Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another Senior that was able to appeal down and is now a ringer - Get this one on your team!

I wrote a few days ago about the rules that allow for players 60 & over to automatically appeal down if they get bumped up, but had been at the lower level for three consecutive years.  This can lead to situations like I cited where a player that is clearly above level, gets to play at a lower level.  They are in essence the perfect ringer.

Well, I found another one that was able to appeal down even farther.  The prior one I wrote about was able to appeal from a 4.4 Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating down to be a 4.0, a 0.4 drop.  The one I found this evening was able to to appeal down a whopping 0.51, from 4.51 to be a 4.0.

Here is the chart so you can see the full effect.

This player had a great year going 33-5 and 8-1 in the playoffs, the one loss being a match tie-break.  They can clearly play at the 4.5 level and even arguably at 5.0, but due to the Senior appeal rule, get to be a 4.0 for 2015.

Now, to be fair, this player is only 7-4 in 2015, so perhaps age really does catch up with you and this rule is appropriate most of the time.  Getting to appeal down 0.51 is still a huge amount though.

Is this USTA League player tanking to manage their dynamic NTRP rating? Or just bad at singles?

I came across a player that on the surface one could accuse of tanking matches to manage their rating, but upon deeper inspection, I'm not sure it is so clear.

The player went 5-3 in the Spring league playing 4.0 but went 0-6 in Fall leagues, one a 3.5 match late in the 2013 calendar year and five more in 2014.  So they are using the Fall league to manage their rating down right?

I'm not so sure.  Here is their chart for last year.

There is clearly a very wide range in the results, and the Fall league matches do stand out as the worse results, but because my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating reports break out singles and doubles results both in the summary stats and the chart, it is clear that all the Fall league matches that are the bad results are singles while the Spring league results are all doubles.  There are also some lower rated doubles matches during the Spring so the Fall league results don't stand out too much.

But looking at singles vs doubles, this player's average match ratings are 3.24 vs 3.57, a full 0.33 different.  That is an awfully big spread, in most of the reports I do for players their difference is just a tenth or two, but not over three tenths.

So is this player tanking matches?  Or are they just bad a singles?  The data would seem to lean towards supporting the latter, although it is possible they just prefer to tank using singles matches so it doesn't look as suspicious.  It is also possible the 3/20 doubles result was a fluke in some way due to an opponent having a bad day or just the way the algorithm works in some circumstances and so their results don't really vary that much.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Need a ringer for your USTA League team? Find a sandbagging Senior!

USTA League team captains that are looking to make a run at/in playoffs will typically recruit players that are considered strong for their level.  One candidate group of players are those that were able to appeal down as they in theory were rated just into the range of the next higher level, but met the criteria to be able to appeal down.

There is actually a special class of these appeals that I hadn't thought about in this context before, the players that are able to take advantage of the Senior appeal rules.  As you'll see below, these players should really be in high demand.

For those that aren't aware, players age 60 and over that get bumped up are able to automatically appeal back down if they were at their former level for 3 consecutive years without the benefit of an appeal.  Players that are 65 and over won't even be bumped up in this situation.

Some seniors think these rules are discriminatory as it doesn't allow them to be recognized for improving their games, particularly those 65 and over.  They have a point, but the USTA rule is what it is.

The reason I bring this up is that when working on a ratings list today I came across a player that had played 30 matches as a 4.0 in 18 & over, 40 & over, and 55 & over leagues and my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings had him at 4.40 to end the year.  How on earth could someone with a rating that high that played 30 matches appeal down?  The appeal rules are clear, playing 30 matches would make a player ineligible for appeal, let alone my estimated rating having the player a lot closer to being a 5.0 than a 4.0.

After a few seconds, I had an "aha" moment and determined that the player must be over 60 and thus could take advantage of the 60 & over appeal down rule.  Sure enough, they'd had a 4.0C rating for the past several years without using an appeal, and they played in a 60 & over league a few years ago, so it all made sense.

For what its worth, this player clearly seems to be more than able to play at the 4.5 level.  While they did only play 4.0 in 2014, they went 26-4 including play in 18 & over and 40 & over leagues including 5-0 in 55 & over playoffs and finishing the year winning 11 straight and giving up only one set in that span and generating two match ratings into the range for a 5.0.  Here is a synopsis of their record and ratings chart:

Match Record: 26-4
Sets Won-Lost: 54-9
Games Won-Lost: 349-179
Best Match Result: 4.61 on 4/12/14
Worst Match Result: 3.65 on 2/23/14
Highest Estimated Dynamic Rating: 4.41 on 4/12/14
Lowest Estimated Dynamic Rating: 3.89 on 3/1/14

Does this look like a player that should remain a 4.0?

I'm sure this is an exception and most Seniors that are able to use this rule to appeal down are not a full 0.4 into the next higher NTRP level, but this one does seem like a case of the rule unfairly allowing an appeal down where the player could more than hold their own at the next higher level.

For what its worth, in 2015 so far, this player is 12-1 playing 4.0, so cleaning up again.  So they'll be bumped up at year-end and not be able to appeal down again right?  Well, they might be 65 next year and so won't even be bumped up!

So if you are looking for that ringer for your team, don't forget to look for a 60 year old that was bumped up and appealed down.  They may really be a solid level higher player and carry your team!

USTA League Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating List - Hilton Head, South Carolina

I have just posted a ratings list for players that played in Hilton Head in 2014.  The ratings are what I estimate each player's Dynamic NTRP Rating to be starting the 2015 league year.

As always, if you'd like more detail on how your rating was arrived at, I can generate Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating reports for 2014, or create up to date reports for 2015 showing your rating with details and match by match analysis for all matches played so far.  Contact me with any questions or to request a report.

If you aren't from Hilton Head but are interested in seeing a list for your area, like NTRPRatings on Facebook and leave a comment with the section, district, and area you'd like to see a list for.  I'll select at least one a week in April based on which is most popular and post it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

USTA League Flight Preview Check - 2015 Texas Dallas 40+ 3.5 Men

I wrote a combined preview and mid-season check on the 2015 Dallas Texas 40 & over 3.5 Men flight and I thought I'd check in to see how things stood now.

Here are the current standings:

Greenhill/Alzuro M3.591391130344
Canyon Creek/Gable M3.552231230314
McKinney/Jones M3.563261635311
JCC/Mellman M3.546222860456
Brookhaven/Love M3.527123269451
Canyon Creek/Nolen M3.518103371466

Greenhill has separated themselves, but if we look at the average ratings, they are not clearly superior:

Team NameAverage Rating
Canyon Creek/Gable M3.53.36
Greenhill/Alzuro M3.53.35
McKinney/Jones M3.53.35
JCC/Mellman M3.53.2
Brookhaven/Love M3.53.08
Canyon Creek/Nolen M3.53.05
That said, Greenhill has a very large roster of 18 and their average is a bit watered down by 6 players rated at 3.29 or lower.  The could field a team of 8 all at 3.43 or higher.  Canyon Creek doesn't have as many high rated players, their top-8 is at 3.37 or higher, but they don't have as many lower rated players either.

If you want to get more details on a team or an individual, contact me to get an individual or team report showing details about Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings.

Monday, March 23, 2015

USTA League Flight Preview Report - 2015 Missouri Valley, Oklahoma, Tulsa, 18+ 3.5 Men

This is the latest in the series of flight/sub-flight previews I have been doing for 2015.  Today, we take a look at the Tulsa Oklahoma 18 & over 3.5 Men.

There is just one sub-flight, and here is how it looks:

Team NameAverage Rating

The flight looks pretty tight with most of the teams with average ratings between 3.22 and 3.30.  It drops off a bit for the last two teams, but both teams have quite a few self-rated players so they could very well be stronger than the average of their players with ratings.

I expect this flight could be a pretty fierce competition unless one team has players that have improved a lot and they separate themselves from the others.

As always, looking at just the average Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating for a team doesn't tell the whole story.  How players improve during the year and who plays in a particular match and the match ups you get based on who plays which court usually are a much bigger factor in who wins, but the average is fun to look at.

If you have a sub-flight you'd like to see this report for, leave a comment here or on Facebook or if you'd like to get the report but not have it shared with the world, contact me and I can generate one for you for just $10.

When USTA League matches don't finish

In many areas of the country, USTA League matches are played indoors or at facilities that have fixed court times.  Where I play, these are usually 90 minutes, but at a few clubs, court times are just 75 minutes.  Even with the USTA League format of 3rd set match tie-breaks, this is oftentimes not enough to finish a match, especially long drawn out singles matches.

What to do when this occurs varies by section.  Some sections have adopted "timed matches" where the match is considered complete as a timed-match with the final score being what it is when time expires, and there are rules about how to determine who won the match based on the score and when one additional point may be played to determine the winner if those rules say it is required.

My section (PNW) has not adopted those rules though and we are expected to complete the match.  The problem is, we often have USTA League matches scheduled back to back, or the court is booked by someone else after our match. which makes completing the match tricky.  Some facilities have guidelines stating that a match that is nearly complete (in or starting a match tie-break for example) should be allowed to complete.  Others will have one overflow court available to be used, but at some we are expected to schedule another time to finish.

In my experience, there usually isn't a problem finishing if the court times are 90 minutes, although sometimes the next players on the court have to be a little lenient to let the last few points be played.  But in my team's three league matches so far this year, we've run into this three times!

Our first match was fine, all the courts completed in time, although the singles courts got close to using the full 90 minutes.

In our second match, one singles court hadn't finished and had just started a match tie-break when time expired, and due to a miscommunication they weren't allowed to finish.  We have now tried to schedule a time to finish a few times but still haven't.  What a pain!

Going into our third match, I was now worried about this and asked before our match if there was an overflow court.  We were told no, but that it was USTA League matches back to back after us and so we'd work something out if needed.  As luck would have it, both singles courts hadn't finished, one at 4-5 in the second set and the other about to start a match tie-break.  We asked what we could do and were told there were no courts but we could play outside (at least it was a decent day).  The players agreed they'd do that, but then someone leads us across the parking lot into another building and we wind our way around and come upon another indoor court none of my team knew existed.

At  least the conditions would be the same or similar, but there had now been a delay and with just one court, one match would have to wait for the other to complete.  We did get both completed, so the nightmare of trying to schedule another match to finish was avoided.

The lesson learned for all you captains is to be aware of not just your rule regarding timed matches or not, but also be aware of the rule or policy of the facility you are playing at regarding finishing matches near completion and the availability of over flow courts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

USTA NTRP Ratings FAQ has been updated

I've received a few new questions lately whose answers I thought would be interesting to others, so I have added them to the NTRP Ratings FAQ.

The new questions focus on how mixed results can affect your rating and what happens if you appeal your rating.

Take a look, and as always, feel free to leave a comment on the FAQ, here on this blog post, or contact me with any questions or things you'd like to see addressed on the FAQ.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Flight Preview Report - 2015 Southern, North Carolina, Metro, 40+ 4.0 Men

This is the latest in the series of flight/sub-flight previews I have been doing for 2015.  Today, we take a look at the North Carolina Metro (Charlotte) 40+ 4.0 Men.

There are two sub-flights in this flight, here is flight A:

Team NameAverage Rating
JGuy (Waddell)3.89
BSteffey (Southampton)3.89
DBowman/Waud (Weddington)3.86
PWilson (Olde Providence)3.74
MMitchell (Sardis)3.73
DZheng (Waddell)3.65
LWard (Firethorne CC)3.65
JNivens (Charlotte Indoor)3.59
BAbeles (JCC)3.56

It looks tight at the top with two teams with average player ratings of 3.89 and another close behind at 3.86.  It drops off a bit after that, but players can improve and have their games decline, so while the top-3 would be the favorites, there is no guarantee they are the ones vying to win the sub-flight.

In flight B there is:

Team NameAverage Rating
KPate (Olde Providence)3.94
DSavage (Raintree)3.92
JGiordano (Blakeney)3.84
MSansotta/Knowles (Weddington)3.75
RTiwari (Blakeney)3.75
TKasler (Matthews Tennis)3.71
ELocke (Raintree)3.65
ERelyea (Waddell)3.64
DWatson (Waddell)3.55

This sub-flight looks slightly stronger at the top with two teams over 3.9, but then looks very similar.  So a top-3 that appears to have an advantage over the rest, but #3 is not quite as close.

Given these sub-flights look so similar, it will be interesting to see if things play out per the ratings and the top-3 duke it out for the sub-flight or if a lower rated team steps up.

As always though, looking at just the average rating for a team doesn't tell the whole picture as there could be improving players, self-rated players that aren't reflected in the average, or who plays a given match and the match-ups on the court can often mean more than who the "higher rated team" is.  But it will be fun to look at later in the year.

If you have a sub-flight you'd like to see this report for, leave a comment here or on Facebook or if you'd like to get the report but not have it shared with the world, contact me.