Talk Tennis

Talk Tennis (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php)
-   Adult League & Tournament Talk (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=35)
-   -   The USTA rating system and self-rated players (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=146467)

aidenous 07-24-2007 11:08 AM

The USTA rating system and self-rated players
 
Yes, this is another thread about USTA and the rating system. Especially the self rating part. This is my third year of playing USTA and I'm still at the 3.0 level. The frustrating part is how self rated players are allowed to play at a level way below their ability. Yes, the computer will catch them and bump them up but In some cases it's not until after the season. So, we are the ones who had to play them and next season it's a continuous cycle. More new 3.0 self rated players.

I have numerous examples of this but I'll give my last match as example. My wife and I played mixed doubles this past weekend at the higher 7.0 level and won. I had to play with a different partner 30 minutes later at the 6.0 level and she has a great record and will probably be bumped up to 3.5 at the end of the season. Watching our opponents warm up I was confused for a minute that this was the 7.0 but no this was the 6.0 match and this should be 3.0 players. The lady could play a solid 3.5 and the guy well, I'm not exaggerating he could play 4.5. He had angles, spin, top spin with more speed then anyone I have played against. His serve was deadly and never double faulted and he had a kick serve so strong
that the only time I have seen this was against one of the club pros at our practice. My partner never was able to return a serve. She got hit by one of his returns at net and she could barely use her hand. Lucky it was her tossing hand. Today I found out she went to the doctor and her thumb was broken.

I knew he had to be a self-rated player and afterwards I looked him up and sure enough he was and the men's team he was on just played in districts where he went 5-0. Yet he hasn't gotten bumped. You would have though he would have three strikes by now.

The USTA wants to promote and increase their membership but they have no clue why so many people get frustrated with the system and quit. I wonder if they will ever understand that their system needs fixing. On the opposite side of this is seeing players getting bumped up when they shouldn't and aren't ready for the next level. I wonder if all the levels are like this or just the lower level like 3.0? Thanks for letting me vent.

volleyman 07-24-2007 11:50 AM

It can cut both ways. This year, a self-rated player on my 4.0 team got bumped to 4.5 and DQed by the computer after the last match of the season.

My team won its group at Districts, and then, in the finals, surprise, surprise, found ourselves facing several "computer-rated" 4.0s at least as good, and in two cases, better, based on what I saw, than our guy who got DQed.

So, the all-infallible computer (remember, there is no appeal for a computer DQ) either erred when it DQed my teammate, or it erred in allowing those other guys to keep playing 4.0. Not that USTA would ever admit to such a thing.

Don't get me wrong - I like the NTRP system in general. It, or something like it, is necessary. And I understand that having the computer handle the heavy lifting of determining rankings is necessary.

What I object to is having the computer be the sole authority, with no human oversight. It's obvious that the black box logic is flawed, and that the computer is being successfully gamed.

aidenous 07-24-2007 12:01 PM

Does anyone remember if it was better before the self rating was put in place?

kevhen 07-24-2007 12:12 PM

This weekend I am playing 4.0 doubles in a tourney and I looked at the competitors and two 4.0 guys I have never beaten and I have won all my 4.5 matches this year so I am a very strong 4.0. Why haven't these two other guys been bumped up already? One used to be 4.5 but asked for a medical exemption and has since been hiding out by playing doubles where the scores are closer but he still wins most every match even with a weaker 4.0 player. These guys won't play 4.5 because they would win a fair share there and get bumped up. The system is screwed because it allows for too large a range of players within one level and doesn't bump people up fast enough. It should be more fluid and allow people to move down more quickly too. Every one should find their level within about 10 matches or so.

johnny ballgame 07-24-2007 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aidenous (Post 1612882)
The frustrating part is how self rated players are allowed to play at a level way below their ability. Yes, the computer will catch them and bump them up but In some cases it's not until after the season. So, we are the ones who had to play them and next season it's a continuous cycle. More new 3.0 self rated players.

That stinks. Kswiss (or ultimatetennis) has solved that problem this way: If a loss against a first-season player who was "playing down" prevents you from moving up, you get to move up anyway. It also works the other way. If a win against a first-season player who should have been playing at a much lower level allows you to be bumped up, you don't have to go. You can stay at the same level.

An extreme average margin of victory or defeat is what determines if a first-season player was not at the appropriate level. Pretty good system.

JavierLW 07-24-2007 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by volleyman (Post 1613004)
It can cut both ways. This year, a self-rated player on my 4.0 team got bumped to 4.5 and DQed by the computer after the last match of the season.

My team won its group at Districts, and then, in the finals, surprise, surprise, found ourselves facing several "computer-rated" 4.0s at least as good, and in two cases, better, based on what I saw, than our guy who got DQed.

So, the all-infallible computer (remember, there is no appeal for a computer DQ) either erred when it DQed my teammate, or it erred in allowing those other guys to keep playing 4.0. Not that USTA would ever admit to such a thing.

Don't get me wrong - I like the NTRP system in general. It, or something like it, is necessary. And I understand that having the computer handle the heavy lifting of determining rankings is necessary.

What I object to is having the computer be the sole authority, with no human oversight. It's obvious that the black box logic is flawed, and that the computer is being successfully gamed.

I think what is happening is for every 5 or more players who are under-rated the computer only manages to catch one of them. So a lot of us are happy that it managed to at least catch one of them, although the rest of you are going to be unhappy because obviously it's going to be inconsistant.

You can blame the league for that, for every kink the rule they made to get people moved up, they add another recourse because some in the league are worried that too many people will get moved up.

This is because in the beginning of DNTRP the league wanted to claim that somehow "people dont mis rate themselves" and they wanted to believe that the league wasnt really screwed up at that point.

I think it's much better now. It's never going to be perfect but in the past the only people that were happy with it were the teams that happened to win every year. It's just more obvious and annoying now because you can easily see what rules people are trying to avoid to get around it.

SB 07-24-2007 12:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aidenous (Post 1613045)
Does anyone remember if it was better before the self rating was put in place?

I haven't noticed any difference at all, but that's because I'm a woman.

I think women often self-rate too high. So, the only sandbagging issues we get are from those who appeal down after getting moved up, and that's easier to control. Most of those I know who appeal down are going from 5.0 to 4.5, and the main reason is not that they aren't winning; it's that there are too few women at level, thus far fewer opportunities at tournaments and leagues. They can tank a season and get moved down (which isn't very fun for anyone), or appeal somehow.

It's a little frustrating for us "true" 4.5s, to be playing against 5.0s, but not that big of a deal. It's good for us, I guess.

JavierLW 07-24-2007 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kevhen (Post 1613078)
This weekend I am playing 4.0 doubles in a tourney and I looked at the competitors and two 4.0 guys I have never beaten and I have won all my 4.5 matches this year so I am a very strong 4.0. Why haven't these two other guys been bumped up already? One used to be 4.5 but asked for a medical exemption and has since been hiding out by playing doubles where the scores are closer but he still wins most every match even with a weaker 4.0 player. These guys won't play 4.5 because they would win a fair share there and get bumped up. The system is screwed because it allows for too large a range of players within one level and doesn't bump people up fast enough. It should be more fluid and allow people to move down more quickly too. Every one should find their level within about 10 matches or so.

If you are just looking at wins and loses, that's not really any sort of basis for getting moved up or down.

It's a skill level, not a ranking. You can be within a certain group of people's skill level and lose everytime (but close), that's why it's based on games, not matches won or lost....

That's why it seems that the levels are really huge. (because they are...)

If you want to blame someone, you should blame the people who constantly work the system because they care more about winning matches then playing competitive tennis, and blame the people in the league who water down the rules to cater to them (which is what causes the inconsistancys).

If the league cant get past that, they arent going to do it your way either. (because people will never want to "quickly" move from one level to another, and certain people in the league will always cater to that and call it being "player friendly")

JavierLW 07-24-2007 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aidenous (Post 1613045)
Does anyone remember if it was better before the self rating was put in place?

Depends on what you think is better.

Im in the camp where I think that there are a lot of under-rated players out there (in the Men's League) and now some of them are getting rated up. In the past, nobody rarely got rated up.

(worse yet was the team that usually moved onto the next level never lost any players, and your 2nd or 3rd place team that happened to beat a few of their players usually would lose a player or two)

It's definately not perfect, but you can tell they are slowly (SLOOOOWLLLY) trying to tweak the rules to make it better.

The self rating system changes every year. It's nowhere near fool proof but it's definately better than 2 years ago. And they have been making slight adjustments in the rating formula every year that either moves certain people up faster, or moves certain other people down.

The worst aspect of the system in my opinion is the joke of an appeal process, but I heard a rumor that they are at least going to stop people who make it to their District Championships from appealing next year.

duffman 07-24-2007 12:51 PM

The USTA computer system is a joke. The system is even more exaggerated in mixed where the computer has an even harder time crunching the different ratings between men and women.

There also seems to be a log jam in the 4.0 rating. Our 4.0 team had 5 players with a combined 1 loss. 3 of these got bumped up at the ESR to 4.5. But one player who got bumped last year at the ESR only to get moved back down at the YER went 11-1 with only one three set match and stayed a 4.0. I was 9-0 with a couple three setters, but the rest were straight set blowouts of good to decent 4.0 opponants and I didn't get bumped at the ESR. At the same time there was a huge influx of 4.0 ESR's from the 3.5 local league. Including one guy that was a self rated 3.5 who went 1-2 and got bumped to 4.0 . So basically we have way more people getting bumped to 4.0 than are getting bumped to 4.5, its like a giant 4.0 vacuum.

We still have districts, so this could very well change at the year end rating with a good showing there but I could not imagine playing 4.0 again next year. There are enough sandbagging/ringer comments this year and honestly this 4.0 season was a bit boring and each win became more of a relief than excitement because you know you shouldn't lose.

Oh well, enough with my almost daily rant of how bad the rating system is...

JavierLW 07-24-2007 01:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by duffman (Post 1613227)
The USTA computer system is a joke. The system is even more exaggerated in mixed where the computer has an even harder time crunching the different ratings between men and women.

There also seems to be a log jam in the 4.0 rating. Our 4.0 team had 5 players with a combined 1 loss. 3 of these got bumped up at the ESR to 4.5. But one player who got bumped last year at the ESR only to get moved back down at the YER went 11-1 with only one three set match and stayed a 4.0. I was 9-0 with a couple three setters, but the rest were straight set blowouts of good to decent 4.0 opponants and I didn't get bumped at the ESR. At the same time there was a huge influx of 4.0 ESR's from the 3.5 local league. Including one guy that was a self rated 3.5 who went 1-2 and got bumped to 4.0 . So basically we have way more people getting bumped to 4.0 than are getting bumped to 4.5, its like a giant 4.0 vacuum.

We still have districts, so this could very well change at the year end rating with a good showing there but I could not imagine playing 4.0 again next year. There are enough sandbagging/ringer comments this year and honestly this 4.0 season was a bit boring and each win became more of a relief than excitement because you know you shouldn't lose.

Oh well, enough with my almost daily rant of how bad the rating system is...

If you truely feel that you are not a 4.0, you are certainly able to just play 4.5 regardless of what your rating is. (unless your district has some sort of silly rule on that)

AP328 07-24-2007 01:03 PM

which is worse
 
Ok, so which is worse...the NTRP or the BCS?

ohplease 07-24-2007 01:04 PM

There are plenty of problems with USTA play, but not the least of which is the fact that despite the number of levels (1.0-7.0 in 0.5 increments - about 14), only 5 are really used (2.5-4.5).

What that means is that you've got a huge disparity in playing level at each of those 5 levels. Even worse, there's a structural flaw in that only a few teams even have a chance of getting to districts, then secitional, regional, etc.

The end result being you often see hard fought, competitive matches in the first few rounds of local playoffs, between teams that are pretty much at the right level - where all they're really playing for is the right to get stomped by the one or two teams loading up for nonlocal competition in the local semis or finals.

In fact, this is what happened to my team, this year. I had the privilege of practicing with a different team not one, but TWO levels higher, and I'm not sure they could have beaten the team that killed us in the local playoffs. And I'm pretty sure the team going to districts at the level below us would have made the playoffs at our level, too.

I think the big issue here is the ratings aren't fluid enough. Have a bad season (below .300)? Either as a team or as a player? You get moved down. Have a good one (above .700)? You get bumped up. You see it in soccer and Davis Cup, why not amateur tennis, too?

As it is right now, you've got people managing scores and competing against some mystery number, instead of the guy across the net. That's just not right.

Also, benchmark players should be at the LOCAL level, not playoff. For any given level, the players that make it to regional competitions are by definition the cream of the crop. Skim them off.

sliceworks76 07-24-2007 01:06 PM

It's tough because the computer ratings system is seriously flawed, but our previous system (where pros visually rated new players) was really flawed too. Under that system, I was rated 3.0 when I should have played 3.5. I had requested 3.5, but the pro there said I was wrong and judged me purely on 10 minutes of play. It was pretty sad. So I proceeded to win most maches easily and waste a year before moving up a level. It was silly.

The problem with any computer rating system is that smart captains can easily manipulate the system. Players have strange early losses or hide in doubles with weak players, then crank it up for the big matches. It's obvious to anyone who studies the scores, but our district is so locked into the computer DQ system that nothing can be done. If a player doesn't win big early and get strikes, they're pretty much safe all season.

I'm not sure what system would be fullproof against captains tampering with it. Most of the guys in our league are fair, good captains, but a few really awful ones make it difficult. But those teams win every year, so the top players don't mind playing there, even if they have to throw a match or slum at #3 doubles.

Ace 07-24-2007 01:08 PM

Look, for all you people complaining about playing matches that are too tough..... I have the exact opposite complaint.

Self rated people who rated too high, or people deciding they need to "play up" when they can barely win matches in their own rating!
I have had a ton of crappy boring matches this year, and its sucks having to pay for it!

Look, everyone.....If you are not DOMINATING your own level....PLEASE....Stop pulling down the level above....you don't belong!!!!

Its one thing if you are doing extremely well at your own level and need more competition, but really....to play "up" just for the sake of getting more matches in? Come ON!!!

I can't attribute this to the USTA rating system....but to people with no common sense. I WISH I played a few sandbaggers once in a while.....

By the way...I am playing up as well, because I am winning all the matches at my own level....and for the most part, have been winning easily there too, except for two "at level" rated players, one killed me, one was a close match. No, I am not playing below my level, these people are losing all their matches and still think they need to play up.

PLEASE send me a sandbagger!

(I would propose that the USTA give a + rating to someone who's rating is high enough that they should be allowed to play up, and not let anyone else play up)

duffman 07-24-2007 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JavierLW (Post 1613251)
If you truely feel that you are not a 4.0, you are certainly able to just play 4.5 regardless of what your rating is. (unless your district has some sort of silly rule on that)

That is true and fortunately for me I've been able to play with a lot of 4.5's which is actually much more fun and have been asked to play on these teams.

But if that wasn't the case and I didn't know that many 4.5's it would be difficult to find a 4.5 team to play for with a 4.0 rating as the teams around here are very competitive and would probably look at a 4.0 as a liablilty to their team rather than an asset unless they had open tryouts which isn't likely.

ferocious4hand 07-24-2007 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kevhen (Post 1613078)
These guys won't play 4.5 because they would win a fair share there and get bumped up. The system is screwed because it allows for too large a range of players within one level and doesn't bump people up fast enough.

how is it the computer's fault if they don't play up? You're the one that played 4.5 and won, they didn't. I don't see how they should be 4.5s simply b/c you can't beat them

johnny ballgame 07-24-2007 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ace (Post 1613271)
Look, for all you people complaining about playing matches that are too tough..... I have the exact opposite complaint.

Self rated people who rated too high, or people deciding they need to "play up" when they can barely win matches in their own rating!
I have had a ton of crappy boring matches this year, and its sucks having to pay for it!

Look, everyone.....If you are not DOMINATING your own level....PLEASE....Stop pulling down the level above....you don't belong!!!!

Its one thing if you are doing extremely well at your own level and need more competition, but really....to play "up" just for the sake of getting more matches in? Come ON!!!

I can't attribute this to the USTA rating system....but to people with no common sense. I WISH I played a few sandbaggers once in a while.....

By the way...I am playing up as well, because I am winning all the matches at my own level....and for the most part, have been winning easily there too, except for two "at level" rated players, one killed me, one was a close match. No, I am not playing below my level, these people are losing all their matches and still think they need to play up.

PLEASE send me a sandbagger!

(I would propose that the USTA give a + rating to someone who's rating is high enough that they should be allowed to play up, and not let anyone else play up)

Everything in this post (including the last paragraph) leads me to believe that you're guilty of Sandbagging. MOVE UP ALREADY!

Ace 07-24-2007 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnny ballgame (Post 1613292)
Everything in this post (including the last paragraph) leads me to believe that you're guilty of Sandbagging. MOVE UP ALREADY!

hahaha.....funny.
but not true at all.

It is just true that some people shouldn't be playing up, especially if they are getting killed at their own level.

Haven't you ever seen someone who is losing all their matches 6-1, 6-1......well now picture that person deciding to play up....its just wrong!

JavierLW 07-24-2007 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ohplease (Post 1613263)
There are plenty of problems with USTA play, but not the least of which is the fact that despite the number of levels (1.0-7.0 in 0.5 increments - about 14), only 5 are really used (2.5-4.5).

What that means is that you've got a huge disparity in playing level at each of those 5 levels. Even worse, there's a structural flaw in that only a few teams even have a chance of getting to districts, then secitional, regional, etc.

The end result being you often see hard fought, competitive matches in the first few rounds of local playoffs, between teams that are pretty much at the right level - where all they're really playing for is the right to get stomped by the one or two teams loading up for nonlocal competition in the local semis or finals.

In fact, this is what happened to my team, this year. I had the privilege of practicing with a different team not one, but TWO levels higher, and I'm not sure they could have beaten the team that killed us in the local playoffs. And I'm pretty sure the team going to districts at the level below us would have made the playoffs at our level, too.

I think the big issue here is the ratings aren't fluid enough. Have a bad season (below .300)? Either as a team or as a player? You get moved down. Have a good one (above .700)? You get bumped up. You see it in soccer and Davis Cup, why not amateur tennis, too?

As it is right now, you've got people managing scores and competing against some mystery number, instead of the guy across the net. That's just not right.

Also, benchmark players should be at the LOCAL level, not playoff. For any given level, the players that make it to regional competitions are by definition the cream of the crop. Skim them off.

I dont agree with the part about ratings being like in other sports. They are "skill" ratings, not rankings. So you cant go by wins and loses.

But I do agree with you that the benchmark players should be at the Local Level. If you read the NTRP chart and the description of the various levels, the people that move on to the advanced levels are way off of that.


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:42 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2006 - Tennis Warehouse