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View Full Version : can u still LOVE/PLAY tennis w/o being on a 'team'??


lovin'it
05-01-2009, 12:03 PM
yes, of course, i know you can, but it is a big step for me.

just bordering on quitting competitive tennis in the team format (usta) as the whole 'team' thing is just ringing pretty shallow these days. been doing it for over five years, it's been fun, been playing 5 days a week, and with a recent injury, have done some major re-evaluation of my life, my team, my team 'friends', my family's needs, my ability to really get that much better....the cost versus the realistic goal, the whole nine yards.

i will say, i LOVE tennis, there is nothing like it! i don't need to sell it to you, as you are obviously THERE!

Casey10s
05-01-2009, 12:16 PM
If you don't like the leagues, you can substitute league play with a ladder league, local round robin singles leagues, or play tournaments to keep the competitive juices going. I know a lot of people who do this instead of leagues for some of the reasons you mentioned.

JavierLW
05-01-2009, 12:19 PM
yes, of course, i know you can, but it is a big step for me.

just bordering on quitting competitive tennis in the team format (usta) as the whole 'team' thing is just ringing pretty shallow these days. been doing it for over five years, it's been fun, been playing 5 days a week, and with a recent injury, have done some major re-evaluation of my life, my team, my team 'friends', my family's needs, my ability to really get that much better....the cost versus the realistic goal, the whole nine yards.

i will say, i LOVE tennis, there is nothing like it! i don't need to sell it to you, as you are obviously THERE!

just don't right now think the price is worth it. more than anything, the shallow-ness of some of the people involved has been disheartening. not just to me, but to some of the weaker-links on the team...i am in the middle, still needed, but, as we only add to the top, my day will come to scoot out the back. i think i would rather go out now, live a full and less tennis focused life, but, dang it....I LOVE TENNIS! the adrenaline rush is SO ADDICTING!

i guess writing this i see that tennis is not the problem, it is the 'team' thing...lately seems so contrived and stupid....scorn for not participating in 'team' lunches yet, for me it is the chicken and the egg...i am sick of faking some of these friendships that i see right through! so for me, the lack of recent participation in 'team' activities is a RESULT of the lack of true friendships. if it is just tennis, then let it be just tennis!!...no scorn! i am just not one to fake things (other than a tennis shot) and lately, prefer things more black and white! at the ripe old age of 48, i don't have the desire to do what i don't want to do... i must say too, the 'heirarchy' of POWER is laughable...what a little world some of these people live in! i feel i see it more as an observer, not so much firsthand, it just seems like a hamster running in a wheel, worn out, but where are you (am i) going??

what to do? i am not really good at doing something 'halfway'...i am either in it 100% or zippo! can i isolate the 'team' aspect away, and still play in leagues, lessons, clinics, socials??? and have that adrenaline?? can you do it 'halfway'?? how do you do something halfway?? i dunno...anyone have any answers??:-|

Well if it's not for you then dont do it, it's as simple as that. But you dont have to sit and contemplate and put anyone else down for doing it.

There are tons of opportunity's to play tennis outside of the team concept. There might even be "teams" in some areas that may better fit whatever your goals are as a tennis player. (many of the ones in my area are just nothing more then a collection of people who are just interested in their own tennis, they dont care about team competition)

You can play tournaments as well.

I think you're right that one thing that is nice about tennis is that it's not really a "team" sport once you get on the court (unless you're playing doubles). Even if you are on a team, it's all you once you get out there (since you have no control over anything else going on with the other courts).

I know for my team we all get along great except for one particular person and that's because while we look at winning as a team as a goal, it's not the reason why we're out there.

And I realize that as the captain it's MY job to arrange things to make sure we've done our best to meet our team goals (mostly by who I put on the team and by how I arrange the lineup). It's not the players job, their job is to just show up and be prepared to play and it's pretty much in their court there.

But some teams get those two things confused and they mistakenly think they are running a baseball team or a basketball team or something that is actually a team sport.

lovin'it
05-01-2009, 12:23 PM
what is a 'ladder league', i hear that term but don't know what it is...

lovin'it
05-01-2009, 12:24 PM
this is womens tennis...

OrangePower
05-01-2009, 12:38 PM
Sounds like your problem is not with team tennis in general, but with your current team in particular. So why not find a different team to join, with poeple that you'll get along better with and where the team goals are more in line with what you're looking for? I know finding the perfect team is easier said than done... but maybe you can even start your own team.

Steady Eddy
05-01-2009, 12:58 PM
Actually, tennis is not a team sport. Someone can artificially make it that way, but you win or lose on your own, so why do you care about "the team"? Play without a team, and once in a while, enter a tournament to see how it goes, and that's tennis. These teams sound like somebody's trying to recreate the high school sports experience. They should move one, IMO.

lovin'it
05-01-2009, 01:06 PM
orangepower, yes, that thought has crossed my mind, and i do have two options (more probably if i cared to look) that i have considered, one is over my head, the other, i don't know. i guess i really get along fine with these, it just emits more negatives than positives lately...

Casey10s
05-01-2009, 01:21 PM
what is a 'ladder league', i hear that term but don't know what it is...

A ladder league is where there a group of people who have signed up. The playing levels are from the extremely good to basic beginners. There are rules on who can play who. From the list, you call up someone on the list and schedule a match. After the match is over, you report the results. This will now affect who you can play in the future. Keep winning and you get access to the better players. Lose a lot, and you have to play the lower level people. Basically after a while you will be in a group of players who are at your level but you will also be able to play better players so you can work on improvement. You can play a few matches (6 to 9) or play as many as you can fit in. I have seen people who have played 50 matches in a ladder. Also, in a ladder league, there can be a lot of people - maybe over 50. Rules and league sizes vary since it is non-USTA so check what the setup is to see if that is what you want. There are also rules on people challenging you to a match. You will probably have to play some players below you as well as getting chances to play better players.

lovin'it
05-01-2009, 01:32 PM
i take it this is thru 'rec/tennis centers' as opposed to country clubs...i will check into it, as i think singles is a good next step for my game/mind!! thanks

Cindysphinx
05-01-2009, 02:28 PM
Hmmm. Obviously, you shouldn't do what you don't want to do.

But there are a lot of benefits to league tennis (in this area, anyway) that are not available in other types of tennis.

If you don't play league around here, getting court time is an issue. You can buy spot time, but then you are playing with the same six people, which gets old. You can join an alternative to USTA league (such as the country club circuit), but again you see the same people all the time. And of course, there is just as much DRAMA in some of these settings.

It sounds like, frankly, you are simply on the wrong tennis team. I have been on many teams. Some I have loved. Some I couldn't stand. Some I never felt a part of. I just take it team by team. If I like a team, I stay forever. If I don't, I leave.

What I have found is that being on a team gives me a ready supply of people to play with. Otherwise, I think it would be tough to find people of my level who could play when I could play.

So I hear what you're saying, but people will be people. There will always be nutters no matter where you go. I just try to keep the sanity/nutter ratio to an acceptable level.

If you decide to bail on league tennis, I hope you'll keep us posted on how you find tennis opportunities and how it all works out. I'd be curious . . .

Cruzer
05-01-2009, 03:38 PM
just bordering on quitting competitive tennis in the team format (usta) as the whole 'team' thing is just ringing pretty shallow these days. been doing it for over five years, it's been fun, been playing 5 days a week, and with a recent injury, have done some major re-evaluation of my life, my team, my team 'friends', my family's needs, my ability to really get that much better....the cost versus the realistic goal, the whole nine yards.

just don't right now think the price is worth it. more than anything, the shallow-ness of some of the people involved has been disheartening. not just to me, but to some of the weaker-links on the team...i am in the middle, still needed, but, as we only add to the top, my day will come to scoot out the back. i think i would rather go out now, live a full and less tennis focused life, but, dang it....I LOVE TENNIS! the adrenaline rush is SO ADDICTING!

i guess writing this i see that tennis is not the problem, it is the 'team' thing...lately seems so contrived and stupid....scorn for not participating in 'team' lunches yet, for me it is the chicken and the egg...i am sick of faking some of these friendships that i see right through! so for me, the lack of recent participation in 'team' activities is a RESULT of the lack of true friendships. if it is just tennis, then let it be just tennis!!...no scorn! i am just not one to fake things (other than a tennis shot) and lately, prefer things more black and white! at the ripe old age of 48, i don't have the desire to do what i don't want to do... i must say too, the 'heirarchy' of POWER is laughable...what a little world some of these people live in! i feel i see it more as an observer, not so much firsthand, it just seems like a hamster running in a wheel, worn out, but where are you (am i) going??

what to do? i am not really good at doing something 'halfway'...i am either in it 100% or zippo! can i isolate the 'team' aspect away, and still play in leagues, lessons, clinics, socials??? and have that adrenaline?? can you do it 'halfway'?? how do you do something halfway?? i dunno...anyone have any answers??:-|

The simple answer to your question is of course you can leave the USTA league nonsense behind you and still have have good tennis. We are now 4 weeks into the mens/womens seasons and for the first time in 12 years I am not on a USTA team. I have captained, co-captained, and dealt with jerky team mates and jerky opponents. At this point I am not missing USTA league tennis. I didn't consciously decide not play USTA league tennis this season but upon reviewig the USTA team alternatives at my club I decided that I wouldn't enjoy it for a variety of reasons including the points you mention. I still play 2-3 times a week, attend a clinic once a week, take a private lesson once a week, and take my ball machine out and hit several hundred balls to work on stuff. I now focus almost exclusively on singles and fortunately there are a several guys at my club who don't play USTA tennis so it is not hard to find people to play.
USTA league tennis can be a lot of fun especially if you are on a team with a bunch of your buddies but other times when you stand back and look at the whole USTA league experience you wonder why be on a tennis "team". Tennis, particularly singles is an individual game and so why do I want to be on a "team" with a bunch guys you don't care about?

lovin'it
05-01-2009, 04:58 PM
thanks all, one drink and dinner with friends and family, and i am better for some reason! imagine that!

truly, i think venting helps! haven't been this close to jumping ship in awhile, but this season and recent injury just seem to be a tap on the shoulder (or elbow, i should say!) from above to re-think things.

i could play in 2-3 leagues a week, a few social games i already have standing, one in particular is quite challenging tennis-wise...would love to work on singles and better MY strokes. situations outside of tennis have taken a bit of a new interest for me as well. maybe a timing thing, but life does have seasons, and maybe the season for this situation is running its course...oh, to wax philosophically....

i appreciate any thoughts, glad to see some have been there before, like i say, i am more like an observer looking in lately and it just seems to be more negative than positive...don't like that balance!!

shell
05-01-2009, 06:08 PM
Lovin'it, you sound like you are on the wrong team to start with. And maybe league play is just not for you in general. But it could just be the "country club" atmosphere you described. Maybe you should look elsewhere - a large public facility or somewhere that is more geared towards tennis for tennis, and not such a social atmosphere or stigma.

Yes, there are quite a few women who get caught up in the competitive league drama, but there have got to be others just out there to hit, play and improve their games. You can find them, but you may have to search.

The benefits of league play are matches pre-arranged, and the opportunity to meet a lot of different players. The down side can be what you are describing.

Find a couple or three people that you like and enjoy playing with. Arrange to play with them as much as possible. It could lead you to a new team, or even just some fun tennis outside of USTA leagues. It's out there, but you have to work harder to find it.

I mostly play with guys, somewhat for that reason, but also have just found a group that is easy and enjoyable. But even that is not ideal. It is all about the people, not the sport, or even the organization of tennis. It's just the people. Look for different ones.

raiden031
05-02-2009, 02:51 AM
Here is why I like the team competition:

1) Competitive. There is something to aim for (rating bump, beating strong teams, championships). There is pressure which makes the game more exciting.

1) Convenient. You don't have to worry about reserving courts and scheduling because it is done for you.

2) Socializing. Its nice when you have a good group of people to share your love of the game with.

The other real competitive option is tournaments. I don't like tournaments because they are very inconvenient in that you have to set aside sometimes 3-5 days where you can't plan anything because you don't know how far you will advance and when you will be scheduled to play.

If you don't have family obligations and don't like the team aspect of league play, then tournaments are perfect.

And of course there are ladders and pickup matches. The problem here is that its difficult for advanced players to find matches because most players participating in these are lower rated. So not as competitive. I play in singles ladders to help improve my match play to prepare for USTA play really.

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 04:39 AM
shell, i actually do like league play, sometimes it is not as competitive as i would like, but then i just compete with myself and tell myself 'i am NOT going to miss a return of serve', or 'i'm going to work on my down the line shots'...i just give myself a goal.

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 04:50 AM
and raiden, i am competitive as hell!! that's what i love about tennis!

i do need an outlet for my competitive side, and am again feeling the wandering, trying to find an acceptable outlet for this energy...

singles....

better MY game....

i am getting it! thanks!!:)

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 05:02 AM
can you say 'hell' here??

raiden031
05-02-2009, 05:13 AM
can you say 'hell' here??

You said it didn't you? If you weren't, then it would be replaced by ****

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 05:22 AM
are 'they' ever-vigilant! up this early??

ttbrowne
05-02-2009, 07:49 AM
Yes, you can!
USTA is nothing but being on a team trying to beat another team. Sometimes you don't even know your own team members! I've played 7 doubles matches so far and never played with the same guy twice!!!!
There's nothing special about USTA. Never wil be IMO.

OrangePower
05-02-2009, 10:04 AM
Yes, you can!
USTA is nothing but being on a team trying to beat another team. Sometimes you don't even know your own team members! I've played 7 doubles matches so far and never played with the same guy twice!!!!
There's nothing special about USTA. Never wil be IMO.

Sorry that this has been your experience. Again, I think this is a case of just being on a sucky team.

My USTA league experience has been great, for pretty much the same reasons as Raiden listed in an earlier post. I enjoy the camaraderie and socializing (read: beer drinking) after matches almost as much as I enjoy the actual playing.

So it all depends on the team you're a part of. If your experience is not satisfactory, then you need to find a team that suits you better.

TennisDawg
05-02-2009, 10:11 AM
Sounds to me like you should bag the league tennis thing. I have played USTA leagues a few years back. It has advantages in that you show up at the same time every week and know you will play that day, so that eliminates pre-arranging matches. A big negative for me was playing doubles in the league and getting matched with a partner that I wasn't compatibile with or had a weak game. Since, I was not a close friend of the captain, I was usually out lobbied by someone else to play singles which I would rather have preferred. A little politics for sure. I have played in 4.5 to 5.9 leagues way way back and doubles was more enjoyable for me as most of the players on that team had solid games. The 4.0 league can be frustrating for me, especially if I'm trying to compensate for a weak partner, meanwhile your opponents are playing everyball at your partner, that's not for me!!
I did play a 4.0 city league a few years back and told the captain, I would only play singles and that was fine with him, it was much more enjoyable and better for my game. I won most of my matches and really got a great workout.

This is my tennis routine in the summer. I try to play one tournament a month. I hangout at a public park that has a backboard and find pick-up tennis matches. Sometimes I luckout and get a good match and even meet new partners. I have a few reliable partners that I can call, that will play. I do an early morning doubles session with about 6 players. Between the tournaments, backboard, ball hopper and meeting other players, that's my tennis. USTA league tennis is not what it's cracked up to be IMO.

stoble
05-02-2009, 04:00 PM
Yes, you can!
USTA is nothing but being on a team trying to beat another team. Sometimes you don't even know your own team members! I've played 7 doubles matches so far and never played with the same guy twice!!!!
There's nothing special about USTA. Never wil be IMO.

This has also been my experience. I am giving up on the USTA leagues once this season is over. Complete waste.

Cindysphinx
05-02-2009, 04:05 PM
Let me just whisper one sweet nothing in your ear:

All of these problems melt away when you captain your own team. You get your choice of matches, opponents and partners. You decide how much or how little you play. If someone is a problem, you can simply not invite them back. You never have to put up with any sort of unfortunate behavior for more than 12 weeks.

If you do the thing properly, you can have your team pretty much running itself after a few seasons.

My ladies may not be perfect, but they are sane, fun, interesting, cooperative, reasonable, normal, sportsmanlike, fair-minded and appreciative. You can't ask for more than that!

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 04:35 PM
y'no, you touch the stove, you get burned, you touch it again...you get burned...do YOU touch it a third time?? (unfortunately, i tend to touch it again, i can't BELIEVE it would burn me!!)

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 04:38 PM
My ladies may not be perfect, but they are sane, fun, interesting, cooperative, reasonable, normal, sportsmanlike, fair-minded and appreciative. You can't ask for more than that!


...great words to describe them...

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 04:39 PM
maybe i am just so deep in the forest i don't know that there aren't trees everywhere...

Cindysphinx
05-02-2009, 04:58 PM
Yuck. Squeegeeing the courts? Scheduling rain make-ups? Dang.

No, we play indoors. I do show up early because I am compulsive and anal and would slit my wrists if I were late and caused us to default all five courts. Other than that, captain duties are to exchange line-ups, hand out the balls, know the rules and record the scores. Not hard, really.

I sent out the e-mail asking the 16 ladies to mail me a check. It has been five days. I would say I have 10 checks already. One more e-mail reminder and I will be done collecting.

I guess I compare it to my pre-mom job. Now *that* was stressful. My clients were sometimes demanding and not nice. My bosses were frequently demanding and not nice. My subordinates were demanding and could even be incompetent, lazy, whiny or diabolical little backstabbers. The work itself could be mind-numbing. In comparison, running an itty bitty tennis team for fun is a walk on the beach. I wish I could figure a way to make money at it . . . .

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 06:56 PM
usta, indoors? really? where are you?
maybe i am too focused on winning. it sure could be me, as the problem.

i dunno, i need a breather.

sounds like you have a nice situation there.

how many years have you been doing the team thing, maybe mine has just run it's course.

kinda sad, but ya can't make it what it isn't, and lately it has been a real let down. think i'll stick to leagues and select groups, and bettering my game, and lay out of this other for awhile...could stand to improve/(begin) my golf game as well...

thanks for y'alls input!! :-?

lovin'it
05-02-2009, 06:59 PM
cindy, but i find it tough to believe that women, anywhere, don't squibble about partners, lines, game counts (how many they get), all that stuff....REALLY!!!??? (like the SNL skit....REALLY????)