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ibeeskeef
12-01-2010, 03:54 AM
I received an email last night from the USTA Southern Section director explaining that there was an error in the rating system that allowed some people to appeal their ranking online when they were benchmark players and should not have been allowed to appeal. I successfully appealed my bump to a 4.5 ranking back down to my 4.0 of last year a few hours after the new rankings came out. Well, USTA has restored my 4.5 B rating and in no uncertain terms told me that I was not allowed to appeal this rating.

Anyone else get this email?

Cindysphinx
12-01-2010, 03:56 AM
I received an email last night from the USTA Southern Section director explaining that there was an error in the rating system that allowed some people to appeal their ranking online when they were benchmark players and should not have been allowed to appeal. I successfully appealed my bump to a 4.5 ranking back down to my 4.0 of last year a few hours after the new rankings came out. Well, USTA has restored my 4.5 B rating and in no uncertain terms told me that I was not allowed to appeal this rating.

Anyone else get this email?

No, but I am glad they fixed this error!!!

cknobman
12-01-2010, 06:15 AM
LOL Cindy!!!!

I agree with ya though!

JLyon
12-01-2010, 08:32 AM
USTA messed up when producing the ratings to tennislink leaving a small glitch? Are you upset that the rules were actually followed and you were not able to sneak back to your old rating?

JavierLW
12-01-2010, 09:04 AM
No kidding, that's like when the bank screws up and gives everyone $100 extra.

Sure it sucks and maybe it's actually inconvenient, but do you really expect to keep the $100?

I always think that the fact that these people sit on there and hit the appeal button instantly once the ratings come out is always telling. It's not even an "appeal" for most of them.

And the worst part is if they didnt have the benchmark rule and the 6 match rule it's likely that 80% of them would succeed in winning their appeal this year. (just because of the math involved because that's how it was before)

njsigman
12-01-2010, 09:11 AM
A guy on my team appealed as soon as the rating came out and his was approved. He was a second year benchmark. Not sure if that makes a difference. It might as he has not gotten "the email", nor has his rating been changed back since the appeal.

I tell you, the whole process is flawed!!

JavierLW
12-01-2010, 09:15 AM
A guy on my team appealed as soon as the rating came out and his was approved. He was a second year benchmark. Not sure if that makes a difference. It might as he has not gotten "the email", nor has his rating been changed back since the appeal.

I tell you, the whole process is flawed!!

What do you mean by a second year benchmark?

Did he play in the postseason for 2010?

njsigman
12-01-2010, 09:17 AM
Yes, he played in the post season 2 years in a row....

ibeeskeef
12-01-2010, 09:43 AM
USTA messed up when producing the ratings to tennislink leaving a small glitch? Are you upset that the rules were actually followed and you were not able to sneak back to your old rating?

I'm not upset they followed the rules and moved me back to 4.5. Actually, when I appealed I didn't know I was breaking the rules. I knew in 2009 they had the rule about benchmarks not being able to appeal online but I assumed they changed this rule for 2010 since all I had to do was hit a button online.

What does bother me is I will have a very tough time competing at the 4.5 level. I look forward to the challenge but I will struggle for the rest of my tennis career at the 4.5 level just to be competitive. I am a former (mediocre at best) high school player who put the sticks down during college and came back just for the exercise. I self rated a 3.5 and actually probably should have been a 3.0 my first year. I gradually moved my way up the rankings because I was young and athletic. I don't have overpowering weapons on the court but I can run balls down and play a smart game. Well, at 4.5 many of the competitors are younger, faster, college players with big weapons. I look forward to the challenge but I also have to realize I am at my limit and instead of entering tournaments knowing I have the opportunity to go a good ways in the draw and perhaps make it to the finals, I now enter for the free beer and the t-shirt.

OrangePower
12-01-2010, 04:08 PM
I'm not upset they followed the rules and moved me back to 4.5. Actually, when I appealed I didn't know I was breaking the rules. I knew in 2009 they had the rule about benchmarks not being able to appeal online but I assumed they changed this rule for 2010 since all I had to do was hit a button online.

What does bother me is I will have a very tough time competing at the 4.5 level. I look forward to the challenge but I will struggle for the rest of my tennis career at the 4.5 level just to be competitive. I am a former (mediocre at best) high school player who put the sticks down during college and came back just for the exercise. I self rated a 3.5 and actually probably should have been a 3.0 my first year. I gradually moved my way up the rankings because I was young and athletic. I don't have overpowering weapons on the court but I can run balls down and play a smart game. Well, at 4.5 many of the competitors are younger, faster, college players with big weapons. I look forward to the challenge but I also have to realize I am at my limit and instead of entering tournaments knowing I have the opportunity to go a good ways in the draw and perhaps make it to the finals, I now enter for the free beer and the t-shirt.

I know others who are in the same boat as you. Fortunately for you and them, there are enough of you (collectively) that have now been bumped up to 4.5 over the last couple of years so that you will at least be competitive with a significant segment of the 4.5 population. But, yeah, there is also a segment of 4.5s that you will really struggle against.

wrxinsc
12-01-2010, 04:14 PM
^ SC is loaded with very strong 4.5's

goober
12-01-2010, 06:50 PM
I'm not upset they followed the rules and moved me back to 4.5. Actually, when I appealed I didn't know I was breaking the rules. I knew in 2009 they had the rule about benchmarks not being able to appeal online but I assumed they changed this rule for 2010 since all I had to do was hit a button online.

What does bother me is I will have a very tough time competing at the 4.5 level. I look forward to the challenge but I will struggle for the rest of my tennis career at the 4.5 level just to be competitive. I am a former (mediocre at best) high school player who put the sticks down during college and came back just for the exercise. I self rated a 3.5 and actually probably should have been a 3.0 my first year. I gradually moved my way up the rankings because I was young and athletic. I don't have overpowering weapons on the court but I can run balls down and play a smart game. Well, at 4.5 many of the competitors are younger, faster, college players with big weapons. I look forward to the challenge but I also have to realize I am at my limit and instead of entering tournaments knowing I have the opportunity to go a good ways in the draw and perhaps make it to the finals, I now enter for the free beer and the t-shirt.

If you actually really struggle at the 4.5 level you will not be there for the rest of your "career". You will likely get moved down to 4.0 next year. You might only be at 4.5 one season in fact if your section has early start ratings.

OrangePower
12-02-2010, 08:20 AM
If you actually really struggle at the 4.5 level you will not be there for the rest of your "career". You will likely get moved down to 4.0 next year. You might only be at 4.5 one season in fact if your section has early start ratings.

Following last years 'big bump', my experience from 4.5 2010 Adult league is that for the most part there was a noticeable difference in abilities between the 'new' 4.5s and the established 4.5s. The new 4.5s were competive amongst themselves and somewhat competitive against the weaker of the established 4.5s, but were slaughtered by the better established 4.5s.

As an example, the record of a 'new' 4.5 friend on my team:

Won in 2 close sets vs another 'new' 4.5
Lost in 3 close sets vs another 'new' 4.5
Breadsticks against an established 4.5
2 and 3 loss against an established 4.5
Breadsticks against an established 4.5
Won in 3 close sets vs another 'new' 4.5
Breadsticks against an established 4.5
4 and 4 loss against an established 4.5

So in total, 2-6, with 2-1 vs new 4.5, and 0-5 vs established 4.5s, including 3 blowouts.

My friend is still 4.5 for 2011, which is not surprising - 2-6 will not get you bumped down. And with more bump-ups this year, he will probably be a bit more competitive overall this coming season, but will still suffer beatdowns by the better 4.5s.

ibeeskeef
12-02-2010, 08:46 AM
I have a lot of friends who were victims of the "big bump" last year. Actually, I was a little surprised I was not a victim as well but decided to take full advantage of 1 more opportunity at the 4.0 level. I did have a very good year at 4.0 and played some higher level competition during the combo year to get my feet wet. I played some 8.5 combo with a 4.0 partner so I had to act as the 4.5 and I played some 9.5 combo as well. I ran into the same situation you were talking about. I played and won a few matches at 8.5 and even at 9.5 but the 4.5's on the other end of the court were players I had played and in some cases beaten in the 4.0 level before the "big bump." They just happened to get moved and I did not. In other matches we played former college players, some even former D1 players, and stood very little chance. There were a few 0-1 matches and some 2-2 matches where I really had no chance.

I also played in the 4.5 division of WTT this year with my 4.0 doubles partner who also got bumped to 4.5 this year. Last year we played in the 4.0 division and ended up 3rd in nationals. We didn't expect to win the whole thing at 4.5 but we did expect to at least be competitive at the local level. We were very competitive against one team of "new" 4.5's but the team with loaded 4.5's, one of which got bumped to 5.0, was a slaughter. We lost the men's doubles 6-1, men's singles 6-1 and both mixed sets 6-0.

Angle Queen
12-02-2010, 09:32 AM
The new 4.5s were competive amongst themselves and somewhat competitive against the weaker of the established 4.5s, but were slaughtered by the better established 4.5s.

But isnít this what USTA expects?

From their How Dynamic Ratings are Calculated:

3. The system compares the likely match score with the actual match score. For example, if one player or team has a tenth of a point higher rating than the opponent, the likely score is 6-4, 6-4.

And...

From their NTRP FAQ:

31. (portions omitted) A typical match result for a player, for example, with a 3.01 rating versus a 3.49 player, both of whom are 3.5s, would be 6-0, 6-0 in favor of the higher rated player.


Seems like each 0.1 of a (dynamic) point is worth about 1 game per set. So a very low/new 4.0 against a very high/established 4.0....would indeed be bagels or breadsticks...whereas players that are relatively even (to the tenth of a point, which, granted, we donít know)...is a very even/competitive match like 6-4, 6-4.

Herein lies my biggest beef with the current system:

My friend is still 4.5 for 2011, which is not surprising - 2-6 will not get you bumped down. While the current system is relatively aggressive at moving folks up...they're not so quick to move you down. That model, IMHO, is unsustainable in the long run. It depends on constant "new" blood to fill the lower ranks. Kinda reminds me of the Minor League system in baseball. Useta be that is was for the new kids going up...and the old guys coming down. Knowledge got passed on (witness Bull Durham) and everyone, regardless of age or ability...had a home. The Seniors Division is nice...but unnecessary, again IMHO...if NTRP is and does what they say it really is...and does. (Shhh....so, for that matter, are the Mens and Womens divisions). :p That'll get me in a lot of internet trouble.

OrangePower
12-02-2010, 09:56 AM
^^^^

Yes, that's what the USTA expects. I was not trying to suggest otherwise, or to suggest that I think it's wrong - just trying to explain how things are and share a friend's experience. I personally think the system is working (for the most part - there are always exceptions and outliers).

And as far as people getting bumped up and not down, I think we should not try to draw any long term conclusions from last year's bump ups and this year's (which are somewhat a continuation of the process started last year). The USTA has made a conscious decision to distribute players more evenly across the upper levels, which means changing the boundary points so that less players are in the crowded 3.5 and 4.0 ranks, and more in 4.5 and to a lesser degree 5.0.

Angle Queen
12-02-2010, 12:04 PM
Sorry I had to step away for a moment...but it gave me a chance to formulate a more thoughtful reply.

OrangePower, can you take a moment yourself to step away and evaluate your friend’s real skill level...and how it stacks up with the suggested NTRP guidelines.

4.0 This player has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with some success. This player occasionally forces errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.

4.5 This player has begun to master the use of power and spins and is beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and is beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. This player can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. This player tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.

Is he a 4.0 or 4.5? Or is he on The Bubble? If so, then I suppose, the NTRP has done its thing...although I think I could make a compelling argument that players on the bubble should receive the lower rating...with the option of playing up. In that regard, the Auto-Appeal function is a good one. The discussion of what Benchmark means, especially with regards to the ability to appeal, is probably better left for another day.

That said, if USTA were to go with assigning the lower rating, I believe the algorithm should disproportionally reward playing up. Likewise, it should penalize a “higher” player from taking the pedal off the gas when faced with a much weaker opponent – if we’re truly talking about competitive play and a formula that simply looks at expected results and game differentials. I also don't think enough emphasis is placed on getting the WIN, that getting close enough is good enough...to raise your "rating." We all know good front runners but have more than a few buddies that can't close it out.

Had your friend not been bumped, he’d be at the top of 4.0...and slaughtering his lower end opponents. It becomes a question of being at the top, or the bottom, of the food chain. Personally, I like winning with the rest of ‘em...but I’m more interested in a competitive match. If I play up (and I will this year), I’ll probably play #3 doubles since most of the teams here in our area tend to play things straight up. And, we also have our share of teams that carry more than 1 or 2 “lower” rated players. In all likelihood, then, I’ll probably be seeing players just like me...on the top edge of 3.5...or the lower end of 4.0...and we’ll have a competitive match. But I’m also willing to keep my toes in the 3.5 waters by playing singles or mentoring a new 3.5 to this game I love.

In the long run, I think the system works remarkably well, particularly for the masses but that’s not to say tweaks can’t improve things. I wish they’d be more open about the whole process. I think it’s a shade disingenuous to not tell self-rate players that they’ve gotten two strikes (although they’re published logic for that decision is understandable...if not agreeable to me personally). USTA also offers that they’ll share the “dynamic” ratings that generate the strikes...after a player has been disqualified...which means they have, or can obtain the information post mortem. Why not make that same information available to anyone who asks...for a fee, after the season is done, YER are out and the player waives any ability to appeal? Does it open the system to more cheating? Maybe, but I’m guessing no more than already exists. But maybe even less, if the aggrieved or dissed player sees the explanation. We all get news we don’t like...but doesn’t the pill go down a bit better if we understand the why?

Sorry for droning on, but I’ve given lots of thought to the ups-n-downs of my tennis life lately and these are just some of the things rolling around in my head.

OrangePower
12-02-2010, 02:30 PM
Sorry I had to step away for a moment...but it gave me a chance to formulate a more thoughtful reply.

OrangePower, can you take a moment yourself to step away and evaluate your friendís real skill level...and how it stacks up with the suggested NTRP guidelines.

4.0 This player has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with some success. This player occasionally forces errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.

4.5 This player has begun to master the use of power and spins and is beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and is beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. This player can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. This player tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.



Honestly, I find the USTA descriptions above so very subjective that I don't even try calibrate anyone against them.

'Dependable strokes' for example, what does that mean? I'm a mid level 4.5, and my strokes are dependable against other 4.5s, but I can't sustain a rally of more than a few shots against a 6.0 even when the balls are hit right to me because of the weight of shot. It's all relative.

And 'aggressive net play'... really this is an indicator of 4.5 play? I know many 3.5s who consider themselves aggressive net players at doubles.

As an aside, there are many threads on this board asking people to rate a player based on a video, and the answers typically are all over the place (and usually end up being far off from the persons true rating when revealed).

So I just view the distinctions between levels as an arbitrary mathematical division of a normal distribution. Basically just a way to divide the tennis playing population into groups, with the boundaries really determined by how large you want each group to be. And I'm pretty sure the USTA views it the same way, otherwise there would be no way to explain the massive and unusual bump-ups that happened last year (obviously, it's impossible that a whole bunch of people improved all at one time at a unprecedented rate).

Cindysphinx
12-02-2010, 06:06 PM
4.0 This player has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with some success. This player occasionally forces errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.


This just kills me!

"Some success" in the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys? Some success? Dang, you should have "some success" in these at 3.0 and up.

"Teamwork in doubles is evident." What does this mean? Anybody who plays a lot of doubles will exhibit teamwork at high 3.0 and up. The folks who don't exhibit teamwork often don't have it because they are singles players, not because they aren't 4.0.

And at 4.5 net play is aggressive? Nah, aggression at net is dictated more by attitude than anything else. I mean, you can be plenty aggressive at net and be inconsistent enough to lose matches. Better, I think, would be to say that a 4.5 doubles player is "routinely successful at net."

Nellie
12-02-2010, 06:19 PM
4.5s range wildly because it is about as high as you can play regularly in the USTA, at least in my area. You see a lot of players who were one time competitive juniors/college players, and you see a lot of people who started tennis later in life but play all of the time.

JavierLW
12-02-2010, 07:43 PM
"Some success" in the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys? Some success? Dang, you should have "some success" in these at 3.0 and up.

"Teamwork in doubles is evident." What does this mean? Anybody who plays a lot of doubles will exhibit teamwork at high 3.0 and up. The folks who don't exhibit teamwork often don't have it because they are singles players, not because they aren't 4.0.

And at 4.5 net play is aggressive? Nah, aggression at net is dictated more by attitude than anything else. I mean, you can be plenty aggressive at net and be inconsistent enough to lose matches. Better, I think, would be to say that a 4.5 doubles player is "routinely successful at net."

I think you are mistaken as always but the first paragraph is just a misconception on what you think "some success" is.

I think they are talking about success at GOOD lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys.

At 3.0 you may think you are being successful at lobbing but that's only because the majority of your opponents are not great at overheads, and they may tend to just yell YOURS and bail out. (if they know enough that they are not the ones to go get it)

At 4.0 and 4.5 players become a lot better at overheads so you really have to hit a GOOD lob if you think it's going over their heads. (at least men's 4.0 and 4.5, I have no idea about women)

3.0's do not have good overheads. If you hit the ball right to them maybe they can put it away, but if you take a 4.0 men's drill, they'll have you sticking your racquet on the net and hitting overheads as far back as no-man's land. There is no more yelling YOURS and bailing out, at least it's more rare.

And a GOOD approach shot is a slice shot and that's not a easy shot. In fact it's one of the hardest shots to hit because for it to be good it has to still have pace and stay low. (not hit the ground and bounce up for a sitter)
Or at the least anything with a fair amount of crazy spin to make it a more difficult shot while giving you time to close in on the net.

As far as teamwork, maybe you do a lot more then most 3.5 players so i cant say you're not exhibiting teamwork, but if you look around you that's not necessarily the norm. At 4.0 and 4.5 they are just saying it's a lot more common to see better communication and not just that, two people that are working together on every point to cover the court.

Maybe aggressive is a bad term, I agree with that one because it's kind of misleading. Volleying in general to me is not really necessarily aggressive or not aggressive, it's all about identifying the ball and putting it somewhere that it's not coming back or at least setting yourself up. Some people just cover a lot more ground up there then others and they can be viewed as more aggressive.

86golf
12-03-2010, 05:36 PM
The ranges at each level kinda dictate how you make your line ups right. No one mentions the fact that the spring league is 2 lines of singles and 3 lines of doubles. I've played a competitive match on L2 4.0 dubs and I glance over to line one next to me and I see a much higher level of tennis being played. For all those bump ups that are concerned about being competitive at the new level, well just play line 3 and you might be surprised. I've seen a huge difference in talent between line 3 doubles and line 1 singles.

njsigman
01-25-2011, 07:29 AM
So did anyone else really ever get "the email"? As a refresher, "the email" was supposed to be sent to those who auto appealed their Benchmark ratings the day that ratings came out and were approved.

A guy on my team did just that and he never got any email and is still at his auto appealed (upward) rating.

goober
01-25-2011, 08:11 AM
The ranges at each level kinda dictate how you make your line ups right. No one mentions the fact that the spring league is 2 lines of singles and 3 lines of doubles. I've played a competitive match on L2 4.0 dubs and I glance over to line one next to me and I see a much higher level of tennis being played. For all those bump ups that are concerned about being competitive at the new level, well just play line 3 and you might be surprised. I've seen a huge difference in talent between line 3 doubles and line 1 singles.

Depends on the team. Alot of playoff teams have no significant drop off in talent from line 1 to line 3 in doubles.

BTW the USTA does not require or expect teams to play in order of strength. I know some team play in order of strength regularly but they can lose to a weaker team by doing this.

ibeeskeef
01-25-2011, 11:10 AM
So did anyone else really ever get "the email"? As a refresher, "the email" was supposed to be sent to those who auto appealed their Benchmark ratings the day that ratings came out and were approved.

A guy on my team did just that and he never got any email and is still at his auto appealed (upward) rating.

I don't think an appeal upward is going to cause an issue. The email I got (as well as a few others I know) came from an appeal downward when we should not have been allowed to appeal due to benchmark status. As far as I know, a benchmark is still allowed to appeal up, just not down.