Usta Weighs In On Sandbagging

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Backboard, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    If you go to www.usta.com and click on "leagues", then click on FAQ you will see the following:

    HERE IS WHAT THE USTA ACTUALLY SAID
    "ARE ALL PLAYERS IN A GIVEN LEVEL EQUAL IN ABILITY?"
    "No, the NTRP system identifies general levels of ability but an individual will be rated within those levels at 50 different hundredths of a point. For example, a 3.5 player can fall anywhere between 3.01 and 3.50. That is the reason that MANY people feel they are playing sandbaggers _ they are close to the bottom of the range while their opponent is close to the top. A TYPICAL match result for a player with a 3.01 rating versus a 3.49 opponent, both 3.5s, would be 6 - 0, 6 - 0 in favor of the higher ranked player".

    HERE IS WHAT THE USTA MEANT TO SAY:
    Play tennis, have fun and stop whining!

    HERE IS WHAT THE USTA DID NOT SAY
    We would like all nit wits and wacko's out there to call or write us whenever you identify a sandbagger. Your judgment is far better than our $35 million NTRP computer system. We never get tired of hearing your complaints. In fact it makes our day. Also, please let us know if you see Big Foot hiding behind the shrubs at your local tennis club.
     
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  2. BiGGieStuFF

    BiGGieStuFF Hall of Fame

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    I saw a Yeti does that count? :)
     
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  3. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    When a player suffers a serious beat-down in their local league, then the "not all players in a given level are of equal ability" argument comes into play. When a player that cruised undefeated through their local league, districts, and sectionals and who also received an ESR that will move them to the next level suffers a 1-0 beating at nationals, it is reasonable to assume that the winning national player is playing well below their true level.

    For instance, if the star of your 3.0 team, who just received a 3.5 ESR loses to someone 1-0, that player is likely a 4.0 (since the non-competetive match indicates ratings .5 apart.). This isn't a case of whining.

    When I play 3.5 a league (my current rating) I expect to come across occasional players of 4.0 ability - either players that are improving or who are soon to be bumped. I can deal with that. I don't expect to encounter 4.5s - and if I do then I may complain. If I see players that routinely win 3.5 tournaments suddenly lose 0-1 to a 3.5 that has lost every match they have played (I did see this recently), I become suspicious that they are attempting to "manage" their rating. Players are responsible for self-rating fairly and then giving their best effort in every match. Anything else cheats the system.

    Backboard, I played at 3.0 nationals last year and am familiar with the accusations of sandbagging and cheating. Every team at nationals is made up of strong players and they will be unpopular with the other teams in their sections. It just goes with the territory. At the same time, there are some players and teams that really do cross the line. Last year's Norcal 4.0 team is a great example. Self-rated players that get a double bump are another.
     
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  4. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    Having been rated down by the computer, going undefeated at the lower level in League, and accused of sandbagging by many opponents (even though I played up at the next higher NTRP level at the same time in tournaments and on another team), I know full well the spectrum within each NTRP range. The thing that is hard for most to understand is how the USTA can say that if two people are in the same NTRP category, the one at the top of the range should win 6-0, 6-0. For most reasonable people, they would assume that a 3.01 and a 3.49 (who are both rated 3.5 in the computer) should at least be competitive with each other. Competitive means scores of 6-3, 6-3 at the minimum... not 6-0, 6-0 thrashings. The fact that the USTA thinks this is normal just shows you how far off the logic is behind the NTRP algorithm.

    And as for the wonderful judgement of the "$35 million NTRP computer system", this is the same program that determined that a former ATP pro that played at Wimbledon just 14 years ago, has won 5 straight national doubles titles (including one last week), who wins Open tournaments every year, and has not lost to anyone rated lower than a top level 5.0 since he was a teenager... is a 4.5:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=168698

    It wasn't until there was a wild fuss raised with the local section USTA administrator that this player's rating was corrected... manually. (And if they can manually fix a wrong like this, it makes you wonder why they can't fix other similar issues on a wide-spread basis.)

    By sarcastically implying in your post that anybody who sees obvious problems with the NTRP system or USTA League is a "nit wit" or "wacko", you just make yourself look like a fool. :-?
     
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  5. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

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    Just to clarify using your 3.0 example. A 3.5ESR can lose 0 and 1 to a high level 3.5 player, since the ESR player did not generate an adjusted rating by 3 strike DQ (which would mean their DNTRP was consistently above 3.200). To clarify, a 3.460 can beat a 3.100 with 6-0, 6-1 without generating a strike and still be a 3.5 player.

    Now that I re-read your post, I think you were trying to say that player is that is playing 3.0 and beats a 3.5ESR 0 and 1, chances are they should have self-rated at 3.5 or even 4.0.
     
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  6. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    The USTA also did not say:
    "All players at a given level are not equal across all USTA sections"

    Since there is no inter-section play until the National playoffs it is not surprising that a team from one section is considered a bunch of sandbaggers if they have some easy matches at Nationals against players they have never seen before. Realistically there is no way to ensure that 4.0 players in Norcal are realtively equal in ability to 4.0 players in Florida. The Nationals are the only time when these players will get a chance to play each other in a competitive situation.
    The USTA adjusts ratings once a year and the playing population is a fluid group. Players get better, some faster than others however their USTA rating may not be adjusted appropriately for several months up to a year later. Conversely some players skills decline due to age, injury, or reduced playing. Again their rating only gets adjusted once a year.

    People should stop worrying about how the other guy is playing and just worry about their own game.
     
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  7. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Yeah, that's pretty much what I was trying to say. The latter player would have to be at least a high 3.5 - I took a little poetic license by declaring them a 4.0. The difference is on the order of .1 even with your example.

    In any event (and with Cruzer's post in mind),as long as people self-rate within a level of where they should be angive their best effort in each match they play, then I don't have a problem with them. Problems occur when people lie (or simply make excuses) during self-rating and then "manage" their scores to make the system think they are playing at the correct level.
     
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  8. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Grow up. I mean that in all sincerity. Just grow up; you still have time to become an adult if you want to.

     
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  9. ComeOnBeBe

    ComeOnBeBe New User

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    check this website out http://www.ustapetition.com/35selfraters.html

    3.5 self raters win nationals. I suggest you all take a look at the current ratings of these "3.5" players. Looks like there were loopholes in the dynamic system and they passed right though it.
     
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  10. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I think the example is not unreasonable. You constantly see real (non-cheating) teams do very well at one level and then get destroyed at the next level. There is simply wide skill gaps within levels and areas, and there is little that can be done about without really crazy steps.

    Have fun and if you cannot win at nationals then so what? Do you really need to say you are the best semi-novice player in the country?
     
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  11. fridrix

    fridrix Rookie

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    In that case as a 3.0 I was lucky to get a couple of games off someone who was bumped up to 4.0!
     
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  12. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I looked these guys up, definite sandbaggers.

    At least one guy got DQ'd and one got bumped up to 4.5. I don't see how someone can self-rate at 3.5 and get the double bump without having been DQ'd.
     
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  13. todot62

    todot62 Rookie

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    Funny, same thing happened to Backboard's 3.0 National winning team. They had at least two players go from 3.0 right on up to 4.0. The trick is to have a captain who is an insider and knows how to play the system.
     
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  14. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

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    If true, that system is laughably absurd.
     
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  15. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    I would have to say the USTA is crazy if they think players of the same level would feel good about losing 6-0, 6-1.

    There are definitely problems with the system. I know a 5.0 woman who played and coached college tennis, had an excellent record in singles and doubles but self-rated as a 3.5 so a 4.5 male partner would have a mixed partner at 8.0. They won the flight easily. Very annoying for the other teams. I didn't learn of her record until after the season was over.

    You can check on this and see if you think it makes any sense. In the Mid-Atlantic, Maryland, Anne Arundel, women's 2.5 level, 19 of the 24 players on 4 teams were moved up to 3.0. They have gutted the 2.5 level and many of these ladies are not ready for 3.0. Many of them had bad losses and bad records. Of course they will be excited at the move up and want to play 3.0. Chances are they will have trouble finding a team that wants them.
     
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  16. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    No it's not.
     
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  17. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    Guys this is very simple:
    1. Many, many players complain constantly about league players being out of level.
    2. There is no vaildity whatsoever to the vast majority of the complaints. (Even the USTA administrators will tell you that.)
    3. Of the very few players that are out of level, most get DQed sometime during the season.
    4. The very, very few out of level players that are not DQed get bumped up at year-end.
    5. Complaining does no good unless you have some hard evidence such as the individual played college tennis, or held a national ranking, etc.

    Play tennis, have fun, stop whining!
     
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  18. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    Shill! What a joke. The USTA thanks you.
     
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  19. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Doubles bagels means the players are almost 2 levels apart and not just one. The formula they use is wrong and has led to huge overlaps between levels. Typical score between strong 3.5 and weak 3.5 should be like 6-2, 6-2. If strong players typically double bageled weaker players in their level but still aren't good enough to move up then they would have to start double bageling average 3.5s just to move up to 4.0. Typical 4.0 won't double bagel typical 3.5. USTA formula is messed up. I did figure out how to get to 4.5 and it was by playing and winning at 4.5 instead of waiting around and trying to double bagel players at the 4.0 level.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
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  20. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I disagree with your made up notion that players that are one level apart should have an average score of 6-2, 6-2.

    However you probally are onto something, because I always assumed that the seperater that the USTA used was at least .5 apart and now it seems that perhaps they've shortened it to something even smaller.

    If they went over .5 though, you would have a lot more people getting rated up and down. Some people want to whine about the few guys who actually got to play in Nationals but got moved up, but can imagine the crying that will go on if you have people zipping up and down from level to level from year to year?

    The boundrys between the levels are not that close together. There is a gray area because the USTA created the stupid appeal system, meaning that out of rating players exist all over the place at the top of every level, polluting the computer rating system. (that and it's been taking years for the system to adjust to how screwed up things were before DNTRP)

    Ive noticed as well that when I played 3.0, I had trouble getting rated up to 3.5. That's not because 3.0 players are so close to 3.5 players though, it's because 3.0 is filled with 3.5 and 4.0 players. (and 3.5 is filled with 4.0 players, etc....) 3.0 and 3.5 are like the prime target for self rated players it seems.
     
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  21. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    You are by no means the poster child for not whining.

    If you are going to say that there are people out there who blame any loss on sandbagging, maybe you are right. That could of taken up one thread and Id even agree with you.

    But your retarded rant makes it sound like every complaint should be dismissed just because some guy hurt your feelings. Get over it.

    Whether you want to admit it or not, there are out of level players in the league. Many of them go on to play in and win nationals (probally including yours). You may not want to hear that but too bad. I suggest you just let it go, and go out and "have fun" and play some tennis. (or stare at your tshirt if that makes you happy)

    At least Im not the one that is upset over it, you are. I could give a rat's @ss who wins nationals, I just want the system to work fairly when it comes to my team, which is signed up for local competition for the most part.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2007
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  22. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    I think Backboard has a point. I find that most teams that lose (especially if they are a good team) complain that the other team is a bunch of ringers. Also, it has been my observation, that unless you have hard evidence, then nothing happens.

    Also, I know of one team captain that filed a grievance against every member of another team that beat his team to go to Nationals. The captain of that team was bold enough (or dumb enough) to admit that his team had all tanked their matches to come go down a level and they are all too good so if they lost, the self rates were obvious sandbaggers. Regardless, none of the grievances held up (one player from the self-rates did generate a 3rd strike). The USTA grievance person said that they all self-rated under the USTA guidelines. Did they sandbag??? probably, but the one complaining loudest was not the one to complain.

    Often times, I find that players who lose do not realize that there can be better players in their division. Also, those who complain the loudest are the ones who perceive themselves as out of level and when they get beat it upsets them because it was their right to win while they were out of level.

    I know I am generalizing but it appears to happen quite often.
     
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  23. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I do agree that if you dont have evidence about someone's history that there isnt any point in filing anything because it's not going to be accepted and it's more a nuicense.

    But that doesnt mean that you should NEVER file a grievence. Like I keep saying (but it keeps getting drowned out by backboard's tears), if you see someone who was actually playing USTA League tennis 3 Levels higher then what they've now self rated themselves now, you should file a fair play grievence.

    It's unfortuanate the system even allowed them to do that, but it happens, and unfortuanlly it's up to someone else to blow the whistle on them.

    As far as having no respect for someone else, and feeling less about them as a person, we all have a right to do that, no matter what backboard says.

    Maybe if they have been a computer rated player for awhile, it's unwarrented.

    If they are self rated and they are in nationals, Im sorry but Im going to have a hard time believing that they simply improved during the season to get that far.

    If they have appealed their rating, and they have the Big 'Ol "A" next to their rating, Im sorry but that's screams of sandbagger.

    So there are a couple reasons why someone could feel less about someone else who is getting ahead in the system.

    If the league got rid of appeals, and continued the fix the self rating system, then there would be less reason.

    (I feel that getting rid of the verifiers was a good step actually as well because that's one less thing that worked horribly that we can blame)

    But just because I or someone else happens to think backboard's team are a bunch of sandbaggers, doesnt mean that he should feel bad about it. I suggest he just get over it and enjoy his victory.
     
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  24. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

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    Of course that's what the USTA would say! Not human nature to admit when you're wrong.
     
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  25. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

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    That's not what he said. He said a high end 3.5 should beat a low end 3.5 6-2 6-2. They're both 3.5's, so that's zero levels apart, not one level apart.
     
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  26. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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  27. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    That makes sense.

    A person at higher levels should be able to hold serve better than a person at lower levels. Since at 4.0 or 4.5 and up, the serve should be a weapon which it isn't necessarily at lower levels.
     
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  28. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    The Easi tennis site may say this... and I agree that it should be this way...

    However, what backboard posted to start the thread is directly from the USTA. See the top of the 6th page of this document (which is the FAQ on the USTA League rating system from the national website):

    http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_13_13688.pdf?7/26/2006 3:25:35 PM

    As was previously posted, the USTA feels that a 3.49 player should beat a 3.01 player by a score of 6-0, 6-0 even if they are both considered 3.5 players by rule. This is bogus to me. Players within the same NTRP category should at least be competitive. "Competitive" in my mind means scores of 6-2, 6-2 at least. Nobody should feel like they can't even get a game off of somebody within their own range.

    Sometimes players have bad days and get killed. I beat a guy 6-0, 6-0 this year in the second round of our local area playoffs. He had a 10-1 record on the season, but had a really long match in the round before. When I played him, he was not moving especially well, and I was just hitting corner to corner and never giving him an unforced error. I felt like he was trying hard, but just didn't have any legs left. However, my captain also suspected that he was throwing the match in hopes that I would get a third strike. Who knows. All I can say is that 6-0, 6-0 scores should be rare, not the rule.
     
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  29. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    3.49 vs 3.01 is almost one level apart. It's silly to assume that there is supposed to be so much of a difference that suddenly you'll manage to win 4 more games on average.
     
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  30. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

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    Bingo, totally agree.
     
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  31. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    3.49 vs 3.01 is almost one level apart. It seems silly to assume that there is supposed to be so much of a difference that suddenly you'll manage to win 4 more games on average.
     
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  32. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    If you (or the USTA) are trying to imply that real sandbaggers are as rare as a Big Foot, then you and they trying to deny the obvious... (unless you mean a guy with big feet, say size 13's).
     
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  33. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

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    But it's not. It's zero levels apart.
     
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  34. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Except that Mr. 3.01 would have appealed back to 3.0 (since it is within the .05 appeals threshold) - so it is one level apart! :)
     
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  35. Raiden.Kaminari

    Raiden.Kaminari Semi-Pro

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    And the chance of 3.49 getting moved up at the end of the season, while 3.01 has a chance of getting moved down also indicates a level apart.
     
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  36. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    That's where you guys are confusing everyone.

    That number next to your name isnt your REAL rating. That's just a number that got rounded down or up.

    So you cant think about how it's zero levels apart.

    The whole argument is what should happen if your REAL RATING (which goes down to the hunderths) is .5 apart. Because that's what they use to calculate your rating. Your listed rating is meaningless except that it allows you to play at a certain level.

    So, 3.01 and 3.49 are almost one full level apart. In all the math that the computer is doing, it's about the same thing. It doesnt care that they are both 3.5's.
     
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  37. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    BeerNutz,

    Lighten up!!! I think the aliens must have forgotten to remove your rectal probe.
     
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  38. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Backstop, please take your own advice... and shove it.
     
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  39. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Backboard - Didn't your team win nationals and didn't you take a lot of heat for sandbagging? Seems like you like this topic :)
     
    #39
  40. penpal

    penpal Rookie

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    Here's my issue with the USTA FAQ ... it seems like the powers that be have themselves forgotten the purpose of the NTRP rating system.

    As I understand it, the NTRP rating system's ONLY purpose is to ensure, as much as possible, that people who play tennis can easily find opponents who are roughly comparable in skill level so as to promote more competitive, hence fun, matches. If they've devised an algorithm whereby a match between two people with the same rating should result in a 6-0, 6-0 ass whoopin' they've obviously failed to meet the goals the rating system was designed to achieve.
     
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  41. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Agreed completely. There is no instance in which two players at the same rating level should result in a 6-0, 6-0 blowout if the algorithm is supposed to match up players of equal ability.

    Edit: I also can't understand the "glory" of winning nationals at 3.0 - you're still seen as a 3.0, despite winning nationals. Maybe it's just me, but I want to have a 5.0 next to my name at some point in my life. I'd rather have that than a 3.0 national championship, to be honest.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2007
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  42. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    In fairness, you must start somewhere and nobody starts at 5.0.


    As for me, I want a 7.0... but that is not going to happen. :cry:
     
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  43. johnny ballgame

    johnny ballgame Professional

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    Agree, well said.
     
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  44. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    Yes, that's true, but the evidence of people self-rating at 3.0 or 3.5 and being a full level better is overwhelming. I would rather have a successful season at 4.0 or 4.5 than take nationals at 3.0, but that's just me, I guess. :confused:
     
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  45. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    I agree with what you are saying but also the evidence is overwhelming that players are self-rating at 4.0 or 4.5 and being a full level better too.
     
    #45
  46. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    beerNUTTY,

    I'll try to be nicer if you try to be smarter.
     
    #46
  47. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    Backboard/Sandbagger?

    Backboard is obviously trying to further his agenda. I guess his being a sandbagger makes up for his lack of ethics.

    Too bad the USTA really doesn't care about anything but the $$$. Oh, and Backboard? I'll try and be nicer the moment you quit being a shill for the USTA and their ridiculous attempts to "grow the game".
     
    #47
  48. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    Joeyg,

    It is always easier to critize the winners than to be successful in your own right. Throw away your crying towel and focus on improving YOUR game. If the USTA needs your help they will call you.
     
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  49. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    I have had a winning record at 4.5 for a long time. However, it is morons like you that are ruining league tennis, pal. Good luck to you and the rest of your low life sandbagging buddies.
     
    #49
  50. Backboard

    Backboard New User

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    68
    Joeyg,

    You maybe a 4.5 but you still are a whiner. Most decent people learn in 2nd grade to congratulate the winners and not sling mud. I bet you think the whole world is out to get you! If League Tennis is ruined don't play. The League will get along just fine without you. But in any case, crying won't help.
     
    #50

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