Are sandbaggers really just the best players at level?

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I wonder if eliminating the carrot of districts, sectionals and nationals would stop all this sandbagging.
There really isn’t “all this sandbagging” going on. It is very much overstated on this forum. Sure, there may be like one captain in Texas or something who tries to stack 4.0 teams with recent college players, but this is really uncommon. I would even say it’s rare. Almost all USTA adult rec tennis is just club teams and park teams of guys between the ages of 35-50 playing doubles with a few singles matches between sweaty tired old guys. You do see a mis-rated ringer from time to time, but these are dealt with appropriately in most cases. And people like to have playoffs, sectionals, nationals, etc, because it’s fun.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
There really isn’t “all this sandbagging” going on. It is very much overstated on this forum. Sure, there may be like one captain in Texas or something who tries to stack 4.0 teams with recent college players, but this is really uncommon. I would even say it’s rare. Almost all USTA adult rec tennis is just club teams and park teams of guys between the ages of 35-50 playing doubles with a few singles matches between sweaty tired old guys. You do see a mis-rated ringer from time to time, but these are dealt with appropriately in most cases. And people like to have playoffs, sectionals, nationals, etc, because it’s fun.
Something like the playoffs is necessary in a big country like the US to keep the NTRP ratings in sync.

There would be no way to tell if a 3.5 in one region is the same as a 3.5 in a different region if they never played each other
 

Cashman

Professional
Something like the playoffs is necessary in a big country like the US to keep the NTRP ratings in sync.

There would be no way to tell if a 3.5 in one region is the same as a 3.5 in a different region if they never played each other
Well, that sort of begs the question - if they never play each other, does being in sync really matter?

Granted, when someone moves regions they may take a little while to find their place in the local pecking order. But that already happens a lot in other sports that don't have universal ratings, and it's not a huge deal.
 

5sets

Semi-Pro
I wonder if eliminating the carrot of districts, sectionals and nationals would stop all this sandbagging.

Where I live, league tennis doesn't have these sorts of geographic finals for lower levels. Sandbagging is also not really a thing. People's ambitions purely extend to getting bumped up so they can say that they play in a higher division.
Absolutely, I think it would. I know for me and many others playing League is just a nice way to get out of the house and get exercise and or cheap courttime in crappy weather. At $16 for 90 minutes and $44 a year it’s much cheaper than paying annual country club fees and $40 an hour for a court. I’m happy being a mid level 4.5 on a middle of the road team, I think we finished .500 last year, with the team who finished first having a healthy portion of their guys getting bumped to 5.0. Good for them. I don’t want to be away from my wife and kids for a weekend to go to sectionals and nationals. Could I throw a few matches and get bumped down to 4.0 in a few years and dominate, sure, but WHY
 

leech

Rookie
The part of me that likes playing fantasy sports can understand how a captain would get enjoyment out of trying to build a winning League team. Analyzing ratings, recruiting undervalued players and promising rookies, using game theory to optimize lineups for head-to-head matchups - this is what hardcore fantasy players do and while it may be silly, people love it. A captain like this who wins a national championship probably gets an incredible feeling of satisfaction that has little to do with the enjoyment of a well-played tennis match.
This accurately captures much of the enjoyment I get out of captaining. However, having a core group of friends to share this enjoyment is key; wouldn't want to captain a team full of mercenaries. Recognizing that NTRP thresholds are somewhat arbitrary, it's still a lot of fun competing within the limitations that all captains are subject to, and fun traveling to postseason sites. Tennis wasn't always my favorite sport to play, but the USTA system (particularly the fantasy sports aspect) makes this sport head and shoulders above most recreational activities.
 

HolyMountain

New User
I am a little confused, perhaps this thread can clear this up. If you play a non-combo league and play more than 3 matches, that dictates your USTA rating vs tournament play? Obviously combo doubles leagues can't count as no one know who won the points - the higher or lower rated player. Kid here has to be a 6.0, snuck into a 4.5 league :laughing: - he got bumped real quick - pretty sure they took away his wins too. Only time I have seen honest to goodness sandbagging.
 

glenWs

Rookie
A post near and dear to my heart, I've mentioned this before, but...
No, they often are not, not at 3.5 and 4.0. At 4.5 they are, no one is doing this nonsense mentioned below at 4.5, at 4.5 they probably had success enough to play in college division 2 or 3 and rec tennis isn't that big of a deal.

A larger group of 4.5 players in Dallas once went 2 and some of them 3 seasons losing on purpose, losing every match, to get bumped down to 4.0. Then they won almost every match at 4.0 to try and get to nationals, it didn't work. Although, frankly, the Caribbean and sometimes other teams are at nationals that can require this kind of manipulation to have a chance at winning. Furthermore, Houston once put together an all-star team at 4.0 (they took the best players from all over the city and put them on one team to win regionals/Texas) and to beat that you had to do something, but it all boils down to why? Most in this Dallas group had families and kids, I mean, isn't free time away from the wife and kids limited on a weekend? I wouldn't spend it playing a tennis match I lose on purpose, it's just makes no sense to me.

I've known some people returning to tennis from a break self rate at 3.5 and go to a nationals event, but I agree, is it fun? If you've played tennis off and on since childhood, 3.5 should be embarrassing for you to play. 3.5 should be reserved for older players or those new to tennis in my opinion. Those 3.5s wouldn't mention their level, mostly just casually mention they went to nationals or couldn't play next week because they made it to nationals lol.

USTA cares somewhat, but what can they do, they get your money anyway. I've seen some teams video tape players and submit it, to prove they are out of level, and that works, but it's just getting silly at that point.

Here is a funny video about leagues in Dallas...

As a Lifetime member, this made me laugh out loud.
 
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