When you’re on a competitive adult recreational tennis team, there are ways to be a good teammate and a not-so-good-teammate. A captain’s job is never easy. They must make decisions for a group of competitive adults.

55+ State Champions

Tara joins us to discuss her 2021 experience as the winning captain of the 55+ 6.5 North Carolina State Championship team. Since winning the State tournament, she also took her team to the USTA Sectional Tournament in 2021 and finished in second place.

Tara has been a tennis captain for many years. She knows what it takes to do the job and it’s not an easy one. Players sign up to play for teams and, unless they are willing to be the captain, they will be led by someone who they may not always agree with on decisions.

How To Be a Good Teammate

Tara gave us some great advice about how to be a good teammate on a competitive team. Those include:

  • Being on time (30 minutes prior is a good rule of thumb)
  • Be willing to help clear courts of debris or water, if needed
  • Have a “we” vs. “me” attitude
  • Play where you are assigned and with who you are assigned to as a partner

Teams Don’t Play “Straight Up”

Tara reminded us that when most teams are competing at a State or Sectional Tournament, many times they don’t play “straight up”. This is referring to playing your strongest team on court one and teams that aren’t as strong on lower courts. In fact, she found at both tournaments her team attended, the percentage was very low that an opposing captain played their courts in the order of strength. Because of this, Tara had to surround herself with teammates who didn’t worry about where she played them. Court assignments on Tara’s team was strategy and trying to guess where their opponents would be playing.

Hurt Feelings

The hardest of all tasks as a captain is to not hurt your players feelings. That’s hard to do on a competitive team when you are trying to win rather than just playing to play. It’s helpful if a team understands the goals and gets on board with their captain’s decisions.

Captaining is a constant struggle between making your players happy and doing what’s best for the whole team. That’s why it’s important to understand how to be a good teammate (especially on a competitive team).

To hear more about how it can be difficult to be a captain listen to these past episodes we recorded:

We can tell you after interviewing so many captains that it’s not an easy job. If a player understands ways they can be a good teammate on a competitive team, it makes the season or tournament a lot easier and more fun.