Competition For Trn

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by tennis5, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    What do you think?

    A couple of smart tennis college kids are thinking of doing a rival website
    like TRN, but adding in age as additional info.

    Yes, they are computer majors... Smart Asian kids actually at an Ivy.
    ( I think they view themselves as the next Facebook kids :))

    They asked me to start a thread to get some feedback for them.

    So, the question is do you think parents and coaches are interested in
    a comparative analysis based on wins, and also one based on age?

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
    #1
  2. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Sure, if they can incorporate birth month/year into the formula, that would be cool. Maybe they can tie in with this guy, I like his little blurbs about the players. Maybe between them they can come up with a snazzy rankings website with more volunteered personal snippets about the players.

    http://www.youth1.com/other-sports-uncat/tennis-rankings-home.html
     
    #2
  3. WARPWOODIE

    WARPWOODIE Rookie

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    Sure, why not. Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, McDonalds vs. Jack in the Box, Dwayne Wade vs. Kobe Bryant...competetion makes the other better and keeps them on their toes.
     
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  4. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    Yes, anything that will force TRN to follow suit and get age in there...
     
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  5. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Yes, 100% agree.

    Dallas from TRN said they were looking into it,
    but that was about 6 months ago, and last time it was raised, he did not state if it would ever take place.

    TRN is a great site, don't get me wrong. But, without the ages, it makes it less relevant.

    It is like having a 16 year old pretend to be 14 and compete in the 14 and under Orange Bowl.

    Folks, just want things to be transparent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
    #5
  6. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    You do not need kids ages for college recruiting. All the coach needs to know is what year the player is available and how said player stacks up against other available recruits. For the coach the older the better.
    Now if this web site is used to rank players for the sake of determining who is better per age, who has more upside, who is a "freak", who deserves scholarship, etc.. then it is a different story. Your Ivy gurus can add additional metrics like closeness of the matches, how long the player plays tennis, etc. They can award additional points for winning big tournaments. TR really does not reward players who can win many matches in a row but USTA does.
    The real issue for them will be to get access to USTA/ITF tournament results data.
     
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  7. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I would tend to agree....the site would be crazy fun for us 'next great one' debaters.

    But college coaches are provided ages by TRN or other sources. Some try to blend their teams, balancing experience and age vs some upside for younger guys. Some go older as you said. U of Fl. has some young guys, but they get first crack at some top young talents.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
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  8. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I think the push for the ages at TRN is more for "fun" and ego based than it is for practical/relevant reasons "college recruiting".

    Tennis rankings as a business is a niche market, putting it mildly. With the idea for a competitive site being based on the differentiator age I don't see much upside revenue potential and a lot of work associated with such a website.

    What might work is if you could incorporate foreigner juniors and U.S. based kids into an international ranking website similar to TRN. Now that company could go after a worldwide advertising market. That would be cool.
     
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  9. Frankenstine

    Frankenstine New User

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    That would be very interesting, but also very hard to do I imagine.
     
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  10. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Isn't that what the Universal Tennis Ratings are supposed to be?
     
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  11. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    Scattershooting through this thread...


    For the record, we have it on our roadmap to add ages as optional information on player profiles. Players will be able to choose whether or not to show their ages on their profile by choosing a checkbox. Now, while this is on our roadmap, I don't have any firm schedule or dates to share. But this is our current plan.

    Okay, I've got two out of three. While I'm not Asian, I have a Ph.D. in computer science - and I went to Harvard for undergraduate school.

    We are huge fans of the free market, and it would be great to see some other ideas.


    Some obvious difficulties here are (1) getting data feeds for many different countries, (2) rationalizing players who compete in multiple countries, and (3) handling isolated pools of players. We have a hard enough time at TRN with these issues - and we only use tournaments from the USTA and ITF.

    We have had several conversations with the Universal Tennis (http://www.universaltennis.com/) folks over the years. They are great guys, and their goal is to have common ratings that can use any match result - junior, private club, high school, open, college, adult, professional, whatever - and combine them to produce a single rating. As they say on their site, Federer is a Level 16, and all of us would have ratings from 1-16 as well. With those ratings in place, tournament directors could host tournaments where there would be draws segregated by rating rather than age. The idea is that segregating by rating would limit the lopsided 6-0, 6-0 matches.

    The USTA discussed these ratings in their annual meeting and say that they would like to support Universal Tennis Ratings, but I don't know how much progress they have made so far. They've been around for a while, but they (obviously) have massive data challenges.
     
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  12. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    One last thing... I knew that this plan was inspired by thoughts on the Talk Tennis Board, but I did not remember that it was tennis5...


    Thanks again for your thoughts... Again, I don't have a time frame here, but this is now on our roadmap.

    Best regards,
    Dallas
     
    #12
  13. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I think your website is excellent and very well done. Not just the rankings but the super content.

    Those who want the ages shown likely "may" not be satisfied with the voluntary age thing. They are into measuring their kid verses the competition and if their kid is young for his class, this variable when unseen will drive them nuts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
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  14. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    As for displaying ages, I know that our proposal is not what some have hoped for, but displaying personally-identifying information (like birthdate) is a huge red flag that opens up liability, and age is close enough to birthdate that we should stay away from it. Allowing players/parents to opt in at least addresses the problem - and hopefully there will be some social pressure to actually opt in.

    Best,
    Dallas
     
    #14
  15. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I like the direction you are heading Dallas. I have been pushing for age for a few years now. Maybe just in quarters if they do not want to put the birthdate.

    I agree that peer pressure might cause most parents to opt in.
     
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  16. BSPE84

    BSPE84 Semi-Pro

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    Hard to see how there would be an improvement if age input is optional and incomplete. GIGO.
     
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  17. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Dallas,
    Your ranking has enough clout at this point that you can even omit players without verifyable ages. Or you can have age column and put "not-confirmed". Can you actually obtain ages of the players through USTA? Nobody has an issue to provide birth date to USTA but they do not display it. So you can obtain it and provide secondary ranking by age. You do not have to display birthdate but you will use it to build this secondary ranking.
    Just some ideas.
     
    #17
  18. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    If a player suddenly moves from the age 15 ranking one month to the age 16 ranking list the next month, I wonder if anyone will be able to figure out the player's birth month. :)
     
    #18
  19. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I still am missing how providing a generic age would be more liability than listing the places they live, showing pictures, giving their names, and all the tournaments they have played and are likely to play again. So a bad person could find them if he wanted to....but at least they do not know their age within a few months? Lawyers, strange how they think.
     
    #19
  20. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Obviously you can do the same thing now using USTA ranking. Are they being sued for that? TR can provide quarterly ranking, not monthly. And Itf actually just displays birthdates for everyone to see.
     
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  21. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    We don't want to do that - one of the reasons coaches like our website is because it is as complete as we can make it - all players show up on the lists. If we omit some players, coaches will grumble mightily.

    We actually still do this today at TennisInformation.com. TI.com uses the exact same rankings but filters by age rather than by graduation year.

    http://www.tennisinformation.com/rank/recruiting.asp

    That was something we did before we launched TRN.

    Note that we don't want to bring this kind of thing over to TRN... ranking by age is something that the USTA does, and we do not want to compete with the USTA. If the USTA ever made a beef about TI.com, we would probably just shut it down.
     
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  22. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    What USTA does and what Tennis Information does is not by age like the OP wants to do. It is by age division. Kids could be 9 and play in the 12s, or they could be heading towards 13.

    The OP is talking about doing what most of us want, using actual age in the rankings.
     
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  23. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    With regard to these two issues...

    A couple of points...

    (1) Relationship

    We do not have a relationship with many of the players who have profiles on our website. Kids/families who play in USTA or ITF tournaments have a relationship with those organizations - and so they have explicit policies about what data they can show. (I still can't believe that the ITF shows birthdates, but that is not my call.)

    (2) Data at TRN

    So... what data do we show for people with whom we have no relationship?

    We have been advised that we are on solid ground assuming that when a player competes in a tournament and the name, hometown, and match results shows up in the public domain, that data is public. If you find a player who has no relationship with us, we show just that basic information - as well as some analysis (rankings, etc.) that is derived solely from that basic information.

    If a player/family has a problem with the data we are showing, they can ask us to remove the player from the system. In that case, the player's name shows up in his opponents' results, but his profile is wiped completely from our system - no hometown, no results, no nothing. We have only had two people request to be removed in the history of TRN - our policy is that we do not bring back a profile once it has been wiped out.

    All other data - photos, high school, etc. - comes from players that have entered information into our system, and so those are players with whom we have a relationship. We are back on solid ground there.


    Maybe I'm just rambling... but those are some of the thoughts that go into our policies.

    Best regards,
    Dallas
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
    #23
  24. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    Got it.

    My $0.02 is that using age - or other factors - in the ranking system makes the job more difficult.

    The data problem is hard enough when you are just using basic wins and losses. We spend enormous time and resources getting our match data to be as accurate as possible, and we still get complaints from people because of errors.

    Getting reliable ages for everyone is difficult. And if age actually factored into the ranking system, then that would be ANOTHER piece of data that would need to be solid. The more data that you use in the system - scores, round of tournament, whatever - the bigger your headaches are. And believe me, we feel like we have plenty of headaches already!

    Best,
    Dallas
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
    #24
  25. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Parents like to see ranking and ratings(stars) by age too. It is not fair for older kids for age to get higher ranking and stars than the younger ones. If ranking and star rating on TRN attract interests from college coaches, it would be more fair to show both by graduation year and age. In fact, age (if not intentionally lie) is not changed overtime like graduation year. I saw old posts and heard of parents plan on holding(or lying) kids back a grade (to manipulate the ranking and stars). How sad it is.....Noone should hold smart kids back!
     
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  26. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Sorry for the typos. I mean older kids for GRADE can have higher ranking and stars thank younger ones.
     
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  27. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    ITF shows players DOBs for all to see, both on player's page and sometimes on tournament acceptance lists for younger players. For example:
    http://www.itftennis.com/juniors/players/player.asp?player=100097526

    Yes, we are trying to come up with more work for you without any financial benefits but potentially with additional headaches. But sooner or later you will have to deal with age issue just to maintain the validity of your rankings.
     
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  28. TennisFan2Day

    TennisFan2Day Rookie

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    Like Dallas said, you can find age rankings in the tennisinformation.com website if that is what you are looking for.

    As far as being fair, in ITF tournaments if you have a January birthdate you are golden and if you have a December birthdate you are screwed.

    You have to remember that certain parents will continue to manipulate any system by holding their kids back in school. There is currenly a Blue Chip in the 2013 class that was a high 5 star in the 2012 class last year. This has been going on in football and basketball for years, it is just now catching up in tennis. It will get worse with the new rules that require a player to enter college within 6 months of graduation without losing a year of eligibility.
     
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  29. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Those rankings are by age division, not actual age. Big difference. Rankings by age division have always been available. The goal is to make it someday common place for age to be factored in and prevent what you describe in your last paragraph. Those who do not provide birthdate information get an * by their ranking saying 'age not verified'.
     
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  30. TennisFan2Day

    TennisFan2Day Rookie

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    Do you see an * next to anybody's name in scout.com or rivals.com for football or basketball? You won't because you are only as good as your competition in your graduating class, regardless of age.

    Once you go to college and you play in the #4 spot, age will not mean anything. You might be an 18 year old Freshman playing a 23 year old Senior.

    The best thing that any junior player can do is play up. College coaches want to see how you hold up under pressure against a player 2 years older than you. If you are only worried about how well you play against players your own age then you will never succeed in college or after that.

    Our son is young in his graduating year, we have learned to live with it over the years. He is a Blue Chip and isn't having any problems getting coaches to notice him. He doesn't even look at his ranking.

    Remember that TR is a tool to mainly help college coaches, not for parents to worry about if their kid is playing an older player. College coaches can see a player's date of birth in their profile if a player puts it in there.
     
    #30
  31. BSPE84

    BSPE84 Semi-Pro

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    If I understand you right, a ranking comprised of two groupings (*'s with non *'s) would not make any sense. Defeats the purpose.

    As Dallas has indicated in the past and I agree, the folks who are asking for age inclusion in the current system are misusing the tool.
     
    #31
  32. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    double post
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
    #32
  33. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    double post
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
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  34. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I think some posters have missed the point. Its to start another system, not augment TRN. And yes, this system would be more for tennis fanatics....who is the best 13 year old? The best 11 year old? Its not really a college recruiting tool.

    The * thing would be if TRN ever decided to post by ages also. Different topic and different discussion than the original of this thread. Peer pressure might cause more parents to provide ages. Even Dallas said they are considering doing something with ages.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
    #34
  35. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    #35
  36. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    Again, those are age division rankings. Not age rankings based on birthdate the OP wants to do. Big difference.

    It could work. If you have a list of the 'best' 13 year olds with little pictures and blurbs about the players and some tennis parent thinks their kid is better, they might participate. Basically it would be the list of the best kids at each age whose parents are willing to supply the birthdate information. Peer pressure and wanting to be included might draw more parents to the site.

    It would not be for college recruiting, more for tennis fans, kids, parents. Could be cool and spark some debate of the rankings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
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