View Full Version : USTA Leagues 101
05-29-2009, 12:10 PM
Can anyone give me some basic info about USTA leagues? I recently emailed the person I found on the USTA website for my area but haven't received a response yet. I have only ever played in city recreation leagues, but I am getting pretty tired of that. People aren't showing up, and they don't even know the rules when they do show. And it's not like this is a beginner level, either, so it's pretty frustrating. So I thought it might be time to try something else. So what is there to know about USTA leagues? I have been reading here about teams and captains and such, but the leagues I play don't have anything like that. What is that all about? And if I am entering the USTA for the first time, what is the best way to go about rating myself? What's the deal with getting disqualified for winning too much? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
05-29-2009, 01:01 PM
I hear you, for someone new trying to join a league the whole system is a confusing blob.
I think its a cliqueish thing, in other words, you have to know someone to get on a team from my perspective.
Oh and the flex league thing, I signed up and never heard a word back.
05-29-2009, 02:34 PM
Can anyone give me some basic info about USTA leagues?
You generally sign up on a team although the USTA now has Flex Leagues for singles only players. Team leagues are far and away the most common and popular. Play levels range from 2.5 to Open. There isn't just one description you can give about USTA teams. Depending on the facility and the people they can be open and friendly or they can be closed and cliqueish.
Some teams are put together to try and win it all which means the captain will play who he/she perceives to be the best players in every match. This can mean some players may not get to play one or two matches and in some cases not at all. If you are on one of these teams and you play you are expected to win. Lose and you will be riding the pine for the rest of the season.
Some teams know they are not going to win their local league and so everyone gets to play and depending on how gung ho you are to play you can play a lot of matches.
You need to find out what the team philosophy is before you sign up on a team to avoid disappointment. The facility you are playing out of can also influence how USTA teams operate. Some clubs have rules that everyone that signs up on a team has to play a certain minimum number of matches.
The bottom line is take the plunge and join a team that wants you to join. One plus to USTA league tennis is you get to meet a lot of tennis players and have the opportunity to play more social tennis.
And if I am entering the USTA for the first time, what is the best way to go about rating myself? What's the deal with getting disqualified for winning too much? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!
First time USTA'ers get to self rate based on their past experience and their current skill level. To get an idea of your rating play a few people that have USTA ratings. This will give you an idea of where you should be.
You can get disqualified by what the USTA calls the "three strikes rule". If you start playing USTA matches with a self rating and win you first match 0 and 0 against someone with a computer rating at the same level the USTA will probably give you a strike, although you won't know it. If you keep winning matches by what the USTA considers to be uncompetitive scores you will get strikes against you. Even though you won't be officially told you can probably figure it out if you are easily winning matches. Your team captain should be able to tell if you can't. If you don't figure it out and you get the three strikes the USTA will move your rating up and any matches you won for your team will become losses. You can keep playing but you will need to find a team at your new rating level. It may vary from section to section but in my section you don't get strikes from playing in mixed, combo, or flex leagues. Players often under rate themselves because they are advised to do so by a team captain. More often new USTA players left to their own self-evaluation tend to overrate their abilities.
06-01-2009, 12:31 PM
Thanks for the information guys. I still haven't heard back from the person I emailed. It sounds like the flex league would be closest to what I do now. Maybe I'll look into that.
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