Had a team match yesterday, and there was a confrontation on one of the courts about footfaulting. Our gals had won the first set and were up 3-0, 30-all in the second when the opponents accused one of our players of footfaulting. The ensuing hostility caused our gals to fall behind, but they ultimately won. After the match, the opposing captain took me aside to explain Just How Very Bad the footfaulting was. Our players, in turn, thought the footfault complaint was (1) wrong, as the player in question has a nice jumping service motion that some people mistake for a footfault, and (2) gamesmanship, since it was raised so late in the match. Bottom line is my ladies won and that's that. I was thinking about the footfault rule, and I am starting to think it is the most lame, most unworkable, and most poorly conceived part of the Code. In general, the Code tasks players with policing their own behavior. There are many examples. Players are to overrule their own bad calls. Call their own double hits. Call their own double bounces. Call when the ball touches them. Call when they tip a ball. Call when they reach over the net or touch it. Decide whether the opponents hindered them. As I sit here, I can only think of one situation where the Code gives the opponents the ability to call a rules infraction: Footfaulting. Giving the opponents the right to call a footfault makes no sense to me. As anyone who has ever worked as a line judge can tell you, you need to be looking down the baseline to observe a footfault. An opponent is much more likely to know for sure whether there was a double-bounce in the mid-court than whether someone footfaulted at the opposite baseline. Not only that, if you gave most rec players a test where they had to watch footage from a distance and tell whether someone was footfaulting, most people couldn't do it because they don't even really know what a footfault is. Then, to make the footfaulting Code provision just that much more likely to cause an argument, the Code tells the opponents that they must warn before they can call a footfault. Do you have to warn your opponents that they can't double-hit? No. All the warning achieves in real life is a verbal altercation and invitation to warn just to throw off the server. If that weren't bad enough, the Code then lets the opponents unilaterally decide that they will start calling faults and thereby taking points from their opponents if the "flagrant" footfaulting continues. There is no definition of "flagrant," so this is subjective and left entirely up to the judgment of the receiver. In other matters such as a double-bounce or double-hit, the call is not subjective -- it either happened or it didn't. Can you imagine if line calls followed this principle, with balls being out only if they are "flagrantly" out? Is it any wonder that so many arguments and tit-for-tat behavior occurs with the footfault rule? I think the Code should be changed. In unofficiated matches, players should decide after the warm-up how footfaults will be handled. They can agree to abide by the current Code provision, with each team able to call flagrant footfaults after a warning. Or they can agree that they won't call footfaults. If the players forget to make an election, then no one can call footfaults. Making this decision after the warm-up allows each team to watch the other team serve (or decline to take warm-up serves) so they can decide how likely it will be that footfaulting might become an issue. What do you think?