Singles Sticks in Adult League Play?

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

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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. Adles

    Adles Rookie

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    If someone forced me to use them in a league match in the manner you describe, then I would strictly enforce the footfall rule on his very first serve.
     
  2. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    The thing with USTA flex leagues is they are "self-regulated and disputes should be worked out by the players". So, who are you going to complain to if someone doesn't want to use them? It's a rec league, no one (save for the OP) uses singles sticks. It's not like you can look around and say "see, everyone else is using them, why don't you want to?"

    That's why I would love to see the OP bring this up at a team tennis situation. Because if there is any resistance to using them, it would be brought before the league coordinator and precedent would be set. Maybe this has already been done, maybe there are certain section laws that address this. I didn't find any in mine though.

    Personally, I would love to see someone bring the sticks to a match against me. It would make it that much sweeter to win. Then afterwards, when we shook hands, I'd offer to play again and say "and don't forget to bring your sticks". :)
     
  3. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    Ok - forget about the rules side of this. We live in a society where rules don't apply - good enough.

    What is the issue of playing with singles sticks - why so much resistance?

    What does everyone do if they show up for a match and the net is too low? Too high? What is the allowable delta?
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  4. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. I personally have no issue with singles sticks, although I don't have a set myself. The problem is that many might not know that they are required by rule. So you'd need to explain to the opponent what they are, and that they are mandated by the rules. Be prepared to whip out your rulebook to resolve any ensuing argument, and be prepared for it to potentially get confrontational.

    I think the resistance would come from those that don't really understand what they are and why they are needed, and so would suspect that you are trying to game them by asking that they be used.

    I personally don't think they make that much difference, so could care less if used or not. But others will disagree as to the difference they make.

    Not using singles sticks is roughly equivalent to having a net than is an inch too low at the center strap, in term of the impact it will have. And an inch is about my tolerance for net height at the center... within an inch I probably won't notice without measuring, more than an inch is visually noticeable (to me). Probably others are more attuned in this regard than I am.

    Many of the public courts I play on have no center strap at all and are noticeably too high; I have my own center strap for those occasions.
     
  5. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Yeah. It's very clearly a rule of tennis, and not some obscure appendix or suggestion buried somewhere in the back. I suspect that for the simple reason that they are greater than zero dollars to own, require more effort than nothing to use, and aren't required to hit the ball back and forth over the net while keeping score, most people just choose not to use them, or simply have no idea they exist.

    Even people who have been watching tennis and playing for their whole life might not even know they exist, for several of the above reasons, and maybe more.

    In my opinion, the rules take precedent over common behavior, but in my experience, that's not always possible to implement, and not always savory.

    Use the quote feature. It's ambiguous who you're referring to.

    Singles sticks are used every day all over the world by rec players, clubs, tournaments, and professional tennis organizations. They are massed produced products and ready to buy. To suggest I'm the only one using them is way off--but I agree with the rest of your post, so I'm wondering if I'm just misunderstanding you here.

    The Flex League I play in is self regulated. You can file a grievance or raise concerns to the official body if you want. And if I was part of an organized team league (not sure how it's different, due to lack of experience) I would relish in the opportunity of having an official body attempt to argue that I was not allowed to play by the rules of tennis because my opponent objects :twisted:. That would be a sweet occasion, for sure.

    My take: If you're ignorant to the singles sticks rule, and feel uncomfortable, and you're given the option to decline, go for it. Decline. But, once you know about them, it's your responsibility to either use them, or accept that you might be at a disadvantage if someone brings them.

    My second take: If someone decides to decline the sticks again (which I'm sure will happen one day), I will immediately walk to the center strap and adjust it up by five inches. Surely he will look at me like I have three heads. "I don't want to play with the net this low. I feel like that would give you an advantage. I never play like this." (obviously five inches is for dramatic effect)
     
  6. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    We aren't talking about a Wimbledon semifinal here. It's a flex league - happy fun time tennis in most communities. To say, "you have to play by the rules if one player wants to use them" is just not the case.

    What do you think will happen when someone tells him "no"? Do you think that they will be defaulted because they aren't following the rules? Not going to happen. The only thing that will happen is that he will have to put them back in his bag.

    That being said, I have no problem with singles sticks. I'm sure as hell not going to be the one that brings them to flex league though. In my book this is about the same as showing up decked out from head to toe in a complete Federer or Nadal kit. Nothing technically wrong but I would rather not be "that guy" that is just a little too into flex league.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2013
  7. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    What other rules should be overlooked in a flex league?

    ..and HEY! I think I look very dapper in my Fed outfit...
     
  8. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    As I said, playing with singles sticks wouldn't bother me a bit. It is a matter of context. To make it an issue in a flex league is comical to me.

    I have had people call balls out in flex league and then say, "oops, that was in. Let's play a let". No problem. I have had people hit their first serve in the net, leave the ball at the service line when it rolls back, then have my return hit the ball. "Let's play a let". No problem. I'm going to roll with it in a flex league.

    But there is always someone that is all about flex league playing by the rules. They never played "real" competitive tennis and now flex league is their place to shine. Refuse to play with my singles sticks more than once and I will make a scene - it's in the rulebook after all.

    I don't care if this means that I won't get invited to the cool parties. First you ignore the singles sticks, next you are taking down a liquor store. Where does it end?
     
  9. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    When I suggested you are the only one using them, I mean as far as American rec league tennis goes... I've never seen anyone else use them. And judging from the other commenters, that seems to be most if not all other peoples' experience. I don't know where Gotham City is (where you are purportedly from). I assumed it was a fictional place, but perhaps it is in fact real.

    As for self-regulation, I was specifically referring to USTA flex leagues. I am aware there are other leagues out there, the USTA being the most recognized and may even have the name "flex leagues" copyrighted, not 100% sure about that. So, that's great that you can appeal to an official body. Based on your perseverance through 6 pages of comments, you no doubt feel strongly about it, so go for it? Keep us posted on how that goes :)
     
  10. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    You play on the courts you are assigned to play on. I've played on courts with chain link nets that weren't the right height, courts with lines drawn improperly, etc. I don't think that an outside player should insist that they measure and draw new lines on the court, or put a new net on the court and that the home team should have to abide by that.
     
  11. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Flex just refers to the flexibility of the scheduled matches, not the competitive level or the seriousness level. We all love it and we're there to compete, in good nature.

    USTA leagues are definitely a different level of organization of prestige, but I'm not sure the "will to compete" is that much different. Maybe I'm wrong, who knows?!

    You know what guy I'd rather not be? The guy who shows up in a cotton tee, denim shorts, a fisherman's cap, two small bottles of water and a peeled orange. The same guy who stops between every point to get his towel, lol.

    No thanks. I'll wear my sports attire and be "that guy," as opposed to "that guy." Lol.

    Haha! I'm enjoying your contribution. I believe that the OP is somewhat responsible for curating his thread and keeping it moving forward. When the conversation naturally dries up, so be it.

    Gotham City is the fictional stomping grounds of Batman, the DC Comics character. Clearly I'm just playin' around with that, and my avatar. I play in central Florida, USA. It's very competitive here. Even informal "ladders" are extremely serious here.

    And you know, since I'm being challenged, maybe I will write an email to Ultimate Tennis and see if they can add it to the rules. They do in fact dictate who brings the balls, and in some areas, who keeps the balls after the match. Lol.
     
  12. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    Just imagine if the pros didn't use the singles sticks how much it would change the game. Many more pros would be hitting down the line, which would render the crosscourt strategy a little more hard to stick with and would definitely keep some players from running around their BH's as much. Even if it is only about a 3" difference between using sticks and not using them when hitting down the line, I could see it definitely changing the game a little.
     
  13. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    Since the most of the recreational players play on the courts without them, it is a petty futile attempt to gain advantage by forcing people to use them.

    I could not think a good about the person who carries them around and insists on using them on a recreational level.
     
  14. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    What advantage is there? Wouldn't it be the same for both players?
     
  15. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    You mind if I adjust the center strap down a few inches? I'm not used to playing with it this high. And I hope you don't mind ... I brought this: *turns on boombox, Lamb of God Death-Sentence Remix (in Portuguese) :twisted:
     
  16. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    Excellent! I'm looking forward to it. :)
     
  17. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    It's a 1 inch difference, and would not change the game all that much in terms of strategy. Pros usually hit with quite a bit of net clearance. But it would impact the odd point here and there.
     
  18. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    Just playing devil's advocate a bit, but still....

    From the opponent's perspective, what it seems like you're doing is basically saying "you know this one aspect of the game that is a rule, but is also not commonly used? Yeah, you're going to need to adapt to that NOW, while playing me and keeping score, even though I play that way all the time and am much more used to it than you."

    The idea that someone might not completely appreciate that is, again, not that hard to comprehend. Or I guess for some people it is, but I'm not sure why.
     
  19. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Most people have a problem with your approach rather than the issue itself.

    So now you are at least considering something constructive. You play in a flex league in which singles sticks are almost never used. Having it addressed within the league rules (along with who brings the balls) is a more mature approach.

    Deciding you will surprise people with them when you play only creates conflict. It doesn't make the match or league experience better. In the end, you should be looking to solve a problem rather than create one (even though it is a problem that most don't think needs solving).
     
  20. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    This. +1. 10sticks
     
  21. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Thanks, Sunday, but did you read the OP? there is no surprise in my approach. Well before the match, in emails, texts or on the phone, I mention that I'm willing to bring this gear, and I give them the final say.

    i have clarified that at least three times nows (but it is a long thread, so no worries). i really dont see the issue with offering and defering the decision, before we ever see each other on the court. i think people might be conflating the theory being discussed here, with the reality of what I've described in my flex league.

    I like the rules approach, with the league, but people cant even follow the line calling rules. im sure many wont even read them! you think they will care if I cite the league rules as opposed to the tennis rules? just curious.

    *excuse this post, please. typed from my mobile.
     
  22. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    I really don't understand, why do you make such a big deal about something so insignificant. Just play without them. You are not a pro.
     
  23. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Says the guy who regularly argues on a message board :twisted:

    Look, man: if you're annoyed by the discussion, just bow out. I won't mind.

    There is no big deal being made--none at all, actually--not by me anyway. We're just talking; cultivating the interest in tennis present by this community.

    How much did your racquet(s) cost? Why bother? You're not pro. Go get the $15 Wilson at Walmart. Do you buy new balls? Why bother? You're not pro. Why the hell do any of us bother with half the shizzle on this forum or out there on the court?
     
  24. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    If I crack a ball down the line that just clears the net - I'd like the satisfaction of knowing that it is a regulation shot - whereas it wasn't good just because the net was too low.

    I just like knowing that I'm doing things according to the rules of the game - but I get that not everyone is that persnickety.

    I think in general we live in a society where rules 'don't apply to me', and that mentality has permeated into athletic endeavors also.
     
  25. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If you're never going to play a sanctioned singles, match where the sticks are used, don't worry about it and ignore this thread.
     
  26. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Amazing advice!
     
  27. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    Apples and oranges. These things matter and make a difference for recreational players. Singles Sticks really don't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2013
  28. Chico

    Chico Banned

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    BTW, do you really have 2HFH? Interesting.

    I am 4.0 as well, but the rest is complete opposite of you. Lefty, 1HFH and 1HBH.
     
  29. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Well, this is an amazing thread..

    Every tournament I play uses singles sticks and we also use them in most interclub matches. (there is one club that doesn't seem to have any!)

    I understand it probably isn't that common at rec level, but it's hardly an obscure rule!

    I have no idea why anyone would ever object to their use, I mean, what's your problem? Are you happy to call any serve that's an inch out good as well?

    ok, rant over, carry on :)
     
  30. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Yes. There are plenty of instances where I play the 1HFH, but the 2HFH is my primary weapon on the FH wing.

    My father-in-law, who I play often, is like you: 4.0, lefty, 1H on both sides.

    Thanks, Timbo! It's cool to hear someone with so much experience with them. I agree that it's not an obscure rule, but in some areas it appears to be completely absent from common tennis knowledge.
     
  31. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    Several of us on this thread have had the same question:confused:
     
  32. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    To date, only four in the poll voted that they'd object to their use. Many/most simply amused that someone would bother to bring them to a public court.
     
  33. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Update -- A Response from the League

    My Flex League responded when I asked them about singles sticks:

    When a rule is not covered in our support center, we defer to the USTA Friend At Court rules which do address the height of the net and the use of singles sticks. Players may certainly measure the center of the net to make sure it is the correct height for play and adjust the center strap if necessary. If you have access to singles sticks and would like to use them, your opponent can not decline the use of them as long as they are 3.5 ft tall and placed 3 feet outside the singles sideline. However, since they are not provided at all facilities, we do not require players to have them in order to play the match.
    It would appear that if one person wants to use them, and they're available, the opponent cannot decline their use. Clearly, this is just for our league here, but I'm inclined to think that this would be the same decision for all leagues that defer to the USTA Friend At Court.

    So there you go!
     
  34. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    Haha, nice!
     
  35. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    I knew you'd get a kick out of that.
     
  36. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    There have now been two people to decline the use of singles sticks, in my experience (even though you technically cannot decline them).

    Interesting. I thought I'd share.
     
  37. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Do you carry a printout of the rule that shows they cannot decline? If I were to play a guy who wanted to put them up I'd ask to see the rule saying I cannot decline his installing them for our match. Kinda like a cop asking to search the premises. I'd ask for a warrant.

    Then again I think I'd be so awed by seeing someone with singles sticks I'd have to try them.
     
  38. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    No, of course I don't! Ha. Declining singles sticks is similar to saying I'm not allowed to adjust the center strap to 36" if it's too high or too low. It's a rule of tennis just like anything else, however; I always leave it as an option for my opponent (even though it's technically not optional if they are available).

    That last sentence is the general sentiment. Every pro match you've ever seen has used a singles net; whether it be singles posts inside the alleys, or singles sticks. Most of the guys I play with watch pro tennis, at least on some level, and still I've never met a person who (a) noticed the net, or (b) knew the use of singles sticks is a rule of tennis.
     
  39. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    If you're playing a sanctioned match and it's going to count towards a national ranking they should be used. I doubt your flex league match or rec singles will be used for that. The placement of the sticks at sanctioned tournaments is done by the officials not by the players. I applaud your adhering to the proper net height at all times and it will pay off in the long run. I have a pair of portable ones I practice with prior to sanctioned tournaments and if you're practicing with a tournament player he will know and appreciate using them and the reason why. At the rec level nearly no one knows what the hell they are and would think you were daft if you pulled them out without an explanation of their purpose prior to entering into an agreement to play the match beforehand.
     
  40. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Yep ^

    No officials at our flex league matches, obviously. Players are responsible for enforcing the rules on the court, honor system style. I typically correspond with email communication, at which point I will mention the singles sticks.
     

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