Originally Posted by OrangePower
As a general comment, I think part of the problem with league and self-rating is that people rush into it too soon... meaning, don't give themselves enough time between picking the game up (again), and self-rating / getting on a league team.
If possible, I think a better approach is to play social tennis for a couple or three months first, and then see where things stand. The level of play after three months is going to be much more of an indication of what it's likely to be for the next year. And also, playing already-rated players over the first few months would take a lot of the guesswork out of self-rating.
At least it did for me. I had no idea of what the self-rating guidelines were, but I knew pretty much what my level was based on comparison with friends who had ratings.
Absolutely spot on advice - give yourself 6 months or so of hitting around, it will come back. I played competitively in high school in the early 80's. Left HS and didn't pick up a racket more than twice for 25 years (literally did not pick up a racket). Started playing again about 7 years ago. I just hit around and joined a club to start and after about a year decided to play USTA. Self-rated at 4.0 (although a couple of people tried to entice me to self-rate at 3.5) and had about a 0.600 record the first year playing 4.0 doubles, 8.0 mixed and 7.5 doubles. The next few years my record got better each year and three years ago went to districts with a very strong record and got bumped to 4.5 where I have essentially a 0.500 record since.
The point is, for me the system worked perfectly. I've gotten back into tennis and now play 4-5x a week. I literally can't imagine not playing tennis at this point and am mystified why I gave it up so completely for so long.