Why can't the NTRP rankings be more consistent?

clutch21

Rookie
I've played in local leagues in two different cities now and every local league I've played calls their 4.0s, 4.5s.. their 3.5s, 4.0s.. and so on. If I play at 4.5 in USTA, I shouldn't have to adjust my ranking for a local league. It should be consistent.

Personal example- I'm a .500 player at 4.5 USTA at best, and I just finished up with a local league where I played 4.5. Well… I went undefeated and won most my matches handily. Then I was DQed for the playoffs.

It's frustrating because I clearly wasn't trying to sandbag. Maybe people feel better about calling themselves a higher level than they really are.. I don't know.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
If everyone played only in their true level in tourneys, the need for this section of TW would be totally useless.
What fun is it without ringers and guys who play up?
 
Well… I went undefeated and won most my matches handily. Then I was DQed for the playoffs.

...It's frustrating because I clearly wasn't trying to sandbag.
Did USTA refund your money that they took from you without them doing their due diligence to accurately verify your NTRP skill level? Maybe you could do a charge-back on your credit card!
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
NTRP ratings are by their very nature highly subjective. Yes, I know there are folks who disagree and will say there are services that can determine a player's NTRP rating within a certain boundary with a certain degree of certainty given their playing record but... I reject it all and just play my age group. Your age is completely objective so everyone's conforming to the exact same standard. I say, play your age group and reject NTRP subjectivity... or just continue to complain and be disappointed.
 

gmatheis

Hall of Fame
I've played in local leagues in two different cities now and every local league I've played calls their 4.0s, 4.5s.. their 3.5s, 4.0s.. and so on. If I play at 4.5 in USTA, I shouldn't have to adjust my ranking for a local league. It should be consistent.

Personal example- I'm a .500 player at 4.5 USTA at best, and I just finished up with a local league where I played 4.5. Well… I went undefeated and won most my matches handily. Then I was DQed for the playoffs.

It's frustrating because I clearly wasn't trying to sandbag. Maybe people feel better about calling themselves a higher level than they really are.. I don't know.
So this local league is NOT USTA ?
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
So this local league is NOT USTA ?
It sounds like that is the case and the local league choosing to use NTRP levels but not use actual NTRP ratings for players is the problem.

No, the NTRP system isn't perfect, but it does a pretty good job of fulfilling its goal which is to provide opportunities for adults with a pretty wide range of abilities to have competitive matches with other players of the same level. The issues arise when players or captains deliberately self-rate too low or throw matches to manipulate a rating.

To the points about just playing age group tournaments, that works great if you are near good enough to compete well, but it doesn't work well for many players. For example, a 36 year old 3.5 caliber player entering most 35 & over tournaments is going to win at most a few games in the first round as they face 4.5 and above caliber players. This is not a rewarding experience and folks won't come back.

Thus NTRP leagues and tournament are available. They may not be for everyone, but having the option is nice for apparently thousands of players.
 

clutch21

Rookie
To clarify in general- I was saying that the local leagues (not USTA) that I've played in seem to call players who are really around the 4.0 level, 4.5 players… and so on.

NTRP ratings are by their very nature highly subjective. Yes, I know there are folks who disagree and will say there are services that can determine a player's NTRP rating within a certain boundary with a certain degree of certainty given their playing record but... I reject it all and just play my age group. Your age is completely objective so everyone's conforming to the exact same standard. I say, play your age group and reject NTRP subjectivity... or just continue to complain and be disappointed.
I think you missed my point. I completely understand the subjective nature of NTRP ratings and the gray areas between levels (e.g. 4.5 vs 4.0). But a guy who is a middle of the road USTA 4.5 player, should not be able to go undefeated in what is deemed to be a 4.5 league. Once you get past self rating, NTRP ratings are based on results which in this case.. I think they are pretty objective.

Also, there aren't many local leagues that split it up by age. I think thats more of a USTA thing. At least where I'm at.
 

clutch21

Rookie
Did USTA refund your money that they took from you without them doing their due diligence to accurately verify your NTRP skill level? Maybe you could do a charge-back on your credit card!
The local league is the one I was DQed from. I played the whole season, I'm just not eligible for the playoffs.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
So this has nothing to do with the consistency of the NTRP ratings and instead concerns some local league you are in.
 

clutch21

Rookie
So this has nothing to do with the consistency of the NTRP ratings and instead concerns some local league you are in.
This problem is not isolated to the latest league I played in. Every local league I've been in seems to run the levels .5 points higher than what USTA does. The issue I have is pretty simple... Why can't these local leagues adjust what they're calling 4.5 to what USTA calls 4.5. I think this would help weed out some of the confusion and subjectiveness surrounding NTRP ratings.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
This problem is not isolated to the latest league I played in. Every local league I've been in seems to run the levels .5 points higher than what USTA does. The issue I have is pretty simple... Why can't these local leagues adjust what they're calling 4.5 to what USTA calls 4.5. I think this would help weed out some of the confusion and subjectiveness surrounding NTRP ratings.
So like I said, this issue has nothing to do with the consistency of the NTRP system and really concerns some local league you are in. There really isn't any subjectiveness surrounding NTRP because your objective results are what determines your dynamic rating which in turn is how your year-end rating is decided. If your local league isn't using NTRP or if the players in it don't play USTA and have an NTRP then that is a problem with the local league, not the USTA and the NTRP. Your rant just seems very misdirected to me but I've made my point and this will be my last reply.

FWIW, my local league has about the same cast of characters that are found when you play USTA.
 

clutch21

Rookie
So like I said, this issue has nothing to do with the consistency of the NTRP system and really concerns some local league you are in. There really isn't any subjectiveness surrounding NTRP because your objective results are what determines your dynamic rating which in turn is how your year-end rating is decided. If your local league isn't using NTRP or if the players in it don't play USTA and have an NTRP then that is a problem with the local league, not the USTA and the NTRP. Your rant just seems very misdirected to me but I've made my point and this will be my last reply.

FWIW, my local league has about the same cast of characters that are found when you play USTA.
Since my sample size was 4-5 local leagues in two cities I was assuming that many other local leagues across the US do the same thing. I guess that was not a fair assumption to make then. And yes, my problem then is not with the NTRP system but with non USTA leagues.

Also, not sure how my "rant" is misdirected. This is a forum for voicing issues about leagues ;)
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
This problem is not isolated to the latest league I played in. Every local league I've been in seems to run the levels .5 points higher than what USTA does. The issue I have is pretty simple... Why can't these local leagues adjust what they're calling 4.5 to what USTA calls 4.5. I think this would help weed out some of the confusion and subjectiveness surrounding NTRP ratings.
The simple answer is everyone likes to think they are a half rating higher. So these league cater to those players egos by letting a real NTRP 4.0 say they are a 4.5.

If a league isn't going to use a real NTRP rating, or replicate the algorithm and base it on real match results, they shouldn't call it NTRP.
 

anubis

Hall of Fame
yes, NTRP is highly subjective. You could call it a joke. I'm currently 9-1 in USTA singles this year (3.5). My one and only loss was to a guy that beat me 3-0. let's just say that I've played easier 4.0 players. Hell, I've played easier 4.5 players. I had nothing on him. As a 3.5, I should never have to play someone (in a USTA leauge match) that is so good that I can't even rally with him or return his serves. He aced me over a dozen times and almost every forehand was a winner.

Seriously. I just played a 4.5 today and lost 2-2. It was a much more gratifying match. We had great rallies, I had free points on my serve and even broke him once. I had 3 double faults and less than 10 unforced errors whole match. It was a wonderful match. But my one and only loss to another 3.5 this year was a horrible match.

yes, NTRP is a joke.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
yes, NTRP is highly subjective. You could call it a joke. I'm currently 9-1 in USTA singles this year (3.5). My one and only loss was to a guy that beat me 3-0. let's just say that I've played easier 4.0 players. Hell, I've played easier 4.5 players. I had nothing on him. As a 3.5, I should never have to play someone (in a USTA leauge match) that is so good that I can't even rally with him or return his serves. He aced me over a dozen times and almost every forehand was a winner.

Seriously. I just played a 4.5 today and lost 2-2. It was a much more gratifying match. We had great rallies, I had free points on my serve and even broke him once. I had 3 double faults and less than 10 unforced errors whole match. It was a wonderful match. But my one and only loss to another 3.5 this year was a horrible match.

yes, NTRP is a joke.
Was this a self-rated player you played? If so, how many matches has he played? From what you say, it sounds like he would be a prime candidate to be DQ'd if his other match results were consistent with his match against you.
 

goober

Legend
The simple answer is everyone likes to think they are a half rating higher. So these league cater to those players egos by letting a real NTRP 4.0 say they are a 4.5.

If a league isn't going to use a real NTRP rating, or replicate the algorithm and base it on real match results, they shouldn't call it NTRP.
I am not sure anybody can define what is a "real" NTRP rating. USTA has a bunch of descriptors of each level which are entirely subjective. If you use an algorithm the levels of play are going to be determined by what algorithm is used and the ability of the pool of players that it is used upon. USTA has not released its algorithm so you can't expect some local league to replicate it. Many local leagues are small enough that I don't even think that even if you did use the USTA algorithm you would get some very skewed results.

I have been in several nonUSTA leagues. One had a teaching pro evaluate you on before you were allowed to join to give you a rating. No self rate here. You played in a league with 6-7 other guys at your level. You have to win your league twice to move to the next level. Seems reasonable right? The levels were still off from USTA by 0.5. Does this mean they shouldn't use the term NTRP? Well it is so widespread use that using anything else would probably be confusing. Does this mean that this league was pandering to its players by calling them 0.5 higher than they would be in USTA? I doubt it.

In fact you could make the argument that USTA ratings are artificially lowered because of the incentives they have in place to have a lower rating. 5.0 level players don't often have leagues so they play 4.5. Teams have great incentives to keep good players from being bumped, bringing in strong players to rate below their level, and at extreme ends have people throw matches or keep matches close on purpose. Strong players get bumped and the first thing they do is try to appeal so he can stay with his team. All this has a downward pressure on ratings.

OTOH if you look at nonUSTA leagues and Clubs, the opposite exits. People want to move to higher levels to play better players and there is no downward pressure on ratings. You would never see a former D1 player come into a club and ask to play 4.0 or 4.5 level players, but that certainly happens in USTA play.

IMO the difference between club/nonUSTA play and USTA is not a big deal and is to be expected. It doesn't mean one is more right than the other. All the OP needs to is adjust his expectations depending on where he is playing.
 

tenniscasey

Semi-Pro
yes, NTRP is highly subjective. You could call it a joke. I'm currently 9-1 in USTA singles this year (3.5). My one and only loss was to a guy that beat me 3-0. let's just say that I've played easier 4.0 players. Hell, I've played easier 4.5 players. I had nothing on him. As a 3.5, I should never have to play someone (in a USTA leauge match) that is so good that I can't even rally with him or return his serves. He aced me over a dozen times and almost every forehand was a winner.

Seriously. I just played a 4.5 today and lost 2-2. It was a much more gratifying match. We had great rallies, I had free points on my serve and even broke him once. I had 3 double faults and less than 10 unforced errors whole match. It was a wonderful match. But my one and only loss to another 3.5 this year was a horrible match.

yes, NTRP is a joke.
TLDR version: "NTRP is imperfect, therefore it's terrible."

If you don't like NTRP, you shouldn't play it. I for one am grateful for the system.
 

gameboy

Hall of Fame
NTRP ratings are by their very nature highly subjective. Yes, I know there are folks who disagree and will say there are services that can determine a player's NTRP rating within a certain boundary with a certain degree of certainty given their playing record but... I reject it all and just play my age group. Your age is completely objective so everyone's conforming to the exact same standard. I say, play your age group and reject NTRP subjectivity... or just continue to complain and be disappointed.
This is completely wrong.

USTA NTRP rating is COMPLETELY objective. There is nothing subjective about it. It is completely based on match results.

WTF?
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
NTRP ratings are by their very nature highly subjective. Yes, I know there are folks who disagree and will say there are services that can determine a player's NTRP rating within a certain boundary with a certain degree of certainty given their playing record but... I reject it all and just play my age group. Your age is completely objective so everyone's conforming to the exact same standard. I say, play your age group and reject NTRP subjectivity... or just continue to complain and be disappointed.
What exactly is do you believe is subjective about the NTRP? Do you think think that there is a rating judge who secretly watches matches and enters into the NTRP system his or her estimate of player's NTRP?
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
This is completely wrong.

USTA NTRP rating is COMPLETELY objective. There is nothing subjective about it. It is completely based on match results.

WTF?

Maybe just maybe it's the thousands of threads here on TT dedicated to folks complaining about "sandbagging," "playing up," and all other manner of folks gaming their NTRP rating... Yes, that could be it...
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
What exactly is do you believe is subjective about the NTRP? Do you think think that there is a rating judge who secretly watches matches and enters into the NTRP system his or her estimate of player's NTRP?
See response above.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Maybe just maybe it's the thousands of threads here on TT dedicated to folks complaining about "sandbagging," "playing up," and all other manner of folks gaming their NTRP rating... Yes, that could be it...
Sandbagging doesn't make the NTRP subjective, it just means a person is attempting to circumvent an objective system. I guess before I continue this facade, do you know the difference between subjective and objective?

Playing up means you are a lower NTRP player playing in a higher NTRP league. That is a perfectly legal and accepted practice. I have done it myself several times. How is that subjective?

Yes, I will concede it is an imperfect system. Please for the love of god show me a perfect system. Just because it is imperfect doesn't mean it is subjective.
 

jmnk

Hall of Fame
yes, NTRP is highly subjective. You could call it a joke. I'm currently 9-1 in USTA singles this year (3.5). My one and only loss was to a guy that beat me 3-0. let's just say that I've played easier 4.0 players. Hell, I've played easier 4.5 players. I had nothing on him. As a 3.5, I should never have to play someone (in a USTA leauge match) that is so good that I can't even rally with him or return his serves. He aced me over a dozen times and almost every forehand was a winner.

Seriously. I just played a 4.5 today and lost 2-2. It was a much more gratifying match. We had great rallies, I had free points on my serve and even broke him once. I had 3 double faults and less than 10 unforced errors whole match. It was a wonderful match. But my one and only loss to another 3.5 this year was a horrible match.

yes, NTRP is a joke.
so you are saying that NTRP system is a joke because it happened that you had to play a better player and lost badly. Which apparently is your only loss. However you are not complaining at all about the fact that the very same system paired you 9 times with folks that you have beaten, I suspect few of them handily as well.
So in short - when you lose, the system is a 'joke'. When you win - all is good. Good perspective.....
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Sandbagging doesn't make the NTRP subjective, it just means a person is attempting to circumvent an objective system. I guess before I continue this facade, do you know the difference between subjective and objective?

Playing up means you are a lower NTRP player playing in a higher NTRP league. That is a perfectly legal and accepted practice. I have done it myself several times. How is that subjective?

Yes, I will concede it is an imperfect system. Please for the love of god show me a perfect system. Just because it is imperfect doesn't mean it is subjective.
I will repeat this anecdote again to make my point... I take lessons from a guy who's a former D2 number 1 player. He has won several sanctioned 5.5 events over the last couple of years. He got tired of the tiny 5.5 draws and appealed to get a 4.5 rating based on his (admittedly) gimpy knee and this was granted. He's won his last two 4.5 events decisively. He's no 4.5 but he wants to play with decent sized draws which I can understand. Be he's clearly gaming the system... and succeeding. He himself thinks the NTRP ratings are a joke... so why should I believe differently? Because you're trying to convince me otherwise despite all of the conflicting evidence? Thanks, but no thanks. I'm simply not that naive. "Simply because something is imperfect does not make it subjective" - that's a classic straw man argument. If something is subjective it is, by definition, to some degree imperfect. The very nature of subjectivity is that it is imperfect. I'm not saying that there isn't *some* role for NTRP-like ratings; I'm simply saying that if you want pure objectivity you're going to have to play age group tourneys and reject NTRP ratings which are *clearly* subjective to some degree.

So, to answer your question, here's the perfect system: age group competition. Simple, objective, perfect. You're welcome.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
NTRP ratings are by their very nature highly subjective.
Winner. Not many (any?) 3.5s (or 4.0s or 4.5s) have strokes that are all the same. Not to mention the ability to figure out an opponent and use the right strategy.

Sorry you got DQ'd OP; even if we take you at your word that you weren't sandbagging, there has to be some mechanisms in place to attempt to detect it. You got caught up in this inexact science - collateral damage. You still got to play a whole season - you got your money's worth.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Winner. Not many (any?) 3.5s (or 4.0s or 4.5s) have strokes that are all the same. Not to mention the ability to figure out an opponent and use the right strategy.
But how does this make NTRP ratings subjective? The initial self-rating may be subjective, but that only establishes the level a player can play at to start. Their actual rating, dynamic during the year and year-end are purely objective as they are based on match results only.
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
But how does this make NTRP ratings subjective?
Read the descriptions. They make reference to individual strokes.

The initial self-rating may be subjective, ....
So you agree. :)

No one is disputing that results are the best barometer.

No offense, but you and others on these boards bend over backwards and sideways to defend the USTA. Not sure why - unless you're in some way involved. They made this mess and could easily clean it up. No teams with self-rates go to playoffs; have to have a hit with a pro to get rated (and even then your results are watched to see if you just 'had a bad day' to get ranked lower). No more 'medical exceptions' - wait until you're fully recovered to play in leagues. But it's all about the $$$$ to the USTA - doing 'good things' with other peoples' money - so they won't do anything.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Read the descriptions. They make reference to individual strokes.

So you agree. :)
Sure, self-ratings are subjective. I said that. But there is also a process by which actual matches are used to determine if the self-rating was appropriate. This is not subjective.

No one is disputing that results are the best barometer.
Which is that the system uses, so you agree it is objective :)

No offense, but you and others on these boards bend over backwards and sideways to defend the USTA. Not sure why - unless you're in some way involved. They made this mess and could easily clean it up. No teams with self-rates go to playoffs; have to have a hit with a pro to get rated (and even then your results are watched to see if you just 'had a bad day' to get ranked lower). No more 'medical exceptions' - wait until you're fully recovered to play in leagues. But it's all about the $$$$ to the USTA - doing 'good things' with other peoples' money - so they won't do anything.
I have not and am not defending the USTA. Read my posts, I've pointed out flaws and issues with the NTRP system multiple times and believe it could be better with a variety of changes. Tightening up thresholds for DQs, ignoring obviously thrown matches, not allowing self-rates to go to the post-season (although I think tightening up the thresholds might be enough), and DQ'ing/promoting tournament players that are playing levels that are clearly too low would be a good start.

But while I think it could be improved, the NTRP system does a pretty good job, at least with USTA Leagues, of providing an opportunity for recreational players to play competitive matches with players of a similar capability. Sure, there are exceptions and someone may run into a match against a ringer once a season, but I don't think that is commonplace. We just happen to hear about some on a message board like this but never hear from the many folks that are happy with their USTA League experience. That is just the nature of message boards and complaints.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Read the descriptions. They make reference to individual strokes.

So you agree. :)

No one is disputing that results are the best barometer.

No offense, but you and others on these boards bend over backwards and sideways to defend the USTA. Not sure why - unless you're in some way involved. They made this mess and could easily clean it up. No teams with self-rates go to playoffs; have to have a hit with a pro to get rated (and even then your results are watched to see if you just 'had a bad day' to get ranked lower). No more 'medical exceptions' - wait until you're fully recovered to play in leagues. But it's all about the $$$$ to the USTA - doing 'good things' with other peoples' money - so they won't do anything.
The descriptions you refer have zero to do with how the NTRP is calculated based on actual play. If someone is self-rating they are supposed to use the General and Experienced Player Guidelines http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/ExperiencedGuidelines_02142011_V2pdf.pdf, not those descriptions and those Guidelines look pretty objective to me.

The algorithm used to determine someone's dynamic NTRP objectively takes into account only the game differential and the NTRP differential between players or teams to adjust DNTRP up or down. No one gets style points added or deducted from their DNTRP.

The only thing subjective is the self rate and in my opinion rarely used intercessions such as medical exceptions. I have played league for almost 10 years now and I don't know anyone who has obtained a medical exception. Is that something in your section which is being widely abused?

I don't understand your comment about hitting with a pro; are you saying you think people actually do that or that they should do that? If its the former then you need to learn more about the NTRP before criticizing it imo. If it is the latter, that process is extremely subjective. The pro at my club is a good teacher but he really doesn't know NTRP very well as about 95% of his clients are juniors who don't know or care about NTRP. The 3 strike system for whether or not to disqualify self rate players is at least objective in that it is based on actual play. If you are suggesting that the USTA adopt pro assessments as the gateway to self-rating and do away with the 3 strikes rule I think that's going to open up bigger holes for people to exploit than there are now. Plus if you make pros assess a person before they can get a self-rating there is invariably going to be some cost associated with that which would be an additional barrier to entry for new players. Unless you know a bunch of pros who are going to volunteer their time for free that is.

I don't see how the other topics you bring up in your second paragraph have anything to do with how NTRP is calculated. Some of those are valid criticisms of the USTA which I agree with like no self-rates in playoffs but the NTRP calculation is one of the things I think that the USTA does right.

DISCLAIMER: I don't work for the USTA, I don't get compensated in any way by the USTA, I think the USTA is imperfect. I just disagree with your criticism of the NTRP which I don't feel is valid. Got it, Mr. Conspiracy Theorist?
 
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anubis

Hall of Fame
Was this a self-rated player you played? If so, how many matches has he played? From what you say, it sounds like he would be a prime candidate to be DQ'd if his other match results were consistent with his match against you.
He's not a self rated player. You ran my numbers, he was the only loss on my singles record. Not sure if you took names into consideration, but I could email that to you if you'd like.
 

anubis

Hall of Fame
so you are saying that NTRP system is a joke because it happened that you had to play a better player and lost badly. Which apparently is your only loss. However you are not complaining at all about the fact that the very same system paired you 9 times with folks that you have beaten, I suspect few of them handily as well.
So in short - when you lose, the system is a 'joke'. When you win - all is good. Good perspective.....
Almost all of my wins were competitive at my level. Some of the scores may not reflect it, but I assure you even if I won 3-0, there were a lot of deuces, a lot of rallies, and very few free points on serve. I may have had better "mental game" than they did, but some of the guys I've beaten had much better technique.

I don't mind losing 3-0 if it was a good, hard fought match. I don't like losing if I had no chance in the first place (in an NTRP match -- I don't care about club level matches and training). That is a failure of the NTRP system. yes, it may be an "outlier", but that doesn't make it any less important. I've been around the block with USTA, I've played a lot of matches and can whether these horrible losses in stride. The reason I don't like these outliers is for those people that are new to the system and can't stomach those losses. They feel jaded and it sucks.
 

cknobman

Legend
There are people who game every structured system throughout all walks of life.

Lying, cheating politicians and governments, public officials, athletes, law enforcement officers, this list goes on and on.

Does that make each one of those organizations invalid? NO
Human nature is too greedy to universally use any system we develop honestly.

USTA is no different and no worse. Don't focus on the negative because then you'll never enjoy tennis. Even if you leave USTA and join some other organized body that tries to rate players you're still going to find people who cheat and game the system, its inevitable.
 

gameboy

Hall of Fame
Self rating is completely subjective, unless you meet certain criteria (previous junior ranking, etc.).

Adjusted rating based on appeal are also subjective.

Outside of these exceptions, the system is 100% objective based on match results. If you and I had the actual USTA NTRP algorithm, we can both calculate the ratings of any player and vet the exact sa.e rating.

That is objective as ratings get. There is nothing subjective about it.

Sandbagging or any other manipulations have nothing to do with objective or subjective rating. All ratings can be games, objective and subjective both.
 

anubis

Hall of Fame
I think the self-rating system actually works as designed. I had a guy on my team self rate as a 3.5, but he clearly was not a 3.5. He bageled and breadsticked his way to easy wins and was finally DQ'ed and bumped mid-year to 4.0 (where he belongs).

It's just the computer rated "tenured" players that can't get DQ'ed that hurts the game for new players.

Perhaps they should institute a DQ system for computer rated players?
 

skiracer55

Hall of Fame
Revisiting the initial post...

I've played in local leagues in two different cities now and every local league I've played calls their 4.0s, 4.5s.. their 3.5s, 4.0s.. and so on. If I play at 4.5 in USTA, I shouldn't have to adjust my ranking for a local league. It should be consistent.

Personal example- I'm a .500 player at 4.5 USTA at best, and I just finished up with a local league where I played 4.5. Well… I went undefeated and won most my matches handily. Then I was DQed for the playoffs.

It's frustrating because I clearly wasn't trying to sandbag. Maybe people feel better about calling themselves a higher level than they really are.. I don't know.
...and sticking to your specific situation, I don't get it, either. The USTA is supposed to promote playing tennis, and yet you got DQed from the playoffs just because you won all your 4.5 matches? That definitely does not compute. If USTA knocked you out of the 4.5 playoffs, my take would be that you should have been bumped to 5.0 and invited to play in the 5.0 playoffs (although I'm guessing there weren't any 5.0 playoffs...).

I see a ton of things wrong with NTRP, but unfortunately I don't see any way to fix the problem. My take? Go play some age class events, Open events, or just play tennis. Remember you're a USTA member, not an "NTRP member." There is life outside of NTRP, and choosing a different path on the court isn't a jail break...
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
...and sticking to your specific situation, I don't get it, either. The USTA is supposed to promote playing tennis, and yet you got DQed from the playoffs just because you won all your 4.5 matches? That definitely does not compute. If USTA knocked you out of the 4.5 playoffs, my take would be that you should have been bumped to 5.0 and invited to play in the 5.0 playoffs (although I'm guessing there weren't any 5.0 playoffs...).

I see a ton of things wrong with NTRP, but unfortunately I don't see any way to fix the problem. My take? Go play some age class events, Open events, or just play tennis. Remember you're a USTA member, not an "NTRP member." There is life outside of NTRP, and choosing a different path on the court isn't a jail break...
I believe the OP is saying these are local leagues, not USTA leagues. The root issue is these local leagues are choosing to use "NTRP" levels to define their levels but not actual NTRP ratings and instead redefining them. That is where the confusion lies. This local league should instead just call their levels A, B, C, etc. then there is no confusion.
 

jk175d

Semi-Pro
instead of weighting schemes I think a solution is you submit your lineups to Tennislink BEFORE the match, and tennislink tells you what line each player or players is playing based on their respective dynamic rating. So on a doubles court it would be the combined dynamic rating of the two players. imo this would eliminate stacking and a lot of the other BS.

This is of course dependent on someone at the court having access to the internet but these days is there not going to be at least one person with a smartphone at the match?
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
instead of weighting schemes I think a solution is you submit your lineups to Tennislink BEFORE the match, and tennislink tells you what line each player or players is playing based on their respective dynamic rating. So on a doubles court it would be the combined dynamic rating of the two players. imo this would eliminate stacking and a lot of the other BS.

This is of course dependent on someone at the court having access to the internet but these days is there not going to be at least one person with a smartphone at the match?
I've thought about doing something like this using my ratings, effectively a line-up generator to try to create competitive matches, but doesn't this take the whole captaining element out of the equation and is that really what we want?

If we do this, the stronger team on paper will always get the favorable match-ups and the weaker team captain will have limited ability to try to pull the upset. Part of the strategy (with the traditional team wins standings, see other current thread) is that it is the team win that counts and, aside from tie-breakers at year-end, a 3-2 win counts the same as a 5-0 win. So a savvy captain can try to get the match-ups he wants to maximize the chance of winning 3 courts, likely at the expense of having any shot at 4 or 5.

With an approach like this, there is even more importance put on assembling a team and then making sure your strongest players are always available. So captaining moves to this aspect and not getting line-ups right.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
instead of weighting schemes I think a solution is you submit your lineups to Tennislink BEFORE the match, and tennislink tells you what line each player or players is playing based on their respective dynamic rating. So on a doubles court it would be the combined dynamic rating of the two players. imo this would eliminate stacking and a lot of the other BS.

This is of course dependent on someone at the court having access to the internet but these days is there not going to be at least one person with a smartphone at the match?
Stacking is not only permitted but it is encouraged by the USTA. See page 2 of https://assets-ssl.usta.com/assets/1/15/Q_A_-_Interpretations_10312013.pdf

where it states:
Can a Section or District/Area require play in
order of strength?
An individual team in the
8.0 Division which has a combined NTRP of
7.5 would play below other individual teams
with an 8.0 NTRP.

No. A local rule requiring playing in order of strength is
in violation of the National Regulations. Any rule
dealing with this issue needs to be removed from the
Sectional, District/Area, or local rules.


The USTA clearly does not want lines to be based on order of strength to the extent that they prohibit any section, district, or local rule which would require it. So stack away captains with the full blessing of the USTA. Personally, I don't see the big deal with stacking--it is just a strategy.
 
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jk175d

Semi-Pro
I've thought about doing something like this using my ratings, effectively a line-up generator to try to create competitive matches, but doesn't this take the whole captaining element out of the equation and is that really what we want?

If we do this, the stronger team on paper will always get the favorable match-ups and the weaker team captain will have limited ability to try to pull the upset. Part of the strategy (with the traditional team wins standings, see other current thread) is that it is the team win that counts and, aside from tie-breakers at year-end, a 3-2 win counts the same as a 5-0 win. So a savvy captain can try to get the match-ups he wants to maximize the chance of winning 3 courts, likely at the expense of having any shot at 4 or 5.

With an approach like this, there is even more importance put on assembling a team and then making sure your strongest players are always available. So captaining moves to this aspect and not getting line-ups right.
I'd rather just have the tennis decide the outcome, not captaining shenanigans. Aren't captains already trying to assemble the strongest team they can? Let my best player available at tonight's' match play your best player and my weakest player play yours and let the tennis decide.

A lot of variables still give "weaker" teams a chance. Maybe one team is super top heavy but the next team is deep at a mid-level. So the 2nd team likely won't win singles 1 and doubles 1 in that matchup but their depth gives them a shot at the other three courts. That's just one example. But not shenanigans are really going to give that team much of a better shot then just running out straight up and see how it plays out.

I don't care about taking out the "captaining" influence in USTA matches anyway. This is supposed to be recreational tennis. Let's just line up straight up and PLAY TENNIS, not turn it into a chess game of captain maneuvers.
 

jk175d

Semi-Pro
Stacking is not only permitted but it is encouraged by the USTA. See page 2 of https://assets-ssl.usta.com/assets/1/15/Q_A_-_Interpretations_10312013.pdf

where it states:
Can a Section or District/Area require play in
order of strength?
An individual team in the
8.0 Division which has a combined NTRP of
7.5 would play below other individual teams
with an 8.0 NTRP.

No. A local rule requiring playing in order of strength is
in violation of the National Regulations. Any rule
dealing with this issue needs to be removed from the
Sectional, District/Area, or local rules.


The USTA clearly does not want lines to be based on order of strength to the extent that they prohibit any section, district, or local rule which would require it. So stack away captains with the full blessing of the USTA. Personally, I don't see the big deal with stacking--it is just a strategy.
I'm not sure if I agree with your interpretation. I think they are simply saying a local rule can't contradict the national rule. And there is no national rule against stacking. But there isn't anything in that ruling that suggests USTA is really giving their blessing to stacking, certainly not "encouraging" it. It's just that they haven't come up with a viable solution so there is no rule.

As for it being a strategy, well yes, but still I'd rather these matches be all about the tennis. There's enough strategy in the playing of a match. Eliminating stacking would help get rid of unnecessary BS imo.
 
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OrangePower

Legend
instead of weighting schemes I think a solution is you submit your lineups to Tennislink BEFORE the match, and tennislink tells you what line each player or players is playing based on their respective dynamic rating. So on a doubles court it would be the combined dynamic rating of the two players. imo this would eliminate stacking and a lot of the other BS.

This is of course dependent on someone at the court having access to the internet but these days is there not going to be at least one person with a smartphone at the match?
Another solution is, instead of a pair playing a match against one of the opposing three pairs, to play one set each against all three of the opposing team's pairings.

We do this in a local league I play in and it works very well.

Purists don't like it because you don't get to play a 'full match'.

But you do get to play three full sets, you get to play against more people, you get to meet and know more people, and of course it eliminates stacking completely.

And of course the team match is then decided by sets rather than matches.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
I'm not sure if I agree with your interpretation. I think they are simply saying a local rule can't contradict the national rule. And there is no national rule against stacking. But there isn't anything in that ruling that suggests USTA is really giving their blessing to stacking, certainly not "encouraging" it. It's just that they haven't come up with a viable solution so there is no rule.

As for it being a strategy, well yes, but still I'd rather these matches be all about the tennis. There's enough strategy in the playing of a match. Eliminating stacking would help get rid of unnecessary BS imo.
The national rule is that a team cannot be required to order their lines by player strength and that no local rule can supercede this national rule. That is a pretty clear statement of intent from the USTA that stacking is both allowed and encouraged. I really don't see how the USTA interpretation I quoted could be interpreted otherwise.

Ordering the line up to give his or her team their best chance to win is really the only strategic option a captain has other than player recruiting. I don't see the big deal with it and don't understand the hand-wringing against it especially when there are so many worse things such as sandbagging and self-rating abuse going on in leagues.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I'd rather just have the tennis decide the outcome, not captaining shenanigans. Aren't captains already trying to assemble the strongest team they can? Let my best player available at tonight's' match play your best player and my weakest player play yours and let the tennis decide.

A lot of variables still give "weaker" teams a chance. Maybe one team is super top heavy but the next team is deep at a mid-level. So the 2nd team likely won't win singles 1 and doubles 1 in that matchup but their depth gives them a shot at the other three courts. That's just one example. But not shenanigans are really going to give that team much of a better shot then just running out straight up and see how it plays out.

I don't care about taking out the "captaining" influence in USTA matches anyway. This is supposed to be recreational tennis. Let's just line up straight up and PLAY TENNIS, not turn it into a chess game of captain maneuvers.
But the "captaining" a captain does as it relates to line-ups isn't always stacking and throwing out a weak team on court 1 to try to win courts 2 and 3. Sometimes it is styles of play and knowing that a particular player match-up favors his team. While it would be interesting from a stats/ratings/numbers standpoint to do the "put in your pairings and have court assignments spit out" app, I don't think it is fair to take away a captains ability to try to get or avoid match-ups that may benefit the team.

For example, say one team had a 0.1 ratings advantage on all courts if everything was done in order of ratings. e.g.

1S - 4.0 playing a 3.9
2S - 3.8 playing a 3.6
1D - 7.8 pair playing 7.7 pair
2D - 7.6 pair playing a 7.5 pair
3D - 7.4 pair playing a 7.3 pair

Now, 0.1 isn't a huge disadvantage, so "upsets" could occur, but one would look at team 1 as being favored on every court. So you are saying the underdog should just accept being that on every court and take the loss? They shouldn't be allowed to try to get match-ups that might allow them a decent shot at winning the team match?

For example, they could do:

1S - 4.0 playing a 3.6
2S - 3.8 playing a 3.9
1D - 7.8 pair playing a 7.3 pair
2D - 7.6 pair playing a 7.7 pair
3D - 7.4 pair playing a 7.5 pair

With this line-up, team 2 is now actually favored on 3 of the courts and has a shot at winning the team match. Why shouldn't they be allowed to try a strategy that gives them a shot to win?

Yes, this is the classic stacking scenario and for the court 1 players on team 1 they may not get as competitive a match. But if there is going to be an element of competition involved and this isn't purely an exercise in playing 5 competitive matches and who cares who wins, I don't think it is fair to have rules that prohibit it.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Another solution is, instead of a pair playing a match against one of the opposing three pairs, to play one set each against all three of the opposing team's pairings.

We do this in a local league I play in and it works very well.

Purists don't like it because you don't get to play a 'full match'.

But you do get to play three full sets, you get to play against more people, you get to meet and know more people, and of course it eliminates stacking completely.

And of course the team match is then decided by sets rather than matches.
I kind of like the idea of alternative formats at times in recreational but competitive leagues. I've actually wondered why the WTT format hasn't caught on more as I've thought it would be interesting at the recreational level and provide an alternative format to change things up.
 

OrangePower

Legend
Ordering the line up to give his or her team their best chance to win is really the only strategic option a captain has other than player recruiting. I don't see the big deal with it and don't understand the hand-wringing against it especially when there are so many worse things such as sandbagging and self-rating abuse going on in leagues.
Some people play league wanting to win, and hoping to get a good quality match in the process.

Some people play to get a good quality match, and hoping to get a win as well.

Sandbagging and self-rating abuse is pretty broadly shunned because it defies the goals of both groups above.

Stacking is part of the captaining game and winning, but it does lower the overall competitiveness of individual matches. So for those who play primarily to get a good quality match, stacking is undesirable.
 

dcdoorknob

Hall of Fame
Another solution is, instead of a pair playing a match against one of the opposing three pairs, to play one set each against all three of the opposing team's pairings.

We do this in a local league I play in and it works very well.

Purists don't like it because you don't get to play a 'full match'.

But you do get to play three full sets, you get to play against more people, you get to meet and know more people, and of course it eliminates stacking completely.

And of course the team match is then decided by sets rather than matches.
I like the idea in theory, but it just definitely wouldn't work in areas where time constraints are an issue imo.
 
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