Here's an idea - play at your level!!!

Spin Doctor

Professional
I agree with the OP. Its okay to play up if you can give someone a decent game. But if not, then save your "playing up" for club matches or hits with friends. Don't waste everyone's time in tournies or leagues.
 

DeShaun

Banned
This post will no doubt ruffle some feathers, but I get really tired of players playing above their level in usta leagues. When I was a 4.0 I didn't want to play 3.5 players, I wanted to play 4.0's. I used to get so discouraged when I would take time away from my family on a weekend to show up for a match only to find out that I was going to play a 3.5 that I would end up beating 1 & 0 in less than an hour. I feel the same way now that I was bumped up to 4.5 a few years ago - I don't want to play 4.0's in a 4.5 league match - I've been there and done that!!! On the flipside, I have no desire to play in 5.0 leagues because, get this, I'm not a 5.0 (what a concept!)

This post is now meant to sound snobby, but you need to think of the person on the other side of the net too. While you're thinking to yourself "Wow, I just got 4 games off someone a .5 level higher than me!" the other person may be thinking "Wow. That sucked and was a total waste of an afternoon" or "I actually had to pay money to play that guy?!?"

I can understand it if a team has injuries, vacations or would otherwise need to forfeit, but I'll admit that I cringe when I look at some of these rosters in our 4.5 league and they're made up mostly of 4.0 players!

So here's the main point - you're at the level you're at for a reason - play there! Quit whining about not getting bumped or that you're too good for your current level and you need a challenge. If you are that good you'll get bumped eventually.

Work hard and play against higher players all you want outside of usta leagues and hopefully you'll improve. Then you can start stomping on people in your league, at your level, and you'll get bumped. Please do not test your game against more skilled players in usta leagues - you're wasting people's time and money.
Sampras reportedly did just this, always play up. That way, he never had the pressure of expectations and could simply work on his game.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Our section has roster limits on under-rated players (I think 60% or 2/3 have to be at-level or something like that), but no limits on individual matches. I played up last year on a team that was skirting the limits struggling to find 4.5 rated players while having a nearly endless pool of 4.0s willing to play up. However, the captain always gave preference to the 4.5 players who were available, and we consistently had at least 5 or 6 true 4.5s at every match.

I played 3 singles matches, and all were competitive, although I didn't win any (I was ahead in the first set in 2 and had 6 set points in one, and even the one match where the score was fairly lopsided, the play was a lot closer). I really doubt any of those guys would have told you they wasted their time/money.
 

ttbrowne

Hall of Fame
Well, the OP is certainly NOT going to convince anyone worth a shot to quit playing up. If you're a 4.0 or 4.5, you still have to prove you're better than me on any given day.
 

struggle

Legend
^^^^^2.5 and 4.0 should never be on the same court together in competitive tennis IMO. At least not competing against one another (combo style doubles would even be a HUGE stretch)
 

bktennis78

New User
^^^^^2.5 and 4.0 should never be on the same court together in competitive tennis IMO. At least not competing against one another (combo style doubles would even be a HUGE stretch)
And neither should 4.0s be mingling with 6.0+ but you have to understand that the tournament is an annual fundraiser event designed to raise money for the upkeeping of the public park so you have to enjoy it for what it is and be happy for being part of the contribution although it's a bit convenient for me to say that at this point.

I'm just annoyed that he actually posted my name on a public forum and made me look like the bad guy while leaving out the little details that matter.

Anyway next year if work doesn't get in the way I'll practice hard and join the advanced group and do my best there and you'll have my word that I won't come crying on an internet forum if the 3 time A draw champion bagels me. In fact I want to hit with him to improve my game :)
 

HookEmJeff

Semi-Pro
I've never understood why anyone would WANT to stay in a lower level just to win. That is beyond comprehension to me as a competitor. Where is the glory in that? If winning is that important, why don't you just claim that you are a Special Olympian and go compete in your state's annual competition and pick up an easy 'W'.

I think a big problem with people's feelings about the USTA system is that they truly don't understand the absolute core part of the NTRP rationale in league play: which is to attempt to create levels that ensure matchups that are as close to 50-50 tossups each time you play. That means every time that you walk out and toss that first serve up to play, the actual likelihood of you winning is a total flip of the coin. THAT is when you know you're in the right level.

Most people on these forums think they are in the correct level when they are winning a disproportionate amount of matches at their playing level ("Hey, I'm winning, so this must be the right level!!!"). If you consistently go 22-3 in your 3.5 league and you wonder why you are getting bumped up, you are really missing the point. It's simple, you have outperformed your level.

If you went 10-2 in your 3.5 level and consequently if you're 2-3 playing up as a 4.0, you have demonstrated competency in the next level. You shouldn't express astonishment at getting bumped. The computer isn't going to take into account that the 4.0's were dinking around and experimenting or that you didn't feel like 6-2, 6-3 was a close match. You're playing a full level above based on the projected outcome.

To put it in college football parlance, that would be akin to a Division II school playing Alabama to a 37-20 score. Sure it may be a one-off result, but the BCS computer doesn't take that stuff into account, and neither does the USTA one. It's just dealing with the data at hand. How can it know that they were just serving and volleying on every point or that they were working on a one-handed backhand or that you played so awesome that one day or the other guy/girl so bad? It goes by what the projected outcome should be and determines that you either 1) outplayed your level 2) played right at it, or 3) played way below it.


I think the biggest think that people need to understand about the USTA rating system and playing up is that you are really playing with fire if you think you're going to hold onto your existing rating while moving up a level to play... unless you are getting absolutely throttled every time out.

Jeff
 
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OrangePower

Legend
^^^^^

I agree with everything you're saying. But - as long as USTA has playoffs and 'nationals', people will view that as the ultimate goal, and then some people will be willing to cheat the system in order to achieve that.

Personally, I would get rid of playoffs and beyond. The goal should be simply to have and enjoy a bunch of competitive matches during the course of the regular season, and then crown the team with the best record as the winner of that flight. There does not be any further incentive than that. But as long as there is incentive, there will be cheaters, same as in anything else.
 

BravoRed691

Semi-Pro
^^^^^

I agree with everything you're saying. But - as long as USTA has playoffs and 'nationals', people will view that as the ultimate goal, and then some people will be willing to cheat the system in order to achieve that.

Personally, I would get rid of playoffs and beyond. The goal should be simply to have and enjoy a bunch of competitive matches during the course of the regular season, and then crown the team with the best record as the winner of that flight. There does not be any further incentive than that. But as long as there is incentive, there will be cheaters, same as in anything else.
I play USTA because i enjoy being on a team...but i also enjoy the idea of traveling and playing and meeting other teams out of the area who gone through the same things i went thru to get there. I dont think i would play usta if there wasn't a playoff...i could just stay home and play with my friends or local players. I want to play for "something" other than just enjoying a bunch of competitive matches...i mean of course that's one main reason but i can already do that without usta.

I see the extent people will go to to win however, but i dont think getting rid of the "incentives" is the way to go....those same incentives keeps me interested in organized sports...

Br
 

Topaz

Legend
And neither should 4.0s be mingling with 6.0+ but you have to understand that the tournament is an annual fundraiser event designed to raise money for the upkeeping of the public park so you have to enjoy it for what it is and be happy for being part of the contribution although it's a bit convenient for me to say that at this point.

I'm just annoyed that he actually posted my name on a public forum and made me look like the bad guy while leaving out the little details that matter.

Anyway next year if work doesn't get in the way I'll practice hard and join the advanced group and do my best there and you'll have my word that I won't come crying on an internet forum if the 3 time A draw champion bagels me. In fact I want to hit with him to improve my game :)
This is excellent example that there is often two sides to a story.

And you can report the post that has your name in it and have it removed. Click on the little exclamation point on that post.
 
There are few players at my level

As an elite NTRP self-rate 1.0 Most Improved High School Boy's Tennis Soph-Frosh winner, I can't find anybody who has achieved similar.

I have spent untold amount of Blood, Sweat, and Tears achieving this and I'm not going to waste my time hitting with lesser players.
 

OrangePower

Legend
I play USTA because i enjoy being on a team...but i also enjoy the idea of traveling and playing and meeting other teams out of the area who gone through the same things i went thru to get there. I dont think i would play usta if there wasn't a playoff...i could just stay home and play with my friends or local players. I want to play for "something" other than just enjoying a bunch of competitive matches...i mean of course that's one main reason but i can already do that without usta.

I see the extent people will go to to win however, but i dont think getting rid of the "incentives" is the way to go....those same incentives keeps me interested in organized sports...

Br
Yeah I hear you, but that's the catch 22 - post-season play is a great thing when people are playing by the system, but it is also what encourages many to try work around the system.

I played in a set of local leagues that were structured kinda like the English football (soccer) leagues. Basically, there is just a regular season, but then at the end of the season the top few teams in each flight get promoted to the next level flight, and the bottom few teams get demoted. So the goal is to do well enough in the regular season to get promoted or at least not get demoted, and your reward is playing against better competition the next season. It actually worked very well and was a lot of fun, and it's probably still going strong (was in a different state to where I'm living now). And of course the English soccer leagues are very successful, so that model can work.
 

Angle Queen

Professional
I played in a set of local leagues that were structured kinda like the English football (soccer) leagues. Basically, there is just a regular season, but then at the end of the season the top few teams in each flight get promoted to the next level flight, and the bottom few teams get demoted. So the goal is to do well enough in the regular season to get promoted or at least not get demoted, and your reward is playing against better competition the next season. It actually worked very well and was a lot of fun, and it's probably still going strong (was in a different state to where I'm living now). And of course the English soccer leagues are very successful, so that model can work.
We have a similar (non-USTA) league here and I have enjoyed it immensely. That league also requires teams to play in "order of strength." And, trust me, there's much to do about that particular requirement.

While I think that sort of system works locally, I'm not so sure how it would play out on a national (as in the USA) scale.
 

OrangePower

Legend
We have a similar (non-USTA) league here and I have enjoyed it immensely. That league also requires teams to play in "order of strength." And, trust me, there's much to do about that particular requirement.

While I think that sort of system works locally, I'm not so sure how it would play out on a national (as in the USA) scale.
The league I participated in was a bit of a different format, in that each of the three dubs pairs per team had to play each of the other team's pairs. Each individual 'match' was 11 games, and you'd play out all 11 games. So each pair gets to play 33 games - 11 against each of the opposing pairs. At the end of the team match, the team with 50 or more games (out of 99) wins.

Order of strength becomes irrelevant since you play all the opponents anyway. And it's kinda nice that you get to play against more people and not just your opposing number. And you know you will always play 33 games (equivalent of 3 full sets), no matter what - which also makes scheduling court time more predictable.
 

BravoRed691

Semi-Pro
The league I participated in was a bit of a different format, in that each of the three dubs pairs per team had to play each of the other team's pairs. Each individual 'match' was 11 games, and you'd play out all 11 games. So each pair gets to play 33 games - 11 against each of the opposing pairs. At the end of the team match, the team with 50 or more games (out of 99) wins.

Order of strength becomes irrelevant since you play all the opponents anyway. And it's kinda nice that you get to play against more people and not just your opposing number. And you know you will always play 33 games (equivalent of 3 full sets), no matter what - which also makes scheduling court time more predictable.
Funny you brought this up cause i know we have talked amongst ourselves about this kind of format. I would for sure be interested in giving this a go. In fact, this is the way many schools in southern california play. Everyone plays everyone and who ever has the most number of sets, games, etc. won is the winner. It does take away some from not letting one team figuring out another way of playing and "coming back", or letting one team get away with getting off to a quick start but may not be able to sustain it, etc. But it's a good way to test a team's all around game cause the match ups will for sure be different with each round played. ... Pros and cons to both.

Br
 

BravoRed691

Semi-Pro
Yeah I hear you, but that's the catch 22 - post-season play is a great thing when people are playing by the system, but it is also what encourages many to try work around the system.

I played in a set of local leagues that were structured kinda like the English football (soccer) leagues. Basically, there is just a regular season, but then at the end of the season the top few teams in each flight get promoted to the next level flight, and the bottom few teams get demoted. So the goal is to do well enough in the regular season to get promoted or at least not get demoted, and your reward is playing against better competition the next season. It actually worked very well and was a lot of fun, and it's probably still going strong (was in a different state to where I'm living now). And of course the English soccer leagues are very successful, so that model can work.
That's very true...and our team has gotten screwed multiple times b4 BUT not enough to make me feel like we have to just trash the system or not play at all.

One of the players on our team also plays Volleyball, and that's exactly how they do it as well. Problem here is tennis isn't exactly a team sport...even if you play it like a team setting like with usta there are differences from sports like Soccer, and volleyball, baseball, etc.

Br
 

Angle Queen

Professional
The league I participated in was a bit of a different format, in that each of the three dubs pairs per team had to play each of the other team's pairs. Each individual 'match' was 11 games, and you'd play out all 11 games. So each pair gets to play 33 games - 11 against each of the opposing pairs. At the end of the team match, the team with 50 or more games (out of 99) wins.

Order of strength becomes irrelevant since you play all the opponents anyway. And it's kinda nice that you get to play against more people and not just your opposing number. And you know you will always play 33 games (equivalent of 3 full sets), no matter what - which also makes scheduling court time more predictable.
Wow, that's a really cool format. I would do that in a heartbeat.

Our (non-USTA) league is team vs. team...but there's three singles lines followed by four doubles lines. Eight game pro-sets for singles, 10 for doubles. Players are allowed to play in both singles and doubles. Teams must therefore have at least 10 players but "substitutions" are liberally allowed from "lower" divisions.

For those who might be interested, here is the link (hope it works!). The so-called "Championship" Division comprises some of our area's TOP players (including ones who do not play USTA because we don't have a 5.0 league for ladies!)
 

storypeddler

Semi-Pro
Thing is that playing up really IS the best way to improve your game. It would be nice if that could be done outside of leagues, etc, but I can tell you from first-hand experience how hard it is to get many 4.5 players to play a 4.0 player UNLESS they are forced to in a league or tournament situation. The same logic applies in both cases---a 4.5 player can arrange all the "at level" competitive matches he wants to on the side and still get his game tested. But most players---not all, but most---have little to no interest in playing those with lower ratings outside of organized events, so when a player wants to play up to work on improving his game, he may not have any choice but to play in a higher-rated league or tournament bracket. It cuts both ways.
 

Darkhors

Rookie
Stupid post. If 4.0's are beating everyone else in the 4.0 division, then the computer turns them into 4.5's. It's that simple.
I highly disagree with your post and if you were in our area, you also would disagree. I've been playing at 4.5 for the last 3 years and I can tell you that we certainly have players that are rated at 4.5 that are 5.0's. At this level, you just don't get moved up unless you're blowing out your opponent every match. We even have a 4.0 that's been a 4.0 for the last 4 years and played up at 4.5 all but his first. He's also played at 4.0 as well but still has not been bumped. There's a lack of 5.0 teams and if you're not easily destroying people than they're not going to risk moving someone up to that level and then watch them not play due to lack of teams.

If you have a problem with someone playing up, then beat them badly and afterwards you can tell them that they shouldn't be playing at that level. I've faced people that were .5 or 1 pts below me and have had decent matches. I've also won easily. On the flip side, I've played guys whom I knew should be 5.0's and have won and lost. If it's really about competition, you should be happy that you're beating someone easily. It means that you're doing everything right.

Someone said that if you play up it's selfish to the other player. However, it's also selfish to not let someone test their skills against you. I believe that the majority of people who play up are mostly competitive in that category or else they wouldn't continue to play at that level if they were getting killed every match. You also have to take into account that not everyone has the luxury of being able to setup matches against higher level players and thus has to play up during league to better themselves.

Competition is competition. Even at your "level" you play people who you can destroy and you play people who can destroy you. So what's the difference if you play someone with a rating lower than yours? Deal with it, beat them and move on.

DH
 
"Someone said that if you play up it's selfish to the other player. However, it's also selfish to not let someone test their skills against you. I believe that the majority of people who play up are mostly competitive in that category or else they wouldn't continue to play at that level if they were getting killed every match. You also have to take into account that not everyone has the luxury of being able to setup matches against higher level players and thus has to play up during league to better themselves."

Exactly. The only way for a player to get better is to play up, and if playing through actual competition is the only way, then it must be done. Both sides of the story need to be viewed with equal sympathy here.
 

ian2

Semi-Pro
I highly disagree with your post and if you were in our area, you also would disagree. I've been playing at 4.5 for the last 3 years and I can tell you that we certainly have players that are rated at 4.5 that are 5.0's. At this level, you just don't get moved up unless you're blowing out your opponent every match. We even have a 4.0 that's been a 4.0 for the last 4 years and played up at 4.5 all but his first. He's also played at 4.0 as well but still has not been bumped. There's a lack of 5.0 teams and if you're not easily destroying people than they're not going to risk moving someone up to that level and then watch them not play due to lack of teams.

If you have a problem with someone playing up, then beat them badly and afterwards you can tell them that they shouldn't be playing at that level. I've faced people that were .5 or 1 pts below me and have had decent matches. I've also won easily. On the flip side, I've played guys whom I knew should be 5.0's and have won and lost. If it's really about competition, you should be happy that you're beating someone easily. It means that you're doing everything right.

Someone said that if you play up it's selfish to the other player. However, it's also selfish to not let someone test their skills against you. I believe that the majority of people who play up are mostly competitive in that category or else they wouldn't continue to play at that level if they were getting killed every match. You also have to take into account that not everyone has the luxury of being able to setup matches against higher level players and thus has to play up during league to better themselves.

Competition is competition. Even at your "level" you play people who you can destroy and you play people who can destroy you. So what's the difference if you play someone with a rating lower than yours? Deal with it, beat them and move on.

DH
Great post!
 

OrangePower

Legend
Competition is competition. Even at your "level" you play people who you can destroy and you play people who can destroy you. So what's the difference if you play someone with a rating lower than yours? Deal with it, beat them and move on.
DH
The difference is one of degree. Sure, there might be a large skill gap between players in the same level, but that won't happen so often. On the other hand, it's very likely there there will be a large skill gap between players in different levels.

A personal example - A few years ago, 4 out of 10 singles matches I had were against players playing up. On average I gave up 1 game per match in those four matches. No fun for anyone. Granted playing so many matches against players playing up is not the norm, but it happened.

Anyway... Since you think competition is competition, why not just allow players to play down a level?
 

Darkhors

Rookie
The difference is one of degree. Sure, there might be a large skill gap between players in the same level, but that won't happen so often. On the other hand, it's very likely there there will be a large skill gap between players in different levels.

A personal example - A few years ago, 4 out of 10 singles matches I had were against players playing up. On average I gave up 1 game per match in those four matches. No fun for anyone. Granted playing so many matches against players playing up is not the norm, but it happened.

Anyway... Since you think competition is competition, why not just allow players to play down a level?
First, because playing down is sandbagging and we've all agreed that nobody likes sandbaggers, period!

Second, if you look at almost all competitive sports (including tennis at the junior level), you'll see that they all allow players to play up levels. I do agree that there's probably a better chance of playing someone not as competitive when they're playing up, however, as stated before, the upper and lower end of each division could be the lower group in the upper division and the upper end of the lower division. So basically, we're really just splitting hairs here.

Also, if you're playing singles predominantly, I believe that you see more of the discrepancy of play because a lot of times it's harder to get people to play in the singles lines. Especially as the adults get older. Even so, you still got 6 "great quality" matches out of it. And to say that it's "no fun for anyone" may not be true. Maybe those people that played up learned a thing or two about their game that they wouldn't have learned from playing in "their level".

If it's really that big of a deal for you, then don't play USTA. Just find a local club and play in the club league. I think you'll find that they still allow people to play up.

DH
 

OrangePower

Legend
Also, if you're playing singles predominantly, I believe that you see more of the discrepancy of play because a lot of times it's harder to get people to play in the singles lines. Especially as the adults get older. Even so, you still got 6 "great quality" matches out of it. And to say that it's "no fun for anyone" may not be true. Maybe those people that played up learned a thing or two about their game that they wouldn't have learned from playing in "their level".

If it's really that big of a deal for you, then don't play USTA. Just find a local club and play in the club league. I think you'll find that they still allow people to play up.
DH
Yeah that's true I was thinking about singles but maybe in dubs it's not as bad if you have someone playing up. In singles there is no place to hide and I doubt someone losing 0 & 1 gets much out of it.

Yes I got 6 good matches out of 10 but would rather have had 10 :)
Funny how people will complain if they come across even 1 sandbagger out of 10 isn't it?

As it turns out, I don't play that much USTA anymore - mostly I set up matches with others in my tennis circle. I do enjoy USTA for the team aspect but the actual tennis isn't as good.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Yeah that's true I was thinking about singles but maybe in dubs it's not as bad if you have someone playing up. In singles there is no place to hide and I doubt someone losing 0 & 1 gets much out of it.

Yes I got 6 good matches out of 10 but would rather have had 10 :)
Funny how people will complain if they come across even 1 sandbagger out of 10 isn't it?

As it turns out, I don't play that much USTA anymore - mostly I set up matches with others in my tennis circle. I do enjoy USTA for the team aspect but the actual tennis isn't as good.
USTA League matches are only once-a-week here, set up good matches the rest of the week.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
I think I kind of agree with you on this for various reasons. USTA can't really tell you the way they do things as it relates to bumping people. Their excuse is always "the computer did it". So having said that I would never pay money and play "up" in a league where there is already no real rhyme or reason as to why things happen. You also have to deal with the occassional dip wad that is out there to throw the match anyway. So you are out there giving it your all and he's trying to ditch the match. So in the computer it looks like now you really aren't 4.0. You're 4.5 because you just got done ripping into a computer rated 4.5. So what I do is this. I've got about 3 guys that have 4.5 ratings that I play every week on my time. That way I know I'm getting all they have and I'm giving all I have. One I've never beaten and just took my first set off of him about a month ago. Then there is one where we go back and forth and the other I've beaten him everytime I''ve played him. I use him as a punching bag after i've lost to the other 2.lol

The point is I never play above my level in USTA. I do play above level in the tournaments I play througout the year. There are a few where they would laugh if I signed up for 4.0 and I do have a benchmark 4.0 rating. I did take a an asswhipping this saturday though.lol I lost 2 and 5 to some guy that had a mammouth kick serve that I got back about 95 percent of them, the problem was they were over my head no matter how far I moved in to catch them early.lol My shoulder is still hurting. lol It's all good though. I'll take out on some poor guy next sat. lol it was my first loss this season. I'd like to use the excuse of playing outdoors, the wind etc...fact is i just lost. lol

This post will no doubt ruffle some feathers, but I get really tired of players playing above their level in usta leagues. When I was a 4.0 I didn't want to play 3.5 players, I wanted to play 4.0's. I used to get so discouraged when I would take time away from my family on a weekend to show up for a match only to find out that I was going to play a 3.5 that I would end up beating 1 & 0 in less than an hour. I feel the same way now that I was bumped up to 4.5 a few years ago - I don't want to play 4.0's in a 4.5 league match - I've been there and done that!!! On the flipside, I have no desire to play in 5.0 leagues because, get this, I'm not a 5.0 (what a concept!)

This post is now meant to sound snobby, but you need to think of the person on the other side of the net too. While you're thinking to yourself "Wow, I just got 4 games off someone a .5 level higher than me!" the other person may be thinking "Wow. That sucked and was a total waste of an afternoon" or "I actually had to pay money to play that guy?!?"

I can understand it if a team has injuries, vacations or would otherwise need to forfeit, but I'll admit that I cringe when I look at some of these rosters in our 4.5 league and they're made up mostly of 4.0 players!

So here's the main point - you're at the level you're at for a reason - play there! Quit whining about not getting bumped or that you're too good for your current level and you need a challenge. If you are that good you'll get bumped eventually.

Work hard and play against higher players all you want outside of usta leagues and hopefully you'll improve. Then you can start stomping on people in your league, at your level, and you'll get bumped. Please do not test your game against more skilled players in usta leagues - you're wasting people's time and money.
 
I played on a 5.0 and 4.5 team this past summer as a rated 4.0. I went 6-0 at 4.5 and 2-2 at 5.0. These wins were in doubles against legitimate 5.0 doubles teams and my partner was a 4.5. Some people are just rated incorrectly. I didn't even play a 4.0 match this past summer. Needless to say I got bumped in the Fall.
 

Rui

Semi-Pro
I think it muddies everything when you have team-oriented competitiveness vs. individuals competing as groups vs. individuals joining leagues to get regular matches.

They all have differing expectations. Your league may have all types in it.
 

OrangePower

Legend
I played on a 5.0 and 4.5 team this past summer as a rated 4.0. I went 6-0 at 4.5 and 2-2 at 5.0. These wins were in doubles against legitimate 5.0 doubles teams and my partner was a 4.5. Some people are just rated incorrectly. I didn't even play a 4.0 match this past summer. Needless to say I got bumped in the Fall.
I respect the fact that you didn't play 4.0 since clearly you realized you're better than that, regardless of official rating. In fact, you should not even be playing 4.5 - looks like 5.0 is the right level for you.

I'd have no problem with people playing up if they were only playing at the higher level. Chances are that in this case they really are at the higher level skill-wise. The issue I have is with those who want to have their cake (beating everyone at their current level) and eat it also (play up for the experience), at the expense of others. Pick a level and play it.
 

Inner Game

Semi-Pro
This post will no doubt ruffle some feathers, but I get really tired of players playing above their level in usta leagues. When I was a 4.0 I didn't want to play 3.5 players, I wanted to play 4.0's. I used to get so discouraged when I would take time away from my family on a weekend to show up for a match only to find out that I was going to play a 3.5 that I would end up beating 1 & 0 in less than an hour. I feel the same way now that I was bumped up to 4.5 a few years ago - I don't want to play 4.0's in a 4.5 league match - I've been there and done that!!! On the flipside, I have no desire to play in 5.0 leagues because, get this, I'm not a 5.0 (what a concept!)

This post is now meant to sound snobby, but you need to think of the person on the other side of the net too. While you're thinking to yourself "Wow, I just got 4 games off someone a .5 level higher than me!" the other person may be thinking "Wow. That sucked and was a total waste of an afternoon" or "I actually had to pay money to play that guy?!?"

I can understand it if a team has injuries, vacations or would otherwise need to forfeit, but I'll admit that I cringe when I look at some of these rosters in our 4.5 league and they're made up mostly of 4.0 players!

So here's the main point - you're at the level you're at for a reason - play there! Quit whining about not getting bumped or that you're too good for your current level and you need a challenge. If you are that good you'll get bumped eventually.

Work hard and play against higher players all you want outside of usta leagues and hopefully you'll improve. Then you can start stomping on people in your league, at your level, and you'll get bumped. Please do not test your game against more skilled players in usta leagues - you're wasting people's time and money.

Hmmm I really doubt someone only 1/2 a level lower is getting thumped by you 0 and 0 or 0 and 1. Maybe the fact is your better then 4.0....

So if you feel you are wasting your time on your valuable weekends...play open events.....I will be more then happy to thump you 0 and 0 so you can have a "worthwhile" weekend.

Good Grief people you are playing recreational tennis....when will the madness end?
 

smarog

New User
Hmmm I really doubt someone only 1/2 a level lower is getting thumped by you 0 and 0 or 0 and 1. Maybe the fact is your better then 4.0....

So if you feel you are wasting your time on your valuable weekends...play open events.....I will be more then happy to thump you 0 and 0 so you can have a "worthwhile" weekend.

Good Grief people you are playing recreational tennis....when will the madness end?
Huh? You're missing the point - I wouldn't play an open event because I'm not an open level caliber player; I'm a 4.5, that's where I play. While playing 4.5 tennis I don't want to play 4.0 players - I don't think it's that crazy of a thought.
 

Inner Game

Semi-Pro
Huh? You're missing the point - I wouldn't play an open event because I'm not an open level caliber player; I'm a 4.5, that's where I play. While playing 4.5 tennis I don't want to play 4.0 players - I don't think it's that crazy of a thought.
If you are that level...you should know there is really no such thing as precise levels in tennis....the USTA rating system only relies on skill in hitting a tennis ball as a measuring stick...there is no way to measure drive, heart and desire....
Just be happy playing tennis and don't worry about someone 1/2 a level lower...

Being a 4.5 I'm sure there are elements of your game you need to improve...so work on those when playing someone your obvious superior to.... I'm sure you would get something out of it.

I have played players 2 levels lower then me many times...there is always something I can take away from every match. Bottom line enjoy tennis you never know when an injury can end it all...
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
Being a 4.5 I'm sure there are elements of your game you need to improve...so work on those when playing someone your obvious superior to.... I'm sure you would get something out of it.
You missed the part about 'league matches'. The OP simply expects the league to be made up of players at the prescribed level. He paid $$$ and is taking time out of his life - doesn't want to waste either against players not at his level. No one is against 'working on parts of their game', 'playing better players', etc. Just don't do it in this environment.
 

tlee

New User
The reverse also happens and is more irritating

I was playing #1 singles for our San Diego 4.5 team and discovered my opponent was not only the 25 year old head pro of the opponents tennis club; but he hadn't lost before the semi's in any of his last 5 OPEN tournaments. I recall he had an open ranking in the top 20 in souithern california. Seems to me someone like that should not be allowed to play in a 4.5 league even if he wants to.

That same year; against another club I played at 4.5; #2 singles and when I looked up my oponent 19 years old; he had within the last 3 months won the Southern Calif 5.5 playoffs (Grand Prix).

I therefore concluded that anyone can play down at the 4.5 level???

Why is this considered OK???
 

darrinbaker00

Professional
You missed the part about 'league matches'. The OP simply expects the league to be made up of players at the prescribed level. He paid $$$ and is taking time out of his life - doesn't want to waste either against players not at his level. No one is against 'working on parts of their game', 'playing better players', etc. Just don't do it in this environment.
My money, my time, I'll spend both as I see fit.
 

Tammo

Banned
Here's another idea, don't play tournaments, so we don't have to hear you complain. Just find some other player who you always beat 7-6 6-7 7-6. How do you expect people to get better by not playing people better than them?
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Yep...I think that's why many retire from usta once they get a 4.5 rating. That is not fun at all. I think that's why they are going to a aged based 4.5 league in 2013....just in time. I'll be 45 that year.lol If I had been bumped before then...I to would probably just play alta in atlanta. I've heard of Div 1 number 2 singles players playing 4.5 because they can. That's USTA's rule so you either deal with it or retire and play other local leagues like everyone else. It's rough.

I was playing #1 singles for our San Diego 4.5 team and discovered my opponent was not only the 25 year old head pro of the opponents tennis club; but he hadn't lost before the semi's in any of his last 5 OPEN tournaments. I recall he had an open ranking in the top 20 in souithern california. Seems to me someone like that should not be allowed to play in a 4.5 league even if he wants to.

That same year; against another club I played at 4.5; #2 singles and when I looked up my oponent 19 years old; he had within the last 3 months won the Southern Calif 5.5 playoffs (Grand Prix).

I therefore concluded that anyone can play down at the 4.5 level???

Why is this considered OK???
 

skipcromer

New User
I continue to be amazed at these team sizes... 32 players?! Around here, most teams (2 singles + 3 doubles league format) are 10-14 players. More than 16 is practically unheard of.

Added: Our local tennis association had "100% in-level" rule for a couple of years... something that I helped to overturn once I got on the Board of Directors. 75% is tried and true.
I know this is old but I wanted to chime in on this.

I was rated 5.0 in St. Louis. If it wasnt for people playing up, there probably would not have been enough players for more than one team.
 

JuliusWinto

Rookie
I honestly don't mind playing players that I'm better than. It's still challenging. I try not to lose any games, or crush them as bad as I'm able. I also work on going for my serve more, first and second, come to the net more, and work on my topspin backhand. The challenge is beating those players as bad as you think you're supposed to. The people that hate playing these guys are probably losing more games than expected, and it hurts their ego.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I honestly don't mind playing players that I'm better than. It's still challenging. I try not to lose any games, or crush them as bad as I'm able. I also work on going for my serve more, first and second, come to the net more, and work on my topspin backhand. The challenge is beating those players as bad as you think you're supposed to. The people that hate playing these guys are probably losing more games than expected, and it hurts their ego.
Exactly. It takes mental toughness to play with the lead and still go for your shots. It's good practice to avoid being too conservative such that you finally find yourself playing their game.
 

OrangePower

Legend
Julius and Cindy, seriously?

A few seasons ago I had the misfortune of having 5 of my 11 singles matches be against players playing up.

Scores:

1 & 1
1 & 0
0 & 1
0 & 3
0 & 0

These were for the most part not players who actually thought they could compete, but rather sacrificial lambs sent to the slaughter by their captains, figuring they would rather use their strongest players elsewhere in the lineup.

Nobody benefited from these matches - not my opponents, and certainly not me.

Luckily I have not had to face such a high % of opponents playing up in the last couple of seasons, otherwise I would seriously reconsider playing USTA.
 

JuliusWinto

Rookie
That's cool that you whipped them so bad, and I get what you're saying. It just doesn't really bother me, I guess. If they can really play and hit the ball well, it reminds me that I'm playing at a high level, and that people want to be where I am. That is a big percentage of your matches that you played down without volunteering to, though.
 

OrangePower

Legend
That's cool that you whipped them so bad, and I get what you're saying. It just doesn't really bother me, I guess. If they can really play and hit the ball well, it reminds me that I'm playing at a high level, and that people want to be where I am. That is a big percentage of your matches that you played down without volunteering to, though.
Yeah, what bugs me is that I'm not such a great player (for my level), and these guys playing up were not doing it because they felt they were ready to play at the next level - they were for the most part being sacrificed by their captains. I get it that captains sometimes struggle to fill their lineups and so put in lower level players, but often when they do this they will throw the weak player to the wolves rather than giving them a shot at actually being competitive at another spot in the lineup. Nothing can be done about it though as long as playing up is allowed - it is often smart strategy from a captain's point of view.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Julius and Cindy, seriously?

A few seasons ago I had the misfortune of having 5 of my 11 singles matches be against players playing up.

Scores:

1 & 1
1 & 0
0 & 1
0 & 3
0 & 0

These were for the most part not players who actually thought they could compete, but rather sacrificial lambs sent to the slaughter by their captains, figuring they would rather use their strongest players elsewhere in the lineup.

Nobody benefited from these matches - not my opponents
, and certainly not me.

Luckily I have not had to face such a high % of opponents playing up in the last couple of seasons, otherwise I would seriously reconsider playing USTA.
How can you be sure your opponents did not benefit from those matches? I read on this forum all the time that we should be thankful for sandbaggers because they give us the opportunity to play better players. So there really is no benefit to playing better players?
 
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OrangePower

Legend
How can you be sure your opponents did not benefit from those matches? I read on this forums all the time that we should be thankful for sandbaggers because they give us the opportunity to play better players. So there really is no benefit to playing better players?
I can't be sure of course, but I could tell from body language that my opponents were not having fun.

Of course there is a benefit to playing better players - assuming you can still have mostly competitive points with the better player. But once the gap is large, there's not much benefit IMO. Assuming the better player is playing all out that is. For example, if I were to play a top ATP pro, and he was taking it seriously, there would be no benefit to me. It would go like ace, ace, ace, ace, ROS winner, ROS winner, ROS winner, ROS winner, repeat.

I don't condone sandbaggers, but I think they are the lesser of two evils, because:

1. It's their choice. Sandbaggers by choice are signing up to play weaker players. I prefer not to.

2. Sandbaggers have incentive to make matches with weaker players competitive. This is part of sandbagging. I have no such incentive. Therefore, a weaker player is likelier to have a more competitive match with a sandbagger, by design. This is better for the weaker player.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
It sounds like the real problem is that the captains are sacrificing to get the team win, not that the player is playing up.

I'm sorry, but I don't see that a blanket rule against playing up is the answer. Let's face it. Skill improvement is a continuum. There will always be people who are strong at their level but who get slaughtered when playing up.

But there is value in playing up. I captain. If I have a choice of two players and one has never played up at the level of my team, I will choose the player who plays up most of the time. Playing up builds skill and mental strength.
 
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