Tournament Tip No. 1 Timeouts

The most common mistake in tournament play is the failure to correctly use timeouts. In this tip we go over timeouts and their use. Do not let your timeouts go unused.
Tony Roig
In2Pickle Player Development.

The Timeout Rule -a Summary

You get 2 timeouts per game. You can call a timeout anytime before the server has begun his/her service motion - to be safe do so before the score is called. Timeouts are 1 minute each - you will get a 15-second warning from the referee so you can get ready. Unused timeouts do not carry over to the next game.

When to call a timeout

A. The other team has gone on a run – 3 or 4 points in a row. Take a timeout to discuss strategy. What can you do differently? The timeout may also break the other team’s momentum.
B. Your team is a bit off. You missed a return and your partner dumped an easy shot into the net. Take a timeout to regain your composure.
C. You and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye. Happens. You say something (this is usually me in the scenario) and your partner (usually my wife in this same scenario) does not take it as intended (insert smiley face here). Take a timeout. No reason to play on when there is discord on your side.
D. You need a breather. There are two situations where you can call it here:
1. One is you just played a crazy point and are tired. Do not give up the next point just because you cannot catch your breath. Take a timeout to recover and get ready.
2. The other way is at the end of a game (if you still have an unused timeout). Say you are up, or down, 10-1. It is your second match on a hot day and you expect to compete some more that day. Use the timeout to get some water and rest a bit.

Use Them - Don’t Lose Them

Timeouts are the only thing over which you have complete control in a tournament. Neither the wind nor your opponent nor a bad call can affect your use of timeouts. Their use is entirely in your court. You do not get to keep your timeouts and you get nothing for unused timeouts – no money, not even an attaboy or attagirl. So use them. Your chances will definitely

Practice Tip

If you have an upcoming tournament, incorporate timeouts into your practice games. Let everyone know you have a tournament and that you want to practice using your timeouts. Make sure you use the timeouts during the game. Find a spot to use them even if just at the end. The point is to remember you have them.