Persistent Bad Calls, How to Handle?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by caro14, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. caro14

    caro14 New User

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    Hello. This is my first post, but I have lurked for quite a while. I would appreciate your advice and feedback on how you, as a player, handle persistent bad calls during a USTA league match. I am not discusssing one or two bad calls that may have been made in error, but an abundance of calls by the other team that seem to indicate cheating.

    The specifics! My doubles partner and I played a USTA match against one player that has a reputation for making bad calls. We were concerned going into the match about this rep, but as we knew the bad callers partner and had played with the bad callers partner on a social level (but not USTA), we hoped the partner would provide some balance and step in as need be. Unfortunately for us, this was not the case.

    By midway through the first set, we had balls they called as out, that we thought were in, but we didn't say anything and let it go. Then, I hit a deep shot right at the feet of the bad caller's partner. The parter was standing inside the baseline. It hits her at her feet. The partner hits it and misses. As her partner is swinging, bad caller calls it out. Her partner shakes her head and says "I think it was in." Bad caller yells, No, no, no it was out. I tell them that as one of them called it in, it's in. Bad caller says, no it was out. She then walks to the baseline and has a discussion with her partner we can not hear. Partner tells us she will replay the point. We tell her no. We do not want to replay the point. She called the ball in. It's in. It's our point. Partner gives it to us, but does not look happy.

    For the next few games, any ball even close to the line, even inside of the line, that we hit provokes discussion among the other side. "Wasn't that out?" "It was out?" "Don't you think it was out?" They make a few other calls that are questionable, but we let them go. Tensions are high.

    We win the first set in a tie break. First game of next set, my partner is serving and hits a nice, wide serve that drops nicely on the inside of the line. I am standing at net and see the ball drop. Bad caller swings, and as she misses it, she calls it out.

    I am shocked. I look at her partner with my shocked face. Her partner shrugs, rolls her eyes and says, "I didn't see it."

    I question the bad caller. I tell her it looked clearly in. Bad caller tells me that it's not my call to make. It's her call, she is calling it out and I can't do anything about it. I am furious and tell her that I would be embarrased and ashamed to make the calls she is making. She yells at me that since I keep challenging her this is her point! I tell her it is not her point and she needs to watch her calls. She yells back that the only reason that we won the first set is because we whined so much about her calls.

    It was not pretty. In fact, the whole thing was downright awful. At this point, my partner and I just wanted it over. We ended up losing the second set and lose the tie-break. I think it all got into our heads. We couldn't handle the tension, the cheating, the just absolute craziness of it.

    I had a mixed match shortly after this match. I regretted losing my temper and asked the guys I was playing with how they would have handled it. They said they would start to call the other teams balls out that were in to even it out. We did not do this. Is this what people do?

    I am on my fourth year of playing USTA. I really enjoy it. This was the first match that made me hate it. I want to understand how I could have handled this better so if I encounter a similar situation again I can react differently. Obviously my challenging the bad caller only raised tensions and made things worse for my partner and me. But, my partner and I felt that if we hadn't challenged them at all, we were effectively letting them get away with it.

    So I ask, what would you have done? How would you have reacted? Or do you just endure and let it slide?
     
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  2. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    There is only so much that you can do.

    You can ask the bad caller "are you sure?"
    You can ask the bad caller's partner "how did you see it?"
    If bad caller is not sure, or bad caller's partner saw it in, then the point is yours.
    Otherwise, you have to accept it, as frustrating as that might be.

    Your only other recourse in unofficiated USTA league matches is to ask your captain to appoint a linesperson for the remainder of the match. The linesperson can be anyone who is there, but needs to be agreed to by both captains.

    I have seen a lineperson requested on a couple of occassions but still it is quite rare. Things have to be pretty bad for that to happen.
     
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  3. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    I have never seen it come to a lines person either, but my understanding is that even if one is present, they aren't authorized to make the call but may be asked if they saw a ball in or out and it is still the responsibility of the player/team who would ordinarily make the call to accept what the lines person saw.

    Note also that the lines person is supposed to be impartial to both teams, and if that isn't possible you may have 2, one from each team. But then you just have the potential for them to disagree and tempers to flare more.
     
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  4. Fearsome Forehand

    Fearsome Forehand Professional

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    Bad calls happen. Sometimes it is an honest mistake. Sometimes it is someone who just can't call lines. Sometimes it is someone who is outright cheating.

    If there are several such highly questionable calls, I think you need to take the bull by the horns and repay the other player (or team) in kind. At that point, anything near the line is out. Otherwise, you are just giving them the match. If they complain, you should say "Now you know how we felt."

    You should complain to whoever moderates the league. You are probably not the first person this witch has screwed on calls. It is probably her normal M.O. And you might have had the right to ask for an umpire since it is a USTA match. Next time, at least ask so you know what policy is.

    I have hit serves that were in the middle of the box that were called out. Some people are ridiculous. :roll:
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
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  5. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    I usually have a tripod in my car , I'd set up my iphone to record the match and tell them I will be using the video as evidence for a grievance.
     
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  6. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    I agree that the best thing to do would be to stop play and request a lines person if available. Additionally, you should file a grievance with the league coordinator. This will at least put the player on notice that their behavior is being monitored.

    I know of one person in a league I play in that had 2 such grievances against them (both very justified - one of which I was present for and saw the person's match as a bystander and couldn't believe the bad calls) - this has resulted in team captains not wanting the person on their team and limited the person's playing ability in this counties leagues.
     
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  7. byealmeens

    byealmeens Semi-Pro

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    In my opinion it’s never a good idea to call balls out intentionally … it defeats the reason you’re competing and only makes things more ugly when both sides get involved. At the end of the day, if you’re truly looking to play your best, win or lose, you cannot make the match about calls and cannot afford to lose your concentration and take yourself out of the match mentally by getting involved in petty gamesmanship. Often players make bad calls to anger the opponent and take them out of their comfort zone. Be the better person … play the match fairly … let the other person call the balls out. It is his/her call to make and though a linesperson can be requested, it rarely works out. I am a USTA captain, and I have been there. It’s not fair, I know … it’s a terrible way for someone to play the sport and it’s disappointing that there are players who take advantage of the system, one which is played in good faith where individuals are expected to be honest. But that is life. There will always be those who want to win at any cost … even if they have to cheat. It’s been my own personal experience, however, that those individuals rarely improve … cheating only gets you so far … gamesmanship only works in so many cases. In the long run, the player focused on his/her game will dominate the one focused on short term results almost every time. Just my two cents.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
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  8. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    I intentionally make a VERY BAD call. I then stop and apologize that regardless of how bad their calls are, I will not resort to cheating. I award them the point. So far it has worked 100% of the time. In fact the court grows a bit.
     
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  9. Fearsome Forehand

    Fearsome Forehand Professional

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    When Andre Agassi got hooked by Jeff Tarango on a match point, his response was to start crying.

    Of course, he was about 7 at the time. :)
     
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  10. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You know... that is sort of interesting. In doubles I've always thought it was more effective to ask the hooker's partner about the call- often times they know the call was bad but don't want to overrule their partner so asking them will often get them to say something the next time. I wonder how effective it would be to cut out the BS for our team to make a very bad call and have the partner know that they are to overrule it. Just starting the precedent of overruling a partner on a bad call very well may work. And it sort of puts a shot across the bow to the other team where they may think if there is another bad call the match is going to get out of hand quickly. Just a "good cop/bad cop" routine.
     
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  11. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    My goodness, I've never heard of bad line calls go this far...

    Was there any bystanders watching? Was it a Flex League?

    Where were your captains?

    If anyone wasn't watching, the only answer I know to a situation like this is to hit winners that are CLEARLY in. I've played matches when the other team may have a few bad calls, but not where I needed a linesman. However, I was a line judge before. Twice. When this happened, nothing happened after that. I think it's because that the matches were won from UEs, winners, and double faults.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, this is straight up genius. It really is.

    I have never seen this done. But if my partner and I were making bad calls, this would get through much more clearly than trying to have a discussion about it. I also like how it isn't cheating, because you don't take the point. You give them a little taste, and then show them how a gentleman/lady plays the sport.

    I will try this the next time I play a couple of line call cheats. It only happened once in 2012, so it may be a while, but I will report back.

    Two snaps up, LostInAmerica.
     
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  13. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    He got his revenge thirty years later by writing about the incident in Open.
     
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  14. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Also, in NorCal, if there is a match coming up that the captains know might cause controversy, the captains can contact the NorCal USTA office, and let them know they need an official for a League Match. The home team needs to pay USTA NorCal $85 to pay the official, but you can request one for a match. Doesn't happen very often, and I have only seen it requested at a League Playoff match, so far.
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Really? Interesting.

    When I was a newbie 2.5 in 2005, our league had something similar. I think it was just for the 2.5 league (which back then was robust with 9 teams).

    The league decreed that each 2.5 team would have one of their regular season matches be officiated. The stated reason was so that all of us neophytes would get used to what it felt like to play an officiated match, for Districts and beyond. The league did not give advance notice of which match would be officiated. If the official showed up for the match, the players for that match each had to give the official $5 (total of $80).

    As luck would have it, I played in the match when the official showed up. She walked into the lobby before the match and introduced herself and said she would be our official. She was wearing the uniform; we paid her.

    She walked us onto the courts and gave her pre-match speech, then told us to start our warm-ups. She was roving, so I didn't see her all that much. At one point, she scolded me for clearing a ball that didn't need to be cleared between first and second (I was just trying to be tidy!). Later, I learned she cautioned a player about footfaulting and another about the continuous play rule. We had a set tiebreak and at one point she stopped us before a player served from the wrong court.

    On the whole, it was a great experience. I think the league should have kept doing it (well, maybe they still do but I don't know because I'm not a 2.5). I think it encourages people to learn the rules, and that's always a good thing.
     
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  16. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Wait a minute, you have to PAY for a USTA official?

    To the catacombs for that.

    I have never played USTA before (I will soon), but you have to pay for everything now huh?

    Isn't it easier to request two members from the opposing teams to be a linesman? Unless if your playing Flex League, I wouldn't pay for an official. I'm not cheap, it just sounds ridiculous.
     
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  17. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I think it depends on the situation and how competitively you take your league tennis.

    If league tennis is your end all be all in life and you value it as you would a large money-purse tournament, then by all means challenge every bad call.

    I recently witnessed a couple of 12 year old girls playing singles in a Regional USTA tournament here in North Atlanta. Both girls questioned just about every call that the other made with a sarcastic "Are you sure?!!". Needless to say, they acted like childish, immature girls.

    Keep that in mind if you choose to protest every bad call....

    Best of luck.

     
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  18. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I would have "scolded" the official back and asked her if she would pay for my medical bills if I was tripped up by a ball in the middle of the court.

    I commend you Cindy for being tidy on the court. I plan to be the same as well. Better safe than sorry, especially since the older we get, the harder it is for our bodies to bounce back from injuries....

     
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  19. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    No, you don't resort to cheating. You just resort to gamesmanship.

    While I don't mind if you do it while we play, I would make it a point NOT to get to know you better as a person.

    With friends like that, who needs enemies....?
     
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  20. North

    North Professional

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    Although I don't see a lot of people doing this, I am starting to see it more & more. Definitely different when people are being filmed.
     
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  21. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Sorry, guys. I guess I'm just too much of a pacifist on the court, yeah, even in USTA. I just "go for the middle" when I feel like I'm being hooked, which is, admittedly, rare. It's mostly just bad...eyesight...literally. (Shhh, I play some even older-than-me folk.) I do the same when I'm "in doubt" too; it's almost always a good play, at least at my (low) level.

    But I'll also admit to grumbling too, afterwards. But I get over it. And move on.

    All that said, I have seen "linespeople" used in an unofficiated match (the next court over). Mixed doubles. "Honor" called into question and "hitting at my wife." Oh bother. :rolleyes:

    I don't play mixed anymore. :p
     
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Well, um . . . bless your heart, but . . . .

    She was right. I went *behind the curtain* to get the ball. On account of how I had no clue what I was doing. :oops:

    BTW, you don't have to pay for officials (or court time) around here for Districts and Sectionals. The 2.5 Officiating Program was something extra that the captains as a group voted to have. So of course we should pay for it. Someone has to . . . .
     
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  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Also . . . most of the hooking that I see happens on big points, not all the time.

    I got hooked recently in a match tiebreak at 7-7. Hit a volley to the baseline player. She was standing on the baseline, and the ball hit in front of her feet. Her partner at service line called it out, and baseliner claimed she didn't get a good look.

    There's nothing to be done for that except to get revenge by winning the match.

    Instead, we lost.
     
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  24. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    I was a linesperson for a boys doubles and girls singles. It wasn't fun standing in the middle of the blazing sun.. :mad:

    I assume "go for the middle" is hitting obvious winners?

    Yeah, I'm playing mixed doubles for a tournament on Friday. :( My partner is a weak 3.0 (weak F/Backhand, lack of court coverage, and... She was a Dallas Cowboys hat while playing... :oops:)

    Should I say sorry for someone if I hit them (especially if they are a girl)? It's tennis and one day or another, you will get hit by a ball haha. :)
     
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  25. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Oh, well I'm never going to be around these "2.5s".. I honestly don't understand the NTRP ratings.. :confused: I know what's it for, but alot of people on here constantly blab about it... especially you Mrs.Sphinx. :oops:

    It doesn't make sense to pay for an official when they are just as capable to make bad line calls as the opposing player. I might as well be better off beating the cheater by playing obvious winners.. :-|
     
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  26. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    a new policy to deal with teh hookers at 2.5 for sure.
     
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  27. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    No. It's quite literally, up the middle, right at the T. Admittedly, I play mostly doubles these days and that's still a smart play much of the time. It just avoids so much angst on both sides.

    Unless you've purposefully gunned for them (that's a whole other discussion...which we've had several times here on TT)...yep, a "sorry, sorry" is in order....even though we all know it's gonna happen and the price we all pay...to play. :)
     
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  28. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    You can't be serious.
     
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  29. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    I knew it was up at the T. I thought I was wrong. Haha. Isn't that strategy nearly useless if either the net player poaches or if both players are at the net?
    A passing shot is an option. A lob as well.

    Oh okay. Thanks for the tip! My mixed partner was going to force me to say sorry if I did anyways.. :oops:
     
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  30. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    I don't think he is.. :-|

    Nothing wrong with recording for self-evaluation, but for only to catch cheaters, it's ridiculous.
     
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  31. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I didn't think so. An iPhone battery could never last that long. :)
     
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  32. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Next time you get a bad call, call two of theirs out. That's the USTA way.
     
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  33. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    It's really simple...

    ...some clown hooks you, just say "Okay, I got it...you're a cheater. Fine, just don't do it against me, because the next time you do, I'm gonna stab you in the face with a soldering iron..."

    Works every time...
     
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  34. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I am sure that you got flustered, but in retrospect, how many points do you think were effected by bad calls - something like 5 in the match? You have to hold it together when people do bush league tactics.

    I usually do what angelqueen suggest and aim well inside the lines so there won't be any dispute.

    then I start hitting people (not hard) and taking the point.
     
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  35. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Maybe the IPhone 5S should have an extended battery life then huh?
    Sigh, technology is going to kill us; I swear... :oops:

    I don't know, but it seems reasonable if you have a friend or a teammate videotape you. :)
     
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  36. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    In doubles if you can make them hit up from the middle it is a winning play every time. Now if you let it hang chest high in the middle you are hosed ... but if you can get the ball below the net and in between two net players ... you are golden.
     
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  37. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Hm, if that's the case, then USTA is not for me. :)
     
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  38. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Those Bush Leaguers... :mad:

    They aren't the only ones though.. In several cases, I've seen higher ranked players in high caliber tournaments pull these kinds of tricks. Usually, they end up losing because they are being outplayed. :)
     
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  39. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    So basically shots that are so low and close to their feet, that they wouldn't have the time to reach them? Or in the other case, a low passing shot?

    Interesting. Never thought of that tactic.

    I don't know if that will work against agile/flexible doubles teams though.

    If this would happen to me, I could just bend my knees and try to hit a high drop shot. I would probably lose the point the first time, but I could just hit in the corners with pace/spin....

    I don't know, there's a flaw for every plan. :-|
     
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  40. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    When I was a 3.5 ... I was terrible at the net but did not know it. I felt like every volley needed to be put away for a winner because after all you were close to the net and it was the easiest shot in the game .... RIGHT?

    However, after a extensive work with a pro my net game is vastly improved. I have become better at volleys and with that realization came this.

    Only a special player can hurt you while hitting up from short in the middle of the court. If you can volley or hit a groundy that they have to play from the the T and hit up you will always be in control of the point. I have often hit two, three of four balls right back at the T until the opponents lifted the ball and gave me an easy put away for a winner.

    Learning to volley has given me patience ... and patience is why I am no longer a 3.5.
     
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  41. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Hm, I see.

    I think returning volleys require luck, timing, and precision. :)

    If your trying to crush the ball, I could just try to return the volley with a simple lob over you; which would require you to re-position at the baseline. With this, you would most likely hit a weak shot, or miss it altogether (if you reach the ball in time). If you didn't I could just move to the net and take control of the point now. :)

    Just because you are at the net, doesn't mean that you will win the point just from smashing the ball. In some cases, you may miss! :shock: Plus, other players may have a faster reaction time to you do~ in other cases, they don't.

    NTRP rankings are just a label.

    Like I said before, I just don't understand the concept of it. I assume you are a '4.0-5.0'. What does that mean? There is a difference between an average player like that or a strong/weak '4.0-5.0' player.

    And depending on the caliber of the opponent, he/she can play so well, that you look like a someone who doesn't look like a '4.0-5.0' player.

    I may be trailing off on here, but looks can be deceiving. :)
     
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  42. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Well, here the teams don't pay for officials at Districts and Sectionals either. USTA NorCal does. I was just talking for a regular season match.
     
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  43. caro14

    caro14 New User

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    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies. I appreciate it.

    I like this. I think this is a really good point that gives me food for thought. While I think it was more than 5 bad calls, at least double that, it was the drama surrounding the calls and the intentional manner of them. The bad caller knew she could make the bad calls and there was nothing we could do about it. The drama and bad caller's attitude got in our heads. It did fluster us and it did hurt our game. We normally play a more aggressive game, instead we backed off. We were very much in our heads.

    There is a lesson here for me. And the lesson is that there is probably nothing I could have done to stop bad caller from making bad calls. I can only fix my reaction to the calls. I should have reacted to her less and just played my game. My partner and I lost the match and we never should have. It shouldn't have even been a close match.
     
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  44. Overdrive

    Overdrive Legend

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    Mhmm.

    In short, Tennis is a psychological sport. If you display or contain emotion, you are more likely to lose; Bottom line. That's why Boris Becker stopped playing. :) There's people here with a quote from him, but I don't know where though.

    And your welcome. ;)
     
    #44
  45. caro14

    caro14 New User

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    There was a match on the court next to us that finished up as the yelling got intense over bad caller's bad call over my partner's serve. They did stay on their court to watch the drama unfold, but were not close enough to offer any guidance on the calls being made.

    I will say I have played bad caller on one other occasion, during a tournament and she could not resort to bad calls because there were too many roaming spectators. In hindsight, I think having someone watching the match would have made bad caller less likely to cheat. But in the emotion of the moment, I did not know enough to understand I could ask for someone to step in to watch the match.
     
    #45
  46. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, it's hard to know what to do. I am not sure our local rules allow spectators to assist or observe. If both parties agreed, fine. If not? Don't know.

    When I play people who cheat like that, I do not change anything about how I am playing. I don't aim away from the lines or hit down the middle. Then I have changed my game, which will work to their benefit.

    If they want to cheat in a league match that badly, then I'd rather they cheat me rather than my losing fair and square because I was trying to change my game.
     
    #46
  47. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    You wanna know how to deal with hookers? They pull a hook on game point, you pull a hook on set point. He calls one of your serves out, you call all of his returns deep. *That's* the *USTA* way!
     
    #47
  48. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    This Post Is Untouchable!
     
    #48
  49. Mike Y

    Mike Y Rookie

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    People keep making comments about line judges being rare, but I see it happen somewhat often. I've probably seen a line judge in a match around 15+ times. I've been called as a line judge maybe 5 times, mostly lower level women's matches, where I just happen to be around and they need a line judge, so I oblige their request. That seems to be the best solution if someone is making bad line calls. And every single time I've been a line judge, the bad line calls miraculously vanish.
     
    #49
  50. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Well since I'm the people you are referring to I did some digging and apparently the widely cited Becker quote formerly in my signature ("Tennis is a psychological sport, you have to keep a clear head. That is why I stopped playing.") is actually a misquote. What he really said was, ""Tennis is a psychological sport. I quit the game then, because I couldn't continue like that."

    He was referring to the mental burden imposed by his 10 year tax evasion investigation and the effect it had on his tennis game.

    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2355147.stm

    Signature line modified accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
    #50

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