What NTRP? Also seeking constructive criticism on my funky strokes

drivera5

New User
Hi All,

I know my strokes are funky but I'm pretty consistent at least at a certain level. I think I'm between 3.5 and 4.0 ( I've played a few tourneys but never in a league) Just to give an idea, I have about 10 matches in tournaments 3.5 and 4.0 and my UTR is 5.71. I'd love some things I could work on and some tips (my serve is an obvious weakness)

The match starts at 9:15. This is from a UTR event. My opponent was quite inconsistent and I actually won 6-0 6-1. I'm the younger guy in the black shorts.

Thanks to anyone who spends to time to watch any of this.

 

ATX Tennis

New User
I think you would be competitive at 3.5. Hard to be more specific because your opponent here ends points so early with his errors. I can see you holding your own against some 4.0s too, but again hard to tell from this match.

Besides your serve, I would work on making your strokes a little more offensive. Maybe it was dictated by your opponent, but I felt most of your shots were just trying to get the ball back over because you knew he would likely hit an error soon. If that was strategy then fine. But if it's your normal stroke, I would try to add placement and pace. We can all do that, of course, but I think at 4.0 you will get punished on many of these shots.
 

denoted

Rookie
Even though he seemed to double fault a bit, your opponent had a more conventional service motion. The results show that isn't everything, but it will help to get that motion simplified a bit. Most people who play only league at 3.5/4.0 don't have a UTR as high as 5.71 in my experience, so take that as a good sign.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
5.71 is probably an average utr for a 4.0 if that gives you an idea. I agree with ATX though. Your opponent couldn't hang in the point long enough for you to showcase what you could do. I saw a few points in there where it looked like you could hit a well placed, offensive ball and do it consistently. Those made me think you could compete well with the lower half of 4.0. Overall I think you've pegged your own level pretty accurately.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
This looks like 3.0 tennis to me. Your opponent was weak even for 3.0. His first serve had some pace, but I don't remember him ever hitting more than 2 shots in a row. You could play 3.5 but you would struggle unless you upped your level against better competition. I found a random match online that I would say is typical 3.5 league singles -- keep in mind most teams play their stronger players at singles. The guys in the video below have some solid shots but make too many unforced errors to beat good 4.0 players.


I just looked at a random selection of our local USTA league players, and we have guys with UTR 4-6 playing 3.5 singles, and 5-8 playing 4.0 (yes, there is a little overlap, but most of the 3.5s I looked are 4 or 5, and most of the 4.0s are 6 or 7. I found one 3.5 rounded up to 6 -- me :) -- and one 8 in 4.0). Most of these players don't play tournaments AFAIK; the rating is just set from league play.
 

denoted

Rookie
This looks like 3.0 tennis to me. Your opponent was weak even for 3.0. His first serve had some pace, but I don't remember him ever hitting more than 2 shots in a row. You could play 3.5 but you would struggle unless you upped your level against better competition. I found a random match online that I would say is typical 3.5 league singles -- keep in mind most teams play their stronger players at singles. The guys in the video below have some solid shots but make too many unforced errors to beat good 4.0 players.


I just looked at a random selection of our local USTA league players, and we have guys with UTR 4-6 playing 3.5 singles, and 5-8 playing 4.0 (yes, there is a little overlap, but most of the 3.5s I looked are 4 or 5, and most of the 4.0s are 6 or 7. I found one 3.5 rounded up to 6 -- me :) -- and one 8 in 4.0). Most of these players don't play tournaments AFAIK; the rating is just set from league play.
I think you need to find the thread of the 8.0 match with the 4.5 guy in the orange shirt.
 

Doan

Rookie
I know my strokes are funky but I'm pretty consistent at least at a certain level. I think I'm between 3.5 and 4.0 ( I've played a few tourneys but never in a league) Just to give an idea, I have about 10 matches in tournaments 3.5 and 4.0 and my UTR is 5.71. I'd love some things I could work on and some tips (my serve is an obvious weakness)
If that's a verified UTR rating then you're in the strong 3.5 range. Just work on your serve. As that's your biggest weakness you should be devoting more of your time on fixing it. The more matches you play, the harder it will be to reprogram the muscle memory.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I think you need to find the thread of the 8.0 match with the 4.5 guy in the orange shirt.
I might need a bit more to go on than that. :) But I did rewatch the OP's video. The match is so one-sided it's hard to be completely sure about his level. His serve is much weaker and his strokes are much more unconventional than the 3.5 guys in the video I posted, but maybe he could still beat them with his funky stuff. Hard to say for sure.

It's very hard to judge pace and spin on a video, especially internet videos where the camera placement and angles can be all over the place. I try to go by the timing and positioning. I did notice that the players in the original video are often playing points with both them standing inside the baseline. That means that they weren't really putting a lot of pressure on each other with their ground strokes.
 
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TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
Hi All,

I know my strokes are funky but I'm pretty consistent at least at a certain level. I think I'm between 3.5 and 4.0
I commend you for having the courage to post a video here of yourself playing. Most people on this forum are EXPERTS at tennis, but you’ll never see a video of them playing. Not being mean or anything, but I wouldn’t quite rank you at 3.5-4.0. I was 3.5 last year and was bumped up to 4.0 and well....... a lot of matches weren't like this.

Yes your strokes are funky, but tennis doesn’t always have to look pretty. It should however be technical and with good form. If you keep hitting the ball the way you do, you could potentially injure yourself. On both your forehand backhand your elbows are pretty tucked into your body. If you truly want to improve, you’re going to need to put in a lot of work. Starting with the split step. Go on YouTube and watch some tennis tutorials. I highly recommend Essential Tennis, they have content on almost every topic when it comes to tennis. Do something tennis related everyday (I do) and by that I mean go play tennis, practice tennis, hit against a wall, watch professional matches, watch tutorials, listen to podcasts or read a book relating to tennis.

You’ve done tournaments, try doing a few leagues as well. Keep swinging and you’ll only get better. (y)
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
This looks like 3.0 tennis to me. Your opponent was weak even for 3.0. His first serve had some pace, but I don't remember him ever hitting more than 2 shots in a row. You could play 3.5 but you would struggle unless you upped your level against better competition. I found a random match online that I would say is typical 3.5 league singles -- keep in mind most teams play their stronger players at singles. The guys in the video below have some solid shots but make too many unforced errors to beat good 4.0 players.


I just looked at a random selection of our local USTA league players, and we have guys with UTR 4-6 playing 3.5 singles, and 5-8 playing 4.0 (yes, there is a little overlap, but most of the 3.5s I looked are 4 or 5, and most of the 4.0s are 6 or 7. I found one 3.5 rounded up to 6 -- me :) -- and one 8 in 4.0). Most of these players don't play tournaments AFAIK; the rating is just set from league play.
The problem, imo, is that a good pusher would probably beat both those error prone guys handily but would look like crap on video. Drivera5 plays like one of those sneaky good players that looks worse on film but is effective in real matches. That's the reason I'd guess a strong 3.5.

Edit: I see you kind of mention that in your second comment.
 
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roadto50

New User
This looks like 3.0 tennis to me. Your opponent was weak even for 3.0. His first serve had some pace, but I don't remember him ever hitting more than 2 shots in a row. You could play 3.5 but you would struggle unless you upped your level against better competition. I found a random match online that I would say is typical 3.5 league singles -- keep in mind most teams play their stronger players at singles. The guys in the video below have some solid shots but make too many unforced errors to beat good 4.0 players.


I just looked at a random selection of our local USTA league players, and we have guys with UTR 4-6 playing 3.5 singles, and 5-8 playing 4.0 (yes, there is a little overlap, but most of the 3.5s I looked are 4 or 5, and most of the 4.0s are 6 or 7. I found one 3.5 rounded up to 6 -- me :) -- and one 8 in 4.0). Most of these players don't play tournaments AFAIK; the rating is just set from league play.
Tennis at 3.0 and 3.5 have so many holes in the game that honestly if one of the players in the OP's video played one of the players in the video you posted, you can't say for sure what the final score would be despite the fact that the link you posted show players who seemingly have "better" strokes.
 
Hi All,

I know my strokes are funky but I'm pretty consistent at least at a certain level. I think I'm between 3.5 and 4.0 ( I've played a few tourneys but never in a league) Just to give an idea, I have about 10 matches in tournaments 3.5 and 4.0 and my UTR is 5.71. I'd love some things I could work on and some tips (my serve is an obvious weakness)

The match starts at 9:15. This is from a UTR event. My opponent was quite inconsistent and I actually won 6-0 6-1. I'm the younger guy in the black shorts.

Thanks to anyone who spends to time to watch any of this.
Consider the 3Fs: footwork, focus [mental toughness], fitness, and spacing. How are you on those?

What FH grip are you using? It looks quite extreme. Full Western? Low balls are going to give that grip problems.

Your FH takeback has your elbow almost attached to your ribcage, which is going to limit your power; it looks quite cramped [think Tyranosaurus arms]. If you look at any high-level [or even medium-level] FH stroke, there's a lot more separation [look at Federer, for example].

I'd say you could get the most payout by getting more separation and maybe switching more towards semi-Western.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Hard to tell much, given the soft opponent. But 5.71 UTR is solid 4.0 here in my part of the world. Actually, after the Great Texas 4.0 Massacre, there are now a bunch of UTR6 4.5's out there.
 

drivera5

New User
Thanks for the feedback guys.
Consider the 3Fs: footwork, focus [mental toughness], fitness, and spacing. How are you on those?

What FH grip are you using? It looks quite extreme. Full Western? Low balls are going to give that grip problems.

Your FH takeback has your elbow almost attached to your ribcage, which is going to limit your power; it looks quite cramped [think Tyranosaurus arms]. If you look at any high-level [or even medium-level] FH stroke, there's a lot more separation [look at Federer, for example].

I'd say you could get the most payout by getting more separation and maybe switching more towards semi-Western.
It’s clear my grip looks extreme after watching this video. I though I was using semi western ( index knuckle on 4th bevel) but it’s clear after watching this that something is up. I have a ton of trouble generating power on my forehand, its consistent but spinny with very little pace.


Overall it’s clear I have a lot of work to do technique wise. Yet my results in tourney’s are at the high end of 3.5 so I will likely self-rate there. Im joining a 7.0 mixed doubles team so we’ll see how it goes on the court.

As a side note- if amyone is in the NY area and might be interested in playing, let me know :)
 

brownbearfalling

Hall of Fame
Thanks for the feedback guys.

It’s clear my grip looks extreme after watching this video. I though I was using semi western ( index knuckle on 4th bevel) but it’s clear after watching this that something is up. I have a ton of trouble generating power on my forehand, its consistent but spinny with very little pace.
you’re having trouble creating pace on your forehand because you’re not hitting through the ball. Looks like you are able to do it on your backhand (towards the end of the video). Do the same thing on your forehand. Drive though the ball on a fuller swing. Don’t stop immediately after impact. Follow through.

Just general advice on getting better: just play better players and figure out how to beat them. Looks like your strategy is moon ball esque. There’s some threads on this subject. It’s an effective strategy. While you might win matches you might have a hard time finding regular hitting buddies and you’ll frustrate many players.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
Your groundstrokes are funky, but I think it's mostly because the whole motion is very abbreviated. The motion through the contact point is OK, and that's why you are able to get good spin and hit that consistently, but you have very little takeback or follow-through. That spin & consistency alone will to take you a long way in tennis, but if you worked on lengthening the strokes and kinetic chain type stuff, you will be able to get more power. Your serve motion is an absolute disaster. That needs to be completely reconstructed from the ground up.

As for level, your groundstroke consistency alone will allow you to play at 4.0 (and your UTR confirms that). 4.5 is the level where you start to see people who can generate their own power and hit winners off your type of slow balls consistently enough that they will hit through you and beat you. Up to 4.0 (in general), players who try to hit clean winners off no pace balls end up overhitting and making more errors than winners. So I think you'll do OK up to 4.0, but you have a hard ceiling there and to be successful at 4.5, you will have to fix your stroke mechanics and develop a little more pace on your game. People can still "push" and successfully play the consistency game at 4.5, but there needs to at least be enough pace on your rally balls to be able to deter your opponent from teeing off regularly, and you don't have that right now because of the flaws in you mechanics.
 

jm1980

G.O.A.T.
I found a random match online that I would say is typical 3.5 league singles -- keep in mind most teams play their stronger players at singles. The guys in the video below have some solid shots but make too many unforced errors to beat good 4.0 players.

For what it's worth, the guy who posted this video was bumped up to 4.0 at the end of the year

He posts here as @Jason Peery
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
I wasn't concentrating on stroke technique per se; the 3Fs are even more important, IMO.

But the "s"[pacing] would be applicable on the FH.
Then your 3Fs mantra is woefully incomplete. :)

Alot of my peers have very funky strokes. It's not the spacing or anything else.

They just don't know how to swing their arm along with their body effectively. For example, some have pushing stroke! Like, their arm is a stiff crane sweeping thru the ball. I can't get them to whip and overpower the ball.

Perhaps, change your mantra to 3Fts - the t stands for technique? When they look at the net, they'll remember 3Fts?
 

5sets

Professional
This looks like wheelchair tennis without the wheelchairs. Why do you restrain yourself so much especially on the backhand side? It’s like you have hands but no arms.
 
I'll sound like a broken record, but something that contributes to confusion on these kinds of posts is that Texas and California, some major cities too, are better than the rest of the country, yes, it's true, don't be butt hurt . The difference is a 4.0 in Dallas/Houston/Austin would be a 4.5 in most places, same with 3.5 would be a 4.0. It's a bit tricky to say a 4.5 would be a 5.0 elsewhere because there probably aren't many 5.0 in less "tennis dense" areas. Anyway, my opinion would be you are a 3.5 in the places I mentioned and a top 3.5, good 4.0 in the less "tennis dense' areas. I always feel some commentators don't take into consideration what tennis players are creating their local tennis ratings and how it might differ elsewhere. I've also played UTRs in different areas and specifically in Dallas where there are multiple UTR tourneys a month, this would be the 4.0-4.5 UTR range in a Dallas tourney, but original poster, you would probably be the best or a better player at the tourney in that range. Elsewhere the UTR can be all over the place since there aren't enough tourneys being run.

Tips: If playing and just having fun is your goal, I would not change a thing, but if you want to put in time to improve, as in you will buy 20 balls and go serve for a an hour every week or get a ball machine or take a few lessons, I think bang for your buck would be these two things:

1. Serve and forehand, don't make your elbow a stationary point to swing at the ball with your forearm, in other words don't have the elbow touching your shirt almost, get the elbow away from your body. Watch some videos, then go practice serving by extending the arm out and up to hit the ball at a point that is around where your arm is extended and hit through the ball. Your body will find a way to do this, but the tucked elbow thing will stop your serve from improving. The forehand, maybe stand awkwardly far away from where the ball machine feeds you a ball and learn to hit a stroke where your elbow is further away from your body, another benefit is you won't have to run so far to be so close to the ball to hit a forehand.

2. Try a one handed backhand, the two hander is allowing you to baseball swing your backhand and it's going to prevent improvement. You can go back to a two hander in the future, but I think trying a one hander will shock you out of the baseball swing you are using now. It will be awkward, but give it a try.

You'll get a lot of use out of 2-4 lessons in my opinion, I would consider that too.
 
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Rosstour

Hall of Fame
Your FH takeback has your elbow almost attached to your ribcage, which is going to limit your power; it looks quite cramped [think Tyranosaurus arms]. If you look at any high-level [or even medium-level] FH stroke, there's a lot more separation [look at Federer, for example].
It looks like he has bungee cords clipped from his hips to his elbows.

I'm crying over here realizing that I have prettier strokes than everyone in this thread and would still lose to all of them! lol
 

Koby1

New User
Yeah on the serve you definitley have something going on. When I was young I had the same problem. My coach used to call it the chicken wing. Make sure when you go into the trophy pose your elbow is around the same height as your shoulder. You tend to drop it way down. And what happens is you are forced to hit up and over rather than straight through. Forehand I would look at changing the grip to something more standard. It's way to hard to hit through the ball with that grip. Also try to make contact farther out from the body. You want to be able to extend the elbow through the shot. I would worry too much about your backhand right now definitely your strongest shot technically too. But yeah no you definitely have a lot more to fix up but those are the main things for now. Definitely try to get some coaching too.
 

5sets

Professional
Thanks all some great stuff here. Even the ones who called me T-Rex and a wheelchair player. Lol
What I meant to say is you look to be in good shape, better shape than me and quick- you have a lot of potential, you could definitely benefit from a $70 private lesson and you will see your level rise exponentially.
 

5sets

Professional
I know this a tennis forum and all but you or anyone else shouldn’t be soliciting advice over the web unless it’s from a teaching professional, and even then they should be hitting balls with you and feeding so they can really break down your stroke mechanics or lack of, lol.
 

drivera5

New User
Posting these videos to track my progression... unsurprisingly this is pretty much more of the same. I still very much resemble T-Rex. My opponent this time was consistent but had very little ability to attack.
This is from a UTR event, but he did have a few singles results (good and bad) in 3.5 last season, so good to know I could handle him. Moral of the story: not all 3.5 tennis is very pretty.

Match starts at 7:25.
Won 6-3 6-1.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
The thing about gnarly strokes is that they're hard to read. I played a 4.5 mixed match in the last tournament and the woman had groundies kinda similar to yours with the elbows in tight. And she had zero back swing, so it was impossible to time a poach or figure out what she was going to do. Got tired of that mess, so just picked on the dude to win the match, lol.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
The thing about gnarly strokes is that they're hard to read. I played a 4.5 mixed match in the last tournament and the woman had groundies kinda similar to yours with the elbows in tight. And she had zero back swing, so it was impossible to time a poach or figure out what she was going to do. Got tired of that mess, so just picked on the dude to win the match, lol.
LOL, I had a mixed match like that last year, except it was the guy. I was playing 8.0 against a 4.5 woman / 3.5 man team and the woman was clearly the better player. She was a baseliner with nice topspin groundstrokes. He was a mess with ugly strokes for every shot. I started the match figuring I'd pick on him, but everything was such a mess with him that he was impossible to read and every shot came off at a different angle and/or spin, and it was largely unintentional so I couldn't pick up on any cues to tell where it was coming, either. After losing the first set, I switched tactics and started hitting back to the woman at the baseline and getting into baseline rallies, which would seem like playing into their strength, except that her ball was so much cleaner that I could get into a groove and look for a chance to hit a shot forcing enough that I could get a ball that my partner could pick off at the net. She was very consistent with nice topspin strokes and had decent power for a woman but not enough to consistently put me in difficulty the same way. We came back and won the 2nd set and the match tb.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
I have about 10 matches in tournaments 3.5 and 4.0 and my UTR is 5.71.
We have 4.0 players down to UTR 4 sometimes (3.5's playing up) and most average 4.0 guys are around UTR 6, so you could fit in a 4.0 league with those results.
 

atatu

Hall of Fame
The thing about gnarly strokes is that they're hard to read. I played a 4.5 mixed match in the last tournament and the woman had groundies kinda similar to yours with the elbows in tight. And she had zero back swing, so it was impossible to time a poach or figure out what she was going to do. Got tired of that mess, so just picked on the dude to win the match, lol.
Correct, TW's own Mark Boone is apparently a 5.0 player and his strokes look similar to the OP, so it's possible to succeed.
 
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