Usta Weighs In On Sandbagging

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Backboard, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    All of your deflecting isn't fooling me buddy. The problem exists and people like you are ruining what once was a good thing. I haven't played USTA in over a year because of my principles. I imagine someone having principles like that is quite foreign to you. Once again, good luck to you and the other scumbag cheaters.
     
    #51
  2. HowardH

    HowardH New User

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    I'm a NTRP rated 3.0 player. Last year I played league tennis for the first time and had only been playing less than a year. Since then I've begun taking private lessons and have played extensivly, every week. I have a 3.5 forehand, a 3.5 serve and I'm working on getting a my backhand and volleys well grounded.
    I also play on the 3.5-4.0 challenge ladder and can win.

    If I go back this year and play 3.0 league tennis I would probably win most of my matches 6.0, 6.1 since I've improved so much but NTRP hasn't seen my improvements yet.

    This is the same with other friends I play with. We are 3.0 but have improved quite a bit and can win at 3.5. If we play each other in a 3.0 match our scores will be close so I wonder if just doesn't even out.
     
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  3. New Kid On the Block

    New Kid On the Block Rookie

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    Lets face it, teams are always exploiting the edge. But when a guy gets bumped two levels there is something wrong.

    Here are my suggestions to make the USTA a much better league.

    1. LET THE Computer do its job. When the computer is fed information it ultimetely gets it right 95% of the time.

    2. NO APPEALS other then medical appeal that has permanant injury that would change ones game. NO OTHER APPEALS. if a player is going to get bumped down they need to make the computer bump them down if they have a bad year at the higher level.

    3. USTA watch self raters more closely. This should limit the amount of players that really need to be monitored.

    If the USTA follows these fairly simple rules they would have a great league.
     
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  4. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    There is evidence that the USTA believes that players with a rating differential of less than 0.5 (possibly as low as 0.35) can compete with a score of 6-0, 6-0. With that said, if they were to change their system so that each level was designed for matches to rarely to be less competitive than say a 6-2, 6-2 score, then chances are that there would probably be 10+ different skill divisions within any league. Do you think that is feasible to have that many skill levels? I mean we already have alot of skill divisions as it is, probably more than any other sport in existence.

    The way I see this is to be honest when self-rating and let the computer do its job. I would never appeal downward, but I don't care if others do it because I don't think they are any more of a threat than someone self-rating too low, which are a dime a dozen anyways. Also it doesn't really matter what number is next to your name, because your skill level is what it is regardless of what the number says.
     
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  5. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I just don't agree with this. The NTRP algorithm is far from perfect because it doesn't take into account player style matchups. It is based on a FAR too small a sample of any player's matches throughout a year, and there is FAR too much time between when the rating data (match scores) is collected, when the rating is granted, and when the next season starts.

    There are so many people who get bumped up because they were paired with a strong partner who carried them. It is pointless to have them go winless the next season and discouraged when the sport is already hurting for players as it is.
     
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  6. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    It's not pointless, it's called improving and getting better competition.

    It's funny how some people say that it's okay that there are certain players in a particular level that are pretty much unbeatable because "you'd want the better competition". Yet when those same players are forced to play in the next level, it's somehow "discouraging" that they may not win every single time anymore.

    I still say if they get rid of appeals, they will gain more players, not less.

    Sure, they might lose some of the weird people who only are in it for the thrill of a cheap victory, but they'll gain way more players on the bottom levels who now have a chance to at least compete at some level (who may move up eventually as well).

    No matter who you are, if you are only have fun if you win and you are constantly "discouraged" otherwise, then you really truely do not enjoy playing anyway.

    If you get moved up, there is no reason why you shouldnt just work on your game so you can be more successful in your new level, rather than worrying more about going back down.
     
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  7. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I agree with all of these. About half of the national commitee agrees with getting rid of ALL APPEALS, even medical ones. (45% of all players who filed a medical appeal in 2006 went to some form of playoff, I myself had a captain that bragged about filing one for someone because they were "old")
     
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  8. tfm1973

    tfm1973 Semi-Pro

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    i agree raiden. the goal of the rating system is not to make sure we get 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 matches every single time we hit the court with another person of the same rating. it's to make sure we have competitive matches. scores do not necessarily indicate how competitive a match was. i can lose 0-6, 0-6 to roger federer and 0-6, 0-6 to that old man in my league who pushes and slices everything. i guarantee i at least had a shot with that old pusher. same score but not the same.

    i also prefer letting the computer do its thing. no appeals - appeals to me. :) that's my new slogan.
     
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  9. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Any player that is unbeatable should not be within the appeal range. The ones who have over-inflated ratings because of fluke wins or being paired with a strong doubles partner are the ones who suffer next year when they get crushed by everybody at the next level up. I don't see why the system has to be accepted as completely error free (by eliminating appeals) when it isn't.

    There are some people who have reached their peak ability because of health limitations or lack of desire to really work hard to improve. If they are not blowing out all their opponents, I don't see why they should be forced to play at the next level up when they can still have competitive matches at the next level down.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2007
    #59
  10. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    Well players that are unbeatable are within appeal range for the most part. Check out the stats sometime, over 75% of everyone who is rated up is elligible to appeal, and you'd be hard pressed to find a whole lot of them that are in the specific instances that you are describing.

    So you cant have appeals because that system is by far not perfect either. (you only have to be within 5% over to get your appeal, it's rare to go over that)

    It is extremely hard to carry a weaker player in doubles unless you are a good full level ahead of whatever you are playing in. So if that's the case, that's the price you pay for playing with such a player. (and it probally doesnt happen a whole lot percentage wise)

    And there is no such thing as a "fluke" win. There are only wins. You cant have a system that worrys about whether a win was a "fluke" or not because that would be silly.

    Listen to yourself. Your talking about "being forced" to play a level up. Or how they "will get crushed by everyone". Who cares?

    Why are they even playing tennis if that's all they care about? Most normal people want to improve and they take getting rated up as a compliment, and if they are losing they will want to find a way to better themselves so they win. Why devise a whole system which it's only purpose is to be concerned with going back down?

    Even if they have reached their peak ability or they dont want to improve, it doesnt matter if they play in the higher level. They are playing tennis, they dont have some special right to only play in a level where they can win all the time.

    There are people who are in their own level, who complain about sandbagging all the time, accusing people of it anytime they lose. They arent happy and their sole concern is "these people dont belong in my level because they can beat me".

    These appealees are just as bad, because they are afraid of losing. If they werent afraid of losing and they were in it to actually play tennis and do their best, then they wouldnt cry so much about how they have to be able to move back down.
     
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  11. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Man who really cares about sandbagging for christ sake?

    Im just happy playing tennis and feel fortunate to have a system that try's(and does a decent job) to pair me with people of similar skill.

    If someone wants to cheat the system, let that be on their shoulders not yours.

    Nothing is perfect in life and very little is 100% certain other than you live and then you die plus a few basic requirements to stay alive, so quit blaming the system for not being something it shouldnt and wont ever be.
     
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  12. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    Well said... I think the system works pretty well. It may not be perfect but we get to play tennis and in the end that is all it is about.
     
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  13. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    Joey G

    You have "principles" only when it is convenient. It is very revealing that your so called "principles" do not stop you from mud-slinging and name calling.

    My messaage to you is very simple. When you lose have the common decency to congratulate your opponent rather than call them cheaters and stop making malicious untrue allegations.

    And by the way, you did NOT quit League Tennis because of principles. You quit because you consistently got beat. Well, you made a good decision. It is better for you not to play League Tennis and it is far better for League Tennis to move on without you and others like you. Your quitting is a win-win for everyone!
     
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  14. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't understand how someone who is 0.05 above the level is going to blow out their opponents. If they are playing against people in the top 30% of the level, the match should be competitive.

    As an example of what I'm talking about, 3.5 in my area is a very large proportion of the tennis players, alot of which are middle-aged to senior. Alot of them are pusher-types with poor technique and lack fitness. They will never succeed at 4.0, so if these players get moved up because they are just barely above the 3.50 mark, then they are going to be stuck there losing until they moved down or quit playing USTA.

    Not everyone plays tennis to reach the highest levels possible. Some just play for stress release, a little exercise, or just a little fun. For me I have dreams of reaching 5.0 one day, but I don't expect everyone else to have the same goals. I will never appeal because it will do me no good in reaching my goal, but I'm not someone thats heading downhill physically yet.
     
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  15. safins back

    safins back New User

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    I think the USTA should once again have verification clinics and totally do away with self ratings. That would stop a large portion of sandbagging.
     
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  16. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    There was plenty of sandbaggin then too.
     
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  17. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    .05 is not that small of a margin, it's a full 5% over.

    It's silly for you to assume that somehow they are going to be competitive with the 30% at the top of 3.5, yet somehow it's a tragedy for them to have to play the bottom 30% of 4.0.

    (plus if there were no appeals at all, they would have plenty of competitive company at 4.0)

    If they are just playing for stress relase, a little exercise, and to have fun, they can do it at 4.0. That's the whole point of not having to move down.

    We should do a study sometime, Im willing to bet that the amount of appealees that "didnt" dominate the majority of their competition are few and far between.
     
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  18. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    The system was even worse back then. Watching someone for 15-30 minutes is a useless way to assess a rating.
     
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  19. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    ++

    Excellent post, I agree.

    As for those of you discussing wide score differences; you do realize that the NTRP is a rough number, and means jack **** when you take into account individual differences and situational aspects... Today I played a very strong player. Wednesday I played a weaker, less consistent player. I won Wednesday against the worse player 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. I won today against the far stronger player... 6-3, 6-2. Why? I like strong players. Despite my opponent hitting hard shots towards the baseline, I could work better with these shots and turn his best shots into my points. If I ever play a lefty, and they have any spin on their serve at all, there is little chance that I will break them. Are they levels above me? Hell no, I just can't hit those damn serves!

    There are so many factors that go into tennis, you can't just assume two people on the same general skill level will have close matches.
     
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  20. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    I believe the difficulty people have here is one that can never be solved or governed through the USTA rating system, self-rated, verified or otherwise. People are right to say that the USTA is trying (and should try) to provide a 'competitive level of play', and that players are not expected to be completely equal at a given level.

    That said, there are well-known cases of people building teams to 'win' Nationals - based on finding players that are clearly out of level and building teams around these players. I would guess that most teams that win their levels at the State, Sectional, or National levels that aren't 'out of level' by the time they play in those tournaments. The difference is what those teams did to get there. Did they build a team and practice hard OR did they recruit and build a team, hiding players, etc.. for the purposes of winning? How would anyone know other that those involved or those with clear information? I'm sure we can all surmise and make guesses that may be accurate - but tough to know for sure. The USTA can't police people's integrity. I suggest all of us with integrity continue to police ourselves and let those who want to 'cheat' the system - enjoy the spoils of an amateur meaningless championship that they didn't earn.
     
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  21. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I know of at least one team where it's obvious that they did it (heck, they would even admit it).

    There have been other teams that have done far worse, and the USTA didnt do anything (ID fraud, etc....).

    I think if the USTA would at least concentrate on the few teams where it's obvious they would do fine, but the fact is they usually defer to being "player friendly" to those who cheat, which means that a lot of other people feel that it's okay because "everyone does it".

    (that's like the motto for the team that Im aware of, they dont feel they are doing anything wrong, even when it comes to finding anyone to self rate at 3.5)

    Saying that though, dont get me wrong. As far as most teams, I dont disagree with some of you guys, it's hard to call them sandbaggers if you dont know them. Although it is remarkable given that I know teams that are finding 4.5+ players on it, and they didnt even manage to win the whole thing.

    They did take fourth though which suggests that they did cheat more than the teams in their own flight at Nationals though, and I suspect they sort of threw the last match for 3rd because they either didnt care or they just wanted to let their regular players play a match at Nationals. So perhaps there is only one team out that did a better job at cheating then they did.
     
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  22. SJS

    SJS New User

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    I apologize if this has already been brought up, but I really expect the number of appeals to go down starting in 2008. The USTA has changed the rules on who cannot appeal (previously, only National Benchmarks could not). From the USTA Regulations for 2008:

    MAJOR REGULATION CHANGES FOR 2008

    1. District/Area, Section and National Championship Benchmarks may not be appealed the first year received. This will impact the 2008 championship players.


    In my league, at my level, there were 15 players moved up this year. So far, 7 have successfully appealed down. ALL of those 7 went to Districts and/or Sectionals so if the new rules had been in effect this year they would not have been able to appeal.
     
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  23. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I had heard this myself and it's a good rule. Hopefully it's still there by next November though, because the league may chicken out by then.

    (there is talk that they were going to do this for this batch of new ratings but they chickened out and only barred National Championship particpants from appealing)
     
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  24. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    This is very astute. I think there's a lot of talk about sandbagging in the message boards; likewise there's too much gossip about gambling and fixed matches in the news. Heck, why do they even bother testing for steroids.

    I agree w/ the point in so far as when I've run against people above my level, I've tried to take it as an opportunity to test/improve my skills. It still doesn't change it that it is wrong. And the USTA is wrong for letting it continue and bending over for these c-heaters.
    And I think you are wrong not to hold the system or the USTA accountable. Between the c-heaters and the sheep, it is difficult for those of us who love the game to make it better.
     
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  25. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    The only thing that is wrong is when players LIE about their credentials during the self-rating process or tank matches (although this one can't be proven). Other than that nobody who is a supposed sandbagger is really cheating.

    I will play the devil's advocate here. Lets assume a player did not lie during self-rating and has no college background or anything like that, and decides to play a 3.5 league but might realistically actually be competitive with 4.5 players. There is no easy way to tell what level he should've self-rated at because his only guideline is some vague description of his skills. He might (relatively speaking) think that his backhand is terrible or he can't volley well, so he thinks he's a 3.5. Next, lets say he plays 3.5 and starts whipping his opponents. Well USTA says that someone at the top of a level can defeat someone at the bottom of the level 6-0, 6-0. Plus, USTA does not disclose whether someone is at the top or the bottom of the level, and therefore he can only assume he is beating weaker 3.5 players and that he is a stronger one. Unless USTA tells you what everyone's rating is, you shouldn't have any responsibility to predict that your opponents are strong or weak after you cream them in a match. As far as appealing, if it is legal and you aren't LIEing about some medical condition, then its not cheating to appeal, even if you destroy all your opponents.

    I can find plenty of competitive matches in the USTA so I'm not going to complain, but the only thing I would like is if more matches counted towards the rating so that it was a little more real-time and not something that was calculated 9 months ago.
     
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  26. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    Backboard=moron. My last post on this thread.
     
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  27. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    This is truly Excellent, i think USTA is listening to complaints about the sandbaggers. I have seen little bit of change in my area. So keep writing and complaining to USTA. If enough people complain, they will change:)
     
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  28. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    People mis-rate themselves at some extent like this all the time, and you are right, there is sometimes nothing that can be done about it.

    However without the appeal system, the rating system usually will take care of these (by rating them out at the end of the year if they dont manage to get DQ'ed).

    It is not technically cheating to appeal, you are right about that. But in most cases (most people that appeal dominated the level they are moving back down to) it still means you are sandbagging. (sort of in a "some people might have less respect for you sort of way, rather than in a sort of cheater sort of way).

    It would also be cheating to self rate yourself at 3.5 if you knew that you were competitive with people who happened to have 4.5 ratings. I know your example doesnt necessarily imply that, but there are people who will cheat in this manner.

    As far as appeals though, as Ive said before, the league really need to get rid of them. Until they do, you are right, we cant really do much about players who use them. (and in the case of my section it's highly encouraged by the league itself)
     
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  29. New Kid On the Block

    New Kid On the Block Rookie

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    I dont know how it works in other areas, but the players being bumped up are the ones with the absolutly best records, sometimes undefeated and winning matches by large margins. Here is an example of the problem. In our area there is a player that had a 16-3 record in 3.5 league season playing singles and some doubles. His three losses came to two singles players who were ultimetly bumped up to 4.0 and a doubles loss to a doubles team where both players were bumped up, so it is understandable that he lost these matches. He won all his other matches defeating very good players in the process. He was bumped up and then decided he wanted to play 3.5 again so called and got bumped down by sending a fax in.

    That is ridiculous, he clearly will be able to compete on the next level, he wont have a 90% winning percentage, but he can compete. So this is too easy, if someone truly wants to get better play to your competition.
     
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  30. Backboard

    Backboard New User

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    JoeyG

    When you have nothing intelligent to say you just name call and sling mud. You are are such a class act!
     
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  31. mtpleasantmako

    mtpleasantmako New User

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    1. no appeals

    2. limit number of self-raters on teams....say no more than 3-4.

    3. place limit on team size....say 15-18.

    backboard, ignoring cheating will ultimately hurt local league tennis, and to simplify it with your arguments is shortsighted. some folks just want to stay at the same level and enjoy social, friendly, and competitive tennis. they and the usta want to keep it as level as possible. that is a legitimate expectation and very far removed from whining.
     
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  32. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    Funny that I should read it today.

    This weekend, I (appealed down to 3.0 from 3.5) played in our 3.5 league against a player who had appealed down to 3.5 from 4.0. So this was an excellent case of a match between the ends of 3.5 spectrum.

    I lost 6-2, 6-2.

    Did not feel bad at the end of the match, sure I could have played better but that guy was a backboard that added spin to every return.
     
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  33. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    That's good! I'm sure the system is absolutely that precise! ;-)
     
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  34. Applesauceman

    Applesauceman Semi-Pro

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    I'm unconscious...yet again another post?! Some congratulations are in order!

    So has everyone congratulated you to your hearts content? Let congratulate the winners, congratulate the losers, congratulate the sandbaggers, congratulate the self-raters, congratulate sportsmanship, and most of all let's congratulate the USTA for putting up with all of our ****. Grace and peace to us all.
     
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  35. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    4. People that make it to Nationals (or even Regionals) all get automatically bumped up to the next half level.
     
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  36. Caswell

    Caswell Semi-Pro

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    Sandbagging only sucks when you're at the bottom rung of the ladder.

    Eventually it all works out so that players are playing others of similar ability, except at the bottom.

    Case in point, in my area the lowest flight for men is 3.0, and blowouts are frequent. Last year in our 3.0 league we had complete newbies to the game on court in league matches with players that easily pulled games off of computer rated 4.0 players. That's no fun on either side of the court.

    Once I got bumped to 3.5 I really stopped caring so much about NTRP. My club and league 3.5 matches are all extremely competitive now, and that's what matters.
     
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