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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    Spot and Ripper,

    The "rule" I quoted is a new one, so far as I know. The league coordinator sends around this one-page list of customs everyone should know, with the idea being that captains perhaps can get their players to read the rules if condensed to a single page. This season was the first to include something about FFs beyond what the Code states (warn, find official, must be flagrant).

    I see no new rule in our actual league rules regarding FF, so I don't know the basis of this new rule allowing observers to call FFs. In addition to the concerns you mention, there is the small matter that a FF can be a difficult thing to spot accurately if you don't know what you are looking for. And of course, nothing in the rule says the observer has to watch all four players.

    [edit: And there is also the problem that our rules explicitly state that no third party can become involved in any way in a match except to call time when the 2-hour period has lapsed.]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2010
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  2. zerox277

    zerox277 Rookie

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    A footfault is a footfault. Your partner should realize that and they should of got officials because at higher level tournaments officials will always point it out and may cause you to lose a point.

    And yes your opponent has every right to call a footfault.
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Because of the difficulty of judging a FF from the opposite side, especially when you don't have the experience of having watched various types of serves. Some serves look like obvious FFs, but examined carefully, the alleged violation happens after the strike. Ordinary club players are not trained in such matters - heck they can hardly even watch the racquet face of the server to judge the serve - let alone call FFs with certainty from the opposite side. Even for out calls, I know many players who cannot project a low trajectory accurately. They will call a ball out if the trajectory makes only a small angle with the surface near the line, not projecting correctly, nor actually seeing where the ball landed. I really don't trust most club players to be able to make proper FF calls. Nor do I believe most of them if they say they don't FF.
     
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  4. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    Cindy, I bet you that that team just finished reading that rule on foot faults and happen to take notice in your match. Hope they were cordial after the match after being bageled. :oops:
     
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  5. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    sureshs- I have rarely seen footfaults called. But every time I have seen them called the person was blatantly footfaulting to where there was no doubt that the call was correct. Of course this didn't stop the person who was serving from arguing that the person calling the Footfault didn't know what they were talking about. There are many rec players who footfault so blatantly that it can be called from the other side of the net with 100% accuracy.
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK, I wrote to our league coordinator, who presumably is the author of the Basic Customs document. I asked how players can get a third party to make footfault calls if our rules state that spectators cannot play a role in a match.

    He said I could quote his reply. He basically quoted the Rules, Comments and Code etc., and then he said:

    I don't even want to ask what happens if one player out of four rejects every third party who is available . . . .
     
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  7. Murray Mound

    Murray Mound Banned

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    Personally I dont think foot faults really matter unless you are a serve and volleyer.

    Take Serena Williams for example. Do you think that her foot fault gave her any advantage at all??

    I mean this is not Wimbledon we are playing here in USTA. Unless someone is winning the points because of the foot fault I see no reason to really call them.
     
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  8. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    Call the Foot Fault on your opponents Right then. and call it Often and turn it into a foot fault match. Your opponents will Learn quickly.
     
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  9. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    I hate it when opponents try to play mind games with you. That's what this sounded like. They were getting whupped and tried to toss a wrench in the machine. I had a guy who was getting creamed. I was up 4-1, and he told me that I was foot faulting. There were a number of observers who said it wasn't blatant or consistent and that he was doing the same. He persisted, going so far as to yell in the middle of my toss (This was a friendly pick-up match outside, keep in mind). Everyone sitting and watching from the bench was bugging their eyes, waiting to see my response to his rude behavior.

    The next serve, I tossed about three feet into the court, walked in, and hit a volleyball style serve almost from the service line. We played the point out. After that, he said nothing about my foot faulting. He took a nice afternoon of tennis and turned it into a conflict zone, for no good reason. Do you want to play the game and have fun, or do you want to nitpick?
     
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  10. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely...!!! Tennis is a game of fractions of inches... and that inch that she took might be the difference of the ball being in/out/ or catching the net cord. If it wasn't such a big deal why is it so important for Serena to be so close to the baseline to begin with?

    Quit trying to justify the infraction and and accept that we should be playing within the rules of the game.
     
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  11. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I tend to disagree... for someone to call you on a footfault it must be pretty blatant. As you say... to see someone footfault from 70 feet away it is not easy if you are only inching over the line. But I will submit that being from 50 feet away (the receiving players partner) you would be in a good position to see the whole picture. And if it is even questionable, the server could start 6 inches off the line... I am not one to footfault, but I am aware that my right foot will creep up a little past my left one so I start my motion about 6 inches behind the baseline.

    The opponent may be wrong... but are you so arrogant that you believe that you couldn't be? I would suggest to you that they had a better view of it than you did.
     
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  12. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    players on the other side of the net are in poor position to call questionable footfaults. Thats why the rules only allow opponents to call them if they are so flagrant that they are SURE that a footfault occurred. They aren't going to be able to see if someone just barely touches the line an instant before they make contact. But absolutely they can see it 100% clearly when someone steps across the line well before hitting the ball.
     
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  13. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I wouldn't trust you to call foot faults either. I don't care what your NTRP is.
     
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  14. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Exactly my point... I totally agree with this statement and hopefully this would be the only time they would call it.
     
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  15. North

    North Professional

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    Ditto. If a footfault is so obvious that it can be seen by a receiver who is otherwise concentrating on returning serve, that is a flagrant footfault and should be called. The problems arise when the footfaulter insists they really weren't stepping a foot or more into the court before hitting the ball or whines that playing by this particular rule (calling flagrant footfaults) is somehow unfair. I usually just start laughing to myself when an opponent does that when called on a flagrant footfault because I keep picturing a two-year old having a tantrum.
     
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  16. AutoXer

    AutoXer Rookie

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    I see a lot of footfaults when I am watching matches being played. Never hear them being called. Most of the FF I see are when right handed people are serving in the duece court and their back foot is past the service hash. I think they are just trying to get as close to center as they can and never think of the service hash as long as their front foot is not touching the baseline.
     
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  17. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    It is so funny how selective people are however in the rules they choose to strictly enforce.

    I can assure you that you do not follow all of the tennis rules to the letter each and every time you play.

    The footfault controversy comes up here at least once a month. Can someone tell me what is so special about this rule that they feel it MUST be enforced, but yet they are willing to let many other rules slide (probably through ignorance).

    Further, how would you feel if you played against someone that took the rules 100% seriously and refused to play before he measured the court, net height (at various points), width of all the straps, and EVERYTHING else that appears in the rule book and demanded all things to be 100% to the letter of the rules before he would even begin to play?

    For the life of me, I cannot understand how people can stress one rule (and pretty much "freak out" about it) but yet be perfectly comfortable to ignore a whole host of other rules.

    http://www.usta.com/AboutUs/~/media/USTA/Document Assets/2007/02/09/doc_13_16051.ashx
     
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  18. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    r2473- in my experience the people who freak out about the footfault rule are the ones that throw a fit when they are called for it. I've NEVER seen someone who tried to be hypertechnical calling footfaults. But people act like they are entitled to footfault all they want to. I personally doubt that I'll ever call someone for a footfault but if someone wants to call me for it then I'll happily move back.
     
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  19. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I guess this is directed at me so I will respond. I do try to play within the rules of the game everytime I step on the court. Things such as measuring the net at multiple points of a net... well no since I would not have the ability to correct it. Do I measure the center of the net, occasionally if I feel that it is incorrect. Do I measure the court... no... do I need to? I don't believe so... the reason...? Because we are all playing on the same playing field... my opponent has no more advantage than I do... does foot faulting provide my opponent an advantage... I will let you answer that question.

    Now since this appears to be a personal reflection on me as a player... do I call foot faults... NO. Do I feel people have the right to do so... absolutely. If I was playing doubles and my partner call an obvious one on my opponent would I support his call, definitely. I am also the person that will give my opponent an additional 4-6 inches on the service line and a couple on the side and baselines... because I would rather make a bad line call in my opponents favour than to have the person I am playing with think I am cheating them.

    I would like to think we all play hard and we play fair, and hopefully within the rules as best as we can. I believe those that have a need to win over anything else need to get put their ego's in check. Tennis is just a game... in reality the only things important in life are eating and propagating of the species. ;)
     
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  20. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Again I agree with you, and I would happily move back another few inches to keep the peace. It is possible I foot faulted, and I am the person least capable of recognizing it... so I would be more than happy to correct any infractions I maybe committing.
     
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  21. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I guess I was just addressing the "rules are rules" argument that many people have put forth in this thread. People use it for one case (footfaulting) but in many other instances, they never give the rules a thought. I was sort of wondering what is so special about this rule as opposed to many, many others.

    With respect to net height, if tennis is a game of inches (and it is or at least can be), then having the exact net height should be of prime importance. Depending on how much net clearance you have with your average shot / serve, it could be the difference in multiple points. And perhaps you say that it is fair for both players as they both play under the same conditions, but that really isn't true. If you are a moonballer and are playing a flat hitter, clearly you would want the net to be as high as possible.

    (And for the record, I can pretty much guarantee you that the nets for most matches are wrong. Usually too low. I used to play with a guy that measured it every time and it was never right. Often times, off by over 1/2 inch).

    I guess all I am saying is that "rules are rules" is a very slippery slope and may not be the best way in practice to go about playing a tennis match. I think most of us have a "feel" for when the rules have been pushed too far (footfaulting by stepping into the court as opposed to just toeing the line or a net that is 2 inches too low as opposed to 1/8 inch).

    By and large, tennis players are normally pretty decent about these sorts of things. But I think the stickler for the rules types are often times as bad as the guy that ignores certain rules (as if they don't apply to him).

    In the end, a tennis match demands cooperation between all parties. When this cannot be achieved, trouble is pretty much unavoidable (no matter what the issue).

    As decent as most players are, most are also pretty good at being very good pains in the ass as well (and I imagine everyone has been in this situation more than once).
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
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  22. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I see we are not so far apart as your original post had me think. I agree with most of your points, and for most of my career I was that flat hitter coming from the 70's and you are correct I am at a bit more of a disadvantage but if it is a concern to me, it would be up to me to ensure that the net was at the correct height.

    At our level of play... I leave it to a case by case basis, yes it is against the rules... and if you wish to inforce it be my guest. And no one should make you feel bad about it... what kind of society do we have when those that are breaking the rules try to make you feel bad for their infractions? Calling her the double-fault lady... give me a break. If she honestly believes it, she called us on breaking a rule, it isn't her that should feel bad... we should feel bad that we cheated, and do what we can to correct it. DO THE RIGHT THING.

    Now if you want to talk about Serena's case... then absolutely call it... the rules are in place, you have people monitoring it... make the call. Is the system perfect...? No... but as with everything we do in life we make due with what we have, until then we live with what we have.
     
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  23. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    I would say "flagrant" is when they step on or over the line on all of their serves. I've watched even some 4.5 players do it every single time. I am sure they have been told about it but they do it anyway. I have used "Rule 24" numerous times for the most obvious cases, and keep the rule in my racket bag to show them, in case they whimper like a bad puppy about it. Usually they fold like a cheap suit the minute they get called on it.
     
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  24. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    You sound like a dynamite individual to have a fun match with. Not agressive or jerky at all. If I was playing with you and you called a foot fault on me, I would do one of two things.

    1 - ask if you were kidding and if you weren't, refuse to play another point until you relented. If you refuse to relent I would...
    2 - play through the rest of the match grudgingly and never play with you again.

    Where's your sense of making the game fun? Why do you have to be so sure that you're right about everything? Maybe YOU'RE mistaken and the foot fault isn't occuring, but noooo. You're so sure you're right. It's a jerk call to make. Why don't you try to beat someone with your returns instead of playing mental games and nitpicking them to death? Lame-o.
     
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  25. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    You sound like a blast to play with hfmf. I'm sure most people have no problem never playing you again.
     
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  26. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Hfmf- if you were footfaulting so badly that I thought I had to call it and you proceeded act like a child like that then of course I would relent. You would have made it clear that you didn't think the footfault rule is an important one and I would line up to take my next serve from the service line as maybe then you would decide that the footfault rule was sort of important afterall.

    I will never understand these people who act so wronged by someone actually enforcing a rule. YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO FOOTFAULT. Many players including me don't care at all if you do it, but once you face someone who does then its your duty to move back and follow the rules.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
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  27. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    I am a blast to play with. I always make sure that both my opponent and I have fun, regardless of my opponent's level or game matchup vs. mine.

    I always give them an extra inch or so on the serves, never call a ball out unless I'm totally sure it was out, and they usually reciprocate. Calling someone on a foot fault is the same thing as calling a line that you're not sure about "out". It's poor sportsmanship, trying to win points on technicalities.

    Try earning your points on the court instead of carrying around a rulebook with you to quote the laws of tennis. How often do you call foot-faults that you felt the need to carry around your proof that you're right? That doesn't sound like fun to me. It sounds like you're trying to earn a law degree on a tennis court. I wouldn't want to play that game.
     
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  28. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You are also not entitled to call foot faults if you are not sure.
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is not a good analogy because these things have nothing to do with the opponent. If he doesn't play, the match doesn't happen, that is all.
     
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  30. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    This if off-topic, but this really p*sses me off when people do this. I know that these serves are out (an inch is "out by a mile") so I am not prepared to play these balls. But these "nice" guys play them as in and effectively steal the point.

    I understand that this is my fault. Service calls are the domain of the receiver and I need to be prepared to have everything called in and returned.

    It still p*sses me off though.
     
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  31. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Huh?

    If the court dimensions were built / measured incorrectly, surely we could move to a different court.

    Net height is actually quite important.

    But just insert your own nitpicking rules (time between serves, sets, etc or whatever) and hopefully you get the point. If every rule was strictly enforced (and assurances were necessary every time) tennis wouldn't be much fun.

    I just don't see what differentiates "footfaulting" from these other rules (which are often not (strictly) enforced) is all.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
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  32. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I get surprised by some service calls also. I try not to, but it still happens. I mean, people often do not make clear, audible out calls on serves. So I hit a serve, it looks well long to me, and the returner returns it while I'm already getting ready to hit another serve.

    I've taken to returning aggressively every ball that the returner hits back to me to guard against losing points in this fashion. Which has led to the problem of opponents getting irked when the serve lands out, their partner shovels it back over the net, and I try to hit a winner.

    Ahem.
     
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  33. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yes, we could move to a different court. So what? What has that got to do with the opponent? I don't think it is like a FF at all.
     
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  34. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    Generally, the group of people I play with all know each other and our line calls are extremely liberal throughout. We're mostly hitting, but with a game framework and point system. This hasn't ever been an issue. If we're playing someone new, we call normal lines.

    You're right. By trying to not hook our opponents, we ARE trying to steal the points. Those quotes around the word nice are definitely deserved.
     
    #84
  35. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    But wouldn't it be somewhat annoying to play a guy that enforced ALL the rules STRICTLY? How about just one rule strictly (maybe he kept a watch in his pocket to enforce time between serves or something). Or likewise a guy that called footfaults on the opponent all the time (I know some of these league guys will watch their opponent in warm-ups and see that they have a tendency to footfault (perhaps by an inch or less) and then perhaps make these calls in the match, even though they can't clearly see it in the match).

    Anyway, everyone is sure to have their own ideas on this. The only time I have ever mentioned the footfault rule to an opponent is when this tall guy (6' 5" I'd guess) was taking a giant step into the court AND he was a big server AND he also serve / volleyed. So he was getting a clear advantage from his footfault. (Naturally he didn't think much of my mentioning this and didn't make any changes. For my part, I'm really not the type to call for an official, so I just let him continue).

    If a player is not getting any clear advantage from footfaulting (except for the fact that they actually hit it in the court), I would never mention it, no matter how blatant it was. Just a personal thing I guess.
     
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  36. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I guess you didn't understand my point. I do believe that most people think they are being nice when they make generous calls on the serve. They aren't trying to do anything devious or underhanded.

    But, the effect is the same. By playing and returning serves that are clearly out, there is a good chance you will catch your opponent off guard.

    What is worse is when people are inconsistent. You really never know what they are going to call.

    Just goes to show that when you take to the court, you really have to be ready for anything and you should be prepared to "roll with the punches" instead of getting worked up over things. It is unlikely that you will agree with everything your opponent does and every call your opponent makes (and vice-versa). Just part of tennis is all.

    Everyone comes to the court with a different mindset and a different sense of "fair play". You pretty much just have to "roll with it".
     
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  37. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    That's probably my bad. I'm pretty tired and cranky today, so I'm probably thinking the worst of everyone AND it's tough to read context off of internet postings.
     
    #87
  38. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You sound like you are somehow trying to disagree with me, but I don't see where anyone in this thread is advocating that people should be able to call footfaults when they aren't sure. What are you trying to address with this point?
     
    #88
  39. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    It's obvious (to me anyway) by watching and participating in club level tennis and by the USTA rules that foot faulting occurs all the time. The important part is that almost no one is doing it on purpose to gain an advantage.

    Blatant foot faulting (we've all seen people basically take a giant step into the court LOL) can be addressed as has been discussed here. I've never been concerned with infractions that may occur otherwise as it's difficult to tell from the other side of the court and not worth my time.

    Not foot faulting is basically unnatural to most as the feet tend to move towards the toss. Unless you have had pro instruction, watched videotape etc etc you probabaly foot fault to some degree both in frequency and severity.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
    #89
  40. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Hence when called on it... don't feel like you have been violated and move off the service line 6 inches. No one said you have to stand right up to the line to serve. Those that are most opposed on this thread I would guess are the ones that commit the infraction. If called on it just move back 6 inches... and apologize, there is no need to take it personally they are just trying to help you improve your game.
     
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  41. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I've never been called on it and USTA agrees with my point anyway which is why they have the rule the way it is written. Unless it's persistent and obvious and blatant you can't stand on your side of the court "Calling" footfaults.

    Your last sentence is ridiculous I doubt you even believe that.
     
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  42. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    The people that freak out are usually the ones that get warned they are footfaulting, not the person making the call. I don't call footfaults (it isn't worth the argument) but I do sometimes get tired of watching my opponent cheat on his serve. Yes, in doubles you can clearly see footfaults.

    Nice to see that in your world the guy who is cheating is the hero and the guy that calls them on it is a lame jerk. Stand behind the line when you serve and you never need to worry about getting called for footfaults. Problem solved.
     
    #92
  43. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Taken together, these are the correct answers.
     
    #93
  44. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    The USTA is trying to find an solution that is easy for them so they don't need to address the issue at hand. Being written as loose as it is... define presistant, obvious and blatant... this is a relative statement that is different for each person. Obviously the person calling it would feel that it is persistant (you are doing it on every serve even though you just touch the line on some occasions), obvious (at least to them), and blatant (since the player continues to do it).

    Just leave the rule where it was... stay behind the line. If your opponent has no objection fine... if there is move back. The USTA statement has done nothing but muddy the waters even more, if this is there stand on the topic... all they are saying is that it is ok to foot fault as long as your opponent doesn't call you on it. Same thing as it was don't you think?
     
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  45. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Who knows why the person is calling it and if they are even remotely correct? Maybe they are getting beaten in the match and are angry, maybe they think the person is foot faulting, maybe they are correct.

    Don;t you think the solution of having observers calling it is better than the players trying to call it? I do.
     
    #95
  46. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely... but without that options I believe you have to take your opponent at his/her word and correct your service infraction. Just like you trust them to make fair and correct line calls.

    But I don't believe that is what this thread is about, the discussion is about foot faulting and being called on it. Not having people placed at the baseline looking for foot faults.
     
    #96
  47. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    EVERYONE foot faults. And everyone plays their matches and records their scores. The only people that are jacking up the system are the people who are losing and decide that the reason they're losing is because of the foot faulting.

    To be honest, a good serve's base of power is the planted feet of the server, so a foot fault is doing nothing but creating a disadvantage for the server anyways.

    I've said it before, if my opponent tried to call a foot fault on me during a match and claim any point, there would be hell to pay.
     
    #97
  48. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Everyone does not foot fault... at least not on a regular basis. I start my motion about 6 inches behind the line and have never been called on it. I have requested friends check me during play and have been told I am well back off the line. So I take exception to your comment... the pro's as close as they place their feet to the line seldom foot fault with some exceptions.

    I don't know when blaming others for your inability to keep your big feet in play became vogue... but this attitude of entitlement has me baffled. You foot faulted... fix it.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
    #98
  49. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Well I Wouldn't say EVERYONE foot faults but your point is taken. Anyone who tries to claim points off this must be crazy
     
    #99
  50. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Certainly not everyone foot faults. On the other hand at the recreational level many people do foot fault, at least fairly often if not always.

    In most cases (90%), recreational footfaulters don't get any advantage from it. Maybe there is a small percent of players that footfault so flagrantly that they get some advantage out of it.

    I think that's why the USTA footfaulting rule is the way it is - to try eliminate unfair advantage while letting the less significant footfaulting 'slide'.

    Personally I think I rule is a rule, and should be enforced if possible. The problem is that there really isn't anyone on the court that is well positioned to make accurate footfaulting calls. The server can't do it. The server's partner isn't looking at the server. And the opponents are far away and have a really bad angle for making a footfaulting call.

    So the current rule is not perfect, but I can't really think of any better alternative short of having a third-party always available to make the call, and that's just not feasible.

    Bottom line: Most players are reasonable and are trying to play fair, and it's not an issue. There will be the odd cases where someone is being a jerk, cheating, or engaging in gamesmanship. Same goes for line calls, lets, and many other aspects of the game. Just deal with it as a minor annoyance which is more than offset by the majority of fair and fun players out there, and move on.
     

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