Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by USS Tang, Mar 2, 2013.
I have played tennis my whole life, including in college, and I never, ever thought of this.
Yes it is it is simply not the edict
Most of the time I just let it go during a match. We play with three balls usually, so if one hits the fence, at least the server has the other two for a fault/let situation.
That being said, if we're just warming up serves before a match, I usually do bunt them back. It just saves time IMO.
The lower rung club leagues have unimaginable subtlety, politics, tactics and what have you.
I take a pragmatic approach. First, as some have pointed out, this is referring only to "obviously out" serves. If it is close enough that you have to even think about it, then nobody is going to complain about you hitting the return. I guess that's why you high level players have never come across this before - your serves are more accurate than ours
Second - if I let the ball go by me and don't touch it, then I am not responsible for any delays if it rolls to a bad spot and needs to be retrieved. Second serve. On the other hand, if I try to bunt it back and inadvertently cause a delay, then I'm stuck giving the server a new first. Given those choices, I generally don't touch "obviously out" serves.
^OK, you've given me an idea.
Next time I play a match with my OOR partner, I won't tell her to stop hitting OORs. Instead, I will wait for her to blast an obviously out serve. Then while the server collects the ball or waits for it to stop rolling, I will say "Take another."
After this happens enough times, my partner will ask me about it. I will then say "The Code says we are not supposed to hit obviously out serves over the net. We've done it a few times, and that is breaking the server's rhythm so I am letting her take two."
That oughtta do it.
If you just let it roll past you and it hits the back fence and rolls under your feet becasue you are getting ready to play the next point......
You run the risk of stepping on it during the point. Nothing good happens from there.
a. Rolling around, just asking for the opponent to claim a let. (rightly or wrongly, that's a whole diff thread)
b. Since you are responsible for housekeeping on your side of the court, if it interferes with you, sorry, you just lost the point.
c. If you step on the ball and injure your ankle.....oh well, at least you didnt violate the Code. (This cost my brother a full year our of his tennis "life" when he was about 35)
Cindy, I agree with you 100% ---- 99% of the time. However, on this one, I think a little flexibility is in order. Certainly if the opponent asks you not to do that, OK, but I would find it to be a little on the physically pendantic side.
I guess it's kind of like playing "Ready Golf" where everyone sort of agrees to bend the etiquette/rules a little where there is no discernable advantage and it helps out the speed/enjoyability of the game. Some people hate it and refuse. Some people think it is great. Neither side is really "wrong" nor "right". Just different priorities.
sorry - second serve, not next point.
of course, cindy, we may be talking apples and oranges here, I notice that you are referring to "blasting" and I am talking "bunting", especially in doubles. you could even bunt it to the net man, who promptly pocekts it. I agree with you 100% about "blasting" the OOS.
But when dealing with the OOS ball, which is faster (therefore less intrusive to the server) bunting it back or chasing it down to put it in your pocket and then walking back to ready positition? I respectfully submit that there are often times when the "bunt back" is actually a faster means of dealing with the errant ball.
If the returner started "bunting" back an Obviously Out Serve to me as the opposing net player, I would think they had a screw loose.
Geez, let's stop making this complicated. If it is Obviously Out, just control it and pocket it. If you cannot do this and have to go pick up the ball behind you because it is rolling, that is fine. As a server, I understand this will happen with missed serves. I will stand there bouncing the ball and thinking about my serve. That is far better than having to leave my position to pick up a ball you tried to bunt back to me.
For those needing yet another reason not to hit Obviously Out Serves over the net, consider this:
If a serve is barely out and the returner plays it, server must be ready to play that point. If server does not play returns because server thought it was out, server loses the point, right?
When you hit Obviously Out Serves over the net, I cannot just let the ball go or catch it, can I? I have to play it.
Making me scurry around to play an Obviously Out ball you were just bunting back is very, very, very annoying and disruptive.
exactly; I've never seen anyone want anything different.
IF a guy were to regularly tee off on slow, obviously out balls -- using them as practice balls for dtl screaming winners for the server to retrieve, it would be rude. But I don't think I've ever seen this.
stapleton- the problem is that people think that they have the skill to bunt the ball directly to the net person or to the server but when they miss it causes a significant delay.
How about this- you can bunt the ball back to the other team but every time you miss and someone has to deal with a stray ball you give the other team 2 serves. That sounds fair- and I think that given those guidelines that no one would think it is a good idea to bunt the ball back to the other team.
As I mentioned earlier, doubles is a different story. Hitting an out ball into your own net to let your partner quickly pick up the ball (or leave it if it stays super-close to the net) is, to me, clearly the most practical move. But when you are playing singles on public courts with no separation between courts, not touching out serves, or letting wide serves hit the back fence will very often lead to their going onto an adjacent court. How about every time someone from another court has to deal with your terrible serve that I didn't stop (because of the Code) you lose your second serve? Why should I be the one to continually apologize to the adjacent court's annoyed players for your inability to keep a ball in court?
Agree totally. Sometimes it really is more practical to keep a hold of all the balls.
I don't have a problem with people hitting the ball back into the net or catching the ball to pocket it. I do have a problem with people who think that they have the control to hit it back to the other team and then it causes a delay because they don't have as much control as they think they do. If you try and hit the ball back to the other team because of your impeccable control but end up causing a delay because of it then I think you should do the right thing and give the other team 2 serves since it was a delay that you voluntarily caused.
Unless the server hits one so shanked that's physically impossible to get stick on, you should be able to stop the ball and keep it contained on your court--that's what you do when you're doing warm-up serves don't you? If you keep hitting them back to your opponent, when do you get to hit warm-up serves? If you can "bunt" it back to your opponent, you can "bunt" it to the net or catch and hold which is preferable causing the least delay--with some attention and practice you can learn how to do it like any other skill in the game.
Watch some tournament players doing it to see how it's done, they can stop it cleanly and pocket it not having to make their opponent wait around while they are fumbling around herding balls. I wouldn't use college players as an example, the ones I've had playing around me at open's usually act like spoiled brats, cursing, etc. The umpires have given up on controlling them because it's too endemic and they would have to teach them what their parents and "coaches" have failed to do.
re: "Team". Again, I am not talking about doubles. I am talking about singles, particularly on crowded public courts. And it isn't every out serve. Generally, if I can catch or simply stop a ball, that is what I'll do. But on first serve returns on which I'm already swinging, bunting at the last minute is just the best thing to do in some cases.
Yes, as mentioned.....
Folks we have a winning answer! And the other team may do the "fake fumble", obligating you to give them two or look bad in the eyes of the peanut gallery.
I don't think that it matters at allwhether it is singles or doubles- if you try and hit it back to the server and cause a delay they you should give them 2 serves. When is it ever easier to try and hit the ball back to the server rather than just hitting it into the net?
I have more confidence in my ability to bunt it to the server softly than I do to hit it into the net and have it stay there. The latter scenario is almost always more time consuming. There's the wait to see if it rolls back, the time it take me to retrieve it and get back in position (not to mention if it blows back into court during the point and I trip over it. Unless a ball is in a nook of the net, I will not play with it in my court.
To me, the question is "how can I let the opponent get his or her second serve off the quickest?" In some cases (not all, such as really soft, catchable serves), a bunt back is the answer.
And if that is the choice you make, then if you cause a delay by your own choice then you should offer the server 2 serves.
Catch it. Let it go. Hit it into 140 square feet of net. If you think your control is so good that the quickest way to get the second serve in is to hit it to your opponent then that is fine, but you should give them a first serve if you cause the delay by trusting in your skills.
what is this hit into the net for safe keeping nonsense.
why would you want stray ball on the court? it's an obstruction* and can cause injury if stepped on.
* Physical and visual.
I think the interpretation of "return" may be the real issue. Bunting the ball back to the server to maintain ball control on a busy court, and speed up the game, isn't practicing returns on obvious out serves.
Any delay caused by a mishit bunt will still be less than the delay from my hitting it into the net, walking to the middle of the service box to pick up the ball once it's bounced off the net and getting back to my ready position.
But if I totally shank a bunt or hit it to the wrong side of the court and they have to actually go to retrieve the ball, a first serve offer is reasonable.
Exactly. Thank you.
The best is to catch and pocket it, three inches from the bottom of the net is next best. If you're worried about the ball being a hazard and an "obstruction" to you, why would you want it behind you where you can't see it, being supceptible to the wind blowing it under your feet on a windy day? It's much better then to have it at the bottom of the net where you can see it so you don't step on it.
Even better ball control is to acquire the skill to catch and hold it--that SPEEDS up the game even more
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE--but first you have to know the right thing to practice--or you get good at doing the wrong thing.
The code says you are not to hit an obviously out serve "over the net."
That includes bunting. Obviously.
If anything, this thread is reinforcing my view of things. Unpragmatic rules, I don't typically enjoy following. When told I must, a defiance mechanism kicks in.
The thing is, the rule is IMO very pragmatic.
At least for me, if I can control the ball enough to accurately bunt it to the server, I can just as easily trap it and put it in my pocket. What is the advantage of bunting it in this case?
(Of course we are talking about a 1st serve. Second serve I will often bunt back if a fault since the server would need the ball.)
If the serve is too close to tell whether it's going in or out, I'm taking a full swing at it - neither bunt nor pocket.
If the serve is too fast / wide for me to control and pocket the ball, a bunt attempt would be equally hard to control and would likely cause the server to have to chase it down. So in this situation best is to let it go by, and keep an eye on it to verify that the ball isn't rolling back onto the court.
But perhaps you all are much better at bunting than I am
I will have to work on my bunting :shock:
One of the guys in our men's club doubles group returns all serves no matter how far out they may be....it gives him the option of declaring a close serve good if he smacks a winner on return of service. He's a decent fellow off court, but these 'out' serves returned for a winner always seem to come when he needs the point most! Code or no code, it's not right!
There are lots of people who knowingly choose not to follow the Code. They ask to play lets when they make a bad call. They don't promptly acknowledge double bounces or net touches, etc. They all have an explanation for blowing off the Code.
Go ahead and emulate them off you want.
I just don't understand why you would want to.
And there are those that value the code over common sense or friendships. Emulate them.
My two cents: My experience is the vast majority of out serves are coming with pace, spin, and are within a few inches of the line, so I really don't have time to watch the line and then start the return. As a result, I return almost all out serves simply because I have to start the return motion before the call can be made.
For the really out serves, I (and most folks I know) don't mind the bunt back, particularly since that takes less time than letting the serve go, bounce to the wall, and waiting to see if it's going to roll onto the court before hitting the second serve or starting the next point.
Of course, since the code says otherwise . . .
If you read "THE CODE", you will see that it IS common sense. If all players would take the time to learn it, there would be far fewer arguments on the courts and more friendships made. I find 98 percent of "players" have no idea of the rules. Only tournament players or those who have played in them know them and understand that the rules help move the game along and make it more enjoyable.
Singles I let the ball go unless it's a close hit and I was already in motion.
Doubles I usually bunt it back to the partner..or into the net
hmmm. I don't think it's that obvious unless one has an very pedantic translation. "Put into play or hit" (which is wrong) has a different implication than to give back to serving team.
Perhaps as a server I just want the ball back and under control. Not bouncing around by the back fence; slowly rolling in the breeze to an adjacent court while point is in play; rebounding deeper back into our court from the net while everyone stares and decides if it's worth retrieving and it's up to me to ensure all are ready.
Or perhaps it's a recognization that our court time is limited and keep things moving. No one follows the code re: game/set breaks or takes the allotted time between serves. Just give the balls to the server and play.
But I will concede that it's the server's call on what they want me to do with obvious faults. Just speak up.
And if it's really that big a deal, it's a wake call for me to improve my first serve.
Completely agree. Every time a returner tries to bunt it back I think it makes them look like a complete rookie. Catch it, put it in your pocket, hit it into the net. Don't send the ball back to my side of the court to make it my problem when you don't have as much control as you think that you do.
Honestly- If I wanted to engage in gamesmanship I think one of the best ways to do it would be to bunt back the ball to the other side of the court every time to make the opponent go chase the shot in between the first and second serves.
Rather than require each server to tell you to follow the Code, why don't you just follow the Code?
By the way, the language of the Code seems to be written precisely for all you Bunters out there:
"28. Obvious faults. A player shall not put into play or hit over the net an obvious fault. To do so constitutes rudeness and may even be a form of gamesmanship."
Spot, I agree that people who return Obviously Out Serves look like Noobs.
I started at 2.5. I now play 4.0. The difference in OOR is huge. At 2.5/3.0, there is a lot of it. By the time you get to 4.0/4.5, you hardly ever see it.
No, you'd have to give a let.
Better to let it hit the fence and then turn around and make a time wasting performance out of securing it. With luck it'll slowly roll into an adjacent court to the left disrupting their point. Move slowly enough and by the time you get it in your pocket the server may be wishing for a "first in."
But you won't look as noobie as the guys to the right who, in the meantime, have gotten three points in.
Make sure the server remembers to scream out the score and "second serve" so everyone knows you follow the code.
Here's the solution. Don't hit a serve that is obviously out.
As long as the "bunters" give a first serve every time they botch it and the server has to go chase a ball then I'm fine with people bunting it. This isn't how it works in my experience.
agreed. all about collectively getting the most play time and least disruptions -- ours and adjacent courts. it is up to the returning team to clear the ball in the quickest, safest manner possible. and any time a server must wait for anything out of his team's control, it's a let.
and really, how many first serves per match are both obviously out and yet very easily controlled? much about very little.
It is an exceptionally pragmatic rule. The rule is that you keep the ball on your side of the court so that the opposing server doesn't have to deal with it. Whether you let it go, pocket it, or hit it back into the net then you are the one that deals with the consequences and not the server. Any other rule would lend itself to gamesmanship since you can basically make the opposing server go fetch the extra ball between his first and second serves.
So explain to us again in what way bunting a 1st serve back is superior to receiver controlling the ball and putting it in his/her pocket?
I think this gets to the root of it.
The values dictating those in the "bunters" camp seem to be efficiency and courtesy to adjacent courts. Those assume a more cooperative environment. We do what we can to get the most play out of the small amount of court time we have without disrupting others.
The value dictating those in your camp seems to be consistency and rule-following for, among other things, the sake of avoiding perceived gamesmanship. That assumes a more adversarial environment, where accusations of gamesmanship and rule-breaking are commonplace.
Maybe these values are informed by different life experience. I've never played USTA (and don't ever plan to) and the flex and city leagues I play in are moderately to super friendly. A-holes are not welcomed. But reading some of the war stories (most notably from Cindy) in this thread leads me to believe that you guys value the Code relatively more than others because it's sometimes all you've had to deal with such a wide breadth of crap over the years.
Even when playing a pickup match I wouldn't want the opposing player to try and bunt the ball back to me. I have a ball in my pocket- I'd rather go ahead and use that for my second serve rather than having to go chase the ball you sent back to my side of the court for no apparent reason.
Then again I really can't remember the last time I had someone bunt the ball back to me in a match. People don't even do that when warming up serves anymore since bunting to return the ball to the server leads to so much unneccessary chasing.
Unless you are gently lobbing the ball over the net when serving I just can't imagine what servers are hoping that the returner bunts the ball back over the net.
Brian, I have an idea.
Next time you play, don't do any bunting. Take full cuts at in serves and close serves.
For obviously out serves, control the ball and pocket it. If one gets away fom you, pick it up if it is in anyone's way, and offer two if you are a huge fumble fingers and cannot do this quickly.
See if anyone asks you to cease and desist and instead bunt the ball over the net after an obviously out first serve.
Report your findings.
But again, I have never been called out for bunting either. As I said in my last post, I think our varying positions come from one of us (judging from the entertaining threads you post here) constantly being in confrontational situations (presumably because the USTA is involved) and one that has never had more confrontation on court past a snarky "Really?" after a questionable line call.
Brian- just out of curiosity what level do you play? I have a strong feeling that there may be a difference in perception on this issue based on level but I don't want to make any assumptions.
I have never called out an opponent for bunting an obviously out return back over the net. I try to ignore it in the belief the person is clueless, rude, new or some combination thereof.
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