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View Full Version : 1st Time Captain, Any Advice is Appreciated


MomentumGT
08-22-2010, 08:25 PM
Hey Guys,

I've been playing USTA men's leagues for a bit now and have decided to captain a new team for the mens 4.5 doubles season in my area. Just wanted to know from past successful captains, male or female, on what to expect while captaining a team, dealing with my players, opposing players, opposing captains, and such. Thanks in advance for the advice! :)

-Jon

Angle Queen
08-23-2010, 04:56 AM
See here: New Captain Tips (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=338966)

Good luck!!

Cindysphinx
08-23-2010, 05:07 AM
Time for my monthly "I hate TennisOne!" rant.

I'm on two different 7.5 combo teams this summer. Both captains use TennisOne.

For each match -- regardless of whether I am in the line-up -- I get an e-mail announcing the line-up and then an e-mail reminder. If there is a line-up change, I get a notice of that also, even if it doesn't affect me. I sometimes come home to a bunch of messages from the faceless e-tennis machine, and I have to review them all just to make sure I haven't missed something.

I understand there is a way to make this stop so that players only get e-mails about matches they are playing, but neither of my captains does it this way.

spot
08-23-2010, 07:08 AM
The biggest thing to remember is to clearly state the team goals up front. (though really I think it should be done before people sign up to play) If you are a competitive team where the best players will be in the lineup more often then you need to say that up front. if its a social team where everyone will play equally you need to stay that. If you intend to play people more that show up to practice then thats important information for people to have before the season starts.

AceKing
08-23-2010, 07:18 AM
Time for my monthly "I hate TennisOne!" rant.

I'm on two different 7.5 combo teams this summer. Both captains use TennisOne.

For each match -- regardless of whether I am in the line-up -- I get an e-mail announcing the line-up and then an e-mail reminder.

I disagree with Cindy. I actually like getting the emails about the lineups, even if I'm not in them. That way I know I'm not in the lineup & I can make other plans if needed. Plus, I just like to see who is playing.

Fedace
08-23-2010, 07:20 AM
Hey Guys,

I've been playing USTA men's leagues for a bit now and have decided to captain a new team for the mens 4.5 doubles season in my area. Just wanted to know from past successful captains, male or female, on what to expect while captaining a team, dealing with my players, opposing players, opposing captains, and such. Thanks in advance for the advice! :)

-Jon

Winers and cry Babies,,,,you will see plenty of those. and they will be much Worse than your kids. Especially with doubles partner situations.

Fedace
08-23-2010, 07:22 AM
Send out emails by Wed night who will be in the Lineup that weekend. and have those guys send you Confirmation Email that they got the message. and if they don't confirm by Friday,,,,,,you have to either replace them or try to reach them by phone.

polski
08-23-2010, 11:31 AM
My best advice:

Make sure everyone plays more than you

Make sure that you play with the weaker partners

If you put yourself in every match, people will complain that you only captain to play yourself. And if you put yourself with the strongest players, they will complain that their results are worse becasue of their partners. If you win & everyone else loses, they won't play for you again.

Also, have a plan in place in case your team advances to state, sectionals, etc. I usually explain that the players with the best results will have first dibs on playing time at states. Players that lost a lot in local league can come as an alternate, but shouldn't expect to play. Oh, and have that conversation face to face or over the phone...not via email or text message.

J_R_B
08-23-2010, 12:01 PM
My best advice:

Make sure everyone plays more than you

Make sure that you play with the weaker partners

If you put yourself in every match, people will complain that you only captain to play yourself. And if you put yourself with the strongest players, they will complain that their results are worse becasue of their partners. If you win & everyone else loses, they won't play for you again.


This only applies if you are not the best player on the team. If you ARE the best, then you should play the most and play with the best partners.

MomentumGT
08-23-2010, 12:09 PM
This only applies if you are not the best player on the team. If you ARE the best, then you should play the most and play with the best partners.

I would say I'm probably the 3rd best player on the team. I do have a few 4.0's testing on how it is playing up, but if they're getting blown out I was thinking of putting them in #3 dubs or partnering them at #3 dubs with a true 4.5er on our team.

I'm a very competitive person and would 'like' to win or do well off the bat. I do have some really good players as well, but also some players playing up so the team, imo, isn't very deep and we have the minimum 8 players required.

Thanks for the help guys! I'm gonna have our scheduled 1st team practice this week to see who gels together or not. Wish me luck and if there is any more advice feel free to post. :)

-Jon

ark_28
08-23-2010, 12:29 PM
I don't know much about captaining just playing but I wish you lots of luck :)

bmwfool
08-23-2010, 04:17 PM
To put it simply, remember this... captaining is a thankless job.

polski
08-23-2010, 06:41 PM
This only applies if you are not the best player on the team. If you ARE the best, then you should play the most and play with the best partners.

If you are the best player on a team that you captain, you have done a poor job of putting a team together.

J_R_B
08-23-2010, 07:07 PM
If you are the best player on a team that you captain, you have done a poor job of putting a team together.

Not if your team wins, too.

polski
08-24-2010, 04:34 AM
Not if your team wins, too.

The best players never captain, in my experience. If they did, they would pick up players better than them.

J_R_B
08-24-2010, 05:01 AM
The best players never captain, in my experience. If they did, they would pick up players better than them.

What if they are the best players at that level? Those people can't be captains?

polski
08-24-2010, 05:20 AM
What if they are the best players at that level? Those people can't be captains?

They can, but they normally don't. Why would they put up with the hassle of captaining if a dozen people are already asking them to join teams?

Option A - Play a lot for someone else, no other work required
Option B - Make sure everyone plays & then you play, do a lot of other BS work

You are telling me that if given the choice you would choose B?

brad1730
08-24-2010, 05:23 AM
What if they are the best players at that level? Those people can't be captains?

Sure they can be captains, but in my experience they are usually the older guys with more time on their hands.

spot
08-24-2010, 05:36 AM
polski- to me its more like this:

Option A- Do it myself and do it right. Then just accept that not everyone will agree with my decisions.
Option B- play for someone else and have to live with all sorts of stupid decisions.

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 06:51 AM
I disagree with Cindy. I actually like getting the emails about the lineups, even if I'm not in them. That way I know I'm not in the lineup & I can make other plans if needed. Plus, I just like to see who is playing.

I understand.

My method allows everyone to see the line-ups, as they are always available for viewing. Reminders only go to those who are playing, who must confirm or I will investigate. And line-up changes only go to those directly affected.

I'll give you an example of where TennisOne is weak. One of my captains set the line-ups well in advance. This meant I came home one day to a blizzard of messages notifying me of line-ups, including messages changing line-ups from previous line-ups. I dutifully sat down and scrolled through each of these messages to make sure I wasn't listed, trying to remember to hit "confirm" each time and put each date in my calendar. This process was complicated, and it would have been easy to make a mistake.

Then the next time you hear anything about a match is when you receive a reminder, which looks exactly like every other Tennisone communication. You don't confirm when you get the reminder, *so the captain has no way to know whether you got it.* If the player spaces out, has left town on a vacation, has had a death in the family, is drowning in e-mail because of a work emergency, has lost computer access . . . there are lots of ways a player can miss that reminder. And if that happens, there may be a no-show.

I think a better way is that you issue line-ups in a spreadsheet format, so players can easily spot their own name. Then you issue an e-mail reminder to the players who are playing two days before the match. If a player doesn't reply, you get on the phone and see if there is a problem. I have caught many problems this way and we've never had a default because someone didn't know she was playing or forgot she was in the line-up or went out of town on an emergency.

It's fine to use TennisOne, of course. It's just that a lot of people use it by default without considering its considerable weaknesses.

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 06:53 AM
polski- to me its more like this:

Option A- Do it myself and do it right. Then just accept that not everyone will agree with my decisions.
Option B- play for someone else and have to live with all sorts of stupid decisions.

Option C - Captain one team so I will be certain I will be 100% thrilled with how one team is run. Then join other teams, knowing that my whole season isn't invested in how well that team is run.

spot
08-24-2010, 07:31 AM
Cindy- I resolve that dilemma of whether people get the important messages by using text message. Lineups go out to the whole team- IMPORTANT "must have" information goes out by text message so I know that they got it. But our team can generate a lot of email traffic. Its a huge problem when someone doesn't use BCC to send out an email.

polski
08-24-2010, 10:43 AM
polski- to me its more like this:

Option A- Do it myself and do it right. Then just accept that not everyone will agree with my decisions.
Option B- play for someone else and have to live with all sorts of stupid decisions.

I choose option B all day long. No one will blame me for anything other than my losses. Even then, the position I played was not my decision. Win or lose, I'll have more friends in the end. Friends are more important to me than winning or being in charge.

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 11:00 AM
Spot, texting is fine, sort of.

Some people don't text. You can send a text to them and you will just never hear back. Or they complain that they have some old school plan that makes them pay per text. Heaven help the people who don't have a full keyboard on their phone.

Also, texting doesn't give you "context," you know? You get a text, and you don't have the chain of communication that led up to it the way you do with email. Miscommunication can result.

For now, I'll have to stick with email.

polski
08-24-2010, 11:14 AM
Cindy needs an i-phone

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 01:04 PM
Cindy needs an i-phone

No, no. I text just fine, now that I have a phone with a full keyboard. Before I got it two years ago, texting was a nightmare.

I get complaints when I text certain team members, so I have stopped.

Cindy -- who finds voicemail incredibly irritating

spot
08-24-2010, 01:05 PM
Cindy- I have a feeling this is an age thing- Out of the 60 or so people that I play with on various teams I have just 1 that doesn't have text messaging.

Polski- For me I think that my tennis group is so friendly and social (over such a long time) in large part because I have been captain to give us stability. There hasn't been an issue with captains that play favorites or who have serious self-serving agendas. We haven't had a captain that will play himself every week regardless of whats best for the team. We haven't had a captain that does a crappy job of communicating. When you do a good job of being captain it doesn't cost you friends- it grows your friend circle. You lose friends when someone does a lousy job as captain.

Flat out I think there is a right way and a wrong way to be captain. Instead of trying to get other people to do it the right way I think its far easier to just do it myself.

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 01:09 PM
Oh, it's *definitely* an age thing. Definitely.

I have sympathy with older folks who don't have a full keyboard, as texting the old way is very hard to learn, especially when your vision is already failing due to age.

Sooner or later, ya gotta get with the the program and start texting. Still, there are some things I don't know how to do with texting, like send to 15 recipients. I also haven't figured out how to communicate the recipients that the message is not going just to them.

So I send a text to Becky, Suzy and Nancy setting a time for a doubles match. Becky immediately writes back that I shouldn't forget to tell Suzy and Nancy, because Becky can't see from my text that I did tell them. All of that stuff is immediately apparent in e-mail.

MomentumGT
08-24-2010, 02:23 PM
I choose option B all day long. No one will blame me for anything other than my losses. Even then, the position I played was not my decision. Win or lose, I'll have more friends in the end. Friends are more important to me than winning or being in charge.

I hope no one blames me for anything. LOL but I'm sure someone will behind my back. For the most part the guys on my team are pretty tight as well play regularly during the week and know each other out side of tennis.

The issue I'm having is guys being non-committal to the matches they said they would play, or at least not being sure if they are available or not. I'm thinking this is due to having such a small team, 8 guys. I hope I don't have to play the 4.0er's on the regular. :confused: LOL.

-Jon

dizzlmcwizzl
08-24-2010, 02:23 PM
What if they are the best players at that level? Those people can't be captains?

They certainly can be a capatin but in my experience they do not unless they have another reason to do this job ... It is simply to tough for someone to do if they could play as much as they wanted without any headaches.

We just got done playing sectionals and the team that advanced had a captain who was very good if not 1/2 of their best doubles team. However, in his case, everyone around thinks he is an ***** so I suspect he has to captain becasue his personality gets in the way as a team member..

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 03:28 PM
They certainly can be a capatin but in my experience they do not unless they have another reason to do this job ... It is simply to tough for someone to do if they could play as much as they wanted without any headaches.



Boy, I don't know if it is correct to think the captain is usually not one of the stronger players. I don't captain so that I can get playing time.

No, it's more that I like being able to control other aspects of being on a team. I can set the tone I think is best, for one thing. I have been on other teams where the tone wasn't to my liking but I had to Shut Up and go along because it wasn't my team.

And there are things like which opponents I play, which partners I get, and what time/match locations that I can control as captain that I can't control on another team -- even if I am one of the stronger players.

sureshs
08-24-2010, 03:50 PM
Cindy -- who finds voicemail incredibly irritating

Me too. At work, we used to have a way to get it piped to our email as a sound file, and play it from there. Now, we receive only an email notification and we still have to check the voice mail manually. IT says they made the change for security reasons.

BorgFan123
08-24-2010, 03:57 PM
I don't like voicemail.

polski
08-24-2010, 07:29 PM
Boy, I don't know if it is correct to think the captain is usually not one of the stronger players. I don't captain so that I can get playing time.



See post #17 in this thread, you have chosen Option B

Cindysphinx
08-24-2010, 07:31 PM
polski- to me its more like this:

Option A- Do it myself and do it right. Then just accept that not everyone will agree with my decisions.
Option B- play for someone else and have to live with all sorts of stupid decisions.

No, I've chosen A and B.

A for my team.

B for all my other teams where I'm a player, not the captain.

Angle Queen
08-25-2010, 05:21 AM
Oh, lord. I'm definitely old school. Not only do I not have a fully keyboard phone...we've blocked texting (incoming and outgoing) on our phone plan.

Guess we're just waiting for the next "communication" innovation (and for our kids to become teenagers so they can explain it all to us LOL).

Cindysphinx
08-25-2010, 05:52 AM
AngleQueen,

I don't call my kids. I text them.

If I want a reply, that is. :)

Once you get a full keyboard phone and start texting, you'll never go back. Oh, the time that is wasted trying to deal with people on the phone.

Dial. Wait to be connected. Wait for 3 or more rings. Wait for their message telling you to leave a message. Go through all the niceties required to leave a message without sounding like a rude oaf. Hang up. Wait for them to call you back. You hear your phone ringing, but you can't get to it in three rings. Wait for them to leave a message, then wait for your phone to tell you they left a message. Hit the button for message retrieval, wait for it to connect, listen to their message filled with "ums" and "ahs", nicetries and pleasantries. Call them back.

All to communicate, "I'll meet you by the flagpole."

Seriously, the thing that got me to embrace texting was going to a tennis tournament with friends. You cannot complete a call within the 90-second changeover. But if you text, you can communicate anytime you want without disturbing others.

Angle Queen
08-25-2010, 06:39 AM
/*thread hijack*/

I get it, Cindy, on why texting is efficient and popular. But I was an IT professional for 10+ years and was ultra "connected" in. When I left all that to be a SAHM, I also made the decision to step back from all those communications. Now, my life is much simpler and I (and my family) are much happier. People who know me, know how to get in touch with me in case of a true emergency. And what constitutes an "emergency" changes when more effort must be expended to spread the word, so to speak.

As for texting at a tennis venue, no, thank you. Tennis is my one chance to get away from it all, even if only for 90 minutes. That does place more importance on prior communications (for where to go, meet people, and so forth) but, again, I feel like it makes everything go more smoothly for everyone if it's been done properly. If that means, that once in a blue moon, I or my partner (doubles or opponents) end up in the wrong place and the match gets scrubbed...well then so be it. It's just tennis. And there's always court time...tomorrow. :)

Since my kiddies are ~2 and 4, I've a long way to go before I'll have to figure out how to keep in touch with (or track of) them. By then, they'll have chips in their bodies and I can track them by GPS. Don't laugh. That technology already exists. Big Brother, here we come.

But for now, I'll take life...in the slow lane.

/*end hijack*/

bcart1991
08-27-2010, 11:29 AM
I will tell you the secret to being a prefect captain, but it will cost you one Imola Red M Coupe...

MomentumGT
08-27-2010, 04:15 PM
I will tell you the secret to being a prefect captain, but it will cost you one Imola Red M Coupe...

LOL nice!

My team is shaping out to be pretty competitive. The only problem I see right now is having a mediocre #3 doubles team as the 4.0's are the only ones with solid availability and can fill in at a moments notice. Some of my 4.5ers are turning out to be a little flaky.

Another problem I'm having is getting in contact with the other captains. Only a few are returning my calls and emails. LOL :-?

-Jon