Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Playtennis, Apr 2, 2013.
Anyone play 3.5 singles and if so, what's the style and what to expect? ( 4.0 bump)
General Characteristics of NTRP Rating
You will see all sorts of styles from pushers to hard hitters.
I play 3.5 and I serve 90-100mph with a second serve that is probably stronger than many 1st serves at this level. I hit a somewhat heavy topspin forehand, a 1 handed topspin backhand if the ball is up in my strike zone and a slice if the ball is low. my weaknesses are court movement (i need to drop some weight) and consistency. Now I don't think I'm typical of a 3.5 as most people I play with think I should have been move up to 4.0 last year but I have seen one or two 3.5's comparable to me in ability.
What makes a player 3.5 is their ability to win points/games not their style of play.
personally "IF" I work on my consistency and fitness I can see myself moving to 4.5 eventually but I don't forsee my style of play changinging much
whats your first serve percentage 2%?
It's a pretty wide range at 3.5. I've played with a lot of 3.5 players in the last year.
I would say these are the most typical categories:
- 4.0+ plus shots, but 3.0 fitness/movement (for various different reasons), so you only get small flashes of the player they could be (or once were).
- Older players that are in good shape and are very consistent but have no real weapons because they don't generate much power on any shot.
- Young semi-upstarts. They are in great shape, but have not played tennis that long and basically get by on their fitness (pushers generally fall here).
Don't get too high or too low when things go well or bad. Have fun - it is a 3.5 tennis match and not the US Open final.
Or, self-flagellation during the change over may help you remain intense.
Question, when you say 4.0 bump, were you bumped down to 3.5 or are you being pumped up to 4.0?
Most of the guys at the top of 3.5 single are going to be consistent counter punchers. They may not have a single weapon, but they are consistent and get the ball back and move well.
You'll see a few slice and dice pushers, a few athletic guys who just track everything down but don't have great strokes, and a few players that are strong on one side (Forehand) but very weak on the other (Backhand).
mostly at this level don't expect alotta top spin. Flatter balls that sit right in the strike zone, shorter balls, softer and higher balls. Forehand grips on all shots including volleys. Oh and lobs...typically don't move the ball around the court to much and don't tend to play high percentage tennis. Keep the ball a good height to keep it in one more time than they do. Short ball them to bring them in to net and push them off balance with a lob. Drive them crazzy and have fun doing it.
Shake hands with a smile and tell them, GREAT match!
Did you even read the link I posted? That basically covers all of the other posts...
Untill you get to 3.5 Nationals. Then, it's bigger than the US Open and you're likely to have to play Wayne Odesnick.
The NTRP descriptions of different levels of play is pretty much worthless and has little to do with the wide variety of styles of play you will see especially at the 3.5 level.
I know lots of 3.5C players that meet only part or none of the description criteria.
I second this wholeheartedly. The better players at this level will grind you down rather than blow you off the court. They often approach on short balls and rather than drive a winner will hit an angled shot or a finesse shot or try to get you out of position. Overheads and volleying skills will vary even among the better singles players but I think I'm safe saying if they have good doubles skills the singles players will do these things better too.
If you ignore the trolls, they go back under their bridges.
The USTA descriptions are pretty worthless since things like "dependability", "control", "variety", etc, are all very subjective.
I'm a successful 4.5, and yet the USTA description of 3.5 could equally well apply to me.
My first serve % is around 50%, and my second serve is probably 90% or more. I do double fault sometimes but I get more free points off of my serve than double faults.
Like I said Ive never seen anyone serve bigger than I do at 3.5 except for a few that almost never got it in and had a pancake second serve.
I'm not bragging but rather trying to illustrate that although I'm not a typical 3.5 you may run into someone like me at this level.
I think Govnor's post does a good job of describing some of the types of players 3.5 has in it. I'm the first type he mentions, 4.0+ strokes but I'm carrying some extra weight so in doubles I'm strong but singles exposes more of my weaknesses.
If you think about it, "NTRP" levels are useless as well...
The same people keep referencing me in their subtle posts and it doesn't do anything..
It's pointless reasoning with morons.
NTRP levels are useless?
Not for me, they are not.
They help match me up against others who are reasonably competitive with my skill level.
The USTA level descriptions are flawed, but I supposed they are better than nothing. Barely.
Regarding what OP can expect in men's 3.5 singles, I would guess that there will be a lot of big first serves that don't go in. There will be lots of errors and overhitting. If OP resolves to be precise with his footwork and try to get every ball in his strike zone and resist the temptation to hit shots he doesn't have, he will do fine.
See, the issue is subjective.
I don't see myself as a 'number'. It has no meaning whatsoever except to others who are always consciously trying to be 'bumped up' in recreational tennis. I can somewhat understand the rating system for younger players and having a better availability of players that you can play with, but looks can be deceiving. I can play with players who are labeled 5.0 and 5.5 (who are considered open level or D1 college players) and beat them, but may struggle against a player who is labeled 4.0. It all depends on condition.
Original Poster, what racquet do you play with?
Kind of nervous about this. My team captain just told me he wanted me to play on the Men's 18 and up 3.5. Told him sure thing.
I'm rated a 3.0 as I haven't played in a while and am coming from playing tons of basketball(decided to go back to playing tennis for a change of pace and something less brutal than the guys in the hoop league.)
Condition wise I could stand to lose a few lbs. But endurance is ok thanks to running 5 days a week 2-3 miles with hoops twice a week and for about a month now tennis 2-3 times a week scaling my hoops to just once a week.
You sound more athletic than the majority of people you will play against at 3.5. Sounds to me like you'll do fine.
Question is, does he have the mental stamina/attention span to hang with the 3.5 pusher type.
3.5 was a few years ago but this is what I remember ....
When I lost I did it to myself through many UE's ...
In 3.5 I felt like I could out hit or out serve anyone in my local league, but I when I lost I was banging groundies off the back fence against someone that just kept putting the ball back in play.
In 3.5 there will be days when it all seems to come together and you play what you would think is 4.0 level ... then the next match everything will feel awkward and you would likely lose to 2.5's.
This is what 3.5 is like ... there are players that working on their games and getting better. These guys are usually young, athletic and practicing.
Then there are guys that are going to be 3.5 for a long time to come ... they either are stone cold pushers or former 4.0's that are not in shape or do not play enough. Both of these types of players will beat you more than they lose to you ... until you learn to play consistently that is.
There's a significant difference between a 3.5 Drill Attendee, 3.5 League Player, 3.5 Doubles Player, and a 3.5 Tournament Player.
From my limited experience, people usually "play up" in drills and leagues. However, it's the opposite in tournament play. I've seen 4.0's and 4.5's in several 3.5 tournaments.
The consistent factor in 3.5's is the inconsistency. Wether it's accuracy, foot-speed, endurance, etc…The player is never consistent. Mostly it's unforced errors that will defeat a 3.5 player, not their opponent.
I hope that helps.
I've scoured YouTube for the pusher players(I never even heard of the term until recently). I can see how it can be extremely fascinating. I've been working on my net game a ton. Maybe a serve and volley technique to combat this?
Possibly a chip and charge on service returns?
I mean I'm not exactly a beast at the net but am able to utilize angles especially if these pushers will not be using much pace on the ball.
3.5 is very similar to 4.0 in the variety of players you'll encounter. There's tons of guys with ugly granny strokes, but they'll hit everything back and can run anything (and you) down. If you saw them play, you might think they were 3.0
Then you'll see lots of guys with huge serves and forehands but they can't run because they're over-weight or out of shape.
And yet both of these styles (and everything in between) can somehow manage to win enough matches to hold their ranking. That's what it all boils down to.
It is this kind of nonsense B.S. that makes me think you do not even play tennis. Prove me wrong.
That's my approach if blasting them off the court is not working. I figured since they're not used to making shots and hitting outright winners, they'll start making errors. And if they keep floating stuff over, I'm just going to take it out of the air.
Much like pushers like to disrupt opponents with floaters and nothing-balls, I try to disrupt them by forcing them make shots. It works, they either keep floating stuff over or they make errors. When they hit a passing shot, then that's just a good shot.
Problem is, finding the right moment/ball to come in on, and the subsequent net play ain't easy.
Read through the thread. Lots of good posts, imo. Only a couple that didn't make much sense to me. Anyway, as a 3.0 (aspiring to solid 3.5 status) who's played lots of 3.5s, regarding what you might expect I agree with the posters who said or implied that the hallmark of 3.5 play (style, etc.) is that it covers a pretty wide range and is pretty much unpredictable from player to player.
So, I guess I would answer your question by suggesting not to expect anything in particular, and just keep practicing. When you complete your 3.5 season you can write something about it and post it at TT. (Or, better, imo, post a running, ongoing video diary of your 3.5 league experience with match play, comments, impressions, etc., etc.) Just my two cents.
It's easy to feed off the pace and consistent ball that a 5.0 or 5.5 player can give you if they decide to hit WITH you cooperatively. This gives the illusion that you can play with this type of player.
However if you struggle against 4.0 players it shows a flaw in your game.
Most 4.5 will beat a 4.0 0 and 0. No way could you beat a 5.5 and struggle vs. a 4.0.
Only way you beat a 5.5 yet still have trouble with a 4.0 is if the 5.5 player is playing with their off hand and not even trying.
You're the guy who corrected Boris Becker's quote. What have I done to you? Nothing.
Why do I have to prove you wrong? Logically, I don't gain anything from this.
Simply, on a good day, I can beat these levels of players. It may sound ridiculous to you, but I can. On other days, I may lose to people that I shouldn't lose to.Do I have to post a video or something to prove it?
Read the my post above.
Like I said before, I don't see myself as a number. Sometimes, I can't even tell the difference between a '4.0' and a '5.0' because they still play the same to me.
The final score at the end would be a win in straight sets most of the time.
Around here, 3.5's are really good. I'm an average 3.0 and have never taken more than a point or two from a 3.5. I've lost every 3.5 singles match I've played, around 6-2 6-2. They all hit super hard shots, they get everything back and they hit with more topspin than I can usually handle. Most of their serves are aces, i rarely get a piece off of it.
Something with you definitely does not compute. Whether it is your 846 forum posts since 3/18/2103, which I calculate to be over 44 PER DAY, or this post you made:
I've developed into a labeled '4.0' player in less than two years. You may not believe me, but I did.
I know my teammates think I'm a mediocre player. I've beaten the majority of them, but coach never puts me against the #2 and #1 guy or the #1 girl.
So here's a recap. You claim to have beaten 5.0 and 5.5 level players but you label yourself as a 4.0 and say that you have been playing only two years. That does not pass the smell test.
OP---Remember the first three (strategy) rules:
1. Keep it in play
2. Keep it in play
3. Keep it in play.
Why does everyone hate playing a pusher? Because they win.
That's like saying that on your best day you could beat Lebron James 1-on-1 at basketball but sometimes you struggle to beat a player from the junior high school JV squad in 1-on-1 basketball.
The gap between 4.0 and 5.5 is that big. It just doesn't happen. Simple fact. A true .5 difference in NTRP means you are losing 0 and 0.
Your post stating that you can't tell the difference between a 4.0 and 5.0 player basically shows you are not really aware of the huge gap in skill and athleticism represented by a 1.0 NTRP difference.
Outside of my team, I have beaten these types of players before.
Remember, my teammates don't even know the difference between gauges in strings, string types, basic racquet stringing, types of racquets, etc.
Like I said before, I don't label myself as a number on a scale developed by USTA.
The rest of your post is true, but this is not (although it gets repeated here ad naseuam...). It shouldn't be considered unusual if a match ends 0 & 0 with a difference of 0.5, not that every match (or even a mjaority) should end that way. In reality, many or probably most matches between people with an 0.5 difference in NTRP do NOT end 0 & 0. I've been a 4.0 for many years. I've played 5 4.5 league matches. I've lost all 5, but I've never been double bageled once. Some of those matches were probably less than 0.5 difference in dynamic NTRP, but some were most likely right around 0.5. I lost to a guy who got bumped to 5.0 at the end of the year 1 & 2. I lost to the undefeated captain of a team that qualified for nationals 2 & 5 and the next year 4 & 1. I lost to a 5.0 B rated player in an open tournament 1 & 6. For all of those matches, the dyanamic rating was probably around 0.5 (or more in the case of the 5.0 guy), and there's not a single bagel in the bunch.
I don't think that example works.
I can't beat Federer. No one on this forum can even win a game from him.
But I can beat players who went to nationals and state and still lose to the guy on the regular club team. There are always times when people lose to players who are significantly better than them.
On a computer or pen and paper, no I don't see the difference betweena 4.0 and a 5.0. However, I do know the difference between playing them. I'm not saying that they are easy, but I am saying that they can be defeated.
I agree his example was a bit off but, a true 4.0 will NEVER beat a true 5.0 and if it does happen they arent rated correctly.
Okay, make it a starter for Duke or Michigan. If you can play on that level that means your worst is better than a best of anyone on the HS JV squad. Barring severe sickness or injury, a player on that level is not losing.
4.0 and 5.0 is not paper and pen, it's based on results. A computer rated 5.0 is not going to lose to a computer rated 4.0.
The difference between a 4.0 and 5.0 player is not "Oh, I had a hot hand on court today."
On the 4.0 vs 5.0. I think it's "possible" under a set of very unusual circumstances that the 4.0 could win the match. But we're talking so unusual, that I'm not sure it really means anything. 1.0 difference is just too much.
No, what is true is that the kids you think are 5.0 and 5.5 rated players are really not, if you are beating them with 4.0 skills. It is really that simple. If you have really developed 4.0 skills in just two years of tennis that is great, congratulations, but there is no way in heck you are beating 5.0 or better players with them. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.
I realize you are a teenager and consequently you have already figured out everything worth knowing in this world. I have two of my own so I know teenagers pretty well. I also realize I've come down pretty hard on you but you could make life a lot easier on yourself if you would just slow down, back off, and not post about things you don't know much about starting with USTA NTRP levels. Either that or before posting take a deep breath and ask yourself, "how sure am I about what I'm about to write?" You are just too easy a target to pick apart otherwise.
I would love to hear an example of those unusual circumstances.
Any of you 3.5 players have a match video?
FWIW this is from the NTRP FAQ at http://www.usta.com/Play-Tennis/USTA-League/Information/ntrp_frequently_asked_questions/#4390
Are all players in a given NTRP level equal in ability?
No: The NTRP system identifies general levels of ability, but an individual will be rated within those levels at 50 different hundredths of a point. For example, a 3.5 player can fall anywhere between a 3.01 and a 3.50. That is the reason many people feel they are playing sandbaggers – they are closer to the bottom of that range while their opponents are closer to the top of the range.
A typical match result for a player, for example, with a 3.01 rating versus a 3.49 player, both of whom are 3.5s, would be 6-0, 6-0 in favor of the higher rated player.
Most likely a combination of circumstances.
Illness - the 5.0 shouldn't be playing
Apathy - 5.0 not into the match at all
Season/Fitness - the 4.0 is a very good athlete that has been playing a lot and in shape. The 5.0 has taken time off or not been playing much leading up to the match.
Ratings might be stale - 4.0 is rising fast. 5.0 is sinking (lack of playing etc)
But like I said, it is a long long long shot for any 4.0 to beat any 5.0. I'm a 4.0 and I hit with some 3.0's. I cannot envision losing to them. Something would have to be horribly off. I almost lost to a couple of 3.5's in matches last year though. One because I was really quite sick and should not have played. The other because I was arrogantly testing 4 different racquets during the match. But that is 3.5, not 3.0.
Come on. Now you're just being kinda silly.
Anyone who plays tennis even a little bit will see a massive difference in the strokes and play of a 4.0 v. a 5.0.
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