Friday, July 07, 2017

How Would You Rule?

In an ITA tournament, women's doubles, Team A serves and her partner calls a let on the serve.

Is this legal?

Friday, June 09, 2017

How Would You Rule on Medical Time Out?

Another interesting scenario and question from the recent ITA Webinar...


In a Division I women's singles match, Player A requests a medical timeout as soon as a changeover begins and the trainer is already seated at her bench.  What do you do?

1.  Announce a medical timeout and then allow the player 90 seconds for the changeover plus two minutes to diagnose and three minutes to treat.

2.  Announce a medical timeout and then give the player two minutes to diagnose and three minutes to treat. 

3.  Tell the player she has to wait until a set break.

4.  Hope noone in the crowd is timing anything.

How would you rule?

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Fresh New Questions After Webinar Experience

Well, I finished my required ITA Webinar last night (in a mere 123 minutes), and it was quite the experience.  Here is a summary of the moments:

*  Great technique and knowledge of the leader.  He knew his facts and expressed them well and succinctly.
*  Spent way too long listening to endless questioning and rabbit-chasing by an official asking incessant questions.
*  After listening to some of the questions, we now know that more training is needed for some officials.
*  A tad too much time to given to MTO's and bathroom breaks.
*  Overall, I would give them an A- for the webinar.

After I was able to clear my mind and head, I wanted to put this "How Would You Rule" question before you...


In a men's Division I singles match, player A alerts the chair official that he would like the trainer to come out and treat him on the next changover (perfectly legitimate request) and the chair agrees to do so.

The fans for Player B have already been given an official warning for spectator conduct before the changeover.

As the trainer for Player A comes out onto the court, the fans for Player B began to boo and yell catcalls directly specifically at the trainer.

What would you do?

1.  Do nothing since the trainer is not one of the players involved in the match.
2.  Give a point penalty to Player B for crowd misconduct.
3.  Give a warning to the crowd about abusing the trainer.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

ITA Officials--Don't Forget To Get Your Webinar Done!

It seems like the certification process for the USTA and ITA is getting longer and longer and more and more cumbersome--but its something that has to be done...

Right now, noone seems to know what the USTA wants but we know what is required in the ITA world.  You need to pay your dues, take your tests, and the do the webinar so you are ready to go.

There seemed to be a little glitch in the system last week because you could take your test and then there was no link to do the webinar but that's been fixed.

If you have taken and passed your test, just do the following:

Login to ZebraWeb.
Click on "Zebra Secretary-Console"
Click on "ITA Officials 2017 Certification Webinar"

Once you do this, they will give you a bunch of available dates and you can get it done...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Latest Word From The ITA

Dear Officials,

We just wanted to take a moment to update everyone on the recertification process that is now going on.  We have received some questions, and would just like to clarify a few things.

First, the dues we are collecting are for the 2017-18 academic year.  In order to pay your dues, if you haven't already done so, please login to ZebraWeb and click on the Zebra-Secretary Console.  Then, click on the online test link that can be found toward the top of the page.  This will redirect you to the secure payment portal where you can pay your dues.  Once your dues are paid, you will have access to the test.

While there is no "deadline" to take the test, recertification webinars are only offered through the end of July.  Therefore, you will need to pay your dues, take your test and attend a webinar by the end of July.

Webinars are now open for registration.  You should plan on a minimum of 90 minutes to complete the webinar.  After you successfully pass your open-book test (a score of 80% or better), a link should appear on the zebra-secretary console page just below the online test link.  This will take you to a new window where you can register for a webinar of your choice.  A schedule of all webinars is available in the documents section of the zebra-secretary console of ZebraWeb.  If you do not see a time from the schedule listed in the registration options, it means that time slow is full as each webinar is limited to 30 participants.  Additionally, webinars are only scheduled through July 26.  The remaining webinars will be added into the system in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions or concerns not addressed above, please do not hesitate to email


Courtney Potkey
The ITA Officiating Department

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Another New Moniker Among Us--GOLDFISH!

This this is the busiest time of the year for collegiate officiating, it is also the time of more interesting and unique events among our officiating family.  As usual, whenever someone distinguishes themselves in some way (both good and not so good), there seems to be a new nickname arise from that event.  Therefore, we want to welcome GOLDFISH to our family.

In case you are wondering who this might be, here are the hints:

*  Could be a man but is probably a woman.
*  Is an experienced collegiate official.
*  Lives in Texas. 
*  Doesn't respond well to criticism or helpful hints. 
*  Is very stylish in their officiating apparel.

Not sure you will ever figure it out, but GOLDFISH now has a place among the annals of officiating.

Meet Our New Fellow Official--PAYROLL!

From time to time an official does such a fine job of officiating or does something in their life that is worthy of a nickname among us.  We have previously anointed the Oklahoma boy with the nickname "Catfish" and now we are ready to bestow another honor.

We are now bestowing the moniker "PAYROLL" on one of our special brethren.  We will not publicly share his name but here are some hints:

*  He's from West Texas.
*  He has huge feet.
*  He doesn't live in Lubbock or Abilene.

Those clues should suffice for now...  Here is how his moniker came into being:

Seems that Payroll kept writing a good friend of his in Austin, Texas and was complaining about not being paid to work the ITA Kick Off in January.  Finally, his friend told him to send his complaint to Vickie Wright who is the coordinator for UT.  He did and here was her reply,  "You didn't even work the Kickoff in Austin.  You were working in Lubbock for the Texas Tech Kickoff!"

Needless to say, Payroll is now living in self-imposed seclusion until his embarrassment wears off.  However, if you receive an invoice from him for any of your matches, be sure to check to see if he even worked the event.  He probably didn't...

Sunday, April 09, 2017

That Was The Week That Was In The UIL.

Well, we finally finished the infamous "week of UIL district tennis tournaments" in which we saw hundreds of matches, hundreds of hours worked, and lots of happy winners and sad losers--but that's what makes the Texas UIL tennis season the absolute best in the nation!

I personally scheduled 13 UIL district tournaments and utilized the many gifts and talents of over 25 different officials--and what a great job they did!  The brought order to a chaotic world and even spiced it up with some really strange rulings--but then, that's UIL tennis at its best...

Here are a few of the fun moments of last week:

*  Officials and coaches wondering if they could default a player for using an E-cig during his break.  (Thankfully they didn't.)

*  Some of our collegiate officials putting a far side-linesperson in a UIL match.

*  Some coaches and officials got to enjoy a feast at noon from Hard 8 BBQ.  Sadly, I wasn't one of them.

*  We don't keep stats but there were a lot of footfaults called but very few code violations issued.  Just goes to show that parents and coaches are doing a good job.

*  A female played enjoyed a nice long text from her Dad during a changeover while the official on the court saw nothing.

*  An unhappy Mother was permitted to totally interrupt a match (see previous blog post.)

*  An official invented a rule that it is a code violation to cheer with your teammates after you win a point.

And all of that is just from a week of district tennis tournaments.  Imagine what will happen when the regional tournaments begin on April 17th.  We'll be sure to keep you posted...

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, and Do No Evil

We are the midst of the ITA and UIL season and things are really heating up everywhere!  Players and coaches are putting the officials to the test--and the vast majority of the officials are doing great--but then there is that small percentage that is failing, and failing badly...

When you have a tennis officials blog people all over everywhere call and email you with all kinds of stories about officials.  Some are hilarious, some are sad, and some make me embarrassed for our profession.  Here is one of them that I received from a coach today...


In a tournament finals match between two girls doubles teams, team A was serving in the latter stages of the third set.  When team A served a fault, then the Mother of one of the players on team B shouted out between the first and second serve.  No action was taken by the official standing by the court...

Team A then served the next serve and served a fault.  Then as she was serving her second serve, the same Mother clapped loudly during the service motion.  Again, no action by the official...

Finally, Team A was serving the third time and after serving a fault, she was serving her second serve and the same Mother shouted out for her team to "Go, go, go."  Again, no action by the official...

The coach of Team A called me and asked what recourse he had.  I said, "Basically none except that you probably shouldn't hire that official again."  My explanation didn't really satisfy the coach.

And this is one of the reasons we get a bad name--and in this case, rightfully so.

Monday, March 27, 2017

"The Gathering 2017"

Views of the Tolbert's lake house.

This year marks the 5th anniversary of "The Gathering" and its going to be bigger, better, and longer than ever!  Its a fantastic weekend designed just for ITA officials and their spouses so if you fit the bill--come and join us...

Here is what is happening...

Date:  July 21-23, 2017
Location:  Tolbert lake house on Cedar Creek Lake (about an hour east of Dallas)
Cost:  $25 per person if you come for all 3 days and $20 if you only come for two.
Meals:  Meals are covered in the fee and will feature hot dogs, hamburgers, fajitas, and Gary Tolbert's fantastic breakfast on Sunday morning!
Lodging:  Plenty of rooms at two lake houses and your lodging fee is included in the cost.

This is always a wonderful time of relaxation and fellowship for of our fellow ITA officials so we hope you will come.  If you have never been--we really want you to come this year!  It will be a weekend you won't ever forget.

We will be eating (a lot!), playing dominoes, swimming, playing pool, and riding some great jet skiis so there will be something for everyone.  If you would rather just sit around and fellowship, that's an option too!

The cost covers your lodging at the Tolbert's lake house.  If we run out of room, we have another lake house reserved right down the road so there will be a place for everyone.

RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED so if you want to come, get your reservation in today.  You can do so by contacting Randy at the following locations:

Randy McDonald
214 796 7402

How Would You Rule? Is The Racket Broken Or Isn't It?


In an ITA dual match, Player A jumped up into the air after losing a point and slammed her racket into the ground.  No code...

She then walked over and put her racket into her bag and got another.  The Chair Official then coded her for "racket abuse" because he said she had broken her racket.

Player A then loudly protested and said she had not broken her racket but was simply getting another.  The officials checked her bag and racket and found it to be "unbroken" and the code was rescinded.

Was this the correct ruling?

"Catfish" A New One Among Us

Our Newest "Family" Member

One of the joys of officiating is that we frequently get to welcome new members to our group of ITA officials.  We quickly want to make them feel like they are part of the "family" so we usually give the new ones a nickname...

We want you to meet one of our newest family member--CATFISH.  He's a 20 year old student at Oklahoma University and hails from Canyon, Texas.  He already has a ton of experience doing collegiate chairs and definitely has a bright future.  He hopes to someday become and commercial pilot and is well on his way to that goal.

Congratulation to "Catfish" for joining our family.  We look forward to welcoming you to our family...

Want to guess who he is???

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How Would You Rule? Two Issues At The Same Time!


In a women's ITA dual match, player A had a cramp and called the trainer to the court.  When the trainer arrived, he noticed that the player had also scraped her knee and was bleeding. 

Here are the questions to be answered:

1.  Do you take the medical timeout for the cramp and get 5 minutes treatment time and just ignore the bleeding.

2.  Do you take the bleeding timeout and get up to 15 minutes and just ignore the cramp and hope it goes away?

3.  Do you get 5 minutes for the cramp and then up to 15 minutes for the bleeding if it hasn't already stopped?

4.  Do you just default and run to the nearest hospital?

What would you advise or do???

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How Would You Rule? (This Is A Good One!)


In a Division I women's dual match, player A takes a bathroom break on a set break (entitling her to 5 minutes).  Player B has her trainer come to the court and begin to treat her for an ailment.  

What do you do?

A.  Tell Player B that she has 2 minutes for treatment and then must stop treatment or take a medical timeout.

B.  Let Player B receive treatment as long as Player A is gone to the restroom.

C.  Allow Player B three minutes for treatment since Player A got three minutes for the bathroom break.

D.  Do nothing and hope the ailment heals itself.

E.  Avoid the issue and hope that noone notices.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is The Show Really Worth It Coach?

As tennis officials we have all witnessed or experienced an irate coach and when all the yelling and venting is done, I sometimes want to ask the coach, "Was the show really worth it?"

In the past few days I have personally witnessed two head coaches totally lose their cool during a match and spent their time screaming at officials and/or anyone who would listen.  To say it was a disgrace would be an understatement.  I was embarrassed for their schools and players and wondered if anyone had ever actually confronted them about their behavior.

A while back I was sitting with an athletic director watching his school play a dual match.  Their coach was well known as one of the most vocal and argumentative of coaches and the AD told me at one point, "Just watch.  He fixing to throw a fit on that official to get the focus off of his player."  If that is true (and I have no reason to doubt the AD's explanation) then I'd love for that coach to tell me "if the show was worth it."

Simply put, here are some of the things that happen when a coach becomes irate and throws a fit on whomever is close by:

*  The coach looks juvenile beyond description.
*  Its not good for their health.  Extreme anger and agitation are always bad for one's health.
*  Their players know that its for show most of the time and lose respect in a hurry.
*  If their anger is real, the players, fans, parents, and officials lose all respect for the coach.
*  They totally disrespect the official and that is just simply wrong.  We are adults and deserve respect just like they do.
*  Can they honestly say that they believe that is how an adult should act?
*  Would they seriously want their children to see them acting that way?
*  Would they want their spouse to see them throwing their tantrums?
*  They need to ask themselves, "What kind of  human being would treat another human being like that?"
*  They need to remember that "that which proceeds out of the mouth shows the condition of the heart."  Enough said...

As officials we have steps we can take to curb a coach's rants and raves but they are rarely employed. One suggestion would be to immediately code a coach when he/she starts their tantrum but there would be a high cost to be paid.  It might be good too for the individual conferences to suspend offending coaches for a match or even the entire season.  The behavior would change in a hurry if there were valid penalties.

In conclusion, let me share a story with you.  A few years back I was standing around with some officials and talking to one of the most renowned "screaming coaches" in America.  We were talking about the coach's rants and raves and he laughingly looked at me and said, "Don't take it personally if I scream at you."

My reply was simply, "Don't take it personally if I code you for screaming at me.  I'm an adult and expect to be treated with the same respect that we give you."  Nothing more was said...

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Halfway Through The ITA Season and Things To Remember

Well, we are about halfway through the spring ITA season--and boy is it a good one!  Some of the greatest players and matches we have ever seen and also some of the most unique scenarios to consider.  Along with all of the excitement there are always frayed tempers and correct and incorrect rulings by officials.

Here are a few things to remember:

*  We are at the point in the season where wins and losses take on more meaning.  That means coaches and players are going to be much more uptight and irritable.  Keep it in mind!

*  When a coach loses, many of them seek a scapegoat for their loss and unfortunately, that often means an official is the recipient of their ire.  Be as patient as you can but don't let them abuse you.

*  Biblical admonition:  "A soft answer turns away wrath."  Just something to ponder...

*  Be sure you are up to date on your assignments.  Remember times, dates, and locations can change in the twinkling of an eye.

*  Constantly refresh yourself on the rules.

*  Remember the coach is basing his income and reputation on a bunch of 20 year olds.  They deserve our thoughtfulness and sensitivity.

*  Even though you may be tired and a bit road-weary, don't let them deter you from doing your job well.

*  If you get fired or banned from a school, don't hyperventilate over it.  It happens and try to learn from it.

*  Final Biblical admonition:  "Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger."

Its amazing how much God knew about tennis officiating isn't it?

Sunday, March 05, 2017

"Use It!" What Do We Do With The New Term

Now that  there is a brief break (from midnight until 2 a.m.) in collegiate officiating, I thought it was time to return to blogging...


We all know that the use of "On It!" was prohibited at numerous collegiate tournaments, including the NCAA tournament, and that all well and good and a welcome prohibition.  However, we can count on our younger generation to come up with a variation to immediately test the prohibition...

Seems that the collegiate set is now using the term "Use It!" in the same manner as "On It!"

Should the new term be prohibited too?  Just thought I would ask the question before I start making it illegal.  What do you think?

Thursday, December 08, 2016

ITA Chair Training Begins in January

If you are interested in becoming a collegiate chair official--now is the time to sign up and get your feet wet!

Beginning in January we will be offering intensive on-court chair training for any officials who are interested.  Its a great opportunity to get started so contact Randy McDonald (214 796 7402) at as soon as possible and let's get going!

Here are the requirements and pertinent information:

*  Beginning the first week of January, there are over 50 real match chair training opportunities available.
*  You will be chairing matches at SMU, UNT, and UTA and all matches are dual matches.
*  Must a certified USTA official.
*  Should be an ITA certified official but allowances can be made if you haven't been certified yet.
*  You will need to purchase an ITA shirt for all matches.
*  There is no pay for the first few training matches that you do.  If you do well, then there will be paid opportunities offered to you.
*  No experience in ITA officiating is required but it is helpful to have some USTA experience.
*  You will be under the supervision of an experienced referee in all matches as well as working with from 2 to 6 other ITA certified officials.
*  This training opens the door for you to attend the ITA Chair Academy in May.

We are always looking for new collegiate officials so if you are interested--give us a shout as soon as possible!

Randy McDonald
214 796 7402

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Hiring Process For Officials--How It Works & How To Succeed

This is the time of year for finalizing assignments for collegiate officials to begin their work in January--but its also a time when many people are choosing officiating as a field they want to explore.  The hiring of new (and experienced) officials is a difficult process that has many aspects to consider.

Here are some things to remember when you are asking to be hired:

*  Have you completed all the USTA and ITA requirements before requesting consideration?
*  How are your personal skills such as friendliness and ability to get along with others?
*  How committed are you to the task?  Noone wants to hire a new official who backs out of half of their assignments.
*  How much actual experience do you have?  Be up front and honest with your employer about what you have done--and haven't done.  It makes a difference.
*  Don't let your first question be to ask how much you are going to get paid.  That's the quickest way to take your name out of consideration.
*  Please don't say, "I'm a tennis player and already know all the rules."  You won't get hired by a reputable referee if you do this.
*  Don't say that you don't need training because you already know how to do it.
*  Don't laugh when the referee talks about requirements and say, "It doesn't sound that hard."  If by chance you do get hired, they will give you the most difficult match to show you how it works.
*  Don't show up for your interview dressed like a slouch.
*  Don't show up at your first match with something other than required attire.  It happens more than you can imagine...
*  Don't say, "I need money and this is an easy way to get some cash."
*  Don't show up with an arrogant attitude that you know it all and we should be glad to have you because we won't be and you won't get hired.
*  Don't show up late.
*  Listen more than you talk.
*  Don't drop the names of everyone you know and every tennis player that you have opened balls for.

The hiring process always includes the one doing the hiring.  If you are wanting to get hired, here are some things we integrate into our hiring process and here are some things to remember when you are doing the hiring:

*  Hire people who are energetic and pleasing to be around.  If they aren't, they will drive you crazy.
*  Check their previous work history and even talk to their previous employers.  It will pay off.
*  Avoid people who tell you how privileged you are to have them.
*  Run from people who continually say, "I know that."  They usually don't.
*  Don't hire people based on their skin color or sexual orientation.  It doesn't matter...
*  If you get chance, walk them to their car and see if its neat and clean.  That's a good indicator of what kind of official they are going to be.
*  Check out their personal appearance and hygiene.
*  Ask them generic questions about things other than tennis to discover their personal values and work ethic.  It can be done and you need to do it...
*  Listen to them talk.  They will usually tell you all you need to know.
*  If they shake hands, check out the quality of their handshake.  It tells you a lot.
*  If you reach out to shake hands and they want to do a fist bump--run.
*  Ask them what they believe about having authority--and then listen to their answer.
*  Take them out to eat and observe.  You can learn more here than in an audition.
*  Talk to other referees who know them.  This is a great source of information--both pro and con.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas Wish List A Little Early This Year

Since we have now finished off all the turkey and dressing, it is now time to turn our thoughts toward Santa Claus and all of our Christmas wishes...  Here are mine for this year:

*  That a Big 12 team would win the NCAA team title in either the men's or women's division.  While we totally respect the other teams, it would just be nice to have the title in the Big 12 for a change.

*  That the USTA would come up with requirements for officials with over 5 years experience that are different than those for a beginner.

*  That Nucula would be a thing of the past and never to be mentioned again.

*  That the ITA would not raise our dues for at least one more year.

*  That Tom Herman would not go to LSU.  Makes you wonder what we think about another situation doesn't it?

*  That Trump would announce the formation of a Tennis Ambassador and put their headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

*  That Oklahoma would finally finish the road work between Denton and Norman.

*  That the state of Oklahoma would give $100 in casino credits for all Texas officials who work a match in Oklahoma.  Just a thought...

*  That the USTA would pay for eye exams since they require them of all officials.

*  That the USTA would put some teeth into their penalties for misbehaving parents and players.

*  That the USTA would forget the words "diversity" and "politically correct" and get back to basics again
*  That some of our officials would quit calling three days after an event wanting to know when they are going to get paid.  In Heaven, it takes at least a week so get over it.

*  That new officials in training would never again say, "I know that."  If they knew that, then why aren't they doing it?

*  That new officials wouldn't think they "have arrived" after shadowing one dual match.  Perfection takes time to achieve.

*  That pro officials would be required to take a course called "How To Keep Your Self-Inflated Ego Under Control."

*  That some of our officials would quit demanding their "ten minute rest break" every hour.

*  Teach some of our officials that their hero should be Jesus and not Attila the Hun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving--And Its Meaning To Us All

Our wish for you all is that you have a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday season filled with lots of food, family, and fellowship.  Here are some different thoughts on Thanksgiving and its meaning to all of us...

*  Thankful that I've finished all my certification requirements and don't have to do any more until next year.
*  Thankful that I don't have to do any junior tournaments until next year.
*  Thankful that we lived through all the UIL dual matches this year.  There were 65 of them in October alone!

 Some will take this holiday season to practice their line calling techniques.  This is probably a good thing for some of the turkeys among us...

 Most of us guys will take the holiday as a time to run to the football games.  This weekend holds special significance for Rick Gabel and his Ohio State Buckeyes--and a little glimmer of hope for Brighton McMinn and Jim Lawson and their Oklahoma Sooners.  Probably won't be a good holiday weekend for Charlie Strong down in Austin...

Many officials will be rejoicing this holiday season over the fact they have finally finished all their background checks, videos, exams, and everything else that has happened to us this year.  If you are lucky enough to have a Nucula account, then there is much cause for happiness.

Some will be worrying throughout the holidays that they may have forgotten something in the certification process and won't be certified in 2017.  Remember--worrying will accomplish nothing.

Not everyone faces the holidays with grace--some rise up in arms to defend themselves and go after those who would harm them.  More power to them!

Looks like a bunch of new officials getting ready to chair their first match wondering which one will be chosen to go first.

Through it all--we hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

COACHES: How They Enrich And Strengthen Our Lives

There is nothing more exiting or rewarding than collegiate tennis officiating--and dealing with coaches is one of the main reasons that its so fun (tongue in cheek).  They offer us insight into our birthright, very existence on earth, our weaknesses, our Mother's bias, and a multitude of other things--but its still a great life and they actually serve to make it richer and fuller.  If we took all of their antics seriously we would never stay in the game.  Just watch, learn, cope and enjoy the life!

Here are a few of our types of coaches that we encounter on a regular basis:

The one who is absolutely amazed that you overruled that far sideline call.

The one who wants to hit something but remembers that his wife and kids are watching.

The "howler."  Enough said...  All you have to do it work with one and you will know what we mean.

The "lip licker".  Doesn't show much emotion but uses a lot of chap stick.

The "contemplator."  Just sits and wonders why we as officials even exist on earth.

The "screamer."  We all know who they are...  (and so do their fans, wives, athletic directors, and players)

The one who your son wouldn't want to play for.

The one whose Mother is ashamed of him and is in need of counseling.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Get Ready For The Children Of Millennials!

As our society struggles to cope with the advent of millennials and their impact on everything we do, we discover quickly that they are a gifted generation but one that comes with many weaknesses and pitfalls.  Someone has well said that you discover the most about a person's character when they are under stress--and if that is the case, then a whole bunch of them got failing grades this past week...

After losing the Presidential election, the young democrat millennials were quick to shed tears in their moment of disbelief.  I had the privilege this past week of standing beside four millennials who were on the street hugging and crying and saying, "I can't believe she lost..."  Of course I was quick to rush over to console them and promise that "Jesus still loves you."

Even the men weren't exempt from the "pain and suffering" that they were forced to endure.  Its not very comforting to have a man say that we "weren't sensitive to his needs during his time of loss" when he's whining about losing an election.

And then there were those who were totally out of control...  They haven't quite mastered the understanding that in an election someone always wins and someone always loses.  That's how democracy works...

Suffice it to say that the vast majority of millennials are fine young people and personally I feel that our future is fairly secure in their hands--but then there is that small percentage that ruins everything for everyone.  Their seeming inability to deal with defeat or situations in which they don't "win" or get their way is a cause for much concern--and not so much for the present, but JUST IMAGINE what kind of kids they are going to raise!

And we as officials will have to deal with their children when they start playing tennis...  Here are some thoughts about the future of junior tennis and what the future holds for all of us...

You'd better get ready for lots of temper tantrums and parents who don't know what to do about it.  There won't be enough room at the tennis centers for "time out areas" for the little darlings...

And if tantrums don't work, they can always resort to tears.  It works on their parents every time.

What should we as officials do in preparation for the coming onslaught?

*  Study the personality traits of millennials and their children and know them well.
*  Study the rules of tennis and know them well because the parents will have their phones nearby to show the rule about everything.
*  Be prepared to be a star because they will all have their phones and will be videoing everything you say and do.
*  Carry a spare puppy or kitten along with you so you can assign them to an unhappy child of a millennial and it will help them through their stressful time of playing tennis.
*  Keep a good supply of coloring books so they can express their emotions in a tangible manner.
*  Be sure we change the rules of tennis to allow them to communicate between every point with their parents and coaches on their cell phones.
*  Allow for at least 4 minutes on changeovers so they don't get overheated or stressed during a match.
*  Above all else, don't let someone be declared "winner" and someone declared "loser" because that would upset both their sensitive psyches.

Someone once made this wise statement:  The way that a child responds to his parents' authority will soon become the way that he responds to God's authority."

Since that is true, you'd better hang on because I don't know exactly where we as officials fit into the grand scheme of things but I can see many storm clouds on the tennis horizon...

Saturday, November 05, 2016

2016 UIL State Team Tennis Champions

Special congratulations to the these two fine state UIL champions!  I have had the privilege of officiating numerous matches for both teams and they are more than deserving of their honors!

6A State Champions
Coach:  Morgen Walker

5A State Champions
Coach:  Dan Holden

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

USTA Exams--Ever Feel Like You Are Drowning And Need Help?

Seems like nary a day passes that we don't hear from a frustrated official who can't figure out the tests, how to take them, or how to navigate through the online programs--and then they don't know where to find help...

Its even more frustrating with someone wants to become a new official but here is about all we can offer in the way of advice and help.

*  Be sure to read and re-read all of the requirements to become an official.  You can access these by clicking on "Becoming A USTA Official" on the right hand side of this page.  Also, click on "Becoming An ITA Official" if you are interested in that area.

*  Remember that the tests are going to take over 7 hours even if you encounter no problems so allot plenty of time for the experience.

*  Email the USTA at if you get stuck.

*  Call Julio Echavarria is all else fails.  Maybe he can fix it for you or tell you where to turn.  His number is 915 696 7280.

*  Be sure that you have or get a Nucula account so you can proceed on with the rest of your life!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Welcome To Our World--Working With The New "Millennials"

Since we live in an ever-changing world, we are now confronted with a whole new generation called "millennials."  It is difficult to explain what it is like enlisting them and then working with them because there are so many valleys and mountaintops.  Suffice it to say, we are all still learning how to adjust to our newcomers.  Here are some of their traits:

*  Have no problems with self-confidence and self-image.
*  Not adept at arriving on time.
*  Pays little attention to detail.
*  Impossible to view them apart from their cell phones and I pads.
*  Usually very astute in their personal appearance and grooming.
*  Need to work frequently to help pay for their clothes and hair styles.
*  Usually a lot of fun but have a very short attention span.
*  Loves to be in the chair for the #1 match but frequently get into trouble.
*  Nearly always above average in intelligence.
*  Great at fixing the malfunctioning scorekeeper.
*  Can find almost any app for you in a matter of minutes.
*  Great attribute to the team if you can keep them focused and faithful.
*  Not given to a strong work ethic and tend to float in their allegiances.
*  Love to give a fist bump when you do most anything.
*  Fairly gullible when it comes to things in everyday life.
*  Like to have a mentor but only for about 10 minutes and then they think they know it all.
*  Don't do well with an overbearing and irate coach.  They don't handle conflict well at all.

In my exuberance to properly define our millennial friends, I found this definition in a contemporary dictionary.  It fits well...

"A special little snowflake.  Born between 1982 and 1994, this generation is something special, cause Mom and Dad and their 5th grade teacher Mrs. Winotsky told them so.  Plus, they have a whole shelf of participation trophies sitting at home so it has to be true.

They believe themselves to be highly intelligent, the teachers and lecturers constantly gave them "A"s in order to keep Mom and Dad from complaining to the Dean.  Unfortunately, nobody explained to them the difference between an education and grade inflation so they tend to demonstrate poor spelling and even poorer grammar.

At work, millennials believe themselves to be overachievers who just aren't understood by their loser bosses.  Even Mom said so when she showed up for the interview.  They are the only generation in the universe to understand the concept of work - life balance and to actually want to find a fulfilling career.  All those Gen X losers just don't get it what with their hoping to keep their jobs and pay the
bills but they are just corporate drones so who cares what they think?  They should be smart like Millennials and get Mom and Dad to pay for that stuff until they can work out what they want to do with their lives and then get rich doing it."

We will have to adjust to having them on the scene and applying for officiating opportunities--now we just have to figure out what to do with them...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Footfault! To Code Or Not To Code... And All Kinds of Other Fun Things!

We are the midst of the UIL playoff season and boy is it fun!  We thought we would share some of the events and comments from the past few days...

Seems that an official called a footfault on a player (which is the right thing to do) but when the player did it the next time he issued a code violation...  Seems that the official's explanation was that "I told him not to do it and he did it again so I gave him a code for not following the official's instructions."

Unique to say the least--and not something I would ever do...  (Nor would I even consider hiring an official who did this.)


The "Queen of Arrogance"

I was walking by a group of women at the tournament and heard this quote, "Entitlement isn't visible when you know you have it."

So much for humility at that house...


As the official was walking around the tournament grounds a Mother kept glaring at her.  Finally, she went up and confronted the official and said, "What are you even doing here?  You are useless!  My daughter is over there playing a match and continually playing out balls.  You need to get your butt over there and start calling the balls out for her!"

Welcome to the UIL...


In UIL regional tournaments the coaches of the teams involved have quite a bit of leeway in how their specific tournament is run in regard to bathroom breaks, collegiate coaching, and other things like that.

One regional voted for something I have never heard of...  They voted to give the players a TEN MINUTE REST PERIOD between the second set and the match tiebreak!  They are already playing no-ad so this is quite interesting to say the least...  I'd have to be there to see it before I would believe it happened.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Its Time To Light The Fires of Change!

Now that the USTA deadlines for officials have come and gone--and we have people everywhere wondering what just happened to them--perhaps its time to tweak the system and make some "user friendly" changes...

A wasp's nest of problems were stirred up when the deadlines basically produced mass confusion and a rush to complete tests, watch videos, and pray that God would grant them membership in Nucula.

Lest we be accused of complaining and not offering concrete solutions, here are our suggestions for improvement...

*  First and foremost:  Design a set of exams for officials that have been officiating for over 5 years so that they don't have to spend 7-8 hours taking exams in front of a computer.  A "refresher video" with the new rules would be a good start.  You might even call it "Exams For Old People."

*  Put some teeth into discipline for inept officials who flaunt the rules, make bad decisions, and create havoc in tournaments.  In grassroots tennis, we know who they are so you should learn the same and then do something credible about it.  Additional training and/or suspension might work.

*  Find some way to make Nucula work or dump it and hire someone who can design a program that works.  Might actually look at ZebraWeb because it works well!  As it is, we have to take exams, pass a background check, watch videos, and get an eye exam before we are considered--and then we find that we have to Nucula account before we can even proceed into ITA officiating.

*  Design a set of exams just for new officials.  Asking a new official to buy clothing and take 7 hours of tests is going to discourage more than we enlist.  Its already happening and the results are going to be devastating.

*  Offer some concrete solutions to our declining membership.  You are our leaders and we expect more out of you.

*  Move the deadline for certification at least to November 1st each year.  In our modern computer age, surely you can get it done.

*  Be sure to communicate clearly with your membership about all that is required each year.  Now that we have exams, videos, eye exams, and background checks we need to know what we are doing and when we have to do it.

Don't want to overwhelm you with suggestions and hopefully these will help...

*  Keep up the good work!  The exams are easy to access and aren't overly burdensome.  Requiring exams is a necessity but you've kept the requirement to a minimum.  Don't jump on the bandwagon of the USTA and start lengthening everything you do.

*  Move completely away from the USTA so we can get officials certified and functioning as soon as possible.

*  Make certification possible year round.  We have new officials join our ranks all the time and we need to get them certified and working as soon as possible.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not have an overabundance of collegiate officials.

*  Tweak the webinars a bit to make them more professional.  The ability of officials to ask questions in the webinars seem to bog it down and make it cumbersome.  Needless questions frustrate everyone.

*  You do a great job of keeping officials informed.  Stay with the practice!