What Are the Differences Between 3.5/4.0/4.5's respectively?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by winstonplum, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. winstonplum

    winstonplum Hall of Fame

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    This seems to be a huge grey area where I play in Southern Cal. I know what the USTA website says; I was just interested in what some of my fellow TT tennis junkies thought.
     
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  2. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    4.0 is an assorted bag. There are some who have good technique and can hit a heavy ball, but are not consistent. Their power alone is enough to win matches at the 4.0 level. Then there are the 4.0s that don't have heavy ball striking capabilities but are very consistent with their ball placement and/or they are good net players.

    At the 4.5 level most players have a sound technique on groundies and therefore a heavy ball. The serves are usually at or above 100mph and some placement. 4.0s can rally with 4.5s with decent success but when match play comes around, 4.5s are too comfortable with higher pace and movement than 4.0s are use to.

    Don't play with 3.5 very often.. but don't think I've ever seen a 3.5 with technically sound stroke mechanics..or else that would elevate them into at least 4.0 in my opinion.

    That's my take
     
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  3. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    Failproof definitions:

    4.5's can beat 4.0's easily.

    4.0's can beat 3.5's easily.
     
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  4. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    I suppose it's how a player hits the ball in competition. If a player is rated let's say 4.0 by a teaching pro and then plays like a 4.0 in matches. i.e. easily beating 3.5s, and competing against other 4.0s, then that player is a 4.0. If he puts up a good fight but gets beat by bonafide 4.5s, then I suppose, he's a 4.0. Speaking for myself, I consider myself a 3.5, although I easily beat most 3.5s, occasionally I play one that gives me fits, I beat many who claim to 4.0s and even compete against 4.5s in doubles. But, I'm still a 3.5. Until I can beat all 3.5s, I play against and win most of my 4.0 matches, I'm still a 3.5. That's even if I can teach someone how to hit a topspin bh and the teaching pro rates me as 4.0.
     
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  5. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    One thing to keep in mind is the majority of the posters on this forum are 3.5 to 4.0. I say this because that is largely the population of recreational tennis players in the U.S. Just do a Google search. So, makes sense to me that most posters here would be the same. Some of the input you get will be valid, some not useful. If it makes sense to you then fine, if not discard it and it doesn't matter the rating of the poster (whether 3.0 or 5.0).
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I'm a 4.0, andI don't have much experience with 4.5 women. Most of the people I play with are 3.5s or 4.0s. I play doubles, so I cannot comment on singles.

    The biggest difference between a 3.5 and a 4.0 female doubles player is the 4.0 has a Plan B that she can execute.

    When I partner with 3.5s, they often take every service return crosscourt. If the net player starts poaching, they have no Plan B (a service return they can execute consistently to defeat the poach).

    My 3.5 friends can rally crosscourt, but they have no Plan B if the opponents take the net. They will be pinned in the corner the remainder of the match, trying to hit passing shots and lobs.

    My limited experience with high 4.0/4.5 players is that they seem to have a Plan C. They seem to have three good options for every scenario. As soon as you get them on the ropes, they make an adjustment and you're in trouble before you know what's happening.

    True 4.5 players make me look very silly indeed.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    3.5, average playground player.
    4.0, usually beats any pickup player.
    4.5, no need to ever hit pickup tennis.
     
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  8. jmverdugo

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    ^^ good 4.0 / 4.5 ladies can also hit the fuzz out of the ball...
     
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  9. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't know about that, as I"ve seldom hit with 4.5 women, but maybe one total.
    3rd year of tennis, I got to hit with 5.5 thru 7.0 women. At least 5 different females. They didn't hit nearly as hard as you seem to think.
    In fact, one who won the CanadianOpen around mid late '70's didn't hit any harder than I did. Her sister, who won it couple 3 years later, did hit harder, but didn't run ever.
     
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  10. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Agree, xcept for a "4.5, no need to ever hit pickup tennis."
     
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  11. tenniscasey

    tenniscasey Semi-Pro

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    This is interesting. I would think the 4.0 level needs to include players who are below-average 4.0 players (i.e. lose more than half their matches), but who should still be there instead of sticking around and dominating 3.5.

    Not saying your approach is wrong, it's your business and I respect that. I just wonder how the levels would work over time if everyone stayed in a level based on this philosophy.
     
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  12. OrangePower

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    I think what he means is that 4.5 players generally will have a group of other 4.5 players that they will arrange games with, rather than just showing up for pickup tennis and hoping to find good competition.

    At least that's true in my area...
     
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  13. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    I see your point. But, I believe most players overrate themselves. I think a lot of players should stay at 3.5 and enter 4.0 simply because they don't want to deal with players that have ugly but effective strokes. If they get beat it's much easier to accept getting beat at a higher level. That's why when I enter 4.0 competitions I win there more than I should. It's because I'm playing 3.5 players in a 4.0 event. I strictly follow the NTRP guidelines, I haven't mastered all the 4.0 strokes. Some people tell me I have a serve that is more like a 4.5, but NTRP guidelines state you have to hit all your strokes like a 4.5. Not a 4.5 serve, with a 3.5 backhand. I have entered 4.5 doubles tournaments and leagues and hold my own because I serve and volley, but I still consider myself a 3.5 as I don't have the complete package. I'm just being honest with myself.
     
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  14. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    Males:
    4.0 -> 4.5 Movement.
    3.5 -> 4.0 Consistency and a better ability to hide weaknesses.

    Can't comment on post bump females.

    Pre bump

    4.0 -> 4.5 Weaponized Backhand, Return of Serve, volleys put away.
    3.5 -> 4.0 Average pace of shot. 3.5 is pattycake land.
     
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  15. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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    3.5s suck bad.

    4.0s suck.

    4.5s suck a little less than a 4.0 but believe they are world champions and when they play on center court they think everyone is watching them and embracing their GOATworthy suckiness and admiring their cosmic tennis talents but in reality they suck really bad. This is the group I fall under. I am a sucky 4.5 but I am a 6.5 GOAT when I watch tennis on TV criticizing Ryan Harrison's sucky play.
     
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  16. tenniscasey

    tenniscasey Semi-Pro

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    This is totally fair and reasonable. Thanks for providing the extra insight.

    I'm a 3.0 playing up in a 3.5 league right now, and I'm finding I play against the 3.5 guys better than the 3.0s for some weird reason. So I find the moving-up dilemma an interesting one.
     
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  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't matter if you have a flaw or two. If you can play even in 4.5 doubles, then you are a 4.5 doubles player. Obviously, you found a way to hide your flaws.
    Like in my case, I slide into 4.5 doubles easily, being lefty, strong serve, strong first volley, adaquate return of serve, and qiuck at the net. Hard to take advantage of slow footspeed if I hit my shots. If I don't, even a rabbit would lose the point.
     
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  18. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    4.5 gets more respect than 4.0

    4.0 gets more respect than 3.5

    3.5 gets no respect
     
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  19. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Actually, it's funny that describes my doubles game, xcept I'm a rightie. For some reason I can serve a big kick serve, it could be my throwing ability helps. It is easier to hit a putaway volley in doubles if you get weak returns and your partner gets a nice setup. So, I guess I'm a 4.5 doubles player, but a 3.5 singles player.
     
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  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Movement makes a singles player. I know a few other guys who play mostly doubles, can stay right in with 4.5's, but lose to every 4.0 in singles, making them about the same as us.
     
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  21. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Okay, thanks, The only thing I try is do an honest assessment of my game, it removes a lot of baggage if you just admit you're not yet ready to play at that level. Players often mislead themselves when they hit a great 4.0, 4.5, or even 5.0 shot every 1 in 100 shots and then think they have what it takes to move on to the next level. That's why playing 2 or 3 rounds in a tournament is very telling.
     
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  22. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Well at age 63, movement is pretty fair, but not what it used to be. So what you say is very true.
     
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  23. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    3.5s in seattle can keep a rally ball going at no less than fifty mph for five maybe ten shots before someone bails from the rally by trying for a winner. 4.0s can definitely sustain such for longer than ten strokes and 4.0s can hold better if not by serving bigger then through being smarter and knowing their games better. 4.0s are fitter too and can play better defense for longer, but this may have to do with their superior anticipation. 3.5s around here can look sloppy or experimental at times, whereas the 4.0s game seems more aware of it's own limits. i haven't played any 4.5s.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
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  24. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    I've beaten 4.5 players on several occasions. I think there are different "levels" of each rating, and that sometimes a 4.5 having an "off" day is ripe to be beaten by a relatively strong 4.0 like me. I love the challenge of playing someone who is better than me, on paper - and not "scared" of this opportunity at all. I tend to play better, when playing better opponents; and I always learn things.

    I once beat a 4.5 player one-and-zero, hitting consistently from the baseline - and she hasn't spoken to me since. It was awesome!
     
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  25. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    My experience as a captain is that 4.0 players hardly ever beat 4.5s, and if they do it is by a whisker. If a 4.0 dominates a 4.5, you know one thing for certain: One of them is lying about her level, and it is probably the 4.5.

    If you are talking about something other than USTA computer-rated ratings, then of course anything is possible.
     
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  26. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yes. I don't play singles, but I watch my teammates. The big difference between the 3.5s and the 4.0s is that the 4.0s don't do stupid things. They don't go for winners from impossible positions, yet they recognize true offensive opportunities.

    4.0s also have a very good understanding of their own game. If they don't own a drop shot, they don't play a drop shot.
     
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  27. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Yea, isn't it great, I love beating 4.5s. Who would of thought that me being just a 3.5. After the match I like to tell them that "it was the best I've ever seen them play" My next match, think I'll take on a 5.0 and do it in straight sets.
     
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  28. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    So, I'm learning their are different levels of 4.5, you can actually be a 4.0 and be rated 4.5, interesting!
     
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  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    And you know you can be rated 4.5, after a career that includes GrandSlam wins in doubles and singles rankings as high as 30.
     
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  30. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    Until doubles and singles become a split rating it will happen.
     
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  31. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    My experience is only with self-rated non-USTA players. The two 4.0s I've played are just simply more consistent than the 3.5s. The 3.5s are more consistent than the 3.0s. And so on. I'm only a 3.0 regarding current performance, although I suppose that my strokes are actually better than most 4.0s. But I'm 65, and the 4.0s I'm playing are in their late 30s and early 40s. And I really don't care at this point whether I win or lose. I just want to look really good once in a while. :) Which I think I do. Sometimes even the 3.0 guys surprise me with their shotmaking, but mostly if I just keep the ball in play with a bit of pace I can count on them to miss shots that they really shouldn't miss.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
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  32. winstonplum

    winstonplum Hall of Fame

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    Interesting.
     
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  33. TomT

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    I agree, to a certain extent. Given reasonably good strokes and good court temperament, then movement (anticipation, quickness, footwork, preparation) makes all the difference.

    But considering, say, 3.0 to 4.5 levels of play then I would have to say that players (within relatively limited age ranges) are separated by their stroke consistency moreso than movement capabilities.

    That is, wrt, say, 3.5 and 4.0 players of the same limited age range and similar movement capabilities, then what separates them is that the 4.0 guys just don't make as many unforced errors. Maybe that's just a mental thing wrt players who seem to have adequate and similar stroking abilities. I don't know.

    Just a thought. My current two cents. Interesting OP question, I think. Clearly, I haven't thought that much about it, and don't really know how to answer it at this time.
     
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  34. wrxinsc

    wrxinsc Professional

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    A 3.5 with good strokes probably doesn't understand what do consistently in singles play vs. doubles play. A 3.5 that does understand probably can't execute constantly because of physical limitations.

    A 4.0 with good strokes and an understanding is probably rising to 4.5. A 4.0 that has solid strokes and cares about tennis and improving will likely end up a 4.5 unless age catches up with them. This analysis of 4.0 is contrary to statistical evidence because most folks end up in the 4.0 pool. Many stay there even if they play often for years. But the reality is that they could improve with physical effort or strategical understanding of the game or pushing their consistency to new levels.

    A 4.5 can hit with situational control with solid stokes more often than not. But can be beat by superior athletic ability and quickness. Otherwise the consistently heavy ball hit by a 4.5 will dominate other recreational play.

    A 5.0 is either falling from being a Div. 1 scholarship player aging, or a rising athletic player that can dictate play under most all conditions (other than a 5.5 player).

    That is the picture.

    You paint your own.
     
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  35. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    In my experience, the difference between 3.5/4.0/4.5 comes down to one thing overwhelmingly - consistency. The consistency comes from all areas - more consistently playing the right shot and more consistently executing that shot properly. Yes, the pace from 3.5 to 4 to 4.5 increases, but not as significantly as one might expect from the numbers of people who never make it to 4.5.

    My biggest adjustment from 3.5 to 4.0 was getting used to balls that I would have expected would have ended the point began coming back. The same thing happened when I started playing 4.5, especially on serve returns. My biggest improvement came from being able to expect these balls to come back and move to get myself into that position - that makes the movement come into play.
     
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  36. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I saw a lady win the Georgia Hard Court OPEN Championships at the open level in the early 80s and she hit all underspin shots. Crisp shots and well placed but not very hard at all. She was quick as a rabbit and never missed too.

    On the other hand, my mixed partner is a pretty serious tennis player - rated 4.5 and she occassionally goes to Bolliterri for week long camps. She can knock the hell of it on occasion and is steady too. Joy to play with.
     
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  37. catfish

    catfish Semi-Pro

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    This the funniest post I've read in a long time. I was thinking along the same lines, but didn't want to post my thoughts for fear of being misunderstood.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
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  38. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    TCJC, there's probably a little difference in level between a lady winning a StateOpen to a couple of women who won PRO WTA events.
    I know several guys who consistently place in the top 3 NorCal A's, and got destroyed in the FIRST round of a small ATP tourney.
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Oh, in 1977, a top 5 NorCal A open woman hit exclusively slice and/or sidespin on her groundies.
     
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  40. floridatennisdude

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    Over the last decade, I progressed from 3.5 to 4.0

    3.5 - I was 40 lbs over weight, had a decent first serve, decent forehand, good overhead, but weak backhand and sissy volleys. Lost 40 lbs and got bumped

    4.0 - I was now fitter and faster. Fixed the backhand and the volleys became less of a liability. Got bumped to 4.5

    4.5 - stroke wise, I'm decent all around. If I keep my fitness up, I win more. If I get gassed, I'm in trouble because most guys I play are in good shape. My weaknesses are more tactical than fundamentals. If I am to go higher, I would need to be both fit and a little mentally tougher. I can hit with a 5.0, but I can't beat them.
     
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  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I figured I"m going the other way.
    Maybe 25 years ago, I was a real B or 4.5, have more wins than losses in A/Open in NorCal, more wins than losses in 2 local Q's.
    Quit tennis for 15 odd years, accumlated two more leg breaks, 4 collarbone breaks, countless shoulder separates, 2 dislocates of the hitting shoulder, and aged some.
    Coming back to tennis, weakest 4.5 to solid 4.0.
    Now, upon losing to a couple of tourney winning 3.5's, heading right down to that level.
    I can still hit even with 5.5's, if I have another good hitter on my side of the court, who takes half the shots.
    I cannot seem to hit with a good 4.0, one on one.
    My court coverage seems to include only a narrow 10' stripe down the middle.
     
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