Guideline for Sandbaggers

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by robert, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I do agree with you about being dq'ed. My point is about it being fair is this. If I go out and I join a AA-3 team, I should have enough common sense to know what I'm getting myself into. I have yet to see a 3.0 playing in this league. I know that not only will my raiting be AA-3, I will move up if the team wins. So they are basically allowing you to rate yourself at the beginning. I think it works well. I have scores of friends that the whole team plays like a-9 and B-1. You never see those players playing with my other friends that play a-1 and AA.

    I think that is better than me going out and say losing x amount of matches to guys by a break and having a below .500 record and getting bumped(which I've seen that happen) versus a guy that went 10-0 and didn't get bumped(I've seen this). Everyone body wants to throw around loose terms like dynamic rating and what not, but nobody can explain how the above happened. So it tends to tick people off.

    I don't have a problem with fees. I have a problem with what I think are excessive fees. If I can play basically 4 leagues for 20 or 25 bucks, I don't see why I should have to pay more money for the registration fee and then still have to pay per league. They aren't maintaining any courts. The various subdivisions take care of their own courts and furthermore, most of the tennis that is played in usta is played on the same courts as Alta. So that's why I'm very careful of what teams I play with. It has to be friends because playing with a bunch of Aholes would make it much worse.


     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  2. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    I really don't get wound up playing sandbaggers...infact, I like it. I have nothing to lose. Over the years, the guys that I thought were sandbaggers, I eventually beat most of them. So things have a way of turning around if you just give it time and stop complaining. I played a guy last year in 4.0 state in ga that was hitting second serves down the T and hitting the fence on the fly if you didn't catch it. He was about 22 and was getting his rocks off. I was cool with it. I just made sure the next time I got a hold of a guy that didn't belong, I ripped his @ss into so many pieces that if we had thrown them into the river, the fish wouldn't have found them. lol So things have a way of going around and around. That guy will get to the sectionals and get his(assuming they won state).

     
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  3. spot

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    The rule LITERALLY is that you may not play stronger pairs below weaker pairs. Maybe you should take a look at the rules before you say what the rules are.

    That is the real issue. There isn't much of a way to police it except for using the movement rules. Again this is why I wish that ALTA would start to give people an individual rating. In playoffs there are stricter rules about who can play what line but its based only on what line you played in the regular season. (losing badly at line 1 always gives you a higher ranking than winning easily at line 2) I think it would be more effective if you had an individual rating that spanned several seasons.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    ALTA basically works like a promotion/relegation league. Teams are easier to form so they move up if they do well and move down if they struggle. Teams stay together for years- our team started at B6 and over the last 6 years we have added people and moved up. We added enough people that we have split twice and now all 3 teams practice and basically operate together. So from that B6 team we now have a AA1, a AA4, and an A5 team. But when we started the team we had guys who had been playing for just a few months on the same team as guys who played in college which never could have happened in USTA. Neighborhoods can have any group of people form a team if they like playing together even if they have wildly different skillsets.

    The women's team has moved up from C2 all the way to A1 and it is the same thing. (splitting just once... that was not as graceful as the men's team splitting) But once again its a team that never could have been formed in USTA because the levels were too different in the beginning. Alta makes it dramatically easier to form teams and keep them together which should be the point of playing recreational tennis. So many of our best friends are through tennis and I just roll my eyes at how USTA does it. I do hate it that ALTA treats a guy who played D1 as a beginner if he has never played ALTA before.

    It actually is rather easy to manipulate the roster rules of ALTA, but because there are no nationals then there really isn't as much incentive to game the system. Why have no fun for 7 weeks of the regular season just so you can do well in 3 weeks of playoffs?
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  5. OrangePower

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    Bingo.

    I've never played ALTA (I'm in Norcal), but I've played in the past a similar team promotion/relegation based league. It had no playoff at all, just a regular season. Top teams in each level at the end of the regular season get promoted (as a team), bottom teams get relegated. Since there was no postseason, the whole point was to get competitive team matches in the regular season, and to end up (as a team) at the right level for the team where that's going to be the case.

    Since there was no ratings of individual players, there were some outliers - players much stronger or weaker than the average at that level. But at the team level that would even out; most teams had all the guys more or less the same, but some teams had more spread between the stronger guys and the weaker guys. If you ended up playing someone weaker/stronger, so be it and no complaints.

    All in all it worked great; good tennis, emphasis on team wins rather than individual wins, and no rating algorithms to worry about :)

    But then again, most people want playoffs and nationals :neutral:
     
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  6. goober

    goober Legend

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    I actually think it is a minority of teams that want sectionals and nationals. In most leagues only 2-3 teams are in contention for playoffs. A lot of times it is a foregone conclusion before the season even starts who is going to win. These are the teams that engage in 90% the sandbagging, throwing matches and everything they can do to regulate their ratings.
     
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  7. spot

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    This is the best way for me to explain why nationals are a bad idea. I think that most of us can agree that having a national championship for 2.5 tennis is sort of ridiculous. An award for being the best terrible tennis players in the nation? There is no doubt that the team that wins 2.5 would do just fine at 3.0 but they were simply the team that managed their levels the best.

    But when you think about it every other level is the same. Its not that you are the best at anything other than being able to manage your ratings the best to keep good players from being bumped up. I really don't see the point and I think it causes a TON of problems across USTA tennis. Teams have to decide if they want to stack a team to try and make a run at nationals and they build a team differently than the rest of the teams in the league. Get rid of that incentive and teams would be built more with the regular season in mind which would make things run smoother all the way around.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  8. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I think you are exaggerating this a bit. It is probably true that the winning teams are known before the start of the season for the most part, but this doesn't necessarily mean those teams are "cheating". I was currently just on a playoff bound combo team, and will be on 2 40+ playoff bound teams. Out of those teams, one is on the marginal side, but in the case of the other 2 there is none of this activity. It is much more fun to win then lose so in general good players are attracted to winning teams.
     
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  9. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I completely agree with this, but for some strange reason the concept of having a winning team is fun. I've been personally going through this thought experiment recently as I am an unintentional C rated sandbagger who played much higher levels when I was younger and in shape. It might be fun going far in the playoffs, but at the end of the day making it a long way into the playoffs at a level 2-3 notches down from you old level is kind of depressing in some ways.
     
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  10. OrangePower

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    It's kinda funny that you made these two posts one after the other, because there are some ironic juxtapositions there:

    The teams you are on are 'legit', and yet you are a self-admitted sandbagger (albeit unintentional).

    It's more fun to win than to lose, but it's depressing making a deep playoff run 2-3 notches down from your old or goal level.

    Not accusing you or your teams of cheating, but it's clear that the system attracts some teams and players who are motivated by making playoff runs rather than enjoying a competitive regular season, but then at the end of the day winning at a lower level ends up feeling kinda hollow for many.
     
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  11. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    The teams that I play on are legit, as I am a computer rated player who did not intentionally control my rating. The teams that I mentioned that aren't marginal are 4.5 teams. The marginal team is not related to me but other things.

    Yes, the whole thing is a bit ironic for me though. This is not cheating or even ethically wrong as I really am playing within the system, but I hate the concept of sand-bagging, and hate wasting my time.
     
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  12. chatt_town

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    Yea, whatever, they have yet to take one plate back from anyone for doing it and you know just like I do it goes on...so the rule is useless. It would be useless even if were individual ratings...that's how the whole thread started. USTA hasn't figured out how to stop it so how do you expect Alta to? I think it's just going to boil down to what you are willing to deal with...I can deal and work with both...but I like Alta rules better even though they aren't perfect. They are a hell of a lot more transparent.

    I've heard people talk about one of the Jensen brothers playing alta and talking about how he played something less than AA. I honestly don't know how true that was but the reality is this. Plenty of people are going to sandbag...no matter how you set the rules up. The thing I think one has to be able to accept is can they look themselves in the mirror.


     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  13. chatt_town

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    Spot, you are right about this....100 percent. It's a waste of time because at the end of the day, the only way you can win nationals is to game the system. You think about it...If you ever play the Ga State at say 4.0.....or are just able to be there at the finals. Look at the teams and tell me those guys are really 4.0 players....and that is at the state level...now you take that to the sectional winners...wow...no telling what kind of so called 4.0's are playing there. So I won't even discuss Nationals. I know what I ran into in Rome last year and it was not pretty but I'm also not going to complain. :) It's not that serious to me. I have a choice...either get better or run to the 40's league(which I did).lol I'm sure I'll get my @$$ handed to me some there as well but it won't be as often and I certainly won't have to see second serves hitting the T and then the fence on a regular basis.lol

     
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  14. chatt_town

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    Goober is right. I'd be willing to bet that 90 percent if not all of the teams that get to sectionals and nationals have players that are far better than the level they are suppose to be playing at. It's no getting around that. It's pretty much the only way you can win.

    To show you how screwed up the system is. I remember when i first started. It not only left a bad taste in our mouth about what happened to our team, we watched a mixed team go to Nationals and lose in the finals(hardly anyone got bumped and a few got bumped down). They went back to nationals the next year and won the nationals and none of them got bumped. that is some serious gaming of the system going on some way. That happened.

     
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  15. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    You are right. And many times these players are bumped up at the end of the year confirming they are now better than the level they played at the previous year. But unless you are going to DQ any player that improves during the year and plays better than they are "supposed" to for their level, this is unavoidable.

    Certainly, there are players that self-rate and manage their rating, or manage their rating the previous year to stay down a level, but there are also a lot of players that simply dedicate themselves to practicing/playing more and improve naturally and their level of play goes up. Of course it is teams with these players that are going to do well in local league, playoffs, sectionals, and nationals. This is going to be particularly true at 3.0 and 3.5, and even 4.0, as there is ample room for rapid improvement if someone dedicates themselves to doing so.

    But it is certainly possible to do well and go to Nationals without gaming the system or having an entire roster playing above level. I was on a 3.5 team that went to Nationals and finished 4th in 2011 and only about half our roster was bumped up. We had 2 self-rated players but only one of them was bumped at the end of the year. And we only had one player on the roster that had been bumped down from 4.0 the prior year. We were also all from the same club, not cherry picked from other teams/clubs in our area.

    Now, our captain did hand pick the best 3.5s from our club, and we made a concerted effort to have regular team practices and play more, and several of us played up at 4.0 which provided better competition and helped us improve our games. But we did not game the system nor do anything to manage ratings in any questionable way.

    So it is certainly possible to do well and go to Nationals without gaming the system or violating the spirit of the rules. But the players on the team do need to improve during the year and play very well for their level, perhaps even above their level to do so.

    Well, the problem here is that it is likely that these players played mens/womens league too, not just mixed. So their rating and lack of being bumped is based on their play in these leagues, not the mixed league. So if someone wants to game the system, they play poorly in mens/womens so they can stack a mixed team and doing well at mixed doesn't get them bumped up.

    Might this happen? Sure, but it is also possible that some players just do well at mixed and the nature of the system not using mixed results is unable to reflect that in their rating.
     
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  16. spot

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    I don't think that it would be useless if there were individual ratings. USTA has a problem because people have SO MUCH incentive to game the system. There is a massive difference between levels and if you get bumped then often you have to find a new team. For ALTA an individual rating would be a source of pride and would pretty much only be about making the lineup. For self rates there would be virtually no reason to underrate since your rating would only count as 10% of the team. In most situations then underrating by a level wouldn't even move the team up at all. Certainly the risks of getting the player DQ'd would mean that people would be better off overrating rather than underrating.

    THe big thing is that if a team was getting killed at line 1 and rolling at line 2 then eventually the system would make those line 1 players move down the lineup. THat would be a huge step.
     
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  17. chatt_town

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    At the end of the day though, you pretty much have to stack a team to get passed state at 4.0 and above. I remember for about 3 years we were the laughing stock of the 4 teams. The other teams were basically 4.5 guys that were playing down in 4.0 for various reasons. Some of them had laid out for a while...some gamed the system at 4.5 and got moved back down etc....I've played at enough states to know this. The teams that win "most" of the time have players that are playing below their level and most are managing their scores and rating. Your team may not have but I've seen tons of teams that do.


     
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  18. chatt_town

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    I don't understand. How do you figure there is a big difference in the levels in USTA. You have basically 3.0 3.5...4.0 4.5 etc..In alta you have everything from c-9 all the way to AA-1 30 something different levels.

    Also, what makes you think the incentive isn't there. You know just as I do people take that Alta just as serious as they do USTA and some take it more serious.


     
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  19. spot

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    USTA has basically 4 functional levels. 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5. With only 4 levels their own algorithm is set up so that the top 4.0 could double bagel the weakest 4.0 player. That is a HUGE level and 4.5 is a massive jump. I greatly prefer ALTA's method where there are more levels because teams don't jump through hoops to avoid moving up 1 level. People DO NOT WANT to move up in USTA (at least for guys...) because getting bumped sucks. In ALTA no one cares about moving up a level.

    In USTA for Atlanta teams there are 7 rounds of regular season and at least 15 rounds of playoffs to get to nationals. It makes sense for teams to jump through whatever hoops are necessary to go that far. In ALTA there are 7 weeks of playoffs and just 3 weeks of playoffs. Teams do game the system but nowhere near the level that they do for USTA. ALTA is trivially easy to game the system if you wish to- you can take all the line 1 players from every team a single level below you and add them for free. If there were a "nationals" for alta there would be FAR more incentive to stack a team.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
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  20. goober

    goober Legend

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    I find the concept of good and bad players in an artificially stratified ranking system rather arbitrary. If you have a 3.99 rating you are a good 4.0 player. If you are a 4.01 you are a bad 4.5 player. In reality they are the same player. Good players are not attracted to winning teams, players who put a high priority on winning are attracted to winning teams. Many of these "good" players are actually bad players at their proper higher level. But they like playing at the lower level because it is fun to win as you put it.
     
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  21. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I think I agree with everything you are saying about the system, but just don't believe that people and teams are conspiring to control their ratings that much. I am guessing it does happen, but not to the degree people seem to think. What I know is happening is teams are formed around people around the same level, and there is an extra incentive for teams to be formed around the top of the range.

    In terms of ratings though I also don't fully believe they are completely artificial. Their are actually playing characteristics which seem to form a delineation to some degree. I think this also leads to some false characterizations as sometimes (a lot of times), people that look like they can play really can't. This seems to be especially true at the 4.0 level. At the higher end their seem to be players who have good strokes, but in match situations completely over hit.
     
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  22. spot

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    Says the person with 29 posts.
     
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  23. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Take a look at this post from a few months ago where I analyzed a player accused of manipulating their rating. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=6981755&postcount=50

    While it isn't black and white obvious that the fall league matches are used to manipulate a rating down, it is awfully suspicious that for two consecutive years the players worst results, all well below his average for the year and current dynamic rating, were in the fall league in matches played right before year-end ratings come out.
     
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  24. gameboy

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    I don't know why people get so worked up by sandbagging. You get to play against a good player. What is so bad about that?

    Who cares about regionals and nationals? Only people who sandbag care about that. Just have fun in your league and leave the playoffs to the cheaters. It is so much less stressful that way. Just let the cheaters have their (ultimately meaningless) trophy.
     
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  25. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    Sorry, I forgot that the metric for knowledge about tennis was posting on this forum.
     
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  26. spot

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    When you didn't know what it meant to be a benchmark player made it seem like you are pretty new to league tennis.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
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  27. anubis

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    Some people only care about moving up in levels. They care about the prestige of post-season play. They want to compete at the highest levels. So when they play against someone clearly superior to them, someone who -- under normal circumstances -- wouldn't even be playing at that level, they feel like they "missed" their opportunity in an unfair manner.

    The very nature of USTA means that you're good at your level, can slaughter those under you, and have difficulties with those above you. People masquerading as being lower in rank than they really are are absolutely giving people a chance to face tougher-than-normal opponents. Yes, I agree that people should look at it as an opportunity to really test your strengths and expose your weaknesses. But unfortunately, it's not look at like that.

    Even I, who agree with you, would probably be seriously miffed if I lost an opportunity to succeed in the post season due to a sand-bagger. I would be so at first, but later on, after I cooled down, I'd probably look at it as a good learning experience.
     
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  28. chatt_town

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    I agree with this 100 percent. :) That's why I enjoy Alta more. USTA just sucks money out of you and actually the better the team, the more money you get sucked out of.


     
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  29. goober

    goober Legend

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    LOL@ USTA post season prestige factor. It is right up there with job, where you live and went to school. :) I know I get a tingly feeling all over when I get to play with someone wearing a 3.5 nationals T-shirt.
     
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  30. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I am a 40+ year old 30 pound overweight guy with a busy career and 2 relatively small kids which take up a lot of my time. My best tennis is long in the past and I am playing to get back into shape and enjoy my time in the sun.

    I admittedly don't know the exact rating rules and for the most part don't care. I am currently on a few strong playoff bound teams and know they don't game the system. The other strong teams we have played are admittedly strong, but don't have 5.0s masquerading as 4.0s. In truth I wouldn't care if they did, or foot faulted, got a drink of water at the wrong time, or even had the nerve to go to the bathroom during the match. IMHO these are all lousy excuses for loosing, but don't really compare to I lost because my opponent was unfairly better than me.
     
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  31. spot

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    Playoffs are a different world from the regular season. Let us know when you get to playoffs and do face teams that are willing to game the system.
     
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  32. chatt_town

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    Exactly, they will end up getting their @$$ handed to them if they themselves aren't gaming the system and it's USTA.

     
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  33. gameboy

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    That statement makes no sense whatsoever. The "highest level" you can compete is at an open level. You can also compete at a higher level by just moving up. The Nationals is not about competing at the highest level at all. It is just about stroking egos.

    This about as ridiculous as a winner at 6ft and under only height competition saying he is the tallest guy around.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
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  34. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

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    really? there are numerous posts by Cindyspinx who, per her own admission, participates in many USTA leagues, advanced to National, etc - and yet she rarely, if ever, claims that sandbagging is so widespread...
     
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  35. dizzlmcwizzl

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    To be fair to the Sphinx ... I genuinely believe that sandbagging is more of a dude thing.

    All the women I know want to move up ... no women I know are looking to stay down for a few wins. I believe most of the women I know would rather be poor 4.0's rather than dominant 3.5's.
     
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  36. chatt_town

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    I think what they are trying to say is they expect to be playing the level of players that they signed up to play. You are right in that Nationals is about stroking egos and that's why people game the system. It's really a waste of money and time(off of jobs..etc). The futher you go the better the players have to be. I don't buy this stuff of players getting "better" as the season goes on and that's why they are in nationals.

    They are there because they have kick @$$ 4.5's playing in a 4.0 division. I remember when they did that here. We were probably in our second year as 4.0's and had to play like 4 other teams with a group of 4.5 teams. The team that ended up winning even got their @$$ torn out at sectionals because the teams they played were better sandbaggers. I play it some here and there but would much better prefer the singles leagues that are here as well as Alta in Atlanta. The rules are pretty much set. You know what you are getting yourself into when you sign up. You will see from time to time...4.5's or even open players running into 3.5's or maybe 3.0's depending on the lineup and team. I can live with that much better than USTA. I don't run into it nearly as much in Alta as I do USTA and I guess it's because as someone said that there is more motivation to do it in USTA because of reaching Nationals, but I still say people take a lot of pride in Alta, I've heard as many as 70,000 people play it. Outside of the few @holes that you will run into from time to time...it's been a great experience for me. I have friends all over Atlanta now. I know more tennis folks down there than the tennis people that live there because I've played all over. :)


     
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  37. chatt_town

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    More women are in denial about their games as well. That's why you see more women crying and complaining about men hitting at them in 8.0 mixed. They want to say they are playing 8.0 but they don't want to deal with the heat that may come(4.5 guys) at them.

    How many guys do you hear complaining about a forehand getting drilled at them at the net? Many of the women I've seen they can't volley for **** but they want to play with the strongest man they can find so they don't have to volley much and just guard the alley.

     
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  38. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I'm with you.

    If we were talking about playing in a league where a large money purse was involved, then I'd understand the reaction against "cheaters" and sandbaggers.

    But we're not. We're talking about playing for pride at the end of the day.

    Personally, I think some players need to re-examine their priorities in life if they work hard to sandbag others in a tennis league or are overly upset with those who do sandbag.

    And if a reason to be concerned about sandbagging includes having to travel an hour or so just to play tennis and get sandbagged, then one can make the simple choice to not drive an hour or so to participate with cheaters.

    Life can really be simple at times.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
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  39. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I waited for playoffs and in fact Districts and Sectionals to comment on this. I have also been hearing all year from people about all the people gaming the system the further you make it into playoffs and that the level of play is .5 points higher. In my case this was not even close to true. My opponents have clearly been at the top of the range (or slightly higher), but I didn't see any 5.0s masquerading as 4.0s.

    My 4.5+ team lost pretty closely in districts and given slightly different availability might have been able to win, and my 4.0 team is currently in Sectionals and is somewhat likely to lose at this level but partially based on ability and not on a huge margin. In our case, I can say for certain there was no self rated players or gaming of the system.
     
    #89
  40. coyote

    coyote Rookie

    Joined:
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    My observation is if you ain't cheatin' you ain't winnin'

    All of the best teams have questionable players and those questionable players have questionable results.
     
    #90
  41. Gut4Tennis

    Gut4Tennis Hall of Fame

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    actually all you need to do is get to sectionals without being DQ and your good. They never DQ you once you made sectionals and at least played 1 match. The reason is too many problems with other people calling the section and complaining that if the person was DQed earlier then this team or that team should be at sectionals instead. ya da ya da ya da
     
    #91
  42. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Yeah my experience at 40's 4.5+ districts was same as yours. Most of the players were at top of level, and of course 4.5+ legally allows for a couple of 5.0s on each team, but no sandbagging as far as I could tell. Actually I don't think there were any self-rated 4.5s (that I can remember)... all the players whose records I bothered to look up had at least a few season's worth of results and a legit computer rating.
     
    #92
  43. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

    Joined:
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    I really liked the 4.5+ all the way through the regular season as well as post season. We had some very competitive teams locally as well as at districts. Almost every match in this division was fun. As a non 5.0 singles player I didn't like the format but I think the 5.0 aspect made it more enjoyable in general. I plan to be at a 5.0 level next year so maybe I won't mind this as much then.

    I just checked the scores this weekend and it looks like the 2 singles spot where I played has been in general pretty even through all the matches with most of them being close. I had two great matches at district both going to a tie breaker for the 3rd set. More importantly my opponents all the way through at this level were very cool and I had no off court issues.

    I can't say the same for the 4.0. There were a few questionable players but none of them was a half level up with the possible exception of me. Most of the people there would be non-competitive at 4.5. The top couple guys would probably be mid level at best. I will be really glad when I get bumped up because the 4.0 off court antics are way too much for me.
     
    #93
  44. coyote

    coyote Rookie

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    Our 40s 4.0 league was deeper but few self rated out of level players. There was only 1 and he was not sick out of level. There were no easy weeks.
     
    #94
  45. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Sep 7, 2007
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    Location:
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    Be the league coordinator of the area you play USTA tennis in.
     
    #95

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