Ask The Experts
Roundtable: Choosing the Lineup
by James Hill, 8 March 2017
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Lineup selection - who plays which line - is an important part of college tennis. When there are strong players with different skill sets, college tennis coaches need to make difficult choices.
So ... how do coaches approach this problem? We put the following questions to a panel of college tennis coaches:
Q) When you have two strong players at the top of your lineup, how do you decide who plays No. 1 and No. 2? How much change occurs in the lineup week-to-week based on player performance? Do you hold challenge matches among the players for lineup positions?
Hendrik Bode, head coach, Hawaii Pacific Men
Usually, we base the decision of No. 1 vs. No. 2 on leadership and experience. Both of these positions will always be facing tough competition, and more often than not, the more experienced player will have the ability to handle the situation a little better. I also believe that the top of the lineup is a position a lot of the younger players look up to - and therefore you need to have someone that consistently leads by example on and off the court.
We will make small adjustments in the lineup here and there, but we want our players to believe in the process, and and we want to give them time to grow. As long as they give their absolute best effort and do the things right that are in their control, they should feel like they have earned their spot.
We do not have challenge matches. I understand the value of them, and it's certainly a great way to simulate pressure situations, but we want our players to give it all they have on an everyday basis. I think that challenge matches allow players to only show up when they have to. I would like to believe we make our lineup decisions based on what we see from our players - day in and day out - and not one particular event.
Tony Bresky, head coach, Wake Forest Men
We generally rotate our players throughout the lineup. I always feel like it's a great idea to move things around and give different players opportunities to play higher in the lineup.
Lineups can change from match to match depending on various factors such as health, playing conditions, level of opponent, performance, etc. We don't do challenge matches, although we do quite a bit of set and match play. Our lineup is generally determined over a long period of time.