Tennis Recruiting Appearance on Parenting Aces Show

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by dallasoliver, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    Hey gang -

    FYI, I was the guest on today's Parenting Aces Internet radio show. I know, I know - I'm famous now. I'll try not to let it get to my head.

    We discussed a number of things about Tennis Recruiting, ranking systems in general, how players/parents use the site, the impact of USTA changes on our rankings, etc. I had fun with it, and I thought that some of you might be interested in the discussion. Here is the link:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ur10snetwork/2013/01/28/parenting-aces

    Best regards,
    Dallas
     
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  2. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Well done. Thanks for all you do!!!
     
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  3. TennisCoachIN

    TennisCoachIN Rookie

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    Thanks for the link Dallas :)
     
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  4. Chemist

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    Dallas, Thank you for posting the link. You did a great job in the interview!:) I have one question - do you take into account of a close loss, such as 5-7,6-7, to a much higher ranked player in deciding rankings? Thanks!
     
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  5. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    Thanks - listening back, I seem a bit long-winded. But what are you going to do?

    To your question - no, our ranking algorithm does not currently use scores to distinguish between close wins and blowout wins.

    Best,
    Dallas
     
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  6. Chemist

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    Sorry I did not ask a good question. Please allow me to ask again - would your ranking system give a boy, a junior ranked #125 some credit for having a good fight, a close loss 5-7/6-7 to a blue chip junior? I wish the answer is yes:). I recall that you mentioned sometime ago that you or somebody at TRN sometimes made manual adjustment in the ranking order.
     
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  7. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I think I know what Dallas will say. In the meantime, to make this happen, I think you'd have to take away credit for a good fight/close win. Do you really want to go there?

    Coaches who are interested in a player......from the Ivies or anywhere else.....can read the scores, don't you think?
     
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  8. Chemist

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    I would surely hope that the coaches would see it:)
     
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  9. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    You asked the question just fine before - perhaps my answer was unclear.

    The short answer is "no" - in our system, all losses are treated equally. There are several reasons for this policy, but the most important one is technical - scores are not always available or coded consistently. Using scores would be opening ourselves up to logistical nightmares.

    No, no, no! Our rankings are completely objective and based only on the match data. The only corrections we make are to the match data when the original results are recorded incorrectly.

    Best,
    Dallas
     
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  10. Chemist

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    It's really clear to me now! Thank you again!

    I saw quite a few high ranked kids often "retire with an injury" when they were losing a match (and they still played doubles afterwards). Looks like they just wanted to make an excuse for losing the match. Now I understand that faking injury would not lessen any negative impact of the loss to their ranking.
     
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  11. GRANITECHIEF

    GRANITECHIEF Hall of Fame

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    Question about your algorithm Dallas; How does getting multiple wins in futures quals over atp ranked players affect the ranking?
     
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  12. Chemist

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    Only junior tournament results are included now. It may be a good idea for TRN to include the results from Futures to have a better differentiation at the top. In addition, the TRN ranking list doesn't seem to include juniors who have already turned pro. It would also be interesting to find out from Dallas how his algorithm would rate wins against non-ranked foreign players in some junior ITF events.
     
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  13. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    It's Tennisrecruiting.net.

    Why should they rank pros?
     
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  14. GRANITECHIEF

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    There are several teenage college prospects that have started playing futures and have ATP ranking points. Seems like that experience would carry more weight than junior results.

    Say you are a college coach looking at the TRN lists and there are 20 blue chips above your blue chip. Dig a little deeper and you see that the 20th ranked kid has been getting wins over guys on the lower end of the atp list, whereas the higher kids on the list have tried and not yet had that level of success.

    Wouldn't that tend to swing the needle a bit?
     
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  15. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Great site Dallas, Does your site take age into consideration? All of the boys from my state ranked ahead of my child except one are almost a year older. They just started school late and they are in the same grade.
     
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  16. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    All they look at is grade.
     
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  17. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    Interesting. It would seem that birth year and month would be helpful information.
     
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  18. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Yes.

    Just as the needle might be swung by talking to the kid's coach to see about character, and talking to the teachers, the doctors, and seeing what the parents are all about.

    But in a head-to-head ranking system, all the competitors need to be in the database, or the match just doesn't count.............I think. Unless TRN turns into an international pro-am ranking service, I don't see how you include matches against players who don't have "connectivity" to the pre-defined connected universe of tournaments.
     
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  19. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    That information is available to coaches who subscribe to TRN. Are you saying it would be helpful for parents? Players?
     
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  20. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    I think it would be helpful to parents and players. Younger players can make tremendous improvements in a year.
     
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  21. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Yes, players can improve in a year. How will it help them to improve if they know the birth date of someone whose TRN page they click on, is the question I have.

    I understand this can satisfy curiosity.
     
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  22. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    You are gonna get answers like..... TRN is mostly for college coaches recruiting players. They don't care about the kids' age. The older is the better so coaches may recruit 19 year old mature senior (might have been even held back or lie about grad year) over 17 year old. You see when they compete in college, freshman might have a match against a senior.

    You must have just started to explore TRN ranking. Welcome to the world of TRN. You will eventually find/run into some juniors being held back a grade or two so the ranking and stars go up. Some were really held back but some were fake or falsely reported on the computer. Some juniors will not play a match in consys, afraid of losing to lower ranking players. Some will just sandbagging. Some not playing for a while (not injury or illness) so the ranking drops then start again.....triggering a "Hot list" for coaches.

    Don't jump on a bandwagon of TRN's world especially when your players are in elementary or middle school. High school....maybe...since that's when coaches start to really look for your players.

    If you want head-to-head comparison ranking that goes by age, you might have to "file petition", lol, for the USTA to bring it back.

    IMO, for younger players or kids before high school, TRN helps parents and players see who their kids beat or lost to ie. a 3 star lost 2,4 to a same grade blue chip is not bad. A four star won a match in tie-break against five star (same grade) is also a progress. For kids before high school, you can use TRN to track your player's development.......not for social comparison.
     
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  23. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    It is just nice to see how your child compares to other children the same age. For instance is the other child in the first year or the second year of the age division. I am not saying that birth date information be on the site for the public to see. It just might be helpful if it was incorporated into the rankings. What if your child is really smart and has skipped a grade? He would be compared with kids who are older not kids who are the same age. Thus he might be a really strong player especially considering that he is in the first year of his age group.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
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  24. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    My experience tells me this is the world of youth sports, not the world of TRN. All of you who are involved in other youth sports, don't you see "redshirts" all over the place.........or is my frame of reference unusual?
     
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  25. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Dont even look at it!!!! Try your hardest to avoid social comparisons!!!!
     
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  26. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    You are correct! I also realize it is about improving and not results early on.
     
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  27. jma

    jma New User

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    As another junior parent near the end of the recruiting road, I urge you some caution about getting caught up in TRN. It can be a helpful tool for understanding the historical strength of an opponent, but as with any system it has its limitations, and it can detrimentally influence your junior's mindset if you aren't careful.

    In our experience, once you get outside of the top 75 players (blue chips and 5 stars), TRN's predictive accuracy is mixed and can vary by 50% or more. For example, at this last weekend's L3, just looking at players in the same grade (sr vs. sr, jr vs. jr) a player ranked 151 beat 51, 178 beat 92, 327 beat 179, and 278 beat 95, among others. That's just from one tournament site, but I'm sure there are others.

    I’m not sure why the discrepancies are so big, but having watched this for a while, TRN appears to have an inherent lag with players that are improving and is slow to degrade on those that are not. Some of this may come from the question Chemist posted about "close matches" which TRN doesn't factor and some believe this can be a predictor of future movement (there are systems that factor closeness of match). I also think some of it comes from the way tournaments are aged and outlier results. A really "bad" loss will stick around for awhile, which is why some people pull their kids from backdraws.

    Having talked with college coaches who recruit outside the top 75, they love the "dashboard" element of TRN and that it captures a lot of the background about a player, but they also commented that it has limitations. They referred to that 4 or 5 star recruit who was much better as a junior than in college (though it's always a guy on another team :)) and they liked to talk about the 3 or 2 star diamond in the rough they found. While they use the TRN's year-on-year progression to get some sense of trajectory, a number use additional tools to give them a sense of where a junior is in their development.

    Coaches seemed to understand juniors are rapidly changing physically and mentally and they want to make sure they are catching the upside of the swing, not the downside. Were all the coaches we talked with like this? No. But many of those whose program results were improving used other tools to help with recruiting. What we heard most frequently was Universal Tennis and that there is no replacement for watching a junior play.

    So, if you are on the younger side of developing a junior, look at TRN as a tool, but be careful not to use it as a guidepost.
     
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  28. Chemist

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    I would bet that these huge upsets happened in girls. A lower ranked girl could be a year younger. A lower ranked junior girl often beat a higher ranked senior. Girls are slowing down after they get their driver's license. Hanging out with boys is a lot more fun than sweating on tennis court. Dallas can confirm if I am right that there may be more sophomore girls sit on the top of his master ranking list than seniors. BTW, #1 ranked junior, Ana Konjuh just turned 15.
     
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  29. jma

    jma New User

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    It was actually boys, and the results were from kids in the same grade.

    With boys it is still true you can have a 15 yr old in the junior class playing a 17 yr old who is also a junior, yet these two boys can be at vastly different levels of physical maturity. If you've ever read the book Outliers it provides a fascinating account of how age within a given bracket can influence perceived achievement.

    Personally, I like that UT doesn't care about age when it does it's rankings, but I also understand college coaches need to know who is in a recruiting class. UT gives no indication of how old a player is or when they graduate. Some combination of the two would be ideal.
     
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  30. Chemist

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    The age difference may be the cause, as you suggested. Perhaps, my son is an outlier. He was one of the 15 yr old juniora 3 months ago. Ranked about 125, his record against 2-3 stars (seniors included) was 24-0. If the tournament is one of the USTA Regionals, would it also be possible that a lower ranked boy is from a strong section, like FL or SoCal and his higher ranked opponent is from a weak section, like Northern; or the lower ranked boy is just coming back from a major injury and he was ranked much higher a few months ago? The TRN ranking is also getting more accurate if one plays more tournaments, especially, national events.
     
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  31. jma

    jma New User

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    Chemist, congrats on your son's success. It is tough being one of the youngest in a class year.

    As for your comments, I'n not sure the national experience applies since it's hard to qualify for an L3 without some previous success at a tournament with national points, which puts you on TRN's radar screen.

    However, your comments about geography interested me, and here's what I found. 151 beating 51 was Mountain/SoCal. 178 beating 92 was Norcal/Norcal, 327 beating 179 was TX/Norcal and 278 beating 95 was Mountain/Southwest, so at least 3 of the 4 matches were cross-geo.

    Initially, I was surprised by which geos succeeded in these match-ups. However, I've suspected there is a potential bias in TRN rankings which may assume that some geos are stronger than others when it does to resolve conflicts in the data. To be fair, I have no basis, other than the numerical upsets in cross-geo play for suspecting this, and I know that folks at TRN have said they need cross-geo play for calibration, but they had to start somewhere.

    In addition, knowing that in at least one case it was a younger sr. beating an older senior, that upset doesn't surprise me either. I've long thought TRN underestimated boys competing against other boys currently aged 16-17 (mostly juniors, but some young seniors). At least in our geo, this group (those who recently aged up or are in the process of doing so) is quite deep and is pushing very hard on the boys immediately ahead of them, many of whom played up early and didn't benefit from the tougher competition.

    All-in-all the good news is that the competition is strong and getting stronger, at least until USTA National has their way ;-).
     
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  32. 38yrsn10s

    38yrsn10s New User

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  33. 38yrsn10s

    38yrsn10s New User

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  34. Chemist

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    The lists would not be age specific either. For example, B16 includes all boys age 16 & under. The 18s list may look very much like TRN's secret master ranking list. I have a feeling that the list is not very accurate. A few kids lost to my son recently, but ranked ahead of him:(
     
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  35. ClarkC

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    In that case, TRN is already doing what you want. Instead of having two-year groupings, like the USTA rankings, they have graduating year groupings: the 2013s, the 2014s, etc.
     
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  36. Chemist

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    As a poster pointed out yesterday, a junior under TRN may be a 15-17 yr old. Actually I know a blue chip junior will turn 18 in about 2 months; another 4 star sophomore will turn 17 next month.

    Has anybody noticed that Henrik Wiersholm recently changed his TRN status to junior? He is 15 and won't turn 16 until like September. This kid has a really good potential to be top 50 ATP.
     
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  37. jma

    jma New User

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    I thought the same.

    As someone who previously did systems work, I appreciate the challenge of trying to resolve data that doesn't behave, like when player A beats player B, player B beats player C and then player C goes out and beats player A. Juniors do this frequently and match-ups of game types sometimes bring out different things in a player's game. Candidly, if they didn't, USTA rankings would be adequate and TRN plus their other 3rd party ranking brethren wouldn't exist.

    It all comes down to the judgments made about how to "weight" certain results over others. That master list, when you look at it, is pretty scary. But if it is at all related to TRN's ranking and you had the time to look into it, it would tell you a lot about how they weight certain results. Judgments are necessary to take lots of variables and produce a single list, but they also have significant influence on how that list ultimately falls. Without transparency of what those weighting factors are (which TRN would probably say is their "special sauce") you basically have to "buy-in".

    I did, initially, but given some of what I've seen with results like those I mentioned, I have to remind myself that TRN is a bit of a rear-view mirror. It will tell you where you've been, but can only give you broad strokes about where you are going.
     
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  38. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    I think that Internet discussion is healthy - and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But I wanted to make two comments.

    (1) To address jma's comment above... I will state - emphatically - that there is no "weighting" of results at Tennis Recruiting. Every week, we take all results for a gender and pass them to our ranking system, and our system produces a single objective ranking from those results. There is no weighting - a win is a win. And every Monday, we throw out the previous week's rankings and start fresh with a new 52-week set of data.

    (2) As a more general comment, no ranking system can get everything right., and most ranking systems do a better job with players who have long records. We like to think that our system does a good job of being predictive based on past results. Our system also employs a time decay factor so that recent play counts more than play from a year ago - to take into account that players improve/decline over the course of a year.

    Best,
    Dallas
     
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  39. Chemist

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    No system is perfect. But Tennisrecruiting.net is the best system out there.

    I am wondering if we can pay a fee to TRN for you to tell us what my son's ranking might have been if he were a sophomore. It can be done pretty easily, first find him in the master ranking list; then find the sophomore who is ranked just ahead of him. This virtual ranking may be interesting in our conversation with college coaches. My son beat several 5 star sophomores in the past 12 months and he would likely be a 5 star if he were a sophomore.
     
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  40. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    That exactly why some people hold kids back a grade. When you (or I) who have smart kids, we would not want to do that. At least in my case, we save for college of their dreams instead. Why hold back a grade 'cause your smart child's birthday? Think about that high school kids need tons of AP classes to show for college admissions. Why hold the (smart) kids back then take tons of APs.
    Does not make sense to me....unless parents already burned their college funds through tennis.
     
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  41. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I wonder why that would be interesting to college coaches? I think most good college coaches can assess "projectibility" better from watching a kid play than being told a fictional ranking.

    How would that conversation go? "Hi, Coach, I'm 140 as a junior, but if I were a soph I'd be 120, are you more interested in me now?"
     
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  42. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Don't mean to pick on you, but what does "tons" of AP classes mean? I've seen posts where parents are saying their kids took all APs as freshmen and are still taking APs as seniors. That would be anywhere from 32-40 AP courses!!

    My experience is that most AP work begins junior year, some exceptions, and a kid who is taking a solid load might be taking 4 per semester, for a total of 16.

    So when you say "tons", is that closer to 16 or 32-40?
     
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  43. andfor

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    More exaggerated fictional (truth is they are excuses) arguments. Yawn. The circle continues.
     
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  44. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    I have noticed the "taking all APs" and find that misleading as well. Schools have limited access to APs through sophomore year, sometimes only allowing APUSH as a soph. Then in junior year it is typically 2-4, same senior year. That is the norm, but not for a serious tennis player. There could certainly be an exception, but rare. Any kid that is taking more than that probably isn't playing tennis at a competitive level, there wouldn't be time. Anyone claiming 4 APs as a freshman, well I think they are telling a fishing tale there. I think the top # for academic types is more like 8-12.

    Also scholarship level tennis players need way less APs (the elite don't need any) than the kid without tennis. Parents expecting kids to carry a ton of APs on top of a ton of tennis are putting way too much on their kid.
     
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  45. Chemist

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    His TRN ranking dropped over 100 spots when I updated his graduation year to 2014, about 2 years ago. He regained the lost ground in about a year and then made further improvement in ranking until last Thanksgiving. Being the youngest junior in his school, he still out-numbers everybody in APs. Tennis training has prevented him from participating in math and science competition. On the other hand, a heavy school load has also reduced his quality of tennis training. He could have been hitting 4 days instead of 2 days a week in a USTA regional training center, which is 50 miles away and takes more than an hour to get over. So, he spends two days training in a club close to home, 30 mins away. However, the next best kid there is a 2 star junior. Furthermore, the coach, although good at fitness training, just doesn't know enough what it takes for kids to win tournament. But we are learning everyday from his every win and every loss, from anybody on this board, from watching top junior in action, watching pros on TV on Youtube... As for college fund, we bought 4 years of Penn State credit a while ago (our best investment!:). This is enough for only 3 Ivy semesters. Can not retire like GA....:cry:
     
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  46. Chemist

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    How about "I am 120 but could be 50 if I were a sophomore"? But I agree with you coaches are very smart in figuring this out by watching him in action and looking at his results:)
     
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  47. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    How about the Coach replying:

    "OK, he can walk on and not play any matches as a freshman since everyone will be as old or older than him, and as a soph and up he will only play kids in a class lower than him. Of course I am not going to use one of my precious slots with the [Ivy] admissions office for a player like this."
     
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  48. Chemist

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    Ok, my son took Calculus AB in his freshman year, Calculus BC in Sophomore year, as his school won't allow him to take other APs in his first two years of high school. He finished BYU's American History in the summer. He is taking AP Chemistry, AP Physics, AP English Comp, Johns Hopkins' on-line Linear Algebra. He has already registered for AP Biology, AP English Literature, AP Spanish, AP Economics, AP Statistics for his senior year. He will likely have enough college credits for his freshman year if attending Penn State. His school is ranked top 5 in our state and at least half of the student graduated with 5-6 APs.
     
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  49. Chemist

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    The coach probably would not say but surely think about it... But you convinced us to drop the idea of taking 6 months training and competing in Junior ITF or Futures after high school...
     
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  50. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    That's about 12 APs, not sure how many semesters. You're son is a very good student and you should be very proud of him, I am sure the whole Board can agree. Right?

    I think this is about on a par for Ivy applicants.....and then of course there is the tennis. Maybe he can also take on full ownership of his own recruiting process?
     
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