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View Full Version : Top 10 Reasons I am NOT being a captain this year


TenniseaWilliams
11-18-2010, 11:12 AM
I have been a captain of multiple teams each for almost a decade. I have brought in a lot of new USTA members, and had a lot of fun fielding teams that were about spreading playing time and having fun as well as making sure every court was competitive as possible. There is a lot more to it than one would imagine as a player.

Rather than getting easier, each year it seems like it gets a little tougher to be a captain. I have cut down on the number of teams, number of leagues, etc. for the last couple of years, last year I captained one mens summer team. This year, I will very likely not be a captain at all.

The straw that broke the camel's back is a local league ruling increasing my possible match travel diameter to over 100 miles this winter, with another possible site 75 miles away, and two others 50 miles. (I am fairly central in the local league, there are 5 indoor clubs within 15 miles)

Shortening player registration windows down to a week, large minimum rosters, no organized new player draft/team advertisement help, increasing fees, playoffs dominating scheduling/flight arrangements, etc. have slowly made my life as a captain miserable. My questions and complaints to the league coordinator are completely ineffective, and often unanswered. The leagues seem to have changes every year, with little notice or warning.


Did I get to 10? How does anyone stand being a captain these days?

dlk
11-18-2010, 11:25 AM
^^^Wow, that's depressing. I wanted to be a captain for the first time this winter, my major worry is obtaining at least 10-12 guys, I know I got 6 for sure.

Cindysphinx
11-18-2010, 11:36 AM
Did I get to 10? How does anyone stand being a captain these days?

I feel your pain. It is close to a thankless job. My players seem to be appreciative, but I think the league could do more. Our league gives each captain one ticket to a session of the Legg Mason tournament. Nice. Better, however, would be free Tennislink registration for the captains.

Anyway, I keep telling myself that I need to captain one team each season. The reason is that I don't like having my entire season held hostage by other captains. If I captain, then I will have one team that I am 100% sure is run the way I think it should be run, 'cause I'm running it. Then if another team disappoints me, it is much easier to just roll with it and avoid back seat driving.

Then again, I am not up to 10 years of captaining. I have five years in so far. I think if I get bumped to 4.0 it will be very hard to find enough 4.0s to have a decent team, and I don't want to captain a team full of 3.5s playing up who can't compete. So we'll see if 2011 sees me cut back on captaining.

dizzlmcwizzl
11-18-2010, 05:49 PM
In our district ... captains get a hat at the end of the season. How could you pass that up?

TenniseaWilliams
11-18-2010, 06:48 PM
Forgot about the hat! Hmmm....

dizzlmcwizzl
11-18-2010, 07:34 PM
I feel your pain. It is close to a thankless job. My players seem to be appreciative, but I think the league could do more.

I have captained other adult sports, but never tennis. It always irritated me when players canceled at the last minute, whined about not playing where (or with whom) they wanted or complained about playing time. With tennis you add in the extra pressure of having your match results posted for everyone to see ... so it becomes personal and public.

It pains me to hear about the captain getting complaints concerning playing partners. Everyone conveniently believes the best partner for them would be the best player on the team.

No thank you ... I will just be a cheery contributor in what ever way I can. Let someone else do all that hard work.

Spokewench
11-19-2010, 06:10 AM
I hear you too. Five years here for captaining. One year I captained 4 teams all at once - That was a BIG mistake. Last year, I captained two teams - one is still to go to trilevel sectionals in January.

I deal with the travel, etc. all the time since this is a rural area and usually, we only have one team per town, so we have to play other rural towns and travel. One travel distance is about 45 minutes to an hour. The other is about 2 plus hours.
Yes, they change rules all the time. It is always hard to find enough people to field teams. It is also very hard to get any new people involved. We just don't have a big field to pull from.

The USTA is set up so that you are trying to pull new people in to play all the time. Here, there just aren't enough people that play tennis to do that. When your players move up they move up and it is really hard to find a replacement.

What happens is people who like to compete do, but a lot don't so you end up with the same people in different levels over and over. Almost impossible to recruit!

So, our challenges are probably different but the same. My biggest beef with captaining is other captains who don't want to organize and make my life miserable. I'd tell stories but who knows what people get on this site!

We had a horrible league coordinator for a couple of years too that made my life miserable as well. Thanks be that he is gone after first of the year.

Will I still captain, probably. The reason being that no one else will captain teams; so I either captain or I don't play league tennis. I pick captaining.

Fedace
11-19-2010, 06:24 AM
I have been a captain of multiple teams each for almost a decade. I have brought in a lot of new USTA members, and had a lot of fun fielding teams that were about spreading playing time and having fun as well as making sure every court was competitive as possible. There is a lot more to it than one would imagine as a player.

Rather than getting easier, each year it seems like it gets a little tougher to be a captain. I have cut down on the number of teams, number of leagues, etc. for the last couple of years, last year I captained one mens summer team. This year, I will very likely not be a captain at all.

The straw that broke the camel's back is a local league ruling increasing my possible match travel diameter to over 100 miles this winter, with another possible site 75 miles away, and two others 50 miles. (I am fairly central in the local league, there are 5 indoor clubs within 15 miles)

Shortening player registration windows down to a week, large minimum rosters, no organized new player draft/team advertisement help, increasing fees, playoffs dominating scheduling/flight arrangements, etc. have slowly made my life as a captain miserable. My questions and complaints to the league coordinator are completely ineffective, and often unanswered. The leagues seem to have changes every year, with little notice or warning.


Did I get to 10? How does anyone stand being a captain these days?

USTA's job is to expand and promote tennis leagues. so naturally they are going to promote getting new people involved. and living in Pangea, it is a big continent, you will have to travel.

Fedace
11-19-2010, 06:25 AM
In our district ... captains get a hat at the end of the season. How could you pass that up?

I would do it if USTA gave out Captain's Crystal ball or Gold medal at the end of the season, that would make it worth it. but the Hat is not worth it.

wvtennis
11-19-2010, 06:50 AM
My biggest frustrations with being a captain of a USTA has come from the players on my own team. Its very hard to keep 12-16 players happy, especially on teams that win and go on to post season play. I wont say that I will never captain again, but I definiatly need a break from it for a season or 2.

OrangePower
11-19-2010, 07:48 AM
Only 1 reason why I will not be a captain this year - time.

Sure, it's a constant battle to find new players each season, run after everyone to keep schedules updated, and put out lineups that balance giving everyone playing time with being competitive. But I knew before I started captaining what I was getting into. So can't complain.

And I don't expect any 'reward' from USTA; my motivation is purely out of self interest (being on a well-run team with people I like, and the satisfaction of having managed a successful team).

Having said all that, captaining is a big time and effort drain for me. In the past I've had enough bandwidth to do it, but this year I have too many other things going on, so I will not be captaining.

Cindysphinx
11-19-2010, 08:29 AM
one is still to go to trilevel sectionals in January.

Keep this quiet, but I think the single hardest thing about captaining is when your team makes the playoffs.

For me, that means that my captaining chores don't end when I expected them to. This can mean that I will be captaining one team in playoffs at the same time I am gearing up the next team. Double the time commitment. I have to review the rules regarding post-season play, and there is often a mandatory captain's meeting that I am not brave enough to skip.

Also challenging is that post-season play brings out the worst in everyone. During the regular season, players often do not know who the captain believes are the strongest players. They don't know my thought process in doing line-ups, and most players don't even know the relative strength of the opposing teams. So if I put a couple of weaker players on Court One against a weak opponent and they win, they figure they are top players.

Then the playoffs come along and I'm only using the strongest players. I mean, you can almost hear the collective gasp of those who scan the line-up to find they are not in it. I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings, but there is no way around this. Also difficult is that I can't even be sure I've identified the strongest players. I'll bet if you asked all of the players to list their teammates in order of strength, the lists would be quite different apart from the top one or two.

When we don't make the playoffs or get eliminated, I make the appropriate noises ("Great job, we'll get them next year!"). I gotta tell ya, I don't lose any sleep at all over it though. I restring my rackets and happily immerse myself in the next season's doings.

GokuQ
11-19-2010, 09:08 AM
In our district ... captains get a hat at the end of the season. How could you pass that up?

wow you get a hat? we get squat here in no cal!
and last year was my last time capt. too(ah heck i say that every year).....

AutoXer
11-20-2010, 12:14 PM
Captains play for free here. Still almost not worth it.

Wakenslam
11-20-2010, 02:04 PM
I hear ya Tenessea. After playing ALTA for over 20 years without being a captain, I just finished captaining spring and fall ALTA men's teams this year. We won city in spring and won our division in fall. That made all the hard work worthwhile for me. As if two seasons weren't enough, I decided to captain ONE more time, this time a USTA team with basically the same group of guys. This is my LAST TIME. :-)

Here are my main gripes:
1. Having to front guys' court fees. Several guys were like, I'll just pay you when I see you. Almost all of them eventually paid, but now I feel like I gave interest free loans! Pretty lame if you ask me, regardless of your skill level, just log in and pay your damn dues yourself!

2. Other captains. They never call me to say, hey we have two courts this week and see you at 9 oclock! I had to call every single week, regardless of home or away matches.

3. Injuries. Ummmm, why did you decide to ride a dirt bike for the first time ever, on the day before a playoff match?

Other than those three issues I had a great time being a captain for an awesome group of guys! Because of the time and effort I won't be doing it again, but do recommend to everyone to do at least once.

jonnyjack
11-20-2010, 02:58 PM
Keep this quiet, but I think the single hardest thing about captaining is when your team makes the playoffs.

For me, that means that my captaining chores don't end when I expected them to. This can mean that I will be captaining one team in playoffs at the same time I am gearing up the next team. Double the time commitment. I have to review the rules regarding post-season play, and there is often a mandatory captain's meeting that I am not brave enough to skip.

Also challenging is that post-season play brings out the worst in everyone. During the regular season, players often do not know who the captain believes are the strongest players. They don't know my thought process in doing line-ups, and most players don't even know the relative strength of the opposing teams. So if I put a couple of weaker players on Court One against a weak opponent and they win, they figure they are top players.

Then the playoffs come along and I'm only using the strongest players. I mean, you can almost hear the collective gasp of those who scan the line-up to find they are not in it. I don't like to hurt anyone's feelings, but there is no way around this. Also difficult is that I can't even be sure I've identified the strongest players. I'll bet if you asked all of the players to list their teammates in order of strength, the lists would be quite different apart from the top one or two.

When we don't make the playoffs or get eliminated, I make the appropriate noises ("Great job, we'll get them next year!"). I gotta tell ya, I don't lose any sleep at all over it though. I restring my rackets and happily immerse myself in the next season's doings.

I hear ya Tenessea. After playing ALTA for over 20 years without being a captain, I just finished captaining spring and fall ALTA men's teams this year. We won city in spring and won our division in fall. That made all the hard work worthwhile for me. As if two seasons weren't enough, I decided to captain ONE more time, this time a USTA team with basically the same group of guys. This is my LAST TIME. :-)

Here are my main gripes:
1. Having to front guys' court fees. Several guys were like, I'll just pay you when I see you. Almost all of them eventually paid, but now I feel like I gave interest free loans! Pretty lame if you ask me, regardless of your skill level, just log in and pay your damn dues yourself!

2. Other captains. They never call me to say, hey we have two courts this week and see you at 9 oclock! I had to call every single week, regardless of home or away matches.

3. Injuries. Ummmm, why did you decide to ride a dirt bike for the first time ever, on the day before a playoff match?

Other than those three issues I had a great time being a captain for an awesome group of guys! Because of the time and effort I won't be doing it again, but do recommend to everyone to do at least once.

I agree with both of these posts. People shouldn't complain about the captain until they've done it themselves. My biggest issue is the players on my own teams not paying the fees on time. I now only co-captain, I don't get my roster fee waived like the captain but I want nothing to do with collecting fees now but I get some say in the decisions but leave it up to the captain to make the final one.

TenniseaWilliams
11-20-2010, 06:11 PM
Free player registration for captains? Hmmph, not in my section. In my section, captains pay extra for the privilege, now an extra $20 up front to register each team.

The league also doesn't seem to hold much consumer pull with the local clubs in my area, constantly reminding us that the facilities are doing us a favor selling blocks of courts far in advance at nearly retail rates. We had a club that mid-season suddenly demanded visitor rosters a day in advance (club ran the home rosters) so that they could setup payment accounts, and enforce defaults. The local league coord didn't see a problem with that.

beststringer
11-20-2010, 06:24 PM
Lower your expectations, as is with all things in life. Be happy that you are an alpha dog and you lead - as a captain.

yeah, i paid about 1/2 of the court fees, dozens of new tennis balls, free string jobs, etc and etc.

In Norcal, we got free ipod size man purse.

goober
12-15-2010, 07:09 AM
Against my better judgement I have decided to captain a team for the upcoming season. It is a brand new team mostly with players without team experience. The hardest part in the early going without a doubt has been recruiting people who are the right level and that are committed to playing and practicing.

OrangePower
12-15-2010, 09:06 AM
Against my better judgement I have decided to captain a team for the upcoming season. It is a brand new team mostly with players without team experience. The hardest part in the early going without a doubt has been recruiting people who are the right level and that are committed to playing and practicing.

Good luck - you're going to need it :-)

I once captained a team with many 1st time league players. Yeah, recruiting is hard... but the problem is that you can't really know how committed they will be to playing until the season actually starts. Sometimes people have good intentions, but then over the course of the season realize that they have scheduling conflicts, or their families complain about how much time they are spending on the courts, or they get disheartened after a few losses, etc...

Fedace
12-15-2010, 09:17 AM
Against my better judgement I have decided to captain a team for the upcoming season. It is a brand new team mostly with players without team experience. The hardest part in the early going without a doubt has been recruiting people who are the right level and that are committed to playing and practicing.

If they start Losing alot, you may have problem filling the roster each match. I say have at least 16 players on the team.

goober
12-15-2010, 09:32 AM
If they start Losing alot, you may have problem filling the roster each match. I say have at least 16 players on the team.

I don't see a roster of 16 unless the league cordinator somehow finds 6-7 players that want to be on my team in the next 4 weeks. Most of the regular league players seem to be already locked onto other rosters. I am pretty much gone through my list of players of all the players I know and have met and have now resorted to internet advertising and fliers at tennis centers.

I am not worried about losses, none of the players are weak players for their level. The matches *should* be competitive except maybe against the strongest teams. I am more worried about people not playing from work issues, family, sickness/injury, don't feel like driving across town, ect.