Have you ever had issues when exchanging lineups? Do you make your opponent write down the lineup? Has anyone ever switched players on you after you showed them your lineup? What happens when there are makeup matches? Have you ever met at Starbucks to exchange lineups?

A majority of the time there are no issues but sometimes when it comes to competitive USTA matches, there are problems. USTA claims there are 60,000+ League Captains so there are bound to be some drama exchanging lineups. It makes you really appreciate the works that captains do!

Let us know if anything weird happened to you when exchanging lineups by emailing us at info@secondservepodcast.com.

Other episodes about captaining a tennis team that might interest you:

Below is a recap of our conversation:

Our Recap

Carolyn: Hi, this is Carolyn, and I’m here with Erin and Rachel, and tonight we’re going to discuss exchanging line ups. Both Rachel and Erin have captained numerous teams for several years, and you would think that exchanging line-ups wouldn’t be that big of deal, or that you may not need advice on it, but we think people do. Rachel, could you give some advice to people just beginning to captain about exchanging line-ups?

Always Have your Line-ups Written Down

Rachel: Yeah, so I have Captain teams for a long time, and my biggest piece of advice to anyone who’s captaining or beginning to captain is to always have your line-ups written down or put in your phone. I type the line up in the note section of my phone, and then when you walk up to exchange with the other captain and make sure their line-up is written out—don’t just hand over your line-up. Some captains, if they’re super competitive or if it’s a tight season and one court makes a difference, they’re going to look at your line-up, and possibly switched theirs based on who you have playing.

I typically will just keep my line-up to myself until I see that the opposing captain has written out on their line-up on piece of paper or into their phone. Then I make sure that we show our line-ups at the same time If an opposing captain has written theirs on a piece of paper, I just take a photo of it, so I have record.

Awkward Exchanges

Erin: Yes, I agree that’s a great way to exchange line-ups. I have had captain’s switch their line-up on me after they say mine and it’s awkward.

I was captaining a spring team. This was a team that was strong enough to make it to the State tournament and during playoffs, we faced a captain that didn’t have her line-up ready to go when we approached each other. We were making small talk and she was being sweet to me, so I thought we had established a trusting relationship. Once I was ready to exchange, she started playing tricks with me and asking who I had on each court. She was just picking people on the fly based on who I had playing! I felt like I had been duped. I will never let that happen again and will make another captain show me her written out line-up.

Rachel: You were duped for sure…

Erin: I was, I walked into it, and I was kind of shocked. I have another story when the same thing happened. Several years ago, we were playing summer singles and playing against a team of women we knew well. One of my teammates was in charge of exchanging the lineup because our captain wasn’t at the match. She sat down on a bench next to the opposing captain and our friend had our line-up written out. The other team did as well but they saw our piece of paper and then acted like they made a mistake and, based on our players, changed their line-up! The opposing captain claimed that she had made mistake, so she scratched out her players names and switched people around.

I’m sure is it a rule somewhere that says you are not allowed to do that. You need to come to the tennis court with with a written down line-up and exchanges those line-ups at the same time.

USTA has a Lineup Sheet You Can Use

Rachel: I’m sure there’s a rule against that! USTA has a lineup sheet you can print directly from Tennislink.com. It has the team members listed, what their ranking is, etc. You are supposed to use that to exchange line-ups and use it to write the scores down after the match has concluded and confirm the scores with the opposing team. Then scores can be entered into the system after that has all happened.

Carolyn: Has anything like that ever happened to you, Rachel?

Rachel:  Yes, and we had captains accuse us of playing players that weren’t on our roster. They printed all their match sheets out at the beginning of the season, but I had some people register for my team late, so they weren’t listed. A captain thought I was cheating, and she thought she caught me in a lie and that she would get a win based on that lie, but it was just because she didn’t have the most current sheet printed out from USTA’s website.

Erin: Yeah, you have several weeks after a season starts to add players to your roster.

The Dreaded Make-Up Match

Rachel: We often must make up matches due to rain, and I’ve noticed a trend happening with many teams that I don’t captain. I have found that, if a match is rained out, the captain will just give the other captain a list of the players that we’re supposed to play and say, work it out amongst yourselves. I am not in that school thought—I think doing that can cause all kinds of problems and it could take a month to make up the match.

It also discloses who you’re going to play, and other teams can take advantage of it. And they often will if it’s a competitive team or season where you’re trying to get the states.

I try to tell other captains that we need to find a day where we can play all the courts on the same day. I prefer not to give out any line-ups ahead of time. A few years ago, during combo season, we had a rain out and the opposing captain wanted to get the names of my players. She didn’t intend on having the players to make up the match amongst themselves—she just wanted to know who my players were so she could make the best line-up against us!

A Screaming Match

Rachel: That situation ended up becoming a screaming match through email. I ended up having to block her because she was so combative and angry. We had to get league coordinator involved. Don’t let other captains bully you into giving up your line-up.

Carolyn: This is just another reason why I don’t captain tennis teams.

Erin: I’m sure all areas of the county are different, but we schedule our own make-up matches on our own. There’s another area that I play out of locally and, if a match must be rescheduled, captains submit their line-ups to the league coordinator though jotform and they handle talking to the captains. So, there are no sketchy and strategic games being played between captains.

Rachel: Can you still substitute a player if needed?

Erin:  Yes. And substitutions happen a lot in makeup matches. I think the reason we don’t see it happen as much on the fly in a match played on the day it’s scheduled is because, to substitute a player, you would need extra people at a match ready to jump in at a moments notice. The chance of having extra players out watching a match who are not scheduled to be in that match is slim. But when it comes to makeup matches, people’s schedules change all the time. Remember, this is adult recreational tennis—most people have other responsibilities in their lives, and they are probably more important than a tennis match.

Simultaneous Exchange

Erin: Rachel, have you ever been asked to do a simultaneous exchange where you agree to send a text or email at the same time as another captain?

Rachel: I’m not a fan of doing a simultaneous exchange at all. I would prefer to just schedule all the courts with another captain than exchange the line-up that way and have players work it out on their own.

Carolyn, hearing all this behavior… let us know when you are willing to captain!

Thank You

Carolyn: Thank you very much to Rachel and are for discussing this. I know most of the time there are no issues when exchanging line-ups. My husband captain teams, and he said, sometimes men don’t write down the line-ups. What he does is that he’s got his line-up written down and tells the opposing captain that, when they are ready with their, they will show it at the same time. Hearing all these stories makes me really appreciate all the work that captains do!

Thanks so much for listening and hope to see you on the court soon.