# A controversial question about line calls

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by sureshs, Sep 23, 2013.

1. ### newpballLegend

Joined:
May 28, 2013
Messages:
8,025
Location:
Vulcan
Sorry but your understanding is simply lacking. There are no probabilities post factum.

When you hit a ball there are probabilitiesfor a ball to go out, it would depend on the spin, wind, angle and speed of the ball, the type of ball and more things. But once the ball hit the ground the probabilities collapse to facts, then a ball is either in or out, no uncertainly.

2. ### SilentProfessional

Joined:
May 6, 2007
Messages:
824
I think you can probably (no pun intended) replace the word "probability" with "level of confidence".

3. ### LackRookie

Joined:
Aug 26, 2013
Messages:
233
Are you seriously saying that you are blind to not look at the lobbed ball or what. Or your opponent is too attractive that you forgot to look at the ball. If you hear the ball hit the fence before bouncing the ball, then you are clearly stating that you "know" the ball is out yes? I don't see your logic here.

4. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
Stop trolling, brah. You're killin' me, and derailing what could be an interesting thread.

I dare you to not be trolling. Dare. You.

5. ### gooberLegend

Joined:
Jun 9, 2004
Messages:
8,488
She standing next to you ready to thump you with her copy of Friend of the Court. You already know what she is going to say...

6. ### AvlesHall of Fame

Joined:
Oct 14, 2009
Messages:
1,575
Location:
The Peak of Good Living
I'm not calculating probabilities in my head as I play. If I see the ball land and my brain says "that was out" I say "out."

If I see the ball land and my brain says "hey maybe that was out" then I play on.

Of course sometimes I might see a ball as definitely out when it actually clipped the line. But I don't think it happens very often and I'm pretty confident that I make more mistakes in my opponent's favor than in my own.

7. ### jswinfProfessional

Joined:
Sep 30, 2009
Messages:
1,165
Clearly, sureshs shouldn't play any matches without Hawk-Eye. Now, there might be an availibility or portablility problem, so I'd suggest getting an impressive-looking electic appliance, maybe a reciprocating fan, and setting it up near a net-post. Then on a close ball you can go look at the back of the gadget and say "Hawk-Eye says it was out." :twisted:

8. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
Yes that is right. I think he interpreted that to be like a mathematical quantity arising from the situation. I meant it as the level of confidence in the hypothesis.

9. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
I suspect she will say that if the confidence level is 99% out, it should be called in. But what she will do is to mentally change it to 100% out and call it out

10. ### newpballLegend

Joined:
May 28, 2013
Messages:
8,025
Location:
Vulcan
99% rounds up to 100% :

11. ### ToonsNew User

Joined:
Mar 12, 2009
Messages:
49
It seems the only "controversy" in this thread is coming from OP arguing with nearly everybody . . .

12. ### tennis tomHall of Fame

Joined:
Jun 15, 2007
Messages:
4,315
WHAT??? I read this three times and have NO idea what you are saying. The rules of tennis aren't that complicated, why not just abide by them. My team of attorney's told me never to admit to anything--you may be projecting.

13. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
I'm inclined to think that way more balls that are good are called out than vice versa (talking close shots, of course), relative to what actually happened.

I'm pretty convinced by some of the high speed data I've seen that our approximation of the "point of contact" could be wrong by at least several inches, and at most, multiple ball lengths.

I'm in the camp that if it really close to the line (inch or so) then it's probably good.

14. ### TimothyOHall of Fame

Joined:
Oct 5, 2010
Messages:
3,648
Location:
Baseline
If you're not 100%, absolutely, positively certain the ball was out, then it was in.

One of the most idiotic things you can say on court is, "I think it was out". If you don't SEE it was out and only THINK it was out, you have to call it in.

And yes, we have a friend who frequently says stuff like, "I'm gonna have to think about that one, I'm pretty sure it was out".

15. ### hrstrat57Hall of Fame

Joined:
Apr 29, 2007
Messages:
1,789
Location:
RI
I am here to post in this very important thread.....

16. ### r2473G.O.A.T.

Joined:
Aug 14, 2006
Messages:
12,388
This one is easy. It totally depends on the importance of the point. If you are up 40-0, then the ball is in. If it is break point, then the ball is out.

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City

18. ### EngelworksRookie

Joined:
Jul 30, 2013
Messages:
315
I only call the ball out when I'm 100% sure that none of it touched the line. If I have any doubt whatsoever, I play on. The result though is that my opponents get a lot of generous calls.

19. ### rh310Hall of Fame

Joined:
Feb 2, 2009
Messages:
1,745
Location:
NY USA
Then the player is not sure. And if they're not sure, then they certainly can't call the ball out, can they? Because they're not sure it was out.

20. ### HRBHall of Fame

Joined:
Apr 3, 2011
Messages:
2,289

Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
21. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
Thanks, brother, and I like your strat.

22. ### dcdoorknobHall of Fame

Joined:
Mar 14, 2010
Messages:
3,629
People say 100% without really meaning purely 100% (even though they think they do). I think this is the crux of the disagreement.

23. ### Clive WalkerRookie

Joined:
Apr 16, 2006
Messages:
162
Location:
Mcr UK
the 95th percentile is the standard scientific level of probability for statistical significance- basically meaning that if you repeat a set of circumstances, with a variable applied, on 95 occasions out of 100 you would see the same result.

To transfer this to tennis, I suppose if you showed the same in/out ball to 100 people, and 95 called it out- then you can call it out- irrespective of what the 5 others thought. Which in terms of rec tennis I think I'd be happy with.

24. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
You're right, generally, that statistical significance in scientific endeavors is about 0.05+ above standard deviation. But calling lines is not a scientific endeavor, unless you're using an instrument like Hawk-Eye. You don't get thousands of samples, you get one, and have to call it on the spot, while playing.

Your brain makes the call before "you" make the call. It's already using things like experience, vectors, probabilities, environmental data, and standard deviations to make it's decision. After the call is made in your brain you can override that call if you want, but you usually don't. Your brain will default to the last action that was successful. So ...

People who routinely call close balls out are actually changing the way their brain interprets the environmental data and as time goes on, close balls will look out with less mental effort. It's the same vice versa. Those that routinely offer the benefit of the doubt will do so with less and less mental effort. In other words: for some people, the lines really are out, but in their defense--they can't help it. They decided they had hawk-eye vision in the beginning, stuck with it, and rewired their brain without even knowing it.

25. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
SEEing and THINKing are not separate. We see with our brains. They eye is just an extension of the brain.

26. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
Percentile or percentage?

27. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
Thanks................

28. ### newpballLegend

Joined:
May 28, 2013
Messages:
8,025
Location:
Vulcan
This does not make any sense whatsoever.

How would the 5 know how the other 95 thought about it so they can change their mind about it?

What I find noticeable is the number of people here who really have a big issues with 'don't see it out, it is in'. Instead they try to twist and turn to call more balls out.

If anything it shows that this topic is the thing that shows the conscience of many players.

29. ### RetroSpinHall of Fame

Joined:
Sep 27, 2011
Messages:
2,877
I don't believe this at all. In most matches, and I have played a lot of them, there are at most a half dozen close calls and generally only two or three that are really problematic.

Why should I be penalized because I hit a shot that was too fast for you to see clearly or if you weren't paying close enough attention?

The Rules are quite clear. There is no exception for probabilities or opinions or trajectory calculations. To call it out, you have to see it out. If that means you end up playing some out balls, that's the cost of good sportsmanship.

30. ### tennis_ocdHall of Fame

Joined:
Aug 17, 2011
Messages:
2,625
I agree but it also sums it the line calling self-righteous -- I'm 100% certain but yet I might be wrong. Of course one's mind subconsciously calculates the "probability" of the ball being out or in if only to calculate the acceptable risk that my 100% out call may indeed be wrong.

I think the guy who swears he never, ever calls an in ball out scares me more than the guy who honestly acknowledges he calls balls to the best of his ability, recognizing that there always exist some small degree of uncertainty.

31. ### LuckyRLegend

Joined:
Jun 2, 2006
Messages:
6,402
Location:
The Great NW
I used to make these sorts of errors. Judging by the content of this thread many still do. This all ended for me when I started looking specifically for court in between the ball and the line, instead of looking to see where the ball is exactly landing.

If you look for where the ball is landing, you (like the OP) will come up with threads like this one. OTOH if you look for court in between, the whole topic magically evaporates.

32. ### atomicxRookie

Joined:
Sep 12, 2006
Messages:
139
I didn't read the whole thread so I'm not sure if someone answered this already but obviously a ball that is 95% out is also 5% in, which means the ball should be ruled in.

Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
33. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
You probably missed it, but I pointed out why this is a flawed approach. Seeing a "hole" or a sliver of court between the ball and the line is not confirmation that the ball was out; especially considering that there will be a sliver of court between the ball and the outside of the line 100% of the time, eventually, unless the ball comes to rest on the line.

How long do you think the ball remains in contact with the court? I bet it's longer than you think. There is initial contact--and the projection of the shape of the ball down onto the line--the ball slides/skids/rolls/ along the court for a period of time depending on the surface characteristics, then there is the last moment the ball is contacting the court (with the downward projection).

Look at this graphic. There is a strong change someone could perceive the 95% out ball as an "out call" instead of the proper call (good," because the ball resumes it's normal shape after leaving the court and thus gives the impression of "space between the line and the ball" when initial contact was made with the line, but that could have been perceived as "in flight."

And look at this, on something like grass:

34. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
^^^ That is true about life in general

35. ### tennis_ocdHall of Fame

Joined:
Aug 17, 2011
Messages:
2,625

Lot of court between ball and line. Is it out? Don't think so.

36. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
Yep. Referenced that video already in this thread, and that's the source material for the graphic directly above.

37. ### schmkeHall of Fame

Joined:
Jan 20, 2010
Messages:
2,330
The rules/code also calls for a player, when asked, to give help to the opponent in making a call:

"Requesting opponent’s help. When an opponent’s opinion is requested and
the opponent gives a positive opinion, it must be accepted. If neither player has an opinion, the ball is considered good. Aid from an opponentis available only on a call that ends a point."

This, in the spirit of good sportsmanship, is how balls the opponent is unable to see or see clearly can be handled if they are clearly out. If I hit a down the line shot that I see wide and my opponent, perhaps from the other side of the court doesn't have a good look and asks me, I'll tell him it was out and it is his point.

38. ### BdarbHall of Fame

Joined:
Jun 20, 2012
Messages:
1,536
Location:
New England
I would not like to play with alot of people in here. It's Rec tennis, if you didn't see it for sure, it's out. If you play a ball that was a half inch out, whatever, everyone's there to play tennis anyway.

39. ### SilentProfessional

Joined:
May 6, 2007
Messages:
824
You probably mean that if you didn'T see it for sure, it's in, right ?

40. ### r2473G.O.A.T.

Joined:
Aug 14, 2006
Messages:
12,388
Freudian slip

41. ### RetroSpinHall of Fame

Joined:
Sep 27, 2011
Messages:
2,877
I don't have a problem with that at all, and I will certainly give an honest call if my opponent for some reason didn't see it. Every close call shouldn't turn into a negotiation however.

42. ### BdarbHall of Fame

Joined:
Jun 20, 2012
Messages:
1,536
Location:
New England
Ha yep. I meant it in the gentlemanly way.

43. ### dcdoorknobHall of Fame

Joined:
Mar 14, 2010
Messages:
3,629
Yeah definitely in agreement on this.

It's true in everyday life too. It's the ones that seem to always talk in absolute certainties and who view anything else as a sign of weakness that are the most scary.

Joined:
Mar 11, 2011
Messages:
1,147
He will also be calling a few ball that bare touch the line out.

45. ### RonaldoG.O.A.T.

Joined:
Feb 18, 2004
Messages:
19,900
If you need time to decide, its in. If you need a committee, its in. Honestly, my partners don't even look for a fresh mark on clay.

46. ### sureshsBionic Poster

Joined:
Oct 1, 2005
Messages:
45,108
The ball is not 95% out. My judgement and confidence may be that it is 95% out.

If you think there is a 95% chance that the food in a restaurant is unhygienic, will you still eat there because it could still be hygienic (5%)?

47. ### BdarbHall of Fame

Joined:
Jun 20, 2012
Messages:
1,536
Location:
New England
^ all of the hyperbole is useless. No I guess I wouldn't eat there, than again I won't get ecoli from playing a ball that was a quarter inch out..

48. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
I see what you're saying Suresh, I really do. The analogies you're drawing are not sound, I'm sorry to say.

Calling lines in a tennis match is the honor system. There are written rules to help inform people on how to apply that system to their matches, and the rules are pretty clear.

Where I think you're getting hung up is: calling lines is hard to do. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of rec players are calling good balls as out all the time. Because of how long the ball is in contact with the court, and the difficulty of calling lines, if the ball looks close, then it was probably in, imo. If you cannot say with certainty that a close ball was out, then the sportsmanlike thing to do is to play the ball, or if it was a point ending shot, to call the ball as good.

Some people believe they can detect a ball that is one inch out. I don't think they can, but that's their call, not mine. Just last night I screamed a ball to the baseline, tons of spin, it felt good off my racquet. I thought it clipped the baseline, but I'm in no position to judge that call--It's break point, mind you. My opponent was in the forecourt (I passed him). He turned, studied the spot where it hit, and called it out. Because it felt good, I asked, "How far out, you think?"

"Maybe two inches," he responded.

Of course, the call stands. From that distance, at his angle, with the ball dropping like it was, do I think you can accurately call a ball as two inches out? Probably not. Did the fact that the game was on the line influence his call? There is no way to know, but in my experience: big points are usually called against me, lol!

In closing; I think you're understanding of what's actually happening is backwards. I don't think the close balls are actually out and you're getting jipped because you can't be certain and have to call them in. I think it's the other way around. I think the close balls are almost always in, and you're not giving anything away. If anything, you're probably calling good balls out more often than you think.

49. ### RetroSpinHall of Fame

Joined:
Sep 27, 2011
Messages:
2,877
I'm beginning to agree with the guy who said he wouldn't want to play with some of you. Really, it sounds to me like you're trying to make something more compicated than it is. Either that or tryng to justify making bad calls.

There are two occurences that make accurate calling difficult. One, is a ball that lands so close to the baseline or service line that the ball obstructs your vision of where it actually touched. From the trajectory though, it looked like it would have to be long. You call that ball good. You didn;t see it land out.

The other is a shot down the far sideline, where your view is perpendicular to the landing spot. The problem here is that you can see the ball land out but it is difficult to see it squash down and perhaps touch the line with fuzz. You can count on getting hosed on this call almost 100% of the time because it honestly looks out to your opponent, plus he really wants it to be out.

50. ### TimeSpiralProfessional

Joined:
Jul 9, 2013
Messages:
1,291
Location:
Gotham City
Yep. At my level of play you are often penalized for great shots that clip the line. This is especially bad on passing shots, ime.