Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Sending A Novice Out To Do A Job Noone Else Wants


An old issue--now we are facing an even great issue today...

Throughout history there has been much ado about sending a woman out to do a man's job but in today's world that argument has pretty well gone by the wayside.  In the tennis officiating world, there is a new issue that arises when we send novice officials out to do a job that would prove stressful for even an experienced official.

Everyone knows that we send the newer, more inexperienced officials out to do the ZAT and champs tournaments (at least in Texas that is so).  Let's be honest--are we doing the right thing and are we being fair to a new and inexperienced official?  I think not.

After working a super champ major zone tournament this year, I am more convinced than ever of some truths that seem self evident.  They are:

*  Dealing with some of the players, parents, and coaches at junior tournaments in Texas is something that is difficult for even seasoned and experienced officials.  To say they are "out of control" would be an understatement.  I have never seen such an air of entitlement and bad behavior by parents and players in tennis as we are seeing today.

*  My new philosophy that I am developing is this:  Don't do a tournament where the players have parents...  That would go a long way towards stopping a lot of the problems we are seeing today!  Of course its an impossibility but at least its a thought.

*  If we are going to pitch a new official to the wolves at a site all by themselves then we need to be sure to prepare them for their upcoming doom.  We can't teach in a school what they are going to experience with players, parents, and coaches at all levels of junior tennis so we need to find a way to help them in their transition time.

*  Maybe we should pay the new officials more than anyone else because of what they are forced to endure on a regular basis.  Noone should be asked to be ridiculed, abused, and maligned by any other human being and that happens on an all too regular basis.

*  Its time we quit asking new officials (or any official for that matter) to work a 12-14 hour shift in stifling heat, with at least 12 courts to oversee alone, and then have a referee expecting them to "man up" and do a good job.  Most referees would never do what they ask of their umpires.

*  Why are some of these junior players still playing tournaments when they are supposed to be suspended when they accumulate enough points?  Noone can convince me that as bad as some of these juniors are, that they haven't accumulated enough suspension points in a month to be suspended for a long, long time.  Either they aren't being coded by officials who are ignoring their bad behavior, or they aren't being suspended for the codes they accumulate. Its time for those in leadership to "take the bull by the horns" and do something about this out of control behavior.

*  Since the average official per court ratio in Texas is one official per 11 courts its no wonder that new officials feel frustrated.  A seasoned official knows how to watch more than one court at a time but its high time to change that ratio and especially for the newer officials.

*  One good step in the right direction is that a junior player will soon be receiving two suspension points (instead of one) for a code violation.  If this is going to work then they need to be sure that they are immediately suspended when they reach their quota for suspension.

*  We send novice officials (either in age or experience) out to a site all alone to deal with parents who seem to have a doctor's degree in coaching their offspring or manipulating and abusing the rules of tennis.  Its not a fair fight from the getgo so we need to keep that in mind when making assignments.  Left to their own resources, a novice official will usually do whatever it takes to maintain order at a site--and sometimes those resources prove disastrous.

*  The experienced officials need to be more sensitive to the newer officials and work diligently to help them through their early days of officiating.  All too often we meet new officials who are overzealous and overly officious in their attitudes and job performances because they don't know what to do and just launch out with whatever personal skills they can muster on their own.

*  Novice officials need to learn to listen to what they are taught and to watch an experienced official at work.  Far too many new officials will say "I know" whenever they are taught anything.  If that is so, then why aren't they doing it?  Learn to keep your mouth shut, eyes open, and learn before you think you are an expert on officiating.

*  In the ITA world, we never send a new official out all alone.  We spend hours and hours working with them and then when we do put them in a chair, we stay close by to see that they live through their new experience.  It may not be a perfect system but at least it helps--now maybe we ought to expand it into the USTA junior world.

These are just a few thoughts about what we are doing in our officiating world.  Years ago I went coon hunting with an old hunter down in south Texas and he taught me a wonderful truth:  he always made the young pups go hunting with Ol' Blue so they could learn how it was done before he pitched them out on their own.

Maybe we should do that with some of our young novices before we pitch them out on their own...  And by the way, two hours of shadowing isn't what I'm talking about...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Attila The Hun (Or Hunette) Gets Officials A Bad Rap


An official to the rescue...

Sometimes on my days off I enjoy visiting tournament sites as a spectator and just observing fellow officials in action.  There are days when I introduce myself and then days when I just observe from a distance to see how we are doing as officials.

Lately I have observed some officials from a distance and a lot of what I've seen concerns me greatly. I'm afraid that much of the criticism we receive might be well deserved.  Let me illustrate it with the example of "Attila The Hunette" who was seen recently in a Texas USTA tournament...

Attila showed up late at her site but was attired in a crisp, freshly ironed and starched outfit, hair meticulously in place, and topped off with a new officials cap.  Upon entering the site, she immediately took charge of the tournament desk and all surrounding areas and began barking orders to players, fellow officials, spectators, and parents alike.  You might say she was an "equal opportunity offender" because in a few short minutes she either offended everyone in sight or berated them into submission.  Don't get me wrong--I've seen a lot of overly aggressive officials in my time but AH took the cake!  She was truly deserving of her moniker...

After reflecting upon my encounter with AH, I thought it might be good to offer these simple observations and hope it might help diffuse some problems in the future:

*  Remember that players and parents are human beings and deserved to be treated with common respect and dignity.  I wouldn't want to be the parent of some of the kids I've seen but that is their lot in life and they are trying to make the best of it.

*  Keep in mind that part of your job is to ensure that players, parents, and spectators have a good experience at their tournament site.  You are the only person entrusted with that responsibility so do your best to make the day a good one.

*  As an official you should be mature enough to know your personal strengths and weaknesses so pay attention to what you are doing and how you are coming across to others.  There is no excuse for being rude or condescending to anyone for any reason.

*  Remember that the vast majority of officials are Type A personalities and keep that in mind when you get to your site.  An A personality wants to take charge and be in control but that's not always the best course of action. Sometimes (usually) things don't go as we planned so always be prepared with Plan B.

*  Perhaps a course in "How To Win Friends And Influence People" would go a long way for all officials.  People will automatically respect your authority so we need to deserve and honor their respect.

*  Take time out of your busy life to study the mechanics of leading people, dealing with disrespectful people, dealing with conflict, and graciously leading others.  We can all benefit from bettering ourselves.

*  Remember that you aren't on a mission to subjugate the entire tennis world in one day.  If you are aggressive, demanding, and overbearing then people will react to you in like manner.  If you are calm and confident of your position and authority, people will usually support you and follow your leadership.

*  Just relax and enjoy your life as a tennis official.  Its the best sport in the world so do your best to make your's and others' experiences something to remember and not something they want to forget.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Should Or Could A Woman Coach A Division I Men's Team?



This has always been a question that has been tossed around among collegiate officials for years now and might be a good blog post for discussion...

Rather than take a stand one way or another it might be good just to point out some pertinent facts for consideration and then let the discussion begin.  Let's consider the facts:

*  Women are different than men.  (Big surprise!)  A great book to illustrate the differences is called, "Men are from Mars, And Women Are From Venus."

*  There are obviously logistical difficulties to overcome such as locker rooms, rest rooms, sleeping arrangements and such; however, men who coach women's DI teams seem to deal quite well with these issues.

*  The men's collegiate game is considerably different than the women's game.  Does being a former player (pro or collegiate level) qualify a woman to coach a men's team?

*  Women's temperaments are substantially different than men (and especially young men who are at the height of their testosterone output.)  Women are far more moody than men and this might affect the overall morale and production of a team.

*  Young men are interested in good looking women.  Surprise, surprise!  What do you do when a player has a crush on his coach?  In today's politically correct society you could never advertise for a men's coach that is "not good looking and very unattractive", so what do you do with this one?

*  Women give birth to children and possess motherly instincts.  If the coach has children they will naturally want to spend more time with their kids.  Does this affect a team or do they just welcome the coach and her kids on the bus and away they go?

*  Is a woman strong enough to deal with 10 or 12 type A dominant young men?  What type of woman do you think would be able to coach a men's DI team?

*  Men tend to be more outwardly expressive (and vulgar) than women (or at least most women).  Do you think the players or the coach would have to change on this issue?

*  Will collegiate young men respond well to a female coach or would there be conflict and problems from the getgo?

Many of the above issues deal more with psychological makeups than with court strategy but then perhaps that's why there are few (if any) women coaching a men's Division I tennis team.

What do you think?

Note:  If it were to happen, I think it would be better for a woman to be the head coach of a DI men's program than for her to be an assistant to a male head coach.  Can you just imagine a woman being an assistant to some of the men coaches we all know???

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Should Women Coach Men?


In an unusual and unprecedented move, Spain announced this week that they would now have a woman coaching their Davis Cup team.  Check out the article below that was posted at USA Today:

Spain’s decision to name former tennis pro Gala Leon Garcia as Davis Cup coach didn’t please Toni Nadal, who complained that a woman “doesn’t know men’s tennis because men’s tennis isn’t the same as women’s tennis.”
Leon Garcia replaced Carlos Moya, who resigned after Spain was relegated out of the Davis Cup World Group. (This means the most successful Davis Cup country of this century is in a consolation bracket for 2015). The 40-year-old Leon reached a career high of No. 27 in the WTA rankings before retiring in 2004. She’s Spain’s first female Davis Cup coach and only the fifth for any country.
Toni Nadal, the uncle and coach of Spain’s greatest tennis star Rafael Nadal, didn’t appreciate the import of such an announcement. He told Onda Cero radio:
“It is preferable that (the captain) is someone with a background in the world of men’s tennis. I have nothing against her, I don’t know what her capabilities are, and I hope she does her job well, but in theory she is a person that doesn’t know men’s tennis, because men’s tennis isn’t the same as women’s tennis.
“The truth is that the men’s game isn’t the same as the women’s game on the tactical level, not that one is better than the other.”
Nadal also said the appointment could cause problems at “the dressing room” level, echoing the same tired talking point that’s been around for years and is always debunked. (How many Davis Cup strategy sessions are taking place in a steam room?)
Anyway, the differences between the men’s and women’s game haven’t stopped men from being great women’s coaches, so why would they stop a woman from being a great men’s coach?
But Nadal’s statements are even more ridiculous than that. Forget the blatant sexism. The idea that a Davis Cup coach need be concerned with the tactical nuances of men’s tennis is preposterous! This is the Davis Cup. It’s an individual competition for team points. There’s little to no coaching involved. It doesn’t take a tennis genius to know that the two best players go in singles and the best possible doubles combination plays on the middle day. The “coaching” involves praying that Rafa and David Ferrer take part in the competition so you don’t have to rely on Pablo Andjuar, as Spain’s Davis Cup team had to do in its playoff tie.
When Spain won its last Davis Cup in 2011, the “big” decision was playing Nadal and Ferrer in singles and pairing Feliciano Lopez and Verdasco in doubles. Someone who can’t tell the service line from the baseline could have come up with that roster.
So why is Toni all bent out of shape about it? Maybe this quote reveals some more about his feelings.
“It would seem to be more normal if the captain had been someone like Juan Carlos Ferrero, or some ex-player of a certain level, which is what has happened recently.”
Did Toni Nadal want to be consulted on the decision? Did he expect Rafa to have a say? Did he want to hand-pick Ferrero as captain? Did Toni himself want to be captain?
None of that should matter. Complain about Leon Garcia’s lack of tennis bonafides if you want, but not about her gender."

Not that we would agree or disagree with the article, we do find the thought rather intriguing when it comes to ITA tennis.  Wonder how a woman do as a coach for a men's Division I team???


Monday, September 22, 2014

A Lighter View Of Life


Since we are in a bit of a slow season, it might be good to take a look at the lighter side of life.  Here are some new officials yearning and asking for wisdom at their first training meeting.



We finally found a word for that official that we all know and love.



A perfect ending for an old official.


Waiting for his Daddy to get home from the tournament.


Relaxing after a hard day at a ZAT tournament.


Headed over to harass the officials at the UT vs OU dual match.


"I told you I was going to climb up in that tree if you didn't let me do the #1 singles match!"


Patiently waiting to call lines for the first time.


Happy to see his Daddy back home!


Seems to have lost her head in the competition.


Ideal retirement home for a traveling official.


Checking out their Big 12 assignments.


A future official!


A great bar for after-tournament relaxation.


And here we have the line 1 singles match.


The decor of a happy man.


We're pooped!


Here's how a preppy young guy showed up to work his first match.


And now its time for everyone to take a much-needed nap!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is It Time For A Clothing Update?


A Big 12 football coach recently shared that one of the biggest drawing points for today's athletes are the types of uniforms that they wear--and football certainly seems to have made that transition!  These are just a few of the more colorful uniforms around the country.


Even Oregon can't match this one.


Might get a little confusing at Kyle Field.


A picture is worth a thousand words--or dollars...


Even the refs are getting in on the changes!


Since colors are now sweeping the country (and everyone seems to like it), perhaps its time for tennis officials to explore updating our color schemes.  Here are just a few of the modern day options...


Might be a good option for winter wear but probably not too good in the Texas sun.


Definitely lends color to the officiating scene.



We'll leave this one up to your own thought processes...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Congratulations To One Of Our Own--Angel Martinez. The New Women's Coach At Texas Wesleyan


ANGEL MARTINEZ

Through the years one of my favorite officials in the Metroplex has been Angel Martinez.  He always had a smile, did a good job, and was supportive of fellow officials and now we get to congratulate him as he was named the new Women's Tennis Coach at Texas Wesleyan.

Congratulations Angel and best wishes for a winning season!  Here is today's writeup about Angel's new position:

FORT WORTH, TX:  Texas Wesleyan University Athletic Director Steve Trachier announced today the hiring of Angel Martinez as head women's tennis coach.  Martinez, who built a tremendous record at Grapevine High School, is tasked with bringing back a program at Texas Wesleyan that has been inactive since 2002.  The Lady Rams will begin play in the 2015-16 season.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have Coach Martinez join our athletic department," Trachier said.  "He is one of the most respected high school tennis coaches in the state.  He led a storied tennis program at Grapevine High School for many years, and I am positive that he is the right person to start and direct our women's tennis program."

Martinez brings 31 years of coaching experience at the high school level to Texas Wesleyan.  At Grapevine High School he built a state powerhouse and nationally respected program.  Prior to taking over at Grapevine in 1999, Martinez worked at Cedar Hill High School for 15 years.

"I am extremely excited to be here at Texas Wesleyan," Martinez said.  "It was a hard decision because we are ranked number one in the state right now, but I think that shows my commitment to this great opportunity.  I believe we can do great things here at Texas Wesleyan."

In his high school coaching career, he built a record of 622-101 with 18 District Championships.  He has coached 326 All-District selections, 28 District Players of the Year, and 102 Regional Qualifiers.  In 2002-03 he was named Wilson/TTCA 5A Coach of the Year and Fort Worth Star-Telegram Coach of the Year.  He was named USPTA Texas High School Coach of the Year in 2005, 2009, and 2013, and was named USTA Starfish National Coach of the Year in 2009.

Martinez is a graduate of UT-Arlington and holds a USPTA Elite Pro Certification.


Monday, September 08, 2014

US Open Men's Singles Final--Cilic Awesome, Watching Paint Dry, & Michael Chang's Cap


MARIN CILIC
2014 Men's Open Singles Champion


MICHAEL CHANG (Nishikori's coach)
Showing off the new "tucked ears" look.

Today marked the conclusion of the 2014 US Open--and Marin Cilic was awesome!  He won the finals by defeating Kei Yishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in one of the most lopsided finals in years.

To say that the final was anti-climactic would probably be the understatement of the year.  I found myself missing Djokovic and Federer but soon realized that there may be a new day dawning in men's tennis--but only time will tell on that one...  Somehow I doubt that these two will soon replace the "Big 4."

The highlight of the afternoon was rotating between watching some paint dry and checking out Michael Chang's ears as they were tucked in his new cap.  Not a day with much excitement to say the least.

The one good thing to come of the men's and women's finals (other than huge paydays for the winners) was the fact that the line officials were 100% correct on every questioned call.  That's awesome and they are to be congratulated.

Now that the Open is over and done with, its time to turn our thoughts and attention to more important things like training new officials and figuring out what to do with parents at USTA junior events.

Good luck to everyone in the days to come!

Martina Navratilova's Engagement



In case you missed it, here is an account of Martina's proposal and engagement announcement at the US Open this past weekend:

"Game, set, proposal!  Martina Navratilova is engaged after popping the question to her longtime girlfriend Julia Lemigova at the US Open in NYC on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Navratilova, 57, wore an all white ensemble as she got down on bended knee to ask the Russian model in a suite at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Dressed in a black pencil skirt and sleeveless top, 42-year-old Lemigova? looked utterly shocked as she raised her (now!) engagement hand to her mouth.

"I have been waiting for the right time to ask Julia to marry me," the nine-time Wimbledon champion later told the crowd on the big screen, via Daily Express. She added: "I thought this was the right place and the right time to pop the question and thankfully I got a yes."

Navratilova also tweeted about the next chapter. "Thanks everyone for your good wishes," she wrote. "I am very happy, so is Julia and our whole family."

Navratilova came out as gay in 1981 and has been dating Lemigova since 2006. Lemigova has two daughters from a previous relationship."

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Good Day For The Americans At The US Open


SERENA WILLIAMS won her 3rd US Open singles title in a row as well as her 18th Grand Slam Title (tying her with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18).


The BRYAN BROTHERS won their 6th US Open Doubles title as well as their 100th career title.

Friday, September 05, 2014

John McEnroe Evaluation: "Horribly, badly bungled."


Peng Shuai in distress in her singles match at the US Open.

Following the officiating fiasco in the match between Caroline Wozniaki and Peng Shuai, John McEnroe made an evaluation and said the USTA leadership "horribly, badly bungled" the situation--and perhaps anyone in their right mind or any sense of tennis rules, would have to agree.

While I realize that pro rules differ from anyone else on earth, there was no excuse for today's mess.  Here is the timeline of what happened:

Match score:  Wozniaki leading 7-6 and 4-3 with the score 30-30.

*  Peng took 50 seconds between the deuce point and the ad point without any penalty from the chair official.

*  Peng stopped play after the ad point (which she lost) and it was 42 seconds before the trainer came to the court.

*  2 minutes and 50 seconds elapsed before Peng was led from the court.

*  4 minutes elapsed before the chair official announced that Peng was being evaluated.

*  5 minutes and 40 seconds elapsed when the chair official announced that Peng would be taking a 3 minute Medical Time Out.

*  10 minutes and 37 seconds elapsed before Peng came back to the court and was ready to play.

At this point, no time violations, warnings, or point penalties had been given.

*  Following the playing of a couple of points, the score was again deuce.  Peng again stopped play and the trainer and a bunch of others came on the court to console her.

*  After 1:27 it was finally announced that Peng was retiring.

There aren't sufficient words in the English language to describe this officiating fiasco.  In this instance, we will be just quote John McEnroe again--HORRIBLY, BADLY BUNGLED.

Where Oh Where Has All The Money Gone?

Ever wonder where all the USTA money goes?  Check out the NYT article below and it might help answer your questions--or maybe raise even more...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/23/sports/tennis/intersecting-interests-at-the-top-of-us-tennis.html?_r=2

Saturday, August 30, 2014

USTA Junior Tennis--Maybe Adoption Is An Option...

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Just finished a day working the 16 year old boys in a USTA tournament--and what a day it was!  Only gave one code for racket abuse but had to caution a Dad about coaching and then the other official had to remove the Dad from the center for screaming at his son after the match was over.  Overall, a good day though.

I was very impressed with the good behavior of the boys.  They were all very respectful and very competitive at the same time.  Of course with 16 year olds there is an excess of testosterone everywhere.

I did find it interesting that the following sign was posted in the hallway:

ONE 15 YEAR OLD MALE AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION

We have a 15 year old male human that is available for immediate adoption.  Today would be best but we could wait until tomorrow.  Here are his statistics:

*  Eats constantly and drinks a gallon of milk a day.
*  Has an allergy to bath water.
*  Has all his shots and has been wormed.
*  Bites but not often.
*  Has an allergic reaction to any advice given by his Father.
*  Has very large feet. 
*  Tends to pass gas in public on a regular basis. 
*  Has good clean teeth. 
*  Plays well with others as long as he is winning. 
*  Will download porn if not watched carefully. 

If interested, please contact the parents at 000-0000.  We would love to give him to a good home (and the sooner, the better.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chair Training Begins August 26th


Cameron Nash of Dallas on his first day of training.

For those who are interested, chair training will begin next Tuesday (August 26) at 4:00 p.m. at Highland Park High School.  The training program is offered to any certified official who would like to be trained in doing chair work.  The only requirement is that the official be a certified official.

The training will be conducted during live match play and will feature chair work the entire time.  There will be an instructor nearby for all matches.

Here is the training schedule:

August 26        4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
September 9    4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
September 20  9:00 a.m.       Highland Park HS
September 23  4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
September 30  4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
October 3        4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
October 8        8:30 a.m.       Highland Park HS
October 9        4:00 p.m.       Highland Park HS
November 7     TBD             SMU Women's collegiate tournament
November 8     TBD             SMU Women's collegiate tournament
November 9     TBD             SMU Women's collegiate tournament

If you are interested, please contact Randy McDonald at 214 796 7402 or rmtennis@yahoo.com

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How Much Collegiate Cheering Is Too Much?


Without question the loudest crowds are at the University of Georgia.


Its doubtful that anyone wants a collegiate crowd to be like a Wimbledon crowd.  They would all leave from boredom!


Probably the best educated crowds at the University of Oklahoma.


Baylor University is famous for the ledge where players can stand and cheer on their teammates.  People come from near and far to hear the lady spectator who can deafen a whole stadium.


TCU is widely acclaimed for their festive atmosphere!  Nothing like tacos and pizza at a tennis match.


The University of Texas tears down the old to bring in the new.  

One of the most controversial areas in collegiate tennis is the issue of crowd behavior.  There are endless discussions of how much is too much and how much should the officials permit and when should they try to control the crowd behavior.

There are already specific rules in place but the officials still have quite a bit of latitude when it comes to crowd behavior.  How tightly a match is officiated is usually up to the referees but referees are also given specific directives by the athletic directors and conference offices.  That which people think is a black and white issue isn't always so easy to facilitate...

This coming year there is already discussion among coaches and players about crowd control and whether the tennis crowds should be more like football and basketball games.  Crowds pretty well run the gamut of excitement in Texas and Oklahoma but I would be hard pressed to say that they are out of control.  I think the basic issue is "information and training" for the crowd to be appropriate for a tennis match.  If you have ever done a night match at the University of Oklahoma you will find that they usually have one of the largest crowds in the Big 12--but also the most educated and well-behaved crowds.  They are lively to say the least but I've never seen them exceed the boundaries of what is appropriate in college tennis--and that standard is because of the individual coaches and their "teaching and training" of their individual crowds.  Just like a tennis team, the crowd tends to take on the personality of the coach.

There is not a venue is tennis that is more exciting than a collegiate dual match!  You've never really experienced "tennis" until you've been at Baylor and heard their female loudspeaker or at TCU when the tacos are cooking and fans are fellowshipping.  The word "exciting" barely covers the atmosphere when Oklahoma and Texas play a night match.  Its even a privilege to be down at A&M in the shadow of Kyle Field for a night match with all of their fans cheering their team on to victory.

Loud and raucous is good at a tennis match and especially in a collegiate match.  Noone wants to see a player, coach, or official ridiculed or harrassed so there has to be some boundaries somewhere.  Perhaps the best solution is for the coaches and/or athletic directors to write up some very specific guidelines for crowd behavior and then we as officials can enforce whatever level of participation they deem appropriate.

Hopefully all of this will happen around collegiate tennis before January, 2015...

Just got this picture in today of the A&M crowd.  The caption should read:

There is a lot of horsing around in the A&M crowd.



ADDITION TO BLOG POST:

Steve Moore of Texas A&M Corpus Christi sent in this letter.  It is worth reprinting...

Fellow coaches,
As we all know, it has become a top priority of our athletic directors that all sports maximize fan turn out. This is also vital to lifting college tennis to the high level we belong. We have all worked very hard at getting crowds at our matches. As we see crowd numbers increase, we have now reached the point where clear cut fan rules are needed that everyone can count on- players, fans, coaches, umpires. We cannot expect fans to come to matches if we legislate them into a box. We also do not want to continue hearing 27 different variations and versions of what the crowd can or cannot do. We need consistency we can count on, for everyone.  This way we know what to expect whether at home or on the road, with an experienced umpire or rookie. This also gives us the best opportunity to achieve three key objectives: please our athletic directors with large crowds, give our players a great student -athlete experience of a Davis Cup atmosphere with an engaged fan base, and make matches as fun as possible so fans keep coming. I have spoken with countless College coaches who agree strongly. The proposal is for three clear cut rules for fan behavior that we can all quote and count on:
1.      Fans can never be personally demeaning to a player.
2.      Fans can never use foul language or swear at a player.
3.      Fans can never interrupt play by cheering during the point.

   Outside these three rules, fans can do whatever they want, just like a volleyball game or basketball game- sports we compete with to attract fans. Fans are not allowed to swear at players or be demeaning or ugly at those events either. Sometimes those who cross those lines must be removed. We must, however, get rid of silly, unenforceable, fan detracting  rules such as no dialogue with a player, nothing can ever be said to a player or the crowd is bothering a player. This makes us more of a country club atmosphere than a college sports atmosphere. I also believe our players are mentally tough enough to handle a more engaged crowd so long as its never ugly or demeaning. The benefits of a large, engaged fan base far outweigh being occasionally annoyed by a rowdy crowd. Please consider this change to the current ITA College Tennis Match rules.

Sincerely,
Steve Moore
Director of Tennis, Texas A&M- Corpus Christi
ITA Texas Region Chair

Friday, August 08, 2014

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go!



This little tennis story is hard to believe but it comes first hand from a friend of mine who had this happen to him recently on a court at the Highpoint Tennis Center in Plano, Texas...

Seems that my friend (who is 55) was playing doubles with three even older guys.  He was preparing to serve and noticed there was a puddle of water up at the net right in front of his doubles partner.

He told him "the court has a wet place so watch out."  The older gentleman replied, "It was me.  I had to go."

Such is tennis life in the fast lane...

(Don't be offended--just enjoy the humor of the moment.)