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Old 12-14-2012, 08:01 AM   #49
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,491

Originally Posted by schmke View Post
This may penalize only legitimate self-rates that would have advanced to playoffs as someone willing to game the system is willing to throw a year and will just play that first year and sandbag to get a C rating then they are golden. I prefer to tighten the "allowance for natural improvement" as particularly at 3.5 and below it seems far too large.

That said, this rule probably wouldn't affect very many, but I'm guessing the USTA resists because they think it would deter players from joining if they know from the start they can't go to playoffs their first year.

As you said this would affect a very small number of people. Only 1-2 teams usually have a shot at playoffs and those teams are most likely to have under-rated self rates. The remainder of the 90% or so self rates would not be affected.

This seems a bit extreme, and I'm not sure the point of benchmarking the player for multiple years.

The only point of being a B is to indicate you played post-season against players outside your sub-flight/flight/league and thus can serve as a reference for calculations to try to normalize ratings for different areas. Making a player a B in years they didn't go to playoffs doesn't make sense.

On the bump for multiple years, this can be problematic. You have situations where a good player, A, at their level is on a team with some great players and they go to nationals. Player A usually plays court 3 doubles and wins his fair share, but isn't in the top-6 doubles players. At nationals, he gets to play a match or two after they've either clinched the semis or lose in the semis. This player A, at best a very good player at his level and certainly not low-end at the next higher level is now bumped up for 3 years? That is a huge penalty.

Multiple year bump is the only way to make sure people don't manipulate the system to get back down to their prior level in on year or less. Maybe 3 years is a long penalty but I don't think 2 years is unreasonable. I have yet to meet a player that played in Nationals that could not hold their own reasonably well at the next level. If they are lower end of the next level for several years so what? Where is it written that it is unfair unless you are at the top half of your level? All the players that I see that didn't get bumped from nationals are still are top end players for regular local league play. Currently they just form their core from these players and then fill in from players that worked their way down from the level above and get a couple new under-rated self rates. This is how teams form their dynasties that go to playoffs year after year. The whole point of the mass bump ups by the USTA from several years ago was to address this problem. The problem is that this mass bump up only temporarily alleviated the problem and actually more players that were legitmate at the lower level probably should not have been bumped. It was an inelegant solution that was a temporary fix. But still if they wanted to go that route and say do the mass bump ups every other year it would be better than what they are doing now.

Early start leagues/ratings are difficult to deal with and this perhaps has some merit.

But the core issue is that the algorithm doesn't deal with sandbagging at all. There are a couple ways to deal with this.

First, there are sections where leagues that don't advance to any nationals are still counted for rating purposes. This allows players to play all out trying to get to nationals but then sandbag in the leagues that "don't count" to keep their rating down. One approach to deal with this is to consistently across sections only count leagues that have nationals. The challenge here is you end up with less data to calculate ratings from, some players may play only 1 or 2 matches in these leagues but many more in the other leagues. Also, the real sandbaggers will still find a way like the example you cited. Second, one could adopt something like what golf does with its handicapping system where only your best results count and poor results are thrown out. This gets more complicated, especially with tennis where you are playing an opponent rather than just playing the course, but is a good approach to dealing with throwing matches to manipulate ones rating
I like this idea of counting your best wins more heavily and throwing out poor results, but I think this would get too complicated. If they just counted your best wins against the highest rated opponents much more significantly I could see that positively affecting the ratings.
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