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View Full Version : STACKING: Legal, Illegal, or Just Frowned Upon


innoVAShaun
06-02-2009, 09:53 AM
My friend's USTA Team lost their match 2-3 the other day. We all suspected that the other team stacked against them because they obviously threw both their #1 singles and #1 doubles courts.

For those of us familiar with stacking, typically #1 courts are supposed to be the strongest of the lineup and so forth.

Lets just say my team is Team A and the opponents were Team B. Here were the scores...

#1 Singles: A def. B, 6-1, 6-2
#2 Singles: B def. B, 6-4, 6-0
#1 Doubles: A def. B, 6-0, 6-0
#2 Doubles: B def. A, 6-2, 6-3
#3 Doubles: B def. A, 6-1, 6-0

Would you agree that Team B stacked? Is there any USTA documentation stating that stacking is legal or illegal? What are your thoughts.

Jim A
06-02-2009, 10:02 AM
I think what you would need to do is look in the tennislink and match results to see if some of the people at #2 singles and #2/3 doubles normally play higher. I don't know if it is illegal though. Most of our doubles players move throughout the spots each week.

Sometimes a team will just put a weaker player at a line it expects to lose. Our opponent did that last week to us, we had a good match up @ 1 singles (although we lost) and my opponent was playing his first singles match ever, to give them a better match up @ #2

we won 3-2 but in the end unless you see a team fielding the same lines week after week, there is always a little manipulation going on prior to the start of play

kylebarendrick
06-02-2009, 10:04 AM
USTA regulations make it clear that teams need not field their line in order of strength. Therefore:

Legal?: Yes
Frowned Upon?: Depends on your region

In Norcal men's leagues it is pretty much expected. Women tend to play more straight up.

goober
06-02-2009, 10:15 AM
USTA regulations make it clear that teams need not field their line in order of strength. Therefore:

Legal?: Yes
Frowned Upon?: Depends on your region

In Norcal men's leagues it is pretty much expected. Women tend to play more straight up.

yup totally legal. There is no such thing as stacking according to the USTA since lines have nothing to do with strength of players. It makes you wonder though, why don't the name lines something else like colors instead of #1, 2 and 3 if they felt this way? Best way to deal with this is just play random order every match so you don't have to worry about if the team is stacking or whether or not you should stack to counter their stack :)

innoVAShaun
06-02-2009, 10:24 AM
More details:

Team B's #2 Singles guy is currently 6-0 (only giving up 13 games with all matches having at least a Bagels and/or Hot Dog) and has played #1 singles twice and #2 singles four times.

Team B's #3 Doubles is 3-2 as a tandrum and has played court #1 twice, #2 twice and #3 once.
Player 1 only plays with player 2.
Player 2 has a 2-0 singles record playing #1 once and #2 once.

Kostas
06-02-2009, 10:25 AM
It's just strategy. Most captains that have more than 1 season under their belt are aware of this and how it works.

You have to expect stacking alot and you can counter it by stacking yourself our reverse stacking. Some people just prefer to play straight up because trying to guess what the opposing captain will do and what you can do to counter it will drive you crazy.

OrangePower
06-02-2009, 10:28 AM
What Kyle and Goober said.

I'm experimenting this season with a new strategy:

For all our matches so far, I have ordered my lineup as consistently as possible. So I'm hoping that opposing teams are taking note and start making assumptions. Then, towards the end of the season when things come down to the wire and we have a must-win match... BAM - that's when we will switch it up and hopefully end up with favorable matchups when we need it most.

All part of the strategy of team tennis.

innoVAShaun
06-02-2009, 10:28 AM
Chess Match it is!!!

Jim A
06-02-2009, 10:49 AM
of course the best way to counter this is with depth

we change weekly and only have to worry about 1-2 players on the roster, doesn't mean we'll always win, but allows us some flexibility to create a roster each week.

I've made it a point not to worry where I'm playing, I show up am told what court to play on and if I'm playing singles/doubles

Cindysphinx
06-02-2009, 11:28 AM
yup totally legal. There is no such thing as stacking according to the USTA since lines have nothing to do with strength of players. It makes you wonder though, why don't the name lines something else like colors instead of #1, 2 and 3 if they felt this way? Best way to deal with this is just play random order every match so you don't have to worry about if the team is stacking or whether or not you should stack to counter their stack :)

USTA *says* there's no such thing as stacking, blah blah blah. But their own rules betray them.

The rule says you have to default the lowest court. If court number has nothing to do with strength, then why not let captains default whatever court they want?

No good reason.

If they are going to do away with the custom that stronger players are on higher courts, then they should do away with it *completely.* As it stands, the vestiges of the old customs make my life as captain difficult, as players still believe that being on Court Three means I think they are weak, and being on Court One means I think they are strong.

innoVAShaun
06-02-2009, 11:50 AM
^^^^^Good Point! I like that.

I've always considered myself, "A Strong Court #3." Guess it doesn't matter.

raiden031
06-02-2009, 11:50 AM
There is no objective way for a captain to determine the strength of their players because the USTA refuses to tell them their players' dynamic ratings. So really it can't be on the captains to line up their players by strength.

But I think it is better when captains use their best judgement to order their lineups by strength because it yields more competitive matches. That is the goal of NTRP league play, right?

When I was playing 3.0 I got put at #2 singles and #3 doubles alot which was annoying. Now at 4.0 I am put at #1 singles. Go figure.

robby c
06-02-2009, 12:43 PM
I'd like to see the stats on the number of players getting dropped a level. With the free-for-all that happens now no one gets bumped down.
It used to be a strong 3.5 didn't have to drill some poor bumped up 3.0, his team's #3 Dbls players took care of the light work. I'm sick of drubbing players that can't keep the ball in play.
In the strength sheet days if you won 75% of your matches at #1 you moved up. If you lost 75% at #3 you went down.
It made more sense.
Robby C

LuckyR
06-02-2009, 12:59 PM
yup totally legal. There is no such thing as stacking according to the USTA since lines have nothing to do with strength of players. It makes you wonder though, why don't the name lines something else like colors instead of #1, 2 and 3 if they felt this way? Best way to deal with this is just play random order every match so you don't have to worry about if the team is stacking or whether or not you should stack to counter their stack :)

The color idea and the random playing ideas are OK. But the solution to the issue is to have a round robin style of play.

JavierLW
06-02-2009, 01:12 PM
My friend's USTA Team lost their match 2-3 the other day. We all suspected that the other team stacked against them because they obviously threw both their #1 singles and #1 doubles courts.

For those of us familiar with stacking, typically #1 courts are supposed to be the strongest of the lineup and so forth.

Lets just say my team is Team A and the opponents were Team B. Here were the scores...

#1 Singles: A def. B, 6-1, 6-2
#2 Singles: B def. B, 6-4, 6-0
#1 Doubles: A def. B, 6-0, 6-0
#2 Doubles: B def. A, 6-2, 6-3
#3 Doubles: B def. A, 6-1, 6-0

Would you agree that Team B stacked? Is there any USTA documentation stating that stacking is legal or illegal? What are your thoughts.

There is no order of strength in those numbers.

A) Captains are not always right about who they perceive as the best even if they think they are stacking anyway

B) We're all supposed to be at about the same level. So whining because one team happens to have a great record and is not at #1 is pointless.

I stack a lot in doubles when I notice that a team that Im playing is pretty consistant about fielding the same doubles team at #1, and they seem to be unbeatable. (usually because they have the experience and the skill for it and whoever I have available may not matchup well)

Just because I know I have a doubles team that is our team's best doesnt mean that they match up with another team's "best" so that's where the stacking comes in for me. (I might as well give them a fair shot at winning)

Id never do it though against a evenly matched team or against a weaker team, in our area every court matters and we want a shot at winning every court. In fact one of the excuses for doing it our way (where every court counts as a point) is that it lessoned the need for stacking.

goober
06-02-2009, 01:42 PM
The color idea and the random playing ideas are OK. But the solution to the issue is to have a round robin style of play.

Round robin play for leagues? I am not sure how that can be accomplished in a 2 hour time slot unless you are going to rotate every set.

LuckyR
06-02-2009, 01:46 PM
Round robin play for leagues? I am not sure how that can be accomplished in a 2 hour time slot unless you are going to rotate every set.

You'd have to get creative, say the doubles players play 6 games then rotate. Then add up the games. The singles players could play a whole set then rotate. There would have to be a point system, but it could be worked out.

ChipNCharge
06-02-2009, 02:33 PM
Stacking sucks. Last Saturday my partner and I played line 1 doubles in our men's 4.0 USTA match. The other team obviously put their worst two possible players -- a couple of weak 3.5s -- at line 1. They put their best team at line 2, and their next best team at line 3.

My partner and I had a quick win. It was ugly. It wasn't fun for any of the four players on the court. And yes, our team won the overall match 4-1.

cak
06-02-2009, 02:45 PM
USTA *says* there's no such thing as stacking, blah blah blah. But their own rules betray them.

The rule says you have to default the lowest court. If court number has nothing to do with strength, then why not let captains default whatever court they want?


I'm pretty sure that would be a free for all, with one captain wanting to default their 1st doubles, and the other wanting to default their third doubles.

I haven't seen a match where a line is defaulted and they aren't allowed to move their players. Recently we had to default a singles line, and the other team just switched their singles players because one had a time limit to make a kid's concert. You tend to announce the default before exchanging lines. But in general, we tend to put the people that are happy to go home at third doubles in case of defaults.

OrangePower
06-02-2009, 02:58 PM
The color idea and the random playing ideas are OK. But the solution to the issue is to have a round robin style of play.

Round robin play for leagues? I am not sure how that can be accomplished in a 2 hour time slot unless you are going to rotate every set.

You'd have to get creative, say the doubles players play 6 games then rotate. Then add up the games. The singles players could play a whole set then rotate. There would have to be a point system, but it could be worked out.

I've played in a league that has a round robin format... rather than hijack this thread, I've started a new thread to describe it. Comments are welcome...

Cindysphinx
06-02-2009, 04:21 PM
I'm pretty sure that would be a free for all, with one captain wanting to default their 1st doubles, and the other wanting to default their third doubles.

I haven't seen a match where a line is defaulted and they aren't allowed to move their players. Recently we had to default a singles line, and the other team just switched their singles players because one had a time limit to make a kid's concert. You tend to announce the default before exchanging lines. But in general, we tend to put the people that are happy to go home at third doubles in case of defaults.

That would be OK.

First, if the captains inform each other of the defaults before exchanging, they could just agree to default No. 3.

Even if the two captains defaulted different courts, you'd still have a team match for best 2 of 3. The other players who received a default could play for fun.

As it stands, it is insane to put your strongest team in Doubles Three because you risk they'll receive a default. Which only encourages captains to play according to strength.

I've always thought the real answer was simply to make some courts more valuable than others. You make No. 1 worth more than No. 3 and you'll end stacking overnight, and everyone would get more competitive matches.

Heh, heh. I remember my No. 1 6.5 doubles team wiped out their opponents -0 and -1. Imagine their dismay when they found they had whipped two 2.5 players.

kylebarendrick
06-02-2009, 05:45 PM
I play strong teams on line 3 - it makes it harder for opponents to predict my line-up. Worst case, if they win by default they still get a win, which is why I played them there in the first place.

Ronaldo
06-02-2009, 05:49 PM
Just win, baby by any means necessary.

Fedace
06-02-2009, 05:53 PM
USTA regulations make it clear that teams need not field their line in order of strength. Therefore:

Legal?: Yes
Frowned Upon?: Depends on your region

In Norcal men's leagues it is pretty much expected. Women tend to play more straight up.

LOL... It is Illegal to stack the lineup in USTA. If you get too many complaints, the team can be penalized.

goober
06-02-2009, 06:22 PM
LOL... It is Illegal to stack the lineup in USTA. If you get too many complaints, the team can be penalized.

LOL- you have no idea of what you are talking about.

nihil novi sub sole

beernutz
06-02-2009, 08:09 PM
Its already been said but bears repeating that stacking is neither legal or illegal. It isn't either of those things because it doesn't even exist.

Stacking can't exist because the singles and doubles lines on a lineup do NOT equate to player strength. They just don't, so there is no reason to get worked up over something that doesn't exist unless you like to get upset over the boogie man or the Easter bunny.

CrocodileRock
06-02-2009, 08:11 PM
LOL... It is Illegal to stack the lineup in USTA. If you get too many complaints, the team can be penalized.

I don't know where you got your information fed, but check out this link to the USTA website:

http://www.usta.com/USTA/Global/Active/Custom%20Pages/Leagues/~/media/USTA/Document%20Assets/Leagues_and_Tournaments/Leagues/2009%20Q%20A%20%20%20Interpretations%20Final%20as% 20of%2011%203%2008.ashx

Check out page 12 of 16:
Q: Can a section or district require play in order of strength?
A: No. A local rule requiring play in order of strength is in violation of the national regulations. Any rule dealing with this issue needs to be removed from your section, area, or local rules.

beernutz
06-02-2009, 08:12 PM
LOL... It is Illegal to stack the lineup in USTA. If you get too many complaints, the team can be penalized.

I didn't think there was any way for my opinion of the quality of your posts to get any lower and yet here we are.

don_nguyen11490
06-02-2009, 08:52 PM
Nobody ever gets mad if an NBA or football team throws in all their very best players in the last quarter.

Ronaldo
06-03-2009, 03:03 AM
Over 20 yrs ago, our district had the stacking rule, line-up according to strength. USTA overruled that.

Fedace
06-03-2009, 03:23 AM
Over 20 yrs ago, our district had the stacking rule, line-up according to strength. USTA overruled that.

What was the reasoning for this??

amarone
06-03-2009, 03:24 AM
I'm pretty sure that would be a free for all, with one captain wanting to default their 1st doubles, and the other wanting to default their third doubles. I agree - specifying an order ensures that defaults stack up against each other.

I haven't seen a match where a line is defaulted and they aren't allowed to move their players. This is fine if you haven't exchanged lineups, but once you have, you cannot move players around.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 03:29 AM
I've always thought the real answer was simply to make some courts more valuable than others. You make No. 1 worth more than No. 3 and you'll end stacking overnight, and everyone would get more competitive matches.


This is an interesting idea, but I don't think it would be that good. So if winning court #1 had more weight than winning court #3, then teams with a couple of very strong players would have an advantage over teams with good depth. I think the teams with depth should have a fair shot by going for the 3-2 win, and I think it would be unfair if they won 3-2, yet still lost the match because they lost the top 2 courts.

Ronaldo
06-03-2009, 03:36 AM
What was the reasoning for this??

Not sure, enforcing it? We had teams file a grievance on that rule. Funny, we had a league match last nite, aligned to strength by both teams.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 04:23 AM
Not sure, enforcing it? We had teams file a grievance on that rule. Funny, we had a league match last nite, aligned to strength by both teams.

How could that stacking rule possibly be enforced? How can they prove that one player/pair is better than another?

Cindysphinx
06-03-2009, 04:41 AM
This is an interesting idea, but I don't think it would be that good. So if winning court #1 had more weight than winning court #3, then teams with a couple of very strong players would have an advantage over teams with good depth. I think the teams with depth should have a fair shot by going for the 3-2 win, and I think it would be unfair if they won 3-2, yet still lost the match because they lost the top 2 courts.

It depends on what your priorities are.

If your priorities are to ensure that the team with the most "depth" wins the team match, then you are correct.

If your priorities are to increase the chances that everyone will have the most competitive match possible, then you would endorse such a proposal.

Frankly, I think the tail is starting to wag the dog in USTA. USTA should be about ensuring that tens of thousands of tennis players get competitive matches. Everything should revolve around that desired outcome. Post-season play and Nationals involve a tiny percentage of USTA participants, so structuring local league play with an eye toward what will happen at Nationals is kind of silly, IMHO.

So in Adult Spring play with five courts, maybe the courts would be valued thusly:

Singles 1: 3 points
Singles 2: 2 points

Doubles 1: 3 points
Doubles 2: 2 points
Doubles 3: 1 point

No chance of a tie because 11 points are at stake.

The funny thing is that a team could win the team match by fielding just three players and winning both No. 1 positions!

Cindysphinx
06-03-2009, 04:44 AM
How could that stacking rule possibly be enforced? How can they prove that one player/pair is better than another?

The only kind of enforceable anti-stacking rule that you could have would be that lower-rated players have to be on lower courts.

So if you are playing 7.5 combo, you couldn't put a 7.5 pair on Court Two and a 7.0 pair on Court One.

I would support such a rule.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 04:47 AM
It depends on what your priorities are.

If your priorities are to ensure that the team with the most "depth" wins the team match, then you are correct.

If your priorities are to increase the chances that everyone will have the most competitive match possible, then you would endorse such a proposal.

Frankly, I think the tail is starting to wag the dog in USTA. USTA should be about ensuring that tens of thousands of tennis players get competitive matches. Everything should revolve around that desired outcome. Post-season play and Nationals involve a tiny percentage of USTA participants, so structuring local league play with an eye toward what will happen at Nationals is kind of silly, IMHO.

So in Adult Spring play with five courts, maybe the courts would be valued thusly:

Singles 1: 3 points
Singles 2: 2 points

Doubles 1: 3 points
Doubles 2: 2 points
Doubles 3: 1 point

No chance of a tie because 11 points are at stake.

The funny thing is that a team could win the team match by fielding just three players and winning both No. 1 positions!

I just think its so wrong that you can go 3-2 and still lose the match. The only use for this kind of point system should be for determining team ranking when it comes to which team wins the league/advances to playoffs or advances from a round robin (in the event of a tie), but not to affect the overall win/loss of a match.

That way there is incentive to stack lineups appropriately in that it will pay off if you are tied with another team in overall wins.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 04:49 AM
The only kind of enforceable anti-stacking rule that you could have would be that lower-rated players have to be on lower courts.

So if you are playing 7.5 combo, you couldn't put a 7.5 pair on Court Two and a 7.0 pair on Court One.

I would support such a rule.

I would agree with that rule as well. But since the majority of players are still at level, it wouldn't have all that much impact on the competitive of matches throughout the league.

Cindysphinx
06-03-2009, 04:55 AM
I just think its so wrong that you can go 3-2 and still lose the match. The only use for this kind of point system should be for determining team ranking when it comes to which team wins the league/advances to playoffs or advances from a round robin (in the event of a tie), but not to affect the overall win/loss of a match.

That way there is incentive to stack lineups appropriately in that it will pay off if you are tied with another team in overall wins.

If there are 10 teams in a flight and only the top two advance, then at least half the teams know going in they have no chance of advancing. Those teams would not be at all interested in accumulating points for playoff rankings and suchlike.

Perhaps it is counterintuitive that winning 2 courts could be enough to win the team match.

But it is not crazy. It's just different from what you are used to. I think that if you had no knowledge of USTA and were joining tomorrow and I told you about this point system, you would nod and not think anything of it.

Think how cool it would be to know that if you step out onto the court ot play No. 1 Singles, you are going to get a seriously tough match instead of some wide-eyed player who is being sacrificed.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 05:04 AM
Think how cool it would be to know that if you step out onto the court ot play No. 1 Singles, you are going to get a seriously tough match instead of some wide-eyed player who is being sacrificed.

I could live with this, because I'm annoyed at the frequent mismatches all because of captains fiddling with lineups, but I'm thinking about all the captains out there. I can imagine the resistance over this type of system for determining team wins. Captains would go crazy.

Ronaldo
06-03-2009, 05:12 AM
The only kind of enforceable anti-stacking rule that you could have would be that lower-rated players have to be on lower courts.

So if you are playing 7.5 combo, you couldn't put a 7.5 pair on Court Two and a 7.0 pair on Court One.

I would support such a rule.

How about using your record from both this and last yr to determine your team rating. We were always aware of this rule and moved teams around and played with several partners.

Cindysphinx
06-03-2009, 05:30 AM
How about using your record from both this and last yr to determine your team rating. We were always aware of this rule and moved teams around and played with several partners.

I'm not following you. Do you mean doubles pairs, or how the team as a whole did?

Ronaldo
06-03-2009, 05:33 AM
I'm not following you. Do you mean doubles pairs, or how the team as a whole did?

Doubles pairs

Fedace
06-03-2009, 05:39 AM
I have a Really important question. So Stacking is not illegal. This means ONE thing. This means that Burden of matching up guys in doubles against other team falls on the Captains.
A Good Captain then Would have to ADJUST and MATCH the stacking tactics Done by the other team.

STACKING = CHEATING THAT IS NOT ENFORCED.

But then Captains Can't change the Lineups after the Lineup is written down. So does this mean Captain should always wait for the other Captain so he can see what is going on and STUDY the other team so he knows who is stronger and Who isn't ????????????

And does this mean we should Just assume the other team is Stacking and JUST STACK OUR LINEUP ALL THE TIME ???
See these are the Stupid Arguments and problem that we run into with teams that Stack.........

cak
06-03-2009, 06:28 AM
Once upon a time USTA decided to come up with a system that would provide competitive matches for people playing tennis at all levels. They decided to implement NTRP, which would rate people according to their tennis abilities. Then they set up tournaments and leagues to allow friendly competition between folks at the same ratings, with the plan that by definition those with the same ratings would provide good, competitive matches.

Now the complaint is within these bands of ratings people still aren't getting competitive matches. I'm guessing the powers that be are spending any effort to fix that on tweaking the ratings system, rather than setting another system on top of the ratings system.

CrocodileRock
06-03-2009, 06:31 AM
So in Adult Spring play with five courts, maybe the courts would be valued thusly:

Singles 1: 3 points
Singles 2: 2 points

Doubles 1: 3 points
Doubles 2: 2 points
Doubles 3: 1 point

No chance of a tie because 11 points are at stake.

The funny thing is that a team could win the team match by fielding just three players and winning both No. 1 positions!

That isn't funny Cindy; it's insane. And even if both teams play order of strength in all five lines, there's no guarantee that any of the matches will be competitive.

BiGGieStuFF
06-03-2009, 06:37 AM
People complaining about stacking have no sense of strategy. I think the USTA welcomes it. otherwise why wouldn't they allow changes in the line-up after it's been handed in?

It'd be silly not to stack every now and then especially if you know your competition. NOt stacking from time to time is the equivalent of letting kobe bryant guard shaq 1 on 1 and never making an adjustment.

Scout your competition, learn their habits if you can. USTA league is as much stategy and tactics as it is skill and player personnel.

If you don't have the players to go head on with the best teams then you have to adjust to give your team a chance to win.

innoVAShaun
06-03-2009, 07:04 AM
Does anyone else remember the survey the USTA sent out about 2-3 years ago asking if lineups are being done according to strength. I left most of them "I don't know" answers. I wish I'd taken that back.

Back to playing more chess...

cghipp
06-03-2009, 07:18 AM
How would you ever prove another team had or had not stacked their lineup, if all ratings were the same? Another team might think Team Yellow if my strongest, but I might have information to the contrary. In one Interclub tennis we have to go by order of strength, but even then each captain sets the order of strength from the beginning - it's not set by NTRP rating. Even so, any player can play one line up or one line down.

Cindysphinx
06-03-2009, 07:39 AM
That isn't funny Cindy; it's insane. And even if both teams play order of strength in all five lines, there's no guarantee that any of the matches will be competitive.

Guarantee? You want a "guarantee" that matches will be competitive?

Sorry, all I can offer you is an *increased likelihood* that the strongest players on each team will face off against the strongest players on the other team. Take it or leave it! :)

Fedace
06-03-2009, 07:40 AM
How would you ever prove another team had or had not stacked their lineup, if all ratings were the same? Another team might think Team Yellow if my strongest, but I might have information to the contrary. In one Interclub tennis we have to go by order of strength, but even then each captain sets the order of strength from the beginning - it's not set by NTRP rating. Even so, any player can play one line up or one line down.

NTRP or USTA 4.5 level or even 4.0 level, most of the time, difference between #1 doubles and #3 doubles is fairly clear. Only exception is perhaps with teams that finish at the top of the division. Strongest teams tend to have more top level 4.5 guys or 4.0 guys so they will look more even from #1 to #3 spot.
For Example in our USTA 4.5 team, our #1 doubles guys can beat #3 doubles guys by score of 6-2 6-3, or something like that. In practice, we play 1 set and #3 guys lose routinely.

CrocodileRock
06-03-2009, 07:46 AM
How would you ever prove another team had or had not stacked their lineup, if all ratings were the same?

Exactly. The captains and players don't always know who is stronger, or who is stronger on any given day, and even if they did, it would be a nightmare to enforce with hundreds of thousands of league matches per year. That has to be one of the reasons against requiring order of strength lineups.

Just play the five lines any way you see fit, and whoever wins the majority of those wins the point.

royer
06-03-2009, 07:58 AM
Illegal? No! Frowned upon? No! At least not in my region (SW).

Strategy? Yes! Absolutely!

As others have stated, league play is pretty much a "team sport," and the strategy involved in adjusting line-ups for the best possible results is just part of the game.

It would definitely be unfair if only one of the two teams playing was allowed to "stack," but as each team may utlilize this strategy, it seems pretty fair to me.

ChipNCharge
06-03-2009, 07:58 AM
This is how my local fall doubles league is scored, which discourages stacking:

SCORING

1. Line One will receive ONE point for each set won, plus FOUR points to the team winning the line.
2. Line Two will receive ONE point for each set won, plus THREE points to the team winning the line.
3. Line Three will receive ONE point for each set won, plus TWO points to the team winning the line.
4. Line Four will receive ONE point for each set won, plus ONE point to the team winning the line.

A total of all points at the end of the regular season determines the order of finish in a division.

Fedace
06-03-2009, 08:08 AM
Exactly. The captains and players don't always know who is stronger, or who is stronger on any given day, and even if they did, it would be a nightmare to enforce with hundreds of thousands of league matches per year. That has to be one of the reasons against requiring order of strength lineups.

Just play the five lines any way you see fit, and whoever wins the majority of those wins the point.

It is EASY to know who is stronger and who isn't. Guys in USTA league know each other really well. and these guys have been playing each other for years. Only Unknown is few new teams. but even then there are guys that you know on those teams too.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 08:13 AM
It is EASY to know who is stronger and who isn't. Guys in USTA league know each other really well. and these guys have been playing each other for years. Only Unknown is few new teams. but even then there are guys that you know on those teams too.

No its all subjective. Because each player competes against a small number of players from a large pool of players, it is very difficult to tell who is truly better than who. That is why the NTRP algorithm is so complex, because it has to use a small amount of information to generate big decisions (ie. what level a player really belongs). No captains have enough information to enforce a league rule on who should be playing which line within a given match.

Ronaldo
06-03-2009, 08:35 AM
It is EASY to know who is stronger and who isn't. Guys in USTA league know each other really well. and these guys have been playing each other for years. Only Unknown is few new teams. but even then there are guys that you know on those teams too.

This really got out of hand when players play up a level. That's when the mis-matches start and bagels and breadsticks are the norm. Guess two guys with a pulse are better than defaulting. Tough when they cannot walk and chew gum.

royer
06-03-2009, 08:40 AM
This is how my local fall doubles league is scored, which discourages stacking:

SCORING

1. Line One will receive ONE point for each set won, plus FOUR points to the team winning the line.
2. Line Two will receive ONE point for each set won, plus THREE points to the team winning the line.
3. Line Three will receive ONE point for each set won, plus TWO points to the team winning the line.
4. Line Four will receive ONE point for each set won, plus ONE point to the team winning the line.

A total of all points at the end of the regular season determines the order of finish in a division.

Is this a USTA-sanctioned league? If so, it seems to be a blatant violation of established USTA "scoring" when it comes to determining team standings (i.e. Overall W/L record, individual matches W/L, and games lost).

In terms of the USTA's stance on "stacking," I really don't think it has one. Here's an example of what I mean:

Last year, during a Section Championship, I was slotted to play in the #2 Singles Position. Long story short? Our #1 Singles guy flaked and didn't show up (this was after line-ups had been turned-in. Yes! Team was highly perturbed with him).

Soooo, not only were we forced to default our #1 Singles line, USTA officials determined that I (#2) must face off against the opposing team's #1 guy. Almost like a double-penalty. In this case the USTA officials actually altered the lineup and (for lack of a better word) "stacked" the opposing team's line-up for them. Thus, it would appear to me that the USTA actually sanctioned "stacking" in that case.

Fortunately for our #1 guy, we won the match and all was well in the world, much to his relief I'm sure.

royer
06-03-2009, 08:44 AM
I ThInk we shud just dew away,whith spellin' and punktuashun on the bOARds froM now un. eye meen wee dunt eeven knead sentence struktur.

too ME/ it just gots 2 hrd too read sum Posters posts. Mabee i m beeeng two tuff.

LOL!

I'm an English teacher and perhaps a bit of a grammar/spelling/punctuation snob, but reading some people's posts is (for me) like chewing glass! Oh, not yours Joeyg ... you did just fine! :)

ChipNCharge
06-03-2009, 08:49 AM
Is this a USTA-sanctioned league?

No, it's not a USTA-sanctioned league. Just a local league.

royer
06-03-2009, 08:53 AM
No, it's not a USTA-sanctioned league. Just a local league.

Oh, okay; then I guess it's up to the local league coordinator. Nothing wrong with that though I still prefer going by staight head-to-head records. But the points system you cited does indeed level the playing field ... errr ... court I guess.

amarone
06-03-2009, 08:53 AM
Last year, during a Section Championship, I was slotted to play in the #2 Singles Position. Long story short? Our #1 Singles guy flaked and didn't show up (this was after line-ups had been turned-in. Yes! Team was highly perturbed with him).

Soooo, not only were we forced to default our #1 Singles line, USTA officials determined that I (#2) must face off against the opposing team's #1 guy. Almost like a double-penalty. In this case the USTA officials actually altered the lineup and (for lack of a better word) "stacked" the opposing team's line-up for them. Thus, it would appear to me that the USTA actually sanctioned "stacking" in that case. It sounds like they were just enforcing the fact that you must forfeit from the bottom, i.e. forfeit 2 singles before 1 singles.

OrangePower
06-03-2009, 08:58 AM
It is EASY to know who is stronger and who isn't. Guys in USTA league know each other really well. and these guys have been playing each other for years. Only Unknown is few new teams. but even then there are guys that you know on those teams too.

Not so, as others have pointed out.

In addition, a lot of times it's about head-to-head matchups and playing styles... for example, often you have a case where A can consistently beat B, B beats C, and C beats A - just because of how their styles contrast. So who is stronger?

Or to use an example from the ATP... Murray owns Fed in head-to-head these days, but if you had them on your team, who would you say is 'stronger' in terms of ordering them at #1 and #2?

royer
06-03-2009, 08:59 AM
It sounds like they were just enforcing the fact that you must forfeit from the bottom, i.e. forfeit 2 singles before 1 singles.

Yes indeed. You are correct sir. BUT, in doing so wasn't the USTA "stacking?" I know I'm splitting hairs here, but technically speaking ...

royer
06-03-2009, 09:04 AM
I was an English major in college. I have had many posts deleted that pointed out some of the "creative" ways the language was being used. One poster in particular, a Chicago native that will not be named, is a constant source of amusement. He has even claimed to have gone to and graduated from one of the most prestigious colleges in America. I would elaborate further, but I am sure this post would be deleted if I named names.

Yes! I've found that one of the most effective and efficient ways of getting someone to hate your guts at breakneck speed is to point out their spelling/grammar/punctuation errors.

I'll concede ... it is a bit snobbish. Just a real pet-peeve for me.

God forbid I make an error, huh? I'm a little paranoid about that. :oops: :)

JavierLW
06-03-2009, 09:32 AM
I have a Really important question. So Stacking is not illegal. This means ONE thing. This means that Burden of matching up guys in doubles against other team falls on the Captains.
A Good Captain then Would have to ADJUST and MATCH the stacking tactics Done by the other team.

STACKING = CHEATING THAT IS NOT ENFORCED.

But then Captains Can't change the Lineups after the Lineup is written down. So does this mean Captain should always wait for the other Captain so he can see what is going on and STUDY the other team so he knows who is stronger and Who isn't ????????????

And does this mean we should Just assume the other team is Stacking and JUST STACK OUR LINEUP ALL THE TIME ???
See these are the Stupid Arguments and problem that we run into with teams that Stack.........

It's not cheating to stack.

You're not supposed to rearrange your lineup once you've seen the other teams lineup, if you do, then THAT's the cheating part, not just because you didnt go with order of strength.

If you guessed how they were stacking the night before, and you happen to hit it dead on, how the heck is that cheating?

You're logic doesnt work here, sorry....

If someone stacks on you, apparently you feel bad about it, or you worry about it. Others dont, they just see it as a nice ploy by the other team. (and a perfectly legal one)

If you knew that they stacked all the time (which is the norm sometimes with certain teams) then you should of figured out to match up with them before you even got out there. (if you wanted to go straight up)

Whining about stacking is just a sophisticated way of whining about sandbagging because ultimately that's what you're complaining about. (that either one of your teams either lost easily or won too easily)

The trouble is at some levels you are right, the range of play is very wide. I have a lot of guys on my team that are legitmate 3.5 players and they may not have a shot against anyone who's going to go to the playoffs.

If those guys who are playoff bound cry because they have to play my "real" 3.5 players, then boo hoo, that's just too bad.... (if that was their chief concern maybe they shouldnt of signed up to play a whole season of 3.5 then....they could always just play 4.0 where usually they will do well)

And as far as defaulting the lowest court, that is actually a commonly used local rule, I think local leagues can choose to do otherwise though. (where order of strength is in the national league rules so it cant be changed)

Last year in our league they changed the rules where if someone came late or no showed, they allowed us to default #1 or #2 instead if that's where they were going to play.

It made it easier when your waiting for someone and turns out they dont arrive or they get lost, otherwise usually you cant even exchange lineups, this way everyone else can start playing.

This year we have a new regime and they changed it back.

innoVAShaun
06-03-2009, 10:07 AM
Actually, now that I think about it...

That reminds me of a Fall "Fun" League we have here locally that uses the same format as USTA Adult Mens and womens. Because the fact that it's a "Fun" league the highest level is 4.0 and there is a limit of playing up 2 levels, so hence 3.0's can play 4.0 if they like.

Well one year there was a 4.5 rated player that wanted to play. He's and older gentleman that played for Stanford in his day and he wanted to play in the league. With the highest level being 4.0, the local coordinator allowed him to play 4.0 as long as he played #1 singles in the lineup whenever he played.

I do recall that when we played that team, our lineup had 2 3.5 doubles players playing singles, had our top 2 singles players playing #1 doubles and so forth. Obviously, they took #1 singles, 6-0, 6-0, and barely took #2 singles, and we ended up winning all 3 doubles.

Fedace
06-03-2009, 10:16 AM
It's not cheating to stack.

You're not supposed to rearrange your lineup once you've seen the other teams lineup, if you do, then THAT's the cheating part, not just because you didnt go with order of strength.

If you guessed how they were stacking the night before, and you happen to hit it dead on, how the heck is that cheating?

You're logic doesnt work here, sorry....

If someone stacks on you, apparently you feel bad about it, or you worry about it. Others dont, they just see it as a nice ploy by the other team. (and a perfectly legal one)

If you knew that they stacked all the time (which is the norm sometimes with certain teams) then you should of figured out to match up with them before you even got out there. (if you wanted to go straight up)

Whining about stacking is just a sophisticated way of whining about sandbagging because ultimately that's what you're complaining about. (that either one of your teams either lost easily or won too easily)

The trouble is at some levels you are right, the range of play is very wide. I have a lot of guys on my team that are legitmate 3.5 players and they may not have a shot against anyone who's going to go to the playoffs.

If those guys who are playoff bound cry because they have to play my "real" 3.5 players, then boo hoo, that's just too bad.... (if that was their chief concern maybe they shouldnt of signed up to play a whole season of 3.5 then....they could always just play 4.0 where usually they will do well)

And as far as defaulting the lowest court, that is actually a commonly used local rule, I think local leagues can choose to do otherwise though. (where order of strength is in the national league rules so it cant be changed)

Last year in our league they changed the rules where if someone came late or no showed, they allowed us to default #1 or #2 instead if that's where they were going to play.

It made it easier when your waiting for someone and turns out they dont arrive or they get lost, otherwise usually you cant even exchange lineups, this way everyone else can start playing.

This year we have a new regime and they changed it back.

Captains that Stack the lineup does it assuming the other team will play it straight. so what happens is you have a blowout at #1 spot. and other team that played it straight gets a boring waste of time match at #1. So what this does is it makes the other captain stack the lineup too next time around. so you have all kinds of captains stacking the lineups and end up with many boring matches.

Jack the Hack
06-03-2009, 11:05 AM
Captains that Stack the lineup does it assuming the other team will play it straight. so what happens is you have a blowout at #1 spot. and other team that played it straight gets a boring waste of time match at #1. So what this does is it makes the other captain stack the lineup too next time around. so you have all kinds of captains stacking the lineups and end up with many boring matches.

I guess it depends on what the goals for your team are, but as a captain, my teams are always trying to win the team match... not avoid "boring matches" for specific individuals.

I've been on a couple teams that have gone to Sectionals, and we always stacked in order to get the best match-ups for the team win. In one of those seasons, our captain guessed perfectly which players the other teams would be playing at each line, stacked accordingly, and we won all three of our local playoff matches by 3-2 scores. Sometimes, it isn't even a matter of sacrificing weaker players against stronger ones. In one of the matches in that playoff run, the other team's best singles player had been preparing for a week to play our #1 guy, who was a serve and volleyer. However, we switched it up and put me at #1 instead. I'm a steady baseliner who had beaten that guy before, and when he got me instead of the serve and volleyer, he was totally flustered (and I won).

If you have enough depth on your team, you virtually never have to stack unless it's to get a certain player vs. player combination. However, if your team is a little weak at one spot, or the other team has a killer player/doubles team, stacking can make a huge difference in pulling out the win. Since there is no rule against it, and it's all a chess game anyway, it's perfectly fine to try.

x5150
06-03-2009, 11:08 AM
You can't just sub in a player in the middle of the match like WTT?

innoVAShaun
06-03-2009, 11:13 AM
Unfortunately there is no substitutions. WTT is pretty fun too.

goober
06-03-2009, 11:14 AM
ROFL,,,,,That guy Joeey or whoever he is actually has opinions.....:)This guy most likely was a REJECT at some public college like UCSF or something....and now coaches for some Community college. Nice Credentials......JOeee.:)

UCSF? Glad to see you know your Bay area schools as well as your alleged alma mater. UCSF is a school of health related sciences (pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, ect). People can't go there to become English majors. It's programs are primarily post bachelors and in each of it's disciplines it is tops across the board. Hilarious that you are putting down others credentials with the kind of posts you put up. So far your credentials are making a lot of claims without any proof.

Fedace
06-03-2009, 11:20 AM
I guess it depends on what the goals for your team are, but as a captain, my teams are always trying to win the team match... not avoid "boring matches" for specific individuals.

I've been on a couple teams that have gone to Sectionals, and we always stacked in order to get the best match-ups for the team win. In one of those seasons, our captain guessed perfectly which players the other teams would be playing at each line, stacked accordingly, and we won all three of our local playoff matches by 3-2 scores. Sometimes, it isn't even a matter of sacrificing weaker players against stronger ones. In one of the matches in that playoff run, the other team's best singles player had been preparing for a week to play our #1 guy, who was a serve and volleyer. However, we switched it up and put me at #1 instead. I'm a steady baseliner who had beaten that guy before, and when he got me instead of the serve and volleyer, he was totally flustered (and I won).

If you have enough depth on your team, you virtually never have to stack unless it's to get a certain player vs. player combination. However, if your team is a little weak at one spot, or the other team has a killer player/doubles team, stacking can make a huge difference in pulling out the win. Since there is no rule against it, and it's all a chess game anyway, it's perfectly fine to try.

I know what you mean by Captains knowing exactly how and when to stack the lineups. but only problem is Unsuspecting captains that gets caught in this kind of stacking and loses the team match and gets blamed for it. Team players will say,,,"Why didn't you know the other team was stacking ? You should have changed the lineup accordingly". See where this leads. Many guys out there just doesn't want to deal with this kind of non-sense.:-?

JavierLW
06-03-2009, 12:22 PM
Captains that Stack the lineup does it assuming the other team will play it straight. so what happens is you have a blowout at #1 spot. and other team that played it straight gets a boring waste of time match at #1. So what this does is it makes the other captain stack the lineup too next time around. so you have all kinds of captains stacking the lineups and end up with many boring matches.

If you are finding tons of boring matches (at any position) then you are in the wrong level. Sorry about that....

The reason why this is even an issue in the past is there are tons of players who are in the wrong level in the first place. Either they should be playing up but they've appealed in order to win a pen, or they are playing too far up for whatever reason.

Otherwise if you are a 4.5 and you're playing other 4.5 players, it's silly to complain about how it's a "boring" match. Sure one team may be more successful and they may win more (usually in doubles it's because they are playing good doubles strategy and they make a good team), but if it's to the extent that it's not even a match, then you're at the wrong level.

Otherwise anyone who plays well should be able to win any position, and anyone who plays poorly enough could lose to anyone at the same level. In my experience you are right that there are clear differences between teams that win and teams that dont, but usually it has more to do with attitude then anything. (when you win all the time, it becomes easy after awhile.....)

And it doesnt necessarily make the other captain stack. It depends on what their motivation is. You assume that everyone is just a bunch of monkeys and they just follow along with whatever other people do. Some people actually do put some thought into it.

(but more or less from what I see people are more likely to be sheep, they either "dont stack" because "it's frowned upon", or they mindless do it "just because" or to be "random")

If you wanted to decrease it, you have to count every court for something. We do that, each court is worth a point. So it's stupid to stack in most cases because you need as many points as possible, but I'll still do it if Im outmatched.

It's not to the insane level Cindy is proposing though, but it's good enough because it's not really then end of the world if someone stacks.

Im just like you, I know who the other teams are and who their players are except if I see someone who's 20-3 over the past three years (and probably undefeated in local league play) Im not going to cry over the fact that Im going to make sure they dont clobber my best players. If they wanted a good match, they should be playing up otherwise they have nobody to blame but themselves.

And if you're the one getting clobbered at #2 or #3, then too bad for you as well. Take some lessons, improve your fitness, work on your game. Nobody is going to just hand you a easy match. Stop being a whiner about it and just play tennis.

Also a lot of other times you would be hard pressed to figure out if someone is stacking or not. Except for the top teams captains rarely even rate their own players or doubles teams correctly so it would be impossible for the USTA to police that.

You'd just have the typical bunch of whiners who lose looking for more excuses to blame it on something that was outside of their control and nobody wants to hear that.

amarone
06-03-2009, 02:52 PM
Yes indeed. You are correct sir. BUT, in doing so wasn't the USTA "stacking?" There is merit in that argument, which I can see despite the horrible, illogical American usage of quotation marks - coming at the end of the sentence no matter how little sense it makes :-)

P.S. check out your quotation marks in post 40. I think you are missing one.

amarone
06-03-2009, 02:56 PM
And as far as defaulting the lowest court, that is actually a commonly used local rule, I think local leagues can choose to do otherwise though. It's a national regulation to default from the bottom. Sections are allowed to modify the national default rules, though.

royer
06-03-2009, 03:34 PM
There is merit in that argument, which I can see despite the horrible, illogical American usage of quotation marks - coming at the end of the sentence no matter how little sense it makes :-)

P.S. check out your quotation marks in post 40. I think you are missing one.

I can see where you're coming from with the quotation marks thing; it is awkward albeit grammatically correct.

Post #40 is not mine. You had me worried! :oops:

Fedace
06-03-2009, 03:40 PM
JavierLW, i get your point. but in Reality, there is fairly big difference between our #1 and #3 doubles guys. That is why it isn't fair for our #3 guys to get stuck with good team's #1 boys. That gives them very little chance to win against #1 guys.
And i heard someone say purpose of USTA team is to WIN ??? Well, Not entirely. Winning is not the only thing in USTA tennis. This is not pro tennis. USTA leagues were created in hopes of creating good fun tennis competition among the amateurs players.

I think VIC BRADEN once said, in amateur tennis "If you have fun out there, you are a Winner. If you have fun and win, then you have won twice that day. but if you win but didn't have any fun, then you have lost the day" This is the SPIRIT that USTA amateur tennis league was founded on .................

amarone
06-03-2009, 03:55 PM
I can see where you're coming from with the quotation marks thing; it is awkward albeit gramatically correct. Not in England it ain't. Or even grammatically correct :-)

Post #40 is not mine. You had me worried! :oops:My mistake - post #60.

royer
06-03-2009, 04:11 PM
Not in England it ain't. Or even grammatically correct :-)

My mistake - post #60.

"Grammatically" Two m's! My bad!

I'm not actually missing a mark in post #60 (yeah, those 4's and 6's are tricky, huh :) ); I inadvertently put one in where it didn't belong.

"ain't" ain't a word either, though we Americans have tried desperately to make it one. :)

JavierLW
06-03-2009, 06:03 PM
JavierLW, i get your point. but in Reality, there is fairly big difference between our #1 and #3 doubles guys. That is why it isn't fair for our #3 guys to get stuck with good team's #1 boys. That gives them very little chance to win against #1 guys.
And i heard someone say purpose of USTA team is to WIN ??? Well, Not entirely. Winning is not the only thing in USTA tennis. This is not pro tennis. USTA leagues were created in hopes of creating good fun tennis competition among the amateurs players.

I think VIC BRADEN once said, in amateur tennis "If you have fun out there, you are a Winner. If you have fun and win, then you have won twice that day. but if you win but didn't have any fun, then you have lost the day" This is the SPIRIT that USTA amateur tennis league was founded on .................

If the purpose is "not just to win", then you cant feel sorry for the #3 Doubles guys who are playing #1 Doubles. You feel sorry for them because of what? Because they have "very little chance of winning"?

It's the same concept just on different levels. You go out to play tennis. Winning (either your division or your individual match) is a goal, but it's not the only reason why you should be out there.

Also like I said, if you're saying they dont have much of a chance to win, the problem is they are playing players that do not belong at that level it's not just that they are at a different position in the lineup. (or they themselves dont belong at that level in a few cases)

You are right that there is probably is a BIG gap from #1 to #3 sometimes but there shouldnt be that much of a gap, that's just the way it works with the ratings and the trickle down effect of what happens when certain teams underrate everyone and the other teams try to keep up.

And in a lot of cases you have to account for that some of the teams that you see winning all the time are not just better skilled, they just manage themselves better.

Even at 3.0 which I used to play, I could always tell that a lot of teams that you notice that always win had an attitude about them that was conclusive to winning. You can tell when you're up 5-1 against them and they have no fear and rather than worry or talk for 5 minutes giving their partners instructions on what they are doing wrong, they just play their game and eventually get back in it.

And Im sure the problem with at least some of those #3 Doubles teams that you feel sorry for is that they are mentally out of it more then anything when they get moved up. Sometimes players decide they are going to lose before the match even starts and it's my belief that those players will almost always lose every single time. (and you can throw skill out the window in those cases)

That's why on my team, since Im lucky enough to select who I want, Im very careful not to try not to get people who are crybabys, or other mentally weak sort.

Usually if I stick someone at #1 Doubles even if they really have no chance, they dont complain, they just play. If they get blown out, that's just the way it goes.

Once in awhile though they have an actual chance of winning or it's a very close match and that's when it's nice that they havent decided already that they are going to lose.

Ive found in some years, #1 Doubles is a very HARD position to fill so I agree with you there, but those are the times in some years that I really had to do what's probably considered "stacking" because Im not going to waste a team that might of done good at #2 and #3 at #1 just because they are my "best" that's just stupid.

The USTA wants players to register to play tennis. They want as many teams as possible. So chances are a lot of teams are not going to be competitive at every single position, thus that's when the "stacking" can come into play.

Going "straight up" is not really the same as what you are proposing "evenly paired matches" in all cases. Which is another reason why any rule to force order of strength is silly.

innoVAShaun
06-03-2009, 06:16 PM
JavierLW, i get your point. but in Reality, there is fairly big difference between our #1 and #3 doubles guys. That is why it isn't fair for our #3 guys to get stuck with good team's #1 boys. That gives them very little chance to win against #1 guys.
And i heard someone say purpose of USTA team is to WIN ??? Well, Not entirely. Winning is not the only thing in USTA tennis. This is not pro tennis. USTA leagues were created in hopes of creating good fun tennis competition among the amateurs players.

I think VIC BRADEN once said, in amateur tennis "If you have fun out there, you are a Winner. If you have fun and win, then you have won twice that day. but if you win but didn't have any fun, then you have lost the day" This is the SPIRIT that USTA amateur tennis league was founded on .................

^^^^^Nice... I like that.

Ronaldo
06-03-2009, 07:18 PM
Fedace, Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually lose, and sometimes when you play, you actually win or lose. You can play six out of seven days and get your head handed to you. But just win on that seventh day.

raiden031
06-03-2009, 07:49 PM
If the purpose is "not just to win", then you cant feel sorry for the #3 Doubles guys who are playing #1 Doubles. You feel sorry for them because of what? Because they have "very little chance of winning"?

It's the same concept just on different levels. You go out to play tennis. Winning (either your division or your individual match) is a goal, but it's not the only reason why you should be out there.

Also like I said, if you're saying they dont have much of a chance to win, the problem is they are playing players that do not belong at that level it's not just that they are at a different position in the lineup. (or they themselves dont belong at that level in a few cases)

You are right that there is probably is a BIG gap from #1 to #3 sometimes but there shouldnt be that much of a gap, that's just the way it works with the ratings and the trickle down effect of what happens when certain teams underrate everyone and the other teams try to keep up.

And in a lot of cases you have to account for that some of the teams that you see winning all the time are not just better skilled, they just manage themselves better.

Even at 3.0 which I used to play, I could always tell that a lot of teams that you notice that always win had an attitude about them that was conclusive to winning. You can tell when you're up 5-1 against them and they have no fear and rather than worry or talk for 5 minutes giving their partners instructions on what they are doing wrong, they just play their game and eventually get back in it.

And Im sure the problem with at least some of those #3 Doubles teams that you feel sorry for is that they are mentally out of it more then anything when they get moved up. Sometimes players decide they are going to lose before the match even starts and it's my belief that those players will almost always lose every single time. (and you can throw skill out the window in those cases)

That's why on my team, since Im lucky enough to select who I want, Im very careful not to try not to get people who are crybabys, or other mentally weak sort.

Usually if I stick someone at #1 Doubles even if they really have no chance, they dont complain, they just play. If they get blown out, that's just the way it goes.

Once in awhile though they have an actual chance of winning or it's a very close match and that's when it's nice that they havent decided already that they are going to lose.

Ive found in some years, #1 Doubles is a very HARD position to fill so I agree with you there, but those are the times in some years that I really had to do what's probably considered "stacking" because Im not going to waste a team that might of done good at #2 and #3 at #1 just because they are my "best" that's just stupid.

The USTA wants players to register to play tennis. They want as many teams as possible. So chances are a lot of teams are not going to be competitive at every single position, thus that's when the "stacking" can come into play.

Going "straight up" is not really the same as what you are proposing "evenly paired matches" in all cases. Which is another reason why any rule to force order of strength is silly.

I am in favor of teams attempting to play straight up. I agree that it can't be made a rule because it un-enforceable, but if there was a way to provide an incentive for playing straight up (where #1 is more valuable than #3), then that would be nice, but I can't think of a good way to do it other than to abolish team wins and decide the standings based on cumulative individual match wins for each team over the course of the season.

My situation regarding lineups has annoyed me. When I played on my 3.0 men / 6.0 mixed / 6.5 combo teams, I was almost always put at #2 singles and #3 doubles because I was the guaranteed win. Most of the opposing teams played straight up so I ended up with boring wins, whereas I woulda had more competitive matches if I played more #1 spots.

In 4.0, I often get stuck at #1 singles because either 1) my captain is stacking or 2) we don't have any singles players available so they throw in a doubles player at #2 and put me at #1. Regardless, I'm stuck playing at 4.0 (which is fine), but I am not competitive on average when I play #1 singles.

I am losing matches pretty badly, and I can clearly see that the #1 opponent is far superior to the #2 opponent. So rather than having a winning or .500 record, I have a bad losing record because I keep getting put against strong 4.0s who I don't stand a chance against.

The difference between a strong and weak 4.0 singles player is HUGE, and if I played them 10 times, I would lose 10 times. It seems teams mostly put their top guys in the #1 spots from what I've seen. You can say because I'm losing badly that I don't belong at 4.0, but if I played 3.5 I'd be dishing these lopsided scores out to my 3.5 opponents. I'm in limbo, and thats why the #2 and #3 spots would be helpful for me. Its frustating seeing the guy on the court next to me who looks beatable, while I'm stuck playing the guy who is unbeatable.

So I really think the strength of players on a given team can vary so greatly that the competitiveness of matches would greatly increase if all teams played in order of strength. The purpose of NTRP play is to provide more competitive matches, so stacking lineups defeats that purpose.

Unfortunately every problem in leagues stems to the fact that there are championship events that everyone wants to advance to. Maybe the individual match weighted point system and abolishing team wins is actually the way to go.

HookEmJeff
06-03-2009, 09:37 PM
My biggest question to "stacking" would be how are you to determine your #1 and 2 singles spots, and your 1-3 doubles strength accurately? Who's call is that? The captain's? The players themselves? Statistics on TennisLink (so we want every captain now to have to number crunch)?

It's not realistic or feasible really in my estimation for anyone to determine strength of your team. Every team has a certain pecking order and they probably actually know who their better players are, but that is still about as subjective as it gets. I bet I could ask all the guys on my team to place a "strength number" on each teammate and that composite answer would vary widely on each player...even across my own team and our guesses at who in fact are our best players.

You are in an NTRP level because you are fairly and relatively numerically even with others in your level. There is no "strength" technically.

And, if the USTA somehow showed Dynamics (which they will never do), people would beee-yotch and moan that they had to play a 3.9 instead of a 3.51, so it would never end.


Jeff

JavierLW
06-04-2009, 06:20 AM
Unfortunately every problem in leagues stems to the fact that there are championship events that everyone wants to advance to. Maybe the individual match weighted point system and abolishing team wins is actually the way to go.

You are right, the main problem is the championship events and the ******ation of the rating system (not just stacking).

Your problems with stacking are more of a matter of how your team is using you. If you dont like it then find another team. (if I was on a team that stuck me at #1 Singles every week I wouldnt bother playing for that team next year. I dont do that with my own players, I might do it once or twice but Im going to make sure they have some good matches as well if I can)

You are right the individual win system helps it out somewhat, but that's a local league decision. (my area and few others use it, most do not)

Cindysphinx
06-04-2009, 06:49 AM
Raiden,

Your aversion to playing No. 1 singles kind of surprises me. You are young and fast and strong. You are surely on the top tier of 4.0 players in those areas, right? I can understand how it might be that you are losing to stronger players if you play No. 1 singles, but it is hard to imagine that these players are *that* much stronger than you are.

I would imagine that taking a pasting every week at No. 1 singles is going to make you improve really quickly. True? Not true?

On the teams I captain, I usually slot myself at No. 1 doubles. Even against strong teams, even if I don't have an especially strong partner. So I lose, a lot. But I think it raises the odds I will get a competitive match and learn something and improve.

Besides, I haven't looked you up in a while, but didn't you get a win recently?

hotseat
06-04-2009, 08:10 AM
improve your fitness and game, beat the "stacked" team, problem solved. like Jeff already said it's not like they're completely out of your ability realm, being it's NTRP.

JavierLW
06-04-2009, 12:39 PM
My biggest question to "stacking" would be how are you to determine your #1 and 2 singles spots, and your 1-3 doubles strength accurately? Who's call is that? The captain's? The players themselves? Statistics on TennisLink (so we want every captain now to have to number crunch)?

It's not realistic or feasible really in my estimation for anyone to determine strength of your team. Every team has a certain pecking order and they probably actually know who their better players are, but that is still about as subjective as it gets. I bet I could ask all the guys on my team to place a "strength number" on each teammate and that composite answer would vary widely on each player...even across my own team and our guesses at who in fact are our best players.

You are in an NTRP level because you are fairly and relatively numerically even with others in your level. There is no "strength" technically.

And, if the USTA somehow showed Dynamics (which they will never do), people would beee-yotch and moan that they had to play a 3.9 instead of a 3.51, so it would never end.


Jeff

That's what I keep saying as well, in most cases other then the obvious where one team is winning all the time at #1 (which means usually they probably are under-rated), there is no way to police "order of strength".

I talk about other captains all the time about teams and players and we always disagree widely on where people are at. (except for the proven obvious ones)

Also another tool that may look like stacking that I employ is when I know a team is pretty routinely putting a certain #1 Singles player out that just may not be a great matchup for one of my players, I'll swap #1 and #2 on my team.

It looks like stacking to someone who is merely looking at my Tennislink Records but the reality is I dont think my #1 or #2 are all that different and one of them may do better against one other particular player.

(or other factors like if one hasnt been playing all winter and the season has just started, or one is better indoors but sucks outdoors, etc.....)

raiden031
06-04-2009, 12:57 PM
Raiden,

Your aversion to playing No. 1 singles kind of surprises me. You are young and fast and strong. You are surely on the top tier of 4.0 players in those areas, right? I can understand how it might be that you are losing to stronger players if you play No. 1 singles, but it is hard to imagine that these players are *that* much stronger than you are.

I would imagine that taking a pasting every week at No. 1 singles is going to make you improve really quickly. True? Not true?

On the teams I captain, I usually slot myself at No. 1 doubles. Even against strong teams, even if I don't have an especially strong partner. So I lose, a lot. But I think it raises the odds I will get a competitive match and learn something and improve.

Besides, I haven't looked you up in a while, but didn't you get a win recently?

My opponents have been way stronger than me when it comes to the score of the match. The problem is they win 90% of the rallies because they're more consistent and my game doesn't pressure them at all.

Here are my scores in singles:

#1 - L - 6-0, 6-2
#2 - L - 7-6, 6-1
#1 - L - 6-1, 6-3
#1 - W - 4-6, 6-0, 1-0
#1 - L - 4-6, 6-1, 1-0
#1 - L - 6-3, 6-0

The bolded sets are flukes based on how poorly the second sets went for me. It was as if it was a totally different match in the second sets.

The reason I care is because I don't want to have a reputation as being the weakest guy in the league. LOL. If it was practice and these matches weren't recorded, I would be fine with them.

Cindysphinx
06-04-2009, 04:51 PM
Here are my scores in singles:

#1 - L - 6-0, 6-2
#2 - L - 7-6, 6-1
#1 - L - 6-1, 6-3
#1 - W - 4-6, 6-0, 1-0
#1 - L - 4-6, 6-1, 1-0
#1 - L - 6-3, 6-0



Honestly that is not half bad, especially on Court one and especially for your very first efforts after a double-bump. Me, I'd be stoked I wasn't getting double-bageled. I mean, you've actually won sets!

Cindy -- who still hasn't won a set against an honest-to-goodness 4.0 pair

raiden031
06-04-2009, 06:05 PM
Honestly that is not half bad, especially on Court one and especially for your very first efforts after a double-bump. Me, I'd be stoked I wasn't getting double-bageled. I mean, you've actually won sets!

Cindy -- who still hasn't won a set against an honest-to-goodness 4.0 pair

The difference is you are a 3.5 playing up and expecting to lose alot. I guarantee if I was put at #2 singles more, my record would look very different.

JavierLW
06-05-2009, 12:22 PM
The difference is you are a 3.5 playing up and expecting to lose alot. I guarantee if I was put at #2 singles more, my record would look very different.

I agree with you.

I think whether teams stack or not occasionally, it's not acceptable to get stuck at #1 Singles for almost every single match when clearly you could be doing better at some other position.

That's not what most players sign up for, and I think most players in your case would find another team next season if they have that option.

The fun thing is you probably wont get rated down either. If you were put at #2 or #3 doubles and you struggled you might play players with low enough ratings that you'll get moved down, but at #1 Singles you are playing appealees and probably players who are near the top of their rating and may even get moved up to 4.5 which will help keep you at 4.0 even if you lose big.

(but again that's a problem between you and the team you are on, not some problem with the league and whether they monitor stacking or not)

JavierLW
06-05-2009, 12:28 PM
My opponents have been way stronger than me when it comes to the score of the match. The problem is they win 90% of the rallies because they're more consistent and my game doesn't pressure them at all.

Here are my scores in singles:

#1 - L - 6-0, 6-2
#2 - L - 7-6, 6-1
#1 - L - 6-1, 6-3
#1 - W - 4-6, 6-0, 1-0
#1 - L - 4-6, 6-1, 1-0
#1 - L - 6-3, 6-0

The bolded sets are flukes based on how poorly the second sets went for me. It was as if it was a totally different match in the second sets.

The reason I care is because I don't want to have a reputation as being the weakest guy in the league. LOL. If it was practice and these matches weren't recorded, I would be fine with them.

By "flukes" it seems that those players probably just hadnt figured you out yet.

They have way more experience then you, and like you said they are more consistant so it may take them a set to deal with your weapons, but once they've honed in on you, you're probably toast because you dont have anything else to go to.

I think it's a weird fluke of playing 3.0 and then all the sudden playing in 4.0, that's a pretty big jump. Skillwise you might be right up there with those guys, but experience is a bigger factor the higher you get. Most of the time you dont get to 4.0 just by some magic or anything, but you seem to be one of the select few who learned the right way and was able to get there.

At least you're seeing those guys now so if you did get moved back to 3.5 you wont ever be all that surprised if you see the occasional sandbagger, and if you stay at 4.0, Im willing to bet with time it will get a lot easier.

(problem is though in the course of one season, you probably spent $65+ to get whooped for the entire season, versus other people who get a chance to play an actual contested match and win or lose it once in awhile)

raiden031
06-05-2009, 12:51 PM
By "flukes" it seems that those players probably just hadnt figured you out yet.

They have way more experience then you, and like you said they are more consistant so it may take them a set to deal with your weapons, but once they've honed in on you, you're probably toast because you dont have anything else to go to.

I think it's a weird fluke of playing 3.0 and then all the sudden playing in 4.0, that's a pretty big jump. Skillwise you might be right up there with those guys, but experience is a bigger factor the higher you get. Most of the time you dont get to 4.0 just by some magic or anything, but you seem to be one of the select few who learned the right way and was able to get there.

At least you're seeing those guys now so if you did get moved back to 3.5 you wont ever be all that surprised if you see the occasional sandbagger, and if you stay at 4.0, Im willing to bet with time it will get a lot easier.

(problem is though in the course of one season, you probably spent $65+ to get whooped for the entire season, versus other people who get a chance to play an actual contested match and win or lose it once in awhile)

From a usta perspective, going from 3.0 to 4.0 is a fluke. But really the main reason I was able to do that is that while I was playing in a 3.0 league my first two years, I was only practicing with 3.5 players. So I spent the first year losing most of my practice matches, and then eventually I started dominating my practice partners after that and ran out of challenging opponents. So its not like I skipped playing 3.5s, because I spent more time against 3.5s than 3.0s outside of usta.

Now its a matter of getting used to 4.0 players, however the problem is I have alot of problem finding 4.0 practice partners, so now I'm getting my practice in during official matches and struggling.