Again With The Footfaulting?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, May 9, 2010.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Had another issue with footfaults. My teammates have had issues with opponents calling footfaults, but it had never happened on my court before. Until yesterday, that is.

    It was 3.5 doubles, 90-minute timed match. Our opponents were jovial and nice. I served first, and soon we led 2-0. When my partner was serving, one opponent said something like, "Hey, I just want to let you know that you're footfaulting a lot when you serve."

    My partner didn't hear this clearly, so I went back and told her the opponent was warning her about footfaulting. My partner said she wasn't stepping on the line until after she had served it. I said, "Yeah, I know, but just serve from farther back so she can't complain." My partner served out the game without incident, and we took the first set 6-0.

    In the second set, my partner was serving at 2-0, 15 all and struck a second serve. The serve landed in and the receiver returned it. The opponent, who was at net, said, "Hold on. No, you're still footfaulting. You stepped on the line. Take another second serve." I said, "You understand that a footfault has to be flagrant before you can call it, right?" The opponent said it was flagrant.

    Again, I went back to translate, and my partner said she hadn't footfaulted. She took a moment to gather herself before hitting her second serve and missed it. She then hit an ace on the next serve and won her service game. We won the match, 6-0, 6-0.

    This footfault rule . . . boy, I dunno. I don't know what I would have done had the opponent tried to claim the point that second time (I don't know why she gave my partner a do-over; isn't a footfault on a second serve supposed to be loss of point?). I certainly can't say whether my partner footfaulted or not, but I know I've played a few matches with her and she played at Districts and no one has ever called a foot fault on her.

    Our league recently adopted a different footfault rule, IIRC. Now, a player cannot call a footfault but must instead find an observer to call it. That seems a lot more fair, but we were playing in a league with a different rule.

    As it stood, it did cast a pall on an otherwise friendly match.

    And yes, I did pay some attention to the opponent's service motion after she raised the issue of footfaulting, and yes, she was footfaulting also!
     
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  2. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    i would have just called over an official if there was one. in most cases i do not call a foot fault because the angle is just bad from the other side of the court unless it's just blatant.

    and yes, usually a foot fault counts as a fault so on a 2nd serve it would be lost point, but maybe their league changed it to a warning or something. foot faulting away a point...ummm yea, i think because most people would find a hard time even calling a foot fault it'll take real galls to try to take a point by it, so maybe they didn't want to risk an outrage from your team.
     
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  3. ajmack

    ajmack New User

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    Annoying

    Footfaulting is rampant in my USTA league, including guys on my team. I haven't seen anyone call it, though this is just my first year. It's highly annoying, but everyone else seems to accept/ignore it.
    To me, it's like someone who moves his ball in the fairway playing golf or fails to putt everything out. I think it reveals something about their character.
    I would think policing those violations would be difficult, short of a league official monitoring serves. A random "observer" may be biased.
     
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  4. Becksx1

    Becksx1 Rookie

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    I probably take a different view to footfaulting then most and I tend to look at how good the player is and how bad the footfaulting is. In england alot of recreational players footfault in the leagues here and although annoying I dont really find it an issue. If the player is slightly footfaulting and its not really affecting his serve and were having a good match then im not honestly bothered. What I mean by this is hes not firing down 130mph bombs with the footfault significantly helping him hes just serving normal but just happens to footfault ocasionly then i just think who cares why make it petty and ruin the game.

    Unless its a blatent footfault where there literally a whole foot in the caught and there serve volleying and its a big advantage then I just leave it because at the end of the day where not professionals there is no referee most of the serial offenders never admit they do it "my feet are in the air" e.t.c e.tc and we only play the leagues for fun so its not worth the hassle. Chances are Cindy they were upset you were winning so comfortably and they were just using it to put you off your game.

    If a player is clearly of a very good standard and is clearly using it to there advantage then its different but luckily i havent needed to call anyone on footfaulting yet although I remember playing a match where one of there players was footfaulting badly but he had a weak serve so I thought theres no point ruining it and pointing it out. (we were won 6-2 6-4) but the guy who was a bad footfaulter decided to say at the changeover "your partners footfaulting its a joke your letting him get away with it" this was a cheek considering how blatent the footfaults where from this guy. I said to him "I havent really noticed if he has or not as I have been busy at the net but in all honesty you have been to" the guy got all upset saying how dare you my feet are in the air i dont footfault e.t.c and then his partner came in and said well i have noticed you have e.t.c and after the match he just got in his car and left .... so I just figure whats the point really.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
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  5. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Just because no one else has called footfault on her means nothing as most people loathe to call one. I know players who foot fault on every serve and nobody calls them on it.

    She just needs to step back so there is no question.
     
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  6. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Every rule / code needs to be enforced TO THE LETTER. There can be no exceptions no matter what EVER.

    If I think my opponent has put one little piece of his shoe tread over the line, it is my duty to call a footfault.

    If my opponent takes longer than the alloted time between serves, it is my duty to stop play and get an official.

    If my opponent takes one second over the alloted time on changeovers / between sets, it is my duty to call for an official.

    You make an out call I don't agree with and I will have that official over faster than you can say "This guy sure is an A-hole". By the way, if you call me an A-hole, that is a code violation and I will have you disqualified.

    And I hear EVERY let on my opponents serve. Some people don't call every let. I call quite a few every match (my hearing is exceptional).

    You try to take one second more time in the warmup and I will raise holy hell.

    In fact, I call for an official on nearly every point (that rule / code book is pretty thick you know).
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
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  7. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Sounds like they lost that feeling when they realized they were on their way to a double bagel by asserting themselves in a negative way. If I'm losing that badly to an opponent I have respect for, I'm not going to try to pull some rabbit out of my hat gamesmanship ploy leaveing a bad flavor at the conclusion of the match.

    A couple of points on foot-faulting, the player doing the foot-faulting can't know for sure because they are looking at the toss. Although it's not normally recommended, because you could get a serve in your mouth, but in this instance, maybe you could have looked back at your partner, confirming or not, if she was foot-faulting. Since you guys seemed to have the match well in hand, maybe playing back on the baseline to observe your partner's serve for a game.

    It sounds like more of a case of sour-grapes by your opponents, but if you all plan on going to play-offs, it may be good to clarify the issue just in case your partner is foot-faulting, so she doesn't fall apart if the roving referees call her on it.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
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  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No officials in this USTA league.
     
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  9. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Our league now has this statement in its document called "Basic Rules and Customs Every Player Should Know":

    Trouble is, I don't see where they get this. It's not in the local rules, and it's not in the Code so far as I know.

    Does anyone know?
     
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  10. D. Net Tricks

    D. Net Tricks New User

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    from page 55 The Code
    "24. Foot Faults. A player may warn an opponent that the opponent has
    committed a flagrant foot fault. If the foot faulting continues, the player may
    attempt to locate an official. If no official is available, the player may call flagrant
    foot faults. Compliance with the foot fault rule is very much a function
    of a player’s personal honor system. The plea that a Server should not be
    penalized because the server only just touched the line and did not rush the
    net is not acceptable. Habitual foot faulting, whether intentional or careless,
    is just as surely cheating as is making a deliberate bad line call.'

    Not sure whether that's what you were looking for, or not. Hope it helps.
     
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  11. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    When you get beat as badly as they did, it makes you look petty to claim there were footfaults. Surely, they would have lost if: the footfaults had all been called (if there were any), or if you'd of served from two feet behind the baseline. The only thing to salvage from an 0-0 loss is your sense of sportsmanship, and they even lost that.
     
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  12. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    All this talk of footfaults and no threats to shove **** balls down **** throats?

    You're doing it wrong.
     
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  13. I find it hilarious people take offense to foot faults. I've seen some atrocious foot faulting at clubs. Like, two feet in before hitting the ball. I know I have foot faulted at times too, so I took measures to stop it as best I can. I plant the front foot behind the line and focus on not moving it before I push up towards the ball.

    I think trying to get away with foot faulting is disrespectful to an opponent. It's a fault. Period. It would be like hitting the ball long and complaining that your opponent wouldn't let you play it. It's a fault.

    That said, my guess is, sour grapes or not, your partner probably WAS foot faulting. I only guess this because it was pointed out multiple times, people do it a lot, AND they almost always insist they don't.

    If it were me? I would thank my opponent for pointing it out to me as I don't want to foot fault. I want to be the best player I can, and doing that regularly means I am a bad player, and a cheater. No thanks.

    Cindy, does all of this on court drama pre-maturely age you at all? :)
     
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  14. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    What exactly is flagrant footfaulting?

    Is that stepping entirely over the line? 2-feet inside the court?

    They need to specify exactly what that means.
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Boy, I wonder!! I mean, honestly. Here I was minding my own business and playing fairly well, having fixed some of the horrific screw-ups that cost me my last match. And then someone else interjects some drama.

    Bud, that's exactly the problem. Is "stepping on the line" considered "flagrant?" How is she to argue that it is flagrant, and how are we to argue that it is not? I mean what was I supposed to say: "Nope, stepping on the line is a close one. You need to see 100% of her shoe 100% past the line."

    It's a horrible, horrible rule, it really is.

    I think this lady was in fact acting in good faith. Even though her solution (declaring that the serve in question must be served again) is not in the Code, it is a much better one than what the Code authorizes (a fault). A fault can mean loss of point, which can mean loss of game, which can mean loss of set, which can mean loss of match.

    It doesn't seem right that an opponent should have quite so much power to call something they are in a poor position to see, when they might not even know what they are looking for, and when there is no agreement on what's "flagrant."
     
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  16. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    "flagrant" means that it can be easily seen by the opposing player(s). I would tend to take the word over a person that can see the server's feet (your opponent) rather than the person that can't (your partner).

    We've all observed that lots of people footfault, yet we all believe we couldn't possibly be footfaulting. Something doesn't add up!
     
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  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Saw a 4.0 league match collapse due to FF calls. This guy said "Footfault warning. Take two." The server said "You can't see from there. I am not footfaulting." The other guy said "Footfault warning. Take two." Went on for a couple of time, then a point was taken. Much angry noises. Eventually, they finished the match but left the court loudly abusing each other. Since they were on the very far end with 3 courts in between, we the spectators couldn't tell.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Anyone notice the trend?

    First there was the bagel thread, in which Cindy destroyed her opponents.

    Now in this thread, there is a fleeting reference to a double bagel.

    Cindy is dropping hints everywhere.
     
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  19. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I still am fascinated by the servers who are told that they are footfaulting and can say with complete confidence that they weren't doing it. If I am serving and someone else is looking at my feet then they are sure in a better position to tell if I am footfaulting than I am.

    I think the rule is fine as long as people follow it. In an unofficiated match if someone only calls footfaults when the faulting is so flagrant that they are 100% sure that a footfault occurred then I don't see a problem with calling it. There are plenty of people who egregiously footfault on every serve and while I personally would never call it, if someone else wants to I don't see a problem.

    The biggest potential failure in the rules is what would happen if someone didn't fully understand the rule started calling them- they could both be 100% sure and 100% wrong. But fortunately to this point the only times I have ever seen footfaults the person serving was footfaulting badly. (of course the servers in both situations were convinced that they weren't footfaulting so the whole thing got ugly)
     
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  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Where are you getting that defintion of "flagrant" from?

    I ask because there is the issue of whether they were touching the line, but there's also the issue of whether they made contact before they touched the line. It's the latter issue that is truly hard to see from a distance.

    Here's what "flagrant" actually means:

    Was my partner's supposed footfault "shockingly noticeable" and "glaring?" If so, why didn't the opponent just take the point rather than give a do-over? I think it's because she saw it, but it wasn't huge. Or flagrant.
     
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  21. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    From the USTA rules.

     
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  22. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Well said T & M, I fully concur, I also appreciate it being pointed out to me.

    Foot faulting is plain and simple touching ANYWHERE on the baseline or over it. When looking for it, I can see it when I receive from my baseline and certainly when I'm at the service line.

    Flagrant, to me, would be if they're warned and they keep doing it, whether just barely stepping on the baseline or over it. All you have to do to fix it is move back a few inches, but some people fall completely apart.
     
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  23. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I am in the same boat. Who cares if they are playing a mind game or not? Just move back a foot so that you are not touching the line. It is probably going to make no difference in your serve other than the mental aspect, so why let it become an issue by making an issue out of it.

    If they call a footfault, say "no prob", step back and serve. Why is that a big deal?
     
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  24. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    Hate foot-faulting. It's an unfair advantage. If you can step in and lean in it makes serving a lot easier. We should just be able to call it out. I see people foot-faulting all the time. It should be same as calling the ball in or out.
     
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    So the USTA rule is different from the code in that it REQUIRES an attempt to get an official?

    Seems to be in line with Cindy's "Basic Rules and Customs Every Player Should Know"

    IF this is true, it puts to rest a long-time argument here that FFs can be called if the foot-fault is flagrant. Seems more is necessary? Please clarify.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
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  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You have to "attempt" to get an official.

    In an unofficiated match, I figure you can skip this step.

    And remember, in this case my partner did go ahead and move back when she was warned. An hour later, the second alleged violation occurred. I guess she probably forgot to adjust her position.

    Would it have been wrong or unsporting of me to start to warn and call FFs against my opponents with my sole motivation being tit for tat?
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I watched a junior tournament match yesterday in which one girl was footfaulting on every serve.

    In your case, it would have been wrong. Are you absolutely sure your partner did not foot-fault (because you are facing the other direction)?
     
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  28. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    If they are flagrantly footfaulting, then I don't think it would be unsporting - especially since they started it. I had a match two years ago when my opponent (after winning the first set) said, "you know, your partner is footfaulting". My response? "So is yours". It wasn't mentioned again by either side.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I didn't say she was or was not footfaulting. I didn't look back at any point to observe. To do so would have changed the way I play to my disadvantage, so if this was gamesmanship it would have worked.

    She said she didn't think she was footfaulting, and she doesn't have a history of being called for it in matches or at Districts. I admire her mental strength in not letting it get to her.

    Cindy -- who would be shocked if she footfaults because she doesn't do a whole lot with her feet when she serves
     
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  30. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Foot faulting reveals something about your character?
     
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  31. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Is this a joke? Seriously.
     
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  32. IceNineTX

    IceNineTX Semi-Pro

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    Just for kicks, you should have someone casually watch you one day and see what they say. Tell them not to let you know when they are doing it.

    Last year, I video'd my wife at a local tourney and noticed everyone foot-faulted nearly every serve. I was surprised, so I started to watch closer. Sure enough, it's pretty rampant. When I mentioned it to the players, they were very surprised. One lady was irate at sectionals when an official called it on her. She would never do such a thing. Well, I have it on video about 20 times in a match. :)

    Anyway, I think there are almost 2 topics here. 1 - is she foot-faulting? and 2 - How should it be handled? The 1st is easy to address. The 2nd, not so much.

    I for one could not call a foot fault in a match because I can barely see clearly enough to make that call from my angle and still be ready to react to the serve.
     
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  33. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    No I don't think cheating is very funny. Why do u think its funny? Or why do u think its ok to foot fault?
     
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  34. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    First, let me say, "I believe you."

    When my team was preparing for Districts, I had them play practice sets while I played the role of the roving official (I was injured). I saw particular types of FFs:

    1. The Walking Footfault. Player takes a full step into the court before making contact. These players fixed the problem easily by starting a foot behind the line.

    2. The Swivel Footfault. Player lines up sideways, but swivels the front foot onto the line before contact or even before the toss.

    3. The Mr. McGoo Footfault. Player doesn't notice where she sets up and just happens to be touching the line.

    4. The Toss Chaser Footfault. Player has no control over the toss and just goes wherever the toss takes her.

    5. The Faux Footfault. Player lines up behind the line, tosses, bends knees and jumps, landing in the court. Not a footfault but can be mistaken for one.

    Could I be footfaulting? Eh. I think I'll plead innocent until proven guilty. :)
     
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  35. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I think its OK to footfault because the vast majority of players who do it gain absolutely no benefit from it and it actually hurts their serve. They footfault because they are chasing bad tosses all over the place and are just shuffling their feet instead of setting them to lift up and into the ball. These players aren't getting an advantage- they are just rec players who don't have a coach watchign their feet to give them proper technique. As long as the opponent isn't gaining an advantage from footfaulting then why on earth should I care if they are doing it?

    But all that said- if someone is footfault and their opponent calls them for it then I think thats perfectly legitimate and the server needs to move back without throwing a fit.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
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  36. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Yup. We need to be 100% strict with EVERY tennis rule / code violation at all times. NO EXCEPTIONS.

    That will ensure the game is fun for everyone.
     
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  37. IceNineTX

    IceNineTX Semi-Pro

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    This is the one I saw most of all. None of them "exploded" up into the serve. They all just stepped forward. It's really just a matter of ok setup, but horrible form.
     
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  38. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    I think people underestimate the benefit of serving closer. I'm of average height and I can serve 100mph on my best days(not coming by very often) I rely on variety and placement most days. I have always seen the advantage of leaning in tossing forward. When you foot-fault your just increasing those advantages.

    I especially hate to see some tall guys just stick a whole foot in while serving while an average (ok short) guy like me has to work much harder to have good serve.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
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  39. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Assuming this is true it would logically follow (based upon what most people say in this thread) that the entire tournament should have been a series of footfault calls and no tennis should have been played, correct?

    And, as this tournament probably isn't any different from tournaments played anywhere in the nation, this is what all of us should do in all tournaments, league matches, etc.

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    The only exception (obviously) are the people responding (as they do not footfault. Everybody else does, but not them).
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
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  40. PatrickB

    PatrickB Rookie

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    Another one that most people miss that is surprisingly often is foot faulting the center line. Two common cases I see pretty often:
    1. A right hander serving from the deuce side lines up with their front (left) foot just to the right of the center hash mark and the back (right) foot offset behind it across the extension of the center hash.
    2. A right hander serving from the ad side lines up with their front (left) foot just to the left of the center has, and then steps to the right with their back (right) foot prior to hitting the ball, crossing the center service line.
     
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  41. RogerRacket111

    RogerRacket111 Semi-Pro

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    Nice point this does aid in serving good down the middle serves like a slice from ad and flat corner on deuce (right hander) and is an un-fair advantage. I like to stand out little wide on ad side and come little closer to the middle for the slice serve. Then throw them off by coming closer and serving one on the opposite side.
     
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  42. IceNineTX

    IceNineTX Semi-Pro

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    Are you asking me? I think I made it fairly clear that I don't think they should be called like that.
     
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  43. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    No, I understand what you said.

    I am wondering just how far the others would wish to take their "tough on footfaulting" stance.

    And, if they are not willing to call every single one, then which should be called and which not called?

    I agree with you. I think a footfault could be called on nearly every serve in nearly every tourney / league match, especially 4.0 and below.

    And like you said, the problem is with technique. People simply need to move their feet to wherever they happen to toss the ball. I don't think most people are getting any real advantage out of their footfaults (other than the fact that they actually put the damn thing in play).

    I know I footfault all the time. When I play tourneys, the roving official calls it. They also let me know how much I footfault. Apparently, I step on the line to some degree, but I have never been told that I step over the line. I can't imagine that this extra inch is giving me any advantage on my serve, it is really just a bad habit. And, it is easy enough for me to start 3 or 4 inches behind the line.

    I've never been called for a footfault twice in a tournament.

    So why don't I just start 3 to 4 inches behind the line all the time? Good question. Just a habit to always toe the line and something I never think about until someone calls me on it.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
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  44. surfsb

    surfsb Rookie

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    I've seen some atrocious foot faults in USTA but no one seems to call them. I think people either don't look for them or don't want a stigma that they might cheat by calls; like people who have a reputation for calling anything on the line out.
     
    #44
  45. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    If you call footfaults, you will likely get a reputation. I have to say, if I ever meet up with that lady again, the first thing that will pop into my head is, "Oh, there's the Footfault Lady." Gotta wonder whether it's worth it . . . .
     
    #45
  46. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    A foot-fault is a foot-fault... there are rules in place regarding it and she is well with-in her rights to call it. It seems pretty obvious that she is being friendly about it or she would not have offered your partner the opportunity to replay the serve. She is on the otherhand a stickler for the rules... but she did warn you prior to asking you to replay the shot... showing that she is giving you every chance to correct the violation.

    I have on the other hand have never concerned myself with an opponents foot-faults unless I feel it is deliberate and that they are using it to intentionally gain an advantage (sliding in by 3 feet).

    But the rules are the rules... and if an opponent feel they wish to enforced them they are well within their rights, and we should not feel violated since we are the ones infringing on the rules. But if there is an issue it is always better to have a 3rd party make the final call.
     
    #46
  47. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You are quite correct. Would you have called her the "FF Lady" though if she would have given the warning but never made the later call? I probably would not have and I guess that is where my personal maximum would have been, though I almost never look at the part of the court to make such a call anyway.
     
    #47
  48. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    ^I wouldn't have thought much of the warning. I mean, maybe partner was two steps into the court and I just wasn't looking.

    It was the surprise and shock when she stopped the point that was notable. You don't see that every day. Or ever.
     
    #48
  49. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Cindy- I'm more curious about your other league where you can call an observer to call footfaults? Which team gets to pick that person? Is it a member of one of the teams? What happens if people disagree with this observer? To me this just opens up a different can of worms. Some people would be honorable enough to call footfaults on their own team but there are others that would not. And it eliminated the whole thing about "flagrant" footfaults- if you are observing to watch for footfaults then I think you would have to call all of them.
     
    #49
  50. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I tend to agree... if you are going to charge someone with the responsibility of watching for footfaults, then it is either a footfault or not. There should not be degrees of footfaults, which is why I also wonder about the flagrant footfault rule. Maybe I should rethink my personal thoughts about footfaulting.
     
    #50

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