Originally Posted by spot
Cindy- how many matches are in the regular season? I am dealing with leagues where there are 7 weeks of regular season and 2 or 3 teams advance to playoffs which does give teams margin for error. I think its a pretty ridiculous league where you ahve a long regular season and just 1 team advancing.
I also did some looking around at our metro area leagues from last year. In our most popular league (Spring Adult Weekend...and excluding the 2.5s/5.0 because their flights are so small), we had 15 flights with 145 teams. That averages out to ~10 teams per flight and our seasons are, accordingly, about 9 weeks. There were a few flights with 8 or 9 teams, while some had as many as 12.
Here we use 'team wins, followed by individual wins, sets lost, games lost' to determine flight winners. Generally speaking, only the flight winner advances to Districts. Occasionally, one
extra or at-large team is given a spot. The number of "slots" are well-established and determined by USTA/Virginia (based on the number of overall teams participating at any one level for that league).
Of those 15 flights, 6 had one or more teams tied in team wins. Individual wins, then, determined the flight winners. And, like Cindy found in DC, sometimes it was only a one individual win differential. What I clearly found, though, was no team had more individual wins yet still lost their flight (based on team wins).
But our "team" dynamics are vastly different here in our area. Most of our USTA teams are club or neighborhood based and it's virtually impossible to "build a team" with the expressed intent on advancing, as most clubs/Rec Associations have fairly strict rules on how many "outsiders" can participate on their teams, if it's even permitted at all.
Another difference we have from DC...is much broader: their flight winners proceed directly to Sectionals
. Our area's flight winners must slog through an arduous and expensive District tournament to get to the same place.
Conversely, unlike DC, we have few defaults at/near season's end, even for teams that aren't "in it." Maybe it's because we are club/hood based, there's still a bit of pride in finishing it out....and because sometimes, a team can play the role of spoiler. So even in the team environment, every individual win can still count.
Even though stacking is clearly permitted in USTA play, most of the teams around here tend to play it straight up...giving most of the lines a "competitive" match. I have noticed, though, over the past few years, particularly from some captains who have gone on to Districts, or ones for the rare true independent/all-star teams...they'll stack, if for nothing else sometimes I think...just to be different or ornery.
In contrast, I also play in a non-USTA league...that, while still team-win based, is played without USTA-NTRP yet requires playing "in order of strength." The team dynamics in that league is vastly different...even though, here again, they're club or neighborhood based. It's also a relegation style advancement/demotion and I think that also makes it more self-regulatory, from a individuals ranking/placement perspective. Sure, a team can have a "ringer," but unless they can keep them (happy), once said "star" leaves, they/the team often drops back to where they "belong."
Now in that league, at the half way point (of a 14-week season split over the school year into a Fall and Spring season) the team I'm on is in 1st place because we're 7-0. The team in 2nd is only 5-2 yet has as many "individual" wins as we do and 9 fewer
games lost. Our captain has done a masterful job of managing a series of 6 (of the 7) 4-3 wins. We play 3 lines of singles, 4 of doubles and our team is blessed with a very solid core
. It's been a real mixture of which lines win each week; we could just as easily be 1-6. And, in fact, that's what's happened to the very last-place team. They are 1-6....and lost every match 3-4.
Are we that much better than them, team-wise or even skill-set wise? Nope. I'll be real curious to see how the second half of the season shakes out.