Monday, March 28, 2016

The Purity of Competition Rule and How it Defines TLN

       While a relaxing afternoon playing tennis with a friend or family member is always fun, there's nothing like grinding it out on the tennis court, fighting for every point against a player that is equally matched. It's this competitive nature of Competitive Tennis that keeps a large portion of the players to our league coming back season after season.

      In order to make sure all league participants are getting set up with well matched opponents Tennis League Network (TLN) uses this rule to guide our program:

That's why we have Rule #27--Purity of Competition Rule:
Rule #27) Purity of Competition Rule Tennis League Network reserves the right to move a player up or down a division/level based on how they performed in the previous season or during the CURRENT season.
A player can get promoted several ways.
1) By making the finals of their division's playoffs.
2) A player can also be moved up or down during the season based on how they have performed during the season. If a player has averaged a score of 12-4 or less for 3 of their matches they will be a candidate for moving up or down a division.
3) Inverse is true for a player that has lost 3 of their by an average score of 12-4 or less.


Why We Created This Rule

      To strive to be the best league on the market, Tennis League Network needed a way to bring quality of matching to the program. We wanted to ensure that people were getting matched up with people at their level consistently. Our veteran players return season after season because they feel pretty confident that they are getting matched with players that give them a tough, but fair match.

      When our league was created we used 'out of the box' thinking and forged our own path. We are more flexible than all the other leagues because we ARE willing to make the tough or sometimes easy decisions to move players up or down levels in season. We can do in season moves because we are not defined by a concrete schedule with a small set of players.

Changing Divisions

      It can be tough for players (especially new players who are the hardest to initially place) to be moved up or down a level. For those who are a candidate to move down, it can be a big blow to the ego. For those who are doing well, they want to keep winning and would prefer to stay where they are. However, it is in the best interest of EVERYONE in the league that people are put in the proper leagues especially after we've received the results/proof from the matches. We have many busy professionals/stay at home moms/college students who regularly set time aside to play tennis, and they expect that when they show up they'll be facing an opponent who is at their level.

      We don't just stop at one adjustment in a season, if the results dictate to move a player multiple levels WE WILL DO IT.   We are that FLEXIBLE.  The true definition of a Flex League.

SPECIAL NOTE:  We are also watching the tennis partner program, tennis ladder and tournament matches for ratings adjustments.   Sadly we've noticed a lot of NEW players under-rating themselves for their first tournament entry.  That's why in this case we are putting all NEW players into the highest level tournament.

The Tennis League Network Difference

      What makes our league different is an attentiveness to the needs of our players. We CARE about our players and their time spent playing tennis.  This rule is solely in place to make sure everyone is enjoying their season and return for future seasons.

      Not a member of Tennis League Network yet?


If you're looking to play competitive tennis matches in your area, make sure to Sign-Up for a local league.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Steve Ograyensek--Tennis Never Gets Old

Steve Ograyensek grew up in Western PA and spent some time in Detroit, Michigan--cities without much in the way of tennis facilities. Fortunately he's found his way down to Central Florida where there is plenty of tennis to keep him busy during retirement.

And Steve isn't just playing tennis, he's enjoying sports and activities including football, softball, biking, motorcycling, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and has recently started juggling. He believes 'the individual motor skills required of each sport greatly compliment each other in a synergistic manner in motor skills required for other sports' and it's for this reason he's crossed over into many disciplines.

He's got plenty of experiences to share and we were happy to have him tell his story.


Thanks Steve for joining us to answer a few of our questions. We want to share some of your thoughts and experiences about your passion for playing tennis, your experience with a division of the Tennis League Network franchise, as well as a few additional questions. To get started, when did you first begin playing tennis? 

I always just wanted to play after seeing it on TV and having previously played baseball and football.  My father got me a cheap aluminum racket to get started in the late 1960s. I have played ever since but never formally coached on any organized team at any level.

As someone who has many years under their belt, what do you love about tennis? 

I always loved sports like playing football and baseball as a kid. Tennis is very similar to baseball such as fielding ground balls and making the play, batting, and pitching. In tennis you perform these skills every point with volleys, ground strokes, and serves, plus in baseball you're waiting around for a ground ball to be hit to you, and getting up to bat.

I love singles tennis in that it is an individual sport with no one to blame for lack of success but yourself. Also love the fact that tennis is relatively low impact, hard to get injured playing, and therefore can be played well into senior years. I want to remain competitive with younger opponents as long as I can.

That's definitely a worthy goal, and a great way to keep feeling young. Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it? 

Tennis-Orlando Division A, Men's Advanced 4.0, playing in my 3rd season.

And how often are you playing, in general and with the league? 

Four to five times per week: Saturday with my girlfriend (USTA 4.5 rated); Sunday with old friends; Tuesday and Friday Mornings with retired friends; and a Tennis-Orlando league match when I can schedule it during the week

As someone who plays a ton of tennis, what is it about this league that makes it different from others?

Meeting interesting people in different professions from many different places and making new friends. So far I have played league players from Brazil, Italy, Cuba, Peru, Spain, and Puerto Rico. Two were former members of national Olympic teams (not in tennis). Several were former collegiate tennis players. Professions include sports director, web application designer, MD /Psychiatrist, computer programmer, lawyer, salesmen, and local small business owner.

Ages range from the mid 20s to over sixty. ( I believe I am the oldest player at 61). All are highly competitive and excellent sportsman. The tennis league seems to attract accomplished individuals from all over the world.

You must have had a lot of interesting conversations with all of them. We’re there a lot of particularly memorable matches as well? 

A few come to mind:

1) Marathon 2.5 hour match with Yamil Flores, momentum flowing back and forth in 92 degree Florida afternoon heat; no one wanted to give up, but I prevailed. Played Yamil 3 times so far, prevailed each time, but all close matches
2) Prevailed over Mark Ruiz, a much younger superior player (also former US Olympic Diver), in three sets. I should have lost but was "in the zone" and could do no wrong that match. I am 1 for 3 with Mark so far.
3) Getting 3 games in the first set off Brad Ellenwood, a younger, superior 6 ft 4 in former collegiate player. Lost second set 6-0. I am 0 for 3 with Brad so far.

Of those players, would you consider any of them rivals? 

I enjoy the challenge of playing Brad Ellenwood and getting any games knowing he is the far younger, taller, superior player. I’m sure finally beating him would be pretty rewarding.

When it comes to pro tennis, who are your favorite pro players? Why?

Roger Federer; poetry in motion. He makes everything look easy. Conditioned to the point where he plays a long five set match and can meet with the Press afterward as if he had done nothing physically demanding.

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league before wrapping up? 

I like the user friendly web site listing all publicly accessible courts, league rules encouraging players to share fees and meet half way, and completely flexible scheduling. Also like the profile information available on opponents including their legacy match records, favorite players, shots, preferences, and photos.

Great stuff Steve, and thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. Have fun out there this Spring! 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to Prepare for Your Spring Tennis Leagues

Spring has finally sprung! After a cold winter for the northerners, the weather is finally starting to warm up which means it’s time to dust off your tennis racquet and hit the tennis courts. But before you dive right into one of our Spring leagues, there are a few things to remember:

Check Your Health 

Because of the cold weather, winter can keep us inside more than we like. This means that weight gain is all too common because of lack of exercise. These extra pounds can really creep up on you and can definitely have an impact on your game whether it’s achy knees or more huffing and puffing than usual.

To make sure everything is in good order, it’s always a good idea to get a yearly physical, especially before staring up your Spring tennis league. Doctors will be able to mitigate any health issues that may potentially hold you back from getting the most out of your league.

The league also suggests that players use shorter formats to start the season off. Play 10 game pro sets or 2 sets with a super tie-breaker. There's no need to stress your body out by trying to play a grueling 3 set match until your body is ready for it.

Make Sure Your Gear is in Order 

Don’t wait until your first match to find out that you need your racquet restrung! Go through all your tennis equipment including your racquet, shoes, and bag to make sure that they are in order.

This is also a good time to replenish your tennis balls, as no player wants to use a set of tennis balls that’s been sitting in a closet for several months.

Definitely check in with our partner Tennis Warehouse to pick up any necessary supplies you might need.

Get Into Shape 

If you find that your health is not quite where you want it to be, than you better get down to work in the gym. Basic cardiovascular exercise like running, using a machine like the elliptical, or doing some agility drills is an excellent idea.

Remember to take it easy at first. Your body needs time to acclimate to this new activity so start out at a slower pace, and work your way up until it’s time to get started with regular league matches. Getting into shape also means eating healthy. Not only will this help you shed any extra weight you’ve packed on, but a good diet will help you recover from workouts faster.

It's definitely a great idea to cross train in between matches so you're body can get stronger for future matches.

Set Goals 

Although your New Year’s Resolutions are a few months behind you, that’s no reason to not set goals for your 2016 tennis activity. You can choose to design your goals in several different ways. One example would be to set a goal of playing at least two matches per week. Another goal would be to win 10 matches in a season. Another goal to try for is to make the playoffs for each and every season you enter in.  Of course trying to win a championship will be on a lot of people's goal list.  In general, your goal should get you playing more frequently and ENJOY YOURSELF ON THE TENNIS COURTS.

Sign-Up For a Local League 

The best way to play regular tennis matches with those at your level is to sign-up for a seasonal league with the Tennis League Network. Our league guarantees at least 6 playing partners at your level in your area, although the pool is usually closer to 15+ players per division.

The league allows for flexible scheduling. This is great for hard-working professionals and busy parents who feel like they just can’t find time to fulfill their love for tennis and balancing the sport with their lifestyle.

Don't let this Spring season pass you by, find your local league and Sign up today.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Jeff Schumer--A Well Deserved Champion

Jeff Schumer is a long time member of our league. He's plays in TennisNorthEast the Metro Boston Tennis League out of Boston, but recently took a trip to the West Coast and captured the West Coast championship trophy. It's an accomplishment Jeff is proud of and we're happy to see him win.

Jeff (Jeff's Profile) has a number of fun stories and memorable matches to share with us. He even has a couple of things to say about Steve Chagnon, Tennis League Network's CEO. We hope you get a kick out of this interview.


Thanks Jeff for joining us to answer a few of our questions. We'd like to share your experiences with the league, your passion for the game and more about yourself in general. For starters, when did you first begin playing tennis?

I was around it very early in my life as my uncle and his children played and exposed me to it maybe when I was about 7 or 8 years. However, I did not get interested in it and start playing it until my early teens when I started just banging against a brick wall of a high school gym and found a group of people to play with at that same high school's courts. I then got onto my high school team and was hooked. I've been playing on and off (mostly on) throughout my life.

As an active player and fan of the game, what do you love about tennis?

It suits me...I am fast, like the strategy involved (like being in a chess match), and just enjoy never being able to never be out of a match and have a chance to come back and win. But, I also have loved the social aspect of the game-I have met SO many people playing this great game. Of course, there's endless places to explore in the world where you can play it as well.

Which league are you a member of and how long have you been participating in it?

I just completed the fall 2015 season with Tennis Northeast , with a 3.75 rating

I've been a member since it's inception which I think was in 2006. I played for about 3 years and than just got busy with my family and playing tennis in a local league and a summer club where I belong. I played with Steve Chagnon when first he took over this type of league and then exploded the concept of it. However, previously it was run at an extremely basic level in which we just got names on numbers snail mailed to us and there were no different divisions by level, records of results in any manner, hailing local champions, or hosting National Tournaments.

Ten years is quite impressive! It's always great to see people join something and stick with it. And how often are you playing, in general and with the league?

My playing varies. When I was a kid and had no responsibilities I played daily 4-6 hours a day. Now, if I play 1-2 times a week I count myself lucky.

I have numerous tennis involvements between a local club league, a World Team Tennis team of which I am a Captain, having been on multiple teams (and having gone to Nationals twice in 2014!), playing with my family, and of course Tennis Northeast. As per a lot of tennis people I have met, you could say I'm sort of obsessed.

As someone who plays a ton of tennis, what is it about this league that makes it different from others?

The flexibility of scheduling matches that suits your own schedule, having players at my level (Tennis League Network has a way of really matching people extremely well by their ability for fun and highly competitive matches), and meeting various new players I would never have had the chance to meet.

Since you have so much experience under your belt, can you tell us about your most memorable match(es).

I have so many, but I will mention four. Playing in a Father-Son tournament this last summer at Longwood Club in Boston. We got crushed in every match, but just being out their with my son amongst so many phenomenal players was a memory of a lifetime.

For Tennis Northeast I played one regular season match in a town far from me and only accessible by one main road. We set our match for 5 pm. Anyway, I got there 15 minutes late due to the traffic. My partner and I agreed to play to a set time. When we reached that time, I had won by games (like 6-4, 4-3). However, he argued that since I was late we should play out the rest of the match. I reluctantly agreed and then went on to lose the match by a game or two.

I played a match for the championship of my local division this past fall against a higher ranked and so much younger opponent. I'm 54 and this guy was 26. We played 3 sets in 4 hours! I was happy to take it all in the 3rd set.

I just played in a National Tourney in L.A. this past January, 2016 in the 3.5 Level Division. I surprisingly made it to the finals as I had no expectations going in. I played against Darren Smolkin who I thought was the guy to beat. It was a 10 game pro set. I went down quickly 6-1 letting him dictate play. However, I got fired up/inspired by Steve C. who was watching the match and just told me to take "show some balls" as how I usually hit pretty hard. I ultimately started dictating the match and won 10-9 to capture the Championship. It has been the pinnacle of my amateur tennis "career."

Those are some great stories. In addition to those matches, who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?

Believe it or not Steve Chagnon and I have been battling it out ever since I decided to jump back into the league this fall after my 6 year hiatus. We have had several matches go down to the last game or even point. He makes me run and attacks strong at the net which often puts me on my heels. I think I edge him overall in matches won, but before this year he called me his daddy as I owned him.

I'm sure Steve is going to ask for a rematch after that! When it comes to pro tennis, who are your favorite pro players? Why?

There have been SO many greats over the years. The classics like John McEnroe (who I used to be like with my antics), Jimmy Connors, Steffi Graf, Williams sisters, Andre Agassi, Roger. Basically I really have found the tops at the game to be phenomenal to watch, root for, and learn from.

Do you have any other interesting comments about your experiences with the league?

It really is very user friendly with the Website and Tennis League Network is constantly tweaking it to make it fun and competitive for everyone. I wish somehow the mixed doubles could become more popular, but it's great for those who really like singles.

Well once again a big thanks for your time. Good luck out on the court this season!