Is the USTA video the best example of a 4.0 player?

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
Until the past year or so I never thought much about these ratings, but in league matches and online it seems like a clear point of contention. One time I played a great match for fun and the other guy I'm 4.5, not 4.0. Yet in my 4.0 matches I get nervous, don't play my best and lose quite a bit. I also heard that some leagues will take former 5.0 players into 4.5.

Also when people post videos everyone seems to have an opinion of the skill level of the player.

So I checked online to see the official definition and came across this USTA video. To me this guy's strokes look like he was self taught and are in no way reflective of the guys I'm seeing at 4.0. What do you think?

 
Until the past year or so I never thought much about these ratings, but in league matches and online it seems like a clear point of contention. One time I played a great match for fun and the other guy I'm 4.5, not 4.0. Yet in my 4.0 matches I get nervous, don't play my best and lose quite a bit.
This is typical: most people play better when "it doesn't count". I don't see the contradiction.

What you're describing tells me that you have potentially 4.5 technique but lower 4.0 mental toughness. So the biggest improvement you will see is not concentrating on technique but on the mental game.

I also heard that some leagues will take former 5.0 players into 4.5.
This sounds more like sandbagging than a contradiction.

Also when people post videos everyone seems to have an opinion of the skill level of the player.

So I checked online to see the official definition and came across this USTA video. To me this guy's strokes look like he was self taught and are in no way reflective of the guys I'm seeing at 4.0. What do you think?

I did not see a big discrepancy between the video and what I see on the court. You're letting your view of the ideal player interfere with judgment about how effective the player is at winning matches. One doesn't obtain a 4.0 NTRP by passing tests on stroke technique; one gets it by one's record in competition.

Also, you're comparing apples and oranges: video vs live play. We all know video slows everything down so maybe the guy's shots in the example don't look that fast or penetrating or well-placed but it's on video: if you actually had to play him, you might think differently. Or, record the matches you play so you can compare videos.

What's being described are guidelines: take them with a grain of salt. You're much better served by working on being loose during matches than comparing your strokes to some general model and worrying about discrepancies.
 

red rook

Semi-Pro
I think the videos serve to give people a GENERAL starting idea about what level of technique might be correlative to a particular NTRP rating. However, after that, score takes over and it’s ultimately about WINNING which defines where one belongs.
 
F

FRV

Guest
Why rec tennis players have such high opinion of themselves, while their hitting videos probably look as crappy as anyone.????
My hitting videos would look crappy today because I am out of shape and can't move around the court. Today, I had to jog across a road because a car was waiting for me and it felt so awkward as I have put on a lot of weight and cannot run like I used to be able to. But when I was in shape at played regularly, I think the story would be different. The guy in the video must have prioritized playing/winning over practicing his strokes. Though his backhand looks much better than mine does.
 
FWIW - the video guy looks lean and seems to move pretty well hitting his ground strokes. It he could keep this up for a couple of hours he could be kind of tough to beat in singles. On the other hand his grip for volleys doesn't look right and his serve is a hot mess as far as I see, and his serve grip doesn't appear to be a continental grip as the narrator says. Overall I'd say most local 4.0 players here have a little better technique.
I've always figured tennis is roughly 50% technique and 50% fitness so it's hard to say what will happen until it is game on. One of the best tournament singles players around here would not impress you with his strokes but he moves really well and lasts like the energizer bunny.
 
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The way I view this video is he isn't a 3.5. The serve is a lower quality 4.0 serve, but he moves pretty well and his volleys are better than most 4.0 who slap at the ball way too much. Again, the easier argument that I can use to say this is a 4.0, is, he isn't an average 3.5 and would probably win 85% of his 3.5 matches in doubles.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro
What does that have to do with NTRP levels?


Again, what does that have to do with NTRP levels?
That his strokes don't look like the strokes I see at the 4.0 level. Most of the guys use their whole bodies and have fluid strokes. All his shots look jerky and like all arms. Even his volleys look off and he doesn't get sideways for his overhead. While the video talks about a fluid serve at the level his motion looks very jerky.

Maybe he is in great shape and beats guys by being mentally stronger, but to me his shots don't look like the 4.0 players I see. Maybe it's like talking about the attributes of an ATP player and showing Santoro or Bahram. While were ATP pros their style and technique is not illustrative of a typical player. Seems like maybe the same thing here. If you look up 4.0 videos on youtube you'll see a lot of guys with better technique than him. Obviously you never know who would win in a match.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
That his strokes don't look like the strokes I see at the 4.0 level. Most of the guys use their whole bodies and have fluid strokes. All his shots look jerky and like all arms. Even his volleys look off and he doesn't get sideways for his overhead. While the video talks about a fluid serve at the level his motion looks very jerky.

Maybe he is in great shape and beats guys by being mentally stronger, but to me his shots don't look like the 4.0 players I see. Maybe it's like talking about the attributes of an ATP player and showing Santoro or Bahram. While were ATP pros their style and technique is not illustrative of a typical player. Seems like maybe the same thing here. If you look up 4.0 videos on youtube you'll see a lot of guys with better technique than him. Obviously you never know who would win in a match.
Do you play in a state that is known for players who sandbag big time?
 

ptuanminh

Professional
Look at his footwork at 0:50. Watch the little adjustments he made when playing the highball. Thats all i need to see. No 3.5 has that kind of movement.
 

loosegroove

Hall of Fame
His strokes are pretty wonky, but there's a fair amount of that at 4.0. It's all about results. My buddy was a really good 4.0 singles player, but you would have never guessed it based on his strokes. But he was super fast, a total grinder, and his unorthodox shots were hard to read and effective, particularly if you had never played against him before. That being said, most of the guys I play with look much better than the guy in this video.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
I owuld say more like 3.5, but I don't make NTRP standards. The 4.5 guy video looked about 4.0/4.5.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Until the past year or so I never thought much about these ratings, but in league matches and online it seems like a clear point of contention. One time I played a great match for fun and the other guy I'm 4.5, not 4.0. Yet in my 4.0 matches I get nervous, don't play my best and lose quite a bit. I also heard that some leagues will take former 5.0 players into 4.5.

Also when people post videos everyone seems to have an opinion of the skill level of the player.

So I checked online to see the official definition and came across this USTA video. To me this guy's strokes look like he was self taught and are in no way reflective of the guys I'm seeing at 4.0. What do you think?

the words are correct but the guy couldn't beat sureshs
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
It's not the strokes that determine a 4.0. It's their ability to consistently put the ball in play with good pace. That's what this guy is doing. You don't see him missing much.

The world of 3.0-4.0 is filled with adult learners who didn't play tennis as kids. They generally have wonky strokes compared to junior players. 4.5-5.5 is filled with ex-juniors that all played as kids and learned solid footwork and proper strokes while having moldable motor networks.

So this guy looks like a lot of 4.0 players I see right down to the clear foot faults on serve. Easiest way to get a harder serve when moving from 3.5 to 4.0? Walk into the court. Adds and instant 10 mph.
 

Wise one

Professional
It's not the strokes that determine a 4.0. It's their ability to consistently put the ball in play with good pace. That's what this guy is doing. You don't see him missing much.
Nope, the standards are clearly spelled out. He is not an 'example' of a 4.0 player, even though he may play competitively at that level.
 

user92626

Legend
It's not the strokes that determine a 4.0. It's their ability to consistently put the ball in play with good pace. That's what this guy is doing. You don't see him missing much.

The world of 3.0-4.0 is filled with adult learners who didn't play tennis as kids. They generally have wonky strokes compared to junior players. 4.5-5.5 is filled with ex-juniors that all played as kids and learned solid footwork and proper strokes while having moldable motor networks.

So this guy looks like a lot of 4.0 players I see right down to the clear foot faults on serve. Easiest way to get a harder serve when moving from 3.5 to 4.0? Walk into the court. Adds and instant 10 mph.
Your sensible post is not getting any likes other than one from me.

You have LeeD to thank for the idea that strokes determine a NRTP rating, and he's getting a lot of likes in here. :)

LeeD loves that exercise.

If anyone needs their rating determined without needing to playing, come to him. Even if someone like Del Potro didn't need it, LeeD still rated it for free.
 

Wise one

Professional
Your sensible post is not getting any likes other than one from me.

You have LeeD to thank for the idea that strokes determine a NRTP rating, and he's getting a lot of likes in here. :)

LeeD loves that exercise.

If anyone needs their rating determined without needing to playing, come to him. Even if someone like Del Potro didn't need it, LeeD still rated it for free.
Strokes and movement do determine and describe an NTRP rating; that's how it's done. They are tangible and observable. Intellectual ability enters into competition, not ratings as such.
 
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a12345

Semi-Pro
Strokes and movement do determine and describe an NTRP rating; that's how it's done. They are tangible and observable. Intellectual ability enters into competition, not ratings as such.
If you win a competition, beat everyone, but arent "playing right" or hitting the ball "correctly", how does that work?

If youre a "4.0" guy with poor technique and keep beating people that are "4.5", either youre not a 4.0 or theyre not 4.5's.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Nope, the standards are clearly spelled out. He is not an 'example' of a 4.0 player, even though he may play competitively at that level.
Here is the 4.0 description:

Has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success. Occasionally forces errors when serving and teamwork in doubles is evident. Rallies may be lost due to impatience.

The description states strokes are dependable, not pretty. Nothing about that video contradicts the descriptors. His shots were deep, dependable and with directional control. Ugly as hell, sure, but meets the criteria.
 

Wise one

Professional
Here is the 4.0 description:

Has dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides on moderate shots, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with some success. Occasionally forces errors when serving and teamwork in doubles is evident. Rallies may be lost due to impatience.

The description states strokes are dependable, not pretty. Nothing about that video contradicts the descriptors. His shots were deep, dependable and with directional control. Ugly as hell, sure, but meets the criteria.
We can't tell from the video where the balls are going, and that's the point! The video is useless!
 

Wise one

Professional
If you win a competition, beat everyone, but arent "playing right" or hitting the ball "correctly", how does that work?

If youre a "4.0" guy with poor technique and keep beating people that are "4.5", either youre not a 4.0 or theyre not 4.5's.
It's rather rare, if it occurs at all, for a player with 'poor technique' to beat players with good technique. Occasionally you see players with 'good technique' try to blast the ball and then make lots of errors, but that's not really the same thing.
 

a12345

Semi-Pro
Know Your NTRP Rating System
The National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) is the official system for determining the levels of competition for the USTA League Program. As a competitive, or at least serious, tennis player, you should know where you fall on this rating scale. Why? It will help you find playing partners who more closely match your play level and make for better, more interesting tennis. It also will help you select an appropriate tennis racquet, as most manufactures indicate the NTRP level the racquet is designed for.

Purpose
The primary goal of the program is to help all tennis players enjoy the game by providing a method of classifying skill levels for more compatible matches, group lessons, league play, tournaments and other programs.

Guidelines
The rating categories are generalizations about skill levels. You may find that you actually play above or below the category that best describes your skill level, depending on your competitive ability. The category you choose is not meant to be permanent, but may be adjusted as your skills change or as your match play demonstrates the need for reclassification. Ultimately your rating is based upon match results.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Go to YouTube and search "USTA 4.0".
Here is a search sorted by upload date.

You can see a wide variety in technique and skill level depedning on a bunch of factors, but you will get a feel for what starts to separate 4.0 from 3.5, and what keeps them from getting to 4.5 as well. I think the NTRP videos do 'ok' for reference.
 

a12345

Semi-Pro
It's rather rare, if it occurs at all, for a player with 'poor technique' to beat players with good technique. Occasionally you see players with 'good technique' try to blast the ball and then make lots of errors, but that's not really the same thing.
People can win through pure grit, determination, athleticism, power, experience. It will only get you so far but those characteristics can win you a game.

People can hit great shots and rallys with terrible technique. Again, they have a certain ceiling with that technique, but nevertheless then can punch above their weight.

Lots of older players for example i see with very poor technique but theyve repeated it 10000's of times over decades, to the point theyve got the most out of their poor technique and can wipe the floor with someone who looks good on the eye.
 

user92626

Legend
Strokes and movement do determine and describe an NTRP rating; that's how it's done. They are tangible and observable. Intellectual ability enters into competition, not ratings as such.
Not really. I play with a skinny, small form dude who seems smart enough and learned the tennis stuff correctly. His serve form looks decent. His FH looks good. His volley touch is great. No doubt his movement is above average cuz it enables a lot of the stuff he does correctly. However he could never beat me and my serve sucks. :)

It's simply that most of this guy's shots cannot go past me. I feel they're too weak and he cannot hang out on 2nd set.
 

BetaServe

Semi-Pro
People can hit great shots and rallys with terrible technique. Again, they have a certain ceiling with that technique, but nevertheless then can punch above their weight.
Lots of older players for example i see with very poor technique but theyve repeated it 10000's of times over decades, to the point theyve got the most out of their poor technique and can wipe the floor with someone who looks good on the eye.
A visual would help:

Technique 1: [xxxxxxxxxxxx------]
Technique 2: [xxx------------------------------]
(x means level)

As you can see, technique 2 has a higher ceiling than technique 1 but does that mean someone using technique 2 (but only at level 3) will hit better shots than someone using technique 1 (level 12)?

(sorry I play too much video games :p )
 

user92626

Legend
Ceiling is something no one ever knows.

People know actual achievements and quantifiable measures.

(I don't like it when I sound like surehs)
 

Chadalina

Hall of Fame
Ntrp no longer uses your strokes, its all about your match results.

Cant tell in the video because they dont show where his ball lands and how high its bouncing upon opponents impact.

Fed balls, ball machine and drop feeds have no relevance. Need to see a live ball
 

rkw

New User
"Bad" technique actually produces better result in low level tournament (probably < 4.5). It's because "bad" technique usually means:

1. Short back swing. It makes timing much easier and even if you starts the movement late, you can still return the shot.
2. Arming the ball. It means you don't need to co-ordinate the various parts of your body to successfully hit the ball. Making it easier to hit clean shots.
3. Constant racket face angle. Without the complicated supination/pronation etc., the racket face can be kept constant in a longer hitting zone. Resulting in higher margin for error. It also makes directing the shot easier.
4. Open racket face. Many ppl tend to hit with an open racket face. It generates shot with high net clearance. As long as you don't hit hard, it's easier to keep the ball in court.

Of course all the above mean you will never be able to hit hard and you're doomed to stay at low level. But that's how so many pushers beat the so-called better players.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
You know you're 4.0 when you show at courts, and most USTA 4.0's acknowledge you and ask you to join in...after they finish their set.
 

Wise one

Professional
Not really. I play with a skinny, small form dude who seems smart enough and learned the tennis stuff correctly. His serve form looks decent. His FH looks good. His volley touch is great. No doubt his movement is above average cuz it enables a lot of the stuff he does correctly. However he could never beat me and my serve sucks. :)

It's simply that most of this guy's shots cannot go past me. I feel they're too weak and he cannot hang out on 2nd set.
Then his technique is inferior to yours!
 

Wise one

Professional
Ntrp no longer uses your strokes, its all about your match results.

Cant tell in the video because they dont show where his ball lands and how high its bouncing upon opponents impact.

Fed balls, ball machine and drop feeds have no relevance. Need to see a live ball
Precisely what I have been saying!

The question was 'Is the USTA video the best example of a 4.0 player?', and I again say, 'no!'.
 
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mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Precisely what I have been saying!

The question was 'Is the USTA video the best example of a 4.0 player?', and I again say, 'no!'.
You are just playing both sides. First you categorically stayed he is not an example of a 4.0 due to his strokes. Then you jumped on the point that you can’t say because you didn’t see actual point play.

Your first point is wrong as others have pointed. Aesthetics don’t mean much. As for your 2nd point, USTA didn’t put this video out there asking folks to guess his level. He didn’t put it out there himself either. USTA. put it as an example of a 4.0. Not sure why it is bothering some.
 

Wise one

Professional
You are just playing both sides. First you categorically stayed he is not an example of a 4.0 due to his strokes. Then you jumped on the point that you can’t say because you didn’t see actual point play.

Your first point is wrong as others have pointed. Aesthetics don’t mean much. As for your 2nd point, USTA didn’t put this video out there asking folks to guess his level. He didn’t put it out there himself either. USTA. put it as an example of a 4.0. Not sure why it is bothering some.
No, from what we can see, his strokes do not appear to fit the descriptions, and without seeing him play points, it cannot be assumed that he could meet the criteria given the former. Why would anyone accept anything the USTA says or does?

For me, the word 'example' means something to strive for, and this ain't it!
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
No, from what we can see, his strokes do not appear to fit the descriptions, and without seeing him play points, it cannot be assumed that he could meet the criteria given the former.
You are wrong again on point one no matter how many times you repeat it. Point two is irrelevant since the video was not put out there asking folks to guess his level.
 

Wise one

Professional
You are wrong again on point one no matter how many times you repeat it. Point two is irrelevant since the video was not put out there asking folks to guess his level.
No, I am not. His strokes so far as we can see do not fit the descriptions, which apply to strokes in used in competitive play or simulated play. I don't understand why you keep mentioning 'guess his level'. His strokes, even if hit from 'fed' balls, do not fit the criteria.
 

Cashman

Professional
To me this guy's strokes look like he was self taught and are in no way reflective of the guys I'm seeing at 4.0. What do you think?
As a non-American, it was interesting coming onto this site knowing that NTRP is a method of ranking match ability and seeing people treat it as a way of scoring aesthetics.

Recently someone put up a video of a ranked French player doing some practice, and a poster thought he "looked maybe 5.0 at best".

Whilst better players will usually have more polished strokes, the only way to rank a player is to look at their match results.
 

Wise one

Professional
Do you play tennis? If not check one of the tons of "how to beat pusher" threads around.... and see if it change your opinion.
Pushers don't have 'bad technique'. Who made that claim? They just choose to hit very conservatively. A pusher may not have advanced technique, but knows enough to avoid trying to do what is beyond his current capabilities. He may not be able to hit backhand overhead drop shots (I can, lol) or sharply directed half-volleys (I can). He may stay away from the net because he can't hit reliable overheads, but that is not 'bad technique'. It's playing within his capabilities! Standard wood racquets make hitting half-volleys easier, by the way!

No, this is not the 'best' example of a 4.0 player.
 
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mcs1970

Hall of Fame
No, I am not. His strokes so far as we can see do not fit the descriptions, which apply to strokes in used in competitive play or simulated play. I don't understand why you keep mentioning 'guess his level'. His strokes, even if hit from 'fed' balls, do not fit the criteria.
Irrelevant again to whether he is a good example for a 4.0 type player or not. People have already posted the criteria and it has nothing to do with how pretty his strokes are. At this point it is obvious that you are just not interested in reading , but only interested in repeating your own opinion...facts be damned.
 

Wise one

Professional
Irrelevant again to whether he is a good example for a 4.0 type player or not. People have already posted the criteria and it has nothing to do with how pretty his strokes are. At this point it is obvious that you are just not interested in reading , but only interested in repeating your own opinion...facts be damned.

What 'facts'? The video is what we are judging, and the video does not support the claim that this is a 4.0 player according to the criteria. How deep are his shots? We can't tell. Are any going long? We can't tell. We can see he netted at least one ball. I'm not saying he could not be a good competitive player at the 4.0 level; I'm saying we don't have the evidence to support the claim that he is. The USTA could do much better in explaining the criteria and showing an example player.

The video is inconclusive.
 
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Traffic

Hall of Fame
I don't care how one looks in a "hitting" video. What matters is your match record.

Also, if you are to judge a video, gotta watch an actual match. Then you can see how effective those shots are and your ability to return opponents shots. The proof is in the pudding.

To use a golf analogy. It doesn't matter how you look in the driving range. The score at the end of the 18 is what gives you your handicap.
 
I would say that the video is old, probably it was approprate 4.0 at the time but now the game is a lot more competitive so the bar has raised.

I think nowadays a real 4.0 might be look more like a 4.5 in the old days. I guess in order to be a 4.5, you just simply have to have good control over the rally and serve, a 70-80 mph rally should be easy for you and you can last in this kind of rally more than 5 balls consistently.

If you have a vid let's take a look :)
 
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