Are most 3.0 players lousy servers?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by JackB1, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I just played some doubles against 3.0's and the main thing I noticed is that none of them could serve worth a lick! Is this typical? I have never played in a league before, so I am wondering if these guys were truly 3.0? Most of them had decent ground strokes, but the serves determined the point about 85% of the time. Also, most points didn't go past 2-3 hits back and forth. Is that typical too?
     
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  2. zebano

    zebano Semi-Pro

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    The rally length is certainly typical. However serving skill tends to vary wildly until about 4.5. Some people are just content to get it in and others try to make it a weapon.
     
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  3. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    My opinion is that most players below 4.5 have under-developed serves. You will see some good serves at every level, but the lower the level, the less often you see it. I played nine 4.0 matches this year (and lost 8 of them) and only maybe 2 of those opponents had respectable serves.

    Yeah most of the 3.0 guys have poor serves, and those that have good serves usually don't stay there for very long.

    Whether rallies are short or long has alot to do with the style of players. If you play lobbers and pushers, chances are you'll have longer rallies than if you play people who go for alot. And this can vary among the levels as well. I would bet at higher levels, the points in doubles will converge to being shorter because they have more weapons and close in on the net more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2009
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  4. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i think i am of the few 3.0s that can serve...because thats what i got my lessons for haha
     
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  5. MesQueUnClub

    MesQueUnClub Rookie

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    TW uses this special tool to erase your memory of how you played in the lower levels when you sign up here so that you have no recollection of how bad you sucked when you were at the lower level.
    While some others on these forums picked up the racquet, hit their first serve which was obviously an ace at over 100 miles an hour and duly given a 5.0 rating.:)

    To answer the OP's question, some 3.0's have a good serve while some others don't. But the consistency is not there. At 3.5 my serves are pretty fast as it was when I was a 3.0 last year, but the consistency is a little better this year. Also I have a 2nd serve now, though it's not very fast, I have a decent service motion to hit it unlike last year I just had a dink for a second serve. So these bring the double fault count down a lot.

    And as for the length of rally, there are very few points with more than 3-4 shots.
     
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  6. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    A 3.0 is basically just a beginner. So it seems normal to me that their serves wouldn't be very strong.

    A 3.0's serve wouldn't be very good to me because I'm a 4.5 almost 5.0 but at the same time, my serve probably wouldn't be very good to a 6.5.
     
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  7. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i have a youtube of my serve in the tips section.
     
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  8. LetFirstServe

    LetFirstServe Rookie

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    Of course they don't. When they do they might have a first serve but second serve isnt there yet. Sometimes when a second serve is acquired it would put a player up .5. Around that level trading breaks are still common.

    As said in the post above me 3.0 is basically a beginner. Beginners will have decent groundstrokes because when hitting around thats what is being practiced the most.
     
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  9. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    3.0 according to the USTA ratings is NOT a beginner. I thought it was closer to intermediate? I was just surprised at how bad some of these 3.0's were at serving. Serving is the ONE THING that you can practice by yourself. If you have great solid groundstrokes and then your serve is pitiful, you are really doing yourself a disservice not working on it. A 3.5 is probably a 3.0 with a decent serve :)
     
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  10. gamerx52986

    gamerx52986 Rookie

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    I play in the K-Swiss League at the 3.0 level and wouldn't say that most at my level are lousy servers. If anything its the lack of consistency (mine included) that has us playing at that level. I played high school tennis for 3yrs while taking lessons and playing in junior leagues. Now 40 and just started playing 2 years ago my lack of consistency with strokes is my biggest issue. I can practice serves for hours and get most in with power and accuracy. Come match time, the serve tends to go awry.
     
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  11. LetFirstServe

    LetFirstServe Rookie

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    You are right that properly defined they aren't "beginners" but it could also be a local thing, if there isnt a 2.5 level. Nevertheless that level is in a grey area between "beginner" and "intermediate".

    I agree 3.5 is like a 3.0 with a decent serve. But who knows, perhaps some of those 3.0s are currently working on their serve but their decent serve is still much to inconsistent to execute in matches so they hit their beginner junk serves.
     
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  12. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    About a year ago some beginner insisted on playing me. He's young, and tall, (about 6' 5"), and can hit his serve a ton. He couldn't hit a ground stroke at all. But he was the opposite of what you say, he was only a 3.0, but his serve was the best part of his game.

    But this is unusual, most players learn to rally and still struggle with their serve. Also, some players never develop power on the serve, but use accuracy and spins to get by. Others, (typically, young and tall), unload on the serve right from the get go.
     
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  13. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    3.0 is most definitely a beginner.

    That is because league play doesn't exist at 2.5 and below, for the most part. Most new players sign on as 3.0 for that reason, among others.

    In 2009, I played 6.5 ladies combo all the way up to 4.0 ladies doubles (which means I faced players rated 2.5-4.0). The weakest ladies were thrilled to get their serve in any way possible. The 3.0s were good at getting a medium-paced serve in the middle of the box but their second serves were markedly slower. The 3.5s start to vary more in that you see some women with good form on first and second serve, but there is still a lot of flat-first-serve, push-************ stuff. At 4.0, a lot of the ladies are getting some action on their serves, but there are plenty of women who have only one type of serve that they use at all times or women who are content to get it in deep and start the point. And uh, there are some 4.0s who can make me look really bad with their serves!

    It's interesting to note the differences. And it can be difficult to know what is coming at you early in a match, 'cause it can be all over the map.
     
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  14. LetFirstServe

    LetFirstServe Rookie

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    Yes, obviously easier to put power and get it in the box at that height without much practice. Those players should do well in 3.0 level. It kind of reminds me in hockey growing up this tall kid couldnt skate well or stickhandle with the puck but could unload his slapshot while most other kids werent strong enough to have one yet.

    Perhaps its better to play against a 3.0 that has one decent weapon than a 3.0 pusher.
     
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  15. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    If 3.0 is a beginner, it is by accident and not by design. The reason 2.5 leagues are not prevalent is because it is easy to become a 3.0 quickly. 2.5 is really only useful for players who have no athletic background and have to basically start everything from scratch.

    3.0 is essentially the gateway between beginner and intermediate. There are some 3.0s who are beginners (who technically should be 2.5 players), and then there are intermediate players who are not quite good enough for 3.5, but can defeat the 2.5ish-3.0 players easily.
     
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  16. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    I counted more DF's than serves the last time you played me :twisted:
     
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  17. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Allow me to quibble just a bit :)

    This definitely varies by gender. But when I started as a 2.5 in 2005, there were nine 2.5 teams in the flight, and we played 16 team matches.

    Just a couple of years later, it is becoming difficult to have enough players and teams to have a 2.5 flight at all. That is not because it is easy to become a 3.0 quickly -- that has always been the case. The reason is that the league eliminated the "play-up" rule. It used to be that no more than a certain percentage of your team could be playing up (40%?). That made it hard for 2.5s to get onto a 3.0 team (and prevented entire teams of 2.5s from playing up). So now most of the 2.5s play up (or just self-rate at 3.0 to increase the chance that they can get onto a 3.0 team).

    But you are correct that the "design" of the USTA rating system contemplates that true beginners will start at 2.5. It just doesn't happen that way anymore because USTA bars restrictions on playing up, thereby frustrating its own design.

    I think the demise of ladies 2.5 tennis is just awful. I remember that one thing that encouraged me to take the plunge and join a competitive tennis league was the knowledge that the lady across the net would be as horrible as I was. No way was I ready to face 3.0 players who were on the verge of moving up to 3.5. If 3.0 becomes the only means of entry, there are plenty of people who will be intimidated and decide league tennis is not for them.

    The dearth of 2.5 women also makes it impossible to sustain a 5.5 combo league, which floods the 6.5 league with players who really don't belong there. Which chases 3.0 and low 3.5 players into 7.5 combo, where they don't necessarily belong.

    And so it goes . . . .
     
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  18. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    How does eliminating the play-up rule cause true 2.5s to start self-rating at 3.0? In either case, it will be hard for 2.5s to find a team at 3.0 because they will be weak players at 3.0.
     
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  19. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Say you have two self-rated 2.5 female players. Let's call one Cindy (who is older and wildly erratic) and one Raiden (younger and more athletic. Cindy and Raiden play 2.5 league. Because Raiden is 6 feet tall and is built like a dude, she plays well and is moved to 3.0 the next year. The computer keeps Cindy at 2.5 until she straightens out her FH. Cindy will feel left behind and dissed and will think she is just as good as Raiden, so she will want to play 3.0. Because there is no limit on who plays up, Cindy and Raiden's entire team will want to play 3.0 "for the challenge." They don't need to find a team because they will be their own team.

    Without a limit on the number of people playing up, there will be entire teams that are playing up at 3.0. And because people like Cindy are no longer playing 2.5 -- they consider it beneath them -- there will be no 2.5 league at all next year for newcomers. Who will then have to self-rate (or play up) at 3.0.
     
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  20. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    Sometime from 3.0-3.5 guys I will see a hard first serve -usually based on the incredible power these lightweight frames generate. They will just throw it up and smack it with all arm. But then they tap the second serves in at literally 20 mph
     
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  21. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    What you're basically saying is that most 2.5s want to play 3.0 even though they are not good enough to even be competitive at 3.0. Really if that is the case, then 2.5 might as well not exist due to lack of interest. Maybe thats how it is with women, because I seldom see men preferring to play at a level where they are getting blown out every match by choice.

    Instead I think most men who join usta at 3.0 either 1) have already play enough tennis to be a 3.0, 2) improve from beginner to 3.0 rather quickly, 3) are in over their heads and don't realize they are not good enough to play 3.0, or 4) play in the lowest available level in their area
     
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  22. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Raiden,

    I think most women view their rating as an assessment of their worth as a human being and therefore love to play up and otherwise find ways of convincing the computer to bump them up.

    I think men are the opposite, with one exception: Men don't want to be 2.5. It's embarrassing.

    I don't understand why 2.5 isn't the entry level for men. Yes, the men who would be 2.5 would improve quickly, etc. Just because you are a man doesn't mean you aren't a beginner, though.
     
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  23. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 Hall of Fame

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    There's a saying - " You are only as good as your second serve."

    I've seen a lot of guys at 3.0 - not so much so at 3.5 - who just smack the crap out of their first serve, but have a first serve percentage of 25%, then dink or double fault.

    At the 3.5 level, most guys may not kill you with their serves, but they moderate the power enough to be get a first serve in at least 50% of the time.

    I'd say that 95% of 3.0's have pretty lousy serves. If you are a 3.0 with a strong serve, then you prob have huge holes in other parts of your game (groundstrokes).
     
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  24. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    I forgot that part - they almost never get it in.

    I remember reading something discouraging once: Your second serve should be swung at just as hard as your first serve only with more spin.

    Ouch - I ain't that good.
     
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  25. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    yea. i was serving really bad that night:(
     
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  26. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    I disagree that a 3.0 is by definition a beginner. Yes, there are some beginners, but the range of abilities is huge. I am a 3.0, bumping up against 3.5 (I play 7.0 mixed in the fall, and win 50%+), and there are still 3.0s who are legitimately rated and who beat me solidly. Conversely, I have seen a few without a serve and with little in the way of groundstrokes. I have friends who are true beginners, and if I were to play them, it would be 6-0 all day long, just like it would be if I were to play a 4.0 or 4.5.
     
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  27. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Yes.

    Because even with just a decent serve but no other real strengths, you could win enough matches at the 3.0 level to get bumped up pretty quickly. After all, half of the games in a match are your service games (singles that is), and with a decent serve you'd be able to hold serve pretty routinely against a 3.0 returner.
     
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  28. RedWeb

    RedWeb Semi-Pro

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    My serve carried me from 3.0 to 3.5 four months after I first picked up a racket (literally). After I moved to 3.5 my ground strokes kept me from winning a match in my first 13 outtings, although many were close. Many people watching me while I was 3.0 said my serve was 4.0+ caliber. So I guess its possible that some people are just naturally better than others when it comes to serving.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, you're right. I guess I should phrase it differently.

    Male beginners can be found at 3.0. Now *that* is definitely true.
     
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  30. topher.juan

    topher.juan Rookie

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    If not faster.. if my racquet head speed is not at least as fast as my first serve I know I need to take a moment to regroup; hitting a 2nd with slower head speed is a sign you're losing confidence, subconsciously just trying to get it in, and that never wins matches. If I'm going down, I'm going down swingin'! ;)
     
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  31. seleswannabe

    seleswannabe Rookie

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    My experience is that yes, most 3.0 are lousy servers. If they are decent to good they are probably going to get bumped to 3.5.
     
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  32. Grover Sparkman

    Grover Sparkman Rookie

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    I'm a 3.0, but I probably serve as well as most in a 3.5 or 4.0 range (I'm pretty mediocre at most everything else, though). I play with a good friend pretty frequently who finished 2nd in his 4.0 flight, and I can ace him pretty frequently and hold serve regularly.

    But, I win a lot of my matches in 3.0 on my serve, because I serve better than most 3.0's.

    Now if I could just get to where I can sustain a long rally, I'd be good.
     
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  33. Spyre

    Spyre Rookie

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    My dad is around 3.0, and his serves are actually really good. His technique is interesting, but he has good spin and pace. I think it just comes back to what types of hits those players practice.
     
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  34. damazing

    damazing Rookie

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    I've played in a couple 3.0 leagues this year and my observations are that those people that have good serves, i.e. produce winners, no double faults, no weak second serves have pretty good games overall. The fact that they are 3.0 usually shows in that they may have a few weak areas of their game whether it's in the net play, backhands, or overall consistency. My guess is that many of them may get moved up to 3.5 in the next year.

    The majority of the players I've played against at 3.0 though have weak serves.

    On the mixed side, I've noticed that having a solid, consistent serve is rarer for the women. I've played many opponents that serve loopy dinks over the net. The women may have great ground strokes (usually on the backhand side) and still have a weak serve.
     
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  35. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    Usually the only difference between a 3.0 and a 3.5 player is the 3.5 player has a better serve. The other strokes are the same.
     
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  36. RedWeb

    RedWeb Semi-Pro

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    Respectfully, but strongly, disagree with this statement. A good 3.5 player will toast a good 3.0 player (as it should be).
     
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  37. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I agree to strongly disagree. There aren't all that many 3.5s with good serves either. Its more about overall consistency than anything.
     
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  38. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    On the ladies side, the difference between a 3.0 and a 3.5 serve is mainly that the 3.5 is better at placing her serve. I find a lot of 3.0 serves go right up the middle of the box every time.
     
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  39. Klaus

    Klaus New User

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    From a 3.0 man's POV

    I have been playing for one year, with almost no experience before (high school, one semester, Jack Kramer wooden racquet, eight group lessons).

    I self-rated at 3.0, and after one year, have a medium-paced first serve that is about 85 percent reliable. Admittedly, my second serve is meager, since I almost never need it, and often, my opponents cannot return it because of a tricky slice I place on it. While I have miles to go before I am a "threat" to anybody, the matches I play for the most part, are 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, in my favor against 3.0 guys.

    The reason being the serve. Yes, I do have a wicked, deep forehand on occasion, but it is the serve that earns me victories against those in my level.

    I noticed that an earlier poster had played high school league tennis, etc. and had a lot of previous experience--that in no way qualifies for 3.0 level. He should be 3.5 at least. Sandbagger!

    Klaus
     
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  40. gamerx52986

    gamerx52986 Rookie

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    Klaus...I would be the poster that you so nicely called a sandbagger. I actually went through the time to get myself rated before playing in my current league and was found to be a 3.0 level player. I guess stepping away from the game for 20 years takes some getting used to. For what its worth I just finished my summer league with a 4-3 record which was only good enough for fifth in my division of 11 players. If I was sandbagging, I would have went 7-0 and blew everybody away which from the way I'm currently playing isn't going to happen.
     
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  41. pmerk34

    pmerk34 Legend

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    If you are beating guys 6-1 6-2 then you need to move up to 3.5
     
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  42. RedWeb

    RedWeb Semi-Pro

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    Raiden,

    I wasn't saying that 3.5 have "good" serves (although that is relative term). The original quote was "Usually the only difference between a 3.0 and a 3.5 player is the 3.5 player has a better serve. The other strokes are the same." I was saying that, on average, that 3.5 player has a lot more in their bag (including more defined and proper strokes) than a 3.0.

    I'd also say that, to me anyway, consistency is about the most important aspect of stroke production, so you can't say a 3.0 and 3.5 strokes are about the same with only the consistency being different.

    You don't beat a player 6-2, 6-2 or worse (which is what a 3.5 should consistently do to a 3.0 at the same relative level ie: 3.60 vs 3.10 dynamic) just because your serve is the only thing better. If I played the myself from 2.5 years ago the current me would kick my former ass. :shock: :-?
     
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  43. HitItHarder

    HitItHarder Semi-Pro

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    Athletic Ability alone qualifies you as a 3.0

    I think part of the problem with beginner guys rating at a 3.0 is that the NTRP Guidelines say a person with athletic ability or competitive experience in other sports should anticipate rapid development and not self-rate below a 3.0.

    I am very new to tennis, having played approximately one year. When I first started playing I took some lessons and was told by my pro that I should self-rate as a 2.5. Apparently I was really bad (I probably still am - just better then how bad I was in the beginning). However, I am only 35, fit, athletic, and I have played sports all my life. When I read the NTRP guidelines when I was self rating, I asked the pro if he was really sure I was a 2.5. He said yes -- huge blow to the ego there -- so I self-rated at that level.

    However, there are very few 2.5 in my area, so I ended up playing on a 3.0 in USTA league play as there were no teams at 2.5. I ended up doing ok, won a few matches, lost a few more, but usually in split sets. I was always competitive (other than the one singles match I would rather forget). What I found was that most beginner men in my area self rate as 3.0 because they consider it a little embarrassing to be a 2.5 beginner because it means you aren't athletic.

    However, if these same guys were rated by a teaching professional I think many more would be in that 2.5 category.

    As for the serves, in my area in S.C., the 3.0 is probably the broadest range of skills out there. Very few have strong serves and those that do have a low first serve percentage. However, once you get to the 3.5 level everyone is pretty good with consistent serves and groundstrokes. The pace may not be that great, but the consistency is there.
     
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  44. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    a lot of 3.0's will focus on the serve and it can win a lot of points quickly at that level

    the problem is a 3.0 with a quality serve likely hasn't worked that much on the other aspects of his game when he's bumped.

    I find a great difference among most 3.5's and the 3.0's I often play..the 3.5's have considerably more consistency in their strokes and footwork is often significantly better. A 3.5 also has a deeper serve and a bit more placement

    I try to counter this by working on things during my matches. Last night I hit all 2nd serves and didn't allow myself to go for a winner prior to the 5th stroke, often just hitting down the middle, fh, bh, bh or similar.

    to start the 2nd set I hit 1st serves and it led to 2 service winners, an ace and a short ball putaway....great..but better for me to work on approach shots, backhands, volleys then going for the bagel and went back to the plan where I had to hit good solid strokes and wait it out
     
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  45. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    I totally agree, but usually it is because they have a better serve that the 3.0 player can't tee off on, whereas the 3.5 player can tee off on the 3.0 players serve.
     
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  46. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Most 3.0's spin it in, just happy not to double fault. I have never seen a 3.0 player who could serve all that well, that's the hardest shot to develop.
     
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  47. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    In general, most 3.0s are lousy tennis players. They have little to no spin on their serve and if they do it is extremely bad technique.

    I am not here to bash 3.0s because they are the seeds of the future higher levels. Yet, the question as to whether a 3.0 has a lousy serve is a bit silly. 3.0s are still learning where to stand and getting aces or high kicking serves is preposterous. Unless, you are nationals, this rarely happens and those players are usually 4.0.

    I have a friend who played 3.0 nationals a few years ago and he said he confronted kick serves and serve & volleyers. He is probably a mid to lower level 4.0 player and he got beat. His team thought their group of ringers would just walk through everyone and they got beat 5-0.
     
    #47
  48. Klaus

    Klaus New User

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    78
    Now I am offended

    3.0s are lousy tennis players? :cry: That is an uncalled for and an inaccurate generalization. I am deeply offended by your remark. I have found in my short time on the courts that there is a wide range of talent in this category, and while some of the guys I play are not as skilled as others, some are quite proficient. I usually can serve one or more aces per match if I am loose, and find that my topspin forehand at its best is unreturnable to some. It has been said that I really am a 3.5, but I am still learning movement, playing the net and footwork, and am a work in progress. Presently, I am still a 3.0, and have no designs to jump ahead before I am qualified. Am I learning and progressing, yes! Am I a lousy tennis player, no. How very dare you! Good day. K
     
    #48
  49. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Messages:
    565
    Location:
    Galt's Gulch
    If I offended you, I apologize but I suspect as you improve and move up the ranks, then you will understand what I was saying. A 5.0 looks pretty lousy compared to a world class player but as a 3.0 you will be in awe. I am a pretty average 4.5 and a decent 5.0 will think I am pretty lousy. It is a matter of perspective but if you are a 3.0, then you are still just learning crawl.
     
    #49
  50. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,119
    No. They all are.
     
    #50

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