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-   -   Game the system or stop playing USTA? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=435015)

NE1for10is? 08-05-2012 09:46 AM

Game the system or stop playing USTA?
 
I just started playing USTA last fall on a 3.5 team. When I started I thought, 'Wow, these guys are really good.' And indeed, each time we go to the regional playoffs we go without a single loss in the regular season. And yet, each time we go to the playoffs we meet the same team and not only do we get swept, but we don't even win a set.

I played 1st doubles yesterday at regionals and then districts (since we keep meeting the same team in regionals we also got to district playoffs against this team). One of the players I played against was clearly at least 4.0 or better. He was aceing us and ripping winners everywhere. If he is 3.5, I am the Pope. The match wasn't even competitive. Our team got swept again 5-0 and we didn't win a set. Again.

I have played in other non USTA international tournaments where they have roving officials, who have the authority to disqualify anyone whom they deem to be intentionally playing below their level. So after the match I talked to the district coordinator about it.

The district coordinator said basically (at least as I understood it) that anyone who wins a lot by huge score disparities will start getting strikes against them and either eventually get bumped up to 4.0 or might even get retroactively disqualified. (Did I get this right?) Well, in any case it doesn't matter, the damage is done.

At the time I thought that they had recruited a self rated player who plays below his level just for the playoffs, however when I got home I looked up the history on TennisLink for this player and he does have a long match record, but most of his matches for many seasons looks like a bakery: bagels and breadsticks (6-0, 6-0 or 6-1, 6-1 etc.) except every fifth match or so he has a third set loss. So why hasn't he been bumped up to 4.0?

Their captain is all about gaming the system and winning at all costs, and even drives 50 miles to our matches to scout us. Ok, whatever. At first I thought that he issue is that they use players that are clearly not 3.5 players, but playing below their level, but now I have come to wonder why there's such a large disparity in ratings between divisions. Our 4.0 is their 3.5.

So, I spent all weekend, a lot of time driving to the ends of the earth, and a lot of money going to these playoffs only to get swept and not even have a competetive match.

So, the options are to start gaming the system like they do and recruit 4.0 players who somehow still play 3.5, or stop playing USTA. I consider myself an honest, ethical person, and I like to think that karma, both positive and negative, comes back to you in the end, so gaming the system is not an option for me, and I think the team feels the same way. It's unfortunate, because I enjoy playing during the regular season.

Thanks for letting me vent on this. I would value your comments.

J_R_B 08-05-2012 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6783850)
So, the options are to start gaming the system like they do and recruit 4.0 players who somehow still play 3.5, or stop playing USTA.

There is a third option. Just have fun playing tennis and if you don't get the almighty 3.5 golden pen because your sandbaggers aren't sandbaggy enough, then so be it.

gmatheis 08-05-2012 11:08 AM

4th option - improve your game. Start working hard on fitness and tennis and get yourself to a 4.0 level while still rated 3.5

TennisDawg 08-05-2012 11:45 AM

Sounds like another not so good USTA League experience. Me, strictly me speaking, I would bag the USTA League. Since, I did 7 years ago, I find I enjoy tennis a whole lot more. I have entered non-USTA Leagues and Tournaments and have had more fun. I play NTRP rated players and non-rated players and their is no difference. Just a that one has a number assigned to them the other no number, no big deal to me.

NE1for10is? 08-05-2012 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmatheis (Post 6784247)
4th option - improve your game. Start working hard on fitness and tennis and get yourself to a 4.0 level while still rated 3.5

I have been working regularly at fitness and am fitter than I have been in years, and like most people I'm always trying to improve my skill level, and have in fact quite a lot this past year. Nothing would make me happier than be good enough to get bumped up to 4.0.

Quote:

Originally Posted by J_R_B (Post 6783957)
There is a third option. Just have fun playing tennis and if you don't get the almighty 3.5 golden pen because your sandbaggers aren't sandbaggy enough, then so be it.

I do have fun during the regular season, but it's not much fun getting routed on an unlevel playing field during the playoffs. I could care less about a pin or trophy. I just want to play good tennis. Maybe another solution is play the regular season and just don't bother with the playoffs until they put the other team at 4.0.

I guess my question is more about the skill level that the USTA allows between teams and divisions. Can the other team's player's levels be officially challenged or questioned?

OrangePower 08-05-2012 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6784397)
I do have fun during the regular season, but it's not much fun getting routed on an unlevel playing field during the playoffs. I could care less about a pin or trophy. I just want to play good tennis. Maybe another solution is play the regular season and just don't bother with the playoffs until they put the other team at 4.0.

When I read your OP I was going to suggest exactly this - then I saw you thought of it already!

Enjoy the regular season, get your money's worth that way, and leave it at that. Just tell your captain ahead of time that you're not available for districts etc so that he's not counting on you.

J_R_B 08-05-2012 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6784397)
I do have fun during the regular season, but it's not much fun getting routed on an unlevel playing field during the playoffs. I could care less about a pin or trophy. I just want to play good tennis. Maybe another solution is play the regular season and just don't bother with the playoffs until they put the other team at 4.0.

So you only want to play against people you can beat? What kind of attitude is that? I'd love a chance to play against the higher competition at regionals. It sounds like you're team isn't the very best at your level and you're a little bitter about it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6784397)
I guess my question is more about the skill level that the USTA allows between teams and divisions. Can the other team's player's levels be officially challenged or questioned?

You can challenge self-rated players, but only for violations of the guidelines, not just for being too good. In other words, if a player is under 35 and played on a D3 varsity team, he has to rate at 4.5. If you know a player played in college and think he lied on his self-rating evaluation to get a self-rating lower than 4.5, you can challenge that. If you challenge a guy and tell the section he's too good without some other justification, the challenge will be denied and you'll be told the computer will catch him if he's too good.

dcdoorknob 08-05-2012 02:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6783850)
each time we go to the regional playoffs we go without a single loss in the regular season.

So, basically, you're winning more than 90+% of all the teams in USTA. Honestly it's a bit hard for me to feel too much sympathy. Maybe some of the teams that don't seem to have a chance of beating your team could make a very similar post to the one you just made, except they get a few matches less and no chance at any post-season.

TENNIS4FUN2 08-05-2012 04:21 PM

To me, the size of the area you are playing in has a big effect on your win/loss record in the levels above local league. If you play in an area without a huge depth of talent, you may win consistently simply because you aren't being challenged. As you move up to the state level, there will be areas represented that have a more active tennis community and those teams have had to beat a higher level of player to advance, so they have an advantage over you from the beginning. Could this have something to do with why you are winning so much locally than getting beat once you advance.

Cindysphinx 08-05-2012 05:01 PM

The answer to this and pretty much every gripe is the same: Get better.

TeflonTom 08-05-2012 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6783850)
I just started playing USTA last fall on a 3.5 team. When I started I thought, 'Wow, these guys are really good.' And indeed, each time we go to the regional playoffs we go without a single loss in the regular season. And yet, each time we go to the playoffs we meet the same team and not only do we get swept, but we don't even win a set.

so basically, ur problem is that there r other ppl sandbagging better than ur team

chatt_town 08-06-2012 12:04 AM

This is an interesting subject. I was fortunate enough to have won the state at 3.0 probably about 6 to 8 months after starting to play tennis. We had a group of guys that had all came from different sports and picked the game up mostly within a month or two. We had 12 guys on the roster..maybe 13. I just remember that we had like 8 guys that played singles and we one so called ringer(he was clearly better than the rest of us and had been playing). He was at the time probably a good 3.5 player and none of us could beat him. So he always played line 1 singles. We'd then put one of the other 8 guys that played singles at line 2 and then myself and another guy played line 1 doubles(I was probably our second best singles player but me and the guy I played with never lost at doubles). We filled in line 2 and 3 doubles with whoever.lol The ringer if you will got d'qed. They explained to us he had gotten 3 strikes. 2 of them were for beating the same guy twice at the local level. He got his third in our first state match. The thing was they didn't dq him until after we won the state. They send an email to our captain the Monday that we returned from State.

When I repeatedly asked the woman why they allowed him to keep playing if they knew he was dq'ed...she couldn't answer. I told her that made no sense as we didn't know who else may have had strikes before going to sectionals. We weren't about to spend that kind of money getting hotels and using vacation days only to get to sectionals and find out that 4 or 5 other players could be dq'ed depending on how many strikes you had.

I've also seen where like two women's teams get together and decide who is going to win GA and who would win chattanooga before they play. They would put all the scores in 4 and 4 to keep anyone from getting dq'ed. I told my wife to stop playing singles for them because once they got to state....many of them would intentionally lose matches and my wife was busting @$$ trying to win. The whole team was weird at times. lol

West Coast Ace 08-09-2012 04:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcdoorknob (Post 6784795)
So, basically, you're winning more than 90+% of all the teams in USTA. Honestly it's a bit hard for me to feel too much sympathy. Maybe some of the teams that don't seem to have a chance of beating your team could make a very similar post to the one you just made, except they get a few matches less and no chance at any post-season.

Well said. For all we know the teams they beat in the regular season think the OP is a sandbagger - and he is - but when he gets to the playoffs he just meets bigger, better sandbaggers.

So you have fun 95+ percent of the time. Sounds like you should keep playing. If you really can't stand losing to a better team that MIGHT (you offered no real proof - e.g. a player who was found to have self-rated down after being higher in previous years), just forfeit the playoffs next year; don't show up.

NTRPolice 08-13-2012 01:49 PM

Sounds like lack of competitive experience in life.

People seem to think tennis league is any different than any other competitive situation. If you play ANY sport with some arbitrary rating system you will encounter this.

Common theme: "I lost, they must be sandbaggers, just READ NTRP GUIDELINES." LOL

NE1for10is? 08-30-2012 09:34 PM

Well, as it turns out 15 of the players from that team got bumped up to 4.0. Pretty much the entire team, including the captain. So, I guess the USTA police showed up after all.

West Coast Ace 08-31-2012 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6783850)
...each time we go to the regional playoffs we go without a single loss in the regular season. And yet, each time we go to the playoffs we meet the same team and not only do we get swept, but we don't even win a set.

And we shouldn't think your team has a few sandbaggers since you admit to multiple undefeated seasons? Sorry, that doesn't pass the smell test. What do the teams you beat every year think?

As someone else suggested, if you can really look yourself in the mirror and believe that you are rating your team properly, then forfeit. Or stop playing the league and take the players you do have an run ladders, mini-tournaments, etc. And let the USTA know why.

NE1for10is? 08-31-2012 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by West Coast Ace (Post 6850891)
And we shouldn't think your team has a few sandbaggers since you admit to multiple undefeated seasons? Sorry, that doesn't pass the smell test. What do the teams you beat every year think?

As someone else suggested, if you can really look yourself in the mirror and believe that you are rating your team properly, then forfeit. Or stop playing the league and take the players you do have an run ladders, mini-tournaments, etc. And let the USTA know why.

Four of our players got bumped up too, and three the year before. I don't think there are sandbaggers on our team.

gameboy 08-31-2012 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NE1for10is? (Post 6850993)
Four of our players got bumped up too, and three the year before. I don't think there are sandbaggers on our team.

I just love it when a sandbagging team complains about another sandbagging team...

If you have 3 or 4 guys getting bumped up EVERY YEAR (especially if they are self-rated), you are by definition, sandbagging. (by comparison, my 3.5 team has had a TOTAL of 2 guys getting bumped up over 4 years - and none self-rated).

Seriously, if you like playing tennis, then enjoy just playing tennis. Playing in "playoffs" is not about tennis, it is just about egos.

chatt_town 09-04-2012 10:47 AM

I think you need to ask yourself how well do you want to compete. If you want to compete at state and secitional levels then you need to by all means sandbag and get a few ringers. I haven't seen a team yet that won state at any level that didn't have sandbaggers.


Quote:

Originally Posted by gameboy (Post 6851031)
I just love it when a sandbagging team complains about another sandbagging team...

If you have 3 or 4 guys getting bumped up EVERY YEAR (especially if they are self-rated), you are by definition, sandbagging. (by comparison, my 3.5 team has had a TOTAL of 2 guys getting bumped up over 4 years - and none self-rated).

Seriously, if you like playing tennis, then enjoy just playing tennis. Playing in "playoffs" is not about tennis, it is just about egos.


samarai 09-04-2012 11:37 AM

Every team that enter leagues probably has recruited a couple of sandbaggers, just how good of a sandbagger you have remains to be determined. I played for the first time in the league last year and clearly on my team there were players rated .5-1 levels above what we were playing. I know this because I have played with these people for couple of year and were aware of there abilities. In matches you can tell they were just on cruise control until absolutely necessary. When we got to state, I got to hear how our captain kept complaining how the other team makes it ever year and that they had better sandbaggers then we had. It was comical. Obviously, I was playing at my level and didn't get to play state. That experience left a sour taste. Well that was the last time with that team.


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