Do Players Have to Cheat to Win?
It's believed by some that a perception exists (yes, this of course is putting it mildly) that, in order to win in league tennis, some form of cheating is usually necessary. The cheating can be anything from a simple mistake by an uninformed newcomer on self-rating, to outright fudging on self-rating (including lying or being less than completely honest regarding playing history), to sandbagging (playing at less than full effort or capability - including intentionally losing games, sets, even matches) in an effort to keep one's rating at a level where they can win, to blatant cheating (bad lines calls, etc.) in matches. There is a growing feeling that this perception (if it exists) results in (1) Difficulty in recruiting new league players . . . (2) Difficulty in retaining league players, and . . . (3) Difficulty in recovering lapsed (former) league players. These are known in USTA circles as the "three R's" of league tennis; In order to maintain and grow, we must RECRUIT new players, RETAIN existing players, and RECOVER lapsed (former) players.
The traditional tennis scoring system used for league tennis (match results generate player ratings) leaves plenty of wiggle room (for those so disposed) to manipulate their scores in order to achieve a desired result (the rating they want) so they can continue to "win."
Can this group brainstorm possible alternative determinations of league standings, something which would provide clear incentives to put forth maximum effort every time out? Another way of putting it is to come up with a scoring/standings determination methodology which provides a disincentive to put forth less than full effort.
Those are just the frameworks of ideas which some have been tossing about; Please don't be restricted by what's in the above paragraph.
We supposedly pride ourselves in being part of a sport which oozes sportsmanship, but that aspect seems all too often to be lacking among some in league tennis. Having league tennis organized by playing levels (NTRP) is SUPPOSED to result in competitive matches, however the desired "level playing field" is lost when the system is manipulated for selfish personal/team reasons.
Please get rolling on this; Remember, no idea is "wrong" during a brainstorming session. Just throw it out there . . . you never know what might give birth to someone else's truly creative thought.
Last edited by 10sguy : 12-03-2006 at 10:10 PM.
Reason: spelling, puncuation, spacing