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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Etiquette, prejudice and line calling

From: Bob Cole <>
Date: Thu 1 May 2003 16:15:54 EDT

In a message dated 5/1/03 3:16:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time,

> The etiquette of our sport, has remained unchanged, but it could
> change depending on our juniors. This is why, as a high school
> tennis coach I teach and expect proper etiquette from my players.
> No player is more important than the integrity and dignity of the game.

Hurrah. I think this is brilliant, especially the way you point out the
difference, as exemplified by Courier, between etiquette and an aggressive
playing style.

I think the nature of the game is why etiquette is so important, esp. at the
level where players make their own calls. But it's the DEFINITION of
etiquette which is so difficult. It doesn't mean "being nice and wimpy,"
but some people think it does.

Example: Years ago a sad incident happened, which has bothered me ever
since. A good friend, in our very exclusive high school, went out for the
tennis team as a freshman. Making the team depended on winning games. It
all boiled down to one final match. My friend's opponent was a "blue
blood," who made numerous questionable calls in his own favor. When my
friend, who happened to be one of the few Jewish boys in this "waspy"
school, objected to some calls, the coach was incensed at my FRIEND'S lack
of sportsmanship. He did not make the team -- and he never bothered trying
out again. btw, he was one of the best players in the school.

This thread raised an old problem on which I'd like your guidance. I know
I've asked this before, but I still don't know how to teach line calling.
My standard answer is "call it the way you see it, but in case of doubt,
you have to call your opponent's shot 'in'."

But I wonder whether you can really give every player the same guidance,
because people are different, both in their skills and in their degree of
self-centeredness. There are people who can see the line better than
others. For them, I'd say, "Call it exactly the way you see it, even if
it's extremely close and you have some doubt." And there are also people
who just plain BELIEVE that their own close shot is always in, and their
opponent's close shot is always out. They sincerely believe it. So... how
do you give one piece of advice when it clearly will be inappropriate for
some people?

Sorry for the long post; this one went to a fifth set and 20-18.

-- Bob Cole

Received on Fri May 02 2003 - 08:51:03 CDT

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