College players and HUGE drop in utr

texrunner

New User
As my title says, many players who haven’t played much at all (seems to be lots of college players whose seasons didn’t happen, though there are some juniors as well), have seen their utrs drop tremendously- some well over a point and a half. They have very little If any recent match data, yet their ratings have literally gone south. How can this be a fair and accurate assessment of their ability? Also because these player’s ratings impact everyone with whom they’ve played within that 30 match group, a precipitous drop affects their past opponents as well. My daughter for instance had a good win over someone who was about an 8.8 at the time they played last winter but because this person is now in college and has very few if any matches added, her utr has inexplicably dropped to about a 7.6. Who knows why that happened but it likely has a negative impact on my daughters rating. And looking around at other new college players I’ve noticed the same thing over and over.
If you guys have read my other posts you’ll know I’m not a huge fan of utr and this kind of thing doesn’t help.
 

CiscoPC600

Professional
Weird. My UTR has gone up in the year of not playing league or tournaments. I went from a 6.84 to a 7.46. I thought it was just because bad matches washing away due to time.
 

LOBALOT

Professional
What I have seen is that UTRs for college players in general drop after they enter college. I am not really sure why that is the case but it seems to be a trend with or without the current circumstances.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Wow that’s quite a lot! Are you an adult player?
And what do you mean by participation points?
They may have made tweaks, but through last year there was a bug in the algorithm that caused ratings to to be unstable and implode during periods of inactivity.
 

Hotpockets

Rookie
What I have seen is that UTRs for college players in general drop after they enter college. I am not really sure why that is the case but it seems to be a trend with or without the current circumstances.
True. From what I have seen in my case, international players from certain countries have a little bloated UTR because of level of players around them and amount of matches played as well. It settles down a bit once they start playing matches stateside. I know of a player who plays DII right now. From Pakistan. When he was a freshman he was 11.5 and team was thinking he would be #1 spot player. He ended playing #4 first year and #3 his sophomore year and over the course of last 2 years his UTR has now dropped a point and half as he logged more matches. Currently hovering at 10.
 

fngmoe

New User
I've gotten annoyed with UTR. My daughter had been out a while due to injury... played a tournament dubs last year with a weaker partner (~5ish), slaughtered the #1 seeded dubs (2 x 8s) team 1,2, and saw her UTR her dubs UTR drop from a 9 to a 6 thanks to some ridiculousness regarding her dubs partner's UTR.

I'm also seeing big drops in college players who are stuck home taking classes remotely. Looking right now at a girl that played with my daughter last summer. At the time she was a 7.... currently showing up on the UTR site as a 4, and on TR right now as a 7. Nuts.
 
A point and a half is nothing. My UTR dropped from 10 to 9 to 8 to 7 to 6 to 5 to UR in about a year since I last played.

UTR’s algorithm would be a lot more accurate if it did not reward participation points.
Its based on participation points? Where do you find info on the algorithm?
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Its based on participation points? Where do you find info on the algorithm?
The algorithm is hidden. Since ratings usually become unstable and implode during periods of inactivity, it means that they are effectively rewarding participation points (giving higher ratings to players who play more matches). I will pay more attention to UTR when they fix this issue.
 
I'm a current NAIA College Coach for both Men's and Women's Tennis at my institution. I've been there for at least 4 seasons now.


I've been recruiting now for 4 full seasons and have found that my international recruits usually have a utr that lowers by at least one full point once they start competing here in the States. I thought this was a 1 year anomaly but it continued to happen every year. I think what I realised is that recruits in foreign countries have a bubble that they compete within for the most part unless they play futures or ITFs and when they come here, the wide range of US players levels out their inflated UTR.

Now when I recruit I have to keep this in mind as it plays a role in who ends up being a good match for our team and what their "true" rating would be.
 
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texrunner

New User
I'm a current NAIA College Coach for both Men's and Women's Tennis at my institution. I've been there for at least 4 seasons now.


I've been recruiting now for 4 full seasons and have found that my international recruits usually have a utr that lowers by at least one full point once they start competing here in the States. I thought this was a 1 year anomaly but it continued to happen every year. I think what I realised is that recruits in foreign countries have a bubble that they compete within fir the most part unless they play futures or ITFs and when they come here, the wide range of US players levels out their inflated UTR.

Now when I recruit I have to keep this in mind as it plays a role in who ends up being a good match for our team and what their "true" rating would be.
What is the most important thing you look at when deciding who would be a good fit and make an immediate contribution to your team? I assume you’d like to see someone in person, but short of that is is a video, rating/ranking?
 
The algorithm is hidden. Since ratings usually become unstable and implode during periods of inactivity, it means that they are effectively rewarding participation points (giving higher ratings to players who play more matches). I will pay more attention to UTR when they fix this issue.
My son and I play golf twice a week with a former tennis player of a Power-5 school, and he graduated in August 2019. According to him, his highest UTR was 13.54; however, if you look him up now, his UTR no longer existed because he has not played since Jun 2019. He and my son usually hit with each other like two times a week and I pay for his golf tee time because he is a really a nice person. My son highest UTR was 11.5 and this former college tennis player bagel my son 6-0 and 6-0 yesterday. It was 6-1 6-0 three days ago.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
I'm a current NAIA College Coach for both Men's and Women's Tennis at my institution. I've been there for at least 4 seasons now.


I've been recruiting now for 4 full seasons and have found that my international recruits usually have a utr that lowers by at least one full point once they start competing here in the States. I thought this was a 1 year anomaly but it continued to happen every year. I think what I realised is that recruits in foreign countries have a bubble that they compete within fir the most part unless they play futures or ITFs and when they come here, the wide range of US players levels out their inflated UTR.

Now when I recruit I have to keep this in mind as it plays a role in who ends up being a good match for our team and what their "true" rating would be.
Just curious were your international players mostly clay players? Sometimes I wonder if international recruits drop in UTR bc they dont have as much experience on hard courts. Maybe one day UTR will add a ranking by surface. Even between indoor and outdoor hard courts, there is a difference between teams and players-some guys might play the equivalent of .5 higher on their best surface than their average UTR.

I think international players who stayed home in the fall and did classes online will come back with higher UTRs as the US still has not started back Futures, and there have been some Futures (mostly clay) in Europe since August.
 
Just curious were your international players mostly clay players? Sometimes I wonder if international recruits drop in UTR bc they dont have as much experience on hard courts. Maybe one day UTR will add a ranking by surface. Even between indoor and outdoor hard courts, there is a difference between teams and players-some guys might play the equivalent of .5 higher on their best surface than their average UTR.

I think international players who stayed home in the fall and did classes online will come back with higher UTRs as the US still has not started back Futures, and there have been some Futures (mostly clay) in Europe since August.
Many of them were clay court players so yes that has been factored in since I know they need a good few months (sometimes longer) to gully adjust.

Thats a good point on Indoor vs Outdoor. I can see that making a significant enough difference.

It'll be very interesting to see how UTR balances out the inconsistencies in match play between countries and continents. Especially with so many college programs cancelling or partially cancelling athletics for the 20-21 season.
 
What is the most important thing you look at when deciding who would be a good fit and make an immediate contribution to your team? I assume you’d like to see someone in person, but short of that is is a video, rating/ranking?
A lot of it is character and personality. Of course the tennis level is important but let's keep that apart for the sake of intangibles within the question. Video, ranking, rating are all great but to be honest it doesn't say too much. College tennis is not the same as junior tennis. No Mom/Dad/Siblings there to take care of things or help out. It's plain and simple, you are on your own and you need to do the right things to maintain your scholarship (academics/athletics). However, its much more complicated than that for student-athletes.

Their emotional state, inter-personal relationships, home-sickness, maturity, sense of awareness (with choices and responsibilty) and sleep habits play a vital role in determining the fit. Of course I can't figure this out within "x" calls and emails, but asking specific questions will help to understand and give me a frame for who I'm dealing with in the recruiting process.

Every video shows me their "best tennis". Every tennis resume tells me their "best results". Every coaches reference tells me their "best ambitions/traits". But... good Coaches want to know more, because they will be challenged in college. Physically, mentally and emotionally. How will they respond? How do they treat their teammates? How do they cope with poor influences, etc.

Meeting in person helps alleviate much of the questions from above and also allows them to see first-hand if the particular institution is somehwere they would enjoy. I think each coach develops their own style with recruiting and what they look for. Nonetheless, each year is a new chapter and new set of challenges for the Coach. One year I may need to replace my top player and the next I may lose both team co-captains. So recruiting changes every year.
 
A lot of it is character and personality. Of course the tennis level is important but let's keep that apart for the sake of intangibles within the question. Video, ranking, rating are all great but to be honest it doesn't say too much. College tennis is not the same as junior tennis. No Mom/Dad/Siblings there to take care of things or help out. It's plain and simple, you are on your own and you need to do the right things to maintain your scholarship (academics/athletics). However, its much more complicated than that for student-athletes.

Their emotional state, inter-personal relationships, home-sickness, maturity, sense of awareness (with choices and responsibilty) and sleep habits play a vital role in determining the fit. Of course I can't figure this out within "x" calls and emails, but asking specific questions will help to understand and give me a frame for who I'm dealing with in the recruiting process.

Every video shows me their "best tennis". Every tennis resume tells me their "best results". Every coaches reference tells me their "best ambitions/traits". But... good Coaches want to know more, because they will be challenged in college. Physically, mentally and emotionally. How will they respond? How do they treat their teammates? How do they cope with poor influences, etc.

Meeting in person helps alleviate much of the questions from above and also allows them to see first-hand if the particular institution is somehwere they would enjoy. I think each coach develops their own style with recruiting and what they look for. Nonetheless, each year is a new chapter and new set of challenges for the Coach. One year I may need to replace my top player and the next I may lose both team co-captains. So recruiting changes every year.
@PURETENNISsense: very well explained, spot on. Thank you.

This reminds me that the recruiting process is very much like going to a job interview. Many times you have candidates that look really good on paper, like Harvard graduate with MBA, or Carnegie Mellon graduate with stellar GPAs and glowing recommendations from professors. Everyone shows their best, not their worst result. When you see them in person, they struggle with real world problems and can't perform with the daily job routines. True story, one candidate with 3.9GPA from CMU struggled to work on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) project. We had to fire him after 10 months on the job.

My CFO gave me this advice many years ago. If you want to hire or promote someone, take them to a golf course and spend five hours with them there. At the golf course, you will the true leadership/personality of that individual. Golf is a very mentally challenged game. People who have the patience, leadership, the ability to learn/adjust/adapt on the golf course, they will succeed. I find this advice to be quite true.
 

tennisjon

Professional
Another thing that happens is playing USTA leagues will significantly drop your UTR. I play a lot of mixed, which is my best discipline, yet when they started to include mix in UTR rating, I dropped from a high 7 to a mid 5. I played 2 tournaments this summer and nearly beat a 9, which got me back to a mid 8, where I should be. I had one guy on my 4.5 team who stopped playing because no matter what the score was, his UTR would drop, which would affect his UTR and then potentially the power 6 UTR of his D1 team.
 
@PURETENNISsense: very well explained, spot on. Thank you.

This reminds me that the recruiting process is very much like going to a job interview. Many times you have candidates that look really good on paper, like Harvard graduate with MBA, or Carnegie Mellon graduate with stellar GPAs and glowing recommendations from professors. Everyone shows their best, not their worst result. When you see them in person, they struggle with real world problems and can't perform with the daily job routines. True story, one candidate with 3.9GPA from CMU struggled to work on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) project. We had to fire him after 10 months on the job.

My CFO gave me this advice many years ago. If you want to hire or promote someone, take them to a golf course and spend five hours with them there. At the golf course, you will the true leadership/personality of that individual. Golf is a very mentally challenged game. People who have the patience, leadership, the ability to learn/adjust/adapt on the golf course, they will succeed. I find this advice to be quite true.
I like your analogy to a job interview. I think it's exactly that. However, in college tennis the main ways to get removed from a team are from academic or drug/alcohol violations. THe golf course idea is fantastic. For my recruits I typically like them to play singles obviously, but more importantly to me, I place them in a lot of doubles drills and situation with various partners. Especially to link them up with team captains as their judge of character is something I have a lot of trust in. You can see a lot in a recruit, their reaction to winning/losing points, dealing with a partner that is a higher/lower level than them, etc. Lastly, a little fitness at the end, sprints, team relays, etc shows me as much as I can fit in to one practice on their competitive attitude, ability to adapt and also their character.

I've actually hit with many recruits to see how they respect me and react to some simple things I have to say/ask them about their tennis and life. Quite interesting to see their reaction to hitting with a coach that can still play at a high level, see how they deal with winning/losing points to me, etc. Creates a very interesting and telling dynamic.
 
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