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adventure 08-16-2011 10:29 PM

How Do You Call Lines?
 
One of the most frustrating things about tennis is line calling.

I try to be as accurate as possible.

But some of my playing partners are very different. One mixed doubles team I've played against is very generous with line calls, to the point that I'm sometimes embarrassed if we win a set off them. They'll return serves when the ball from my vantage point appears to be 2 or 3 inches out.

Another guy is a relentless cheat. He'll cheat on every line call possible. This infuriates me but no one else seems to mind one bit. They never question him.

Question:

1. do I have to be equally generous with line calls when the other team is? It seems the proper etiquette.

2. what's a graceful way of dealing with line cheats?

2ndServe 08-16-2011 10:41 PM

I call it best I can, I give way more call than I should but even if I'm 99% sure it's out I still call it in. That being said if the guy is generous with calls I return the favor and play balls a few inches out. If the guy hooks me on calls I give him nothing and call it as close as possible. I think it's the best way, treat others like they treat you.

gregor.b 08-16-2011 10:54 PM

Play it how you see it.If you are being hooked make it known that you know what is going on.If they continue,make sure everybody in the vicinity knows they are cheating.If it still continues,give as good as you get.When you are questioned by the cheat,advise him it will be in a match report going to ALL the teams in the competition so that they already know he is a cheat before the other teams play against him.I don't think he enjoy the infamy or shame.

TiberiusGracchus 08-16-2011 11:54 PM

If I'm playing against someone that is generous with the line calls, I'll return the generosity. By that I mean I'll hit a generous amount of serves/ground strokes/volleys as close to the lines as possible because hey, my opponent has widened the margins for me!

But seriously, if someone is letting a few go in my favor that were most likely out, I'll do the same with them.

If someone is calling my balls out that are in, I'm not so quick to think they are cheating me. I've played against more than one player that is somewhat aloof when it comes to watching lines or just doesn't pay attention well.

If they are cheating though, I remember Jim Courier had a funny story about that. He told a story about some little brat he was playing when he was a junior that was calling all sorts of good balls out...really trying to cheat a win out. Well, the next time the kid served into the middle of the box, Courier called it out. When the kid threw a fit, Jim said, "We can do this all day." I guess the kid straightened up!

Maui19 08-17-2011 03:05 AM

I try to be as accurate as possible, but if I'm not sure, I call it in. It helps that I play on clay.

papa 08-17-2011 03:44 AM

First of all, you can give opponent(s) the benefit of the doubt and play balls slightly out - happens all the time. If a ball is way out, more than an inch or two, it really should be called "out". With the exception of the first serve most balls that opponent(s) play that are "out" only hurt them - they don't gain any advantage.

In the instance where opponent(s) play everything, just forget about it and move on. Don't get in the habit of over ruling/making calls other than your own. As you move up, this won't be a problem so relax and just play.

dozu 08-17-2011 04:10 AM

it's not a lie if you believe it

- george costanza

origmarm 08-17-2011 04:22 AM

The approach to this for me is always very clear. Call every line as accurately as you can. If there is any doubt in your mind, the ball was in. Simple as that really. If you feel your opponent is being dishonest say so. If you feel that they are calling in good faith there is no problem.

papa 08-17-2011 04:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by origmarm (Post 5908277)
The approach to this for me is always very clear. Call every line as accurately as you can. If there is any doubt in your mind, the ball was in. Simple as that really. If you feel your opponent is being dishonest say so. If you feel that they are calling in good faith there is no problem.

Great approach to this subject.

mightyrick 08-17-2011 05:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by origmarm (Post 5908277)
The approach to this for me is always very clear. Call every line as accurately as you can. If there is any doubt in your mind, the ball was in. Simple as that really. If you feel your opponent is being dishonest say so. If you feel that they are calling in good faith there is no problem.

+1. If there is a doubt, it is in... unless...

... your opponent has been displaying abhorrent gamesmanship and robbing you of obvious calls. In those cases, if there is a doubt... I call it out.

SystemicAnomaly 08-17-2011 06:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dozu (Post 5908267)
it's not a lie if you believe it

- george costanza

QFE. This is the case more than many realize.

Quite often, an erroneous call is made because of proximity-- the ball bounces too close to a player for them to call accurately. The ball traverses their field of vision too quickly for the smooth pursuit system to track the event successfully. When the ball gets very close to use we often use our saccadic (jump ahead) system to try to keep up with the ball. This happen when we are trying to make contact with an incoming ball or when trying to make a line call very close to our position. The ball becomes essentially invisible for periods of time. Players often mistakenly believe that the person closest to the event has the best perspective. Quite often the opposite is true.

Point #2: If the eyes are moving or the head is turning as the ball hits the ground, the ability to make an accurate call is seriously hampered. Studies have shown this to be true. The eyes/brain can be deceived. Certified lines people are trained to make calls with this in mind. They are taught to stop following the ball any time a ball encroaches a line. Instead, they fixate on the line keeping both the eyes and head still. Many players make the mistake of believing that their brain "sees" the actual event in such situations. In many situations such as this, the first stable image that the brain perceives, the ball appears to be out. The brain lies. This can be another instance where the saccadic system has yielded an inaccurate perception of the event.

Point #3: Vantage point or perspective is often the reason for erroneous line calls. In the case of a serve, the receiver often has an inferior view of the back service line. In doubles, they may have the worst perspective of all four players on the court if the ball is close to the back service line. If the ball is just a little bit long (a few cm or a couple of inches), the receiver may be unable to see the space between the line and the ball (bounce). In this situation, even tho' the server (and partner) are further from the event, they can more easily perceive the gap between the line and ball. The receiver's partner may have they best perspective unless they are too close to the bounce (refer to reason #1 above) or their head/eyes are moving (point #2).

If you keep these 3 things in mind, your ability to make fair calls should improve. You should also develop a better understanding of why others make erroneous calls that they believe to be true.
.

vincent_tennis 08-17-2011 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly (Post 5908455)
QFE. This is the case more than many realize.

Quite often, an erroneous call is made because of proximity-- the ball bounces too close to a player for them to call accurately. The ball traverses their field of vision too quickly for the smooth pursuit system to track the event successfully. When the ball gets very close to use we often use our saccadic (jump ahead) system to try to keep up with the ball. This happen when we are trying to make contact with an incoming ball or when trying to make a line call very close to our position. The ball becomes essentially invisible for periods of time. Players often mistakenly believe that the person closest to the event has the best perspective. Quite often the opposite is true.

Point #2: If the eyes are moving or the head is turning as the ball hits the ground, the ability to make an accurate call is seriously hampered. Studies have shown this to be true. The eyes/brain can be deceived. Certified lines people are trained to make calls with this in mind. They are taught to stop following the ball any time a ball encroaches a line. Instead, they fixate on the line keeping both the eyes and head still. Many players make the mistake of believing that their brain "sees" the actual event in such situations. In many situations such as this, the first stable image that the brain perceives, the ball appears to be out. The brain lies. This can be another instance where the saccadic system has yielded an inaccurate perception of the event.

Point #3: Vantage point or perspective is often the reason for erroneous line calls. In the case of a serve, the receiver often has an inferior view of the back service line. In doubles, they may have the worst perspective of all four players on the court if the ball is close to the back service line. If the ball is just a little bit long (a few cm or a couple of inches), the receiver may be unable to see the space between the line and the ball (bounce). In this situation, even tho' the server (and partner) are further from the event, they can more easily perceive the gap between the line and ball. The receiver's partner may have they best perspective unless they are too close to the bounce (refer to reason #1 above) or their head/eyes are moving (point #2).

If you keep these 3 things in mind, your ability to make fair calls should improve. You should also develop a better understanding of why others make erroneous calls that they believe to be true.
.

I find all this ironic considering how your SN is "Systematic Anomaly" xD

fuzz nation 08-17-2011 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TiberiusGracchus (Post 5908117)
If I'm playing against someone that is generous with the line calls, I'll return the generosity. By that I mean I'll hit a generous amount of serves/ground strokes/volleys as close to the lines as possible because hey, my opponent has widened the margins for me!

But seriously, if someone is letting a few go in my favor that were most likely out, I'll do the same with them.

If someone is calling my balls out that are in, I'm not so quick to think they are cheating me. I've played against more than one player that is somewhat aloof when it comes to watching lines or just doesn't pay attention well.

If they are cheating though, I remember Jim Courier had a funny story about that. He told a story about some little brat he was playing when he was a junior that was calling all sorts of good balls out...really trying to cheat a win out. Well, the next time the kid served into the middle of the box, Courier called it out. When the kid threw a fit, Jim said, "We can do this all day." I guess the kid straightened up!

Spot on.

Got to expect that you'll disagree with at least a couple line calls from opponents through the course of any set. Since the bouncing of the ball on the court is an event that's too fast for the human eye to actually see, we can only do our best reckoning and we definitely won't "guess-timate" every shot exactly the same. Let a couple of close calls go.

If you decide to call your opponent a cheater, then the rest of the match will be much less pleasant (at best), so we're not always in such a hurry to go that route, but there is a graceful way to keep things civilized. Once you're into that realm where you're sure you're getting hooked, but you want to keep playing, try this:

Stop play, stay cool, and go to the net for a quick chat. Offer to your opponent that you're seeing many of your shots land differently than they are and ask them what they want to do about it. That way, you haven't called them out and you've offered them the option to cut the crap while wrapping it in more of an opportunity than a threat. Everyone can still talk to each other this way, but you've also put them on notice without a declaration of war.

I learned this idea from Vic Braden's book, Mental Tennis, and even though I haven't tried it yet, I think this is a great tactic. Beyond this, I have not patience or respect for cheaters. Wait for when you're receiving a critical second serve (maybe break point) and when the ball lands square in the box, call it out like Jim would do. You're simply returning the favor - hey, it's not tennis anymore when the cheaters come to town and show their true colors. I'm fine with picking up your gear and leaving if those turds want to waste your time, too. If you simply want to throw down, well that's up to you. I'm a fan of ice hockey, so I can sort of understand... :shock:

ChipNCharge 08-17-2011 06:40 AM

I have to say that line calls are worse when I play mixed doubles (I'm a new NTRP 4.5, so I generally play 8.0 and 9.0 mixed doubles). My female opponents, and my female partners, often make line calling errors. I sometimes have to overrule my female partner in mixed doubles.

I really don't know why that is. Maybe it's because the female players aren't used to the faster pace and/or increased spin, and assume shots will be out, when in fact they dip down and land on the line.

FloridaAG 08-17-2011 06:42 AM

SA's point is the reason I often play balls at my feet that are likely out and appear to me possible to be out as good. Especially on my backhand side, which I feel due to my 2-hander further limits my range of vision. So I play them as in.

Limpinhitter 08-17-2011 06:52 AM

If any part of the ball touches any part of the line, it's in. If I have any doubt, it's in!

I rarely come up against purposeful cheaters. If I think someone made a bad call, I'll ask them if they are sure about the call. Not that I necessarily expect them to change the call, although sometimes they do, but, to let them know that I think they made a bad call. That's usually enough to put an end to it. If it doesn't, I'll ask for a line judge.

thug the bunny 08-17-2011 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vincent_tennis (Post 5908472)
I find all this ironic considering how your SN is "Systematic Anomaly" xD

Actually, you may have experienced a saccadic system anomaly yourself - it's 'Systemic Anomaly', meaning 'inherent or entrenched in a system'.

SA is the undisputed king of the intricacies of visual perception.

TheBoom 08-17-2011 08:06 AM

I try to be fair so that when its crunch time they believe me when there is a ckose line i call out :twisted: kidding i am pretty goo dabout being fairand if someone cheats i just ignore it if its once in a while or if its constant i start being less lenient about close calls (dont give the benefiit of the doubt). I've played someone who called anything a foot in as out i couldn't get a line judge so he basically cheeted his way to winning and gave my team the bird in the process he got his when my friend played him in districts (where line judges were actually available) and he retired in the 3rd because he was "exhausted" the funny thing was thhat i played him for a good half hour longer than when he retired. Basically if one is available get a line judge it is the best way to deal with close callers

jswinf 08-17-2011 09:31 AM

Sys. Anom. gives some good info which "bottom lines" to origmarm's post.

Manus Domini 08-17-2011 10:27 AM

I'm bad at line calls if they are really close. I'll see the ball out if it clips the outside of the line but I'll correct the call if someone tells me I'm wrong (happened quite a few times). Also, if it's near me, I tend to call it out accidentally, and correct myself. But I really hate when my partner (in doubles) makes horrid calls. If he says a serve (I'm very generous with those) is out when it obviously hit hit the line, even if it would be an ace, I'll correct him and give it to my opponent.

If my opponent cheats, I'll let him know I'm on to him, and give him hell till he stops.


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