I've captained many teams. This means I get to set line-ups. This also means I get to pick my partners, decide which court we play, decide which opponents we play. In the past, I bent over backwards to make sure I wasn't favoring myself in any way. I have been on teams where the captain hogged the best partners for herself, and I know that this causes resentment. This is especially so if the captain is not the strongest player. If a captain plays her cards right, she should never lose a doubles match because she can play with the strongest partner against the weakest teams. The team suffers, but the captain can bask in the glow of her own awesome W/L record. I rarely pair myself with the strongest player. I do this to avoid having my teammates become resentful of my using my position as captain to take the best partners. I also do it because I think it is good for my development to avoid having a strong partner carry me. I don't much care what my W/L record is. If we lose, I know full well the extent to which my own poor play caused the loss. Besides, pulling off an upset is more fun than pounding weak opponents (or watching your stronger partner do it!). I am wondering if I should start doing things differently. The reason is that I am finding that captains of some teams I would want to join want you to have an established partnership, especially if you are playing up. Well, I don't have an established partner. I just play with players I enjoy playing with. But if I am going to commit to playing with primarily one or two partners, I would want them to be strong ones. Taking on a weaker partner (say, low 3.5) means I would have a hard time playing up at 4.0. The easiest way to develop a partnership with a strong partner is to start pairing myself with stronger partners on my own team. This does not sit well with me because, on some level, it feels like I'd be doing it for the wrong reasons. I'd be doing it for myself rather than to advance the interests of the team. Then again, I'm not a bad player. Not at all. Why shouldn't I have a strong partner? I mean, none of us is the best judge of our strength compared to those of our teammates, but I do think I am plenty strong to justify partnering with the stronger players. It is possible, however, that my teammates may feel differently. I don't know quite what to do about this. I really liked playing up at 4.0, but there is no question that I have little chance of winning unless I have a partner who is as strong as I am or stronger. And unfortunately, 4.0 captains who are thinking of taking on a 3.5 are understandably concerned about whether the 3.5 can win. What do other captains do?