Your NTRP rating - by the numbers

ohplease

Professional
We've already had lots of threads about whether or not NTRP ratings are consistent from region to region, what's a sandbagger, how broken the NTRP is, etc. Inspired by this thread (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=1865815), I thought I'd take a different tact.

What do the NTRP levels correspond to when talking about player populations? tfm1973 did this exercise for NoVa. I've done it for the San Francisco and Chicago metro areas. So, the data (men only):

ntrp nova chi ncal nova% chi% ncal% ave%
2.5 14 0 47 2.1 0.0 0.4 0.9
3.0 109 161 1696 18.8 25.2 15.5 19.8
3.5 205 175 4087 50.0 52.7 51.8 51.5
4.0 233 196 3306 85.5 83.4 81.2 83.4
4.5 67 89 1524 95.7 97.3 94.8 96.0
5.0 28 17 400 100.0 100.0 98.3 99.4
5.5 0 0 156 100.0 100.0 99.7 99.9
6.0 0 0 30 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
total players 656 638 11246

So what do we know (other than the fact that message boards don't handle tables very well)?

First, you'll notice the bay area has TWENTY times the number of USTA participants compared to either Chicago or Northern Virginia. Second, the distribution between the different levels across regions is relatively similar. The bottom few percent are 2.5s. The bottom 20% are 3.0s. 20th-50th percentile are 3.5s. 50th-85th percentile are 4.0s. 85th to 95th percentile are 4.5s. 95th and higher are 5.0s.

So, even given certain assumptions (not enough players for 2.5 or 5.5 teams, some players being on more than one team, etc., USTA participants being better players, in general, than the tennis playing population as a whole), we essentially have 4 chunks - beginners, intermediates, advanced, and open, roughly corresponding to 3.0s, 3.5s, 4.0s, and 4.5s and up (or the old school C, B, A, and open).

You'll also notice the range from 3.5 to 4.0 is VERY VERY broad, from the 20th to the 85th percentile. Essentially, everyone in the tennis playing universe could claim to be either a 3.5 or 4.0, and they could be pretty much terrible to pretty darn good - and neither would be lying or sandbagging.

Personally, I'm not sure how useful a two category (in essence) handicapping system really is (four categories, if you count beginners at 3.0 and below and the studs at 4.5+), but them's the numbers. I'm also willing to bet money that if we had data from seasons prior to the elimination of visual verifications, the percentile boundaries would be quite different.

Additionally, old-timers (including myself) are going to have to get used to the idea of 4.0s being more advanced players. Traditionally, 4.0s were thought to be your bog standard club player. Today, that guy would have a hard time finding a 4.0 team to roster him - nevermind the disconnect between what the traditional USTA definitions of each level and what's going on in the leagues today.
 

raiden031

Legend
You'll also notice the range from 3.5 to 4.0 is VERY VERY broad, from the 20th to the 85th percentile. Essentially, everyone in the tennis playing universe could claim to be either a 3.5 or 4.0, and they could be pretty much terrible to pretty darn good - and neither would be lying or sandbagging.
Just because most players fit within this range, doesn't mean the actual range of abilities is that large. It just means that most players don't have the time, motivation, or resources to advance higher than this. And most players when simply playing enough will reach this range.
 

Venetian

Professional
3.5's and 4.0's eh? That seems right. Those are always the most populated ratings for tournaments around here. I think I've seen one 5.0 match at a tournament in the 8 years I've played. I don't remember ever seeing a 2.5 match.
 

Venetian

Professional
Just because most players fit within this range, doesn't mean the actual range of abilities is that large. It just means that most players don't have the time, motivation, or resources to advance higher than this. And most players when simply playing enough will reach this range.
It's true that the numbers don't really mean that, but it's pretty obvious watching league and tournament play that there is a pretty big gap in playing ability even within each level.
 
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