Ranking System FAQ

Why do we have a ranking system?

The main purpose of the points ranking system is to seed the tournaments throughout the season and for our regional championship tournament.

Why is the new system called an Elo system?

It is based on the system created by Arpad Elo for chess rankings.

Does anyone else use a system like this?

Yes, a similar system is in use by the Carolina Region, international chess rankings, Jeff Sagarin as part of college football’s BCS, the World Football League (soccer), and the FIFA (soccer) Women’s rankings, among others.

Why did the points system change from the old system of awarding points based on how a team finished in a particular pool/tournament?

After evaluating the old system and the new system in the 2010-2011 season, the board of directors voted in the spring meeting in 2011 to adopt the Elo system because a majority of the club directors felt that it gave a more accurate representation of the strength of each team.

What is the points system like?

Each team will start with a rating depending on what division they sign up for. For example, every 16 Power team starts with 2600 points, every 16 Club team starts with 2200 points. Points are adjusted after every match based on sets won and lost.

Is the points system based upon matches or sets?

Each set is treated separately. A team sweeping two sets against another team is different than a team winning 2-1.

My team has a rating of 2000. What does that mean?

The rating means that based on the results so far, your team is likely to beat teams with a rating significantly below 2000, equally likely to win or lose against teams with ratings around 2000, and likely to lose to teams with a rating significantly above 2000. The difference between two teams’ ratings is associated with the probability that one would beat the other.

The information below shows how ratings relate to the probability of winning:

Your Rating-Opponent’s Rating | Probability that You Should Win

400 | 91%
300 | 85%
200 | 76%
150 | 70%
100 | 64%
50 | 57%
0 | 50%

My team has a rating of 2000. We beat a team that has a rating of 1900 in three sets. What happens to our rating? Our opponent’s rating?

Your team would gain 2.5 rating points, and would have a new rating of 2002.5. Your opponent would lose 2.5 rating points, and would have a new rating of 1897.5.

My team has a rating of 2000. We lose to a team that has a rating of 1900 in three sets. What happens to our rating? Our opponent’s rating?

In this case, your team would lose 29 rating points, and would have a new rating of 1971. Your opponent would gain 29 rating points and would have a new rating of 1929. 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.

My team plays in the Club division (our rating: 1420), and we are matched up with a Power team (their rating: 1820). Since we are not likely to win, isn’t this going to kill our rating?

In this situation, the difference between ratings is so great that if your team loses the set, you will only lose 3 rating points (to 1417) and the power team would only gain 3 rating points (to 1823). But, if you won the set, you would gain 29 points (to 1449)! Even if you only won 1 in 10 sets, you’d still come out ahead. The concept is that teams are not penalized for playing teams with ratings that are different from theirs; the number of points they would gain or lose for wins or losses just changes accordingly.

We had a good tournament, only losing once in pool play (to a power ranked team) and we even won the tournament. But, our points actually went down at the conclusion of the tournament while the second place team jumped a bunch. Why?

The key thing to remember is that the points are a “relative rating.” In this system, winning does NOT necessarily equal points going up and losing equal points going down. Instead, winning and losing should change the differences in points ratings between the 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 a result of their one set loss (to a lesser ranked team). The idea is that these changes are expected as the two team’s ratings are supposed to draw closer together since a lower ranked team beat a higher ranked team.

How will playoffs be handled? Could our rating go down by losing in the playoffs?

Playoffs are handled very similarly to pool play. The only difference is how much the ratings will move. Because when teams play in playoffs, they often have very similar ratings and often only play one set, less weight is given to the playoffs, so movement of the ratings will not be as drastic.