PDA

View Full Version : I Beat someone who recently obtained a USPTA certification


JavierLW
12-14-2008, 06:55 PM
I was playing in a local indoor club challenge ladder today, and the person who I was scheduled to play didnt show up so they had me play one of the pros.

He happens to be one of the pros in a multi-court drill that I am in during the week which consists of about 12 of us 3.5 and 4.0 players.

Well anyway normally when this happens in the ladder it's sort of a "you have to play this guy sort of thing". But it turns out I managed to beat him 4-6, 6-2, (10-8 )

I am definately a 3.5 player and mostly I play doubles and went 12-10 at that for the year as well as 2-2 in tournaments. Ive lost to tons of 3.5 players and even ones that typically may be less successful then me, and this guy just seemed really easy to play for whatever reason.

Mind you, I do think I was playing the best tennis ever for this whole year, but I felt like he wasnt pulling out some things that even 3.5 players manage to do against me.

For example, we got caught in a lot of backhand to backhand rallys, and I seemed to be able to out battle him there because my 1HBH is my best and most comfortable shot. Against certain 3.5 players and definately 4.0 players I feel that if that is happening in the match they will take a lot more initiative to get out of that situation or they will work both corners which helps them exploit my forehand a bit and my inability to sometimes transfer between one or the other (I dont cover a lot of ground from corner to corner very well especially if someone consistantly keep the ball deep with tons of topspin).

Anyways Ive often wondered about this because Ive seen USPTA certified players even play in the 3.0 league before. Does that really mean anything as far as how it translates to skill? Or does it just cover rudimentary skills and is mostly just general tennis knowledge?

Because after today Im thinking it wouldnt be all that hard for me to obtain one.

samster
12-14-2008, 07:01 PM
You were in the Zone!

goober
12-14-2008, 07:04 PM
Well from what I have read there are 3 levels of USPTA.

Level 1 and 2 require you to be a 4.0 player and level 3 requires you to be 4.5or higher in addition to passing the test and other requirements. As far as I know the the rating requirements are not enforced. I have played several level 3 USPTA pros who were playing 4.0.

I am not sure what to make of your win other than maybe you are 4.0 or getting close or the teching pros simply aren't very good players compared to what you normally expect.

nickarnold2000
12-14-2008, 07:29 PM
I've played some "teaching pros" before in tournaments and what I've learned is that because they teach a lot of students all the time, they often are out of practise(and out of shape) to play higher level(best of 3 sets) singles. I remember one guy complaining about being used to his lower level students slower ball speed and not mine.

OrangePower
12-14-2008, 07:51 PM
But it turns out I managed to beat him 4-6, 6-2, (10-8 )

Well done - a good win!

Level 1 and 2 require you to be a 4.0 player and level 3 requires you to be 4.5or higher in addition to passing the test and other requirements. As far as I know the the rating requirements are not enforced. I have played several level 3 USPTA pros who were playing 4.0.


I'm surprised at this (and not in a good way). I had always assumed that certified teaching professionals would be of a higher level. I'm a 4.0, and believe me, you don't want me or anyone that I play with teaching you! The 4.0s that I know don't have the kind of technique that you'd expect a professional to be able to demonstrate.

Well, maybe I'm being too harsh - I guess it's possible to have an older 4.0 player who has proper technique but has slowed down over the years...

bet
12-14-2008, 08:39 PM
It doesn't surprise me a bit. Let me tell you the story of a nut. The nut, was about 30 at the time. He had been playing tennis for about 2 years. He was absolutely awful. He loved tennis, but he also was a VERY strange person, personality-wise which made him quite aggravating. He told everybody he wanted to a be a pro tennis player, but of course, that was nonsense. He would explain though, how athletically gifted he was and how a couple teaching pros had assured him he had "talent"(they were obviously just trying to encourage). In short, he was a typical TW "guru" ;-)

To give you an idea of how bad he was, he asked me to practice with him regularly. Seeing his passion, I agreed, I needed regular practice at the time and I'll hit with anybody...if I have the time, if they are pleasant and put in the effort. I ended this after 2 sessions, memorable moments included:

1.the first ball I ever hit with him, I delivered a very hard, heavy feed. I can feed harder than most people, but bear in mind, it's still a FEED. Down the middle, me generating all the pace. I had been practicing with the #1 "sectional" junior at the time and thought nothing of it. It suprised him at which point, he made a last minute, wild swing on the forehand, missed the ball completely and hit himself in the forehead very hard. He almost got knocked out and it took a few minutes for him to recover.

2.A junior girl I was helping at the time got stuck playing a "fun" tournament with him and nearly walked off the court. Mainly because he was arrogant (despite her being far better), tried to give her instructions, and double faulted all his service games away. At one point, he hit 8 straight double faults in 2 consecutive service games. He has played ONE sanctioned tourney in the 3.5 division. He got destroyed with a double bagel by a real 3.5 player. There were no rallies, no winners from his side, because he has no strokes. By the 2nd set, he kept trying hacking, underspin drop shots that would land around the service line.

3.in our second session, he kept trying to hit his forehand, utterly completely flat as hard as he could. He said he realized he needed more power and this was his new technique to get more power like the pros. I gave him a discourse on topspin and pointed out that out of 20 tries, probably 2 had gone in.

4.he woudl brag repeatedly about a club tournament he had "won". He won the "C" division, playing 3 matches. The average age of his opponents would have been about 65 and they were truly, geriatric hackers. Mostly hacking underspin, unable to move more than 2 walking steps. He would then claim that none of the "A" players wanted to play him because they were scared. It was true, none wanted to play him, for obvious reasons.

5.At the end of the 2nd practice session, he announced he wanted to work on SV'ing. I agreed, at this point, I just wanted OUT. Then he made me promise not to hit the ball "hard". I agreed. He then proceeded to double fault every other point and, when I would chip a return, complain. He then asked that I not hit the ball "low" or to the "sides". This resulted in my literally trying to pancake block, his 50 mph serves right at him, about shoulder height, with as little pace as possible. He still lost every point of 4 games that we played.

He then started carrying a ball hopper around, trying to give out lessons. He eventually got a job teaching part time at a city facility - they have no idea, nobody there plays tennis, he was the lowest "bidder". He still remains...3.0 AT BEST - that's generous. His credential: USPTA. Apparently, the lowest denominator is VERY VERY LOW.

ps. he still tells people that if had just begun a bit earlier, he'd have been a pro for sure. I swear to you, I am not exaggerating, in fact, I cannot really convey how bad it truly is. This summer he will surely be preventing more beginners and kids from every having a chance to play well! The guy can't even feed balls from the baseline!

JavierLW
12-14-2008, 09:11 PM
It doesn't surprise me a bit. Let me tell you the story of a nut. The nut, was about 30 at the time. He had been playing tennis for about 2 years. He was absolutely awful. He loved tennis, but he also was a VERY strange person, personality-wise which made him quite aggravating. He told everybody he wanted to a be a pro tennis player, but of course, that was nonsense. He would explain though, how athletically gifted he was and how a couple teaching pros had assured him he had "talent"(they were obviously just trying to encourage). In short, he was a typical TW "guru" ;-)

To give you an idea of how bad he was, he asked me to practice with him regularly. Seeing his passion, I agreed, I needed regular practice at the time and I'll hit with anybody...if I have the time, if they are pleasant and put in the effort. I ended this after 2 sessions, memorable moments included:

1.the first ball I ever hit with him, I delivered a very hard, heavy feed. I can feed harder than most people, but bear in mind, it's still a FEED. Down the middle, me generating all the pace. I had been practicing with the #1 "sectional" junior at the time and thought nothing of it. It suprised him at which point, he made a last minute, wild swing on the forehand, missed the ball completely and hit himself in the forehead very hard. He almost got knocked out and it took a few minutes for him to recover.

2.A junior girl I was helping at the time got stuck playing a "fun" tournament with him and nearly walked off the court. Mainly because he was arrogant (despite her being far better), tried to give her instructions, and double faulted all his service games away. At one point, he hit 8 straight double faults in 2 consecutive service games. He has played ONE sanctioned tourney in the 3.5 division. He got destroyed with a double bagel by a real 3.5 player. There were no rallies, no winners from his side, because he has no strokes. By the 2nd set, he kept trying hacking, underspin drop shots that would land around the service line.

3.in our second session, he kept trying to hit his forehand, utterly completely flat as hard as he could. He said he realized he needed more power and this was his new technique to get more power like the pros. I gave him a discourse on topspin and pointed out that out of 20 tries, probably 2 had gone in.

4.he woudl brag repeatedly about a club tournament he had "won". He won the "C" division, playing 3 matches. The average age of his opponents would have been about 65 and they were truly, geriatric hackers. Mostly hacking underspin, unable to move more than 2 walking steps. He would then claim that none of the "A" players wanted to play him because they were scared. It was true, none wanted to play him, for obvious reasons.

5.At the end of the 2nd practice session, he announced he wanted to work on SV'ing. I agreed, at this point, I just wanted OUT. Then he made me promise not to hit the ball "hard". I agreed. He then proceeded to double fault every other point and, when I would chip a return, complain. He then asked that I not hit the ball "low" or to the "sides". This resulted in my literally trying to pancake block, his 50 mph serves right at him, about shoulder height, with as little pace as possible. He still lost every point of 4 games that we played.

He then started carrying a ball hopper around, trying to give out lessons. He eventually got a job teaching part time at a city facility - they have no idea, nobody there plays tennis, he was the lowest "bidder". He still remains...3.0 AT BEST - that's generous. His credential: USPTA. Apparently, the lowest denominator is VERY VERY LOW.

ps. he still tells people that if had just begun a bit earlier, he'd have been a pro for sure. I swear to you, I am not exaggerating, in fact, I cannot really convey how bad it truly is. This summer he will surely be preventing more beginners and kids from every having a chance to play well! The guy can't even feed balls from the baseline!

If that's all true, I cant imagine the on court portion of it is at all a big deal, Id think at the worst, you'd need to be able to feed the ball.

This sounds a lot like the other questionable USPTA guy I know. Only I always thought he was pretty good at least for doubles.

He was sort of weird personality wise as well, but the weirdest thing was he was playing 3.0 League tennis. (but also played 3.5, and didnt lose very often in 3.0, 3.5, or when he would play 4.0 once in awhile)

I used to think that you need an equivlant of 4.5 skills to be a USPTA, but apparently not.

OrangePower
12-14-2008, 10:55 PM
Crazy that the standards are so low for certification. It goes without saying that a pro should be able to feed accurately and consistently. But a pro should also be able to demonstrate proper technique, and identify and correct the student's stroke flaws.

Otherwise, not only is it a waste of the student's time and money, but it can actually be dangerous to the student's health (because of the greatly increased potential for injury that results from improper technique).

randomname
12-15-2008, 12:21 AM
some people just understand the game without nescecarily being good at it (apparently bolliteri is only around a 3.5). It does happen sometimes but its the exception rather than the rule, another example is Mike Leach, who has NEVER played football at any level.

raiden031
12-15-2008, 03:17 AM
Technically a teaching pro doesn't need to be a good player to do their job, as long as they can feed the ball well. They can certainly learn what proper technique is and learn to teach it.

I guess the question is whether their own competitive playing experience is a valuable tool for a teaching pro to use to teach their students. Can everything be learned by a teaching pro through books and classes?

Personally I wouldn't trust a teaching pro that wasn't at least a 4.5+ type of player at one time or another.

zapvor
12-15-2008, 04:38 AM
good thread. interesting posts. i believe the levels are actually level 1 being highest, and then 2 and 3 being lowest. i agree feeding is important than playing. almost all the pros i know dont even play, but they know what they are doing on court.

goober
12-15-2008, 04:52 AM
Here are the requirements pasted off their website. Level 1 is the highest. I had to go back and check on the USPTA website listing, but the guys I played were actually level 1 playing 4.0 when they were suppose to be a minimum 4.5. As others have said USPTA certification has little to do with playing ability. Some are high level players some are just regular club players.

Professional-level requirements

Upon passing the exam, you become certified as a professional. The certification ratings from entry level to most advanced and prerequisites are:

Professional 3
Must be 18 years of age or older
Must pass all portions of the Certification Exam at the Pro 3 level or higher
Must have an NTRP of 4.0 or higher
Not required to have tennis-teaching experience

Professional 2

Must be 18 years of age or older
Must pass all portions of the Certification Exam at the Pro 2 level or higher
Must have an NTRP of 4.0 or higher
Must demonstrate teaching ability through apprenticeship or teaching experience

Professional 1

Must be 22 years of age or older
Must pass all portions of the Certification Exam at the Pro 1 level or higher
Must have an NTRP of 4.5 or higher
Must have three years or five seasons of full-time teaching experience

zapvor
12-15-2008, 05:08 AM
yea goober-so your previous post was wrong.

and...the stalking continues

goober
12-15-2008, 05:15 AM
yea goober-so your previous post was wrong.

and...the stalking continues

uh you are stalking me I posted in this thread first. And yes I posted something that I read from memory and stated that it was from what I thought I remembered. I later corrected myself after I looked it up. Do you have a problem with that?

mikeler
12-15-2008, 05:51 AM
Of course JavierLW won in a match tiebreak, not a 3rd set! :)

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=234787

I think the most important part of being able to teach is proper technique. I can't imagine a 3.0 player has the proper technique on all types of shots.

raiden031
12-15-2008, 05:54 AM
I think the most important part of being able to teach is proper technique. I can't imagine a 3.0 player has the proper technique on all types of shots.

Do you think a teacher must demonstrate proper technique themselves in order to teach it? As long as they can recognize bad technique in a student and verbally tell them and show them how to do it correctly right?

MNPlayer
12-15-2008, 06:32 AM
Do you think a teacher must demonstrate proper technique themselves in order to teach it? As long as they can recognize bad technique in a student and verbally tell them and show them how to do it correctly right?

I personally learn a great deal from imitation so this would be hard for me. Telling the student to "use a vertical swing" to generate more topspin seems like it would be a hard sell w/o some kind of demonstration of the correct motion and its effectiveness.

Also, being a recently minted 4.0 myself, I would not be really excited to work with a pro who was not at least a 4.0 so he could challenge me in hitting sessions. For me, I want my instructor to have good ability to analyze my strokes, demonstrate the proper technique himself, and be able to hit with me competitively.

Guys like Bollitieri may be the exception because (I am guessing) he has a staff of young guys that do the grunt work, while he can perhaps demonstrate strokes in slo-mo and motivate the players, that kind of thing. So he doesn't have to do the entire job himself; he can specialize. His pro level students probably need higher quality hitting partners than club pros anyway.

sureshs
12-15-2008, 07:20 AM
What is so shocking about that? Don't you know of high school students who are better in math than their teacher? What is the big deal? Teaching is a profession, like anything else. All that is needed is to do it sincerely.

JavierLW
12-15-2008, 08:30 AM
Of course JavierLW won in a match tiebreak, not a 3rd set! :)

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=234787

I think the most important part of being able to teach is proper technique. I can't imagine a 3.0 player has the proper technique on all types of shots.

Of course I did. But the same points that I stated in that thread go here:

1) I managed to win the 2nd set to even get to this position. That's a whole entire set, and you cant say someone "unluckily" lost a whole entire set. And if this guy would of been someone who is definately a solid 4.0 player or better, then he shouldnt be losing an entire set to me.

2) AND that match tiebreak really was technically a 7 point tiebreaker for these matches (which Im sure you'd really have a field day with). Nothing "lucky" happened, it was a tight tiebreaker, we both had our chances to come up clutch (I think he had at least one match point somewhere between 6-7 and 10-8 ), but I was the one who managed to outplay him to close it out. (and again if someone was a solid 4.0 player or better, they are not losing this tiebreak, it shouldnt even be close)

My general anaysis is NOT that I played awesomely (although I did play my best tennis for the year) and beat some outstanding player. I think I beat a 3.5 player (at least he was on this day). There are things that other 3.5 players would of done even to counter what I was doing.

So at best this guy is right around my level, and if anyone (like you) trys to use the excuse that the "weaker" player won, then you simply dont have enough information to justify that. There are no weaker players when two players are among a similar level, anyone can beat anyone else if they are having a good day and the other person is not. And if someone really is clearly the weaker player, they will not lose even though there is a match tie-break. (if they win it simply means that your assumption about them being the "weaker" player was wrong)

Even if there was a 3rd set, I think by all indications on how this match was going, I was still in the drivers seat to win the match because I was dominating him in the second set. (I was up 4-0 to start out, he got a couple games but I was able to close it out and I was still all over his service games).

Maybe he could of FINALLY changed his strategy or the momentum since he'd have more time to do that, but we'll never know and even if he did it doesnt prove anything.

JavierLW
12-15-2008, 08:34 AM
Here are the requirements pasted off their website. Level 1 is the highest. I had to go back and check on the USPTA website listing, but the guys I played were actually level 1 playing 4.0 when they were suppose to be a minimum 4.5. As others have said USPTA certification has little to do with playing ability. Some are high level players some are just regular club players.

I think you and others are probably right about that.

But it does sort of present an issue to me that I see even from the pros that are good players. The lessons seem to really focus on technique and there is very little given to how to mentally make it thru a match or how to play in certain situations at times.

Which is probably my only knock on this guy. If he couldnt make an adjustment to beat me in what were some pretty simple situations that a lot of 3.5 players would of found their way out of, I guess he would be pretty weak in the match advice column.

Otherwise I dont think he's necessary a bad pro, I take a drill from him. His feeds were really good (compared to the other two guys who are both 6.0 players and have the ability to hit a different feed to each player depending on what they can accept which must be quite a feat), but he can probably improve.

He seems to know a LOT about tennis strokes and Ive even learned a few things from him that I had not thought about before, although he takes a bit too much time describing them which isnt ideal for a drill, where the other two guys are good at relying ideas which dont take as much time.

robby c
12-15-2008, 09:08 AM
At our club about 6-8 of the mgr's,owners, and members went through a 3 day weekend crash course. Mainly for the purpose of teaching beginner club juniors and beginner adults. Their NTRP ratings were mostly 4.0 and 4.5 with one new 5.0. All were veteran league and tournament players with State rankings, but none were ex-Div 1 players. I was offered at the last minute(ex-NAIA college), but I didn't have the $200.00 fee on such short notice. This happened after we lost both our pros.
I've often wished I had participated, because there is a big lack of entry level instruction in our area. I helped with a pilot junior team tennis program, and was overwhelmed with 12-15 1st and 2nd grade beginners.
It would be a joke if one of these lower level USPTA guys hung out a shingle and tried to charge $50 a lesson.
Robby C

mikeler
12-15-2008, 11:15 AM
Congrats on the win JavierLW. I was not implying you won because you were lucky. Just throwing salt in an old wound :)

If I took lessons, I agree with some earlier posters that I'd like for my coach to be at least close to my skill level. As a 5.0, I would at least like a 4.5 coach who could play some decent points with me. I'd prefer a 5.5/6.0 level coach to challenge me in the sessions though.

JavierLW
12-15-2008, 12:07 PM
Congrats on the win JavierLW. I was not implying you won because you were lucky. Just throwing salt in an old wound :)

If I took lessons, I agree with some earlier posters that I'd like for my coach to be at least close to my skill level. As a 5.0, I would at least like a 4.5 coach who could play some decent points with me. I'd prefer a 5.5/6.0 level coach to challenge me in the sessions though.

I know you werent, I was just using it to support my argument in the other post. (that luck or the idea that someone was "determined to be the better player" had nothing to do with it) :-)

It sounds like it makes more sense to have someone your own level if you are past 4.5. Mostly because I think there is a clear difference once you get to that level where any of those players are good to hit with.

You can probably even pass them up, and it's not that big of a deal if they have a lot of good ideas.

At 3.5, I would rather hit with someone who's clearly better but can maybe play down (which a 6.0 player who is an experienced instructor probably can do) at least as my "coach".

I think there is just a lot more development that needs to occur and it's hard for someone to relate to that if they are stilll stuck at 3.5 themselves, although knowledgewise for strokes Im sure they can know a lot about tennis (this guy seems pretty knowledgable in that department)

10ispro
12-15-2008, 02:45 PM
Do you think a teacher must demonstrate proper technique themselves in order to teach it? As long as they can recognize bad technique in a student and verbally tell them and show them how to do it correctly right?

90% of people learn skills visually or kinesthetically. Auditory learners are in a very small minority of people. So being able to make an auditory correction , followed by a proper demonstration and if need be, physical movement of the players body/racquet etc...to do the correct movement is Key.

So at the very least, a Good Pro without great technical skills, but who understands the game, should have a hitting or demo person for higher level players. but the visual reference has to be there for most people.

JavierLW
12-15-2008, 03:23 PM
90% of people learn skills visually or kinesthetically. Auditory learners are in a very small minority of people. So being able to make an auditory correction , followed by a proper demonstration and if need be, physical movement of the players body/racquet etc...to do the correct movement is Key.

So at the very least, a Good Pro without great technical skills, but who understands the game, should have a hitting or demo person for higher level players. but the visual reference has to be there for most people.

I think that explains a lot.

I was playing singles against a guy near the end of the summer / fall who is clearly a lot better then me (he destroyed everyone in 3.5 and is probably clearly talented enough that he would do VERY well in 4.0), and I feel I almost made more progress in some areas playing him then I did from any verbal lesson.

Because I picked up on some ideas from him just by looking at him, and also I really had to correct some things in my strokes otherwise I had a lot of trouble even hitting around with the guy.

Ive been playing for a pretty long time but one big basic bad habit that I had was I was making contact on everything late which made it hard to drive the ball deep, deal with crazy spin, and was pretty much slowly killing my shoulder.

I swear Ive taking tons of lessons, drills, Im sure quite a few people have told me that Im hitting the ball late, and I did believe them, but I guess I couldnt really picture it until I met this guy and found I couldnt even get the ball back.

AlpineCadet
12-15-2008, 03:52 PM
I wonder how Bollettieri plays?

sureshs
12-16-2008, 04:23 AM
I wonder how Bollettieri plays?

He is a playboy. He has been married some 8 times.

mikeler
12-16-2008, 04:56 AM
Bollettieri's skin might fall off if he tries to play. His body has seen some serious sun!

Raiden.Kaminari
12-24-2008, 04:28 PM
I wonder how Bollettieri plays?

Bolletierri is supposedly somewhere between a 3.5 and 4.0 player. But he is still an excellent and exceptional coach.

You have to remember that there are different types of coaches (fitness, kinetic, mental, motion analysis, nutritional, plyometric, strength, etc.), and the best tennis facilities will hire different types of coaches, not only the "ball machine / feeder" or "rally" types. A single coach will have the ability to help someone in all aspect. The top professional coaches will have multiple coaches (Henin had Rodriguez, who also hired Etcheberry, etc.)

USPTA is run as a business, so the more people they "certify," the more they collect in annual dues.

There is actually a level below the tiers at the USPTA, and it's called developmental coach. This level is for coaches who are not coaching full time (ie. college students, professionals, etc.).

I mentioned it way back, but I had more problems dealing with USPTA Pro 3 certified coaches than any others, including (US)PTR "associate instructor" coaches. Some people have had problems with PTR "associate instructor" coaches. I have also come across USPTA developmental coaches who I highly respect for their coaching talents in specific areas.

So it's all about the individual's ability to coach, despite an organization's certification level.