first season of league play

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by eastbayliz, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    After two years of playing tournaments with relative success the 2nd year, I am playing in Women's USTA 4.0 League starting next Saturday. I am (relatively) young and I guess most of the ladies don't like playing singles so I am playing the #1 singles spot. This is great because I am really only interested in singles play. I am excited about getting more competitive matches and playing on a team. I am hoping for mostly a lot of fun and that the drama and bad line calls and god knows what else etc etc will be minimal. I love competition which is why I play tournaments. But I have this feeling I'll get a kick out of watching grown adults taking rec tennis perhaps too seriously. So what should I expect?
     
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  2. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Good luck with that.
    Expect this to be your last season of league play.

    Seriously, after playing leagues for the last 4 years, I'm going in the opposite direction: Playing more tournaments.

    For our area (Mid-Atlantic), it has become less about competitive tennis and more about making money: 3rd set tiebreakers, timed matches, no-ad scoring. They all add up to getting more matches in during the season, which generates more $.

    Add to that the stacking of lineups, players gaming the system (e.g. throwing matches) to keep themselves at the desired level, the drama of who plays with who, etc., and it quickly becomes less enjoyable.

    Yes, it does have one attractive quality in that you can choose which matches you are available to play, but other than that, I'd stick w/ tournaments.
     
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  3. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    I much prefer leagues to tournaments. Playing on a team gives you ready access to a list of players at your level who are interested in getting out to play with you. Don't discount playing some doubles with your teammates as there is good comraderie and it will improve your service return and volleys to practice doubles. Obviously much depends on your specific team's makeup, but don't be discouraged if the first iteration (ie your first team) isn't exactly perfect - you'll get an idea of what to look for in future teams/captains.

    Are you playing on an east bay team?
     
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  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I played my first USTA league last year. I prefer it to tournaments but being a 40+ league probably added to the enjoyment in terms of dealing with drama.
     
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  5. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I have been playing league play for roughly 35 years - played USTA for many, many years and Atlanta ALTA league for the entire time.

    I like league play. What you get will vary tremendously from week to week. You will get really good competitive, exciting matches with players that are decent people too; and you will occasionally play a real butt hole. My experience is roughly 90% of the people are decent sports but you'll remember the 10% more as they will cause the most drama.

    But, in spite of the drama, league play is fun. I like knowing I have a match almost every weekend so win or lose, you can work on some things and get right back out there the next weekend.

    I also have developed friendships with teammates and have been playing with my current teams for 7 years.
     
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  6. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    The drama diminishes in "senior" leagues. I play in a 45+ league and sportsmanship is a notch higher and you only rarely run into a butt hole.
     
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  7. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Apparently I'm going to have to switch to the 40+ leagues. Sounds like everyone else has been having a more enjoyable time than me.

    Or, maybe I just need to move from the Mid-Atlantic region.

    I still don't like no-ad scoring & 3rd set breakers, though.
     
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  8. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Or, maybe I'm the problem...
     
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  9. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    Yes I am playing out of Oakland!
     
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  10. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Do you have a local league where you are? We have a local doubles-only league which still plays full three set matches which I prefer to USTA. I really have no interest in going to nationals or even sectionals and especially not state here for USTA which is held in the middle of the summer with all matches played during the day. I like singles but not enough to want play in playoff matches in the middle of June in south Alabama at 3pm like I did last year so I'm really cutting back my USTA participation.

    I'm content for the most part playing in the local league which gives things like custom tervis tumblers and hand towels to the winning team's members and also has a pretty nice Christmas party each year which is free to anyone who played in one of its leagues during the last year.
     
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  11. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    The 90% positive/10% jerk rule has always rung true for me. That was my experience in tournament play. In the juniors I would put it at 60%/40% but hey teenagers are kids so you have to give them an allowance to be brats! The bulk of my tennis experience was a junior (ahem in the early 90's) but I have picked up the game again as an adult.

    I hope that I have a similar fun time playing as it sounds like you have. Having a match every week just sounds awesome.
     
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  12. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    I doubt you are the problem, or at least not the only one!

    In NorCal we don't have no ad scoring and third set is up to the players until the district level when tab is enforced...
     
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  13. SouthboundAgain

    SouthboundAgain Rookie

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    I was wondering what your experience with line calls in USTA has been?

    - Any serve close to the lines is called out?
    - balls that hit the line are automatically called out, 90% of the time?
     
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  14. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    Most people call the lines fairly in all the tournament play I've had. I try not to worry about it much when they don't.
     
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  15. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    My experience is much better than that. I've played >150 USTA matches and I've been egregiously hooked about a half dozen times. Line calls are generally close but rarely outrageous. The ones that have stood out are some hooks in a couple of tiebreaks (very frustrating).

    Remember, a person who is willing to hook you on a critical call is the same person who thinks you'll retaliate with bad calls. The overwhelming experience is that people try to call the lines fairly and those that don't become known pretty quickly.
     
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  16. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    As stated above, the number of jerks goes way down. No-ad scoring I think is more a problem with your area. We don't do that here.
     
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  17. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    No-ad scoring, 3rd set match tie-breaks, and timed-matches, seem to be used where there is a lot of indoor play where there is usually a strict 75 or 90 minute court time and is done to try to ensure matches can be completed in the time allotted.

    In my section (PNW), we only use no-ad scoring and match tie-breaks and usually have 90 minute court times and we usually don't have issues completing matches. When one does go over, there is sometimes an overflow court the match can be completed on, otherwise it has to be finished at another time.

    I prefer ad scoring and full 3rd sets, but we take what we can get when it is raining in the Winter and Spring.
     
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  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I prefer ad scoring and full 3rd sets as well; however when we had a whole day of matches rained out and then 3 matches the following day, all of a sudden match tiebreaks seemed pretty nice in the Florida August heat.
     
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  19. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    Third set tie-break doesn't bother me but I'd hate no-ad scoring for a USTA match.
     
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  20. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Really it will depend on you - it will be whatever you make of it.

    Most players are in it for the same reasons you are. If you have a good attitude and don't take things too seriously, you'll have competitive and fun matches.

    On the other hand, if you are high-strung, you will find things to complain about and reasons to suspect your opponents are conspiring against you in various ways.
     
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  21. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    hahaha I think it will be good time. I dismissed league for awhile because my I never felt any need for tennis to be "social". Tournaments suit my personality more but getting a bunch of good matches will be fun.
     
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  22. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I personally love leagues. I consistently find that each match is more likely to be competitive than in tournies.

    I find that drama usually only exists when people are looking for it and usually when the matches are close. You get more close matches in league play so it stands to reason you would get more drama.

    But to me a little drama is a small price to pay if you know the match is going to be close. Nothing frustrates me more than showing up for a tournament and bageling some guy (3.0) that is just happy he got to play someone like me.
     
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  23. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    The social side is cool too. It is customary for home teams to provide food and drinks. Frequently, I play 9 am Saturday morning matches and follow the match up with a Krispy Kreme doughnut and a cold Bud Light. It doesn't get any better than that.
     
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  24. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Last year, the visiting team brought beers for everyone which I thought was cool.
     
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  25. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    Thanks everyone! I think the whole experience will be pretty fun. I at least know that our other singles player is really friendly as we have played some sets. My guess is that we are the youngsters of the team. I am 36. The only other time I have played on a team playing tennis was in HS. More then any other tournament I played in my life helping my team take 2nd place in State by winning at 1st singles was my greatest tennis memory. Followed by my worst tennis memory ever the next year losing the in the finals and pushing our team to #4.
     
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  26. SouthboundAgain

    SouthboundAgain Rookie

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    I just played my first ever USTA league match (18+ 4.5) this weekend as well. It was fun but I found the whole environment a lot more stressful than I expected. Our team was tied at 2-2 and I was playing the deciding singles.

    A couple things I noticed/was surprised by:

    - We warmed up with a different set of balls than the match balls, and the balls were extremely lively/bouncy when we started to play. That lead to some early unforced errors on my part. My opponent insisted from the start that it was imperative that we not use the match balls to warm up. I'm not sure if this is typical or if it was an attempt to get an edge.

    - I wasn't used to playing in front of a crowd (about 15-20 people) that were cheering at my mistakes and yelling stuff like "Yeah! you got him!" or "He's getting tired, you're going to break him!" every time my opponent hit a good shot. It definitely added more pressure to every shot.

    - I was too tense/nervous and worried about winning/disappointing the team, and hence I played way too conservatively. I'd say I played at about 50% of my capability. In the end, I won 6-2 6-3, but I made things a lot harder on myself. I also blew 5 match points and kept thinking about that.

    - My opponent was very fair on line calls and I was generous on a few calls as well (line clippers), so from that point of view it was a good experience.
     
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  27. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    You are right, being the deciding court can be a bit stressful. But that can make it fun too if you like that competitive aspect.

    Where I play, we normally open the new can of balls to warm up with but for doubles will have another 3 used balls so we aren't always chasing balls during warmup.

    Another part of the competitive aspect, having to deal with and persevere through a hostile crowd. Just make believe it is an away Davis Cup tie. :)

    Most people are fair. The few that aren't just result in long threads on TT :)
     
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  28. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    League play is great IMO. Just starting my 3rd year of it. Have many new friends because of it and it's nice to play in competitive matches that aren't just for the social part.
     
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  29. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I didn't see anybody use different balls in the warm up versus the match. That sounds sketchy. As for crowds, that has happened at tournaments before but I did not see that at league play other than spouses cheering on their significant other.
     
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  30. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    I find it very fun, if I had to play for myself I'd rarely get out and I quit playing for 8 years or so. There is something very uniquely different and exciting about winning for 20 other guys, it's a bit more stressful but it feels like you're actually playing for something.

    Rest of the time I just hit so I don't get fat or rusty but I find it very boring. Unfortunately the important matches don't happen that often save for the times against stacked teams or sectionals.
     
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  31. eastbayliz

    eastbayliz Rookie

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    I had a great time at my first match even though I lost. My opponent was pretty dang good for a 4.0. Actually out of the 20 or so tournament matches I have played at 4.0 she was the strongest player I have run into. I was really stretched to the limits of what I am currently capable of on the tennis court-and that is always cool. I lost 6-4, 7-5. Just having my team captain watching and cheering me on was so cool, compared to the solitary experience of a tournament. I was pretty disappointed losing such a close match but when I got off the court I really got into cheering on the rest of the team. I liked this because it was not ALL about me. My captain is great and everyone on the team is really friendly. Thus one match into the season I can say that league tennis is awesome.
     
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  32. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    I've run into this behavior at times. I doubt it is willful gamesmanship as the surprise of the new balls goes both ways. One or two people have told me they do it because they've had the experience of more easily losing balls while warming up for doubles with everyone serving at once. Depends where you play and how hard it is to keep track of all the balls.
     
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  33. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    Glad you enjoyed it. Definitely agree about the not all about me part. Lost for the first time this season last night but the team won 4-1. My disappointment didn't last long.
     
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  34. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Really depends on the person.... you'll find out fairly soon who makes good and who makes liberal line calls.

    There are 2 sides to this story. Calls you make will be questioned.... even some that are are obviously out. I don't call a ball out unless I'm sure I see colored paint between the ball and the line. I've made many calls that were long by 4 inches on the baseline and had my opponent question the call from 4 feet behind their baseline. If I lay a ball just far enough away from the baseline so that it's definitely out and walk around to the other side of the court and stand behind the baseline for a look it's not easy to spot that the ball is out. If the ball is moving it's even harder to see... particularly for those with 40+ eyes.

    More annoying to me are the people who automatically question every close call I make... Of course to them I'm the guy who makes bad calls.

    I had a pleasant experience playing doubles against a team where THEIR net man substantiated our calls on close balls with a "good call" comment. I think this actually helps the server as he's mind is not questioning their opponents line calling and is able to concentrate on the next serve.
     
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  35. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Sounds like a good experience and that's all that is important. Well, winning is important but there's always next week. I like team events too and good luck next week.
     
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