In a nutshell it’s a leveling system to help two players of known different levels to hopefully have a more competitive match.
Should we play Handicap Scoring? Ask yourself and your potential opponent these questions:
1. Do both players have a qualified TLN rating, meaning they have played 5 or more matches in a Tennis League Network franchise? We are not talking NTRP rating, USTA rating or your club rating. We are talking about TLN rating you find on your profile.
2. Do both players have a qualified rating that is greater than or equal to .5 different? (example 4.0 and a 3.5 level player is .5 different)
3. Do both players want to play with Handicap Scoring? Some players might really dislike this idea, that’s understandable.
If all 3 of these questions are answered ‘YES’ then we can proceed.
One assumption we make is that Women’s rating is offset by .5 when comparing with Men’s ratings. This is OUR assumption not based off any assumptions made by other organizations. Meaning an Advanced 4.0 Female player will typically have a close match with a Male 3.5 Level player.
How to use Handicap Scoring:
If two players are separated by .5 to .75 then the lower level player will start off each game with a 15-0 lead. (And serving starts on Ad court)
If two players are separated by a full 1 point difference then the lower level player will start off each game with a 30-0 lead.
-- 7pt Set Tiebreaks in Handicap Scoring:
-For level one handicap scoring (one player previously got 15-0), the tie breaker should start 2-0 in the underdog's favor with the opposite person from normal serving the "3rd" point from the deuce side, and switching sides after 4 points.
-For level two handicap scoring (one player previously got 30-0), the tiebreaker should start 3-0 in the underdog's favor with the normal person serving the "4th" point from the deuce court, and switching sides after 3 points.
-- 10pt Super (Match) Tiebreaks in Handicap Scoring:
-For level one handicap scoring (one player previously got 15-0), the tie breaker should start 3-0 in the underdog's favor with the opposite person from normal serving the "4th" point from the deuce side, and switching sides after 3 points.
-For level two handicap scoring (one player previously got 30-0), the tiebreaker should start 5-0 in the underdog's favor with the normal person serving the "6th" point from the deuce court, on opposite side of court from a normal start, and switching sides after the next point.
Yes, this means more lower level players will beat higher level players. It also means if a higher rated player is having a bad day it can be compounded by the deficit. When these scores get submitted they will have an ‘Handicap Scoring flag' that can be seen when reviewing the score details and to the admin. Handicap Scoring matches will NOT affect the player’s ratings.
“I’ve used Handicap Scoring in several scenarios where I was the underdog with 15-0 and 30-0 advantages, and where I was the stronger player with opponent getting 15-0 or 30-0 advantages. Twice we implemented the new scoring after a first set blowout, and the quality of play, and mental focus improved greatly when the chance of winning each game was more up for grabs. It takes a little getting used to, but I recommend you give it a try (or two) to get the hang of it.”
- SJ, 5.0+ TennisDC.com member, since 2013
“I played an Handicap Scoring match with a 4.5 level player today and it made for a great match. 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in his favor but I had opportunities. It made a lot more enjoyable of an experience especially seeing we had to pay a king's ransom for the court time.”
- Steve, 3.75 TennisNorthEast.com (Boston) member, since 2008