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View Full Version : Is it a "hindrance"?


stnick
10-18-2007, 12:32 AM
I've been playing a recreational pickup match with the same group of about 6 people twice a week for some months now. All of a sudden the other night this one guy starts doing this new thing... it goes like this.

I'm serving. This guy is the net man on the opposing team- I am serving to his partner. I throw in loopy topspin serves liberally on both first and second serves to his partner because she's a backboard, but always hits back fluffy returns whether I gun with my best stuff, or give her a lazy point-starter. So, I hit one of these loopy topspin serves to her which bounces in play for a good serve. Right at the time of the bounce, or just after, her partner yells "SHORT!!"

The first time he did it I actually did momentarily stop playing, looked at him quizically and exclaimed "short?!?" After the point he explained that he was just trying to let his partner know that the serve was not deep and she should run up for it. Over the last two matches this has happened about 6 or 7 times, and every time I flinch a bit thinking the ball has been called out and am a half step behind setting up for the return (and the fact that it was obviously in instantly starts me steaming and mentally out of the point).

I browsed through the rules tonight and found:

"26. HINDRANCE (OLD 21,25 & 36)
If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the op-
ponent(s), the player shall win the point."

and...

"USTA Comment 26.1:What is the difference between a deliberate
and an unintentional act? Deliberate means a player did what the
player intended to do, even if the result was unintended. An exam-
ple is a player who advises the player’s partner in such a loud voice that
their opponents are hindered. Unintentional refers to an act over which
a player has no control, such as a hat blowing off or a scream after a
wasp sting."

So, it seems to me like what the guy is doing - loudly yelling a short word so similar to "no", "long", "out", "wide", etc. right at the moment that a line call ought to be expected by the server - is a hindrance (The fact is that his loud call to his partner *does* affect my play.) No??

How would you handle the situation? It's a friendly recreational game, and whatever I do, I want to try to keep it that way....

fuzzfactory
10-18-2007, 12:42 AM
i think its legal because i see it in league play all the time and people rarely complain. i hear other words being screamed just as loud including "yours," "mine," "out," "up," "back," etc just as much. if you cant simply ignore the noise, maybe ask him to keep it down a little since its a friendly game. or you could just incorporate calling into your own game, it could help your teamwork a little.

origmarm
10-18-2007, 03:43 AM
Its pretty marginal. Personally I would say its not a hindrance. As fuzz points out you get a lot of calls in doubles. I would just get used to it. If it was a tournament or similar you could get a ruling on it but as its just for fun don't let it spoil it for you

WBF
10-18-2007, 06:22 AM
This is common practice among many doubles teams, it's called communication. Regardless of whether the guy is being over coaching his partner, this is not a hindrance.

I mean...

Unless you can think of any word that could describe a ball as out that sounds remotely like "SHORT". :) I can't.

eagle
10-18-2007, 06:36 AM
It's similar to saying "good" when the ball lands on or inside the lines whether during serves or rally.

Thanks,
eagle

brownyazn
10-18-2007, 08:10 AM
This is common practice among many doubles teams, it's called communication. Regardless of whether the guy is being over coaching his partner, this is not a hindrance.

I mean...

Unless you can think of any word that could describe a ball as out that sounds remotely like "SHORT". :) I can't.

haha
it's called communication

Geezer Guy
10-18-2007, 10:16 AM
... It's a friendly recreational game, and whatever I do, I want to try to keep it that way....

Then don't make a big deal of it and just let it go.

sureshs
10-18-2007, 12:36 PM
Sounds like a hindrance. Right at the time when the ball could be called long. He also seems to think very little of his partner's skills if he has to tell her whether a ball is short. Life is too short to play with these guys, but you have to endure them till (if) you make it to higher levels.

Cindysphinx
10-18-2007, 12:43 PM
Communication is especially important when one's double's partner is *blind* and cannot see for herself where on the court a ball bounces.

If my partner yelled "Short!" to me when I was returning, I'd tell him to knock it off. It would distract *me* for no good reason.

I have had some players yell "Spin" when a ball comes to me with some Serious Spin on it, and I don't find it especially helpful. I mean, I can see that it is spinning. On account of my eyes and all.

Cindy -- who sometimes says "Approach" when her partner is about to hit a short ball so that we can move up together, but no one ever seems to take this advice and actually, you know, approach

spot
10-18-2007, 01:26 PM
not at all hinderance- not anywhere close.

tbini87
10-18-2007, 01:29 PM
communication is important... but yelling short throughout a match on serves it dumb. i wouldn't complain or anything, and would make myself be the bigger player and deal with it.

JavierLW
10-18-2007, 01:42 PM
I've been playing a recreational pickup match with the same group of about 6 people twice a week for some months now. All of a sudden the other night this one guy starts doing this new thing... it goes like this.

I'm serving. This guy is the net man on the opposing team- I am serving to his partner. I throw in loopy topspin serves liberally on both first and second serves to his partner because she's a backboard, but always hits back fluffy returns whether I gun with my best stuff, or give her a lazy point-starter. So, I hit one of these loopy topspin serves to her which bounces in play for a good serve. Right at the time of the bounce, or just after, her partner yells "SHORT!!"

The first time he did it I actually did momentarily stop playing, looked at him quizically and exclaimed "short?!?" After the point he explained that he was just trying to let his partner know that the serve was not deep and she should run up for it. Over the last two matches this has happened about 6 or 7 times, and every time I flinch a bit thinking the ball has been called out and am a half step behind setting up for the return (and the fact that it was obviously in instantly starts me steaming and mentally out of the point).

I browsed through the rules tonight and found:

"26. HINDRANCE (OLD 21,25 & 36)
If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the op-
ponent(s), the player shall win the point."

and...

"USTA Comment 26.1:What is the difference between a deliberate
and an unintentional act? Deliberate means a player did what the
player intended to do, even if the result was unintended. An exam-
ple is a player who advises the player’s partner in such a loud voice that
their opponents are hindered. Unintentional refers to an act over which
a player has no control, such as a hat blowing off or a scream after a
wasp sting."

So, it seems to me like what the guy is doing - loudly yelling a short word so similar to "no", "long", "out", "wide", etc. right at the moment that a line call ought to be expected by the server - is a hindrance (The fact is that his loud call to his partner *does* affect my play.) No??

How would you handle the situation? It's a friendly recreational game, and whatever I do, I want to try to keep it that way....

Im not sure it's hindrance, but it sure sounds ********.

It's one thing if you are behind your partner and he doesnt know what sort of ball you've just hit. But Ive rarely seen it when one partner tells the other partner how to approach a ball that he can plainly see with his own two eyes.

If it's supposed to be a friendly match, I would just tell him to knock it off, or dont bother playing him anymore. (although he's probally distracting his own partner more than he is you though in which case you shouldnt mind as much)

Clintspin
10-18-2007, 07:16 PM
If the player was saying something that was confusing (as in the case of yelling "out" instead of let it bounce and then playing what you thought was a ball called out) then it would be fair to replay the point. No one that I know of calls serves in or out by saying short, so that should not be confusing.

The general rule is that you may communicate with your partner when the ball is on your side of the net and you must remain quiet when the ball is on your opponents side of the net.

calvinchang
10-19-2007, 02:33 AM
What about this? One time one of my opponents (doubles) hits a short lob and I run up and shout, "HORRA!!!" and they called it a hindrance. Would it be considered that even though I was the one hitting the ball at the time?

Cindysphinx
10-19-2007, 03:36 AM
I guess it depends what "Horra!" means.

Perhaps they believed you were calling them "*****s." Now, that might be a hindrance. :)

Supernatural_Serve
10-19-2007, 04:03 AM
The general rule is that you may communicate with your partner when the ball is on your side of the net and you must remain quiet when the ball is on your opponents side of the net. technically, I believe you are not correct: its not where the ball is, its what direction it is going in.

You can't yell after you've hit the ball, even though the ball you just hit is still on your side of the court but its heading in the direction of your opponent.

Tennis has decided to allow all kinds of grunting, howling, hissing when a person is hitting the ball and of course they usually don't cut off their wailing at the moment of impact, so even that rule is being violated endlessly.

This aspect of modern tennis to me is totally wrong.

OP, its not a hindrance, although if they are yelling in an obnoxiously loud voice, I would feel justified saying "communicate with your partner all you want but do you really have to scream SHORT that loudly"

I always encourage communication in doubles, but this one doesn't seem particularly useful unless maybe he is calling SHORT long long before the serve's bounce and their partner has terrible reaction time returning serves.

stnick
10-21-2007, 07:43 PM
This is common practice among many doubles teams, it's called communication. Regardless of whether the guy is being over coaching his partner, this is not a hindrance.

I mean...

Unless you can think of any word that could describe a ball as out that sounds remotely like "SHORT". :) I can't.

WBF and others with the same opinion: how then do you make sense of the very example that the rules themselves give!? Namely, "An example is a player who advises the player’s partner in such a loud voice that their opponents are hindered." Maybe you could proffer a concrete example that is totally unlike what I'm describing so that I can better understand your perspective.

I agree- communication with your partner is totally necessary in doubles. However the rules seem clearly to state that this communication *can* constitute a hindrance.

As to whether "SHORT!" sounds sufficiently like "OUT!", "LONG!", "NO!", "WIDE!", etc.... my ears and my brain don't work instantaneously (like yours must) to analyze and reason through my opponent's every communication right at the moment I am watching for a return of serve. I'd be shocked if I'm alone in that. Any short sharp word shouted loud enough for all four players to hear at or just after the service bounce, immediately activates the "they called it out" nerve in my brain. It's only about a second and a half later that the processing catches up- "oh! he was just telling his partner what to do...". By that time my play has been "hindered".

Clintspin
10-28-2007, 07:38 PM
In the newest issue of Tennis Magazine, a similar topic is discussed. Page 82, Court of Appeals. Their answer creates a lot of questions in my mind. A loud isolated sound, like a car horn could be considered let or hindrance? Boy that could open up a pandora's box of possibilities.

Nellie
10-28-2007, 08:10 PM
As others have said - no hinderence. Is it any worse than when the receiver grunts or talks loudly during the return stroke?

I think the example in the rules refers to the situation in which the communications occurs as the opponents are preparing to hit the ball -e.g., you yell "Get back!" as the other side is getting ready to hit an overhead. Even though you are trying to communicate, the other team could complain and take the point.

As an aside, I played a fellow once who yelled "Ole" on every stroke, and he was not even Spanish. I thought I was at a bull fight.

Clintspin
10-28-2007, 08:17 PM
From the Code by Colonel Powell:

27. A player who hits a weak shot and then, when the ball is moving towards his opponents' court, utters an exclamation such as "back, partner!" has violated the ethics of good play. His opponent, provided he does not play the ball because of the exclamation, is entitled to the point on the basis of having been hindered. However, if the opponent goes ahead and plays the ball and misses, the "two chance" rule holds. There is such a thing as the exclamation coming forth just as the opponent is making his shot. It is then properly a matter for the opponent to determine whether or not he is entitled to a let, for only he can judge if the hindrance came before his shot, after it, or simultaneously with it. If he is going to request a let he should try to make the claim before he sees the outcome of his shot, though this is not always possible. A certain type of player will wait and request a let if he has made an error, but will forget about the let if his shot has turned into a freak placement; this practice is not ethical. The main thing is that if the opponent was hindered, then had an option to stop or to make the shot, then attempted the shot, whether he missed it or not is immaterial, he is considered to have played the ball and there is no basis for a let.
28. In general, any conversation between partners while the ball is moving toward their opponents' side of the net is taboo; once either you or your partner has hit the ball, don't say anything until an opponent has hit it. Even when a ball is moving toward two partners conversation between them should be minimized, with about the only words permitted being such exhortations as to try hard for a ball ("run!") or to let one pass ("out!"), etc. Incidentally, "out" as advice to a partner to let the ball drop does not suffice for the normal "out" call necessary when a ball has landed outside the court.

kingdaddy41788
10-28-2007, 08:33 PM
If he's shouting it obscenely loud then it's a hindrance, but otherwise he's just communicating with his partner. Try to focus on your own actions and what you can control.

stnick
10-31-2007, 05:07 PM
Either you guys play with totally different types than I do, or your mental processor works much faster. The ladies and gents I play with seem to use just about any 1 syllable exlamation to call a server out- "OUT!", "WIDE!", "LONG!", "NO!"... Most of the time from way on the other end of the court I can't even understand exactly what word they said. To me, any LOUD one syllable grunt right at the time of impact of the serve or just after, is an out call. My brain doesn't have time to grok that "SHORT!" from the netman is "communication" with his partner (advice on how to play the serve) rather than "communication" with *me* (indicating a bad serve)!

I applaud you all.

fastdunn
10-31-2007, 05:45 PM
Hmm. It's tricky. I think I have had similar situations before.

It would nice if your opponents let you re-play the point as a nice gesture.

Considerate players would change the way of communicating with their partner. Not like short yell. Somewhat low tone phrase like "com-on comon it's short one coming" or something like that.

Yeah I would definetely ask them to differentiate between outcalls and the way they communicate at least around the time my serve is landing on the box area....

If they don't adjust upon my request, I just have to play thru a match and then try to avoid them next time....

JavierLW
10-31-2007, 06:18 PM
From the Code by Colonel Powell:

27. A player who hits a weak shot and then, when the ball is moving towards his opponents' court, utters an exclamation such as "back, partner!" has violated the ethics of good play. His opponent, provided he does not play the ball because of the exclamation, is entitled to the point on the basis of having been hindered. However, if the opponent goes ahead and plays the ball and misses, the "two chance" rule holds. There is such a thing as the exclamation coming forth just as the opponent is making his shot. It is then properly a matter for the opponent to determine whether or not he is entitled to a let, for only he can judge if the hindrance came before his shot, after it, or simultaneously with it. If he is going to request a let he should try to make the claim before he sees the outcome of his shot, though this is not always possible. A certain type of player will wait and request a let if he has made an error, but will forget about the let if his shot has turned into a freak placement; this practice is not ethical. The main thing is that if the opponent was hindered, then had an option to stop or to make the shot, then attempted the shot, whether he missed it or not is immaterial, he is considered to have played the ball and there is no basis for a let.
28. In general, any conversation between partners while the ball is moving toward their opponents' side of the net is taboo; once either you or your partner has hit the ball, don't say anything until an opponent has hit it. Even when a ball is moving toward two partners conversation between them should be minimized, with about the only words permitted being such exhortations as to try hard for a ball ("run!") or to let one pass ("out!"), etc. Incidentally, "out" as advice to a partner to let the ball drop does not suffice for the normal "out" call necessary when a ball has landed outside the court.

Where is this from?

Who the heck is Colonel Powell?

Undrayon
11-01-2007, 04:25 PM
haha I agree with some of these guys. If I couldn't tell the ball was going short it's not like I'd have enough time to take advantage of it if my partner told me.
Me: He's serving. Bounced, time to return.
Partner: SHORT
Me: OMG, NOOO!!!!!!!!!! *sprints to net and does some weird 007 slide to the ball before putting it away somehow*

Good thing my partner warned me. Close one.


On a funnier note, I can best you on this topic. I recently played a match where the dude started saying wide towards the end of our match on balls that could not POSSIBLY be wide. I asked him if he was sure on multiple points and finally I just said "Look, there's no way that ball was wide." Apparently he hadn't been saying wide, he had been saying white (sp?) which I learned was old English for long... -.-'' I called over the official and he told him that we use current English. Best part was that he got overruled on match point when he called the ball out : )

amarone
11-01-2007, 04:34 PM
Where is this from?

Who the heck is Colonel Powell?http://www.usta.com/rules/default.sps?iType=924&icustompageid=2518

stnick
11-02-2007, 01:53 AM
The ladies and gents I play with seem to use just about any 1 syllable exlamation to call a server out- "OUT!", "WIDE!", "LONG!", "NO!"...

How could I have forgotten "LET!"?? And the occasional "DEEP!" to boot.

Tangent: the only out line calls that have ever made sense to me to use are "NO!" and "OUT!". I mean, either one of those says all that needs to be said.

amarone
11-02-2007, 01:56 AM
Unless you can think of any word that could describe a ball as out that sounds remotely like "SHORT". :) I can't. How about "FAULT", which is indeed the correct term to use (not that many people do)?

CAM178
11-02-2007, 03:43 AM
Im not sure it's hindrance, but it sure sounds ********.

It's one thing if you are behind your partner and he doesnt know what sort of ball you've just hit. But Ive rarely seen it when one partner tells the other partner how to approach a ball that he can plainly see with his own two eyes.

If it's supposed to be a friendly match, I would just tell him to knock it off, or dont bother playing him anymore. (although he's probally distracting his own partner more than he is you though in which case you shouldnt mind as much)

LMAO! Nice post. Love the ******** comment. :D

To the OP: keep in mind this is social, and that it doesn't really matter. It's not a league, so only beer is on the line. Let it go, ro do it a couple of times really loudly to get their attention.

BUT. . .if this were a real match, I would politely mention how I'm interpreting his yell. If he chooses to blow it off or say s/th like 'that's your problem', then I would just do it back to them in some way or another. Like once their serve lands I would yell 'UP!!', and charge the net. You want somebody to brown their shorts, that's the way. Fight fire with fire.