USTA League Lineup

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by brad1730, May 6, 2010.

  1. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    I'm sorry if this is a repeat, but we're having a tough time deciding our team lineup. Out of 13 guys on the team, we have about 5 strong players, 3 or 4 decent players, and the rest could use a little practice. The decision on 'singles' is easy, but we can't decide...

    1) should we put our 2 best doubles players in as #1, and have a good chance of winning. Put the next best players in at #2 and have a 50/50 chance of winning, and put 2 other guys in at #3 win a low chance of winning

    -or-

    2) spread out our strong players, and try to win more doubles matches, but also risk the chance of getting swept.

    Thanks!!
     
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  2. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    You should play doubles lineups that are comfortable playing with each other. If you don't have established doubles teams, then I think you need to start there before you worry too much about winning team matches.

    Personally, I play my best doubles team at 1, my next best at 2, and so on.
     
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  3. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    If you think you have two strong singles players, try to win both singles and one doubles.

    For doubles, I would take my next two strongest players and put them together. Then the next two strongest, and finally the two least strongest.

    I would NOT mix strong and weak players in doubles in the hope that the strong one can carry the weak one. It doesn't work. The short-term result of doing this is the strong one misses from trying to do too much, and the weak one misses from trying to hide. The long-term result is that the stronger players leave for teams where they will have stronger partners.
     
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  4. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    My co-captain said the same thing as the 2 comments above. I just feel bad for the guys at #3 doubles, and feel that I should jump in. Not the best strategy though. Thanks.
     
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  5. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Once factor that weighs heavily in my decisions, all other things being equal, is court coverage. I like to pair speedsters with those not quite so fleet of foot. This tactic has worked out pretty well.
     
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  6. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I couldn't disagree any more with Cindy on this. All 3 doubles lines count the same- why on earth would you use your 2 top players to take one line and try and use your 2 weakest players to take one line when both of them count the same? I'd split my best 2 players and give the best guy the partner that compliments his game the best. Then pair up the next strongest guy with the partner that compliments their game the best. Then pick the next best player and give him the partner you think compliments their game the best. Put strong players with someone who works well with them and to me it makes the lineup stronger up and down. But then again in our league total wins that matter (so taking all 5 is a big advantage) and team wins are just a head to head tiebreaker.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
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  7. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Reasonable minds can differ, of course.

    The reason I pair strong with strong is just that is what has worked when I have done line-ups. You put two weak players together and they will often surprise you. I don't know why this is.

    It could be that they are both more mentally flexible -- if pushing and dinking is what is needed to win, that's what they will do. Or maybe it is because stronger players get frustrated at their partner's problems and mentally stop looking for creative ways to win. Or maybe the weaker player defers so much that the strong player is essentially playing Canadian.

    What I do know is that *any* doubles match with a strong and weak player turns into Xtreme Keep-Away. Better to put those strong players together, win that court, and hope your weak players will Step It Up.
     
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  8. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Dont split up the good players put them together.

    While you may worry about the positions where there are two weaker players you will at least have some happy people out there....

    (mixing levels doesnt work, they'll just pick on the weakest player and the stronger player will stand around and not see any balls..... dont put put in that situation!)
     
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  9. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Id really hate to agree with Cindy in any way, but the flaw in your logic is this:

    By spreading out your stronger players you are not really giving yourself more wins. Doubles does not work like that. You could just as well be spreading out your chance of losing more depending on who these extra players are.

    Sure if four people are at least good enough that you can make two awesome teams out of it that's great, but at #1 Doubles that player may not be strong enough to win at that position against the other teams.

    So what do you have? If you are talking about the weakest players out there, they generally will not qualify as being anyone that's going to compliment anyone else. (that's why we are saying they are "weak") (especially if you are playing 3.0 or 3.5 or in some cases 4.0)

    And if they are just average or so-so, then why not just put them together then and put them at #2 where they belong? (if they work well together)

    My system is a individual wins it all system as well.

    And what I know is that even average opponents or weak opponents can find 2 strong players for #1 Doubles. (or two people that have been playing together for years and years which makes them formidable)

    So in a lot of cases you need the best #1 Doubles team possible. If you dont have enough players that you feel good about the other positions, then the problem is you dont have enough good players for the other positions.... You're not going to magically fix that by rotating people around....
     
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  10. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Javier- If you go

    11
    22
    33

    I'll counter with

    11 vs 23
    22 vs 12
    33 vs 13

    I'll take 2 of 3 from you every time. All the lines count the same- so many teams make the mistake of putting their best 2 players together as if line 1 matters more and I will never understand it. Just because some teams make the mistake of putting their 2 best players at line 1 doesn't mean that you should get caught up in that arms race. I just don't see the point of trying to match that and using your best 2 players at line 1 to have a 50% chance of taking a point.

    On my team we talk about Tonto's and Lone Rangers. That some people are simply better in the role of being a complimentary player. I just like having the strongest player on the court with a partner who suits their style. I think that most teams ahve a few standout players and then lots of players who I think are mostly equal and it becomes about fit. (Anyone truly weak we would make a sub)
     
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  11. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    It's a tough call. Our 2 guys recently won a doubles tournament, and came in 2nd in the last one. I'm sure they would win most of their matches. And I've seen a lot of teams with a strong/weak combination fail because we just hit to the weaker player.

    On the other hand, with all of the bump-ups this year, I'm not expecting as stiff a competition as last year. We could bag 2 wins if we split them up.

    I'm leaning towards keeping them together.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No, you won't. 'Cause you won't know my court assignments until we exchange line-ups.

    Say I go with:

    22 v. 23
    11 v. 12
    33 vs 13

    I win the team match. Plus all six of my players were on balanced doubles pairs, and no one is blaming anyone for anything. Meanwhile, three of your players have fixed smiles but are secretly wondering why they constantly have to carry such weak partners.

    Cindy -- who doesn't mind having Javier agree with her but wonders why he can't bring himself to do it more often :)
     
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  13. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Cindy- I was responding to Javier talking about how you have to use your 2 best players to have a chance to take line 1 specifically. To me thats nuts- If you know the other team is playing their best 2 people at line 1 then you have a choice. Put your 2 best players at line 1 and have a 50/50 chance of winning or split them and put them at other lines and try and take 2. To me its obvious that when all the lines count the same its ridiculous to put so much firepower trying to take just 1 point.

    Maybe this is a guy/girl thing- but at least for my guys putting a top player with someone who compliments their game works. Hell- the guys who are tontos on our team openly admit to being tontos. And they know that putting 2 tontos together just doesn't work nearly as well for us. When we have a 17 person roster we have lots of complimentary players to choose from.

    Women tend to be more hierarchial in my experience- they feel like girls have "earned" a certain line. But to me that doesn't matter at all- I want guys who's games fit each other the best and I'll spread out my top players.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
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  14. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    You have to figure out when you need your best lineups and what is needed to win those first.

    I would play the better players together, you can always stack them @ 2 or 3 and roll the dice...there's no right or wrong only winning and losing
     
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  15. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I guess it comes down to what is "so much firepower."

    If you really have two players who can double-bagel all comers, then yes it may be a waste to play them together. I find that situation to be quite rare. Even my best two players can run into a buzzsaw and lose. They take it well, knowing my line-up decision gave them the best chance to win.

    Nah, it's not a gender thing. I try to put doubles players together who will compliment one another, obviously.

    But the OP was talking about what to do with weak players, as I read the question. Not someone with one playing style versus another. We're talking about plain old weak v. strong. I would suggest that there is no such thing as a strong player who is complimented by a weak player.

    No, I don't find that at all. Some women want to play Court One so they are more likely to get a challenging match, even if they will lose more. Other women of comparable ability want a lower court to maximize a feel-good win against weak players.

    Even though there is no rule against "stacking", I have found stronger players wind up on Court One a lot. And the reason, I think, is that so many weaker players fear Court One whereas stronger players do not, so the stronger players wind up on Court One almost by default.

    Cindy -- who has had perfectly capable players balk at playing Court One
     
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  16. Doubletime

    Doubletime New User

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    On my teams we settle on one stud for singles who we can count on week in and out for line 1 singles. We do a similar thing for line 1 doubles. We play two seriously strong players at line 1 doubles and usually take that line every week. We can almost always count on those two victories. The other singles line rotates in and out from doubles. Our line 2 and 3 doubles are based on who is available and who has played well together. It's a crap shoot, but it's the same crap shoot that every other team has to deal with.

    Good luck with your team.
     
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