Played My First UTR Round Robin

Heck

Rookie
Here we are still in a tennis lockdown but one club had a UTR event so I joined up. Soon I realized that it was mostly junior players and I almost bailed out because I did not want to
be the creepy old guy. I started thinking it would be fun to see how I can do and get a first hand look and feel of Jr tennis in my UTR range. As soon as I got over some of the anxiety
of feeling out of place and being warmly welcomed by the organizer. He was excited that someone like me signed up so that made me feel better.

I got beat by all 12-14 year olds I faced in the fast 4 format no ad. First match was vs a tiny girl who I just could not find it in me to try hard. After I was falling behind I started to try but
she was skilled and I feel would have bet me on a good day. Next match was a small boy 12 ro 13. I felt I could give this kid more on the sever that I gave in the first match. Well he handed
me another beat down and we had a close 2nd set tiebreaker. Now I am thinking what is wrong with my game lol. I beat 4.0 players being a 3.5. I get free points on my serve all the time.
These kids I could not even ace or get easy points of my strong serves.

The next day was the last of 3 matches. This time I had a warm up hit and came looking to play hard. The boy was around 14 and I wanted to bring it! We had a great match and he
earned his win. I could not damage him on my serve and we had several ball rallies where he set me up most times. High tennis IQ and more of a well rounded game than I expected.
I tried to mix up my shots with slice and dropshots, Lobs but he knew what to do. Most of the balls were deep and safe. They were not going for lines or risky angles.

It was a great experance and good tennis. This makes my recreational friends look like hacks and I am part of the hack group. We are doing it wrong it seems. I know on paper high % tennis
wins but I guess it's not what I am doing yet! Now I will focus more on that part of the game. Not one kid had any big weapon but the real weapon was play the right ball at the right
time and safe consistent netural ball shots won the day. It was a wake up call for my game.

I am a UTR 5 and the other players were UTR 6 tournamet brats lol.
 
This awesome, I learned the hard way during my first UTR event that bailing out isn't a good idea because it can really tank your score. I just had an issue with beating a 12 year old boy who was maybe 5 feet tall when I am 6'4". The competition can be pretty good though and boy do I relish when another adult is in the tournament. I am not a big fan of the fast 4 though, I prefer 2-3 real sets of singles matches in a day. I did once get destroyed by this russian girl, 14 years old, pure drive in hand, two coaches and a what I think was a nutritionist with her, with that pure drive she was serving harder than most of the men I play against. Very good match, but wow, it was humbling.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
The modern world of tennis is defensive counterpunching from the baseline. Keep it deep. Keep it safe. Only pull out the winner when you absolutely are set up to do so.
Most of us rec players pull the trigger way too soon.
Yeah, but most of us rec players are slow with bad footwork, so playing it safe against a younger player with good movement and good defensive skills is death by a thousand cuts.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
As a recreational player I don’t think I could ever compete in a tournament like this. Half the reason I enjoy tennis is the social aspect, and there’s little of that to be had from playing with a bunch of children.

That said, I can imagine it being useful in places where there is a lack of competition at a particular level.
 

Heck

Rookie
As a recreational player I don’t think I could ever compete in a tournament like this. Half the reason I enjoy tennis is the social aspect, and there’s little of that to be had from playing with a bunch of children.

That said, I can imagine it being useful in places where there is a lack of competition at a particular level.
These kids were more skilled than some of my tennis friends lol. If you take away the fact that there is a huge age difference and just judged it by the quality of the tennis
it was a great day. They were not goofing off or distracted. I was the one losing track of the score lol. It was impressive the level of maturity when it came to playing the match.
 

E46luver

Professional
These kids have gotten more coaching than most adult hacks do in a lifetime.
They have also had more reps in 5 years of daily singles than adults do in 30 years of weekend doubles.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
I've been underperforming in most of my competitive events as things ramp back up. Us old guys take longer to knock the rust off. UTR competition is an awesome venue for getting back into the swing of things.
 

R1FF

Professional
I started doing these tourney's with the kids. I have a great time. The local promoter does a good job of running the event and the competition is good. Im 39 years old. I dont mind playing the kids.

How lucky you are that events were still being held in your area. In my area they locked up every court for months.
 

R1FF

Professional
These kids were more skilled than some of my tennis friends lol. If you take away the fact that there is a huge age difference and just judged it by the quality of the tennis
it was a great day. They were not goofing off or distracted. I was the one losing track of the score lol. It was impressive the level of maturity when it came to playing the match.
My only criticisms of these events are:

1. No rule book to fall back on to settle disputes. The events are usually ran by a club, and the head coach of that club has a fiduciary interest to protect his players. Leaves lotsa room for BS.

2. The parents. I have zero problem playing against kids. They’re better athletes & much better at calling the lines. I have yet to encounter a single poor sport, shady line caller, or instance of gamesmanship from a teen or youth player. I cannot say the same for adults, whom the majority of the time in tournaments pull some BS. But the parents are a different matter. In 2 of the 3 UTR events I competed in, the parents were coaching kids between sets. Sometimes blatantly, sometimes discretely with signals. Adults are very good at ruining a good thing.

The two things I cant find any criticism of at these events happen to be the two biggest complaints ADULTS have about UTR round robins: the age disparity & gender mixing. Which ironically are a zero issue. I think the adults are clearly the problem.
 

R1FF

Professional
You sure you're not the problem? Those are weird things to complain about.
Rules disputes? Who cares. Give them the point. It's just for fun. Non-issue for me.
Coaching? Who cares. Let them coach. Good opportunity to learn from a meaningless match against a delusional adult rec. Non-issue for me.
It's an organized/sanctioned event. By it's own very definition it's not casual or without rules. The primary function of a sanctioning body is to provide a rules structure.

The match is intended to be a competition. I shouldnt have to define "fair play" but yet here I am. We all play by the same rules, and coaching is strictly forbidden at these events. The parents are in the wrong for circumventing the rules. It's not fair to the other kids that are on that island doing it on their own. If I were to bring a coach to help me mid match surely people would complain.

It's a non issue for you because you dont compete in tournaments. Or dont care. Or simply because you're looking to be argumentative because it's your schtick.
 
You should probably approach a UTR event that involves younger ages as something you are visiting and not take incredible issue with coaching, it's not big deal, it's just another opportunity to play tennis. I approach an event with all ages as I am a tourist visiting another country and just be polite and go with the flow. I will echo your comment on line calls, I'm pleasantly surprised the youngsters are more generous on line calls than adults in my experience.
 

R1FF

Professional
You should probably approach a UTR event that involves younger ages as something you are visiting and not take incredible issue with coaching, it's not big deal,
Actually it is a big deal. Which is why the organizers of the current UTR events I've been attending make a big deal of it pre-event. If it wasnt a "big deal" they'd allow it. I know I sure would benefit from some coaching mid match.

What of the other kids that dont have their parents skirting the rules? They're not "visiting". And I see them getting taken advantage of. It's wrong. It's robbing those kids of their hard work and dedication to get to that point where they could win a match but they lose because the opponent had help. It's greatly magnified with the kids because they are so emotionally fragile in a sport that is so emotionally taxing.

The kids themselves are NOT the problem. I want to make that clear, I have no issue playing against them and I enjoy it a LOT. I havent really had ANY issues whatsoever with a single opponent. They've all been consummate sportsman. It's the damn adults, whom coincidentally, are equally egregious at the USTA adult events, so much so that I just stopped going to them. Too much BS and no enforcement at all.
 

R1FF

Professional
What's with tennis players and everyone wanting a handicap?

I play people my own age and they make excuses for their poor conditioning and demand they get longer layovers during side changes because they deserve the rest... because they are in worse shape than me.

And if I play kids half my age Im supposed to allow the advantage of coaching because they're kids?

Makes no damn sense. There are rules, let's all play by them, let the better person get the win they earned, let the loser learn from the experience and adapt for the next time.
 
I am assuming you are an adult, I'm saying it would improve your life if you relaxed at the UTR event, looked the other way, and played tennis, not notice little things like a kid getting coached. Yes, the kids aren't the problem, but the kids will see their parent getting scolded for coaching etc.. I don't agree with breaking the rules, but if you are an adult at an all ages UTR event, I would try to blend in and not complain, have fun and play tennis.
 

R1FF

Professional
I am assuming you are an adult, I'm saying it would improve your life if you relaxed at the UTR event, looked the other way, and played tennis, not notice little things like a kid getting coached. Yes, the kids aren't the problem, but the kids will see their parent getting scolded for coaching etc.. I don't agree with breaking the rules, but if you are an adult at an all ages UTR event, I would try to blend in and not complain, have fun and play tennis.
And I would argue that blending in and having fun has nothing to do with this. It makes it hard to do so when the rules are not being respected.

Im not the one that needs to "bend" here. The parents just need to follow the rules. Or they can pay my entry fee if they'd like it to be more casual. I'd have no problem meeting any of these kids up for some casual matches in which their parents & coaches can work with them mid match. In fact, I think it would help development a lot. But a sanctioned tournament in which people pay money to be at is not the place or time for that.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
The older I get, the less I care about the outcome of the match in terms of winning or losing. Really what I care about for a match is having fun and feeling like I played at a level that I'm satisfied with.

I've never played a UTR tournament but it sounds like fun. My main concern would be parents thinking I'm some kind of a perv for playing in a tournament of mostly kids! But other than that, if it's good tennis, and my opponents are pleasant to play against, bring it on.

In terms of parents giving illegal coaching, etc, I could care less. It does not diminish my enjoyment or affect my level of play. I get that parents are going to be more intense since they still have hopes that their kids might have some kind of future in tennis, so the results are more meaningful for them than they are for me.
 

R1FF

Professional
The older I get, the less I care about the outcome of the match in terms of winning or losing. Really what I care about for a match is having fun and feeling like I played at a level that I'm satisfied with.

I've never played a UTR tournament but it sounds like fun. My main concern would be parents thinking I'm some kind of a perv for playing in a tournament of mostly kids! But other than that, if it's good tennis, and my opponents are pleasant to play against, bring it on.

In terms of parents giving illegal coaching, etc, I could care less. It does not diminish my enjoyment or affect my level of play. I get that parents are going to be more intense since they still have hopes that their kids might have some kind of future in tennis, so the results are more meaningful for them than they are for me.
Every UTR I’ve been too has had a decent mix of adults & youth. Albeit more youth.

The parents dont seem to mind.

Their issues with following the rules isn’t because they wanna level the playing field versus the adults. I see the same violations going on when it’s two teenagers dueling it out. One dad even had hand signals going - after every point his kud would look up and dad would be like a 3rd base coach sending dialogue to the guy in 1st base. I felt bad for the poor kid whom was winning the match on his own. It’s a 1v1 competition. Not dad & son versus another kid.

If we’re gonna allow it, just allow it openly. Wouldn’t bother me at all as Im used to most other sports where coaching during competition is necessary. I could use the tennis coaching also. Would aid in everyone’s development.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
Every UTR I’ve been too has had a decent mix of adults & youth. Albeit more youth.

The parents dont seem to mind.

Their issues with following the rules isn’t because they wanna level the playing field versus the adults. I see the same violations going on when it’s two teenagers dueling it out. One dad even had hand signals going - after every point his kud would look up and dad would be like a 3rd base coach sending dialogue to the guy in 1st base. I felt bad for the poor kid whom was winning the match on his own. It’s a 1v1 competition. Not dad & son versus another kid.

If we’re gonna allow it, just allow it openly. Wouldn’t bother me at all as Im used to most other sports where coaching during competition is necessary. I could use the tennis coaching also. Would aid in everyone’s development.
Understood.
My point is that even where the rules are being flaunted, if it doesn't impact my own play, I don't let it get to me.
Another similar example would be an opponent who foot faults by a few inches on every serve.
From my perspective as a receiver, the serve of a 6' player with a 85 mph serve who is foot faulting, probably looks like the serve of a 6' 1" player with a 86 mph serve who is not foot faulting. Would I complain about the latter? No. So just view it as such, and play.
For the kids the results can really matter, so I do feel for the kid playing fair while his opponent (or his dad) is cheating.
But for me? Who cares.
 

R1FF

Professional
Understood.
My point is that even where the rules are being flaunted, if it doesn't impact my own play, I don't let it get to me.
Another similar example would be an opponent who foot faults by a few inches on every serve.
From my perspective as a receiver, the serve of a 6' player with a 85 mph serve who is foot faulting, probably looks like the serve of a 6' 1" player with a 86 mph serve who is not foot faulting. Would I complain about the latter? No. So just view it as such, and play.
For the kids the results can really matter, so I do feel for the kid playing fair while his opponent (or his dad) is cheating.
But for me? Who cares.
Show me a single game of pickup basketball (no matter how casual) where if the opponent steps on or over the 3 point line, or steps out of bounds, that the opposing team doesnt call it.

Doesnt exist. Even in a “friendly” game.

I get it, you’re not the least bit interested in being competitive. So tournaments arent your thing. But by the very nature of a sanctioned competition, rules are to be followed, we are all agreeing to that when we sign up. The fact that they dont matter to you makes you the outlier in this case.

And to a fault, the kids all wanna follow the rules. The overzealous parents are doing what they always do, it’s equitable to the kid who’s mom does his science project for him. Super lame.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Here we are still in a tennis lockdown but one club had a UTR event so I joined up. Soon I realized that it was mostly junior players and I almost bailed out because I did not want to
be the creepy old guy. I started thinking it would be fun to see how I can do and get a first hand look and feel of Jr tennis in my UTR range. As soon as I got over some of the anxiety
of feeling out of place and being warmly welcomed by the organizer. He was excited that someone like me signed up so that made me feel better.

I got beat by all 12-14 year olds I faced in the fast 4 format no ad. First match was vs a tiny girl who I just could not find it in me to try hard. After I was falling behind I started to try but
she was skilled and I feel would have bet me on a good day. Next match was a small boy 12 ro 13. I felt I could give this kid more on the sever that I gave in the first match. Well he handed
me another beat down and we had a close 2nd set tiebreaker. Now I am thinking what is wrong with my game lol. I beat 4.0 players being a 3.5. I get free points on my serve all the time.
These kids I could not even ace or get easy points of my strong serves.

The next day was the last of 3 matches. This time I had a warm up hit and came looking to play hard. The boy was around 14 and I wanted to bring it! We had a great match and he
earned his win. I could not damage him on my serve and we had several ball rallies where he set me up most times. High tennis IQ and more of a well rounded game than I expected.
I tried to mix up my shots with slice and dropshots, Lobs but he knew what to do. Most of the balls were deep and safe. They were not going for lines or risky angles.

It was a great experance and good tennis. This makes my recreational friends look like hacks and I am part of the hack group. We are doing it wrong it seems. I know on paper high % tennis
wins but I guess it's not what I am doing yet! Now I will focus more on that part of the game. Not one kid had any big weapon but the real weapon was play the right ball at the right
time and safe consistent netural ball shots won the day. It was a wake up call for my game.

I am a UTR 5 and the other players were UTR 6 tournamet brats lol.
You would have done better if you had served and volleyed and made it to the net at every opportunity. You cannot beat these kids from the baseline because they have developed enormous shot tolerance.
 

R1FF

Professional
And too be honest, the foot fault is not even close to the same as in-match coaching.

I’ve seen the coaching swing entire matches in someone’s favor. I cant think of a bigger advantage you could give someone in a sport so dependent on cognition.

And I’ve yet to play many whom their results mattered in the grand scheme of things. A couple of high school #1’s and that was it, and they certainly didnt need any help to beat me.

The majority are just tennis enthusiasts, just like myself, we all work hard to develop our games, and we all paid $ to put that work to the test in a semi formal setting. And i think that’s where the disconnect here is, unlike most, Im genuinely interested in getting better at tennis. For most adult rec players, they arent. They get to a level they’re comfortable with and settle in. Nothing wrong with that but that aint me. Im enjoying seeing how far I can progress... is it juvenile? Of course. Tennis is a GAME. Competition is juvenile by nature. Probably why I feel more at home in the competitive environment with the kids than the average loon I’ve come across at USTA events.

I never claimed to be any sort of maturity benchmark LOL. Im very much the same competitor I was as a child. Im at these tournaments for the very same reasons the kids are. Just trying to improve.
 
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Chalkdust

Rookie
And too be honest, the foot fault is not even close to the same as in-match coaching.

I’ve seen the coaching swing entire matches in someone’s favor. I cant think of a bigger advantage you could give someone in a sport so dependent on cognition.
Specifically re in-match coaching, I think it really depends. Some people can really benefit from it, some not so much. I fall into the not so much camp - usually it's execution that lets me down rather than tactics / strategy, and execution is really hard to fix mid-match. Heck, most of the time I know exactly what I did wrong on any individual errant shot (usually it's footwork related), but that still doesn't help me on the next shot!!

At higher levels maybe tactics and strategy play a greater role, since execution is a given (within the players tool set). At rec levels though, I think coaching doesn't help that much, at least for adults.
 

R1FF

Professional
Specifically re in-match coaching, I think it really depends. Some people can really benefit from it, some not so much. I fall into the not so much camp - usually it's execution that lets me down rather than tactics / strategy, and execution is really hard to fix mid-match. Heck, most of the time I know exactly what I did wrong on any individual errant shot (usually it's footwork related), but that still doesn't help me on the next shot!!

At higher levels maybe tactics and strategy play a greater role, since execution is a given (within the players tool set). At rec levels though, I think coaching doesn't help that much, at least for adults.
In tournaments where I have schitt the bed... my wife really lays into me on the way home.

“Why didnt you do this here...”

“Why didnt you do that there...”

“Your drop shot was killing him, why didn’t you use it more in the 2nd set...”

“You totally lost your aggression on your serve...”

And so fourth. And you know what? She’s watched me play enough & enough of my lessons that she’s usually right on the diagnosis. There’s just a lotta things we miss while we’re out there by ourselves. I coulda really used her help and she’s far from good!

It’s why in other sports, communication is so important. The best basketball teams talk the most.

Im very used to & receptive to coaching.

I tried even setting up some training sessions in which me and my opponent brought coaches so we could get in match coaching. I felt it would really help me identify my weak points in matches and learn to adjust on the fly. Oddly enough I couldnt get my coach at that time to agree to it (even if I paid him) and I’ve yet to find a parent agree to it. They’re ok doing it when it’s not allowed, but if we actually wanna be open about it there is an aversion.

Makes no sense to me. I think the coaching would be hugely beneficial for development for everyone.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
Makes no sense to me. I think the coaching would be hugely beneficial for development for everyone.
Completely agree with you on this. Coaching should be allowed. I still disagree about how beneficial it is, but allowing it would just remove a rule that gets broken a lot anyway. May as well have a level playing field.
 

R1FF

Professional
Completely agree with you on this. Coaching should be allowed. I still disagree about how beneficial it is, but allowing it would just remove a rule that gets broken a lot anyway. May as well have a level playing field.
On the other hand, one of the beauties of tennis is that there isn’t coaching. The player is on an island. Their mental fortitude exposed. I like this.

But like you, I see that it’s something that is consistently circumvented at all levels. We’ve seen it in the pros (Serena), I’ve seen it at USTA & UTR. So I dunno what the solution is other than to actually DQ anyone caught cheating. Which nobody has the balls to do so we just allow it across the board? Tennis would be a very different sport. You personally might not take well to coaching, but ANY athlete that is conditioned to handle in-competion coaching would be at a huge advantage.
 

Heck

Rookie
Sureshs is correct that I should have served and volleyed more. The times I did I won with clear winners. I also was aware of the parents watching but after the match, I joked with them
and complimented them on the kid's wins. They were very nice and thanked me for playing. The kids were very respectful in the match by not going hard on the "come on" and fist pumps lol.
When I watched them play each other they were going crazy with that stuff and making bad line calls lol. The organizer asked me how was it and I said it was a good first hand lesson that
should help my game. He said he loved the fact that I "old dude" came out to play and it gives the kids a look at a different game style and ball.

I went in with a ton of anxiety and came out with a great experience.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Sureshs is correct that I should have served and volleyed more. The times I did I won with clear winners. I also was aware of the parents watching but after the match, I joked with them
and complimented them on the kid's wins. They were very nice and thanked me for playing. The kids were very respectful in the match by not going hard on the "come on" and fist pumps lol.
When I watched them play each other they were going crazy with that stuff and making bad line calls lol. The organizer asked me how was it and I said it was a good first hand lesson that
should help my game. He said he loved the fact that I "old dude" came out to play and it gives the kids a look at a different game style and ball.

I went in with a ton of anxiety and came out with a great experience.
You have one of the best attitudes.

I wish you posted on here more often as whenever you do it makes me feel good about my fellow adult tennis players around the country.
 

Heck

Rookie
You have one of the best attitudes.

I wish you posted on here more often as whenever you do it makes me feel good about my fellow adult tennis players around the country.
Thank you for that huge compliment. Tennis has given me so much in the last few years during a rough time that I try to support and promote it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Thank you for that huge compliment. Tennis has given me so much in the last few years during a rough time that I try to support and promote it.
I mean it with all sincerity.
Perhaps because I look at tennis so similarly, your posts very much resonate with me. Continue being awesome!
 

R1FF

Professional
When I watched them play each other they were going crazy with that stuff and making bad line calls lol.
I noticed the exact same. Must be some default mentality.

They’re far more sneaky against each other. Im definitely appreciative of how fair they have been with me. I tell them as much after the match.
 
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