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-   -   USTA Players-do your teams play in order of strength? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=118381)

SJS 02-14-2007 12:13 PM

USTA Players-do your teams play in order of strength?
 
Just curious. I've been reading posts on this board for a while and keep seeing references to playing #1, etc. I'm captain of two USTA teams and have been told by league coordinators the last couple of years that they can no longer even suggest that teams be played by order of strength. Even after repeatedly telling my own players that #3 can be just as tough as #1 it still hasn't sunk in. Does your section still have rules regarding order of strength or has this just not filtered down?

travlerajm 02-14-2007 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SJS (Post 1251662)
Just curious. I've been reading posts on this board for a while and keep seeing references to playing #1, etc. I'm captain of two USTA teams and have been told by league coordinators the last couple of years that they can no longer even suggest that teams be played by order of strength. Even after repeatedly telling my own players that #3 can be just as tough as #1 it still hasn't sunk in. Does your section still have rules regarding order of strength or has this just not filtered down?

Some teams play straight up. Some don't. Being able to stack adds a strategy element, but I personally feel it makes more of the matches competitive if there is a no-stacking rule. I really hate it when I'm playing on the #1 team and I end up facing the #3 team, and the match ends up being a mismatch.

Cruzer 02-14-2007 12:31 PM

I have never heard of a "rule" regarding playing in order of strength. Who is to say what the order of strength is anyway? I have played on teams and against teams that never played in order of strength. This topic has been discussed before and there are some opinions that the "fair" way to play is in order of strength and only unscrupulous captains would not play that way. Personally I disagree. USTA tennis is competitive and the objective is to win the match with the players you have available for that match. If that means putting you strongest singles player in the no. 2 spot and putting your weakest doubles team in the no. 1 spot then that is what you do. Since the vast majority of teams members want to win they will support the idea of inserting a lineup with the best chance to get a win for the team.

raiden031 02-14-2007 12:33 PM

My team decides who plays which spot at random. Its impossible to determine the best way to lay them out because you have to predict how your opponent will lay them out. Also its not easy to determine strength when USTA doesn't even allow you to know your dynamic ratings.

Netbudda 02-14-2007 12:38 PM

We use strategy in deciding who plays which line...simply put the objective is to win the match. We look at their roster and their past selection and then make our picks based on that......it adds a nice spin to things not really knowing who you are going to play. Is such a well known practice that sometimes the best strategy is too play straight up.

JLyon 02-14-2007 12:47 PM

There is no way to do this as 4.5 is 4.5 to a player. I think it is blatant though when captains throw 2 4.0's playing up at #1 against the opposition, but stacking is about as common as tanking matches in USTA League matches.

Cruzer 02-14-2007 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JLyon (Post 1251720)
.... but stacking is about as common as tanking matches in USTA League matches.

Ah, I don't think so. If your team advances to district playoffs and beyond it is almost a given that teams will adjust their lineups to win the match and their is nothing wrong with that. Tanking matches is a whole different matter and applies to those that want to protect their ratings.

Netbudda 02-14-2007 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JLyon (Post 1251720)
There is no way to do this as 4.5 is 4.5 to a player. I think it is blatant though when captains throw 2 4.0's playing up at #1 against the opposition, but stacking is about as common as tanking matches in USTA League matches.

I imagine that according to you the way they keep the lineups secret for Davis Cup is cheating. Same applies for Golf Ryder's Cup.

oldguysrule 02-14-2007 01:23 PM

There is no such thing as "stacking" in a USTA league match. That is because there is no rule, written or unwritten, that mentions setting your lineup according to the strength of the players. The choice of who plays #1 singles or #2 doubles does not involve an evaluation of the strength or talent of the individual players. It is simply a way of designating what court you are assigned to.

That being said, some teams do follow a pattern when assigning courts and so some strategy comes into play to try to get your team the best matchups. However, who's to say the opposition will cooperate in their court assignments when they play your team.

Please continue to share this with other league players, because obviously there are players that expect the #1 doubles spot to be the best doubles team, etc. This is an assumption that needs to be "nipped" as Barney would say.

lefty10s 02-14-2007 02:04 PM

Hello. I am Local League Coordinator in Georgia, and we have never suggested that teams should play in order of strength. What we run into here in Atlanta is that ALTA requires that you do that. Called No-sandbagging rule. Which makes sense for ALTA since some teams have varied levels of players. But for USTA, why do it? If you know your opponents have unbeatable #1's, why put your team against them. You are basically forfeiting a point, but the idea is to win majority of matches to take the overall win. But many Atlanta teams still play in order of descending strength. Not doing so brings some strategy into the line-up, but if everyone is doing it, it becomes a roll of the dice.
As someone said in earlier post, all players within a level are supposed to be equal, but we know that is not true. Especially when you have teams with lower level players playing up to higher level(which is whole other story).

Topaz 02-14-2007 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Netbudda (Post 1251703)
We use strategy in deciding who plays which line...simply put the objective is to win the match. We look at their roster and their past selection and then make our picks based on that......it adds a nice spin to things not really knowing who you are going to play. Is such a well known practice that sometimes the best strategy is too play straight up.


Ditto...this is what me and my captains do as well.

travlerajm 02-14-2007 05:18 PM

Doesn't the NCAA have a no-stacking rule? I've never seen a college team stack. I know my high school league did, but most coaches disregarded it.

JLyon 02-14-2007 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travlerajm (Post 1252412)
Doesn't the NCAA have a no-stacking rule? I've never seen a college team stack. I know my high school league did, but most coaches disregarded it.


Sorta of once established players may play +1 or -1 position in the line-up.

10sfreak 02-14-2007 07:33 PM

As the captain of a team here in Georgia, I decide who to play at what position depending on the opposing team's strength. I have been known to "sacrifice" a player to an opposing #1 singles in order to win the overall match. We won our division last fall, and we're now leading our division this spring season. In fact, most of the guys on my team are going to have to schedule some losses this season, just to keep from getting DQed. That's right, we're planning on losing some lines, each in turn, so as to keep from getting DQed. It seems unsavory and dishonest, but that's what the rules of the USTA force upon us. Who wants to win all season long, then get DQed at the end, and have all your matches thrown out? None of us are "self-rated", but we've known people who've been computer-rated at a certain level, but when they keep winning AT THAT SAME LEVEL ASSIGNED TO THEM BY THE COMPUTER, that same damn computer DQs them!! So, part of our strategy now is to lose some matches, in order to win! Crazy...

CrocodileRock 02-14-2007 07:57 PM

[quote=oldguysrule;1251786]
some teams do follow a pattern when assigning courts and so some strategy comes into play to try to get your team the best matchups.

One of my mantras has been "possession is 9/10 of the law." That is, if you have the best players on your team, you're 90% done. Strategy is almost irrelevant. But what if the players are approximately equal? Strategy and luck suddenly swell to at least 50%. Say your and your opponents' doubles teams are pretty close at 1,2,& 3. The match is a big tossup, with your chances of winning at 50%. Not very encouraging. But what if you play your #3 at #1 (in effect sacrificing them) so that your #1 plays their #2, and your #2 plays their #3. You've now upped your odds to 67%. This is why, in the information age "pattern" teams are easy to beat. You can scour the internet to determine each person's ability, and structure your lineup to place your 3 strongest lines against their 3 weakest lines for a 3-2 win.

I talked with a USTA official about this same question last year. He wants to assign higher point values to the #1 positions, such as 1.5 times the #2, to encourage order of strength, but there is no one in his corner on this matter (fortunately). Imagine a match where you lost #1 singles and doubles, but won the other 3 lines, and the other team is declared the winner. That dog won't hunt.

oldguysrule 02-14-2007 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10sfreak (Post 1252626)
As the captain of a team here in Georgia, I decide who to play at what position depending on the opposing team's strength. I have been known to "sacrifice" a player to an opposing #1 singles in order to win the overall match. We won our division last fall, and we're now leading our division this spring season. In fact, most of the guys on my team are going to have to schedule some losses this season, just to keep from getting DQed. That's right, we're planning on losing some lines, each in turn, so as to keep from getting DQed. It seems unsavory and dishonest, but that's what the rules of the USTA force upon us. Who wants to win all season long, then get DQed at the end, and have all your matches thrown out? None of us are "self-rated", but we've known people who've been computer-rated at a certain level, but when they keep winning AT THAT SAME LEVEL ASSIGNED TO THEM BY THE COMPUTER, that same damn computer DQs them!! So, part of our strategy now is to lose some matches, in order to win! Crazy...

It is unsavory and dishonest and it is NOT forced upon you. At least be man enough to admit that your team intends to cheat in order to continue playing at a level that is below your skill level. You cheat the other players because you are not playing your best in a competitive match. And you screw up the computer because false information is used to come up with ratings. You then have the gall to blame it on the computer. Be a man...do your best, respect your opponents, live with honor. You gain nothing by winning if you cheat to win. You just are a loser playing a game that means nothing.

CrocodileRock 02-14-2007 08:30 PM

just to clarify
 
When I say "sacrifice" I mean using a weak player against an unbeatable opponent, saving our stronger player to use against their weaker player. It's an effort to split singles, rather than lose both, and there's no guarantee it will work. It's kind of like a sacrifice in baseball... one player goes down, but the team improves its chances to score.

When freak says sacrifice, he means someone intentionally losing a match they could win in order to manipulate the computer ratings.

There is a huge difference in those two.

oldguysrule 02-14-2007 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CrocodileRock (Post 1252736)
When I say "sacrifice" I mean using a weak player against an unbeatable opponent, saving our stronger player to use against their weaker player. It's an effort to split singles, rather than lose both, and there's no guarantee it will work. It's kind of like a sacrifice in baseball... one player goes down, but the team improves its chances to score.

When freak says sacrifice, he means someone intentionally losing a match they could win in order to manipulate the computer ratings.

There is a huge difference in those two.

Hey Croc,
No worries...the difference in what ya'll were saying was obvious.

See you on the court soon.

BigJEFF 02-14-2007 09:04 PM

[quote=CrocodileRock;1252669][quote=oldguysrule;1251786]
some teams do follow a pattern when assigning comes into play to try to get your team the best matchups.
what if you play your #3 at #1 (in effect sacrificing them) so that your #1 plays their #2, and your #2 plays their #3. or if Your #1 is a Nationally ranked JR it ups your odds by 100% and you can win a National Championship.....

rasajadad 02-15-2007 05:31 AM

The team I play on usually tries to play in order. However, for home matches, we only have three courts. So two matches go off at 2pm and three matches go off at 4pm. In order to accommodate other commitments, we have to see who on the other team can flip schedules. So sometimes no, we don't play straight up. (But we don't do it to "stack".)


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