Friday, December 6, 2019

2020 USTA League Nationals Dates and Locations - Similar to 2019

Taking a break from all the year-end stats and bump analysis, I came across a document that has the dates and locations for 2020 Nationals.  Yes, 2019 Nationals finished up less than 4 weeks ago, but it is time to think about 2020.

Important: While this document is on a USTA site, I have not seen it linked to on or TennisLink, so it is perhaps not final and subject to change.

Nevertheless, in an effort to get the latest news out to my readers, here is a summary.

First, the locations are the same as 2019, Surprise, Vegas, Oklahoma City, and Orlando.  It appears things went well enough at the new OKC site that they are going back.

Second, the schedule is generally the same, with 18 & Over happening first with 40 & Over overlapping but starting a week later and going a week longer, and 55 & Over near the end and Mixed wrapping the sequence up.  This has been pretty standard for a number of years.

On to the specifics.

October 2-4

  • OKC - 18 & Over 3.0
  • Surprise - 18 & Over 3.5
  • Vegas - 18 & Over 5.0

October 9-11
  • Vegas - 18 & Over 2.5 women
  • Surprise - 18 & Over 4.5
  • OKC - 40 & Over 3.5

October 16-18
  • Vegas - 18 & Over 4.0
  • OKC - 40 & Over 3.0
  • Orlando - 40 & Over 4.5+
  • Surprise - 55 & Over 8.0

October 23-25
  • Orlando - 40 & Over 4.0
  • Surprise - 55 & Over 6.0 / 9.0

October 30-November 1
  • Surprise - 55 & Over 7.0
  • Orlando - 18 & Over Mixed 6.0 / 8.0 / 10.0

November 6-8
  • Orlando - 18 & Over Mixed 7.0 / 9.0

November 13-15
  • Orlando - 40 & Over Mixed all levels

Note the document says the last event is the 13th and 14th, I have to think that is a typo and it is the 13th-15th like I listed it.

The themes are pretty much the same, Orlando hosts Mixed, Surprise hosts 55 & Over, and the other events get spread around a bit.  In fact, while some dates changed, the locations for each event is nearly identical to 2019.  It appears just the 40 & Over 3.0 has moved from Orlando to OKC and 40 & Over 4.0 moved from Surprise to Orlando.  Every other event is at the same location as last year.

I would have thought they'd change things up a bit so anyone going back to the same event would get a new location.  But perhaps they figure with all the bumps up, few players will be back?

In any case, for those optimistic about their chances of qualifying, you now know the (perhaps tentative) dates!

Digging in to the Great Southern Bump of 2019 - Level distribution by state

I wrote yesterday about how men in the Southern section were bumped up at significantly higher rates than the national averages.  I also took a look at the distribution of players by level in Southern compared to national averages.

The logical next step is to drill into the data and see if whatever was done was done consistently throughout the section or if some states were more/less impacted.

As a reminder and baseline, here is the distribution of Southern men by level.

See the earlier posting for all the details, but key thing is that there were and are still more 3.5s than 4.0s, and there were nearly twice as many 3.0s as 4.5s but those counts are now basically equal.  Nationally there are about the same 3.5s and 4.0s and roughly the same 3.0s and 4.5s.

Alphabetically, we will start with Alabama.

Alabama definitely had 2.5s and 3.0s bumped up, and given the influx of them there were 3.5s bumped up too, although just a modest drop in count.  There were a lot of 4.0s bumped up as the count went down despite the influx and the 4.5s were the beneficiaries, that count went way up as did the 5.0s.  There are now significantly more 4.5s than 3.0s, but still more 3.5s than 4.0s.

Next, Arkansas.

Arkansas did have players bumped up from 2.5 through 3.5, those counts did go down from 2018 to 2019, but 4.0s and above had their counts go up, supportive of the hypothesis that there was a general redistribution towards the higher levels.  Note that Arkansas still has fewer 4.0s than 3.5s but a lot closer than before, and it is nearly equal between the 3.0s and 4.5s.

Next, Georgia.

Georgia was only modestly out of whack with the national averages, but has almost no 2.5s now and 3.0s were bumped up too.  More 3.5s were bumped up than came in and while there were a lot of bumps up to 4.5, the 4.0s grew.  Georgia is now very close to the national averages with about the same number of 3.0s as 4.5s and 3.5s as 4.0s.

Next, Kentucky.

Kentucky had bump ups at 2.5 and 3.0, but a lot at 3.5 given their count went down even with the bump ups coming in 4.0 was the beneficiary with a big increase.  4.5 and 5.0 also went up significantly.  There are now significantly more 4.0s than 3.5s and 4.5s than 3.0s.  Kentucky was perhaps a state that did not need an adjustment to align with national averages, but still got it.

Next, Louisiana.

Louisiana also had bump ups, there are hardly any 2.5s anymore, and we see an increase in the number of 4.0s, 4.5s, and 5.0s.  They are not yet to the national averages with way more 3.0s than 4.5s and noticeably more 3.5s than 4.0s.

Next, Mississippi.

Mississippi had a lot of bump ups at 3.0s and the number of 3.5s went up as a result.  There were bump ups to 4.0 but more went from 4.0 to 4.5 and 4.5 to 5.0.  Mississippi does have nearly as many 4.5s as 3.0s, but there are still a lot more 3.5s than 4.0s.

Next, North Carolina.

North Carolina had a fair number of bump ups from the lower levels, the 4.5s and 5.0s having the largest increase.  They have more 4.5s than 3.0s now, and just a few fewer 4.0s than 3.5s.  They have more 4.5s than 3.0s, but still a few more 3.5s than 4.0s.

Next, South Carolina.

Just a small percent of 2.5s bumped up, but quite a few 3.0s went to 4.0, with a lot of 3.5s to 4.0, and 4.5 and 5.0 both picked up some players.  They are still biased towards the lower levels with a lot more 3.0s than 4.5s and a lot more 3.5s than 4.0s.

Last, Tennessee.

There are some remarkable changes here.  2.5s are non-existent, and nearly all 3.0s were bumped up to 3.5 where the count of 3.5s nearly tripled!  There had to be some bump downs from 4.0 for that to happen and the 4.0s stayed about the same while the 4.5s and 5.0s here took precipitous drops.  Tennessee is clearly an exception to the general bump up across the levels trend.  This probably deserves more research on its own.

What do you think?  Does this dovetail with what you've seen with your friends and teammates?

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Great Southern Bump of 2019 - USTA Southern men get historic bump up rates

I've been going through my post-NTRP ratings published analysis and what was a little smoke when looking at bump up/down rates at a high level has turned into a raging fire as I've drilled in.

Here is a summary of what I've posted so far regarding bump up rates of players that had a C rating at the end of 2018 and 2019.
  • 2.5 men - Southern had 75% bumped up, nationally 52%
  • 3.0 men - Southern had 33.1% bumped up, nationally 21.8%
  • 3.5 men - Southern had 18.2% bumped up, nationally 11.2%
  • 4.0 men - Southern had 17.8% bumped up, nationally 10.9%
  • 4.5 men - Southern had 19.8% bumped up, nationally 6.7%
  • 5.0 men - Southern had 6.3% bumped up, nationally 1.5%

The Southern men had the highest bump up percentage among all the sections at every level!  And it was significantly above the national average, usually 60+% greater, but about 3 times greater for 4.5s and 4 times for 5.0s.  It is pretty much unheard of for there to be nearly 20% of 4.5s bumped up and anywhere close to 6% of 5.0s.

That begs the question, what has this done to the distribution of players across the levels?  Let's look again at the distribution nationally for the men.

In this chart, it shows stats for both 2018 and 2019 to easily see the change year to year, and the length of the bar is the number of players at that level, while the label at the end of the bar is the percentage of players at that level that year.

We see a "normal" distribution, the center being just about right between 3.5s and 4.0s.  And compared to 2018, not a dramatic change, the percent being 3.5 dropped slightly, 4.0s down half a percentage point, and the 4.5s up just over 2 points, with 5.0s up half a point.

Now, the distribution in Southern.

This is somewhat different in that the center of the "normal" curve is closer to 3.5 than 4.0.  We see that it has changed quite a bit though and moves closer to the mid-point between them with the 2.5 percent dropping 1 point, 3.0 percent dropping over 4 points, 3.5 dropping 0.4, 4.0 going up nearly a point, 4.5 going up a whopping 3.2 points, and 5.0 going up nearly 2 points.

Or put another way, it appears 2.5s moved to 3.0, more 3.0s moved to 3.5, but even with the influx of 3.5s the number went down slightly as just as many 3.5s moved to 4.0.  The number of 4.0s did grow, but there were still a lot that moved up to 4.5, and quite a few 4.5s moved to 5.0.

So there was a definite shift upwards which dovetails with the bump up percentages reported above.

One might ask the question, why was and is Southern biased more towards lower levels, and was the large number of bump ups a reaction to that to try and make the distribution closer to what it is nationally?  It could be that the USTA League playing population is older in Southern and happens to have more lower rated players, but clearly it is different than the national distribution, even after the noticeable bump ups.

However, an adjacent section, Florida, perhaps also with an older population of USTA League players, is actually biased slightly towards the higher rated players already.  Here is Florida's distribution chart.

Florida had some movement from 3.5 to 4.0 and 4.0 to 4.5, but already had more 4.0s than 3.5s, and more 4.5s than 3.0s unlike Southern.

So it would seem someone decided that Southern players were generally underrated, or at least out of whack with the national distribution, with a distribution biased too far towards 3.0 and 3.5, and steps needed to be taken to change that distribution and get more 4.0s and 4.5s.

What do you think?  Is the distribution of Southern's men being towards the lower levels an issue and was the redistribution needed and appropriate?

Note: "The Great Southern Bump of 2019" was a phrase I thought I coined, but an acquaintance had done so as well so credit goes to "OTL".

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Analyzing 2019 USTA NTRP year-end ratings - Distribution of players by level

Next in the sequence of analyzing the 2019 year-end ratings, we'll take a break from bump up/down percentages and look at how many players there are at each level.

Should anyone want to see how this looked last year, take a look.

Here are the number of players, men or women, with C ratings at each NTRP level.  I've included 2018 year-end counts as well for comparison.  The percentages on each bar are the percent of the total at that level.

For those that have followed in past years, we see the "normal" distribution we expect.  Comparing to 2018, we see numeric increases at 2.5 thru 3.5 as well as 4.5 and 5.0.  Just 4.0 has a decrease in total number.  Note that while the 3.5 total count went up slightly, the percentage of the total dropped 0.1%.

Here is the distribution for the women.

This chart has a similar shape, but is biased more towards 3.0 than 4.0 and smaller numbers at 4.5 and above too.  Modest increases at 2.5 and 3.0, the rest pretty close to last year.

And for the men.

The men's shape is more biased towards the higher levels with nearly as many 4.0s as 3.5s.  Interestingly, there is a modest increase of 3.5s, 4.5s and 5.0s, but a decrease of 4.0s.  The increase of 4.5s is quite noticeable, and for those that have been following along, is likely due to the "Great Southern Bump of 2019".

Now of course, these are numbers across all sections.  Stay tuned for some drill downs into some of the sections, particularly Southern.

Analyzing 2019 USTA NTRP year-end ratings - Section bump rates by level and gender - 5.0 men and women

Next in my series of posts analyzing the 2019 year-end ratings I continue breaking down the bump rates by level and gender.  I already looked at bump rates for each section by gender, bump rates by level nationally, and started the by level analysis with the 3.5 men and women4.0 men and women3.0 men and women, and 4.5 men and women.

Next up the 5.0 levels.  First the women.

As you might expect, very few bumps up, only 7 sections really had any and quite a few had over 20% bumped down.

Next the men.

Here we see a lot of bump downs and very few bump ups, but yep, Southern is the exception with the fewest bump downs, less than 4% where most others were over 10% and many over 20%, and Southern had more 5.0s bumped up, over 6%, than down.

Stay tuned, more to come.

Analyzing 2019 USTA NTRP year-end ratings - Section bump rates by level and gender - 4.5 men and women

Next in my series of posts analyzing the 2019 year-end ratings I continue breaking down the bump rates by level and gender.  I already looked at bump rates for each section by gender, bump rates by level nationally, and started the by level analysis with the 3.5 men and women4.0 men and women, and 3.0 men and women.

Next up the 3.0 levels.  First the women.

As you might expect after seeing the 3.0 thru 4.0 analysis and how the bump ups go down as the levels go up, there are a lot more bump downs at 4.5.  What is interesting is that Caribbean is the section with the most bump ups at over 8%.  Only Middle States is close at just under 6%, everyone else is at 4% or lower.

Next the much awaited 4.5 men.

We see a similar trend, more bumps down at this level than the lower levels, except for Southern that had nearly 20% of 4.5s bumped up!  That is a higher percentage than the 4.0s bumped up to 4.5 and the 3.5s bumped to 4.0.  No other section was even close with only Texas at about 7.5% having noticeably more bump ups than down.  Mid-Atlantic who won 4.5 Nationals was about an even split.

I have no explanation for this.  IMHO the bump up rates for Southern at every level, but especially 4.5, can't be simply from normal year-end calculations and adjustments.  There seems to have been an agenda to adjust and/or redistribute things in Southern for some purpose for 2020.

Stay tuned, more to come.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Analyzing 2019 USTA NTRP year-end ratings - Section bump rates by level and gender - 3.0 men and women

Next in my series of posts analyzing the 2019 year-end ratings I continue breaking down the bump rates by level and gender.  I already looked at bump rates for each section by gender, bump rates by level nationally, and started the by level analysis with the 3.5 men and women and 4.0 men and women.

Next up the 3.0 levels.  First the women.

We see a lot more bumps up, every section has more up than down, but Caribbean leads the way at nearly 19% and Middle States, Northern, SoCal, and NoCal are all at 15% or higher.  Just Intermountain had 5% bumped down, the rest less.

This makes sense, 3.0s generally have more upside, so you would expect more bumps up.

Next the 3.0 men.

There is an even larger disparity between the bumps up and down, hardly any bumps down in any section, and Southern had nearly 33% of 3.0 men bumped up and Texas nearly 28%.  This is clearly a big reason why these two sections led the way across all levels.

But four other sections were over 20% in Caribbean (actually a fraction more than Texas), Northern, New England, and Southwest.

Stay tuned, more to come.