How many sandbaggers do we really have?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by gameboy, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    We love talking about sandbaggers around here. Check that, we obsess about sandbaggers. But how big of a problem is it really?

    Since tennisleaguestats.com has a nice set of data that I can use, I decided to see if I can deduce sandbaggers from this dataset.

    I chose data from 4 different areas (Northwest Washington, Baltimore, Manhattan, and Dallas - sorry, I only looked at men). Selected all people who self-rated (if you are computer rated, by definition, you are correctly rated - sure, some people can "manage" their ratings, but that is really difficult to do over time) and see if the have tendencies to under-rate or over-rate themselves. I compared the ratings level these self-raters played in 2013 against what TLS determined their proper ratings should be.

    And here are the results.

    In general, people select the correct ratings for themselves. Within all the areas that I looked at 64% of the people ended up with TLS level equaling their current USTA level.

    If anything, people have tendencies to over-rate themselves. 27% ended up with TLS level that is lower than their current USTA level.

    Out of all of these people (785 total) only 68 (8.7%) people can be considered sandbaggers. If you eliminate those who were within .1 of their correct rating, that number gets down to only 42 (5.4%).

    I think you can safely deduce that sandbagging is not pervasive and certainly not a huge problem in USTA leagues in general.
     
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  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I have no reason to doubt your numbers, but even if true they totally support the Forum threads.

    By your numbers one out of 19 matches will be against a sandbagger. Of course no one is going to start a thread about the eighteen matches that were appropriate. You remember (and comment on) the one match that kept you from advancing. In addition, by definition the percentage of these mismatches occurring in the semis and finals will be amplified, thus becoming even more egregious.
     
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  3. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps, but that one match you lost is more than compensated by the two or three matches against over-rated players. So, you really have no standings to complain.

    Once you get to the sectionals and district, all bets are off as your own team has sandbaggers.
     
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  4. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    yeah, some teams have better players than others.

    truth
     
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  5. tennis4josh

    tennis4josh Rookie

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    1. There are far more sore losers in the league than the sandbaggers.
    2. There is far more sandbagging happening among computer rated players than the self rated players.
    3. If you see a player who has self-rated below his/her skill level, then 9 out of 10 times his/her captain is to blame. Generally the self-rated players are new to the league and don't know much about how ratings work. Obviously they want to do better and secure their place in the team. My observation is that these new players tend to overestimate their abilities and given a chance would actually rate higher than their real ability. Also think about it from the team's perspective. The teams welcome "new' players who can win matches for them. So when you see a self-rated sandbagger blame the captain and not the player.
    4. The fact is that you cannot advance to post season without so called sandbaggers. It's ironic when people complain about getting destroyed by sandbaggers in a playoffs match.

    -Josh
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
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  6. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    For the last three years I obsessed with self rated players in the postseason and sandbagging in general. I obsessed because I knew I was a legal 4.0 and very near getting bumped into obscurity. I wanted a shot at plastic trophy glory and every year at sectionals every other team brought between 2 and 10 self rated players.

    Now that I am bumped ... I know I am not going to get to go to nationals any time soon. Even if I somehow manage to find my way onto a team that does advance in playoff .... I will never be a heavy contributor.

    With all that being said, I could care less about sandbaggers now. Actually I enjoy playing really good players. There is a lot of angst that was lifted from my shoulders once I came to the conclusion that I was no longer a big fish in the 4.0 pond.

    It just does not really matter in the grand scheme of things.
     
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  7. emilyhex

    emilyhex Rookie

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    I appreciate the whole sandbagging aspect of the game. Just being able to accuse someone of being a "ringer" adds a social nuance and special quality to the sport.

    But not sure I agree with OPs methodology for identifying ringers. I think josh makes a good point about there being computer rated players who throw matches, although not sure I agree with him about there being "far more" than self-rates. It's a good question of how many there are.
     
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  8. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    OK, a couple comments about this:

    1. Your basic premise is correct - sandbagging is not pervasive at all among self-rated players in general. Most people just want to sign up and play competitively and aren't thinking about the Holy Paperweight.
    2. The problem is when just a couple sandbaggers are the difference between one team or another making districts/sectionals/nationals. Sandbagging becomes MORE of an issue the further you go through the playoffs.
    3. There are far more people whining about sandbaggers than actual sandbaggers. My favorite are the people who define sandbaggers as "anyone better than I am at this level" as if the cutoff for the level should be right at them and they should be the best player in the league.
    4. Part of the true sandbagger's arsenal is ratings management. Your analysis will not pick up the most skillfull ones who are not only out of level but also are managing their ratings. The people who are 0.1 or more off of their self-rating level are either DQ'd or about to be. true sandbaggers are more careful than that.
     
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  9. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    Agree with everything you said here, in the end, I prefer playing well to playing badly and I play better against better players. Playing at 4.5 lets me play good competitive matches that make me feel I played well, win or lose. Over the long run, this is the way to improve I think.
     
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  10. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    And ratings management is not limited to self-rated players either. Again, it isn't a high percentage of C rated players that do it by any stretch of the imagination, but for the same reasons J_R_B points out, the ones that do stand out and get a lot of complaints.

    And while I haven't implemented a "sandbagger alert" in an automated fashion yet, the data I track for my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings could be used to do so.

    For example, if one were to decide that ratings management is exhibited by wild fluctuations in match ratings, either during a league (throw games during match mid-season to keep rating down), or between different leagues (use fall league to throw matches to get rating down for year-end), where the year-end rating is just below the threshold to be bumped up, I could look for this sort of thing.

    In fact, when presented with accusations of sandbagging in this manner I've looked at an individual's record where my charts show it pretty clearly. See this post to a thread late last year where I used my charts show show a pretty wide range of match ratings and the lowest one's suspiciously being in a fall league. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=6981755&postcount=50
     
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  11. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    actually by his numbers 1 out of 19 matches against a self rated player. a very different proposition than 1 out of 19 matches.
     
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  12. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I am sure "managed" ratings happen, but it is irrelevant since they are indistinguishable to other computer rated players. There are legitimate top of the level guys who have bad days and lose to lower end players. Trying to distinguish them from players who manage ratings is extremely difficult and frankly not even worth worrying about.

    The data is clear. The chances of you facing a sandbagger is extremely small. There were a total of 5260 players in the data. There were only 68 positively identifiable sandbaggers. We are talking about 1% here. The chances of you facing sandbaggers are exceedingly low. Anyone who says sandbagging is a major problem in USTA league is over blowing things.
     
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  13. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    I have a question:

    If a player self rates and plays say 2-3 matches in a league but wins them BADLY, and tls says they are almost 2 levels above where they self rated, when will they get bumped?

    Lets say they end the season and the team doesn't advance to sections/finals so the player joins a NEW team in a NEW season (like a different type of league that's just starting or something). Will the bump occur after the old season ends at nationals? Even if the player is now involved in a new season on a different type of team (at same ntrp level)??


    Hypothetical of course......
     
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  14. goober

    goober Legend

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    Top level people don't lose to lower end players who are effectively a whole level below them even on a bad day. It is actually not hard to distinguish these matches as you make it out to be. Generally there are a couple scenarios where it is pretty obvious. A top level team plays a bottom of the league team and wins 3-2 when they easily should have swept. Their best singles player loses to a senior doubles player in straight sets. Every season after the top team clinches playoffs they suddenly start losing matches that they easily would normally win or just tanking individual matches. The key is if you know the players and you know the teams it is obvious what is happening. Someone looking at it on paper with no knowlegde of the teams or players may not see any redflags.

    While I agree that overall sandbagging is not a huge problem and is probably not a problem for your average player on an average team. It is a problem that almost exclusively sits with the top teams in any league. All you need is a couple sandbaggers to change the outcome of who is going to districts and sectionals.
     
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  15. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    DQs occur after 3 strikes, so there would have to be at least 3 matches. And the timing of the DQ has nothing to do with seasons, other than the 3 strikes must occur within a single USTA league year (roughtly November thru October), it simply happens after the 3rd strike occurs.
     
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  16. J_R_B

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    Also, try to add a correlation between the match rating and the strength of the opponent's team. Presumably, regular results would be a blowout win against a low rated opponent when playing weak teams and a close match against a high rated opponent in the tough matches, both producing roughly similar match ratings. If someone were to take an opportunity to throw matches against teams they were going to beat anyway, then you would see a clear correlation between low match ratings against weak teams and high match ratings against strong teams. I suspect that there will be a little bit of positive correlation in this measure since it is easier to generate a high match rating against a high rated opponent, but there should be some threshold where it becomes a potential indicator of ratings manipulation.
     
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  17. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    My experience (playing at 4.0) has been that there are usually a couple of people that are clearly out of level in each local league. They are often people that grew up outside the US, making their previous tennis experience hard to determine. You can tell by their technique that they have been coached to a degree that most of us hacks have not. They also seem to be playing a 3/4 speed - spinning in serves, playing relaxed, etc. They still usually manage to win almost all of their matches (often with a head-scratching loss thrown in) although by close enough margins that they not only don't get a DQ, they often end up not even getting a year-end bump. Once computer rated you start to see their real skills.

    Everyone knows who they are and they eventually do get bumped and a new batch takes their place. I do agree that most self rated players are legit.
     
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  18. J_R_B

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    We had one guy at 4.0 last year who was a hitting partner for some Argentinian ATP pro. His team tried to hide him in doubles, but he won enough 1 & 2 and 2 & 2 type scores that he eventually got DQ'd anyway just playing doubles. This year, he's a 4.5 B, and these are his results at the next level up:

    singles #1 W 6-0 6-1
    singles #1 W 6-0 6-1
    singles #1 W 6-1 6-1
    singles #1 W 6-0 6-1
    singles #1 W 6-2 6-1

    Why? What fun can this possibly be? These are wins against pretty good players, too.
     
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  19. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    There was a guy in Norcal a few years ago who self-rated at 3.5 in 2008 and played on a 4.0 team. He got DQ'ed which put him to a computer rating of 4.0B for the next year. He then was on the team and went undefeated going to nationals with the same 4.0 team in 2009. At the end of the season he was bumped to 5.5B (I heard something about how he was directly observed at Sectionals of Nationals to be dumping points. He took a couple of years off USTA and played on a 5.5 team later. Is now a 5.0C.

    I agree, what possible fun did this guy have playing at 4.0?
     
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  20. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    To quote TennisMaverrick, 'I haven't had fun playing tennis since I was seven'.
     
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  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I think the problem isn't with the self-rated players. For the ones who are truly at a significantly lower level than they should be, it is usually a vulture captain who tells them they should be on their team and tells them what to rate at. Since the player hasn't played USTA before, he probably doesn't understand the system.
    The real sandbaggers are the computer rated guys who carefully manage their ratings year after year to be able to play a level down to get to the playoffs and maybe nationals. It is almost a cult, with guys calculating their best estimate of how many games they must lose and intentionally dumping matches.
    Almost everyone is in the right division. Not much can be done about the rest. Just don't let those with bad sportsmanship bother you.
     
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  22. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    You make a very salient point. Truth is, even at the professional level, there are players who will go to any length of cheating to win. Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, apparently Alex Rodriguez too and a long list of current players being taken to task even as I write this. It happens in the major leagues, in the NFL, in the NBA, even occasionally in professional tennis. Some people are determined to win even if it means breaking every rule in the book to get in position to do so. As much as I despise that, I'm not really sure what anyone can do about it. The fact is individuals like that exist in every walk of life---see Enron, Bernie Madoff, etc.

    The USTA seeks to weed out players who are playing below level by bumping people up when data indicates they should be, but of course, that also means that some people who should NOT be bumped get caught in the same net and are dragged up unfairly as well. Their complaints are just as valid, I think, as those who point at sandbaggers. And beyond that, any system is only as good as its margin of error. In league play, there are individuals who are very skilled at managing their rating in order to play at the level they desire, even in cases where they clearly should be playing at a higher level.

    And ultimately, don't forget that there IS an element of subjectivity to the whole thing. I am a high benchmarked 4.0 player, and there are some 4.0 players who would beat me consistently by a solid score. I might argue they are clearly playing below level, but not necessarily so. Some of them lose regularly to players no better than me, but who have a different style that gives them particular trouble.

    And there is something to the observation that many of us want to believe that any individual who consistently beats us badly must be playing below his actual skill level. It makes us feel better to believe that, but it is not always the case. I absolutely believe there are more than a few players out there who are doing all they can to manipulate the rating system to benefit themselves. They are finding ways to cheat the system by sidestepping the tracking methods the USTA uses to establish ratings. After all is said and done, though, the system usually catches up with all but a few of these individuals, and I think that is probably all we can ever hope for. I mean, how long did Lance Armstrong get away with his cheating? Yeah, it sucks, but that's life.

    Just play hard, be the best player you can be, and don't obsess over those damaged individuals who MUST win at ANY cost. Privately, they suffer far more than you or I do, I promise you.
     
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  23. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    This is true, but not a great analogy for any cheating that goes on in rec tennis. The motivation for cheating at pro sports level, and in business, is financial. Usually there are millions plus at stake. Not that this justifies cheating by Armstrong, Bonds, etc., but the incentive is clear. Whereas, what is the real incentive of cheating in rec tennis?
     
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  24. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Ego.

    To address another point, there is no such thing as a "high benchmarked 4.0 player" This has been gone over so many times. Benchmark just means the player participated in a championship event. It has no bearing on how good they are.

    Those who play USTA Team tennis and judge others abilities and have a predetermined perception of ability based on rating, may have some heartburn over a whipping or perceived beating that takes place in NTRP matches. i.e. Many NTRP players think that because they are playing other players of like rating all scores should be equal. I used to play in NRTP tournaments where the pro who ran them would not seed. He would proceed to justify that by claiming all NTRP players are equal. Although commonsense tells most of this thats just wrong. Many folks have a misperception of their abilities and ratings.

    The best advice it to just play hard and enjoy.
     
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  25. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    This is only partially true. There certainly are high benchmark players. There are low benchmark players, too. As you said, a B-rating doesn't in itself indicate whether your DNTRP is high or low within your rating level, but it doesn't preclude you from being a high rated player, either.
     
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  26. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    I think people get too worried about what OTHERS are doing. I've been called a sandbagger at 4.0, but I only consider someone a sandbagger if they are intentionally working the system and throwing matches to keep their rating down. If I self rated based on my perception of the Usta ntrp guidelines and it turns out that I am getting really one-sided matches in 4.0, then the computer will bump me up soon. So I would argue that I'm not bagging at all, because I would never lose games intentionally to stay at a level, in fact if anything....I'm trying to NOT lose that 1 or 2 games because I would rather have a 6-0,6-0 than a 6-0, 6-1. (Dunno why but it always feels like you ALMOST had it, when you just lose that one game and you give up the perfect bagels)
     
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  27. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    I agree with this and it's the basis for my dislike of overturning match results for dynamically DQ'd players. If you self-rate yourself honestly, but it turns out too low, and then play honestly and don't manage scores, why should you have results overturned (and thereby "punish" your team for you playing honestly)? The true sandbaggers who are gaming the system will not get DQ'd. The people who get DQ'd are the ones who play honestly but are out of level (usually through no fault of their own). If you're out of level, I'm fine with the midseason DQ and mandatory level change, but you should just move up and play there and that's the end of it. The only scenario where I might agree with overturning results is in the post-season where a sandbagger is more likely to play all out (and thereby generate strikes) because it's required for the team to advance.
     
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  28. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    True. And of course no two players are the same level. The NTRP does not break this down within rating levels. This is where perception and subjective judgement cloud many participants view of what they think should happen when NTRP matches occur.
     
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  29. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I agree that players that honestly answer the questions in the self rate form and who play their matches to the best of their ability are not sandbaggers in the truest sense. But that is only one side of the coin. The other side, which is trickier, is estimating how you would match up against the other players in the level at which you are rating.

    If you self rate at 4.0 with the expectation that you will win 90% of your matches, then you should have self rated at 4.5 - regardless of your previous experience. Your (hypothetical "you") captain probably recognized that you were a "ringer" the first time they saw you play. This is why I support overturning the matches. The captain knew that the player was too good for the level and played them anyway. This threat should discourage captains from taking on DQ risks, although it often ends up having captains try to manage scores to avoid the DQ instead. Even if it was purely innocent, the captain should have recognized after the first two blowouts that the player belonged at a higher level and told them so.
     
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  30. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    The captains who are looking for out of level ringers aren't looking for people to get them past a couple regular season matches until they get DQ'd, they are looking for people that will win them the Holy Paperweight (or at least a trip to Indian Wells). Recruiting people who they know will get DQ'd if they play honestly doesn't achieve this at all.
     
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  31. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Which is exactly why I like a strong penalty (like overturning matches) for DQs...
     
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  32. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    But the ones that are cheating are not the ones that are DQ'd.
     
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  33. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    Actually, there IS such a thing as a high benchmarked 4.0 player---and a low benchmarked 4.0 player. A player who is rated 3.97 would be a high benchmarked 4.0 player. A player rated 3.51 would be a low benchmarked 4.0 player. Based on information I possess from incidents of the past year (which I won't go into here), I can tell you with certainty that I am a high rated 4.0 player. I went to district play the past three years in adult league, so yes, I am also a benchmark player. Therefore, using the commutative property of addition, I am a high benchmarked 4.0 player.

    Yes, I am well aware "benchmark" has nothing to do with the strength of your relative rating. I made my statement based on other verifiable information.

    Sigh.
     
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  34. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    Well---yes, sometimes they are. I have known captains who brought in ringers and simply had them self-rate too low in order to use them to advance in post-season play. You make a valid point, but there is no real way to categorically determine which out-of-level players made an honest mistake and which were attempting to sandbag the system. Both exist and one cannot be distinguished from the other simply based on results. There seems to be no other choice, then, but to go after everyone who is playing out-of-level. And if you don't overturn results of matches they won when playing too low, you are, by default, punishing those at-level players they beat. Clearly, the cheaters hurt all of us and there is really no clear-cut way to stop them without having some collateral damage.

    I still say no player who is self-rated should be able to advance beyond local play. If a man cannot be used in playoffs, he is much less attractive to a scheming captain, and much less likely to try to cheat the system himself. This, too, would not be foolproof, since a player who truly wanted to cheat, could simply throw matches left and right for a year, and come back the following year to try to make his run. The best we can do is try to make cheating so much work and so onerous that it stops being worth the effort.
     
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  35. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Abolish playoffs. Regular season matches and that's it. That will get rid of the cheating.
     
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  36. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    But I think making this change forces the player to commit to the cheating by committing to it for two years. Within our current system it is usually the captain that manipulates a player to start out of level in the short term.
     
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  37. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    This idea is growing on me ... although I still would like to make nationals ... just once.
     
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  38. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    You guys are missing the point. The numbers shows self rated sandbagging is not a big problem and is more than compensated by over raters.

    This is WAY too much angst over 1% problem.

    Just let it go...
     
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  39. goober

    goober Legend

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    Who is having angst? You are reading way too much into what a few posters say. Certainly the ones that post here don't represent the average league player. The only ones that actually care are those teams in the playoff hunt and only a handful of players from those teams actually care- usually the captain and a few others. For those players that care self rated sandbaggers are actually not the big problem IMO because they are subject to DQ all the way through playoffs. The bigger problem are out of level C rated players that manage their ratings so they don't get bumped.

    So yes it happens and yes it only amounts to some players on a few teams. It is not a big deal to the vast majority of league players, it is a big deal to a small minority in their quest for rec level glory. Those types of people tend to post more on message boards about it.
     
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  40. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    What's funny is that the complainers are usually those that are at the top end of their level and so are ****ed that there's someone at the level still better than them and standing in their way of playoff glory.

    Kinda like one goldfish in a bowl being jealous of the other goldfish who is slightly bigger.
     
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  41. storypeddler

    storypeddler Semi-Pro

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    Look---the fact is that a number of us, myself certainly included, love the spirit of competitive tennis. I freely admit that. I play leagues because, yes, I would love, one time in my life, to hit a magical roll with some team and get to nationals. I'm not willing to sell my soul to do it, and it isn't the greatest goal in my life. It isn't something I obsess over and I won't cheat to do it. But yes, I would like to win a district title, win a sectional title, go to or even win nationals. Will that ever happen to me? No, I very seriously doubt it. I play in an area where the opportunities to put together a Frankenteam that could actually compete at nationals simply don't exist. Even if I wanted to engage in a 5-year master plan to round up lots of players far better than their rating for such a purpose (and I don't), such players don't exist here and never would in the necessary numbers. It could never happen.

    But I love competition, and the playoffs provide something to compete for. I compete to win my matches. I compete to win enough matches to help my team advance to district. I compete at district in an effort to help my team win enough matches to advance to sectionals. I love that challenge.

    Frankly, if the USTA stopped having any sort of playoff system, and local leagues were the end of the line with no place to advance to, I would almost certainly stop playing league tennis altogether. Because I can arrange good matches on my own without all the headaches of line-ups and registration and rosters and arranging courts, etc. that leagues bring.

    I play league tennis precisely BECAUSE it offers the chance to advance to a playoff. I know a lot of league players who do. I know players who have NEVER won a local league, but they keep playing not because they love the league, but because it gives them a goal to chase, a way to challenge themselves. That's a good thing, isn't it?

    We might be able to stop doping in professional sports if we simply did away with prize money, TV deals, and big dollar contracts---no Super Bowl, no World Series, no Tour de France, no NBA championship. But who would want to watch or attend? You can't fix the problem of cheating simply by not having playoffs. Players who are going to cheat will continue to cheat in individual matches if it means that much to them. I've played a handful over the years who do.

    People love league play and the chance at a playoff run. They also would prefer, most of them at least, that the playing field be very level and fair to all comers. The USTA and those of us who love fair, honest competition are still trying to come up with better ways to insure we can have both. It's a work in progress, admittedly. But it's worth it to me.
     
    #41
  42. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,045
    Location:
    NorCal Bay Area
    So playing (and trying to win) good competitive matches isn't enough incentive for you to play league, but somehow the opportunity of advancing to a playoff is?

    Even when advancing deep into playoffs is a hollow achievement because (1) it pretty much means you're playing at too low a level, and (2) level distinctions are arbitrary anyway, so best case scenario it just means you are right below some imaginary skill-level line rather than just above it?

    Well I guess you and others who have the same opinion as you are in the majority, since we do in fact have playoffs. So USTA obviously agrees with you that it attracts players.

    Frankly I enjoy making it to playoffs and beyond as well, but mainly because it means I get to play more matches! But I would certainly still play the regular season even if there were no playoffs at all.
     
    #42
  43. FedLIKEnot

    FedLIKEnot Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    158
    Location:
    Northern California
    I am in the 3.0/3.5 world so can't speak to what happens in the upper levels but it's bad here.

    My team has a lot of true beginner players all our 3.0s are self rated in combo and we've already had two of our 3.0s flagged and I am being watched supposedly. For us and our team it's a unique issue we all followed the self rate guidelines and even had our pro rate us just so happens our "weapons" show better than weaknesses. And this is all of us first USTA season. Conversely one of the teams we played had no obvious drop off between there 3.0 and 3.5 on all there courts. Was bizarre. I think eventually the computer fixes things as the before mentioned 3.0s on my team are playing in the 3.5 team next season and I will likely be bumped before the next combo season. Personally I want to play at the level my skill and play dictates if that means I lose 1/4 to 1/2 my matches in said ranking so be it.

    Side note a 3.0 at my club went to nationals and got to finals where he played a guy who was 20, had a huge serve and was technically sound and as he put it coasted the whole match winning 4 and 3.
     
    #43
  44. edathompson2

    edathompson2 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    105
    I'm also in the 3.0/3.5 world. Every team has a ringer or sandbagger. Except that team that gets zero wins in league play. When you go to sectionals, every team has strong players. I have yet to see a 5-0 beating where all the matches where bagels or breadsticks. I've seen a 5-0 (my team) where only one match was a beating 6-1,6-0, the other match 6-4, 6-2 was convincing,
    and the three doubles all went to third set tie breaks. But never seen a straight beat down.

    I also saw the same thing on a 3.5 team I played on.

    In my opinion, sectionals is where the true rankings are.

    I had about three 3.5 players all call me a ringer and a sandbagger. Guess what. They are on the early list to move down. What a shocker. More than likely 3.0 people that moved up from 2.5 will call those guys cheaters and sandbaggers next year and the cycle continues.

    Once again, sectionals tells you what you're turly rated.
     
    #44
  45. TobyTopspin

    TobyTopspin Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2013
    Messages:
    905
    Location:
    North Atlanta
    Sandbagging can be bad in the ATL, but it depends on the captain. There was USTA 4.0 team that I knew some of the players on. Few of them were really 4.0 players. Most were very solid youngish 4.5 players. The guy that played #1 singles was played it straight by crushing everyone he played. rarely gave up more than 2 games a set. He was bumped of course. The other guys would give some games up to make it look good.

    The kick was that some of the young guys couldn't get off of work because or afford to travel so it did work against them in the end.

    The fact that there is always a few teams in USTA that sandbag works against all the other teams. When the sandbaggers play each other, the losing player (sometimes) gets to hang around another year or so.
     
    #45
  46. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

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    A weak 5.0 is still a 5.0
     
    #46
  47. edathompson2

    edathompson2 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    105
    At every level there is a spread in the NTRP rating system. At the 3.5 level it is approximately 2.98 to 3.53. That's a pretty big spread considering 3.5 has the largest amount of players in USTA.

    So keeping that in mind. A 3.49 player playing against a 3.02 player will win in straight sets fairly easily. That same 3.49 player playing against a 3.63 (4.0) player will more than likely lose that match every time. Maybe close sets, maybe not. Heck he might even win 1 out of 4.

    The 3.49 player has to be put somewhere. At 3.5, the average and lower players complain. At 4.0, he complains.

    At every level of play, there has to be low, average, and best players. There is no possible way to make it completely equal. WAY too many factors. Age, training, weather, etc.

    That 3.02 player might get a better job and now can afford private lessons twice a week and suddenly after six months he's playing at a 4.0 level. Now he's the sandbagger.

    The system is fair. It's well balanced. It does take cheaters into account. It's called the grievance system.

    Is it a perfect system? No. There is no such thing.

    I played at a 7.0 sectional. I thought for sure my partner and I were unbeatable. Then we played "the ringer". This 3.5 guy had a huge serve and massive ground strokes. We lost 7-5, 6-4.

    Hats off to him. I'm sure I won't see him next year but if I do, I'll beat him. That's my mentality. I want to play the best. I want to challenge myself. At every level I progess to, I want to play the best. The ringers. The sandbaggers. Or the 3.53 players or 4.01 players.

    Those guys make my game better. If I beat them, I move up. So bring em on.
     
    #47
  48. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    5,981
    Location:
    Saudi Arabia
    In the fall its just amazing, annoying, and disappointing to see how bad the match fixing/throwing is.

    I was moved up to 4.5 mid season and really hoping to get some good matches in against good players.

    So far every match has been an utter joke/farce.

    Everyone I have played is intentionally trying to control the outcome of the match.

    Some are throwing the entire match playing like 3.5, some are alternating between 3.0 level and 4.5 level in order to make the match "close".

    Its an utter joke to see this happen and extremely disheartening.
    I'm not having any fun and just wish I could go back to 4.0 because my matches were 10 times better there.

    The worst offenders have been fellow mid season 4.0 bump ups to 4.5's. These guys are pathetic in how bad they are throwing matches.

    I played a pair this week where they were trying to control the score to keep it close but still win. Both of them had lost every match so far this season and decided they wanted to get a win in but make it close.

    When we were up they would make outrageous calls by calling aces and winners out (verified by people watching the match) and then when they were up would play out balls to keep a point going.
    When they were up they would miss balls into the bottom of the net or hit it a mile long.
    When we were up they would rocket a forehand at the net guy and peg him.

    Its a disgrace. I got so ****ed in my last match I just stopped even trying. My partner thought we were genuinely in the match and but I had lost all interest and just let them do their pathetic farce of trying to game the system.

    Right now I am really hating USTA leagues. At least in tournaments the people there are trying to win matches so you know they are playing to their potential.
     
    #48
  49. edathompson2

    edathompson2 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    105
    You have two options.

    #1 Have your coach file a grievance and have people back the claim.

    #2 Hit every ball into the net or against the fence, ensuring they get a 6-0, 6-0 win.

    I'd personally would do option 1. These things will continue until someone stops it. You have a responsibility to the other people these guys play to ensure this does not continue.

    File the grievance.
     
    #49
  50. Alexrb

    Alexrb Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2013
    Messages:
    196
    Location:
    Clearwater, FL
    People who think like you are incredibly refreshing. Enjoy your progression through the rankings people and stop blaming your losses on external factors.
     
    #50

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