There are some differences in rec play and tournament play scoring that merit understanding. We explain some of those below.
Tony Roig
In2Pickle Player Development.

Understand the 15’er

  • If you are playing a tournament, chances are you will play at least one 15-point game. Only 1 team in the entire field can make it through without playing at least on 15-point game.
  • 15-point games are vastly different than 11-point games; more like a marathon than a sprint. Being up 9-2 feels pretty good in an 11-point game. 9-2 in a 15-pointer is nice but there is still a lot of work to get to the finish line.
  • 15-point games are also different because you cannot afford a letdown. In a 2/3 match, you can lose one game 11-0 and still win the match. You cannot afford an 11-0 run in a single game to 15.

Picking a side - if it’s your choice

A. In rec play, you normally just play on whatever side you are on. Not much thought goes into it.
B. Side choice in a tournament can make a difference. Give it some thought.
C. Sun and wind conditions as well as ancillary considerations (is there a shady corner on the court?) should be factored in.
D. Do you want the wind behind you, for more power but also potentially resulting in hitting more out balls?
E.Or, as many players, do you want to play into the wind to allow better control of third shots and soft game.
F. Whatever side you pick will be your side for the first game and, if it goes three games, it will be your side for the first half of the third game. You will finish on the other side. Factor that in to your side election. Do you want to start (lock down the 1st game), or potentially finish (particularly if it goes long), on your favored side?

Calling for a Ref

Some tournaments, notably the US Open, do not provide a ref for each match. This does not mean that you are not allowed a ref if you need one. 97% of matches go off without a hitch. But if you are in one of those 3% of matches where calls or scoring become an issue, have someone go get you a ref. And if you anticipate having an issue, ask for the ref before the game begins.

Practice Tip - the 15’er

As noted above, the 15-point game is a part of almost every tournament player’s life. Despite this reality, not enough practice time is devoted to the 15-pointer. Try and play one or more 15-point games in your next practice session. Make sure to switch at 8. These additional reps to 15 will help you come crunch time.