Thursday, February 10, 2011

ALTA’s website needs more transparency

One of the things that makes USTA’s league website superior to ALTA’s is the fact that one can look up any of its member player’s tennis history, not just at what level(s) and on which teams they’ve played, but their match history as well.  Of course, the United States Tennis Association surely has a much greater budget than the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, but then again the Ultimate Tennis League’s website has just as much player transparency as the USTA’s – and I actually like their formatting of the data better – on what must be a miniscule budget when compared to ALTA’s.  So what gives?

Obviously ALTA is intentionally keeping its data secret from its members, but for what reasons?  Since one can find players’ names, teams (which are, in some cases, the neighborhoods in which they live) and levels, I don’t think the organization can claim that it’s for security reasons that they don’t make the match data available.  Perhaps it’s because they don’t have the technology-capability in their website.  Yet ALTA has made significant investments in their website over the past couple of years to (finally) enable electronic scorecard entry, beginning to bring it on par with the USTA et al, which has had this capability for many years.  So, while it appears that they’re aware of their competition and hence felt compelled to respond by adding this capability, it seems that ALTA also made a conscious decision NOT to allow one to see a player’s match history data beyond being able to see one’s own scorecards during the current season.  As a captain, it sure would be useful to know what lineup our previous captain used against a team that appears on our schedule again this season.  Why shouldn’t I be able to see the scorecards of every match I’ve played under “My Scorecards” instead of just the current season?  I shake my head at this limitation.

Not only is one’s ability to see match history data severely limited, one can’t even peruse an opponent’s roster.  I think part of the reason why players’ match history and roster data is not available – for anyone to see – on ALTA’s website is that it would further reveal the disparity that exists within the league.  There are some very talented players that play below their level in order to earn bag tags and plates, and some of the larger tennis communities and clubs are gaming the system:  continually reorganizing their rosters to ‘stack’ teams in order to maximize their chances to win division and city titles.  Being able to look up a complete player’s match history would enable one to see that “Joe Smith” has won tags/plates at the A, B and C levels in odd sequences like B-3, C-1, and then A-8; ‘his’ history may also validate the growing suspicion that strategically sitting out for a couple of seasons is a regular strategy employed by the larger clubs-communities to win championships.

Whether or not my suspicions are correct, ALTA has chosen to severely restrict the amount of match data and individual players’ history that’s available for its members’ consumption.  I for one feel that its team captains and members would be better served by more (instead of less) transparency.

1 comment:

  1. Large neighborhoods that "stack" their rosters for a season championship is a common occurrence. My men's team has been beaten by a "new" team placed at our level and in our division twice over the past 3 seasons; one just won the city title. I guess we just have bad luck.