Sunday, January 25, 2015

Interesting USTA League Stats - Who appeals the most and what direction? 2014 year-end NTRP rating appeal stats

When USTA League year-end ratings come out, there are a variety of reactions.

First, some players are able to accomplish a goal and get bumped up while others get bumped up and wish they hadn't been.

Second, and on the other end of the spectrum, are those that get bumped down, some grateful to be after a bad year but others that are upset and which they'd stayed up.

Third, there are players that don't get bumped either way and wish they had been.

There was recently a question posed on the Talk Tennis forum asking why men want to be rated lower and women higher.  It is an interesting question, but first we have to determine if there is any truth to the premise in the question.

From my experience doing Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports for players, I would say that it is more common that women want to get bumped up than men, but some of that is based on the level a player is at.  But it is always better to look at the data as a whole than to rely on anecdotal evidence.

With the year-end ratings having come out near two months ago now, those players that are going to appeal likely have by now, so it is actually a pretty good time to take a look at how many players have appealed their rating, which direction they appealed, and see if there are any trends by gender or level.

First, lets look at how many appeals there were by men and women.


We see that women appealed up quite a bit more than down, and then men were the opposite and appealed down a lot more than up.  So if appeals are any indication, it does appear that women do want to be rated higher and men lower.  There appears to be some truth to the premise of the TT question.

But let's dig deeper and look at the numbers by gender and level.  First the women.

We see a clear bias towards appealing up for 2.5s, 3.0s, and 3.5s, but an abrupt switch to appealing down once women reach 4.0.  One might hypothesize that women want to get to 4.0 to achieve that, but once there if they don't do well, they want back to 3.5.  Perhaps the sweet spot for women would be a 3.75 level!

Now the men.

The men have a significant bias towards appealing up at 3.0 and below, but it is pretty even at 3.5 and then there are a huge number of 4.0s and above that want to appeal down and hardly any appealing up.  So interestingly the sweet spot for the men seems to be 3.5.

So, why do women appeal up more and men down more?  The easy answer is that women see their rating as a status symbol and so want to have the higher rating, while men find it more important to win and it is easier to do so if you play at a lower level.

But what do you think?