For all of you that play USTA league tennis, how does your local league determine which teams advance to the next level? Do the teams that finish in first place for their level normally advance, or do you have some type of local tournament or playoff to determine who advances? My league has traditionally had a "City (local) Tournament" to determine who advances, which means that the team that "won" their level may or may not advance. Our league is pretty big now, so I think that if you win your level, you've accomplished something and should therefore advance to districts (or whatever level you advance to in your area). Some of our levels have 2, 3 or even 4 flights, so it gets rather complicated with those groups. What do you do in your area? Any information would be appreciated.

I play in Norcal and local league winners first go to district playoffs. There you play a round robin format with groups of four teams. There are usually four district groups for each level. There is one winner from each district group and those teams advance to the sectional playoffs where there is one group of four teams per level. Another round robin is played with the winner from each level advancing to the national playoffs. The district playoffs finished last weekend and the sectional playoffs are August 27-29. It is pretty tough to get to the nationals when have to complete the following. 1. Play your season matches and qualify for the local league playoffs. 2. Win your local league playoffs. 3. Win your flight at the district playoffs. 4. Win the sectional playoffs. Naturally the competition gets tougher the farther you go. By the time you get to sectionals and certainly nationals almost everyone you will play against is playing at a level below their real rating level, i.e. if you are playing 3.5 at sectionals most of your opponents are probably 4.0 players.

Cruzer, Thanks for the info, but I am more interested in your local level. I understand Districts, Sectionals, and Nationals. How does your local league determine winners that advance to districts? Do your first place teams at each level advance, or do you have a local play-off? If you have several flights per level, how do you determine the winner? Do you have a crossover playoff? Thanks.

In Austin, it depends on the number of teams at a particular level. For example in 4.5, we only had five teams, so the first place team went to sectionals. In 4.0, they had eight teams, so they had a playoff of the top 4 teams.

To win the local league there is at least one playoff match that has to be won. Leagues with five and fewer teams have a two team playoff and leagues with six or more teams have a four team playoff. Sometimes there can be more than one flight within a league. For example my wife's 3.5 league this year had two nine team flights. Each flight had a four team playoff and then the winners of each flight played to determine the local league winner.

In Greenville, SC, it depends on the number of teams at the NTRP level and the amount of time that exists to complete the season a couple of weeks before the District Championships, often called "State Tournament". For instance, if there are 18 teams at the 3.5 level, it would likely be split up into two divisions. At the end of the regular play, the two top teams from each division would play a round robin tournament with the winner advancing to "State" to represent the 3.5 level from their home district. In the same season, there are a total of 8 3.0 level teams. The top finisher from this level would advance since there is only one division. The local league has the perogative to set this up most any way they disire. The State Committee will determine by a blind draw any wild cards that will be extended in order to balance the playoffs for the State Championship. These would go to the runner-up of the district and level chosen in the blind draw.

In Iowa, the top two teams in the league have a playoff to see who goes to the sectional. Sometimes the sectional allows a wild card team in so then the 2nd place team can go as well.

In Atlanta the teams are split into divisions ideally of 8 teams, but some have 7. The first and second place teams go into a single-elimination knockout. Some third and fourth-placed teams may make the playoffs to make up the numbers. The winner of the playoffs goes to district. At some levels there are so many teams that there are two flights, each generating a playoff and the winner of each goes to district. From the season currently going on: At 5.0 there were 7 teams and the top 4 went into a playoff. At 4.5, there were 24 teams in 3 divisions of 8. The top 2 in each plus the two best 3rds went into an 8-team playoff. At 4.0, 3.5 and 3.0 there were two flights of 5 - 8 divisions. Each flight generated a 16-team playoff.

Thanks to everyone for your replies. I am taking over as League Coordinator in my area next year, and I was just comparing notes.