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Cindysphinx 11-13-2012 10:15 AM

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
 
I plan to captain 7.5 ladies combo in January 2013. Our 2012 team was very strong and missed Districts by an eyelash.

When new ratings come out this month, I expect almost all of my 20 ladies to be 4.0. Which means we cannot possibly have a 7.5 team with the current roster.

I am torn about how to handled this. My personal goal is to put together a strong team and make another run at Districts for 2013. I anticipate that by 2014 I will be ready to play and captain 8.5.

I see a few options.

1. The Cold-Hearted Option. When new ratings come out, I just send a message to the team saying we have too many 4.0s and I can only take ten. Then invite ten 4.0s and set about finding ten 3.5s. I would not make decisions based solely on seniority. I would be looking for players who are strong players and who are easy to partner and easy to captain. There would be some very surprised and angry people left out in the cold.

2. The Consensus Option. Send out an email telling the team the numbers problem. See what folks want to do and take it from there.

3. The Random Draw Option. Put all of the 4.0 names in a hat and draw them into two piles. Recruit another person from the other pile to captain a second competing team. The issue here is that players are not chattel and some may not like their assigned team.

4. The Cut and Run Option.I could just send out an email dissolving the team. Someone else can take over and assemble the roster however they like. I would not treat captaining like a jump ball, as there are a few folks who would make dreadful captains. I would hand it over to someone who knows how to captain.

5. Move Up To 8.5. Declare that the team is moving up to 8.5 combo, and anyone who wants the challenge can have a go.

What have you other captains done? What works, and what doesn't work?

travlerajm 11-13-2012 10:32 AM

I would recommend option 1. Most people who play USTA are competitive by nature, and those who make the team would want to field the strongest team possible.

Just make sure you make it clear to everyone in advance about what the selection criteria are, and don't be shy about polling each of your players individually to make better decisions about who the strongest players and most desirable partners/teammates are.

Most captains would consider yours a good problem to have.

Mongolmike 11-13-2012 11:08 AM

Option 2 first to kinda let everyone feel like they are important, then go to option 1 when it comes down to making the decision... tho it is tough to say because women react differently in these kind of things... almost like its a popularity contest.

Of course many men have an over-inflated view of their own game too... but most men see it more of a skill thing.

I do know that many men and women DO NOT take into consideration how they fit in as a team-mate... many of the difficult team-mates see others, or other circumstances as the issue... not that THEY are the ones who are the high-maintenance ones.

For me, male, never been a captain.... skill level is first, team-mate-ability is second, other stuff is third- knowing I'll have to deal with the hard feelings for a long time.

OrangePower 11-13-2012 11:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7014351)
I plan to captain 7.5 ladies combo in January 2013. Our 2012 team was very strong and missed Districts by an eyelash.

When new ratings come out this month, I expect almost all of my 20 ladies to be 4.0. Which means we cannot possibly have a 7.5 team with the current roster.

I am torn about how to handled this. My personal goal is to put together a strong team and make another run at Districts for 2013. I anticipate that by 2014 I will be ready to play and captain 8.5.

I see a few options.

1. The Cold-Hearted Option. When new ratings come out, I just send a message to the team saying we have too many 4.0s and I can only take ten. Then invite ten 4.0s and set about finding ten 3.5s. I would not make decisions based solely on seniority. I would be looking for players who are strong players and who are easy to partner and easy to captain. There would be some very surprised and angry people left out in the cold.

2. The Consensus Option. Send out an email telling the team the numbers problem. See what folks want to do and take it from there.

3. The Random Draw Option. Put all of the 4.0 names in a hat and draw them into two piles. Recruit another person from the other pile to captain a second competing team. The issue here is that players are not chattel and some may not like their assigned team.

4. The Cut and Run Option.I could just send out an email dissolving the team. Someone else can take over and assemble the roster however they like. I would not treat captaining like a jump ball, as there are a few folks who would make dreadful captains. I would hand it over to someone who knows how to captain.

5. Move Up To 8.5. Declare that the team is moving up to 8.5 combo, and anyone who wants the challenge can have a go.

What have you other captains done? What works, and what doesn't work?

Options 2 and 3 are non-starters in my opinion.
Option 5 is independent of the others, since you could 'promote' the existing team to 8.5 and still field some variation of it as 7.5.
Option 4 is also somewhat independent. If you don't want to captain, don't captain. If you do want to captain, it solves nothing.

Option 1 is good, as long as you're up front with the existing team-members about what your intentions and goals are.

And then there's another option: You captain the team with a more social attitude. You take the players you get along with best, that have fun together, and that are easy to captain. Maybe not as strong a team as would result from option 1, but perhaps more enjoyable.

dizzlmcwizzl 11-13-2012 01:17 PM

How about option 6 ...

Invite one of your players to captain an 8.5 combo team. Explain to your squad that everyone can play 8.5, but you are going to invite a smaller group to come back for your 7.5 team if they are interested.

Go down the list until you have a full squad for the 7.5 team and let the others know that 8.5 is for them if they want it.

Cindysphinx 11-13-2012 02:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl (Post 7014695)
How about option 6 ...

Invite one of your players to captain an 8.5 combo team. Explain to your squad that everyone can play 8.5, but you are going to invite a smaller group to come back for your 7.5 team if they are interested.

Go down the list until you have a full squad for the 7.5 team and let the others know that 8.5 is for them if they want it.

Wow. This is a pretty good idea.

NLBwell 11-13-2012 03:33 PM

Send an e-mail and see how many players would rather play 8.5 and how many would rather play 7.5.
Then, based on having that information, decide what to do.

Maui19 11-13-2012 03:51 PM

I love these threads. Always interesting and illuminating. Seriously.

dizzlmcwizzl 11-13-2012 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7014843)
Wow. This is a pretty good idea.

You sound surprised!

Angle Queen 11-13-2012 04:45 PM

Wow, you've got a lot of options there...but realistically, I think you're at either #1 or #5 (or as Dizz suggests, some combination of those two).

I'm a 7.5 captain too and believe many of the 3.5s will get the bump as well. And, like you, we just missed the playoffs. What you don't mention is how many of your 4.0s...might get the bump too. We'd probably lose one (and she'd be hard to "replace"...skill- or temperament-wise)...so I'd expect a gaggle of 4.0s, half of which are "new". Not something I'd like to take up to 8.5 (where we'd already be giving up 0.5 an NTRP point per line).

And in fact, that option isn't even really open to us. We had no takers to form an 8.5 flight at all this year. And with the new 40+ leagues being run at the same time and having to compete for some of the same players and certainly courts...I don't see it happening again next year either.

So, I'm stuck with a troupe of 4.0s.

I've already gone with Option #4. Told everyone....no team from me next year. Shame, that. I genuinely liked all my teammates and would have liked to make an even more serious run at finishing, well, first.

Good luck with your decision and keep us posted on what you decide.

Cindysphinx 11-13-2012 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angle Queen (Post 7015051)

I'm a 7.5 captain too and believe many of the 3.5s will get the bump as well. And, like you, we just missed the playoffs. What you don't mention is how many of your 4.0s...might get the bump too.

There is perhaps one lady who might get bumped to 4.5, but I would be very surprised if that happened. Re the 3.5s, the worst case scenario is all but one will be bumped up.

Quote:

We'd probably lose one (and she'd be hard to "replace"...skill- or temperament-wise)...so I'd expect a gaggle of 4.0s, half of which are "new". Not something I'd like to take up to 8.5 (where we'd already be giving up 0.5 an NTRP point per line).
Exactly.

This is my first year at 4.0, and I frequently find myself overmatched just playing 4.0 adult and 4.0 seniors. I cannot imagine going up against an 8.5 pair with a brand new 4.0 at my side.

The odd thing is that I would bet money that the new 4.0s won't be at all intimidated by playing 8.5. Until you have faced top 4.0s, it is hard to understand just how much they pressure you. They have overheads, so the Default Lob doesn't work. If they sense you can't come to net, they pin you in the back corner. Any mid-court sitter is smoked down the middle or down the alley. And if you don't move forward well, they will hit short slice all day long.

Quote:

I've already gone with Option #4. Told everyone....no team from me next year. Shame, that. I genuinely liked all my teammates and would have liked to make an even more serious run at finishing, well, first.
What did the others decide to do? Did someone pick up the ball and put a team together? Or did you all go your separate ways?

I think if I dissolved the team, someone would skim off the ten best 4.0s and start a team. I think I would be invited, but nothing is certain. So dissolving the team could leave *me* without a team.

I think some captains opt for Option 4.5: Dissolve the team, find someone to captain, and then pull the strings behind the scenes. This always seemed a little smarmy to me. I mean, if you want to keep captaining a competitive team at that level, suck it up and cut some people honestly.

I do think it would be a big mistake to state what the criteria are for making the team, though. I mean, the basic criteria would be "Players who can go out onto Court One against the toughest opponents, who won't complain or whine, and who have the skill to maybe win." The players I have to hide on Court Three or against weak teams, who I have to figure out how to use, who have a long list of demands and requirements and preferences -- they would be in jeopardy.

Angle Queen 11-13-2012 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7015071)
This is my first year at 4.0, and I frequently find myself overmatched just playing 4.0 adult and 4.0 seniors. I cannot imagine going up against an 8.5 pair with a brand new 4.0 at my side.

The odd thing is that I would bet money that the new 4.0s won't be at all intimidated by playing 8.5. Until you have faced top 4.0s, it is hard to understand just how much they pressure you. They have overheads, so the Default Lob doesn't work. If they sense you can't come to net, they pin you in the back corner. Any mid-court sitter is smoked down the middle or down the alley. And if you don't move forward well, they will hit short slice all day long.

*grits teeth*

While I'm not necessarily counting myself in that likely-to-get-bumped group of 3.5s, I would say I probably wouldn't be intimidated by playing 8.5 women (no mixed combo for me, though!!!). I've been blessed with the opportunity to play some for-all-intents-and-purposes....8.0+ doubles this fall (in a non-USTA league, where we all, nonetheless, know everyone's rating). Those top flight 4.0 women are indeed tough but I enjoyed the competition. I was truly lucky enough to have a 4.5 at my side. Even though she was just coming back from a dislocated shoulder injury, her skill set was phenomenal even at something clearly less than 100%. Her attitude about playing with me, and just in general, was also fantastic and really made it a good experience for me. We won as many as we lost and I learned so much just by being on the court with her in a competitive environment. What I learned most, I think, was that I now really want to improve enough...to be able to participate with players like her...when I'm not a (potentially complete) liability. Lofty goal, perhaps, but one I'll continue to aspire to.

And I'm far from alone. Most of the 3.5 women on our team have already, and somewhat regularly, faced good 4.0 competition, mens and womens. Only one, I think, doesn't handle the mental pressure too swell (at least that's what she says....reality is that she does just fine).

Still, making that jump to 8.5 would be too rough, I think.

Quote:

What did the others decide to do? Did someone pick up the ball and put a team together? Or did you all go your separate ways?
It's too early to tell. Some of them think they'll be able to talk me back into it. Ain't happening.

Quote:

I think if I dissolved the team, someone would skim off the ten best 4.0s and start a team. I think I would be invited, but nothing is certain. So dissolving the team could leave *me* without a team.
Nah, I think you'd be in the mix for either a 7.5 or 8.5 team.

Quote:

I think some captains opt for Option 4.5: Dissolve the team, find someone to captain, and then pull the strings behind the scenes. This always seemed a little smarmy to me. I mean, if you want to keep captaining a competitive team at that level, suck it up and cut some people honestly.
Yep. That'd put me off a bit. I mean, if you're gonna captain, captain. That's why you get the big bucks. Right? :p

Fuji 11-13-2012 05:46 PM

Have to ask here since our ratings are different...

What's the key difference from your 7.5 doubles to the 8.5 doubles? Is it an absolutely huge difference, or is it something that you can realistically play at a decent level? My vote is to always play up if possible of course!

-Fuji

dizzlmcwizzl 11-13-2012 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuji (Post 7015125)
Have to ask here since our ratings are different...

What's the key difference from your 7.5 doubles to the 8.5 doubles? Is it an absolutely huge difference, or is it something that you can realistically play at a decent level? My vote is to always play up if possible of course!

-Fuji

Well ... in 7.5 doubles the 4.0 player is controlling the court and you attempt to pick on the 3.5 player.

Contrast that with 8.5 combo and now you are trying to pick on the 4.0 guy and avoid the 4.5 player.

Basically this is like if you swapped out two intermediate tennis players (3.5, reasonably athletic but started playing tennis at 30) and substituted them with two advanced players (4.5, current 40 year old who played division 2 college).

Introducing that much skill difference changes the game a lot.

Fuji 11-13-2012 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzlmcwizzl (Post 7015157)
Well ... in 7.5 doubles the 4.0 player is controlling the court and you attempt to pick on the 3.5 player.

Contrast that with 8.5 combo and now you are trying to pick on the 4.0 guy and avoid the 4.5 player.

Basically this is like if you swapped out two intermediate tennis players (3.5, reasonably athletic but started playing tennis at 30) and substituted them with two advanced players (4.5, current 40 year old who played division 2 college).

Introducing that much skill difference changes the game a lot.

Makes sense. Sorry I just have a horrible grasp on levels haha!

Thanks for the description!

-Fuji

Cindysphinx 11-13-2012 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuji (Post 7015165)
Makes sense. Sorry I just have a horrible grasp on levels haha!

Thanks for the description!

-Fuji

Fuji,

The main thing I see when I play 4.0 with a 3.5 is that the 3.5 lacks a plan when the opponents rush the net. There are only three things you can do: lob, pass, or get there first.

Of these, getting there first is the only one that will work consistently. Trying to blast passing shots for two hours is not going to cut it. Lobbing works, but few can hit offensive lobs or nail the back corner.

Getting there first requires good approach volleys and the ability to return serves early, and few 3.5s do this. I was bumped to 4.0 a year ago and I ave spent the last 11 months working on these skills. These ladies who are bumped to 4.0 in two weeks are not going to develop these skills overnight, and playing 8.5 without them is a tough ask.

Angle Queen 11-13-2012 06:58 PM

^^ Kinda what Dizz said. As the 4.0...you go from being the hunter to the hunted when moving from 7.5 to 8.5. I generally like being the weaker/est player on the court (because those are the situations I tend to learn the most from)...but I don't relish being in it when I'm lucky to just merely get the ball back and not get my partner killed. You gotta know your limitations sometimes.

But the folks who play Combo (mixed or same-sex), at least around here, are generally very competitive and usually at the top of their NTRP. Still, I usually see at least one huge mismatch in a 3-line team match. 7.5 can be fun, ok, usually is fun. 8.5 is far more serious and the skill levels ramp up quickly.

Angle Queen 11-13-2012 07:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7015182)
The main thing I see when I play 4.0 with a 3.5 is that the 3.5 lacks a plan when the opponents rush the net.

Ha! I know plenty of 3.5s who don't even realize they need a plan. It's pathetic sometimes. They'll categorize themselves (or their opponents) as either a baseliner or mid-court controller (& heaven forbid they run across a S/Ver!) and never veer off those mind-sets.

Fuji 11-13-2012 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 7015182)
Fuji,

The main thing I see when I play 4.0 with a 3.5 is that the 3.5 lacks a plan when the opponents rush the net. There are only three things you can do: lob, pass, or get there first.

Of these, getting there first is the only one that will work consistently. Trying to blast passing shots for two hours is not going to cut it. Lobbing works, but few can hit offensive lobs or nail the back corner.

Getting there first requires good approach volleys and the ability to return serves early, and few 3.5s do this. I was bumped to 4.0 a year ago and I ave spent the last 11 months working on these skills. These ladies who are bumped to 4.0 in two weeks are not going to develop these skills overnight, and playing 8.5 without them is a tough ask.

Okay that definitely makes sense. I'm probably misunderstanding, but right now you (4.0) and playing with a 3.5. This makes 7.5. But your 3.5's are getting bumped to 4.0. Thus wouldn't you be playing 8.0 doubles? With 8.5 I thought at least one of you would have to be a 4.5?

-Fuji

Fuji 11-13-2012 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angle Queen (Post 7015197)
^^ Kinda what Dizz said. As the 4.0...you go from being the hunter to the hunted when moving from 7.5 to 8.5. I generally like being the weaker/est player on the court (because those are the situations I tend to learn the most from)...but I don't relish being in it when I'm lucky to just merely get the ball back and not get my partner killed. You gotta know your limitations sometimes.

But the folks who play Combo (mixed or same-sex), at least around here, are generally very competitive and usually at the top of their NTRP. Still, I usually see at least one huge mismatch in a 3-line team match. 7.5 can be fun, ok, usually is fun. 8.5 is far more serious and the skill levels ramp up quickly.

Very cool! It seems like fun! I guess in doubles you really have to watch out for your partner as well. In singles if. you get trounced, it's pretty much only you. In doubles you have to "defend" your partner with decent strokes.

-Fuji


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