Archive for September, 2011

A pair of gloves

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Protected: Teammates Manh 2012

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The migration of the birds in the autumn

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A Few Good Men are Looking for Pretty Women

Ok, it’s that time of the year again: the mixed doubles league is under way. The Metro League Coordinator is calling for the captains to submit their team(s) to the appropriate Flight Coordinator no later than 12 noon on Friday, 30 September.

Please note, it’s 12 noon, not 11:59pm.

Before I started to play in the league, I’ve heard the moaning from a few good men that there isn’t enough girls. .. Couple of years later, I share their pain.

Hey, Pretty Women .. WHERE ARE YOU??? If you’re a good 3.0, 3.5 and or 4.0 who’s looking for a winning team, please contact me, ASAP. Let’s have fun together.

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General Characteristics of Various NTRP Playing Levels

To place yourself:

A. Begin with 1.5. Read all categories carefully and then decide which one best describes your present ability level. Be certain that you qualify on all points of all preceding levels as well as those in the level you choose.
B. When rating yourself assume you are playing against a player of the same gender and the same ability.

General Characteristics of Various NTRP Playing Levels
(Wheelchair players please see note below)

You have limited experience and are working primarily on getting the ball in play.

You lack court experience and your strokes need developing. You are familiar with the basic positions for singles and doubles play.

You are learning to judge where the ball is going, although your court coverage is limited. You can sustain a short rally of slow pace with other players of the same ability.

You are fairly consistent when hitting medium-paced shots, but are not comfortable with all strokes and lack execution when trying for directional control, depth, or power. Your most common doubles formation is one-up, one-back.

You have achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but need to develop depth and variety. You exhibit more aggressive net play, have improved court coverage and are developing teamwork in doubles.

You have dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate-paced shots. You can use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success and occasionally force errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.

You have developed your use of power and spin and can handle pace. You have sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and attempt to vary game plan according to your opponents. You can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. You tend to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.

You have good shot anticipation and frequently have an outstanding shot or attribute around which a game may be structured. You can regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls and can put away volleys. You can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys, overhead smashes, and have good depth and spin on most second serves.

You have mastered power and/or consistency as a major weapon. You can vary strategies and styles of play in a competitive situation and hit dependable shots in a stress situation.

6.0 to 7.0
You have had intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior and collegiate levels and have obtained a sectional and/or national ranking.
You are a world-class player.

Players in Wheelchairs:
Players in wheelchairs should use these general characteristics to determine their NTRP skill level. The only differences are as follows: Mobility: while players in wheelchairs may have skills that would normally provide them a certain rating, the mobility factor suggests that when competing against able-bodied players, they should participate at an NTRP skill level that provides for competitive rather than compatible play. Serving ability: Due to the nature of the player’s injury or disability, a powerful serve may not be possible. In this case, it may be more realistic to self-rate below 4.0 as service strength becomes key beyond this level.

Many tournament players in wheelchairs have already received an NTRP rating. Wheelchair players should check with players whose skills match their own before determining their rating. The very best world-class players in wheelchairs have an NTRP rating in the low 4.5s.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the National Tennis Rating Program

1. How does the NTRP compare to the traditional terms of beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, etc., or the frequently used letter a, b, c. aa, bb, aaa, etc.?

A. The NTRP was designed to standardize the classification of player ability. There is so much ambiguity associated with these systems that translation is difficult. In various parts of the country for example “A” or “Advanced” is the top level of play, while in other places “AAA” is the best. In general terms, a D player would be a 2.5 and below; a C player would be a 2.6 – 3.5; a B player would be 3.6 – 4.5; and an A player would be 4.6 – 5.5; an open player would be 5.6 and above.

2. Should players rate themselves as single players, double players, or both?

A. Players should rate themselves based on their overall tennis ability. If players are stronger at singles or doubles, they should base their rating on the stronger game.

Self Verification Information

3. Must players qualify on all points of all preceding NTRP descriptions before placing themselves in a particular category?

A. No. The rating categories are generalizations about skill levels. The ultimate test is in match play results.

4. Can a player with an obvious stroke deficiency be rated at the same level, or higher, as a player who has no such deficiency?

A. Yes. Some players, for example, cannot hit topspin backhands but have certain abilities that enable them to play competitively with players who can do so. A player’s competitive record is the best test of his rating.

5. Does the NTRP rate men and women on the same scale?

A. The NTRP is used to rate both men and women, but men’s and women’s ratings are not intended to be equivalent. When rating themselves, players should use players of the same gender as reference points. However, for those individuals wishing to compete against players of the opposite gender, the following can be use as a guide. At approximately the 3.5 rating for a man, a woman with a 4.0 rating will be competitive. When a man reaches the 5.0 level or above a woman needs to be approximately 1.0 higher in order to be competitive.

6. Is it possible to use graduations smaller that .5 in rating players?

A. No, not when entering leagues by self-rating on TennisLink. The intent of self-rating is to get players on the correct level. The computer will generate a Dynamic rating in hundredths of a point for administrative use.

7. What does it mean to play “competitively” with another player?

A. A “competitive” match is one in which the outcome is unpredictable (scores such s 6-4, 6-4 or closer). When one player consistently wins with only the occasional loss of a few games, the match is not “competitive.” Properly rated, players within .2 of each other should be competitive in playing ability.

8. What does it mean to be “compatible” with another player?

A. Players with up to a .5 difference is ratings are generally considered “compatible.” At a .5 difference in ratings, the outcome is predictable with the higher rated player winning routinely. “Compatible” players however, can offer each other recreational, social, and practice benefits.

9. Can a player’s rating change?

A. Yes. The system may recognize improvement over the year and ratings may change at year- end.


10. What is the relationship between ranking and rating?

A. Ranking is based upon achievement in sanctioned tournaments, many of which are based on age divisions. Rating is based on match results, tennis background, and the NTRP Verification Guideline descriptions.

11. How should individuals rate themselves if they are formerly ranked players who have not played much in recent year or who have had a permanent injury?

A. Ratings will not be downgraded due to layoffs. A person’s rating should be closely related to his or her potential upon resuming play on a regular basis. Only permanent injuries or aging debilities should allow for downgraded ratings. Ratings should not be downgraded due to temporary injury.

12. How does age enter into the NTRP ratings?

A. The NTRP is not based on age divisions. All players of the same gender, regardless of age, should be used as reference points in determining player ratings.

13. Can the NTRP be used to rate junior players?

A. Yes if junior players participate in an adult activity using the NTRP, their ratings are in comparison to all other players of the same gender of any age – not just other junior players. Junior players should not be rated until they are experienced in match play.

14. How does mobility, age, competitive experience, and conditioning affect your rating?

Mobility: Ability to cover the court is a prime factor in competitive success. Players need to be observed in a competitive situation so that, in addition to their shot making ability, mobility can be estimated. Mobility is a more important factor in singles that in doubles.

Age and Competitive Experience: as speed decreased with age, a player’s competitive ability may be affected. At the same time, strategy and skills may have improve as a player ages. Therefore, one must rely on competitive results.

Conditioning: Temporary changes in conditioning such as a non-permanent injury should not affect a player’s rating. Players whose game and physical fitness have suffered due to lack of practice and exercise will not be match tough and should be placed in the category where they normally compete.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Dynamic NTRP

Deb 12/12/12:

Everyone has a dynamic rating – it is what is used to determine your year-end rating.

Self-raters are the only players for which you can file a self-rate grievance. All computer rated players are protected as their rating was determined by match results.

1. The dynamic ratings and what is “Dynamic” NTRP?
“Dynamic” NTRP is an enhanced tennis rating system that generates player ratings at regular intervals over the course of a season

image2. What is different?
Dynamic NTRP allows players to self-rate instead of attending verification clinics. Disqualifications will be handled directly by the NTRP program.

3. How does it work?
Players will register through TennisLink. If they have a valid computer rating on file in the database it will confirm their eligibility for the team. If they have no rating on file the player will be required to declare a self-rating before completing the registration. After each match, the captain will enter the scores online in TennisLink. These results will be calculated in the dynamic NTRP computer program. USTA will monitor the ratings and inform players if they reach the disqualification level three times based on all adult and senior matches appearing in the system. Remember, Mixed Doubles does not have NTRP disqualification.

4. Has the way that the computer program calculates ratings been changed?
The basic mathematical algorithm has not changed. The computer still looks at your match scores and not whether you won or lost the match. Significant procedural changes apply in Dynamic NTRP, however. Where historically, your final rating was a function exclusively of your results at the highest level of competition entered, under Dynamic NTRP “final” ratings are based 50% on your cumulative dynamic rating entering an event and 50% on the traditional “benchmark” calculation method.

5. How often are “dynamic” ratings re-calculated? By whom?
TennisLink data will automatically be run through a national NTRP database, where the necessary calculations will be made. The Sectional Leagues Coordinator will then use a limited-access feature of TennisLink to obtain report listing any players who accumulated a “third strike” and therefore are disqualified. The national NTRP database will run calculations daily.

6. Is there a difference between an in-season Dynamic Rating and a year-end Final Rating?
Yes, there are several. First, dynamic ratings are not disclosed publicly (neither to the player nor any other league player or administrator below the section level), where final year-end ratings are published annually and displayed on the Section’s website. Second, dynamic ratings are expressed to the one-hundredth of a point, where year-end ratings are expressed only to the one-half point. Finally, dynamic ratings are updated regularly and based on an average of the previous four dynamic ratings. Year-end ratings are based 50% on one’s cumulative dynamic rating during the season and 50% on the traditional benchmark calculation method.

7. Will my rating now change in mid-year?
Only if you reach the 3rd strike and are disqualified at your present level. Calculations will be run to establish accurate NTRP ratings for those early leagues starting before January of the next Championship year. You will still receive a year-end rating just as in the past.

8. What is an Early Start league?
Many USTA sections offer league play prior to January and before year end ratings are published. In order to place participants in correct NTRP levels before final year end ratings are available, an Early Start Dynamic rating is calculated and published.

9. I want to see my rating during the year. How can I?
You will not be able to view the dynamic NTRP ratings during the year. These numbers will be used solely by administration to track play, identify those clearly above level and to finally assist with year-end benchmarking and ratings.

10. Does Dynamic NTRP treat doubles partners differently?
Dynamic NTRP maintains whatever rating differential between doubles partners that existed before a match. For example, if a 3.3 and a 3.5 player are paired together, whatever “spread” between opponents is dictated by the specific match results, the two partners will have ratings only .2 different from one another after the dynamic calculation is completed.

11. Does Dynamic NTRP apply to Mixed Doubles League play?
Yes, for players who participate only in the Mixed Doubles Division. For those who participate in the Adult or Senior Divisions as well, their Mixed Doubles results will not affect their final rating. However, the Mixed Doubles regulations prohibit NTRP disqualification.

12. Do USTA sanctioned tournaments count in the dynamic rating system? If so, can a tournament win be used as one of the three “strikes”?
Age division tournaments do not count but NTRP tournaments are calculated in the system after the sectional championships. They do not count towards a strike, however, they have ramifications on your year-end rating.

13. This system depends on match results being reported promptly to TennisLink. How will you assure that? What happens if the TennisLink system is “down”?
Peer pressure will remain the most effective tool in motivating captains to report local league match results in a timely way. Several sections will be establishing deadlines for reporting scores that will count for advancement. TennisLink has never been down for more than a few minutes except in extremely rare circumstances. In those cases all resources at USTA are directed to bring it up as soon as possible.

14. How will corrections to match scores be made?
Team Captains and their players can use TennisLink to review match results in the time allowed by the section. If they wish to dispute or correct a score the captain must contact the local league coordinator.

15. Why is the validity of a year-end rating being extended to 5 years?
Too many players are electing to “sit out” and then re-enter the League program at a lower NTRP level, rather than abide by their results-driven computer rating. Extending the validity period for year-end ratings should minimize this.

16. Isn’t it unfair to change the validity period for those players who will have sat out two years and were expecting to get re-rated in 2003?
National recognizes the basic fairness issues involved. For that reason, a waiver of Rule 3.01D has been granted nationwide, that requires all sections to start the 2003 league year by looking back only two years (to 2001 and 2002) for computer ratings. All players with ratings prior to 2001 will be allowed to self-rate to enter the 2003 league year. One additional year will be added each Championship year until the 5-year history required by the rule is available in all sections.

17. How does a player get back into the system without sitting out for five years when their last rating moved them to 5.50 or 5.0 in the case of Senior Division?
USTA NTRP Computer Methodology allows an appeal of any player with a year old computer rating if it falls within .10 above the NTRP level IF the next highest approved NTRP level is not available. Seniors may still participate at the Adult 5.0 level. NTRP tournament participation is another way and several of the sections run OPEN Divisions that can also be calculated in the NTRP computer program.

18. How will I appeal my year-end rating?
The same as in the past. However, be aware the appeal will only be granted based on missing information, permanent disabling injury or if the computer rating is less than .05 over the NTRP level and the request is to move down.

19. Will there still be verifiers at District/Section/National league championship events? What is their role there?
There will be a limited number of verifiers at National championship events. Their focus will be on insuring rating accuracy in same-partner situations and out-of-contention teams. Whether verifiers will be assigned to Sectional or District championship events has not yet been determined. If verifiers do attend, their role will be limited to observing the Dynamic NTRP process and providing feedback to improve that system. Verifiers will not gather or report visual ratings, nor will they initiate any disqualification proceedings.


20. When and how do I get a self rating?

If you do not have a computer rating from 2001 or 2002, then you must self-rate for the 2003 season. Go to and you will be connected directly to TennisLink. You will need your membership number, your team number and a major credit card.

When you see the big yellow ball enter your USTA membership number and click “go.” In the registration box enter your team number and click “submit.” If you do not have a valid NTRP rating an option to select an NTRP rating will appear. Arrow down and select your accurate NTRP rating. If you’re not sure of your rating, the self rating guide is available in the red box on the left. Click in for full descriptions of the NTRP levels. Be sure to rate yourself accurately not necessarily the level of the team on which you are registering. For example, if you are a 3.5 player and are planning to play on a 3.5 and a 4.0 team, you must self rate at 3.5. If you self rate at 4.0 you would not be allowed to play on a 3.5 team.

21. How do you know that new players will self-rate correctly?
Historically, better than 8 out of 10 new players self-rate accurately when attending a rating clinic in anticipation of entering the USA League Tennis presented by Lincoln program. Actual match results will determine whether a player self-rates too high or too low—with the prospect of player disqualification if warranted.

22. What do I do if I think a player is too good for the level?
A player can play above or below their level on any given day. If you truly feel an individual is above level contact your local league coordinator with specifics about your match.

23. How does Dynamic NTRP work in brand-new leagues where there are no (or very few) computer-rated players?
In new leagues, or leagues with very limited player history, League Administrators will assign an “initial rating” for players in those leagues. The precise number is established by national procedures and tends to be at or near the mid-point for the level of the league.

24. Can I declare a different self-rating for different League Divisions (e.g., 3.5 for Adult and 4.0 for Senior)?
No. Once you declare an initial self-rating, you are bound by it for the calendar year or until you generate a year-end rating. The only exception to this is in the event of a player disqualification, where one is immediately bound by the higher, “DQ” rating.

25. What if I have self-rated and played four matches in the Adult Division and then sign up for the Senior Division. Will I use my self-rating or will the system generate a computer rating for me?
The system will have a Dynamic NTRP number on you from your adult play. But you will continue with the self-rating you selected until the “year-end computer ratings” are published. Unless of course, you are disqualified and you then must immediately move up.

26. During the transition year, if a player has a current visual rating, must they abide by the visual?
No. 2003 Regulations state that only two types of ratings are available – Computer and Self-rating. Self-ratings are removed or replaced by valid computer ratings at the end of the championship year.


27. Can I be disqualified if I have a valid computer rating?
The chances of the computer rated player being disqualified are slim. Of the 138 Dq’d players in the 4 Dynamic NTRP pilot sections from 2002, only 4 were computer rated. The 3 strike penalty is there to discourage the captain from placing “clearly above level” players on his team.

28. Do you expect more/less “DQ’s” using Dynamic NTRP than historically has been the case?
Historically, NTRP disqualifications have been rare. There is no reason to believe that will change so long as players are self-rating accurately.

29. What is a strike and how do I get one?
Each time a player’s dynamic rating exceeds the maximum tolerance for the level, he/she automatically earns a “strike.” Three strikes—considering all matches in the Adult and Senior Divisions from all sections in the database from Local League up to and including Sectional Championships— and you are disqualified.

30. How high can my dynamic rating go before I earn a “strike”?
The Dynamic NTRP system allows a certain tolerance for player development—more for lower level players where rapid improvement is more likely; less for higher-level players. The new Dynamic NTRP system uses the same criteria for “strikes” that were used by verifiers in the past. The new methodology has not changed that standard.

31. Will matches played under 2004 count toward DQ of a 2003 player who has finished local league?
All matches played prior to the conclusion of the Sectional Championship (either under 2003 or 2004 championship year) will count toward disqualification for 2003. If you make it through sectionals – even though additional match results may reflect your 3rd strike, you will still be eligible to advance to Nationals for 2003.

32. What are the consequences of disqualification?
In all cases, the player is disqualified from participation at that NTRP level. Each USTA Section will determine which of two methods the section will follow at the local and the championship level. The effect on Team Standings may vary, depending on when the DQ occurs:

During local league: Either the individual match that produced the disqualification and any subsequent match played by the player OR all previous matches played shall be considered losses.

During Championship play: If the section elects to run the computer ratings following completion of the championships, points earned by the DQ player will stand.

Round Robin format: If the section chooses to DQ during the championships any player reaching the DQ criteria will have all matches reversed to 0-6, 0-6.

Single Elimination format: If the section chooses to DQ during the championships the last match played by the player will be reversed to 0-6, 0-6.

33. Will a player be advised each time that he/she earns a “strike”?
No. Notice occurs only after three strikes are accumulated.

34. Will I be told exactly which matches earned me “three strikes”?

The section will send you notice of disqualification along with your match records indicating matches that earned you strikes. Once you confirm that this information is accurate, you may request an appeal. You may appeal only based on missing or incorrect information.

35. Who is notified in the event of a disqualification? By whom? How quickly?
Responsibility for monitoring dynamic ratings lies with the Sectional Leagues Coordinator. When a “third strike” situation arises, the SLC will notify (a) the affected player, by telephone, e-mail or voicemail message; (b) the player’s Team Captain, using the Captain’s e-mail address as reported on TennisLink; and (c) the relevant District and Local League Coordinator. Notification is made within one business day of determination that a third strike has been received. Hard copy will be mailed to player’s address as it appears on the team roster.

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US Open 2011

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Early Start League Ratings

Early Start League ESL is out. One of my players, Ricky got promoted to 4.0. Congratulation Rick!
Men and Women

ESL Ratings are used for USTA Leagues where players begin registration and match play prior to the publication of Year End ratings in late November. In Eastern this applies to Tri-Level Leagues and Mixed Doubles Leagues.

Men and women on tennis link.

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