The Captain Confessional

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Hey, fellow captains. We all talk a lot about how hard captaining is, how players are the worst, yada yada yada.

I'm wondering whether we have the stomach to admit to our own faults and past sins. A look in the mirror might not be a bad idea, right? I'll go first.

I still feel a little bad about a lady (let's call her Margaret because that's her name) I cut from my 3.0 team about 13 years ago. We had all started as 2.5s and became 3.0s the next year. USTA was a shiny new toy, and we were excited about tennis. We were ambitious, with eyes on becoming 3.5s someday and thoughts of maybe making the post-season if everything went just right.

Margaret was perfectly nice, but she was bad even for 3.0. Couldn't move, wasn't bringing much to the table. My players were complaining that they didn't want to play with Margaret, so I decided I would partner with her. Yeah, she was that bad. But this was at a time when I was pretty fast, so I could and did cover the whole court. It was exhausting, but we did win together.

But, um . . . I didn't want to play all of my matches with Margaret. Sooner or later we would run into opponents who could get the ball by me and we would lose. Losing would hurt my rating, and we can't have that.

I didn't invite Margaret back onto the team. So far as I know, she never played another USTA match. And I still feel bad about it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Seeing as how I just dissolved my team (one that I inherited and over 2 years went from rag-tag bad to pretty miserable) .... Most really wonderful humans, just should not be on the same team together and certainly not captained by me!

Here are my two confessions:

1. Two players that were S rates that after a few practices I was certain were at the wrong level, not 3.5 but should be 3.0 ... but they were both so darn arrogant about themselves. Put them together in the lineup, threw them on line 1 or 2 and they got killed nearly every time they played ... both dropped down to 3.0 at the end of the season.

2. I had multiple players who were always incredibly late to everything. I mean flirting with or causing a default late. Now I am a little dense. It took me two seasons of hoping they would reform before I made my solution:
I posted the entire season's schedule with false start times. Every single match on the schedule was 30 minutes earlier than reality.
I never told ANYONE what the real times were and somehow no one ever asked or commented much about the fact that we were always waiting for courts. And those late players continued to be "late" to the matches ....

I don't know what it would take to get me to captain again. Just completed my last season and currently don't miss it at all.
 
Hey, fellow captains. We all talk a lot about how hard captaining is, how players are the worst, yada yada yada.

I'm wondering whether we have the stomach to admit to our own faults and past sins. A look in the mirror might not be a bad idea, right? I'll go first.

I still feel a little bad about a lady (let's call her Margaret because that's her name) I cut from my 3.0 team about 13 years ago. We had all started as 2.5s and became 3.0s the next year. USTA was a shiny new toy, and we were excited about tennis. We were ambitious, with eyes on becoming 3.5s someday and thoughts of maybe making the post-season if everything went just right.

Margaret was perfectly nice, but she was bad even for 3.0. Couldn't move, wasn't bringing much to the table. My players were complaining that they didn't want to play with Margaret, so I decided I would partner with her. Yeah, she was that bad. But this was at a time when I was pretty fast, so I could and did cover the whole court. It was exhausting, but we did win together.

But, um . . . I didn't want to play all of my matches with Margaret. Sooner or later we would run into opponents who could get the ball by me and we would lose. Losing would hurt my rating, and we can't have that.

I didn't invite Margaret back onto the team. So far as I know, she never played another USTA match. And I still feel bad about it.
You made an executive decision; the buck stops with the captain and command is lonely.

As a counterpoint, think of what would have happened if you had kept her on the team: would you have played every match with her because no one else wanted to? Then your enjoyment goes way down [and perhaps your chance at moving up]. If you stick others with her, they might abandon the team for greener pastures. Overall, your decision was probably the best for the team [including you]. Maybe even for Margaret: how much fun would it have been to always be the weak link?

You can't change the past so the interesting question is, what would you do if history repeated?
 
Seeing as how I just dissolved my team (one that I inherited and over 2 years went from rag-tag bad to pretty miserable) .... Most really wonderful humans, just should not be on the same team together and certainly not captained by me!

Here are my two confessions:

1. Two players that were S rates that after a few practices I was certain were at the wrong level, not 3.5 but should be 3.0 ... but they were both so darn arrogant about themselves. Put them together in the lineup, threw them on line 1 or 2 and they got killed nearly every time they played ... both dropped down to 3.0 at the end of the season.

2. I had multiple players who were always incredibly late to everything. I mean flirting with or causing a default late. Now I am a little dense. It took me two seasons of hoping they would reform before I made my solution:
I posted the entire season's schedule with false start times. Every single match on the schedule was 30 minutes earlier than reality.
I never told ANYONE what the real times were and somehow no one ever asked or commented much about the fact that we were always waiting for courts. And those late players continued to be "late" to the matches ....
My hat's off to you for finding a creative, environmentally-friendly solution. I would have just assumed everyone [or at least someone] would look at the web page and say "hey, how come you listed every match early?".

People that are late consistently would eventually get dropped or put on "reserve". I have too many other things to worry about to always have to remind grown adults of their commitments.

I don't know what it would take to get me to captain again. Just completed my last season and currently don't miss it at all.
Large sums of cash? A marching band salute? A fireworks display with your name emblazoned across the sky?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
My hat's off to you for finding a creative, environmentally-friendly solution. I would have just assumed everyone [or at least someone] would look at the web page and say "hey, how come you listed every match early?".

People that are late consistently would eventually get dropped or put on "reserve". I have too many other things to worry about to always have to remind grown adults of their commitments.



Large sums of cash? A marching band salute? A fireworks display with your name emblazoned across the sky?
On the schedule thing.... tennislink around here lists every single match as starting at 6am. The only place the "real" schedule exists is in the master schedule email from the LLC to the captains/facilities. Only way I was getting busted is if a player asked a friend from another team about the schedule.

Hmmmm ... that fireworks display sounds pretty awesome.

At this point people would have to fundamentally change their SOP.
Respond promptly
Become flexible in terms of who they are willing to play with
Show up to practices
Stop being ninnies.

Or, I would have to develop a whole heap worth of newfound patience and tolerance.
 

sovertennis

Professional
Seeing as how I just dissolved my team (one that I inherited and over 2 years went from rag-tag bad to pretty miserable) .... Most really wonderful humans, just should not be on the same team together and certainly not captained by me!

Here are my two confessions:

1. Two players that were S rates that after a few practices I was certain were at the wrong level, not 3.5 but should be 3.0 ... but they were both so darn arrogant about themselves. Put them together in the lineup, threw them on line 1 or 2 and they got killed nearly every time they played ... both dropped down to 3.0 at the end of the season.

2. I had multiple players who were always incredibly late to everything. I mean flirting with or causing a default late. Now I am a little dense. It took me two seasons of hoping they would reform before I made my solution:
I posted the entire season's schedule with false start times. Every single match on the schedule was 30 minutes earlier than reality.
I never told ANYONE what the real times were and somehow no one ever asked or commented much about the fact that we were always waiting for courts. And those late players continued to be "late" to the matches ....

I don't know what it would take to get me to captain again. Just completed my last season and currently don't miss it at all.
This is manipulative to the point of deviousness. Well played. I commend you.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I’ve been on the receiving end of ”sacrificial singles” — in fact all three of the last 3 guys I played up at 4.0 singles just got moved to 4.5 — so I know it stinks, but I’ve occasionally done it to people on my team too. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, sacrificial singles is having the worst guy on your team play against a top-ranked singles player so that you can focus on winning the doubles courts.
 

MRfStop

Hall of Fame
I recently started managing a drill with one of the better pros in my area. The purpose of the drill is have like minded players who are wanting to get better do the drill. Not the "I want to win the point no matter what" and "I want to win the drill no matter what" and the "Im just here to have fun" people. I started out with 10 people. One being a Div-III x3 National Champion lady who is better than all of us but makes the drill very competitive and makes us better. I included some 3.5s and I have gotten some others that have asked to be in it but I have rejected. The 3.5s that I included have come to one drill in the last 3 months so I have cut them all out. Now I have around 7 people including myself.

I feel this is very similar to captaining the teams I have captained. You want the best for the team but you also don't want dead weight.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
On the schedule thing.... tennislink around here lists every single match as starting at 6am. The only place the "real" schedule exists is in the master schedule email from the LLC to the captains/facilities. Only way I was getting busted is if a player asked a friend from another team about the schedule.
Oaf, sounds like a lazy LLC if they aren't updating TennisLink with the real schedule.

There are areas/leagues where the LLC doesn't secure the courts and establish the schedule, and in these what is on TennisLink is just a general "play the match this week scheduling it on your own", but if the LLC is working with facilities to get the courts and do the schedule, TennisLink should reflect that schedule IMHO.
 

atatu

Legend
As captains do you feel a duty to inform players that they won't be invited back or "I don't have a spot for you this season" or do you just ghost them and not include them in the email invite for the next season. I've done it both ways and never feel good about either. If a player did not reply to my emails the previous season telling me whether me is or is not available, I have no problem just ghosting them but if a guy has been responsive, etc. then I feel an obligation to at least let him know he won't be on the roster so he can find another team.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
Here in our state there is a summer singles league. It's non-advancing beyond the state tournament. My last year as a 3.0 I captained a team that was decent enough to win the league and advance to the state tournament. Tournament was in a not so great location so originally wasn't planning to go if we won the league. We had 8 players and the max we could have was 9. 2 of our players were significantly weaker than the others. With one match left in regular season I decided to ask the best 3.0 in our area if he wanted to join our team for the last match and go to states with us. He said yes. Had he said no we wouldn't have gone but with him in the fold knew we had a legit chance to win states. Here's the confession part. I never invited the 2 weakest players to go. If they had said yes I would have had to play them and if I had to play them then I would not have wanted to go because we would have lost. So we went to states, I won the clinching match and had to deliver these two guys their trophies they didn't even know we were competing for. I'm still friends with the 2 that weren't invited and they've never said anythign about it to me. One still plays and the other doesn't. I wouldn't do it again but we did have a really good time at the tournament.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
As captains do you feel a duty to inform players that they won't be invited back or "I don't have a spot for you this season" or do you just ghost them and not include them in the email invite for the next season. I've done it both ways and never feel good about either. If a player did not reply to my emails the previous season telling me whether me is or is not available, I have no problem just ghosting them but if a guy has been responsive, etc. then I feel an obligation to at least let him know he won't be on the roster so he can find another team.
I have mostly ghosted people, but the only reason that I don't invite them back is if they never respond to my emails in the first place, so I don't really feel bad about dropping people off the email list in those circumstances. If any of them would write to me personally and ask why they weren't contacted or if there is a team this year and they want to play, I would also let them back on but tell them to communicate better. That's never happened.

I did have a guy once who played a year on my team, and he was pretty good. He wasn't a top, top player, but he won most of his matches and he was a good guy, so I asked him back on the team the next year. He said his old team was reforming and asked him to play, and he wanted to know if it was OK to go back to his old team. Of course I said yes. I'm not doing this to create drama. If you want to play for another team, go ahead, have fun, and we'll see you on the court. After the season, I saw him at my gym, and he said something like why didn't I want him back? Huh? You asked to go. You could have joined my team. I guess he was expecting me to fight for him or something, but I'm not in it for that sort of thing.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
I wasn’t the captain of my team, but captain would reverse the lineups based on skill level.

Our strongest players would play D-3 instead of D-1.
Weakest players would play D-1 and most likely get slaughtered. He said he rather sacrifice the weakest players (his words) and maybe they got lucky and got a win.

Medium skilled players would get D-2.

I don’t play on his team anymore, I understand the strategy behind it, but I rather play the same skill level of my opponent. I don’t like matches where the skill levels aren’t balanced.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
I have not been a captain all that much but it was not real fun (although I probably would do it again). Here are some tales from courts:

- I was captaining a team with the goal of winning a national championship, I took over from a very nice guy but was not quite as competitive as me (or was just fine someone else was taking over). So we do pretty well but made some people pretty mad at me as I made some tough decisions. We were at states and one of our better players was out of town for the matches, but then we won the first match of two and he was able to make it for the second, so I changed the lineup to have him in it and kick another guy out of the lineup. He was very nice when I told him someone else was playing but I am sure he was frustrated. I again kicked him out of the lineup in Sectionals when another guy would play, and of course he did not feel like it was worth it to make the trip to nationals once we qualified (I wonder why?). We did not win nationals but did ok, came in second in our group (back when there were groups) and had fun. So the guy I kicked out of the lineup twice and me are still friendly but 2 other guys got real mad at me for me not thinking they were good enough for the top 8, they felt like they should be playing (they did not travel to nationals, but in the playoffs before that they asked why they were not playing), there is still some awkwardness when we hang out now.

So we split up for a year due to no more than 3 people and we had at least four people rated up. A couple of us got back down the next year and we try to get the band back together. I captain again and we play a couple matches and then I send out the lineup for a match and the head pro at the club (also plays on the team) sends me a bunch of R-rated text messages telling me that I messed up. He tells me that I put out a poor lineup for a big match (for our local league there not a whole lot big matches as we have 2 sessions and one team from each session qualifies so out of the five teams in our local league two make the playoffs each year, and only 2 teams really care, maybe 2 and 1/2). Anyways I tell him that i will change the lineup to put the guys he wants in and he says it is too late (this is the day before the match). Fine, we play and win the match and there is a little back and forth with him, but I was not the captain anymore after that, and never played on that team again.
 

denoted

Rookie
I don't have any confessions, but I'm fascinated by this thread. Captaining is one of the great unheralded challenges of our modern times.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
In order to be competitive in 4.0 men’s league in Texas, I once recruited an entire roster of recent grad D1 players and Futures players and had them self rate at 4.0. All it got us was a middle of the pack finish in our league, because the 4.0 leagues are that competitive.
That may be the most impressive sandbagging story I've ever heard. Good for you being honest about it.
 

kylebarendrick

Professional
I was captaining a 7.5 team. I had one guy (a 4.0) who felt he was much better than 4.0 (and probably would be if in better shape) who I partnered with a 3.5 that had a strong playoff record. I put them on line 2 in a match against a good team. After the match he complained to me about how his partner sucked and how he never should have been put on line 2 - he's a line 1 player and belongs on line 1. Yadda yadda yadda

My response: "but you lost..."
 

jmc3367

Rookie
Being a captain is hard. Like herding cats. I have only done it once and I said never again. The captains I have played for have all done a great job. Sometimes I think they struggle to much making line up decisions and letting the lower skilled players know where they stand on the team. I just got bumped so I am going from one of the best on the teams I play to middle of the pack or worse:confused:.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
Hey, fellow captains. We all talk a lot about how hard captaining is, how players are the worst, yada yada yada.

I'm wondering whether we have the stomach to admit to our own faults and past sins. A look in the mirror might not be a bad idea, right? I'll go first.

I still feel a little bad about a lady (let's call her Margaret because that's her name) I cut from my 3.0 team about 13 years ago. We had all started as 2.5s and became 3.0s the next year. USTA was a shiny new toy, and we were excited about tennis. We were ambitious, with eyes on becoming 3.5s someday and thoughts of maybe making the post-season if everything went just right.

Margaret was perfectly nice, but she was bad even for 3.0. Couldn't move, wasn't bringing much to the table. My players were complaining that they didn't want to play with Margaret, so I decided I would partner with her. Yeah, she was that bad. But this was at a time when I was pretty fast, so I could and did cover the whole court. It was exhausting, but we did win together.

But, um . . . I didn't want to play all of my matches with Margaret. Sooner or later we would run into opponents who could get the ball by me and we would lose. Losing would hurt my rating, and we can't have that.

I didn't invite Margaret back onto the team. So far as I know, she never played another USTA match. And I still feel bad about it.
I thought about this for a bit before responding. I cap three teams and register on an additional two. Once you get a system down, and build a large enough roster, it's actually gotten easier for me. I've trained the players what I need from them, and they do it. I guess after having done it a while, I have a large enough dance-card that I send the registration info out to my top guys first, then start filling in with others as needed. Bottom line is, it comes down to who is responsive within 24-48 hrs of my confirmation emails. Those who do get invited back. Those who don't, dont...and my number 1 rule: No Jerks on the teams I cap.

Capping three teams, I probably only spend on average about 10 mins a day tops...
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
In order to be competitive in 4.0 men’s league in Texas, I once recruited an entire roster of recent grad D1 players and Futures players and had them self rate at 4.0. All it got us was a middle of the pack finish in our league, because the 4.0 leagues are that competitive.
So did the other teams have top 150 ATP players on their rosters under pseudonyms or something?
 
In order to be competitive in 4.0 men’s league in Texas, I once recruited an entire roster of recent grad D1 players and Futures players and had them self rate at 4.0. All it got us was a middle of the pack finish in our league, because the 4.0 leagues are that competitive.
Would love to really see what this roster looked like. I cant imagine these middle of the road 4.0 teams are better than 4.5 and 5.0 National teams that werent overly loaded with 20-something D1 and Futures players. Plus if this was really how your team was built, how did it feel to really cheat the system terribly and still lose? This kind of cheating would get you and all of the illegal players a minimum of a 1 year band from usta in our section

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Would love to really see what this roster looked like. I cant imagine these middle of the road 4.0 teams are better than 4.5 and 5.0 National teams that werent overly loaded with 20-something D1 and Futures players. Plus if this was really how your team was built, how did it feel to really cheat the system terribly and still lose? This kind of cheating would get you and all of the illegal players a minimum of a 1 year band from usta in our section

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
Y'all do realize that @Moveforwardalways was absolutely joking in his post, right?
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I recently started managing a drill with one of the better pros in my area. The purpose of the drill is have like minded players who are wanting to get better do the drill. Not the "I want to win the point no matter what" and "I want to win the drill no matter what" and the "Im just here to have fun" people. I started out with 10 people. One being a Div-III x3 National Champion lady who is better than all of us but makes the drill very competitive and makes us better. I included some 3.5s and I have gotten some others that have asked to be in it but I have rejected. The 3.5s that I included have come to one drill in the last 3 months so I have cut them all out. Now I have around 7 people including myself.

I feel this is very similar to captaining the teams I have captained. You want the best for the team but you also don't want dead weight.
Yeah. Tomorrow, we will do clinic confessionals. I have a story for that one.
 

tomato123

Professional
As someone who was “sacrificed” at the singles 1 spot on a number of occasions I did not mind it too much since it served as a good measure of where I stood against the best players in the league. Fortunately the gap wasn’t too ridiculous. Those games also helped set some benchmarks on areas I needed to improve, so we’ll see next year how much progress I’ve made...
 

Max G.

Legend
I mean, according to the rules, there's no difference between the lines - there's no particular requirement that the better players play on line 1, and not really any real reason to put them there...
 

denoted

Rookie
What I want is to read a game-theoretic treatise on stacking line-ups. I'm sure it's reducible to some well-studied problem, but who wants to wade through the algebra? Just give me the gist, so that I can pass it on to the captain and optimize our strategy.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
What I want is to read a game-theoretic treatise on stacking line-ups. I'm sure it's reducible to some well-studied problem, but who wants to wade through the algebra? Just give me the gist, so that I can pass it on to the captain and optimize our strategy.
Not on stacking per se .... but if you are stuck with a lineup that includes 3 strong, 3 decent and 2 weak players, do not waste your strong or decent on the weak ... pair the weak together wasting 1 line instead of potentially destroying 2 lines.
 
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denoted

Rookie
Not on stacking per se .... but if you are stuck with a lineup that includes 3 strong, 3 decent and 2 weak players, do not waste your strong or decent on the weak ... pair the weak together wasting 1 line instead of potential destroying 2 lines.
Have you ever been on a team where there was universal agreement on who fit in those categories? I certainly haven't. The seemingly objective evidence of win-loss record can be subject to a variety of careful interpretations, especially in doubles.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Have you ever been on a team where there was universal agreement on who fit in those categories? I certainly haven't. The seemingly objective evidence of win-loss record can be subject to a variety of careful interpretations, especially in doubles.
Sometimes it is really obvious .. especially if you have players who are playing up on your team ... I can see when there would be times when it is much more subjective.
 
Captaining is a real PITA, and I wont have anything to do with it anymore, I have had to make decisions over time and stupidly lost friends because of it... In the UK league tennis is usually 6 people playing 3 matches of doubles. Whatever my 6 I would try and split it based on what I felt was the strongest side to win the match... Sacrificial third pair? Yes... Splitting established partners for the sake of the team standard? Absolutely... Having to be the one to stand myself down in the event of a player no show? Unfortunately...

I now try and make sure I'm a model team member... Have had too many throw their toys out of the pram when I make a decision in the team interest. (I also play better when I'm not captaining)
 
I can't remember the last time I captained a playoff-caliber team where the bottom players didn't think they were just as good as the top players. And frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I can't remember the last time I captained a playoff-caliber team where the bottom players didn't think they were just as good as the top players. And frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I think that is nearly the definition of a playoff-caliber team. Without that depth one simply has a regular team.
 

Doan

Rookie
Have you ever been on a team where there was universal agreement on who fit in those categories? I certainly haven't. The seemingly objective evidence of win-loss record can be subject to a variety of careful interpretations, especially in doubles.
It certainly helps if you have a team where everyone knows their team standings. TR is fairly accurate and aligns with how I would rank team members (If they've played a decent # of matches). There's usually no outliers where someone is ranked #8 in the team on TR is actually in the top 4.
 

Doan

Rookie
There's TR, and then there's what happens in practice matches, etc. Players on the rise, in decline, etc.
Sure and as a captain you can see if someones rising/declining and make the appropriate decision. I have plenty of good practice players - need more good match players. I've never really had any issues or complaints about this. Just don't invite them onto the team.
 

leech

Semi-Pro
I've had plenty of players ask to get on my teams, and fortunately I've almost always planned out my rosters well in advance of the season so I can honestly tell unwanted players that my roster is full, and that's that. But there was one acquaintance who wouldn't let things be...he kept asking, season after season. He was barely hanging on to his 3.5 rating, and even had he dropped down to 3.0 I would not want him on my 7.0 MXD team. I didn't feel it was necessary to explicitly convey such harsh truths, so hoped my repeated "sorry, but we are full" responses would suffice.

But he started to ask if he could get on the wait list. I made the mistake of playing along, and saying sure, he can get on the wait list (even though I didn't specify where on the wait list he'd be). When he noticed that a couple of my 3.5 men got bumped up one season, he excitedly approached me and expected to be on my team. I said he's still on the wait list, and he got angry. Told me I was a liar, and that I had misled him. And for the next 3 or 4 times he saw me, told anyone within earshot that I was a liar.

I don't really get it...he presumably wanted to get on my team because we've had strong teams that won our local 7.0 MXD team pretty much every season. How would he expect us to continue winning if I started taking bottom-of-the-barrel 3.5 men like him? It's true that I have the ability to take a couple of non-elite players, but those are reserved for former players who've bumped up, and/or friends. He fit into none of these categories. I guess I shouldn't have sugar-coated things with where I see him fitting in... Things got so uncomfortable that I dropped out of a block/contract time with him, because the snub is all he could talk about (mind you, we were not friends or past teammates; I owed him nothing).
 
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E46luver

Professional
invite margaret for hitting fun but no league
league is for winning only no hard feelings
want to league then get lessons and come back next time
 

E46luver

Professional
if i run team i tell your bad and losing tennis and feel no doubt
better player gets to play that is life 101
so sorry go learn tennis
 
As captains do you feel a duty to inform players that they won't be invited back or "I don't have a spot for you this season" or do you just ghost them and not include them in the email invite for the next season. I've done it both ways and never feel good about either. If a player did not reply to my emails the previous season telling me whether me is or is not available, I have no problem just ghosting them but if a guy has been responsive, etc. then I feel an obligation to at least let him know he won't be on the roster so he can find another team.
Either way I like being up-front so there's no misunderstanding ["But I assumed you were going to ask me so I rejected another offer and now I don't have a team!"].

Chances are, someone who can't be bothered giving you their availability isn't going to be put out of sorts not getting an invite for the next season.
 
What I want is to read a game-theoretic treatise on stacking line-ups. I'm sure it's reducible to some well-studied problem, but who wants to wade through the algebra? Just give me the gist, so that I can pass it on to the captain and optimize our strategy.
Randomize your lineups and you'll never have any "buyer's remorse".
 
I've had plenty of players ask to get on my teams, and fortunately I've almost always planned out my rosters well in advance of the season so I can honestly tell unwanted players that my roster is full, and that's that. But there was one acquaintance who wouldn't let things be...he kept asking, season after season. He was barely hanging on to his 3.5 rating, and even had he dropped down to 3.0 I would not want him on my 7.0 MXD team. I didn't feel it was necessary to explicitly convey such harsh truths, so hoped my repeated "sorry, but we are full" responses would suffice.

But he started to ask if he could get on the wait list. I made the mistake of playing along, and saying sure, he can get on the wait list (even though I didn't specify where on the wait list he'd be). When he noticed that a couple of my 3.5 men got bumped up one season, he excitedly approached me and expected to be on my team. I said he's still on the wait list, and he got angry. Told me I was a liar, and that I had misled him. And for the next 3 or 4 times he saw me, told anyone within earshot that I was a liar.

I don't really get it...he presumably wanted to get on my team because we've had strong teams that won our local 7.0 MXD team pretty much every season. How would he expect us to continue winning if I started taking bottom-of-the-barrel 3.5 men like him? It's true that I have the ability to take a couple of non-elite players, but those are reserved for former players who've bumped up, and/or friends. He fit into none of these categories. I guess I shouldn't have sugar-coated things with where I see him fitting in... Things got so uncomfortable that I dropped out of a block/contract time with him, because the snub is all he could talk about (mind you, we were not friends or past teammates; I owed him nothing).
In order to spare his feelings, you told a white lie which he then latched on to and called you out on. In payment for you consideration, he now focuses on the lie rather than your intentions.
 

Powderwombat

Semi-Pro
I was cut from my 3.0 team about 13 years ago. We had all started as 2.5s and became 3.0s the next year. USTA was a shiny new toy, and we were excited about tennis. We were ambitious, with eyes on becoming 3.5s someday and thoughts of maybe making the post-season if everything went just right.

I was perfectly nice, but struggling at 3.0. I heard some rumblings from our players that they didn't want to play with me, and Cindy ended up playing with me. She would always complain about something. I found they kept hitting the ball to Cindy, as she would always cover the whole court chasing her balls down. It was exhausting to watch, but we did win together.

But, um . . . I didn't want to play all of my matches with Cindy. Sooner or later we would run into opponents who could get the ball by me and we would lose because Cindy was too slow to get to the balls. Losing would hurt my rating, and we can't have that.

I wasn't invited back onto the team, but I was gonna quit anyway. I never played another USTA match.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Randomize your lineups and you'll never have any "buyer's remorse".
A few seasons ago I had come to my wits end with the drama of who didn't want to play with who and who wouldn't play line 1 and who was insulted by being put on line 3 bla bla bla.

So ... I took crafting tongue depressors ... decorated them and included line numbers ... so 1 S1, 1 S2, 2 D1s etc. ... had each player draw a stick and that was the line up. .... Did it 3 minutes before warm up ... the other team was trying to get to districts and was pissed that we were not taking the match "seriously" enough.

My only caveat was that my 2 players over 65yo could re-draw if they drew a singles stick.

We won the team match. The other team did make it to districts but didn't lock it up that week.
 

denoted

Rookie
I wonder if there are sound game-theoretic reasons to randomize line-ups in at least some conditions. If you have no reliable information about the other team's likely line-up and a relatively homogeneous group of players, perhaps.
 
A few seasons ago I had come to my wits end with the drama of who didn't want to play with who and who wouldn't play line 1 and who was insulted by being put on line 3 bla bla bla.

So ... I took crafting tongue depressors ... decorated them and included line numbers ... so 1 S1, 1 S2, 2 D1s etc. ... had each player draw a stick and that was the line up. .... Did it 3 minutes before warm up ... the other team was trying to get to districts and was pissed that we were not taking the match "seriously" enough.

My only caveat was that my 2 players over 65yo could re-draw if they drew a singles stick.

We won the team match. The other team did make it to districts but didn't lock it up that week.
That's not actually what I meant: I was referring to setting my team lineup using logic [who the best pairings are; how to balance lines; where to put the person who is good at both singles and doubles; how or whether to split up the best pair; etc] but then randomizing which slot they played [Abby and Becky could play any of the doubles lines; Cheryl could play any of the singles lines].

But I can see your idea of complete randomization as having merit also if people are complaining about which particular line they play. Me, I'm just happy to play; put me anywhere with [practically] any partner or in singles. The more restrictions I have, the less likely I'll play.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
A few seasons ago I had come to my wits end with the drama of who didn't want to play with who and who wouldn't play line 1 and who was insulted by being put on line 3 bla bla bla.

So ... I took crafting tongue depressors ... decorated them and included line numbers ... so 1 S1, 1 S2, 2 D1s etc. ... had each player draw a stick and that was the line up. .... Did it 3 minutes before warm up ... the other team was trying to get to districts and was pissed that we were not taking the match "seriously" enough.

My only caveat was that my 2 players over 65yo could re-draw if they drew a singles stick.

We won the team match. The other team did make it to districts but didn't lock it up that week.
This does raise the question about how points-per-position will change this sort of dynamic. While you could still employ the strategy for line-ups with PPP, you are likely reducing the expected points you will garner from the team match. In effect, PPP puts the onus on the captain to establish a pecking order of who is best as it is effectively exposed by how they do their line-ups.

Is PPP being used more and more going to create more work, angst, and drama for captains?
 
This does raise the question about how points-per-position will change this sort of dynamic. While you could still employ the strategy for line-ups with PPP, you are likely reducing the expected points you will garner from the team match. In effect, PPP puts the onus on the captain to establish a pecking order of who is best as it is effectively exposed by how they do their line-ups.

Is PPP being used more and more going to create more work, angst, and drama for captains?
I can't see it lessening the amount of angst and drama!

I'm sure some will get offended ["I'm not good enough to play line x? How come So-and-So gets to play line x?? I beat him in our practice match last week!"].
 
Somewhat experienced captain here. I do have some practice only players. They aren't the strongest but the team means a lot to them. If they have a lot of travel they generally aren't a good fit for the team and it's a nice way to include them without them having to play with someone for a match.Some of these players have been treated horribly by other captains so I just like them to have a better experience. We keep the coaching going year round and I encourage them to play the summer doubles flex leagues for more experience. Honestly we have seen a lot of improvement since last year when the players come to,practices. Some of them can't practice much as they support their family on a single income . The coaching slots during prime time are almost non existent and I found even if I got one, these players wouldn't even attend every week, so I just gave up . We just play doubles on weekends and people sign up each day they can make it.. All the players are very good sports and are in high demand by other teams. Their skills are better each year and this is the most fun for me, watching their improvements.
 
Somewhat experienced captain here. I do have some practice only players. They aren't the strongest but the team means a lot to them. If they have a lot of travel they generally aren't a good fit for the team and it's a nice way to include them without them having to play with someone for a match.Some of these players have been treated horribly by other captains so I just like them to have a better experience. We keep the coaching going year round and I encourage them to play the summer doubles flex leagues for more experience. Honestly we have seen a lot of improvement since last year when the players come to,practices. Some of them can't practice much as they support their family on a single income . The coaching slots during prime time are almost non existent and I found even if I got one, these players wouldn't even attend every week, so I just gave up . We just play doubles on weekends and people sign up each day they can make it.. All the players are very good sports and are in high demand by other teams. Their skills are better each year and this is the most fun for me, watching their improvements.
You're a gentleman and a scholar; captains like you make league a fun place for more people.
 
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