What to do a about a weak captain?

KickVicious

Semi-Pro
Ive been playing on the same league team for about 7-8 years. We formed the team with a group of guys that played together + some guys from the old team whose captain decided to focus on a lower level/higher age group. We had some good players but were overall ~.500 and just played for fun. A couple of years ago, the captain asked another guy to be the co-captain. Almost immediately, several of us noticed how much the team dynamic improved (i.e. recruiting great players, better pairings/good lineups and organization). We also started winning a lot more, going from toward the bottom to top 2-3 out of a dozen in the flight. We never realized how poorly mediocre the old captaining was. Eventually the new guy realized he was doing everything and decided to bolt (I joined a couple of his other teams and they're all competitive - we've been to sectionals a couple of times). Now we're back to the old captain waiting until the very last minute to ask for availability (and even with a big roster, always scrambling last minute to get a lineup b/c everyone had already committed to other teams). He plays every match straight up and gets out-maneuvered by other captains who realize all they have to do is stack him to get a win. We've lost a lot of good players simply due to them losing interest and/or getting frustrated by his style. The guy is a friend so how should a couple of us approach him about getting his act together?
 
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winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
Ive been playing on the same league team for about 7-8 years. We formed the team with a group of guys that played together + some guys from the old team whose captain decided to focus on a lower level/higher age group. We had some good players but were overall middle of the pack and just played for fun. A couple of years ago, the captain asked a friend of his to leave his old (successful) team be his co-captain. Almost immediately, several of us noticed how much the team dynamic improved (i.e. recruiting great players, better pairings/good lineups and organization). We also started winning a lot more, going from toward the bottom to top 2-3 out of a dozen in the flight. We never realized how poorly mediocre the old captaining was. Eventually the new guy realized he was doing everything and decided to bolt (I joined a couple of his other teams and we've been to sectionals a couple of times and are headed to nationals this year). Now we're back to the old captain waiting until the very last minute to ask for availability (and even with a big roster, always scrambling last minute to get a lineup b/c everyone had already committed to other teams). He plays every match straight up and gets out-maneuvered by other captains who realize all they have to do is stack him to get a win. We've lost a lot of good players simply due to them losing interest and/or getting frustrated by his style. The guy is a friend so how should a couple of us approach him about getting his act together?
Does the guy really like being the captain or is he doing it because nobody else would when you formed the team?
I think @schmke has it right, talk to the guy. Go with the sandwich technique - good bad good. “We have a great team you organized full of good guys that all get along and have fun... when (insert former co-captain here) was helping out it was beneficial because (planning, pairings, lineups, etc.) and the results showed... if you’re interested i’d like to co-captain because i think i could help in those areas, but we still need you as captain because (insert more of his qualities here).”

but I’d caution you to only have that conversation if you’re willing to step up. When i captained I found it pretty irritating when someone was willing to say what we needed to do better but wouldn’t be willing to take any responsibility. Btw, i only captained because nobody else would and we wouldn’t have had a team otherwise. And captaining is a pain in the rear and mostly a part time job with no compensation and little appreciation.
 

KickVicious

Semi-Pro
Does the guy really like being the captain or is he doing it because nobody else would when you formed the team?
I think @schmke has it right, talk to the guy. Go with the sandwich technique - good bad good. “We have a great team you organized full of good guys that all get along and have fun... when (insert former co-captain here) was helping out it was beneficial because (planning, pairings, lineups, etc.) and the results showed... if you’re interested i’d like to co-captain because i think i could help in those areas, but we still need you as captain because (insert more of his qualities here).”

but I’d caution you to only have that conversation if you’re willing to step up. When i captained I found it pretty irritating when someone was willing to say what we needed to do better but wouldn’t be willing to take any responsibility. Btw, i only captained because nobody else would and we wouldn’t have had a team otherwise. And captaining is a pain in the rear and mostly a part time job with no compensation and little appreciation.
Yeah, I hear you on all those points. Actually, 2 of us stepped up weeks before the fall season even started to pitch in and help out, which he accepted, but neither of us are official co-captains. We make suggestions like: getting the schedule out as soon as it was released and get everyones availability right away. He waited until the week of and was begging guys the day prior to our first match. There's a bunch of new-to-leagues guys on the team (brought on by friends) and never sent them the timed rules or anything like that. Even with the help, it's like 'what more do you need us to do here man?'. He's semi-retired so not sure what he does with his time. Many of us are turning 40 in the next year and will probably just join a new team.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
forget the good-bad-good stuff. if you're all friends you should be able to have an honest discussion -- i recommend pre-season, at a local pub. depends on your team goals (make a serious run vs primarily social but competitive).,

but also, "here's what we need from you, because we're all busy with work/family etc:
--next week's proposed lineup out within ~24 after the last match.
--proposed starters confirm to cap within 24-48 hrs
--this leaves ~5 days to find sub for any proposed starter who cannot play.
--text reminder to confirmed starters the morning of match-night.

frankly, i cant imagine a cap running things any other way. doing this method, i'm almost *never* scrambling las-minute to fill spots (unless someone who confirmed has a last-minute issue...which is not that often).

as far as lineup decisions, etc. that's where a cap needs honest feedback
'joe and i really enjoy playing together. i also seem to pair up well with bill'.
'i do play a singles match for fun about every week or so, so i can cover a 2 singles spot if needed'

tactical stuff like that helps a cap, or could be good coming from a co-cap...but the logistics, coordinating should be done by one person IMO...it gets to confused with multi fingers touching that task.

if the cap wont work with you, start your own team and run it the way you want. people will either follow you or they wont...
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
You could suggest a rotating captainship.

This year, he does it. Next season, it’s you. Next season, someone else.

That keeps the group together without challenging him.

Then, when it is turn you can all just endure it, or maybe share with him how you did it, or he will maybe see how much better things go when you do things differently.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Arm wrestle for a display of dominance. Bring it like over the top. If he loses or refuses to arm wrestle you, then you are the new captain and it’s your team now.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
forget the good-bad-good stuff. if you're all friends you should be able to have an honest discussion -- i recommend pre-season, at a local pub. depends on your team goals (make a serious run vs primarily social but competitive).,

but also, "here's what we need from you, because we're all busy with work/family etc:
--next week's proposed lineup out within ~24 after the last match.
--proposed starters confirm to cap within 24-48 hrs
--this leaves ~5 days to find sub for any proposed starter who cannot play.
--text reminder to confirmed starters the morning of match-night.
Was with you til you posted that. These are grown adults. He's their captain not their babysitter.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
Was with you til you posted that. These are grown adults. He's their captain not their babysitter.
It's not about babysitting, it's about communication, with my team and the opposing cap. the text the day-of is to the confirmed players for that night. lets the guys know the actual lineup for that night (there's usually 1-2 changes from the beginning of the week to the time match day rolls around). also there are many times as cap i am not there, so by having a text string with the day's players, they reply to the thread with the scores after the match and i enter them...all wrapped up by that night or the next morning. also helps the guys who will be there with last minute issues, so they can tell the opponent.

example: i was out of town on match night. one of the players got in a wreck on way to the match. by being on the thread with the other players, they knew to let the other cap know he was going to be late. I've had all sorts of stuff happen on the day-of, so being in a text string, made it easy for people to know what's going on.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Was with you til you posted that. These are grown adults. He's their captain not their babysitter.
I would so like to agree with you. But, in fact, as captain you are the babysitter.

If I don't remind folks of the location and time, repeatedly, I will have players showing up to the wrong club at the wrong time .... I swear there are otherwise competent adults who have zero reading comprehension when it comes to tennis related things.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
I get it and honestly I usually send an e-mail the morning of or day before just to reiterate the lineup, time and location. I refuse to send a group text. Once they confirm it's on them to show up. If they don't care enough to tell me something happened then why should I care? Perhaps this attitude is the reason I only captain mabye 1 team a year instead of 4-5.
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
I would so like to agree with you. But, in fact, as captain you are the babysitter.

If I don't remind folks of the location and time, repeatedly, I will have players showing up to the wrong club at the wrong time .... I swear there are otherwise competent adults who have zero reading comprehension when it comes to tennis related things.
Had this happen and the captain of the other team stated that either you play singles or forfeit that line. And I was a spectator! Looking for my lost shaker of salt!
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Had this happen and the captain of the other team stated that either you play singles or forfeit that line. And I was a spectator! Looking for my lost shaker of salt!
LOLOLOL
Last Saturday, I was not in the lineup. I had a cold and felt like yuck. I had shown up ONLY to exchange lineup and cheer people on. Was in no way planning on playing. My flakiest player who was on line 1 doubles didn't show, didn't answer phone, text, nothing ... at 10 minutes post start time (e.g. 5 minutes from Forfeit Time) I quickly changed as my gear was in my car and stepped on the court to play .... because I am an idiot. The flaky one showed up 10+ minutes later when we were down 0-2 in the first. Was surprised we had started and if she could step in for me as it was "her turn to play". I wish she could have, cause I played as poorly as I felt.

Captaining has made me start to kinda hate some people. If I can avoid it, the flaky one will not be in another lineup and definitely not invited back for future seasons.
 

Doan

Rookie
LOLOLOL
Last Saturday, I was not in the lineup. I had a cold and felt like yuck. I had shown up ONLY to exchange lineup and cheer people on. Was in no way planning on playing. My flakiest player who was on line 1 doubles didn't show, didn't answer phone, text, nothing ... at 10 minutes post start time (e.g. 5 minutes from Forfeit Time) I quickly changed as my gear was in my car and stepped on the court to play .... because I am an idiot. The flaky one showed up 10+ minutes later when we were down 0-2 in the first. Was surprised we had started and if she could step in for me as it was "her turn to play". I wish she could have, cause I played as poorly as I felt.

Captaining has made me start to kinda hate some people. If I can avoid it, the flaky one will not be in another lineup and definitely not invited back for future seasons.
Does that count ? Here you have to exchange lineup before match start time - and after the lineup is set you can't sub a player in and have that be a valid match. I've filled in before when someone didn't show - but that was just cos we had the indoor court time and other 3 folks were already there so might as well play for fun. In tennislink it's still entered as a default.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Does that count ? Here you have to exchange lineup before match start time - and after the lineup is set you can't sub a player in and have that be a valid match. I've filled in before when someone didn't show - but that was just cos we had the indoor court time and other 3 folks were already there so might as well play for fun. In tennislink it's still entered as a default.
Technically I believe that you can sub out anytime prior to the first point starting. That is if the other captain isn't a jerk weed. The other captain had no problem with me subbing in ..... I wish it didn't count
 
LOLOLOL
Last Saturday, I was not in the lineup. I had a cold and felt like yuck. I had shown up ONLY to exchange lineup and cheer people on. Was in no way planning on playing. My flakiest player who was on line 1 doubles didn't show, didn't answer phone, text, nothing ... at 10 minutes post start time (e.g. 5 minutes from Forfeit Time) I quickly changed as my gear was in my car and stepped on the court to play .... because I am an idiot. The flaky one showed up 10+ minutes later when we were down 0-2 in the first. Was surprised we had started and if she could step in for me as it was "her turn to play". I wish she could have, cause I played as poorly as I felt.

Captaining has made me start to kinda hate some people. If I can avoid it, the flaky one will not be in another lineup and definitely not invited back for future seasons.
Is her name Becky? "Flaky Becky" has a certain ring to it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I thought once you exchanged lineups that was it.
Excellent, perhaps I will dispute the scores and make it go away ;)

Not certain, both other captain and I came to an agreement, everyone was basically happy and I played as well as illness allowed me. Shouldn't have done it ... but I am so easily internally-manipulated to avoid defaults.
 
Excellent, perhaps I will dispute the scores and make it go away ;)

Not certain, both other captain and I came to an agreement, everyone was basically happy and I played as well as illness allowed me. Shouldn't have done it ... but I am so easily internally-manipulated to avoid defaults.
Yeah, I will go to great lengths to avoid a default, even if I'm the beneficiary. On multiple occasions I waited well past the 15 minutes for a late opponent. I mean, I paid to play league so I could, you know, play? What's the point in paying and then taking a default? I prepped for the match, I drove to the site...I want to play, darn it.

I can understand if it's a timed match or perhaps it's the home stretch of the season and everyone is amped about making playoffs. Otherwise, screw the default and let's play.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
The flaky one showed up 10+ minutes later when we were down 0-2 in the first. Was surprised we had started and if she could step in for me as it was "her turn to play".

Did she offer an explanation as to why she was late, didn’t answer the phone? Adults should act like adults.
 

Kevo

Legend
I made the mistake of stepping up to captain quite a few years ago. It is like babysitting. Almost shocking how many adults out there get by with such a poor level of communication and responsibility.

I say if you are up for captaining and think you can do a good job then just go do it. Ask all the best, most responsible players you know to join your team. If you are good at it and have a bit of luck you'll build yourself a good team.

For me it was quite a hassle. I personally don't like all the gamesmanship and stacking and sandbagging so I got out of it. I might get back on a team eventually, but finding a good one that isn't composed of a bunch of immature sandbagging cheaters might be tough to do. It was kind of a thing when I was playing on teams. All the best teams were cheats. For the most part I didn't care about playing against a bunch of sandbagging cheats. I play for the fun and challenge. What I couldn't do was lose intentionally or work the score like some of the captains would ask. I'm not playing with or for a bunch of cheaters.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
in our area there's really only a few teams that pull this stuff, and everyone knows who they are. all the non-weenies seem to get on nicely, help each other out etc...i cap 3 teams each session, and built a big enough dance card that i'm generally able to fill the rosters of each to a comfortable level, and i make it *explicitly* clear in an email at the beginning of the season what i will do, what they can expect, and what i need from them. out of 36 guys/3 teams, i really only have to prompt the same 2-4 guys for a response...and they are backups (by design). everyone else knows what to do or they wind up not getting rostered and scrambling to find another team.

i don't stack or manipulate games, etc...i just build a roster of solid at-level guys, and always adding 1-2 per session as needed for attrition. our teams are almost always in contention for the flight, or mid-pack but competitive. that's all 90% of the participants really want out of the league experience IMO.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Around here, substitutions aren't allowed once lineups are exchanged. There may be an exception if a player is injured during warmups.
 
Around here, substitutions aren't allowed once lineups are exchanged. There may be an exception if a player is injured during warmups.
I would think even that would be disallowed as a scheming captain can see the opposition lineup and tell his weakest player to feign injury and let a stronger player take his spot in the line where it would make the biggest difference.
 

SaltyDDDog

New User
I would think even that would be disallowed as a scheming captain can see the opposition lineup and tell his weakest player to feign injury and let a stronger player take his spot in the line where it would make the biggest difference.
And people wonder what's wrong with certain tennis players. This. This is wrong.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Around here, substitutions aren't allowed once lineups are exchanged. There may be an exception if a player is injured during warmups.
Non-advancing league ... no prizes to anywhere ....

So if you were in a non-advancing league, no post season anything, you and another captain would prefer to take/cede a forfeit rather than actually pay the match? That is what we pay to do right?

If it was 18+ or 40+ or something where it matters perhaps .... but otherwise ... we are all there to actually play right?
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
Non-advancing league ... no prizes to anywhere ....

So if you were in a non-advancing league, no post season anything, you and another captain would prefer to take/cede a forfeit rather than actually pay the match? That is what we pay to do right?

If it was 18+ or 40+ or something where it matters perhaps .... but otherwise ... we are all there to actually play right?
At home we welcomed a forfeited line. So we could play each other...................................and drink more beer
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
No, I wouldn't allow a substitution. You take the default. Then if folks want to play for fun, they can --- happens a lot.

See, in the situation you describe, your team made a choice. You knew you had a sub available, and Becky hadn't arrived when you put her name on the scorecard. You dont get to substitute because you made a deliberate choice.

Let's say instead that you wrote Karen instead of Becky by mistake, and Becky is standing there. Or you wrote Becky for so gles and doubles by.mistake. I'd allow you to fix that.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
Around here, substitutions aren't allowed once lineups are exchanged. There may be an exception if a player is injured during warmups.
You can do it here as long as the first serve hasn't been hit. You also can only sub in a rostered player who wasn't in the lineup as exchanged.
 

kylebarendrick

Professional
You can sub in for an injured player, even during warm up. You can also sub in for a no show in a split start match.

Yes, these rules do allow slimy tactics by unscrupulous captains. They do seem to err on the side of actually playing matches.

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