Why do so many opponents call out when the ball strikes the line?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by christo, May 10, 2009.

  1. christo

    christo Hall of Fame

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    What is it about USTA play that makes generally honest players make out calls on balls that strike their side and baselines (especially)? Totally ruins the match as far as I'm concerned. Don't give me the crap about parallax etc. These players are making a conscious decision to NOT give the benefit of the doubt to the opponent.
     
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  2. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    I've been saying for a long time......the closer the match, the worse the vision.
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How do you know the ball was in?
     
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  4. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    If you do not see it out? It is in. Played dubs, server shanks a serve off the top of his racquet. Ball flies over the fence and into a tree. Server pretends he hit an ace and walks over to the other side to serve. I look at my partner, shrug my shoulders, and give him the point.
    His partner falls out laughing. He knows what happened.
     
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  5. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    Some players just have bad eyesight, period. They don't intentionally make bad calls. They call what they see but unfortunately they don't always see where the ball really lands. I know a couple of people that usually wear glasses but don't wear them when playing tennis.
     
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  6. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Sorry you had a bad experience. In my USTA experience, this is very rare. I have found 99% of players to be more than fair.

    Sure there are occasional bad line calls. But I think these are overwhelmingly honest mistakes rather than attempts to cheat. After all, even professional linespeople make mistakes, and they are trained, right on the line, not sweating, and not focusing on getting into position to hit the ball.

    Also, sometimes you might see it in from your side on the court when in reality it was out, especially on the opposite baseline. I mean it's pretty far away, and you dont have a good angle to see it.
     
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  7. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    And I know tons of people that DO wear glasses and they make horrible line calls. Glasses can distort your vision, especially if you have a astigmatism.

    (at least they do that for me, that's why I wear contacts)

    Otherwise I just think a lot of people just suffer from making calls in a manner that is the opposite of what you are supposed to do. They REALLY want it to be out and it's close so their reaction is to call it out.

    There is a difference between a conscious act and a bad habit sometimes. Maybe it's not a good excuse but at least it's better then the occasional ****** who's clearly consciously cheating. (I had one of those, he would call it out either super early or sometimes after it had landed several feet in)
     
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  8. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    There are factors other than parallax and dishonesty that can account for bad calls. One of these is vantage point. Parallax is one aspect of this, proximity is another. Often, when a player is too close to the bounce location, their ability to make an accurate call is seriously compromised. The visual system, specifically the smooth pursuit system, cannot keep up with the flight of the ball when it is very close to us. The same thing happens when we are about to hit the ball -- the ball essentially becomes invisible to the eye/brain shortly before contact. Note, that for a baseball batter facing a 90 MPH pitch, the ball becomes "invisible" about 15 feet before it reaches the batter. The same thing happens to a tennis player hitting a ball or making a line call from a close proximity.

    When a ball exceeds the ability of the smooth pursuit system to track it, the saccadic system is often employ. If the eyes jump ahead of the ball, lying in wait, the eyes/brain can catch a glimpse of the ball location (often just a blur). If the head & eyes are very still when looking at a line (on the court) or looking at a contact point, the ability to make a good contact or to make an accurate call is improved. This is why lines persons are taught to stop tracking the ball and, instead, are told to fix their gaze on the outside edge of the ball, keeping the head & eyes very quiet (very still).

    For a lines person, the vantage point is usually much better than that of a player trying to make a call. The lines person is not too close the bounce location (and they are also in a position which minimizes parallax).

    Our brain lies to us. Quite often, the first accurate picture that the brain sees is not what has really happened. When the ball is bouncing, opponents are often tyrning their heads or moving their eyes to catch a glimpse of the event. If the head or eyes are still moving as the bounce occurs, the opponent probably "sees" the event with the periperal vision. While peripheral vision is extremely good at detecting motion, it is very poor with other details -- such as acuity, color and precise location.

    If the eyes/had of an opponent is moving at the time of an event, then the ball is probably already past the bounce location when their brain is able to process an accurate image of the ball. The image that the opponent sees in their head is that of the ball past the bounce event, not at the actual event. The brain attempts to fill in the lack of information garnered by the peripsheral system. In doing so, an inaccurate image is "seen" by the brain. The brain lies. The player honestly believes that they have witnessed the ball bouncing "out".

    Since you, as a player, are further away from the bounce event, your head & eyes are probably relatively very quiet when witnessing the event. So, even tho' you are further from the bounce event, you will sometimes have a better perspective that an opponent who is moving head or eyes.
    .
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
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  9. benasp

    benasp Semi-Pro

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    Great post on the theorical aspect of line call, this mean that if it's not very out, it's in.

    IMO, this is nearly impossible to accurately judge a serve that land on the line +- about 6 inch.
     
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  10. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    the rule should be: if you don't see it out then it is in.
     
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  11. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    That *is* the rule.
     
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  12. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    yep but unfortunately, some of the people i play with don't play by this rule.
     
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  13. Swissv2

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    You are lucky. 99% of players I have watched, when in a USTA match, will call it out when the ball hits the line.
     
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  14. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Glad we play most of our matches on clay. Tough when your partner sees it out and you can see the mark and it is in.
     
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  15. Swissv2

    Swissv2 Hall of Fame

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    I live in a dry climate, so I am not too fortunate to play on clay. One of these days I want to try it out (grass too :) )
     
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Problem is: this might not be enough. In case you missed it in my long post above, opponents will often be very certain that they see an "in" ball as "out". They truly believe that they saw it "out", so they make the call that way. This has nothing to do with bad eyesight, it has to do with the way our eyes perceive motion in certain situations.

    To be sure that you do not fall into this trap, you should make "out" calls only when you see the complete bounce event in your foveal (central) vision, not your peripheral vision. You should never make an "out" call if either your eyes are moving or your head is turning during the bounce event. If this should happen, ask you partner if he/she saw the bounce clearly. Otherwise, ask you opponent how they saw the ball and accept whatever they say in this situation.
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    But . . . How realistic is this really? I mean, if you are playing a match and especially if you are the player closest to the ball, you will rarely have both your eyes and your head still when a ball bounces.

    I think all you can do is the best you can do. Look for the space between the line and the ball. If you don't see that, just play the ball.

    I will say that people have horrible vision when looking across a line. I have partners who ask me repeatedly whether the serve was long when I'm calling the service line for them. I assume they are asking because they would have called it out and are surprised that I did not.
     
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  18. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    In my 2 1/2 years or so of usta leagues, I've only witnessed maybe 3 definitively bad calls by opponents. I've witnessed countless times where they gave me the benefit of the doubt when I felt they probably won the point. I don't get why you perceive things differently. Maybe you want to believe you are being hooked, whereas I want to believe that the match is played in good faith.
     
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  19. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    agreed. when in doubt play it in.
     
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  20. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Where do you play? I've only played USTA for about 4 years but in that time I could count on one hand and have fingers to spare the guys who have hooked me on line calls.
     
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  21. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    There's a running joke where I live when we are playing a pickup game or tennis block, in which when a ball is close we will say "its good, but out if it was a usta match". Even though we joke about it, as I said its never been a problem in my usta experience.
     
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  22. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    Either you play tennis at a school for the blind or your the one who isnt seeing the lines correctly. over the last 6 years I've probably played 5 people or less who I thought were either blatantly cheating or consistently calling close shots that caught the line out.
     
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  23. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    I find this to be more of a problem when playing usta doubles.

    Also, my eyesight must be pretty bad because when I'm on the "run" and the ball touches the line/or just misses it, it's somewhat of a blurr to me. Can anyone actually see the ball perfectly clear when it lands? So for me, if it's a blur, it's in!
     
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  24. slick

    slick Rookie

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    Most teams I have played are pretty honest.

    However last year in a big regional match my wife who was watching from the fence overheard the one of the members of the doubles team we were playing say to the other to "call any close balls out" and that's what they did. We lost a close match and I didn't find out about the comment until after the match.

    I don't want to win so bad that I will compromise my integrity.
     
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  25. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Played USTA for 23 yrs and not only is this nation full of hookers, so is the Caribbean. Btw, my teammates are hookers.
     
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  26. randomname

    randomname Professional

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    Is this some kind of all-prostitute team?
     
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  27. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Most of us think hookers are lower than any prostitute. Just remember lines are out.
     
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  28. mdthsv

    mdthsv New User

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    Our public courts are 90% clay. This helps in many line calls, but is often used as a crutch for bad calls. Many players do not understand that just because a mark is out, does not mean the ball was out.

    Clay is a wonderful surface for equalizing bad calls because the mark often tells the tale of the shot. Most of the time, out is out. However, when a ball (particularly one with pace) strikes a line, the mark left shows an enlongated oval shape, indicating the ball skidded off the line. In general, a clear, round "ball mark" followed by normal tail means the ball was out. A consistant oval shaped mark or a mark that "looks different" more than likely means it caught some line.
     
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  29. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Confused, if there is space between the line and the mark, it is out. Everything else is in. No mark, its good.
     
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  30. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Either you are grossly exagerating or you live in an unusual area. Most folks I play in USTA will go overboard to be fair. True there are the exceptions, they are very annoying but statistically they are exceptions.

    I have had a little bit of a struggle with this issue, but now I don't look at the ball anymore, I look for court between the ball and the line, ie if there is no court between the line and ball I call it in (or don't call it out).
     
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  31. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Actually now that I think about it, I can say that nearly every match, at least one of my teammates claims that their opponents made numerous bad calls. I think its odd that its so common by how much its discussed, yet I never experience it. So I think that the false belief of being hooked in USTA matches is far more prevalent than the actual occurence of it. I think its about attitude and people don't like to admit to losing fairly. They need an excuse.
     
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  32. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I don't disagree with your assessment.
     
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  33. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

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    There is actually a scientific reason why people often call line balls out. It is to do with the way the eye tracks the ball. Someone posted an article about it on here recently. Apparently about 80% of wrong calls by line judges (who are hopefully unbiased) relate to in balls called out whereas only 20% of errors relate to out balls called in.
     
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  34. robby c

    robby c Semi-Pro

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    Many players call shots near the lines based upon if they see space from where the ball comes up at the end of the skid, but that's a mistake. It's the front part of the skid where the ball actually touches. I didn't catch on until I started playing on clay as an adult.
    That's why the Hawkeye system used by the pros confirmed that most wrong calls are the long ones.
    Robby C
     
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  35. Ajtat411

    Ajtat411 Semi-Pro

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    So can't this be fixed by making an agreement with the other opponent that any ball that hits the line is considered OUT. This way, if you know that the other team is calling line balls OUT, you could do so without being called a hooker.

    I know this is not the USTA rule, but I've seen balls called OUT even when they hit the line or seem to. Also, the running joke like someone posted is "If this were a USTA league match, that line ball would be out".
     
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  36. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    I didn't see anyone else in this thread mention it -- sorry if I missed that 'call' and this is redundant...but line judges make the wrong calls in pro matches all the time, and they have no dog in the fight. I mean to point up the honest error aspect, whatever the scientific explanation of it is. If I recall, Vic Braden explained the eyesight issue, along the lines of an earlier poster, in "Mental Tennis". That's off the top of my head.
     
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  37. lovin'it

    lovin'it Rookie

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    sadly, i think to some, out, means 'out of reach'...

    i actually had one brilliant opponent who said to my shot 'that was on the line, i'll give it to you'...and truly, for her, it was a gift, as she was notorious for bad line calls.
     
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  38. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I think what happens a lot of time is that people when they expect the ball to be out (non-hookers that is) take their eye off it and then when its close..go with the original thought

    Last night I found out after my match that I called a couple balls in that were a good deal behind the baseline, but being on the run, then losing that focus had no other choice..didn't hurt me so..no loss
     
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  39. pabletion

    pabletion Professional

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    ....Or........., in a thight match, even though there have been no "bad call" incidents, and a high top spin shot lands near the baseline and the opponent thinkts its going out but drops at the last minute... and lets it go and decides to call it out because its a very important point.

    Happened to me. Third set super tiebreak to 10, 7-8 and I return a high top spin FH that I think lands on the baseline or very close to it: "out!" what do u do? even if you challenge it, youre never gonna get it and the other guy is gonna swear it was out. After losing, a friend of mine who was watching from a court across told me I got robbed on that point, and why I didnt say anything........ too late.

    There are chronic bad call makers, but then there are others that just choose to take one or two times a match during an important point, and when the ball is close.
     
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  40. Ajtat411

    Ajtat411 Semi-Pro

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    That stinks to have to happen on important points.

    Do some of you actually try to hit away from the baseline or sidelines when the game gets tighter to avoid these calls. I know that it just happens most times.
     
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  41. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, what's with the spectators who come up to you later and say, "You called a lot of balls in that were out. You should pay more attention."

    Um . . . if you're giving benefit of the doubt, that's unavoidable, right?
     
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  42. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Nah, at our club guys will say, "That guy is hooking you on every close call." Then they tell the other guy the same thing. Magpies, Heckle and Jeckle
     
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  43. pabletion

    pabletion Professional

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    Hmm interesting, but Ronaldo has a good point. I on the other hand, only take credibility from friends who might tell me that, that I know wont be messing with me. I has happened to me: on a match point, a friend went for the lob against the guy on the net, the ball landed a couple of inches out, and I thought I saw it clearly. My friend was really upset the guy called it out, thinking he got robbed. My brother, who was next to me on the other hand, saw it in :confused:. So for the guy who lost, my friend, it might have been more upseting that we got kinda involved on it, cause my brother said from outside the court: "that was in!". Sometimes when trying to help you do more harm ;) So if asked, I find its better to say "I wasnt looking"; only when things are really goin outta hand, with a full-throttle line thief will I get involved if a friend is getting ripped off.
     
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  44. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Always fun to play USTA League matches as a visitor with a hostile crowd. Everyone's a line judge and questions every call. At least in doubles you can question their partner.
     
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  45. Winners or Errors

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    I think there are very few people out there who will call a ball out that they saw as in. If I can see court color between the ball and the line, it's out. I agree that the faster the ball is moving the more difficult it is to see. Also, perspective can screw it up. Bottom line, we're all just there to play and have fun.

    Last time I disagreed with my partner on a close serve, we ended up giving the server two serves. No hard feelings at the end of that match.
     
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  46. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    I know this is rediculous Racer stuff, but here's what I do. On the first call that I see where it's close I see how the other players make the call and react to the call. I can almost tell who's going to be a problem and who isn't. At the first opportunity after that I appeal to the nobler motive of honesty. Something like an out call that is really out I'll say "good call" or if there's one I'm 50/50 on I'll give them the point and let them know it was close.

    If it goes south I'll call one of theirs out. If they say anything my answer is "yeah, we have the same umpire".
     
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  47. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Hall of Fame

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    To be even more clear.....if you do not see clear space between the ball and the outside edge of the line or the deep edge of the service or baseline you call the ball in.

    Simple.
     
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  48. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. Out is out. In is in.
     
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  49. Steady Eddy

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    :twisted: That's a really evil idea!
     
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  50. v205

    v205 Semi-Pro

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    If you are closest to the ball and you are not sure either way. Play it as IN.
     
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