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CrispyFritters
09-29-2010, 05:04 PM
I recently encountered this situation, and was wondering if you would handle it differently?

A really good player, lets call him John, joins your tennis team. He plays the first 2 matches and realizes that he doesn't like the combo format. John contacts the captain, and has an upfront conversation that sounds like...

"Hey this isn't working out for me (for whatever reasons). Thanks for the opportunity, but I'm going to withdraw from the team, so count me out for the rest of the season. Thanks"

Captain's not too happy about losing a good player, but understands. Near the end of the season, the team needs a few wins to make playoffs. The captian asks John to play and provides diverse reasons:
- You're letting the guys down
- No one has ever quit mid season unless they were injured
- Some guys joined the team because you asked them to...and then you quit. (totally true)

John says no because he still doesn't want to play and because other guys "want the ball," so they should play. Captain is not too happy and expresses major disappointment.

The question is:
1) Was John wrong to quit mid-season?
2) Should he have played?
3) As a captain, how would you handle your relationship with John in future tennis seasons.

polski
09-29-2010, 06:00 PM
Normally, the John guy in this scenario would make up an injury or something.

spot
09-29-2010, 06:17 PM
I don't think that either of them handled the situation at all wrong. This is rec tennis- if John doesn't enjoy playing on the team then he should spend his time doing something else. Tennis doesn't have to be people's #1 priority. He wasn't wrong to tell the captain that he would rather not play, and he certainly wasn't wrong to prioritize different things. That said- if the captain thinks his team would be better off with John in the lineup then trying to convince him to play is totally within bounds. And in future seasons the captain just needs to remember that John doesn't take tennis as seriously as the captain does.

I do agree that John risks his friendship with his teammates if he bails like that- but thats between John and them- not John and the captain.

JoelDali
09-29-2010, 06:19 PM
Captain has no reason to be dissappointed.

USTA league is a huge drag for some people that aren't into it - especially mixed doubles.

kendall22
09-29-2010, 07:05 PM
agreed. standard, differing level of commitment in a rec league. no malice, no offense. move on.

chollyred
09-30-2010, 04:46 AM
John was upfront with the captain and they were both cool with it at the beginning of the season. Then, in a desperate move, the captain tried to make John feel guilty about his decision. The captain was wrong in my opinion. There was nothing wrong in asking him to play, but the guilt trip was going too far.

Plus, how would you like to be the player that played every week only to have to sit out if John came back? Unless the rest of the team agreed to it, that was a real devisive move by ye old capitan.

LuckyR
09-30-2010, 08:11 AM
Both John and the captain acted reasonably. To say more would require more information. Was the team designed and promoted to go to Sectionals with ringers like John? You mention folks came to the team specifically to play with John.

tennismonkey
09-30-2010, 08:17 AM
john at least showed some character and let the captain know he didn't like the format and didn't want to play any longer. plenty of other folks would've made some lame excuse. it's tennis. if you don't wanna play, don't.

captain also showed his character by guilt tripping a guy into playing (or trying anyway). and showing his motivation -- playoffs.

JavierLW
09-30-2010, 09:39 AM
1) John is wrong, but aside from giving him a hard time at first I wouldnt bother with him.

2) John should of played, it's a team sport, if he really cared about everyone playing he'd respect that because you dont have to get 27 guys on your team when you can count on the ones you have to play for you.

3) I wouldnt deal with John ever again, no matter how good he is. He is someone who is wishy washy and cares only about himself, he should play in tournaments instead.

JoelDali
09-30-2010, 09:50 AM
2) John should of played, it's a team sport, if he really cared about everyone playing he'd respect that because you dont have to get 27 guys on your team when you can count on the ones you have to play for you.


So in your world, you're not allowed to quit something that you find is not enjoyable?

Joining a USTA team isn't an NFL contract.

John can whatever he wants.

I had a guy that was a solid, great singles player and lost 6-0 6-0 in doubles in our first match and I never heard from him again, and I knew league just wasn't for him. No hard feelings. Players are not tied to my team at all. Do whatever you want, we'll manage without you just fine.

USTA league is not a heavenly wonderful endeavor for every recreational player out there that has a life.

To say someone has a character flaw for joining a USTA Mixed team and then quit is absurd.

JavierLW
09-30-2010, 09:56 AM
So in your world, you're not allowed to quit something that you find is not enjoyable?

Joining a USTA team isn't an NFL contract.

John can whatever he wants.

I had a guy that was a solid, great singles player and lost 6-0 6-0 in doubles in our first match and I never heard from him again, and I knew league just wasn't for him. No hard feelings. Players are not tied to my team at all. Do whatever you want, we'll manage without you just fine.

USTA league is not a heavenly wonderful endeavor for every recreational player out there that has a life.

To say someone has a character flaw for joining a USTA Mixed team and then quit is absurd.

Yes John can do whatever he wants, he is an adult.

But yes, it is a character flaw when you commit to something (which is what you are doing when you join a team) and then you flake out.

As a captain though, I dont even consider or care about it as far as him having a character flaw, it's just not something that Id want to deal with in the future from him.

I try to fix this by making sure that I get people who have an interest in the first place though.

Getting the right number of players is hard. Especially if you are trying to do well as a team. If you have people flaking out on you all the time that hurts the team, and regardless of if it's the NFL or not, it is a team based league....

JoelDali
09-30-2010, 10:42 AM
Getting the right number of players is hard. Especially if you are trying to do well as a team. If you have people flaking out on you all the time that hurts the team, and regardless of if it's the NFL or not, it is a team based league....

This is the challenge of captaining and why no one with 3/4 of a brain wants to do it.

I find it an easy endeavor and don't have any hard feelings if my best players quit on me and the team. It is a meaningless little parade for the most part. Who cares if people quit.

Watch an introductory aerobics or spinning class sometime and you'll see people dropping out of the room after 15 minutes because its "not for them".
This doesn't make them a fat lazy slob, its just not for them.

I think you're taking this a little too far, but whatever.

I had 22 guys on my roster and out of those, maybe 10 were gung ho 100% committed and into it.

The others, not as much.

Many players are referrals from coordinators. You take them in and hope for the best. But often you get people that are not qualified or not into it.

When you score a strong player you hope and pray he gets USTA Towel Fever(tm) and comes to matches and practices. But when they don't, it is not something personal.

USTA league is not a contractual agreement or committment. Its a casual recreational gig.

Mixed is a whole other story and has shattered many guy's I know fondness for USTA league tennis.

Mixed is NOT for everyone.

catfish
09-30-2010, 11:23 AM
This topic comes up frequently in USTA league player circles. The funny thing is that if a player is a good tennis player and he/she decides to quit playing or switch teams, many captains and other players will lay a guilt trip on them about “not honoring commitments”. But if the player is not very good, everyone says no big deal and the matter is dropped.

I tend to agree with a lot of what JoelDali posted here. USTA league tennis is a recreational sport, and not a signed contract. However, I think people should use common sense and look at each situation individually. If someone quits and the team is no longer able to field a team for matches, maybe the captain could explain that to the player and convince them to get thru the season. But if there are plenty of other players available and the captain is mad because a “good player” quit, then the captain needs to get over it.

Spokewench
09-30-2010, 11:33 AM
I've captained a lot of teams. I would be slightly miffed at the guy for quitting after session got started because I would be relying on him to fill out my roster; but if I really needed more people and still had time to add players, I would just go out and recruit one more. If it was passed the time to recruit, I might try to get that person to play the match I was short on, but if they still wanted to quit at that time, I would then consider the person off the team. Other than that, it is his choice to quit and if he does not really want to play, then I would consider myself lucky not to have to deal with his issues during the season.

I, myself, would never ask that person to play on that team nor any other team that I captained after that (no matter what skill level) because I believe that there is a team in league tennis and that you need to support your teammates if at all possible.

spoke

ohplease
09-30-2010, 11:59 AM
Here's the thing: it's never just about that one individual player. Yeah, from John's perspective, he's just doing his thing, what's the big deal?

Even if the captain wasn't gunning for nationals, he still needs enough players to field a roster, and not so many that people are complaining about not getting enough playing time. Flaky players make finding that balance that much harder. You get enough of them and all of a sudden, the captain's an idiot for not recruiting enough. You get the same flaky players on a summer where they're not doing as much traveling or partying, and that same captain's an idiot for having too big a roster - when that same roster size in previous seasons could barely field full lineups some weeks.

And catfish, there's a reason strong players and weak ones get different treatment here - and it's not just about winning. Strong players leaving means bigger changes in both lineups, because they would have played more often, as well as rosters, because they would have gotten on before someone else. It's the difference between your starting shooting guard leaving and your 12th man - it's not the same, and it shouldn't be treated as such.

catfish
09-30-2010, 12:02 PM
I think that in the OP's case, the guy was new to combo (which is not always mixed, BTW) and found that he didn't like the format. So he opted not to play anymore. It also seemed that the captain had more than enough players to get thru the season, but only wanted the guy to help them get to playoffs. IMO, the concern is more that a "good" player left the team. Not "a player" left the team. So if the guy wasn't good and couldn't help them get to playoffs, this wouldn't have been brought up.

Personally, I have played on some teams where I didn't enjoy playing. But I sucked it up and finished the season. However, I wouldn't get mad at anyone who did not finish the season if they really didn't want to play. I would get miffed if the team had to default matches, but only in that case.

JavierLW
09-30-2010, 12:17 PM
I think that in the OP's case, the guy was new to combo (which is not always mixed, BTW) and found that he didn't like the format. So he opted not to play anymore.

Either:

a) It's the captains' fault for not explaining what this league was like in the first place.

b) If the captain did explain this, then the player is sort of flaking out.

But like I said, there isnt much you can other then say something at first. But it would be silly to bother with them again on another team, especially if you have lots of other options.

Kostas
09-30-2010, 12:44 PM
As a captain you should understand that for the most part, by definition, most of your players don't take this sh*t anywhere near as seriously as you do.

I doubt John had any idea what combo was like when he agreed to play. He didn't like and bowed out. Nothing wrong with that. As a captain you should just move on.

I'd say it's borderline asking him to come back to play because you need to win a few matches. I definately wouldn't have done that but whatever....you're a grown *** man...don't try to guilt-trip another man into playing on your team. That's 3.0 women's crap (no offense 3.0 women).

If you're that worried about winning matches you shouldn't tether the success of your season to one player.

Cindysphinx
09-30-2010, 01:30 PM
Dang, count yourself lucky that John was up front with you.

Last season, I was casting about for players (partly because people committed to the team and then got injured or bailed). Friend told me about a lady. Let's call her C.

I arrange a foursome with C, and she turns out to be a good player and a kick in the pants. I liked her and brought her on board. Because she was new to USTA, this meant explaining self-rating, providing links to USTA and Tennislink and holding her hand while she got herself sorted.

C then declared she was only available for one match. I put her in the line-up for that one match. The day before the match, C told me she couldn't play because she had forgotten she was hosting a going-away party for a dear friend. Uh -- how do you forget you are hosting a party?

Then C declared that she was unavailable for all of the matches, saying she was moving to another nearby city.

Mmm, not cool. I was annoyed that she had wasted so bloody much of my time, but I was nice about it. Then we got to a critical point in the season where we were short a player and were facing a default. I wrote to C and asked if she would drive down for this one match, which happened to be on a Saturday. Nope, C wouldn't do it. Gee, thanks a lot.

Anyway, I think John should be able to quit unless there was some roster limit to consider, and the captain shouldn't guilt-trip him too much. That doesn't mean the captain has to be happy about it. I know I wasn't!

JoelDali
09-30-2010, 01:30 PM
a) It's the captains' fault for not explaining what this league was like in the first place.

I was gonna try to not respond anymore but Jesus H. Christ!

The guy doesn't want to play on the team, who cares?

So you actually have a magical crystal ball that you show new recruits of how the season is going to be and how much great fun it is playing mixed?

You can't explain what mixed doubles is like until you PLAY.

Most 4.5s don't find joy in playing 8.0 combo with 3.5 women.

If he had explained what its like John probably would not have joined.

How in the effing eff do you explain 8.0 combo to someone?

"You're going to be playing some really awesome tennis but you won't improve any parts of your game but the post match beer, small talk and chicken wings are wonderful..."

struggle
09-30-2010, 01:34 PM
If you're that worried about winning matches you shouldn't tether the success of your season to one player.

i can get with this.

Cindysphinx
09-30-2010, 01:35 PM
Was it mixed? Around here, "combo" can mean men's combo, women's combo, or mixed combo.

JoelDali
09-30-2010, 02:04 PM
Was it mixed? Around here, "combo" can mean men's combo, women's combo, or mixed combo.

Around here its a great late night drunken munchie meal with the 3.5 ladies.

http://www.tacotime.com/assets/images/menu/product_combos.jpg

JavierLW
09-30-2010, 02:26 PM
I was gonna try to not respond anymore but Jesus H. Christ!

The guy doesn't want to play on the team, who cares?

It's kind of like some guy on a message board has an OPINION that you dont agree with, but who cares!!!!! It's just someone's opinion, no need to get bent out of shape about it....

I think you need to get one of those chicken wings removed....

Just because you dont care about anything that you are personally involved in doesnt mean others do not so get off it....

OrangePower
10-01-2010, 12:58 PM
If John made specific promises when he joined the team about how many matches he would play, then he is in the wrong and should try live up to those commitments, else he's letting the team down.

But if he made no specific commitments, then he is free to drop out if it's not a good fit for him for whatever reason, and it's a credit to him that he did it in a honest way.

The captain is ok in trying to re-recruit John in a nice way, but laying a guilt trip on him is going too far.

As a captain, you just have to deal with it - really it's no different than losing a player for the season due to injury. Out of your control and not the end of the world.

Cereal68
10-03-2010, 09:56 PM
Some of us are more committed and/or competitive than others. It's recreational tennis and that's just the way it goes. Thank him for his honesty and move on ... maybe ask if he'd be willing to sub if you're ever short players.

JT_2eighty
10-11-2010, 01:28 PM
When you score a strong player you hope and pray he gets USTA Towel Fever(tm) and comes to matches and practices. But when they don't, it is not something personal.


I agree, as well as lmao the way you put it. Well said.

JoelDali
10-11-2010, 06:46 PM
Just because you dont care about anything that you are personally involved in doesnt mean others do not so get off it....

You really are a piece of work.

I dedicated countless hours to my team, made the playoffs and didn't ***** once for lack of ringers, players that were late or didn't commit to practice, $, or lack of thanks for my efforts.

For a 1st year captain and team we did damn well. I'm happy to say that many guys I introduced have become regular hitting partners and look forward to next year and improving their games. I like to think I did a great thing bringing 20 guys together that I culled over the past 3 years dredging around finding matches in this league and that league, on this mailing list and that web site etc.

I'm glad I didn't notice your idiot disgusting post obviously attacking my dedication to my team and sport last week or I would have really lost my cool.

Thank God you're not in my section.

JoelDali
10-11-2010, 06:56 PM
I agree, as well as lmao the way you put it. Well said.

We all want the ballers and the ringers and just because one of them finds league a total waste of time after one match doesn't make them evil, lazy, backstabbing or trashy.

JavierLW
10-12-2010, 05:38 AM
You really are a piece of work.

I'm glad I didn't notice your idiot disgusting post obviously attacking my dedication to my team and sport last week or I would have really lost my cool.

Thank God you're not in my section.

It's not any worse then your idiotic posts that are attacking my dedication to the sport, assuming that I fill my whole team with ringers, etc... Just because I DONT AGREE WITH YOU!!!

You're whole discussion here has been with your nose up in the air. Why dont you come down off of your own high horse, you clearly dont have anything intelligent to say other then attacking the opinions of others.

I dont know how many matches you get in a season but 20+ players is way too many in our leagues here. Im trying to have a team that "can" win, while remaining fun at the same time, and it's not fun when you are on a team that you never play on.

So part of what we do is make sure we get the right amount of players. It actually makes it a lot harder for me, (versus being lazy and just letting 23 guys slip onto the team) but it's worth it and if one of them says they are playing and then later says they are not, that does kind of screw it up.

And if you'd get off your high horse, you'd notice that I said that I would say something to them at first, but after that Id let it go. (but I wouldn't let them back)

I do agree with you on a couple things though that I didnt consider. I would NEVER captain a 8.0 mixed-combo-tri-quad-whatever league anyway. I only run things that I know are fun and that I can sell people on, and sometimes those are not easy to sell.

JT_2eighty
10-12-2010, 02:35 PM
As a captain myself, I'll just say I have 20+ people on my list not because I'm "lazy and just letting 23 guys slip onto the team," but because most people that end up playing, in my area at least, don't have the commitment level to play every week.

Sure, if I could find 10-14 guys that are available 80% of the time, then captaining WOULD be a breeze and I'd be able to be lazy, hah.

INSTEAD, there are weeks I have to call 20+ people, and sometimes I STILL have to forfeit a court!

So, to the OP, if the guy isn't interested, it's his prerogative and the guilt trip is not justified.

And, to the argument above, I think we (as captains) all understand pretty much the same general ideas and hurdles in our way, and it really just boils down to luck: if you find a good player, you are lucky. If that player decides to commit to the team, you are very lucky. If everyone bails on you on a given week because of the football game, it sucks, but we all move on and keep playing tennis and having fun.

Every now and then you find a good player, but then half the time they just don't have a CLUE the hurdles we captains have to deal with. I had a guy who was "all about" doubles and on the lineup for that week. The day before the match, he says "I might not make it"... I'm standing there thinking "WTF are you talking about 'might not', if you don't make it, you're going to hang your partner and the two opponents out to dry, me out to dry, court fees, etc etc." But, i simply said, "You know what, just take the day off and I'll find a sub." So, the rest of the day I'm calling 15+ people to fill one spot, about 16 hours before the match. Having 20 people on your roster is not that you're lazy, but I've learned it helps me cover my ***** when people flake out on you the night before, the morning of, etc.

Edit (& TLDR): As a captain, you have to be ready for people to bail mid-season, post-match, morning-of, etc. It can be a drag, but just remember to keep having FUN :D

AlpineCadet
10-12-2010, 03:17 PM
On a serious note, ball hogs are the fun killers in league. They often get you out of position, try to play both sides of the court at the net, and they think it's a one man show esp. when the scores get tight. You're left playing against three players instead of two, and you're always on your toes in trying to cover a gap that your partner has suddenly left for you.

Though I wouldn't leave the team unless I was fed up and didn't feel like rationalizing the situation to the captain. I had to deal with this a couple of times (and once this past Sunday in league,) but it helps to just communicate with your partner as soon as it becomes apparent. This is dubs, not singles :)

JavierLW
10-12-2010, 03:54 PM
As a captain myself, I'll just say I have 20+ people on my list not because I'm "lazy and just letting 23 guys slip onto the team," but because most people that end up playing, in my area at least, don't have the commitment level to play every week.

Sure, if I could find 10-14 guys that are available 80% of the time, then captaining WOULD be a breeze and I'd be able to be lazy, hah.

INSTEAD, there are weeks I have to call 20+ people, and sometimes I STILL have to forfeit a court!

So, to the OP, if the guy isn't interested, it's his prerogative and the guilt trip is not justified.

And, to the argument above, I think we (as captains) all understand pretty much the same general ideas and hurdles in our way, and it really just boils down to luck: if you find a good player, you are lucky. If that player decides to commit to the team, you are very lucky. If everyone bails on you on a given week because of the football game, it sucks, but we all move on and keep playing tennis and having fun.

Every now and then you find a good player, but then half the time they just don't have a CLUE the hurdles we captains have to deal with. I had a guy who was "all about" doubles and on the lineup for that week. The day before the match, he says "I might not make it"... I'm standing there thinking "WTF are you talking about 'might not', if you don't make it, you're going to hang your partner and the two opponents out to dry, me out to dry, court fees, etc etc." But, i simply said, "You know what, just take the day off and I'll find a sub." So, the rest of the day I'm calling 15+ people to fill one spot, about 16 hours before the match. Having 20 people on your roster is not that you're lazy, but I've learned it helps me cover my ***** when people flake out on you the night before, the morning of, etc.

Edit (& TLDR): As a captain, you have to be ready for people to bail mid-season, post-match, morning-of, etc. It can be a drag, but just remember to keep having FUN :D

Ya, I guess we can agree to disagree, but I disagree with almost the entire premise of your post.

You act is if it's just a given that people will quit on you mid-season...

It's not a given for me because PRIORITY NUMBER ONE for me is that I do the best I can to get people who are truly REALLY interested in playing. And part of that is making the experience fun and worthwhile as well so they want to play and giving people more matches does this.

Most of my opponents think like you do, they don't put the time in ahead of time (or they belong to a club so unfortunately they are stuck with whoever they get) so they waste their day calling 20 people to try to get 8 people to show up. Then once you get those 8 people, forget about making a decent lineup at that point.

Once in awhile Ive had people who are like the one you described and OF COURSE I have to give them the 411 on the situation first. Maybe they just dont know? Some people are just clueless in general... But ya, if they are still undecided, then I would do the same thing you did and try to get someone else using what little time I have left, rather then wait until the last minute.

But then I wouldnt put that guy in the lineup very often again depending on the circumstances. ESPECIALLY IF I had 23 guys who want to play. It's not worth my time...

That's just a fact of life if you figure out what someone's motivation is, there are people out there who when they are schedule, they REALLY want to play and that's what they are REALLY planning on doing. And then there are people who only will do it until something else that seems important comes along.

It's the same when you play "for fun" with people sometimes. If I really want to play tennis, Im going to call the people that I know will give me a "YES" or a "NO" answer right away first. Im not going to deal with the wishy washy people right away who "want to play" until something comes up at the last minute and now not only don't I have someone to play I could of made plans to do something else.....

And Im not saying that the 2nd class of people shouldn't get to enjoy tennis as well, but Im not going to waste my time catering to them. I am very good at judging this sort of thing thus I never need over 15 people for a league where only 8 people play per week. (and 15 was too many usually but I need some insurance)

Panic492
10-12-2010, 07:50 PM
I think John is a bit weak for not understanding what he was getting himself into before he committed. Once he committed, I think it is lame to let the team down that he committed to.

OrangePower
10-12-2010, 08:54 PM
My 2 cents regarding the posts about how many players you need and so on:

Based on my experience, and assuming a 10+ week season, you need:

On a good team that is likely to go to playoffs, you need 2 X the number of players needed per match. For example, for Adult USTA, you need 16 players.

On a bad team that is likely to finish near the bottom, you need 2.5 X the number of players needed per match. For example, for Adult USTA, you need 20 players.

Players on playoff bound teams tend to be more motivated to play than players on bottom-feeder teams.

JavierLW
10-13-2010, 05:40 AM
My 2 cents regarding the posts about how many players you need and so on:

Based on my experience, and assuming a 10+ week season, you need:

On a good team that is likely to go to playoffs, you need 2 X the number of players needed per match. For example, for Adult USTA, you need 16 players.

On a bad team that is likely to finish near the bottom, you need 2.5 X the number of players needed per match. For example, for Adult USTA, you need 20 players.

Players on playoff bound teams tend to be more motivated to play than players on bottom-feeder teams.

I totally agree with that in general. For some teams, it's just a completely social outing to them and that's cool, but I see they need a lot more people.

However my team has only been to the playoffs twice in 7 years so luckily we've managed to still find the people who want to play regularly.

Our numbers are probably a bit lower as well because we have a shorter season then some areas (10 matches if we're lucky), and because all of the scheduled matches are on the same night of the week, it's easier for people to commit to playing.

When they are on any given random day or time and even on the weekend, I fully would expect more that Id run into problems with availability.

spot
10-13-2010, 05:48 AM
Orange- for my teams its sort of the opposite. We had a team that got big enough that people at the lower lines were getting squeezed for playtime so we split into 2 teams- one which is run really competitively to make a deep run in playoffs and one where playtime is balanced and game improvement. For our game improvement team we keep the roster small so that everyone can play a ton. On the competitive team we need to have more people even knowing that some may not play a lot. But once you get to playoffs and your roster is locked in then you really do need to have extra options because you never have a full lineup in the playoffs.

THis is alta so its 5 lines of doubles. For our competitive team we have 18 players on the roster with 4 of them playing the minimum number of times to get playoff eligible. For our game improvement team we have just 15 people on the roster so pretty much everyone can play every week they are available.

But for me, the biggest issue is sitting people who would rather play. I can't even imagine being captain for a team struggling to fill a lineup every week.

Cindysphinx
10-13-2010, 08:55 AM
As a captain myself, I'll just say I have 20+ people on my list not because I'm "lazy and just letting 23 guys slip onto the team," but because most people that end up playing, in my area at least, don't have the commitment level to play every week.

Sure, if I could find 10-14 guys that are available 80% of the time, then captaining WOULD be a breeze and I'd be able to be lazy, hah.

Yeah, Javier's statement was a real knee-slapper, wasn't it?

News flash: Different leagues require different things. In our league, having 20 people on the roster does not mean the captain is lazy. It means *the captain has 20 people on the roster.*

Honestly, I don't think the size of a team's roster says anything at all about the character or commitment of the players or the captain. It just means . . . well, it could mean anything. That someone in one part of the country could somehow get the idea that a captain with a large roster is lazy is baffling to me.

OrangePower:

Based on my experience, and assuming a 10+ week season, you need:

On a good team that is likely to go to playoffs, you need 2 X the number of players needed per match. For example, for Adult USTA, you need 16 players.

On a bad team that is likely to finish near the bottom, you need 2.5 X the number of players needed per match. For example, for Adult USTA, you need 20 players.

Eh, that sounds about right for our area (although I would never keep a small roster if I were playoff bound). Right now, we are doing fall combo. We have 16 players (with another lady who may join next month). We field six players per outing, so that would mean 12-15 by your formula.

There are a few other things that affect roster size, though. In 7.5 combo, you need a bigger roster if you have a lot of 4.0 players so there will be enough 3.5s for good balance. In the adult season, I think the 2x rule of thumb doesn't work very well because singles players get injured or burned out so much.

And in an area like ours where people are often on 3-4 teams, you need a roster large enough to cover those days where players have multiple teams seeking their services. One of the reasons I set line-ups 3-4 weeks in advance is to "reserve" the availability of players so I won't be caught short.

I think the ability to play on so many teams in our area is one reason that my players rarely beg me to put them in the line-up. Players here are more likely fending off multiple requests to play than begging captains for playing time.


Every now and then you find a good player, but then half the time they just don't have a CLUE the hurdles we captains have to deal with. I had a guy who was "all about" doubles and on the lineup for that week. The day before the match, he says "I might not make it"... I'm standing there thinking "WTF are you talking about 'might not', if you don't make it, you're going to hang your partner and the two opponents out to dry, me out to dry, court fees, etc etc." But, i simply said, "You know what, just take the day off and I'll find a sub." So, the rest of the day I'm calling 15+ people to fill one spot, about 16 hours before the match. Having 20 people on your roster is not that you're lazy, but I've learned it helps me cover my ***** when people flake out on you the night before, the morning of, etc.

Yeah, I have had people flake out on me for the most bizarre reasons. I have heard:

"I can't play tomorrow night like I said I would. My husband is taking me to dinner because it's our anniversary."

"I can't play tomorrow. I haven't had a lesson in two weeks and I'm not feeling confident."

"I can't play tomorrow. I forgot I was hosting a going away party for my best friend."

Some people just don't get it. What can you do?

JT_2eighty
10-13-2010, 09:12 AM
It's not a given for me because PRIORITY NUMBER ONE for me is that I do the best I can to get people who are truly REALLY interested in playing. And part of that is making the experience fun and worthwhile as well so they want to play and giving people more matches does this.

Most of my opponents think like you do, they don't put the time in ahead of time (or they belong to a club so unfortunately they are stuck with whoever they get) so they waste their day calling 20 people to try to get 8 people to show up. Then once you get those 8 people, forget about making a decent lineup at that point.

Yea, I think we are 95% in agreement. I actually do belong to a club, so yes, I am often 'stuck' with who I get. When I captained the 4.0 team, I was much like you, had a solid group of ~12-14 people who were interested and committed. And, trust me, I put a lot of time into my team. More than most captains in my area; I'm one of the only guys who knows all the opposing team's players' names, and usual lineup tendencies. Stuff like that. We have fun, compete hard, and at the end of the day win or lose, are glad to be playing tennis or having beers afterwards. You get to the point when most of the time you can gauge if the 'new guy' is going to stick around or 'be out of town' the rest of the season.

This year since I was bumped to 4.5, I just simply don't have as many people to draw from. Half the guys from the old 4.0 team weren't keen on moving up, while some that wanted to just got dismantled and discouraged. I guess I'm just in that "rebuilding" stage, so some weeks I would be scrambling to fill the ranks, and yes, the lineups were rough those weeks. Sometimes I find myself questioning if I should fill the bottom court with a couple 4.0's that are available to sub-up, but will that just waste the other team's time/money? Moving up has limited the number of "really interested" players I can draw from, so it's not uncommon I have to keep a few of the wishy-washy guys on my call list.

All in all, there are a lot of factors that enhance or detract from a captain's ability to field a "committed" team: level of play, location in the country, club politics, time of year, weekday vs. weekend court times, etc. Going from a "playoff bound" competitive upper 4.0 team to a "game improvement" new 4.5 team is the dilemma I found myself in this year, so that's where I'm coming from. There are a couple solid 4.5 players that also happen to 'disappear' for weeks at a time. I just learned to not lose sleep over it.

And as this relates to the topic, I've come a across a few "Johns" over the years, and my best advice is to erase him from your call list and keep moving forward. Being upfront in the beginning will help, but some people in this world are just on a totally different wavelength, you know? In addition, I don't think I could handle the combo/mixed format, the additional variables there do make it seem like fielding a team would be quite a chore.

Good luck :D

JavierLW
10-13-2010, 09:52 AM
Yea, I think we are 95% in agreement. I actually do belong to a club, so yes, I am often 'stuck' with who I get. When I captained the 4.0 team, I was much like you, had a solid group of ~12-14 people who were interested and committed. And, trust me, I put a lot of time into my team. More than most captains in my area; I'm one of the only guys who knows all the opposing team's players' names, and usual lineup tendencies. Stuff like that. We have fun, compete hard, and at the end of the day win or lose, are glad to be playing tennis or having beers afterwards. You get to the point when most of the time you can gauge if the 'new guy' is going to stick around or 'be out of town' the rest of the season.

This year since I was bumped to 4.5, I just simply don't have as many people to draw from. Half the guys from the old 4.0 team weren't keen on moving up, while some that wanted to just got dismantled and discouraged. I guess I'm just in that "rebuilding" stage, so some weeks I would be scrambling to fill the ranks, and yes, the lineups were rough those weeks. Sometimes I find myself questioning if I should fill the bottom court with a couple 4.0's that are available to sub-up, but will that just waste the other team's time/money? Moving up has limited the number of "really interested" players I can draw from, so it's not uncommon I have to keep a few of the wishy-washy guys on my call list.

All in all, there are a lot of factors that enhance or detract from a captain's ability to field a "committed" team: level of play, location in the country, club politics, time of year, weekday vs. weekend court times, etc. Going from a "playoff bound" competitive upper 4.0 team to a "game improvement" new 4.5 team is the dilemma I found myself in this year, so that's where I'm coming from. There are a couple solid 4.5 players that also happen to 'disappear' for weeks at a time. I just learned to not lose sleep over it.

And as this relates to the topic, I've come a across a few "Johns" over the years, and my best advice is to erase him from your call list and keep moving forward. Being upfront in the beginning will help, but some people in this world are just on a totally different wavelength, you know? In addition, I don't think I could handle the combo/mixed format, the additional variables there do make it seem like fielding a team would be quite a chore.

Good luck :D

Hell, I think Im actually at near 99.9% agreement with everything you said in this post at least. :-)

If it's any consolation, I lost 9 guys from 3.5 team last year and decided to run two teams. My 4.0 team sounds a lot like your 4.5 team.

The worst part is in a lot of cases the same people that were all in for playing at 3.5, became people who were slightly less then interested at 4.0. (losing seems to do that....)

Unfortunately our competition however are a LOT more serious then our competition was at 3.5. There was even a team that only had 10 players and they managed to make it thru without any defaults.

I think it's just like you said, the higher the level the less players there are to choose from. Especially for a new team because if those guys were good, they were probably already on a 4.0 or 4.5 team, or there may of been some reason why they are not playing league at all. That doesn't leave a whole lot of extra players left.

I still wont let the wishy-washy guys on though. They have to pay money to play after all, and with that I feel there is some obligation to put them in. So I end up sticking myself in a situation (scheduling them for matches that they may bail on), that I didnt necessarily need.

Im in another Renegade League that is a lot different. It doesnt make players join the USTA or register (there is just a modest team fee), and you can get anyone you want to play for you, so that opens the door a lot more for calling these wishy washy guys just in case they can help you since there is no harm if they cant play. (but even then I wouldnt call them unless it was an emergency because the risk is they commit to playing a certain date and then they bail which causes more work for me)

OrangePower
10-13-2010, 01:02 PM
Orange- for my teams its sort of the opposite. We had a team that got big enough that people at the lower lines were getting squeezed for playtime so we split into 2 teams- one which is run really competitively to make a deep run in playoffs and one where playtime is balanced and game improvement. For our game improvement team we keep the roster small so that everyone can play a ton. On the competitive team we need to have more people even knowing that some may not play a lot. But once you get to playoffs and your roster is locked in then you really do need to have extra options because you never have a full lineup in the playoffs.

THis is alta so its 5 lines of doubles. For our competitive team we have 18 players on the roster with 4 of them playing the minimum number of times to get playoff eligible. For our game improvement team we have just 15 people on the roster so pretty much everyone can play every week they are available.

But for me, the biggest issue is sitting people who would rather play. I can't even imagine being captain for a team struggling to fill a lineup every week.

Wow, I'm envious of the level of committment your game-improvement team members have.

So you're filling a weekly lineup of 10 people out of a total roster of 15 - that's just great. Means at least 2/3 of your roster is able to play any given week.

With the same numbers, I would be defaulting at least one line more often than not.

Maybe another factor at play is the demographic of the team members. Most of my players are in the age range 35-55. So injuries come up now and then and are a factor, as are family committments. No way I can have 2/3 of my roster available per match on a regular basis.

Spokewench
10-18-2010, 01:56 PM
It is really interesting to read this thread because it gives me a totally different perspective of leagues in larger areas. I'm in a small rural area where we are lucky to have one team to play against in any given division and we are lucky to have 2-3 more people to play than have to play in a match. So, having a committed team is really, really important. Injuries can be devastating to the whole team.

I'm captaining a tri level team now and have 11 people (only allowed 12) so this is one of the largest teams I've ever had for only having to play 3 doubles courts.

Captaining and playing in such a small rural area is really way different from what you all are describing.