Trouble Making Line Calls at the 5.0 level Indoors

Chopin

Hall of Fame
Has anyone experienced difficulty making line calls at the 5.0 level indoors when an opponent is a very hard hitter? I've played some matches against strong 5.0s indoors (poor lighting) and sometimes the ball is traveling so fast that I find it very hard to make a line call and I end up playing an out ball. The faster the ball is traveling, the less time there is to stop and make the call. I also find it hard to see some balls actually make contact with the court--it's something of a blur--even though my vision is excellent. I know some of these balls are out from a general spatial awareness, but it's not like at the lower levels where you can pinpoint where the ball lands. Any thoughts and hopefully suggestions would be helpful! I imagine I'd get used to making line calls at this level with practice, but what do the pros do in practice sets without officials? How can they be sure of balls when they're traveling at such high speeds?

How long before we have smart courts that simply make the calls for us? (Not soon enough)
 
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LeeD

Bionic Poster
Can never be SURE, but you can call it like the way you want THEM to call it. As fair as possible, and some mistakes will be made.
If you don't see it OUT, it's a good ball. Play on.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
You just have to guess on the fast ones that land close. It just comes with the territory. I dont think I have a questionable "guess" call more than once a set, if at all. Played 4 sets today and didnt have any trouble. How often are you having this problem? Once a game? Set? Put it into perspective for us. Also, it could be a lighting issue. Proper lighting is VERY expensive and few facilities actually have proper lighting. Some facilities have the bare minimum of 6 lights and if those 6 arnt maintained meticulously, 2 lights out can cause some problems even if there arnt any noticeably dark spots on the court.

A 120 mph serve that hits the back half of the line is going to be called out. If you call it in, you're generous. A ball that is 2 inches long will look exactly the same as one that hits the back half of the line.

If it makes you feel any better:

-Think about all the incorrect pro challenges where the ball is half way on the line or more. These are the best players in the world, with the best eyes, sometimes making bad challenges for balls that are way in. (and before anyone even goes there, not every "bad" challenge is an attempt at a strategic "timeout")
-Think about all the low level players who make bad line calls because they arnt even looking at a ball going at half the speed you're having trouble seeing.
-I see way more bad line calls in the lower levels than in the higher levels, but intentionally bad calls seem to happen at the same rate at all levels. lol.
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
You just have to guess on the fast ones that land close. It just comes with the territory. I dont think I have a questionable "guess" call more than once a set, if at all. Played 4 sets today and didnt have any trouble. How often are you having this problem? Once a game? Set? Put it into perspective for us. Also, it could be a lighting issue. Proper lighting is VERY expensive and few facilities actually have proper lighting. Some facilities have the bare minimum of 6 lights and if those 6 arnt maintained meticulously, 2 lights out can cause some problems even if there arnt any noticeably dark spots on the court.

A 120 mph serve that hits the back half of the line is going to be called out. If you call it in, you're generous. A ball that is 2 inches long will look exactly the same as one that hits the back half of the line.

If it makes you feel any better:

-Think about all the incorrect pro challenges where the ball is half way on the line or more. These are the best players in the world, with the best eyes, sometimes making bad challenges for balls that are way in. (and before anyone even goes there, not every "bad" challenge is an attempt at a strategic "timeout")
-Think about all the low level players who make bad line calls because they arnt even looking at a ball going at half the speed you're having trouble seeing.
-I see way more bad line calls in the lower levels than in the higher levels, but intentionally bad calls seem to happen at the same rate at all levels. lol.

Are you saying you guess a ball is out?
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
Are you saying you guess a ball is out?

A ball looks out, you call it out. As a player, you dont always have the best vantage point. Even line judges (who should be impartial) get it wrong even when they are at the best vantage point for making the call. Dont forget, you can "guess" that a ball is "in" too. It works both ways for ethical players. I've played balls that were more than a few inches out because I guessed wrong and couldnt make the call in time.

Dont turn this into some ethical argument about intentionally making bad calls because that's not the issue.

The issue is that balls traveling at high speeds can be difficult to see. A tennis ball is about 2.5 inches in diameter, and the average tennis line is about 2 inches in width. That's not a huge margin for accuracy when a ball is traveling at 100+ mph, or is coming 70 with huge topspin right at your feet. When a ball is right at your feet, seeing where the ball actually touched the court is hard to do.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
Love it. "a ball that lands 2" long might hit the back of the line"....so call it out!

The ball looks 2 inches long. You gonna call it in? No one is going to call a ball as "in" when they see it out.

You would have no idea it actually hit the back half of the line unless you have Hawkeye. Remember that. You saw it out; you called it out. Only with the gift of technology and through retrospection would you know that it was a bad call.

So, what's an acceptable margin for you then? Your court doesnt have Hawkeye and the balls leave no marks.

Avg. tennis line width is 2 inches. Tennis ball diameter about 2.5 inches. Hard driven tennis balls can contact as much as 3-4 inches of court. So, what? 6 inches? Please.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
The ball looks 2 inches long. You gonna call it in? No one is going to call a ball as "in" when they see it out.

You would have no idea it actually hit the back half of the line unless you have Hawkeye. Remember that. You saw it out; you called it out. Only with the gift of technology and through retrospection would you know that it was a bad call.

So, what's an acceptable margin for you then? Your court doesnt have Hawkeye and the balls leave no marks.

Avg. tennis line width is 2 inches. Tennis ball diameter about 2.5 inches. Hard driven tennis balls can contact as much as 3-4 inches of court. So, what? 6 inches? Please.

If you saw it out, call it out. If you think you saw it out but aren't sure, call it in. In your OP, you gave the impression you were in the latter category, not the former.

As for me, I definitely do not see the ball as well as I used to and I fully acknowledge that, so I'm more likely to give my opponent the benefit of the [my] doubt.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Has anyone experienced difficulty making line calls at the 5.0 level indoors when an opponent is a very hard hitter? I've played some matches against strong 5.0s indoors (poor lighting) and sometimes the ball is traveling so fast that I find it very hard to make a line call and I end up playing an out ball. The faster the ball is traveling, the less time there is to stop and make the call. I also find it hard to see some balls actually make contact with the court--it's something of a blur--even though my vision is excellent. I know some of these balls are out from a general spatial awareness, but it's not like at the lower levels where you can pinpoint where the ball lands. Any thoughts and hopefully suggestions would be helpful! I imagine I'd get used to making line calls at this level with practice, but what do the pros do in practice sets without officials? How can they be sure of balls when they're traveling at such high speeds?

How long before we have smart courts that simply make the calls for us? (Not soon enough)
if you can't tell, It is OUT
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
If you saw it out, call it out. If you think you saw it out but aren't sure, call it in. In your OP, you gave the impression you were in the latter category, not the former.

As for me, I definitely do not see the ball as well as I used to and I fully acknowledge that, so I'm more likely to give my opponent the benefit of the [my] doubt.

The thing is, you cant ever be "sure" at those speeds unless you give like a 6 inch margin of error, which no one actually gives.

If it looks like it hit the line, I call it in.
If it looks like it was long/wide, I call it long/wide.

Both those balls look the same at those speeds, therefore, you have to "guess" a little when making your line calls.

A tennis court is about 75 ft. long. A 100 mph tennis ball is traveling at about 150 feet per second. In about half a second, such a ball travels the entire length of the court. A "blink of an eye" is about 1/3 of a second. If you blink during a point, should you then give half a court margin of error? No.

Any fair player will call the ball as they believe they saw it. I'm trying to illustrate that you cant be as certain as some people think is possible. This is why I say there is a certain amount of "guessing" when you make these line calls and it's required when dealing with these speeds. "Guessing" on a 120 mph serve at your body is not the same thing as "guessing" on a 40 mph roller.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
I can't even see when lighting is bad (shadows, poor lights, twilight). That's why I don't play at times where lighting is not friendly to my eyes. I would have to call anything in that I did not see out. :(

I found that if you cannot get to a ball and you know it, just stop, keep your head still and stare at where the ball lands. Ball calling accuracy goes up a lot when your head is still and you're looking at the spot. 2 cents.
 

Chopin

Hall of Fame
Thanks for all that have contributed so far, especially NTRPolice. Lighting is definitely an issue in this context: there's a flickering, "serial killer" atmosphere to the courts.
 

Chopin

Hall of Fame
The thing is, you cant ever be "sure" at those speeds unless you give like a 6 inch margin of error, which no one actually gives.

If it looks like it hit the line, I call it in.
If it looks like it was long/wide, I call it long/wide.

Both those balls look the same at those speeds, therefore, you have to "guess" a little when making your line calls.

A tennis court is about 75 ft. long. A 100 mph tennis ball is traveling at about 150 feet per second. In about half a second, such a ball travels the entire length of the court. A "blink of an eye" is about 1/3 of a second. If you blink during a point, should you then give half a court margin of error? No.

Any fair player will call the ball as they believe they saw it. I'm trying to illustrate that you cant be as certain as some people think is possible. This is why I say there is a certain amount of "guessing" when you make these line calls and it's required when dealing with these speeds. "Guessing" on a 120 mph serve at your body is not the same thing as "guessing" on a 40 mph roller.

People do these all the time with the serve, often guessing that a serve was in when it was out. It's a split second judgment and I've seen players play out serves (in good faith) and hit a big return off of them to the annoyance of their opponent.
 
Benefit of doubt goes to the opponent. Practice by watching matches from the sideline. The eyes have muscles too, vision can be improved like any other aspect of the game. Put a suggestion in the club suggestion box that they improve the lighting.
 
Yeah, the back of the service line is the toughest line to call. I've had people tell me that I played serves that were like 6 inches out. I'm trying to get better and trying to call that line closer.

Like with everything, I think the only way to get better at line calls is to practice. Play practice matches and ask your partner to let you know *every single time* he thinks your calls are wrong, either in his favor or in yours. (Even better would be to have a third person watching but that's probably too much to ask. Who would want to sit through a match just to make line calls for you?) Hopefully that will give you feedback on at least the kind of balls that your opponent sees better than you. The only way I knew I was playing shots that were 6 inches long was because my partner basically said "dude, you're giving me all these free points".

Actually, now that I think about it - there are cases where a third person watching *isn't* too much to ask. Try to get into situations where you're allowed to request a line judge! And then do that. Then make calls as best you can, and the linesperson will correct you if you're wrong. It'll at least tell you how often your judgement is off.

Either that or start playing a bunch on clay. Then you can check your own calls, learn how what you see with a fast-moving ball corresponds to in terms of marks on the court, and learn to make better calls that way.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The Code requires us to give the benefit of the doubt to the opponent. Sadly the code doesn't define the "reasonable" doubt any player has on a line call. Do I have to be so sure a ball was out that I'd bet my mortgage on it? My life? If the stakes were that high I'd likely call any ball "in" that was within a foot of the line. I'm not sure the USTA really wants it called that way.

Fortunately playing on clay has given me insight on where I have troubles with calls and where I don't. It's taught me that a serve that looks like it might be long is long. It's taught me that sideline calls that I'm very sure are just out can often be in. Armed with that knowledge I give less benefit of doubt to a long serve and more to a sideline shot when I'm on hardcourts.

In the end, if you are playing by the Code, you will almost certainly play some out balls as "in". You should rarely if ever play in balls as "out". And that's the way it should be i think. Having clay courts to test yourself has been the greatest boon to my line calling. I think if people are struggling with lines they should try to play some clay matches just to test yourself and see how good you are at actually getting it right.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
The Code requires us to give the benefit of the doubt to the opponent. Sadly the code doesn't define the "reasonable" doubt any player has on a line call. Do I have to be so sure a ball was out that I'd bet my mortgage on it? My life? If the stakes were that high I'd likely call any ball "in" that was within a foot of the line. I'm not sure the USTA really wants it called that way.

Fortunately playing on clay has given me insight on where I have troubles with calls and where I don't. It's taught me that a serve that looks like it might be long is long. It's taught me that sideline calls that I'm very sure are just out can often be in. Armed with that knowledge I give less benefit of doubt to a long serve and more to a sideline shot when I'm on hardcourts.

In the end, if you are playing by the Code, you will almost certainly play some out balls as "in". You should rarely if ever play in balls as "out". And that's the way it should be i think. Having clay courts to test yourself has been the greatest boon to my line calling. I think if people are struggling with lines they should try to play some clay matches just to test yourself and see how good you are at actually getting it right.
I sometimes play doubles with this guy who had some health problems. There have been a few times where the ball has landed clearly 6 inches into the service box and he calls it out! I have to intervene in this case and call it good! Bear in mind I'm partnering with him and they're serving to him.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Has anyone experienced difficulty making line calls at the 5.0 level indoors when an opponent is a very hard hitter? I've played some matches against strong 5.0s indoors (poor lighting) and sometimes the ball is traveling so fast that I find it very hard to make a line call and I end up playing an out ball. The faster the ball is traveling, the less time there is to stop and make the call. I also find it hard to see some balls actually make contact with the court--it's something of a blur--even though my vision is excellent. I know some of these balls are out from a general spatial awareness, but it's not like at the lower levels where you can pinpoint where the ball lands. Any thoughts and hopefully suggestions would be helpful! I imagine I'd get used to making line calls at this level with practice, but what do the pros do in practice sets without officials? How can they be sure of balls when they're traveling at such high speeds?

How long before we have smart courts that simply make the calls for us? (Not soon enough)
Yup.
I often warn folks with big serves (there are some at the 4.5 level that have bigger serves than the 5.0's i hit with)... that I may not call alot of their serves out (ie. sometimes they'll stop because they see/feel the ball long). In those instnaces, folks watching would tell me I was playing balls that were a good 4-6in out.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Yup.
I often warn folks with big serves (there are some at the 4.5 level that have bigger serves than the 5.0's i hit with)... that I may not call alot of their serves out (ie. sometimes they'll stop because they see/feel the ball long). In those instnaces, folks watching would tell me I was playing balls that were a good 4-6in out.
LOL, that isn't really smart. next time just call them out. then or sometimes call it in and sometimes call it out.....that will drive them crazy.............
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
LOL, that isn't really smart. next time just call them out. then or sometimes call it in and sometimes call it out.....that will drive them crazy.............

Or just call them out when you can't return them and in when you hit a service return winner they weren't expecting. Then you can expect to eat a racket at some point I imagine.
 
The Code requires us to give the benefit of the doubt to the opponent. Sadly the code doesn't define the "reasonable" doubt any player has on a line call. Do I have to be so sure a ball was out that I'd bet my mortgage on it?
Yeah, I think this is the real crux of the matter. How sure do you have to be to call a ball out?

- A ball that you honestly couldn't tell whether it was in or out? Easy, call it in and play it.
- A 120 mph serve that looks like it lands 3 inches past the service line? That's harder. It looked out... but most people's eyes aren't strictly reliable at that speed and that kind of margin.
- A ball whose trajectory looks like it's landing 6 inches long at the baseline, but lands somewhere near your feet and you don't actually see the bounce? Another hard one. No one really sees balls landing right at their own feet accurately.
- A ball that you clearly see land a half inch outside the sideline? Most people see the sideline pretty clearly. Still, are your eyes reliable at a 1/2 inch?

I think most honest people call balls out somewhere between "I suspect the ball was probably out," and "I'd bet good money the ball was out." But just about nobody I've ever played gives up so much of the lines that they're absolutely certain every ball called out was actually and truly out. You'd need the ball to be a foot or two out to call it against anyone who hits with much pace.

In fairness, I think some people feel a lot more certain of their eyesight than they have any right to. But for people who have a realistic opinion of their own ability to precisely see where a fast paced ball landed - I don't think anyone makes calls based on 100% certainty but based on a reasonable degree of doubt.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, I think this is the real crux of the matter. How sure do you have to be to call a ball out?

- A ball that you honestly couldn't tell whether it was in or out? Easy, call it in and play it.
- A 120 mph serve that looks like it lands 3 inches past the service line? That's harder. It looked out... but most people's eyes aren't strictly reliable at that speed and that kind of margin.
- A ball whose trajectory looks like it's landing 6 inches long at the baseline, but lands somewhere near your feet and you don't actually see the bounce? Another hard one. No one really sees balls landing right at their own feet accurately.
- A ball that you clearly see land a half inch outside the sideline? Most people see the sideline pretty clearly. Still, are your eyes reliable at a 1/2 inch?

I think most honest people call balls out somewhere between "I suspect the ball was probably out," and "I'd bet good money the ball was out." But just about nobody I've ever played gives up so much of the lines that they're absolutely certain every ball called out was actually and truly out. You'd need the ball to be a foot or two out to call it against anyone who hits with much pace.

In fairness, I think some people feel a lot more certain of their eyesight than they have any right to. But for people who have a realistic opinion of their own ability to precisely see where a fast paced ball landed - I don't think anyone makes calls based on 100% certainty but based on a reasonable degree of doubt.

I think the bottom line is that, over the long-run, people will be able to figure out if you're calling shots out because you're trying to hook them or because you genuinely thought it was out. It's hard to say over just a few calls because the variance is higher; you need a large sample size against the same opponent. I just try to play by the "I have to be sure it's out to call it out" rule and don't sweat the small stuff. I'll end up losing more points that way than if I had taken a harder line but c'est la vie. Maybe it'll come back to me in karma and maybe it won't. That's not going to change how I make the calls.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Call the close ones OUT, and you win a lot of points, stroke your ego, and find your hitting pool shrinking as you keep making those calls.
Call the close ones IN, and you lose a lot of points, stroke your opponent's ego, and find your hitting pool expanding with more and more player's willing to hit with you.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I just try to play by the "I have to be sure it's out to call it out" rule and don't sweat the small stuff. I'll end up losing more points that way than if I had taken a harder line but c'est la vie. Maybe it'll come back to me in karma and maybe it won't. That's not going to change how I make the calls.

Hmm: not sure how that cross-out formatting appeared in the last few sentences. Sorry for the response to my own post.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
play by the code, if you're not sure of the call,... it was in.

here's a test I did in my younger days. out a ball 1 inch outside the line and walk to different parts of the court. depending on the angle the ball will look good, and for better or worse I have to call it in.

obviously the easiest to call are any lines you're right on top of (eg. sideline and you're straddling it),.. hardest being any lines where you're far away unable to see the ball crossing the plane of the line (eg sideline when you're on the far sideline, service line.

problem with interpreting the rules to "I bet good money it was out" is they folks will call a ball out the just nicks the line because it was 99% out.

something else to think about,... on hard hit balls the, the ball actually contacts the ground leaving up to a 4in streak,... but the silhouette you see is when then ball leaves the ground... so it may leave the ground out of bounds, bad actually landed on the court in bounds. yet another reason to give folks a pretty big margin of error (2-4in) on the hard to call lines.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
Yeah, I think this is the real crux of the matter. How sure do you have to be to call a ball out?

- A ball that you honestly couldn't tell whether it was in or out? Easy, call it in and play it.
- A 120 mph serve that looks like it lands 3 inches past the service line? That's harder. It looked out... but most people's eyes aren't strictly reliable at that speed and that kind of margin.
- A ball whose trajectory looks like it's landing 6 inches long at the baseline, but lands somewhere near your feet and you don't actually see the bounce? Another hard one. No one really sees balls landing right at their own feet accurately.
- A ball that you clearly see land a half inch outside the sideline? Most people see the sideline pretty clearly. Still, are your eyes reliable at a 1/2 inch?

I think most honest people call balls out somewhere between "I suspect the ball was probably out," and "I'd bet good money the ball was out." But just about nobody I've ever played gives up so much of the lines that they're absolutely certain every ball called out was actually and truly out. You'd need the ball to be a foot or two out to call it against anyone who hits with much pace.

In fairness, I think some people feel a lot more certain of their eyesight than they have any right to. But for people who have a realistic opinion of their own ability to precisely see where a fast paced ball landed - I don't think anyone makes calls based on 100% certainty but based on a reasonable degree of doubt.

I never thought about this till now, but ill try to explain my "margins" based off of how I tend to call the lines.

-Service line long: I give about 3 inches on flat serves. If it looks to be about 3 inches long, it was probably long, even if it was only actually long by less than an inch. Second serves (kick serves) ill give about an inch or more, but this is only because you cant tell if the ball is going to be inside the line, or a few inches long when it leaves the racket. Because a kick serve ball will contact less of the court, you can be a little more sure about where the ball actually hit vs. a flat ball that will skid. You have the worst vantage point for these calls.

-Service line wide: Balls that spin in towards the line ill give an inch or more. Like with kick serves, you cant tell if the ball is going to spin in or not when it leaves the racket. Balls that spin away from the line, im more confident to call down to less than an inch, depending on the speed. If it's a big first serve that looked in inch wide? I'll probably call it good. If it's a second serve? I'll probably call it wide. You have the best vantage point for the wide service lines.

Baseline calls are a bit harder to estimate. A ball could be landing at your feet, behind you if you've been passed or lobbed, or you might be running at full stretch trying to get to a drop shot from the opposing corners baseline.

I think the bottom line is that, over the long-run, people will be able to figure out if you're calling shots out because you're trying to hook them or because you genuinely thought it was out. It's hard to say over just a few calls because the variance is higher; you need a large sample size against the same opponent. I just try to play by the "I have to be sure it's out to call it out" rule and don't sweat the small stuff. I'll end up losing more points that way than if I had taken a harder line but c'est la vie. Maybe it'll come back to me in karma and maybe it won't. That's not going to change how I make the calls.

While I mostly agree, you will still play people who question your calls every time it means they dont get a point they think they deserve. Some people are just angry, unrealistic and suspicious like that.

I've literally played with a guy who questioned my line call on a ball served 6 inches wide. I hit the same serve on that guy and he called my ball "way out." I can tell if a ball is going to be 3 inches long/wide on any ball that I hit the moment it leaves my racket, so I knew it couldnt have been "way out". I didnt say anything then, but I did ask my partner what he saw, and he said "there was a mark, and it didnt look like any part of that mark was outside the line." and we laughed.




In summary, I think you can figure out how ethical of a player you are based off one thing. How often do you challenge calls that work against you? If you challenge calls made by opponents that work against you, I think it's safe to say you're calling your own lines fairly no matter who ends up getting the point.
 
I never thought about this till now, but ill try to explain my "margins" based off of how I tend to call the lines.

-Service line long: I give about 3 inches on flat serves. If it looks to be about 3 inches long, it was probably long, even if it was only actually long by less than an inch. Second serves (kick serves) ill give about an inch or more, but this is only because you cant tell if the ball is going to be inside the line, or a few inches long when it leaves the racket. Because a kick serve ball will contact less of the court, you can be a little more sure about where the ball actually hit vs. a flat ball that will skid. You have the worst vantage point for these calls.

-Service line wide: Balls that spin in towards the line ill give an inch or more. Like with kick serves, you cant tell if the ball is going to spin in or not when it leaves the racket. Balls that spin away from the line, im more confident to call down to less than an inch, depending on the speed. If it's a big first serve that looked in inch wide? I'll probably call it good. If it's a second serve? I'll probably call it wide. You have the best vantage point for the wide service lines.

Baseline calls are a bit harder to estimate. A ball could be landing at your feet, behind you if you've been passed or lobbed, or you might be running at full stretch trying to get to a drop shot from the opposing corners baseline.



While I mostly agree, you will still play people who question your calls every time it means they dont get a point they think they deserve. Some people are just angry, unrealistic and suspicious like that.

I've literally played with a guy who questioned my line call on a ball served 6 inches wide. I hit the same serve on that guy and he called my ball "way out." I can tell if a ball is going to be 3 inches long/wide on any ball that I hit the moment it leaves my racket, so I knew it couldnt have been "way out". I didnt say anything then, but I did ask my partner what he saw, and he said "there was a mark, and it didnt look like any part of that mark was outside the line." and we laughed.


In summary, I think you can figure out how ethical of a player you are based off one thing. How often do you challenge calls that work against you? If you challenge calls made by opponents that work against you, I think it's safe to say you're calling your own lines fairly no matter who ends up getting the point.

I guess I'd say your algorithm looks reasonable. As you said later in the post, I think the big issue is really about whether a player is trying to play fairly or trying to gain an advantage. And it's generally apparent from more than any single line call which group a player falls into.

The main point of my post was really just that most people's ability to see exactly where a high-speed ball lands is so faulty that absolute certainty is something of an unrealistic standard. I've played tennis against a lot of people, and nobody gives up a foot and a half from the line - that's the kind of margin you'd need for absolute certainty. Lack of 'reasonable doubt' is a better and more realistic standard.
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
I don't understand what's difficult about being sure a ball was out in order to call it out, regardless of the speed of the ball. If your opponent questions your call, the only acceptable answer is, "I'm sure it was out." If your answer involves anything including "think" or "estimate" you shouldn't have called it out.

I've called a balls out I thought were going to be out and then after it landed and I wasn't 100% sure reversed my call and conceded the point. The call doesn't have to be questioned.

It's pretty simple really, if youre not sure it was out, you play it as good.
 

NTRPolice

Hall of Fame
I don't understand what's difficult about being sure a ball was out in order to call it out, regardless of the speed of the ball. If your opponent questions your call, the only acceptable answer is, "I'm sure it was out." If your answer involves anything including "think" or "estimate" you shouldn't have called it out.

I've called a balls out I thought were going to be out and then after it landed and I wasn't 100% sure reversed my call and conceded the point. The call doesn't have to be questioned.

It's pretty simple really, if youre not sure it was out, you play it as good.

Contrary to popular belief, a "fair" tennis game is one where all the lines are called accurately and without bias towards one player or another. It does not include a generous giving of "benefit of doubt" to your opponent. It is not a fair game when you keep gifting calls to your opponent, or when they gift calls to you, regardless of what your comfortable "margin of error" is.

It's "simple" if you give 3 inches on slow balls and 6 inches on fast balls. You'd be certain of what you saw while at the same time extending all "benefit of doubt" to your opponent. No one does that, so clearly it's not "simple".

http://graphics.wsj.com/are-you-good-enough-to-be-a-tennis-line-judge/

Go ahead.

Now, imagine being the player in that point trying to make that call from a worse vantage point than the line judge while moving towards the ball. You gonna call all those balls in?
 
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winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
Contrary to popular belief, a "fair" tennis game is one where all the lines are called accurately and without bias towards one player or another. It does not include a generous giving of "benefit of doubt" to your opponent. It is not a fair game when you keep gifting calls to your opponent, or when they gift calls to you, regardless of what your comfortable "margin of error" is.

It's "simple" if you give 3 inches on slow balls and 6 inches on fast balls. You'd be certain of what you saw while at the same time extending all "benefit of doubt" to your opponent. No one does that, so clearly it's not "simple".

http://graphics.wsj.com/are-you-good-enough-to-be-a-tennis-line-judge/

Go ahead.

Now, imagine being the player in that point trying to make that call from a worse vantage point than the line judge while moving towards the ball. You gonna call all those balls in?
"The Code" says otherwise.

"6. Opponent gets benefit of the doubt. A player should always give the opponent the benefit of any doubt... A player in attempting to be scrupulously honest on line calls frequently will keep a ball in play that might have been out or the player discovers too late was out. Even so, the game is much better played this way."

"8. Ball that cannot be called out is good... If a ball cannot be called out with certainty, it is good."

Those statements don't leave much room for interpretation to me.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
Contrary to popular belief, a "fair" tennis game is one where all the lines are called accurately and without bias towards one player or another. It does not include a generous giving of "benefit of doubt" to your opponent. It is not a fair game when you keep gifting calls to your opponent, or when they gift calls to you, regardless of what your comfortable "margin of error" is.

It's "simple" if you give 3 inches on slow balls and 6 inches on fast balls. You'd be certain of what you saw while at the same time extending all "benefit of doubt" to your opponent. No one does that, so clearly it's not "simple".

http://graphics.wsj.com/are-you-good-enough-to-be-a-tennis-line-judge/

Go ahead.

Now, imagine being the player in that point trying to make that call from a worse vantage point than the line judge while moving towards the ball. You gonna call all those balls in?
Cool link.
I got most of them right... except for the one that was out, and one on the sideline that nicked the line... probably need to give a 6in margin on hard hit balls (vs. 4) like you said.
What's crazy is that these are line calls where you are on top of the line... it's that much harder if even you are a few feet away (ie. you have to give more benefit of the doubt).
Anywho, lessons learned:
* aim for a target 3-4ft inside the lines... if i hit the line, it's because i missed my target anyway
* if it's on the line, expect my opponent to be stingy, and call it out...
* avoid stingy players, they likely don't care about helping you get better anyway, so why surround yourself with folks like that.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
"The Code" says otherwise.

"6. Opponent gets benefit of the doubt. A player should always give the opponent the benefit of any doubt... A player in attempting to be scrupulously honest on line calls frequently will keep a ball in play that might have been out or the player discovers too late was out. Even so, the game is much better played this way."

"8. Ball that cannot be called out is good... If a ball cannot be called out with certainty, it is good."

Those statements don't leave much room for interpretation to me.

Well except for the fact I've never seen anyone do that. Absolute certainty is a myth. You can't even be absolutely certain the ball exists.

Players call lines typically by the standard of "My eyes saw it as out". Playing on clay and comparing what your eyes see and where the mark actually is, shows clearly that the eyes can be easily fooled often by as much as 6 inches.

I personally am happy if everyone plays by the standard of "my eyes clearly saw it out, there was court between the landing spot and the line". I think that's as objectively fair as you can make it. Otherwise if you require absolute certainty, realists will give 12 inches and narcissists will give 1/2 an inch.

It's like a religious debate. Atheists are absolutely certain there is no God. Fundamentalists are absolutely certain there is a God. The rest of the world is absolutely certain they don't know if there is a God. The truth is either there is a God or there isn't and absolute certainty is a myth. No matter how much you believe a ball is out, you can never be absolutely certain.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
I call it them like my opponent is calling them. I play people who call anything near the line, in. I reciprocate by doing the same and play anything close even though I know it's out, it's only fair imo. I've also played people who were consistently bad and worse are the ones who are really bad on big points (they'll make ok calls or even be generous in the beginning but they hook you when it gets close). I used to even correct my partner against guys who made awful calls against us. Now it's best to never give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Of course there is several degrees of every variation of line caller. Now I prefer to play guys who play the close ones, I do the same on my side. It's way more enjoyable and we get more rallies.
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
Well except for the fact I've never seen anyone do that. Absolute certainty is a myth. You can't even be absolutely certain the ball exists.

Players call lines typically by the standard of "My eyes saw it as out". Playing on clay and comparing what your eyes see and where the mark actually is, shows clearly that the eyes can be easily fooled often by as much as 6 inches.

I personally am happy if everyone plays by the standard of "my eyes clearly saw it out, there was court between the landing spot and the line". I think that's as objectively fair as you can make it. Otherwise if you require absolute certainty, realists will give 12 inches and narcissists will give 1/2 an inch.

It's like a religious debate. Atheists are absolutely certain there is no God. Fundamentalists are absolutely certain there is a God. The rest of the world is absolutely certain they don't know if there is a God. The truth is either there is a God or there isn't and absolute certainty is a myth. No matter how much you believe a ball is out, you can never be absolutely certain.

I can't believe this never occurred to me.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
It's like a religious debate. Atheists are absolutely certain there is no God. Fundamentalists are absolutely certain there is a God. The rest of the world is absolutely certain they don't know if there is a God. The truth is either there is a God or there isn't and absolute certainty is a myth. No matter how much you believe a ball is out, you can never be absolutely certain.
So true,... my issue, however, is with folks that do believe in the wrath of (tennis) gods, and still proceed to call a ball-that-is-squarely-on-the-line,... out. For that I hope they burn in tennis hell.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
Some folks are smoking something. Yes the ball exists. Like the quote from WincesterVa, unless you are certain it is out, it is in.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
I think the code is very clear. If you aren't 100% sure it's 100% out, it is in.

It is but the problem is you're expecting people to do the right thing. That's a lot of faith to have in people. I play mostly usta league. The 5.0 doubles guys are very fair on the calls, some 4.5 teams and players are notoriously bad but at least in doubles you've got 4 sets of eyes on it and at least 2 guys are very close to the net, so it's not as bad.

After my matches I watch the singles and there are a lot of bad calls, it's also because the guys have to grind and really work for the points so they really don't give the benefit of the doubt to the other guy. Also it's tough to question it from one baseline to the other and that's where a lot singles points are played. Kind of feel sorry for the singles guys, they're out there working hard and the other guy hooks them.
 

JSZ

Rookie
... I can tell if a ball is going to be 3 inches long/wide on any ball that I hit the moment it leaves my racket ...
Surely if you can tell that the pros could too and if they could they would never make a failed challenge on a shot they hit - but they do don't they?

I think opponents who think they can tell if their ball will be 3 inches out the moment it leaves their racquet are a problem. You see it out, you call it out, they think you have cheated them because the moment it left their racquet they thought it was in.

And partners too. One of my doubles partners thinks he can always tell if his serve is in. When an opponent calls it out straight away, no hesitation, and his partner agrees I want to move on to the next point but my partner wants to start an argument. It is painful, it puts me off my game. Last week on one serve I thought the opposition were correct to say out, but they were so nice that when my partner acted nasty the guy just gave us the point! It was awful.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
I honestly think men's 4.0 and 4.5 has the worst line calls from hooking, but I've seen some of the 3.5ish women make the worst in terms of slow balls that are 6"+ in (usually about 6" inside the line) and they call it out.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
I've literally played with a guy who questioned my line call on a ball served 6 inches wide. I hit the same serve on that guy and he called my ball "way out." I can tell if a ball is going to be 3 inches long/wide on any ball that I hit the moment it leaves my racket, so I knew it couldnt have been "way out". .

:confused:
 
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