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USTA Junior Tennis Ratings

FAQ and How-to

January 1, 2017
<h2><span class="articletitle">USTA Junior Tennis Ratings</span></h2>
<h1><span class="articlesubtitle">FAQ and How-to</span></h1>

WHAT IS A JUNIOR NTRP RATING? 

A Junior National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) rating is a measuring tool that indicates a standard of play that allows players to track their progress as they develop their games. An accurate rating should give a player access to level-based competition. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF RATINGS?

Ratings can be used to create level-based competition to help ensure that players have a positive experience. Ratings are designed to reward you for competing, inspire you to develop your game and offer the opportunity to compete more regularly and to be the best you can be.

 

Ratings are a great solution for tournament acceptance and seeding. In non-elimination formats, ratings are a great way to group players of similar ability together in round-robin groups and compass draws.


WHAT IS LEVEL-BASED COMPETITION?

Level-based competition is about grouping players according to ability, regardless of age or gender. For example, players might be grouped together in compatible rating intervals such as 2.4 to 2.7 or 3.1 to 3.3.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS WILL USE JUNIOR NTRP RATINGS?

In 2016, USTA-sanctioned tournaments and USTA Junior Team Tennis programs may use Junior NTRP ratings. In tournaments ratings can be used for seeding and acceptance into their events as well as for grouping players in compatible groups. USTA Junior Team Tennis can use ratings to identify a standard of play for different divisions as well as to create teams of equal level. 

If an event is using ratings, a player with a valid computer rating on file in the database will be able to register for the team or event. If a player does not have a rating on file, the player will be required to declare a self-rating before completing the registration. 

WHAT IS USED TO GENERATE A JUNIOR RATING?

Junior results in TennisLink (minimum four matches per player) are included in the mathematical algorithm that calculates a player’s rating. These results come from USTA-sanctioned junior tournaments, USTA Junior Team Tennis, men’s/women’s Opens, USTA Pro Circuit events and International Tennis Federation (ITF) events held in the U.S.

WHAT IS THE METHODOLOGY USED TO CALCULATE A PLAYER’S RATING? 

Each individual match is evaluated in terms of win/loss, the closeness of the score, and the score outcome that was expected based on the ratings of the players in the match. Matches for the last 18 months are evaluated with more recent matches weighted more heavily in the calculation. 


HOW DO I GET MY RATING?

If you have played a minimum of four matches in the last 18 months in any of the following, then you more than likely have a dynamic rating. If you have not participated in any of these events in the last 18 months then you will need to self-rate. 

  • 12U-18U divisions in USTA-sanctioned and non-sanctioned junior tournaments and/or Junior Team Tennis leagues 
  • USTA men’s/women’s Opens
  • USTA Pro Circuit events
  • U.S. International Tennis Federation (ITF) events 

To find your rating - tournament players/providers click here, and Junior Team Tennis player/providers click here! You must be logged into your USTA account in order to search for a junior rating level. If you don’t have a rating then you can self-rate in three simple ways.            

HOW DO I SELF-RATE?

To get a rating, you will first need a USTA account. Click here to create an account! 

After you obtain a USTA account, you can then complete the self-rate process. In order to self-rate, you must be logged in to TennisLink. The self-rate process is only available when you’re registering for an event that requires rating. 

If players don’t have a junior rating, they can self-rate in one of three simple ways:

  1. Self-select your own level by comparing yourself to players you compete with regularly who already have a rating. Or
     
  2. Select a rating on the self-rate form. On the self-rate form you will be asked to select your rating based on rating descriptions. You will have the opportunity to adjust the suggested rating level before saving it. Click here to review the Ratings Characteristics. 
     
  3. Complete a quick and easy questionnaire. After filling out the simple questionnaire you will receive a suggested rating level. You will have the opportunity to adjust the suggested rating level before saving it. Click here to preview the questionnaire.

HOW DO I FIND COMPETITIONS THAT REQUIRE RATINGS?

Click here to find a tournament near you! 
Click here to find a Junior Team Tennis program near you!

DO I HAVE TO HAVE ALL THE CHARACTERISTICS INCLUDED IN THE NTRP LEVEL DESCRIPTIONS BEFORE CHOOSING A PARTICULAR RATING LEVEL?

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

HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT NEW PLAYERS WILL SELF-RATE CORRECTLY?

Approximately eight out of 10 new players self-rate accurately when following the NTRP characteristics. Actual match results will determine whether a player self-rates too high or too low. In other words, ratings will eventually fix themselves based on results. We encourage players to consult with their coach and/or parent before self-rating.

CAN A PLAYER WITH AN OBVIOUS STROKE DEFICIENCY BE RATED AT THE SAME LEVEL, OR HIGHER, AS A PLAYER WHO HAS NO SUCH DEFICIENCY?

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 or her rating. 

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RANKING AND RATING?

In short, rankings are for ordering players and ratings are for grouping players in compatible groups.
Rankings are based upon achievement and points earned in sanctioned tournaments represented by a player’s standing within a given age division. Standings are released as often as once a week, and final rankings are released in January and reflect a player’s final position in a given division. Range of points possible varies on level of tournament (district, section, national) and player’s advancement through the draw. 

Ratings reflect skill level based on match results, tennis background and the NTRP verification descriptions. Junior Ratings are calculated nightly and will be updated every two weeks for public view. Junior NTRP ratings are divided into levels between 2.0 and 7.0. 

WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK A PLAYER IS TOO GOOD FOR THE LEVEL?

Players can play above or below their level on any given day. If you truly feel an individual is above level, please consult with your coach/teaching professional. 

WHAT IS A “DYNAMIC” NTRP RATING?

A dynamic rating is a rolling value calculated from the past 18 months of USTA Junior Team Tennis and USTA –sanctioned tournament results. It is an enhanced tennis rating system that generates player ratings at regular intervals over a period of time.

HOW ACCURATE IS A DYNAMIC RATING? 

The more matches a player has, the more accurate their Dynamic rating. Expected match results are based on the ratings of players in a match and the difference between these ratings. The farther apart the player ratings, the more likely the expected match result will be correct. Expected match results and opponent ratings play a part in the calculations.

HOW MANY DYNAMIC RATINGS DOES A NEW SELF-RATE PLAYER NEED TO HAVE BEFORE HE OR SHE STARTS BEING TREATED AS A PLAYER WITH A FIRMLY ESTABLISHED DYNAMIC RATING? 

After the new self-rated player has four initial dynamic ratings, he or she is treated as a player with a firmly established dynamic rating.

WHAT SCALE IS USED FOR A JUNIOR RATING?

The rating scale for junior players is shown in tenths, starting with 2.0, which is the lowest, progressing to 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 etc. until you reach 7.0, which is the highest rating. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE "COMPATIBLE" WITH ANOTHER PLAYER?

Players with up to a .5 difference in 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.

WILL JUNIOR BOYS AND GIRLS BE ON THE SAME RATING SCALE? 

In Junior Ratings, boys and girls are on same scale to allow for coed and mixed gender play. The expectation is a 3.2 boy and 3.2 girl will have equal chance of winning a match against one another. 

HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I HAVE A JUNIOR RATING? 

Players will be able to search for their junior rating online. Players must have at least four match results in TennisLink to receive a rating. 

Click here to find your rating! You must be logged in to your USTA account in order to search for a junior rating level. If you don’t have a rating then you can self-rate in three simple ways.            

WHAT IF A PLAYER DOES NOT HAVE A JUNIOR RATING? 

Players can self-rate. Please click here for an overview and refer to the “How to Self-Rate” question on this page. 


HOW WILL PLAYERS KNOW WHEN THEIR RATINGS CHANGE?

Players will be able to see their latest rating by logging in to their USTA account and viewing their My Player page. If a player has met the criteria to increase in rating, it will be reflected in the latest release. It is recommended that players should keep a record of their own match results. 

Click here to find your rating!

WILL DOUBLES AND MIXED DOUBLES BE INCLUDED IN A PLAYER’S RATING CALCULATION?

Yes. Junior Ratings include doubles and mixed doubles in the calculation.

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.

MY DAUGHTER PLAYS IN 10 AND UNDER TENNIS TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES, HOW COME SHE DOESN’T HAVE A RATING?

Only results from 12U or older age divisions in USTA-sanctioned tournaments and USTA Junior Team Tennis will be used to calculate a junior rating. Players 10 and under will only generate a junior rating if they play in 12U-18U divisions. 


WHICH MATCHES COUNT FOR A RATING? 

Tournament matches in the 12 or older divisions (green and yellow ball), USTA Junior Team Tennis matches in the 12 or older divisions (green and yellow ball), matches in Open tournament divisions, including Futures and Satellites against players who have an established Junior NTRP Rating, will count toward a player’s rating. As of now, results from 8s and 10s divisions will not be used to determine ratings. 


CAN I GET A RATING FROM A DEFAULT OR RETIREMENT? 

Defaults are not included in rating calculations. Retirements are included when at least six games were won by either player. 


HOW WILL JUNIOR RATINGS BE PUBLISHED?

The rating scale for junior players is shown in tenths, starting with 2.0, which is the lowest, progressing to 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, etc., until you reach 7.0, which is the highest rating. 

MY SON HAS A RATING OF 3.7, AND TENNISLINK WON’T LET ME REGISTER HIM FOR AN INTERMEDIATE JUNIOR TEAM TENNIS TEAM. WHY CAN’T I REGISTER HIM?

For Championship Year 2017 – which starts Sept. 1, 2016 – any player with a rating of 3.5 and above must play at the Advanced level in National Championship Junior Team Tennis.

IN A TOURNAMENT, MY DAUGHTER WAS SEEDED NO. 2 BUT SHE HAD THE SAME RATING AS THE #1 SEED. WHY WASN’T MY DAUHTER SEEDED NO. 1?

Tournament directors will have access to a ratings order list. This order list allows tournament directors to break rating ties behind the scenes by looking at players rating to the hundredths. For example, two players, Player A and Player B could have a 3.6 published rating. But when you look at the rating in hundredths, Player A’s rating is 3.65 and player B’s rating is 3.67. As a result, Player B would be seeded higher than Player A.

HOW DO YOU SEARCH FOR A RATING?

To find your rating - tournament players/providers click here, and Junior Team Tennis player/providers click here! You must be logged in to your USTA Account in order to search for a junior rating level. If you don’t have a rating, then you can self-rate in three simple ways.    
   

  1. Self-select your own level by comparing yourself to players you compete with regularly who have a rating; or
     
  2. Select a rating on the self-rate form. On the self-rate form you will be asked to select your rating based on rating descriptions. You will have the opportunity to adjust the suggested rating level before saving it. Click here to review the Ratings Characteristics. 
     
  3. Complete a quick and easy questionnaire. After filling out the simple questionnaire you will receive a suggested rating level. You will have the opportunity to adjust the suggested rating level before saving it. Click here to preview the questionnaire.
     

HOW OFTEN WILL RATINGS BE UPDATED IN THE SYSTEM? 

Junior Ratings are calculated nightly and will be updated every two weeks for public view.

WILL I BE ABLE TO APPEAL A JUNIOR RATING LIKE THEY DO IN ADULT TENNIS?

No. Junior Ratings do not have an appeal process.

HOW FAR BACK IN MY PLAYER HISTORY ARE RESULTS BEING USED TO CALCULATE MY JUNIOR RATING? 

The matches for the last 18 months are included, with more recent matches being weighed more heavily in the calculation.

MY SON PLAYED FOUR MATCHES IN AN ENTRY-LEVEL TOURNAMENT. WHY HASN’T HE GENERATED A RATING?

As players with no rating (“new” players) enter the system, they begin to build their 4 matches required to generate a rating by playing matches against players who already have a rating (“established” players). When established players play against new players, only the new player obtains a rating for that match. When two new players have a match against each other, no rating is generated for either player.

HOW DOES YOUR RATING CHANGE?

A player’s rating will change based on wins and losses, total number of games won/lost and the strength (rating) of opponents and doubles partners. 

HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY RATING? 

Recent matches where a winning score is greater than the expected margin or a loss is less than the expected margin will increase a player’s rating. 


CAN MY RATING DECREASE? 

If a match is not won by the expected margin or if a match is lost by more than the expected margin, a player rating will decrease.

I AM AN ADULT LEAGUE PLAYER. HOW IS MY CHILD’S RATING DIFFERENT THAN MINE? 

The Significant Differences Between Adult and Junior Ratings:

  1. Junior Ratings are visible in tenths of a point (.1 increments). Adult ratings are visible in .5 increments.
     
  2. Junior Ratings are published every two weeks. Adult year-end ratings are published in December and determines which level a player must play the following year. 
     
  3. Junior Ratings are a rolling calculation on the last 18 months. Adult ratings are based on the last 12 months of play.
     
  4. Junior Ratings include mixed doubles in the doubles calculation. USTA League players who play only mixed doubles will generate a rating from mixed doubles. For those who participate in Adult or Senior divisions, mixed doubles results will not affect their final rating.
     
  5. In Junior Ratings, boys and girls are on the same scale; thus, the expectation is that a 3.2 boy and 3.2 girl will have an equal chance of winning a match against one another. In adult ratings, men's and women's ratings are intentionally separated from each other. Generally, a 4.0 woman would have an equal chance of winning a match against a 3.5 man.
     
  6. Junior Ratings do not have an appeal process. Adults can appeal their year-end rating. However, the appeal will only be granted if they meet appeal criteria.
     
  7. Junior Ratings do not have a disqualification process. When an adult league player’s current dynamic rating exceeds the maximum tolerance for the level, he/she automatically earns a “strike.” If a player gets three strikes, they are promoted to a new level.

Click here to review a comparison on junior & adult ratings vs. rankings.

CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME MATCH EXAMPLES THAT EXPLAIN HOW PLAYERS GENERATE OR DO NOT GENERATE A RATING?

  1. Match Example #1: Player with a self-rating and three or less dynamic ratings plays a player with a dynamic rating – the result would count for the self-rated player, but not for the player with the dynamic rating.
     
  2. Match Example #2: Player with a dynamic rating plays a player with a dynamic rating – the result would count for both players.
     
  3. Match Example #3: Player with a self-rating and three or less dynamic ratings plays a player with a self-rating and three or less dynamic ratings – the result would not count for either player. 

MY DAUGHTER HAS THE BEST TECHNIQUE AT OUR LOCAL CLUB. SHE BEATS HER FRIEND IN PRACTICE MATCHES ALL THE TIME. WHY DOES HER FRIEND HAVE A HIGHER RATING?

Junior NTRP Ratings are based solely on actual match results.  The more actual match results in the system, the more accurate the rating. 

DO OTHER COUNTRIES OPERATE A SIMILAR RATING SYSTEM?

Similar ratings systems operate in a number of major tennis playing nations. England, France and Belgium have introduced rating systems for juniors to compliment and develop their competitive structure.

***

If you have a question that wasn’t answered here or are looking for more information, click here to contact our Junior Ratings team.

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