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Cindysphinx
07-22-2009, 11:19 AM
I play in the spring adult league in DC, as well as spring leagues in other places. DC does things differently from my other leagues in one key respect: The winner of the flight is the team that amasses the most individual wins.

Contrast this to Virginia and Maryland, in which the flight winner is the team that wins the most team matches. In case of a tie (say, two teams finish at 9-1), then you break the tie by looking at most individual wins, then sets lost, then games lost.

My DC team finished the season with a team record of just 8-2, which placed us in third place if you go by the team record. Indeed, we lost to the team that finished second in team wins/losses. Yikes.

Fortunately for us, we finished with more individual wins (39) than anyone else other than one other team. We lost only 26 sets, but the other team lost 27 sets.

**Which means my team is the winner of DC and is headed to sectionals!!**

Anyway, I was wondering whether the DC system (using individual wins to decide the champion rather than team wins) is a good idea.

On the one hand, using individual wins seems to reward teams who play only their strongest players and seems to encourage captains to bench players. If every court counts, you can't afford to lose even one court out of five -- ever. In contrast, when I captain in Maryland, I know that I can use weaker players against weaker teams (or use weaker players on some courts when I know I have unbeatable players on other courts) and we can still have a good shot at winning the team match 3-2.

The individual win system may go a long way to discourage stacking, though. You can't achieve anything by stacking and hoping to skip off with a 3-2 win over a stronger team, so you have every incentive to play your strongest players on the higher courts (knowing that defaults must be taken on the lower courts).

Then again, the individual win system means that defaults can really mess up the standings. We had 39 individual wins, as did that other team. But that team received a 5-court default from one of the weakest teams in the flight. We managed to sweep that same team 5-0 in straight sets, but had we given up a set or two, we would have lost the flight.

I dunno. I wonder what the other considerations are in deciding whether to determine flight winners by individual match wins or by team wins and which system is more fair?

Cindy -- who is trying to figure out how she will justify the cost and time away from home for sectionals when there is no chance whatever that she will play

JavierLW
07-22-2009, 03:57 PM
I play in the spring adult league in DC, as well as spring leagues in other places. DC does things differently from my other leagues in one key respect: The winner of the flight is the team that amasses the most individual wins.

Contrast this to Virginia and Maryland, in which the flight winner is the team that wins the most team matches. In case of a tie (say, two teams finish at 9-1), then you break the tie by looking at most individual wins, then sets lost, then games lost.

My DC team finished the season with a team record of just 8-2, which placed us in third place if you go by the team record. Indeed, we lost to the team that finished second in team wins/losses. Yikes.

Fortunately for us, we finished with more individual wins (39) than anyone else other than one other team. We lost only 26 sets, but the other team lost 27 sets.

**Which means my team is the winner of DC and is headed to sectionals!!**

Anyway, I was wondering whether the DC system (using individual wins to decide the champion rather than team wins) is a good idea.

On the one hand, using individual wins seems to reward teams who play only their strongest players and seems to encourage captains to bench players. If every court counts, you can't afford to lose even one court out of five -- ever. In contrast, when I captain in Maryland, I know that I can use weaker players against weaker teams (or use weaker players on some courts when I know I have unbeatable players on other courts) and we can still have a good shot at winning the team match 3-2.

The individual win system may go a long way to discourage stacking, though. You can't achieve anything by stacking and hoping to skip off with a 3-2 win over a stronger team, so you have every incentive to play your strongest players on the higher courts (knowing that defaults must be taken on the lower courts).

Then again, the individual win system means that defaults can really mess up the standings. We had 39 individual wins, as did that other team. But that team received a 5-court default from one of the weakest teams in the flight. We managed to sweep that same team 5-0 in straight sets, but had we given up a set or two, we would have lost the flight.

I dunno. I wonder what the other considerations are in deciding whether to determine flight winners by individual match wins or by team wins and which system is more fair?

Cindy -- who is trying to figure out how she will justify the cost and time away from home for sectionals when there is no chance whatever that she will play

We use individual wins here, it's better because:

1) Every single match counts. How the heck can someone claim it's a "team" event, when you have so many meaningless matches?

We had a situation earlier this year where came in two individual matches behind another team, and when we played them we were down 1-3, with the final match (#2 Singles) remaining.

In the team win system, that's a meaningless match, nobody cares to watch, and Ive even seen where really weak players just give up because they dont think it matters. (I could forward a funny email on here by some loser that did that)

But since it counted, that match was for first place. Our guy won, and I think that went a long way to helping us stay ahead up until this week (we're 5 ahead now and playing the same team again), because it would of been a real downer to fall behind and have to catch up. (because the week before we killed some team 5-0 that always wins first, which totally devastated them)

2) Forfeits hurt your team. GOOD!!!!!! Forfeits should hurt your team, it's totally not cool to show up with not enough players. It's disrespectful to your opponents who have invested the time and money to show up and play tennis and it makes the league less desirable. It's crazy that it doesnt hurt you in some way. (because in team win, you can win 3 matches still and who cares if you forfeited???)

(I think they should fine teams that constantly forfeit, or do something, that' more of a problem then sandbagging if it starts happening a lot)

You are right, on the teams that are in contention for first, it has created the "effect" of making them find 8 top notch (or ringer) players rather then in the other system where you might only need 3-4.

But who cares?

Who's to say you need to be on a team that's winning first place? Either get better at playing tennis so you are not benchwarming, or find a team that's not so gung ho about winning first.

CrocodileRock
07-22-2009, 06:13 PM
I like the individual wins method too, for the same reasons as Javier, but also because it rewards depth, which is a good thing to reward in my opinion.

Congratulations Cindy, and good luck.

boilerfan
07-23-2009, 08:42 AM
I actually prefer the team wins method.

I like the idea of going out there as a team, battling that team and having a winner at the end of the day. Having some meaningless moments are going to be part of a team sport like the last couple minutes of a bball or football game where the outcome has been decided. Each week is a new event and you battle the elements and the lineups given to determine a winner.

Player x: "Hey capn, did we win today?"
Captain: "Well player x, we'll know in 3 months if we won and I'll send you an email to let you know, but if we were keeping score, we would have won 3-2"

Although it would make that player feel better that was the last match to finish and the other matches were split 2-2 and then he lost a battle.

Player y: "Hey coach, did we win today"
Captain: "Well player y, if we were keeping score we would have lost 3-2 and you would have blown it for the team, but don't feel bad because our team is now 14 and 26 instead of 15 and 25."

Cindysphinx
07-23-2009, 10:34 AM
Who's to say you need to be on a team that's winning first place? Either get better at playing tennis so you are not benchwarming, or find a team that's not so gung ho about winning first.

Yeah, the whole thing about being on a winning team is a first for me. The only other times I have been on a winning team was when I was the captain.

This season, I was on one bottom-feeder 4.0 team where I was playing up and got my share of matches. I was captaining a middle 3.5 team where we split playing time equally. And then I joined this established playoff-bound team and only got 2 matches (in a league where each player pays $70 to register -- ouch).

Being on a top team like that is really a double-edged sword. I really like my teammates, who I know from various other teams. It is awesome to show up for a match with a new partner and see that she knows what she is doing and isn't going to drag you down. I like both captains a lot, as I knew I would. And it is nice to make new tennis friends and expand your circle, period.

But there is the constant pressure to win, the low-grade comparisons of who is better than whom. And no matter how you cut it, you can't be dominant at your level forever, as the computer will move you up. So even if I improve *and* manage to convince the captain that I have improved, my tenure at the top will be limited anyway.

I think the best place for me in tennis is on a mid-level team, playing Court One with a partner who is in the same place. It's hard to imagine I would be truly happy on playoff-bound teams given my overall feeling that winning a local amateur tennis league against a bunch of other women who are also pushing 50 isn't the most important thing in the world. The captain has reserved hotel rooms for all of the players, which suggests maybe I am expected to attend. So I'll be there. You'll be able to find me if you are there. I'll be the lady on the bench in the white shirt, red skirt, red visor, white wristbands who keeps glancing at her watch. :)

Eh, I strayed off topic again . . . .

Cindy -- who had The Talk with her husband and explained how he has to juggle his insane work load and handle the kids and dog for three days while she sits on a bench at a tennis tournament

Cindysphinx
07-23-2009, 10:36 AM
I actually prefer the team wins method.

I like the idea of going out there as a team, battling that team and having a winner at the end of the day. Having some meaningless moments are going to be part of a team sport like the last couple minutes of a bball or football game where the outcome has been decided. Each week is a new event and you battle the elements and the lineups given to determine a winner.

Player x: "Hey capn, did we win today?"
Captain: "Well player x, we'll know in 3 months if we won and I'll send you an email to let you know, but if we were keeping score, we would have won 3-2"

Although it would make that player feel better that was the last match to finish and the other matches were split 2-2 and then he lost a battle.

Player y: "Hey coach, did we win today"
Captain: "Well player y, if we were keeping score we would have lost 3-2 and you would have blown it for the team, but don't feel bad because our team is now 14 and 26 instead of 15 and 25."

Yeah, it is excruciating when you are the last to finish your team match and you lose. Then you find out that the entire team match was riding on you.

Conversely, I lost one match this season in the league where they go by individual wins. I felt a lot better when I learned that day that the team match result didn't matter. Our 2-3 loss that day meant we lost a little bit of ground, not a lot of ground.

cak
07-23-2009, 10:54 AM
I belong to a fairly small club. We can field at most one team at the more popular levels. (3.0, 3.5...) We have quite a few players that are extremely good at their level, and a few that are wonderful team players, throw a good after season party, but are not sure wins in any sense of the word. In the present team wins type rules they can be on a winning team, or even in a winning match, without the pressure to perform. And often they even surprise everyone. But if the league were to change to the "every match counts" formula, they wouldn't get to play.

The advantage of the team wins formula is you can put weaker players out there and give them a chance to be successful without gambling your team's chance for a win. This is especially important in clubs with lots of beginners, as you can play the less experienced people in matches where there is no pressure for their court to win, and just give them the chance to build up experience.

To me, the team wins philosophy is the type of league where you can grow people into the game. The Individual Match wins philosophy would promote the uber-teams, where people recruit mercenaries to win, and only to win. Not that there aren't teams like that now, there are, but sometimes they can be knocked off by the up and coming small club teams. So if USTA is trying to get more people into leagues, the Team Win type leagues are a better match.

brad1730
07-23-2009, 12:26 PM
Individual Wins method should cut down on sandbagging in order to maintain your NTRP rating.

OrangePower
07-23-2009, 12:40 PM
In my opinion the individual wins method dilutes much of the concept of team tennis. Part of what makes team tennis team tennis, is the need to balance the goals of winning with those of growing players, giving playing time to everyone, making the most strategic lineups with the players you have on a given week, etc. Taking all of that away makes it less interesting I think.

JavierLW
07-23-2009, 12:49 PM
I actually prefer the team wins method.

I like the idea of going out there as a team, battling that team and having a winner at the end of the day. Having some meaningless moments are going to be part of a team sport like the last couple minutes of a bball or football game where the outcome has been decided. Each week is a new event and you battle the elements and the lineups given to determine a winner.

Player x: "Hey capn, did we win today?"
Captain: "Well player x, we'll know in 3 months if we won and I'll send you an email to let you know, but if we were keeping score, we would have won 3-2"

Although it would make that player feel better that was the last match to finish and the other matches were split 2-2 and then he lost a battle.

Player y: "Hey coach, did we win today"
Captain: "Well player y, if we were keeping score we would have lost 3-2 and you would have blown it for the team, but don't feel bad because our team is now 14 and 26 instead of 15 and 25."

You can still say you won if you won 3-2. We do, we feel bad if we lose to someone 2-3, even though luckily it might not of hurt us much in the standings, it's a pride thing more then anything.

Plus the "individual wins count rule" only really matters for whoever takes first or who moves onto the playoffs.

Everyone else can always feel good about whatever they want to feel good about, the system still records team wins, they just dont count toward winning first.

And just because it's called "team wins" doesnt mean that you're battling it out "as a team". How can you say that when not every person on your entire team is playing a match that actually counts?

I liken it to baseball. People talk about how teams play a series (a set of 3 games or 4 games).

You can win the series or lose the series or split, but that doesnt ultimately matter in the standings because they count each game, not the entire series. (The series are just more of a pride thing then anything else, you are playing some team one on one and you'd like to measure your success against them by whether you've manage to beat them in 2 out of 3 games this week)

And why do people seem to want to copy the worst parts of other sports and somehow use it for justification on why something can be less than desirable in tennis???

"Garbage Time" is boring in Baskeball or Football, and you cant tell me otherwise. (except here if it's garbage time in Basketball, they start playing Polka music, someone might like that.....)

If Basketball and Football featured getting poked in the eye with a long sharp object, would you say that's okay for tennis as well?

JavierLW
07-23-2009, 12:54 PM
In my opinion the individual wins method dilutes much of the concept of team tennis. Part of what makes team tennis team tennis, is the need to balance the goals of winning with those of growing players, giving playing time to everyone, making the most strategic lineups with the players you have on a given week, etc. Taking all of that away makes it less interesting I think.

Unless you're trying to take first place, you can still do all of those things. It's pretty much meaningless how they account for a winner if you are not the winner.

And there is a lot more strategy that goes into a individual wins lineup then a team wins lineup anyway.

Can you tell me that randomizing your lineup to prevent stacking or stuffing your "developing players" at #1 Doubles is somehow good for growing the game???

This is the first year that my team has a VERY reasonable chance at winning first. Every other year we've finished anywhere from 2nd to 4th, and our goals at some point are always the same, to do our best every week and I still let a lot of people play.

And also because there is a lot less stacking it's actually easier for me to do that, because it's easier for me to find matches that my players can compete in.

And while we always gauged what place we were in by individual wins, there is nothing to say we had to do that, we could feel just as good about team wins. (we werent going to the playoffs, so who cares???) They dont give you anything for 3rd place you know.....

(and we still always respect that we either "won" or "lost" on any given night. We dont need a pen and a water bottle to feel good, if we're playing you, we want to beat you, no matter how it counts in the standings)

cak
07-23-2009, 01:37 PM
Unless you're trying to take first place, you can still do all of those things. It's pretty much meaningless how they account for a winner if you are not the winner.

As I said, I belong to a fairly small club, and despite who we have available for any given team, every team we put out there goes out at the beginning of the season with the belief they are trying to take first place. And with some very savvy captains, and the team win concept, we have taken first place in local league more than a few times, despite having a players ranging from first year USTA players to grizzled veterans.

However, I would have no problem with USTA coming up with two leagues, the individual win league advancing to Nationals, and the team win league advancing only as far as sectionals. That way those uber teams of mercenaries can push the ratings envelopes as much as they want and go for the pen, and the small club teams can develop players while building comradery for their club.

As USTA would want to encourage the development teams, I'm betting they could even hold those sectionals in pretty resort places so the teams could go for a fun weekend, add in possible activities such as dinner dances and skills games or golf tourneys. Right now the sectionals are littered with the mercenary teams that are playing to win, but really don't feel the need to socialize, so the extra activities would fall flat.

OrangePower
07-23-2009, 03:27 PM
Unless you're trying to take first place, you can still do all of those things. It's pretty much meaningless how they account for a winner if you are not the winner.

And there is a lot more strategy that goes into a individual wins lineup then a team wins lineup anyway.

Can you tell me that randomizing your lineup to prevent stacking or stuffing your "developing players" at #1 Doubles is somehow good for growing the game???

This is the first year that my team has a VERY reasonable chance at winning first. Every other year we've finished anywhere from 2nd to 4th, and our goals at some point are always the same, to do our best every week and I still let a lot of people play.

And also because there is a lot less stacking it's actually easier for me to do that, because it's easier for me to find matches that my players can compete in.

And while we always gauged what place we were in by individual wins, there is nothing to say we had to do that, we could feel just as good about team wins. (we werent going to the playoffs, so who cares???) They dont give you anything for 3rd place you know.....

(and we still always respect that we either "won" or "lost" on any given night. We dont need a pen and a water bottle to feel good, if we're playing you, we want to beat you, no matter how it counts in the standings)

I co-captain a team, and like you, we are *always* trying to take first place. Some seasons we manage to do it, sometimes not, but we always try.

From a practical point of view, and taking the recently completed season as an example, I can say for sure that less people would have gotten an opportunity to play had our league been based on individual wins. There is no doubt about this as far as I'm concerned.

Especially early in the season, when you don't know how things are going to work out and how competitive your team is going to be at the end, if we were playing for individual wins I would have tried to put out my strongest possible line-up every week, to accumulate as many individual wins as possible.

With team wins, I was able to mix it up more while still making sure we got the team wins, because there's no real difference between going 5-0 and 3-2 unless there's a tie at the end of the season, and I'm willing to take that risk. So more people got to play, and to be part of the team experience.

But then again on my team we are trying to achieve a balance... we expect to be competitive and in the running to make playoffs, and at the same time we want to give as many people a chance to play as possible.

For teams that are either purely competitive and don't mind that only a few people play all the matches (the strongest people), or teams that are purely social and just want to give people a chance to play without caring about making playoffs, then maybe individual wins is fine.

Cindysphinx
07-23-2009, 05:14 PM
As a captain in a league that counts team wins, I feel like I have done my players a disservice if we win 5-0. That means that I used too much ammunition for that match, and some weaker players missed out on the chance to play.

Last year, my 6.5 combo team went to the state championships (as the second-place team). We went 14-2. Eight of our wins were 2-1.

We were all proud that we had managed to do so well despite splitting playing time. However, I was really proud of having put together line-ups that had just the right amount of oomph rather than just playing the same small group of players over and over.

raiden031
07-23-2009, 07:18 PM
You'll be able to find me if you are there. I'll be the lady on the bench in the white shirt, red skirt, red visor, white wristbands who keeps glancing at her watch. :)

Eh, I strayed off topic again . . . .

Cindy -- who had The Talk with her husband and explained how he has to juggle his insane work load and handle the kids and dog for three days while she sits on a bench at a tennis tournament

Do you think you won't be played at all if you go? How do you see your skill level compared to your teammates?

When I traveled to sectionals and nationals, I probably would not have attended if I was concerned about playing time. Its just too much money and time commitment for not playing. I didn't do it for the enjoyment of cheering on my team, I did it for myself, and for the team was just icing on the cake.

Cindysphinx
07-24-2009, 05:37 AM
I see my skill level as comparable to the other ladies. The problem is that many of my teammates have been doubles partners for years. If you put them in the line-up, you know they will have a good chance to win. If you put me and someone I barely know in the line-up, anything could happen.

If I were the captain, there is no way I would put me in the line-up for sectionals. Too risky. So I think I won't get to play.

I think I would have to be on this team for a few more seasons before I'll have an established partner and earn the confidence of my captain.

boilerfan
07-24-2009, 05:40 AM
You can still say you won if you won 3-2. We do, we feel bad if we lose to someone 2-3, even though luckily it might not of hurt us much in the standings, it's a pride thing more then anything.

Plus the "individual wins count rule" only really matters for whoever takes first or who moves onto the playoffs.

Everyone else can always feel good about whatever they want to feel good about, the system still records team wins, they just dont count toward winning first.

And just because it's called "team wins" doesnt mean that you're battling it out "as a team". How can you say that when not every person on your entire team is playing a match that actually counts?

I liken it to baseball. People talk about how teams play a series (a set of 3 games or 4 games).

You can win the series or lose the series or split, but that doesnt ultimately matter in the standings because they count each game, not the entire series. (The series are just more of a pride thing then anything else, you are playing some team one on one and you'd like to measure your success against them by whether you've manage to beat them in 2 out of 3 games this week)

And why do people seem to want to copy the worst parts of other sports and somehow use it for justification on why something can be less than desirable in tennis???

"Garbage Time" is boring in Baskeball or Football, and you cant tell me otherwise. (except here if it's garbage time in Basketball, they start playing Polka music, someone might like that.....)

If Basketball and Football featured getting poked in the eye with a long sharp object, would you say that's okay for tennis as well?

The reason I brought up garbage time is because you mentioned how sometimes the 5th match is meaningless, which to me is like garbage time in other team oriented sports. I guess that if you said getting poked in the eye was part of tennis, I might have compared that to basketball also if basketball had eye poking.

Playing other sports is what has rounded my mentality towards tennis as a team sport. Tennis is not a team sport, but the leagues make it a team sport. So, when trying to come up with rules on how to turn tennis into a team sport, I try to compare to playing games in other team sports. I am sure your mentality could be rounded by what team sports you played.

With that being said, I am used to playing "games". So in baseball you set a lineup on a specific day to play another team, battle the weather, battle current injuries, play 9 innings and the game ends. The game begins and ends and has a winner and the standings reflect the winner. Like you said, in a baseball series, each game counts in the standings because you had a new lineup, new weather..etc. You set your lineup for that day depending on who you are playing that day. The factors you mentioned for it not being a "team" such as meaningless matches or not everybody playing relates well to other team sports for me.

In the other sports the standings reflect the games played and the winners are the ones that win the most games. It isn't like you end the baseball season and say that the Cubs are in first in the standings, but the Cardinals scored more runs, so the Cards go to the playoffs.

Even more important to me though is that I think about half the captains I know would play the weaker players less. Instead of trying to make it a little more competitive against weaker teams, some teams would set out to destroy those teams and not lose any sets. That mentality is rounded by the teams I am on or know of, so I am sure other people think differently since they might be on less competitive teams with less competitive captains. If you are in the hunt for the playoffs against another team I can see having the mentality of:

we beat team xyz 4-1 today, but our competitor beat abc today 3-2, so we actually won 4-3 today. I just don't like the idea of thinking that you beat a team you didn't play. I would like the idea even less if we lost 5-4 because the competitor was given a default from a no-show team.

JavierLW
07-24-2009, 05:57 AM
In the other sports the standings reflect the games played and the winners are the ones that win the most games. It isn't like you end the baseball season and say that the Cubs are in first in the standings, but the Cardinals scored more runs, so the Cards go to the playoffs.

Even more important to me though is that I think about half the captains I know would play the weaker players less. Instead of trying to make it a little more competitive against weaker teams, some teams would set out to destroy those teams and not lose any sets. That mentality is rounded by the teams I am on or know of, so I am sure other people think differently since they might be on less competitive teams with less competitive captains. If you are in the hunt for the playoffs against another team I can see having the mentality of:

we beat team xyz 4-1 today, but our competitor beat abc today 3-2, so we actually won 4-3 today. I just don't like the idea of thinking that you beat a team you didn't play. I would like the idea even less if we lost 5-4 because the competitor was given a default from a no-show team.

Ah, but that's the thing. You're talking apples and oranges.

Each individual match is not like a run in baseball. It's a MATCH!!!!

On each court 2 or 4 players are playing their own individual match in an effort to win it. That is not at all like runs in baseball.

So you can either count those matches, or you can count the team win. There is no "team" either way. (although I'll keep arguing that it's more "team" if every match counts)

We've been playing in this system since 2001, and I can tell you that 95% of the teams do not care or even know that individual wins matter, they never take first place or even come close. So there is plenty of room to be on a team if you just want to play.

My team is not always in the hunt either, and despite what you think I have players who definately are just 3.5 players and Im able to find matches for them. We dont just roll out the same 8 people every week to clobber everyone because that's not what we are about.

(it just so happens this year we're in first because a lot of the former "SuperTeams" that had mostly all 4.0 players are finally getting moved up thanks to the no appeal rule for teams in the playoffs)

If you happen to be in first place or running for first place, and you want to have your cake and eat it too so to speak if the rules were changed, that's your problem. We had to decide what is more important, and that actually makes it sound interesting.

Most years we get clobbered by the first place team and we fall out of it by enough that it would be a shame if not everyone got to play, this year we clobbered the team that usually takes first and got so far ahead that it's a shame if we didnt pull thru. (and Ive still gotten to play everyone a decent amount although Im not bean counting it to make sure they all play X number of times, and they are not a bunch of whiners who are just in it for themselves so they get their weekly match in)

JavierLW
07-24-2009, 06:00 AM
As a captain in a league that counts team wins, I feel like I have done my players a disservice if we win 5-0. That means that I used too much ammunition for that match, and some weaker players missed out on the chance to play.

Last year, my 6.5 combo team went to the state championships (as the second-place team). We went 14-2. Eight of our wins were 2-1.

We were all proud that we had managed to do so well despite splitting playing time. However, I was really proud of having put together line-ups that had just the right amount of oomph rather than just playing the same small group of players over and over.

You can do the very same thing in the individual wins system. You just may not take first place then. (but you can be proud to be in 3rd place or wherever)

It certainly creates tougher decisions as a captain, but that's what life is about sometimes.....

cak
07-24-2009, 06:09 AM
Javier, you would make the best AYSO U8 coach. "We probably won't win on goals today, so we can be proud we made more passes than the other team." From experience, there will always be a 7 year old girl that can keep track of goals, and knows you lost if you didn't have more than the other team.

If you have a league that only counts individual wins does your team have to play the same day? Or can you schedule the matches individually? Since at the end of the meet the outcome doesn't mean anything in the big picture I would think you could schedule the individual matches to meet the players schedules.

Cindysphinx
07-24-2009, 06:53 AM
I think the analogies between tennis and baseball/basketball/football are not helpful. Those sports are truly team sports. All the players compete at the same time, and what one player does affects the others and ultimately the standings. Tennis (setting aside doubles) is not like that at all.

Nevertheless, we want tennis to be a team sport, so we have to do the best we can. So what format comes closest to making tennis a team sport?

Let's look at other individual sports that have managed to make for exciting and meaningful team competition. Gymnastics and swimming come to mind.

In gymnastics, you form a team by taking six gymnasts and declaring them to be a team. The coach puts four gymnasts on each apparatus and the scores are combined. If one gymnast performs poorly, it drags down the others so the team cannot win. One strong team member cannot do extra routines to compensate for the weaknesses of other team members.

In swimming, you form a team by taking four swimmers and making them swim back-to-back in a relay. If one is slow, it drags down the others such that the team cannot win. Michael Phelps can't swim two legs to make up for the slower time of another team member.

Thinking of it that way, you definitely would not structure team tennis by determining the winner by total individual wins over the season. One obvious reason is that this would allow the Michael Phelps on your team to play every single week and thereby singlehandedly guarantee a large number of wins.

Also, in team gymnastics and team swimming, the poor performance of one team member drags down the whole squad. In tennis when you count team wins (2-3 is a loss), the poor performance of some drag down and almost completely neutralize the performances of the Michael Phelpses on the team. When you only count individual wins to determine the champion, however, the occasional loss by a weak member isn't nearly so devastating. 2-3 isn't a loss; it is "close enough."

So. I guess I am talking myself into believing that the team wins method is better than the individual wins method as a way to structure a tennis league. "Better" in that it does a more complete job of transforming an individual sport into a team sport.

Cindysphinx
07-24-2009, 06:59 AM
While I'm picking fuzz out of my navel, what about this?

Right now, there is a rule that says a player is ineligible for the playoffs if she didn't play at least two matches during the season (and one can be a default).

How about if there were a rule that a player could play no more than 50% of the matches during the season? On our team, our top singles player played 10 of 10 matches and won them all. Although that was great for our team, it doesn't do much to reward depth.

boilerfan
07-24-2009, 07:34 AM
Ah, but that's the thing. You're talking apples and oranges.

Each individual match is not like a run in baseball. It's a MATCH!!!!

On each court 2 or 4 players are playing their own individual match in an effort to win it. That is not at all like runs in baseball.

So you can either count those matches, or you can count the team win. There is no "team" either way. (although I'll keep arguing that it's more "team" if every match counts)



Trying to make tennis into a "game", you set a lineup to play against another team and you try to get 3 points to win the game. The individual matches are the scoring system for the lineup you set against another team. I don't know of any other sport where you add up the total scores of the games to determine a league winner. To me it would be like adding up the total run differentials in baseball at the end of the season to determine a winner. It alters the way you compete against a team because you are also directly competing against all the other teams playing in your league. Do I alter my singles and doubles players because I think I can get 3 wins by putting my guys a certain way, or do I spread it more thin to get 4 or 5 wins because I need to keep pace with some other team that is playing a weaker team today. I just personally don't like the idea of competing directly with a team that I am not playing.


I think I would miss the competitive aspect of competing head-to-head against a team to determine a winner. You could actually win that 2-2 match to be 3-2 on the day, but actually lose the day because some other team won 4-1...So, did you actually win or lose? I can see your point about it being more a "team" aspect because you could say that your team didn't compete as well as the other team that won 4-1, so we deserve to lose as a team for the day. Just not the way I prefer to determine a winner and a loser because there are a lot of factors that go into saying "my team beat another team head to head, but lost to another team because they beat a different team by a wider margin than we beat our opponent. So, basically in a 10 team league, we beat 5 teams today, lost to 2 and tied 2."

Topaz
07-24-2009, 07:45 AM
How about if there were a rule that a player could play no more than 50% of the matches during the season? On our team, our top singles player played 10 of 10 matches and won them all. Although that was great for our team, it doesn't do much to reward depth.

That would be a total nightmare because of availability (or lack thereof).

BG = the Michael Phelps of your team. Of course she played every match...that is why she was brought onto the team.

PS...one of your captains emailed me for a scouting report on the VA teams, LOL!

PPS...team wins is what will count at Sectionals...the only time it comes down to individual wins is if the team wins are tied. Good luck.

Wizard of id
07-24-2009, 07:49 AM
I think the analogies between tennis and baseball/basketball/football are not helpful. Those sports are truly team sports. All the players compete at the same time, and what one player does affects the others and ultimately the standings. Tennis (setting aside doubles) is not like that at all.
.

How about using the closest possible analogy - chess? Unfortunately, there it's individual results followed by team results.

Chess is by it's nature a one-on-one game, there's no cooperation allowed in team chess, and no real determination of individual strength (unlike swimming times or gymnastic scores) other than win-lose or draw (at least tennis eliminates the last possibility!)

Chess team competitions consist of multiple boards (usually 4). There are various ways of restricting team strengths and ensuring strong players play strong players etc.

Chess final scores are usually decided by game points (i.e. individual results) then by match points (the total result of the team, where a 3-2 win counts as one point). There are usually limited substitutions allowed, and players often can't be substituted "back in".

However, I agree with your assessment in that this promotes the constant playing of your strongest players, and rewards individual consistency (Your 10 wins out of 10 top player would probably be winning a "board award" in a chess tourney) and not rotation of your players so that everyone gets a chance. Certainly the team method you prefer is positively better for that.

boilerfan
07-24-2009, 07:49 AM
I think the analogies between tennis and baseball/basketball/football are not helpful. Those sports are truly team sports. All the players compete at the same time, and what one player does affects the others and ultimately the standings. Tennis (setting aside doubles) is not like that at all.

Nevertheless, we want tennis to be a team sport, so we have to do the best we can. So what format comes closest to making tennis a team sport?

Let's look at other individual sports that have managed to make for exciting and meaningful team competition. Gymnastics and swimming come to mind.

In gymnastics, you form a team by taking six gymnasts and declaring them to be a team. The coach puts four gymnasts on each apparatus and the scores are combined. If one gymnast performs poorly, it drags down the others so the team cannot win. One strong team member cannot do extra routines to compensate for the weaknesses of other team members.

In swimming, you form a team by taking four swimmers and making them swim back-to-back in a relay. If one is slow, it drags down the others such that the team cannot win. Michael Phelps can't swim two legs to make up for the slower time of another team member.

Thinking of it that way, you definitely would not structure team tennis by determining the winner by total individual wins over the season. One obvious reason is that this would allow the Michael Phelps on your team to play every single week and thereby singlehandedly guarantee a large number of wins.

Also, in team gymnastics and team swimming, the poor performance of one team member drags down the whole squad. In tennis when you count team wins (2-3 is a loss), the poor performance of some drag down and almost completely neutralize the performances of the Michael Phelpses on the team. When you only count individual wins to determine the champion, however, the occasional loss by a weak member isn't nearly so devastating. 2-3 isn't a loss; it is "close enough."

So. I guess I am talking myself into believing that the team wins method is better than the individual wins method as a way to structure a tennis league. "Better" in that it does a more complete job of transforming an individual sport into a team sport.


I actually just picked baseball and basketball to show where my mentality was built off of. I think both ways of determining a winner for the USTA leagues are fine, but just showing my preference for a certain way based on how I view sports in general.

I actually was working on a post similar to yours to compare to sports more similar to tennis. The only real comparison I could find was wrestling, since it is really 1 individual versus 1 individual. In swimming, gymnastics, and track and field you are really competing against many other people at 1 time and I didn't want to have to defend that like defending runs as a scoring system. I would love to see the BCS type backlash though if Iowa went undefeated as a team in wrestling and still lost the conference because Michigan got more individual wins. Really my mindset comes from being able to clearly define a winner and loser for that match..just my preference

boilerfan
07-24-2009, 08:02 AM
Chess team competitions consist of multiple boards (usually 4). There are various ways of restricting team strengths and ensuring strong players play strong players etc.

Chess final scores are usually decided by game points (i.e. individual results) then by match points (the total result of the team, where a 3-2 win counts as one point). There are usually limited substitutions allowed, and players often can't be substituted "back in".



Are the team competitions played close together? Where it would be more of a tournament where you have a specific lineup you use versus each other team?

I actually could see using an individual match winner in a USTA league if the team basically had only 8 people, you set a lineup at the beginning of the season, and you schedule individually to play each other team with that lineup. You can play the matches at any given time so you don't have to worry about availability. It is basically 5 different round robin tournaments, where a "team" consists of 1 interest in each tournament.

Cindysphinx
07-24-2009, 08:04 AM
That would be a total nightmare because of availability (or lack thereof).

See, I don't know about this.

If my captains knew they could only play Michael Phelps five times, they would have to play someone else at singles five times. That person might be me.

Is being forced to play me instead of Michael at No. 1 singles a good thing or a bad thing? I think on balance it is a good thing. A very good thing. The point of USTA's rating system is to maximize the chance that league players will have competitive matches. Playing Michael Phelps against the weakest team is no fun for anyone. Playing me in singles against the weakest team? Anything could happen. I might lose, which would give the weakest team something to talk about. Either way, it would be a much more interesting match.

So my proposal would force captains to take some chances. I seriously doubt there would be more defaults.

The other problem I notice with individual scoring is that it is almost impossible to clinch the title until the final week. Contrast this to team scoring, where our 6.5 team clinched the title a week or two before the season ended. Which allowed me to give some extra matches to weaker players.

BG = the Michael Phelps of your team. Of course she played every match...that is why she was brought onto the team.

Just to be clear . . . I'm not complaining that BG got 10 matches and I got 2. She is better than I am. That's the way it goes. I would be very unhappy if this team were my only team, as I sign up to play tennis in order to play tennis. But I was on 2 other teams and managed to play about 13 matches over the 12-week season. That is plenty.

PS...one of your captains emailed me for a scouting report on the VA teams, LOL!

Aw, come on. Help her out. My captains are very nice and they run an ethical team. I'm sure she'd do the same for you if the tables were turned.

PPS...team wins is what will count at Sectionals...the only time it comes down to individual wins is if the team wins are tied. Good luck.

Yeah, this could get interesting. Almost all of our losses this year were at doubles, so we will definitely need to step up. Which is bad news for me. 'Cause I just got back from a two-week vacation in a South American country. Where it is winter, so I am feeling the heat and could only run for six minutes today. Where I played no tennis, so I am sporting a layer of rust. And where I seem to have picked up some sort of stomach bug.

Yep, that's who you want playing doubles for you at Sectionals: A rusty, sweaty, exhausted, nauseated newcomer to the team. :)

Wizard of id
07-24-2009, 08:27 AM
Are the team competitions played close together? Where it would be more of a tournament where you have a specific lineup you use versus each other team?

I actually could see using an individual match winner in a USTA league if the team basically had only 8 people, you set a lineup at the beginning of the season, and you schedule individually to play each other team with that lineup. You can play the matches at any given time so you don't have to worry about availability. It is basically 5 different round robin tournaments, where a "team" consists of 1 interest in each tournament.

I'm not sure what you mean by close together (they're not allowed to see each other's boards), but your final analogy is accurate. It ends up being 5 different round-robin tournaments. You do usually have a specific lineup that consists of the minimum number of players plus one or two "emergency" substitutes in case of no-shows, etc. That pretty much is the difference. I guess using what you had in minds, you might end up with more "teams".

I'm not clear what the tournament organisers have in mind. Is this supposed to be about getting the "strongest" teams through for some purpose? It is supposed to generate competitive matches and fun for the people playing?

Notionally, if the only objective is to reward the strongest players (note- players, not team) or to qualify them to a higher tournament through, then individual result is best.

On the other hand, if the objective is generally competitive play, fun, maintaining interest in the sport, etc. etc. then team wins first sounds like a stronger way of handling it, with net individual wins as a tiebreaker for the championship, perhaps.

By the way, my ignorance of USTA team tournaments is clearly showing, so how many players ARE there on these teams, and how is scheduling done? All matches vs a specific team on the same day?

boilerfan
07-24-2009, 08:43 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by close together (they're not allowed to see each other's boards), but your final analogy is accurate. It ends up being 5 different round-robin tournaments. You do usually have a specific lineup that consists of the minimum number of players plus one or two "emergency" substitutes in case of no-shows, etc. That pretty much is the difference. I guess using what you had in minds, you might end up with more "teams".

I'm not clear what the tournament organisers have in mind. Is this supposed to be about getting the "strongest" teams through for some purpose? It is supposed to generate competitive matches and fun for the people playing?

Notionally, if the only objective is to reward the strongest players (note- players, not team) or to qualify them to a higher tournament through, then individual result is best.

On the other hand, if the objective is generally competitive play, fun, maintaining interest in the sport, etc. etc. then team wins first sounds like a stronger way of handling it, with net individual wins as a tiebreaker for the championship, perhaps.

By the way, my ignorance of USTA team tournaments is clearly showing, so how many players ARE there on these teams, and how is scheduling done? All matches vs a specific team on the same day?


Sorry..I mean close together by time...not proximity. So I was just asking if the tournament happens over a weekend or over 10 weeks or somewhere in between.

For most of the teams I am on, we have about 14 people on a team, and you play 8 in a match. Typically the matches are one per week and about 10 weeks. Also in USTA leagues you are allowed to have your #2 singles player be stronger than your #1 singles player and also you can do that for doubles.

Wizard of id
07-24-2009, 09:17 AM
Sorry..I mean close together by time...not proximity. So I was just asking if the tournament happens over a weekend or over 10 weeks or somewhere in between.

For most of the teams I am on, we have about 14 people on a team, and you play 8 in a match. Typically the matches are one per week and about 10 weeks. Also in USTA leagues you are allowed to have your #2 singles player be stronger than your #1 singles player and also you can do that for doubles.

Thanks, now I understand it a little better. 8 players? Is that three singles, two doubles and a substitute?

For chess, it's usually a single weekend. Makes life a lot easier without complex multi-week scheduling. People without teams frequently form teams at the tournament itself.

Given all that's been said, I'm going with cindysphinx on this - if you're allowed to muck about with the playing order- team tactics coming into play there, and if it's all about giving people competitive games and maintaining an interest in tennis, rather than weeding out the weak, then for sure, team wins should count first. Otherwise I can see the weak members not getting a game at all. This way they at least get some- probably mostly in "dead-rubbers games", but it's something :).

Of course, I might change my mind later.

Cindysphinx
07-24-2009, 09:32 AM
Thanks, now I understand it a little better. 8 players? Is that three singles, two doubles and a substitute?

For chess, it's usually a single weekend. Makes life a lot easier without complex multi-week scheduling. People without teams frequently form teams at the tournament itself.

Given all that's been said, I'm going with cindysphinx on this - if you're allowed to muck about with the playing order- team tactics coming into play there, and if it's all about giving people competitive games and maintaining an interest in tennis, rather than weeding out the weak, then for sure, team wins should count first. Otherwise I can see the weak members not getting a game at all. This way they at least get some- probably mostly in "dead-rubbers games", but it's something :).

Of course, I might change my mind later.

The way USTA spring adult play works is two courts of singles, three courts of doubles. That's eight players.

Other USTA leagues (say, winter combo or winter mixed) play only three courts of doubles, so that is six players per outing.

I am actually surprised that USTA allows local leagues to decide which method they will use to decide the champion. Wouldn't it make better sense for this sort of thing to be standardized so that at sectionals you are comparing apples to apples?

Topaz
07-24-2009, 09:40 AM
Aw, come on. Help her out. My captains are very nice and they run an ethical team. I'm sure she'd do the same for you if the tables were turned.


She doesn't need me...she's got a member from my team on your team.

Suffice to say, if a team made it through VA districts they are very, very, *very* good. There were three flights of five teams and one flight of four teams. To advance to the final round you had to win your flight. Then you had to win your semi-final match. Then it didn't matter, since VA sends two teams to sectionals this year...both teams who made the final are in. By then a team has had to play four or five matches in three days. I can tell you that the Shenandoah team did not put out their strongest players for the final, opting instead to get more of their players in who hadn't played as much.

I'll hold my tongue on the rest.

PS...again, BG playing every match isn't an accident...like PS on the 'other' team...she was put there to play every match and win...exactly as described in your Michael Phelps scenario. But you are right...to win you will need strong doubles pairs.

Wizard of id
07-24-2009, 10:05 AM
The way USTA spring adult play works is two courts of singles, three courts of doubles. That's eight players.

Other USTA leagues (say, winter combo or winter mixed) play only three courts of doubles, so that is six players per outing.

I am actually surprised that USTA allows local leagues to decide which method they will use to decide the champion. Wouldn't it make better sense for this sort of thing to be standardized so that at sectionals you are comparing apples to apples?

Thanks! (Out of idle curiousity, why the winter/spring difference?)

And yes, it's a very odd thing to let the local league decide! These are usually highly standardized rules in most sports (that I know of), especially when they feed into national or regional tournaments.

Cindysphinx
07-24-2009, 10:14 AM
Thanks! (Out of idle curiousity, why the winter/spring difference?)



I don't know why the winter/spring difference (that is, no singles from September through March).

I think there is a lot less emphasis on singles in league play for practical reasons. There are *a lot* of people who don't want to play singles. This can be due to age, injury, or just personal preference. Plus, indoor courts are a scarce resource in winter, so so it would be hard to find blocks of five courts to be able to field singles in the winter.