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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rules Clarification - Player Positioning and Serve: Player's Perspective

If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius...

The last 2 days have all been about determining the proper position of players and which is the proper server. Those articles were all background to a scenario that occurred in a game I refereed at the USAPA Southeast Regional Tournament last weekend.

The game was a women's doubles match-up in which both teams used stacking. It was quickly evident that one team was unclear about their positioning and server. Several rallies were delayed until they asked me whether they were on the right side with an occasional question about server.

As the game progressed, the team started a service rotation with an even score and the proper banded player serving from the right court. They won that point and the server properly moved to the left court and served again. They then lost that second rally. The same server stayed in the left court with the ball in hand. I announced the score and she asked if she was in the proper position. Since their score was now odd, the non-banded player should be in the right court so the banded player who asked the question was properly positioned. I answered "yes" and she quickly served. Since it was her partner's turn to serve, I called the server for a fault and a side-out.

As I have mentioned repeatedly in the past 2 days, player positioning and serve are 2 separate issues. When a team is confused, both issues must be resolved with the right questions. In this case, the player asked only 1 question - about positioning. She assumed she knew about the proper server and failed to ask. The bottom line is that unsure players should always ask 2 questions. Either a serving or receiving team should ask:
"Am I in the correct position?"
In addition, a serving team should ask:
"Am I the correct server?"
The referee should be prepared to answer the questions.  

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