Tennis is about Match Ups As Opposed To Ratings

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Aurellian, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    I have come to the conclusion that match ups are much more important on a micro level than ratings are.

    I believe that styles-- particularly unique styles of play that are unseen or harder to replicate—can allow a less technically proficient player to beat players a full level above them.

    If a lesser ranked player routinely beats higher ranked players the likely consensus is that said player is a sandbagger, or playing opponents below his true ratings. I think that this is often the case but not always.

    I am a USTA official rated 3.0 but have a 36% win record against the 4.0s that I play in ladders on the East Coast. I am convinced that as awful as my game is, the fact that I hit the ball very hard and have a 4.5 serve 50% of the time makes me a bad match up for most people. Those two things, as well as top quintile, but by no means elite, athleticism allow me to prevail over better tennis players...but only for one set and not for the second match up.

    A lot of the time when we think a player is sandbagging---and I am guilty of this—they are just a bad match up for us. This especially holds true if you have a unique game, a game that spans the ranges of a technical spectrum (a 4.5 serve with a 2.5 volley), or rely on the exploitation of a mental edge over opponents.

    For instance if one player is beneficiary of a surprising number of double faults or silly mistakes I do not attribute it to luck if this happens habitually; I attribute it to something the opponent is doing to cause these errors.

    Discuss: Refute or Support
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
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  2. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    News flash, if you are a 3.0 and beating a 4.0, that ain't no 4.0 my friend.
     
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  3. tennixpl

    tennixpl Rookie

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    both matter, a strong 3.5 playing a guy who is a 3.0 winner playing up is likely to win....however match up is always important. especially in lower levels where skill is lacking for most players, getting the ball back and just not hitting it out is the mindset, and that slight improvement is huge when you learn how to construct a basic point or you start to develop an actual weapon of a stroke that you can go to to end points. rating wise it can be small but make a huge impact on who will win.

    we have a guy who was undefeated at 3.0 bc he was a back board, no weapon whatsoever but gets most balls back, more him up to 3.5 where he starts to meet people wit ha tad more skill, maybe a weapon and an ability to think through a point and he loses most matches
    thee are huge differences in tennis skill and fitness at the lower levels that make huge differences despite micro rankings being similar. can't speak to upper level ratings....yet :)
     
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  4. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Au contraire: I could not pass the 3.5 USTA test. The pro rated me a 3.0.

    This rating is not to be disputed.
     
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  5. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I think styles make fights as they say in boxing.

    A strong server can have a puncher's chance against a more complete player. A good defender can frustrate someone with more weapons but occasional bouts of inconsistency.

    This is particularly true when players are seeing each other for the first time. In a 3-set match, by the time you realize where your opponent's weaknesses lie (or how he is exploiting your own), it may be too late.

    Also, I suspect that at lower levels players show more inconsistency from day to day and this manifests itself in more volatility in results. So if you beat a player with a higher rating he may just have been been having a bad day, or maybe you were having a great one.
     
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  6. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    I don't think so....luck has nothing to do with it. It's the match up...Moreover, if you continually make people have a a bad day is that luck?
     
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  7. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    No, in that case it's not! It's match-ups, and lack of familiarity, as you say.

    Maybe I'm wrong about luck and inconsistency being more of a factor at lower levels-- that's just a guess really... but I think it could help explain some of the variation in individual results.
     
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  8. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    Apparently you did not read what I posted.
     
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  9. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    I think you are right that consistency is big part of tennis, but luck is nothing more than the probability of an event occurring.
     
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  10. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    No my friend, you did not read what I posted.

    I get your point, I alluded to it in my first para: the 4.0 is not really a 4.0 and the 3.0 is not a 3.0.

    I know this argument and anticipated it, but repeating it ad nasuem does not make it valid.

    The 4.0s really were 4.0s. Of course I did not see them rated by a USTA pro, but their records in League and tournaments confirmed this.

    Assume for the sake of argument that my premise is sound and proceed from there, sir.
     
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  11. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    Sorry mate, but either I'm missing something or you are not making any sense. If they are in fact 4.0s and you are infact. 3.0, you won't beat them, sorry mate. And if you are beating them, then they are at best a 3.5. A 3.0 has nothing in his/her game that a 4.0 has never seen. Since typically 4.0s are playing against 4.5s sometimes. Match ups only come into question when you are +\- half a point. No matter how unuiqe you think your game is a 3.0 is never beating a 4.0.
     
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  12. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    Sight rating hasn't been done by USTA pros for many years now.
     
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  13. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Huh, what i am saying is that unless one saw another person complete the requisite drills one can't truly know what someone's ranking is..

    not sure I am tracking, mate.

    for our purposes, one must look at an opponents record at a certain level and deduce the rating from that. if a guy has played 5.0 for five years and wins about 50% of his matches I just conceede he is a 5.0.

    is it posisble he tests at a 5.5---if there is even a test for players that high--or a 4.5...maybe, but he is a competitive 5.0 player in my book.
     
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  14. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Yes, match-ups are very important and I've noted this several times despite my fascination with the NTRP system and the estimates I create. If everyone played exactly to their level, no one would ever have their rating go up or down and every match between the same players would have identical scores and there would be no point in playing.

    So match-ups are certainly important as is how someone is playing on a given day as well as if someone has been playing a lot and getting lessons and improving their game or if they haven't been playing much and are rusty. There are a lot of factors.

    Having said that, it is very unlikely that a legitimate 3.0 will beat a legitimate 4.0 on a regular basis. For most of the estimates I've done, a range in performance for different matches of 0.5 isn't uncommon for many people (rating +/- 0.25), so even if the 4.0 is a lower end 4.0 (say 3.51) and the 3.0 is at the top of his range (say 3.0), this normal variance just puts the players at about equal. So could the 3.0 win on occasion? Sure, but would they win regularly? I doubt it.

    So I too would question if the 3.0 and 4.0 ratings are legit. And I don't care about what a pro rated someone at. One doesn't really have an NTRP rating until you've played enough league matches and had an end of year rating (or mid-season DQ or bump) established.

    Feel free to provide links to USTA results to confirm/prove this.
     
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  15. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Huh? Have to agree with J_R_B on this one, rating by pros isn't done anymore. New players to USTA League go through a self-rate process and until they actually play matches, don't have a real rating.
     
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  16. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Res Ipsa Loquitur ....not much more to say...

    What are not you tracking and I will try to illuminate. What exactly are you having difficulty grasping, my friend?
     
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  17. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Are there not a series of drills that if successfully completed equate to rating?

    if one completed the drills for a level would one not be rated at that level?

    why can't a coach put his students through the drills? The place where I play was doing it en masse for the kids at their Academy a few weeks ago.

    Is this old school?

    Is it better to just let players self rate as opposed to a standardized skills based assessment.
     
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  18. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Does that mean you are a computer rated 3.0 in tennislink? Specifically, if you go here, http://tennislink.usta.com/Leagues/Common/Default.aspx, and type your name in the textbox under
    Find NTRP Rating Info

    is there a C next to it? That is a yes or no question mate.
     
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  19. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    I think it is safe to say we can completely disregard the ratings you are assigning to players. We have no reason to believe you are a 3.0 and no reason to believe the player you beat is a 4.0.

    No, there are not drills you go through to become rated. There are descriptions of each level and a player is responsible for reading them and accurately self-rating themselves. Certainly they can ask a pro for their opinion but that still just helps a player determine the right level to self-rate at. Until they actually play USTA League matches that count, a self-rated player has no rating.
     
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  20. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    For someone who clearly knows very little about how the NTRP system works as evidenced by your above questions you've been making some very bold statements in this thread.
     
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  21. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Mehh, it's about the larger point as opposed to this specific case.

    I also don't want to post anyone's info on a MB....but for the sake of argument concede the facts.....let's make this more theoretical as opposed to personal.

    Also, as far as I understand, and I could be wrong. Please correct me if I am. But the series of tests are standardized...like hit 7/10 balls in the doubles ally...that's not very subjective.
     
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  22. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    Ok, so what I have determined from this post so far is this:

    1. You are not a real USTA rated 3.0 (just some pro at your club said you are)
    2. The so called 4.0s you are playing are not really 4.0s (just some pro at your club said they are from 'drills')
    3. You have beaten said 4.0s in matches
    4. You are either not a 3.0 or they are not 4.0s (obvious)

    So yes, I guess you are correct, two people of even (or close) playing abilities will have different results based on style of play.

    But a 3.0 will not beat a 4.0 because of his/her 'style' of play. A 3.0 and a 4.0 are not close. A 3.0, in all honesty is just not good.

    In USTA if a 3.0 beats a 4.0 (which I don't think can happen anyways, cause you can only play up .5) the 3.0 is sandbagging. There is no other option.
     
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  23. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Point one: The Op may not be a 3.0. Perhaps.

    point two: the opponents are not playing competitively at the level posted is not a possibility.
     
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  24. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Read carefully and respond:

    1. Perhaps. Correction: yes, you are correct.

    2. Incorrect. They are competitive players at the level which have been indicated.

    3. yes, but more accurately would be matches and not sets.

    4. maybe. If the skill based test is a sham and the pro has developed some sham test that he is putting his clients and students through that has no basis in reality than yes. If this is the case I have been hoodwinked and my premise is faulty. Thank you for pointing this out to me.

    I don't claim to know much about this topic and I thank you for pointing out this false test that i have been subjected to. I think she just wants me to take more lessons.


    Why can you only play up .5 level?

    What stops one from playing opponents at a higher level...note these are club ladders and not USTA events. I play the ladders in the DC area and the tournaments in another part of the country.
     
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  25. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    so congratulations! you are a 4.0 player. and your style annoys the heck out of the 4.0 players you beat and probably most people on this forum.
     
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  26. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    Ok, you don't want to post someone else's info. You can still post yours without violating their privacy.

    And did you did what beernutz asked in post #18? http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7496957&postcount=18 Look up yourself and the opponent and tell us what it says.

    And again, there is no objective test. There are subjective guidelines and a player self-rates.

    And if you want to be theoretical, I already was in my earlier post where I describe how in theory a 3.0 could be competitive with a 4.0 if a) the 3.0 is at the top of his range, b) the 4.0 is at the bottom of his range, c) the 3.0 is having one of their very good days, and d) the 4.0 is having one of their very bad days. This competitive match is unlikely and if it were to occur regularly would indicate the 3.0 is not a 3.0 and/or the 4.0 is not a 4.0.
     
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  27. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    Ok my mistake then. If the 4.0s you are playing, are computer rated 4.0s and you are beating them, then you are not a 3.0. It is not because of the 'style' of play you have. You should join USTA. Self rate at 3.5 and see how you do.

    But moral of this post is, you are not a 3.0 if you are beating legit 4.0s.
     
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  28. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    LOl, maybe:)..heck, affirmative for the latter and likely for the former.
     
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  29. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    The USTA only allows playing up one level (0.5 rating) because the whole point of USTA League is to have competitive play. And 99% of the time, matches between players a whole rating point apart are not going to be competitive. And if 4.0s are going to be forced to play 3.0s playing up, it won't be worth their time and they'll go find someplace else to play.

    Now, ladders are entirely different. They aren't governed by the USTA so if your club has an open ladder, you can play/challenge whomever you want withint the rules of the ladder.
     
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  30. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Yes, it says S for self. Not worth much. How can I be C or D rated? The two guys had a C next to their names at the level I originally indicated.

    My bad about the guidelines; I will definitely be having words with my pro. every other week I am put through the skills based test for 3.5 and fail.

    I will concede no more, my other point is certainly plausible.

    Allow me to posit: A guy can serve 125 miles per hour flat routinely but is 290 pounds has bad knees and can't do anything else but serve..that's all he can do..he can serve and lumber towards the net with a power volley to put away the shortball. No backhand, no lob, no forehand weapon, just a serve....are you saying that he would not be very successful at anything below 4.5?
     
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  31. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    I love these threads where people who clearly have absolutely no clue about NTRP ratings or how they work and have never in their lives played a single NTRP match spout off about ratings like an expert. It's almost as entertaining as the "I hate pushers who suck even though I can't beat them" whine fests and the "5.0 rec players can beat female pros" threads that LeeD craps his troll crap all over. Ugh.
     
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  32. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Seems we are arguing over definition of "legitimate rating".

    Most people who play USTA league take "legitimate rating" to mean a computer-generated NTRP. This rating is objective and results-based - calculated based on who you have played, their computer rating, and the match scores. The computer rating is calculated to two decimal places, but USTA only reveals it rounded up to nearest half.

    It is extremely unlikely that a computer rated 3.0 would beat a computer rated 4.0. At best, the 3.0 has a more precise rating of 3.00 (the range is 2.51 - 3.00 that would be rounded up to 3.0). At worst, the 4.0 has a precise rating of 3.51. This is still a gap of more than 0.5. Perhaps if the 3.0 is having a great day, the 4.0 a crappy day, and the stylistic matchup is completely to the favor of the 3.0... but it would have to be a perfect storm.

    Then again, there are people who define "legitimate rating" in a broader sense... based on coach / drill assessments, self-rating guidelines, subjective win/loss assessment, etc. In this case, anything is possible, because there isn't necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison.
     
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  33. Adles

    Adles Rookie

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    As a middling 4.0, if I find myself on the court with a 3.0, then I have already lost. Most 4.0s that I know feel the same way.
     
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  34. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Thank you. Makes sense, but outliers do exist.
     
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  35. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    You have a point: A better statement would be a pro-rated (whatever that means) X. beats NTRP Computer rated +1 point.

    Seriously, I had no clue that that skills test was a hoax.

    Chilax dude, it's a message board. Something to do while I am sitting in this language class for 5 hours each day...

    Focus on the general argument, not the details which are generally poorly flushed out and misunderstood/misinterpreted.
     
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  36. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Not being flippant, but perhaps being such an ***** and so annoying prompts players at a higher level to become mistake prone when playing the lesser player.
     
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  37. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    I think most people are pretty relaxed in this thread lol :)

    You were just mistaken and didn't really realize the difference in self-ratings and computer ratings. If your club pro says you are a 3.0 but you are beating computer rated 4.0s, well then you are definitely not a 3.0. So congrats. So what your originial post should have really said is; 'Hey, I'm a self rating 3.0, but I beat some 4.0s 30% of the time, I guess I am actually a rising 3.5 whoohoo'
     
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  38. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    That's the part people focused on because its easier to be attack a poster than a concept. I also like being a bit inflammatory.

    The concept I would like addressed is what was alluded to previously about a guy who serves really hard but can do nothing else...a game that is developed unequally....a 2.0 volleyer and a 4.5 serve....I certainly think that this rare bird is hard for the model to process...What level is this guy?
     
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  39. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    That's where you not playing USTA really hurts your theory. A 4.0 plays against 4.5 type serves everytime he plays tennis. So that 3.0 with a HUGE serve is going to have no advantage. And to be quite honest, 3.0's will not have a huge serve. They might think it is awesome but in reality, it's pretty crappy. There is not a single part of a 3.0 game that can hurt a 4.0. Unless of course the 3.0 is sandbagging HARD.
     
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  40. schmke

    schmke Professional

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    I too think most folks on this thread were reasonably relaxed. It was just your insistence that the players were a 3.0 and 4.0 despite folks pointing out the flaw in the basis for these ratings that had some energetic comments. I don't think any of my comments were "biting" at least.

    But if you want to stray into the completely theoretical, then the ratings don't really matter. If you have a "lower rated" player A that can do nothing other than serve, it is possible that on a really good serving day where "higher rated" opponent B has trouble with the returns that A could hold serve every time and perhaps get it to a tie-break. Without some other weapon though, he'll never break serve and at best would have to get lucky in two tie-breaks to win the match. This is highly unlikely.
     
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  41. goober

    goober Legend

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    I went through a similar test with a pro before I ever played USTA or any organized tennis at all. I was required to do this before I joined this club league. Based on my results I was a 3.0. I was placed in a 3.5 league because there were not enough players for a 3.0 league. Since I was the only 3.0 in a 3.5 league where every other person also had to go through the same test at some point and could only move up by winning the league twice, I should have finished near the bottom of the league right?

    I didn't drop a set and won half my matches 6-0, 6-0. Immediately moved up to 4.0 next season which I also won twice in a row (by closer scores). Started USTA and realized this club league was 0.5 lower per level than USTA.

    So my experience with the standardized skills test and placement rating by the teaching pro was that it was completely inaccurate in my case.
     
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  42. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    See, this is where USTA computer rating is really useful, since it's based on actual results. So your hypothetical 2.0 volley / 4.5 serve guy would be rated based on scores vs other computer rated players - no guesswork required, and not at all hard for the model to process. The model doesn't care what the individual elements of the player's game are like, just at the end of the day how he does against others.

    Hypothetically, if I were to guess, I would say a player with a 4.5 serve but everything else at the 3.0 level or lower would be at best a 3.5.
     
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  43. goober

    goober Legend

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    I would also add that a computer rated 3.0 would rarely beat a computer rated 4.0- throwing out losses secondary to injury/retirement/defaults. The rare times it would happen would be secondary to the rating system not catching up with the "real" rating of the player. If a high rated 3.0 didn't get bumped at the end of the year ratings and then spent the next 9-10 months practicing like crazy, taking lessons and getting in shape he could beat a 4.0 while still carrying a 3.0c rating. In fact we had one such poster like that who used to post here a lot named Raiden. He went 3.0 nationals and I don't think he lost a single match in singles and beat some 4.0s while he had a 3.0 rating, but he wasn't a legit 3.0. He was a 4.0 that did not have his ratings catch up to his real rating at that point in time.
     
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  44. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Who says I don't play USTA?
     
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  45. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    Disagree, a top five American player said "got damn" when he saw the OP hit a serve at NBs.

    Likley it was a got damn compared to other adult campers but there were some very good adult campers at NBs. By far the worse player but able to win in matches due to some weapons....

    That's why I know what I am saying is valid...valid for three sets, no...valid for one set, yes.

    I have only played for a year and 1 half but very intensely.
     
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  46. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    A strong 3.0 can beat a weak 3.5 without too much trouble. But a strong 3.0 will lose most of the time to a strong 3.5. There isn't much of a difference between a strong 3.5 and a weak 4.0... so whether the 4.0 is strong or weak, a 3.0 is going to get crushed way more than 90% of the time.

    Besides. I know guys on my team that are 3.0s that can only beat other 3.0s 35% of the time -- that's why they belong as a 3.0. But if a 3.0 can beat a 4.0 35% of the time, then he belongs as either a very strong 3.5 or a weak 4.0.
     
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  47. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

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    WAIT!!! So there is a test? You don't think its a good one but there is a test....

    I am just messin. I know there is test; I was just feigning indignation.

    Is it a USTA test? I think the test is very hard. Does it really matter if one can hit the quadrants of the court on command if one can hit the ball so hard at the opponent with enough accuracy that the opponent just says, "you hit the ball very hard" as it putters off his racket?

    It's standardized test. They have their limits. Nothing new about that.
     
    #47
  48. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    19,667
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I can think of three 4.5 players I've encountered back when I used to play local tennis leagues, who would have no chance against me just playing baseline games to 21. Allow them to serve and play a regular match and it was a dogfight to beat all 3 of these guys. They basically had pro level serves which allowed them to win a lot of games. One guy was a retired MLB player.
     
    #48
  49. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    491
    Good point.

    I am not nearly as good as Raiden though.
     
    #49
  50. Aurellian

    Aurellian Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    491
    Yea, that's what i am talking about...but who knows what ranking these guys were....

    It's like Mike Vick or Tebow at QB. These dudes are not legit NFL QBs--more the latter than the former....Tebow throws awful. My College QB is a much better pocket passer than Tebow was last season...but they can lead their team to victory form behind center..with Vick and Tebow their skill sets can't be simulated...scout team can't emulate this, so when they take the field they can get "lucky" an awful lot because Ds are not used to them...but they are not good QBs...
     
    #50

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