What to do when captain puts me with weak partners?

Tennisguy102

New User
I play in a 4.0 mens league and for the last two matches my captain put me with two inferior partners who cost us the matches both times. I'm one of the stronger players on the team and I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me, I cant stand being made to 'carry' weak people like a pack horse. What do I do? Should I make a request to my captain or just bow out of all future matches? Any suggestions?
 

ace18

Professional
I understand the frustration, its happened to me in the past as well and as a captain for many years, I at times take one for the team and put myself with inferior partners in order to keep the other guys happy. I guess the main question I have is, "have you ever captained a team?" Reason I ask is that we, captains, get stuck making a lot of tough decisions that not everyone is going to like. We try to make decisions based upon what we think is best for the team and put the team in the best position to be successful. When I make decisions similar to the above, I hate it, but at times you have to roll with what you have.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
No ive never captained, I'm too young (23). All I know is, I dont practice 40 hours a week to be stuck with some weakling who cant play to save his life.
 

ace18

Professional
look at it as a personal challenge to raise your game to win with a lesser talented player. I don't think you are too young to captain. Volunteer, most captains would love to have a break from doing it and would likely offer tips or mentorship.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
There's an age limit I think but I'm not very interested in captaining. I'm only interested in improving my own game, and I can't improve by playing with the losers I'm stuck with.
 

Ft.S

Semi-Pro
As a captain, I generally try not to pair players with wide range in their games, but sometimes I am forced to do so. I do expect and encourage my players to speak with me with any issues they may have. So, I would recommend talking to your captain; however, I would not put your issue in the terms of a selfish request, such as you playing 40 hours a week deserves special attention, or the statement you are making below.

There's an age limit I think but I'm not very interested in captaining. I'm only interested in improving my own game, and I can't improve by playing with the losers I'm stuck with.
Remeber that you signed up to play in a team, so the team comes first. Also recognize that captaining is a lot of unpaid work, so cooperating with your captain for the benefit of the team and you is a better appraoch IMO.
 

ace18

Professional
As a captain, I generally try not to pair players with wide range in their games, but sometimes I am forced to do so. I do expect and encourage my players to speak with me with any issues they may have. So, I would recommend talking to your captain; however, I would not put your issue in the terms of a selfish request, such as you playing 40 hours a week deserves special attention, or the statement you are making below.


Remeber that you signed up to play in a team, so the team comes first. Also recognize that captaining is a lot of unpaid work, so cooperating with your captain for the benefit of the team and you is a better appraoch IMO.
I agree, a conversation with the captain is a good start. I currently captain a team of 24 guys. All of my guys are great guys but I do have a few that complain about their partner or pairing when they get a less favorable partner one week. If I give them a sucky pairing one week. So let's just say I have 2 of the 24 on the team that fit this mold, I honestly try to weed them out. If they can't leave their ego at the door, they are welcome to start their own team and run it the way they feel it should be run. Important point, its never my best guys that complain.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
Just saying its frustrating to work hard to be put with a partner who makes a lot of mistakes. I can talk to my captain and see what the deal is. He probably should not have played my partner today anyway, my partner has a knee injury that was aggravated today
 

ace18

Professional
Poor guy could barely leave the court under his own power
That's tough to play hurt and then aggravate your injury. You're a young guy.. I know its frustrating, but do your best to keep a positive attitude. Don't be confrontational with the captain, but rather ask him how he selects pairings. He may do it because he thinks you can carry said player.
 

ace18

Professional
and, just because you are only 23 and have never captained, doesn't mean that you can't offer valuable advice. I have a bunch of young guys on my team, younger than you and I'm more than twice their age and I'd be lying if I said I didn't go to them for feedback. good luck
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
Just saying its frustrating to work hard to be put with a partner who makes a lot of mistakes. I can talk to my captain and see what the deal is. He probably should not have played my partner today anyway, my partner has a knee injury that was aggravated today
I agree the captain should pair up players of equal ability. A doubles team is only as strong as the weaker player. If you have a partner that double faults once or twice per game, muffs easy volleys, refuses to come in, overhits, can’t move, then it won’t matter if you’re hitting 100mph serves. I totally understand. Now if your team has maybe 1 or 2 weak players the stronger players should take turns playing with them. If your team has quite a few weak players, let the weaker players team up and stronger players do likewise. It won’t matter the weaker players will probably lose anyway,
Regardless.
If you play a similar team it will be a good match.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
If someone complains about playing with a "weak" partner to me as a captain, my response is "oh, I thought you were strong enough to be able to adapt" and they then go to the bottom of my rotation list. I don't need the ego, I don't need the drama, I need team players.

For the record, I am likely the strongest player on my team. I will play with anyone. I do have a regular partner, but travel schedules have me playing with others. Played with the very weakest player on the team yesterday. Shocker, we won. I had to run 2X as much as normal, I had to cover my side of the court and another 50% of partner's side, I had to change my positioning, change my serve pattern, change my return pattern. I am strong enough to do it. It is a good challenge and very satisfying when accomplished.

That being said, you must not be so great if you can't recognize and make those changes.

As for "not improving playing with losers" ... yeah, I captain teams that make it to districts even with some weaker players and I would rather have someone with your attitude on someone else's team no matter how good you (think) are.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
I play in a 4.0 mens league and for the last two matches my captain put me with two inferior partners who cost us the matches both times. I'm one of the stronger players on the team and I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me, I cant stand being made to 'carry' weak people like a pack horse. What do I do? Should I make a request to my captain or just bow out of all future matches? Any suggestions?
if you're so strong, why aren't you playing the #1s or #2s line?
that said, if i wasn't strong enough to play singles, i would recruit my own partner and insist that we play together exclusively all the time (i have one buddy that does that with me... although i'm usually giving up #2s, we play really really well together as a doubles team)
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
I play in a 4.0 mens league and for the last two matches my captain put me with two inferior partners who cost us the matches both times. I'm one of the stronger players on the team and I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me, I cant stand being made to 'carry' weak people like a pack horse. What do I do? Should I make a request to my captain or just bow out of all future matches? Any suggestions?
Unfortunately all the people you consider the be "equal or stronger" than you have told your captain that they don't want to have to carry you so you're out of luck.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
I just dont agree with my captains decision to play an injured player. Ive played with this guy before and I like playing with him but today he Just couldn't move or shift his weight to hit properly. He looked in pain the entire time
 

milk of amnesia

Hall of Fame
I just dont agree with my captains decision to play an injured player. Ive played with this guy before and I like playing with him but today he Just couldn't move or shift his weight to hit properly. He looked in pain the entire time
Did the captain know the guy was injured? Maybe the guy didn't tell him, or maybe he did but there was no one to sub so the only alternative the captain had was to default the match if the injured person didn't play. You said you like playing with this person so you may want to give him a pass this time - finding a partner one likes to play with can be difficult sometimes so once you find a good partner, don't be so quick to get rid of him for something like this.

I would definitely talk to the captain about how you feel though. If this is a new captain, or if you don't know each other well, then he might not be aware of your playing level. Whenever I captain, I always ask my players which players they want to team with and which they don't. It doesn't make sense to play a strong player with a weak one because the opposition gangs up on the weaker player making it more difficult to win the match. I don't play people who don't like playing together because that's a miserable situation that basically guarantees a loss.

The captain may have some good reason for what he did though so hear him out before you do anything you might regret.
 

OrangePower

Legend
Captaining is not easy... sometimes you have to set things up in a way that's best for the team as a whole but not necessarily best for each individual on the team. It's easy to complain about a captain's decision if you look at it only from a selfish perspective. I think everyone should be forced to captain at least once! And as far as I know there is no age limit for captaining - if you're old enough to play (18+), you are old enough to captain.

Also... a 23 year old who plays 40 hours a week should be able to dominate at 4.0 pretty much regardless of who he is partnered with.
 
I don't get why you're on a team if you only care about your own improvement and can't be bothered trying to help the team by carrying a weaker player. Play tournament singles: you'll never be forced to play doubles because your captain needs a player. It will also bypass the issue of when you get bumped up and become the weaker player that no one wants to play with.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Just saying its frustrating to work hard to be put with a partner who makes a lot of mistakes.
Find ways to put them in positions to do what they do well, playing with a weaker partner is just a different type of challenge.

I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me
And how do those stronger players feel when they play with you? Are they thinking "why'd I get stuck with this partner that is weaker than me?" It goes both ways ...
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
I play line 3 doubles because that's where I was told to play today. I play where I'm told to play.
If I were you I would find a strong partner and bag the leagues. Just play tournaments it would be more fun for you. Leagues can be fun but there seems to be a lot issues. Sounds like you’re the go to guy when the team just has to find a partner for someone. Who needs that? Yea, I know you’re told the better player should compensate but if your partner can’t even stay in the point. I’ve seen really good players get their clock cleaned because they had weak partners.
Stick with a strong reliable partner in tournaments not willy nilly team lineup surprises.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
Did the captain know the guy was injured? Maybe the guy didn't tell him, or maybe he did but there was no one to sub so the only alternative the captain had was to default the match if the injured person didn't play. You said you like playing with this person so you may want to give him a pass this time - finding a partner one likes to play with can be difficult sometimes so once you find a good partner, don't be so quick to get rid of him for something like this.

I would definitely talk to the captain about how you feel though. If this is a new captain, or if you don't know each other well, then he might not be aware of your playing level. Whenever I captain, I always ask my players which players they want to team with and which they don't. It doesn't make sense to play a strong player with a weak one because the opposition gangs up on the weaker player making it more difficult to win the match. I don't play people who don't like playing together because that's a miserable situation that basically guarantees a loss.

The captain may have some good reason for what he did though so hear him out before you do anything you might regret.
My partner said he was feeling better today, but as the match went on I think his knee started to protest. We went 3 close sets and it took a lot out of all involved.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
Find ways to put them in positions to do what they do well, playing with a weaker partner is just a different type of challenge.



And how do those stronger players feel when they play with you? Are they thinking "why'd I get stuck with this partner that is weaker than me?" It goes both ways ...
When they get put with me, I can hold my own and pull my own weight. Today was just a day when someone who is normally good was hindered by an injury
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
When they get put with me, I can hold my own and pull my own weight. Today was just a day when someone who is normally good was hindered by an injury
If it was an injury related sub-par performance, I wouldn't get to hung up about it and just accept it as one of those things that happens. As others have said, if the captain knew of the injury and still ran the guy out, or the guy knew he was injured and didn't tell the captain, there may be other issues though.
 

Tennisguy102

New User
And I guess he wasnt ready for a long match. Idk. I just felt super frustrated. He's a good player and someone who I enjoy playing with, but it was just an injury thing. I overreacted in a major way.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
I play in a 4.0 mens league and for the last two matches my captain put me with two inferior partners who cost us the matches both times. I'm one of the stronger players on the team and I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me, I cant stand being made to 'carry' weak people like a pack horse. What do I do? Should I make a request to my captain or just bow out of all future matches? Any suggestions?
Whoa! There's a lot to unpack here...so much that I'll just go a little stream-of-consciousness and perhaps something will stick, and I hope something in my post is helpful to you and others. it sounds like you've never never been a captain, so I'll start on that basis.

--so much goes into capping a team...for starters, getting enough guys to fill a roster, have enough subs each week, managing everyone's availability, putting guys together who actually like each other, getting everyone an equivalent number of matches in the session (or trying to -- we all pay the same money)...and THEN, after all of that, MAYBE the squad can put enough matches together, and guys are not traveling for work or injured, and JUST MAYBE the team can compete for the flight for that session. This alone should give you some insight into being on a TEAM...but I'll throw a few more your way...perhaps being on a team is not for you...I'm not judging either way -- just saying it has its own dynamics that have nothing to do with what's happening on court.

--have you considered the possibility that others on the team have made similar comments about you? I'm not saying they have, but if so, it also might be an attitude thing, not a skill thing. We had a fantastic player on one of my teams, which was great till no one wanted to play with him. he was not invited back. I've recently seen him on his third different team in a year.

--I cap several teams. I'm selective about who I invite. I check with others on the team to make sure they're cool with it. I don't want to add a guy then find out he owes one of my guys money or slept with his wife, etc...extreme I know, but I presume if you were invited, the cap did so thinking you'd be a team guy. Trust me -- most caps I know would rather default a court due to being short a player that week that to deal with the ego/drama. Again, not judging, but if you think you might be veering toward 'that guy' status, I encourage you to take a different approach if you want to do adult leagues. remember -- caps are all volunteers. no caps = no teams = no league. be the guy that people *want* to have on their teams.

--a little feed-back on occasion is fine, and crafted properly can be helpful to your cap. you have that right b/c you've paid the same money as everyone else to play. but also think about this: I work 50-60 hrs/week and travel for my job each week, and I cap three teams. I'm only saying this b'c many caps I know have similar lifestyles -- everyone is busy, and capping is a form of volunteerism. if i have the same guy chirping all the time, he won't be back. i simply don't have time for it, and trust me when i say the rest of the guys on the team usually come back with 'what took you so long' type of comment...

--All that said, we do have 1-2 weaker players on my teams, either skill or coming back from injury. if i have to match one up with a stronger player bc of schedules, etc., i let the stronger know ahead of time so they can be ready. my guys are all willing to help out. You should say something to your cap, but craft it in a way that you're willing to help out, and also looking forward to those other matches when you get to partner with some of the other guys.

--when i invite new guys, i ask them 1. what they *prefer* to play (sings/dubs), and 2. what they are *stronger* at playing (and they have to be honest). i explain i want to put them in the most competitive situation possible for them *and* the team, so that first and foremost we're having fun. maybe have that chat with your cap if not already...but make sure you really are being honest with yourself about just how strong you are, and where your true interests lie. You might have more fun and be more helpful to the team on the 2s line, or fewer matches but with a specific partner.

--but again, as a cap, i often dont have time for all of that, and just need guys who can play sings and dubs, and are willing to play wherever they are needed. we're playing to win and advance, but for me and the guys on my team, advancing is a by-product of having fun thru the session on a per-match basis. everyone winds up playing a few matches they'd rather had a diff partner or line...but the *right* guys all recognize it all evens out over time. those who don't will either leave on their own (so far none have), or they dont get invited back (fortunately it's only been a handful of these over the last several years).

hope this helps.
 

Possum

Rookie
If I were you, I'd quit playing for the rest of my life. If you don't like to lose...quit. You can't win every match.
 

spaceman_spiff

Hall of Fame
I'm only interested in improving my own game, and I can't improve by playing with the losers I'm stuck with.
It sounds to me like you're only interested in winning, because you seem obsessed with the results of your matches and how many mistakes your partner is making.

A weak partner doesn't stop you from focusing on your serve. A weak partner doesn't stop you from improving your returns. A weak partner doesn't stop you from working on your volleys.

If you really are one of the strongest players on your team, then you should be able to win 3rd-line doubles with just about any partner. And if you're not good enough to do that, then you should focus on improving until you are good enough to win 3rd-line doubles with pretty much any partner on your team.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Unless you stick to tourneys with hand picked partners who are also willing to play with you, you have to learn to handle whoever you are paired with. Being on a team means making the best of the assigned partners. A good attitude goes a long way.

For various reasons, I've been paired with lots of doubles partners over the years. I don't even think too much about which of us is the better player or whether I wish I had a different partner. That wastes time, energy, and motivation needed to address the challenge at hand: how do I assess each of our strengths and weaknesses to optimize our strategy for winning, and how do I bring out the best in my partner?

On match day, skills issues cannot be fixed - but stategy can be changed in a way that you avoid your team's weaknesses and try and exploit your opponent's weaknesses and avoid their strengths. While I won't complain about a partner's overall skill, I do prefer partners willing to adjust strategies rather than playing the same strategy regardless of opponents or partners.

Practice is the place to address skill issues and bad habits. How much do you practice with the probable pool of partners? Have you won their trust so that they will listen to you in addressing skill issues? Can you give good advice to target one or two skills at a time that can be improved in the available time without overwhelming them with advice trying to fix lots of things?

Doubles players need to realize that they have 10 times more power to adjust their own attitude and game than they have to address anything about their partners. But if you work hard enough at your own game and demonstrate kindness, patience, perseverance and wisdom, there may be opportunities in practice to help partners grow in one or two key areas at a time to improve their games also. I like to say, "Let's fix the problem rather than affixing the blame." Most of my time and energy are better spent improving my own game.
 
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Deleted member 23235

Guest
I play line 3 doubles because that's where I was told to play today. I play where I'm told to play.
interesting... one of my teams in the past was a 5.0 and line #3d was where 4.5's fill in (not strong enough to play anything else)
 

brettatk

Semi-Pro
Wake up call...everyone prefers to play with someone as good as them or stronger. And that is pretty much impossible to do unless a team is stacked. Unless you are playing an extremely weak team, you can't put two weaker players together (well unless you don't care about winning that point I guess).So you pick someone stronger that can carry a weaker player. Not every player can carry that load and that's fine. As a captain I know my players who can play with a weaker player and still have a good chance to win. Also when I pair a weaker player with a stronger player the weaker player usually picks up their game a bit because they know they aren't carrying the load. As someone mentioned you have to be willing to play with whoever the captain puts you with. When I joined the team I'm on now I played down in the lineup with mostly weaker players. Through my attitude and results I've now moved up and typically play with the other strong players. I'd stick it out and keep quiet. No captain likes when a player tells him where to play or who to play with regardless of how good they are or think they are.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
I play in a 4.0 mens league and for the last two matches my captain put me with two inferior partners who cost us the matches both times. I'm one of the stronger players on the team and I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me, I cant stand being made to 'carry' weak people like a pack horse. What do I do? Should I make a request to my captain or just bow out of all future matches? Any suggestions?
Just ask nicely that you'd like to play with a stronger player once in a while.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
I play in a 4.0 mens league and for the last two matches my captain put me with two inferior partners who cost us the matches both times. I'm one of the stronger players on the team and I prefer playing with partners who are equal or stronger than me, I cant stand being made to 'carry' weak people like a pack horse. What do I do? Should I make a request to my captain or just bow out of all future matches? Any suggestions?
I understand your frustration, but I've tried to make the best of those times and adjust my game to work for the team.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
Just saying its frustrating to work hard to be put with a partner who makes a lot of mistakes. I can talk to my captain and see what the deal is. He probably should not have played my partner today anyway, my partner has a knee injury that was aggravated today
Please take my comment with a grain of salt.
Captains have their "goto" players for their S1 and D1 and possibly D2. D3 seems like it's a way to get play time for everyone on the team.

If you are not good enough to be part of the "goto" list, and you are a good player with skill and athleticism, may be asked to balance out a weaker player.

In any case, it does not hurt to talk with your captain and discuss as sometimes they aren't aware of what your goals are with the team.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
Here is my suggestion, talk with the captain. He might not think you are as good as you think you are and he is putting you with someone of equal skill in his mind. You might want to ask to play with a certain player and see if that would be acceptable. Really just want to second Traffics statement and discuss with your captain.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Last I checked, league tennis is a team sport. If you want to be a prima donna, play tournament tennis.
Always protect the team. That means no whining about court position, no complaining that so and so is weak, no pouting when you lose. Encourage the weaker members and help them play their best. You never know when you may need them to win a critical match.

Feel free to talk things over with the captain. I might suggest you buy him a beer first. Give him your suggestions and let him make the call. If he doesn't agree, don't get mad, but accept it with grace. He put the team together, he does a ton of work gratis, so it's his call on the lines.
 
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