Dealing with cheating juniors tennis

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by arche3, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    So in the tennis parents bible (great book) it says to question call. If another hook then get line judge. And if it doesn't stop still you should cheat back to prove you won't take it.
    I sorta agree with this. If your goal is to stand up for yourself. What do you people think?
     
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  2. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    I would say, if the call is close and the opponent doesn't have a reputation, just question the call. If the opponent does have a reputation, hook back, preferably on an important point. After the 2nd questionable call, regardless of whether the player has a reputation or not, hook back THEN call the line judge.
     
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  3. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I detest vindictive/dishonest line-calling. This is a terrible way to instill sportsmanship and morals. Cheating does not justify cheating


    .
     
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  4. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    The only thing worse than a kid who hooks on line calls is the coach/parent who allows it or encourages it.
     
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  5. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    In the book at a national tourney a conference of 30 top ranked juniors. They were asked how many had to resort to hooking to stop a cheater. They all raised their hands. At the top tourneys they have line judges. So this was asked of them when they were moving up the ranks.
     
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  6. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    As entertaining as it is, I cannot stand to watch Junior tennis because of rampant cheating. Anything remotely close to the line is automatically called out. It is also why I stopped playing in Korean tournaments. The middle aged/senior guys take it to another level. It is an art form.
     
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  7. Mr.Lob

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    If you are 100% sure opponent made wrong call, then hook back. It's not cheating if you are evening out the bad calls.
     
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  8. Mr.Lob

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    What's the worst hook anyone has seen? Ball lands 5 feet inside middle of baseline and ball is called out?
     
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  9. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Calling line balls OUT is a standard part of juniors tennis. Like it or not. It is a part of that faction of the sport. In general, every player should call every ball out if they see it land on the line. It isn't a failing of morals. It is a failing of the guidelines.

    It reminds me of sports like water polo. You aren't supposed to be making any intentional contact with other players. But under the water, away from the official's eyes, players are kicking, knee-ing, elbowing, and punching each other. It is a standard part of water polo.

    In water polo, if you don't physically defend yourself using these tactics, you are going to get demolished.
     
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  10. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I don't see any moral issue to be honest. It's simply a tactic to stop the abuse of the system. It's easy to sit back and take the supposed high ground. The world is not black and white. This illustrates the point perfectly.
     
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  11. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Spoken like someone who played a lot of tourneys. When I was in juniors and high school through college I had no issues hooking back if that stopped the cheaters. And it always did.

    I also have accountants that minimize my income tax exposure, but some people would call that cheating too.
     
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  12. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    It does seem to be a failing of the system. I guess the kids adapt till the higher tourneys where they have line judges.
    What is interesting is the author of the book tennis parents bible is an authority on junior tennis. And he says that hooking back is absolutely the right way to deal with this situation if it escalates after calling a line person and they line person leaves. What does that tell you?

    I'm trying to decide how my son should deal with these situations.
     
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  13. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Two wrongs do not make a right and it can be worse one right makes a wrong. How does Kid A know Kid B makes an intentional bad call or even if his call is bad? Right, he often doesn't. So the retaliation will spin things completely out of control.

    What parents should teach their children is to stay honest and stand above the idea one's opponent makes a bad call. Tennis is a great sport but in perspective it is just another bloody recreational game for almost everybody.

    :grin:
     
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  14. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    Well spoken!

    Yes!

    Parents who do not understand this are doomed to pass on their own immorality to their children.
     
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  15. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    How can you know?
     
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  16. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

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    Yes, don't let your son stand for those cheaters. Tell him not to get mad, get even. It always stops the cheating. Best of luck to him on his progress!
     
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  17. onehandbh

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    I think everyone probably misses a call occasionally, but if there is a pattern,
    the kid either has bad vision or is cheating.

    When I played jr tournaments in an early round, I usually just called for a line
    judge. When the line judge came out, I found that it usually affected the
    cheater mentally and he lost his concentration a little bit.

    You could also bring a high speed camera and took some footage and show it to the
    tournament officials and then post on youtube & TW!

    I remember a little while back one of the parents on TW posted a video on youtube that
    was supposed to be a kid making a bad call against his son. But then when people viewed the
    video, it turned out the call was correct. Hilarious.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
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  18. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    Maybe it's some sort of idealized view of the world. Or its propaganda of some absolute morality. What gets me is some people are adamant they are 100% correct. While the situation is much more out of the absolute. I have been blatantly cheated when a junior. Balls a foot in are called out to make you lose focus. Some kids do this as a tactic. What do you do then? You stop them if your a fighter. You cave and lose if you can't bear to stand up for yourself.
     
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  19. dsb

    dsb New User

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    This was a big problem for me when I played Jrs... My Dad absolutely forbade me from 'getting even', and told me in no uncertain terms that if he saw me making a bad call on purpose, no matter what the circumstances, he would pull me from the match.

    Even when confronted with the 'when in doubt, call it out' policy of 'everyone' else, and even when coaches and other parents explained the efficacy of retaliating with bad calls, he still wouldn't let me.

    It messed with my head... I probably lost more matches because of the emotional effect than the actual bad calls... and I think it made me a bit paranoid that the other guys were calling everything out...
     
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  20. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    don't get involved as a parent, this is your kids game and not yours.
     
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  21. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    That's what it comes down to. Showing the cheater you will fight back.

    I guess I was lucky in juniors because I only played 1 blatant cheater. It was so unnecessary because the kid double bageled me and didn't need to cheat. After about the 3rd bad call, I called a blatantly in 2nd serve of his out. We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes after that but the cheating stopped.
     
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  22. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    That is great in an ideal world, but in real competitive junior tennis you can't just lie down and take it.

    It is good to give people the benefit of the doubt if it is close and it has only happened a couple of times. If it is blatant cheating, you need to call a judge over immediately or do something about it.

    It is good to question them the first or second time because then they will at least think about it before they cheat again. If they are cheating you out of important points, you have to do a little cheating back unless an official is able to come quickly.

    Often the officials take far too long to head over, and the cheater may have already gotten games off of his calls. Tennis is a game of inches. Close matches can be decided by a few points, which is why cheating is so rampant in the juniors.
     
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  23. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    Unless your kid has a real shot at being a pro or tennis is the only way he/she can get a college education and escape poverty, then it's just a game and winning a match in a tournament/highschool league isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things.

    As such, teaching your kid to fight cheating with cheating is at best teaching him/her that, if other people are doing something, then it's ok to do it yourself regardless of what the rules say. At worse, it's teaching your kid that, if he/she doesn't like the way things are going, then it's ok to ignore the rules. If you push those teachings too much, then there's a chance that mentality will spill over into aspects of life that are regulated by laws that carry serious penalties.

    From a tennis perspective, you're better off teaching your kid to not let a bad call bother him/her (though call for an official if it gets really bad). First of all, there's the very real chance that the ball was actually out and your kid didn't see it clearly. Secondly, any kid who can maintain focus and not let a bad call wind him/her up probably won't get wound up too much by other things that are out of his/her control; i.e., your kid will maintain focus and be less of an emotional basket case throughout the course of a match.
     
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  24. MyTennisTools

    MyTennisTools New User

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    Kids (and most adults) see with their hearts, not their brains. I have a video that shows my hitting partner calling a baseline ball out that was six inches in. He was only five feet away, looking directly at it from further down the baseline. He says he still see the ball as out (in his mind) when the video showed it was actually way in. I've been hitting with him for 15 years and he's an honorable and proud guy and would never knowingly cheat.

    That being said, I hate to admit but I guess there really are conscious cheaters out there, and in twenty years, I've only done on purposeful bad call. Not proud, but I did it. It does make the opponent think twice.

    I think most people go by the rule that if they didn't see it clearly in, it must be out, when the correct way to call it is if you didn't see it clearly out, it must be in.

    Eventually we'll have instant replay at the amateur level, and that should take care of it. :)
     
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  25. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Professional

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    BTW, this is just one more reason to build more clay courts.
     
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  26. TCF

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    We stopped all junior tennis tournaments about a month ago, there just is no positive pay off anymore.

    Down in SE FL we have had several foreign academies open up in the past 18 months, in addition to the existing academies. Every tournament from Stuart down through Miami is a nightmare.

    You have kids under huge pressure to win. In the past year the cheating has increased off the charts. It used to be 1 out of 4 matches, now its 50-75% of all matches in 12s-14s is full of cheating.

    We tried everything. Hooking back just results in an escalation. Calling the ref, the cheating starts the second they leave. Arguing calls results in 3 hour hatefests with kids glaring at each other in the blazing hot sun.

    Its impossible to justify spending an entire weekend with your kid having to fight with another kid over every other call.....or take losses to kids willing to blatantly cheat. Its just amazing how junior tennis is the only youth sport that has no one to enforce the rules, and is also totally different than its professional counterpart.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  27. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Which ones and who is behind them?
     
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  28. TCF

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    One is run by Russian coaches, the other by a Serbian coach. But to be fair, the 3rd academy known for the most cheaters down here is run by an American. When parents pay that much money and kids spend that much time, relying on the honor system is a little far fetched. Why do many of us speed when no cops are around? Why then would we expect kids under pressure to be honest?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  29. goran_ace

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    Junior golf?
     
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  30. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    I have heard that said before. But the set up is different. Multiple other players have a dang good idea how many strokes the other players have.

    Or perhaps golfers are more honest....but all I can say is it is NOT working for junior tennis in SE FL.
     
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  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What role do the academies play in the cheating? Isn't that up to the junior?
     
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  32. TCF

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    It runs the spectrum. We were invited to train at a Russian academy and visited twice. There it was blatantly organized by the staff. What points are key to take in a match. The coach actually told me which kid was the best at cheating, and which was 2nd best.

    Other times its a coach using another language to coach during match play. Other times it is other kids from the academy being disruptive. For example, when our player tossed the ball to serve, the academy kids would shout. Another time one girl walked behind the end fence and said to the server, "your as.. looks huge in that skirt".....great way to get in the head of a young girl.

    Sometimes its not organized by the staff but passed from kid to kid, when to hook, when to change the score.

    Its not hard to imagine this outcome. Take kids whose parents are spending a ton on tennis, put them in with other kids in a group setting under lots of pressure....then tell them to be honest in line and score calls with very little retribution even if they get caught cheating.

    Make it known that speed limits are just suggestions and there will be no more speed traps, lets see how that goes. Why on earth would anyone expect the honor system to work with kids under huge pressure to win??
     
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  33. Curiosity

    Curiosity Semi-Pro

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    I think the issue is much like fair dealing in business. Reputation is important, and fair dealing is our morality. Still, if competitors move into a niche lowering the standards, some form of enforcement is necessary, or retaliation, else you lose the market eventually.

    My memory was that a reputation for honest line calling had value in the juniors. It was worth keeping. Nonetheless everyone knew that some kids crossed the line regularly, and that retaliation was necessary IF the tournament did not provide a referee promptly on request.

    I've long wondered why they don't simply require one parent of each player to serve as a chair umpire for a match in which their child is not playing. Two chairs per match, and let the grownups overrule bad calls and fill out a form after the match about the level of compliance they saw from each of the opponents. Is that so difficult? Apparently.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  34. robok9

    robok9 Semi-Pro

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    I remember at my high school district match this past year there was a match going on the the #5 championship. It was one of my teammates who was a really nice guy, and he happened to be pretty good at tennis too against a stuck up jerk who was undefeated during the whole season. My friend was up 6-1 3-0 and it was the last match of the day, so everyone was watching it. He hit a passing shot that was in by like 5 feet on each side and the other kid called it out. The person winning just asked "that was out?" and the other kid said it was. Everyone started booing him, and his dad (the coach) took away the point. He then went on to smash his racquet the next point after missing a shot. It was funny :)
     
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  35. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    I am not surprised.

    So why not do the obvious and get a group of parents together and "do the class" take the exam and become an official?
     
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  36. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    It does happen quite a bit in junior golf. Usually scoring is set up where you pass cards so no one keeps score for themselves (ideally everyone in the group individually keeps track of scores for the entire group), but you can still shave strokes by being dishonest. There are other ways to cheat too like moving your ball, taking a walk in the rough and 'finding' the ball hidden in your pocket, etc.
     
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  37. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Yeah having a reputation for cheating was a good way to avoid making any friends. I know some kids will insist they are there to win and not to make friends, but the competitive tennis community is not that big. Everyone knows each other through someone else. The kids that enjoy competing are the ones who stick around and hang out between matches. The kid that sits by himself and doesn't talk to anyone probably isn't going to enjoy playing week in and week out.
     
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  38. ijgill

    ijgill New User

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    Ugh TCF that stinks. I looked at my son's draw and I already don't want to go. His first match is w/ the most notorious cheater in our area. Last match, boy crossed over w.o asking and looked for a ball mark in clay for 15 minutes. ridiculous. He cried, used profanity, it was completely insane. He did a similar thing to my son's doubles partners. Fortunately, this is not the norm here, I really couldn't take it if it were. I am going to email the director and tell him to have the official on hand at 8. So sad and pathetic. My dad's good friend who played college tennis, and he totally recommends hooking back which shocked me coming from him. I still can't bring myself to suggest this to my son. However, we are having the conversation of completely ignoring "are you sure", not allowing the other kid over to your side of the court etc...Last time my son beat the cheater by being so calm it unnerved the kid, but I can't be a 100% sure my son will be that calm again.
     
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  39. Rattler

    Rattler Rookie

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    I love this argument...the other side of this is how many out balls, especially baseline and serves, are played.
     
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  40. Rattler

    Rattler Rookie

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    Um they can refuse to continue to play until the umpire arrives....and if the umpire tells them they must play, they can ask to speak to the referee....and the referee must be contacted and available to all players, in person or via telephone. All of this can be done while refusing to continue to play. Only the Referee can reverse Penalties top default players.
     
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  41. TCF

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    The tournament director controls it all. They can hire as many refs as they want, I think only 1 roamer is mandated for level 6 and 7s.

    The assignments are handed out by the USTA. So even if 20 parents took the class, they would not be able to ref any specific tournaments.

    There is no shortage of refs, the tournament sites could have more. We have had 140 kid draws, $45 per, with one roaming ref. $6000 coming in, yet only 1 ref.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
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  42. newpball

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    Why expect to get payed for it? If a group of parents care for the sport their children low then why not do it pro Deo?

    Are you telling me that qualified local referees volunteering to help, pro Deo, in a tournament will be refused?

    Looks like something is wrong here!

    :grin:
     
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  43. TCF

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    The USTA trains and assigns the refs, the director requests the number he/she wants to have. There are plenty of refs available for hire.

    Parent volunteer refs? The same parents who are paying the huge $$ for tennis, putting the kids under the pressure that causes them to cheat? Have these parents volunteer to ref the tournaments that their kids, kid's rivals, and friends from the academy are entered? Try to figure out which volunteers have ties to which players and parents?

    Thats like throwing gas on a fire.

    The solution is very simple. Paid refs do not get much. Paid refs are available. Tournaments could have more refs. Instead of wasting $100 millions of dollars on high performance and building a tennis monstrosity on Orlando and paying Pat Mac and others a ton....spend the money on making the tournaments fair. Why have the only action sport on earth the uses the honor system that obviously does not work and will get worse? Good athletes from other sports try tennis, see the cheating and go back to basketball, etc. where the rules are enforced. The USTA is focused on the wrong part of the sport.

    When the options are cheat back or argue for 3 hours or lose to a lesser player who cheats, something is dead wrong. When some of the high ranked players are mediocre and are there because they are expert cheaters, something is wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  44. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    Well it depends what kind of tournament you are at. If you are at smaller USTA tournaments you can refuse to play I guess, but you could end up waiting forever since there is such a small number of officials at each tournament.

    At some of my high school matches the cheating was worse than USTA. There wasnt a lot we could do about cheating for those, especially since there aren't officials at the matches all the time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  45. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I have to agree about he money spent on these mega centers. A small portion can pay for referees at all usta juniors matches.
     
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  46. newpball

    newpball Legend

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    When I see the local soccer club there are referees, linesmen, and coaches galore. They are parents and other people who just love the sport and love to help, and no they do not want to be payed for it, and yes they generally try to do that work with the best intentions and they try to honest.

    Not with tennis apparently, no in tennis parents want referees for children to be payed. What's next, get an IRS tax credit for their work?

    These attitudes show why tennis is not very popular. Of course a parent should not umpire a match with their own child but to suggest that an umpire will deliberately make wrong calls because some player might reach their child somewhere later in the bracket is far fetched. Seriously you would not know of any local people who would volunteer and lead a match with honor?

    :grin:
     
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  47. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    I volunteer and coach the kids football team. This is 5 days a week and travel. August thru october. The league hires referees for all the games thru team fees. The team is responsible for raising money for all gear. That's new helmets and pads every 4 or 5 years. Uniforms every year. For grades 3 thru 8. 20 to 40 players per age bracket. We do fine with money and volunteers. We don't go building a new football clubhouse every couple years. We use the money for the gear kids need.

    I would gladly volunteer to ref juniors tourneys my son is in. but the usta is an insular organization. Outside people have no say in it. They don't think there is a cheating problem. While top pros like Lansdorp has stated in articles there is a massive usta juniors cheating problem.

    The usta could easily afford refs at every juniors match. It's not a lack of volunteers or money. They don't even address the issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
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  48. newpball

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    Well then, next time you vote against the idiots who perpetuate the problem!

    But you see that's often not what people do, as they tend to vote for 'popular socialites' and then they prefer to complain afterwards and then rinse and repeat.

    :grin:
     
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  49. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    We've been lucky. So far my son has only run across one blatant cheater in 1 1/2 years of playing tournaments. Because our section is rather "clean", the kid developed a reputation very quickly and has not played tournaments for the past 6 months. Not sure why, but could be related to the cheating as he's had grievances filed against him and his parents.

    Also, over zealous parents need to realize the difference in mistakes and cheating. Two bad calls and you want your kid to cheat back?!? Really? There needs to be a pattern or strategy before it's really cheating. Kids make a couple bad calls a set with no ill intentions all the time. Now, 6 inches in called out on key points as a strategy is different. File a grievance, but don't get involved as a parent while the match is going on.
     
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  50. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I have volunteered at many junior tournaments and would have agreed with you but my last experience this year was very unpleasant. I was at the front desk scheduling the matches. It was a hot day, and a long match ended. The winner was scheduled to play a match at a time which was the minimum required time plus about 15 more minutes away. The father comes over and asks us to postpone the match because the opponent had finished earlier and had more rest time. The TD and another official are missing (I think both had their kids playing another tournament at the same time or had a family emergency). So I call the referee, and she double checks the rules, and declares that the minimum time between matches is being met, and postponement requires the opponent to agree to it. The opponent had taken off for food and could not be reached by phone. Meanwhile the father is wasting precious time not taking the kid to lunch. He keeps repeating his demand, and calls the referee "young woman" (she is old) and asks her to use common sense. She doesn't budge and shows him the rules again. Then he turns on me and tells me that he will hold me personally liable for any medical condition of his son. I don't budge and ask him to file a complaint with the USTA if he doesn't like it. He senses some weakness on our part because we were discussing among ourselves that the TD and another official cannot both be absent at the same time. He overhears that, and then threatens me again with a lawsuit if something happens to his son and points his finger at me.

    Eventually, both kids arrived refreshed well before the time, and I asked the mother (who was totally quiet) if she wanted me to ask the opponent to agree to postpone. She says everything is fine. The father seemed to have disappeared.

    Later I had a talk with the TD and in the club newsletter, he deliberately spelt by name as "Super" and told everyone it was not an autocorrect but a tribute to me handling the situation.

    But now I think I will limit my volunteering to the adult and open tourneys and not junior ones.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
    #50

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