The USTA Adult League 18+ season has just opened for registration!
Captains and players are abuzz with excitement and anticipation. Finding the right fit for both the team captain and the players is paramount to team success. The right fit does not happen by accident.
Creating the right recruiting fit is a two-way street. Whether the recruiting road ends in a dream or a nightmare is the responsibility of the recruiter and the recruitee!
Preparation and planning is key to a happy team.
Playing ability is a given in the recruiting equation. It’s the easiest factor to assess. For players seeking a team, look at the captain and her team’s past success on the USTA website. Often, captains will have little award ribbons by their name on the team page. This signifies that they’ve captained a team (or several) that went to districts or further. This may or may not be important to you as you may be looking for a fun, developmental team. But if you want post-season play, this is a good barometer.
If you are a captain, check out a player’s NTRP ratings and past results, paying attention not only to wins, but with whom they played (if doubles). A player may have only a mid-range winning percentage, but that may be for various reasons. For example, look for a partner playing with newer players to that level or moving from singles to doubles (or vice versa). You can also check TLS ratings, though these are just a best guess of a person’s dynamic rating. TLS is not affiliated with USTA ratings — it is it's own separate universe. UTR is a newer rating system and ranks a player against all other players and does factor age or gender. This is a great tool to see which players are at the upper or lower end of the ratings spectrum. Many 3.0 and 3.5 players are grouped together in the 3 and 4 range in the UTR system. Finally, you should also check with your teammates to see if they know the player and can recommend her. Do your best to get a complete picture of the recruit’s ability. Recommendations are as important as the numbers.
But don’t stop there! Any good recruiting plan needs to go beyond talent assessment. I’d suggest both team captains and players “interview” each other and play together to check the fit before committing.
Players Recruiting Teams
Here are a few starter questions to ask the team captain:
Here are a few questions to ask potential teammates:
For Captains Recruiting Players
If you are a team captain, thank you for your service! Here are a few suggestions:
Spend some time creating your interview questions - as Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz said, “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Plan accordingly, and you will be more likely to find or fill the perfect team.