Player self rated too high - what now?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by beernutz, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    A player at my club who is mid-thirties and in good shape and who had played high school tennis started back playing last year after a long absence and then at the end of 2012 started playing league, self-rating as a 4.0. I think he decided to self-rate at this level mostly because he got some bad advice about what level he played at and somewhat because he thinks he is better than he really is. He played one Fall 4.0 season and did not have good results even after taking several months before he started league to get his strokes back. His league scores were:
    6-1, 6-0 #1 Doubles
    6-1, 6-2 #1 Doubles
    6-0, 6-1 #2 Doubles
    6-0, 6-0 #2 Singles (the guy he played is a really good 4.0)

    After those results he wasn't invited to play again on our club's 4.0 team and he is pretty bummed about tennis in general. I'd hate to see him quit league play altogether but I don't have any good advice for him either. I did mention to him that he might consider some flex league play. Does he have any other options?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
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  2. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    When were these matches played? If they were before 11/1 he should have received a C rating for year-end 2012, if they were after, they should be used for his year-end 2013 rating and he should get a C then.

    Now, based on those results, his C rating very well could be 3.5 (but it all depends on his partner and opponents of course) so one course of action is to just wait for that and then play 3.5 in 2014. Or, if you have early start leagues and early start ratings for them, he may be able to play at his new level sooner.

    Of course, if his partner/opponents were such that his dynamic rating is still above 3.5, he needs to play more matches to convince the computer he is a 3.5.
     
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  3. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I think you can appeal a self rating. I did exactly the same thing as he did coming back after 10 years off thinking I would be able to play again. Little did I know 80 pounds and being in your 40s does make a difference. My appeal was unfortunately denied although they did consider the situation and I was probably more of a borderline case than this guy is.
     
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  4. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Have him email the local league coordinator for help. I forget who I had to contact but I went through this process myself when I got into league tennis.

    He will have to make a case that he overestimated his ability, back it up with evidence as to why he believes this to be true as well as his overall tennis experience and ask to be rated a 3.5

    I was successful and got dropped down, was still a "self rate" though so you are still subject to the 3 strike rule.


    Here's an example of how I made my case:

    Dear Sir or Madam,
    I recently joined USTA to play league tennis and went through your self rate process. Unfortunately I have overestimated my ability as in the matches I have played I have been unable to win as many as 3 games in a single set and most of my sets I lost at 6-0.

    I did play tennis in high school, however my school was not strong and we never made it to post season play. Since then I had not played for 8 years.

    I honestly do not feel I can be competitive at 4.0 as my record shows. Furthermore I was not even asked to play on my club's 4.0 team as they feel I am not ready for that level.

    I ask that you re-self rate me as a 3.5 please.

    Thank You
     
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  5. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    He should try to appeal his rating on the computer - he may be within the numbers to allow the computer to drop him down (assuming he has a C rating)
    If not, have him obtain the appeal form (there is a form) from his league coordinator or the section and have him file an appeal. This will go to the appeals committee and they will look at it to see if he is truly a 3.5. If they cannot determine this and do not want to go against the computer they will tell him to play a bit more in leagues to see if tennis link will drop him down next year.
     
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  6. vandre

    vandre Hall of Fame

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    i was a computer rated 4.0 due to the fact i played 3 seasons of d3 tennis in college before a ten year layoff. i wasn't allowed to register for a 3.5 league until i got 3 pros i'd hit with to email the usta coordinator. after all that even, i'm still a mediocre 3.5 as i've never dominated in any 3.5 league i've played in. the point is, the computer sucks and self-rating is problematic. if this player could enlist the help of some teaching pros, that might help. sure seemed to in my case.

    off topic, but why do usta bumps only go up and not down? they always expect you to get better but they don't think you'd ever get any worse. then again, the friggin' sandbaggers would be all over that if they did. okay. forget i asked! :twisted:
     
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  7. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    They go both ways...up and down.
     
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  8. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Forgot to mention that my appeal took 3-5 weeks and also that they never notified me that my appeal was granted ... i just happened to check my rating in tennislink one day and saw that it went through.
     
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  9. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    They were played between 10/9 and 12/7/2012, 10/16 and 11/27 were the two middle matches. I just checked and he is still self rated so apparently he did not play enough to be computer rated at 12/31/2012.

    Thanks, it seems he just needs to find a 4.0 team that will take him on so he can lose enough to generate a 3.5 computer rating for 2013.
     
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  10. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, that is a great idea! I will talk to him about this possibility the next time we see eqch other.
     
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  11. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks again, I will make a note of this and remind him to check tennislink regularly if he files an appeal.
     
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  12. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    The USTA year for NTRP ratings is November thru October, so it sounds like he is stuck in the worst situation for his 4 matches. He had 2 before the end of October, not enough to get a C rating for 2012 year-end, and he also only has 2 in the 2013 year, not enough to be rated. So he likely needs to get at least one more match in before the end of October.
     
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  13. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I think lessons would be a great idea for this guy but I'm not sure how to suggest it to him without insulting him and I don't know his financial situation either.

    He takes huge swings on every shot with his forehand--warm ups, second serves, every shot is big, and when he connects it is a nice looking shot. Unfortunately he can't hit more than about two in a row before he makes a UE and his backhand is a worse liability. I know when we spoke after playing a social set a week ago he was really down about his league experience. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
     
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  14. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. I'm going to suggest that to him this morning if he shows up for the Saturday hit around.
     
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  15. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I tried this when my self rate application was set to 3.5 when I was getting registered for my first USTA tournament. I appealed it and I was denied because I was a college athlete in swimming. :) I played one year of HS tennis and didn't play again until I was 39, now 40.

    The appeal process is easy and I got a detailed answer back from a real person. It just wasn't the answer I expected with a limited resume. It all worked out and I can easily hang in the upper half of the 3.5 group at the club. I have a lot of work ahead to get to 4.0. The funny thing about the whole self rate experience is that even though I was self rated at 3.5, they put me in 3.0 for my first tourney because there was only one other in the draw. 6-1 6-1 later I had a first place umbrella. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
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  16. AtTheNet

    AtTheNet New User

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    I need to check into this. On the USTA website, it appears that you can only appeal a self-rating upward, which is not what I want. When I joined the USTA last year after a 30-year hiatus from tennis, the lowest self-rating I could take was 3.5, since I played at the high school lever. Reading the rating descriptions, I thought "Hey, how much difference can there be in one-half point?", so self-rated at 4.0. Apparently, quite a bit. After playing in a 4.0 ladder last fall, I don't think I belong there yet. Maybe in another year.
     
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  17. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    You can only appeal a self rating upwards ONLINE

    To appeal is downwards you have to fill out a form with more detailed explanation and it gets reviewed by some committee... and I cant remember if i emailed it or faxed it somewhere .. it's been a while but I did it successfully ... see above for datails
     
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  18. vandre

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    the pros i knew from "group lessons/ men's night". i don't know if your place does anything like that but it was a ton cheaper than private lessons. even if you could maybe sweet talk one of the pros into watching the guy for 5 min. maybe that would be enough?

    i feel your pain!
     
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  19. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Most folks just leave out the fact that they played college tennis and take a rating their 1st year and are sandbagging to win whatever level team they are on. The key to winning in USTA is find the unrated gems in your section. Too bad so many folks seem to think that is ok.. instead of playing where they belong. Last summer a group in my section of 3.5s that have never played USTA... rated at 3.0 and killed the other teams. Great stuff..not
     
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  20. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    Ya, this isht is going to be coming to an end pretty soon. There are discussions and pressure from members everywhere that if players that are self-rated low and have an amazingly good first year with shutout like scores and achievements, they're going to get suspended or something else will be done with them, possibly fines to their team captains, etc.
     
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  21. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I just had to chime in here as I'm almost in the same situation to some extent.

    I'm 41 and used to play competitive high school tennis. I would say that I was a decent 4.0 (possibly 4.5) back then but over 20 years later, I'm not even close.

    While I'm in great physical shape from working out 6 days a week (weights, cardio) and playing lots of golf, I'd say humbly that I'm probably a 2.5 now, if not lower!

    While I think I can make it back to a 4.0 in a year or two, I don't want to overestimate my rating. The guidelines for the NTRP ratings state that anyone who has played competitive high school tennis cannot be self rated lower than a 3.0, but I really think I should give myself a 2.5 or even a 2.0.

    I don't even own a single can of tennis balls at the moment and don't know what's the preferred brand to get (it was Wilson back in the day).

     
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  22. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    2.5 is a low as it gets, that is someone totally new to tennis and barely able to serve in the box. I highly doubt you are a 2.5.
     
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  23. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    No offense, but if you played ANY high school tennis for even a year and didn't suck, which you didn't based on the rating you were at before, there's no reason why your mind and body cannot be in enough sync to remember how to hit a ball. There is absolutely no way (even after 20 years) that anyone can go back and not know how to hit a ball due to bad mechanics or something like that. Sure, you might not be as quick on the court or be able to put together points enough initially, but in a few months, you could easily get back in the rhythm. I didn't play tennis for 15 years and went back and my mechanics were still fine. Had to do a little bit of work to get back to being able to judge ball feel and pace/spin properly, but it all came back in a couple of months. Point construction, strategy, physical shape took a bit longer, but certainly not enough to warrant me thinking I needed to be rated a 2.5.

    Come on man, who are you kidding here? That's the problem... competitive players from years ago think they can't play anymore due to age or something along those lines, but it's the mechanics of tennis that doesn't go away. I'm sorry, but in 20 years you don't just forget how to hit a ball properly. Timing might be off, but YOU DO NOT FORGET THE MECHANICS. No pro player in history has ever retired from a sport, gone back years later and knew nothing about that sport. It doesn't happen and that's why the USTA staff doesn't buy your crap reasons for appeals.
     
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  24. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    No offense taken. I agree with you on the point that I think I can get back to a 4.0 form in a few months to half a year of playing. But at the moment, I really think I'm a 2.5 - 3.0. I just don't want to claim a higher NTRP rating that I don't think I can justify and back up with my play at the moment.

    With that said, I'm perfectly OK with my rating being increased from a 2.5 or 3.0 to whatever others think it should be. I'm assuming it's easier to increase a low-ball rating than it is to decrease a overestimated rating, but I'm just guessing here.

    I also agree with you that one doesn't forget the mechanics of playing tennis. But that's not at issue here. It's a case of where the "mind" is willing, the "body" is weak. Namely, I know what the proper mechanics are. It's executing them on a consistent basis that will take some time, hence my giving myself a lower rating until my game is up to par.

     
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  25. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    If you were ever a 4 or 4.5 there is no way you could possibly regress to a 2.5/3.0 without a major physical factor. Just no way. :) Years of layoff isn't that big of a deal especially if you have remained in shape. There is a big difference in even a .5 rating and 4->3 is DRASTIC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  26. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    OK. If I take any flak for "overrating" myself in league tennis play in this first month or so, I'll just send them in your direction.

    Deal?
     
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  27. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Maybe tennis is different from golf. If I took a 20 year vacation from playing golf, there's no way I could hit a 270 yard drive or hit my approach shots to within 10 ft of the pin in less than a month or so from getting back into playing golf.

    But maybe tennis IS that much easier to re-master than golf....
     
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  28. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    If you were a 4.0 / 4.5 in HS, and are in decent shape in your early 40's, then there is no way you are lower than a 3.0 now. In fact it is very unlikely even that you are a 3.0, given your age and fitness level. Maybe if you were 60. Most likely you are a 3.5 right now.

    Also, when you self-rate, you keep that rating for anywhere from 6-18 months, depending on when you start playing league, and how many matches you play your first season. On the other hand, your improvement will be rapid - you will see a lot of improvement over the first few months. So you need to self rate with that perspective in mind.

    Unless of course you are trying to game the system.
     
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  29. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Most definitely. Tennis is hitting a big yellow ball with a 100 sq inch racquet.
    I was a great golfer in HS but I know it would take me many many rounds to get back to where I was if I even cared about golf anymore. I played HS tennis one year of JV and was a 3 at best. I came back at 40, self rated a 3.5 (not by choice) and am still 3.5 computer rated. The game came back quick and I am much better than I was in HS after 9 months of semi regular play. Still a long way to go to ever get 4. It will take some lessons to do that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  30. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I see your point.

    OK, 3.5 it is then.

    Your explanation was logical and made much more sense than the other poster who was talking about how it's impossible to not forget how to play tennis great after 20+ years or some nonsense like that.
     
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  31. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Maybe that's YOUR situation but it does NOT necessarily mean that it applies to others, such as myself.
     
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  32. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    As for gaming the system, I couldn't care less if I win or lose in league tennis. After all, it's just league tennis.

    I just didn't want to overstate my proficiency since I'm just getting back into the game after 20+ years. But as you explained it to me, my self rating needs to take into account where I think I'll be over an extended period of months, and I honestly don't think I'd remain a 2.5 for more than a month or so of playing, so I'll just self rate myself higher then.
     
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  33. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I will bow out of this conversation and let smarter people handle it then. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  34. OrangePower

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    As a general comment, I think part of the problem with league and self-rating is that people rush into it too soon... meaning, don't give themselves enough time between picking the game up (again), and self-rating / getting on a league team.

    If possible, I think a better approach is to play social tennis for a couple or three months first, and then see where things stand. The level of play after three months is going to be much more of an indication of what it's likely to be for the next year. And also, playing already-rated players over the first few months would take a lot of the guesswork out of self-rating.

    At least it did for me. I had no idea of what the self-rating guidelines were, but I knew pretty much what my level was based on comparison with friends who had ratings.
     
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  35. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    Definitely this. It is easy and usually works in cases like this.
     
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  36. SwankPeRFection

    SwankPeRFection Hall of Fame

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    Take your 3.5 and play your 3.5 league. If you get beat, you'll end up at 3.0. If you end up winning you'll either stay at 3.5 or get bumped. There's a reason why the self-rate system asks certain questions and why you get a certain rating.

    As for the other nonsense you apparently think I'm talking about. Am I to understand that after 20 years of not playing competitive 4.0-4.5 tennis, you've forgotten how to hold/swing a racquet, how to serve, how to hit a ball? Ya, and I'm talking nonsense. It's not like you got hit in the head, paralyzed for 20 years and have to learn to walk all over again. Come on man!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  37. sam_p

    sam_p Professional

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    Absolutely spot on advice - give yourself 6 months or so of hitting around, it will come back. I played competitively in high school in the early 80's. Left HS and didn't pick up a racket more than twice for 25 years (literally did not pick up a racket). Started playing again about 7 years ago. I just hit around and joined a club to start and after about a year decided to play USTA. Self-rated at 4.0 (although a couple of people tried to entice me to self-rate at 3.5) and had about a 0.600 record the first year playing 4.0 doubles, 8.0 mixed and 7.5 doubles. The next few years my record got better each year and three years ago went to districts with a very strong record and got bumped to 4.5 where I have essentially a 0.500 record since.

    The point is, for me the system worked perfectly. I've gotten back into tennis and now play 4-5x a week. I literally can't imagine not playing tennis at this point and am mystified why I gave it up so completely for so long.
     
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  38. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    I apologize if I offended you and didn't mean to deter your participating in the conversation.

    I just didn't feel good about someone thinking that I was lying or exaggerating about the current state of my tennis game (almost non-existent after 20 years since I've last played competitive tennis), despite my previous proficiency.

    I'm really not trying to sandbag and give myself a lower rating to easily beat unsuspecting league opponents. For me, league tennis is all about meeting new people over a fun tennis match. While winning is preferable to losing, I won't get upset over league tennis match losses. I mean, it's JUST league tennis LOL.
     
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  39. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    That's actually a great idea, especially if league tennis had some sort of monetary prize ramification.

    But since most tennis leagues are about fun and pride, why should player returning back to tennis have to delay getting in on the fun just because they're game is in flux? Shouldn't the league and USTA be more responsive in adjudicating a new player's rating as he improves and gets back to a proficiency level that he used to enjoy a long time ago?
     
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  40. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    First, my poorly worded post about "nonsense comments" was NOT directed at you, but another member (to whom I've just publicly apologized for).

    I can still hold a racquet and remember the rules of tennis more or less. But I've forgotten just how "western" my forehand grip used to be. I've forgotten just where "no man's land" is exactly on the court. I've forgotten just how much I should toss the ball inside the baseline during my service toss and just how high I used to toss it.

    I could go on and on, but you get the point. Can I beat a beginner to the game? Probably.

    Could I beat some of these junior players competing in USTA tournaments? Probably not at the moment.

    My inconsistency is my biggest weakness at the moment. Namely, being able to hit a number of consecutive strokes without having the ball end up in the net.

    This is exactly why I won't be giving up golf completely as I get back into tennis. I don't want to have to re-learn how to hit a fade or draw shot off the tee with a driver or long iron.
     
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  41. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Well, one can have a lot of fun playing tennis without jumping right into league, but I hear what you're saying.

    It would be great if the USTA were able to adjust players' rating more frequently. Especially in the case of new or returning players, their level of play can change very rapidly in the beginning.

    I imagine there are logistical issues with releasing ratings more than once a year, but don't really have any insight into that.

    USTA does try to address it by mentioning on the self-rating guidelines that players should take into consideration their likely improvement over the season when self-rating. I guess some do that, some don't. Those that self-rate too low may enjoy immediate success, which is motivating, but then their rate of improvement is slowed because they are not challenged enough. And of course once they have improved but are still rated at the lower level, they get black looks from others. Those that self rate on the high side may suffer some early defeats, but then are able to improve more quickly IMO.

    So from a practical standpoint, given how things are, I still think it's best to wait a few months before self-rating.
     
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  42. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Given how we're in the Age of the Internet and the 21st Century, it's a shame that USTA ratings can't be computed and disseminated more frequently.

    For example, USGA golf handicap indexes are recomputed as soon as you turn in your latest golf round score.
     
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  43. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    The USTA calculates updated dynamic NTRP ratings nightly, they just choose not to make them public, presumably because doing so would give the system gamers even more information.

    But regarding ratings be adjusted, it is a bit complicated. Self rated players (and a few other categories) are subject to being DQ'd and bumped up at any point in the year when they reach too many strikes. It is at a sections discretion I believe, but a DQ can result in all the matches the player has played also becoming DQs, so these can end up hurting a team, not just the individual being bumped up. And even if prior results aren't reversed, the player is now no longer available for future matches so that still hurts the team.

    So, if this similar mid-year bumping was done for all players including C rated, would you reverse prior results or just bump them up? But even if just bumped up, it still hurts the team as they lose a key player for future matches. So there would be even more incentive to game the system and try to make sure key players don't get bumped up. And, in the USTA's mind, is more reason to not publish detailed ratings to enable this gaming.
     
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