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-   -   When hell freezes over (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=437988)

OrangePower 08-30-2012 10:25 AM

When hell freezes over
 
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 teamís 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 teamís level.

goober 08-30-2012 10:59 AM

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.

Govnor 08-30-2012 11:26 AM

Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?

TENNIS4FUN2 08-30-2012 12:06 PM

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.

Sakkijarvi 08-30-2012 12:49 PM

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.

Cindysphinx 08-30-2012 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TENNIS4FUN2 (Post 6847635)
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.

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?

sansaephanh 08-30-2012 02:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 6847475)
Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?

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

ohplease 08-30-2012 03:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 6847475)
Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?

Yup.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sansaephanh (Post 6848522)
It is. It's fun to watch sometimes though. We get to file grievances.

Well, at least there's that.

dizzlmcwizzl 08-30-2012 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 6847475)
Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?

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.

North 08-30-2012 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 6847475)
Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?

Yep. Pretty much.

anubis 08-30-2012 05:20 PM

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.

Mongolmike 08-30-2012 07:13 PM

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.)

jmverdugo 08-31-2012 05:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Govnor (Post 6847475)
Are USTA matches just one gigantic sandbagging convention?

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.

spaceman_spiff 08-31-2012 05:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cindysphinx (Post 6847991)
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?

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.

LuckyR 08-31-2012 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goober (Post 6847336)
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.


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

goober 08-31-2012 07:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mongolmike (Post 6849557)
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.)

#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.

Mongolmike 08-31-2012 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goober (Post 6850758)
#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.

#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.

West Coast Ace 08-31-2012 07:59 AM

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.

beernutz 08-31-2012 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmverdugo (Post 6850491)
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.

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.

goober 08-31-2012 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mongolmike (Post 6850860)
#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.

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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