Are captains generally good players?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by J011yroger, Dec 4, 2015.

?

Captain level?

  1. Top third.

    9 vote(s)
    20.5%
  2. Middle Third.

    11 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. Bottom third.

    16 vote(s)
    36.4%
  4. About even.

    8 vote(s)
    18.2%
  1. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    For their team level, do you think most captains fall in the top, bottom, or middle third of the roster?

    J
     
    #1
  2. Tuskarr

    Tuskarr Semi-Pro

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    Bottom here. They only play the minimum number of matches to qualify for sectionals.
     
    #2
  3. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    I assume you're limiting this to single-rated teams (e.g. Men's 4.5, Women's 3.0) and not mixed/combo teams.

    Going on that assumption, its my experience that they are, on average "at the top of the middle". Granted my team experience is severely limited, but I'm also gauging this off my opponent's captains as well.

    Given a team of 12, there are always a couple ringers on the team, as well as a strong player or two that are on the verge of moving up which take up the top third. Then you've got your captain and some solid players who are always at that level, then a few recent bump-ups and weaker level players.

    Unless you're on a stacked team like @Gut4Tennis' National Championship team...
     
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    #3
  4. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    I think the majority of teams (that I see) have capts that are in the low end...
    But I think the majority of very good teams have capts in the high end... probably because capts that are good players are gonna attract good players and/or already have a roster of regular hitting partners (who are also high level).
     
    #4
  5. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    To be fair to the captains, it's pretty hard to deal with everything you have to do as a captain and keep your game up and be ready to play on match day. When I was captaining I was constantly preoccupied with how the other players were doing while I was playing my match. No that I just play, I'm a much better player.
     
    #5
  6. Bionic slice

    Bionic slice Semi-Pro

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    It think it depends are you a competitive team or some teams often the B country club team who just like to play league and have fun. Ive played teams who kicked back a few before the match and enjoying life to teams who are trash talking and trying to win at all costs.
    That B team captain is very nice guy but often low level player vs the A squad who is all about winning. That A team or competitive captain is normally playing week after week as he is also very invested and wants to win. If he doesn't play, he wants to scout the other team as well or will sometimes go and scout the other team matches elsewhere if they are nearby.
     
    #6
  7. Doc Hollidae

    Doc Hollidae Hall of Fame

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    Depends on the team really. In my experience, with mixed woman tend to be the captains. The teams tend to be more social oriented than competitive though. For adult league it differs, but normally the teams with captains that have players in the top third tend to be more successful.
     
    #7
  8. SGM1980

    SGM1980 Rookie

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    Depends on the team completely. I was the best player on the teams that I've captained.

    My captain on many of my other teams was top-three.

    On some other teams, and on teams we've played, the captain has been toward the bottom.

    It doesn't matter how good you are to captain a team - it only matters how much time you are willing to dedicate to the task.
     
    #8
  9. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    100% true..
    I'm gonna go on a limb, and read into the question a bit, by proposing a theory..
    Often I see captains who are the bottom of their team because they couldn't get on any other competitive team, so formed their own to be able to play say 3rd slot at a particular level.
    I recall playing on a 5.0 team, and the captain was worse than me... (we only played 3rd dubs when the real 5.0's weren't avail), and he definitely captained the 5.0 team to play 5.0 otherwise he'd have maybe played 2dubs on a 4.5 team.
    Honestly I'd do the same thing if I was confident that I could get 5.0's join my team :p
     
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    #9
  10. struggle

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    Depends, but as long as they bring some beer I just don't care.
     
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  11. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    usually more often then not, the captains are in the lower half of the teams level, and many times not good enough to be in the roster in any playoffs or vs a good team

    sure sometimes the captain is very good, but not normally
     
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    #11
  12. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    It's all over the board here. When I took over as captain, I was already the #1 singles player on the team, so I was the best player (or one of them). My first two years as I was building the team from a weak team into a contender, I played myself in the #1 line (either #1 singles or #1 doubles) in every match and tried to set my teammates up to win the lower lines (i.e. I took #1 singles if I knew the team had an ace singles player or paired with a weaker player if in doubles). After I recruited a good team, I wasn't the best anymore, but I was still one of the better players. On my nationals team, I was part of what I considered the 2nd pair in doubles if we lined up our best lineup top to bottom. That said, there are captains who are the best, middle of the pack, and barely able to compete at the level around here. There is no pattern, it's just who has the time & energy to deal with all the captaining crap.
     
    #12
  13. wings56

    wings56 Hall of Fame

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    I've seen mainly two types of captains. The teams where the person is captaining the team because he is one of the better players and is trying to have other players like him, so he leads the team. The other scenario is the person is the captain because he ISN'T one of the better players and just wants to have his name attached to the best possible team he can put together.
     
    #13
  14. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    So when I captained it was because I just got bumped up,...
    Eventually I got a reputation for being a decent-at-the-4.5 level, player.
    After doing it for 2 years, I got tired of it, and realized it's way easier to just get recruited by other teams (which I, by then, had a bunch of opportunities).
    I can see, if at some point I am no longer recruited by other teams (old, fat, injured, whatever), or not being played as much as I want,... running/recruiting for my own team, for the sake of just being able to play.
     
    #14
  15. schmke

    schmke Hall of Fame

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    I think it is hard to come up with a generalization that applies here. You'll see both cases.

    But to test this out, I looked at what my estimated ratings say the average is for captains vs the rest of the roster by level and gender. See full analysis here: http://computerratings.blogspot.com/2015/12/are-captains-in-usta-league-typically.html

    But the summary is that for women, there is really no difference. Captains average right at what their players average. A slight exception is 3.0 where captains average a little higher.

    For the men, it was different though. There is a similar situation at 3.0 where captains average a little higher, but then it goes the other way as the level gets higher to the point where at 4.5 and 5.0, the captains are noticeably rated lower than average.

    Who knows what generalizations you can arrive at, but perhaps it means higher rated men are not willing to captain, they just want to play, while higher rated women like captaining as much as playing?
     
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    #15
  16. kevrol

    kevrol Professional

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    I've captained 6 teams and will be captaining my 7th this coming Spring. Here's where I stood:
    Team 1 - Had just started playing the previous year. Decided to form a team from the club. Turns out I was probably one of the top 3 on the team
    Team 2 - Year 2 of captaining team 1. Got rid of players who weren't club members and recruited better players from the club who hadn't played USTA before. This made me top half of the team.
    Team 3 - Captained singles team. Was one of top 2 players. When it became obvious we were going to states but didn't have a chance to compete I added 3 more guys to give us a chance. After that I was #5 on team.
    Team 4 - Got bumped so captained at a new level. Middle 3rd player on that team.
    Team 5 - Bottom 3rd player
    Team 6 - Top half player.

    I don't captain for any personal glory. I captain because I'm one of the few at the club that has taken the initiative to try and organize it. My primary driver for captaining is I like being on a team with these guys. If i'm the best at my level then so be it and if I'm the worst that's fine too.
     
    #16
  17. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    That is aaaaawesome!
    How'd you analyze that so fast? Script it up?
     
    #17
  18. schmke

    schmke Hall of Fame

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    I've spent waaaaay too much time looking at ratings, but as a result am to the point I can do this sort of thing reasonably easily. Or I'm just making numbers up ;-)
     
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    #18
  19. kevrol

    kevrol Professional

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    I'd be interested to see these numbers of teams that competed at Nationals. My guess is that the captains there are well below the team average. This is based purely on speculation and from a couple of anecdotes.
     
    #19
  20. Lilwhitelie

    Lilwhitelie New User

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    Bingo!!!!! Many just love to be in that picture and have as many of the signs hanging at the local tennis facility show their team won state more than anyone at spring, mxd, combo, tri level etc.
     
    #20
  21. Gut4Tennis

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    what # did you play? I missed it

    lol
     
    #21
  22. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Hall of Fame

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    Did you adjust for left-handedness? And string tension? C'mon, I know you have filters for those!
     
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  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    How weird.

    I captained for ten years.

    In some years I was at the top of my level; in other years I was at the bottom. My relative skill bore no relationship to my willingness to captain.

    I captained because I enjoyed the strategy of putting line-ups together, I was relatively organized, and I liked keeping our little group of friends together. I especially enjoyed when my hunches (e.g. Sally would be an asset if she played singles, or Kelly and Becky would unbeatable) turned out to be correct.

    I also felt like it made my overall tennis experience more enjoyable because no matter what insanity might be happening on teams I played on where other people captained, I knew I would always have one team where things ran the way I thought they should.
     
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    #23
  24. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I would say I am in the top 1/3 of my team, we carry 12-14 players. A lot of us are close in ability, we are a decent team at our level.
     
    #24
  25. J011yroger

    J011yroger G.O.A.T.

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    You have a team of 12 people and can get 8 of them to show up every week?

    What kind of sorcery is this?

    J
     
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  26. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    We have 8 week seasons, same time and day of week. Yes. Most play 5. We try to make sure everyone gets the 2-3 needed to be eligible for playoffs. Teams are fairly close to one another
     
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  27. dgold44

    dgold44 Legend

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    My old team in Michigan, I had a captain that was by far the best player and had a massive backhand.
    My old team in Oregon, the captain was a nut job but did well in doubles
    My next old team in Oregon, captain was ok doubles player but super disorganized
     
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  28. dlk

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    In my experience, my captains have been an average of 5 or 6 on a 15 man roster. I played on a WTT team, where the captain was like #2, but he played only once the whole season.
     
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  29. J_R_B

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    #1, baby, #1, at least until I recruited a bunch of people better than me. LOL.
     
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  30. Attila_the_gorilla

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    I think it mainly depends on how aggressive the captain's recruitment is. If he keeps improving the roster, he can't help going backwards in the order. Of course he may also be delusional and keep playing himself at #1 just for old times' sake, even though his new recruits are much better than him.
     
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  31. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    Perhaps the captain's level, relative to his peers, follows the "universal law" of "you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with" (in the tennis context).
     
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  32. heninfan99

    heninfan99 G.O.A.T.

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    If they are over 50yrs old they are usually the worst players. Many only play the minimum # of matches for the success of the team which was 2 per season when I played.
     
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  33. floridatennisdude

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    That's what I would have thought. Most captains I have played for or against in 4.5 men's are the types to recruit players better than themself.
     
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  34. schmke

    schmke Hall of Fame

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    Related to whether or not captains are good players, I just looked at what court captains play on the most. See http://computerratings.blogspot.com/2016/04/what-court-to-captains-play-on-most.html

    Not surprisingly, they play doubles way more than singles, but what surprised me a bit is that they play court 1 doubles more than either court 2 or 3. I may have to take a look by section to see if there are different trends.

    What is your experience?
     
    #34
  35. MathGeek

    MathGeek Professional

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    I've had some captains that really were not very good at tennis any more (due to age).

    A good captain is a good organizer and knows how to use the talent on their team. They also need to be good at pairing up doubles partners including both the human and the skilled elements.

    I think the most important feature of a captain is keeping the team running smoothly rather than their personal skill level.
     
    #35
  36. J_R_B

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    When I was captain, I played court 1 doubles more than any other spot, including in the national championship match. I was one of the stronger players on the team, but I also had a team with a lot of singles players, including me at the time I took over and started recruiting. Someone had to learn to play doubles well, so I took that on myself. I also liked to try to give myself the toughest matchup in the lineup (as well as I could). If there were a bullet to take, I'd try to take it myself an set up my teammates to win for us. Of course, that didn't always work out right, but it's what I tried to do, anyway.
     
    #36
  37. Thamel90

    Thamel90 Rookie

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    Looking across my 3.5 Mens league (17 teams in the county), a decent majority (12 or so) of the captains seem to be A players, winning frequently at #1 or #2 doubles or dominant at singles, from their current season and the previous 40 & over season this year. There are a few guys that are B players, either winning more often than losing at #3/#2 or about 50/50 on the top 2 lines. And there's only 1 or 2 really poor players, including a 3.0 that is captaining a 3.5 team.
     
    #37
  38. ncgator

    ncgator Rookie

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    I think it varies quite a bit and don't know that you can draw any conclusions at 4.0 and 4.5 levels, especially 4.5. At the upper levels, a lot of the better players are not interested in captaining the team, and will get plenty of matches if they are available to play. Sometimes captains will partner themselves with better players to improve their chances of winning their line, but it really just depends on the captain and team, and whether the team is competing to win the league and states, or just playing to have a good time and compete against a variety of players.
     
    #38
  39. NTRPolice

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    I've seen 5.0's captaining 3.0 teams, and 4.0's captaining 4.5+ teams. There is everything in between. What it takes to captain a team is basic personnel management skills, with little to do with actual tennis skills. Men captain womens teams... obviously cant play with them. I've seen 350 lb men captaining JTT teams. I've seen teams where the captain is one of the better players and plays at least 3/4's of the matches.
     
    #39
  40. MethodTennis

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    With the way our leagues work captains tend to be middle of the road because then they wont play up or down a team and usually are older/more organised than good at tennis tbh
     
    #40
  41. OrangePower

    OrangePower Legend

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    I often captain 4.5 teams. In terms of strength, I'm midpack - maybe 5th or 6th strongest out of 15 on the roster. I usually assign lines at random, so there's no correlation on my teams between line and strength (although obviously I have players who are better at singles vs those better suited to dubs).

    If I'm thinking about the other captains in our local area though, I would have to say that more are on the weaker side.
     
    #41
  42. NTRPolice

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    What percentage of captains dont play any matches at all? I know there are some captains that try to make sure everyone gets in enough games (including themselves) to be eligible to advance to a playoff, but there has to be a number of teams where the captain doesnt even play. What percentage of captains are actually ineligible to play? Out of level, wrong gender/age, ect.
     
    #42
  43. schmke

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    It appears, on average captains play themselves more than the average player on their roster. See http://computerratings.blogspot.com/2016/04/how-many-matches-do-captains-play.html but here are the charts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  44. FedLIKEnot

    FedLIKEnot Semi-Pro

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    @schmke thanks for confirming what I thought was just a local trend. It is my expierence that as far as skill level they are in the top 5 or 6 players on any given team I have been apart of. However they either play the most matches ... OR ... put themselves in good position to succeed. Case in point my captain split me and my usual partner up (we had a win early in the season 6-0, 6-1) and uses us to carry weaker partners while he has played with the same partner in all his matches and even in our weekly clinic he makes sure to be partnered with him during any and all point play. Seemingly confirming he is using the team and this season to get himself in a position to be bumped at year end ranking.
     
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  45. J_R_B

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    In practice, this happens because the captains are more invested in the team than the other players, but it also depends on the team situation. On teams with tons of good players available every match, the captain plays less. On teams that constantly struggle to have 8 guys, the captain plays nearly every match because he is more likely to change plans or whatever to play if short. Also, if the captain is one of the top 8 and the team is trying to compete the captain will play almost every match. If the captain is just a guy in terms of roster strength, he will play less.

    On my 4.0 team, I played nearly every match. We often had only 8 players available including me and we were competing for the league title most years, so I had to change my plans and do some fancy scheduling to avoid forfeits. I tried sitting out and just watching one match when we had extra players and we had to bare hang on for 3-2 against one of the worst teams, which drove me nuts. Never again after that. On my 4.5 team, I played less in the early season and more later. Early in the year when we were still in contention, more of my strong players were available to play and I kept myself out of the lineup. Later in the year once we lost a couple, it became more difficult to get a full lineup and I had to play myself more.
     
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