PDA

View Full Version : Non-Playing Captains


Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 11:03 AM
Does your league allow captains to run teams if they are not on the roster? Our league does, and I wondered if these captains are more or less likely to build top teams in questionable ways.

I can think of five captains in my league who were not on the roster (or were on the roster but didn't play).

One was my old 3.0 ladies captain. His wife was on the team, and he played men's. He captained (IMHO) so he could make money off of the players by teaching lessons and charging $10 to come to practice. It wasn't a successful season.

Another is a lady who took her ladies team to Nationals. She always had a top team, but rumors swirl that she instructs her self-rates to throw games to avoid DQs and invites players on the team, lets them think they will play, and then won't play them.

Another is my old 4.0 captain. He teaches lessons but doesn't pressure anyone to use him, and (very good) practices are free. Some said he was "intense" but I didn't see it that way. It was mostly a group of 3.5s playing up so we didn't win much, and I don't see how that fits with "intense." I never saw anything unethical going on.

Another is a mixed captain who always had one of the top teams, although he isn't a strong player and rarely plays. When you get bumped up, you get dropped. I have heard that his teams are very competitive, but I've never heard of anything unethical.

The last guy is a fellow who used to play but cannot anymore due to medical issues. His wife plays, and he says he captains because he loves the sport and this is the best he can do for now. His teams don't do well, but he is loyal to his players and their team has minimal turnover.

On the whole, it seems like non-playing captains aren't any more cut-throat than their counterparts who play on their teams. That surprises me because I would think that a non-playing captain could easily become overly invested in the success of the team, especially since he or she cannot bask in the glow of any individual victories on the court.

OrangePower
02-12-2010, 11:08 AM
Does your league allow captains to run teams if they are not on the roster? Our league does, and I wondered if these captains are more or less likely to build top teams in questionable ways.

Yes, and semi-yes.

Our league allows it. I know several such captains. They are all very much on top of things and their teams are very competitive every year.

Whether or not their teams are built using questionable means depends on who you ask. Seems like different people have varying opinions on what is and is not questionable in building up a team. Who would have thought.

J_R_B
02-12-2010, 11:17 AM
Our league allows it, but I've never seen anything questionable (it's pretty rare). I remember one year there was a non-playing captain when the captain was bumped but I guess no one wanted to captain the team, so he reamined captain at the lower level and played on a higher level team (the following year, the lower level team had a different captain). Also, there is a rule that two teams in the same section but different districts cannot have more than 4 players in common. There was a case where a guy captained teams in 2 districts but had 4 better players that he wanted to use as his "players in common" so he remained as non-playing captain of one of the teams.

sureshs
02-12-2010, 11:55 AM
One was my old 3.0 ladies captain. His wife was on the team, and he played men's. He captained (IMHO) so he could make money off of the players by teaching lessons and charging $10 to come to practice. It wasn't a successful season.


LOL I remember your posts about that guy. Strange character.

catfish
02-12-2010, 12:02 PM
We always have a few non-playing captains in our area. They come in 3 types.

1. People who captain the same teams year after year, but they are injured and unable to play for the season.
2. Captains who got bumped up and can't play on their old team, but no one else will take over and captain. So they do it out of the kindness of their heart.
3. Higher level players who captain/coach lower level teams. Like a 4.5 man or woman coaching a 3.0 team for a spouse or friend.

None of them are cut throat. We have a few cut throat captains in our area, (like everywhere else) but they are all playing captains.

Perry the Platypus
02-12-2010, 12:10 PM
Our area allows it, and generally speaking they are the ones to watch out for in terms of sandbagging. Basically, if someone is going to take the time to be the GM of an amateur team, they are going to do what it takes to win.

I'm sure that is not the case everywhere, but it seems to be here......

JavierLW
02-12-2010, 12:20 PM
If they are non-playing, then I dont think of them as "captains" anymore. They are more like a "coach".

Having a "coach" used to be a accepted non-official position that a tennis team could have.

Like a lot of times if a group of people take lessons from a teaching pro, they can even pay them to "coach" their team.

In a ton of cases, the coach actually does take care of some of the roles that you'd usually see the captain do. (making lineups, calling players to make sure they show up, etc....)

But as some of us understand the captain is not really a "coach". I think by definition in sports that have "captains" (even basketball, football, hockey), the captain is really just more like the team leader who is also playing as well, they are not really "in charge".

(and in league tennis their role is more like social director and babysitter and promoter more then it is someone who's responsible for every aspect of what their players are doing.....)

So ya, unless the "coach" is a paid teaching pro that is making money off of the deal, I think it's fair to question what their motivations are.... In most cases that Ive seen it's some overzealous person who maybe got bumped up and still wants to lead a team to the playoffs or whatever even though they cant play themselves.

Although in some rare cases it could be just someone who's trying to help retain a team that they were running. Despite what some people think, not everyone can just become captain, it takes up a LOT more time to do that, then just playing.

I stopped running a team once at 3.0 when I didnt want to play 3.0 anymore and it dissolved because nobody wanted to be captain. (and many of those players never got to play league tennis again) Had I been willing to volunteer my time to take care of all the usual logistical duties, the team would of at least kept running and 11 other guys would have a place to play.....

Perhaps this year it will become more common because of all the people getting shoved up one level. It's not always just about winning first, if you have a good group of people together and you all enjoyed the quality of the tennis, it sucks when all it takes is one person to get moved up and the team dies.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 12:23 PM
I have to say, if I needed to stop playing for whatever reason, I would stop captaining. I just wouldn't have much interest in captaining for the sake of helping other people play recreational matches. I mean, if I took a team to nationals as a non-playing captain, it wouldn't mean much to me so I wouldn't want to do the cut-throat things you might have to do to get there.

I was injured for Districts last fall, and I just didn't feel the same level of . . . I don't know. If we had won the whole thing, I would have felt some comfort knowing I had played some of the regular season matches that got us there. But it wouldn't be the same experiencing it from the stands.

Besides, I think a main benefit of captaining is you can have one team that is run exactly the way you think a team should be run. No matter what is happening on any other team I'm on, I know I have one team where I get to play, etc.

If I felt moved to stay involved with the sport once I couldn't play, I'd probably go help out with inner city tennis-playing kids or something.

That said, I would think a non-playing captain would have more respect from players. There is an inherent conflict of interest when you play and captain on the same team. If the captain is never in the line-up, you know her decisions are not rooted in self-interest.

Topaz
02-12-2010, 12:35 PM
The only time I've had a non-playing captain was when:

#1 - she was captaining more than one team at the same level (due to lots of bump ups and too many bodies for just one team). She played on the other team, though.

#2 - captains/teams that stick together through rating changes. Last year my indoor captains led both a 3.0 and a 3.5 team, since they wanted to keep people together even after they got bumped to 3.5. They were both 3.0s, so they played on the 3.0 team, but still captained the 3.5 team. (there are two of them, so that made it a bit easier) After the big ratings bump, they are now captaining two 3.5 teams.

JavierLW
02-12-2010, 12:47 PM
I have to say, if I needed to stop playing for whatever reason, I would stop captaining. I just wouldn't have much interest in captaining for the sake of helping other people play recreational matches. I mean, if I took a team to nationals as a non-playing captain, it wouldn't mean much to me so I wouldn't want to do the cut-throat things you might have to do to get there.


I think the part where someone is "interested" in doing it really has a lot to do with what level of being attached to the team they are involved with.

If you're just arranging schedules and just showing up to the matches you play in then there probably is no real motivation to do it other then it's providing you with a team to play on and you can get your own way.

But logistically I think just having time to do it is daunting. (especially if you've moved on and you are the captain of another team at another level)

I was injured and out for most of two seasons in 2005 and 2006. I go to all the matches whether I play or not and I kind of felt that I still had some part in it since everyone was having a great time. But I really got SICK of just sitting there watching tennis after awhile.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 12:59 PM
The only time I've had a non-playing captain was when:

#1 - she was captaining more than one team at the same level (due to lots of bump ups and too many bodies for just one team). She played on the other team, though.

#2 - captains/teams that stick together through rating changes. Last year my indoor captains led both a 3.0 and a 3.5 team, since they wanted to keep people together even after they got bumped to 3.5. They were both 3.0s, so they played on the 3.0 team, but still captained the 3.5 team. (there are two of them, so that made it a bit easier) After the big ratings bump, they are now captaining two 3.5 teams.

Each time I have moved up (either a bump or a decision to stop playing a lower combo level), I have not chosen to continue captaining the team I am leaving. I think it was the best solution. I mean, come on. Don't the players who remain on the old team deserve a more involved captain than I would be once I had moved on? Each time, someone has stepped up and kept the team going, so it has all worked out in the end.

Topaz
02-12-2010, 01:06 PM
*shrug* I've never felt like those captains I spoke of were not involved enough, personally. They did a great job.

JavierLW
02-12-2010, 01:15 PM
Don't the players who remain on the old team deserve a more involved captain than I would be once I had moved on?

That's probably the most brilliant point you've ever made. (how do you like that smoke? :-) )

I ran two teams once (3.0 and 3.5) and the worst part is it just gets difficult to keep track of more then X number of players.

It's hard enough to run one team and try to sort everything out so you're sort of successful and everyone has a good time, but it's hard to find the time to do that for more then one team.

Not to mention twice as many calls from players that they cant make it, running around trying to make sure you get 8 people there on TWO different dates, rainout management, etc.... (especially if you have a job during the day)

cak
02-12-2010, 01:36 PM
Don't the players who remain on the old team deserve a more involved captain than I would be once I had moved on?

In my experience, the non-playing captains tend to be more involved than the playing captains. Since they are not on the court they are available to work through problems any of the courts have, from tracking down errant balls to calling court monitors to getting extra waters on hot days. One captain at our club only plays herself as a last minute sub, when someone doesn't show up. She is the most popular captain we have.

jserve
02-12-2010, 01:48 PM
I played on a team last spring where the captain didn't play. His recruiting practices aren't shady; he just knows everyone in town and asks the best players for that rating. I didn't enjoy playing on that team because both the captain and the other players took the league way too seriously, and it drained a lot of fun out of the tennis. We were provided with scouting reports on every player on the opposing teams, but I don't think I ever read one before the match. Since my team wouldn't go out for dinner or drinks after the matches I always ended up going out with the opposing teams and the scouting reports were a huge hit. They loved reading what had been written about them.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 02:09 PM
That's probably the most brilliant point you've ever made. (how do you like that smoke? :-) )



Why, Javier! You're making me blush! ;)

iankogan
02-12-2010, 02:41 PM
Cindy, you treat 'non-playing captain' as if it were a psychological trait. It ain't. They all have different motivations I'd imagine, same as playing captains :-)
Entertaining descriptions though!

Spokewench
02-12-2010, 02:55 PM
I've been on two different teams with non-playing captains (the only teams I have been on in 3 years that I did not captain myself). One was a tri-level team and that was captained by the league coordinator cause she wanted to get the tri-level thing going in this area and it was new to us so she captained a team; and the other was on a mixed team where the wife of one of the players was the captain. Her husband wanted to play, but no one wanted to captain so she formed a team basically for him to play on.

None of these teams was put together to be super competitive, just to give people a chance to play.

I know Cindy knows that it is difficult to get teams together to play in our area because are are rural, travel time is huge, and towns are small so sometimes we are just struggling to get two teams together to play each other in a given level so you will see captains work to get teams put together.

I captained 4 teams at the same time in two different levels just so people could play USTA in the area; so I played on two teams and just captained two teams. Kids, don't try this at home, only do this if you are crazy! The good thing is when you are making your schedule, you don't have to deal with the opposing team captain, you have all the information and just put the days and times together on your own;

you don't have to wait on the other team captain one week before a session is supposed to start who won't give you their team availability cause they are waiting to hear back from their teammates about when they can play!

That is the boat that I am in this week for the senior 3.5 league. Still waiting.

Cindysphinx
02-12-2010, 03:00 PM
I've been on two different teams with non-playing captains (the only teams I have been on in 3 years that I did not captain myself). One was a tri-level team and that was captained by the league coordinator cause she wanted to get the tri-level thing going in this area and it was new to us so she captained a team; and the other was on a mixed team where the wife of one of the players was the captain. Her husband wanted to play, but no one wanted to captain so she formed a team basically for him to play on.

None of these teams was put together to be super competitive, just to give people a chance to play.

I know Cindy knows that it is difficult to get teams together to play in our area because are are rural, travel time is huge, and towns are small so sometimes we are just struggling to get two teams together to play each other in a given level so you will see captains work to get teams put together.

I captained 4 teams at the same time in two different levels just so people could play USTA in the area; so I played on two teams and just captained two teams. Kids, don't try this at home, only do this if you are crazy! The good thing is when you are making your schedule, you don't have to deal with the opposing team captain, you have all the information and just put the days and times together on your own;

you don't have to wait on the other team captain one week before a session is supposed to start who won't give you their team availability cause they are waiting to hear back from their teammates about when they can play!

That is the boat that I am in this week for the senior 3.5 league. Still waiting.
Wow. Four teams? I would totally drop a ball and cause us to suffer a 5-court default!

Seriously, why aren't more people willing to captain, Spoke? I mean, I can understand how folks would be nervous if they had never played league. But once a team or league is formed and people have played and liked it, what causes them to be so reluctant to captain?

I know a couple of women who would like to captain but who can't afford it. Meaning they are unwilling to put over $1000 on their credit card and then play debt collector. But if you get a co-captain and have a clear division of responsibility, you're really not talking about that significant of a time commitment, really. Especially if the alternative is not playing league tennis . . . .

catfish
02-12-2010, 07:28 PM
Wow. Four teams? I would totally drop a ball and cause us to suffer a 5-court default!

Seriously, why aren't more people willing to captain, Spoke? I mean, I can understand how folks would be nervous if they had never played league. But once a team or league is formed and people have played and liked it, what causes them to be so reluctant to captain?

I know a couple of women who would like to captain but who can't afford it. Meaning they are unwilling to put over $1000 on their credit card and then play debt collector. But if you get a co-captain and have a clear division of responsibility, you're really not talking about that significant of a time commitment, really. Especially if the alternative is not playing league tennis . . . .

Your league captains have to pay a $1000 deposit? WOW! There are probably a lot of people who wouldn't captain it they had to do that.

Spokewench
02-14-2010, 07:17 AM
The excuses for not captaining are: I'm too busy, and I guess USTA league tennis is not that important to them. I'm not really sure what the reasons are? But, it is an actual fact around here.

Maybe, it is the fact that they don't want to deal with other captains that don't even get back to them one week prior to the first weekend of league session play with any type of schedule of availability? With a league coordinator that tells captains that oh, don't worry, just start the league 2 weeks later than the planned start times! When we need to play at least 6 matches and have from Feb 16 to april 3rd to get the matches in and spring break for our town and college right in the middle of the session, which means that more than 1/2 of your team is gone for two weekends in a row!

I'm just trying to stay calm and be patient, with gentle reminders. What can you do?

spoke

OrangePower
02-14-2010, 10:58 AM
People are reluctant to captain because it is a lot of work and can be quite a headache. Not just all the logistics involved, but also managing all the interpersonal stuff. Not everyone is willing to take it on.

I personally think that the satisfaction I get is worth the effort, and that's why I captain.

Cindysphinx
02-14-2010, 01:31 PM
Spoke, the league requires captains to post a deposit ($110?). This deposit is held against defaults; if you don't have defaults, this money is refunded.

The bigger problem is that captains must pay all of the court fees for the entire season and then collect from players. I divide these fees equally and then bill everyone, taking care to follow up with the stragglers. One season we had 17 matches, so the season's fees that went on my credit card were 17 x $17 x 6.

Other captains simply collect money from the players at each match. This leads to people who forget to bring money or a check, and then can never seem to catch up. Another captain told me she was short $200 at the end of the season. And if your team takes coughts up a default, you have to collect from the person who caused the default. It is a royal pain.

Cindy -- who still hasn't received all of the checks for this season

Spokewench
02-15-2010, 06:53 AM
Our costs are court reservations, balls, food, and gas to the out of town matches. They aren't too bad, but yes, I usually pay up front for courts, and balls and get reimbursed. I've made the mistake of getting paid at the end so I knew all the costs, but I don't do that any longer. Once the league session is over, people seem to have a short memory! It was a nightmare keeping track of the 4 teams and who paid. Not all did and I did get caught holding the bag a bit last year.

As soon as we can get the schedule set, and I know how much we owe on court fees, I will bill everyone and slowly collect the money.

OrangePower
02-15-2010, 08:58 AM
Our costs are court reservations, balls, food, and gas to the out of town matches. They aren't too bad, but yes, I usually pay up front for courts, and balls and get reimbursed. I've made the mistake of getting paid at the end so I knew all the costs, but I don't do that any longer. Once the league session is over, people seem to have a short memory! It was a nightmare keeping track of the 4 teams and who paid. Not all did and I did get caught holding the bag a bit last year.

As soon as we can get the schedule set, and I know how much we owe on court fees, I will bill everyone and slowly collect the money.

My team's costs are court fees and balls. (I ask teammembers to bring food/drink to home matches individually, and gas is also an individual cost.)

I calculate in advance what the expected costs are using a completely full schedule, and let players know even before they have signed up what the team fee will be. I think it's only fair that they know in advance what they are signing up for cost-wise.

Once the official schedule comes out, if we are one or two matches short of a full schedule (which is usually the case), then I have a little bit of extra cushion. If needed, I use this to cover any fees I've not been able to collect (happened once or twice), and/or buy beer and snacks for a post season get-together.

PBODY99
02-15-2010, 09:26 AM
Most of the captains I know are on the roster, some as key players, but a few who play only to prevent a default.
Yes, being a captain is a pain and the "cutthroats" are wearing me down after 20 seasons of running teams.

Cindysphinx
02-15-2010, 09:57 AM
Most of the captains I know are on the roster, some as key players, but a few who play only to prevent a default.
Yes, being a captain is a pain and the "cutthroats" are wearing me down after 20 seasons of running teams.

Just curious. How are the cutthroats wearing you down?

In my 15th season, I'm having my own episodes of "captain fatigue," so I'm curious how it is wearing on you.

PBODY99
02-15-2010, 01:41 PM
In my mens leagues, there are several captains who slide in self rated players on a regular basis,and play other games with the availability of their team to play a match. I understand the rule that allows you to put off a match if your players are in a playoff in another USTA league. I don't understand why that match for the last few years couldn't be played when you have only 3 out of 15 guys< and none of your singles players> are involved in the other playoff. Then when it is time to make up the match, the players who were in the playoff are not in the line up..:cry:

Tarboro
02-15-2010, 08:12 PM
Wow...$2,000 for court fees that the captain must collect from players through the year? i guess that gives the captain plenty of incentive to bird dog their players all season long.

My captain is a non-playing captain due to injury and a changing work situation that makes it difficult for him to come out on league nights. He continues to captain because the team requested that he do so. He's excellent with the finances; we are charged a league fee of ~$750 for the year, due before the second week of the season. His policy is "no pay, no play." If you can't get the check to him before the beginning of the season, don't expect to be in the lineup until you do so. It just takes a couple of reminders before the season, then being listed as "Delinquent" on the roster for a week or two and everyone pays pretty quickly.

Cindysphinx
02-16-2010, 07:20 AM
Wow...$2,000 for court fees that the captain must collect from players through the year? i guess that gives the captain plenty of incentive to bird dog their players all season long.



Yeah. It's no fun. When I had a co-captain, her sole responsibility was to collect the money. Even then, one time I had to get involved when a player was slow to pay.

HitItHarder
02-16-2010, 07:56 AM
In my mens leagues, there are several captains who slide in self rated players on a regular basis,and play other games with the availability of their team to play a match. I understand the rule that allows you to put off a match if your players are in a playoff in another USTA league. I don't understand why that match for the last few years couldn't be played when you have only 3 out of 15 guys< and none of your singles players> are involved in the other playoff. Then when it is time to make up the match, the players who were in the playoff are not in the line up..:cry:

We have a problem locally with team captains avoiding scheduling rain out matches until the very end of the season. What happens is if they are in the running for the league championship and the other team is out of it, sometimes they can just get a forfiet that not only gives them a win, but also a huge boost in the tiebreakers.

It has happened the last two years and our local league had to make a rule to try and stop it. Now matches can't be canceled except by the league coordinator and must be rescheduled and played within one week. If the captains cannot agree on a date the league coordinator just assigns a date and time.

stats1
02-17-2010, 04:29 PM
There is one of those in our area and this is the team with the most perceived "ringers". Never could figure out why this person would give up so much time to run multiple teams. This person does not coach for cash, does not play, has no relatives on any of the teams and makes it to the championships regularly with teams at different levels. Pride maybe??? Will never figure it out, but it sure beats the other alternative....the person who has no idea what the word team means and captains a team so that he/she can play at the level he/she wants, in as many matches as he/she wants with the best players on the team in the position he/she wants and doesn't care how the team does as long as he/she gets his/her way.