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raiden031 11-15-2006 08:00 PM

creating a USTA team
 
I have started meeting some USTA league players in my community and from talking to them it doesn't sound like finding a team is an easy task. For instance I am a strong 3.0 to weak 3.5 and they said there is little hope for me to find a 3.5 team (for spring 07) because each team wants to be staffed with the best players possible. They said its pretty routine to self-rate yourself below what you know you are because 1) its easier to play well and impress the team at the lower level and 2) it gives you more flexibility to have the opportunity to play at both levels. Sounds like there is alot of sandbagging going on across the board. Now I would rather lose at 3.5 than win at 3.0 just because it will give me better experience, but it sounds like I will have trouble finding a spot on a 3.5 team so I might have to stick with 3.0. So I might just start my own 3.5 team and basically post an ad and take the first X amount of players who contact me. I could care less how we perform since I'm just looking to play tennis and improve.

Anyways, how tough is it to create and manage a USTA team? Would I have to invest money into it or are any costs dispersed to all the teammates?

dpfrazier 11-15-2006 08:17 PM

The first thing to consider is where you would play your home matches. Private club? Public courts? Whatever you come up with, you should hang out around those courts and recruit players that play there regularly. At the 3.0-3.5 level, there should be more players to choose from that at higher levels (4.5-5.0).

Usually costs are shared among the teammates. Tennis balls, court fees (if applicable), and food/refreshments for home matches.

Instead of starting your own team, you might want to consider approaching an established 3.5 captain in your area and offering to be an extra on his roster. You wouldn't expect a lot of playing time, but you would be available in case he's short on players. And you would get to practice with the team and establish yourself with them as well.

LttlElvis 11-15-2006 08:37 PM

This is my first year to manage a USTA league team. Money invested is very little. Just USTA membership (I did 5 year) and team fee ($15 or $25 I think... I can't remember). Other fees are just supplying the balls when you are home team. As far as managing a team, you need a surplus of players. With everyone's busy schedules, it is sometimes hard to get 8 guys together. 2 singles and 3 doubles. I think we had 19 on our team, and there were some matches I barely got 8 together and some where more than 8 really wanted to play.

Being team captain you really have to know how to manage egos and keep everything as fair and happy as possible. If you are just doing it for fun, then you can rotate the guys pretty easily. If you are doing it for the competition, it gets pretty sticky. You always want to put the best available. You can't just forget the less talented, because you may really need them, especially when they are the only ones available. Tennis is such an individualistic sport, and many people have a hard time putting a team mentality like football or basketball. There always will be players who think they should be the one to play.

After a 15 year layoff from tennis, I started playing again last year. Some guys saw me playing and recruited me for their 4.0 team. I was pretty rusty and couldn't keep up. I went winless, but it was fun. (They also happened to be the last place 4.0 team.) Luckily I self rated as a 3.5. I got in better shape, joined a 3.5 team, and started winning. I think I can play at the 4.0 level now, but the new country club I am in is so competitive, I can't make the 4.0 team. They are a bunch of 4.5 players if you ask me, and yes there is a lot of sandbagging at the competitive level.

dpfrazier 11-15-2006 08:38 PM

To add to my last reply...

Creating and running a team can be pretty demanding. Getting enough players for a 3.5 team is often a challenge; you will need more than you think. You will be surprised how many conflicts there are throughout the season where much of your team just can't (or won't) play. A good rule of thumb is to have twice as many players on the team as you need for a match. Since adult 3.5 leagues play 3 doubles and 2 singles, you will need eight for each match, and thus 15-16 on your team.

And be prepared for the politics of captaining a team. You will need to choose who plays, and with whom, and at what position. And the players on your team will often disagree with your decisions...

But all this can be offset by the satisfaction of leading a great group of guys into battle against the other teams in your area, and kicking their butts! There's also some instant status and respect when you captain a team, which can be a good springboard into your local tennis community.

Just some food for thought...

tennis-n-sc 11-16-2006 05:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1067683)
I have started meeting some USTA league players in my community and from talking to them it doesn't sound like finding a team is an easy task. For instance I am a strong 3.0 to weak 3.5 and they said there is little hope for me to find a 3.5 team (for spring 07) because each team wants to be staffed with the best players possible. They said its pretty routine to self-rate yourself below what you know you are because 1) its easier to play well and impress the team at the lower level and 2) it gives you more flexibility to have the opportunity to play at both levels. Sounds like there is alot of sandbagging going on across the board. Now I would rather lose at 3.5 than win at 3.0 just because it will give me better experience, but it sounds like I will have trouble finding a spot on a 3.5 team so I might have to stick with 3.0. So I might just start my own 3.5 team and basically post an ad and take the first X amount of players who contact me. I could care less how we perform since I'm just looking to play tennis and improve.

Anyways, how tough is it to create and manage a USTA team? Would I have to invest money into it or are any costs dispersed to all the teammates?

What is your age and where do you live? Often this can make a big difference.

raiden031 11-16-2006 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennis-n-sc (Post 1068149)
What is your age and where do you live? Often this can make a big difference.

I am 25 and live in Maryland. I happen to live in a community that has numerous tennis facilities within a 5 mile radius. The problem is that I just moved there a few months ago and haven't met alot of people in the USTA scene. For some reason most of the players are in their upper 30s and 40s...so its hard to find a group of people that I fit in well with. Things are starting to open up but it sounds like alot of the teams are set in stone way in advance of the season. I met some people recently that said you are much more likely to get on a team if you are at the upper end of your skill level.

The main reason I would rather play 3.5 players is because the higher the level, the more important it is to play with sound strategy rather than winning off my opponents' unforced errors, regardless of my strategy.

If I was a captain, my goal would not be to win, but to give everyone a fair chance to play.

TennisLeaguePlay 11-16-2006 07:10 AM

This is the exact reason why I created my business
 
USTA is way to exclusionary. This is what happens when they stop innovating and listen to the market.

cak 11-16-2006 07:26 AM

You first need to figure out where your team's home games would be. Look into the local facilities and see what it would take to reserve the courts for matches. You may need to join a community tennis group or club to be able to reserve courts. And some clubs require that some number of players on the team (ranging from all to none) are also members of that club. Courts fees are usually shared amongst those that play, so you shouldn't need to cover the court fees all by yourself.

You also need to join the USTA if you haven't already. Your local area probably has a website that gives the dates for when team signups start and end for your area. Signing up a team is free. Signing up to be on the team if you are captain is also free. The other folks signing up costs somewhere around $20 a person for the season. They also have to be USTA members first. Before you sign up for a team you need to ensure you have enough players to make the team viable, because as a captain, if you sign up a team, and then don't drop it before the deadline, and have to forfeit a ton of matches because you don't have enough people the region can restrict you so you can't play or captain for a year or two. (In our region they usually just say you can't captain again for a few years...) So if you found enough interested folks, just sign up the team on Tennislink when the window opens, and have people start signing up when membership opens a few weeks later. Just a helpful hint on the selfrating. Follow the experienced players guidelines, but if you haven't played successfully on a high school team or better, you might consider self rating at 3.0 but still captaining and playing on a 3.5 team. If by chance you overestimated how even you would play in 3.5s, next year you could play 3.0s (or you might even be able to join a 3.0 team and play both levels.) Sometimes the computer is very slow at bumping people down, and players can get stuck in the situation where they over rated themselves at the beginning and can't get to the correct level. But you of course can play up.

Once the signups are complete they determine leagues, and then you get to email or call the other captains to set up dates and times within the week they give you. There are usually some restrictions, like weekday matches must start between 6pm and 9pm, weekend matches must start between 9am and 4pm, or something like that. It's easiest to pick a regular day and time for your home games for each week you are supposed to be at home, and reserve those times, and then tell all the other captains. Usually the other captains are happy with your times, if not then you can change the one or two they have problems with. Be reasonable on the times they send you and you are more likely to have pleasant matches.

Once the schedule is set, if you are just going out for fun and not to win the whole shebang, send out the dates, see who's available, and then assign matches as fairly as possible. Remind them that if they can't show up they need to tell you, so you can get someone else to play. If there are some matches you can't fill, it's time to go out and recruit more people.

Then it's just a matter of printing out the score sheets, showing up, and having a good match. At the end you can offer to enter the score sheets. (In general the winner will want to enter the score sheets, as if no one enters them you both show up as losers.) The system will walk you through that.

Have fun!

tennis-n-sc 11-16-2006 07:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1068287)
I am 25 and live in Maryland. I happen to live in a community that has numerous tennis facilities within a 5 mile radius. The problem is that I just moved there a few months ago and haven't met alot of people in the USTA scene. For some reason most of the players are in their upper 30s and 40s...so its hard to find a group of people that I fit in well with. Things are starting to open up but it sounds like alot of the teams are set in stone way in advance of the season. I met some people recently that said you are much more likely to get on a team if you are at the upper end of your skill level.

The main reason I would rather play 3.5 players is because the higher the level, the more important it is to play with sound strategy rather than winning off my opponents' unforced errors, regardless of my strategy.

If I was a captain, my goal would not be to win, but to give everyone a fair chance to play.

Find out who your local league coordinator is and talk with him/her about getting on a team and starting a team. I'm sure there are other folks in the same boat. Around here, the typical age is 30-70. A young player is rare. Cak gave you a great run down starting a team.

oldguysrule 11-16-2006 07:51 AM

Based on my experience, it sounds like most of you either 1) live in areas where there are lots of hard-to-get-along-with people or 2) make this way more complicated than it is.

I live in a community with one tennis facility, but it is terrific. I have never spoken to anyone who wanted to play that was left off a team. We often have individuals call the tennis center to play USTA tennis and they get put on a team. We limit the number of players on a team to 14. Many players show up on league night even if they are not scheduled to play. The extras will find a court and get up a game. I have captained 2 teams and played on about 5 others over the last two years. To my knowledge, everybody is pretty easygoing about where they play and who they play with. We do have some that prefer singles to dbls or vice versa. I feel fortunate compared to some of you guys.

Now the ladies leagues? That's another story...

tennis-n-sc 11-16-2006 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldguysrule (Post 1068358)
Based on my experience, it sounds like most of you either 1) live in areas where there are lots of hard-to-get-along-with people or 2) make this way more complicated than it is.

I live in a community with one tennis facility, but it is terrific. I have never spoken to anyone who wanted to play that was left off a team. We often have individuals call the tennis center to play USTA tennis and they get put on a team. We limit the number of players on a team to 14. Many players show up on league night even if they are not scheduled to play. The extras will find a court and get up a game. I have captained 2 teams and played on about 5 others over the last two years. To my knowledge, everybody is pretty easygoing about where they play and who they play with. We do have some that prefer singles to dbls or vice versa. I feel fortunate compared to some of you guys.

Now the ladies leagues? That's another story...

Same here. Even with the ladies league.;)

Rafa's best friend 11-16-2006 08:55 AM

This is especially true if there is so much cheating going and they are already turned off by it..

jjjosh 11-19-2006 08:34 AM

Raiden where in Maryland are you located? I recently moved here and am located in Baltimore city. I am finding it hard to find courts, and also people to play with here. I used to play in a league in Atlanta and I have a friend, that has also been looking for a league to play in.

10sfreak 11-23-2006 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldguysrule (Post 1068358)
Based on my experience, it sounds like most of you either 1) live in areas where there are lots of hard-to-get-along-with people or 2) make this way more complicated than it is.

I live in a community with one tennis facility, but it is terrific. I have never spoken to anyone who wanted to play that was left off a team. We often have individuals call the tennis center to play USTA tennis and they get put on a team. We limit the number of players on a team to 14. Many players show up on league night even if they are not scheduled to play. The extras will find a court and get up a game. I have captained 2 teams and played on about 5 others over the last two years. To my knowledge, everybody is pretty easygoing about where they play and who they play with. We do have some that prefer singles to dbls or vice versa. I feel fortunate compared to some of you guys.

Now the ladies leagues? That's another story...

That's been exactly my experience as well. We're pretty easy going down here in Georgia, so almost everyone gets along, and are included in play. But like you've indicated, the ladies leagues are a whole different ballgame! I've found that women are ALOT nastier to each other than the men are. It's downright scary how mean and backstabbing a lot of those women can get with each other! Whew!

Cindysphinx 11-24-2006 12:42 PM

I'm in Maryland also, and I have captained a team twice already. I'll do it again in January, this time ladies 6.5 combo.

I have found it quite easy. The league keeps a list of players looking for teams. You e-mail those players, hit with them to make sure they aren't horrible, and sign them up.

I have made lots of friends this way. It's a time commitment, but better than trying to impress an existing team enough to get invited, and then deal with the unknown politics of that situation.

Shout out if I can help.

pNoyr3D 11-24-2006 12:51 PM

I haven't been playing all winter long which sucks because of the weather.. I was thinking of joining a USTA team or something like that.. I am a strong 3.5 and weak 4.0 player.. Where can I find USTA TEAMS around my area. I live in Illinois.

CRAP!! Sorry.. I forgot that this is the ADULT LEAGUE part.. Darn.


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