Friday, November 9, 2007

Discretionary No Ad Scoring in HTA League Play?

Having played league for a while now both in HTA and other organizations I am fascinated by nearly 100% of people's feelings towards no-ad scoring....the consensus is that it is universally hated regardless of age, gender or level of play.

The version of full tennis is what is used in every aspect of HTA league, doubles and even Mixed have this reader's digest version of tennis as the de-facto standard format.

Some of the pros and cons from my perspective are:

+ Matches are set to an approximate fixed time interval (targeted 90 minutes) and by doing this 2 cycles of matches can be played during the work week with the first match starting at 7p. I think everyone has been subjected to playing the last match at MP when the dude sounds the horn.

- No-ad scoring favors the weaker team...sometimes 3-3 is a coin toss.

Several other organizations allow the matches to be full sets of tennis with either a 3rd set 10-point tiebreak or a full 3rd set as the match decider.

My question is:

Why can HTA not institute a discretionary no-ad scoring policy based on agreements between the captains at the beginning of the match based on the in-situ capability of the facility on a given evening?

I fully understand the situation at some places around town where court time is at a premium during the work week (MP, HF, CuField), however at a lot of clubs all matches start at 7p and then are done promptly at ~815p, with 5 courts empty or people playing an additional set for fun since the courts are available and they want to play some more.

I think this is something that can be accommodated easily in league play by a little bit of coordination between the two captains and the host facility. As stated before, there are instances where this just won't work due to facility/scheduling constraints, but a large portion of the time this is something that would benefit the league and people's level of satisfaction with their league experience.

There have been many instances where I have tested people's tolerance of playing no-ad is very easy to convince people to go ahead and play ad-scoring, just ask them prior to the match. There are some lemmings out there that do say "the rules say that it is no-ad scoring...", yes I know but if you know there will be no one playing behind you, isn't it more fun to play a real match?

Part of my reason for this rant is the way I look at it my "total cost of ownership" to play tennis is continually rising: increased league costs, that bullsh*t USTA processing fee, gas costs are up, membership dues are up, babysitters are now part of the mix for me, and even ball costs seem to be rising.

The summary is: when I get a chance to play, I would like to maximize my ROI. I would like to play as much tennis as possible for a given opportunity to play.

In the end, HTA is a customer service organization that needs to be customer focused and respond to their customer base. The only way to let them know you want something to change is to let them know.


  1. Many people already do this. Teague and Deluca always ask their opponents to play regular scoring before their matches, for instance.

  2. We as players don't have to play by the rules. I'll always ask my opponents if they want to play with traditional scoring or league scoring. So it's up to the players agreeing on how they want to score the match before it starts. USTA and HTA can't stop that. Just remember, we are tennis members who pays to play. Without us, there will be no USTA or HTA.

  3. Totally agree with both of the comments, but some people are simply rule followers and say "the rules are no-ad..."

    I have had more success than failure with asking, but it HTA came out and condoned this behavior then I think more people would be willing.

    IMHO I seem to have more success with Men's league versus mixed league....

  4. This issue has been put before the HTA board and shot down because of time limitations and costs. When playing at HFRC/MPTC/LLTC your courts fees only cover 1 1/2 hrs and if all 4 lines are 1 1/2 long, they give you a little extra time because of the excessive warups that nobody enforces.If you playt regular scoring you will go over your time. Some clubs you can do that when you can play all 4 lines @7pm, but do you have 2 sets of rules depending on where you play? That probably wont fly and is inconsistent. No add scoring favores the weaker/less fit team, but unless you started your matches earlier, it is not feasible, and people always run late/take long warmups so it would not work.I would rather play a REAL match, but it is unrealistic when playing league matches at night here, especially if you play the late match and would not end until 10:30PM. You should email your original post to the HTA and see what your feedback is.

  5. No-ad does not "favor" weaker players - the stronger player will always be favored on any given point - but it certainly increases the weaker players odds of winning a game once 3 all is reached as the odds of them winning a single point is greater than the odds of them winning 2 points in succession.

    I personally am of two minds on this subject. I dislike no-ad scoring AND third set tie-breakers (even though I am often a weaker player on the court and hardly consider myself to be fit enough to play a third set), however, I also believe that rules are established for a reason. Once we start ignoring one rule, what other rules do start ignoring? Where do we draw the line? If the rules stated that the competitors could decide at the beginning of the match whether to play regular or no-ad, with clear rules on what to do in the event of a disagreement, I would be inclined to play regular scoring. With the rules as they currently are, if offered the opportunity I would choose to play no-ad.

    Earlier this year I was playing doubles in a tournament that was interrupted by rain such that matches were forced to start at 2-2 and no-ad scoring. In a late round match that was one of the last matches of the day (i.e., our court would not be needed after we were finished) the site official informed us that we still had to start at 2-2 but that we could switch to regular scoring. The other team quickly agreed as did my partner but I refused to change the scoring in the middle of the match. First and foremost I don't think that the rules should change in the middle of the match - it changes the whole complexion of the match. And honestly, in the back of my mind, I knew that no-ad favored us because our opponents were serving huge and the odds that we would make 2 good turns in a row were not high. I'd like to say that it was a brilliant strategy, even though I would have made the same decision even if we were the ones with the huge serves, but not a single game went to 3-3 in the final set so the type of scoring was irrelevant.

  6. The good ole' "slippery slope argument".....

    I guess I should have clarified about weaker/stronger but you have clarified about single point versus two successive points required when playing normal ad scoring.

    To engage in the slippery slope discussion --- What other rules could we start ignoring that could harm the game?

    I am of the opinion that if the facility can accommodate and 4 adults can agree on a scoring format, that this format be followed for the match.

    If 4 adults cannot agree, then the default can be established as no-ad.

    I am taking liberty in the use of the term "adult" here as some of the "I know you are, but what am I?" tactics used on this forum are quite childish IMHO.

  7. Other rules that might be broken that could harm the game: how about the rule that lineups need to be exchanged at the beginning of the match? I certainly think this blog has shown how ignoring/interpreting that rule can harm the game. Also, I think there is a rule about how matches need to be defaulted (i.e., from the bottom up) which is rarely enforced but if my team lost a team match (during the summer USTA league; I could care less about spring/fall HTA) because the other team manipulated playing times to default a higher line later, I would be pretty upset. So again, where do we draw the line?

    I would be all for a rule that allows the players to decide what scoring format to use, but until HTA/USTA makes that a rule I will continue to play no-ad.