Should you be able to play down too?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by smarog, May 31, 2012.

  1. smarog

    smarog New User

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    There's been some talk on this forum about playing up in USTA leagues - some are for it, some are against it (personally, I'm against it) and it got me thinking; if you can play up then why shoudln't you be able to play down too? If you're a 4.0 then you can play on a 4.5 team - people on here say that it's good to play up to get experience against a player that is supposedly at a higher skill level. Using this logic, wouldn't you be able to play down a level too? Wouldn't these same players who want to play up all the time also want to play down so they can work on their weaknesses or try new tactics against a player that is supposedly a skill level lower than theirs? Or would the players that play up not want to waste their time playing below their level?

    I'm just curious - would all of you who play up a level in USTA leagues also play down a level if you could?
     
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  2. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    dumbest post ever
     
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  3. smarog

    smarog New User

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    Care to elaborate?
     
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  4. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    People manipulate their ratings to extreme measures to be able to play down so they can put together a team that would go deep into the playoffs. Letting people play down would completely defeat the purpose of having different rating levels.
     
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  5. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    I dont get playing down. I hate playing less skilled players, so now i play deep into the playoffs and play even worse matches?

    Even 4.0 has turned into a pushers paradise. Cant stand it, which is why i take my lumps at 4.5 or 5.0.
     
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  6. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    You can't let people play down in official league matches. That's dumb. If you want to play down, it's easy enough. Just call someone at the level lower than you. Odds are, they will be more than happy to hit with you.
     
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  7. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Playing down is also called "sandbagging."

    What you are saying is, "should we be able to sandbag?"

    Do a search on sandbagging and you'll see why this was nominated for dumbest post ever.
     
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  8. penpal

    penpal Rookie

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    I think I see the point you're making smarog. The thing is, USTA league play is supposedly a competition, with the goal being to make it to the next level (e.g., District Championships, Regional Championships, National Championships). So, in theory, players competing in USTA leagues shouldn't mind if they're facing players who are playing up, as their chances of defeating these players are improved. On the flip side, a 4.0 team playing in a 4.0 league wouldn't want to face a team full of 4.5 players because that will hurt their chances of moving on to the championships.
     
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  9. Unfrozen Caveman

    Unfrozen Caveman Rookie

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    Playing down can have benefits and could be workable in limited situations. Take me for example. I am rated a 4.5 but highly doubt that is accurate. I believe that I am a 4.0 but my appeal to be moved down was unsuccessful. I was a state/ sectionally ranked junior that played division I college tennis. I only played doubles, not singles since I was not good enough. Sometimes, I did not play at all. After college, I played off and on for 8 years, then not at all for 14 years.

    We have a flex league in my area. When I signed up, I had to certify that my 4.5 level was my true self-rated level. Since I had unsuccessfully appealed, it was. Because I am coming back to tennis, I believe that playing 4.0 players would be beneficial because: (1) I would not really be playing down since my game is at a 4.0 level despite what the USTA says; and (2) even if 4.0 is playing down, I would benefit by getting practice at certain things, including generating my own pace and winning matches.

    If all the league participants consent to players playing down, what is the problem. Full disclosure instead of sandbagging is better. A lot more 5.0s could play in league play. For example, leagues could consent to a 4.5 team having one 5.0 player per team. That would be better than teams just gaming the system.
     
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  10. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    You're a former D1 player in your 40's who wants to play 4.0? You're better off dusting off the rust and getting back to a higher level. No way you should be playing 4.0 as a former D1 player.
     
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  11. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    "If all the league participants consent to players playing down, what is the problem."

    So, for the sake of argument, let's say all the league participants consented to players playing down. This means a section could possibly send a team full of 5.0s to the 2.5 adult league nationals. Yes, this is extreme but it can happen in theory. I am a 4.5. If this is allowed in the league I'm in and I see a team full of 5.0s playing down, I'll just request for a refund of my registration fee. If I wanted to play against 5.0s I can always just ask my 5.0 buddies to play and I don't have to pay. Of course, bringing a six pack for after playing can be considered payment but that's different. :)
     
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  12. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    I have less of a problem with it in flex leagues. In fact, if you want to play down in a flex league, just sign up for 4.5. Most of the people signing up will probably be 4.0s (or weak 4.5s).
     
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  13. Unfrozen Caveman

    Unfrozen Caveman Rookie

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    Play 4.0 long term? No. Short term? Perhaps. Since my return to tennis I have not seen enough 4 and 4.5 players to really judge accurately who is what (including me). Anyway, since I am 4.5, I will play 4.5 to the extent a team will take me. I have a few months to improve before rosters are due for leagues, so as long as I play once a week or so, I should be okay.
     
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  14. Unfrozen Caveman

    Unfrozen Caveman Rookie

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    I think you would need to make the rules a little tighter. For example, if you were signing up for a 4.5 league: "Do you consent to playing teams that have, at a maximum, one 5.0 rated player on their team?"
     
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  15. gameboy

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    You can already play down if you wish. It is called Flex League.
     
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  16. smarog

    smarog New User

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    This is my point - No one would want to play down because they don't want to play "lesser" competition, but the majority of people will play up and force someone that's playing at their correct level to play someone rated lower than them. It's hypocritical to me and doesn't make much sense.
     
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  17. darrinbaker00

    darrinbaker00 Professional

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    That's fine, but it should be obvious to you that you're in the minority. Besides, no one is forcing anybody to do anything. If you know your opponent is rated lower than you, and you don't want to play him, you can always walk off the court. It's your choice.
     
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  18. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Yea, when I played HS varsity basketball I really wanted to play JV too. So hypocritical that I couldn't do this because of a silly rule. I could've dominated JV as a senior and crushed people.
     
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  19. smarog

    smarog New User

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    So, when you played varsity hs basketball did you also want to play up a level and suit up for the Florida Gators too? You know, just for the experience of playing with better players?

    My point has nothing to do with sandbagging - that's an entirely different issue.
     
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  20. OrangePower

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    Good answer. Although things are messy because there are competing goals: (1) the "this is a competition" goal of getting to playoffs or whatever, and (2) the "getting in some good tennis" goal of playing people of similar skill level to yourself.

    Playing down goes against both goals. Playing up does not interfere with goal (1) but is contrary to goal (2).

    Which is why I personally am against allowing players to both play up and play at their rated level. That's just having your cake and eating it too, which is the point I think Smarog was trying to make - it's kinda selfish to force better players to endure playing you, while you yourself still get the opportunity to play at your own level where you are immune from competing against the better players.

    So I think if someone wants to play up, they should have to appeal their rating up (and USTA should allow this within reason), and then they can play at the higher level (but not their old level). Make them decide on one level or the other, similar to the way higher-rated players don't have the choice of playing down.
     
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  21. dcdoorknob

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    USTA: so here is your rating. But, you can play up if you want to. You can also play down if you want to. Consequently you may also play against people playing up or down no matter what level you play.

    Player: Oh. So what is the point of a rating then?

    USTA: There isn't one.

    Player: Oh, ok then. Sounds like I'm not that likely to see competitive matches very often at all. I'll pass.
     
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  22. jdubbs

    jdubbs Hall of Fame

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    Just play 4.5, all your skills will come back to you, that early life muscle memory never goes away (I started tennis when I was 5 and took years off and am fine). You're a 4.5 and you'll have more fun at that level, believe me.
    4.0 is a push-a-thon around these parts.
     
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  23. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I think so because playing down has taught me that there is such a skill as knowing how and when to close out matches. This may not necessarily have helped me when I was playing up, but over opponents who, for the most part, were equally skilled as myself, I believe a superiority in score management has allowed me to prevail. I believe one should not play so far down that the match is a waste of his time, however, but that playing another who could beat you if you were at less than fifty percent is sometimes time well spent.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
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  24. floridatennisdude

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    I went to plenty of open gyms when I was 17 & 18 years old with all kinds of college guys at various levels at the local D3 school. Total blast. One guy I played with played in Europe for 12 years and won Italian League titles.

    But, not too many of those college guys were coming to our HS open gyms. By not many, I mean zero.
     
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  25. smarog

    smarog New User

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    You proved my point - thank you. Of course none of the college players would come to a high school open gym. They don't want to play against players that are not at their skill level. Just like a lot of people don't like playing a league match against a player that is not at their level. Just play at your level people. You'll get moved up if your results are good enough.
     
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  26. penpal

    penpal Rookie

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    I can commiserate with you, I really can. But I think there are also a lot of people who don't mind at all when they see their opponent in a USTA league match is a lower rated player, as they see it as a potential win.

    I doubt the USTA is going to change this anytime soon, though in our region they have begun to limit how many lower rated players can be on a team. If you're dead set against playing lower rated players - ever - USTA leagues probably aren't the best venue for you.
     
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  27. darrinbaker00

    darrinbaker00 Professional

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    What you're failing to understand is that not everyone thinks the same way you do. When I play someone who isn't at my level, I use my superior skill to win the match, I shake hands with my opponent afterwards, and I move on to my next match. I'm not offended that I have to share a court with an inferior player, and it doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the game. If you don't like playing people who aren't at your level, then simply DON'T DO IT. As I stated earlier, nobody is forcing you to do anything.
     
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  28. OrangePower

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    Here's what I think you're missing:

    I am with Smarog in that I don't want to play lower-rated players playing up in USTA league. This is not because I have some superiority complex or because I'm "offended that I have to share a court with an inferior player." In fact, I will gladly play social tennis and practice matches with anyone, whether weaker or stronger.

    But USTA league is different, because there's just not that many matches, especially for singles players. Doubles players have Combo, Mixed, etc. But for singles guys, there's just regular Adult. And even then, out of 8 people in a lineup, only 2 get to play singles. Plus you usually are not in the lineup every match. So what I'm saying is that you are just not going to get that many league singles matches. So in my case, for the few that I do get, I want the matches to be as competitive as possible, and against people at my level.
     
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  29. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    silly post.

    no matter how you slice it, the ratings will NEVER allow
    you to play only people at the exact same skill level, or
    very rarely anyhow. get over it and go play.

    i understand being the devil's advocate, but this being silly
    is just exactly that.

    it must suck for Rafa to have to play all those first round matches, are those guys playing up or is he playing down?
     
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  30. J_R_B

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    So, the teams that have guys playing up do it because they have no one else. If you don't let people play up, then they will forfeit the court instead and you'll have even fewer matches.
     
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  31. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    Tournaments are different. In a tournament, I don't think people mind playing weaker competition because you get an easy match and stay fresh for the next round. Rafa certainly doesn't because an easy first round just adds to his paycheck. He'll play the Istomins of the world every match if he could.
     
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  32. floridatennisdude

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    Oh, that was my point too. Reading back, you must've not detected my sarcasm. Thought it was kinda clear...senior wanting to play JV and all. Kinda rediculous.
     
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  33. darrinbaker00

    darrinbaker00 Professional

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    I'm not missing anything, OrangePower. My point is that you can't control what other people do, so either learn to live with the fact that you're going to play against people playing up, or continue to be frustrated.
     
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  34. floridatennisdude

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    Darrin, I have found that people that "play up" are usually close to playing at the higher level. There are a few odd ducks out there that play up and love taking the beatings...like Happy Gilmore in the batting cage, that's just weird. The 4.0s that play up in our 4.5 leagues are usually the better 4.0 players, hence the captain let them play.

    What I don't want to have happen is to just let any 5.0 play down in our 4.5 league. I play so that I can get a good workout and play a competitive match. Getting routed by a known superior player is against both purposes. If I want that, I'll just call up a 5.0 guy and see if he will hit with me in a casual match or practice scenario.
     
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  35. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    As I stated in my previous post, telling your buddy about bringing some brews for after the match usually makes it easier for your buddy to hit with you. :)

    Seriously though, personally, I find it a little awkward to ask my 5.0 buddies to hit because I know they won't get the same quality of play when they hit with me. I know I can only hang with them up to a certain point. It's not about being scared to play them or anything but more about being considerate. If and when I really want to hit with a 5.0, the only ones I have the bravado to ask are those who I have played with and against in the past who were bumped to 5.0.
     
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  36. darrinbaker00

    darrinbaker00 Professional

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    I don't disagree with you at all, sir, but since there's nothing you can do to prevent it, I don't see the point in letting it frustrate you.
     
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  37. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    That's a good point... and true in some cases. But I've also seen cases where there are for example 4.0s on a 4.5 team, and the captain chooses to play a 4.0 rather than an available 4.5 because he wants to give everyone playing time. So I only partially agree with you.

    Agreed. I don't care who I play in a tournament - in fact I quite like the easy wins!

    Agreed, and "frustrated" is too strong a word. I'm not really that worked up about it. Just saying if I had my druthers, I would limit people to playing league at just one level.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
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  38. OrangePower

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    I hear what you're saying, but let me do a slight rewording that illustrates Smarog's original point:

    What I don't want to have happen is to just let any 4.0 play up in our 4.5 league. I play so that I can get a good workout and play a competitive match. Getting bored by a known inferior player is against both purposes. If I want that, I'll just call up a 4.0 guy and see if he will hit with me in a casual match or practice scenario.
     
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  39. floridatennisdude

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    Just FYi, that was a clever word play
     
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