Sunday, June 30, 2013

Atlanta added as a USTA area I've done Estimated Dynamic NTRP Reports for

Tennis is popular in Atlanta, and I've had several players from there purchase reports recently to find out their Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating.  I'll update the map soon, but more and more of the country is in my database and I'll be posting additional lists soon too.

As always, contact me if you want your own report or if you are interested in team report.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Estimated Dynamic NTRP Reports for USTA League Teams Updated

I wrote awhile back about some new reports I'd come up with, but the example captains/team report included there is now dated as I've updated and improved the information provided.  See this example for the latest format and content of the team report.

Estimated Dynamic NTRP Reports in more USTA areas

I've had a busy week with some report requests from some new areas coming in for not just individual reports but also team reports.  I have now added the Missouri Valley (Tulsa), Inter-Mountain (Las Vegas), Texas (Houston), and Pacific Northwest (Portland) as areas that have taken advantage of team reports.

In all cases, these reports are for teams heading to or advancing in USTA League playoffs and they are wanting to get an idea of how their team stacks up against the competition.  A team report can be useful not just for your own team, but also on opponents to scout the strength of their roster in general and to try to identify trends on who plays on which court.

Having this added intelligence helped a team in Northern California win their District and then Section and they are headed to Nationals this fall.

Contact me if you are interested in individual or team reports.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Estimated Dynamic NTRP List for Houston

I've done a number of reports for players in the Houston area and have published a list of my ratings for players there through April 1st of this year.  See that list here.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Estimated Dynamic NTRP Reports in More Areas

I published a map of where I've done reports, but requests continue to come in.  There have been additional reports from the same locations as before, but I've also added other parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Louisiana.

It is that time of year that Spring leagues are wrapping up and teams are going into playoffs, so a lot of people are curious what their rating might be and an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Report is a great way to find out what it likely is.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How the USTA is inadvertently bumping 5.0 and 5.5 players down

USTA League tennis works out great for the vast majority of players.  They get to play competitively in a team environment against others at or around their skill level, and a few get to move on and experience playoffs and championship play.  This works great at the 3.5 and 4.0 levels where there is a large pool of players in most sections and districts.

When you get to the higher levels though, there are fewer players and thus smaller leagues and in some cases not enough players to field teams and leagues and thus these players may not have the opportunity to play USTA League.  This typically happens at the 5.0 to 5.5  level.

In an effort to give these players more opportunities to play, the USTA established "plus" leagues this year.  In the 18 and over division you may see 5.0+ leagues and in the 40 and over, 4.5+ leagues.  A plus league allows a team to roster two above level players (two 5.0s for a 4.5+ and two 5.5s for a 5.0+) with the stipulation that they must always play court 1 singles or doubles.  The idea is that this allows these players to play in a league they otherwise wouldn't be able to but still ensure that the 5.0s are playing each other so they both have a competitive match.

The problem arises when there is a team (say team A) that doesn't have two or perhaps even one 5.0 (we'll use a 40 and over 4.5+ example) rostered or available for a match while their opponent (team B) does.  If the captain of team A knows team B is bringing their 5.0 and he's a singles guy, he may not want to put his best 4.5 singles guy up against him as it may be a likely loss, so he plays his 4.5 singles guy at court 2 and runs out a weaker player, perhaps even a 4.0 playing up, at court 1.

The result is the court 1 singles match is an uncompetitive match and team B's advantage of having a 5.0 has been reduced as team A is playing their best players/teams on the 4 other courts and just needs to win 3 of them.  Worse, by having to play a weaker player and like I said, perhaps a 4.0 playing up, the 5.0 is in a no win situation with respect to maintaining his NTRP rating.  Unless he wins 6-0, 6-0, there is a good chance his rating will go down just by showing up and winning easily.  If this happens several times, the 5.0s rating could drop significantly and result in him being bumped down at the end of the year.

Certainly this is an unintended consequence of an otherwise good intentioned effort to increase opportunities to play for higher level players.  There is no way to mandate or ensure each or neither team has their 5.0 (if they have any) players at a given match, and there are no rules about who has to play on which court if they aren't a plus player, so this situation is inevitable.

One way to mitigate the situation would be to require a team to play their stronger players on the lower numbered courts.  But unless the USTA is going to publicize the Dynamic NTRP ratings to the hundredth, there is no way for a captain to know who is really stronger or to police it.  However, a rule that could be put in place is that a player playing up cannot play on a lower court number than an at-level player.  This would ensure that a plus player never has to play someone 2 levels below them, unless the opposition runs out nearly a complete line-up of players playing up.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

The USTA wants you to play less tennis?

I spend a little time on the Tennis Warehouse Talk Tennis forums periodically and came across this thread discussing a letter from a league coordinator in Atlanta informing captains that they may benefit from playing less tennis.

Specifically they site a rule that allows the option of playing a full 3rd set or a match tie-break instead, and the benefits of shortening matches with the match tie-break when it is hot in the summer.

But the kicker is that they also point out that playing the match tie-break may benefit them when playoff teams are being determined as one of the tie-breakers is games lost, and obviously a full 3rd set will result in more games lost unless one were to win the 3rd set 6-0.

This just highlights the fact that the USTA is using a stupid tie-breaker.  Using games lost as a tie-breaker has several issues.  I discussed this last summer in this post but being an incentive to play less tennis is another to add to the list.

Please contact your league or section coordinator to point out these flaws and get them to change the tie-breaking rules.