Tuesday, May 3, 2016

USTA League Georgia State 18+ Tournament Part 2

The post I did on the 18 & over Georgia State Tournament was very popular on Facebook with a number of comments and a bit of smack talk about who the favorites were for the 4.0 Women.  Due to popular demand, here is a preview of those groups.

Again, these are using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings to calculate top-8 averages for each roster, and this time, I'm excluding players that were DQ'd during the year and ineligible.  Note I did update the prior post to reflect that too.

Here are the Women's 4.0 groups:

1USTA Atlanta/Danielle Bolin4.15
2COTA/Kellie Borders3.97
3NOGTA/Stacy Junkins3.94
4USTA Atlanta/Candace Cole3.85
5Southern Crescent/Debbi Seelye3.83

1USTA Atlanta/Rene Beavers3.94
2SATA/Danielle Sussman3.92
3COTA/Tonya Bell3.91
4EVTA/Dede Putman3.87
5Cherokee/Tamara Watkins3.83

1USTA Atlanta/Tammy Alderman4.01
2SATA/Leslie Shields3.93
3NEGTA/Linda Heimbigner3.85
4USTA Atlanta/Samantha Pappas3.83
5CVTA/Carol Pearson3.78

1CORTA/Alexis Miller4.00
2Cherokee/Susan Cruickshank3.91
3Southern Crescent/Sharon Greiner3.91
4USTA Atlanta/Renee Dutton3.85
5CVTA/Marsha Thompson3.80

It appears Atlanta/Bolin is the prohibitive favorite if they bring and play their best.  After that, it is closer and fairly balanced.  Will the favorites win each group and Bolin take it all?

I can of course do the above reports with a different number of top players, or do full flight reports showing the average for full rosters by level.

If I have time, I'll report back on this level plays out to see how the ratings did at predicting.  But if anyone wants more information on these flights, perhaps a team report on your own team or others to scout them, or you want flight reports on other flights, contact me.

USTA League District/State playoffs are underway - Georgia State 18+ Tournament this weekend

The standard progression through the rounds of playoffs for USTA League leading up to Nationals is generally some or all of:
  • Flight playoff
  • Regional playoff
  • District playoff
  • State playoff
  • Sectionals
  • Nationals

Not every area goes through every one of those, in fact most only have two or three steps to get to Nationals, typically local/flight playoff of some sort, Districts or States, and then Sectionals.  But some will go through four or five steps to get there.

Naturally with Nationals generally in October, you can work backwards and see that some of those early rounds of playoffs must be played early in the year.  In those areas that use Early Start Leagues, they will have had flight playoffs right away at the end of their regular season and so many of those were played in 2015 for league advancing on to 2016 Nationals.  But playoffs start to get more serious when you get to Districts or States.

And Georgia, being the early birds they are with a bunch of Early Start Leagues and a Spring league that starts and finishes early, is at the point where what they call their State Tournament (not to be confused with regular NTRP tournaments that take place) sequence is starting this weekend.  The 18 & over 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0+ levels are this weekend in Rome and the 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5 are the following weekend in Macon.

Any time there are playoffs, it is fun to prognosticate who the favorites are and who might win.  So here, just for fun as always, are some free previews using my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings for a few of the sub-flights.  In all cases, these are the average rating for the highest rated 8 players on the rosters.

Note: The tables below were updated to not include ineligible players.

First, the two groups of the Men's 4.0:

1CORTA/Ben Malo4.05
2USTA Atlanta/Quinn Aguirre3.99
3COTA/Sam Coon3.93
4CSRATA/Tony Mundy3.92
5CVTA/Joe Stewart3.86
6Macon/James Moss3.84

1USTA Atlanta/Steven Hein4.08
2COTA/John Turner3.97
3CORTA/Hal Caison3.94
4SATA/Deden Rukmana3.89
5CSRATA/Kenny Brown3.88
6CVTA/Dave Dawson3.82

These groups appear very balanced with the top teams in each having an advantage but the others not far behind.  Group I Atlanta was higher before removing DQ'd players.

Second, the four groups of the Women's 3.0:

1COTA/Susan Boleyn3.04
2Macon/Julie Boerger3.01
3CVTA/Lynn Wigley3.01
4USTA Atlanta/Karenjit Mayer2.97
5NEGTA - Danielle Allenbach2.83

1Macon/Jenni Eddlemon2.97
2USTA Atlanta/Jennifer Bazan2.96
3USTA Atlanta/Zenaida Goins2.89
4CORTA/Kristin Lund2.88
5NOGTA/Renee Brown2.84

1USTA Atlanta/Sandy Lashley3.09
2CORTA/Kristine McCalla3.01
3Cherokee/Laurie Farmer2.98
4Flint River/Laura Beth Tucker2.92
5SATA/Tami Murray2.62

1Southern Crescent/Iliana Bleau3.06
2USTA Atlanta/Ashleigh Michaels3.02
3CVTA/Brenda Champion2.96
4COTA/Shelley Hulland2.85
5Cherokee/Stacey Nash2.83

Some of these groups are closer, but Atlanta, Southern Crescent, and COTA stand out as the favorites it appears.

I can of course do the above reports with a different number of top players, or do full flight reports showing the average for full rosters by level.

It is always interesting when playoffs come around to see if the ratings do accurately predict the results.  Any time play goes on in different areas with new players being added and players getting better/worse, the ratings of different sections may not be relatively accurate to each other, so these matches are a test to see if they are, and if not, this is part of how the USTA works to normalize ratings between different areas.

If I have time, I'll report back on these levels to see how the ratings did at predicting.  But if anyone wants more information on these flights, perhaps a team report on your own team or others to scout them, or you want flight reports on other flights, contact me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How many matches do captains play? - Interesting Tennis League Stats

I recently wrote about what court captains play on the most, so I decided to look at how many matches captains play in.

The chart below shows how many captains played various percentages of their teams matches.

The percent range with the largest count is the 60-79%, so a lot of captains play in 2/3 to 3/4 of their team's matches.  Remarkably, there are some that play in none, and some that play in less than 20% of their team's matches.  And there are perhaps a surprising number that play in every team match.

If we look at the counts by range for non-captains we see it is a bit different.

Here the range with the most is 40-59%, so a bit lower.  And there are more than play in none relatively speaking, but fewer that play in all of the matches.

So it is safe to say that captains do play themselves more on average than they play the non-captains on the team.  Captaining comes with benefits! :)  This is probably no surprise, but the charts certainly confirm it.

As a captain, are you likely to play yourself more?  Or if you aren't a captain, does your's play themselves more or less than the rest of their roster?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

What court do captains play on most often? - Interesting Tennis League Stats

While watching a USTA League match this evening, I got to wondering where captains happen to play themselves most often.  I've written in the past about where captains rate compared to the average by gender and level, so I thought it would be interesting to look at this.

Just looking at 18+ and 40+ matches from 2015 where it was a 2 singles and 3 doubles format, it breaks out as shown below.

For both men and women, captains played most often on court 1 doubles and way more often on a doubles court than singles.  What is a little interesting is that women captains appear to play on the top courts at a higher rate than men; women play court 1 or 2 doubles 39% and 29% more often than 3 doubles, while men play court 1 or 2 doubles 14% and 16% more often than 3 doubles.

From the earlier analysis on strength of captains, they were not generally stronger than average other than at the 3.0 level, so it appears captains either feel they are stronger than they are and play themselves on what is perceived to be the stronger courts, or they are more willing to take one for the team and let other players get wins on court 3.

If you are a captain, what court do you typically play on and why?

Friday, April 22, 2016

USTA PNW Northwest Washington (Seattle) releases 2017 schedule

We are just into the heart of our 18+ and 40+ season for 2016, and the 2017 schedule has already been published for the Northwest Washington district of the Pacific Northwest section of the USTA.

You can see the PDF on the NWW section of the PNW site, but here is the summary of what has changed or is new.

The Adult 55+ and Mixed 18+ leagues continue to be early start and begin in early September with playoffs at the beginning of December.

In the past, including this year, Adult 18+ started right away in January and then 40+ started 1-2 months later and they leagues overlapped for much of the season with both local playoffs in June.  This is all changing.

The Adult 40+ will start right away in early January instead of 18+ like it has been in the past few years, and 40+ local playoffs will be in April rather than in June.  This then allows Adult 18+ to start in late March and have local playoffs in June with very little overlap with 40+.

The One Doubles schedule is much the same as it is this year as are the Mixed 40+ and 55+.

I think these changes make sense as overlapping leagues and both playoffs being in June with vacations and graduations was tricky.

What do you think?  Do you like the changes?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Playing in multiple areas, districts, and sections - Interesting Tennis League Stats

In generating Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports, I often see players that play in more than one are, some in more than one district or state, and even some that play in multiple sections.  Given the geography of the United States and how the section/district/area boundaries are defined, it can happen more often than you think, although it is typically in more densely populated areas.

For example, in the Mid-Atlantic section, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. are each separate districts and are close enough that some players will play in all three.  And in Maryland each county is a separate area so players can easily play in several.

Or you have sections like Middle States and Eastern, or Eastern and New England, that are very close and players can easily play in multiple.

Even in a less densely populated state like Washington, we have separate districts for Northwest and Southwest Washington, and some players will play in both.

To get an idea of how often it happens, I took a look at the 2015 league year 18+, 40+, and 55+ leagues to see what some of the largest numbers were and if there were any surprises.

First, looking at sections, the vast majority of players, over 99%, play in only one section.  But over 2,300 played in two sections in 2015 leagues, and 8 players played in three sections.  Of those 8, most appear to be situations where someone winters in the south, for example, there were several that were Eastern/Middle States/Florida or New England/Eastern/Florida.

Next, looking at districts (states in Southern), the most played in was 4, and that occurred 50 times.  There were nearly 600 that played in 3 districts and over 7,000 played in 2, but the vast majority play in only 1.  I was actually a little surprised that the largest was only 4, but districts are pretty big areas, so perhaps more would be unexpected.

Last, looking at areas, there were two players that played in a whopping 7 and nine that played in 6.  Both of the players that played in 7 did so in Mid-Atlantic, both predominantly using Maryland's separate counties to do so, but did both include NOVA.

How many different area/districts/sections do you play in?

Friday, April 8, 2016

What is the best roster size for USTA League? Interesting Tennis League Stats

Being a captain for a USTA League team is not an easy job.  One of the first things they have to do is assemble a roster, and a common question from new and even experienced captains is how large a roster they need to have.

On one hand, you want to have a large roster to make sure you have enough players and never have to default a court.  And depending on the time of year, work schedules, vacations, kids, etc. this can be tricky.

On the other hand, you want a small enough roster so that every player can get a reasonable number of matches.  If you happen to have a schedule with a lot of matches, that eases this burden, but some leagues will only have 8 or 9 matches on a schedule which isn't a lot.

Then the captain has to balance trying to field a strong team and playing the best players vs getting the weaker players ,who are needed to fill out the roster, enough matches to make it worth their while to be on the team.

Some basic math tells us that for a standard 5 court match (2 singles and 3 doubles) there are 8 players required, so an 8 match season would require 64 player spots.  A roster of 16 would allow each player to play 4 matches if evenly distributed.  If a team has a 12 match schedule, that is 96 player spots and then the same 16 player roster would allow 6 matches per person.  But if a team with an 8 match season had 20 players, that is barely 3 matches per player.

So what is the right size?  It really depends on a lot of variables noted above, but we can look back at 2015 to see what sort of statistics we can find on typical and exceptional roster sizes.

What I did was to look at the 2015 18 & over league to look at both the size of rosters but also the number of players that actually got in a match during the year.  Here is what I found.

First, here is a chart showing the number of teams at each roster/played count.

So it appears the sweet spot for roster sizes is 15, that is the most common size, but the most common number of players that play in a match is 14.  The average roster size was 15.0 while the average number of players that play is 14.5.  But you can see it is not uncommon to have rosters in the high teens and even a fair number of teams have rosters in the low 20s.

Looking at some averages and extremes, the smallest roster was 8 players and there was a team that only had 6 play, so they were always defaulting a court.

On the other end of the spectrum, there was a team with a roster of 38!  There was also a team with 33, a couple with 32 and 31 each, and the frequency becomes greater as you continue to get smaller.  The 38 player team somehow had 36 players play as well!  The next highest number of players playing was 29.

This 38 player team did have 12 matches, so that helped, but the majority of players played just 2 or 3 matches.  Four players played 4 and just one player played in 5.

What do you think the right roster size is for a normal 2 singles and 3 doubles league?