Points System Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Points System?
A. The 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.

Q. Why did the 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 category (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 Categories 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 Category 1 feel they will be in the top 20% of teams; teams in category 2 feel they will be ranked among the top 21-40% of teams; and so on.  The starting values for each Category is as follows:  Open-2100 (Open was cancelled for 2014 but we will still assign them a higher value so they will still start off being assigned to sites together along with top of Category 1 depending on the entries); Category 1 - 1900; Category 2 - 1700; Category 3 - 1500; Category 4 - 1300; and Category 5 - 1100.  Not every age group will utilize all Categories as it will depend on total number of teams in that age group/area.  As teams play each other, their ratings will go up and down based on the results of each set. After each tournament, the ratings will be used to determine pools for the next tournament. For the Adults, at the end of the season, the ratings 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 a rating at the beginning of the season. We assume this to be their best guess as to their strength. If most of these ratings are accurate, teams will find their correct level faster if we assign different values based on these ratings. Of course, not all of these ratings will be accurate. It will take a few tournaments longer for teams whose rating 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! However, for the PLAYOFFS (this applies to Adult competition and Junior tournaments with all 4-team pools only), we only award points based on winning a playoff match (either one set or two of three). Additional information on playoff points is answered in a question below.

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

Q. My team has a rating of 1700. We beat a team that has a rating of 1600. What happens to our rating? Our opponent’s rating?
A. The formula used to calculate how ratings 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 rating points, and would have a new rating of 1712. Your opponent would lose 12 rating points, and would have a new rating of 1588.

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

Q. My team plays in the Bronze division (our rating: 1420), and we are matched up with a Gold team (their rating: 1820). Since we are not likely to win, isn’t this going to kill our rating?
A. In this situation, the difference between ratings is so great that if your team loses the game, you will only lose 3 rating points (to 1417) and the Gold team would only gain 3 rating 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 ratings 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 rating of 1650 and we split two games with a Bronze team with a rating of 1450.
A. Each game affects the rating separately. So, the game that you win would increase your rating by 8 points, but the game you lose would decrease your rating by 24 points. So, your new rating 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 new system we penalized teams 25 points for missing a tournament and divided those points among the teams that participated. After reviewing the 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 rating go down by losing in the playoffs?
A. NOTE:  This answer only applies to the Adult tournaments and Junior tournaments that played with ALL 4-team pools (where top two make playoffs, etc).  For the Junior tournaments playing under the new Formats introduced in 2012, then all matches throughout the day are treated equally by the points system (teams will earn/lose points for all matches based on how they do.  There will not be additional points available for teams in semi-finals, finals).  As in the previous system, teams will have the opportunity to earn more points in the playoffs. Since playoff matches may differ in length from round to round and site to site on a given weekend, we treat all playoff matches as single games. So, regardless of the actual number of sets played in a match, the winner gets the points earned for winning one set, but the loser doesn’t lose any points. For example, if two teams are playing in the semifinals and each has a 1600 point total coming in to the match, the winner would gain 16 points and the loser’s rating would not change. So, making the playoffs provides your team with a no-risk opportunity to earn more points (again, this answer only applies to Adult tournaments and Junior tournaments with all 4-team pools.

Q. When I look at the details for my team, it says we lost 3.5 playoff points. What’s going on?
A. As explained in the question above, the team losing a playoff match doesn’t lose any points. However, the points system is a closed system. That means that any points added to a teams total must come from somewhere. So, we deduct an equal number of points from all teams participating in a tournament to award them to teams that win playoff matches. That number is usually small, and it is the same for all teams regardless of whether they made the playoffs or not.

Q. How will the points system be used to create tournament pools?
A. The Region will create pools using the ratings as a guideline. Note that the labels "Gold, Silver, etc." are only used to establish starting ratings for teams. 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.