Describe ratings/sandbagging?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by smiley74, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. smiley74

    smiley74 Rookie

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    Can someone who has actually played League/tournament tennis please provide a description of what these levels REALLY mean and not just what is on paper????

    What can these players really do on the court? Maybe everyone has a different experience for what each player should or actually can do at each level. The descriptions are so vague.....it's truly silly to have such vague rating summaries listed as the USTA has done.

    For example, can a 2.5 consistently serve and utilize backhand, forehand, serve, volley, lob effectively?

    So, if you had to state a brief description for each of the most popular levels what would you say?

    2.5-?

    3.0-?

    3.5?

    4.0-?

    4.5-?
     
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  2. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    The description on the USTA site pretty much sums it up. The only problem is with the interpretation. No matter how hard you try to straighten this up it will always be open to interpretation.
     
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  3. smiley74

    smiley74 Rookie

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    Yes, but it leaves so much out???

    At 2.5- description reads...able to maintain a slow rally with players of same ability. Ok. Well, does that mean a 2.5 player has a really strong serve? Can they use all shots or just forehand but tend to have weaker backhands? Do they tend to not come to net successfully?

    There are too many blanks......:confused:
     
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  4. smiley74

    smiley74 Rookie

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    This is going to sound weird but when I rode and competed horses it was spelled out.

    You had to be able to do this, this, and this. They actually listed each skill.

    There were also novice levels that only people could compete that had not won more than a certian number of times. Then, you had to move to the open level. This prevented people staying at the novice level and cleaning up. Let's face it...there are always going to be people out there who want to win at all costs. Plus, it allowed newcomers to succeed.

    What if USTA created a gold, silver and bronze level in each division. Only golds could go to Nationals. The bronze would have people that have not won more than x matches. Then, they would move to silver with the better players. Once the silver player won a certian number of matches they would be required to move to gold (open). Only these players would get to go to Nationals. It might level the playing field.

    What do you think? It's just a thought!!!
     
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  5. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    Your post in itself is open to interpretation. Saying someone has a strong serve or has a weak backhand, etc... is a relative statement. A strong serve for me will mean different for someone else. Same thing with talking about a weak backhand. On the same token, about being able to use all the shots and coming to the net successfully is also questionable. A player maybe able to use all the shots but it will depend on the quality of their opponent. Same thing with coming to the net successfully. If I play singles against a 2.5, even if I'm primarily a doubles player, I think I will be quite successful coming to the net. However, playing singles against a high end 4.0 and above, my success at the net will drop significantly.
     
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  6. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    This may work in the equestrian sports but unfortunately, I personally don't think it will work 100% for tennis. I'm sure there will be a lot of people who would disagree. It is an interesting idea though. Perhaps if it can be modified for tennis it might work.
     
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  7. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    I agree with this statement. In tennis, you can be a 5.0 player with 3.5 volleys (in the case of Andy Roddick you can be a 7.0 player with 4.5 volleys). Strengths/weaknesses can not be a check list for level of play. In my opinion the biggest determinant of level is consistency.

    For example, if you serve and volley, do you consistently get your first volley into one of the corners setting up the second volley or do you float it into the middle of the court setting up a passing shot half of the time? If you do it consistently you could be very high and if you are the one who gives an easy passing shot half the time you are a much lower level. Both of you can serve and volley and mark it off a check list but one of you is clearly a lesser player than the other.

    Consistent players who put good solid shots in play are the primary difference between succesful and non-succesful players. Two player may both have good serves; they may look very similar but one tends to double fault 1 out of 6 points. Both have nice looking first and second serves but one person rarely doubles while the other gives one out of 6 points away. Both may have that check list marked off but once again one player is better than the other.
     
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  8. Cruzer

    Cruzer Professional

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    A big difference between playing levels is consistancy. A 3.5 player may have a first serve that is harder than a lot of 5.0 players but if he only gets 10%-15% of his first serves in that will ocntribute to why he is a 3.5 player. A 3.0 player may be able to hit 2 good backhands during a rally but that may his limit. Whereas a 4.0 player can hit the same shot 5-6 times during a rally.

    At 2.5-3.0 tennis if you get the ball back over the net three times in a rally you are going to win 80% of the points.
     
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  9. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    I hate ratings.

    Here's how I see it:

    7.0 = top world class professionals
    6.5 = world class professionals
    6.0 = on the way to world class professionals, or on the way down
    5.5 = The very top of "amateur" (read: does not do it for a living, but perhaps could if the dedicated the time they spend working on tennis) tennis. Many D1 players belong here, the top at 6.0 or very occasionally a little higher, and some lower. Some teaching pro's who also compete will fall into this category
    5.0 = a very solid player. think... similar game to a pro, with less athleticism, and less consistency (watching higher level players practice, or a match between the two will showcase this... not much else will, hence many players thinking they are better than they really are)
    4.5 = you start to see more folks with odd looking games, mistakes, and so forth here. Think of this as a median D3 player... there will be some better, some worse.

    I'm not too familiar with the differences at or below 4.0.

    This is all my personal view, and some of it is probably wrong. Just based on my experience.
     
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  10. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    The best way to get a feel for levels is playing against people who have established their level through league or tournament play. The USTA level guide helps a little, but it's something you really have to experience. That said:

    2.5--total beginner, may be uncertain how to keep score, no form or court positioning.

    3.0--understands the basics like keeping score, where to stand, and what shot to hit, but is very inconsistent. Will have some technique, but is often unable to execute. Some women start out as 2.5s, but no men (that I'm aware of) call themselves 2.5s--even though that is what they are! 3.0 is sort of the starting point for people who are learning the game or coming back to it.

    3.5--this is the broadest section. you get a bit of everything. Old guys who really understand the game, young guys with good strokes but are lacking a weapon or consistency, etc. 3.5s can hit most of the shots and have developed a way to win matches. The best 3.5s are excellent players and have fully developed games. They're just missing that one weapon they'll need to be a 4.0. Or, if they have the weapon, they have an exploitable weakness like a poor backhand. Almost anyone who plays often can become a 3.5, but many players get stuck at the top of this level.

    4.0--At this level, most players have cleaned up their weaknesses, and most also have a weapon and a way to win matches. 4.0s don't make as many errors as 3.5s, and they are not intimidated by pace or intense competition. Getting over the hump from 3.5 to 4.0 can be tough. To get to 4.0 you need something extra like athletic ability or good mechanics.

    4.5--A 4.5 can do everything a 4.0 does, but everything is a little better and more consistent. At this level, you can't afford to hit any short balls because your opponent will jump on them every time. You have to hit deeper, and you must have a weapon. A 4.5 doubles player needs to get to the net, and most 4.5s have good serves. Good mechanics and athletic ability are a must.

    5.0--there aren't many 4.5s out there, but 5.0s are even more rare. Most played serious competitive tennis when they were young and received intensive coaching. Many 5.0s played college tennis or are teaching pros.
     
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  11. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I agree that the USTA descriptions of the NTRP levels are very weak, especially when people like pushers are around who go against the normal development curve. Also, alot of people like myself learn how to hit all the shots and all the spins from the beginning, which should automatically put me at a higher level, but execution and consistency is where I'm lacking. I often choose the wrong shots at the wrong time or go for too much.

    The only real way to understand the NTRP levels is to play against many players of different levels and see the differences yourself.

    And to the OP's idea about gold, silver, bronze divisions, well the USTA has the computer to bump people up when they're too strong at a particular level. The whole problem is the existence of Nationals when levels are divided up arbitrarily. Its easy for teams to figure out how to utilize overly strong players without getting them bumped up. Thats just the way it will always be as long as they have Nationals to aim for.
     
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  12. smiley74

    smiley74 Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies. Lots of good thoughts ....

    Z-Man and WBF thanks for the descriptions. That was excatly what I was looking for!

    One question- WHAT IS A PUSHER???? :confused:
     
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  13. Caswell

    Caswell Semi-Pro

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    Too many subjective terms in the USTA's NTRP descriptions. The worst offender is the use of the word "pace". Hitting with pace to a 3.0 player may seem like normal rallying speed to a 4.5, which may seem like slow motion to a 6.0+.

    IMHO, NTRP can be summed up by some older tennis instruction I got as a kid. I was taught to go for consistency, depth, placement, and power in that order. I look at each one of those as the keys to winning at 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 respectively (admittedly my time on court with 4.5 players has been limited).

    5.0 and above and there's really no need for NTRP. From what I've seen there's better participation in Opens for people of that ability.
     
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  14. Caswell

    Caswell Semi-Pro

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    A pusher is just someone who makes getting the ball back the number one priority, and hits with little or no pace.

    A pusher is a usually just a derogatory name for a counterpuncher. Players of all levels have trouble with them, so they latch onto the fact that they're not hitting big shots and completely overlook the fact that almost all "pushers" can run just about anything down, can take us out of our game, and have mental toughness that most of us would kill for.
     
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  15. smiley74

    smiley74 Rookie

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    Ahhh....thanks!!! I play in a group lesson with a "pusher". You are right. She will not wow you but she can consistently get the ball back. She doesn't hit for power or have any pace but she always hits it over and not into the net (unlike me- who hits with more pace when I shouldn't). ;)
     
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  16. Islandtennis

    Islandtennis Rookie

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    Z-Man, in my opinion, that is a borderline perfect description. In would not be politically correct, but the USTA should have that as a side note for self rated players.
     
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  17. smiley74

    smiley74 Rookie

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    As a self rated player...I strongly agree!!!!!!!
     
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  18. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    Z-Man,

    I agree with your description except now in the leagues I have played at 4.5 for the past 10 years most players are now former major DI Players typically 30-40 yrs old. Some lower D1 School Players and higher DII. 4.0 is now becoming a farce as there are more and more DII college players playing and many ringers with ITF experience that they hide also many teaching pros are playing at 4.0 using the disguise of teaching to much and not playing enough.
     
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  19. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    I am seeing the same thing. I played D II tennis (admittedly, on a pathetic team) and I am not certain I could go through Nationals at 3.0 undefeated.

    WHen I played years ago, 4.5 meant 4.5. 4.0 was not very strong. I have seen some (admittedly not alot) 3.5 teams that could compete at 4.5 15 years ago.
     
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  20. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    I agree completely. There is another thread about sandbagging where people (including me) say the same thing. Others are in denial, but I've been to state enough times to know you're right. If you want to win state at 4.0, you'd better have some 4.5s and at least one unbeatable singles player.

    Re: Pushers, they can be very successful at 3.5 because most other players aren't consistent and can't put away short balls. A pusher can do well at 4.0 if he also hits with depth, but at this level most pushers have developed the ability to counter-punch. Counter-punching is a very sound strategy.

    I personally developed my game along those lines: At 3.5, I was a pusher and almost never lost a match. When I became a 4.0, I developed some weapons, and I learned to keep it deeper and counterpunch. As a 4.5, I've had to learn to attack and play a power-baseline game. I'm still a percentage player, but I have to hit everything deeper, harder, and better, or I'll get crushed. I'll never make it to 5.0 because I don't have much athletic ability and didn't get enough coaching as a child. And then there's work and family--that will slow you down a bit.
     
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  21. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    I think the PC name for Pushers is CounterPunchers, but no matter how you say it I hate to play them. Also you can be very successfull at any level playing counterpunch and a classic (flat ball and slice) style of game now days.
     
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  22. lostinamerica

    lostinamerica Semi-Pro

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    I think Pusher is often times confused with being really consistent. If you are just a hack that gets a bunch of balls in play but not with great ball movement, a decent attacker will beat a 'pusher.' If the pusher is good at moving the ball around, the pusher will be successful at any level.

    I have no issues with pushers who just get the ball back, just push back a few times and wait for a short ball. Follow it in and they rarely hit the ball hard enough to get it by me and I have a pretty good overhead.

    If they move me around and make me run, stretch for first volleys etc... that is another story.
     
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  23. fridrix

    fridrix Rookie

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    NTRPs for Ex-Pro Athletes

    What do youse guys think about pros from other sports self-rating at 3.0? As in world class pros on world famous (*cough* Dodgers *cough*) teams? :confused:
     
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  24. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Who self-rated at 3.0? I personally would think world class pros in other sports should self-rate at 3.5.
     
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  25. fbone

    fbone Rookie

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    Just now, a buddy of mine told me he hit last night with a teaching pro (mid 30's?) who told him he has been playing in the 4.0 division here in So Cal. (He's lost in the finals of the last 2 local tournies.) I looked him up on the USTA website and his record is 7-3 this year so he's not really setting the world on fire.

    I noticed we're both signed up for the same tourney 1st week of Nov. so I think I'll look him up and get his story.
     
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  26. fridrix

    fridrix Rookie

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    One of the 3.0 league dudes apparently used to play major league baseball.
     
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