Singles Sticks in Adult League Play?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by TimeSpiral, Sep 16, 2013.

?

Your thoughts on Singles Sticks in League play (select all that apply)

  1. Singles sticks should be used in league play.

    30.6%
  2. Singles stick are not necessary for league play.

    30.6%
  3. If you bring them, an opponent should NOT be able to decline.

    24.2%
  4. If you bring them, an opponent SHOULD be able to decline.

    19.4%
  5. Imagine your opponent brings them: "I would decline."

    6.5%
  6. Imagine your opponent brings them: "I would accept."

    35.5%
  7. Singles sticks significantly change play.

    16.1%
  8. Singles sticks do NOT significantly change play.

    21.0%
  9. This is an issue I do not care about.

    46.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    It surprised me too, frankly.
     
    #51
  2. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,602
    I practice with them a lot of the time if theyre out where I play.

    Singles sticks should be used in league play.
    Singles stick are not necessary for league play.
    If you bring them, an opponent should NOT be able to decline.
    Imagine your opponent brings them: "I would accept."
    Singles sticks significantly change play.
    This is an issue I do not care about.

    All of these applied for me. If its an option to follow the rules more closely then the opponent should have to accept. In a game with the margins of tennis then they do significantly change play. They're not necessary and nor do I really care as long as the game is the same for both players league tennis is all just fun and games in my opinion
     
    #52
  3. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Awesome reply! Thanks for weighing in.
     
    #53
  4. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Without singles sticks, the net is 1 inch too low at the sidelines. Of course less of a difference as you move towards the center of the court.

    How significant is the 1 inch difference... guess that's a subjective thing. I see many courts where the center strap is out by an inch or more and people are blissfully unaware.
     
    #54
  5. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    OrangePower back to diminish the inch! Haha. Love it. :twisted:

    What he means to say is: the entire net is taller, except for the two inch center strap, and the entire slope of the net is different. At it's highest point at the sideline, it's about 1" taller (2.5% ish increase in total height). In other words, the net is raised by 40% of the diameter of a tennis ball. The slope very gradually reduces the inch over the course of the distance.

    You can view a to scale image showing the difference here: http://i.imgur.com/ohgvb5R.jpg
     
    #55
  6. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Good diagram.

    And I'm not trying to diminish the inch... in some cases, an extra inch can make a big difference :twisted:

    But I just don't think this is one of those cases :)

    Anyway the diagram speaks for itself - everyone can decide for themselves whether they consider the difference significant or not.
     
    #56
  7. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    [​IMG]
     
    #57
  8. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Played my first league match of the fall 2013 season last night.

    When I arrived, a stranger warming up his serve on the adjacent court noticed the singles sticks. He had been playing tennis for a "long time," as he described it; had no idea that public courts used a doubles net, and that a singles net was different. Neither did my opponent.

    In the pre-match email exchanges he agreed to use the singles sticks. I also measured the net after applying the singles sticks. It was over an inch too short! Wow.

    During the match there were many serves and critical ground strokes that clipped the very top of the net. I also hit a few net cords during rallies that worked out in my favor, but I didn't feel as bad because I knew we were playing with a regulation net. I did offer the apology though.
     
    #58
  9. Max G.

    Max G. Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    4,355
    I'd decline.

    If they want different conditions, they can get the tournament organizer or the league coordinator or club manager and have them do it. Anyone in an official, unbiased, neutral capacity.
     
    #59
  10. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    You would decline a regulation net? Fascinating.
     
    #60
  11. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,643
    The point is that it is not a regulation net. This is a league match and the league apparently does not use singles sticks (if it did, there would be no need for a thread).

    You like to show up with your singles sticks and seem surprised that people don't like to play random weeks with a different net setup. That is what I find fascinating.

    A smarter approach would be to speak to the person running the league prior to the season about using singles sticks for all matches. Most people wouldn't care either way, they just expect consistent rules.
     
    #61
  12. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    I don't care the rules deviate a little from other league/cup , but the rule must internally consistent within a league, if it's not even internally consistent, then it's not worth my time.
     
    #62
  13. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    You want to change condition within the same league? Even more fascinating.
     
    #63
  14. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    If you're playing in a singles league that specifically states, or implicates that it wants to use a doubles net, then--sure, okay. Whatevs.

    What kind of leagues do you guys play in? Do you have chair umps and ball boys? Lol. I play in a Flex League. A schedule is posted, you contacted your opponents and set up home and away matches--all on different courts.

    You arrive at the courts, measure the net to make sure it's not too low or too high (you guys do this, right?), then--if both of you have agreed to use singles sticks--you create a singles net, and play tennis. Super easy.

    I have had one guy decline the singles sticks. He was a hard core pusher and they wouldn't have affected his game at all. The reason he cited: "It would give you an unfair advantage."

    I lulzed, silently, but respected his decision and we did not use them. Fascinating.
     
    #64
  15. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,643
    Precisely why they don't use singles sticks in flex leagues. They aren't regulation equipment that is typically in place when you arrive at a court. A league must use consistent rules and it isn't reasonable to require everyone in a recreational flex leagues to have a set of singles sticks.

    The fact that you are the only one doing this and that most others don't want to go along should tell you who is being unrealistic.
     
    #65
  16. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,400
    Location:
    Cackalacky South

    this is true.
     
    #66
  17. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    I think you may have misread. One person--ever--has declined to play with a regulation net for singles. Everyone else has said, "sure," once they realize they're not playing on a regulation net. Ime, most people simply don't know the difference.

    It's very basic why public courts and even most clubs don't have singles sticks out on the courts when you arrive: they cost money, could be stolen, and some people play doubles and may not know to remove them.

    Would you prevent someone from adjusting the net strap if the measuring tape revealed it was too low or too high? The difference in adjusting the net strap, assuming one is available, and adjusting the net with singles sticks, assuming they are available, is functionally nothing, imo.
     
    #67
  18. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    It's worth mentioning, that the entire shape of the net is altered, and not all shot originate from inside the singles lines. We get pulled our wide and hit over the double's alley net all the time! It should be a flat height, and the hardest part of the net to clear.
     
    #68
  19. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    207
    I think the OP raises a good point. I've never seen anyone brings singles sticks to a match at a public court, and although I would find it a little eccentric, I think they should be used since it is part of the rules. As a competitor, I feel like I could beat them either way, so yeah bub, bring your sticks!!

    However, if this was USTA league team tennis, then it depends. If an opposing player or team brought singles sticks to our home court, I'm not sure if that is within the rules to use them. I believe the home court is responsible for providing the equipment. There have been situations where there are nets separating the (indoor) courts, and it has always been up to the home team (whether due to rules or ettiquette) to decide whether they stay up. So, in this situation, I don't think our captains would agree to it, since no one else uses them in the league. It would be seen as an unfair advantage, even if as the OP pointed out, it is part of the rules. I think if this situation were to occur, the league coordinator would no doubt receive a call from someone.

    If however, the home court provided the sticks, then I don't think either team could refuse to use them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    #69
  20. Adles

    Adles Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    NH
    I agree, as long as they were used on all the singles courts for that match.

    Also, someone should get those neat Mercedes logos to hang on the part of the net between the singles and doubles posts, like at the Open.
     
    #70
  21. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    207
    Yeah, or WTA <3 40 :)
     
    #71
  22. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    This is really a discussion about rules.

    Rules exist for a reason, you can't selectively pick which rules apply and which don't nor what rules apply under what conditions.

    The rules define the game.

    For example, you could take to sticks to a court, a bouncy rubber ball, raise the net 2 feet and hit the ball back and fourth, letting the ball bounce twice, etc...

    This wouldn't be tennis.

    So where do you draw the line then? Raise or lower the net 1" ? Allow balls that are out by 1" to be good? Allow foot faults? Extend racket length by 6"

    When possible, play by the rules.

    If someone brings singles sticks and measures the net - GREAT!

    If you don't want to follow the rules (it is either 100% or not) - then the players should discuss which rules they want to follow and which ones they don't... of course then they aren't playing tennis.
     
    #72
  23. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,002
    If I don't get 21 feet behind the baseline I'm knocking down walls and removing fencing. It's the rules.
     
    #73
  24. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Agree as to why courts most don't have singles sticks on them. This is somewhat true also for center straps, especially on public courts. Some of the public courts I play on have rotting center straps that are knotted together in places and attached to the court on the bottom with what looks like an old rusted wire clothes hanger :) And those are the good ones - the bad ones don't even have a center strap.

    I bought myself a center strap here on TW for $10 and keep it in my bag, and then use it when on some public courts.

    But I don't bother taking it one step further and adjusting the tension, even though I would guess most public court nets are too loose - need another tool for that, and I couldn't be bothered.

    And singles sticks is just taking it one more step beyond that.

    So it's all a matter of degree and how precise is good enough for you. For me, it's good enough to just ensure the center strap is in place and at correct height, mostly because it's easy to put a strap in my bag and then it's always there if I need it. And I personally don't think that being more precise makes a significant enough difference to warrant the extra effort. But to each his own.

    Also I agree that in theory using singles sticks is the same conceptually as adjusting the center strap. But people are just not as familiar with the usage of singles sticks and so are suspicious that you're trying to game them in some way if you insist on using them.
     
    #74
  25. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    "... when possible play by the rules. "
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    #75
  26. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Incidentally, you're wrong about that. ITF's Rules of Tennis make suggestions for minimum distance for international competition (21') and club / rec play (18 feet). They are not rules, but suggestions. Nice try though.

    Great post!

    I bet I can install my singles sticks faster than you can install the center strap and measure it :twisted: (to you "one step further" comment. I argue that in some ways, it's easier.).

    I should get a net strap! That's genius.
     
    #76
  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,081
    It would be up to the home team. If it is your home court, you can have singles sticks any time you want. If it is my home court, I'm not going to give you an advantage since you are used to playing with them and I am not.
     
    #77
  28. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    Where do tennis rules allow for exceptions based on 'home' or 'away'?

    If someone shows up with singles sticks, a center strap, etc... I'm not sure how an opponent can refuse?

    To refuse would be to say - "I refuse to play by the rules". I would also guess that under those conditions you would default the match.
     
    #78
  29. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707
    Unless you're playing singles in a sanctioned tournament it's a moot point. They'll be provided and put in place by the tournament officials. If you think it's silly to practice with them before you play a sanctioned tournament match, that's fine, play your match and you'll see why it's a good idea to get a feel for the difference they can make beforehand. I've never seen them utilized in a league match, maybe they're afraid if teams get into brawls they would be used as weapons?
     
    #79
  30. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Yeah, I don't know that I'm willing to get that serious with it. I communicate with my opponents before the match and let them accept or decline the singles sticks.

    Forcing your will on someone is most likely going to spoil the mood of the match, and nobody wants that. But like I've said before, only one guy has ever declined, and I didn't fight it. He specifically stated that they would "provide me an advantage."

    I responded, "Well ****. We're playing on your court, and that provides you an advantage. Can we change courts?" (kidding)

    I've been known to beat my opponents with the singles sticks, hope on to the Slice of Life, and they're never seen again \__ :twisted:__/ so there may be some truth to that.
     
    #80
  31. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    207
    TimeSpiral, have you tried bringing them to a team tennis league match? Or is this flex league you are talking about?
     
    #81
  32. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Flex League.
     
    #82
  33. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Double post ...
     
    #83
  34. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    207
    Please try it at a team tennis league match and let us know how it turns out :)
     
    #84
  35. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    If anyone here is in a team league, give it a shot and let me know. I've not plans on joining a team at the moment.
     
    #85
  36. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    Maybe; but I bet my center strap takes up less space in my bag!
    BTW, I don't have to measure each time - the strap is already adjusted to the correct height and I've marked it off, so as long as the hook-loop thing embedded in the court is of the standard type, I just put that puppy on and am all set.
     
    #86
  37. Adles

    Adles Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    NH
    FWIW, there were no singles sticks at the New England regionals this year, so USTA New England must not care about having regulation courts either. Anybody notice them at nationals or other regional events?
     
    #87
  38. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    Full agreement - shouldn't be a big deal. I don't have them nor have I ever used them - so if someone showed up with them (and a center strap) - I can't imagine why I would refuse to play according to the rules?

    That is the main point I've tried to understand... why would anyone refuse to play according to the rules???

    I am now tempted to pick up singles sticks as well as a strap - so I can use them when I am out hitting at the local public courts... the nets are typically a little loose and height varies - so may be best to get use to hitting with them... I like to go down the line so getting used to regulation height only makes sense.
     
    #88
  39. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    Some people just hate change, especially those who are rather set in their ways. They have their ideas of how the world is supposed to work--definitely how tennis is supposed to work--and any deviation from that is met with caution, disdain, dismissal, even ridicule.

    "Hey, nice to meet you. I brought singles sticks so we can play our match with a regulation singles net. Here, take a look. You mind if I put these up?"

    "Yeah, sorry. I don't want to use these," says the opponent.

    "Any other house rules I should know about before we start playing?" I say, making this face:
    [​IMG]
     
    #89
  40. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    2,707
    #90
  41. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,560
    It doesn't seem that hard to understand to me. Someone who carries around singles sticks all the time and always plays with them is used to the net at that (proper) height. Someone else who never plays using singles sticks is not used to the net at that height. This certainly could, in theory, be an advantage for the guy who carries around singles sticks, however large or small that advantage may be. The other player could simply not wish for the match to be played under conditions which singles sticks guy is more used to than he is.

    I wouldn't personally decline if someone wanted to use them, but at the same time the rational of why someone might decline is not terribly difficult to understand either, imo.
     
    #91
  42. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    I agree with your reasoning, to a point.

    In my experience, most people don't know what they are or what they're supposed to do. This person could obviously feel at a disadvantage if someone has been training in the proper conditions, and they have not been. Where I begin to disagree is after the person has learned that they're training in the wrong conditions, and then still declines to use them. That does seem bizarre to me.

    The moment I learned what they were, and that they were affordable and easy to use, I bought them, and used them, and haven't looked back. Why not?

    At some point it becomes too similar to this: "Oh, yeah, I know it's a rule of the game that I could easily follow, but I choose not to. And since you want to, and I don't, that could advantage you, so I'm going to insist that we go by my preference instead of the rules."

    At some point it becomes a harder sell, if both guys know the rules, one follows them and one doesn't: that the guy who does follow the rules is somehow running a game on his opponent.
     
    #92
  43. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    If you care about rules you would make sure the league enforce it in every single match. If you just carry around your own set and insist people play in a different condition(the one that only you are used to) within the same league, you are just showing hypocrisy.
     
    #93
  44. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    No need for the hard words. I know it's a long thread, but in the OP I specifically state that I do not insist we use them. I offer, and accept my opponent's decision. Seems reasonable, right?

    But here, we can drill down into the issue and hash it out.

    In the leagues I've participated in, most of the rules of tennis seem to be delegated to the members of the league, right? Unless you're playing with chair umps and line judges, it's up to the players to follow the rules.

    It's not like singles sticks are some obscure rule hidden deep within the rules of tennis. It's just one of those things most people don't know about.
     
    #94
  45. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    The right way is rise awareness of this issue among players and lobby the league to put it int he written rule and send out notice to all participating teams that they must now use single net/single sticks in all single match.
     
    #95
  46. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    So then - a written rule that states the league is now going to abide by the rules? :confused:
     
    #96
  47. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    I guess I can see that presented the wrong way a player may react defensively or feel their opponent is resorting to gamesmanship.

    If you feel that your opponent has an advantage because they are more used to playing with a net at the legal height - then the problem lies within, not with your opponent.


    I have never played with singles sticks, and I often don't care that much about whether the net or center strap is 100% correct.

    However, now that I know the rule I have no issue if a player asks to 'play by the rules'. If it causes me to lose a match because my game is that precarious - then I need to get out and work on my game... not on how best to avoid the rules.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
    #97
  48. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2011
    Messages:
    675
    Enforcing it. Are you trying to be dumb?
     
    #98
  49. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    It's reasonable to conclude that using singles sticks would be a disadvantage to the opponent who is not used to them. So it's reasonable that given the option, the opponent would decline to use them.

    However, should they be allowed to decline them? That is the question!

    Here's an analogy: Let's say that I play only with brand X balls - they are really crappy and are solid black! But they are cheap! Needless to say, they are not approved for play under the Rules of Tennis.

    You show up at our flex match with normal balls. Can I refuse to use the normal balls, seeing as I would be at a disadvantage because they are different to what I'm used to? Can I make you use my Black-X balls? I think most would say I have no choice but to use the regular balls, since those are the ones accepted for common usage, and approved in the rules.

    So I think it comes down to what is the general norm, what is considered acceptable, and what the rules mandate. Usually common practice and the rules are aligned, so there is no conflict.

    But with singles sticks, the rules and general norm are in contradiction. The rules explicitly require the use of singles sticks:

    Friend at Court - ITF Rules of Tennis - 1.The Court:
    "For singles matches, if a singles net is used, the centres of the net posts shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) outside the singles court on each side. If a doubles net is used, then the net shall be supported, at a height of 31⁄2 feet (1.07 m), by two singles sticks, the centres of which shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) outside the singles court on each side."

    The bolding is mine - it seems clear that the use of singles sticks is mandated, unless a dedicated singles net is being used. There is no provision anywhere in Friend at Court or otherwise in the Rules to excuse the use of singles sticks.

    However, they are not commonly used. So what takes precedence - the rules, or common usage? That is the question...
     
    #99
  50. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    187
    If one player prefers to use singles sticks and they are available - then the rules have to take precedence.

    You may not like it - but if given the choice of playing by the rules or not - then you have to play by the rules...
     

Share This Page