same rating there is no such thing as stacking. Any given day any team can win. Team ladders do not necessarily indicate who the best teams/players are. Some players are "match" players and some are "practice" players. In local league play in particular, many players know all of the other players on the other teams, and it's not a matter of who's better but keeping the other teams guessing about who will play in which spot each week.

Cindysphinx
04-04-2007, 03:54 AM
Any given team can win on any given day?

Nah. Not on my team. The strongest two players will clean the clocks of the weakest two players 10 times out of 10.

tennis-n-sc
04-04-2007, 04:32 AM
Any given team can win on any given day?

Nah. Not on my team. The strongest two players will clean the clocks of the weakest two players 10 times out of 10.

Totally agree. And I don't understand these people that say stacking doesn't exist.

pagepa
04-04-2007, 05:25 AM
Any given team can win on any given day?

Nah. Not on my team. The strongest two players will clean the clocks of the weakest two players 10 times out of 10.

If these players are so weak, how do they maintain the rating at that level? If the strongest players are so strong and are "cleaning the clocks" of people at their level, then how do they stay at that level?

Cindysphinx
04-04-2007, 05:35 AM
The weak players stay at the 3.0 level because they are weak 3.0s

The strong players are at 3.0 because they can't yet beat other strong 3.0s. But they can most definitely put a hurt on their weak 3.0 teammates.

We all know that there is a significant difference between someone at the bottom of a particular rating level and someone at the top. Those at the top of their rating level get a fistfull of offers to join teams; those at the bottom may come up empty. Why deny it and pretend matches between people at the same rating level are toss-ups?

oldguysrule
04-04-2007, 06:22 AM
Totally agree. And I don't understand these people that say stacking doesn't exist.

Stacking is a term that means you are manipulating a lineup in an illegal or unethical way in order to gain an advantage against a team that follows the rules requiring playing your team in order of strength. In USTA league tennis, there is no rule requiring that teams play in order of strength. In fact, the rules specifically state that court 1 has no more significance than court 2...Since there is no rule that requires a team to set their lineup in order of strength, there can be no stacking. This has been spelled out and explained numerous times.

Cindysphinx
04-04-2007, 06:50 AM
Stacking is a term that means you are manipulating a lineup in an illegal or unethical way in order to gain an advantage against a team that follows the rules requiring playing your team in order of strength. In USTA league tennis, there is no rule requiring that teams play in order of strength. In fact, the rules specifically state that court 1 has no more significance than court 2...Since there is no rule that requires a team to set their lineup in order of strength, there can be no stacking. This has been spelled out and explained numerous times.

The bold part is something of a red herring.

We are all in 100% agreement that there is no rule requiring teams to play in order of strength. So a team that plays in order of strength is not "following the rule."

I'd say "stacking" is a term that means a team is choosing to field its line-up in some way other than relative strength. It is usually done intentionally to obtain a slight competitive advantage. Depending on locale, stacking is either viewed as smart, OK, creative, irrelevant, sneaky, cowardly or any other number of adjectives.

In my area, I'd say it is viewed as something sneaky done by captains more concerned with pulling off an upset team win than in arranging competitive matches for their players. A couple of captains have a reputation for "stacking;" the fact that this tendency has been noted shows there is a custom to avoid stacking. Most captains at my level around here play their line-ups in order of strength, in my experience.

I mention this because I don't buy the argument that stacking "doesn't exist." The concept exists; we all know what "stacking" means. Pretending we've no idea what the term means seems unnecessary.

SEE ALSO "Sacrifice." :)

cak
04-04-2007, 07:13 AM
Concerning stacking:

In my area, I'd say it is viewed as something sneaky done by captains more concerned with pulling off an upset team win than in arranging competitive matches for their players.

In our area there are leagues set up to arrange competitive matches for their players. These are called interclub. A successful interclub is when all four courts go to three sets. Since the goal is not to get a team win, but to set up competitive matches, no win/loss records are kept for the league.

It is interesting your area is using regular USTA leagues for that. If the goal is competitive matches, why do they keep team scores?

tennis-n-sc
04-04-2007, 08:49 AM
Stacking is a term that means you are manipulating a lineup in an illegal or unethical way in order to gain an advantage against a team that follows the rules requiring playing your team in order of strength. In USTA league tennis, there is no rule requiring that teams play in order of strength. In fact, the rules specifically state that court 1 has no more significance than court 2...Since there is no rule that requires a team to set their lineup in order of strength, there can be no stacking. This has been spelled out and explained numerous times.

Where is the definition of "stacking" that you refer to as minipulative, illegal, and unethical. I'll tell you stacking exists all over the country, perpetuated by TennisLink. Every USTA team captain I know, in three states in the Southern Section, that is hell bent on winning something, reviews the scorecard entries in TennisLink to pick up team and player records and tendencies of what line players generally play and if the captain plays better players at other positions. They take this info and do what they think will give their team the best shot at a team win. There is world of information in the score cards. To say that stacking doesn't exist or isn't used, or is illegal, manipulative or unethical is simply naive. I happpens everyday in USTA league play. If you wish to call it something else, go right ahead. But I have never heard it referred to as anything but "stacking". And I believe this has been explained numerous times.

oldguysrule
04-04-2007, 12:47 PM
The written word often eludes me and I can't seem to make the point I am trying to make. Let me try again.

USTA league tennis is a TEAM sport. The ultimate goal is for the team to win. I understand that some teams know they will not win and the goals become different. However, the first goal should always be for the team win. That is the context that we should be discussing this topic. If that is not your goal, then the discussion makes no sense. A good captain will do everything he/she can to put your team in the best position for a win. In high school and college there are rules in place that restrict a coach's ability to move players up and down in the lineup. If they try to get around the rules, they are guilty of stacking their team. There are no rules in USTA league tennis that restrict captains from playing anybody at any court. Therefore, a good captain assigns players to courts in such a way that opposing captains cannot find a pattern in his lineup. If there is a pattern, for example, playing in order of strength, then a good captain can use this information to his advantage. Some people call this stacking. I do not call it stacking because that implies an unfair advantage. (see historical use of the term above) That is why I say that stacking does not exist. Moving your players to different courts for different matches is what you are supposed to do to give your TEAM the best chance for a win.

oldguysrule
04-04-2007, 12:57 PM
...In my area, I'd say it is viewed as something sneaky done by captains more concerned with pulling off an upset team win than in arranging competitive matches for their players. A couple of captains have a reputation for "stacking;" the fact that this tendency has been noted shows there is a custom to avoid stacking. Most captains at my level around here play their line-ups in order of strength, in my experience.


SEE ALSO "Sacrifice." :)

This is what I don't understand. USTA league tennis is a TEAM sport. The number one goal for a team should be to get the TEAM win. Getting an upset win is even better. Why would someone even play USTA leagues if their #1 goal is to get a competitive match? Maybe "stacking" is frowned on by certain captains because it is a threat to their ability to continue winning?

Cindysphinx
04-04-2007, 02:05 PM
Your argument is premised on the assumption that every player on every team in the U.S. is playing USTA league for only one purpose: to win the team match.

This just isn't so. Some play to improve. I am like this. If I play a killer match and win, but my teammates go down in flames, I am a happy player. If everyone on my team wins 6-0, 6-0, I am happy for them, but if I lost a close tiebreaker or didn't play my best, I am unhappy. Yeah, the team win is a nice consolation prize for those who didn't win their own matches, but that's all it is for me.

Some play for exercise, and double bageling someone isn't much of a workout. Some play for a thrill, and a non-competitive match is boring.

Why play USTA league if the team results aren't my priority?

USTA is cheaper than country clubs (and the women are more sane IMHO). The match times and locations are convenient. I like seeing how I'm doing measured against others of similar ability, and I especially like that I rarely face the same player twice. Because our section is so huge, there is great variety among the teams in terms of goals and temperament.

A team win is pretty meaningless when the season ends. Really, who remembers what team finished fourth in my division two years ago?

A competitive match where you are challenged to use what you have learned lasts forever. I remember every match where I played my best or pulled off an upset like it was yesterday.

Now do you see why those who are like me might wish to have competitive, challenging matches and view this goal as more important than whether we get a team win? The national rule allowing captains freedom to set their line-ups is what it is, and I accept that. If I ruled the world, I would change it or would come up with some incentive to reward those who play in order of strength.

cak
04-04-2007, 02:45 PM
I absolutely agree that every player on every team in the US is not playing USTA league tennis to win the team match. However, the league is set up to reward teams trying to win as a team. That is the purpose of the league. That is why they have the national rule, to instill the purpose in the league.

There are other leagues where the purpose is to get competitive matches. I can think of both team based leagues and individual leagues around here that have that purpose. So I guess if I were either a individual or team captain that was looking for competitive games I would search out interclub leagues (and here most the teams are public court teams) or the leagues like those that are advertised in this forum, that are more game matching types of leagues. Or I would join either a country club or community group that matches up people who can then make games for them. It sounds like it's easier for you to just sign up for USTA leagues, but then to expect folks to put out competitive lineups for you is kind of nutty. They are playing league to win or lose as a team. And that's what the league is for.

And for the record, I find the ladies that play just country club tennis much more sane than those that just play USTA, but certainly country clubs and USTA overlap. Many country clubs have USTA teams. But then again, most women around here, if they are playing tennis, play way more tennis than just USTA, or just interclub, or just Ming Quong (the individual match league), or just country club social matches, or just lessons, or just clinics. Most do a combination. Some do all of the above. Yesterday, in our team's USTA evening lineup seven of the eight had played at least two sets that morning. Some had played more. Three played and then went to doubles clinic. And I saw every single one of them were out on the courts this morning, some in the team clinic, some taking private lessons, some in doubles clinics and some in social matches. USTA is such a small part of most of these women's tennis that if you aren't interested in playing as a team there is really no point in signing up for USTA leagues. So, though you have to get all your tennis joy out of USTA matches, that's not true of the folks you are playing against.

Cindysphinx
04-04-2007, 03:30 PM
I hear ya, CAK. And like I said, I accept the national rule and abide by it. I just don't happen to like it.

Around here, the country club ladies Are To Be Avoided. My experience with them is that they are not at all nice, are very cliquish and can be, erm, snooty and elitist. All of the country club friends I have play at the club and do not play USTA. I mean, come on. USTA uses *county* facilities where anybody can wander in the place. Ewwwww!!!

Plus, the country club near me is $55,000 for initiation (nonrefundable, entitling member to no equity interest), plus significant monthly dues. Don't forget the pricey food members are required to buy. And that is for the cheapest of the three nearby country clubs.

Nah, gimme my USTA league for $20. I'll play up when I can to get competitive matches, and if I don't get a competitive match because someone stacked then I'll just have to hope the next match is better. So far in 6.5, my own matches have been competitive, but my No. 1 team has been disappointed a few times owing to stacking.

tennis-n-sc
04-04-2007, 03:56 PM
I absolutely agree that every player on every team in the US is not playing USTA league tennis to win the team match. However, the league is set up to reward teams trying to win as a team. That is the purpose of the league. That is why they have the national rule, to instill the purpose in the league.

There are other leagues where the purpose is to get competitive matches. I can think of both team based leagues and individual leagues around here that have that purpose. So I guess if I were either a individual or team captain that was looking for competitive games I would search out interclub leagues (and here most the teams are public court teams) or the leagues like those that are advertised in this forum, that are more game matching types of leagues. Or I would join either a country club or community group that matches up people who can then make games for them. It sounds like it's easier for you to just sign up for USTA leagues, but then to expect folks to put out competitive lineups for you is kind of nutty. They are playing league to win or lose as a team. And that's what the league is for.

And for the record, I find the ladies that play just country club tennis much more sane than those that just play USTA, but certainly country clubs and USTA overlap. Many country clubs have USTA teams. But then again, most women around here, if they are playing tennis, play way more tennis than just USTA, or just interclub, or just Ming Quong (the individual match league), or just country club social matches, or just lessons, or just clinics. Most do a combination. Some do all of the above. Yesterday, in our team's USTA evening lineup seven of the eight had played at least two sets that morning. Some had played more. Three played and then went to doubles clinic. And I saw every single one of them were out on the courts this morning, some in the team clinic, some taking private lessons, some in doubles clinics and some in social matches. USTA is such a small part of most of these women's tennis that if you aren't interested in playing as a team there is really no point in signing up for USTA leagues. So, though you have to get all your tennis joy out of USTA matches, that's not true of the folks you are playing against.

I'm one of those country club guys and I play club matches, club socials, tournaments, and anywhere else I can find a match. Those are for me, but not really needed for tennis fullment. Game improvement I get from clinics and privates. But I get the most of everything from USTA league matches and the team comradeship that occurs. Of course, I want to win those matches in league play for my competitive side, but equally for the team. If I don't play in a league match, I'm very anxious to discover how the TEAM did first, then how the individual lines did. No one on my team would think of leaving the courts during a league match after our court is finished. We stay unitl the entire team completes playing to offer support. I don't think this peculiar to men's teams. Our mixed team is just as devoted. I would feel deprived to think of our team as just a vehicle for personal gains. Is this just a guy thing?

cak
04-04-2007, 05:11 PM
I'm one of those country club guys and I play club matches, club socials, tournaments, and anywhere else I can find a match. Those are for me, but not really needed for tennis fullment. Game improvement I get from clinics and privates. But I get the most of everything from USTA league matches and the team comradeship that occurs. Of course, I want to win those matches in league play for my competitive side, but equally for the team. If I don't play in a league match, I'm very anxious to discover how the TEAM did first, then how the individual lines did. No one on my team would think of leaving the courts during a league match after our court is finished. We stay unitl the entire team completes playing to offer support. I don't think this peculiar to men's teams. Our mixed team is just as devoted. I would feel deprived to think of our team as just a vehicle for personal gains. Is this just a guy thing?

I was thinking it was a team thing. In our league anyone can build a team as long as you have home courts. Home courts range from public park courts that are reserved, to fancy country clubs. Last night, at our AWAY game, the whole team stayed 'til the last doubles match finished, in three sets. As did our players who were not in the lineup that night. And their spouses. The home team provided wine, softdrinks, and food (including two types of soup for the cold evening) for fans and players of both teams. And when our last players walked off the court with the win that sealed our team win they got hugs from everybody. This was women's tennis, but I noticed the men's USTA match playing on the next set of courts had their fans too. (And beer, instead of wine.)

tennis-n-sc
04-05-2007, 04:28 AM
Great Job! Nothing like that team victory celebration, with beer or wine. :)

Cindysphinx
04-05-2007, 05:18 AM
Yeah, that's another thing about our league that makes the team spirit thing hard to pull off. We play at many different public and private facilities, and most teams do not have "home" facilities. You're not representing anything facility, club, neighborhood, section of town when you play as a team. There are some captains who are very interested in building a dynasty of sorts, but they are the exception.

And we don't have any socializing after the matches. When our two hours are up, we are required to get the heck out. Also, in the winter we have to grab indoor court time when we can. We are at the end of a 12-week winter season, and I still have teammates walking up to each other at matches and introducing themselves because they've never met.

And congratulations, CAK!!

tennis-n-sc
04-05-2007, 05:51 AM
Yeah, that's another thing about our league that makes the team spirit thing hard to pull off. We play at many different public and private facilities, and most teams do not have "home" facilities. You're not representing anything facility, club, neighborhood, section of town when you play as a team. There are some captains who are very interested in building a dynasty of sorts, but they are the exception.

And we don't have any socializing after the matches. When our two hours are up, we are required to get the heck out. Also, in the winter we have to grab indoor court time when we can. We are at the end of a 12-week winter season, and I still have teammates walking up to each other at matches and introducing themselves because they've never met.

And congratulations, CAK!!

Cindy, I'm sure there are circumstances at your location that I can't imagine but here, we don't play for the club. We play for the team and each other. That's where it's happening. I can't imagine playng under time limit restraints.

Ronaldo
04-05-2007, 06:28 AM
Yeah, that's another thing about our league that makes the team spirit thing hard to pull off. We play at many different public and private facilities, and most teams do not have "home" facilities. You're not representing anything facility, club, neighborhood, section of town when you play as a team. There are some captains who are very interested in building a dynasty of sorts, but they are the exception.

And we don't have any socializing after the matches. When our two hours are up, we are required to get the heck out. Also, in the winter we have to grab indoor court time when we can. We are at the end of a 12-week winter season, and I still have teammates walking up to each other at matches and introducing themselves because they've never met.

And congratulations, CAK!!

Little different here, noticed the mxd and women's teams have potluck snacks after matches. Men play in the summer, usually breakout a grill, then socialize. Known most teammates from 5-20 yrs.

cak
04-05-2007, 07:50 AM
And we don't have any socializing after the matches. When our two hours are up, we are required to get the heck out.

Our first match this season was against a team playing on junior college courts. So no alcohol. After our frustrating loss (We did win two lines, and and lost a singles match in the third set...) we retired to our captain's house for after match drowning of sorrows. You just need to find an after match watering hole. With time limits you would even know what time you were hitting the bar, so non-players could stop by. (And I can't even imagine the time limit thing. I would think strategy would change dramatically.)

Here the one down side of the home match thing is some "homes" only have 3 courts, so the first three matches start at say 6pm, and the next two go on not before 7:15. It's good for those folks that have trouble leaving work early, they can be in the late games. But the last folks off the court don't get to party as long as the people in the early games. The late shift does get a large (and perhaps tipsy) contigent of fans. (Our Birthday girl got a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" every time she had a good shot or changed sides last Tuesday. She said it helped her focus. Who knew drunken fans help focus.)

pagepa
04-05-2007, 10:44 AM
Stacking is a term that means you are manipulating a lineup in an illegal or unethical way in order to gain an advantage against a team that follows the rules requiring playing your team in order of strength. In USTA league tennis, there is no rule requiring that teams play in order of strength. In fact, the rules specifically state that court 1 has no more significance than court 2...Since there is no rule that requires a team to set their lineup in order of strength, there can be no stacking. This has been spelled out and explained numerous times.

Oldguysrule you have worded this exactly right. The bottom line is that USTA is a competitive league. That's why it's so structured and has a whole booklet of National regulations along with Sectional, District, and Local rules. #1 doubles has no more significance than #2 or #3. You may as well call them A, B, and C, or Red, Blue and Green. Think about baseball batting orders. Those change all the time depending on what pitchers the team will face and what kind of success batters have had against those particular pitchers. Sometimes the batters are moved lower in the order if they are in slump, or moved higher in the order if they're on a hitting streak. It's part of the sport and a good manager will change his batting order if he needs to.

tennis-n-sc
04-05-2007, 11:58 AM
Oldguysrule you have worded this exactly right. The bottom line is that USTA is a competitive league. That's why it's so structured and has a whole booklet of National regulations along with Sectional, District, and Local rules. #1 doubles has no more significance than #2 or #3. You may as well call them A, B, and C, or Red, Blue and Green. Think about baseball batting orders. Those change all the time depending on what pitchers the team will face and what kind of success batters have had against those particular pitchers. Sometimes the batters are moved lower in the order if they are in slump, or moved higher in the order if they're on a hitting streak. It's part of the sport and a good manager will change his batting order if he needs to.

LOL. Well, your baseball analogy is a perfect example of stacking. What do call it baseball?;)

pagepa
04-05-2007, 12:22 PM
LOL. Well, your baseball analogy is a perfect example of stacking. What do call it baseball?;)

Changing a batting order is not stacking. Batting orders are determined by hitting styles and not who's the better hitter. Who's to say who's the better batter? Is it the leadoff hitter who always gets on base and in position to score, the power hitter who bats clean-up, or the #3 guy who always moves runners around the bases. The answer is none of the above. They all have different styles of hitting and all serve the team better in different spots in the order. Since baseball is a team sport, the hitters are nothing without the other hitters in the order performing their roles. If the clean up hitter has a minor injury, he may be better off in the #2 slot or lower in the order because he can not perform at 100% that day. There are no absolutes in baseball or in tennis. Some tennis players handle pace well but can't handle spin and lobs. Some players don't have great strokes but win matches off being strong mentally and playing smart. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it's all in how they perform against the opponents on the court that particular day. Too many tennis players win or lose matches before they hit the first ball.

kevhen
04-05-2007, 01:24 PM
Stacking is legal in the USTA but generally most teams put their strongest players at #1 or #2. Some captains will put a weaker player with a stronger player so they have 3 solid doubles teams. Others will put the two weakest players together so that they have a better chance at winning with the other 2 doubles teams. Some captains will put this weak team at #1 as a sacrificial lamb so that the team can win. But I think the main idea of USTA is to have competitive matches so I usually put out the best team at each spot with a strong player with an average player or strong player at #1, two average players at #2, and two weaker players at #3. Usually the competition does the same and we have competitive 3 set matches all down the line. We may lose as a team but we all enjoy our individual matches.

tennis-n-sc
04-05-2007, 02:04 PM
Pagepa, if you took a survey amongst league tennis players throughout the country and asked them if stacking existed and to define it, I believe you would get the idea that everyone knows it exits and how to do it. Everyone, that is, but two.

marcl65
04-05-2007, 03:17 PM
There are no absolutes in baseball or in tennis. Some tennis players handle pace well but can't handle spin and lobs. Some players don't have great strokes but win matches off being strong mentally and playing smart. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it's all in how they perform against the opponents on the court that particular day. Too many tennis players win or lose matches before they hit the first ball.I can't argue with most of what you're saying here however, you're not trying to imply that all 3.0's or 3.5's (or whatever) are equal are you? And sure, there's truth to "it's all in how they perform against the opponents on the court that particular day" but the stronger opponents are going to beat the weaker ones 9 or 99 times out of 10 or a 100. That one time the weaker ones pull out a win is called an "upset" for a reason.

LuckyR
04-05-2007, 05:01 PM
oldguysrule is right, of course. But I liked the old HS system where you played all of the other players, round robin style and counted up the sets. Therefore since everyone played everyone it didn't matter.

Our league had 2 doubles teams and 4 singles players. Everyone played 4 sets. The singles sets were worth 1 point and the doubles sets were worth 1.5 The doubles teams played 2 sets against each team. Of course you needed 6 courts instead of five and still only 8 players got to play each match.

oldguysrule
04-05-2007, 08:51 PM
Pagepa, if you took a survey amongst league tennis players throughout the country and asked them if stacking existed and to define it, I believe you would get the idea that everyone knows it exits and how to do it. Everyone, that is, but two.

Either you are trying to be cute, or you are not reading very well.

Why don't you tell me how to stack. You are playing a team that has used 5 different singles players and moved them around between court 1 and court 2. You know which ones are better, but have no clue who will play and on which court. Same with doubles only more players, more courts, so more complicated. How would you "stack" your team to gain an advantage?

Cindysphinx
04-06-2007, 03:42 AM
Either you are trying to be cute, or you are not reading very well.

Why don't you tell me how to stack. You are playing a team that has used 5 different singles players and moved them around between court 1 and court 2. You know which ones are better, but have no clue who will play and on which court. Same with doubles only more players, more courts, so more complicated. How would you "stack" your team to gain an advantage?

Stacking exists where custom or protocol suggests that teams be played in order of strength. Without that premise, stacking cannot occur. This is obvious.

To use a baseball analogy, if managers could send batters to the plate in any order, there would be no such thing as "batting order."

But we all know that in some places, custom or protocol do suggest that teams play in order of strength. So stacking can occur.

sue20852
04-06-2007, 05:14 AM
Great Job! Nothing like that team victory celebration, with beer or wine. :)

In my previous region the teams almost always had gone out for "coffee" or "wine" after a match. We also had a team start-up party and a team season-end party. The parties were very casual, e.g., at a heurige for local food and drink. I think life style here is very different and the opportunity for get-together is not a team priority. Players band together to play tennis only. I envy those teams with a "social life" beyond the matches and practices.

tennis-n-sc
04-06-2007, 05:18 AM
Either you are trying to be cute, or you are not reading very well.

Why don't you tell me how to stack. You are playing a team that has used 5 different singles players and moved them around between court 1 and court 2. You know which ones are better, but have no clue who will play and on which court. Same with doubles only more players, more courts, so more complicated. How would you "stack" your team to gain an advantage?

I am cute and thank you for noticing.

Around here, we have about 20 men's 3.5 teams. With the exception of an occasional player moving into to town, everyone pretty well knows everyone else, perticularly the captains. It is a relatively simple thing to go to TennisLink and check past rosters with this seasons roster, check tournament play for results, and check teams tendencies for how they play their line-up, who plays with who, etc. Based on this info, a perspective line-up can be formulated. If I think they are going to play their better players in order (and yes, there are many players at the same level significantly better others) and I feel I need an edge, I might try to pick up a team win by placing my best siingles player at #2, and my best doubles teams at #2 and #3. Or if I think my best doubles can beat their best, I might put my better doubles at #1 and #3. Some captains become very predictable and never change a line-up order. Others change theirs constantly and are unpredictable, making the line-up order a crap shoot. Around here we call it stacking. In other parts of the country, it must be called a batting order. There is nothing unethical, illegal or immoral about it, and it can actually be fun and exciting at line-up exchange time. It works about 60% of the time. More, I think in big matches at districts and sectional playoffs, where it is as common as a cold.

Maybe this line-up practice doesn't exist where you are, or maybe you just aren't aware of it. It is, however, common and widely practiced in locations where some teams strive to get to the district playoffs. And, of course, there are other little things one might do to get the win that aren't in the rule book either, but commonly practiced.

Now, I'm off to Davis Cup where I hope the U. S. team will stack, cheat or do whatever is necessary to beat Spain.

Now wasn't that cute. ;)

Islandtennis
04-06-2007, 06:45 AM
The only thing that I have found certain at the state championships is that the team will not play straight up. As SC said, the best you can hope for is to see a trend and go with a gut feeling. Its the same way for the important matches in local league. As a captain, I've always tried to play straight up against weaker teams in hopes that the competitive teams will think that is how I will play against them. I have taken several teams to states in adult, combo, and mixed over the last few years in one one of the largest CTA's in the country.

oldguysrule
04-06-2007, 07:18 AM
I am cute and thank you for noticing.

Around here, we have about 20 men's 3.5 teams. With the exception of an occasional player moving into to town, everyone pretty well knows everyone else, perticularly the captains. It is a relatively simple thing to go to TennisLink and check past rosters with this seasons roster, check tournament play for results, and check teams tendencies for how they play their line-up, who plays with who, etc. Based on this info, a perspective line-up can be formulated. If I think they are going to play their better players in order (and yes, there are many players at the same level significantly better others) and I feel I need an edge, I might try to pick up a team win by placing my best siingles player at #2, and my best doubles teams at #2 and #3. Or if I think my best doubles can beat their best, I might put my better doubles at #1 and #3. Some captains become very predictable and never change a line-up order. Others change theirs constantly and are unpredictable, making the line-up order a crap shoot. Around here we call it stacking. In other parts of the country, it must be called a batting order. There is nothing unethical, illegal or immoral about it, and it can actually be fun and exciting at line-up exchange time. It works about 60% of the time. More, I think in big matches at districts and sectional playoffs, where it is as common as a cold.

Maybe this line-up practice doesn't exist where you are, or maybe you just aren't aware of it. It is, however, common and widely practiced in locations where some teams strive to get to the district playoffs. And, of course, there are other little things one might do to get the win that aren't in the rule book either, but commonly practiced.

Now, I'm off to Davis Cup where I hope the U. S. team will stack, cheat or do whatever is necessary to beat Spain.

Now wasn't that cute. ;)

First of all, I have enjoyed all of your posts on this TT. Second of all, we don't have food and drinks at the courts, so I'm jealous.

Regarding stacking, I know exactly what it is and how to do it. The problem, I guess, is that around here, most other captains understand it as well and most of them (if not all) pride themselves on doing everything they can to insure a team win. They know that if they are predictable or show tendencies in setting their lineup, it will be expoited. I assume every captain that plays a team game wants their team to win. Therefore, if you can't find a pattern, you can't stack.

I'm just an old country boy with a small mind that sees a trail and follows it. 1. USTA is a team sport. 2. The goal in any game or sport is to win. 3. Court 1, 2, etc. has no significance other than for keeping track of scores. 4. If I (as a captain) set my lineup with certain tendencies or patterns, other captains can exploit that. 5. So, I move my players around to different courts, as do other captains around here.

Rather than say stacking doesn't exist, I should have said stacking is a non-issue, around here. It appears in other parts of the country, captains don't care about a team win, and continue to set their lineups in order of strength. However, I bet the teams that advance in the playoffs, don't show any pattern or tendencies in their lineups.

My thoughts on this only apply to those captains that put the team win ahead of individual satisfaction. If you are playing USTA league tennis for improvement or just to get an individual competitive match, your goals will be different than those playing as a team.

CrocodileRock
04-06-2007, 07:59 AM
My thoughts on this only apply to those captains that put the team win ahead of individual satisfaction. If you are playing USTA league tennis for improvement or just to get an individual competitive match, your goals will be different than those playing as a team.

Amen to that oldguys. Last night I noticed a new contingent - the tobacco chewers. Yechhhhhh.

Anyway, I just want to add that all of these goals are pretty much mutually exclusive. That is, the "order of strength" teams, the "beer first, tennis later" teams, the "equal court time for all players" teams, etc. will not find themselves in the playoffs. If that's what they want, it's fine with me. To each his own. But birds of a feather flock together, and the captain's goals will define who is attracted to his team.

migjam
08-26-2007, 01:21 AM
My thoughts on this only apply to those captains that put the team win ahead of individual satisfaction. If you are playing USTA league tennis for improvement or just to get an individual competitive match, your goals will be different than those playing as a team.

That's the point. It's a TEAM and should be played like a TEAM. If individuals are playing USTA team tennis to just improve their game, then why not just play tournaments, which are geared for individuals. As long as it is team tennis, it should be treated as any other team sport and stacking should not be an issue or frowned upon. What other team sport do you know of where the captain or coach isn't allowed to try for the best opportunity for their team to win?

Let's say one team is just loaded with high level players. You play this team and get crushed. Since you get to play them a second time, you shouldn't be allowed to realign your players in order to pull off a win, but to just play your same lineup and just take it? That's ridiculous.

New Kid On the Block
08-26-2007, 03:54 AM
Stacking has its positives and its negatives. If you feel there is a doubles team or a singles player that you can not beat, then moving your stronger players down avoids this team and now even though you would lose that court, you are not playing against them with your strongest guys. Theoretically your strongest should have a good if not sure thing against the other guys weakers. Basically instead of going for 3 out of 5 courts. You are then going for 3 out of 4.

Eviscerator
08-26-2007, 11:21 PM
I haven't read through this thread so if this has already been brought up forgive me. Stacking can be very effective if you know your opponent. In college you may be facing a team with strong players know will beat your best players. So if you figure the numbers right you can still win the overall match by not using your best players where they will not have a chance to win. The same is true for league play, especially since the singles players cannot turn around and also play doubles like you can in college. The trick is to know your opponents team, otherwise it could backfire on you since they may be stacking as well. :mrgreen:

fridrix
09-26-2007, 04:05 AM
Stacking worked against my team last night. We put a lot of thought into determining our best doubles players but they ended up going up against a couple of losers who'd barely touched a racquet before, while their best defeated our two weaker teams. Stacking is considered bad form here, but then again the official rules make the term meaningless. Around here there is a HUGE difference between the players you see at "#1 singles" and "#3 doubles" (note the quote marks designating the speciousness of these terms), the latter of whom are often a half NTRP point lower. It is hard to get out of the ordering mindset though.

JavierLW
09-26-2007, 08:49 AM
Stacking worked against my team last night. We put a lot of thought into determining our best doubles players but they ended up going up against a couple of losers who'd barely touched a racquet before, while their best defeated our two weaker teams. Stacking is considered bad form here, but then again the official rules make the term meaningless. Around here there is a HUGE difference between the players you see at "#1 singles" and "#3 doubles" (note the quote marks designating the speciousness of these terms), the latter of whom are often a half NTRP point lower. It is hard to get out of the ordering mindset though.

What level was this at?

I stacked a few matches similarly against certain 1st place sandbagger teams in our divisions.

The way I see it, those guys are not really at whatever level we are playing at anyway (in a lot of cases they were rated up and they appealed). And after the match was over they sounded just like you, they whined because they won so easily against two of my players.

Yet my two players actually belong at that level (they beat other teams at that level), so they can whine all they want.

The reason why I would normally stack though is if I know I dont have a good #1 Doubles team, it's stupid to stick my best team at #1 where they cant compete. Because like you said, it does make a diffrence. (in the cases where you know the other team never stacks themselves which happens a lot here because individual matches count in our league)

Likewise if I have two guys that for some reason probally are not going to win at any position, then there is no point in putting them at #3 when someone else might do better there.

Stacking just to get 3 wins though in most cases doesnt work here because individual wins count. You might do it against the best team to try to keep an edge, but you have to go straight up against everyone else and hope to win 5-0 or at least 4-1. (because that's what the best team is doing)

I only stack when we are outmatched. If we werent outmatched and we were clearly the best team, then it's dumb to stack (especially in our situation).

Geezer Guy
09-26-2007, 08:58 AM
... Stacking just to get 3 wins though in most cases doesnt work here because individual wins count. You might do it against the best team to try to keep an edge, but you have to go straight up against everyone else and hope to win 5-0 or at least 4-1. (because that's what the best team is doing)

I only stack when we are outmatched. If we werent outmatched and we were clearly the best team, then it's dumb to stack (especially in our situation).

I'd suggest that even if you don't "have" to 'stack' to win, it might still be a good idea just so you don't give away your true line-up tendancies. You want to keep your opponents guessing on what you might do - as opposed to being predictable. When it's truely important that you line up a certain way, then do it. When it's not important how you line up, either do it randomly or do it in a way to mislead your future opponents. It's no different from mixing up your serves to keep your opponent guessing.

JavierLW
09-26-2007, 10:03 AM
I'd suggest that even if you don't "have" to 'stack' to win, it might still be a good idea just so you don't give away your true line-up tendancies. You want to keep your opponents guessing on what you might do - as opposed to being predictable. When it's truely important that you line up a certain way, then do it. When it's not important how you line up, either do it randomly or do it in a way to mislead your future opponents. It's no different from mixing up your serves to keep your opponent guessing.

I agree with this.

However in our league it's very rare that anyone else is stacking. So it's all about knowing your opponent and figuring out what their tendencys are.

For most of them, they have the same hangups about it that others might of expressed here (like it's mean, etc...), so usually I can pretty much guarentee that they never do it.

Ive seen other teams that stack, but do it the same way every single time. Ive stacked against those just to still get an even matchup against them.

And then there are the few teams like myself, that actually think about what the other team is going to do, and try to act accordingly. For them I have to try to guess what they are thinking we are going to do.

I had one like that last year and I was able to fool them in doubles both times.

Match#1: They saw that we put our best team at #2 against another really tough team, so they copyed. I figured they would do this though, so I went 1-3-2 on them. (to their 2-1-3)

Match#2: I went 3-2-1 against the other opponent. I figured that this team wasnt going to copy me again like last time, so I went 3-2-1 against them as well. (they went 1-2-3 this time)

Unfortuanlly though in singles, they flip-flopped their singles because in singles I probally never stack. (although most of the time it doesnt matter with my two singles players, they are both very good and very comparable)

So I guess what Im saying is you are right to some point. But for many of the matches, it wouldnt make sense to just make a random lineup for no reason if you know the other team is not going to.

I think most of these teams dont really put that much thought into it. If they see my lineups they are already seeing what is randomness to them (because I only do it against certain teams), except for the few people which I have to make it a point to identify.

The one thing Ive considered for the team above though, Ive probally extended the limit to how much I can "outsmart" them. So I probally will just have to go to randomness at some point.

(for most teams though I dont have that problem, I know what they are doing because they are the predictable ones)

kevhen
09-26-2007, 12:10 PM
You can beat a stronger team that doesn't stack by playing your weakest teams at #1 and moving your #1 singles and doubles to #2 and your #2 doubles to #3. You basically forfeit at #1 and try to win at #2 and #3.

That is how stacking can win. I don't do it myself, althought I have swapped the #2 and #3 doubles teams before but my #2 and #3 teams were about even in ability. I have never put a #3 doubles team at #1 in order to help the team. I was the 4.0 captain.

My 3.5 captain stacked whenever he needed a win. We were 2nd at sectionals just missing going to nationals so he knew how to win.

burosky
09-26-2007, 03:00 PM
I'm on the fence on this one. Although patterns can be researched, even if there is a somewhat clear pattern when a team captain puts together the line up, there is no telling what they will do the next time they put together a line up. For me, the line ups are always a toss up. Therefore, stacking may work but not all the time.

JavierLW
09-26-2007, 03:43 PM
I'm on the fence on this one. Although patterns can be researched, even if there is a somewhat clear pattern when a team captain puts together the line up, there is no telling what they will do the next time they put together a line up. For me, the line ups are always a toss up. Therefore, stacking may work but not all the time.

I think Im at an advantage because Im good at reading people. When we are done with the match, I always talk to the other team especially the captain and I gain insight into how they think.

Most teams are pereniallly in 4th place or lower and they dont put a whole lot of thought in much of anything they do. Plus a lot of them feel it's mean, and they hate it when you do it to them (they openly complain about it), which means to me that they wouldnt think of ever doing it.

Their motivation for even being in the league is a factor as well. Most of them are just in it for fun, and a chance to play. Especially the teams that do poorly year after year after year. If they havent stacked by now, why would they ever stack? (they dont care if they lose obviously, otherwise they wouldnt of signed on for another year with the same exact players)

(of course in the case of those teams Im usually looking to get them straight up, so it's good to know they are not stacking, because in our league you really want to beat them 5-0 or 4-1 if you can)

Plus getting to know their players and being to evaluate them is important as well so you can identify when they are stacking. There is a big diffrence to me between a team that has never stacked in years and years versus a team that I notice even did it a few times.

In the case of the guy that I mentioned above, I got lucky. I met him in a tournament before our league started, and just from the way he was talking and the interest he showed in his own teammates I knew he put a lot of thought into what he did. So I knew when it came time for us to play, he would think a lot about what I was doing (rather than what most teams do which is just kind of do their own thing).

Luckily I was able to use that against him that year, but it's unlikely it will happen again.

Ronaldo
09-26-2007, 03:54 PM
Its easy to stack when you know the players involved.

Jack the Hack
09-26-2007, 04:12 PM
I think Im at an advantage because Im good at reading people. When we are done with the match, I always talk to the other team especially the captain and I gain insight into how they think.

Most teams are pereniallly in 4th place or lower and they dont put a whole lot of thought in much of anything they do. Plus a lot of them feel it's mean, and they hate it when you do it to them (they openly complain about it), which means to me that they wouldnt think of ever doing it.

Their motivation for even being in the league is a factor as well. Most of them are just in it for fun, and a chance to play. Especially the teams that do poorly year after year after year. If they havent stacked by now, why would they ever stack? (they dont care if they lose obviously, otherwise they wouldnt of signed on for another year with the same exact players)

(of course in the case of those teams Im usually looking to get them straight up, so it's good to know they are not stacking, because in our league you really want to beat them 5-0 or 4-1 if you can)

Plus getting to know their players and being to evaluate them is important as well so you can identify when they are stacking. There is a big diffrence to me between a team that has never stacked in years and years versus a team that I notice even did it a few times.

In the case of the guy that I mentioned above, I got lucky. I met him in a tournament before our league started, and just from the way he was talking and the interest he showed in his own teammates I knew he put a lot of thought into what he did. So I knew when it came time for us to play, he would think a lot about what I was doing (rather than what most teams do which is just kind of do their own thing).

Luckily I was able to use that against him that year, but it's unlikely it will happen again.

What you are describing here is one of the arts of being a competitive league captain.

The captain of the main team I played on the past two years is a master of line-ups. He is constantly monitoring what other teams are doing and who is playing where, and analyzing what each captain does. In our run to sectionals the past two seasons, we have won 12 matches by a 3-2 score where we have gotten the perfect matchups we wanted.

One of the best ones was last year in the playoffs against a local team that we had played before. We knew their captain and many of the players very well, and knew they were dangerous contenders. I had unbeaten record against their #1 singles player, but may have had issues with their #2 because of how he plays (and I indeed lost to him later at another tournament). Anyway, my captain correctly guessed right down the line that they were going to stack their lineup, and where they were going to play each person. Their captain had a cheshire grin on his face when he turned in the lineup sheet, only to have it turn to horror when he saw that we had switched our lineups as well. Furthermore, when I walked onto the court to play my opponent (the #1 guy that I had never lost to), he was completely blown away. He had spent all day preparing mentally to play our other singles player, and couldn't get it going when he saw me. We won 5-0! :grin:

burosky
09-27-2007, 02:38 PM
One of the best ones was last year in the playoffs against a local team that we had played before. We knew their captain and many of the players very well, and knew they were dangerous contenders. I had unbeaten record against their #1 singles player, but may have had issues with their #2 because of how he plays (and I indeed lost to him later at another tournament). Anyway, my captain correctly guessed right down the line that they were going to stack their lineup, and where they were going to play each person. Their captain had a cheshire grin on his face when he turned in the lineup sheet, only to have it turn to horror when he saw that we had switched our lineups as well. Furthermore, when I walked onto the court to play my opponent (the #1 guy that I had never lost to), he was completely blown away. He had spent all day preparing mentally to play our other singles player, and couldn't get it going when he saw me. We won 5-0! :grin:

Great example! This is exactly why I'm on the fence on this. It is all a crap shoot. It just so happens that it worked for your team and not the other. There simply is no way to accurately predict what the other captain will do. Therefore, to answer the original question if Stacking really works, the answer will be - if you guess right.

Shosho
09-27-2007, 02:49 PM
Nah. Not on my team. The strongest two players will clean the clocks of the weakest two players 10 times out of 10.

I'm joining Cindy's team....;)

Cindysphinx
09-27-2007, 05:00 PM
We're into a new season, and still I'm pulling my hair out over stacking.

My No. 1 doubles team is flat-out unbeatable. I think they've played 4 matches in 2007, and they have given up a combined total of 3 games.

I think opponents have noticed this, even though my No. 1 doubles team doesn't play every team match, of course. So I'm seeing a lot of stacking as captains attempt to avoid having their own No. 1 team destroyed.

So. It looks like a surprise move is in order where we put our No. 1 team on Court 2 a couple of times, just to freak the other captains out.

Cindy -- thinking it's a waste of perfectly good firepower to keep playing her No. 1 team together as partners, but they like playing together so . . . whatever

CrocodileRock
09-27-2007, 06:32 PM
Good for you Cindy. I say mix it up. Be unpredictable. Predictable = beatable. Just don't pull your hair out. Rogaine gets expensive.

Raiden.Kaminari
09-27-2007, 08:25 PM
We're into a new season, and still I'm pulling my hair out over stacking.

My No. 1 doubles team is flat-out unbeatable. I think they've played 4 matches in 2007, and they have given up a combined total of 3 games.

I think opponents have noticed this, even though my No. 1 doubles team doesn't play every team match, of course. So I'm seeing a lot of stacking as captains attempt to avoid having their own No. 1 team destroyed.

So. It looks like a surprise move is in order where we put our No. 1 team on Court 2 a couple of times, just to freak the other captains out.

Cindy -- thinking it's a waste of perfectly good firepower to keep playing her No. 1 team together as partners, but they like playing together so . . . whatever

I personally like team members to play rock-paper-scissors to figure out where to put players in a line-up. Everybody doing analysis will lose a lot of hair trying to figure out my line-ups :confused:

lostinamerica
09-28-2007, 06:44 AM
We place our top doubles line at number 2. Everyone in our league tries to put their top at 2, 2nd at 3 and number 3 at 1. Ironically, our number 3 team playing at number 1 has pretty good success. We are a very deep team. I am our top doubles player and am underrated (I am moving up next year a full 1.0 but will have a computer rating that is .5 lower than my league). I get paired with the biggest spare on the team so I get the honor of carrying that individual. As a result, I win most (all but 1) of my matches but the scores are pretty close (4,4; 5,4; 3,3; lost in 3; etc). because I have a player is misrated (the other direction).

Our singles players are all interchangable so it really does not matter. Nobody is noticeably better than anyone else.

Stacking is good strategy if it lines up right; if you misstack, it will probably hurt. We had the strongest team and could have beaten most teams regardless of lineup. Our number 8/9/10 guys were not much different than our number 2 or 3 guys. That depth is how you win. Many teams had 1 or 2 ringers but their numer 4/5/6/7/8 guys were marginal.

spot
09-28-2007, 07:00 AM
In atlanta our ALTA league is 5 lines of doubles. In the regular season stacking doesn't matter nearly as much- every point 1 through 5 counts equally and total number of points during the regular season determines who makes the playoffs. Here there is a real benefit for taking all 5 lines so dumping a line is not generally a great idea.

BUt in the playoffs it all changes- you advance if you take 3 lines. Here if you put your best 2 players out there at line 1 and they lose then you have completely wasted them and it was a bad lineup. No question stacking works- if I don't ahve a team that I feel can win at line 1 I will dump line 1 and find a way to get my better players lower in the lineup where they have a better chance. (there are all kinds of movement rules that limit where you can play people) In the city finals we were facing a much stronger team than us and we were badly shorthanded. I ended up dumping lines 1 and 2 to try and attack the back half of their lineup as much as possible. The plan almost worked- we took lines 3 and 4 in straight sets and had a stronger team at line 5 than we normally would. But we lost line 5 in the third set. But there is absolutely no question in my mind that stacking our lineup that way gave us a MUCH better chance of winning it all.

fridrix
09-28-2007, 08:24 AM
What level was this at?


3.0. I'm enjoying this thread. My capt. says stacking is "ungentlemanly" though; he's old school.

JavierLW
09-28-2007, 11:27 AM
3.0. I'm enjoying this thread. My capt. says stacking is "ungentlemanly" though; he's old school.

I know of people, and Im friends with people that feel the same way.

Luckily for most of them, I dont stack against them, because I feel my team is above average (just below the best 1st and 2nd place teams usually), and I feel that we can beat them pretty decently straight up. (and I dont want to throw away wins against them because in our system individual wins count, not team wins)

I also think if the levels are fairer and you had less appealees in the system (ie... 3.5/4.0 players playing in the 3.0 league), it would be less commonplace to stack. But as long as teams are going out and getting self-rated players to play in the 3.0 league, there is no reason for me to care too much about what the other team thinks.

If those guys wanted a good match then they should of played 3.5. (especially if they were actually rated up and choose to appeal even though they won almost all of their matches and they still are not playing 3.5)

This year I had a couple guys at singles who were pretty much close to unbeatable (even from the top teams). So I had a rash of teams who seemed to know this so they threw any scrub in at singles and concentrated on the doubles. (which worked for one team, one week because they created some decent mismatches at doubles that way)

Im not so sure that is stacking though, that's just taking their best players and sticking them where they can do the most good. (which is the same reason that I may stack the doubles)

JavierLW
09-28-2007, 11:33 AM
3.0. I'm enjoying this thread. My capt. says stacking is "ungentlemanly" though; he's old school.

Another way Ive looked at this as well, is that I am providing a service to the teams that I am moving down.

If I stick my best team at #1 every week and they lose every single week, they may never get better. Doubles especially is hard because if you lose all the time, partnerships fail, and then you end up struggling in the middle of the season to try to mix and match everyone together again.

If I put them down at #2 and #3, they could win some matches initially which helps them gain some chemistry together where they really want to play together and if they get good enough I can put them at #1 eventually.

Im talking mostly about 3.0 and 3.5 though. A lot of these guys (and Im sure women as well) are really affected by whether they win or lose initially (first impressions.....). When they are winning they dont even think about anything that they might not be doing perfectly, but when they are losing they give you a laundry list of things that they are not happy with.

Which makes it hard because the worst thing is to stick someone out there who has bad feelings about their partner even before the match starts because it affects their play. (and with some exceptions, Ive never seen anyone win in that situation, it's like they have a built in excuse to lose)

LuckyR
10-03-2007, 05:15 PM
I personally like team members to play rock-paper-scissors to figure out where to put players in a line-up. Everybody doing analysis will lose a lot of hair trying to figure out my line-ups :confused:

Nothing wrong with that. The 1, 2 and 3 don't mean best, second best and third best, they may as well be called red, blue and yellow.

JavierLW
10-03-2007, 05:29 PM
I personally like team members to play rock-paper-scissors to figure out where to put players in a line-up. Everybody doing analysis will lose a lot of hair trying to figure out my line-ups :confused:

Obviously in my league this doesnt really come into play as often. Because every individual match counts and I feel that I cant afford to give away wins by not knowing what my opponent is doing and adjusting accordingly. (but in that respect you would be right, I only get away with that because 95% of them are predictable)

But wouldnt you say even in your scenero if you wanted to be the best team, you would still have to hope that you have a shot at winning all 3 matches if it happened to be straight up? (since you're doing it randomly and it could very well end up that way) (I dont mean that you have to win all of them, I just mean you should have a chance of winning at every single position)

I was thinking about that today, and I think that would still be the real issue between whether you were really the top contender or not.

Id have to admit that my teams are usually 3rd place or 2nd place teams and we can only hope to "fool" someone else into beating them by creating a mismatch, but straight up, we could be looking at losing all 3 matches sometimes. If I have the best team, I dont care about stacking because I feel good about going straight up, and most of the first place teams (that win every year) that I see around here play it the same way.

I stacked against our first place team this year the first time (3-2-1) and it was obvious to them that we were doing it. (I was playing #1 Doubles, I am by far not a #1 Doubles player at 3.5, and my #3 Doubles players are simply amazing)

When we played them the second time, I struggled to think that they would let us get away with that again, so I went straight up. Well they still went straight up. Rather than switch their lineup around all they did was reach down into the bag of sandbaggers and find an answer to shore up #3 doubles. (they pulled a decent singles player who is good all around and put him down there) They already had a #2 team that was almost as good as #1 so they didnt care about that.

So they felt good about all 3 positions no matter where I put my amazing #1 team. (my "amazing" #1 team beat their #3 in 3 sets the first time around which might of had something to do with it)

I think this was actually my 3rd worst lineup ever (the 2nd worst was also against this team years ago). If I look at what they generally do, they never stack, yet I think I took some pressure from my #1 team (our opponent's #1 team has a guy that was our high school tennis coach and his son, and my players wanted to play him), to talk myself into thinking that they couldnt possibly let us get away with stacking again because it was SOO obvious to all that we did it the first time.

My #1 might of lost anyway, but it still wasnt a great decision. I think in the future Im going to look at most of these #1 league teams and see that they dont stack. (except for the guy that I mentioned in the other post who I knew would stack if he thought that I was stacking, but that's because I know what kind of person he is and that he's actually thinking out there) Also there was no reason not to put my #3 team at #1. They got clobbered at #3 anyway and were not going to win at any position and couldnt possibly of felt any worse about it if they had played #1. (actually they are cool and are not the kind of people that worry too much if they get outmatched, they've had their day in other matches against other opponents)

bmichaelia
10-04-2007, 05:14 AM
Our team just lost a match 2 days ago, cause the other team stacked. They had played us before, and knew we usually didn't. They won positions 2 and 3, and sacrificed 1. So yes, lots of times stacking works. It can also backfire.

cknobman
10-04-2007, 07:06 AM
Stacking works if only 1 team is doing the stacking. I played a mens doubles round robin tournament this weekend and the winner came down to the final match of the weekend. My team and one other who were both undefeated. We had not been scouting them but they had been seriously scouting us. We knew that they were very familiar with our lineups so for the last match we decided to mix up a couple of the partners each of us played with and also move the lines around(by the way it was 3 doubles lines). Well they ended up stacking their lines as well because they were counting us to do the same. Needless to say we lost 2-1.

Stacking is really worthless if two good teams play one another and both of the teams are lead by captains who do their homework. Now on the flip side if a good team with a good captain comes up against a "new" team or a team with a less attentive captain then I would venture to say stacking works 95% of the time.

andfor
10-12-2007, 06:25 AM
If you always play 1, 2, 3 in order every time you are a sitting duck to get beat. And get beat by weaker teams.

Team 1 is 1, 2 3 decending in order.
Team 2 is 3, 1 2 decending in order.

1v3
2v1
3v2

Team 2 wins this most of the time if the two teams are somewhat even. Often a weaker team can win when this match up makes.

If you don't want to switch it up or if you league has some sort of unwritten no staking rule, fine. I am still going to stack in different orders almost every match.

heartman
10-12-2007, 07:51 AM
There's no such thing as stacking in league tennis. Who says, or where does it say that a team must play in order of ability? Nothing - nada.

Line-up tendencies may be measurable, but in a team competition, when a point is a point is a point, stacking is a ludicrous idea. And so many of the successful teams are quite deep anyway, so players and their playing positions become a bit of a moot point.

Bottom line - win more matches than your opponents, and you'll come out on top.

andfor
10-12-2007, 01:02 PM
There's no such thing as stacking in league tennis. Who says, or where does it say that a team must play in order of ability? Nothing - nada.

Line-up tendencies may be measurable, but in a team competition, when a point is a point is a point, stacking is a ludicrous idea. And so many of the successful teams are quite deep anyway, so players and their playing positions become a bit of a moot point.

Bottom line - win more matches than your opponents, and you'll come out on top.

You would have to go back and read the early part of the thread. One of the posters plays in the league where they have to play on order of strength. We tried to explain the same thing that there is no rule about "stacking" but it did not sink in.

I agree with your point about strong teams don't need to stack. Most captains don't have the luxury of having such a strong team that they can play 1, 2, 3 week in and week out. Weaker teams who want to win should consider altering their line ups. Many times a weaker team can get the minimum numbers of wins required to win a team match by doing so. Look at my example. I have played in an uncountable number of team matches being on the weaker team but winning on the card and ultimately winning the team match.

marcl65
04-07-2008, 10:44 AM
Weaker teams who want to win should consider altering their line ups. Many times a weaker team can get the minimum numbers of wins required to win a team match by doing so. Look at my example. I have played in an uncountable number of team matches being on the weaker team but winning on the card and ultimately winning the team match.

My team just got burned by this tactic last weekend. I was confident that our #1 doubles could beat their #1 doubles, our #2 dubs could beat their #2 dubs, etc. However when my partner & I in the middle of a tough match in the #2 spot and I noticed my #1 team walking off the court after beating their opponents 6-0,6-1...it was pretty obvious that they had sacrificed their weaker team in the #1 spot. We ended up losing the day 2-3.

So what do you do to combat this? Always play your weakest team in the #1 position? That way the worst that can happen is that you match up evenly when the other team does the same thing?

spot
04-07-2008, 10:54 AM
You combat it by having a more balanced lineup and not having one team be dramatically stronger than the others. Don't put your best 2 players together or else you are running the risk of having them wasted against a weak team.

andfor
04-07-2008, 11:25 AM
My team just got burned by this tactic last weekend. I was confident that our #1 doubles could beat their #1 doubles, our #2 dubs could beat their #2 dubs, etc. However when my partner & I in the middle of a tough match in the #2 spot and I noticed my #1 team walking off the court after beating their opponents 6-0,6-1...it was pretty obvious that they had sacrificed their weaker team in the #1 spot. We ended up losing the day 2-3.

So what do you do to combat this? Always play your weakest team in the #1 position? That way the worst that can happen is that you match up evenly when the other team does the same thing?

You got beat on the card and ultimately on the court by what I call the old 3-1-2. Sorry.

Balancing your line-up is one answer but you may still be exposed if in doubles your opponents stack 3-1-2 and if you always play 1-2-3. If their 1-2 teams can always beat your 2-3 teams you still have the same problem.

The other option is to mix your line up in the same way throughout the season so other captains can not predict your line-up tendancies.

Mixing your line up also works in singles if the opposing team has a player that just can't be beat. You may give up a match if you #2 plays their #1 . The plan here is to have your #1 beat their #2. At least you know going into the doubles you are at least tied 1-1 on the scorecard. Of course they could flip their singles at the same time.

When you #3 team plays #1 the attitude is not that you are throwing the match. It's a team effortand they could and should still be expected to win. Who knows, they may be playing the other teams #2 or #3 team even though they are playing in the #1 slot on the card. In the end it is team tennis and it's the team score that counts.

vizsla
04-07-2008, 12:44 PM
The only thing that I have found certain at the state championships is that the team will not play straight up. As SC said, the best you can hope for is to see a trend and go with a gut feeling. Its the same way for the important matches in local league. As a captain, I've always tried to play straight up against weaker teams in hopes that the competitive teams will think that is how I will play against them. I have taken several teams to states in adult, combo, and mixed over the last few years in one one of the largest CTA's in the country.

How are you doing this year islandtennis??

goober
04-07-2008, 12:56 PM
The USTA could get rid of this stacking business (or the perception of such) by just changing nomenclature. Name the lines by colors- red, white and blue for example. So many people probably have number positions engrained in their head from high school and college tennis where you are suppose to play your teams in order of strength.

andfor
04-07-2008, 12:58 PM
The USTA could get rid of this stacking business (or the perception of such) by just changing nomenclature. Name the lines by colors- red, white and blue for example. So many people probably have number positions engrained in their head from high school and college tennis where you are suppose to play your teams in order of strength.

Great idea!

migjam
04-07-2008, 03:14 PM
Like I've said before, in high school, if it's going to be treated as a team sport then it should be treated like a team sport and the coaches should be able to line-up his players anyway he wants to. The same with USTA league tennis. You are going for the win as a team... aren't you?

Doc Hollidae
04-07-2008, 03:37 PM
The USTA could get rid of this stacking business (or the perception of such) by just changing nomenclature. Name the lines by colors- red, white and blue for example. So many people probably have number positions engrained in their head from high school and college tennis where you are suppose to play your teams in order of strength.

Great idea Goober.

In USTA League play you can't really stack because in theory all of the players are of the same level for their respective league. In 4.5 league you are going to be playing 4.5's or people at the 4.5 level.

Smart captains will try and predict lineups to give favorable lineups and try and choose their spots. However, stacking only works if you know your opponent's lineup is going to be from best to worse. Otherwise there's really no point in stacking.

marcl65
04-07-2008, 04:27 PM
You combat it by having a more balanced lineup and not having one team be dramatically stronger than the others. Don't put your best 2 players together or else you are running the risk of having them wasted against a weak team.
I don't put together teams based on individual strengths. On my team, we have dubs partners who signed up to play with a partner and who only want to play with said partner. And I've found that teams who play together regularly win more often than those who just walk on and play with whomever. Plus, I don't know about the majority of you but where I live you rarely have the luxury of cherry-picking your teams - I've compared notes with other captains and we are frequently grateful to just have enough players so we don't default a position.

The other option is to mix your line up in the same way throughout the season so other captains can not predict your line-up tendancies.
I think I'm going to go with this approach for the rest of the season. As you point out, it's still mostly up in the air but at least the other team can't predict what strength level I'm putting where (#1, #2, or #3). But like you said, it's a team win (or loss).

In USTA League play you can't really stack because in theory all of the players are of the same level for their respective league. In 4.5 league you are going to be playing 4.5's or people at the 4.5 level.
In theory maybe, but in reality at any level, I would imagine you've got players who are at the upper end (i.e. close to 5.0's) and at the lower end (i.e. just bumped up from 4.0).

andfor
04-07-2008, 04:30 PM
Great idea Goober.

In USTA League play you can't really stack because in theory all of the players are of the same level for their respective league. In 4.5 league you are going to be playing 4.5's or people at the 4.5 level.

Smart captains will try and predict lineups to give favorable lineups and try and choose their spots. However, stacking only works if you know your opponent's lineup is going to be from best to worse. Otherwise there's really no point in stacking.

I have to say with all due respect you are incorrect on your theory and knowing your opponents lineups aspects. In theory yea you're right. But if you play and if you captain you quickly learn theory means nothing in USTA Team Tennis. If you have one weak singles and one weak doubles team stacking does work. I've explained this before in detail in this thread. I've stacked my weaker teams and beaten stronger teams against teams I knew and teams I never saw before. This is not only my experience but also the experience of USTA Team Tennis Captains across the U.S.

BTW. All team tennis results are available on-line. So it's virutally impossible to be entirely unknown unless you or your opponent choose to not do any research in advance of a match.

Stacking is not rocket science. Just comon sense.

Stacking works.

Doc Hollidae
04-07-2008, 04:46 PM
I have to say with all due respect you are incorrect on your theory and knowing your opponents lineups aspects. In theory yea you're right.

Care to explain how I am incorrect and right at the same time? Common sense?

I'm not new to tennis, I did say stacking works, however stacking only works when you know what you opponent's lineup is going to be. If you opponent predicts your "stacked" line up and creates a "stacked" line up of their own, you are no longer stacking anymore. Get me?

Unlike in HS, you don't have to turn in a ladder pre-season, nor are you bound to a ladder. You put 8 players in what combination you so desire. If you want to tank a match or two because you have weaker players, you are entitled to do so. If the team you're facing has a superstar singles player playing the #1 position, that's going to win for sure, then yes the smart thing to do would through a lesser player to the wolves. However, if the opposing captain predicts the weak player playing in that #1 slot, he might move his singles star to the #2 slot, therefor negating your "stack". I get the concept of stacking, however I don't think you understand what I meant originally.

andfor
04-08-2008, 06:28 AM
Care to explain how I am incorrect and right at the same time? Common sense?

I'm not new to tennis, I did say stacking works, however stacking only works when you know what you opponent's lineup is going to be. If you opponent predicts your "stacked" line up and creates a "stacked" line up of their own, you are no longer stacking anymore. Get me?

Unlike in HS, you don't have to turn in a ladder pre-season, nor are you bound to a ladder. You put 8 players in what combination you so desire. If you want to tank a match or two because you have weaker players, you are entitled to do so. If the team you're facing has a superstar singles player playing the #1 position, that's going to win for sure, then yes the smart thing to do would through a lesser player to the wolves. However, if the opposing captain predicts the weak player playing in that #1 slot, he might move his singles star to the #2 slot, therefor negating your "stack". I get the concept of stacking, however I don't think you understand what I meant originally.

First you said stacking can't work. You said the following.

In USTA League play you can't really stack because in theory all of the players are of the same level for their respective league. In 4.5 league you are going to be playing 4.5's or people at the 4.5 level.

Then you said the following.

Smart captains will try and predict lineups to give favorable lineups and try and choose their spots.

Which is it? You can't really stack or smart captains try to predict favorable lineups and try to choose their spots?

I contend all line ups are known because of the internet. Then all you have to do is wait to see who is warming up before the match starts. Stacking is not an exact science. It's just a guessing method to try to get 3 wins because as captain you do not believe you could get 3 straight up your best 5 against their best 5.

cak
04-08-2008, 06:44 AM
I contend all line ups are known because of the internet. Then all you have to do is wait to see who is warming up before the match starts.

On our teams most (not all, due to other commitments) of the players of the evening show up for warmups in their team uniforms. They are joined by our 4 or 5 alternates, also in their uniforms. Teams can't tell who is there to play before turning in their lineups. Has the added advantage of getting the whole team involved in the match, even though they aren't all in the lineup. It is quite common to blame wins on warmup partners/opponents.

Katlion
04-08-2008, 07:01 AM
:???:I'm confused...:???:

andfor
04-08-2008, 07:08 AM
On our teams most (not all, due to other commitments) of the players of the evening show up for warmups in their team uniforms. They are joined by our 4 or 5 alternates, also in their uniforms. Teams can't tell who is there to play before turning in their lineups. Has the added advantage of getting the whole team involved in the match, even though they aren't all in the lineup. It is quite common to blame wins on warmup partners/opponents.

I understand all the variables. What you do is take the team you have and line it up against your opponents best possible team and lineup they could throw at you. KISS.

k_liu
04-08-2008, 07:49 AM
I've been a level rep for USTA-Atlanta for 4+ years now and have witness stacking working against many teams. I’ve seen players get disqualified and teams dropping from first place to last place as a result of a DQ player. How is this possible?

In brief, USTA utilize an algorithm (computer rating system) to determine a player’s ability and assigned him/her to a level: 3.5, 4.0…etc. This is the equivalent of the BCS Poll (BULL CRAP Series). Self rated players are a whole different story so I won’t get into this topic. Once you play enough matches (approximately 3) the system accumulates your match results and assigned you rating: 1) benchmark player: premier player at the assigned level, 2) computer rated player: the system determined you are playing at the appropriate level, or 3) flagged: player is possibly playing too low. Stacking works against you when the other team plays straight up you win each line convincingly (more than one break). The system accumulates your result weekly and computes your dynamic rating. Because you won convincingly you are now flagged as possibly playing too low. The following week you win your match convincingly, again. At this time the system may determine your playing too low and DQ you. Once you are DQ’ed the line you played is awarded to your opponent. So, if your team won a match 3-2 you now end up losing 2-3.

Here’s a really good example: http://tennislink.usta.com/leagues/reports/TennisLinkReports.asp?Level=I&MemberID=DB007EAD1C90118E194D7C4A59481FBE6D1CC3E2B 1&CYear=2008

His team won 3-2 or better every week and was in first place prior to the DQ. As a result of the DQ, issued after the last match of the season, his team went from Division winner to to 4th place and out of the playoff picture. Match#1: opponent was a benchmark player injured himself early in the first set and elected to finish the match: 6-2, 6-4. Match#2: Opponent moved a double’s specialist to play 1S: 6-2, 6-1. Match#3: Opponent was a benchmark player: 6-3, 6-4.

goober
04-08-2008, 08:01 AM
I've been a level rep for USTA-Atlanta for 4+ years now and have witness stacking working against many teams. I’ve seen players get disqualified and teams dropping from first place to last place as a result of a DQ player. How is this possible?

In brief, USTA utilize an algorithm (computer rating system) to determine a player’s ability and assigned him/her to a level: 3.5, 4.0…etc. This is the equivalent of the BCS Poll (BULL CRAP Series). Self rated players are a whole different story so I won’t get into this topic. Once you play enough matches (approximately 3) the system accumulates your match results and assigned you rating: 1) benchmark player: premier player at the assigned level, 2) computer rated player: the system determined you are playing at the appropriate level, or 3) flagged: player is possibly playing too low. Stacking works against you when the other team plays straight up you win each line convincingly (more than one break). The system accumulates your result weekly and computes your dynamic rating. Because you won convincingly you are now flagged as possibly playing too low. The following week you win your match convincingly, again. At this time the system may determine your playing too low and DQ you. Once you are DQ’ed the line you played is awarded to your opponent. So, if your team won a match 3-2 you now end up losing 2-3.

Here’s a really good example: http://tennislink.usta.com/leagues/reports/TennisLinkReports.asp?Level=I&MemberID=DB007EAD1C90118E194D7C4A59481FBE6D1CC3E2B 1&CYear=2008

His team won 3-2 or better every week and was in first place prior to the DQ. As a result of the DQ, issued after the last match of the season, his team went from Division winner to to 4th place and out of the playoff picture. Match#1: opponent was a benchmark player injured himself early in the first set and elected to finish the match: 6-2, 6-4. Match#2: Opponent moved a double’s specialist to play 1S: 6-2, 6-1. Match#3: Opponent was a benchmark player: 6-3, 6-4.

I don't understand how this is stacking. He was playing #1 singles and won 2 matches against benchmark opponents.

andfor
04-08-2008, 08:27 AM
I've been a level rep for USTA-Atlanta for 4+ years now and have witness stacking working against many teams. I’ve seen players get disqualified and teams dropping from first place to last place as a result of a DQ player. How is this possible?

In brief, USTA utilize an algorithm (computer rating system) to determine a player’s ability and assigned him/her to a level: 3.5, 4.0…etc. This is the equivalent of the BCS Poll (BULL CRAP Series). Self rated players are a whole different story so I won’t get into this topic. Once you play enough matches (approximately 3) the system accumulates your match results and assigned you rating: 1) benchmark player: premier player at the assigned level, 2) computer rated player: the system determined you are playing at the appropriate level, or 3) flagged: player is possibly playing too low. Stacking works against you when the other team plays straight up you win each line convincingly (more than one break). The system accumulates your result weekly and computes your dynamic rating. Because you won convincingly you are now flagged as possibly playing too low. The following week you win your match convincingly, again. At this time the system may determine your playing too low and DQ you. Once you are DQ’ed the line you played is awarded to your opponent. So, if your team won a match 3-2 you now end up losing 2-3.

Here’s a really good example: http://tennislink.usta.com/leagues/reports/TennisLinkReports.asp?Level=I&MemberID=DB007EAD1C90118E194D7C4A59481FBE6D1CC3E2B 1&CYear=2008

His team won 3-2 or better every week and was in first place prior to the DQ. As a result of the DQ, issued after the last match of the season, his team went from Division winner to to 4th place and out of the playoff picture. Match#1: opponent was a benchmark player injured himself early in the first set and elected to finish the match: 6-2, 6-4. Match#2: Opponent moved a double’s specialist to play 1S: 6-2, 6-1. Match#3: Opponent was a benchmark player: 6-3, 6-4.

Benchmark Player is commonly misunderstood. Benchmark only means a player played in the district or regional championship and has no bearing on what a players actual rating is. Actual player computer ratings (i.e. 4.45) are supposed to not be see by anyone other than a select few USTA Administrators. Computer Rating means the player played in at least 2 local matches the year before. Flagged?? I do not know that flagged is a catagory that is visible to player participants. They only way to know if you are flagged is after you get the letter from the USTA stating your disqualification and subsequent move up to the next level.

Are we going to go in a circle now?

marcl65
04-08-2008, 10:37 AM
I contend all line ups are known because of the internet. Then all you have to do is wait to see who is warming up before the match starts. Stacking is not an exact science. It's just a guessing method to try to get 3 wins because as captain you do not believe you could get 3 straight up your best 5 against their best 5.
I think you've oversimplified "knowing the lineups". This is my 3rd year playing league and I only know maybe a dozen players on the other teams by name. People come, go, move up, etc. I guess it's possible to learn everyone's habits and who plays where but...shoot, I have a life. Plus, captains change pretty regularly, I only do it because no one else wants to. I can't go around scouting just because I have nothing better to do.

And looking at the internet will only tell you so much won't it? I mean, if the #1 spot lost 6-2,6-3 was that a case of stacking or was one side playing really well/badly?

Doc Hollidae
04-08-2008, 10:39 AM
First you said stacking can't work. You said the following.



Then you said the following.



Which is it? You can't really stack or smart captains try to predict favorable lineups and try to choose their spots?

I contend all line ups are known because of the internet. Then all you have to do is wait to see who is warming up before the match starts. Stacking is not an exact science. It's just a guessing method to try to get 3 wins because as captain you do not believe you could get 3 straight up your best 5 against their best 5.

Predicting lineups and stacking are two different things. When you stack, there is a set ladder from best to worst. In USTA league play, teams are defined by their NTRP level. While there are weak, average, and strong players at each NTRP level, there is no established ladder. Just because you are playing #1 singles, doesn't necessarily mean you are the #1 player or singles player on the team and there's no rule that requires the best player to play in the #1 singles or doubles match.

An example of stacking:
Team A has a #1 singles player that is unbeatable and plays their roster from best player to worst (#1-6). Team B realizes that their #1 player can't beat Team A's #1 player. Team B then places their #1 player in the #6 slot, to get the win at the #6 spot, since they know they are going to lose the #1. In HS, our coaches were required to submit a ladder before the season started so that we couldn't stack. Also the combined ranking of the #1 doubles had to be lower than the #3 doubles, so that a team couldn't put their #1 and 2 player in #3 doubles with their #5 and 6 doubles playing #1 dubs.

Predicting lineups is different. There's no established ladder. You are simply predicting your opponents lineup and trying to create the best possible match-ups to put your team in a winning position.

The difference between the two is the established ladder and the fact that in USTA play the matches don't signify a player's standing on a ladder. The #3 doubles match might feature the 4 best players between the two teams while the #1 doubles and #1 singles has the worst players. You aren't required to go best to worst.

andfor
04-08-2008, 10:51 AM
Predicting lineups and stacking are two different things. When you stack, there is a set ladder from best to worst. In USTA league play, teams are defined by their NTRP level. While there are weak, average, and strong players at each NTRP level, there is no established ladder. Just because you are playing #1 singles, doesn't necessarily mean you are the #1 player or singles player on the team and there's no rule that requires the best player to play in the #1 singles or doubles match.

An example of stacking:
Team A has a #1 singles player that in unbeatable and plays their roster from best player to worst (#1-6). Team B realizes that their #1 player can't beat Team A's #1 player. Team B then places their #1 player in the #6 slot, to get the win at the #6 spot, since they know they are going to lose the #1. In HS, our coaches were required to submit a ladder before the season started so that we couldn't stack. Also the combined ranking of the #1 doubles had to be lower than the #3 doubles, so that a team couldn't put their #1 and 2 player in #3 doubles with their #5 and 6 doubles playing #1 dubs.

Predicting lineups is different. There's no established ladder. You are simply predicting your opponents lineup and trying to create the best possible match-ups to put your team in a winning position.

The difference between the two is the established ladder and the fact that in USTA play the matches don't signify a player's standing on a ladder. The #3 doubles match might feature the 4 best players between the two teams while the #1 doubles and #1 singles has the worst players. You aren't required to go best to worst.

Now that we have cleared up the semantics, I agree. Predicting your opponents line-up to create the best possible match ups to put your team in a winning position is the best way to describe things. Thanks,

andfor
04-08-2008, 10:53 AM
I think you've oversimplified "knowing the lineups". This is my 3rd year playing league and I only know maybe a dozen players on the other teams by name. People come, go, move up, etc. I guess it's possible to learn everyone's habits and who plays where but...shoot, I have a life. Plus, captains change pretty regularly, I only do it because no one else wants to. I can't go around scouting just because I have nothing better to do.

And looking at the internet will only tell you so much won't it? I mean, if the #1 spot lost 6-2,6-3 was that a case of stacking or was one side playing really well/badly?

I've been playing team tennis here for 20 years. Knowing who's playing and other captains tendencies becomes known over time.

It's all just a guessing game anyway and simplification is the key. Don't dwell on the line-ups. In the end you've got to win 3 matches to win.

Doc Hollidae
04-08-2008, 10:55 AM
Now that we have cleared up the semantics, I agree. Predicting your opponents line-up to create the best possible match ups to put your team in a winning position is the best way to describe things. Thanks,

We were on the same page, just not reading the same language at the time. :wink:

TenniseaWilliams
04-08-2008, 07:12 PM
Wow, nice thread Cindy. Under the current rules, I think both sides have legit viewpoints. Would the leagues be better if a rule change awarded more points to the higher courts?

Doc Hollidae
04-08-2008, 11:15 PM
Wow, nice thread Cindy. Under the current rules, I think both sides have legit viewpoints. Would the leagues be better if a rule change awarded more points to the higher courts?

IMO giving more points to higher courts wouldn't work because you play 3 doubles and 2 singles. Teams filled with doubles specialists would just concentrate on the 3 doubles matches and any win for the singles would be a bonus. I think this would just cause more stacking and/or line up predicting.

With the current format, Captain's can put players anywhere and either can try and predict the opposing line up or play straight up. IMO, part of the fun of league tennis compared to something like HS tennis, is that you aren't locked into certain slots.

jimmycoop
04-09-2008, 07:30 AM
Cindy, you confuse me. On one hand you rant and rave against "stacking" and yet in your original post you say you put your weaker player at # 1 singles and your stronger player at # 2 singles. That sure is stacking as I understand it. ????

vizsla
04-09-2008, 07:50 AM
Islandtennis:

How's your league going so far this year?? Hilton Head, right?

TenniseaWilliams
04-09-2008, 08:02 AM
IMO giving more points to higher courts wouldn't work because you play 3 doubles and 2 singles. Teams filled with doubles specialists would just concentrate on the 3 doubles matches and any win for the singles would be a bonus. I think this would just cause more stacking and/or line up predicting.

With the current format, Captain's can put players anywhere and either can try and predict the opposing line up or play straight up. IMO, part of the fun of league tennis compared to something like HS tennis, is that you aren't locked into certain slots.

Sorry Doc, I am not quite catching this. For instance, add a bonus point to any #1 position. If you win both #1's the match is yours. Doubles is worth 4 points instead of 3, singles worth 3 points instead of 2. Not really changing the doubles/singles relative importance. No locking required.

Doc Hollidae
04-09-2008, 08:06 AM
Sorry Doc, I am not quite catching this. For instance, add a bonus point to any #1 position. If you win both #1's the match is yours. Doubles is worth 4 points instead of 3, singles worth 3 points instead of 2. Not really changing the doubles/singles relative importance. No locking required.

I'm not quite sure what that would accomplish. And if you give that much importance to the #1 spots, why not just play 1 singles and 1 doubles then?

TenniseaWilliams
04-09-2008, 08:11 AM
I'm not quite sure what that would accomplish. And if you give that much importance to the #1 spots, why not just play 1 singles and 1 doubles then?

It would take away the incentive for stacking. Defaults are another issue?

LuckyR
04-09-2008, 03:37 PM
As many have noted, "stacking" doesn't exist because playing #1 doubles as opposed to #3 doubles, just refers to the court you are playing on, not your relative match prowess. However as long as the matches are done in a matchplay fashion, there will be an incentive to try to "job" the system (even if there is, like in this case, no system at all).

The way around this is to institute a round robin style of play, so everyone plays everyone, and count up the sets (rather than matches). Back in the day, our team matches were: 4 singles and 2 doubles. It took six courts and the 4 singles players played 1 set with each of the other singles players and the doubles teams played two sets with each of the teams. The singles sets were worth 1 point each and the doubles sets 1.5 points each. We were done in a reasonable amount of time and played eight players per match (just like having 3 doubles and 2 singles).

Cindysphinx
04-09-2008, 06:33 PM
Cindy, you confuse me. On one hand you rant and rave against "stacking" and yet in your original post you say you put your weaker player at # 1 singles and your stronger player at # 2 singles. That sure is stacking as I understand it. ????

Jimmy, this thread is so old I have no idea what I said and I'm way too lazy to figure it out! :) I do stack sometimes, but I usually play according to strength. Stacking can be risky because defaults must occur from the bottom up. Put your stronger players on the lower courts and you could find them sitting out while your weak players get crushed on the higher courts.

My current thinking is that the best possible thing for everyone would be to figure out a way to give everyone the most competitive match. Blowing someone out or being blown out is suboptimal, IMHO.

I think the best way to achieve this is to award more points for wins on Court One than Court Three. So maybe (and I'm thinking out loud here, mostly):

Court One Singles = 3 points
Court Two Singles = 2 points

Doubles One = 3 points
Doubles Two = 2 points
Doubles Three = 1 point

That makes doubles worth a bit more than singles, but that feels right to me because you can't win a team match without winning at doubles. There could be no ties, since 11 points get awarded per match. You could win the three lower courts but still lose the team match if the other team sweeps both Court One matches.

How does that sound?

kylebarendrick
04-09-2008, 07:14 PM
Stacking can be risky because defaults must occur from the bottom up. Put your stronger players on the lower courts and you could find them sitting out while your weak players get crushed on the higher courts.
Keep in mind that the reason you put them on Court 3 was to help make sure they get the win. From that standpoint even a default means: "Mission Accomplished".

JavierLW
04-09-2008, 08:15 PM
Jimmy, this thread is so old I have no idea what I said and I'm way too lazy to figure it out! :) I do stack sometimes, but I usually play according to strength. Stacking can be risky because defaults must occur from the bottom up. Put your stronger players on the lower courts and you could find them sitting out while your weak players get crushed on the higher courts.

My current thinking is that the best possible thing for everyone would be to figure out a way to give everyone the most competitive match. Blowing someone out or being blown out is suboptimal, IMHO.

I think the best way to achieve this is to award more points for wins on Court One than Court Three. So maybe (and I'm thinking out loud here, mostly):

Court One Singles = 3 points
Court Two Singles = 2 points

Doubles One = 3 points
Doubles Two = 2 points
Doubles Three = 1 point

That makes doubles worth a bit more than singles, but that feels right to me because you can't win a team match without winning at doubles. There could be no ties, since 11 points get awarded per match. You could win the three lower courts but still lose the team match if the other team sweeps both Court One matches.

How does that sound?

It has a major flaw. In this system you only have to win 2 matches to best the other team. (both #1 positions give you over 50% of the points)

The only thing that it might do is if those points counted toward your standing.

In our local league here, individual wins matter, not team wins. So you are not trying to just win 3 matches every week, you are trying to win as many as possible.

Stacking does occur but it's minimized. The best teams never have to stack because they are pretty solid at all 5 positions.

Teams like mine have to stack once in awhile but it's for another reason. Just because two guys make up the best doubles team on my team, does not mean that they are competitive with every #1 Doubles team that the other teams put out there. Ive seen other teams do this with good doubles teams and they manage to lose a lot of matches which is no fun for them.

So average or worse teams you normally never stack (because you need to try to win all 5 and cant afford to give away any free wins). When you are up against the best though, stacking is usually in order.

Obviously some people get sort of upset by it, but complaints about stacking are far more lame then complaints about sandbagging. People want to assume that everyone in a given level is about the same as if it's in this small little segment of skill, but that's not reality. Especially in 3.5, there is a HUGE disparity usually from your lowest 3.5's to the ones that are almost 4.0's.

If you are getting totally destroyed by some other team, it's usually not just because they stacked, it's because you are way outmatched.

spot
04-10-2008, 05:11 AM
Once again- it would greatly help to give teams real incentive to take all 5 points. Get rid of the team win concept and decide who makes the playoffs by total points taken by the team. At that point you very well might be making a mistake if you decide to tank a line.

Roforot
04-10-2008, 06:05 AM
Jimmy, this thread is so old I have no idea what I said and I'm way too lazy to figure it out! :) I do stack sometimes, but I usually play according to strength. Stacking can be risky because defaults must occur from the bottom up. Put your stronger players on the lower courts and you could find them sitting out while your weak players get crushed on the higher courts.

My current thinking is that the best possible thing for everyone would be to figure out a way to give everyone the most competitive match. Blowing someone out or being blown out is suboptimal, IMHO.

I think the best way to achieve this is to award more points for wins on Court One than Court Three. So maybe (and I'm thinking out loud here, mostly):

Court One Singles = 3 points
Court Two Singles = 2 points

Doubles One = 3 points
Doubles Two = 2 points
Doubles Three = 1 point

That makes doubles worth a bit more than singles, but that feels right to me because you can't win a team match without winning at doubles. There could be no ties, since 11 points get awarded per match. You could win the three lower courts but still lose the team match if the other team sweeps both Court One matches.

How does that sound?

I don't like this idea b/c then a "team" can theoretically win w/ just 3 guys if they're good. On the other hand, you can go away from the "team win" system and just score points.

A simpler suggestion, I've had and made earlier was to use the records in #1 singles/dubs as the first tie breaker in teams that are tied. This is subtle but would add some weight to playing your best players at line 1, although sneaky captains could still "stack" if they liked.

andfor
04-10-2008, 06:53 AM
Jimmy, this thread is so old I have no idea what I said and I'm way too lazy to figure it out! :) I do stack sometimes, but I usually play according to strength........

Earlier you said and where steadfast on not Stacking due to some "custom" in your area.

Oldguysrule, there's one thing I have been unable to communicate, so let me try again.

In our section, the rules allow stacking/random court assignment. It is technically OK. Captains are free to do it. You are totally right about this, and I do not argue about this.

In our section, the *custom* seems to be that stacking is frowned upon. It is not a rule. It is a long-standing customer. Captains know which captains stack, and they think less of those captains because many captains view stacking as dishonorable -- putting the good of the few in front of the good of the many. I would not want to be one of those captains.

I would guess a very high percentage of teams at my level in our league don't stack. I can only think of one rampant stacker in my 3.0 division. And I've got a little something for her should we play her!

Because the anti-stacking custom still exists around here, stacking/random order increases the chances that random court assignment will put your weakest team against the other guy's strongest team. For this reason, players don't like it (either because they'll spend lots of time blowing out weak players or getting murdered by stronger players). League tennis is more fun is everyone gets a competitive match. The custom of playing teams according to strenth serves that purpose nicely, but it does make you vulnerable to those who would take advantage to get a leg up in the team match.

Hence my question: Under what circumstances is another captain most likely to benefit from stacking?

Have you come over to the dark side of stacking (aka line-up shuffling) now and are you viewed as "dishonorable"? I bet now that you stack you are a regular winner and don't care what those other captains think. Right?

k_liu
04-10-2008, 06:59 AM
Benchmark Player is commonly misunderstood. Benchmark only means a player played in the district or regional championship and has no bearing on what a players actual rating is. Actual player computer ratings (i.e. 4.45) are supposed to not be see by anyone other than a select few USTA Administrators. Computer Rating means the player played in at least 2 local matches the year before. Flagged?? I do not know that flagged is a catagory that is visible to player participants. They only way to know if you are flagged is after you get the letter from the USTA stating your disqualification and subsequent move up to the next level.

Are we going to go in a circle now?

No need to go in circle about this... it is what it is.