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View Full Version : What's Loyalty Got To Do With It?


Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 08:43 AM
I had an interesting discussion with someone last night. It seems this (excellent) player is leaving a team because the captain cut one of her friends from the team. A few other star players may join the mutiny.

As a captain, I have always been loathe to cut (defined as not inviting them back for the next season) anyone from one of my teams. I've only done it once, when the team wanted to make a playoff run and the player's level had dropped considerably *and* I was having trouble finding them a partner. I still feel a little guilty about it, though.

I can't say that the thought of not inviting someone back solely based on relative strength hasn't crossed my mind. Especially on my teams, where we split playing time equally. It can be awfully hard to put together line-ups when you have 1-2 below level players. On the other hand, it is nice to have players who won't ditch me because a better team expresses interest in them, and I can't expect that kind of loyalty if I don't give that kind of loyalty in return.

Captains, what is your own policy on whether you invite players back? Do you feel an obligation of loyalty to those on your current squad? Do you cut people, and does it ever result in a mutiny? Players, would you ever leave a team if the captain cut one of your friends who was weak? If you've ever been cut, did you think it was justified?

cak
12-04-2009, 08:57 AM
I play at a club where all players of that level are eligible for the team, and everyone is guaranteed two matches (assuming they are available for 4 or more...) So the captains get what they get.

However, most the players are on the team to play and socialize with their friends. If their friends are not playing, for one reason or another, often they also drop off the team. It's not meant as a slight to the captain or the rest of the team. They were just using USTA league as another reason to socialize with these friends, and if the friends weren't on the team they would use that time to socialize some other way.

autumn_leaf
12-04-2009, 09:02 AM
I play at a club where all players of that level are eligible for the team, and everyone is guaranteed two matches (assuming they are available for 4 or more...) So the captains get what they get.

However, most the players are on the team to play and socialize with their friends. If their friends are not playing, for one reason or another, often they also drop off the team. It's not meant as a slight to the captain or the rest of the team. They were just using USTA league as another reason to socialize with these friends, and if the friends weren't on the team they would use that time to socialize some other way.

I don't captain, but I agree with what Cak is saying. You have to know what are the motives of the team. Are they there to win at any cost, or is their sole purpose on the team to have fun because they know people on the team. Knowing this you can act accordingly.

LuckyR
12-04-2009, 09:09 AM
Some captains are like team owners in that they recruit players and steer the team where they want them to go. Members leave when they don't like something about the team or get a better offer. This is a minority of teams but they are often prominent, locally.

Most team captain act more like elected representative leaders, in that they are like team managers, doing the paperwork, some would say scutwork, but the team direction and planning is more like a democracy.

The latter type of captain would cut members at their peril (see the purpose of this thread).

Jim A
12-04-2009, 09:21 AM
As long as it is known in advance, then it shouldn't be an issue. Some teams are designed to get together and have a couple beers 1x/week others are worried about their record.

At times I wish my team was more like the latter, as even though we made it to Districts we lost every match 2-3 while making sure everyone played.

I do think that we'd have had a good shot to win a couple of the ones we lost had we played our best lineup and been in the mix for Sectionals. Since some of those players were not going to be part of our group going forward, in essence, why do we let them control what works for the core?

Now don't take this as I'm an elitist. I spent my life being the extra guy on some great ice hockey teams and when the game was on the line didn't expect to be out there unless I had earned it with my play that day (rare but occasional), so I can view it from both sides.

Ripper014
12-04-2009, 10:11 AM
I agree with most of the responses... all my sports teams work on the same premise... something I always insist on. During the beginning of the year we need to decide if we are going to play everyone evenly... or are we playing to win. At that point people are then able to decide whether they wish to be part of team or not.

On all my teams I would play regardless... but I like to make the point that we all play the same monies... and should have the playing time... but if those that might not get as much playing time on a competitive wish to give that up... that is up to them, but this should always be put upfront so there are no surprises.

I have quit serveral sports teams in the past when friends were dropped because the direction of the team changed.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 10:27 AM
I have had women leave my teams for all sorts of reasons -- there seems to be something in the water because I have two who have left for surprise pregnancies.

I have only had one leave to take a position on a competing team. I was a good egg about it, but I have to be honest . . . I didn't feel good about it and still don't. During her tenure on the team, I was *really* good to her, always checking in to see which partners she wanted, etc. I felt like her departure (to an arch rival, no less!) meant I hadn't done a good job in managing her, so yeah, I took it a little too personally.

I find myself dreading the spring. My spring team has been something of a mess. Can't win a singles match. Got lots of players for Court Three and hardly anyone for Court One. Have lots of opportunities to pick up stronger players.

Should I cut some people from the bottom and feel like a total monster about it? Or should I soldier on and hope we can do a bit better now that so many people have moved up?

Richie Rich
12-04-2009, 11:45 AM
i had such a hard time fielding a full team when i was captain i never had the opportunity to drop people. if they had a heartbeat i would consider them :lol:

JoelDali
12-04-2009, 11:59 AM
I have had women leave my teams for all sorts of reasons -- there seems to be something in the water because I have two who have left for surprise pregnancies.

Suresh has been dropping his seeds all over the east coast.

Look out ladies.

rainman007
12-04-2009, 12:03 PM
I think its most important just to have a team of players you like and are dependable.. you might end up getting 5 ringers and not really know any of them and you dont practice together you dont get to know each other and your team advances.. its alot more fun just to play with a group of people you know and if you happen to advance so be it..
in your post though i dont feel you cut them if it was a new season.. a new season means new ratings and new teams forming you are not obligated to bring back the same players thats not cutting.. their adult league season contract has expired :0)
in my opinion..

JavierLW
12-04-2009, 12:03 PM
I had an interesting discussion with someone last night. It seems this (excellent) player is leaving a team because the captain cut one of her friends from the team. A few other star players may join the mutiny.

As a captain, I have always been loathe to cut (defined as not inviting them back for the next season) anyone from one of my teams. I've only done it once, when the team wanted to make a playoff run and the player's level had dropped considerably *and* I was having trouble finding them a partner. I still feel a little guilty about it, though.

I can't say that the thought of not inviting someone back solely based on relative strength hasn't crossed my mind. Especially on my teams, where we split playing time equally. It can be awfully hard to put together line-ups when you have 1-2 below level players. On the other hand, it is nice to have players who won't ditch me because a better team expresses interest in them, and I can't expect that kind of loyalty if I don't give that kind of loyalty in return.

Captains, what is your own policy on whether you invite players back? Do you feel an obligation of loyalty to those on your current squad? Do you cut people, and does it ever result in a mutiny? Players, would you ever leave a team if the captain cut one of your friends who was weak? If you've ever been cut, did you think it was justified?

Ive only ever cut a person from my team once and that was because they did not pay me.

Otherwise it's never happened. Reason being I can always just play them less if that's what's warranted and usually they will come back anyway because they just enjoy being on the team.

If I had to kick them off because they werent good enough and I couldnt find them any matches it was my fault then for letting them on the team in the first place.

CrocodileRock
12-04-2009, 12:05 PM
Cindy, you have said in this thread and others that you are an "equal playing time" team. Nothing wrong with that. If that's what you and a bunch of like-minded women want, more power to you.

But that almost certainly guarantees that you won't win the league, and probably not even be a contender. The winners almost always seem to be the teams who formed for that reason, and rely on the same group of stud players (studettes in your case) to carry them to the promised land of sectionals.

So if that's the case, why all the hand-wringing over having weak players?

Casey10s
12-04-2009, 12:25 PM
I find myself dreading the spring. My spring team has been something of a mess. Can't win a singles match. Got lots of players for Court Three and hardly anyone for Court One. Have lots of opportunities to pick up stronger players.

Should I cut some people from the bottom and feel like a total monster about it? Or should I soldier on and hope we can do a bit better now that so many people have moved up?

I had captained a team for a few years. As the years went on, I started to pick up better players. I told the players at the end of the captaincy we were trying to be competitive. There were a few players that had played on the team for several years that I told them they may not play as much as they did in the past. I left them to decide if they still want to be on the team. They signed up anyway. Many of the other guys on the team wanted to be competitive instead of being on the bottom.

I would be upfront with these players on the amount of times they MAY play. Tell them that you are bringing some high level players on the team. Let them decide if this is what they want to do. If they stay, you will have a deeper roster for the times when it may get tough to get players.

Ripper014
12-04-2009, 12:33 PM
Cindy, you have said in this thread and others that you are an "equal playing time" team. Nothing wrong with that. If that's what you and a bunch of like-minded women want, more power to you.

But that almost certainly guarantees that you won't win the league, and probably not even be a contender. The winners almost always seem to be the teams who formed for that reason, and rely on the same group of stud players (studettes in your case) to carry them to the promised land of sectionals.

So if that's the case, why all the hand-wringing over having weak players?


You have to decide what your team is about... is it winning or playing tennis. If it is the former then you hands are tied... each year you evaluate your team and keep the best and cull the weak from the herd.

If not just play and enjoy the game... people are going to come and go for a number of reasons... some because of personal conflicts with other team members... sometimes people just want a change. I would not take it personally... the bottom line is they obvious wanted the change, maybe offered something you could not provide them.

Either way... decide what your team wants and build around that.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 02:52 PM
Cindy, you have said in this thread and others that you are an "equal playing time" team. Nothing wrong with that. If that's what you and a bunch of like-minded women want, more power to you.

But that almost certainly guarantees that you won't win the league, and probably not even be a contender. The winners almost always seem to be the teams who formed for that reason, and rely on the same group of stud players (studettes in your case) to carry them to the promised land of sectionals.

So if that's the case, why all the hand-wringing over having weak players?

I've had two 6.5 teams go to Districts. My current 7.5 combo team (brand new and bottom-heavy) is into the second round of the playoffs right now.

So I disagree that it isn't possible to have an "equal play" team and finish at the top.

What having an "equal play" team does require is that you have players of comparable ability who are essentially interchangeable. You can't have a super-weak player because you still have to play her. I don't have the luxury of just playing somebody less, like those who don't practice "equal play" do. Super-weak players are a much bigger problem for me than for a team that benches people. And don't get me started on how hard it is to find partners for the Super-Weak.

So why stick with "equal play" and still expect to win? It avoids the awful backbiting, petty jealousy, suspicion, hard feelings and rampant insecurity found on teams that don't play everyone equally. Players can see who is crazy-weak and crazy-strong, but there are a lot of players on a team in the middle, yet the captain will clearly favor certain players over others. It makes for a negative experience, IMHO.

If you play your cards right, you can build a very solid, winning team even if everyone gets to play.

Bottom line, my teams have been to Nationals just as often as my rivals: Never.

atatu
12-04-2009, 04:16 PM
I've cut players, but usually it was because they didn't care about league and would not give it a second thought. I have also kept guys on the team who were weaker simply because they have a good friend on the team and I want to keep that guy happy. I also have a policy of not recruiting off rival teams unless a player approaches me. Yesterday I found out that one of my best singles players has been recruited off my team by a rival captain...now that is annoying.

JavierLW
12-04-2009, 04:25 PM
So why stick with "equal play" and still expect to win? It avoids the awful backbiting, petty jealousy, suspicion, hard feelings and rampant insecurity found on teams that don't play everyone equally. Players can see who is crazy-weak and crazy-strong, but there are a lot of players on a team in the middle, yet the captain will clearly favor certain players over others. It makes for a negative experience, IMHO.


Yes, IN YOUR OPINION.

Dont assume every team that doesnt play equal pay is like that.

It only happens with petty captains that sit and worry about how their best friends will feel if they dont play.

And petty players who allow themselves to bicker behind everyone's back, be jealous, be suspicious, have hard feelings and get insecure.

If someone is like that I would usually be glad that they left the team on the following year if they werent happy. Life is way too short to sit around worrying about what a bunch of selfish complainers think about every decision that is made.

My team is easy to figure out. I didnt go and get a bunch of ringers who are all "identical to each other". I went out and got the best players that I could, and if they work on their game and improve they get to play more.

If they dont, I'll still try to play them a decent amount of times but we're not going to sit there and bean count everyone.

And usually they come back anyway. It's pretty hard to be jealous when the people playing more then you do actually win, and everyone knows they are the best players.....

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 05:49 PM
I won't assume every team is like the "competitive" team I described, Javier. I didn't. I think you jumped to a conclusion there.

And I disagree that petty behavior only happens under petty captains. I don't think the captain of the team I described was herself "petty." She was just stuck with a situation where she had lots of players who were used to playing a lot. When they were benched in favor of someone whose skills they considered on par with theirs, some were not OK with it.

Anyway, "equal play" does avoid certain interpersonal problems. I think it works well, both in terms of keeping folks happy and in terms of winning matches. But as I said, it does suffer from a shortcoming in that you can't have the Super-Weak on the team.

If another captain wants to do things differently, that is fine, of course.

cak
12-04-2009, 06:14 PM
But as I said, it does suffer from a shortcoming in that you can't have the Super-Weak on the team.

Do you also have trouble keeping the super-strong folks that want to play lots? Or do they just not gravitate toward your type of team in the first place?

That is the one problem at our club. We do lose super strong players to super teams that look like they can win sectionals. Though occasionally the stars align, and we end up with enough super strong players to make a run at sectionals ourselves.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 08:09 PM
^Hard to say.

Maybe what happens is that super-strong folks don't necessarily want to play lots. Around here, it is common for players to see one team as their main team, but to get enough playing time they will join many other teams. (For instance, I was on four teams for the 2009 Winter season).

I dunno. I think perhaps some people discount the value of balance. There have been times when I had one or two stars. Those seasons haven't gone much differently than the seasons where I have a well-balanced team with no stars.

I have been mulling this issue a lot since my experience on the "Nationals Or Bust" team. I was considered one of the weak players, and rightfully so. So I got a view from the bottom, shall we say?

What I noticed is that I did not play my best for that team. The reason, I think, is that I didn't ever feel secure. I knew that losing meant being benched, and that can make you tight. In contrast, on my own team and on my 4.0 team, I knew I would get to play no matter whether I won. I felt I played better without the pressure.