3.5 Strengths

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Liv3 For It, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    What is your idea of a perfect 3.5 player? What are some of the things that a 3.5 should be able to do? What is a poster 3.5 child?

    Please make a list of all the things that a 3.5 should be able to do.

    List a 3.5's strengths.

    For Example:

    3.5 Strengths
    - Should be very consistant from baseline
    - Should know how to handle moon balls on the rise
    - Should be able to place second serve
    - Should go to net sometimes, especially on short balls
    - Should be able to hit angles and pull oppopnent off the court
    - Relys of errors more than winners


    A list somewhat like that ^^^^^

    What should a 3.5 be able to do?
     
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  2. Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket Hall of Fame

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    I'll throw out some random thoughts, but first, I want to comment on your examples...

    I don't know any 3.5's that are consistent from the baseline, but that depends on your definition of consistent, and what quality of shot they are hitting. I know some consistent 3.5's that hit complete junk, but I know of no 3.5's that are hitting shots that would be effiective at a higher level. If they were, they wouldn't be 3.5.

    Handling moonballs on the rise? There are pro's that can't do this. Guess it depends on your defintiion of a moonball, but I don't think taking things on the rise is a requirement at any level.

    Place second serves? 3.5's? Depends on the level of serve. Actually, now that I think about it, no. If you can place second serves everytime, you're better than a 3.5.

    Should go to the net sometimes? Sure, but that isn't a requirement to have success, regardless of level. Just ask Elena Dementieva.

    Should be able to hit angles and pull opponent of court? Yeah, just not consistently.

    Relies more on errors than winners, THAT is a good one. In fact, that probably works a good portion of the way up through 4.0, maybe even higher. No 3.5 is ever going to have more winners than errors, I agree with that one completely.

    I think of a 3.5 as a streaky player, often trying to play beyong their skill level at the worst times possible. They generally lack good judgement, such was what shots are acutally possible from different locations on the court.

    I also think there are a lot of 3.5 players that are very intelligent people and intelligent players, but who are just incredibly unfit. There are also those that just truly lack confidence and belief, no matter what they do, or how long they play... Maybe guys that kill 3.0's, and most 3.5's, but just fall apart against 4.0's? Guys that cannot cut down their errors against better opponents, or change their game to improve their chances of winning.

    I also think you can get to 3.5 without hitting a single shot with any sort of "technical correctness". I'm sure you can get to higher level as well without doing anything by the book, but most 3.5's I've seen, honestly, have some goofy looking shots unorthodox shots.

    Then there are 3.5's that are and well on their way to bigger and better things. These guys have good strokes, good technique, good fitness, and good mental strength. They just need more experience, and the confidence and belief gained by increased match. Then they will quickly move to the next level. This would be ideal for all 3.5's, but the truth is, the majority of people in the world that pick up a tennis racke never make it past this level.

    I apologize if I am making it sound like being a 3.5 is meaningless. I understand how much time and effort many players have put into reaching this level, and I also understand that winning a 3.5 tournament is no easy task. I am not trying to criticize players of this level or below, just trying to be realistic about tennis and skill level's. These are all just my opinions anyway, so hopefully everyone won't instantly hate me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
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  3. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

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    I'll be surprised if you get the list you requested. Part of the fun of playing at this level is how varied the skillset is. Nobody has everything, but everyone has something. Some people win by doing just one or two things well, while others win by doing everything somewhat competently. I'm tempted to say that at 3.5 you should be pretty consistent getting things back over the net, but even that's a crapshoot. I played a guy last season with a phenomenal serve; but if you could manage to return it he was toast - very inconsistent. He managed to win more than a few matches, though, by holding his serve every time and eeking out a game or two by occasionally breaking an opponent.
     
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  4. shanker

    shanker Rookie

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    What would be wrong with just using the standard USTA/NTRP definition of 3.5?
     
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  5. Stroke

    Stroke Rookie

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    I really feel like the 3.5/4.0 MEN's USTA tennis is intermediate tennis. There is a lot of overlap, and a lot of different kind of players at these levels. Now when it comes to a true active men's league 4.5 player, a guy that can win enough to be a desirable team member for some competetive captain, that is an advanced player.
     
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  6. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I almost think its impossible to describe a 3.5 the way you're asking. What you must realize is that the NTRP rating is the summation of all skills combined.

    There are 3.5s who can serve bombs but their groundstrokes are weak. There are 3.5s who can push the ball all day long but if you come to the net they fall apart. There are 3.5s who have no backhand and rely upon running around it and hitting a forehand. And so on...

    What I think is special about 3.5 probably more than any other level is the variety of styles you will see. If you play *ANY* style of play no matter how bizarre and unorthodox it is over a course of many years, you will probably end up being a solid 3.5 player.
     
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  7. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    I like the UTRP descriptions instead. The website www.universaltennis.com rates a 3.5 male player as a Level 5 and a 3.5 female player as a level 4.

    Here's the descriptions:

    LEVEL 4 (NTRP 3.2-3.4):
    It is not unusual to see Level 4 players with very advanced, well-rounded skills. Often these players are showing signs of being able to volley and hit overheads, though with little power or decisiveness. Older Level 4 players are often able to compete despite not having acquired a good balance of well-defined tennis skills.

    LEVEL 5 (NTRP 3.5-3.7):
    The adults at this level may be vulnerable in many areas, but will usually be able to do at least one thing fairly well. This may include a good slice backhand, decent serve, or a drop shot. Young juniors at the level are very good for their age, but still may have trouble with adults whose games are not at good as theirs. Many older level 5 juniors will improve and become more consistent if they simple play more tennis. Often players at this level have problems with technical development in certain areas. They may have good groundstrokes, but an odd looking serve for example. If they do have a good overall game, consistency and shot selection can be problematic.

    LEVEL 6 (NTRP 3.8-4.0):
    Court coverage and anticipation are well developed. These players are familiar with a wide variety of strokes and spins. At this stage players may be able to set points up using their serve. These players may often make tactical mistakes and throw away too many points. When they do rely on consistency, they may often underplay. While these players may have a lot variety in their games, they often do not possess the confidence to use their shots in close matches. This is all part of the game. Consistency still wins.
     
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  8. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    THe perfect 3.5 player wouldn't be playing 3.5- part of being a 3.5 is having flaws.
     
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  9. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    What flaws? What strengths?
     
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  10. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    IF you are asking what Flaws what strengths then you are asking an impossible question. The point of being a 3.5 is just that there are flaws. 3.5 is a number that describes what level player you can beat- it doesn't describe anything else about your game. There is no such thing that makes a perfect 3.5 player- the only thing you can describe is the fact that they have enough holes in their game that they wouldn't beat a 4.0 player.
     
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  11. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    What SHOULD they be able to do?
     
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  12. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    they SHOULD be able to beat a 3.0 player
     
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  13. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    End of discussion.
     
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  14. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    There is no perfect 3.5 player thats why they are 3.5 to begin with.

    First had experience as Im a 3.5 myself and believe me I suck!!!
     
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  15. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    NTRP 3.5
    This player has acheived stroke dependability and direction on shots within reach,
    including forehand and backhand volleys, but still lacks depth and variety; seldom double faults
    and occasionally forces errors on the serve.

    IMHO, make a 3.5 move their feet, the point is yours.
     
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  16. netman

    netman Hall of Fame

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    USTA rating is a bell curve of the playing population. 3.5 is the middle of the curve. Even if you go out 1 standard deviation in either direction you still get a 3.5 player. So as stated earlier you get all kinds of skill sets at this level. I've found it also depends on the region. A 3.5 in one region might be at 4.0 in another or a 3.0 in another, etc. All depends on the local player population.

    With the advent of self-rating, a 3.5 has become the default rating for every new player without a ranking history. So you get everyone from 3.0 to 4.5s starting out 3.5.
     
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  17. NetMaster70

    NetMaster70 New User

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    We all believe u cKnobman!
     
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  18. cak

    cak Professional

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    A 3.5 player is whomever the tennislink computer says is a 3.5 player. That's the real bottom line.

    As for a 3.5 should be able to beat a 3.0, well, let's see, how many 3.0 players were bumped to 3.5 this year with less than perfect records. Apparently the computer thinks they are all 3.5 material despite losing to a 3.0 player or two. (And as a computer rated 3.5 that has beaten a few computer rated 4.0 players lately, I'm sure they are still rated 4.0.)
     
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  19. NetMaster70

    NetMaster70 New User

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    Seems to me that NTRP ratings overlap. The top 25% - 30% of 3.5 players can beat the bottom 25% - 30% 4.0 players. The top 25% - 30% 4.0 players can beat the bottom 4.5 players. etc. I dont have any hard evidence, just what I see.
     
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  20. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    The OP asks about the perfect 3.5 player. In a perfect world a 3.5 player would never lose to a 3.0 or beat a 4.0.

    You're right that there is overlap. The system isn't perfect because everyone's level of play fluctuates. Also take into consideration how small a sample of matches that are usually captured in tennislink and counted towards ratings.
     
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  21. netman

    netman Hall of Fame

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    Good point. Since its a bell curve distribution, it stands to reason if the perfect 4.0 player is at the center of the 4.0 curve, then a less capable player at 4.0 would be 2-3 deviations to the left of their center which would overlap with a better than average 3.5 who is 2-3 deviations to the right of their center.

    Personally I think the ratings also involve the full moon, casting bones and tarot cards. :)
     
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  22. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    Maybe a list of what they don't do

    I think someone mentioned earlier that there is tremendous variety at 3.5. I totally agree. You'll find pushers, guys that try to kill the ball and guys with nice strokes that lack confidence at the this level. If you have to play singles or doubles with a 3.0 you'll see quickly what 3.5s usually don't do.

    You wanted a list? Here are two for ya.
    In my opinion
    3.5s usually DON'T:
    1. Try to hit overheads at the baseline
    2. Always hit down the middle
    3. Hit volleys like the racquet is a flyswatter (there are exceptions here).
    4. Double fault more than twice per set
    5. Totally miss a short ball.

    3.5 weaknesses:
    1. VERY lame 2nd serve
    2. Lack of a big & consistent weapon
    3. Lack of confidence
    4. Bad at closing out matches & games
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
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  23. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    Pretty reasonable assessment although I could argue the fact that most 3.5 I know dont have that lame of a 2nd serve (in relation to their first serve at least) and dont always hit down the middle.
     
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  24. Liv3 For It

    Liv3 For It Guest

    Thats like the list im talking about
     
    #24
  25. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I would say #4 and #5 in the first list are wrong.
     
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  26. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Most people self rate themselves at least .5 too high. A 3.5 is better than you think, heck you might even be one.
     
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  27. supertrex

    supertrex Semi-Pro

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    Not all 3.5 have lame second serve. Ive seen and played VS 3.5 with fast 1st serve and good 2nd serve also.

    but their backhand sucks. but sometimes go in.

    Some even consistently hit on the rise! backhand and forehand. but their serve sucks.

    this are peep who learned just from playing in the club or park. ( good hackers )
     
    #27
  28. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    I think that is basically what raiden means here.

    Pretty sure the person who wrote that list doesn't actually play 3.5 league.
     
    #28
  29. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I'm not sure what you're saying, but one of the frustrations I've had in 3.5 doubles is too many double faults and at 3.5 in general is missing routine putaway shots. Thats why I didn't agree with those 2 items on the list.

    A 3.5 is not better than I think, because I've been there and am now rated 4.0 in usta leagues.
     
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  30. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Your point is made you are a 4.0, how much better is it than the 3.5 league?
     
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  31. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't know because I just got moved up and have had little experience with 4.0s. What I can say is that as my game gets better, I start to see that even a 4.0 player is not all that good. I'd say the most common difference is that the 4.0 is more consistent. There are a few hard-hitting 3.5 players and obviously more at 4.0, but its not like every 4.0 player hits harder than a 3.5. I was probably hitting the same pace as the average 4.0 when I was a 3.0 but I missed alot more than they did.
     
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  32. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    I think the high double faults has to also do with the fact that you are a man and play men's leagues. In my area, in women's 3.5, we really don't see many doubles at all, but we're not trying to serve like Andy Roddick either.

    Actually Raiden, I know you played up for *one* year, but truth be told, you can't give a real accurate assessment of 3.5 unless you actually play a full season (or more) at that level. There are a whole lotta 3.5s out there and a whole lotta variety in skill at 3.5 as well. You know that.
     
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  33. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I'm not going by my usta season at 3.5, considering I played like 4 matches at 3.5. I'm going by the singles ladders, block times, tournaments, and pickup games I've played with 3.5s from the local league. So if I know the game of dozens of 3.5s in my area from top to bottom of the level, then I'd say I've had enough experience to gauge the level.

    I think the reason alot of 3.5s double fault is because they go for too much on the first serve, and the 2nd serve is not very dependable. I'm guilty of going for too much on first serve, but I had one of the better second serves as a 3.5 so I was never a big double-faulter.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
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  34. netman

    netman Hall of Fame

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    I've played up and down the range from 3.5 to 4.5 and the difference is consistency and shot speed, plain and simple. Each level you move up the speed of the shots increases and the ratio of winners to unforced errors increases dramatically on every shot category. Sure many 3.5s can hit the ball as hard as 4.5s, but their winner/UE ratio goes upside down. In most cases, way upside down. :)

    -k-
     
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  35. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I generally class 3.5s into two groups (and I am a 3.5)...

    1) 4.0 shots with 3.0 consistency
    2) 3.0 shots with 4.0 consistency

    The first group would include the double faulters that Raiden was complaining about. At the same time, there are lots of 3.5s that get their (relatively weak) first serves in 80+% of the time and never miss a volley/overhead.
     
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  36. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I like those groupings. However I've seen plenty of the 3.5 shots with 3.5 consistency players as well.
     
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  37. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    3.5s

    That makes a lot of sense.
     
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