ALTA Sandbagging Rules Explained…

ALTA Tennis, Captains, Lineup, Points Add comments

With Fall ALTA just around the corner we thought it would be a good idea to review the ALTA Sandbagging rules since their is really tooooooo much confusion around this and the examples on it are very vague unfortunately. Let us review the existing rules that are in place from ALTA:

  1. A previously played (win or lose) pairing can only go up OR down 1 line together — ie: line 2 to 3.
  2. Regardless of previously winning or losing, a single player in a NEW pairing can only go up OR down 2 lines — ie: line 1 to line 3.
  3. A losing pair can NOT be moved up 1 line while a winning pair goes down 1 line — aka true sandbagging by possibly putting the weaker line up higher and the stronger line lower trying to get a win/point.

Well that really is not that many rules – granted we are only talking about sandbagging rules (Adult ALTA rules & Junior ALTA rules) and they can get really complicated quickly as the season moves along. Let us look at a good example:

ALTA Sandbagging rules simplified

A little information about the image above… Each match day has 5 lines each with 1 pairing (10 people). I labeled the pairings with letters and colored them green for a WIN and red for a LOSS — Purple is an ILLEGAL move. The assumption is that I have to create a lineup for week 4…. so lets analyze the details week by week:

  • Week 1: All the pairings are new so anyone can play with anyone anywhere — EASY.
  • Week 2: Now the rules start kicking in since pairings have been created and player lines defined.
    • Pair B moved down 1 line – legal since the pair went down 1 line and the pairing above them (line 2) was a NEW pairing (Pair X)
    • Pair Y is also a new one at line 5 which is fine as well
  • Week 3: Pair X moved from line 2 to line 1 which was a legal move
    • Pair B moved up 1 line from week 2 which was a legal move as well
    • Line 4 has an illegal move since one player from pairing A moved from line 1 to line 4 — the lowest the player could go down was to line 3.
      • If this was truly played then the team would lose points for line 4 AND line 5 — wow that would suck!
  • Week 4: LOTS going on here with the proposed lineup!
    • Line 2 is an ILLEGAL move (Pair A last at line 1 for week 2 and Pair X previously at line 1 for week 3) when Pair B is moved above since the pairing (B) lost in week 2. If we go back up to our ALTA sandbagging rules above these moves violate rule 3.
    • Line 3 stayed in the same position so no problem.
    • Line 4 stayed in the same position (last paired together on week 2) so no problem as well.
    • Line 5 is an ILLEGAL move as well since the pair was together on week 1 at line 3 and can ONLY go up/down 1 line. Notice that this rules goes back to the LAST time played together and in this case it was on week 1.

You will notice by the examples above that it can get pretty crazy real quick! Imagine also have a good lineup (all 5 lines) created correctly and have one of your players in line 2 say they can not play last minute — if you do not use a software like TennisPoint will you remember all the previous weeks to ensure a legal move?

Why is it important to NOT make an illegal move? It is VERY important because all points will be forfeited from the offending line down and ALL points earned are stripped! For instance, if an illegal move happened at line 2, and lines 2, 3, 4 & 5 won, then your coordinator will be calling you to tell you about your illegal move and that all points earned for lines 2 – 5 will go to your competitor!

When creating my lineups on TennisPoint do I have think about it? You will want to think about it for planning purposes and TennisPoint will perform sandbagging check to keep you safe as well!

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