Choosing between two USTA league teams

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by OrangePower, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Which team would you personally choose to join given the following options:

    1. A very strong team where you will be one of the weaker players. The team is a lock to make playoffs, with all the excitement this involves. You will get to practice with some very good players. But you will probably play only a small number of matches, and wouldn't play in playoffs at all.

    2. A weak but fun team where you will be one of the stronger players. The team will end up with a crappy record, but you will get as many matches as you want. Practices are better attended but at a lower level of play compared to the first option.

    There is no right or wrong answer... I'm just curious as to what people would choose and why.
     
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  2. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    I'd pick team #1. I have all the "fun" matches I want. I'm looking for matches and competition that will push me to improve.
     
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  3. OrangePower

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    I should add some clarifications...

    Both team are in the same local league. So both teams will play against the same opposition in league matches.

    There are about 14 matches in the season. Playing for team #1, you will play 3 or 4 matches. Playing for team #2, you will play 12 matches.

    Team #1 practices will be competitive. Team #2 practices are more social.
     
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  4. Wakenslam

    Wakenslam Rookie

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    For me it would depend on how many other leagues or matches I was involved with. If the USTA team was the only tennis I had going, I would go with option #2. If I had other stuff going on at the same time, I would go with option #1. If it's doubles, my partner on each team would be the biggest deciding factor.
     
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  5. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I think it depends on your dealings with each team.

    My current team will likely break up after this season as some of us will move it and some will not.

    This year I've decided to stay with the group of us that gets bumped and restart the 3.5 team at our club. The people I've played with over the past few months have become good friends and last year as a USTA newbie, were the only ones who took a chance on adding me to their squad.
     
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  6. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    It depends on what you are looking for. Team #2 is a better option for a player looking to enhance their match play experience. However, if you already get lots of match play experience outside of the league, then team #1 might be a better option (i.e. view it as high level practice with possibility to play a few matches).
     
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Ho boy.

    I did Option One this year, and I don't think I will do it again. I was considered one of the "weak" players, so I only got two matches and didn't play at sectionals. I totally respect the captain's decisions, and she obviously made the right calls because she almost got us to Nationals.

    Still, there was no "us," as far as I was concerned. I was happy for those who got the experience of going to sectionals, but I am always happy for my friends who advance if they are happy about it. I don't need to sacrifice my whole season to be happy for them, you know?

    Now, I think I have improved my game considerably from this summer, so perhaps I would now be considered one of the stronger players. Maybe I'd be the one playing a bunch of matches and playing at sectionals. Does that make Option 1 more attractive?

    Nah. The problem is that Option 1 will always have some disgruntled players who don't think they get enough matches, etc. I will know how this feels and it would be difficult to enjoy my own success if I know others are less pleased (especially if they happen to think I am not stronger than they are).

    This is supposed to be a fun hobby. I think I belong on teams that are in the middle of the pack, where I get to play as much as anyone else.
     
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  8. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    That said, I would pick #1 for sure. Looks like both captains play their strongest players a lot, and fill in with weak players as needed. Kinda like do you want to be the big fish in the small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?
     
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  9. goober

    goober Legend

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    Unless these practices with team #1 are really that great I would go with #2.

    Playing every match is what I would want. If you are on a weak team, every week you will likely face strong opponents and that will make you better. Sitting on the bench and playing a couple matches doesn't really do that much for me. Wow your team gets to go to playoffs and you know you won't play. Well I guess if you don't mind being a cheerleader, that's fine. I would rather spend my time actually playing tennis.
     
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  10. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

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    Since there are several leagues available - adult, mixed, combo, tri-level, senior- you could hedge your bets, and play on one competitive team, and one social or "punching bag" team. That way you get to go to the playoffs, and also have some more recreational matches.
     
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  11. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I don't see much value in being on a playoff team if you don't get to play.

    I'd choose #2 everytime. You get more matches and the level of competition is set by your opponents, not by your teammates.
     
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  12. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

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    I always want to play vs watch.
     
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  13. apor

    apor Rookie

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    Yeah, I'd rather play than watch. Besides, I work in the evenings and can't practice with my team anyway.
    I have a good crowd that plays at a school on the weekends nearby- that's where I get to play up- way up.
     
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  14. lagniappe12

    lagniappe12 New User

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    Having just wrapped up a season on a team that was more like #1 than #2, I'd pick #2. The problem I had was that I never got to actually practice with the "stronger" players nor did I have many competitive matches so I didn't really learn much all season. I would think you'd have better opportunity playing against strong competition on #2 than #1. Even if you lose more, you'd have plenty more opportunities to improve your game.
     
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  15. JavierLW

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    Maybe 1) because even though you may play less, you may get to play with a stronger partner which will be more fun then:

    2) where if you are with a bunch of weak players you might get paired up with one of them which may be frustrating and thus wont be fun....

    Unless for some reason you think they will most definitely put you at singles in which case 2) looks better. (but not all captains promise things like that)

    And dont sell yourself short, if you perform well enough you might not be seen as one of the "weaker" players. Playing on the better team gives you the opportunity to fill that role if not this year, maybe next.....
     
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  16. fruitytennis1

    fruitytennis1 Professional

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    As most others have been saying #2 would be my option.
    Honestly when your with better players they dont practice with you, mostly they practice with the other better players
     
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  17. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Looks like I'm the only one picking #1, and I'm fine with that. Like the OP said, there's no right or wrong answer.

    I'm currently one of the stronger guys on a team very much like #2 above. We get our butts kicked every week, and it just isn't that much fun. If I was playing singles I wouldn't mind so much, but in doubles it's really hard for a 4.0 & 3.5 to go against two solid 4.0's. (Our 4.0 team has more 3.5's on it than it does 4.0 players. They're nice guys, but it makes it awfully hard to compete. I'm a fairly half-way adequate 4.0 on a good day - there's no way I can "carry" a 3.5 against two 4.0 players.)
     
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  18. Vyse

    Vyse Semi-Pro

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    must help your game then youll be a great contributor
     
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  19. kendall22

    kendall22 Rookie

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    I just switched from last year's championship team (went to Sectionals) to go to a bad team with fewer members. I'm the top player on the new team and play virtually every match.

    They're not publishing the results in the newspaper; unless you get major social benefit being on a good team (because it's part of a tight club or social circle), you should choose playing more.
     
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  20. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    No brainer for me - Team 2 for sure. It is easy to find good practice partners, why be on a team that you know you won't get to play matches - I play tennis to play tennis not for the excitement of a team I don't get to play for going to playoffs or whatever -

    If you are looking for practice and want a social outlet ie. team trip or whatever - then 1 makes sense - otherwise I don't get it.
     
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  21. kennydoe

    kennydoe New User

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    One thing to consider...if you're on a playoff team, regardless of your playtime, you could get bumped up 'by association'...you may end up in a level a little too high for you.
     
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  22. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    That's not true. You get bumped up according to your individual results, not "by association".
     
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  23. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I voted for #1 as well (sort of), see above.

    The biggest thing for me is if I get stuck playing doubles I would rather enjoy playing with a decent partner for a few matches, versus playing with a weak partner for more very frustrating matches.

    The only time #2 looks good to me is if somehow you know you'll get the chance to play singles more (and you REALLY want to play singles), but not all captains promise things like that.....
     
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  24. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I'm always torn in this situation, I like to win but not at the expense of enjoyment and being that I like to play, I'd stick with #2. I still feel that in doubles play, it can help bring my game forward in the instances that I'm the stronger player on the court...it becomes like mixed doubles where you have to find and utilize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses.

    Currently, I'm on a team that is more like #2 but we're still competitive...we just don't have the deepest lineup to consistently get our best players out there but rarely lose by a bigger margin than 3-2 outside of the top team in the league showing us why we aren't so strong of a team.

    We've made the playoffs now and again but it won't be consistent...but I'm at a point where tennis is a social activity as well as for the sport of it and it gets me consistent match play in an area where winter court time can be hard to secure outside of USTA.
     
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  25. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Im not sure it's really "like mixed doubles" at all. You can be on a good mixed doubles team with a pretty decent partner (man or woman depending on what you are). And you're playing another mixed doubles team.

    That's not really the same thing as just getting paired up with a weak player period. If they are weak enough (not consistent), it's going to be hard to win as a team, because the other team can always just go after them.

    You can play your best and it's challenging to do that in that situation but you may not win much.
     
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  26. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    As someone said, IF you plan to be on a few other teams and will get enough playing time in, then join Team #1. It would be a great experience going to sectionals. And fun too!
     
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  27. Nellie

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    When faced with similar decisions in the past, I have to think about how much tennis I want to play. 12 matches is a lot - likely 2 matches a week, on top on the other tennis I already play. If I had no other tennis, I would likely do it in the winter, but that is more than I could handle now.
     
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  28. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I agree that it's not entirely the same, odds are you aren't playing a team that is also one noticeably strong and one noticeably weak player but I don't think that it necessarily means that you won't win much.

    You can limit how well they can isolate your partner as the weaker player with proper strategy. If you're partner was so weak that this is impossible, they aren't playing in the right league. Even the bottom feeding teams in our league are near level players...they just aren't as strong as the top tier players in the league. Yep, it's a challenge. Yep, losing is a possibility.

    Our mixed leagues here tend to be one weaker and stronger player, that is where I feel this can be the same scenario by looking solely at your side of the net. A strong/weak combo can still beat and even level team.
     
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  29. Geezer Guy

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    I agree that it's technically "possible" for a 3.5 & 4.0 to beat two 4.0's, but it's not going to happen very often (at least not when I'm the 4.0 on the team). Everything has to be just right, and those have to be a couple pretty weak 4.0's. You might hit the jackpot once or twice, but for all the other times it ain't a whole lot of fun.

    The difference (to me) between options 1 & 2 is like choosing between quality and quantity. On team 1 you won't play much, but when you do it'll be fun. On team 2 you'll play a lot, but you'll be getting your butt kicked all the time.

    I usually play 5 or 6 days a week already, so I don't need quantity. I'd choose quality.

    If the situation were different, and this was my main chance to play tennis - then I'd pick Team 2.
     
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  30. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    One of the interesting arguments posted above for joining the stronger team is that as a doubles player, you will be playing with a stronger partner.

    So let's level the playing field... by making the assumption that you will be playing with a partner of equal strength either way.

    Which, by the way, is the actual scenario...

    Of course I posed the original question because I'm going to have to make this choice come next season. I play mostly singles, but now and then will play doubles also. And in those cases, I have a regular partner, who will probably end up joining the same team as I do, whichever I end up choosing.

    My partner and I will be amongst the strongest players on team #2. So we will get lots of matchplay. On the other hand, we will be amongst the weakest on team #1, so won't play much.

    So for me the decision comes down to the opportunity to play many more matches, vs the ability to practice regulary with superior players (who would probably not bother playing with me unless I'm on their team).

    I should add that my primary motivation in making my choice is to improve my tennis... meaning that I don't care that much about the glory of making a deep playoff run.

    I still have no idea what I going to do, but thanks for all the good input so far.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
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  31. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    I think a great way to improve your doubles play is to practice and play with and against other strong doubles players. Do you agree?

    From your description, you will not be playing WITH a great doubles player in either situation. You'll be playing with your buddy who's just as bad as you are (just joking).

    Team 1 has practices, so you'd get to practice with some better players there. That could improve your skills.

    Team 2 has practices, but those guys are worse than you are. I don't see you getting a whole lot out of that.

    Playing for Team 2 you'd get to play more matches. That's good, but it's my experience that you can learn more in practice (a good practice) than you can in a match - when you're trying to implement what you learned in practice.

    I'd say your best bet "to improve" is to bounce your loser buddy to the curb, go to Team 1 if they'll take you, and work your ass off to improve up to their standards.
    Kick one of their weaker players out of his regular rotation, and never look back!

    (some of that was in jest, but you get the idea)
     
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  32. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Ya, if you already have the partner (and you know either team will respect that), then go for the one with more matches.

    You might even get challenged more as well because you could get put at #1 Doubles or more key situations.
     
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  33. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I'd say go with 2 in that scenario too because you will be playing all of the other teams as well.

    Unless you expect to get a lot of practice with the top guys on team 1, which I'd assume they already have their practice partners pretty lined up then more match play with your partner would most likely help your game improve most.
     
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  34. HitItHarder

    HitItHarder Semi-Pro

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    I actually picked option numer 1, and if given the choice I would made the same decision again.

    I have found that I benefit the most from practicing and playing with people that are better than I am. Playing the matches is nice, but for me right now my focus is on getting better as a player. If I work hard enough, I will eventually be one of the better players on the team. Until then, I will grind it out, pay my dues, and keep working hard.
     
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  35. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    If there really will be practices on Option 1 and you will get to participate and the better players will attend these practices, then go with Option 1.

    That said, I sometimes have found that team practices aren't that great for improving. You play the same people again and again, and it is easy to notice their tendencies and adjust. So I guess I'd say I have experienced some diminishing returns in playing against better players in doubles practices repeatedly. FWIW.
     
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  36. Centryx

    Centryx Semi-Pro

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    Orange where do you play out of the east bay has so many flights guys can play both
     
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  37. OrangePower

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    Wow, that brings back memories... You realize this thread is from several years ago, right?

    But since we're here, I might as well report on how it turned out...

    Back then I was a new bump-up from 4.0 to 4.5. I ended up choosing the weaker team, because my main goal was to get as many matches under my belt as possible. It worked out well - I played a lot, gained a lot of confidence, and ended up with a winning record, which I felt great about for my first year at 4.5. Team didn't do so well but I knew that would be the case.

    These days I have many more options and I get invited onto a lot more teams, but strangely I don't care as much about USTA. I have a circle of strong players that I play with and that accounts for most of my tennis, and USTA is just for a few more matches here and there.
     
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  38. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Pretty sure I'd pick #2. All else being equal, more matches is going to be preferable to fewer matches. The prospect of the playoffs on team #1 doesn't even appeal much as I wouldn't be likely to even be asked to participate.

    Plus the way you make it sound, the strong guys on team #1 might end up participating on the same court with you in practices since you'd be on the teeam and they feel they're supposed to, but it doesn't sound like they'd be thrilled about the prospect. I'm skeptical just how helpful those practice sessions might be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
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  39. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Thanks for the update, OP. FWIW, I would have done as you did and pick Team #2. As one of the earlier posters said, your "competition" is determined by your opponents, not necessarily by your teammates. However, I'd argue you'd actually be getting better competition by being on Team #2...because they're most likely to play you at Line #1 and you'd see some of the other top teams in the flight. If your team is really weak, opposing teams might put in their weaker players to give those guys a chance. But even in that scenario, if you win, you'll quickly show other teams they should try hard to include you in their mix -- that you (and your partner) wouldn't be some of the "weaker" guys on their team.

    I only see win-win, literally, out of being on a Team #2 type. I'd probably play (and win) a lot...and have more fun with a good bunch of guys.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
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  40. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    Iv'e only been on two teams my first season was like team #2

    I was the only player to win a match the whole season and I was played at #1 singles every week ( in my very first league) I would have liked to had a few doubles matches or atleast a few #2 singles to warm up my game.

    I was practicing with people on that team I could easily beat and then playing matches against people I couldn't beat.

    next season went with team #1 they put me into #2 doubles and eventually #1 doubles and I turned out a solid season for them even played #2 singles twice for out of town regular singles guys.

    in the team format we had a few wins in our pocket every week so the pressure to win my matches was far less than with team #2 and I played looser and better matches...plus our weekly practice I was playing some of the best people in the league ....and our singles guys really took me under their wing and coached me to a better singles game than I have ever had.

    as I got better the Captain played me more starting this season ( with the same team) he's already put me on rotation with our other #2 singles guy (cause he wants to play some doubles)

    like anything you gotta work your way up the ranks and if you start out as the star player...you really have no where to go.
     
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  41. chay337

    chay337 Rookie

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    I would join both and take in the positives of each side.
     
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  42. tennis-player

    tennis-player New User

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    I would go with #1. I am in tennis for exercise and staying active. "More social" teams end up being more talk and fun, and less exercise.

    I am actually thinking to find a strong team myself, where I would be the weakest player, maybe just the sub.. But get to practice with them, and grow with my own game. Even if I don't get to play any matches at all, just improve my skills.
     
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  43. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    I would probably pick #2 if I had a choice, but would also be fine to be the weakest player. Actually, I had the best of both of these worlds last year at 4.0 Adult. I played up on the 4.0 team (not a great 4.0 team) but I got to play every match except one as a singles player. They are always hurting for singles players so I got to play. It was really fun! I learned a lot and got lots of match experience against better players.
     
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  44. Grover Sparkman

    Grover Sparkman Rookie

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    This. If you're going to pay the money and court fees that USTA Tennis requires, you should at least get some of the benefits.
     
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