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-   -   Holding Tryouts For New Players (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=108164)

Cindysphinx 12-05-2006 05:39 AM

Holding Tryouts For New Players
 
I'm taking the top half of my 5.5 combo team and I'm adding 3.0 and 3.5 players.

This is proving difficult. It is hard to get 3.5 women to agree to come for a try-out. Yet we've seen self-rated 3.5 women who couldn't compete with my players at all and so are really 3.0.

Plus, I'm finding that some players find the word "try-out" objectionable. I try to call them "meetings," or "practices," but still I have had 3.0s cancel foursomes with us if the word "try-out" is used.

Do your teams ever take players without hitting with them first?

Is there some other way to get new players other than having these one-hour foursomes with them, as this is getting quite time-consuming, not to mention the horror of finding indoor court time in winter? Once someone is on the team, I commit that players get their fair share of matches, so I can't just let anybody with a racquet join the team.

CrocodileRock 12-05-2006 06:46 AM

Don't call it a tryout!
 
Good post Cindy.

I almost never accept someone on the team without hitting with them first. I have done it a couple of times, and regretted it both times.

However, if you call it a tryout, many people will find that objectionable. It brings up the possibility of inadequacy, rejection, embarrassment, etc. What I like to do is invite someone out for some doubles, then have the four play 3 sets, changing partners each set. That way each person plays one set with each other person. One player will remember what the score of each set was, and I add up each person's games. The strongest player will win the most number of games, and the weakest person will win the fewest, so that way you can evaluate the new person's ability in relation to the other 3. If she is strong enough for your standards, you can invite her on the team. If not, you can still thank her for playing, and hope to play with her again sometime. Most of the time, either one person is strong enough to win all 3 sets regardless of partner, or one person is so weak, that they lose all 3 sets, regardless of partner. In any case, it shouldn't hurt someone's feelings if you don't call it a tryout.

Good luck with your team.

raiden031 12-05-2006 07:12 AM

How can you put a 3.5 player on a 5.5 combo team? The lowest rating you can get is 2.5 right?

Also the word 'try-out' reminds people of their childhood where they were cut from the basketball or soccer team. The team that I just joined invited me to "play with them to see if I'm a good fit" which is a little less intimidating, but that session ended up being the only time playing tennis that I was very nervous. My serve was on fire after the butterflies went away and I was pretty dominating so they were happy to have me join.

tennis-n-sc 12-05-2006 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1102043)
How can you put a 3.5 player on a 5.5 combo team? The lowest rating you can get is 2.5 right?

Also the word 'try-out' reminds people of their childhood where they were cut from the basketball or soccer team. The team that I just joined invited me to "play with them to see if I'm a good fit" which is a little less intimidating, but that session ended up being the only time playing tennis that I was very nervous. My serve was on fire after the butterflies went away and I was pretty dominating so they were happy to have me join.

I agree about "the tryout". Terrible idea and you alienate players that will improve yet never play again for you because of the tryout. I have found it best to build a team from the ground up, expecting to lose matches in the early going and at the same time watching every player get better at the game and bond as a team should. I find the tryout to be more prevalent in women's league tennis around here, but very seldom used by them anymore due to the implications. There are better ways. Find them.

Cindysphinx 12-05-2006 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1102043)
How can you put a 3.5 player on a 5.5 combo team? The lowest rating you can get is 2.5 right?

Also the word 'try-out' reminds people of their childhood where they were cut from the basketball or soccer team. The team that I just joined invited me to "play with them to see if I'm a good fit" which is a little less intimidating, but that session ended up being the only time playing tennis that I was very nervous. My serve was on fire after the butterflies went away and I was pretty dominating so they were happy to have me join.

Because our 5.5 team is moving to 6.5 this year.

The way I do it is I get the strongest of my available players together and try to switch around partners as time permits. I just got back from a tryout, and we'll be offering the prospective player a position even though she wasn't the best player on the court. She is certainly a lot better than my current weakest player, so it's definitely a good acquisition for us.

I don't expect the new player to necessarily be on the winning pairs with each rotation; after all, she's playing the best players I have, and she's nervous. I just want to see their strokes, make sure they can move, make sure they don't have some glaring deficiency, make sure they aren't a royal jerk.

CrocodileRock 12-05-2006 11:27 AM

"jerks" in women's tennis?
 
:confused:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 1102326)
Because our 5.5 team is moving to 6.5 this year.

I don't expect the new player to necessarily be on the winning pairs with each rotation; after all, she's playing the best players I have, and she's nervous. I just want to see their strokes, make sure they can move, make sure they don't have some glaring deficiency, make sure they aren't a royal jerk.

Do you actually have that problem with the women? I have never seen any woman acting unsportsmanlike (unsportswomanlike?), and hardly ever have a problem with a man, maybe once a decade. One of the best things about tennis to me is the quality of people involved. Virtually all behave pretty well, as opposed to some other sports I have tried.

cak 12-05-2006 01:29 PM

If you want to have a serious enough team for actual tryouts, challenges, and ladders you want to recruit people that don't mind tryouts, challenges, and ladders. They might not be the best players when looking at pretty strokes, power serves, or consistancy. But they will be a better fit and have more commitment to your team.

I know that I am extremely reluctant to play on a team that has tryouts or challenges. I enjoy social matches 3 to 5 days a week. I can play USTA on top of that, and even attend practices. But I'm not giving up my hit and giggle games for serious matches, I need them for stress relievers, not stress causers. But then again, I play enough USTA and social matches that most people in the area know my game.

As for recruiting 3.5s in for a 6.5 combo, well, good luck. I played 5.5s as a 2.5, it was great fun. Played 6.5 two years later as a 3.5. Way less fun. This year I skipped combo, and I'm not sure I'll go back. On our club team they had to go outside the club to get 3.5s, but there were so many 3.0s even if they played them all equally some would have been relegated to 1 match.
So I don't think recruiting the higher level for 6.5 combo teams is that easy anywhere.

Topaz 12-05-2006 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrocodileRock (Post 1102416)
:confused:

Do you actually have that problem with the women? I have never seen any woman acting unsportsmanlike (unsportswomanlike?), and hardly ever have a problem with a man, maybe once a decade. One of the best things about tennis to me is the quality of people involved. Virtually all behave pretty well, as opposed to some other sports I have tried.

Oh yeah...there are *plenty* of jerks in women's USTA tennis!

World Class Forehand 12-05-2006 06:05 PM

The captain for my USTA league team has a policy that you can only join his team if you are able to beat him.....That being said we have a pretty big roster

tennis-n-sc 12-06-2006 03:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by World Class Forehand (Post 1103038)
The captain for my USTA league team has a policy that you can only join his team if you are able to beat him.....That being said we have a pretty big roster

ROFLMAO! That would be my team also if I had that policy. I'd never get to play.:)

Cindysphinx 12-06-2006 03:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cak (Post 1102610)
If you want to have a serious enough team for actual tryouts, challenges, and ladders you want to recruit people that don't mind tryouts, challenges, and ladders. They might not be the best players when looking at pretty strokes, power serves, or consistancy. But they will be a better fit and have more commitment to your team.

In my case, it's not a case of trying to field a team that will win the division. It's about avoiding Players Who Will Cause Problems.

These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness. Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.

Quote:

I know that I am extremely reluctant to play on a team that has tryouts or challenges. I enjoy social matches 3 to 5 days a week. I can play USTA on top of that, and even attend practices. But I'm not giving up my hit and giggle games for serious matches, I need them for stress relievers, not stress causers. But then again, I play enough USTA and social matches that most people in the area know my game.
I hear ya. I've never understood the competition for this or that within a team. I like our practices to be fun, and I don't see any reason to set up situations where people feel like they're being tested constantly. As my players know they'll get their fair share of matches, there's no reason to be intimidated if they take a beating from a teammate in practice.

Quote:

As for recruiting 3.5s in for a 6.5 combo, well, good luck. I played 5.5s as a 2.5, it was great fun. Played 6.5 two years later as a 3.5. Way less fun. This year I skipped combo, and I'm not sure I'll go back. On our club team they had to go outside the club to get 3.5s, but there were so many 3.0s even if they played them all equally some would have been relegated to 1 match.
So I don't think recruiting the higher level for 6.5 combo teams is that easy anywhere.
Tell me about it!

If all goes well, we will have one computer rated 3.5 who is sticking around because she just moved up and likes us. Then I have the one 3.5 who is probably really a 3.0. Then I have one more 3.5 in the pipeline who is also self-rated.

Here's a related question: Do you ever reject prospects based solely on their record in TennisLink?

tennis-n-sc 12-06-2006 05:51 AM

[quote=Cindysphinx;1103614]In my case, it's not a case of trying to field a team that will win the division. It's about avoiding Players Who Will Cause Problems.

Quote:

These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness
.

Why not just give a battery of psychological tests and save the court time.

Quote:

Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.
How do avoid the issue of those on your roster who are not decent players but are the friends of players that are good? In other words, do you kick off a friend of a friend and risk losing the good player because of your actions? Somehow I doubt it.

CrocodileRock 12-06-2006 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 1103614)
In my case, it's not a case of trying to field a team that will win the division. It's about avoiding Players Who Will Cause Problems.

These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness. Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.

Here's a related question: Do you ever reject prospects based solely on their record in TennisLink?

OK Cindy, there are two kinds of teams out there - those that are serious about winning, and those that really don't care that much. Obviously, you are in the second group, and that's fine. But that group will have an *especially* hard time having tryouts, since from the outset you are saying that you are not trying to win the division, and everyone will have equal court time. Upper-level players will not be attracted to that agenda. You're limiting yourself to weaker players, which is OK. We all have different ways to enjoy tennis.

Our area used to have tryouts about 15 years ago, when there were too many guys who wanted on the club team. Personality was ignored, but everyone got along pretty good anyway. Eventually, we had enough guys for more teams. Now we tell the guys from the get-go that stronger players will have more court time, weaker ones will have less, unless we're eliminated, then we will try to equalize things. Until that point, we are not a democracy, and everyone does not have equal ability. At our sectionals, we had 3 guys who only played once in 6 matches. I was one of them, but it didn't bother me. The welfare of the team has to supercede any one person's welfare if you're trying to advance as far as you can.

Cindysphinx 12-06-2006 08:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennis-n-sc (Post 1103726)

How do avoid the issue of those on your roster who are not decent players but are the friends of players that are good? In other words, do you kick off a friend of a friend and risk losing the good player because of your actions? Somehow I doubt it.

I don't think I understand the question.

No one gets on the roster who isn't a decent player. Therefore no one gets kicked off.

If someone had a friend and said, "She's not that good, but she's my friend so take her anyway, and she can be my partner only," I would decline. It's just easier all around if everyone is decent.

Yes, our philosophy of not trying to win the division means the best of the best players won't be interested in us. But they're already not interested in us. We're a new team. The best players want to get on a powerhouse team.

My experience with league is that there are three kinds of captains: Those who play everyone equally, those who play their best players more and are honest about that up front, and those who play their best players more but fib about it to get players.

I think it's awfully hard to build a team from scratch if you tell people up front that they may ride the bench the whole season. I think most people would prefer to be on a middle-of-the-pack team and get to play than be the alternate on a team headed to sectionals.

tennis-n-sc 12-06-2006 10:29 AM

Hey Cindy, I'm not trying to be judgemental. Do what works for you and yours. What do you do when during tryouts, three potential candidates are better than any three on your last roster. Do you kick three off the old team to make room for these good players or leave the old roster in tack, thereby minimizing play for all?

sureshs 12-06-2006 10:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 1103614)
These Problems come in two types, I've found. There can be women who are flirting with insanity. Poor interpersonal skills, diva issues, selfishness. Then there are women who play so badly that no one will partner with them. Since I commit to play everyone equally, I have to avoid this.

I am a little concerned about the first reason. Being a captain is not about being a control freak or boosting your ego. (I am very careful about this at work with my group as I have gone thru much in earlier years as an underling) This is not a marketing executive job or for that matter even a paid position. Interpersonal skills that matter are only those which are used in doubles communication. If they walk away after a match without the obligatory socializing, it is none of anyone's business. "Selfishness" is an arbitrary judgement call. Mother Teresa is not applying for this league. "Diva issues" - I really can't comment about that but I cannot believe it is important. "Flirting with insanity" - leave that to the doctors please or someone else competent to judge that.

Sounds quite simply like you want people who you like. That is just not right.

BTW, I know I sound as if I am overreacting, but I see this kind of stuff happening everywhere, even in paid positions in large companies. This has gotten to the point where it is becoming the biggest obstacle in the workplace, worse than the discrimination and harrassment issues were in the past.

Ace 12-06-2006 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 1104104)

Sounds quite simply like you want people who you like. That is just not right.

Are you serious??? This is an extra-curricular activity!!! Why would she want to spend her own time hanging around with people she doesn't like?

sureshs 12-06-2006 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ace (Post 1104298)
Are you serious??? This is an extra-curricular activity!!! Why would she want to spend her own time hanging around with people she doesn't like?

It is not a private house party. It is a USTA or some other league from what I can tell. The purpose is to play tennis, not hang around with people.

Otherwise she should advertise that only people she likes will be selected, in which case she will be given the boot as the captain.

Supernatural_Serve 12-06-2006 01:20 PM

One approach could be to say to new players: "I am only guaranteeing you 2 matches" The minimum required by the USTA to proceed to districts.

That way they are effectively "trying out" and are basically being cut after 2 matches (if you aren't satisfied), that way you haven't made too big an investment.

Additionally, in USTA leagues, it seems like there's always a team or two in a league that aren't strong or are very strong so you can use new players against these teams based on your objectives, see what they can do against weak teams while knowing that you can carry the team match regardless what the new players do, or serve them up as bait to get swallowed by strong teams instead of having your stronger core committed players suffer a loss.

Ace 12-06-2006 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 1104304)
It is not a private house party. It is a USTA or some other league from what I can tell. The purpose is to play tennis, not hang around with people.

Otherwise she should advertise that only people she likes will be selected, in which case she will be given the boot as the captain.

Have you been on a USTA team? I am friendly with all my teammates, and we hang out after the matches. That being said, I'm pretty easy going, and don't actually have problems with most people, but nobody needs to dictate to me who I will be hanging out with in my spare time. If there was somebody I absolutely hated, they definately won't be on my team.


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