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GeoffB
06-15-2009, 01:24 PM
I know coaching isn't allowed during tournaments, but how about league play? In two of my singles matches so far this year, an opposing team captain or member has had a quiet, whispery conversation with my opponent between the first and second set. Is this allowed?

JLyon
06-15-2009, 01:30 PM
No Coaching is allowed in USTA League Play.

JSF1
06-15-2009, 01:32 PM
3.01H(6) Coaching. Coaching will be permitted during the rest period only if the
scoring method is the best of three tiebreak sets and there is a 10-minute rest period between the
second and third sets.

(Copied from USTA Regulations. If a 3rd set tiebreak is used in lieu of a 3rd set, then you cannot coach)

http://www.usta.com/sitecore/content/USTA/Global/Active/Custom%20Pages/Leagues/~/media/E940641CDEEB429DB6B448ACCE1E04B6.ashx

GeoffB
06-15-2009, 01:46 PM
3.01H(6) Coaching. Coaching will be permitted during the rest period only if the
scoring method is the best of three tiebreak sets and there is a 10-minute rest period between the
second and third sets.

(Copied from USTA Regulations. If a 3rd set tiebreak is used in lieu of a 3rd set, then you cannot coach)

http://www.usta.com/sitecore/content/USTA/Global/Active/Custom%20Pages/Leagues/~/media/E940641CDEEB429DB6B448ACCE1E04B6.ashx

Interesting, thanks for the link.

As a follow-up question, how would you handle this in a match situation? In both cases, the coach/captain came up and had a very quiet conversation that I couldn't hear - one was between the second set and the 10pt tiebreak, and the other was between the first and second set. Evidently, coaching wouldn't be allowed under the rules. Unfortunately, the rules don't say anything about quiet, whispery conversations with nervous glances in my direction.

I figure my options are:

1) do nothing and stay focused (which is what I did, and fortunately, it did work. But still, it does **** me off now that I know the rule...)

2) ask if they are discussing tactics, and if so, remind them of the rule, then play on.

3) pursue a penalty

I'm leaning toward #1 or #2 for a first time offense.
Btw, what's the penalty for coaching?

JSF1
06-15-2009, 01:54 PM
Interesting, thanks for the link.

As a follow-up question, how would you handle this in a match situation? In both cases, the coach/captain came up and had a very quiet conversation that I couldn't hear - one was between the second set and the 10pt tiebreak, and the other was between the first and second set. Evidently, coaching wouldn't be allowed under the rules. Unfortunately, the rules don't say anything about quiet, whispery conversations with nervous glances in my direction.

I figure my options are:

1) do nothing and stay focused (which is what I did, and fortunately, it did work. But still, it does **** me off now that I know the rule...)

2) ask if they are discussing tactics, and if so, remind them of the rule, then play on.

3) pursue a penalty

I'm leaning toward #1 or #2 for a first time offense.
Btw, what's the penalty for coaching?

I would just remind them that they can't coach between 1st and 2nd sets or before 3rd set 10 point tiebreaks. If they say they aren't coaching, then ask them to speak that all can hear. The whispering makes it appear they are coaching. Honest players shouldn't appear to be doing that in the first place. I don't know what the penalty is other than reporting to the league coordinator.

Topaz
06-15-2009, 01:59 PM
Actually, my understanding (and the interpretation of the rule in these parts) is that you don't talk to *anyone* during the match...period.

subaru3169
06-15-2009, 02:24 PM
i thought you simply can't speak to anyone in the audience during a match at all.. interesting rule though

so if it's tied one set a piece, both players can choose if they want to play a full third set or tiebreak??

Atown
06-15-2009, 02:37 PM
so if it's tied one set a piece, both players can choose if they want to play a full third set or tiebreak??

It depends on the local rules. Where I play, the captains used to be able to choose either option prior to a match (assuming that there would be enough court time available). Now the rule has changed such that a match tiebreak has to be played in lieu of a third set.

hammer
06-15-2009, 02:51 PM
It depends on the local rules. Where I play, the captains used to be able to choose either option prior to a match (assuming that there would be enough court time available). Now the rule has changed such that a match tiebreak has to be played in lieu of a third set.

In my league, the home team decides whether or not to play a super tiebreak or play out a third set prior to the beginning of the match.

Just to clarify, each individual singles player or doubles team can decide for their own individual match, so you can have 3 matches going a full third and 2 matches doing super tiebreaks instead of the whole team deciding that it's all tiebreaks or all full 3rd sets.

Spokewench
06-15-2009, 03:50 PM
In our league, we do not have the choice. We play a third set tiebreaker in lieu of third set.

I would not like it if a captain came to whisper to my opponents or my teammates opponents - I would ask them to desist and talk after the game is over.

jan

robby c
06-15-2009, 04:10 PM
A captain asking the score through the fence and general encouragement is okay with me, but lengthy on-court conversations is coaching, and not okay.
Robby C

Ronaldo
06-15-2009, 04:14 PM
Had a club pro stay behind a curtain and tell me where to serve during a set. Worked like a charm.

Spokewench
06-15-2009, 04:17 PM
Had a club pro stay behind a curtain and tell me where to serve during a set. Worked like a charm.

Too bad you don't believe in ethical conduct nor does the pro

Ronaldo
06-15-2009, 04:31 PM
Too bad you don't believe in ethical conduct nor does the pro

Felt really bad about every ace. Btw, it was the other team's coach!

JavierLW
06-15-2009, 05:50 PM
Interesting, thanks for the link.

As a follow-up question, how would you handle this in a match situation? In both cases, the coach/captain came up and had a very quiet conversation that I couldn't hear - one was between the second set and the 10pt tiebreak, and the other was between the first and second set. Evidently, coaching wouldn't be allowed under the rules. Unfortunately, the rules don't say anything about quiet, whispery conversations with nervous glances in my direction.

I figure my options are:

1) do nothing and stay focused (which is what I did, and fortunately, it did work. But still, it does **** me off now that I know the rule...)

2) ask if they are discussing tactics, and if so, remind them of the rule, then play on.

3) pursue a penalty

I'm leaning toward #1 or #2 for a first time offense.
Btw, what's the penalty for coaching?

The only thing you can do is ask that it stop. All points played in good faith up to that point stand.

And if it doesnt stop, it's just one of those things you'd have to file a grievance for. At least you warned them....

If they are trying to be "secret" about it, then just go walk over there (it's a free country) and find some reason that you should be speaking with the other player. If they were really coaching you'll notice that they stop.

"Hey!!! How about those 49ers??!!!" "Do you like pancakes????"

I like Topaz's interpretation of the rule however, unfortunately Im not sure it goes that far. It would solve a lot of these issues though.

The problem is there is a good contingent of people like Ronaldo out there who seem to glamourize that they think it's a useless rule, thus they celebrate that they are ignoring it.

He's in the same boat after all with former Tennis Pro's, Tennis Magazine, TV Commentators, and all sorts of elements of the US Tennis Organization who seem to think nowdays that for some reason excessive coaching is GOOD for the sport.

But I think that's stupid and here's why:

As you are playing out there, you may lose a match and you'll think about it later and realize what you did.

You may go on to play yet more matches and maybe you'll access this new found information or maybe you wont. It's not easy because you are in a physical battle with an opponent who wants to win just as badly as you.

Maybe you're getting mad as well and it's stopping you from thinking clearly, and maybe things are happening to you on the court that you wont even think of until later.

Those are all issues with MANAGING YOURSELF. Tennis in inherently a individual sport after all where one person goes up against another and the best player at the time wins....

If your opponent can make those changes easier then you, then that's just part of the game (or at least it used to be).

A lot of us struggle thru that part of it, but rather then get a crutch (coaching) we might conquer it and we may find that we are better for it.

The big problem I have with it is now at least in our area kids get coaching during every change over in High School. So I see a lot of bratty angry pouty kids who probably will graduate without ever learning to manage themselves as they go on to become adults.

It also gives them someone to blame when they fall short. (kind of like even on the pro tour sometimes you'll see these women staring back at their box and yelling at their coaches when things are not going well)

That used to be the beauty of tennis, it's just all you out there (even when you're on a team), you're totally responsible for whether you win, or whether you lose (except for your opponent of course....).

Even if that's not a good argument for why NO COACHING is good, it still doesnt explain why allowed coaching is good.

Usually people make the excuse that other sports have it, but that's a silly excuse. If other sports consisted of poking yourself in the eye with a big stick, does that mean tennis should have more of that as well?

OrangePower
06-15-2009, 06:03 PM
Interesting, thanks for the link.

As a follow-up question, how would you handle this in a match situation? In both cases, the coach/captain came up and had a very quiet conversation that I couldn't hear - one was between the second set and the 10pt tiebreak, and the other was between the first and second set. Evidently, coaching wouldn't be allowed under the rules. Unfortunately, the rules don't say anything about quiet, whispery conversations with nervous glances in my direction.

I figure my options are:

1) do nothing and stay focused (which is what I did, and fortunately, it did work. But still, it does **** me off now that I know the rule...)

2) ask if they are discussing tactics, and if so, remind them of the rule, then play on.

3) pursue a penalty

I'm leaning toward #1 or #2 for a first time offense.
Btw, what's the penalty for coaching?

I've only had this happen a couple of times, and both times I went with option #1. Mostly, I don't think there's much that a hurried piece of coaching is going to change - at least at my level, the problem is usually execution more so than strategy/tactics. So I'd rather make sure that I don't lose focus rather than stress over what my opponent is doing.

But after the match I did feel ****ed off, mostly just on principle :-)

JavierLW
06-15-2009, 06:21 PM
I play on a different league right now - not USTA - and coaches are allowed to talk to players between the second and third sets. I don't see anything wrong with this, as we're all in a learning process and a coach can help you see what you're doing right or wrong in a match. Even in the pros - what's the big deal with coaching between sets? (Coaches shouldn't be giving overt signals during active play of course, although sometimes they try to do that.) Coaches are allowed in almost every other sport - in fact they're an integral part of most sports.

We are allowed to coach during that rest period as well, I think it's allowed in the USTA National rules. Ive only used it once that it was useful. Im not a teaching pro and there is sometimes not much I can say that wont just confuse someone in the heat of the moment.

For the "big deal" see my explanation above.

I accurately predicted that someone would use the "other sports do it" excuse.

Tennis is a "racquet sport". Not every racquet sport does it, it's illegal in some Badminton leagues as well.

It's part of the sport and there is a definite distinctive element to it that "not coaching" provides. Also for people who have been playing for any amount of time it's typically offensive that someone is receiving coaching, especially at the amateur level where we're not playing for money or prizes but we're playing for pride and respect more then anything. (the worst that can happen is you will lose and maybe you'll actually learn something on your own for once in your life.....)

Other sports have race cars, helmets, fighting, a oblong shaped leather "ball", and in one the lowest score determines the winner, maybe we should throw all those into tennis as well. It works for other sports...

5263
06-15-2009, 07:22 PM
It's part of the sport and there is a definite distinctive element to it that "not coaching" provides. Also for people who have been playing for any amount of time it's typically offensive that someone is receiving coaching, especially at the amateur level where we're not playing for money or prizes but we're playing for pride and respect more then anything. .

Even though it is wrong and illegal in most situations, I've really learned to enjoy it when others resort to coaching against me. Sorry, but those wins are quite sweet.

I do wish "change over" coaching was allowed in jrs up thru 14s, as I am convinced it would improve american play in the big pic.

rabidturtle
06-15-2009, 07:42 PM
My team is making a bid for Nationals, and last year there was a problem with the team from the Caribbean speaking in Spanish. They would talk to each other out loud and when they were questioned on coaching, they said they were cheering.

What are some common Spanish phrases that could I could identify if this happens again?

kylebarendrick
06-15-2009, 08:37 PM
I don't know, but we played against the caribbean team at Nationals a few years ago and they were definitely coaching in Spanish. One of the wives from our team told them, in Spanish, to knock it off.

amarone
06-16-2009, 03:59 AM
Actually, my understanding (and the interpretation of the rule in these parts) is that you don't talk to *anyone* during the match...period.It's not that strict. Coaching is defined in the rules as:
Coaching is considered to be communication, advice, or any instruction of any kind that is audible or visible to a player.

amarone
06-16-2009, 04:02 AM
My team is making a bid for Nationals, and last year there was a problem with the team from the Caribbean speaking in Spanish. They would talk to each other out loud and when they were questioned on coaching, they said they were cheering. The local rules for Atlanta state that communication in a language not understood by the players may be considered coaching. That does lead to a situation whereby if you field a player who does not speak English, then spectators speaking in English may be considered to be coaching.

Topaz
06-16-2009, 05:42 AM
It's not that strict. Coaching is defined in the rules as:

Except, in my district, the league coordinator has come down and said...'no talking to anyone else during matches.' Period.

And, it isn't without cause.

Gemini
06-16-2009, 06:05 AM
As for the teams I work with, I always try to make sure the brief conversation I have with my players in terms of things like "What's the score? Do you-guys need anything?, etc." is always on changeovers and within earshot of the opponents so that they can clearly hear that I'm not coaching. I even ask the opponents if they need anything (water, food, etc.) during a match. I never offer advice on matchplay.

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 06:42 AM
Our local rules say no "coaching" is allowed, although the rules don't define it.

I think I would have walked right up and listened in on the conversation.

When I have a reason to talk to a player, I will do it, but I don't whisper. I may ask if they need more water, tell them where the scorecard is if they need to leave early and suchlike. I try not to watch my players finish their matches (or at least, I try not to be obvious about it), so I would never ask them the score while they are playing.

I have had players ask me rules questions during their matches. I reply with, "You'll need to work something out with your opponents."

JavierLW
06-16-2009, 07:20 AM
Our local rules say no "coaching" is allowed, although the rules don't define it.

I think I would have walked right up and listened in on the conversation.

When I have a reason to talk to a player, I will do it, but I don't whisper. I may ask if they need more water, tell them where the scorecard is if they need to leave early and suchlike. I try not to watch my players finish their matches (or at least, I try not to be obvious about it), so I would never ask them the score while they are playing.

I have had players ask me rules questions during their matches. I reply with, "You'll need to work something out with your opponents."

You can actually tell them the rules if they are just asking what the rules are. (ie...how do you play a tiebreaker?, what happens if this happened?)

You just cant apply them for them in that current situation. (ie....call line calls for them, "did that guy touch the net???", "didnt he just serve twice??", etc.....)

As far as what happens on the court, that's between the players. But the rules are the rules, if you're just reciting rules for them, that's okay.

I would probably only do that though if both parties agreed on the facts.

Like last week a player from my team and a player from the other team walked over to me to ask how to do the Coman tiebreaker, so I just told them when you switch in a Coman tiebreaker. (in general, not in their situation)

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 08:04 AM
Javier, here is the applicable rule in our league:

No spectator, teammate, or team captain, may intervene, offer an opinion, or become involved in any way, in any match that has not yet been completed, except for the calling of “Time” by the Visiting Team Captain or designee, either to begin or end match play on all courts. No coaching is allowed at any time during the match.

So no, in our league you should not respond to requests to recite the rules. If players wish to consult the rules, they can ask if anyone has a copy of the rules. I have given players my copy of the rules (although I've never done it during a match, only beforehand so they will be prepared to handle lateness issues).

As for only reciting the rules if both parties agreed on the facts . . . this would definitely violate the rules. In that case, you're acting as a mediator or something. No. Players need to know the rules and sort these things out, even if they have to flip a coin to do it.

I remember a case where the players wanted the captains to help them resolve a dispute. It has been a couple of years now, but as I recall the problem was that the two 3.0 singles opponents were finished a timed match. They were playing a 10-point tiebreak in stifling heat.

The horn sounded, and the two captains called time and asked them the score. One said the score was 8-6 and the other said it was 8-7. I may have those numbers wrong, but the point is the tiebreak would only count if one player was leading by two points or more.

The other captain started to get involved and ask them what happened. I told her we had to let the players sort it out, and also reminded her of the rule that spectators had to stay 1/2 court away. So we went back and sat on the bench and waited. After a few minutes, we went back up and asked the score. They said they couldn't agree. We gave them more time.

Finally, I told them that if they couldn't agree, all they could do was spin a racket. (The rules allow players to settle scoring disputes in other ways -- playing from mutually agreeable point or re-playing disputed points -- but these methods were unavailable because the match was over and the next league match was starting). My player's opponent refused to spin the racket, so her captain participated in the racket spin. My player won.

Later, my player and I walked through the tiebreak and it turns out that her interpretation was correct. FWIW.

amarone
06-16-2009, 08:52 AM
Our local rules say no "coaching" is allowed, although the rules don't define it. Your local rules do not need to define coaching as it is covered in the rules of tennis. That is what I quoted earlier. Anyway, what you subsequently posted friom your local rules does, to my mind, define coaching - it is all the stuff that precedes "No coaching is allowed".

And I agree with your comment to Javier that responding to recite the rules is not allowed.

JSF1
06-16-2009, 09:01 AM
I am surprised that local league rules can be so different from the USTA National rules. Our local league is consistent with the National rules in that coaching is allowed between a 2nd and 3rd set, but not between a 2nd set and a 3rd set 10 point tiebreak.

I checked our local league published rules and it's only ammended statement added is that "No coaching shall be permitted during suspension of play for either a medical condition or a toilet vist."

We play full 3rd sets for men's and women's day time scheduled matches, but the leagues that start after 6:30 p.m. (e.g. mixed, combo, etc.) must play a 3rd set tiebreak.

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 09:31 AM
Your local rules do not need to define coaching as it is covered in the rules of tennis. That is what I quoted earlier. Anyway, what you subsequently posted friom your local rules does, to my mind, define coaching - it is all the stuff that precedes "No coaching is allowed".

And I agree with your comment to Javier that responding to recite the rules is not allowed.

Agreed.

When I played Districts in October, one of my teammates was watching. She was yelling stuff at us (in addition to normal cheering and clapping). At one point, she yelled something more specific than your generic "Let's go!" I can't remember the exact words. Maybe something along the lines of "Good job!! Be strong out there!!"

The opponent complained to the roaming referee, and he indicated he would handle it. I assume he did. In my mind, it was a real judgment call on whether that sort of platitude constitutes coaching, but I guess it was his judgment that it did.

Regarding reciting the rules, our local rules were changes this year on what you do when a match times out and the score is effectively tied (like, 4-6, 6-4). It used to be that you added up all of the games won on the other courts and the team that won the most games was awarded the team win. If that didn't settle it, you spun a racket.

The new rule is that you add up the games and if that doesn't settle it, you play a 10-point tiebreak if you can find an available court right then. If there is no court, you have to reserve a court later and finish it. No racket spin.

Anyway, I finished my own match and the two-hour time period expired. I was waiting for the team captain to come off of her court. Instead, she and the other three players kept playing. I asked the opposing team captain what on earth was going on. She said they were following the 10-point tiebreak procedure because the court was available. Hang on, I said. Our other two teams had won more games than her teams, so the winner of this last match should be us under the rules.

She and I then argued about whether they were supposed to play the tiebreak, as she had forgotten that you are supposed to add up the total games played before you resort to the tiebreak. I pulled out my copy of the rules and she read it and realized I was right. But the rules also said we were not allowed to interfere. So we went back to the bench and waited. Thankfully, it didn't matter because our players won the 10-point tiebreak.

Cindy -- who once heard of a match where the doubles players played an entire third set because they didn't know about the 10-point tiebreak, and no one was allowed to tell them

JavierLW
06-16-2009, 10:06 AM
Javier, here is the applicable rule in our league:



So no, in our league you should not respond to requests to recite the rules. If players wish to consult the rules, they can ask if anyone has a copy of the rules. I have given players my copy of the rules (although I've never done it during a match, only beforehand so they will be prepared to handle lateness issues).

As for only reciting the rules if both parties agreed on the facts . . . this would definitely violate the rules. In that case, you're acting as a mediator or something. No. Players need to know the rules and sort these things out, even if they have to flip a coin to do it.

blah blah blah blah blah timeclock blah blah blah blah blah.

FWINW.

Ya I guess those are your own very special local rules.

It doesnt seem very "grey" to me though. The players are just in good faith asking what the rules are (they are not in dispute) because they wish to follow them.

So are you seriously telling me that if 4 ladys who were playing doubles walked up to you and asked how to play a tiebreaker because they dont remember, you're not going to tell them because of some nitpicky interpetation of your rule? Harsh... (I thought you claimed to have had better judgement then that)

Now if they are claiming something happened out of turn, that's different, you cant say anything. Or if you notice they are doing something wrong, that's also different, it's not your place to tell them how to play.

And most matches do not have officials, obviously if there was an official present, that's who you would go to because spectators TRUELY have no place in the match then. But if there are no officials sometimes you just have to use some of your supposed "common sense".

catfish
06-16-2009, 10:25 AM
I am surprised that local league rules can be so different from the USTA National rules. Our local league is consistent with the National rules in that coaching is allowed between a 2nd and 3rd set, but not between a 2nd set and a 3rd set 10 point tiebreak.

I checked our local league published rules and it's only ammended statement added is that "No coaching shall be permitted during suspension of play for either a medical condition or a toilet vist."

We play full 3rd sets for men's and women's day time scheduled matches, but the leagues that start after 6:30 p.m. (e.g. mixed, combo, etc.) must play a 3rd set tiebreak.

Local league rules cannot contradict or override USTA National Regulations. The rules work from the top down, with the top being USTA National.

Several posters already posted that the National Regs address coaching and so does the Friend at Court. Those are easy to find on the USTA National Website.

Most league players and captains know that coaching is not allowed, however it seems to happen anyway. The problem is that it's tough to deal with it at unofficiated matches. The best thing to do it to address the coaching immediately. Remind the player that coaching is not allowed and ask the player to inform whoever is coaching that he/she needs to stop. If that doesn’t work, find your captain and ask the captain to address the issue. Hopefully it will stop the coaching. If it still doesn’t stop, have your captain advise the player that you are playing the match under protest and that a grievance will be filed asking the grievance committee to suspend the player from the league for the remainder of the season and asking that the team captain be sanctioned. At that point, I would hope the player would get the message and would ask the “coach” to stop.

These situations are always hard to deal with at un-officiated matches. The key to handling the situation is to deal with it at the time it’s happening, and not waiting until after the fact. Most people don’t like confrontations and it’s hard to interrupt your match to deal with “situations”. But it’s going to happen from time to time so it’s best to be prepared. All league players & captains should have some general knowledge of the USTA rules and the rules of tennis, plus your captain should know how and when to file a grievance. Too often, the players and captains say nothing and then report the problem to the league coordinator the following day. At that point, all the LC can do is make a note of the complaint and advise the captain that they can file a grievance. And a grievance committee would probably have a hard time determining who to believe when nothing was done at the match to try and stop the coaching. Put yourself in the shoes of a committee member or league coordinator who was not at the match. Their first question will be “What did you do to stop the coaching.” If you say nothing, and the other party denies the coaching they won’t have much to go on.

JSF1
06-16-2009, 11:26 AM
3.01H(6) Coaching. Coaching will be permitted during the rest period only if the
scoring method is the best of three tiebreak sets and there is a 10-minute rest period between the
second and third sets.

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 12:49 PM
So are you seriously telling me that if 4 ladys who were playing doubles walked up to you and asked how to play a tiebreaker because they dont remember, you're not going to tell them because of some nitpicky interpetation of your rule? Harsh... (I thought you claimed to have had better judgement then that)

No need for the personal attack. Let's keep it civil.

To answer your question, if the four players called me over and asked how to play a tiebreak, I would say, "I'm not allowed to get involved. You'll just have to do the best that you can." If the opposing captain decided she wished to offer up a tutorial on tiebreak procedures, I would ask her not to. If she did it anyway, I would let it go (rather than do something idiotic like file a grievance).

Now if they are claiming something happened out of turn, that's different, you cant say anything. Or if you notice they are doing something wrong, that's also different, it's not your place to tell them how to play.

True. I think that is obvious.

I think perhaps you underestimate how easily it is to get drawn into the match, even if you intend only to "recite the rules." In your example of a tiebreak, the players may be confused about many things (whether they should change sides first, who should serve first, whether they can change serve order or receiving side, whether it is 7 or 10 points). Where does it end?

I say it ends when they take the court. It is their responsibility to know the rules. If they get it wrong, oh well.

And most matches do not have officials, obviously if there was an official present, that's who you would go to because spectators TRUELY have no place in the match then. But if there are no officials sometimes you just have to use some of your supposed "common sense".

I think it is common sense that *people who decide to play a competitive sport ought to know the rules of that sport.* If they don't, it is on them.

Me, I don't do rescues.

Spokewench
06-16-2009, 01:28 PM
I just had some gals come over prior to doing their third set tiebreak last weekend to refresh their minds on when they switch on a tiebreak. I see no coaching involved here; nothing changed the outcome of the match, nothing caused a problem; so I just told them when to switch on 1, and every 4 thereafter, i.e. 5, 9, 13, etc.

No big deal. Everyone could here me tell them what to do; there were members of both teams asking so no big deal! Besides, I'm the captain of both teams so I can't really show favoritism. It is a balancing act!

spoke

Gh0st
06-16-2009, 01:37 PM
I just had some gals come over prior to doing their third set tiebreak last weekend to refresh their minds on when they switch on a tiebreak. I see no coaching involved here; nothing changed the outcome of the match, nothing caused a problem; so I just told them when to switch on 1, and every 4 thereafter, i.e. 5, 9, 13, etc.

No big deal. Everyone could here me tell them what to do; there were members of both teams asking so no big deal! Besides, I'm the captain of both teams so I can't really show favoritism. It is a balancing act!

spoke

Did one team stack against the other? That would've been funny :)

Spokewench
06-16-2009, 01:45 PM
Did one team stack against the other? That would've been funny :)

Yeah, that would have been funny; but since I'm the captain of both teams; I made it my goal to make the games as competitive as possible so I tried to match like player with like players. It makes for lots of tiebreakers, set tiebreakers and match tiebreakers too! I was very happy that I was able to judge who would play well against each other and it has worked out really well.

The players also got to play with lots of new people they normally don't always play with too and everyone seemed real happy about that; which was a little surprising to me! I think it was refreshing and also let people get to know other people that they see on the courts everyday but never really get to know.

A good thing all around.

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 01:51 PM
Yeah, that would have been funny; but since I'm the captain of both teams; I made it my goal to make the games as competitive as possible so I tried to match like player with like players. It makes for lots of tiebreakers, set tiebreakers and match tiebreakers too! I was very happy that I was able to judge who would play well against each other and it has worked out really well.

The players also got to play with lots of new people they normally don't always play with too and everyone seemed real happy about that; which was a little surprising to me! I think it was refreshing and also let people get to know other people that they see on the courts everyday but never really get to know.

A good thing all around.

Wow. Our rules prohibit one person from captaining competing teams. You must be a very trustworthy person to be allowed to captain two competing teams. I don't say that to be snide, either.

I understand you are in a very small tennis community, so there is more latitude. It is nice that the league recognized that it probably needs to allow one person to captain two competing teams if it is to have a league it all.

amarone
06-16-2009, 02:57 PM
So are you seriously telling me that if 4 ladys who were playing doubles walked up to you and asked how to play a tiebreaker because they dont remember, you're not going to tell them because of some nitpicky interpetation of your rule? Although this question was aimed at Cindy, because I supported her explanation of the rule (you cannot get involved), I will answer what I would actually do. It would depend on the situation in which I was being asked.

If it was totally procedural, e.g. do you switch ends after the tie-break, I would tell them. In fact, in this paricular scenario I have even gestured to switch unprompted when the four players are all obviously confused.

Beyond simple procedural matters, if I have my tennis bag with me, I would get my Friend at Court out and lend them it, maybe telling them which section to look in. If I do not have my FaC, then again it would depend on the situation.

Although it has never happened, if there was any hint that it could affect the match result, I might agree to tell them a rule only if all the players on the court agree with that in advance.

If the issue was in one of the more controversial areas, e.g. foot-faulting or the mythical "voice let", I would tell them they have to sort it out themselves.

Spokewench
06-16-2009, 03:22 PM
Wow. Our rules prohibit one person from captaining competing teams. You must be a very trustworthy person to be allowed to captain two competing teams. I don't say that to be snide, either.

I understand you are in a very small tennis community, so there is more latitude. It is nice that the league recognized that it probably needs to allow one person to captain two competing teams if it is to have a league it all.

Yes, Cindy; no one wanted to step up to captain this year. So actually, I am the captain of 2 3.0 teams and 2-3.5 teams. My last match is this weekend! Yippee - now I can just play tennis!

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 04:12 PM
Although this question was aimed at Cindy, because I supported her explanation of the rule (you cannot get involved), I will answer what I would actually do. It would depend on the situation in which I was being asked.

[snip description]




That all seems fine and reasonable, if that's what you want to do.

I think some of these issues punch my Parent-Of-Teenagers Buttons. Meaning that sometimes people need to suffer the consequences of not knowing things they really should know before they will decide it is important enough to know these things. If you know what I mean! :)

So if players don't change ends in a tiebreak because they don't know the rules, they will be more likely to remember next time (and maybe even spend a few minutes to review the Code/Rules -- fancy that!) if I don't bail them out. The consequences of their getting it wrong are not signficiant, but hopefully when they learn that they did get it wrong it will stick a bit better next time.

I think a lot of captains and players develop more of a leader-follower role than I am comfortable with. Like, I have heard players say things like, "Oh, don't sweat it; Cindy will be there and she'll know what to do." So it is a common way of looking at things. There's nothing wrong with it. I just don't happen to agree with it. Each player, IMHO, is responsible to make sure she is prepared to play and knows what she is doing. I do have players who have played in this league and on my teams who don't know a whole lot about how common scenarios should be handled. I don't think this is something to be encouraged.

Then there's the Mom-Who-Gets-Tired-Of-Being-Asked-Things-Other-People-Should-Figure-Out fatigue. Over the years, I've tried very hard to kind of wean my players off of depending on me for everything. Early on, I got requests from players to give them directions to venues, to give them addresses to venues, to tell them how long it will take to get to venues. Players even asked me things like when they had said they were available, or whether they were in the line-up when I had just sent out the line-up.

After a while, this got tedious (and overwhelming when you are trying to respond to requests from 19 people). So I have set up my team to rely on a Google spreadsheet, which has pages listing match locations to links to the rules to contact info for teammates. Everything is there, so I no longer get dozens of requests for basic information throughout the season.

So yeah, I'd rather just train people up to work it out or look it up. That's how you learn!

Cindy -- who still has to cell-phone navigate one player to the venues because she often gets lost on the way, but this player allows plenty of time to get lost so it's all good

catfish
06-16-2009, 05:25 PM
That all seems fine and reasonable, if that's what you want to do.

I think a lot of captains and players develop more of a leader-follower role than I am comfortable with. Like, I have heard players say things like, "Oh, don't sweat it; Cindy will be there and she'll know what to do." So it is a common way of looking at things. There's nothing wrong with it. I just don't happen to agree with it. Each player, IMHO, is responsible to make sure she is prepared to play and knows what she is doing. I do have players who have played in this league and on my teams who don't know a whole lot about how common scenarios should be handled. I don't think this is something to be encouraged.

Then there's the Mom-Who-Gets-Tired-Of-Being-Asked-Things-Other-People-Should-Figure-Out fatigue. Over the years, I've tried very hard to kind of wean my players off of depending on me for everything. Early on, I got requests from players to give them directions to venues, to give them addresses to venues, to tell them how long it will take to get to venues. Players even asked me things like when they had said they were available, or whether they were in the line-up when I had just sent out the line-up.

After a while, this got tedious (and overwhelming when you are trying to respond to requests from 19 people). So I have set up my team to rely on a Google spreadsheet, which has pages listing match locations to links to the rules to contact info for teammates. Everything is there, so I no longer get dozens of requests for basic information throughout the season.



I know exactly what you mean. I get so frustrated with people who constantly ask questions rather than look for the information themselves. But, thats seems to be many people's attitudes in tennis and in other facets of life. Don't bother finding information yourself, just ask someone else. I've always been pretty self-reliant so those types frustrate me. :(

amarone
06-16-2009, 07:42 PM
I know exactly what you mean. I get so frustrated with people who constantly ask questions rather than look for the information themselves. But, that seems to be many people's attitudes in tennis and in other facets of life. Don't bother finding information yourself, just ask someone else. This is indeed true. Just look at how many questions you get on these boards when the Code, Rules of Tennis, and USTA Regulations are all readily available online.

GeoffB
06-16-2009, 09:54 PM
This is indeed true. Just look at how many questions you get on these boards when the Code, Rules of Tennis, and USTA Regulations are all readily available online.

Part of the problem is that the rules can be surprisingly complicated. For instance, there isn't actually an easy yes/no answer to the "is coaching permitted in league play" question. It appears, from what people have posted here, that coaching is permitted between the second and third set, but only then, and not if the third set is replaced with a super tiebreak.

It's good for players to read the code, and maybe even keep a copy handy, but I think it's understandable that someone would have trouble remembering that rule.

I suppose the USTA has its reasons for permitting coaching at this time, but they've definitely made the rule complicated, which makes it much less likely to be evenly or consistently enforced.

Cindysphinx
06-16-2009, 10:28 PM
Part of the problem is that the rules can be surprisingly complicated. For instance, there isn't actually an easy yes/no answer to the "is coaching permitted in league play" question. It appears, from what people have posted here, that coaching is permitted between the second and third set, but only then, and not if the third set is replaced with a super tiebreak.


Yes, some rules can be tricky to remember or understand.

Which makes it all the more important to *read them.* That way your base of information is what you read, not what so-and-so said last year.

I read the rules at the beginning of every season. Why? Because otherwise you forget stuff. How much time does it take? Not much.

I swear, I have players who have been with me since 2005. I would bet *a lot* of cold hard cash that some of them have never once read the local rules, the rules of tennis, or the Code.

It shows in the questions they ask.

catfish
06-17-2009, 06:51 AM
USTA does have a lot of rules and I agree that it can be somewhat confusing at times. And some of the rules do leave room for interpretation. Part of the reason I follow these boards is that it’s interesting to see the discussions about different viewpoints, and to see how different areas handle problems.

My comments about people who ask questions rather than look for something was geared more towards those “helpless” types who would rather ask someone else to give them directions to a club than to look in Mapquest or the club’s website. Those people drive me nuts. And as a former league coordinator, I can tell you that there are quite a few captains that will not read any rules, and ask the same questions over and over and over. It is a coordinator’s job to answer questions, but it does get quite frustrating to send emails to captains stating things like, “the league season will start Sept. 15 and schedules will be posted by September 5th. “ You’d be amazed at the number of captains who respond to the email and ask "When will the schedules be posted". :(

GeoffB
06-17-2009, 09:36 AM
Yes, some rules can be tricky to remember or understand.

Which makes it all the more important to *read them.* That way your base of information is what you read, not what so-and-so said last year.

I read the rules at the beginning of every season. Why? Because otherwise you forget stuff. How much time does it take? Not much.

I swear, I have players who have been with me since 2005. I would bet *a lot* of cold hard cash that some of them have never once read the local rules, the rules of tennis, or the Code.

It shows in the questions they ask.


I definitely agree 100% with you that captains and players should read the rules. The code is reasonably brief, it's not War and Peace, or, worse yet, the US Tax Code.

That said, I do think a good system strives for simplicity. That doesn't mean it would sacrifice fairness or completeness for simplicity, just that it sould make simplicity an important goal along with fairness and completeness.

This is why I'm not particularly pleased with the coaching rule in USTA league matches. First, the rule is different from tournaments, where there is a strict "no coaching rule" (I think - this is what an official told me, but I couldn't find it in the code). So right off that bat, there's a danger of misunderstanding. Next, the coaching is allowed only under very specific conditions - between the second and third set. And lastly, there's a gotcha - if the third set is replaced with a "super tiebreak", then coaching isn't allowed. So this rule seems much more likely to trigger a violation than one that is written more simply and is easier to remember.

Maybe it's my background as a software developer, but I've learned through hard experience not to blame users of a system for failing to deal with complexity. Every feature may add some benefit, but I have to weigh that benefit against whatever burdens of complexity the system places on the user. Even if the feature is good, it may not be worth the complexity it adds.

I'm not quite prepared to say that the coaching rule in league play isn't worth the additional complexity, since I haven't had a chance to hear out the people who favor it. But I am really suspicious. My gut feeling, as it stands, would be to ban it completely to simplify the rule and keep it consistent with tournaments.

People *should* read the rules - again, I definitely agree with you. But just as some people say a programmer can't support more than about 50,000 lines of code, I suspect your average recreational player maxes out at a certain rule complexity. Anything beyond that will almost inevitably lead to people disregarding the rules because they haven't learned them, followed by complaints and so forth.

Pro rules can be much more complex, because professionals can be hired to enforce and interpret the rules. But for "unofficiated" matches (where officials who are quasi-trained volunteers come in to arbitrate)? It needs to be simple.

Of course, there's a big difference here - matches do take place in a competitive, "legalistic" environment. We all know that many people study the rules not to comply but to find a way to undermine them. Whenever this is the case, it becomes far more difficult to create a fair, consistent, simple, and complete set of rules, which is why I have a lot of sympathy for the USTA in this case.

JSF1
06-17-2009, 10:44 AM
In the Atlanta area, we play in alternating leagues and the two biggest are ALTA and USTA. ALTA basically follows all the USTA rules, but states coaching is illegal at all times. As we switch back and forth between the two players are always confused about the coaching rule.

Gemini
06-17-2009, 11:21 AM
In the Atlanta area, we play in alternating leagues and the two biggest are ALTA and USTA. ALTA basically follows all the USTA rules, but states coaching is illegal at all times. As we switch back and forth between the two players are always confused about the coaching rule.

I usually tell my guys to assume that they are not allowed to ask for outside help even on rules questions that dictate rudimentary things like "How to Play A Tiebreaker". With that being said, I have been at ALTA matches where all four players on the court have sought outside assistance on how to play a tiebreaker (this was a C8 team) and both team captains came together and agreed to instruct the players on how a tiebreaker should be played. In this case, both teams were violating the rules but I look at this type of situation as one infraction canceling out another.

Tenski
06-17-2009, 11:56 AM
Actually, my understanding (and the interpretation of the rule in these parts) is that you don't talk to *anyone* during the match...period.

Topaz--here is the NOVA local league rule that applies:
Spectators/Fans/Supporters
Remember: There is no communication allowed between spectators and players and absolutely no coaching of any kind!! There will be no glass hitting/pounding/ or tapping or any type of interference between spectators and players. The following applies only if a match is scheduled in a location that does not have spectator viewing areas. Only 1 spectator from each team will be allowed on the court to watch the match in progress unless a prior agreement between the opposing captains allow for more spectators. These spectators must enter the court at the beginning of the match and will not be able to leave the court until the match has been completed (in the case of an emergency). If the spectators choose to sit on the benches, remind these spectators that these benches are for the players use. Please allow the players to use these benches on the 90 seconds allowed on odd games. Remember…there is no communication allowed between spectators and players and absolutely no coaching of any kind!!

Tenski

amarone
06-17-2009, 08:04 PM
In the Atlanta area, we play in alternating leagues and the two biggest are ALTA and USTA. ALTA basically follows all the USTA rules, but states coaching is illegal at all times. As we switch back and forth between the two players are always confused about the coaching rule.In other words, ALTA does not follow all the USTA rules. They choose not to abide by the rules of the USTA with respect to coaching. I cannot understand why they do this, although I feel there is often an arrogance about the way ALTA runs things - they know best and they will do it their own way even if it involves not following the rules of tennis.

amarone
06-17-2009, 08:09 PM
This is why I'm not particularly pleased with the coaching rule in USTA league matches. First, the rule is different from tournaments, where there is a strict "no coaching rule" (I think - this is what an official told me, but I couldn't find it in the code). Then the official told you wrong. This is not a rule solely for USTA leagues. It is in the ITF rules of tennis (clarified by USTA comment) and applies to all USTA events and tournaments except those specifically designated as allowing coaching. Tournament play is just the same as USTA league - coaching is allowed in the authorized rest period between the second and third set.

With respect to confusion caused by tie-break third sets, there is no authorized rest period before a tie-break third set, and hence there is no period during which coaching is allowed.

amarone
06-17-2009, 08:12 PM
The following applies only if a match is scheduled in a location that does not have spectator viewing areas. Only 1 spectator from each team will be allowed on the court to watch the match in progress unless a prior agreement between the opposing captains allow for more spectators. Wow - I have never heard of anything like that before. Can the players refuse to allow a spectator? I can't say I would be keen on having a spectator sit that close. I have only once come across a spectator attempting to sit in the on-court benches, and we sent him out.