Lower rated player playing line 1 singles

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Ipster, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    Yesterday I played my first USTA match of the 2013 season. I am a 3.0 player in my 4th season and my goal is to be 3.5 next year. I'm close but I have to have a good year this year. I'm going to play a few matches at 3.5 but my plan is to play 18+ and 40+ at 3.0 at singles. I've been taking lessons the past few months to work exclusively on my singles game and I've been playing practice matches vs. strong 3.0 players and a few 3.5 players.

    Yesterday I knew the other team only had one real singles player and I played her two years ago and lost twice so I was excited to see where I was at this point. The other team player her at line 2 and played a 2.5 rated player at line 1. This 2.5 rated player was 0-9 playing singles the last two years. She has never won a set and has won only 24 games in those 9 matches. I was very upset. I am not captain of this team but I've been a captain for my team for 3 years and I think this is completely against the code of honor for USTA captains. It wasn't fair to me, my opponent or the other singles players. In the end I'm most upset about the fact that I didn't even get a chance to help my dynamic rating.

    I emailed the coordinator and complained. The captain of the other team wasn't there so I didn't get a chance to express my displeasure with her.

    I understand you can stack line ups in USTA but I think a lower rated player who plays up on a team shouldn't be playing line 1.

    I don't have a question I am just still ticked. :mad:
     
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  2. Alchemy-Z

    Alchemy-Z Hall of Fame

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    Were they younger? when I was still a 3.0 playing up 3.5 in my first season I got put at line 1 every week...because most of the team was older guys who did not want to play singles.. none of them felt they were going to win it...so throw the new kid to the wolves and at the least I had the athletic ability to chase balls for an hour and half.

    like you said they don't really have singles players...maybe they were mixing things up to see how it goes.
     
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  3. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    She was probably in her late 30's. I'm 44 and this is an 18+ league. They had a true singles player playing line 2. She was tired in the first set and I beat her 2 0 in an hour.

    I just feel like it was bad form by their captain.
     
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  4. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    The USTA has stated explicitly that they do not require the best players to play on lines above weaker players. The only exception to this policy happens in 4.5+ or 5.0 + leagues where it is clear that the player in question is higher rated.

    By not requiring the best players to play the top lines the USTA avoids having to deal with complaints of lineup stacking.

    I am sure that the other team knew they would only be winning 1 singles court so they took the sure thing and played their best player at line 2. In absence of a stacking rule this is good planning by the other captain. BY doing this periodically she places doubt in the minds of her future opponents where this star 3.0 woman will be lined up.
     
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  5. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Sounds very annoying to me. Bummer for you.
     
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  6. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    Thanks!

    Since no RULES were broke the league coordinator isn't going to say anything to the captain. I plan to write an email the opposing captain to let her know that as a captain for the USTA we are given "The Honor Code of Ethics" when we agree to be a captain and the number 1 item under Courtesy is "The game of tennis depends on courtesy and fairness." She should know that by putting this 2.5 woman at line 1 it wasn't fair to anyone who played singles in that match.
     
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  7. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    My team ended up winning the match 3-2. The singles player who played line 2 beat me twice two years ago so it wouldn't have been a stretch for them to think she could have beat me. As a captain of a 2.5 player who hasn't won a set at 3.0 I think she should be ashamed to play her player at line 1. How discouraging is that for the 2.5 player to get beat up every time she steps on a court and not even have a chance to win a set? I would never do that to one of my players.
     
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  8. spot

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    Ipster- you can write that letter but you should know that everyone will get a good laugh out of you. Just because you are under the misconception that the line number in USTA matters does not mean anything to anyone else.

    Their captain has the duty to put out the best line for their team. If the 2.5 player complains about the result than that should be what the captain cares about- not what the opponents think they should have done with their lineup.
     
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  9. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    She didn't do a very good job for her team or her players. She lost the match. She is the one who is going to get the bad reputation. This is women's 3.0 tennis. We aren't getting paid. Tennis is supposed to be fun.

    I've been a USTA captain for 3 years and I know stacking happens. If it happens within the same rating that is one thing but when you put a lower raated player at line 1 you are just being obnoxious and unfair to everyone who pays good money to play good competitive matches.
     
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  10. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    If you take it this seriously and get bent out of shape, it's going to be a long season. :) Just my opinion! You'll end up playing a lot of even keel teams and you'll forget about this incident...
     
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  11. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Get over it. I've had to play a doubles match on court 1 against two opponents both playing up. It happens, just play your best and move on. If you are really worthy of getting bumped up, your results will show it and this one match won't really be a factor, especially since it is early in the year.

    And if the opposing captain had played straight-up, perhaps they would have lost 4-1 rather than 3-2 and if so, she did do a good job for her team maximizing their chance at a team win.
     
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  12. Mauvaise

    Mauvaise Rookie

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    As a captain myself if I were to receive this email from an opposing team member (not even the opposing team captain), I would roll my eyes while laughing and forward it to my co-captain so she could laugh also. I doubt I would even reply to you. I might forward it to your captain and ask them to keep a tighter rein on their team members.

    You don't know the reasons the captain had to put the 2.5 on S1 and for you to be this het up about it signals (as someone up-thread mentioned) a long season for you.

    The captain is not going to get a bad reputation for stacking.
     
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  13. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Ipster, don't blame the opposing captain, blame the USTA.

    They specifically mention in several places that the line/court assignments have no meaning and do not correlate to strength.

    And then of course they contradict themselves also! (By mandating that defaults be taken from the bottom up, and by requiring that higher rated players in the new '+' leagues play at line 1.)

    At any rate, there is no captain's code of honor that requires lineups to be set in order of strength. Some captains stack, some don't. If anything, take it as a compliment that the opposing captain did not want to risk her top singles player in a match against you.

    BTW I am sympathic to your situation. I get pissed off when I have to play against people playing up - waste of all our time and money. I personally would prefer it if playing up were not allowed, but I know I am in the minority.
     
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  14. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    It's a tough situation for you since you are investing a lot of time, effort and money to improve your game...

    but, the opposing teams do not have the same goal as you do personally. Their goal is to win 3 courts. No matter what the code says, they are not obligated to give you the match you think would be fair.

    Also, I don't think anyone likes the idea of stacking... unless it helped their team to secure a win. You know that is unfortunately how it works.
     
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  15. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    I happen to be a captain in the USTA and I'm glad you aren't the captain of a team I'm on. I guess I have a lot more consideration for other people.
     
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  16. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    Thank you.
     
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  17. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    I'm glad the team won the match. You hit the nail on the head understanding where I was coming from. I was frustrated because I've been working hard and hoping to improve my dynamic rating this year and this stuff just doesn't help.
     
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  18. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    I can't believe this is a serious post.

    wwwwaaaaahhhhh I want to be a 3.5

    #1 - you can play up on a 3.5 team as a 3.0
    #2 - Playing up and winning is the fastest way to get bumped anyway.
    #3 if you can't play up and win then guess what .... you aren't a 3.5, you're a 3.0 so rather than whining about how you got screwed out of some rating points go get better.
     
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  19. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    Get used to it. This happens all the time on USTA leagues. No one plays a legit lineup anymore. In my 3 years of playing registered league, I've not seen it happen once. It's very rare that you run into a captain that does a proper lineup and stays with it when it comes to ranking their players properly. This tends to happen when you have teams that form from diverse groups of players and ones that don't always stick to the same teams. Most of the time, the captains don't even take it serious enough to do their jobs. A lot of times teams and captains look for just the wins and nothing else. If they can play a stronger player against a weaker one to win, they'll do it.
     
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  20. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    Wow...nice. I am going to play up this year. Guess you didn't read the part about how I've been working hard to get better and that is why this was frustating?
     
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  21. goober

    goober Legend

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    Your first mistake was assuming there was a code of honor among captains. Your second mistake was thinking if there was one, that captains would actually follow it. :mrgreen:

    The reality is this stuff happens all the time. Teams play random order and stack and some don't and play straight up. Complaining to the LC will fall on deaf ears. No rules were broken. No code of honor real or imagined was violated. If you want to improve your rating like you suggest, you should play up. That is probably the fastest way to raise your rating to 3.5 assuming your are at least somewhat competitive.
     
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  22. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Like I said earlier, this single match, especially early in the year, is not going to make or break your getting bumped at the end of the year. You did win 2 & 0 which even against a 2.5 (unless they are a low to mid 2.5) will be a decent result.

    Just keep improving and play your best in matches, and your rating will take care of itself. If you really are a 3.5, your scores will indicate that regardless of who you play.

    And I can sympathize with you too, I didn't like playing against two players playing up, but I did get bumped up at the end of that year so it didn't hurt me that much either.
     
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  23. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Sad to say it, OP, but +1.

    The only tweak I would make to Mauvaise's remarks is that I might also forward the message to my entire team so everyone could have a good laugh.

    An opponent has no right whatever to complain that an opposing player should be on a different court. I understand your frustration, but you are way out of line.

    Yes, exactly. Perhaps their stronger player was nursing an injury and hoped to have an easier match on Court Two. Or maybe she is just afraid to play you. Or maybe the strong player was running late, captain wasn't sure she would arrive on time and put her on Court Two for that reason. Or maybe the stronger player is one of those people who gets a little nervous being on Court One, or the weak player wanted a challenge.

    Honestly, I do not see why you would complain about having to face such a weak opponent. Did you double-bagel her? If not, then you could have played the match better.

    I remember my last match at 3.5 singles. (I do not play singles much). The opponent was a 3.0 playing up, a friend. She has horrible strokes and horrible movement. No challenge for me at all. Still, beating her -0 and -1 was a good experience. I got practice dealing with a pusher, continuing to hit my strokes the way they should be hit despite the oddball stuff she was producing, and closing out a match I was supposed to win.

    Next time, hide your disappointment not to have drawn a stronger opponent, beat your inferior opponent senseless, then rally with her and practice a few things.
     
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  24. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    FWIW, I think USTA should make a national rule change to deal with this.

    The change should simply be that no lower-rated player may play on a higher court than a higher-rated player. For doubles, the combined rating of a pair on a higher court cannot be lower than the combined rating of a pair on a lower court.

    The current rule about defaulting from the bottom would be discarded. 'Cause it is pointless and stupid.

    This rule change would be so great. It would increase the chance that players would have competitive matches.

    I remember a time when I was playing 6.5 combo, Court One. Opposing team fielded two 3.5 players, two 3.0 players and two 2.5 players. They put the two 2.5 players onto Court One against me (3.5) and my partner (3.0). We destroyed them, and it wasn't any fun.

    Under the rule I propose, their captain would have lots of line-up options, but the one option that would be illegal would be a 5.0 pair on Court One and two 6.5 pairs on Courts Two and Three.
     
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  25. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    And you missed the part about how little this affects your ability to move up or play up and therefore is hardly worth coming to the boards to whine about.
     
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  26. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I don't really understand why this isn't the rule anyway. I might be in the minority here, but surely tennis at our level is about having competitive matches, not about "winning as a team"? It's actually laughable the amount of thought that seems to go into these things. Like it's the Davis Cup or something.
     
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  27. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    A word of encouragement (well, I hope it will read like encouragement).

    I started as a 2.5. I am now a 4.0. I have captained continuously since 2006.

    One of my pet peeves as a captain is what I will call "rating ambitiousness." Most of my tennis pals are 4.0, but a few remain 3.5s. They have as a goal getting a 4.0C rating.

    As a result, they complain about weird things. "I had to play someone who was playing up -- that's not gonna help me get to 4.0!" "I don't want to play Court Three, it won't help me get to 4.0!" "I don't want a weak partner, I'm trying to get to 4.0!" "I don't want to play combo because combo doesn't count toward my rating and I want to get to 4.0!"

    Good lord. Stop worrying about the computer and just work on your game play with whatever opponent or partner shows up. There is no way to "trick" the computer into moving you up other than winning matches at your level convincingly or being truly competitive at the next level. And if you do move up before your game genuinely justifies it, you will be miserable and will get bumped back down anyway.

    If the ladies spent as much time working on their game as trying to game the computer, they would play better tennis. Isn't that what the journey is all about?
     
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  28. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I'd think its because they don't want to deal with whining from players like the OP. SO they just say that all the lines are equal and to deal with it.

    Maybe its to give captains a little more flexibility. If someone's line 1 singles player knew they were going to be late, letting them play #2 singles is a way to get more tennis in.

    Personally I think it would be a good rule and would encourage teams to have all players at the same level.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    #28
  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    An additional reason to have the rule is that it would discourage captains from loading their teams with people playing up.

    As a captain, once you know that taking on lower-rated players would limit your line-up options, you might think twice about whether the lower-rated player really has the skills to be playing up.

    Why isn't this the rule already? 'Cause no one listens to me. :)
     
    #29
  30. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    couple of random thoughts.

    1 - women care a lot more than guys about the rating number (3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5) than winning.

    2 - men want to play at the lowest rating level they possibly can while not being completely bored and winning 75% - 100% of their matches. higher being better.

    3 - playing up is the fastest way to get bumped up but nobody at the higher level wants to play someone who is playing up.

    4 - OP wants a competitive match with someone so she can hopefully move her dynamic rating high enuff to eventually get bumped up to 3.5 ....

    BUT doesn't want to play someone who is playing up and is also trying to raise her dynamic rating high enuff to get bumped up to 3.0.

    [​IMG]
     
    #30
  31. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I believe the reason that the USTA does not want the lines to represent strength is that they dont want to publish more accurate ratings and furthermore they do not want hear complaints about stacking.

    People complain that defaulting line 3 first indicates it should be the weakest or by forcing + players to play line 1 indicates line strength ... but it does not. These are arbitrary decisions so that full strength teams can plan accordingly.

    The USTA could have just as easily decided that line 1 forfeits first or that + players must play on Line 2. In this way, everyone would know where the special courts were ... ie the courts you likely would win by default or likely lose because you dont have a + player.
     
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  32. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    When combined with the picture ... this is the quote of the day.
     
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  33. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Can someone explain "stacking" to me?
     
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  34. Ipster

    Ipster New User

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    2011 this woman was self rated 3.0 and won 12 games in 6 matches. She was bumped down to 2.5 in 2012. She won 27 games in 8 matches in 2012. I don't think this was an issue of her trying to get her dynamic rating high enough to get bumped to 3.0. If she was 2.5 and winning matches and moving up then it might have been a competitive match. I think that is all most tennis players want.
     
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  35. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Look at doubles lines and think about how you would order them. Lets say that there is an equal team where if both teams played straight up every line would be a coinflip.

    1 vs 1 = coinflip
    2 vs 2 = coinflip
    3 vs 3 = coinflip

    Instead one team decides to stack the lineup and dump line 1.

    3 vs 1 = loss
    1 vs 2 = win
    2 vs 3 = win

    Just trying to guarantee 2 wins for your team.

    The fact that USTA goes by team wins in the regular season contributes to this since the team doesn't care if they lose 2 lines as long as they win the 3 others.
     
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  36. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    the way i see it -- in a perfect world, you want to play competitive and fun matches. but the usta, like life, isn't perfect.

    i remember when i was a very young tennismonkey getting beat viciously by my elders in league matches. many of whom wore leg braces and had artificial hips and saw 3 times as many winters. it didn't matter that i could run for days and days and could blast the ball faster than they drive their cars. tennis ball don't lie. so i licked my wounds and steadily improved. fast forward 20 years and now i'm the elder league guy and i see it as my mission to beat down the 20-something snots with my old man game honed from years of league play.

    it's the circle of life. oppa gangnam league style.
     
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  37. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Good lord this old argument about stacking, AGAIN? Honestly OP if you think you are actually 3.5 level and this player struggled to win games at 3.0 to the extent they got bumped down to 2.5 then I'd worry more about why you dropped 2 games to them and focus on that.

    I think another reason the USTA doesn't prohibit stacking is that if they didn't then the captain would be required to make a documented assessment of the relative strength of his players/teams when setting lineups which could lead to some hurt feelings. Since line 1 does not mean you are the best player or team the captain is let off the hook here.

    My first match his season the opposing captain reverse ordered his #1 and #2 singles putting his self-rated 3.0 as #1 and his self-rated 3.5 as #2. His #1 got killed 1 and 0 but #2 won 4 and 0 over a decent computer-rated 3.5.

    However, opposing captain has been around the block and entered the score for #2's match as 4 and 1 in an apparent attempt to avoid a strike but our captain was equally wise and challenged the score and got the actual score entered.

    FWIW, opposing team won the match 3-2 but because their #2 now has two 6-0 set wins this season (he got another the next week) he is in danger of his third strike and we might end up winning that match after all if he defaults.

    Moral of the story is be careful when stacking self-rated players or it may come back to bite you in the butt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
    #37
  38. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Thanks. So this is essentially what happened to the OP, right (she assumed she'd be playing the better player at line 1)?

    I guess people will find ways to game whatever the system is. It's just funny to me that people that play tennis at a recreational level go happily along with this because they want their team to win, more than they want a competitive match.
     
    #38
  39. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    The other part of this is that if you are a good, but not excellent, you want to frequently adjust your lineup to keep others from stacking against you.

    By changing who your line 1 singles or dubs players are from match to match you make it harder to have someone else stack the lineup against you.

    Unless your team is lock to win till sectionals then it is in your best interest to be unpredictable.
     
    #39
  40. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

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    It's always hit or miss in these leagues. Also take this into consideration. Maybe the 2.5 player has the same type of goals you have. Maybe she is trying to get better and test where she is. You don't want people to judge you when you go and play say 3.5 and get the same wax job as this 2.5 may be getting at 3.0. Whether you play line 1 or 2 shouldn't matter. You could very easily run into a team that have to kick @$$ 3.5 singles players. They could say the same about you if you get mopped up. So be careful about judging the other teams because it sounds like your intent is to play 3.5 and get better. The 2.5 may be doing the same thing.


     
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  41. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    I might change "weird" to "silly" :shock: As I know you know Cindy, none of these statements are really true. There is no match where the only possible result is your rating going down. If a player is that much better than the opponent(s), the score will indicate that.

    That said, certain matches do present a greater opportunity to improve a rating and in general that is playing tougher opponents (quotes 1 and 2, although we know with stacking, court 3 isn't necessarily the weakest team). But an actually fallacy is that you need a strong partner to improve your rating (quote 3).

    The truth is that you give yourself the greatest opportunity to improve your rating by playing with the weakest partner possible as the expected result is lower and thus there is more upside, and even a loss could improve the losing teams ratings. Playing with a strong partner can actually hurt your rating if you don't win by enough. Your ladies looking to get bumped up should be looking for the weakest partner that they can carry to a win and that will help both of them a lot.

    Now this is absolutely true. The primary thing anyone can control as far as the computer goes is the result of the match. Regardless of who you play or who you play with, your rating will be its highest if you improve your game and thus improve your results.
     
    #41
  42. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    That makes sense.

    Sounds like the world of USTA team tennis is not for me, to be honest. I just want to play against people at or about my level, guaranteed. My time is too precious to be wasting like that.
     
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  43. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    To be honest ... let the captain worry about all this.

    I find there is no better place to get reasonably competitive matches, against folks you do not already know, than in USTA league play.
     
    #43
  44. Buford T Justice

    Buford T Justice Semi-Pro

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    www.ultimatetennis.com

    If they are in your area......very good top notch league. No BS stuff, flexibility, high quality players, etc.

    The rating system is very straightforward, the formulas for ratings and moving up are completely transparent, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
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  45. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    That's good. I know you're a guy that likes a good match! I'm always happy to hear people are getting worthwhile matches and not wasting their time.
     
    #45
  46. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Unfortunately not in my area!!!
     
    #46
  47. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    Ohio
    Keep fighting, keep practicing and you'll get there. Go into each match with the intention of winning AND of learning. Sometimes you learn something about your game, sometimes you learn something about yourself. Embrace the learning curve and you'll do fine.
     
    #47
  48. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2010
    Messages:
    1,400
    Location:
    Cackalacky South
    I Captain and have for a few years. I play/captain 4.0 and play up to 4.5 level.

    If my team is deeply talented and players are readily available I play "straight up" all season. If my team is not deep but I have a few very strong players I mix up my line ups all year long (mostly randomly) so there isn't a pattern to exploit. This is common from local league all the way through states and sectionals from my experience.
     
    #48
  49. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Messages:
    15,095
    Fat chance! :)

    Bottom line: I don't know anyone who successfully "managed" their rating to achieve a higher rating.

    By that I mean that the people I know who are desperate to move up but do not channel that desperation into better strokes and fitness seem to fail year after year.

    When one of my tennis buddies is bumped up, I can often tell you with great specificity what they are now doing differently to yield better results. It shows in their results, it shows in their play.

    For purposes of this thread . . . OP says she gave up two games to a player who is possibly at the very bottom of the next lowest rating level. Yikes.

    The ladies I know who cannot seem to bump up tend to "leak" games to vastly inferior opponents. Sometimes the problem is that they cannot handle the lack of pace or wonky spins that the inferior player is sending. Sometimes they cannot handle the pressure or play with a lead. That "game leakage" -- not their partners, court assignment, etc. -- is why they do not move up.

    Clearly, someone who is 3.0-3.5 should not lose games to someone who rarely wins games at the 2.5 level. If OP's rating dips because of those two games she coughed up, well . . . that shows OP has work to do on her game and needs to serve up a double-bagel next time.
     
    #49
  50. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,509
    Cindy, have you seen some of the **** that 2.5's hit? That's enough to make anyone pull their hair out. If you have players who can't move up and who cannot play against player like that, then you need to tell them to stop playing low ass league teams. If you're a 3.5, play at 4.0 if you want to move up. There is no reason why a 3.5 person should be playing anything lower than 4.0 if they want to move up. Playing 3.5 is just asking for problems, more-so if the person wanting to move up cannot mentally deal with the junkballers and pushers out there in the 3.5 and below leagues.
     
    #50

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