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-   -   Joy of Captaining.... (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=455091)

lostinamerica 02-17-2013 07:50 PM

Joy of Captaining....
 
Is there a more thankless job? I have come to the conclusion it is better to captain a poor team. When you have a good team, there is far more whining. Eventually, you have to shorten the bench and those who don't make the final 8, think you are wrong. How do you other captains handle that. I haven' found a perfect way.

I just cut it to the players I think have the best chance at winning. Unfortunately, players who win only 2/3 of their matches think they are better than those who win them all. Also, I look to players who win big matches.

Yet, there are still players who second guess you. Also, players get mad when you play yourself.

Overdrive 02-17-2013 07:55 PM

After hearing all of the crap about leagues, I concluded that I would only play in singles tournaments.

It's too much of a hassle to be complaining about being the #3 seed when I can beat the #1 seed. :)

andyaycw 02-17-2013 10:02 PM

Just as a quick aside...seeds don't seem to matter much at the NTRP level.

Seems like every other tournament draw I look at that has more than 4 seeded players, sees at least half of them failing to reach the third round/Quarters (typically a draw of 32), and the remaining seeds failing to reach the Semis.

Seeding in the Open level draws seem to be much more telling..

Overdrive 02-17-2013 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andyaycw (Post 7221761)
Just as a quick aside...seeds don't seem to matter much at the NTRP level.

Seems like every other tournament draw I look at that has more than 4 seeded players, sees at least half of them failing to reach the third round/Quarters (typically a draw of 32), and the remaining seeds failing to reach the Semis.

Seeding in the Open level draws seem to be much more telling..

I know. A number doesn't designate whether they are good or not- I got the message.

I like to play Open level draws because it makes it more surprising and more of a challenge. :)

andyaycw 02-17-2013 11:08 PM

Yeah, I think it's a shame, really. It would be awesome if the seeds at the NTRP level actually meant something. When I see every other draw where even the top 1-2 seeds fail to reach the quarters or semis, with such a level of inconsistency, it seems almost pointless to have seeds at all for the NTRP draws.

J_R_B 02-18-2013 03:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andyaycw (Post 7221809)
Yeah, I think it's a shame, really. It would be awesome if the seeds at the NTRP level actually meant something. When I see every other draw where even the top 1-2 seeds fail to reach the quarters or semis, with such a level of inconsistency, it seems almost pointless to have seeds at all for the NTRP draws.

Seeding is usually done by ranking points. In NTRP especially (and sometimes in open as well), this merely signifies who plays more tournaments, not who is better.

mikeler 02-18-2013 05:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J_R_B (Post 7221960)
Seeding is usually done by ranking points. In NTRP especially (and sometimes in open as well), this merely signifies who plays more tournaments, not who is better.

This is exactly what happens. The one advantage the seeds get is a potential first round bye. In the Florida heat, this can be a big advantage the first day of the tournament having fresh legs going against somebody who has already played 2 or 3 sets.

omega4 02-18-2013 05:27 AM

A good captain and leader gets the team to buy into his vision for the team, regardless of the team's personal desires and bias. It helps immensely if the captain doesn't play himself and offers up his spot to a teammate, as well as not regarding his teammates' concerns as "whining".

I take it you're not a good captain or leader then.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lostinamerica (Post 7221626)
Is there a more thankless job? I have come to the conclusion it is better to captain a poor team. When you have a good team, there is far more whining. Eventually, you have to shorten the bench and those who don't make the final 8, think you are wrong. How do you other captains handle that. I haven' found a perfect way.

I just cut it to the players I think have the best chance at winning. Unfortunately, players who win only 2/3 of their matches think they are better than those who win them all. Also, I look to players who win big matches.

Yet, there are still players who second guess you. Also, players get mad when you play yourself.


mikeler 02-18-2013 06:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omega4 (Post 7222082)
A good captain and leader gets the team to buy into his vision for the team, regardless of the team's personal desires and bias. It helps immensely if the captain doesn't play himself and offers up his spot to a teammate, as well as not regarding his teammates' concerns as "whining".

I take it you're not a good captain or leader then.

I think that criticism is a little harsh. The tennis players who sign up for leagues are usually highly competitive and have egos. I've seen it happen at our local club team where the guys who don't make the final cut get all persnickety.

Govnor 02-18-2013 06:09 AM

This is one of the reasons I think I would personally have a problem being on a team. If I'm on a team, I want to play. Tennis is not like your average team sport where everyone can be worked in to a game. It's a - you're playing or you're not playing situation. That actually sucks as a "team sport" concept. I'm sure that is not some amazing revelation to anyone here though.

J_R_B 02-18-2013 06:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omega4 (Post 7222082)
A good captain and leader gets the team to buy into his vision for the team, regardless of the team's personal desires and bias. It helps immensely if the captain doesn't play himself and offers up his spot to a teammate, as well as not regarding his teammates' concerns as "whining".

I take it you're not a good captain or leader then.

It depends on how good the captain is. If the captain is not one of the stronger players, then s/he shouldn't be in the lineup every match. I was 9-1 for the team I captained last year. No one had an issue with me playing every match.

lostinamerica 02-18-2013 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omega4 (Post 7222082)
A good captain and leader gets the team to buy into his vision for the team, regardless of the team's personal desires and bias. It helps immensely if the captain doesn't play himself and offers up his spot to a teammate, as well as not regarding his teammates' concerns as "whining".

I take it you're not a good captain or leader then.

Geez, were you born an A-hole or have you been working on it your whole life?

Maybe I am a bad captain. Although, it is kind of hard to justify pulling yourself from a playoff lineup when you are one of the top 3 players. I find that detrimental to the team. I am not a captain who makes a team so I have a place to play; I put teams to together to make a run at nationals. Teams like mine attract better players but at the same time bigger egos.

Everyone bought into my vision on getting to nationals; it is the irrational visions of their own games that cause friction. Some people think they will magically become mentally tough come playoffs when they choked matches in regular season matches.

I take it you are one of those who win 2/3rds of your matches but think you still deserve a playoff slot. This is not the first time you have attacked something I said. You don't like how I handle cheaters and now you don't like how I captain... Strangely, I doubt we have ever met; if we have, I can't imagine I liked you.

Overdrive 02-18-2013 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 7222152)
This is one of the reasons I think I would personally have a problem being on a team. If I'm on a team, I want to play. Tennis is not like your average team sport where everyone can be worked in to a game. It's a - you're playing or you're not playing situation. That actually sucks as a "team sport" concept. I'm sure that is not some amazing revelation to anyone here though.

Here, here!

Yeah, but seriously there's too many weirdos in leagues.

I think I can play better as a freelancer and enjoy traveling alone and meeting people on my own time.

It eliminates any unnecessary stress.. :)

spot 02-18-2013 07:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by omega4 (Post 7222082)
A good captain and leader gets the team to buy into his vision for the team, regardless of the team's personal desires and bias. It helps immensely if the captain doesn't play himself and offers up his spot to a teammate, as well as not regarding his teammates' concerns as "whining".

I take it you're not a good captain or leader then.

I personally read this to mean that you haven't ever been captain.

I think the biggest thing about being captain is communicating up front what players should expect. If you want to be a team that is run very competitively then tell people that before the season and when they have the chance to find a new team. If you want to have a team more for game development and socializing then tell people that up front. But for competitive teams there are still going to be times when you hurt someone's feelings and you just have to be OK with that. People on tennis teams normally put their own desires first and are often a bit delusional about their own skill sets. When there are a limited spots in a playoff lineup then tough decisions need to be made and I think as captain the only thing you can do is use all the available information and be willing to express to your team why you made that choice. Be open to everyone's input but also keeping in mind that it is impossible to make everyone happy.

Mauvaise 02-18-2013 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 7222152)
This is one of the reasons I think I would personally have a problem being on a team. If I'm on a team, I want to play. Tennis is not like your average team sport where everyone can be worked in to a game. It's a - you're playing or you're not playing situation. That actually sucks as a "team sport" concept. I'm sure that is not some amazing revelation to anyone here though.

That's why with the teams that I captain (thankfully only (1) this season), I try to put together 1) strong players, 2) good personalities and 3) just enough people to hopefully ensure I never have to default a court.

It's my philosophy that, as you said above, people join a team expecting to play. My goal is to play everyone equally and still be competitive. But I will sacrifice competition for equal play.

goober 02-18-2013 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 7222152)
This is one of the reasons I think I would personally have a problem being on a team. If I'm on a team, I want to play. Tennis is not like your average team sport where everyone can be worked in to a game. It's a - you're playing or you're not playing situation. That actually sucks as a "team sport" concept. I'm sure that is not some amazing revelation to anyone here though.

Join a team where the philosophy is everybody gets to play and the team is kept at a small size so everyone does. My first year as captain we had 11 players, 2 of whom were part timers. So everyone expected to and got to play pretty much every match that they were available for.

spot 02-18-2013 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mauvaise (Post 7222389)
That's why with the teams that I captain (thankfully only (1) this season), I try to put together 1) strong players, 2) good personalities and 3) just enough people to hopefully ensure I never have to default a court.

It's my philosophy that, as you said above, people join a team expecting to play. My goal is to play everyone equally and still be competitive. But I will sacrifice competition for equal play.

There are many different ways to successfully run a team. We had a team that was nicely balanced between social and competitive. Everyone on the team would play at least 3 times if they had good availability but in the biggest weeks and in playoffs we were going to put out the best lineup that we could. If we had space we would add the best players that we could that were also a social fit.

The problem was that the line 4 and 5 guys felt a bit squeezed as we added better players so our solution was to split the team and have an upper and lower team. The teams still practiced together and we basically just looked at it like we would play road matches at different spots but it doubled our lineup spots every week. The team split was wildly successful and everyone was much happier. It was so successful that we ended up splitting the team again so now we have 3 teams that operate and play together.

Our upper team is now at the highest level and they are very cut throat about playtime. Our lowest team keeps the roster small to try and make sure that everyone plays a ton. But even on the balanced team we still have an issue for the lower line guys who are feeling squeezed when it comes to playoffs because when we recruit we don't go out and try and add line 5 players. I don't think its possible to split the team yet again so at this point it is a situation for the lower guys to either deal with it, get better, or find a lower team where they can play a higher line. The balance has been that they will get their playtime in the regular season and if they are unhappy because they don't make the playoff roster then we just have to be OK with it.

J_R_B 02-18-2013 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goober (Post 7222417)
Join a team where the philosophy is everybody gets to play and the team is kept at a small size so everyone does. My first year as captain we had 11 players, 2 of whom were part timers. So everyone expected to and got to play pretty much every match that they were available for.

I agree. People who are afraid they're not going to play haven't played USTA tennis. Every captain needs every person on their roster. Obviously, some people play more than others, but everyone on my team who is available a reasonable number of weeks gets into at least 4 matches in a 10 match schedule.

Mauvaise 02-18-2013 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by J_R_B (Post 7222703)
I agree. People who are afraid they're not going to play haven't played USTA tennis. Every captain needs every person on their roster. Obviously, some people play more than others, but everyone on my team who is available a reasonable number of weeks gets into at least 4 matches in a 10 match schedule.

In our current season, we have 15 matches and I have (12) people on the team. Everyone is playing at least 10 matches, except for 1 or 2 people whose travel schedules have turned out worse than they expected.

I have tried to arrange that the stronger people are always in the line up when we play the stronger teams in our flight and that certain people may have more singles play than others who requested singles, but that's about the extent of my "unfairness". Heck, I probably won't even play any singles this season (and I *like* singles) as I'm probably 4 or 5th on the list in terms of strength.

I will say, that planning the line up was a lot easier when I didn't really care about trying to make play-offs/sectionals :)

OrangePower 02-18-2013 12:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spot (Post 7222424)
There are many different ways to successfully run a team. We had a team that was nicely balanced between social and competitive. Everyone on the team would play at least 3 times if they had good availability but in the biggest weeks and in playoffs we were going to put out the best lineup that we could. If we had space we would add the best players that we could that were also a social fit.

^^^^ That's pretty much the approach I take as captain these days.

In the past I've captained 'social' teams where everyone got to play the same number of matches, regardless of strength. It was fun for a while but we were never competitive, and as a team we got tired of being bottom feeders.

I've also captained a 'mercenary' team, where the goal from the outset was clear - we were going to play the best available players every week. We did very well but never really bonded as a team.

These days I try for a balance. Better players will play a bit more, but I still try get everyone in the mix. I view this is as one of my goals as captain - to win as a team while getting everyone involved, and to give even the weaker players a chance to win some individual matches. Against the stronger teams, I put out our strongest lineup, but against weaker teams, I put in some of the weaker players on our team and try anticipate the oher team's lineup so as to create winnable matchups for my guys.


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