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

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Back in the day, of course, you were rated by a USTA pro watching you hit. It was great. They would hand you a card with your rating afterwards.
 

samarai

Semi-Pro
i wondered if people who are arguing the validity of the players ranking has ever played in usta leagues. If u have then u will know that 4.0's come in all colors.
 
Pushers don't have 'bad technique'.
If the 'technique' you're talking about is how to win a tennis match then I guess you could say a pusher who usually wins does not have bad technique. But if the 'technique' is defined as how the vast majority of tennis professional instructors teach tennis, which I think is the way tennis technique is usually thought of, then yes, pushers have bad technique. A pusher is generally someone who 'pushes' at the ball instead of using conventional tennis strokes.
 
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user92626

Legend
Then his technique is inferior to yours!
To a simpleton that's all he sees.

To detail oriented, smart people, they can dig further and separate techniques from athleticism and whatnot. You know, they can analyze further than a simpleton can.
 

Wise one

Professional
If the 'technique' you're talking about is how to win a tennis match then I guess you could say a pusher who usually wins does not have bad technique. But if the 'technique' is defined as how the vast majority of tennis professional instructors teach tennis, which I think is the way tennis technique is usually thought of, then yes, pushers have bad technique. A pusher is generally someone who 'pushes' at the ball instead of using conventional tennis strokes.
Not really. 'Pusher' is a derogatory term for a very restrained player, who takes no chances at missing. That isn't 'bad' technique, though it may be due to limited skills, which is not the same thing at all. I know guys who love to hit overheads and miss most of them; smart players who don't have well-developed overheads avoid hitting overheads.

I know of players who can hit hard shots but shy away from the risks.
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
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?

Serves are foot faults, so the level of the player is 0.0. It is not tennis if you don't follow the rules.
 
Not really. 'Pusher' is a derogatory term for a very restrained player, who takes no chances at missing. That isn't 'bad' technique, though it may be due to limited skills, which is not the same thing at all. I know guys who love to hit overheads and miss most of them; smart players who don't have well-developed overheads avoid hitting overheads.

I know of players who can hit hard shots but shy away from the risks.
Well, after a quick check on the internet it appears that I am out of sync with the tennis establishment these days with respect to what a 'pusher' is. I've always considered that a pusher was a guy who hit his groundstrokes by bending way over from the waist and hitting the ball not with a swing but with a sort of elongated bunt motion, that looks like he's sort of pushing the ball over the net. And I've seen a few. Seems like now any low risk type defensive player who tries to win by causing his opponent to make mistakes is called a pusher.
 

Wise one

Professional
Well, after a quick check on the internet it appears that I am out of sync with the tennis establishment these days with respect to what a 'pusher' is. I've always considered that a pusher was a guy who hit his groundstrokes by bending way over from the waist and hitting the ball not with a swing but with a sort of elongated bunt motion, that looks like he's sort of pushing the ball over the net. And I've seen a few. Seems like now any low risk type defensive player who tries to win by causing his opponent to make mistakes is called a pusher.
Yes, and I object to that description.
 
A lot of people have "4.5 level strokes" and hitting, but could get smoked in a 4.0 match or season. Which is why the true rating is about playing real tennis matches, it's a whole different skill to use your 4.5 level strokes to win matches.

It's a whole different mental side of things, to win matches. But honestly don't worry about it all it takes is some experience and letting go of ego. Some of those 4.0 league players have been playing that same league for years and years, yet we think we can just come in and destroy them with our good strokes.

Get in there, play some matches, lose some, learn from it - and put yourself in a position to win the next one.
 

rkw

New User
What is the best example of a certain level? It's the one that will stay at that level for a very long time. Not going up, not going down. In other words, the best example is people who are going to peak at this level and will stay there forever without major improvement to his technique, fitness, strategy etc. So why get surprised to see the "best example" being a relatively weak player at that level? They're going to stuck at that level!

Also, it's human nature to over-estimate one's own ability and under-estimate others'. Prepare to see your own level rated 0.5 or even 1 level lower than what you perceive yours.
 
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rkw

New User

McEnroe's strokes are awkward too, no?
No, not at all.
Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, McEnroe's form is awkward if judged from what we expect nowadays:
1. No racket lag
2. No pat the dog, no pronation, minimal topspin
3. Little body rotation
4. Little weight transfer

Why can he be so successful then? Maybe pretty stroke doesn't contribute much to success after all.
 
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ptuanminh

Professional
A lot of people have "4.5 level strokes" and hitting, but could get smoked in a 4.0 match or season. Which is why the true rating is about playing real tennis matches, it's a whole different skill to use your 4.5 level strokes to win matches.

It's a whole different mental side of things, to win matches. But honestly don't worry about it all it takes is some experience and letting go of ego. Some of those 4.0 league players have been playing that same league for years and years, yet we think we can just come in and destroy them with our good strokes.

Get in there, play some matches, lose some, learn from it - and put yourself in a position to win the next one.
I think this whole " i have 4.5 strokes but i lose in 4.0" is all BS. Those people must be delusional. A true 4.5 stroke player will never lose to a 4.0 even on a bad day.
The only way to know if someone has 4.5 level shots: put them in a match against a 4.5.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
Macencoke's strokes are old school and his volleys & serve were where he excelled.

Borg & Lendl's strokes were much better than his and they were better players, faster & fitter as well.

The thing is that video of the 4.0 sample really didn't show great movement. Speed kills even if you have average strokes.

Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, McEnroe's form is awkward if judged from what we expect nowadays:
1. No racket lag
2. No pat the dog, no pronation, minimal topspin
3. Little body rotation
4. Little weight transfer

Why can he be so successful then? Maybe pretty stroke doesn't contribute much to success after all.
 

a12345

Semi-Pro

Looks very messy by todays standards. Would still beat most people. Perhaps many of the pro's today have moved on but you could for sure have someone today with a clean modern technique and get battered by a 1980's Connors.
 

EddieBrock

Semi-Pro

Looks very messy by todays standards. Would still beat most people. Perhaps many of the pro's today have moved on but you could for sure have someone today with a clean modern technique and get battered by a 1980's Connors.
Doesn't look messy at all to me. Their footworks and strokes are far superior to mind and they'd definitely beat me.

McEnroe has an extremely unique style and no one as far as I know has every played like him before or since. With the way he plays he's never going to overpower a great baseline player at baseline rallys. His game is about attacking and getting into the net and his touch and feel there are incredible. A lot of what made him great is his raw talent.

You also have to understand when you watch videos of players from years ago that their technique was right with the technology available at the time. Strings and racket technology changed and now we use a lot more topspin than they did.

 

a12345

Semi-Pro
Doesn't look messy at all to me. Their footworks and strokes are far superior to mind and they'd definitely beat me.

McEnroe has an extremely unique style and no one as far as I know has every played like him before or since. With the way he plays he's never going to overpower a great baseline player at baseline rallys. His game is about attacking and getting into the net and his touch and feel there are incredible. A lot of what made him great is his raw talent.

You also have to understand when you watch videos of players from years ago that their technique was right with the technology available at the time. Strings and racket technology changed and now we use a lot more topspin than they did.

They all had continental grips in those days for forehands and today it just looks weird. But they would have honed their technique enough to beat most people today that have a prettier cleaner looking technique.

I dont think it would fair so well against the top pros today because the ceiling is much lower, but being at the top of that ceiling is good enough to beat most people.
 

heninfan99

Talk Tennis Guru
They all had continental grips in those days for forehands and today it just looks weird. But they would have honed their technique enough to beat most people today that have a prettier cleaner looking technique.

I dont think it would fair so well against the top pros today because the ceiling is much lower, but being at the top of that ceiling is good enough to beat most people.
So former world #1s could beat most players today? Amazing insight. WTF does that have to do with the 4.0 clip of man with a pancake overheads and slow movement.
 
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Dartagnan64

Legend
We can't tell from the video where the balls are going, and that's the point! The video is useless!
That's the video's problem not the player's problem. None of these NTRP videos show much in the way of shot outcomes. That being said, you can see the ball comes off crisply and clears the net every time. That alone is better then most 3.5's.

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.
All those videos were posted within the last year in the USTA site.

No, this is not the 'best' example of a 4.0 player.
I think it's an excellent example because it shows that you can play 4.0 as an older person with unconventional strokes which is very true. I'm not sure what the best example would be. A 20 year old pusher? A 40 year old with a killer serve and weak groundstrokes? In my world I face plenty of 4.0 players that look exactly like the example given.
 

a12345

Semi-Pro
So former world #1s could beat most players today? Amazing insight. WTF does that have to do with the 4.0 clip of man with a pancake overheads and slow movement.
Do I need to spell it out. That technique alone is not enough to rate how good you are.
 
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.
What evidence do you have that the game is so much more competitive that the video is one level too low now?

I think nowadays a real 4.0
What is a "real" 4.0? Isn't it someone with a computer-rated NTRP between 3.50 and 3.99? How has that changed, regardless of how competitive the game is?

Or are you judging solely by appearances?

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.
Fairly tall order for the vast majority of people. If it was really that simple, wouldn't a bigger % be >= 4.5?
 
The proof is in the pudding.
I've always heard the saying as "The proof of the pudding is in the eating.", meaning you can't tell how good the pudding is until you eat it. In the tennis example, you can't really tell how good someone is by watching a contrived hitting video but by their match record.
 
I play USTA 4.0 in Atlanta, GA and this guy would get utterly smoked in a league match.
By you or by every single 4.0 player in Atlanta? I would be willing to bet money that he could win a match at 4.0 doubles in Atlanta. Sure, some teams might smoke him, but 4.0 is the great abyss of rec tennis, Atlanta is supposed to have a robust tennis community, there is no way every single 4.0 player would smoke this guy, that's not realistic.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
A lot of people think they have "4.5 level strokes" and hitting, but could get smoked in a 4.0 match or season. Which is why the true rating is about playing real tennis matches, it's a whole different skill to use your self perceived 4.5 level strokes to win matches.

It's a whole different mental side of things, to win matches. But honestly don't worry about it all it takes is some experience and letting go of ego. Some of those 4.0 league players have been playing that same league for years and years, yet we think we can just come in and destroy them with our good strokes.

Get in there, play some matches, lose some, learn from it - and put yourself in a position to win the next one.
Fixed it for you.
 

Wise one

Professional
That's the video's problem not the player's problem. None of these NTRP videos show much in the way of shot outcomes. That being said, you can see the ball comes off crisply and clears the net every time. That alone is better then most 3.5's.
Both! The video does not show enough to tell where his balls are landing, and what we can see does not support a claim that this is a 4.0 player.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Both! The video does not show enough to tell where his balls are landing, and what we can see does not support a claim that this is a 4.0 player.
It does not negate it either. Your first post was categorically stating that the guy is not a 4.0. Later on you amended to say you couldn't be sure. If you'd said that first, there would be no disagreements.

Anyway, the USTA put the video out there. They're not asking for anyone's opinions. Maybe he paid them money to put his video. Maybe he pulled some strings. Maybe he is a 4.0. He is moving well, hitting crisply. Those 2 things by themselves would put him on the high end of the 3.5 spectrum. Not a big leap that he could be a 4.0. In any case this is a pointless thread. As mentioned, this guy could well be a 4.0 and rankings are about results in tournaments..not style..not how one's strokes look in a video.
 

Wise one

Professional
It does not negate it either. Your first post was categorically stating that the guy is not a 4.0. Later on you amended to say you couldn't be sure. If you'd said that first, there would be no disagreements.

Anyway, the USTA put the video out there. They're not asking for anyone's opinions. Maybe he paid them money to put his video. Maybe he pulled some strings. Maybe he is a 4.0. He is moving well, hitting crisply. Those 2 things by themselves would put him on the high end of the 3.5 spectrum. Not a big leap that he could be a 4.0. In any case this is a pointless thread. As mentioned, this guy could well be a 4.0 and rankings are about results in tournaments..not style..not how one's strokes look in a video.
Based on what the video shows, this is not a 4.0 player. Satisfied?
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
It does not negate it either. Your first post was categorically stating that the guy is not a 4.0. Later on you amended to say you couldn't be sure. If you'd said that first, there would be no disagreements.

Anyway, the USTA put the video out there. They're not asking for anyone's opinions. Maybe he paid them money to put his video. Maybe he pulled some strings. Maybe he is a 4.0. He is moving well, hitting crisply. Those 2 things by themselves would put him on the high end of the 3.5 spectrum. Not a big leap that he could be a 4.0. In any case this is a pointless thread. As mentioned, this guy could well be a 4.0 and rankings are about results in tournaments..not style..not how one's strokes look in a video.
On the planet of Jupiter, there is no way in Jupiter’s hell that this guy could be a 4.0. However, on the the planet of Earth, it is very plausible that he is a 4.0.

Based on this, I believe wise one is posting from the planet of Jupiter.
 
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mcs1970

Hall of Fame
On the planet of Jupiter, there is no way in Jupiter’s hell that this guy could be a 4.0. However, on the the planet of Earth, it is very plausible that his is a 4.0.

Based on this, I believe wise one is posting from the planet of Jupiter.
Wise Guy's standards were always a bit higher anyway. TBH..I like Wise Guy. Old timer with a love for old school style S&V tennis. Nothing to dislike there. If only he would accept that tennis did continue to evolve even after the 70s, we'd have no disagreements.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Wise Guy's standards were always a bit higher anyway. TBH..I like Wise Guy. Old timer with a love for old school style S&V tennis. Nothing to dislike there. If only he would accept that tennis did continue to evolve even after the 70s, we'd have no disagreements.
He and NuBas must be from the same planet then. The planet where all 4.0s have beautiful looking technique just like the pros. Same planet where 3.5s can rally all day against pace and spin. Must be a nice planet for rec tennis!
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Based on what the video shows, this is not a 4.0 player. Satisfied?
Nope since I'm pretty sure the USTA had computer rated players play for those videos. So the very fact that the player is in a 4.0 video means he is indeed 4.0 even if he shanked every stroke into the net.

One would have to be asinine to assume the USTA pulled average joes off the the street without knowledge of their NTRP ranking to make these videos. I mean that would be beyond stupid.

What I do notice in these videos is a clear attempt to be inclusive making sure that there are people of color, seniors, overweight people, skinny people, short people, tall people, etc represented across the videos. Because tennis does allow those people into rec leagues. It's not just for 25 year old Nadal wannabees with lessoned strokes and the latest Babolat.
 
Based on what the video shows, this is not a 4.0 player. Satisfied?
If video determined NTRP, it might be a reasonable conclusion [although I'd still disagree].

But since match results and opponents determine NTRP, it's potentially an unreasonable conclusion because you're missing most of the critical information: his performance, mental toughness, fitness, persistence, ability to execute under pressure, etc. How he looks on the video is only a small part.
 

Wise one

Professional
If video determined NTRP, it might be a reasonable conclusion [although I'd still disagree].

But since match results and opponents determine NTRP, it's potentially an unreasonable conclusion because you're missing most of the critical information: his performance, mental toughness, fitness, persistence, ability to execute under pressure, etc. How he looks on the video is only a small part.
Precisely!
 
Not at all: low-level 4.0s cannot consistently beat mid- and high-level 4.0s.
Yes, but in USTA, there's only win or lose. The computer doesn't care about your strokes. You only get to stay in 4.0 if you win most of your matches and don't lose badly.

Even a strong 4.0 can get bageled by a pusher with ugly strokes. You'd see the pusher on YouTube and say "that guy is only a 3.0, man!" And yet he can consistently beat other 4.0s. Therefore, he's a 4.0.
 
At 4.0 different Things can work. Some have 4.5 strokes but bad athleticism or health (especially older players or players who got fat but could play as kids) and others have 3.5 strokes but good athleticism and fitness.

Only fitness or only strokes and zero fitness won't work anymore at that level by there is a range of things that can work. The higher you get in level the lower is that variability and you need both.
 
Yes, but in USTA, there's only win or lose. The computer doesn't care about your strokes. You only get to stay in 4.0 if you win most of your matches and don't lose badly.

Even a strong 4.0 can get bageled by a pusher with ugly strokes. You'd see the pusher on YouTube and say "that guy is only a 3.0, man!" And yet he can consistently beat other 4.0s. Therefore, he's a 4.0.
My point was that a low-level 4.0 doesn't beat high-level 4.0s consistently; if he did, he'd be a high-level 4.0 also. A low-level 4.0 might occasionally do so but usually only beats other low-level 4.0s.

One can have a 30% win record and stay at a given rating level forever. You don't have to win most of your matches and avoid losing badly to do so.
 

tennis347

Rookie
70-
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 :)
70-80 mph ground strokes would be in the pro level.
 
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