Switching USTA league partners mid-season

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Nor'easter, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter New User

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    My doubles partner and I (both strong 3.5's) are currently playing on a newly formed 4.0 team. We have been playing together for the last year in various club leagues at position 1 and have had a winning record. Our goal for this season was to be competitive, improve our game and hopefully be bumped up to 4.0 as a result. Thus far our USTA record mid-season is 3-2; one win at each of the dubs positions 1-3...winning the last 3 matches so we are building good momentum. Our losses have been in tiebreak's but that's besides the point. Our team is sitting mid-pack in our flight. Here is the dilema-our 4.0 rated players are having competitive matches but are losing mainly because they do not have steady partners. My partner who is the co-captain of the 4.0 team is proposing that we split and partner with one of the losing 4.0 players to see if we can help them get a win to help boost morale. Ironically, one of the losing 4.0 players is the captain of our team. I am a team player but feel like this might be a bad idea~ splitting up a winning pair to be charitable to those who are losing. Please advise. Thank you!
     
  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I understand the value of sticking with one partner, but my personal opinion is that I don't want one steady and regular partner. I want to be able to play with a variety of people. I think it is better for the development of my tennis, both in stroke mechanics and tactically.

    Besides, wouldn't playing with just one person all the time get a little boring?

    Also, you never know. There might be someone out there who is an even better match for you. You'll never know unless you play with others.

    As a captain, this issue does come up and it is difficult. I like to have players play with different people unless they have a really strong established partnership. I tend to experiment a bit when we are playing a weak team. If I just paired people based on my hunches and kept them together week after week, I might not stumble upon good pairings.

    I have some players who have told me they don't like this and I do what I can to accommodate them, but they have to understand that there are some folks who don't want to play with *them*, so availability issues may mean they have multiple partners over the course of a season. It's *complicated.*

    That said, if your goal is to win, then you could perhaps lobby to stay with your regular partner.
     
  3. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    You and your buddy are an established team, and winning.

    Your teammates are losing mainly because they do not have steady partners.

    I agree that if you and your buddy split up it would help morale. NOT because you'd help the other guys win, but because then the team would lose every line. It can't be any fun for the 4.0 guys to be losing when they play with each other, and to look over and see the two 3.5 guys winning when they play together!

    If you really think that you two win when you play together because there are benefits to having established partners (and I agree with that), then the "fix" as I see it is for the rest of your team to form established partnerships as much as possible. Practice together, drill together, play practice matches together, iron out your signals and who plays what side, etc, etc.
     
  4. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter New User

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    Cindy I am a loyal follower of your posts, so I appreciate you taking time to reply. You too Geezer.

    Unfortunately we have a rag tag team of doubles players. Our singles players are solid and winning. Yes, scheduling and availabilty have contributed to the hodge podge pairings week to week. We play club with these players so we are on friendly terms.

    So there are a number of scenarios that might unfold if we decide to switch. My partner and I may win or lose with our new partners. The winners will feel elated, the losers not so much. This may result in ill-feelings toward the partner that agreed to switch. The former loser who now won may want to continue playing with the new partner. Where does this leave the former partner who was winning before the switch. So many variables to consider.


    I am certainly in this to win! My partner and I have spent countless hours drilling and playing matches to groove our game together. I think there is little hope for significant improvement amongst the random pairings since the season will be over in 4 weeks. At this point they show up racquet in hand week to week, not much practicing in between.

    I agree that playing with others gives one a different perspective of the game. I enjoy doing so. Perhaps a better time to do it is during pick up matches or club league season. The fact that the Tennislink results are so transparent motivates me even more to see my name in the winning team's column. I am going to lobby to stay with my partner.

    Thanks again for any advice!
     
  5. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    If you and your partner practice together, you're MUCH more likely to win together. Let THAT be the motivation for your teammates.

    In my experience, there are VERY FEW players that can play USTA League tennis once a week and win - without picking up a racquet the other 6 days of the week. If you partner with one of them, your opponents will soon figure out who the weak link is and target that player. I think it's very unlikely that you will be able to carry a partner like that to a victory.
     
  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Nor'easter, thanks for the kind words.

    I guess the main difficulty now is one of diplomacy: How do you successfully communicate to your captain that you'd prefer not to be split up without offending him? And how do you avoid getting overruled?

    On my 4.0 team last year, there were a whole bunch of 3.5 players. And there were two crazy-strong 4.0s. At first, my captain partnered the two 4.0s for doubles. They won every match, losing very few games in the process. Meanwhile, we were getting killed on the other courts.

    He decided that the two strong players shouldn't partner anymore. He started using them in singles or giving them strong 3.5 partners. This seemed to work, and we were a tad more competitive.

    After the season, I talked with one of them and learned she wouldn't be returning the next year (the other one was bumped to 4.5). She was really resentful about the forced split. Rather than winning and having fun matches against other strong opponents on Doubles One, she was being forced to play singles or carry a weaker partner. What I never learned was the extent to which she and her partner took a stand.

    The point of the story is that you probably shouldn't take "no" for an answer. Most captains would probably prefer two strong players to stick around as partners than risk that they will take their business elsewhere. If your captain chooses to be unreasonable, then maybe you will have to captain your own team next year . . . .
     
  7. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter New User

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    I had a nice heart to heart with my partner/team co-captain this morning. It appears that she is feeling some pressure from the captain to mix things up to help build confidence in those who have not been so successful this season. The capatain is a recently bumped up 4.0 player. Interestingly she has had a losing record no matter where she plays; USTA, club leagues...mainly because she has no steady partner and a very strong and sometimes abrasive personality to boot!

    There is no guarantee that switching will result in winning. My partner and I both agreed that the mid-season switch is a bad idea for all of the reasons mentioned in previous posts. We don't want to disrupt our momentum and confidence-we are building steam as the season unfolds. We even played line 1 (we won) thinking we would be sacrificial lambs so that our 4.0's could win in line 2 and 3. The only other winning pair is another strong 3.5 team that have been playing regulary for the past 3 years.

    So the familiar theme is that steady, dedicated partnerships result in winning. We will encourage our teammates to practice more and hopefully groove their game with someone that will result in a long term arrangement.

    Ego's and unrealistic expectations are adding to the unending drama on this ladie's USTA 4.0 team.

    Play on!
     
  8. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    Whenever I'm asked to try new partners, I ask to practice together before we play a league match. Find out if it works.
    I prefer longterm partnerships. They are valuable in tough matches.
    Robby C
     

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