Thursday, December 15, 2011

More on USTA's NTRP rating system

One of the most frequently read posts on this blog is my article about ALTA’s ‘rating’ system, another is my one about USTA’s rating system, which leads me to believe that a lot of people are interested in this topic … probably because it’s controversial.

In my first post on this topic, I lamented about USTA’s system “it’s as good as any other, but it certainly leaves much to be desired.” To expound on this, I focused on regional differences. More specifically, Georgia is stricter than some of the other Southern states and it’s also possible that the Southern Area better enforces their ratings than other regions in the country. I wonder if the USTA has ever analyzed their data to see if any region is underrepresented in the National Champion category historically. I would think that they would want to know the answer to this question, which should highlight those areas where adhering to the establish standard is lacking: e.g. the ones that have teams which win at Nationals year in and year out.

I also pointed out an example of someone I played against locally who appears to have been rated higher than his ability despite having played for several seasons with minimal success at his lower rating. His bump was a half level, which – because he plays mixed doubles – may not have affected his being able to stay on the same team, but probably caused him to play with a different partner. Hopefully, our local USTA organization is as quick bumping players down a half level as they are bumping them up.

Because of my USTA mixed doubles team’s success this year, we’ve had a number of players bumped a half level, which has altered our team’s members and several pairings. This was to be expected. In fact, from the first team I joined 2+ years ago until now, there are less than a handful of us (and I’m the only male) that have been on every team, which has remained at the same 7.0 level. The real shocker this fall was that one of our players was bumped a full point after only two seasons of matches. While a half point would have been reasonable given this player’s ability, this unfortunate circumstance means that – unless his rating appeal is accepted – he will not likely play USTA League tennis ever again. I’m not sure that USTA wants to drive players out of their league because of a less-than-perfect rating system, we’ll see.

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