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pepeLePew
03-01-2005, 06:20 AM
Does anyone know of any tools or utilities for scheduling team members into match slots for a USTA team?

A team match consists of 2 singles and 3 doubles matches. What I'm looking for is how to equally play team members if my team is made up of 3 singles players and 4 doubles teams. Or, 5 singles players and 5 doubles teams. A season consists of 10 team matches.


Thanks

SunDog
03-01-2005, 06:55 AM
It is really pretty simple math:

10 matches means 20 singles courts and 30 doubles courts. Just divide the number of singles courts by the number of singles players - then each player plays that many matches. Same with your doubles teams. If equal playing time is the goal, then you just fill up the slots.

If you want to be competitive, and assuming that your players' abilities vary, then equal playing time is probably not the best approach to captaining. A successful captain is aware of his oponents abilities and trots the best lineup he can out there to at least get 3 courts. You play your best players against the other team's potential best lineup. The lesser ability team members are used when it is judicious. All members need to play at least two matches to qaulifiy for post local season play. There is no program or utility out there that is going to be able to consider those factors. It takes a good deal of research on TennisLink ("transitive tennis"). It really is a cool combination of science and art and circumstance.

If this is your first year captaining, and you do not have any knowledge of how your team theoretically stacks up vs the competition, then be prepared for a learning experience this year - and in that case, equal playing time might be a good idea. It will give you the most information about your players and you can use that information to your advantage next year.

Either way - you can still have fun as a team. Our team has won the local competition the last seven years straight (last 9 out of 12). We have a wide array of players with differing abilities. Some players know - going in - that they will only play two matches at the local. That is the price they pay to be on the team that wins every year - and they are willing to pay it. Others go in knowing that they will play all or most of the matches. They shoulder the burden for assuring the team wins 3 of 5 courts in each match. It is the most supportive team in the league. The entire team is present to watch each match, and no one leaves until the last court is finished. That works for us.

Good luck this year.

ChrisNC
03-01-2005, 07:29 AM
Good stuff, SunDog. I bet you guys even practice together. The team I'm currently on just barely got an 8th person registered and can't manage to get more than 4 people to a practice (usually the same 3+1 other).

tennis-n-sc
03-01-2005, 09:19 AM
Well said, SunDog. I ahve captained a team, actually teams a year, for the past 8 years and you are correct in each of your points.

pepeLePew
03-01-2005, 11:44 AM
The team I am captaining now is a collection of guys that were looking for a team. I have been giving everyone equal time, since we were all unknowns. But as I look forward, I would like to start to work towards being a competitive team. That means changing personnel and who is playing where/when.

How have you handled letting players go? If I have five singles guys, is it reasonable to have them challenge each other for position? How do you keep the interest of guys that don't play much? How do you even get them to join the team?

Do you work with a pro for practices? If not, how do you run/use your practice time?


Thanks

JackD
03-01-2005, 12:00 PM
Hey Sanderle...what level are you playing? If your looking for some pros to help you with your practices I can recommend a few pros at some different clubs around town depending on your guys home courts.

SunDog
03-01-2005, 01:57 PM
Chris - you are correct - every Wed and Sun - outdoors as long as it is above 40F and not raining - indoors otherwise. We don't get full participation - and the ones who show up all the time are by far the better players. We usually have at least two full doubles courts going.

Sanderle - letting folks go is not an easy proposition. The team that I described in my post is not one that I captain myself - although I do captain mixed and combo teams. The referenced team is a 3.5 men's team that is captained by a real great guy - from whom I have learned a lot - when it comes to USTA tennis. While I cannot argue with his success at the local level, we have yet to win a State title in anything other than combo. I firmly believe that the reason we come up short each year at the State is that he has a policy in place that he will not cut anyone from the team. That being the case, we do not have the depth at all positions that I feel we need to be dominant in championship play.

I also play on a 4.0 team that is captained by my regular doubles partner. He was on the 3.5 team with the rest of us until last year when he got bumped up. For the upcoming season - he flat out told a guy (who was in fact horrible) that we didn't have a spot for him on our team this year. It was pretty cold - but the task was made easier by the fact that the cuttee had next to no personality - and no one wanted to be his partner.

Long and short of it is there is no easy way to do it - and it all comes down to what your goals are for the team. Don't count on people "taking the hint" either.

As for your other questions:

1. You can never have too many singles players at the State Tournament. Hold on to all the quality singles players you can. Again, you have to evaluate their individual skills and judge their worthiness against their potential opponents for each match. Having them challenge each other for the number one or two spot wont tell you much about how they will fare vs the upcomming team's singles folk.

2. Winning as a team is a strong attraction for our players that don't play much. If your team is not competitive - be prepared to hear a lot of "I could have won that court .... blah blah blah." The ideal situation is to have an entire team who have roughly the same interest level and are willing to do what it takes to win as a team. As a captain - all you can do is to put the weaker players in spots where they really can't hurt you. Sometimes they are used as a sacrifice on court #1 against a strong team - sometimes they are used against a weak team when you know you will win all the other courts. You have to be clever as to how you do this if you are concerned with people's feelings.

3. Getting folks to join your team is another art. It helps if you or some of your other players are well known. We got a 4.0 doubles pair this year based upon spite. They were spurned by one of the premiere teams - and are looking to exact payment. That will be fun to watch.

Most folks want to be on a winning team or at least a team that has a chance to win. Others just prefer to play with their friends.

4. Our practice time is spent playing each other and whoever else shows up at the park. The captain will set matchups and look for good partnering opportunities. If you want to, you can go to www.tennisenging.com - and set yourself up a team ladder that will show how the individual players stack up against each other.

tykrum
03-01-2005, 04:36 PM
Hey pepe, what league are you in? I might play in a 4.5 league here in Minneapolis this summer.

tennis-n-sc
03-01-2005, 05:11 PM
I have always been in private clubs where cutting a player was not an option. If there is more than one team at the level, you might work out a transfer. What is wrong with singles players doing doubles on occasion? That works with us. Somebody is always gonna be the worst player on the team. I would not want any player on my team thinking they were going to become an outcast if a better player comes along. My last team won state and came in second at Sectionals. We had been together for about five years and we all became better as a team. We lost a few along the way, but by their own choice. I have always felt it best to be nice everyone on your way up because you will probably see some of them again on your way down.

pepeLePew
03-01-2005, 09:04 PM
tykrum, I play in a 3.0 and a 3.5 league. I guess we probably won't run into each other. Although, it would be nice to hit with some higher level players once in a while.