Originally Posted by Winning Ugly
Fair enough -- but I have read much of this thread and I have a feeling...but, you are right, it's just a feeling...
And, to be fair, a solid 3.5 is hardly a "novice" given that 5.0 to 7.0 are many standard deviations above the mean, representing levels which very few competitive players ever see. 4.5 is probably somewhere better than 1 standard deviation above the mean, and 4.0 is well above the mean AND median of competitive players (do a search on this site and you'll see the supporting statistics).
Give the OP credit -- once you are a "strong" 3.5 you are probably already at the median of competitive USTA league players. If that is a novice, I would not want you grading my papers!!!!!
I went back and watched OP's strokes videos. I have to admit I see your point so I stand "somewhat" corrected. Reason I do not concede fully was reinforced tonight -- I was playing on a court next to a 4.5 woman with really unorthodox self-taught strokes, but she always puts the ball exactly where she wants to. She exemplifies the smart, fit, persistent approach I recommend. Not a pusher, either -- just an all court game where spin, accuracy and "hitting 'em where they ain't" is the key. Of course, she is in her university's hall of fame as a basketball player, so there is some off-the-charts athleticism there, though she's now in her late 50's.
Why do I say unorthodox? I sensed a sort of disconnect between OP's arms and body through the swing, which might be leading to a loss of consistency and control, particularly under pressure. I wonder if that's just me guessing or would a pro see something like what I am seeing. If I am correct, you have to be a superb athlete with great timing to overcome that.
Anyway, I've beaten better looking strokes, and lost to worse, so I still stress all the other stuff, especially the three most important things -- fitness, fitness, fitness (I include core strength in that description).
Good luck A&A!!!!!