STACKING: Legal, Illegal, or Just Frowned Upon

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by innoVAShaun, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    My friend's USTA Team lost their match 2-3 the other day. We all suspected that the other team stacked against them because they obviously threw both their #1 singles and #1 doubles courts.

    For those of us familiar with stacking, typically #1 courts are supposed to be the strongest of the lineup and so forth.

    Lets just say my team is Team A and the opponents were Team B. Here were the scores...

    #1 Singles: A def. B, 6-1, 6-2
    #2 Singles: B def. B, 6-4, 6-0
    #1 Doubles: A def. B, 6-0, 6-0
    #2 Doubles: B def. A, 6-2, 6-3
    #3 Doubles: B def. A, 6-1, 6-0

    Would you agree that Team B stacked? Is there any USTA documentation stating that stacking is legal or illegal? What are your thoughts.
     
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  2. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I think what you would need to do is look in the tennislink and match results to see if some of the people at #2 singles and #2/3 doubles normally play higher. I don't know if it is illegal though. Most of our doubles players move throughout the spots each week.

    Sometimes a team will just put a weaker player at a line it expects to lose. Our opponent did that last week to us, we had a good match up @ 1 singles (although we lost) and my opponent was playing his first singles match ever, to give them a better match up @ #2

    we won 3-2 but in the end unless you see a team fielding the same lines week after week, there is always a little manipulation going on prior to the start of play
     
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  3. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    USTA regulations make it clear that teams need not field their line in order of strength. Therefore:

    Legal?: Yes
    Frowned Upon?: Depends on your region

    In Norcal men's leagues it is pretty much expected. Women tend to play more straight up.
     
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  4. goober

    goober Legend

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    yup totally legal. There is no such thing as stacking according to the USTA since lines have nothing to do with strength of players. It makes you wonder though, why don't the name lines something else like colors instead of #1, 2 and 3 if they felt this way? Best way to deal with this is just play random order every match so you don't have to worry about if the team is stacking or whether or not you should stack to counter their stack :)
     
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  5. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    More details:

    Team B's #2 Singles guy is currently 6-0 (only giving up 13 games with all matches having at least a Bagels and/or Hot Dog) and has played #1 singles twice and #2 singles four times.

    Team B's #3 Doubles is 3-2 as a tandrum and has played court #1 twice, #2 twice and #3 once.
    Player 1 only plays with player 2.
    Player 2 has a 2-0 singles record playing #1 once and #2 once.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
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  6. Kostas

    Kostas Semi-Pro

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    It's just strategy. Most captains that have more than 1 season under their belt are aware of this and how it works.

    You have to expect stacking alot and you can counter it by stacking yourself our reverse stacking. Some people just prefer to play straight up because trying to guess what the opposing captain will do and what you can do to counter it will drive you crazy.
     
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  7. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    What Kyle and Goober said.

    I'm experimenting this season with a new strategy:

    For all our matches so far, I have ordered my lineup as consistently as possible. So I'm hoping that opposing teams are taking note and start making assumptions. Then, towards the end of the season when things come down to the wire and we have a must-win match... BAM - that's when we will switch it up and hopefully end up with favorable matchups when we need it most.

    All part of the strategy of team tennis.
     
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  8. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    Chess Match it is!!!
     
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  9. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    of course the best way to counter this is with depth

    we change weekly and only have to worry about 1-2 players on the roster, doesn't mean we'll always win, but allows us some flexibility to create a roster each week.

    I've made it a point not to worry where I'm playing, I show up am told what court to play on and if I'm playing singles/doubles
     
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  10. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    USTA *says* there's no such thing as stacking, blah blah blah. But their own rules betray them.

    The rule says you have to default the lowest court. If court number has nothing to do with strength, then why not let captains default whatever court they want?

    No good reason.

    If they are going to do away with the custom that stronger players are on higher courts, then they should do away with it *completely.* As it stands, the vestiges of the old customs make my life as captain difficult, as players still believe that being on Court Three means I think they are weak, and being on Court One means I think they are strong.
     
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  11. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^^Good Point! I like that.

    I've always considered myself, "A Strong Court #3." Guess it doesn't matter.
     
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  12. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    There is no objective way for a captain to determine the strength of their players because the USTA refuses to tell them their players' dynamic ratings. So really it can't be on the captains to line up their players by strength.

    But I think it is better when captains use their best judgement to order their lineups by strength because it yields more competitive matches. That is the goal of NTRP league play, right?

    When I was playing 3.0 I got put at #2 singles and #3 doubles alot which was annoying. Now at 4.0 I am put at #1 singles. Go figure.
     
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  13. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    I'd like to see the stats on the number of players getting dropped a level. With the free-for-all that happens now no one gets bumped down.
    It used to be a strong 3.5 didn't have to drill some poor bumped up 3.0, his team's #3 Dbls players took care of the light work. I'm sick of drubbing players that can't keep the ball in play.
    In the strength sheet days if you won 75% of your matches at #1 you moved up. If you lost 75% at #3 you went down.
    It made more sense.
    Robby C
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
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  14. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    The color idea and the random playing ideas are OK. But the solution to the issue is to have a round robin style of play.
     
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  15. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    There is no order of strength in those numbers.

    A) Captains are not always right about who they perceive as the best even if they think they are stacking anyway

    B) We're all supposed to be at about the same level. So whining because one team happens to have a great record and is not at #1 is pointless.

    I stack a lot in doubles when I notice that a team that Im playing is pretty consistant about fielding the same doubles team at #1, and they seem to be unbeatable. (usually because they have the experience and the skill for it and whoever I have available may not matchup well)

    Just because I know I have a doubles team that is our team's best doesnt mean that they match up with another team's "best" so that's where the stacking comes in for me. (I might as well give them a fair shot at winning)

    Id never do it though against a evenly matched team or against a weaker team, in our area every court matters and we want a shot at winning every court. In fact one of the excuses for doing it our way (where every court counts as a point) is that it lessoned the need for stacking.
     
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  16. goober

    goober Legend

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    Round robin play for leagues? I am not sure how that can be accomplished in a 2 hour time slot unless you are going to rotate every set.
     
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  17. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    You'd have to get creative, say the doubles players play 6 games then rotate. Then add up the games. The singles players could play a whole set then rotate. There would have to be a point system, but it could be worked out.
     
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  18. ChipNCharge

    ChipNCharge Professional

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    Stacking sucks. Last Saturday my partner and I played line 1 doubles in our men's 4.0 USTA match. The other team obviously put their worst two possible players -- a couple of weak 3.5s -- at line 1. They put their best team at line 2, and their next best team at line 3.

    My partner and I had a quick win. It was ugly. It wasn't fun for any of the four players on the court. And yes, our team won the overall match 4-1.
     
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  19. cak

    cak Professional

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    I'm pretty sure that would be a free for all, with one captain wanting to default their 1st doubles, and the other wanting to default their third doubles.

    I haven't seen a match where a line is defaulted and they aren't allowed to move their players. Recently we had to default a singles line, and the other team just switched their singles players because one had a time limit to make a kid's concert. You tend to announce the default before exchanging lines. But in general, we tend to put the people that are happy to go home at third doubles in case of defaults.
     
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  20. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I've played in a league that has a round robin format... rather than hijack this thread, I've started a new thread to describe it. Comments are welcome...
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    That would be OK.

    First, if the captains inform each other of the defaults before exchanging, they could just agree to default No. 3.

    Even if the two captains defaulted different courts, you'd still have a team match for best 2 of 3. The other players who received a default could play for fun.

    As it stands, it is insane to put your strongest team in Doubles Three because you risk they'll receive a default. Which only encourages captains to play according to strength.

    I've always thought the real answer was simply to make some courts more valuable than others. You make No. 1 worth more than No. 3 and you'll end stacking overnight, and everyone would get more competitive matches.

    Heh, heh. I remember my No. 1 6.5 doubles team wiped out their opponents -0 and -1. Imagine their dismay when they found they had whipped two 2.5 players.
     
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  22. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I play strong teams on line 3 - it makes it harder for opponents to predict my line-up. Worst case, if they win by default they still get a win, which is why I played them there in the first place.
     
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  23. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Just win, baby by any means necessary.
     
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  24. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    LOL... It is Illegal to stack the lineup in USTA. If you get too many complaints, the team can be penalized.
     
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  25. goober

    goober Legend

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    LOL- you have no idea of what you are talking about.

    nihil novi sub sole
     
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  26. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Its already been said but bears repeating that stacking is neither legal or illegal. It isn't either of those things because it doesn't even exist.

    Stacking can't exist because the singles and doubles lines on a lineup do NOT equate to player strength. They just don't, so there is no reason to get worked up over something that doesn't exist unless you like to get upset over the boogie man or the Easter bunny.
     
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  27. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

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    I don't know where you got your information fed, but check out this link to the USTA website:

    http://www.usta.com/USTA/Global/Act... A Interpretations Final as of 11 3 08.ashx

    Check out page 12 of 16:
    Q: Can a section or district require play in order of strength?
    A: No. A local rule requiring play in order of strength is in violation of the national regulations. Any rule dealing with this issue needs to be removed from your section, area, or local rules.
     
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  28. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I didn't think there was any way for my opinion of the quality of your posts to get any lower and yet here we are.
     
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  29. don_nguyen11490

    don_nguyen11490 Rookie

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    Nobody ever gets mad if an NBA or football team throws in all their very best players in the last quarter.
     
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  30. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Over 20 yrs ago, our district had the stacking rule, line-up according to strength. USTA overruled that.
     
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  31. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    What was the reasoning for this??
     
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  32. amarone

    amarone Semi-Pro

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    I agree - specifying an order ensures that defaults stack up against each other.

    This is fine if you haven't exchanged lineups, but once you have, you cannot move players around.
     
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  33. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    This is an interesting idea, but I don't think it would be that good. So if winning court #1 had more weight than winning court #3, then teams with a couple of very strong players would have an advantage over teams with good depth. I think the teams with depth should have a fair shot by going for the 3-2 win, and I think it would be unfair if they won 3-2, yet still lost the match because they lost the top 2 courts.
     
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  34. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure, enforcing it? We had teams file a grievance on that rule. Funny, we had a league match last nite, aligned to strength by both teams.
     
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  35. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    How could that stacking rule possibly be enforced? How can they prove that one player/pair is better than another?
     
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  36. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    It depends on what your priorities are.

    If your priorities are to ensure that the team with the most "depth" wins the team match, then you are correct.

    If your priorities are to increase the chances that everyone will have the most competitive match possible, then you would endorse such a proposal.

    Frankly, I think the tail is starting to wag the dog in USTA. USTA should be about ensuring that tens of thousands of tennis players get competitive matches. Everything should revolve around that desired outcome. Post-season play and Nationals involve a tiny percentage of USTA participants, so structuring local league play with an eye toward what will happen at Nationals is kind of silly, IMHO.

    So in Adult Spring play with five courts, maybe the courts would be valued thusly:

    Singles 1: 3 points
    Singles 2: 2 points

    Doubles 1: 3 points
    Doubles 2: 2 points
    Doubles 3: 1 point

    No chance of a tie because 11 points are at stake.

    The funny thing is that a team could win the team match by fielding just three players and winning both No. 1 positions!
     
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  37. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    The only kind of enforceable anti-stacking rule that you could have would be that lower-rated players have to be on lower courts.

    So if you are playing 7.5 combo, you couldn't put a 7.5 pair on Court Two and a 7.0 pair on Court One.

    I would support such a rule.
     
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  38. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I just think its so wrong that you can go 3-2 and still lose the match. The only use for this kind of point system should be for determining team ranking when it comes to which team wins the league/advances to playoffs or advances from a round robin (in the event of a tie), but not to affect the overall win/loss of a match.

    That way there is incentive to stack lineups appropriately in that it will pay off if you are tied with another team in overall wins.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
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  39. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I would agree with that rule as well. But since the majority of players are still at level, it wouldn't have all that much impact on the competitive of matches throughout the league.
     
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  40. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    If there are 10 teams in a flight and only the top two advance, then at least half the teams know going in they have no chance of advancing. Those teams would not be at all interested in accumulating points for playoff rankings and suchlike.

    Perhaps it is counterintuitive that winning 2 courts could be enough to win the team match.

    But it is not crazy. It's just different from what you are used to. I think that if you had no knowledge of USTA and were joining tomorrow and I told you about this point system, you would nod and not think anything of it.

    Think how cool it would be to know that if you step out onto the court ot play No. 1 Singles, you are going to get a seriously tough match instead of some wide-eyed player who is being sacrificed.
     
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  41. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I could live with this, because I'm annoyed at the frequent mismatches all because of captains fiddling with lineups, but I'm thinking about all the captains out there. I can imagine the resistance over this type of system for determining team wins. Captains would go crazy.
     
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  42. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    How about using your record from both this and last yr to determine your team rating. We were always aware of this rule and moved teams around and played with several partners.
     
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  43. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm not following you. Do you mean doubles pairs, or how the team as a whole did?
     
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  44. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Doubles pairs
     
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  45. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    I have a Really important question. So Stacking is not illegal. This means ONE thing. This means that Burden of matching up guys in doubles against other team falls on the Captains.
    A Good Captain then Would have to ADJUST and MATCH the stacking tactics Done by the other team.

    STACKING = CHEATING THAT IS NOT ENFORCED.

    But then Captains Can't change the Lineups after the Lineup is written down. So does this mean Captain should always wait for the other Captain so he can see what is going on and STUDY the other team so he knows who is stronger and Who isn't ????????????

    And does this mean we should Just assume the other team is Stacking and JUST STACK OUR LINEUP ALL THE TIME ???
    See these are the Stupid Arguments and problem that we run into with teams that Stack.........
     
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  46. cak

    cak Professional

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    Once upon a time USTA decided to come up with a system that would provide competitive matches for people playing tennis at all levels. They decided to implement NTRP, which would rate people according to their tennis abilities. Then they set up tournaments and leagues to allow friendly competition between folks at the same ratings, with the plan that by definition those with the same ratings would provide good, competitive matches.

    Now the complaint is within these bands of ratings people still aren't getting competitive matches. I'm guessing the powers that be are spending any effort to fix that on tweaking the ratings system, rather than setting another system on top of the ratings system.
     
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  47. CrocodileRock

    CrocodileRock Rookie

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    That isn't funny Cindy; it's insane. And even if both teams play order of strength in all five lines, there's no guarantee that any of the matches will be competitive.
     
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  48. BiGGieStuFF

    BiGGieStuFF Hall of Fame

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    People complaining about stacking have no sense of strategy. I think the USTA welcomes it. otherwise why wouldn't they allow changes in the line-up after it's been handed in?

    It'd be silly not to stack every now and then especially if you know your competition. NOt stacking from time to time is the equivalent of letting kobe bryant guard shaq 1 on 1 and never making an adjustment.

    Scout your competition, learn their habits if you can. USTA league is as much stategy and tactics as it is skill and player personnel.

    If you don't have the players to go head on with the best teams then you have to adjust to give your team a chance to win.
     
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  49. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    Does anyone else remember the survey the USTA sent out about 2-3 years ago asking if lineups are being done according to strength. I left most of them "I don't know" answers. I wish I'd taken that back.

    Back to playing more chess...
     
    #49
  50. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    How would you ever prove another team had or had not stacked their lineup, if all ratings were the same? Another team might think Team Yellow if my strongest, but I might have information to the contrary. In one Interclub tennis we have to go by order of strength, but even then each captain sets the order of strength from the beginning - it's not set by NTRP rating. Even so, any player can play one line up or one line down.
     
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