Does Stacking Really Work?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    Another question about stacking. Yeah, I know some object to the perjorative being used to describe a perfectly legal practice, but I'll use it as shorthand anyway.

    I don't understand how stacking would ever really achieve anything. Say strong players are "S" and weak players are "W." My doubles line-up is SS, SW, WW and my singles line-up is W, S.

    If my opponent has a stronger team with more S's, they should beat us playing straight, so there would be no need to stack.

    If my opponent were weaker with more Ws, they can't beat us no matter what they do, right?

    If the teams are evenly matched, how could a stack possibly help?

    I ask because I wonder whether teams who complain of losing due to a stack would probably have lost anyway.
     
    #1
  2. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,348
    You: SS, SW, WW, W, S
    Opponent: SS, SW, WW, W, S

    You Win Match: 3-2 when this line up

    WW SS SW W S

    faces your opponent

    SS SW WW S W

    You have superiority on 3 (doubles 2 and 3 and singles court 1) of the 5 courts by sacrificing your weakest players to their strongest.
     
    #2
  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    So I win 3-2 either way?
     
    #3
  4. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,348
    You: SS SW WW W S
    Opponent: SS SW WW W S

    Looks like anything can happen

    You might go 5-0 or 0-5 or any combination or wins/losses since there is no obvious advantage on any court.

    The prior scenario was designed to give you superiority on 3 courts while giving you inferiority on 2.
     
    #4
  5. darkblue

    darkblue Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Messages:
    402
    Location:
    Middle of nowhere, USA
    you'd have to know the ordering tendencies of the other team.
    captains often go back on a team several years to see what they have done in a past vs strong competition or a critical decider match. then, you'd have to review what you have done in the past.
    if the opposing team's captain has reasons to think that you (as a captain of your own team) stack at critical times, s/he may employ a full counter-stack strategy.
     
    #5
  6. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,348
    Its sick, but I know captains like this. Their heads are spinning minutes before a USTA match while filling out the line-up cards.
     
    #6
  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    See, the only time I've been on a team that deliberately stacked was on our mixed 7.0 team. We were playing the number one team, and we had a good squad but we had some weaknesses. All three of our teams were rated 7.0. But we played the weakest team on Court One, the strongest team on Court Two, and the medium team on Court Three.

    The team on Court One lost, the strongest team won easily, and the medium team won a third set tiebreak.

    So I figured stacking worked best (assuming it works at all) when a weak team was looking for an upset, not when two teams were relatively evenly matched.
     
    #7
  8. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,282
    I almost never stack. I think stacking puts the most pressure on the medium-strength players on a team, and in my mind those are not the players most likely to gut out a tough match and find a way to win.
     
    #8
  9. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,100
    WE lost our only match at the 4.5 state tournament last year to a team that stacked against us. We did not play our strongest line-up (played 2 week courts), but we lost one we expected to win. We still won the state tournament, but I thought it was pretty "weak" that they stacked like they did. I played #1 doubles and would have wanted their best team, but got their 3 team and beat them 0 and 0.
     
    #9
  10. freelancer

    freelancer Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    151
    The only time I'll ever stack is if I think we may loose all 5 lines. If I think their best players can beat my best players, and their weak players can beat my weaker players. That way my best players can beat their weaker players. And my weaker players were going to get beat anyway.

    ... I'm not sure that made much sense, but I'm still half asleep.
     
    #10
  11. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,282
    Another reason I don't stack is that I don't want to do to someone else what was done to me last week: I played #1 singles at 3.5 and had to play a girl who was a weak 3.0 at best. I don't like to have to come out and destroy someone. I want a decent match.
     
    #11
  12. oldguysrule

    oldguysrule Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    Texas
    Here we go again....
    You guys have got to change your perception of the lineup. Your court assignments should be done on a random basis. If you do this, then nobody can "stack" against you because they don't know where your "strongest" players will play. You can not control what other teams will do, so quit having an expectation of what they will do. Get on the court, hit the fuzzy yellow ball, and have fun.

    If you set your lineup in a certain way, whether according to strength or "stacked", on a consistent basis then that gives the uber-captains a chance to employ strategy against you. If you set your lineup in a random fashion, the strategy is moved between the lines and may the best (wo)man win.
     
    #12
  13. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,282
    I'm pretty sure I don't have to change my perception at all. Your position seems inconsistent to me. On the one hand you're saying just get out there and play, and on the other hand you're saying you have to mix it up so the other captains won't be onto you. My whole point is that I could give a crap if people try to stack against my team. If they stack, fine. If they don't, fine. I will spend my mental energies on determining who plays best with whom and, as you said, let the best women win.
     
    #13
  14. oldguysrule

    oldguysrule Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    Texas
    First of all, your right, everyone does not have to agree with me. I said that because your perception results in griping about what other captains do. (re: the comment about a decent match). I am always trying to find solutions so that people are happy and have a good time and that usually starts with your expectations and perceptions. So, play on.

    My position though is very consistent. My lineup is random because a) it is easier, b) it doesn't create a pecking order on the team, c) the USTA encourages it, d) There is not usually an objective way to determine a ranking for your team (exceptions noted), e) it places the priority on playing tennis and winning each line, and f) we get to skip the conversations regarding stacking, because it doesn't exist.
     
    #14
  15. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2006
    Messages:
    1,282
    I guess my gripe about my match had more to do with even putting a weak 3.0 on a 3.5 team. I don't mind people playing up - I do it myself - but I think when people join a rated league, they should have a reasonable expectation of match play against people who are around their same level. But that doesn't apply specifically to stacking. Other than that I don't gripe about the "stacking," because I don't care. But a random lineup just doesn't seem easier to me. It is very hard for the human brain to do anything that is truly random!

    I understand what you're saying about stacking not existing, but when other captains talk about how they are going to do it, that calls stacking's existence into question. So I would say a random order is not stacking, but a calculated order IS stacking.
     
    #15
  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    Oldguysrule, there's one thing I have been unable to communicate, so let me try again.

    In our section, the rules allow stacking/random court assignment. It is technically OK. Captains are free to do it. You are totally right about this, and I do not argue about this.

    In our section, the *custom* seems to be that stacking is frowned upon. It is not a rule. It is a long-standing customer. Captains know which captains stack, and they think less of those captains because many captains view stacking as dishonorable -- putting the good of the few in front of the good of the many. I would not want to be one of those captains.

    I would guess a very high percentage of teams at my level in our league don't stack. I can only think of one rampant stacker in my 3.0 division. And I've got a little something for her should we play her!

    Because the anti-stacking custom still exists around here, stacking/random order increases the chances that random court assignment will put your weakest team against the other guy's strongest team. For this reason, players don't like it (either because they'll spend lots of time blowing out weak players or getting murdered by stronger players). League tennis is more fun is everyone gets a competitive match. The custom of playing teams according to strenth serves that purpose nicely, but it does make you vulnerable to those who would take advantage to get a leg up in the team match.

    Hence my question: Under what circumstances is another captain most likely to benefit from stacking?
     
    #16
  17. cak

    cak Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,013
    I think the existance of stacking/random court assignment is an absolute boon for any captain. Players can't tell by assignment if they are considered the best or worst player in the line up, so they can assume they are the best. Players can't tell if they are up against the best or worst players in the opposing lineup, so they can assume whichever makes them feel best. Its quite the ego saver.

    I really like the idea of the first players to show up get to pick the court they are on. As a captain I hate worrying that people won't make it in time. Since everyone seems to have a preference (some like the "show" court, some want to be as far away from their adoring fans as possible...) its a great incentive to get them there early.

    At our club there is one of those amazing captains that has a binder with past team lineups that has it all figured out what lineup they need to put out to win that match. She can win local season every year. But come districts, if you don't have the best players you are history.
     
    #17
  18. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    4,862
    What happended to you is what we call "getting beat on the card". The other captain looks like he got his #3 team against your #1 team. Although it's been repeated over and over here this is OK in my book as long as all 5 courts are trying their best to win shuffling your line-up is OK. Think about it. If you are playing a team with an unbeatable singles or doubles team and your team might if they matched up just right win 3-2 you would want the match ups in your favor so the team can win. After all this is TEAM Tennis we are taking about. If the indiviual matchups mean so much then play in a tournament where you have no control over who you play.

    In the end it's a guessing just game anyway and part of the TEAM aspect of the game.
     
    #18
  19. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    4,862
    Custom smushdom. Hazing is also a custom but there are laws against it. You have the rules on your side. If you choose winning over "custom" the losers will follow and thus a new customer established. In the meantime anyone who complains is a sore loser.

    It's never easy being a trailblazer. Come on Cindy, play hard and always play to win. As Al Davis once said"just win baby"!
     
    #19
  20. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    Nope. Sorry. The custom serves a great purpose (although I find CAK's arguments quite compelling). I won't do anything to undermine the custom.

    Instead, henceforth I will take to referring to it as the "Code Of Honor." :)
     
    #20
  21. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,100
    I agree that it is ok. I just wanted the best they could throw at me. They beat us because of their strategy and it was obviously a good move. Had we played our strongest teams, they wouldn't have won more than a court, so in part, it is definitely our fault.
     
    #21
  22. oldguysrule

    oldguysrule Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    Texas
    Since there is no such thing as "stacking" except in the minds of those who choose to continue this discussion...the better question is: What do you gain by setting your court assignments according to the strength of your players?

    Since court assignments are supposed to random, have you considered that the captains that you think are stacking are in fact following the correct procedure and shuffling the court assigments from week to week?

    Do ya'll have challenge matches each week to determine who your best team is? You must have some objective way to rank your players. If not, how do you deal with a difference of opinion among teammates or other captains as to who the best players are?

    Do your players always play with the same partner? If not, how do you determine the best team?

    What if your third doubles team always wins big and wants better competition?

    OTOH, what problems do you see happening if everyone said: "We are all 3.0's, so tell me which court to go to this week. I'll meet someone new and we will have fun playing tennis.
     
    #22
  23. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    4,862
    Cindy,

    In the end you as Captain are the judge of which player is better than another. Your line up is a judgement call. I would advise against being influenced by what others think. Their motives based on their own judgemental basis is obviously cloulded by their own agendas. Your lucky I am not a captain (although I would like to be for more resaons than one) in your league given everyones predictability. ;) Even in the NCAA's teams are allowed to adjust their players in the line-up no more than two places in either direction, i.e. a NCAA #1 could be placed at #3 singles at any time and so on. In the USTA Team Tennis their are no such rules against how to place your players. The USTA tried to regulate line up orders based on strength about 15 years ago with a system. I think it was call "power roster". It failed..............

    If you want to adhear to your leagues unwritten code of honor I can respect that. If you play to win I can respect that even more.

    Sincerely,

    Andy
     
    #23
  24. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    744

    Exactly!

    That's why I usually:

    1. Play Straight
    2. If I'm pissed at players showing up a few minutes before a match, I ask whoever arrived first which spot they want to play. Total randomness.

    Let the other captains be stressed on how we do.
     
    #24
  25. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070

    Fair questions. I'll take them in turn. (After I dispute your statement that "court assignments are supposed to be random." They are not "supposed to be random" any more than they are "supposed to be alphabetical." The rule as I understand it is silent and leaves court assignment to the captain.)

    What do I gain by playing players according to perceived strength? Well, my better players get to play against the better players from the other team and are more likely to get a competitive match. If they wish to move up, a good showing will help them improve their rating. My weaker players avoid the tougher competition and feel good when they can win on court 3 instead of getting killed on court 1.

    Captains who stack around here are not "following the correct procedure." They are following a permitted procedure, but they are blowing off the custom and preference of the other captains.

    We do not have challenge matches, so I have no objective support for my court assignments. (Another reason to allow captains to do whatever they want.) When I do the line-up, however, I have a decent idea of who could whip whom. That's because we have a *big* range of talent on my team. I am recruiting now, and as I see the new players, I think to myself things like, "Hmmm. She could help us on court 2 but not court 1."

    My players don't always play with the same partner. We're still a fairly new team.

    If my court three players want to try court three, all they have to do is ask. I've never had a court three player ask to play court one. I've never had a court one player ask for court three, although on my previous team weak players definitely asked not to be put on court one.

    On the last question, I am not sure what you're proposing. Are you proposing that I not tell the players ahead of time who they'll partner with? If so, I won't do that. My players very much want to practice with their partner in the week before a match and work out things like which side to play, who should serve first, etc. The stronger players would *flip out* if they had to play with the weaker ones, and next season they might find a new team because of it.

    Yes, I could assign courts based on arrival times of the teams of players, but my players show up on time. We've never defaulted a match in three seasons, and we do not have alternates come to the match. Besides, if someone is harried from being stuck in traffic, the last thing I want is to give them additional stress from a scolding and the embarrassment of a poor partner or inappropriate court assignment.
     
    #25
  26. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    How about if tennislink generated a computerized team order of strength, without showing the rating? That would be awesome. It would eliminate stacking if teams were forced to play in order of the computer-generated rating.
    And this idea would mean that DNTRP ratings could still be kept secret (we'd just know who was ahead of whom on our team).
     
    #26
  27. cak

    cak Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,013
    It could be done, it's done right now in the NorCal TPI database. But a quick gander of the TPI database which uses the DNTRP algorithm tells me that either there are problems with rating doubles team this way, or I am way, way off on who I thought were good teams. And I really wouldn't want to be the pro or captain posting that list....you thought the ladies had angst over ratings, wait til you rank them.
     
    #27
  28. oldguysrule

    oldguysrule Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Messages:
    706
    Location:
    Texas
    Cindy,
    I think I understand your choice to make your court assignments based on the strength of your players. It is what works for your teams in your local league. What I don't understand is why you keep questioning the choice that others make and you seem to look down on those who don't make court assignments the way you do. My questions were mainly rhetorical to try to illustrate the problems that most teams experience with your approach.

    To be honest, your answers to those questions totally blew me away. I think the guys are much easier to deal with.
     
    #28
  29. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,261
    Here in the good ole UPTA of the South Carolina District of the Southern Section, stacking is commonly used to try to ensure a card win. It is also common for the captain to out think him/herself and lose all lines. It is a crap shoot based on tendencies of the opposing team, which Tennis Link is great at exposing. I have been to state several times and sectionals once. Expect stacking at these championships every time. The point is to advance. Having said all that, I seldom stack anymore and let the chips fall where they may. It isn't fair to weaker players to be sacraficed at # 1 every week so a stronger player-s can be more assured of a win. So I suppose my trips to state playoffs have stopped. :)
     
    #29
  30. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    Waco, Texas
    I have been sacrificed more times than not at sectionals, and never once have I considered it unfair. When I have been captain, I have sacrified others many times and will do it many more when it seems appropriate. I define appropriate as when the other team has an unbeatable singles player. Whoever we put against him will lose, so we might as well put a weak player, and use our strongest against their weakest. It's better to split the singles rather than lose both. Like someone above said, this is a team concept. All players should be willing to play their part (even if it is a sacrifice) to help their team take three wins each time out. If someone doesn't understand this, they should avoid team tennis, or be prepared to stay home when the playoffs roll around.
     
    #30
  31. SJS

    SJS New User

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    91
    Oldguysrule,
    Should we give up? I made my first ever post to any message board asking the original question regarding playing in order of strength. This was because I just can't get it thru to my players that there is no difference between Ct 1 or 3.
    I am a captain of women's teams in one of the largest leagues in the Mid-Atlantic. Starting last year the vast majority of captains at my level and in MY league understood that there is no difference in the court order. You were just as likely to see the strongest team at #3 as at #1 at any given match. So there could be no stacking or no "sacrificing" since I would have no idea where the strongest players may be. It's purely a guessing game.
    Our league coordinators have been telling us this for years. It did take a while for the "custom" to change at the captains level in my league but as evidenced by the responses on this board it's going to take even longer for others.
     
    #31
  32. cak

    cak Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,013
    As a doubles player, I have been sacrificed at number 1 singles three times. Won two of them. You just never know. (Now if they told me to go out there and lose, well they would be sorely disappointed.)
     
    #32
  33. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    I don't have a problem with the various methods of people who are playing in other places that don't have a custom of "playing straight."

    I do have a problem with people in my area who undermine the custom around here. Not a huge problem, but a problem.

    It's kind of like how it is annoying when someone doesn't abide by the customs that amount to "rules of the road." There's no law that says you should let someone make a lane change so they don't miss their turn, and some folks do not.

    Those folks are annoying and make life needlessly difficult for everyone else. Doesn't mean I'll give them the finger, though. . . .
     
    #33
  34. 10sfreak

    10sfreak Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    Messages:
    698
    Location:
    Georgia
    CR, I agree with your post wholeheartedly! Your experience, both as a player and a captain, seems to mirror mine.
     
    #34
  35. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,261
    Careful there Croc. You'll set a tendency that will be easily read.;) It all depends on what you want out of league play. I have left the arena with regard to winning everything at any cost and competing now is the thing, not just with me but the guys I play with. We'll leave the winning of championships to those professional league teams that thrive on such endeavors.
     
    #35
  36. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,261
    For those of you that think stacking does not exist, you just aren't living in the real world. It may be informal and without guidelines, but it is there. It is recognized by all that I know. If there was no such thing, how come everyone knows what stacking is? Get real.
     
    #36
  37. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    Waco, Texas
    I couldn't agree more sc. We all define fun different ways, but can hook up with like-minded folks to get what we want.

    If Cindy's team wants to play order of strength, and give equal court time to each player, it's OK with me.

    If oldguys' team wants to completely mix it up every time, making it hard to beat them, that's OK too.

    One of the teams here is more interested in the beer party in the parking lot after the match than playing the match itself. That's OK too.
     
    #37
  38. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,261
    LOL. We played a team from Louisana once that actually had the beer party before the match. They had a great time and it all made for some interesting footwork.:p
     
    #38
  39. 10sguy

    10sguy Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Messages:
    188
    How about this? Captains put each singles player and each doubles team on separete slips of paper; Both captains do this and then proceed to draw the slips out, one at a time. The first two singles players drawn for each team play each other as do the other two . . . same for doubles. Simple and sane!
     
    #39
  40. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    744
    Unfortunately, the TPI database no longer is close to the DNTRP algorithm.

    The DNTRP algorithm has been modified for players age 50 and less.

    TPI still works for players age 50 and above.
     
    #40
  41. JHBKLYN

    JHBKLYN Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    208
    In our NYC league, there is a point system for 1s, 2s, 1D, 2D, 3D. In the regular season, it is best to put your best at 1s and 1D since they are the most points. But if you win any 3 out of 5, you will win for the day.

    Now for the playoffs, there is no point system, it's the best 3 out of 5 matches so captains would put their best players at 2S and 2D or 3D but since everybody knows that's the strategy, it's a cat and mouse game. Last year, one of my teams was only good enough to win 3 out of 5 matches during the regular season. Come playoff time, in order to beat the top team, we had to stack the weakest players at 1s and 1D but only if they played their regular lineup. That's exactly what they did and we won our league by winning 3 out of 5.

    So stacking does work and as others mentioned, it is a team sport, and if sending certain players out there to be sacrificial lambs so the "TEAM" can advance, everyone was all for it. :)
     
    #41
  42. JHBKLYN

    JHBKLYN Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    208
    Maybe your captain doesn't realize you are a good singles player? Or are you the captain and sacrificed yourself?
     
    #42
  43. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,157
    I have really enjoyed this thread. It has given me an opportunity to rethink my strategy on lineups this coming season. I had just planned on playing everyone "straight up" because all the stacking I have seen in the past kind of irked me. And by stacking, I mean captains trying to achieve certain advantageous matchups by moving people around to particular lines. After reading oldguysrule's comment on random ordering, I am going to do that. That way anyone who tries to stack against us will end up potentially hurting themselves, and if we end up in a bad match up, it's just the way the cards fell.
     
    #43
  44. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,157
    #44
  45. volleyman

    volleyman Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Messages:
    636
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    This has been a fascinating thread.

    Down here in the Triangle region of NC, I have noticed that people have a tendency to play in straight up strength order. However, that changes when teams who feel they have a shot a winning a league title face off, especially of one of the squads has a well-known monster singles player or doubles team.

    Also, it seems a custom in this area to keep strong doubles teams together, even if that means "sacrificing" a weaker player in a singles spot.

    Finally, in leagues like the ones in Durham, where you play each team twice, all bets are off for that second match.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
    #45
  46. cak

    cak Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,013
    Good singles player? I'm not a singles player at all. I played doubles even in high school.
     
    #46
  47. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    4,157
    I picked up my team's schedule on Wednesday and just got around to all the associated reading materials. I was somewhat surprised to see "Teams are encouraged to field players in order of strength." I suppose that means I shouldn't randomize my lineup. I know that this "suggestion" is not followed by a good number of teams, so I'm not sure how I should approach it. I was really looking forward to being able to ignore this stuff with my random lineup generator, but now I have to rethink my plan.
     
    #47
  48. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,070
    I think I got the answer to my question at our last 6.5 combo match.

    We were playing a team with a poorer record on the season, but with more 3.5 players on its roster than we have. This was a must-win match for us; our remaining matches are against tough teams we will never beat.

    I put my undefeated powerhouse team (6.5) on Court One. I put a solid team (6.0) on Court Two. I put myself and a weak player (6.0) on Court Three.

    The opponent stacked, big time. They put a 6.0 team on Court One and put a 6.5 team on Courts Two and Three.

    We won Court One, 6-0, 6-0. We lost Courts Two and Three in tie-breakers.

    This week, we play a strong team, and I have two very weak players in the line-up. Those players usually play (and lose) Court Three. I could stack and put them on Court One, couldn't I?

    Nah. I can't. They would *flip out* if I put them on Court One. It would be a blatant sacrifice, and they would be upset to be treated like last week's garbage. Even though the sacrifice would give us a prayer of eeking out a desperately-needed team win, it's just not worth it.
     
    #48
  49. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    Waco, Texas
    you need to rethink the rethink

    Kev, I can't believe some people still think this way after all the discussion here.

    Again, here is the link:

    http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_15309.pdf?11/30/2006 7:40:46 PM

    Go to page 18 of 24, where you will find the following:

    "A local rule requiring playing order of strength is in violation of the national regulations. Any rule dealing with this issue needs to be removed from your section, area, or local rules."

    So not only is your rule explicitly forbidden by USTA, it's also a pretty bad idea, even if it wasn't forbidden.

    Simply put, if you always play order of strength (or any other pattern), you are predictable. If you are predictable, opposing captains will know which players to use against you and where to put them to win a majority of the matches.

    In other words, playing order of strength means that you will lose matches that you could have won, had you played randomly. Likewise, when you play teams like that, you can beat them even if they appear stronger on paper, if you line up your strengths against their weaknesses, rather than go strength to strength.
     
    #49
  50. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2006
    Messages:
    357
    Location:
    Waco, Texas
    there is no I in team

    (buries head in hands and shakes it)

    By your own admission, changing the lineup like this gives you a chance of winning, yet you refuse to do it because it might hurt someone's feelings?

    Everyone has a role to play if the team is to advance as far as possible, even if it is "sacrificial lamb". By using your weakest line against the opponents' strongest line, you free up your two strongest lines to oppose their two weakest lines. It's simple math to me.

    If someone flips out over their team role, then they aren't much of an asset to the team anyway. They should go play singles tournaments if individual glory is more important to them.

    Speaking of roles, it is the captain's role to structure the lineups to give the team the greatest chance of winning the match. That means playing order of strength sometimes, and sometimes not. If the captain is not doing this, then (s)he is not doing right by the team.
     
    #50

Share This Page