When hell freezes over

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by OrangePower, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Here in NorCal our Combo season will be starting soon. Here's an extract from an email, asking captains to consider playing at a higher-than-required level in the spirit of fair competition... hah!

    Does your team have self-rated players who have improved during the Adult league season? Maybe your players were 2.5s this Spring, but with any match play during the Adult League season, they are likely to be 3.0s now. In fairness to your opponents, please consider changing your team’s level from 5.5 to 6.5. League play is about fair competition, not total domination.
    The same applies to any self rated player who played successfully in the Adult league. His/her place now is at the higher level.
    Just send us an email and we can easily change your team’s level.
     
    #1
  2. goober

    goober Legend

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    I don't think the spirit of fair competition ever enters consideration in USTA matches. Everything is just following and bending the rules even if it leads to unfair situations.

    I wrote an email to the LC documenting this one player who entered 2 Open tournaments recently. He won one tournament without dropping a set and got to the finals of the other only losing to a current D1 player with respectable scores. His ESR for this fall was 4.0. The response I got was bascially well that is where the computer put him. He was playing mostly mixed the prior season with varied results. Open tourneys do not affect ratings.

    He knows he is not a 4.0, the captain knows, the LC knows. Pretty much everybody knows, but rather than not allow him to play in the "spirit of fair competition " he is allowed to stay on the team. Unfortunately this team is well known for throwing sets/matches so they will know how to keep him around for playoffs.

    So yeah I don't see many teams in your league moving up a whole level or 2 so they can compete fairly.
     
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  3. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?
     
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  4. TENNIS4FUN2

    TENNIS4FUN2 New User

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    There is a huge difference in a 5.5 team and a 6.5 team. Why would they even suggest moving the whole team. You don't usually have 3.5's on a 5.5 team, yet you need them on a 6.5 team. This is just a silly suggestion by the LC. If they started as 2.5 and have improved to 3.0, they would still belong on a 5.5 team because they usually wouldn't be a strong enough 3.0 to play 6.5 anyway.
     
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  5. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    Good guys that love tennis have lots of tennis buddies that are also good guys that love tennis. Unlimited play opportunities are the result, since as adults we're good for at most 3-4 matches a week. Typical text exchange, 'hey, you want to play Wednesday at 8:00?' ... 'no, sorry, already playing with [name], how about Friday?'

    In my experience going through some leagues, and USTA ... there are a collection of, I call them, 'characters' there with various shenanigans. Sandbagging, cheating, odd behavior of all manner. Sure, there are good guys in leagues ... but when I think of USTA/league tennis, it is more for and by these characters ... and far from the center of the tennis experience for me and my avid tennis-playing buddies.
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly.

    When I have moved my combo teams up a level, I have not invited everyone. Some folks weren't ready, and I needed roster spots for higher-rated players.

    Moving the whole team will result in people playing up who are not ready and cannot compete at the higher level. How does that benefit anyone?
     
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  7. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    It is. It's fun to watch sometimes though. We get to file grievances.
     
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  8. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

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    Yup.

    Well, at least there's that.
     
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  9. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    I generally don't think so ,,, that is until you get to sectionals.

    Generally speaking the adult seasons are very enjoyable and the sandbagging captains don't bring out their talent until it matters.

    However, once you are in the "show" and playing for a spot in nationals then you cannot win unless you are packing a lot of out of level self rated players.
     
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  10. North

    North Professional

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    Yep. Pretty much.
     
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  11. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I don't understand why it's do important to do well in sectionals. All it proves is that you're the best in a level that's beneath you. By the very definition of NTRP ratings, if you slaughter everyone at your "level", then you don't belong there in the first place.

    Sure, being a strong 3.0, I could dominate the 2.5 league, but I'd be embarrassed the entire time doing it.
     
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  12. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Tell me if these ideas on ending sandbagging are way off-base and why.

    #1- ALL players must be listed on roster within the first 2 weeks of the regular season. If a player is not on the roster within the first two weeks of the season, then they are not eligible for any level of playoffs. (No late season additions when the captain sees the team has a chance at playoffs... I dunno, is this already a rule?)

    #2- Any team that makes the playoffs AND wins, even at the first level of playoffs, all team members that played on the winning playoff team get automatic bump ups at end of season. (To make the playoffs and win indicates the team and players are better than most in their area and should be bumped.)
     
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  13. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    In my experience a lot of the guys that keep complaining about "sandbaggers" are not that good to begin with, but they think they are good so every time someone beats them they call him sandbagger.

    You have good 4.0 and you have bad 4.0 and there can be a very big difference between them.

    On the other hand, yes from the playoff and on you will see a couple of really good sandbaggers on each team, but IMO it is not something that would really screw the whole system, if any increase the level of everybody. Another thing that happens a lot is that at the playoffs you get teams from different parts of a city and in some of these parts the level could be lower so when they get to the playoff they feel like everybody is a sandbagger.

    So, IMHO, sandbagging exist for sure but it is not something THAT bad.
     
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  14. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Hall of Fame

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    It benefits the player who is out of his/her depth by exposing him/her to higher-level tennis. Then, when that player goes to play on a non-combo team at his/her rating, those matches will be easier.

    I have personal experience with this. When I got back into tennis, I was playing 4.0 leagues in MD and not really improving all that quickly (just barely beating my recently bumped 4.0 brother). When I moved to the UK, I was on a newly formed team at my club that had to start off in a lower division (teams are bumped up and down rather than individual players) and play its way up, so I still wasn't improving all that quickly (still barely beating my brother on occasional visits).

    Eventually, I got moved to our top team and started playing matches against some of the top players in the county and practicing with some of the top guys at the club. Even though I was out of my depth at first, I improved dramatically in a fairly short period of time. Now, whenever I visit my brother, I beat him and his 4.0 buddies quite easily, especially in doubles. They've plateaued playing competitive matches against similar opponents, whereas I've continued to improve playing the occasional match against far better opponents.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
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  15. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Such players and teams may have a room full of trophies, but they are pathetic losers in life.
     
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  16. goober

    goober Legend

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    #1 is not a rule. People join late all the time. One of the neighboring districts comes to our district after playoffs are set and they recruit all the best players off teams that didn't make playoffs. They play their 2 required matches and then help them win districts and compete in sectionals.

    #2 I like this one. But I would not make it first round of playoffs, but would make it if they advance past first round or maybe set it at sectionals. It is kind of a joke when teams that go to Nationals and finish top 5 only have 3-4 guys bumped.
     
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  17. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    #1 is just not right. Teams just should not be allowed to add players after some pre-determined point of the regular season. And recruiting from other teams that didn't advance??? Just not right.

    #2- At some point in the playoffs, if you win, you are bumped up. Period. Its a pyramid. The further you advance isn't it exponential (or cubic?) the number of players under that playoff level? That means you are the cream of the crop... part of a small group of the best players of that rating... which means you should be playing up. Doesn't it? Even if you aren't sandbagging, your results should indicate you need to be playing up.
     
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  18. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    So this email basically is an admission that the local level officials see that the USTA ranking system is severely flawed. When all you have left is pulling out the 'sense of fair play' card, you've basically admitted defeat.

    Instead of begging the players to move up, the local officials should be passing their observations to the regional or national level to point out the huge problems with the system.
     
    #18
  19. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    My take is that sandbagging exists but >90% of it is from self-rated players who have for one reason or another rated too low. I think the NTRP algorithm does a pretty good job of sorting out self-rated players after their first year except for a few odd cases here and there.

    Most of the self-rated sandbaggers I've encountered were just clueless about where they should be rated perhaps because they didn't get good advice on what level at which to rate. I have seen very little evidence of players who are clearly out of level trying to stay at their current level by managing their scores. I'm sure it happens but I've not seen it.
     
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  20. goober

    goober Legend

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    I could live with #1 if they enforced #2. The problem is that teams have figured out how to get their players down to the their prior levels once they have been bumped often in just 6 months to a year. They will spend a season playing mixed and play a some regular matches at their new level and lose them. ESRs come out 6 months later and they are at their lower level again. Then they spend the fall season managing their rating so they get the end of year C rating at their lower level. If they want high level competition they enter age group and open tournaments which don't affect their ratings or play in alternative leagues (I know quite a few USTA 4.0 players playing in a legit 4.5-5.0+ alternative league which is invitation only).
     
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  21. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Yup, pretty much what I thought when I got the email, and why I posted it. To be fair, the flaws are mostly around the self-rating system, and there is no simple solution. Especially at lower levels, where improvement is rapid - a person could legitimately self-rate as 2.5 for adult league in the spring, and legitimately have improved by fall, but since ratings don't get adjusted until the end of the year, that person is still nominally a 2.5. Releasing DNTRP would address that, but that ain't gonna happen :)

    One actual example: I was watching districts, and saw this one guy who looked like a 4.0/4.5 pummel this other guy who looked like a 3.5. Turns out this was a 3.5 match :shock: I talked to the winner after the match... turns out he only started tennis a year or two ago, and so had self rated as a 3.0. At the end of last year he got bumped to 3.5C. He is mid-20s and a former DI volleyball player, so has been improving fast. Since he is computer rated, he can't be DQ'd, but he is clearly a level above everyone else at 3.5. Don't know what you do with cases like this.

    Re all the comments about sandbagging, I must say that I find that most people and teams are playing at the right level. But it's the 10% exceptions that make it deep into playoffs etc, and that clobber all the other teams during the regular season.
     
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  22. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    Most of the 3.0 Sandbagger GOATs are moving on to Open tourneys and are not playing league. Sad.
     
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  23. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I wouldn't mind if Norcal would start running ESRs for self-rated players prior to mixed and combo. That would eliminate some of the really egregious examples and account for improvement without punishing anyone. As it stand, the usual routine is...

    Guy with above-average 4.0 skill self-rates at 3.5 for the 2011 7.5 combo season. They dominate.
    Guy then plays 2012 adult 3.5 season and dominates. They avoid getting DQ'd and win some post-season matches
    Guy then plays 2012 mixed 8.0 with a 4.5 partner and dominates
    Guy then plays 2012 7.5 combo AGAIN as a 3.5 and really dominates
    New ratings finally get released and they become a 4.0 for 2013.
     
    #23
  24. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but now, given NorCal's nicely worded plea, the second time guy plays 7.5 combo, he will team up with another 3.5, recognizing that he's really at the 4.0 level now... right? :)
     
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  25. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Someone pointed out that players who get bumped have figured out how to go back down - that should be an easy fix.

    I thought the self-rate questionaire asked about competition in other sports at high levels - so his 3.0 was too low to start. But I agree - as long as he wasn't throwing games to stay down, he'll move up fast enough.
     
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  26. Orange

    Orange Rookie

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    This email message shows an appalling lack of logic.

    About 70 to 80% of the 2.5 players in my local league were self-rated. Many of the same players played 2.5 in the spring and 5.5 in the fall. As a result, many 2.5 players on my team improved--but then, so did those on the other teams.

    It is also not true that the place of a self-rated player who played successfully in the spring is at the higher level in the fall. By the rules, the place of a successful spring player (whether self-rated or computer-rated) is at the higher level only at the end of the year, when ratings are changed. A campaign to convince captains to move an entire team to a higher level now is a recipe for penalizing the naive.
     
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  27. Winning Ugly

    Winning Ugly New User

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    I agree. Grossly exaggerated tales are floating around but, really, very few competitors can live with themselves doing this just to score a couple plastic trophies and the odd T-shirt. I have seen people challenge their bump-ups, but usually for a medical condition that may have cropped up after they got bumped, or they had played "up" a few matches during the season and got routinely killed so their confidence was quite low.

    I saw much more of this when I was much younger playing only Adult League. Now that I play mostly Senior, it almost never happens. I think you gain perspective with age...
     
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  28. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    I voluntarily played up this season because I know im not a 3.0 anymore and I joined a 3.0 adult team just as a "formality". I played 3.5 adult instead so I get bumped naturally by the computer for "3 wins, 3 strikes" or w/e and my YER will be 3.5 "C" instead of "S".

    I was not about to self-rate up because I dont want to be punished for my good intentions heh.

    I know I can "play" 4.0 already, but im not ready quite yet.

    I dont consider myself "at" NTRP unless I can win 51% of the time against the top half of the teams in a flight/section. I'm pretty sure I can do that in 3.5 adult this coming year, but we'll see.
     
    #28
  29. Setmatch45

    Setmatch45 Rookie

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    I get what you are trying to do but you need to send a team on to playoffs. What ever team you send will get killed by all the other teams not following your plan.
     
    #29

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