League seeds?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by NE1for10is?, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I notice in USTA leagues the captains often play their #1 players in the #2 or #3 slot, etc., depending on how they think the opposing team will place their better and weaker players. (This is called stacking if I'm not mistaken.) I realize this is part of the strategy of team tennis and I know that ethically it's not supposed to be done, but in my experience, everyone does it.

    So, I'm curious why the USTA doesn't require that at the beginning of each season that the captain must declare all their players as either #1, #2 or #3 players so that at every match the players are basically seeded and they play in the positions they should be in?

    Of course the captain could stack the whole season I guess, but I would think that would be pretty risky. There would also have to be some leeway I suppose if someone was injured or something.
     
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  2. VeeSe

    VeeSe Rookie

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    It's too hard to enforce. What if someone becomes better than another person over the course of the season? You can't play them in the #1 spot because you declared at the beginning that they weren't as good? How about sending a message to your team that player A is better than player B? I could see that causing problems. Just a couple of items among many that make this unenforceable (ranking your players). The USTA has always maintained the position that a 4.0 is a 4.0, a 3.5 is a 3.5, etc. and as long as they are playing another of the same rating, it is fine.

    The way you described (declaring players as #1 spot, #2 spot, or #3 spot) would never work because sometimes teams have trouble even filling a lineup due to availability, injuries, etc. and default lines.
     
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  3. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    An additional challenge would be how to establish where to play doubles teams if you change partners around.

    What the USTA could do would be to publish Dynamic NTRPs to the hundredth and require that the better players/teams play on the higher courts. They'll never do this of course, so another step would be to let a captain put their lineup in on TennisLink and have it say who should play which court to have the better players/teams on the higher courts. But I doubt they'd ever do this too.

    The reason they won't is primarily they don't want folks to know their detailed rating since they are afraid (justifiably) of folks gaming the system, but also because simply adding ratings for doubles teams isn't necessarily an indicator of how well they'll play together, particularly for a new team, so this wouldn't necessarily be accurate.
     
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  4. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    The USTA gets away with it by simply saying the line played is not indicative of the strength of the player. Calling it line 1 doubles is just a way matching up doubles teams ... they could just as easily call one line the blue jays, another the cardinals and the last line the orioles .... same difference.

    However someone on TT suggested that captains use an app to input their lineups into the USTA and then have the app declare who should play against whom by matching the best players from one team against the best players from the other team all on random lines to avoid "knowing" who the best guys were. I would love this idea ... but logistically it would present nightmares.
     
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  5. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I think the current rules that allow stacking are probably sufficient. I do think it is incorrect to say that line number bears no relationship to relative strength.

    The reason is that the rules require that Court Three be defaulted first. For that reason, few captains will ever put their strongest team on Court Three. It would be tragic for your strongest team to win by default while your other two teams lose.

    I think the best rule is that if there is a default, the non-default captain can decide which court gets defaulted. So once the 15 minute default period had passed and my opponent's No. 2 team is missing, I can look at the line-up and decide that I want my No. 3 team to play their No. 2 team and my No. 2 team will have the night off.

    The other tweak I would like to see is that you cannot play a lower NTRP pair on a higher court than a higher NTRP pair.

    Say I have a 7.5 combo team. My scoreard says:

    Court One: 3.5/3.5

    Court Two: 3.5/4.0

    Court Three: 3.5/4.0.

    I think the rule should require the lowest-rated pair to play the lowest court. Essentially, my proposed rule would ban "sacrificing." I also think it would help with sandbagging because sandbaggers would play Court Three a lot and hopefully would get a bit bored (in addition to not being able to help the team defeat the tougher pairings on the higher courts).
     
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  6. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    I like it.
     
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  7. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    This would be a huge step forward in my opinion. The lousy teams would hate it, but I think overall the quality of the matchups would be greatly improved.
     
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  8. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    i don't really care too much about stacking. It's more about matchups to me and that's all just kind of random. You can try to anticipate all you want only to be undermined by a bad individual matchup.
     
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  9. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    What is frustrating to me is when you are in league play and you know most of the players on the other team, and you game plan vs a likely opponent (say I am scheduled for 1st singles, and I am looking forward to playing their best singles player), but then they put their best singles at 2nd singles, and "promote" a weaker doubles player to 1st singles.... I win easily, but their best singles players beats our 2nd best singles player....

    ... is it legal, sure... and in a way, props because their coach out-planned our coach if that helps them win the match (especially if it ends up 3 and 2 for them). But for me, I'm dissappointed because I wanted to go head-to-head with their #1... not some guy they hope might sneak a win.
     
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  10. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    Well we have about 6 of us that enjoy singles on our team and 3 of us that are the regular singles players. Our captain does a good job rotating us based on how strong the singles players are on the other team.
    but that often puts someone that's a great player at #3 doubles because our #1 and #2 doubles paring are pretty regular and solid nearly (you can count on them wins) where #3 we use to circulate the rest of the team and singles players.
     
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  11. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    FWIW, at least in doubles, this playing the best team at #2 seems pretty common. Looking back at my record over the past few years, my best winning pct. is on court 3, next best at court 1, and worst at court 2. Limited sample certainly, but perhaps an indication that many captains do this.
     
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  12. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    I've had so many truly crappy matches against sacrificial lambs put on court #1 that I have cut my league schedule back significantly. I just want a good match--I'm not looking for an easy win.
     
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  13. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    What is worse is that being put in these situations can hurt (or help, I guess it depends on your perspective :shock:) your Dynamic NTRP. I had a doubles match earlier this year where my partner and I played court 1 and had opponents that were both a level below us. We won 6-2,6-2 but should have won 6-0,6-0 according to our ratings so had our Dynamic ratings go down.
     
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  14. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Nothing ethically wrong with it whatsoever. As others have pointed out, USTA makes it clear that the line numbers do not represent strength of the lines (except for the new 4.5+ leagues that allow a 5.0 player to play but they must be on line 1). Another factor is split starts. If you do a 3-2 split start you are required to play #2 singles and #3 doubles at the later start time. If your best players aren't available until the later time, then you end up with your strongest lines at #2 singles and #3 doubles. Since all of my home matches are split starts, this actually happens a lot.

    I think Cindy's idea is a good one (requiring lower rated players to play on the lowest lines). If you want to take it a step further, you can require that players/teams with the best winning percentage that season to be on the highest line. For example, a 12-4 singles player would go on line 1 and a 5-5 player on line 2. You could sum the records for players on a doubles team.
     
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  15. ian2

    ian2 Semi-Pro

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    USTA weights all "slots" the same. Therefore, no reason to see slot numbers as an indicator of strength. The randomness of the match-ups is not necessarily a negative, and is unavoidable anyway. Embracing it is the best option IMO :)
     
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  16. Bash and Crash

    Bash and Crash Semi-Pro

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    yep, over managing a lineup can be dangerous
     
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  17. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    In all my years of playing, I never seemed to correlate this apparent inconsistency with the mantra that is USTA's: NTRP is all relative. Very good point, Cindy, and I especially like your solution. Any ears in NY?

    Bingo. I've long been a proponent of saying that if you want to win the team match, you greatly increase your odds by winning at #2 doubles. It is generally the most competitive match of all the lines and here's my ad-hoc reasoning: if both lineups are straight up, many(most?) teams have two solid doubles teams, that on any given day would have a great match with either of their opponent's #1 or #2 teams. If one team plays straight up and the other stacked...you still get that (higher) possibility of a good match-up because...even in a "stacking" scenario, it's unlikely for a captain to completely waste their (true) #1 dubs team...at #3 (on the likely chance the opponents are not stacking).

    Awhile ago, I actually did the percentages of a few seasons/flights (both including and excluding post-season results)...and if I recall, the number of times a team lost #2 dubs but won the overall match...was less than 20%.

    :? I think that's happened to me a few times as well. I'm OK with it, generally, although I really wish the algorithm placed more (even some?) emphasis on winning. It'd probably make any bumps/demotes more understandable and lessen pressure to reveal the exact process.
     
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  18. BeyondTheTape

    BeyondTheTape New User

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    Some other leagues locally use a point value system for each court. obviously, more points for ct 1 than ct 3 and likewise for singles. Limiting "stacking" and "sacrificing" courts. Thus, better players play ct 1 which is more predictable for lineups.

    I also like incorporating +/- differential with your Rating submitting prior to the match time. Let the current (match updated) rating of the player decide if the matches on ct 1 2 and 3 are appropriate limiting a "stacked" lineup.

    http://insidetenniscaptaining.blogspot.com/
     
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  19. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Great stat to look at. I went ahead and looked at the percentage of time the winning team in a 2 singles / 3 doubles match wins each court and you can see my writeup at http://computerratings.blogspot.com/2013/08/more-interesting-usta-league-stats.html.

    But yes, interestingly court 2 doubles is the court most often won by the winning team (76.2%) followed by court 1 and court 3 doubles. Least often won courts are both singles courts with court 1 the least likely at 72.9%. See the blog at the link above for all the details.
     
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