3.5 Ladies Foot Fault Question

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by moonbat, May 6, 2009.

  1. moonbat

    moonbat Semi-Pro

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    Hi all,

    I joined a 3.5 USTA team recently, and after the first two matches the co-captains have developed quite a reputation as co-b**ches on the court. I received an e-mail from them complaining that an opponent in the last match was "obviously" foot-faulting, so they instructed the team to call foot faults and then get someone to officiate (per USTA rules). I understand that rule, but I joined USTA to have fun (maybe that was my first mistake! ;)), and I really don't want to pick a fight over foot faults, especially since most of these women do not follow their serves to net. I know that, technically, that is not an excuse, but besides an offhand comment at a changeover, I really don't want to go any further to punish the opposing team for foot faults. It is a sure-fire way to turn the mood of the match into a nasty one. Your thoughts, please. (KK, obviously I know where you stand on this... ;))
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
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  2. 10sfreak

    10sfreak Semi-Pro

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    ^^^Really? Good grief, just tell those ladies that if you start looking for footfaults from your opponents, it'll mess up your timing on the return.
    Some people just need to relax a little...
     
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  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It's your match. You play it however you want.
     
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  4. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    It is like saying "my f/h landed just half a foot away from the line and you should call it in since it will otherwise destroy the mood of the match".

    I do not understand why people do not take the most important stroke of tennis seriously. If you cannot serve by the rules, stop playing pse.
     
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  5. moonbat

    moonbat Semi-Pro

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    I don't think it is comparable. It is easier to call a ball in or out when it is on your side of the court. It is much harder to call foot faults from the other side of the court, which is why the foot fault judge is lined up with the baseline of the server. And as freak mentioned, I'd rather concentrate on watching the ball coming off of the server's racquet than staring at her feet.

    Plus, line calls can make a huge difference in the outcome of a match. Foot faults, not so much.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
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  6. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    1. Who says the receiver has to stare at the server's feet? Aren't there non-playing team mates watching?

    2. It does make a difference. Imagine the opponent cannot get a single legal service in. You will have a lot of service breaks.
     
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  7. moonbat

    moonbat Semi-Pro

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    1. No.

    2. Sounds like fun.
     
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  8. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You better have good eyesight and great focus to be able to keep looking at your opponent's feet across the court and return serve at the same time, while having great confidence that your call is correct.

    BTW, I just emailed your post to the co-captains of your team where you endearingly refer to them.















    I was kidding OK.
     
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  9. snark

    snark Rookie

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    If they have a huge serve and taking an extra step in gives them an advantage, I think it is ok to call it (although personally I would be hesitant). It seems unlikely in a 3.5 ladies tournament, but anything can happen.
     
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  10. shell

    shell Professional

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    Moonbat, I think you have the right approach. If they are obviously footfaulting, I would mention it to them. If they continued, I would start calling it on them. But it would have to be OBVIOUS ones.

    Two ways to look at it. First, they are breaking the rules, and will hear about it from someone along the way. Might as well be a "nice" way. Second, it is supposed to be fun, so find a way to keep it that way. Winning is fun, but not if it makes you feel like a scrooge. :)
     
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  11. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    Either play by all of the rules or don't enforce them at all.
     
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  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is why you ask for an official.

    Uhmm, no they don't.

    If you have 3 or 4 questionable line calls, compared to **EVERY POINT** where someone foot faults, then foot faults make a bigger difference. Additionally, when people who are use to footfaulting are called on it, it throws their serve completely off when they have to make a conscious effort to play within the rules.
     
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  13. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Guest

    Here's the rule on calling foot faults. It has to be REALLY Blatant.

    USTA Comment 18.6:
    Whenmay the receiver or the receiver’s partner call
    foot faults?
    In a non-officiatedmatch, the receiver or the receiver’s partnermay
    call foot faults after all efforts (warning the server and attempting to locate an
    official) have failed and the foot faulting is so flagrant as to be clearly perceptible
    from the receiver’s side.

     
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  14. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Spectators (non playing teammates) have no say in the calling of the match unless all the players agree to have someone watch it. They cant make line calls, and they should not call foot faults, or anything of that sort. In fact they should generally keep their traps shut about such things. (Ive been to matches where the spectators start yelling balls are out, etc....)

    There are no officials at most of these matches, so that's out the window.

    I think in doubles, the returners partner would be able to call obvious footfaults, and there is nothing wrong with that, and it's not as hard as people make out since they dont have to worry about returning the ball and they are closer. (after a warning)

    Sort of hard in singles though or for the returner in doubles to call it. I think if that's what's expected by the captain that's sort of asking WAY too much.
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I played an entire match last night. Do you know how much time I spent scrutinizing what my opponents' feet were doing while serving? Not one second. Sheez. I have enough to do with watching her toss and trying to pick up the ball as it leaves her racket, not to mention having to remind myself to do the things I need to do to hit a good return.

    No one (other than a roving official) has ever called a footfault on me. Nor have I ever seen this done in any of the bazillion unofficiated league matches I have played. If someone tried to call a footfault on me or my partner tomorrow, I would have serious questions about their motives.
     
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  16. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    What would their motives be, other than to make sure you are playing within the rules???
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Is this a trick question?

    Obviously, someone could call a footfault to get into a player's head. Gamesmanship, they call it.

    If someone wants to tell me that they can see if I am footfaulting from the opposing baseline when they are receiving serve, I would be quite suspicious. I mean, people have a hard time seeing if a ball is in or out if it is right under their nose, after all.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    A very possible motive is that they would be making dubious calls to get the server nervous before the serve. Even pros have been known to double fault after a footfault call. I would be wary of anyone who is always trying to enforce rules on others in recreational situations, and here even the rule says it has to be a flagrant violation. Their motives are not as simple as you are trying to simplify them to be.
     
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  19. abbeytxs

    abbeytxs New User

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    Just ignore the email and play your matches. People can argue the fine points of the rules all they want, but calling foot faults is usually just gamesmanship.
     
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  20. moonbat

    moonbat Semi-Pro

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    Whew!!! Scared me for a minute! :p It was a misprint...I meant to say that they were lovely ladies. :oops:
     
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  21. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Just like the whole "catching an out ball" thread, if you make sure that you are following the rules (stay behind the line when you serve) then it doesn't matter what kind of nonsense your opponent tries. If you do footfault, then you have no right to complain if someone calls you on it.
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Sorry email already went out
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't think it is difficult to see whether your opponent caught a ball in the air, or he would argue that it did not happen. The two cases are entirely different.

    I saw a footage once after a footfault call on Tennis channel where the camera zoomed in for the next serve, after the server expressed dissatisfaction with the line judge. The server (pro obviously) was a hairline from stepping on the line the second time (it wasn't a footfault again). When line judges standing right at the line almost make mistakes, an untrained club player can easily tell from the other side of the court and while concentrating on the return? I don't think so. That is why it has to be flagrant violation. That changes the argument, doesn't it? Now it is not about someone breaking the rules, but whether it was a flagrant violation. Not such a black and white area is it? And that is the rule.

    BTW, I hate it when half the club players FF when I am watching from the sidelines. I am not justifying it.

    And as I said before, calling a FF in the case when the foot lands in while the ball has not been hit is not easy. You have to look at two variables at once. Lot of club players have awkward motions and don't hit the serve at maximum extension while leaving the ground. They sometimes have unbalanced moves and their foot comes forward and touches the ground while the upper body is still yet to hit the ball.
     
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  24. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I wouldn't disagree with you at all about the difficulties in calling footfaults. That's one reason why I've never called them. I am mostly responding to the people who immediately get angry and declare gamesmanship when someone calls it on them.

    It really isn't that hard to stay behind the line when you serve. You really don't lose anything by starting 6 inches further back if that's what it takes. By staying behind the line, you take away the opportunity for your opponent to use footfaults to get inside your head. That is the part which is similar to catching out balls. I never catch them so my opponents can never take the point from me in that circumstance.
     
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  25. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Kyle, I will agree that it is possible, perhaps even easy, to avoid a foot fault.

    My point is that it is that the opponent -- particularly one engaged in gamesmanship -- who can be wrong. So you may be behind the line, but if your opponent calls a foot fault, you have no redress. Other than to argue.
     
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  26. herrburgess

    herrburgess Rookie

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    What benefit, exactly, does the foot-faulting server derive that would justify a call? I don't know why anyone would call it except to get in the opponent's head -- or simply to be pedantic. In the Junior tourneys the kids almost *all* foot-fault...it's just a given.
     
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  27. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    Footfaults. I think they are very hard to call. In a USTA league match, almost impossible to call for sure unless someone (an official is looking for them) and you don't have an official at most USTA league matches I've been at.

    I believe if you are the receiving team, you must warn the opponent that you saw them foot fault; before you can call them on a foot fault at all.

    I would not call them unless the person's foot was obviously a foot (12 in) over the baseline because it is too hard to see anything less. So, I don't really see this coming up as a problem in most matches.

    I did get called on a foot fault in a league match once. I took it as a warning, backed up a few inches and served again. They did not try the foot fault call again. I have had several people watch me since that match and they have not seen me foot fault so I'm not sure if that was one of those rare occasions when I actually footfaulted or they were just trying to get me to be jittery about my serve.

    It did not work.

    spoke
     
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  28. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    My first response would be "thanks for letting me know - I'll be more careful" giving them the benefit of the doubt and trying to diffuse the whole thing. If they complained again, I'd recommend they call a line judge. This at least works in Norcal since our rules allow players to call observers onto the court to watch line calls and/or footfaults. Typically one person from each team (if any are available) is used since there is virtually never someone around who would be deemed impartial.

    I have been called to be a line judge myself on several occasions. In one case, I had been watching the match and joking with someone on the other team about the egregious footfaults by both players. When they called us onto the court, and things were nasty at that point, I let them know that both of them had been footfaulting. The funny thing is that once they started playing again the footfaults disappeared. We didn't have to call a single one - even though they had been footfaulting on virtually every serve before that.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    What the footfaulting server gains is a serve that goes in rather than one that goes out.

    I mean that a lot of footfaulting happens when people chase bad tosses, in my experience. If they didn't move their feet, they would miss.

    Most people say that footfaulting rewards the S&V player. But it also benefits the erratic tosser because they can get their serve in without needing to address their inconsistent toss.
     
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  30. 10sfreak

    10sfreak Semi-Pro

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    I've posted this before in another thread a while back, but in one match while at state in Macon, one of the guys we played against foot-faulted pretty blatantly. I didn't see that it gave him any advantage, so to call him on it or to point it out during the match might have gotten in his head a little bit, so I didn't do it. Getting in his head a bit might have made a difference in the outcome, as we lost in a 3rd-set tie-break, but I didn't want to win that way. But, after the match, I cautioned him that he had been foot-faulting, and that he might want to work on that for the rest of the tournament, as other players might not be so lenient. He said that his own team-mates had just told him about his foot-faulting, thanked me for the caution, and said he would definitely work on it.
     
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  31. herrburgess

    herrburgess Rookie

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    I tend to foot-fault as well...a leftover from my junior days when I was emulating all the top kids. Now I feel secure in simply moving back from the baseline and serving with my same motion if the foot-faults become an issue. I do play an S&V-style game, but I don't think the 6-8 inches I may gain in my approach has much of an effect one way or another. To me calling a foot-fault all seems like one of two things: either gamesmanship or pedantry, nothing more, nothing less.
     
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  32. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    There are certain servers I know that foot fault and it gives them a huge advantage.

    One is a lefty and he steps in extra far into the net and gets extra torque somehow on his huge lefty kick serve. The thing's practically going sideways by the time it gets to you.

    He also is a serve and volleyer and he gets to the net extra fast.

    Everyone who knows him knows he does it, and he knows he does it even. So lots of people call foot fault on him, he's like the definition of flagrant.

    There are a few other people as well that have pretty decent looking serves and they step way into the court with weird funky service motions and sometimes they dont clear the net by much. If they cant foot fault they cant serve.

    Usually it's just particular people though and we usually know who they are before we see them.

    But even if it's not hurting anyone, it's just pure laziness, especially when we go as far as to say "well everyone is doing it for christ sake, it's okay then isnt it???".

    Ive played a lot of older players (like in their 60's or older) and had a few of them come over to my side of the net and warn me during the warmup. (which I thought was a cool way to handle it since it shows they are not doing it just to win some cheap points or to screw with me at a key point in the match)

    But it makes me think that at some point people cared about it, nowdays people are just too lazy and stubborn to be bothered with it.
     
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  33. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    It is not about 6-8 inches. Most of these guys are not Pete Sampras anyway.
    It is about a certain unwritten code of conduct. It brings disrespect to the sport.

    The fact that you have been foot faulting since junor days shows that you never took your serve seriously enough and practiced it with the importance it deserves.

    Serve, in my opinion, is the most important stroke. It is of course difficult to acquire a good serve. It hurts me when i see players get away with illegal serves all the time when i spend so much time just working on serves to get it correct. As far as i am concerned foot faulting is no different from hitting a serve long. Both are faults. Just because your opponent cannot monitor foot fault does not mean you abuse it. That only shows one's character.

    This my value statement. Of course you can have your own values.
     
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  34. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    Following this logic you shouldn't upset if your opponent calls a ball out that was in by 6-8 inches since these 6-8 inches may not have much effect (sic) one way or another.
    Foot faulters are cheaters just as much as players who hook you on line calls. If you feel calling foot faults is gamesmanship then must not have much confidence in your own game.
     
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  35. herrburgess

    herrburgess Rookie

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    These are some valid points. I think I pretty much share your views.

    You're not helping yourself much in countering the pedant tag ("effect" is the noun form, "affect" the verb).
     
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