Doubles is a great way to have fun on the tennis court because you get to play with a partner. Quite often though, when partners are not the same level, the it's not fun for anyone.
The idea of combo doubles is for players of different levels to partner together. You can “play up” or “play down” depending on what level you are comfortable competing at.
Combo teams are men’s or women’s, and the format is three individual doubles matches. Unlike regular Adult League, there are no singles matches. This in itself lends to a more social game, but make no mistake, it is still a competitive game.
So what’s a “combo”?
In regular Men’s and Women’s Adult League play, you would typically play on a team where everyone is the same level. For example, if you were a 3.0 rated player, you would probably play on a 3.0-level team against other 3.0 rated players. This would make for combined 6.0-level play.
The Combo League bumps the level up by one half, and teams are formed for 5.5, 6.5, 7.5, 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5. That means that a 3.0 player may play with a 2.5-rated player at the 5.5 level, or with a 3.5 at the 6.5 level, etc. The different levels give you a chance to play with and against other players that you may not normally be paired with.
How do the ratings and levels work?
Combo is all about joining together players of different abilities. A 3.0-rated player would typically play against other 3.0-rated players at the 6.0 level. Combo league allows for an extra help, so that 3.0 player could play at 5.5 or 6.5 levels, or both.
You have to have a rating to play league, but if you don’t have a rating, don’t worry. Refer to Know your Rating for more information on playing levels. After reading that, you should have an idea of your ability. You can judge your level against other players who may have a rating.
I want to join a Combo team
If you belong to a club or tennis association, they will have all the information necessary to join a team. You need to decide what level you want to play, then determine what facility is fielding a team at that level.
You can also check out the USTA website for your geographic section to see what leagues are forming in your local area.
To join a team, you must be a USTA member and have a computer rating, or you can “self rate” yourself based on your own evaluation of your ability. Once you’ve played on a team, your results will be recorded and you will be issued a computer rating to be used in future seasons.
The cost to join a combo team is about the same as other teams, with fees payable to the United States Tennis Association via the USTA website. You can play on multiple teams at different levels in various areas depending on how much tennis you want.
The Combo League runs from August through November. Give it a try.
Have fun on the courts!