How many sandbaggers do we really have?

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

  1. kevrol

    kevrol Rookie

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    Sounds like a horrible experience. Guess situations like this are why the Southern Section doesn't count anything but spring leagues when it comes to ratings. Never understood why they didn't until I read your post. They don't want folks tanking everything but spring to manipulate their dynamic rating.

    However that approach does open the door to folks playing everything but spring and staying self rated forever although that's not very prevalent.
     
  2. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    It's a shame the way that TX has set up these fall leagues that basically don't count for anything (and it's a shame about the apparent lack of ethics of many people in TX...). I would quit playing fall leagues if I were you and probably petition to eliminate them since thy are serving no purpose except for people to cheat.
     
  3. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Exactly, pros and cons to both approaches of including secondary league matches in year-end calculations or not. Ideally all matches get included but thrown matches are detected and ignored or the detection used to catch the cheaters. Easier said than done though.
     
  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What do you think of a former Davis Club player for South Africa playing USTA 4.5 doubles league?
     
  5. edathompson2

    edathompson2 Rookie

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    I'm jealous. Those guys are lucky for getting a chance to hit with a guy like that. He can probably teach them a few things.
     
  6. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Quit talking like you know me, my situation, or apparently jack squat..................................

    because you don't.


    I've been playing USTA for 9 years now and never really bought too much into the entire sandbagging scheme. Sure I might have seen an instance or two in the past where I thought it could be happening.

    But this fall is the first time I have ever seen crap like what is going on.
    All it takes is about 10 minutes to go look up the people in my league, their year end rating, mid season rating, and match history to see what is going on.
     
  7. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I'm currently doing stats research on the teams we'll be playing next week at Nationals. The #1 guy on all the teams so far is a self-rate. No surprises there, and my team is no different.

    These guys are the best of the best. The top 5 in all the teams have win/loss ratios north of 80%. I lose almost half the matches I play, so I'm a little jealous. But it is what it is. Best of the best, and all.

    Sure, maybe some of them are cheating. Maybe, they're gaming the system somehow. Maybe, they don't even know it?

    I don't mind going up against a strong 3.5. Next week, I'm expecting to play 4.0 caliber players.

    My biggest fear is going up against a 4.5 player "in disguise". You can't tell me that it's impossible. Unlikely, but not impossible. It's times like that when I'll feel the most cheated.

    But if it's a good match, even if I lose, then I'll have a great time.
     
  8. jmc3367

    jmc3367 Rookie

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    That seems like a lot of work. Sandbaggers must not be near as lazy as I am...lol
     
  9. jmc3367

    jmc3367 Rookie

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    this is true
     
  10. goober

    goober Legend

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    I guess if you know these guys well, you should be able to tell by their scores against various opponents if they are throwing match on purpose, because that is really the only ethical question here, not arguing about what is their "true" rating.
     
  11. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

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    I don't know enough about their opposition to make claims about each match; however, the accuser mentioned one match specifically where Todd beat a 5.5 rated player so I decided to look up some info because I know that isn't going to happen. Sure enough, that 5.5 win happened to be against a foreign player who self rated specifically to play in a few open tournaments. The 5.5 player plays college tennis for an extremely weak community college and plays near the bottom of their lineup. To claim he is a legit 5.5 is beyond absurd.

    The accuser also claimed Albert is a 5.0 which kind of shocked me. My info wouldn't be nearly as accurate as what schmke could provide; however, I would be surprised if he had many results ever which rated him as a 5.0.

    Ryan is probably the strongest in my opinion of the 3 players mentioned; however, his decline back to 4.5 directly coincides with a major change in his life which typically causes much less sleep and much different priorities.

    I would expect both Todd and Ryan to occasionally get bumped up to 5.0, but I wouldn't expect them to last long at that level. In this case the accuser is simply a sore loser, and he knows this which is why he wont return to defend his accusations.

    On a sad note, last night was my first 10.0 loss in 3 years, and first regular season 10.0 loss in over 4 seasons. :( Must have been a sandbagger I played.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  12. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Seriously? Has the thought that you are out of level crossed your mind?
     
  13. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

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    Out of level for mixed doubles. Possibly.
    Out of level for the men's 5.0 leagues, definitely not.

    My game (mostly my lefty kick serve) just happens to work better for mixed compared to men's doubles; however, the mixed results don't count for my rating and I have no control over that.
     
  14. SouthboundAgain

    SouthboundAgain Rookie

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    I have played mostly 4.5 and 5.0 leagues and haven't seen too much sandbagging. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist: I have seen score cards modified by USTA captains to prevent their players from being bumped up/down (example: a 6-1 6-2 win is reported as 6-4 6-2).

    Surprisingly for me, in the combo leagues I have seen much more sandbagging. I guess the players have no fear of being disqualified (it doesn't count for rating if I am correct).
     
  15. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Focusing on record in just one league doesn't tell the whole picture too. You have lost 9.0 mixed matches more recently, and 5 of your last 7 wins were all match tie-breaks, so close competitive matches.

    And I don't know if this is the case, but 10.0 mixed is pretty high level, and if you happen to be fortunate to have a solid 5.0 partner, it may be likely that you are riding her coattails. Or it may be hard for opponents to always field 10.0 teams and so you get to play 5.0/4.5 pairs and so are supposed to win.
     
  16. jservoss

    jservoss Rookie

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    This is all true. People tend to ignore many of the variables in play when complaining about sandbagging. It is really easy to paint someone as a potential sandbagger by highlighting only the data points that help their argument.

    That is one of the reasons why we like your work so much. You tend to be the voice of reason on these forums and base your opinions on more than 1 match.

    And you hit the nail on the head with the coattails comment. Up until this weekend, pretty much every 10.0 match I have played in the last 4 years has been with the 2 strongest 5.0 females in the area.
     
  17. BMRSNR27

    BMRSNR27 Rookie

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    I only like his work if we win nationals this week.
     
  18. 5point5

    5point5 Banned

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    Or an IG Prestige MP user jealous of the Graphene Prestige MP user.
     
  19. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Did you buy a report from him?
     
  20. BMRSNR27

    BMRSNR27 Rookie

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    I typically have him run team reports on my team for me to help my analysis. I was just kidding. I like his work no matter what.
     
  21. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Possibly? I don't know how often you play but going without a loss for years is pretty much the definition of being out of level. Now before you take offense, I don't mean your NTRP level is not within the rules, I have no comment on that, but if you are essentially beating every single opponent you play for years, how interesting can that be for you?
     
  22. Inner Game

    Inner Game Semi-Pro

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    It's an age old problem in amateur USTA league tennis...What does it really matter about sandbagging anyways? Unless your playing in the Open division.. its just league or club tennis....yawn....all this for a National T-Shirt...it breaks me up...
    League tennis is pretty much for people that need their egos stroked and never really put it on the line in a real tournament...
    For what its worth!
     
  23. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Big talk dude. What's your tournament record?
     
  24. Inner Game

    Inner Game Semi-Pro

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    No big talk....talk is cheap dude...but for a ten year period 5 years at #1 Open doubles Northwest section...5 years between 2 and 5...
    But it doesn't matter because its only amateur tennis....
    I really didn't want to answer your question...but I'm not trolling....its just a plain fact 95% of USTA league player really don't even know how to take advantage of the equipment changes in the last 30 years....
     
  25. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    I think that is a pretty darn shallow, and quite frankly stupid, statement.

    League tennis is there for a lot of reasons much like any other sport at the recreational level.

    I play both tournaments and league but they are all at an amateur level. Does that mean I only play tennis to get my ego stroked?
     
  26. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I would argue there is more pressure in league matches than tournaments. If I lose a league match, it could cause the whole team to lose.
     
  27. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    The higher you get, the less there is a problem with sandbagging. Why? The pool of potential out-of-level players who qualify to rate at the level you are looking for them to sandbag at declines very rapidly. True "sandbaggers" are the players who are a full level above the top of the level they are (usually self-) rated. For example, a 4.0 sandbagger is at least a top 4.5 level player who can win any match at 4.0 very easily (say 6-2 6-2 or better every time).

    To find a sandbagger for a 5.0 team, you need a player who is at least a top level 5.5 player. Top level 5.5 players are major conference D1 players, older former ITF futures/satellite pros, and top open tournament players. How many people even exist who can play at that level who (1) don't have a record of playing D1 or ITF tournaments so they can self-rate at a lower level, and (2) can be convinced to waste their time playing USTA leagues? These are people who have and mostly still are training for serious high-level tennis. It makes finding sandbaggers at 5.0 virtually impossible.

    On the other hand, people who took lessons as kids and played through high school but never played junior tournaments or college or people who are naturally athletic and took up tennis as an adult can be pretty darn good and may be eligible to rate as low as 3.0 even though they may be as good as 4.0 or 4.5. This is a much, much bigger pool of sandbaggers for the lower level. Plus, it's the same "4.5s" players that are the sandbaggers at 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0. If a 3.0 captain meets a 4.0 level player with no self-rating restrictions and gets him to join a 3.0 team, he is a major sandbagger. If a 4.0 captain meets him first and gets him to play for his 4.0 team, he's not a sandbagger at all. In general, people new to USTA leagues have no idea how this stuff works and just want to play to be competitive, so they are not going to know to say no if they are a 4.0 asked to join a 3.0 team.
     
  28. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    If you just play doubles you don't get bumped as easily. Also, it's very easy for a much better player to all a set to be closer than it need be.
     
  29. schmke

    schmke Professional

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  30. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Didn't read but my experience has shown what I said to be accurate overall though there might be some singular exception it is truth. You can hide a great player in doubles for many, many years before he is detected.


     
  31. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Ok. I'm just saying that if you want to knock other people, you'd better be able to back it up.
     
  32. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    I'm the ultimate sandbagger.

    I got bumped down from 4.0 to 3.5 last year (this year).
    C-rated.

    It does give me options, which has been nice.
     
  33. dlk

    dlk Hall of Fame

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    I have a question regarding sandbagging. Would one call it sandbagging to place a player who usually wins comfortably, at #1 singles, as a partner in the #3 doubles slot? Or would that be considered gamesmanship or strategy, as they are just "open courts" versus "seeded" potential?
     
  34. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Some players are great at singles but put them on a doubles court and they are not the same. Speedy defensive players that excel in singles might struggle against the aggressive net play in doubles.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  35. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    IMO if you're playing at your rated level any line is acceptable.

    From my experience most #1 singles players are terrible doubles players.
     
  36. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Um, so in the 3.5 Nationals 18 & over final this past weekend, it was Caribbean vs. NorCal. If you are talking about "sandbagging", half the Caribbean team were rated 3.0. In any other universe, a handful of 3.0s wouldn't even make it to Sectionals, let alone the final match of Nationals.

    Obviously, the local Puerto Rico "tennis clubs" are using quite a different NTRP scale than the rest of the country. Definitely playing by different rules than we are.
     
  37. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    They're not playing by different rules. The same self-rating guidelines apply to them as us, although I agree that they're playing by a different NTRP scale. I think a lot of it could be because PR is a more or less isolated community. If kids don't play as much in junior tournaments or college tennis, there would be very few rules governing who can rate at what level and almost anyone of any ability level could rate 3.0. If a lot of people rate at 3.0 no matter what level they would play continentally, then the level of regular league play at 3.0 would be much higher than elsewhere and the teams would really not be unfair, stacked, or full of sandbaggers on the island even though they could be once they get to nationals. I don't know to what extent that is true, but if it is, then the way you have to fix that is sight rating in isolated communities where the guidelines that define the self-rating levels in the states don't apply well.
     
  38. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    Shouldn't the NTRP/USTA algorithm correct this by reclassifying many of the out of level 3.0s to 3.5s when this section performs so well at Nationals?

    Similar to the great bump up a few years back - if they have 3.0s easily beat the other sections 3.5 players then all 3.0s in that section that are competitive with the winning Caribbean team members should get an additional bump in their ratings.
     
  39. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    Theoretically, yes, but there are two problems with that.

    (1) If the root problem is that they pool of strong players on the island are all eligible to rate 3.0 according to the guidelines, then the last nationals team could just get replaced with a new self-rated "3.0" team. If that team doesn't dominate against the "3.0" league players on the island, they won't get dq'd and will dominate nationals again.

    (2) There is a stickiness in the ratings biased towards the rating level that you are playing in. For example, in the extreme, if the "3.0" level in PR is actually 4.5 in the states, there's no way the algorithm will look at the nationals results and bump them all the way to 4.5 even if they win every court 6-0 6-1. You'd have some 3.5s and maybe a couple 4.0s, but those are still ringers for the next year at those levels, so you haven't solved much.
     
  40. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I think one loophole the USTA should fix is the self-rate guidelines that relate to high school tennis experience. I think they are all .5 too low in that any player with high school tennis, but especially those under 30, imo should have to self rate at 3.5 as a minimum, singles players in high school should have to self rate 4.0 as a minimum, and if you played in h.s. state championships it should be 4.5 as a minimum. Actually I think those criteria should be tweaked further but at least they should raise those minimum self-rate levels.

    The USTA already errs on the side of caution by stating that any under 31 player with D1 experience must self rate as 5.5 minimum. I guarantee there are some sucky D1 tennis programs which have players who are not 5.5 level let alone 5.0 level but they still have to self-rate at 5.5.

    The high school experience criteria affects many more thousands of potential USTA players than the D1 criteria but it seems to me to be much less thought out in terms of its impact. </$.02>
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  41. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I absolutely agree there are some big loopholes for junior players. High school is one example. The other is junior players that did not have a sectional or national ranking. They could theoretically self rate as low as 3.0.

    It doesn't matter if they don't enforce the criteria they have. There are an awful lot of people at certain clubs around here that go with "Yeah, I played tennis in high school but I haven't touched a racket in 10 years so I'll self rate at 2.5". They then proceed to play at sectionals as a 2.5, then at 3.0 the next year, then at 3.5 the next year...
     
  42. chay337

    chay337 Rookie

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    USTA had an article last year about that more player werer rated above their dntrp.
     
  43. directionals

    directionals Rookie

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    The self-rate rule is silly. There are players who did not grow up in the U.S. but they played tennis growing up, though not as a part of a school program. According to the self-rate rule, they can self-rate at 3.0 since they didn't play high school!
     
  44. edathompson2

    edathompson2 Rookie

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    Sorry but your theory doesn't work. See the link below

    http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/ExperiencedGuidelines_02142011_V2pdf.pdf

    If they have played singles high school tennis 15 years or less, they have to rate as a 3.5.

    If they only have "high school experience", they can rate as a 3.0.

    So unless they lie, they usually start as a 3.5. Lying players can be caught with newspaper articles and grievances can be filed. I've seen it happy here in Florida. We watch for it.
     
  45. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    It isn't a theory - I know people that have done it. For whatever reason, the self rate rules (I am well aware of them) aren't enforced. Which was my point...
     
  46. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Do you have examples where they haven't been enforced when the incorrect self-rate is brought to a coordinators attention (e.g. a grievance filed)?

    If you are expecting all self-rates to be reviewed by someone to enforce the rules, that probably isn't going to happen. But grievances can and should be filed when there is incorrect self-rating going on as the way to get the rules enforced.
     
  47. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    It was generally women, and since I wasn't directly involved I have no knowledge about what, if any, grievances were filed. I'll acknowledge that USTA can't police everyone.
     
  48. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Interesting that someone brought this old thread back.

    Even after all the *****in and moaning, no one has data to dispute the fact that self-rates overwhelmingly rate themselves properly and that if anything, they rate themselves too high and don't sandbag.

    Yes, there are isolated cases, but no system is perfect and on the whole this system works perfectly fine. The only people who are complaining are the sand bagging "national-destined" team who end up facing even bigger sandbaggers.
     
  49. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    In my section, I know of no less than three individuals who self rated beyond their "true" level. Two 3.5 players got DQ'ed with a mid-year bump to 4.0, and one 4.0 who lost all his matches and will be bounced down to 3.5.

    So, it seems to me that the "system" works in a dense population such as Mid-Atlantic: plenty of data points to paint a more accurate picture of the general level of a true "3.5" player. It's just places like Puerto Rico that don't have as dense of a tennis population, so all of the NTRP values are skewed in different directions. That's the downside of being so isolated. When they try to generalize their results to the rest of the population of mainland USA, it becomes clear that their values are different.

    But in general, I think the NTRP algorithm works fine in most population-dense locations across the country.

    Everyone on my team that's a 3.5 that has absolutely no trouble beating other 3.5s are going to be bumped to 4.0 in the Winter. Everyone who has difficulty hanging with 3.5s will stay a 3.5, and one guy will be bumped down to 3.0. That seems to me to be what NTRP is all about: a handicapping system that keeps similarly skilled players together and insulating us from those that do not belong in that grouping.
     
  50. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    The problem with self-rating sandbaggers is that the other team captain can DQ you. On my mixed team we lost a match because the team captain DQed one of our players and got her self-rated at 3.5. She has since been bumped down to 3.0 (She self-rated at 2.5).

    So self rating is not some kind of team sandbagging victory option. Computer ratings are still something that can be manipulated though - not sure how often that goes on.

    I haven't noticed a huge problem with sandbagging in league play. The only real difference is that league players are MUCH stronger then 'self-rated' casual players.

    A 4.0 league player with a good record tends to be a very strong player.. A guy who claims to be 4.0 can be pretty awful - especially on the east coast.
     

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