B. Bill and other,Questions in mind of all 3.5 players

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Columbus OH - Fairfax VA, Jul 12, 2004.

  1. Columbus OH - Fairfax VA

    Columbus OH - Fairfax VA New User

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    How long does it usually take to get to the next level, 4.0?

    I have seen and played with so many people that are in the 3.5 level on outdoor public or community courts. It seems to me that 80% of tennis players stuck at this level. I really do not want to be one of them forever. I am in my late 20’s. I visit tennis courts about 3 to 4 times, 5 to 8 hours a week, playing matches, practicing baseline rallies, and working on my serves. Is it enough? It really bugs me some time, when I feel that I will be at 3.5 level forever, or for couple of years. I want to see result, 4.0, 4.5. Is it possible to get to 4.5 or 5.0 level, if you started playing tennis after college and could not play more than 10 hours a week?

    Thank you!
     
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  2. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I agree with you that most players I have seen get stuck at 3.5. I have enough athleticism that I was able to get myself to 4.0 but see too many players stuck at 3.5 because they don't push themselves to get better by not practicing the right drills or not playing enough competitive matches against higher level players to figure out what their weaknesses really are. I played one year of tennis before college but it was just for fun and then started playing much more in my late 20's. I am 33 and a strong 4.0 now, but I think about what I am doing and what I need to be doing in order to improve. But it also helps to have good timing and alot of athleticism, size, speed, in my favor over most tennis players who mostly just play tennis.
     
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  3. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Everyone can get to a level of proficiency they want to get to. It is a matter of pride in some cases and the th matter of overcoming the fear of losing.

    Developing strokes not only needs to take place in practice but in matche as well. Most people dont want to pay their dues and learn how to hit the ball right and with authority. They will practice correct technique in practice only to resort to pushing the ball in matches.

    Case in point is the second serve. When the pressure is off, people will hit out on the ball. When the pressure is on (during a match) they will push the second serve over. IF they dare do that at a higher level, they get clobbered and then fall back to their 3.5 level.

    YOu got to want to get better and do it right to progress. Progression can be slow but it is all up to us if we want to get past the staus-quo.

    A good three years of solid effort to get up to 4.5 I would say, if you are trying to do the correct things on all the strokes. You will probably need some coaching to stay on track. But then again, I havent seen you play nor know what your strenghts and weaknesess are. Just know that it takes time.
     
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  4. ferreira

    ferreira Rookie

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    Kevhen,
    Weren't it for the parts I cut out, I'd say you are actually...me!
    Actually I'm an almost solid, wouldn't say strong, 4.0. But every now and then I revert to 3.5 mode (some days were not meant for me to play tennis!!! :x ) It took me a little over 3 years to reach 3.5 and another year to reach 4.0, playing about 8 hours a week. I think it will, like Bungalo said, take me about 2 more years, maybe a little less, to reach 4.5. Then another 3 to 4, to reach 5.0, IF I ever do.
     
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  5. ferreira

    ferreira Rookie

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    Bungalo,
    according to what I posted above, I my goal is to reach 5.0, starting form scratch, in an overall period of 9 to 10 years. In my case, it would mean progressing from 4.0 to 5.0 in around 4 to 5 years. Am I being too ambitious?
    Another question: as you progress, do your "off" days become less frequent? Or are they just as frequent, but an "off" game happens at a much higher level?
     
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  6. TwistServe

    TwistServe Guest

    No you are not being too ambitious.. I know someone that was self taught from the age of 14.. He's now around 29 and a 5.5 player, also USPTA certfied instructor.

    If you aren't afraid to lose, then you'll progress fast. If you want to win matches then be a pusher, dink the second serves, and slice/push all the balls back. You'll stay at 3.5 forever, but at least you'll have satisifcation that you won a match. (not say you specifically, but in general)..

    When I started doing kickserves in matches, I would double fault about 2 times per game. Driving me nuts that I was giving free points away but I told myself I wasn't going to dink my second serves in anymore. Now my second serves are pretty stable, though I doble fault here and there. But I lose lots of matches to friends I normally beat.
     
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  7. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I think "off" days are relevant to your level and who you are. A good example of this is Safin. So much talent, and so much roller coaster play. Geez, kinda reminds me of myself! Except for the talent of course. :(
     
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  8. vin

    vin Professional

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    From what everyone tells me in my area, the best way to be rated up by the USTA computer rating system is to play at 4.0 and win. Apparently winning at 3.5 isn't enough, unless you're dominating. Playing at 4.0 ties in with what everyone else says and will force you to improve your game by not being able to get away with as much as you can at the 3.5 level.

    Good luck. I'm trying to get out of 3.5 land myself.

    Vin
     
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  9. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I feel like I can get a 4.5 level rating in 2-3 more years but would need to start winning at that level since the strong 4.0s around here never seem to get bumped up after winning many tournaments. But their games aren't 4.5 power style either, just a blend of offense and even more defense so I still see them as just very consistent 4.0s with not alot of weapons. But I still need to beat them to move on. I really don't feel like I can get to 5.0 from all that I have seen play at the Open level but I guess some of them are 5.5 and 6.0. But to get to 5.0 I will need to add alot more offense and sharpen up my ability to place the ball from one foot to less than 6 inches and that gets harder to do when the guy on the other side is hitting even harder and more consistent and better placed than you have seen before and my body is not getting any quicker!
     
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  10. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    Most of 4.0 or higher players I know(who started tennis in their 20's and 30's)
    had a life event that allowed them to just play tennis for
    a certain period of time(like 1 yearor more ).

    A 5.0 guy who's in his 40's had 2 years had time just preparing for immigration
    to US. He was waiting for his visa granted after he closed
    out his business at his home country.
    He just practiced tennis while waiting which ended up being 2 years...

    With 9 to 5 jobs, it seems to be a tough task unless you commited to tennis
    for the most of time you're not working.

    Another case is a college professor I know. He is solid 4.5 or higher.
    He finished his phD in his mid 30 and then systematically
    practiced tennis for about 5 years while working in college.
    He said he took lots of lessons and did lots of research himself.


    I think even 2 weeks of tennis only dedication(like Nike camp)
    will help you overcome those humps (like the fear of 2nd serve,
    having secure top-spin 1 handed backhand..)
    Weekend tournament, also tennis vacations with club members
    sometimes can make you leap bigger than a few month of
    5-10 hours a week here and there......

    Anyway, we're basically in same boat as an amateur tennis lovers. Let's try make an intelligent use out of our time, enjoy and improve !!! Good luck !
     
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  11. jun

    jun Semi-Pro

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    going from 3.5 to 4.0 isn't that difficult. But going from 4.0 to 4.5 requires a little more.

    There are a lot of things that needs to be concerned and a few things are out of your contronl.
    Athleticism is one thing. Generally this can be overcome by working out hard and a lot of practice.

    Another thing is you need to find players who are willing to hit and practice with you. You can hit for 2~3 hours and still not get better. You need to work on your weakness and strength. Bascilly, you need to practice with PURPOSE.

    You might have to take a lesson or two here and there to figure out what you are doing right and wrong. Sometimes you are lucky and run into people who can spot a lot of things and put it into easy-to-understand words.

    And you need players who are better than you and are willing to play with you. You need to see different balls, and hit with different people to get better.

    I definately think you can become 4.5 with good effort. I think 5.0 would be a bit more difficult. But it's worth a try
     
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  12. BLiND

    BLiND Hall of Fame

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    Very simular to myself... I think I am a 3.0 player (just don't have the consistanecy of a 3.5)... and I play well in practices... but in match-play, my nice fluid strokes become wristy, and pokey, just patting the ball back, because I am nervious of missing.

    Is the ONLY way to always go for your shots?
     
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  13. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I came up through 3.0 and 3.5 just playing defense and getting balls back so I didn't really go for my shots then. Now at 4.0, to win against the best 4.0s, I do have to start going for my shots and taking chances, but at the lower levels, you just need to get 5 balls in each point. Consistency wins.
     
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  14. Columbus OH - Fairfax VA

    Columbus OH - Fairfax VA New User

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    B.B. and everyone, thank you for sharing you thoughts and experiences.
    You guys really pumped me up.

    It took me about 3 years to get to be solid 3.5, where I am now. I have spent first year (one summer) aimless just playing around.

    In the second year, I was very lucky to run into one of my friend from college, who is a 4.5 player with textbook stokes. He coached me for the whole summer, and gave me a jump-start. He changed my one handed BH to two-handed BH, and taught me how to serve with eastern BH, and continental.

    Last year, thanks to Mr. Bush, my coach was sent to Iraq. I should make a sign, reads “Mr. Bush, bring back my coach!” I spent last year play tennis with everyone I can find around my community. If I could not have anyone, I will work on my serves with my ball hoppers. I ended up having 20 or so phone numbers and e-mails.

    I will be very happy if I can reach 4.0 in next year. My strengths are my topspin FH, BH cross-courts, consistency, and my serves. Here are my game plans to improve my weaknesses.

    1. Work on my volleys and overhead, which I have neglected. I have added doubles to my weekly schedule. Hopefully, it will force me to work on my net games.
    2. Work on my flat out my FH to punish an easy sitter. After I learned topspin FH, it seems that I just could not flat out my FH at all, which was good for most of the base rallies, but I just could not finish off a point, when it is needed.
    3. Work on my BH down the line, and on high bounced balls.
    4. Work on hitting on the raise.

    Please let me know what you think about my game plans.
     
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  15. Columbus OH - Fairfax VA

    Columbus OH - Fairfax VA New User

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    Kevhen,

    You are so right about consistency. It is THE only thing that matters in 3.0 to 3.5 level games. It will win most the games in this level for you.

    At the same time, consistency is winning games for me, it is also made me think not to hit out, like B. Bill mentioned, which is hurting my stroke developments. I finally realized that there is a big difference between consistency and pushing. I used to have problems on pushing my 2nd serves in, too. I finally started hitting out on 2nd serves, by directing most of the “hitting out” powers to brush up, which is really helpful for my game. However, it is still very hard for me to be consistency and hit out at the same time on ground strokes. It seems that I still could not switch gears within one point very well, but I am working on it.
     
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  16. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Left-handed

    I beat many 3.5 level players using my left-hand where I have no power just consistency and good footspeed.

    You should always swing through your shots but you don't have to try to kill the ball. You should still swing out and still be consistent unless you are swinging too hard when you swing out.

    But swinging out should help you add a little more topspin to your strokes so they fall in and/or help you place the ball better.

    Good luck getting to 4.0. It is more enjoyable playing 4.0's who don't have as many of the annoying little quirks that 3.5s do.
     
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  17. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I think it looks good. Just make sure you practice text book strokes. then in match play try and duplicate your efforts. That is where you will get the most gain. Nothing is worth practicing unless your willing to transfer this skill into your matches.
     
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