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View Full Version : Who gets benched when there's a default?


Cindysphinx
03-21-2007, 05:32 PM
I think I mentioned my ladies combo team defaulted one doubles line due to lateness this weekend. I've been questioned about how I handled it, so of course now I'm asking you all what you do.

The player who failed to show was scheduled to play Court Two. When we learned 20 minutes before the match that she was going to be late, my co-captain called me and asked what to do.

I told my co-captain to move herself to Court Two instead of Court Three. This left the player on Court Three without a partner. Court Three was defaulted, so the innocent player on Court Three didn't get a match. The reason I made these changes was to enhance our chances of winning the team match by winning Court One and Court Two.

The match was played. Court One won easily. Court Two struggled and won by a whisker.

Now the player who was forced to take the default on Court Three is angry. She doesn't see why she should have been forced to take the default and thinks she and the co-captain should have played Court Two.

It's too late to do anything differently, and I'm not sure that I would. I tell my players when they join that I won't make them take more than one default in a season, but I've never spelled out what I'd do in the situation that was presented.

Thoughts?

jagsv650
03-21-2007, 05:45 PM
I would have played court one and three the way you had them before you learned you would have to default.

cak
03-21-2007, 06:29 PM
It sounds like your team partners are more fluid than teams I'm used to. In general when we set up lineups we go with regular partners. Each doubles player has one to 4 regular partners. We send the lineups out a couple weeks in advance so they can get a social game or two in with the partner they will be playing with soon. If one partner didn't show up on game day, switching around the partners would likely work less well than just having the partner of the player that didn't show sit out. Since the players make an effort to practice together before the match, mixing them up on game day would also be disrespectful of the players.

Cindysphinx
03-21-2007, 07:22 PM
Ah, I left something out. League rules require that Court Three be defaulted before Court One or Two. So the team originally set for Court Three would have had to play Court Two.

Yes, I know, it shouldn't matter because court order means nothing. Except for it means something around here, as most teams play in order of strength.

Don't know if that matters, but there you go.

And yeah, are line-ups are very fluid. Of the four players on Courts 2 and 3 per the original line-up, I don't think any had played matches together yet. The players I put together on Court Two have played and won together last season, IIRC.

cak
03-21-2007, 08:13 PM
Ah, the downside of playing in order and not having set partners, there is no where to hide.... She sat out because in your opinion she was the weakest player out there. She either didn't agree, or was hurt that it was pointed out so publicly.

As a captain I love the policy of set partners and all courts are equal. It is not obvious who the captain thinks are the best team. So several doubles teams can believe they are the best on the team and that works for me. (And seriously, often I can't decide who the best is.) When people are left out of lineups it may be because they aren't good players, or it may be because their partners aren't available. The public reason is always the latter.

Mark Jensen
03-22-2007, 05:20 AM
Defaulting from the bottom courts first is a National rule:
If you know you will be missing players.
3.03L(1) Singles. The No. 2 singles must be defaulted before the No. 1 singles.
3.03L(2) Doubles. The No. 3 doubles must be defaulted before the No. 2 doubles and the No. 2 doubles must be defaulted before the No. 1 doubles.

The way we play it is:

Before the line ups are exchanged the captain with a missing player(s) has a choice:

1. Assume they're not coming and shuffle the line up to default the #2 singles (if 1 player is missing) or to default the 3rd court (if 2 players are missing). That's National Rules.

OR

2. Assume they will eventually be there and exchange line up cards in good faith, no later than 5 minutes before match time.
That's Local Rules.

After the 15 mins gace time has passed and there are still missing players. Those courts are defaulted. Could be any court...#1 singles, #2 doubles, anywhere.

The honor system comes into play on wether or not a captain knows a player isn't showing. If you know they're not coming, option 2 isn't following National Rules. That's grievance worthy.

But if you're not sure if they'll be there, why reshuffle your line-up and default a court 5 mins before match time at card exchange when the guy might walk in at any minute.

This doesn't reply to Cindy's post exactly.
I think if only one player was missing, the obvious choice was to default #2 singles.
But they opted to dfault a doubles court (#3) instead?
Not sure why?

But given that was the court the opposing captain was defaulting...
I think she and I would have done the exact same thing.

Court #3 was being defaulted...she needed to adjust her line up and she put her strongest 6 players on courts...she did it...and it worked out.
If she had put the now-disgruntled player on would that have resulted in a team loss?
Maybe...and now she might have the entire team disgruntled instead of one player.

In our league, we pay for court time. The defaulted players get there money back and can use the court for the 2 hours (paid for by their missing opponent).

spot
03-22-2007, 06:28 AM
cindy- I think you did the right thing. The other person who was scheduled to be on court 2 didn't do anything wrong. SHe would have been as irritated if she had to sit out as the other girl was. Going by merit is a perfectly acceptable reason to break the tie.

tennis-n-sc
03-22-2007, 07:26 AM
Defaulting from the bottom courts first is a National rule:
If you know you will be missing players.
3.03L(1) Singles. The No. 2 singles must be defaulted before the No. 1 singles.
3.03L(2) Doubles. The No. 3 doubles must be defaulted before the No. 2 doubles and the No. 2 doubles must be defaulted before the No. 1 doubles.

The way we play it is:

Before the line ups are exchanged the captain with a missing player(s) has a choice:

1. Assume they're not coming and shuffle the line up to default the #2 singles (if 1 player is missing) or to default the 3rd court (if 2 players are missing). That's National Rules.

OR

2. Assume they will eventually be there and exchange line up cards in good faith, no later than 5 minutes before match time.
That's Local Rules.

After the 15 mins gace time has passed and there are still missing players. Those courts are defaulted. Could be any court...#1 singles, #2 doubles, anywhere.

The honor system comes into play on wether or not a captain knows a player isn't showing. If you know they're not coming, option 2 isn't following National Rules. That's grievance worthy.

But if you're not sure if they'll be there, why reshuffle your line-up and default a court 5 mins before match time at card exchange when the guy might walk in at any minute.

This doesn't reply to Cindy's post exactly.
I think if only one player was missing, the obvious choice was to default #2 singles.
But they opted to dfault a doubles court (#3) instead?
Not sure why?

But given that was the court the opposing captain was defaulting...
I think she and I would have done the exact same thing.

Court #3 was being defaulted...she needed to adjust her line up and she put her strongest 6 players on courts...she did it...and it worked out.
If she had put the now-disgruntled player on would that have resulted in a team loss?
Maybe...and now she might have the entire team disgruntled instead of one player.

In our league, we pay for court time. The defaulted players get there money back and can use the court for the 2 hours (paid for by their missing opponent).

Mark, this is what we would normally do to let everyone play that did show. Of course, there are always mitigating circumstances but we are usually flexiable enough to switch from singles to doubles on short notice.

oldguysrule
03-22-2007, 07:38 AM
Mark, this is what we would normally do to let everyone play that did show. Of course, there are always mitigating circumstances but we are usually flexiable enough to switch from singles to doubles on short notice.

Guys, this is combo...3 lines of doubles.

I agree that there was nothing wrong with how it was handled. However, one thing I don't understand...if you are setting the lineup based on strength of the players, why would you have to move someone from the third line up to the second line to increase your chances of winning.

kevhen
03-22-2007, 07:49 AM
I have had singles players not show but never a doubles player. If a doubles player wasn't there on the hour to start warmups, I would go ahead and move the #3 team up to the #2 spot. You may not win the meet, but the person who missed needs to explain to their partner why they didn't show and possibly explain to all why they cost the team the meet. What you did is sacrificed someone who showed up, whose partner showed up, but then you publicly let them know that they are the least valued player on the team.

Playing favorites in a team setting will often come back to haunt you!

Topaz
03-22-2007, 07:54 AM
Cindy, I would have done exactly as you had. Your player shouldn't be mad at you...she should be mad at the person who didn't show. You could have moved the #3 team up together, but you made a judgement call, and in this case, it was the correct one.

kevhen
03-22-2007, 08:12 AM
Cindy, so is your team happy now? Or is it just the one player upset? Sometimes one unhappy player can bring a team down if she gets another teammate to feel sympathetic towards her and now you have a divided team.

Mark Jensen
03-22-2007, 08:12 AM
Guys, this is combo...3 lines of doubles.

...one thing I don't understand...if you are setting the lineup based on strength of the players, why would you have to move someone from the third line up to the second line to increase your chances of winning.

Ooohhh...right, this is Combo. Sorry about that.
We're in the middle of Adult league here and our Combo season isn't till Fall.

Now I get why a dubs court was defaulted even though only one player was missing...oops, maybe I should read a little more s-l-o-w-l-y :)

I suspect Cindy's #2 and #3 teams were both stong/weak pairings?

By pulling the weaker player off of the #2 court and replacing her with the stronger of the #3 court you get a strong/strong #2 court?

As a consolation, maybe Cindy's two weaker players play singles for fun/practice on court #3.
(& the opponent who's partner was a no-show gets the raw deal...no tennis!)

tennis-n-sc
03-22-2007, 09:41 AM
Ooohhh...right, this is Combo. Sorry about that.
We're in the middle of Adult league here and our Combo season isn't till Fall.

Now I get why a dubs court was defaulted even though only one player was missing...oops, maybe I should read a little more s-l-o-w-l-y :)

I suspect Cindy's #2 and #3 teams were both stong/weak pairings?

By pulling the weaker player off of the #2 court and replacing her with the stronger of the #3 court you get a strong/strong #2 court?

As a consolation, maybe Cindy's two weaker players play singles for fun/practice on court #3.
(& the opponent who's partner was a no-show gets the raw deal...no tennis!)

Same here. Our seasons go adult/senior in the spring, mixed and singles leagues in the summer and combo in the fall. I thought the whole country did the same to coincide with the national playoffs.

Cindysphinx
03-22-2007, 09:49 AM
Guys, this is combo...3 lines of doubles.

I agree that there was nothing wrong with how it was handled. However, one thing I don't understand...if you are setting the lineup based on strength of the players, why would you have to move someone from the third line up to the second line to increase your chances of winning.

The line-up originally looked like this:

Strong/Strong
Medium/Medium
Medium/Weak

On reflection, I think my error is perhaps giving some or all members of my team that impression that relative strength/weakness doesn't matter in who take a default. I have made clear to my player that Court Three takes the default usually, and I have told them I won't make a player take more than one default per season. This works fine when the other team has a no-show, which has happened many times.

Trouble is, that rule doesn't work when the default is due to the no-show of one of our players. In four seasons as captain, this has never happened to me.

And yeah, Kevhen, that's precisely why she's mad. I honestly didn't think she would be. If I were the weakest player, I would expect to sit out under these circumstances. Apparently not everyone feels that way.

As for what the team thinks, I don't know. They're likely happy to have the win, but the e-mail celebration was muted this time. The player who no-showed says she feels awful but is grateful that everyone was so nice about it. The player who got benched had already said she is leaving to return to her old team, which is re-forming this spring, although that didn't affect my decision.

Oh, and that same day I wrote to the benched player and offered her one of my matches for later in the season. She didn't lose a match, at least, and will get her full allotment of 5 matches. I would have thought that would take the sting out of it, but apparently not. She did accept and will play Court 2 against a fierce opponent.

kevhen
03-22-2007, 10:33 AM
Also as a leader of a couple of hitting groups in my area, if we have an odd number I sit out so that everyone else gets to play and keeps coming to my hitting groups. As captain, I would sit out in this scenario and let everyone else play.

Since she is moving on and had told you that, then you are not as tied to keeping her unless you value her friendship. So what you did might be ok if she was planning to leave anyway and not committed to the team for the next season.

Geezer Guy
03-22-2007, 12:06 PM
Also as a leader of a couple of hitting groups in my area, if we have an odd number I sit out so that everyone else gets to play and keeps coming to my hitting groups. As captain, I would sit out in this scenario and let everyone else play.

Since she is moving on and had told you that, then you are not as tied to keeping her unless you value her friendship. So what you did might be ok if she was planning to leave anyway and not committed to the team for the next season.

Yeah - I'm not a USTA team captain, but I do organize quite a few group hits during the summer months. When there's an odd number due to a no-show I usually sit myself out (and keep a mental tally on how often that particular bozo has stiffed me). I'm getting kinda tired of that actually.

Supernatural_Serve
03-22-2007, 12:59 PM
Your approach was completely valid. I might have asked for a volunteer to sit out (that would have been convenient, but unlikely), volunteer myself (depending on a lot of factors), or simply picked a victim (using a variety of approaches, yours being a good one)

She has a right to be disappointed she didn't play, but no right to give the captain grief about decisions that the captain has to make sometimes. That's part of the deal with someone being the captain, they have to make decisions that everyone has to live with, especially when they pick a totally valid solution.

kevhen
03-22-2007, 01:06 PM
I usually only sit out for a set and then someone leaves or another guy volunteers to sit for a set so it usually works out fine and we still get lots of tennis in.

Raiden.Kaminari
03-22-2007, 01:49 PM
I think I mentioned my ladies combo team defaulted one doubles line due to lateness this weekend. I've been questioned about how I handled it, so of course now I'm asking you all what you do.

The player who failed to show was scheduled to play Court Two. When we learned 20 minutes before the match that she was going to be late, my co-captain called me and asked what to do.

I told my co-captain to move herself to Court Two instead of Court Three. This left the player on Court Three without a partner. Court Three was defaulted, so the innocent player on Court Three didn't get a match. The reason I made these changes was to enhance our chances of winning the team match by winning Court One and Court Two.

The match was played. Court One won easily. Court Two struggled and won by a whisker.

Now the player who was forced to take the default on Court Three is angry. She doesn't see why she should have been forced to take the default and thinks she and the co-captain should have played Court Two.

It's too late to do anything differently, and I'm not sure that I would. I tell my players when they join that I won't make them take more than one default in a season, but I've never spelled out what I'd do in the situation that was presented.

Thoughts?

Ah, I left something out. League rules require that Court Three be defaulted before Court One or Two. So the team originally set for Court Three would have had to play Court Two.

Yes, I know, it shouldn't matter because court order means nothing. Except for it means something around here, as most teams play in order of strength.

Don't know if that matters, but there you go.

And yeah, are line-ups are very fluid. Of the four players on Courts 2 and 3 per the original line-up, I don't think any had played matches together yet. The players I put together on Court Two have played and won together last season, IIRC.

As a captain, I believe you did the right thing.

Since this is combo doubles, if the higher NTRP player was the one that was late, then the #3 doubles higher NTRP player should be moved up to #2.

However, I believe your player is complaining because she felt that she and her partner should have been moved up to #2, right? Or is the case that the lower NTRP player was the one that was late?

Geezer Guy
03-22-2007, 02:01 PM
Cindy,

If your team goal is to win, you should sit out your weakest player. Everyone - including the weakest player - should be OK with that.

If you team goal is to play and have fun, you should sit out the partner of the player that was late. Everyone should be OK with that, except the sitting partner who has no one to blame except the person that was late.

Having clear goals that everyone knows about and agrees to is key.

Cindysphinx
03-22-2007, 02:29 PM
Yeah, but what if your goal is to win half your matches, and this debacle occurred against a team that you had counted on beating? That's my problem. We're neither a "We don't care if we win" team nor a "We'll do anything to win" team. So it gets mushy.

I think in the future I will make it clear that the late/no-show player will have to give one of her future matches to the player who sat out. As it was, I didn't want to appear punitive, though it was richly deserved. But maybe that is the best way, as I darn sure don't want to be giving away my matches for the tardiness of others.

LoveThisGame
03-22-2007, 06:13 PM
Interesting. Tennis is individual play (singles) or team (small "t") doubles. Then there's the USTA TEAM. I guess that ME! ME! ME! is prevalent.

Topaz
03-22-2007, 06:29 PM
Interesting. Tennis is individual play (singles) or team (small "t") doubles. Then there's the USTA TEAM. I guess that ME! ME! ME! is prevalent.

Why do you say that? It is obvious that Cindy is concerned about all her players, not just winning and not just herself.

Raiden.Kaminari
03-23-2007, 10:43 AM
I think in the future I will make it clear that the late/no-show player will have to give one of her future matches to the player who sat out. As it was, I didn't want to appear punitive, though it was richly deserved.

Although I focus more on practice than on actual match playing time, that's the solution I've come up with for my teams. The players are usually apologetic enough to realize they are in for some sort of punishment.

LoveThisGame
03-23-2007, 02:43 PM
Topaz,

My comment was not attacking Cindy. In an earlier message in the thread, she said that the #3 doubles person,who had to default without a partner present, was angry. In fact that was a main purpose of her starting this thread.

Cindy had to make a quick decision, she did so, and it turned it worked by "a whisker". I'm assuming Cindy has a gauge on abilities and her decision averted a loss that might have occurred otherwise.

Egos are always present, and too often they go against the grain of a team concept.

When I coached college tennis, I had ego problems to deal with, but only a couple. When I later coached H.S., I had considerably more such problems, largely because of parents living through their kids.

What it comes down to is are we here to try our best to win and live with tough decisions, or not. If we don't care about winning, why are we playing? If we have no faith in our captain/coach, why are we playing on this team?

Topaz
03-23-2007, 02:47 PM
Topaz,

My comment was not attacking Cindy. In an earlier message in the thread, she said that the #3 doubles person,who had to default without a partner present, was angry. In fact that was a main purpose of her starting this thread.

Cindy had to make a quick decision, she did so, and it turned it worked by "a whisker". I'm assuming Cindy has a gauge on abilities and her decision averted a loss that might have occurred otherwise.

Egos are always present, and too often they go against the grain of a team concept.

When I coached college tennis, I had ego problems to deal with, but only a couple. When I later coached H.S., I had considerably more such problems, largely because of parents living through their kids.

What it comes down to is are we here to try our best to win and live with tough decisions, or not. If we don't care about winning, why are we playing? If we have no faith in our captain/coach, why are we playing on this team?


Gotchya!

As a captain myself, I sometimes wonder if the players know how much we do torment ourselves with trying to balance fairness and winning. Sometimes that just doesn't work!

LoveThisGame
03-24-2007, 05:49 PM
Leading is not easy, but fortunately people like you and Cindy are willing to step forward and progress.

The following will sound initially off-thread, but I suspect is at the heart of the types of people problems captains and coaches face.

As a young lad (and I'm now an old lad), I played baseball (until the light bulb came on;) ), most of the summer play being rec department leagues rather than Little Leagues. The most problems and most unenjoyable experiences came with situations where adults (other than umpires) ran the show.

The rec leagues meant that 1 or more kids had to organize a team and solicit some funds (not generally by going to parents) for t-shirts, caps, balls, and catching gear. That was fine training for life, but larger tasks remained for you were the MANAGER.

Who was going to play? What position? At second base are you going to pick a solid player or your buddy, who can't hit a lick? How are you going to keep the WHOLE team happy during the season? After all, vacations, et al lead to needing to play other kids, and if you haven't been playing them some they may not be there when you need them. And starters may not be happy sitting down, even for a few innings.

These leagues were by age groups, starting with 12 and under, so that's some heavy responsibilities in order to compete and have some fun. Games were fairly close to home, but in those days, parents rarely attended and sure weren't there to help or interfere. There were darn good environment situations.


Today, kids don't get much chance to develop leadership abilities; adults are leaders and always in charge. The age differential is key. When the kids grow into adults, 1) team leaders may lack true leadership skills and still have to learn them, and 2) team players may lack the skills to be TEAM players because the youth/adult background differences aren't present anymore.


(One year, our neighborhood baseball team did have a part owner ... a very small part ... owner of a MLB team manage us, a guy who lived in our neighborhood. He rather thrust himself into our team. It was interesting to see how things evolved, from blowing up our neighborhood team ... only two of us remained on the team ... for area all star players, to losing, to his vanishing. BTW, I was never in any leadership role with this team.)