MANUALS: TENNIS

REGULAR SEASON

2022 Tennis Regular Season

Manuals provide the most up to date policies, rules, and regulations for Iowa High School Athletic Association sports in the regular season and postseason. Member school athletic directors and head coaches seeking more information or clarifications on the contents of this manual should contact the IHSAA sport administrator for this sport, Chris Cuellar. All other inquiries should be directed through athletic directors or coaches at member schools or host schools. 

Unless the IHSAA Board of Control adopts other rules, U.S.T.A. rules will govern high school tennis. All coaches have the responsibility of being knowledgeable of U.S.T.A. rules and all policies concerning tennis as established by the IHSAA. In addition, the following rules will be followed for interscholastic boys’ tennis competition, unless the Board of Control adopts other rules.

For more information on concussions or sport safety, please visit the Health & Safety resource page. 

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Classifications

School enrollment numbers from each year inform the following school year’s classifications for IHSAA sanctioned sports. Enrollment numbers are provided by the Basic Educational Data Survey (BEDS) from the Iowa Department of Education. To view other sports or overall BEDS numbers, view the Classifications page.

2A: Largest 48 Schools

1A: Remaining Schools

Rules Information

Meet Format Information

Multiple duals played on any day of the week count as only one date/competition toward the team and individual maximum. Any event that extends over two days is considered one date/competition.

Non-Conference Meets – All non-conference dual meets will be played with a format of six singles and three doubles; five singles and four doubles; or six singles and five doubles.

Conference formats are determined by each individual conference.

Host schools or conferences will determine the set tiebreak procedure. The procedure should be communicated to all schools participating in a meet as part of the contract. The IHSAA Tennis Advisory Committee suggests using the standard 7-point set tiebreak, when time and weather permit.

Reporting of Scores & Statistics

The use of Varsity Bound (QuikStats)  will be used to report individual and team scores for all dual meet played during the regular season. Specific information about using Varsity Bound (QuikStats) and reporting regular season dual meet scores will be sent to head tennis coaches and athletic directors at tennis schools and posted on the IHSAA website. The format of six singles and three doubles will be used determining team strength for the post season.

Starting in 2022, Universal Tennis Rating will be permitted as a tool in regular season and postseason seeding meetings. Coaches will be strongly encouraged to log-in, free of charge, to UTR to enter their lineups and tournament information. Specific score reporting information will be provided by UTR. The use of UTR is not the determinant in any IHSAA competition – it is simply to be considered a seeding tool during coaches’ seeding meetings. 

 

Sportsmanship Code

Profanity, racket throwing, or other unsportsmanlike acts cannot be tolerated. Coaches are responsible for ensuring their players comply with the sportsmanship code. An opposing coach has equal responsibility, and authority, for enforcing the sportsmanship code for any players. A contestant may be given a warning, or ejected and disqualified, on the first violation depending upon the severity of the act(s) as determined by the player’s coach, host school, or meet manager. A second warning regarding poor sportsmanship to the same individual is an automatic ejection and disqualification from the competition.

As per IHSAA policy, any student ejected and disqualified from an interscholastic contest for flagrant, violent, or verbal misconduct is ineligible for the next regularly scheduled game/meet/date at that level of competition and all other games/meets/dates in the interim at any level of competition, including IHSAA postseason tournaments, in addition to any other penalties the IHSAA or the school may assess. Sportsmanship warnings should be reported to the meet manager and the coach of the player who committed the violation. In a tournament, when a tournament committee is appointed, any coach can bring conduct violations to the attention of the tournament committee. If a student is ejected from a singles match, the ejection rule is enforced for that player in both singles and doubles. However, that player’s doubles partner will not be penalized, and a substitute may replace the ejected player in doubles play.  This substitute player must be one listed on the line up sheet, who was not originally in the doubles line-up, and the doubles team positions cannot be realigned. If either partner of a doubles team is ejected and disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct during doubles competition, the doubles team is disqualified from the competition.

Guidelines For Handling Controversy On the Court

When a meet manager, or his/her designee, is to available:

Step 1: A player’s coach is responsible for cautioning his/her player if there is a problem with line calls, foot faults, scorekeeping, etc. If a player’s coach fails to meet this responsibility or the player’s behavior continues the following procedure should be followed:

Step 2: The players will have a conference at the net to discuss the issue in question.

Step 3: The coaches and players from both schools will have a conference at the net to discuss the issue in question.

Step 4: The coaches will meet and agree on an appeal judge to rule on appeals made by a player.

(The Athletic Association should be notified if step #4 of these guidelines is implemented during a meet.)

When a meet manager, or his/her designee, is available:

Step 1: A player’s coach is responsible for cautioning his/her player if there is a problem with line calls, foot faults, scorekeeping, etc. If a player’s coach fails to meet this responsibility or the player’s behavior continues the following procedure should be followed:

Step 2: The players will have a conference at the net to discuss the issue in question.

Step 3: The coaches and players from both schools will have a conference at the net to discuss the issue in question.

Step 4: The meet manager, or his/her designee, will have a conference at the net with the players and both head coaches to discuss the issue in question.

Step 5: The meet manager, or his/her designee, will appoint an appeal judge to rule on appeals made by a player. (The Athletic Association should be notified if step #5 of these guidelines is implemented during a meet.)

Schedule Information

First Legal Practice Dates

2022: Week 37/March 14

2023: Week 37/March 13

First Legal Competition dates

2022: Week 39/March 28

2023: Week 39/March 27

 

Competition Information

Each team (9-12) is allowed a maximum of 12 dates/competitions for regular season competition. Example: A school may have 12 freshmen meets, 12 Junior Varsity meets and 12 Varsity meets. Any event that takes place over two days is considered one date/competition.

Each player (9-12) is allowed a maximum of 12 dates/competitions for regular season competition, regardless of the level at which he If a player competes in varsity and junior varsity competitions during the season, he may only participate in a total of 12 competitions. (For example: 5 JV & 7 Varsity meets). Any  player competing in varsity competition must be eligible as a varsity competitor according to transfer rules.

If a school does not have enough players to have a team to compete in regular season dual meet team competition, the players from that school must compete in at least four regular season interscholastic matches before the district tournament in order to enter district competition.

There should be a pre-meet meeting with coaches and players before each meet. The school-approved coaches from each school should introduce themselves at this meeting so there is no confusion as to who will be representing each school.

Competition Information

Regular Season Meet Lineup

Singles Lineup Cards – When teams are to play, coaches will exchange the list of their singles players at the same time so there will be no rearranging of Ethics for coaches dictate that their best player that day competes against the best player from the other school; the second-best players compete against each other, etc. If there is an injury or illness to a player(s) on a given day, the team will adjust their singles line up so the best player that day is at #1, the second-best player at is #2 singles, etc.

Doubles Lineups – The official doubles line up in team play is the one submitted, or reaffirmed, immediately before the first doubles teams take the court for warm up. It is mandatory during all doubles play that: (a) The #1 player in singles must play in either the first or second doubles team; (b) Either the #1 or #2 singles player must play in the first doubles team unless both are being held out of doubles matches; (c) If the #1 singles player plays on the #1 doubles team, the #2 singles player may play on any doubles team, (d) Doubles teams are to be listed in position of strength with the best of the doubles teams submitted that day playing #1; the second-best doubles team that day playing #2, etc.

The standard size tennis ball is the only legal ball for high school boys’ tennis. The Wilson WRT106200 (formerly T1071) will be used for all post-season tournament play.

 

On-Court Equipment

No additional equipment may be brought onto the court during play. Examples: chairs, oversized coolers, folding benches, etc.

 

No Cell Phones

No cell phones, or other electronic communication devices, may be used by players during a match from the time they begin warm-ups until the conclusion of play. USTA rules do allow players to bring to the court written notes that were prepared before the start of the match, which may be referred to during any changeover or set break.

 

Uniforms

Tennis players shall wear school-issued/approved uniforms in tennis competition. Football jerseys and tank tops are not legal. In the event the school does not have a uniform for competition, the players will wear a plain T-shirt of a single color with no design, exclusive of the manufacturer’s logo, or a high school tennis tournament T-shirt. Turning shirts inside out is not permissible to meet uniform requirements. Each team should take additional school issued/approved shirts or a plain one-color shirt to wear if an additional shirt is needed due to playing or weather conditions. Tennis shorts shall be worn. Players shall not wear an undergarment, or tights, which extend below the tennis shorts, except through a medically authorized waiver. A copy of a doctor’s statement must be shown to the meet manager and, in such cases, the undergarment or tights must be similar in color  to the tennis shorts or the predominant color of the tennis shorts.

Garments that do not meet the definition of the legal uniform include, but are not limited to, biking shorts, thigh huggers, multicolored beachwear, night wear or underwear, cutoff jeans or sweats, sweatpants or anything else that is objectionable to the meet manager. Note: The meet manager may allow the wearing of cold weather clothing, if conditions warrant. Penalty: If a player is not in proper uniform, he may not participate. Any violations of the uniform rule should be reported to the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

 

Players Refusing to Play

When a player refuses to play, or continue playing, for any reason he disqualifies himself from further competition in that dual meet or tournament. The player’s school, or the Athletic Association, may impose further penalties if they deem such penalties appropriate.

 

Changeovers

When players change ends after the first game of each set, or the tie-break, there will be no rest period. The first 90-second rest period will be when players change ends after the 3rd game of a set.

 

Players Must Stay On the Court

Once play has started, players may not leave the court unless they have split the first two sets in two out of three set competitions. Players may not leave the court during the 2-minute set break in Pro-Set competition.

 

Warm-Up

Players are allowed a maximum of ten minutes to warm up, which includes practice serves. This ten-minute warm-up will be applicable for regular season and post-season tournament competition.

 

Time Allotment Between Sets and Matches

A maximum of 2 minutes is allowed between 1st and 2nd sets and a maximum of 10 minutes is allowed between the 2nd and 3rd sets. If a 10-Point Match Tie-Break will be played in lieu of a 3rd set, the break between the 2nd set and 10-point match tie-break is 3 minutes. If Pro-Sets are being played, a 2-minute set break occurs when one player has won half of the games being played in the set.

Thirty minutes are allowed between a player’s singles and doubles matches unless the coaches mutually agree to shorten the break.

Penalty for Non-Compliance: Once the match time has been determined / posted, and the player and/or his coach notified, and a player is not ready to play, the match is a default.

 

Coaching Opportunities

School coaches have an opportunity to coach their players during each 90-second changeover and during set When players change ends after the first game of each set, or the tie-break, there will be no rest period and no opportunity for coaching. There are no timeouts taken during play.  School coaches, and or players competing that day who are in uniform, whether on the court or not, are the only ones permitted to speak to their players from the time they take the court to warm up for their match until the match is over. It is not permissible for club pros, parents, or others, to speak with players during this time.

Note #1: Coaches do NOT need to wait for the opposing coach to be present to use a coaching opportunity.

Note #2: The duration of the 90-second changeovers and set breaks are  NOT lengthened for coaching opportunities. Players are expected to pick up their drinks and towels at the net post, if they wish to have them, and go immediately to the fence to visit with their coach. Coaches are not to go on the courts, unless court configuration requires it and it has been discussed at the coach’s pre-meet meeting.

 

7-Point Set Tie-Break

Singles: If it is Player A’s turn to serve the game, he serves the first point from the right court. Player B serves points two and three – left court, then right court; Player A serves points four and five – left court, then right court. B serves point six from the left court and the players change sides of the net. B serves point seven starting from the right court. A serves points eight and nine – left court, then right court; B serves points ten and eleven, left court then right court. Player A serves point 12 from the left court.

If the points reach 6-All, players change sides of the net again and continue serving in the same pattern as above beginning with point seven, until one player leads by two points in the tie break whereupon he wins the set, 7-6.

After the tie break is completed, the players again change sides of the net for the first game of the next set with Player B as the first server.

Note: the player who serves first in the tie break will receive in the first game of the next set played, if needed. You must win the tie break by two points and you must win at least seven points in the tie break.

Doubles: (AB on one team vs. CD) If it is A’s turn to serve the l3th game, you will follow the same pattern as in singles with partners continuing to serve in the same sequence they used during the entire set as the service alternates from team-to-team. A serves the first point from the right court, C serves points two and three, left court and then right court.  B serves   points four and five, left court and right court.  D serves point six from the left court and the teams change sides of the net and D serves point seven from the right court. A serves points eight and nine, left court and right court. C serves points ten and eleven, left court and right court. B serves point 12, from the left court.

If the points reach 6-All, teams again change sides of the net and continue serving in the same pattern as above with point seven until one team gets a two-point lead.  The winning team wins the set, 7-6. The teams then change sides of the net and play the first game of the next set with team CD as the first-serving team.

Note: the team who serves first in the tie break will receive in the first game of the next set played, if needed.

Timeout Procedure For Muscle Cramps

The Tennis Advisory Committee has developed, and the Board of Control has approved, the following procedure for dealing with muscle cramps. The Committee feels strongly that coaches need to do what is prudent and in the best interests of the health of the athlete. There are certainly situations where a coach will choose to injury default a player before this procedure requires an injury default.

  • The first time during a match a player, or doubles team, must stop playing due to muscle cramps a medical time-out may be taken. This medical time- out shall be of a reasonable length of time to evaluate and treat the injury.
  • Subsequent occurrences of cramping during the match, even if the cramping is in different areas of the body, are subject the point penalty system according to USTA Those rules are as follows:
    • The second time a player, or doubles team, must stop playing due to muscle cramping a match point is awarded to the opponent.
  • The third time a player, or doubles team, must stop playing due to muscle cramping one game is awarded to the opponent.
  • The fourth time a player, or doubles team, must stop play due to muscle cramping the player, or doubles team, must injury default, for the entire meet or tournament.

Note 1: After each individual cramping occurrence, play must continue or the player, or doubles team, must injury default.

Note 2: Only one medical time-out may be taken in a match for the same injury or condition, i.e. cramping – even if the cramping is in different areas of the body.

Note 3: The cramping penalty system is sequential and does not start over with each set. It carries over throughout the entire match. Example: If a player, or doubles team, has already been assessed a one match point cramping penalty in the second set and muscle cramping occurring again in the 3rd set, to an individual player or either member of the doubles team, it shall result in a one-game cramping penalty being assessed.

Note 4: Singles and doubles competition are considered separate matches when applying the time out procedure for cramping. However, anytime a player defaults due to injury, he may not play the remainder of the meet/tournament.

Weather Information

Rain Delays and Postponements

If dual meets are postponed due to rain, the players on the court should report to the meet manager, or their  coach, information important to their match such as score, who was serving, from which court, etc.  The meet manager or coaches will determine how long to delay the meet before deciding to postpone to a different date, if necessary. If there is no meet manager available, the head coach of the host school shall have final authority on postponing the meet.

It is recommended that postponed meets be continued from the point of interruption, unless determined otherwise the administrators at the schools involved. If a dual meet is postponed the same players must be used when play resumes as no substitution can be made once play has begun. If a player is unavailable on the makeup date, the team will forfeit that match. If doubles play had not started, the doubles line up could be adjusted.

Lighting Safety

The safety of the players and spectators is always more important than the game! Communication between game management, officials & coaches is essential for the safety of everyone. Lightning only takes an instant to strike. You are in danger from lightning if you can hear thunder. All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. Lightning often strikes as far as 10 miles away from rainfall. Don’t wait until the last minute to seek shelter. If thunder is heard, or cloud-to-ground lightning is seen, immediately suspend the event and instruct everyone to take shelter in a safe structure.

Have a lightning safety plan in place. Know where teams and spectators will go for safety and know how much time it will take them to get to safety. A “safe structure” is a completely enclosed building that is normally occupied or frequently used by people. The building should have plumbing and electrical wiring to help ground it from lightning. If there is no such structure available, an enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and sides is a reasonable second choice. When a contest is suspended due to lightning, wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunder before leaving safe shelter and resuming activity. Lightning detectors are a great tool to draw one’s attention to the fact that lightning is in the vicinity. Remember, even with lightning detectors, the weather should be monitored closely for lightning or thunder.

Hazardous Weather Guidelines

The primary concern when signs of hazardous weather are present is the safety of participants and spectators. Have a safety plan for any type of hazardous weather that may occur. Practice and follow the plan. Know where people will go for safety and know how much time it will take for them to get there. Have specific guidelines for suspending the event so everyone has time to reach a place of safety before the threat becomes significant.

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