Tips for captains

ptuanminh

Professional
31. Is it a good idea to consume all these foods and beers after a 1.5 hour match???? No wonder a lot of rec players can use some weight loss.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
-Overcommunicate - I use e-mail as I can imagine the laughs I would get if I told the guys they had to download an app. Personally I refuse to use those group chat apps.
-Have a full roster
-Never schedule yourself to play (you'll get plenty of playing time just playing for the folks who bail at the last minute)
-Only chase the players down who are worth chasing down
-When scheduling a makeup match where you and the other captain can't exchange lineups in person send a password protected excel file and tell the other captain you'll send the password when they send you their lineup. This prevents other captain from adjusting his lineup based on yours.
-Don't have people back on your team who are problem children, no matter how good they are. It's not worth it.
 

WhiteOut

Rookie
+100

Chasing is degrading.
Send out one notice. That's it.
Make the roster, and forfeit courts if not filled.
Never ask twice. Screw that.
while i agree not to chase, the real answer is somewhere in the middle. my overriding philosophy is that defaulting courts is the worst-possible thing to happen in leagues for one reason: the leagues are there to get people playing tennis. when a default occurs, that means up to three other people are left out of playing that night. many people join leagues b/c they can set that night aside and count on a match once per week, which is their only chance to play due to family, work, and other commitments. therefore as a volunteer and steward of the league and its rules/operation, i believe is incumbent on captains to do everything (reasonably) possible to make sure *not* to default courts. I see too many captains falling back on defaults too easily, and it only damages the operation and the overall experience (and expense) for everyone. whoever is reading this, if you are quick to default, please consider this differently, as capping sounds like it really may not be for you.

i send out an email with next week's proposed lineup + time/location within ~24 hrs for the match we just played. players know to email me back a yes/no within ~24-48 hrs. this leaves me ~5 days to fill any gaps (usually a spot or two need to be subbed in). by match day, there are usually 1-2 guys i have not marked as confirmed on my spreadsheet (sometimes b/c they have not replied, but other times they did but i didn't mark it b/c i was busy and forgot). a simple text in the AM -- are you in for tonight? then yes/no. if no, i shoot a text to the next guy up. all of this takes about 2-3 minutes. once that last spot is confirmed, i text a match reminder to the guys playing that night again w/ time/location. my total time spent is ~10-15 mins tops, spread out in 2-3 minute increments over a week. the players know how i operate and i've setup a regular cadence.

and yes -- if i don't get a reply after two tries, it's on to the next one...if the first guy shows up, that's too bad for him (that has never happened in 5 yrs of capping three teams).
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
What I don’t understand is when people insist on using old balls for the warm-up and then open the new can win the match starts. Why? Why? Why?
Makes sense in doubles when you would like to have more than 3 balls in play during the warmup
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
I don't have a ton of experience captaining teams, but what experience I do have boils down to this:

Details will kill you... believe me you will have enough to deal with as a captain without having to wipe your players' a**es yourself.

1) Make them bring their own balls - if adjacent courts have the same number, just have a can or two of spares on you to trade them - if it still is a problem, carry a sharpie and mark one line's balls. This is rarely an issue in my experience, btw. Make both dubs players responsible for a can of balls - this alleviates 99% of the "same number" problems for the dubs lines, and provides spares for any singles that start later. Remind them before every match with your line-up email to do this - just copy each week's line-up email with these reminders in it, changing only lineup details as needed each match.

2) Make individuals responsible for refreshments and make sure important things arrive earliest in the day - i.e. water/gatorade/bananas need to be brought by the first couple lines of the day - this is for all seasons, but IN PARTICULAR summer. Discard any ideas of collecting money from the guys and doing all the refreshment duties yourself. Guys are TERRIBLE at this. YOU may be different, and I know I am different, and would pay happily, but many, if not most, are not different. I had a discussion with another team captain about just this thing and he advocated the "just collect X amount of money from everyone at the beginning of the season and go to Costco and get as many bulk items as you can (cases of balls, snacks, napkins, etc.) and then each week do all the shopping for persishables the night before the match. The players just have to show up, I cover all the balls, all the food, drinks, etc." aproach. I asked him how he arrived at his money figure and he told me that he counted on at least 20% of the people (always men - he ran a mixed and men's dubs team) won't pay, ever, at all... "Oh I'll get you next time, how much is it again?" so he just made the number higher for those who would pay to accommodate those who didn't. After listening to his whole deal on this, I was leaning away from it, despite his enthusiasm for it. So I posed it to my own team and then let the discussion go... questions like "If we all pay, and we don't all play in every match, won't we be getting ripped off?" or "I just bought a case of balls from Costco myself, so can my fee be prorated for the cost of balls?" or "I can bring sandwiches every week, I love to make my own and I make them very cost effectively! You love my sandwiches! Can I not pay?" and "What if I don't like the kind of beer/gaorade/snack/main meal you buy?" and "What about vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/sugar free/low sodium/peanut free/etc. options?" and endless variations on all of those themes... took me about 10 minutes of listening to the discussion before I said "OK, scrap that, we'll assign refreshments to individuals, if you want vegan/vegetarian/sugar free/gluten free stuff, you'll have to bring your own, and you'll be providing the balls for your matches too, don't forget, I'll remind you every week and will expect you to have a fresh can in your bag for the start of every match."

3) Be specific when you tell them to bring refreshments - how many gatorades, how much beer, how many waters, how many bananas, sandwiches to feed X number of people, ICE, COOLER, napkins, plastic utensils, paper plates, etc. It's amazing how many people show up with a 10 lb bag of ice and a case of water and no cooler... seriously.

4) Tell them their start times are at least 15 minutes, if not 30 before the actual start time. This way if one arrives without the ice (and they will), you can tell them to go get a bag from the corner gas station and they won't be late for their actual start time. Further, this accounts for the inevitable lateness that happens now and then to everyone - and that is something that you as the captain don't want to hassle with.

5) As the captain carry a cooler in your car - one of those roughly 48 quart sized sub $20 ones you get at wallyworld - in that cooler, place a gallon size zip log bag of paper napkins and a box of plastic utensils and another gallon zip lock bag of paper plates - this is for when people forget to bring these items and a few spare cans of balls. Keep it all together. Protip: if you have to put napkins out, put them out in that open ziploc bag - this will keep them from blowing away. Protip #2 Paper plates - if they won't fit in a zip lock bag use a rock or something to weight them down so they don't blow away either.

6) @OnTheLine has great advice in this thread about everything, including the use of the group messaging app - like Whatsapp or GroupMe - took that advice this past season and it has been invaluable! I was already using Tennispoint, and it costs me $25/year, but that is a small price to pay for the conveniences it offers. If you want, try to collect $2 or $3 from the guys to help defer this cost to you, but you will have to make that call. The tools offered by Tennispoint are too numerous to list out, but they are FANTASTIC. I've also used NetLineup and find Tennispoint to be vastly superior to it.

7) Don't play yourself ahead of other players unless you are legitimately better than they are. If you must put yourself in the lineup ahead of better players to ensure eligibility for playoff runs, or the like, make sure you let the players you displace with yourself know why. Last season on my wife's women's dubs team they were playing makeup matches after a rainout. Because of scheduling, these oten get played one line at a time, rather than all lines on a given day... the opponent team was disgusted with their captain who was not a particularly strong player but who put herself at line 1 or 2 every week and lost almost every week. On the particular night that this team captain was playing herself at line 1 against my wife's team's line 1. My wife knows a lot of those other women from other teams and so forth... anyway, almost the ENTIRE REST OF THE TEAM came to watch the match, in their street clothes, during the middle of the week, and they told my wife that they were there to watch their captain get spanked. There were so many of them, I just reheated the boston butt I had smoked for the weekend match which got rained out, and we all made it a party, and the spanking received by the loathed opponent captain was thorough... and I do mean thorough.

8) Write the tiebreaker rules down and any other "tricky" rules (like footfaulting happens when you just touch the baseline, you don't have to cross it to be a footfault) give your teammates copies of it to keep in their bags - this may or may not be as important to your team, but was useful to my and my wife's teams which have had a number of beginners.

9) While it is not exactly the same sort of question, I got a lot of good feedback in this thread: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/want-to-make-a-quick-reference-cheat-sheet-for-new-players.638400/ there might be some useful things in there that aren't covered here.

10) Team practices and group lessons/clinics - this is a tricky one - Do you just want team practices to be lines playing against each other or do you want them to have instruction/group lessons from a pro included? How much of each? I have seen numerous situations and have seen them each work very well and equally poorly. If you do decide to get into this group lessons, make sure you get your objectives clearly understood and agreed to from your team and potential coach. Also make sure that you have arrangements in place for facilities and ran-dates and so forth, and make sure you collect fees UP FRONT for the whole lesson package (good fkn luck), and if all of that isn't too much hassle for you (for me I've tried it 3 times and it's a brutal hassle, and now any time someone on the team asks about group clinics/lessons, I hand them a business card from one of the coaches I know and tell them they're welcome to set something up if they want to), then I would suggest that you set up group lessons to coach strategy for dubs. I would look into getting coaching on things like how and when to use Aussie and I-formations vs standard, what sorts of shots to approach behind, who covers lobs, when to be two-up vs. two-back, vs. staggered, poaching, net work/volleys, communicating between server and partner, communicating on switches for lobs, point play/king of the court, etc. Most of that won't be ideal for your singles players, but some of them may play dubs too now and then, and might be into it, also some topics (approach shots, net/volley work, chasing down lobs, are still useful for singles players, if not the most efficient use of their practice time. Lessons for individual stroke refinement should be up to the individual players themselves.
 
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When I was on a team,
I found it ridic to have 7 different guys
go to the same grocery store,
to buy 7 different items.
Complete waste of time for 6 people.

Now, the entire team greatly appreciates ONE guy getting everything.
Everyone just kicks in $10 and it saves everyone wasted time.
EVERYONE agrees this is the best way. Don't recruit irrational fools to play on your team, LOL
People have enough of a challenges getting to a match after work by 6:30
Don't waste 30 mins. of their time asking them to pick up a bag of chips.

Same goes with balls. Order a case for $75.
Bring 5 cans to each match, and it's part of the $10.
One less thing people need to worry about during a hectic week.
 

Cawlin

Semi-Pro
When I was on a team,
I found it ridic to have 7 different guys
go to the same grocery store,
to buy 7 different items.
Complete waste of time for 6 people.

Now, the entire team greatly appreciates ONE guy getting everything.
Everyone just kicks in $10 and it saves everyone wasted time.
EVERYONE agrees this is the best way. Don't recruit irrational fools to play on your team, LOL
People have enough of a challenges getting to a match after work by 6:30
Don't waste 30 mins. of their time asking them to pick up a bag of chips.

Same goes with balls. Order a case for $75.
Bring 5 cans to each match, and it's part of the $10.
One less thing people need to worry about during a hectic week.
If you get guys to agree to this and willing to pay up front and not leave you hanging for their money for weeks on end, more power to you. This was absolutely not the case with any of the teams I've seen and/or been a part of. I agree it's not rational behavior, but not everyone thinks like you or I do on this matter.

One other thing too, if it hasn't been said in this thread already - if you become the captain of the team be prepared to care more about the team than anyone else on the team cares about it.
 

WhiteOut

Rookie
--in our district the assn provides the balls, distributes to all the captains at the beginning of the session, then the home team cap brings the balls for the match. the balls are paid for as part of the registration fees, as is the court time (in the summer, then assn pays the schools/clubs that are giving courts to be used for league play).

--as for food, sometimes a few guys go out afterward -- everyone is welcome, even our opponents. sometimes its 2-3 guys, sometimes we roll up with 10-12 and blow up the joint. regardless, i always bring 6-8 beers in a small cooler, as do a few others. the rule is take what you want, just make sure there's at least as many beers left as there are guys still on the court (and the captain *always* gets the last beer -- if i come off and there's no beer, you'll probably get kicked off the team!!).

-- i cannot imagine asking people to stop and bring snacks for a league match on a weeknight. now if we're arranging a social thing on a saturday night, then yes, but that's a whole different deal.
 
Tried it that way once. Had people complain about the type of balls. These are supposed to be adults. I'm not their errand boy.
LOL!
What level were these ball complainers?
3.0 or 5.0 ?

You need to hand select your team.
Recruit who you practice with.
Do not practice with clowns.
It impedes development.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Hold it ... I keep seeing mention of beer and food .... why is this important? Aside from a few CCs that put out a tiny spread (think a basket of oranges/bananas and water and/or coffee) I don't see teams providing food except for post-season district matches .... mixed teams tend to bring coolers of beer .... I will be more specific: GUYs from mixed teams bring beer.

Worrying about food impedes development.
 

Cashman

Professional
At our club the old people take turns bringing the tea thermos, cucumber sandwiches and coconut ices.
 

RogueFLIP

Professional
Hold it ... I keep seeing mention of beer and food .... why is this important? Aside from a few CCs that put out a tiny spread (think a basket of oranges/bananas and water and/or coffee) I don't see teams providing food except for post-season district matches .... mixed teams tend to bring coolers of beer .... I will be more specific: GUYs from mixed teams bring beer.

Worrying about food impedes development.
Not sure where you're from, but in my neck of the woods in Eastern Section (Long Island), it's actually in the rules...."home teams are to provide refreshments to the away teams".....now of course "refreshments" can be open to interpretation.....

Most teams just do some beer/pizza/soda. I tend to go the hero & sides route, but if I have the time to go to Costco I would get shrimp, wings, etc....along with beer.

The women when I played mixed would go all out.....each woman would bring a home made dish, wine, etc.....granted women's matches are scheduled around 7-8PM.....while most of the guys matches are 9PM.....

Refreshments just enhance the social aspect of post matches.



2) Make individuals responsible for refreshments and make sure important things arrive earliest in the day - i.e. water/gatorade/bananas need to be brought by the first couple lines of the day - this is for all seasons, but IN PARTICULAR summer. Discard any ideas of collecting money from the guys and doing all the refreshment duties yourself. Guys are TERRIBLE at this. YOU may be different, and I know I am different, and would pay happily, but many, if not most, are not different. I had a discussion with another team captain about just this thing and he advocated the "just collect X amount of money from everyone at the beginning of the season and go to Costco and get as many bulk items as you can (cases of balls, snacks, napkins, etc.) and then each week do all the shopping for persishables the night before the match. The players just have to show up, I cover all the balls, all the food, drinks, etc." aproach. I asked him how he arrived at his money figure and he told me that he counted on at least 20% of the people (always men - he ran a mixed and men's dubs team) won't pay, ever, at all... "Oh I'll get you next time, how much is it again?" so he just made the number higher for those who would pay to accommodate those who didn't. After listening to his whole deal on this, I was leaning away from it, despite his enthusiasm for it. So I posed it to my own team and then let the discussion go... questions like "If we all pay, and we don't all play in every match, won't we be getting ripped off?" or "I just bought a case of balls from Costco myself, so can my fee be prorated for the cost of balls?" or "I can bring sandwiches every week, I love to make my own and I make them very cost effectively! You love my sandwiches! Can I not pay?" and "What if I don't like the kind of beer/gaorade/snack/main meal you buy?" and "What about vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/sugar free/low sodium/peanut free/etc. options?" and endless variations on all of those themes... took me about 10 minutes of listening to the discussion before I said "OK, scrap that, we'll assign refreshments to individuals, if you want vegan/vegetarian/sugar free/gluten free stuff, you'll have to bring your own, and you'll be providing the balls for your matches too, don't forget, I'll remind you every week and will expect you to have a fresh can in your bag for the start of every match."

3) Be specific when you tell them to bring refreshments - how many gatorades, how much beer, how many waters, how many bananas, sandwiches to feed X number of people, ICE, COOLER, napkins, plastic utensils, paper plates, etc. It's amazing how many people show up with a 10 lb bag of ice and a case of water and no cooler... seriously.

I don't trust people enough to remember to show up on time for their match, let alone bring their assigned refreshment/balls. If I knew I could only play a few matches that season, I wouldn't want to pay the same refreshment fee as say someone who could play every week (I know you said that). I do what TTPS does, for home matches I add $10 to the match fee as an "administrative fee"; balls and refreshments. Everyone knows the fees prior to the start of the season and what it's for and are reminded with the pre match email and text. I let everyone know that anyone who has a balance due (which has not happened in years) will not be considered to play in the next match until the balance is paid.

Re: Can I bring my own balls/sandwiches/etc so I don't have to pay? Answer: "No".
Re: Vegan/vegetarian food? Answer: Potato/mac salad, shrimp, chips & dip.
Re: Gluten free? Answer: Take the bread off the sandwiches.
Re: Sugar free? Answer: Eat the provided mustard condiments.

I make people aware of the situation, and through that awareness they can make their own choices regarding bringing their own food/drink. I for one, don't drink alcohol but I don't mind providing beer and chipping into the admin fee bc I understand it's all part of the process. Plus it's only $10 extra. If you're having a hard time paying that......

I'd hate to have to worry that someone will forget their assignment or if they're a last minute cancel, well now I'm stuck w/o that item and have to hustle around for it. I take care of everything (which I was aware of when I decided to captain) and let my players just....play.

Interesting hearing different perspectives on things.....
 

Doan

New User
Not sure where you're from, but in my neck of the woods in Eastern Section (Long Island), it's actually in the rules...."home teams are to provide refreshments to the away teams".....now of course "refreshments" can be open to interpretation.....

Refreshments just enhance the social aspect of post matches.

Interesting hearing different perspectives on things.....
Jeez - i'm surprised anyone would want to captain if you had to do all that extra stuff.
 

Cloister

Rookie
Tried it that way once. Had people complain about the type of balls. These are supposed to be adults. I'm not their errand boy.
Well, if you bought the cheapest regular duty felt balls (assuming you're playing hard courts) you could find I could see some grumbling? Granted, at 3.0 it probably doesn't matter, but even at 3.5 I've seen crappy balls that barely last a set before becoming seriously degraded.

Now, if someone is griping because you got Penn's instead of Pro Penn's or something like that, well, then they're totally out to lunch.

I have one team where the captains collect money and provide the balls. I actually really like this in principle, as this way everyone pays the same (singles vs. doubles, those who by chance maybe only play at home vs. those who play away).
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
That was my first guess.
You know who doesn't obsess over equipment?
People who know how to play, and know how complex this game is.
It aint da balls!
Well although I get your basic intention here, I think you are painting with too broad a brush in the difference between higher and lower levels

... I will not hit with pressureless balls ... like little rocks ... kills off my arm, and we all have our preferences, IIRC your fave is Penn Marathons, right?

And everyone, I think especially those that really know how to play obsess some about equipment ... strings, tensions, how often they re-string etc. At 2.5 and 3.0 there are tons of players that don't restring even every year and have no idea what their tension is (or was) or what kind of string they have ... and these are people playing 3-4 times a week. So perhaps the higher levels obsess more ...
 

CiscoPC600

Professional
Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but always keep mustard packets for your teammates if they cramp. Knowing a few basic stretches and having a portable foam roller something take out knots in muscles helps too.

It helped my team out in a crucial line that ended up securing the overall match. He was able to limp his way through two more games after the injury timeout.
 

ncgator

Rookie
This thread reminds me of an email from another captain that I received a number of years ago and saved since it was classic. Here was the captain's email to his team at the start of the season (names redacted to protect the innocent):

Ok, here is the thing guys, we have a brilliant team this year. The best on the Lake. We have to go out and execute, you are playing on the best
team on the Lake and you should bring that confidence with you to the court. xxxx xxxxx, captain of Hornets Nest was crapping his pants when he
was watching us practice this morning, The Point, xxxx and xxxx are in for a cloaked surprise.

It is going to be close at the end of the season with teams and we need to remember one thing.

EVERY GAME COUNTS .... in the event of a tie with wins and losses it goes to games won and lost just like it settled last year.
If you are winning 4-1 do not, I repeat do not let up on the gas, finish them 6-1, we need EVERY GAME to make to States.


We are so close in talent that I cannot even begin to determine who plays slot one, two or three. So if you are a strong player and you are .... and you play
3 doubles do not fret, you are as strong as number 1 or number 2 doubles. xxxx xxxx and xxxx xxxx have been playing for years so they are a staple team.

I am going to send out an availability email on Mondays so I know who can play the following Saturday, nothing worse than getting a lineup ready and then changing it 3
times before Saturday. You will send me back an email saying you can play if and only if you are 100% you can play, of course there are emergencies etc but you get the point.,
just do your best so I can get it all worked out.

Here are some things to ponder.

1. dress nice for matches, look good, feel good, play good.
2. re-string this week and hit before your first match.
3. i need at least one or two players to come to each match that are not playing in case there is trouble and someone cannot make it last second.
4. get to Jetton Park early to not pay a fee if we have a later match remember they only take cash, I repeat they only take cash, this should not be a problem
as most matches are early morning.

5. I am going to try and find a location where we can practice early before we go to our courts to play Getting warmed up and getting us in the groove before we play
is a must to get the early jump on our opponents.
6. be crafty, change your shots, serve 70% and change up your serves, watch the ball, communicate with partner, make a fat guy run to the ball, do not hit to him,
simply use you head to play, 1st serve in.
7. never give up, never give up.
8. never call a ball out unless you are 100%, Karma is with us and should stay.
9. eat a good breakfast, stretch, pray, do good rituals before the match, listen to Tony Robbins / Metallica on the drive, just do the little extra touch for yourself, whatever it is.
10. and try not to have sex the night before a match, you should be a little feisty and mean when you show up to play.

Remember, the opponents are the ones intimidated, not us, we are the team to beat, we are the players, we are a team and together we will win point by point game by game
match by match and head to State.
It is in the heart and whenever you need a point or a game or a 2nd serve you reach in your heart and get it.

Before every match we will reach in with our hands have a little pep talk and then go Dragons on 3 ..... ONE, TWO, THREE DRAGONS !!!
 

CiscoPC600

Professional
This thread reminds me of an email from another captain that I received a number of years ago and saved since it was classic. Here was the captain's email to his team at the start of the season (names redacted to protect the innocent):

Ok, here is the thing guys, we have a brilliant team this year. The best on the Lake. We have to go out and execute, you are playing on the best
team on the Lake and you should bring that confidence with you to the court. xxxx xxxxx, captain of Hornets Nest was crapping his pants when he
was watching us practice this morning, The Point, xxxx and xxxx are in for a cloaked surprise.

It is going to be close at the end of the season with teams and we need to remember one thing.

EVERY GAME COUNTS .... in the event of a tie with wins and losses it goes to games won and lost just like it settled last year.
If you are winning 4-1 do not, I repeat do not let up on the gas, finish them 6-1, we need EVERY GAME to make to States.


We are so close in talent that I cannot even begin to determine who plays slot one, two or three. So if you are a strong player and you are .... and you play
3 doubles do not fret, you are as strong as number 1 or number 2 doubles. xxxx xxxx and xxxx xxxx have been playing for years so they are a staple team.

I am going to send out an availability email on Mondays so I know who can play the following Saturday, nothing worse than getting a lineup ready and then changing it 3
times before Saturday. You will send me back an email saying you can play if and only if you are 100% you can play, of course there are emergencies etc but you get the point.,
just do your best so I can get it all worked out.

Here are some things to ponder.

1. dress nice for matches, look good, feel good, play good.
2. re-string this week and hit before your first match.
3. i need at least one or two players to come to each match that are not playing in case there is trouble and someone cannot make it last second.
4. get to Jetton Park early to not pay a fee if we have a later match remember they only take cash, I repeat they only take cash, this should not be a problem
as most matches are early morning.

5. I am going to try and find a location where we can practice early before we go to our courts to play Getting warmed up and getting us in the groove before we play
is a must to get the early jump on our opponents.
6. be crafty, change your shots, serve 70% and change up your serves, watch the ball, communicate with partner, make a fat guy run to the ball, do not hit to him,
simply use you head to play, 1st serve in.
7. never give up, never give up.
8. never call a ball out unless you are 100%, Karma is with us and should stay.
9. eat a good breakfast, stretch, pray, do good rituals before the match, listen to Tony Robbins / Metallica on the drive, just do the little extra touch for yourself, whatever it is.
10. and try not to have sex the night before a match, you should be a little feisty and mean when you show up to play.

Remember, the opponents are the ones intimidated, not us, we are the team to beat, we are the players, we are a team and together we will win point by point game by game
match by match and head to State.
It is in the heart and whenever you need a point or a game or a 2nd serve you reach in your heart and get it.

Before every match we will reach in with our hands have a little pep talk and then go Dragons on 3 ..... ONE, TWO, THREE DRAGONS !!!
That's a bit too much.. haha.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
This thread reminds me of an email from another captain that I received a number of years ago and saved since it was classic. Here was the captain's email to his team at the start of the season (names redacted to protect the innocent):

Ok, here is the thing guys, we have a brilliant team this year. The best on the Lake. We have to go out and execute, you are playing on the best
team on the Lake and you should bring that confidence with you to the court. xxxx xxxxx, captain of Hornets Nest was crapping his pants when he
was watching us practice this morning, The Point, xxxx and xxxx are in for a cloaked surprise.

It is going to be close at the end of the season with teams and we need to remember one thing.

EVERY GAME COUNTS .... in the event of a tie with wins and losses it goes to games won and lost just like it settled last year.
If you are winning 4-1 do not, I repeat do not let up on the gas, finish them 6-1, we need EVERY GAME to make to States.


We are so close in talent that I cannot even begin to determine who plays slot one, two or three. So if you are a strong player and you are .... and you play
3 doubles do not fret, you are as strong as number 1 or number 2 doubles. xxxx xxxx and xxxx xxxx have been playing for years so they are a staple team.

I am going to send out an availability email on Mondays so I know who can play the following Saturday, nothing worse than getting a lineup ready and then changing it 3
times before Saturday. You will send me back an email saying you can play if and only if you are 100% you can play, of course there are emergencies etc but you get the point.,
just do your best so I can get it all worked out.

Here are some things to ponder.

1. dress nice for matches, look good, feel good, play good.
2. re-string this week and hit before your first match.
3. i need at least one or two players to come to each match that are not playing in case there is trouble and someone cannot make it last second.
4. get to Jetton Park early to not pay a fee if we have a later match remember they only take cash, I repeat they only take cash, this should not be a problem
as most matches are early morning.

5. I am going to try and find a location where we can practice early before we go to our courts to play Getting warmed up and getting us in the groove before we play
is a must to get the early jump on our opponents.
6. be crafty, change your shots, serve 70% and change up your serves, watch the ball, communicate with partner, make a fat guy run to the ball, do not hit to him,
simply use you head to play, 1st serve in.
7. never give up, never give up.
8. never call a ball out unless you are 100%, Karma is with us and should stay.
9. eat a good breakfast, stretch, pray, do good rituals before the match, listen to Tony Robbins / Metallica on the drive, just do the little extra touch for yourself, whatever it is.
10. and try not to have sex the night before a match, you should be a little feisty and mean when you show up to play.

Remember, the opponents are the ones intimidated, not us, we are the team to beat, we are the players, we are a team and together we will win point by point game by game
match by match and head to State.
It is in the heart and whenever you need a point or a game or a 2nd serve you reach in your heart and get it.

Before every match we will reach in with our hands have a little pep talk and then go Dragons on 3 ..... ONE, TWO, THREE DRAGONS !!!
OMG .... so over the top .... did the captain have no life outside of tennis?
 

ncgator

Rookie
OMG .... so over the top .... did the captain have no life outside of tennis?
lol. There was also a videotape that was sent as well that was just as hilarious with the captain looking at the camera, saying “Hello, Dragons”, and then giving his motivational speech
 
Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but always keep mustard packets for your teammates if they cramp. Knowing a few basic stretches and having a portable foam roller something take out knots in muscles helps too.

It helped my team out in a crucial line that ended up securing the overall match. He was able to limp his way through two more games after the injury timeout.
Match or casual hitting, if my tennis partners exhibit ANY injury, I immed. ask them if they need to stop.
The single dumbest thing one can do in sports is to continue playing while injured.
 
I can care less about the States crap,
but that email was actually filled with a few good tips.

Great tips
Only reply if 100% available.
Have an extra player for last minute cancellation.
Bring cash.
Rankings are by games won (if you care about that)
Always call the ball in
Make fat guy run, don't hit directly to him
Hit serve at 70%

Cringe tips
"1.2.3. Go Dragons!"
No sex
 
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Have an extra player for last minute cancellation.
This is great for the captain to avoid defaults but not so great for the player who has to set aside time knowing he probably won't play. I guess if you rotate around the responsibility like being on call it would be better but you know that some people will avoid it by claiming to be busy that weekend or others truthfully will be unavailable.

Maybe it's like being the alternate on a jury panel: you have to attend and listen and do everything the main 12 do but you can't vote.
 

denoted

New User
Very amused by the idea that presumably middle-aged people abstaining from s-e-x for one night is going to cause a hormonally charged change in behavior.
 

bigNC

New User
So no sex before match????hummmmm not sure if thats a good idea.
I would quit. I'm 40 and figure that soon enough I will be looking for sex scraps due to health or whatever- I won't turn it down for sure. My wife would make me quit too!
 
Re: food

Costco or those big warehouse stores can be your friend! Beer's cheaper and they have lots of cooked foods that can be a nice change from the usual pizza/beer/soda.
Can get a nice variety - shrimp, wings, ribs, chips & dip, potato/mac salad, fruit bowls. Always consider something for those that don't eat meat.

Have been getting a 3 foot hero with 1.5# mac, 1.5 #potato salad lately. Target also sells some cheaper beer. 12 pack Blue Moon, 12 pack Stella.

Bring a bottle open with you! Bring aluminum foil with you for people to wrap up leftovers with.....I now take home 0% food since I started doing that. Beer I can save for the next match.
Damn, I may consider league tennis now just for the food.
 

WhiteOut

Rookie
This is great for the captain to avoid defaults but not so great for the player who has to set aside time knowing he probably won't play. I guess if you rotate around the responsibility like being on call it would be better but you know that some people will avoid it by claiming to be busy that weekend or others truthfully will be unavailable.

Maybe it's like being the alternate on a jury panel: you have to attend and listen and do everything the main 12 do but you can't vote.
depending on who is available, we'll throw together an extra practice court on match night for the guys who are not in the lineup, so we have extra guys there anyway...
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
depending on who is available, we'll throw together an extra practice court on match night for the guys who are not in the lineup, so we have extra guys there anyway...
Yup ... do this too when I can ... it also helps make the team more cohesive, and saved us from a default once as a player in the lineup got a flat tire on the drive and couldn't make it on time.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I once played for a DC captain who had a screw loose.

The way she did line-ups was simple: Anyone who wanted to play that day should show up. She would gather us up, and decide on the spot who would play the match. The Unchosen would go home. She would not put out a line-up in advance.

Can you believe anyone would waste people's time like that?
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
I once played for a DC captain who had a screw loose.

The way she did line-ups was simple: Anyone who wanted to play that day should show up. She would gather us up, and decide on the spot who would play the match. The Unchosen would go home. She would not put out a line-up in advance.

Can you believe anyone would waste people's time like that?
How often did she end up with not enough players? After not being a chosen one a couple of times I just wouldn't show up anymore.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I once played for a DC captain who had a screw loose.

The way she did line-ups was simple: Anyone who wanted to play that day should show up. She would gather us up, and decide on the spot who would play the match. The Unchosen would go home. She would not put out a line-up in advance.

Can you believe anyone would waste people's time like that?
Okay, that is nuts. Power-trippy and insane.

Similar vein: a local captain is watching her team defect as she insists on announcing lineup not more than 2 hours before a match. Stated fear that players will leak the lineup to the opposition putting them in a less favorable position. WTH
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
Okay, that is nuts. Power-trippy and insane.

Similar vein: a local captain is watching her team defect as she insists on announcing lineup not more than 2 hours before a match. Stated fear that players will leak the lineup to the opposition putting them in a less favorable position. WTH
When I captained I would often times send out a roster of who was playing but not assign courts until they got there. Not out of fear of the linuep being leaked but to avoid having to listen to people complain about their court/partner assignment.
 

ncgator

Rookie
When I captained I would often times send out a roster of who was playing but not assign courts until they got there. Not out of fear of the linuep being leaked but to avoid having to listen to people complain about their court/partner assignment.
I will usually send out the proposed lines in advance of the match, but won’t set the order until just before exchanging lineups and after seeing who is playing for the opposing team.
 
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