Calling footfaults is important

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by sureshs, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Yes, there are a lot of dumb rules and customs to this sport of tennis. If I had it to do over again, I would take up skate-boarding, far fewer restrictions.
     
    #51
  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I don't need to know the difference. I just need to speak loudly in declarative sentences sufficient to convince my opponent that I know the difference. :)
     
    #52
  3. skraggle

    skraggle Professional

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    I am also baffled by the indifference shown to foot faults. Whether you like it or not, it is a rule and part of the game.

    For those who disagree, let's play a virtual set:

    I will start by serving from directly behind the net. My serves will be angled out and smashed like easy overheads and impossible to return. You will have no time to react.

    You will object and I will move back.

    I will move to just behind the service box. It will not as easy as serving right behind the net, but will be a huge advantage for me. Very little time for you to do anything.

    You will object and I will move back.

    My next serves will be from no man's land. While not the major plus I had before, it will steal time away from you and give me better leverage from which to win serve.

    You will object and I will move back.

    Now I will serve from one foot in front of the baseline, where foot-faulters frequently make contact and land. I will still take a little time away from you and have slightly better access to angles. While not a huge advantage, it helps me and hurts you to some degree.

    Will you now no longer object?
     
    #53
  4. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I don't disagree with you in theory. Foot faulting is against the rules and just because it's rec tennis does not make it ok. But without a lines person to make the call, I don't trust that an opponent can clearly see that a foot fault is taking place from the far side of the court.
     
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  5. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I'll tell you what irritates me the most about foot faults, from a competitor's point of view.

    I've told some of my friends, and random friendlies that I meet on the court, that they habitually footfault. Their response can be summed up as follows:

    "Yeah I know, but no one calls it so who care?"

    It irritates me, because just because no one calls it, doesn't mean it's alright. As a competitor, I want us to compete on even grounds. Yes, it's not much. But by habitually footfaulting, aren't you that much closer to being inside the baseline/hug the baseline on your service games? Aren't you that much closer to chasing down a drop shot?

    It's an advantage on court positioning not brought on by superior footwork or skills, but abusing a violation simply because most opponents are either too nice to call it, or lack the resources. Again, I admit that it's not much, but an advantage is an advantage, especially if it's not brought on by superior skills.

    If a double bounce comes down to splitting hair, I'm calling footfaults.
     
    #55
  6. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    My god people are your serves so bad that the thought of foot faulting makes you miss? This is hilarious.
     
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  7. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    No, I don't think the chronic f-f'ers are contributing to this site--they are probably at the free porn web sites.
     
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  8. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    #58
  9. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Called for a ref once in a doubles match where they guy was stepping in a foot or so in the lines. Ironically the guy's serve improved when he took a step back behind the line! That being said they were upset but I tried to tell him afterwards I felt he served better that way and seem to have more balance. They seemed to think it was gamesmanship. We actually warned them during warmups about the footfaults.
     
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  10. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    I do agree with you for calling an official once the match started, and I don't think that is gamesmanship at all. I do see, however, that someone could see it as gamesmanship when you warn them about it during the warm-up (trying to get into their head), although I'm not in any way saying that is what your intention was. Even a lot of pros foot fault during the warm-up, and I don't think you really are in a position to say anything to them in the warm-up. At that time, you don't know what they are going to do during the match.
     
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    From another thread now:

    "saw a college match when player a complained about player b foot faulting, player b told player a to stfu there was no way he could see it from acros the net....next changeover player a walks up the SERVICE line not the base line bangs out an "ace" and declares 15- love... a sh#tstorm of epic proportions follows"
     
    #61
  12. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    Yep, there is plenty of video around of Federer hitting practice/warmup serves, and stepping inside the line.
     
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  13. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    In retrospect, I could see how they could think it was gamesmanship. During his serves he clearly stepped into the court and then served. We were actually trying to hold off calling a ref by giving them the warning.
     
    #63
  14. Delano

    Delano Rookie

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    Oh man. When you say that this really happens, do you mean people threatening law suits (which is bad enough), or actually filing them?
     
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  15. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Both! :) Crazy, huh?
     
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  16. qwanta

    qwanta New User

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    There are many players at the rec level who step a foot or so into the court a full second before they hit the ball. If they do this every single time they serve, it's perfectly OK to say "hey, watch the foot fault, you're faulting on every serve". The 'asshats' are the people who never said anything and prevented the player from correcting his flawed serve at an earlier point in time when it was probably easier to do so.

    If the player steps an inch or two onto the baseline, probably not worth worrying about.
     
    #66
  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I was once asked by a father to stand on the sides and point out any FFs that his junior might be committing during serve practice, as a preparation for a tournament. So you might say I am a specialist in this matter.
     
    #67
  18. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think warning people about FF during the warm-up is kind of inappropriate.

    I mean, people do a lot of things against the rules in warm-up on account of how it is warm-up. They catch balls. They let balls bounce twice. They hit serves wide and long.

    Wait until the match starts and then see if there are flagrant FFs. If so . . . well, do whatever you have the guts to do about it.
     
    #68
  19. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    There's one guy I've been playing for a few years now, I never really noticed he was doing foot faults, to notice that from the other side of the court it's pretty much impossible I find. Anyways once we were playing other people and I saw him serving on the court next to me, and he makes a huge foot fault every serve he does, he's at least 1-2 feet inside the baseline when he hits his serve.

    If we'd be playing some kind of tournament, perhaps i'd bring it up. But at our level, I don't think it really matters
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Try making him accountable for it, and see if he still remains at your level.
     
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  21. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    I can pretty much guarantee they wouldn't be at the same level as me as most of my opponents would probably lose almost every service games if I'd call foot faults. I actually told him once earlier this year and he just shrugged it off and e didn't correct the problem. Now I know I should maybe insist more on this, but if I do, at least 60% of the players I play against wouldn't win much if any service games during a match. Many years ago, my coach told me I was making foot faults on serve. It didn't take very long for me to correct my form and ensure I wasn't doing any, but then again i'm a perfectionnist and I want to do things right and I realize that's far from the case in most amateur level players.
     
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  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah that is what I thought - their game will breakdown.
     
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  23. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Playing mixed doubles, my partner starts her serve motion with her front foot about 6 inches behind the baseline. She normally moves her front foot about 4 inches forward - so a 2 inch margin for error.
    In a league match, at 6-all in the 3rd set, in the tiebreaker, the opposing male calls a footfault on my partner (from his baseline) and says it is the required warning. Later in the tiebreaker, he calls a footfault on my partner on a second serve and claims the point, giving them the minibreak that was the difference in the match. It is entirely possible that her toe could have touched the line since she does move her foot even though it would be a very rare occurance, so I can't really overturn the call based on that, and, of course, no one other than the guy who called it was looking at it. If the tip of her toe did touch the line, it would have been at least difficult to see even from the opposing service line.
    After the match, I told him I didn't want to have a beer with a person like him and left, forsaking the traditional refreshments.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
    #73
  24. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    For those who would like to make the inelegantly named "hand fault" legal, a couple of questions:

    Since the player could stand right on the net and reach over to where he could contact the ball about 5 feet into the court, wouldn't that completely change the whole game of doubles where the net man could cut off almost all angles by reaching out that far?
    When he hits the opponent with his racket, would he be able to claim a hinderance, or would the opponent not be allowed within 5 feet of the net?
    When he hits the opponent with his racket and the opponent is unable to continue, who wins the match?
    On dropshots, could he reach over and place his racket over the ball, so it would be impossible to hit the ball upward?
    There would be a lot of issues like this.

    Not sure you guys have thought this through.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
    #74
  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    1. I take responsibility for the inelegant term "handfault."
    2. There is only one person who wants to make it legal. I won't mention who, but we must make sure she is not heard.
     
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  26. SoBad

    SoBad Legend

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    In my experience guys who break one rule break many rules. They are unwanted persons. You just dump them as hitting partners to the extent that the situation allows.
     
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would classify them as criminals
     
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  28. tamdoankc

    tamdoankc Rookie

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    I was playing in a north vs south Davis cup type tournament where the north was hosting. I was playing mixed doubles and noticed the guy on the other side was footfaulting big time. Complained to the umpire and he said that is his style of playing and to play on. Wtf?!

    99% of the people I've watched or played with in VN footfault. 25% of those are really bad where theyre at least 2 feet in the court before ball contact.
     
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  29. fleabitten

    fleabitten Semi-Pro

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    I agree that it is important to call foot faults, but I sure feel like a jacka$$ doing it. I know that I shouldn't feel this way, but I do. We all need to change the perception that footfaults are not a big deal.
     
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  30. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    If there was a person on my team who felt compelled to call every single footfault then they would not be invited back to play next season. We play rec tennis and 90% of people don't get individual coaching where working on a footfaulting problem is easy. None of us look at our own feet while serving to see what is really going on. Every single time I have seen it called in a match it has always been a total d-bag move after a match already got a bit contentious. (twice it was the other team, once it was someone on my team) There are just far more important things to worry about and if someone wants to win that way then I wouldn't be on a team with them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
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  31. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Fair enough--and the corollary is: Your's is not a team I would want to play on. Could you please tell us what the "the far more important things to worry about" are?

    Of course you can't look at the ball toss and your feet at the same time--but you can look down at your feet after the serve and see if you are f-f'ing. Or--if you and your teammates want to help the perp, you could kindly point it out to them and help them fix it--or discover that hearing constructive criticism causes them to come un-hinged. Do you really want to play with border-line psychos?

    You are in essence saying, that you and your pals, just want a list of 12 to 20 numbers to call or email for a guaranteed match, rather then take your chances and venturing down to the public tennis center, or ye' ol' club and chance a pick-up game--thereby maybe diversifying your tennis network by playing with new folks. That's my main gripe with the damage league tennis has done to a great sport. Instead of seeing a world of potential players to meet and greet, it's now been narrowed down to a handful, with an occasional invasion of an enemy camp (the other team's territory).

    You are in essence saying you have NO aspirations of your team advancing to season finals--because there f-f'ing, will come back to seriously bite you. The roving umpire will come out of nowhere, like the CHP, loudly yelling "foot fault", while the perp is saying: "Who me?". Likely coming un-hinged, arguing the match away or under great pressure trying to fix a relatively very easy issue, f-f'ing, all of a sudden.

    Pack up your bags--this will likely cost your buddies the fun and glory of advancing further in the competition--wait until next year. I've seen it and the rest of the team wan't real happy about such a "minor infraction" f-f'ing costing them the match and advancement in the playoffs.

    If a "friendly" rec match, has the potential to get "contentious", why provide the ammunition for it to happen by f'-f'ing and playing into their hands. What other rules should not followed willy-nilly at the whim of the individual with the silent consent of buddies?--not-up?, getting grazed by a ball?, calling out the score only when you're ahead?, waiting to call a let when a ball rolls on the court until you lose the point?--which are the important rules and which are the ones that can be bent or ignored and who gets to decide?

    Tennis is a relatively simple game with rules that generally are easy to understand without a supreme court clerk's interpretation. Why not learn them and teach them to your teammates? Team practices would be an ideal time to work on this stuff. If the perp can't handle it then, do you really want to hang-out with this type of individual--are you that hard-up for a list of people to play with?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
    #81
  32. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yesterday I stood on the side and watched a 4.0 doubles match (social). After a game was over, I told the server that every one of his serves was a FF. He was caught by surprise and just stood there staring at me, and I thought oh oh time to make a fast retreat. Then his partner "comes out"" and says I have seen you FFing all the time, and then proceeds to explain in detail how his foot comes forward and catches the line before the serve!

    His partner had bottled it all in before this and he let it all come out when given the opportunity.

    Mission accomplished.
     
    #82
  33. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    This is actually pretty funny because of how far from reality it has been for us. ALTA lets you have far more flexibility creating teams so we had enough people that wanted to join that we split the team. Then it got popular enough that we split the team again. Now we have 3 teams that all practice and play together, have 6 to 8 courts on practice nights, and always have a big group going out for drinks afterward and are sponsored by a bar. We have players from guys who played D1 to guys who picked a racquet for the first time after the age of 30. I have no clue where you get the idea that "not caring about footfaults == less willing to meet people in tennis" In fact I'd guess that it is strongly the opposing direction.

    Ridiculous. I said that I wouldn't have someone on my team who consistently wanted to call footfaults on the opponents. If an objective umpire calls it then I have no problems with it. If the opponent calls one of my players on it I'd hope they would just move back.

    EVERY SINGLE TIME that I have seen someone calling footfaults in a match its because they were losing and were trying to jack with the opponents. I do not want to be in that group and I wouldn't have people on my team who wanted to win that way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
    #83
  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Every single time Federer has challenged using Hawk-Eye is when he would have lost the point.

    So what?

    It only matters if the FF happened. Other considerations are not relevant.
     
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  35. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I have no idea what alta is--glad you found an alternative tennis universe that fits your needs.

    You found your priorities--drinking--not following the rules--hope you have a DUI attorney in your large group.

    HOPE springs eternal, maybe your player will move back--or maybe it will get into his head and get contentious.
     
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  36. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I agree with Spot here.

    If footfaults were consistently enforced, that I would be all for that. It's part of the rules after all. However, because of the difficulty of seeing ff's from across the net, they are rarely if ever called. So as it turns out, when they are called, it's usually an attempt at gamesmanship.
     
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  37. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Actually, in Atlanta, USTA is the alternate tennis universe. ALTA is the premier tennis system in the Atlanta area.
     
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  38. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    It's no more difficult to see a foot-fault then to see whether a ball is in or out, especially by the net man. A flagrant one can be easily seen from anywhere on the court--that's why it's flagrant. A human foot is much larger then a tennis ball and remains on the line longer then the hit by a ball. Most players have no problem calling a ball out, (but some do), it shouldn't be any different calling a foot-fault--but obviously it is or we wouldn't be discussing it here.
     
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  39. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Maybe alta should run league tennis and give usta a run for it's--er--MY money--competition is good--it reveals character.
     
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  40. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    I'm having trouble understanding this post. When calling a ball in or out, you are calling on your side of the net. How can you compare that to calling a foot fault from 78 feet away?
     
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  41. spot

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    Its tougher to call foot faults than line calls not only because of the distance involved but also because you have to choose between playing tennis and enforcing the rules. For singles in order to call a footfault you have to stop looking at the ball and instead look at the opponents feet. This is why reasonable people choose not to call footfaults in recreational matches- you have to compromise your own tennis playing in order to try and win the point through a technicality. Personally I would rather just play tennis.
     
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  42. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Um, no.
    1. FF is on other side of the court. Line calls you are making on your side of the court.
    2. Judging FF requires depth perception along far baseline, which is hard.
    3. When your team is getting ready to receive, even if you are the net man, you are (or rather should be) watching the toss to gauge the serve, and watching the opposing net person to see what he is doing... not looking at the server's feet.
    4. Um, and how about singles?
    5. Can you really tell from across the net whether the server is getting any airtime or not, and judge whether the feet are actually on the ground at the moment of impact? If the feet are even half an inch in the air after crossing the baseline up to the point of contact, that's a legal serve.

    I agree that a flagrant FF can be seen from across the court. Unfortunately there is no clear definition of what constitutes a flagrant FF. That's what makes the whole thing a source of gamesmanship.
     
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  43. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    What can I say, I guess I'm cursed with having better then average vision.
     
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  44. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, Brendan Evans used to make that argument on the pro tour when he disagreed with a line call. "I have had surgery, I have 20/10 vision". Well, just because you have great vision doesn't mean that you see the ball correctly (or foot).
     
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  45. Sumo

    Sumo Semi-Pro

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    Congrats....with one sentence you were able to lose all credibility on this issue.
    Anyone who can tell if they are foot faulting by looking at their feet after the serve has a TERRIBLE serve and won't be gaining any advantage by foot faulting. Why waste the effort?

    Are you the guy who calls every touch foul when playing pickup bball? Because those guys are fun to have around.
     
    #95
  46. woodrow1029

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    LOL. I'm glad someone finally said it (even though I'm sure we were all thinking it). :)
     
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  47. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is very difficult to tell accurately if there was a FF or not. I think we can all agree on that.

    FF calls during a league match will cause tension. We can all agree on that.

    At the same time, with half the adult players FFing, the status quo is just not acceptable.
     
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  48. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    A "gotch-ya'" moment. Oh boo-hoo, I'm SO busted, I've lost credibility at a tennis message board--I'll just have to go down to the hot-tub and wash away the shame of it all. I guess you never practice your serve, if you did you could very easily look down at your foot to check if you are foot-faulting--it is humanly possible to serve a ball and down look at your foot--unless you are so out of balance from chasing your errant toss that you would fall on your face.

    I was just working with a woman the other day on breaking her of the foul habit. I would call her on, it where-about she immediately looked down at her foot and saw she was doing it--something she was totally unaware of. She then over-compensated by stepping back too far. I told her to only move back about four inches which in her case remedied her f-f'ing bad habit.

    I think you're talking about basketball, I haven't played that for probably 20 years. I've learned that most tennis players who sprained their ankles did so playing basketball--like Todd Martin. I'm saving myself for tennis thank you. I guess now that I've lost all my cred here, I'll have to refund you all your money for all the lessons.

    Adios amigos!
     
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  49. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    What is a "flagrant" footfault? That is easy. It is a footfault so obvious that it can be called with certainty 78 feet away.
     
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  50. OrangePower

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    Agreed. Time to invent a FF-detection device.
     

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