Points System Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Tournament/Points System?
A. The Tournament/Points System is our customized Tournament Adminsitration System. It was created by Carolina Region volunteers to help us track tournament entries, tournament results, and rank teams to aid us in seeding for tournaments. A team’s ranking will change throughout the year depending on who each team plays and whether they win or lose sets against those teams.  Over the years, the system has been upgraded and improved to do more than just track entries, results, and points rankings.  Thus, we are transitioning the name to the Carolina Region Tournament System.  You will see us refer to the Tournament System more and more, but we are still referencing the same site where all our teams are ranked.

Q. Why did the Tournament/Points System change from the old system of awarding points based on how a team finished in a particular pool/tournament?
A. The main purpose of the points system is for seeding tournaments. Since teams tended to play within their divisions, there was no way of knowing whether a Silver team with 70 points was better than a Gold team with 40 points, for example. This uncertainty makes it difficult for (a) teams to be placed in the correct division and (b) fair pools to be created for tournaments.

Q. What is the points system like?
A. Each team will start with a rating depending upon what division (adult play) or Grouping (Junior play) they sign up for. For example, in Adult Men’s play there are three divisions: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Adult Teams that sign up for Gold will start at a rating of 1800, for Silver at 1600, and for Bronze at 1400. For Junior’s Play, we will assign teams to tournaments in 4-team pool increments based on the Points Rankings (for more information on the Junior Structure/Tournament Assignment Process, see this Information Sheet).  Junior Teams will register at the beginning of the season and choose one of FIVE Groupings corresponding to 100% of the teams in their Age group and geographic area (East/West).   Each category represents 20% of the overall teams.  So, teams that sign up for Group 1 feel they will be in the top 20% of teams; teams in Group 2 feel they will be ranked among the top 21-40% of teams; and so on.  The starting values for each Group will be staggered based on age group and will decrease by 125 points for each category.  The Group 1 Initial Points value for each age group is as follows: 18’s -2500; 17’s - 2300; 16’s - 2100; 15’s - 1900; 14’s - 1700; 13’s - 1500; 12’s - 1300.   As teams play each other, their ranking points will go up and down based on the results of each set. After each tournament, the rankings will be used to determine pools for the next tournament. For the Adults, at the end of the season, the rankings will be used to place teams into final divisions for the Regional Championships.

Q. Why don’t all teams start with the same number of points?
A. We allow all teams to assign themselves an initial points value at the beginning of the season (based on the Grouping they choose). We assume this to be their best guess as to their strength. If most of these rankings are accurate, teams will find their correct level faster if we assign different values based on these Groupings. Of course, not all of these rankings will be accurate. It will take a few tournaments longer for teams whose initial ranking was inaccurate to find their level.

Q. (Adults) Why are there teams in a different division ranked higher/lower than our team? Shouldn’t we/they be moved to a new division?
A. With a point spread of only 200 points between the divisions, there will be some overlap at the top and bottom of divisions as the season progresses and more sets are played. This is normal and not an indication that the divisions need to be adjusted or teams moved.  As pointed out above, towards the end of the season the Region will use the points system to assign divisions for Regionals. The overlap will (a) help us do so and (b) allow the points system to work better as their is inter-divisional play during the season. For this reason, teams will not be re-assigned divisions during the season but will be allowed to enter different divisions during the regular season depending on where they are in the standings.

Q. Is the points system based upon matches or sets?
A. Each set is treated separately in pool play. This is important when teams split, as described below. Every set counts!

Q. My team has a ranking of 1700. What does that mean?
A. The ranking means that, based on the results so far, your team is likely to beat teams with rankings below 1700, equally likely to win or lose against teams with rankings around 1700, and likely to lose to teams with rankings above 1700. The difference between two teams’ rankings reflects the probability that one would beat the other.

Q. My team has a ranking of 1700. We beat a team that has a ranking of 1600. What happens to our ranking? Our opponent’s ranking?
A. The formula used to calculate how rankings change is given on this page - math explanation. It is the same formula used for calculating the ratings of chess players, for example. Your team would gain 12 ranking points, and would have a new rating of 1712. Your opponent would lose 12 ranking points, and would have a new ranking of 1588.

Q. My team has a ranking of 1700. We lose to a team that has a ranking of 1600. What happens to our ranking? Our opponent’s ranking?
A. In this case, your team would lose 20 ranking points, and would have a new ranking of 1680. Your opponent would gain 20 ranking points, and would have a new ranking of 1620. The key feature to appreciate is that lower-ranked teams have more to gain from winning, and higher-ranked teams have more to risk from losing.

Q. My team plays in the Bronze division (our ranking: 1420), and we are matched up with a Gold team (their ranking: 1820). Since we are not likely to win, isn’t this going to kill our rating?
A. In this situation, the difference between rankings is so great that if your team loses the game, you will only lose 3 ranking points (to 1417) and the Gold team would only gain 3 ranking points (to 1823). But, if you won the game, you would gain 29 points (to 1449)! Even if you only won about 1 in 10 games, you’d still come out ahead. The key idea is that teams are not penalized for playing teams with rankings that are different from theirs; the numbers of points you would gain or lose for wins or losses just changes.

Q. What happens if teams split a match? Say that my team is a Silver team with a ranking of 1650 and we split two games with a Bronze team with a ranking of 1450.
A. Each game affects the ranking separately. So, the game that you win would increase your ranking by 8 points, but the game you lose would decrease your ranking by 24 points. So, your new ranking would go down by 16 points to 1634. The Bronze team’s rating would go up to 1466. If teams split, then the lower rated team’s rating goes up and the higher rated team’s rating will go down. This means that splitting a match can be very good for lower-rated teams.

Q. We had a good tournament, only losing once in pool play (to a lower ranked team) and we even won the tournament. But, our points actually went down at the conclusion of tournament while the second place team jumped a bunch. Why?
A. The absolute key thing to remember is that the points are a "relative ranking". Please note that in this system, winning does NOT necessarily equal points going up and losing equals points going down. Instead, winning and losing should change the differences in points rankings between teams that play each other. In this example, the second place team may have gained a lot of points to draw closer to the winning team (whose points may have gone down as result of their one set loss to a lesser ranked team). The idea is that these changes are expected as the two team’s rankings are supposed to draw closer together since a lower ranked team beat a higher ranked team.

Q. In the old system, each team got points for being at the tournament. Is that still true?
A. No. In the first season of the old system we penalized teams 25 points for missing a tournament and divided those points among the teams that participated. After reviewing that season’s results and considering the purpose of the points system, we have discontinued that practice. Since the purpose of the system is to find the actual relative strength of all teams we feel that changes should be based on the results of play and not simply participation.

Q. How will playoffs be handled? Could our ranking go down by losing in the playoffs?
A. NEW for 2016/2017 and beyond.  The Carolina Region Junior Advisory Board and Region Board of Directors approved a change in the Tournament Ranking System with the start of the 2016/2017 season.  All matches in a tournament, including playoff matches, will now be calculated the same.  So, the results of all individual sets played during a tournament will be treated the same and calculated as described above in earlier answers.  The only exception will be tie-breaker sets to break ties for 1st or 2nd in pool.  We do not currently track those sets on the tournament spreadsheet so cannot include those in the points calculation.  Plans are to eventually update the spreadsheet to capture any tie-breaking sets.  Once that happens, we will include those in the points calculations as well.  So, beginning with the 2017 season, a team’s ranking may go down if they lose in the playoffs.  This change will allow the system to operate as it is originally designed!  A team’s rankings will change based on its results in sets/matches against other teams in the rankings.

Q. How will the Tournament/Points system be used to create tournament pools?
A. The Region will create pools using the rankings as a guideline. Note that the labels "Gold, Silver, etc." are only used to establish starting rankings for teams (this applies for Adult tournaments only). If a team signs up for Bronze, but does very well in tournaments, that team’s rating will improve and it will play against better competition. Similarly a Gold team that does poorly will begin playing against worse competition. Two of the goals of the new system are to improve assignment of teams to divisions based upon their play and to increase the variety of opponents against which each team plays.  For Junior Tournaments, the Rankings will be used to assign out the tournaments in 4-team pool increments.  All pools will be seeded based on the Rankings.  We may adjust some of the lower seeds at Regular Season tournaments so teams from the same club avoid being in the same pool.