What's the difference between 3.0 and 3.5?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Traffic, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. Traffic

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  2. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Hall of Fame

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    Lots more mis-hits and errors in 3.0. I'd say a lot of people at 3.0 have a hard time getting the ball over the net and in once you get past three hits. After that, the chance for an error goes up exponentially in my opinion. At 3.0 you will see a lot of errors on harder hit balls or balls that are out of their wheelhouse, i.e. shoulder height. The balls are more softly hit and players generally won't try to overhit since mechanics won't keep it in for them. If you have any kind of consistency at 3.0 you won't be a 3.0 for long.
     
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  3. AutoXer

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  4. Traffic

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    That actually makes a lot of sense. Thanks for summarizing. I am in total agreement with you.

    I started playing tennis on somewhat of a regular basis this year. Registered for USTA and though the questionnaire had me self-rate at 2.5, I just entered 3.0 since we all think we play better than we actually do. Actually, my sister said, "you can hit topspin fh and you actually have a backhand. You can't register 2.5"

    Started joining group skills classes and finally got in on club Flights in March. For about a month, I couldn't get out of the bottom court. I had no consistency and double-faults hounded me. Then I started bunting the ball over the net and somehow got my slice serves working. Next thing I'm moving up courts. But by the time I moved up about 2 courts, the guys were hitting way more consistently and some of the serves were harder to return. But you're right. It's still 3+ hits and someone has UE. I suppose if I continued to bunt the ball with good placement, I'd be ok as long as I learned how to hit a lollipop serve.

    After struggling through over-use injuries from using tennis muscles I hadn't used in decades, I think I settled down with my fitness and equipment.

    Getting into position, footwork so my strokes are the same will remain my focus. And not double-faulting...

    My last USTA doubles match, I played lights out. Very low UE. But my shots were very strong. I didn't go for winners, but tried to keep the ball in play with well hit ground strokes. After rallying 3 good shots, my opponent would hit long or dump into the net.

    I had low double faults serving a mix of slice and kick serves. My partner owned the net.

    On service returns, I was able to do a half backswing fh block return on first serves and I was hitting strong shallow fh topspin shots back to the server to cause more pressure. My net guy was everywhere he needed to be to put away anything less than a text book return. So it seemed we were playing beyond your 3.0 description and easily beat the (good 3.0) opponents 2,2.
     
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  5. Dartagnan64

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    You know the pros generally have 3 hits before someone makes an error too. That is universal to tennis since we tend to tighten our margins and make increasingly more difficult shots as we advance in skill. And we face increasingly difficult shots putting more pressure on us.
     
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  6. MathGeek

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    Most 3.5s have some weapons and can take advantage of opportunities.
     
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  7. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    I hit with a new club member the other day, he was in his 30's, said he was a 3.0--I told him he would be a 3.5 very soon. A 3.0 could be an athletic beginner. A 3.5 is an average player, a C in the old days. Could be a club hack who's been playing all his life, who will not get any better and has no desire to improve. He just wants to get out of the house for some exercise and a trip to the bar afterwards. He will not take any lessons, clinics or practice. Their game is what it is, but can be decent, canny and consistent, because they've been playing everyday for 30-50 years. Generally unaware of the rules of tennis, or what brand of ball or number on it they are playing with. 3.0 could be an aging player in physical decline, one set away from golf. 3/3.5 can cover a vast number of disparate players; most club/rec players. They never bothered to learn the rules of tennis because they break most of them like foot-faulting, not calling out the score, bad calls by a foot margin, etc.
     
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  8. Peter N

    Peter N New User

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    do 4.0 and 4.5 players play in 3.5 tournaments because they think they will have a better chance of winning?
     
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  9. stapletonj

    stapletonj Professional

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    Some clues -

    almost all 3.0s have a forehand of sorts.
    almost all 3.0s do not change the grip on their backhand, either weird late undercut/sidecut that floats, or two hander that has about a 60% chance of landing in the other court
    almost all 3.0s have a pancake forehand grip serve which they over hit and get in less than 20% of the time
    almost all 3.0s have a pancake forehand grip "dink" second serve goes in 80% of the time at about 20 mph, no spin.
    almost all 3.0s will miss 90% of their overheads unless they are within 2 feet of the net. (or gently tap it back over, in which case they have a 70% chance of getting it back in play)
    almost all 3.0s can bunt over another 3.0s dink serve into play, but cannot handle any sort of power or spin whatsoever on R of S.
    forehand volley is a weak swing that will float back on a sitter or miss wildly if hit at with any pace
    backhand volley is usually two handed and has a less than 20% chance of coming back across the net


    almost all 3.5s

    can hit topspin and flat forehands, but not slice, medium pace, but can be overpowered
    do change grip on backhand, have a one hand slice, but it does float. 2 hand backhand topspin, but usually little more than a bunt and will likely produce an error if hit to more than 3X in a row
    still trying to force that power forehand pancake with about a 20 to 25% success rate, but when it comes in, does have some juice on it.
    have developed some spin on a second serve, but will choke under pressure and revert to a "dink" from time to time
    get 75% of their overheads back into play, but the 25% they miss are from overhitting, and only 1 out of 4 overheads will have any real pace and be in
    overhit like crazy on R of S, but can consistently get a spinny 2nd serve back and past a net man in doubs.
    forehand volley, still way to much swing, but balls made solid contact with are hit smartly
    backhand volley has improved a lot. usually a bunt, but ball at 3.5 pace will provide enough energy to make it a decent volley.

    just my observations over the years.
     
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  10. OnTheLine

    OnTheLine Professional

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    I think the difference between 3.0 and 3.5 is more in the mental than the skill level.
    Having just moved from 3.0 to 3.5 myself in December, here are my thoughts
    1. The pace, quality, spin of forehands is almost identical, perhaps somewhat deeper at 3.5
    2. Ditto on backhand, although at 3.5 may have a little more top spin
    3. Serves are no better at 3.5 than 3.0, only more consistent
    4. Volleys/overheads, I do not see a difference until the 4.0 level here

    The big difference as I see it is mental awareness and point development.
    The 3.5 level has players that consciously develop a point, the 3.0 is just getting it back, the 3.5 getting it back WITH PURPOSE/INTENTION
     
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  11. Mongolmike

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    I think the biggest difference is 3.0s are just learning, so they don't care what racquet or strings they use, they will wear golf shorts to play or cargo pants, they will use the same can of balls for like 12 sets in a row, etc.

    3.5's THINK they can play, so they wear RF branded tennis clothes, they have matching racquets and a 6 or 12 racquet bag, they open a new can of Walmart or Kmart balls every match, etc.
     
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  12. mmk

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    I'm a 3.5 who has occasionally taken sets and even matches off of a few 4.0s. The only time I wear an RF shirt is when my youngest daughter happens to be at our place before I play, and only because she bought it for me, otherwise $15 shirts and shorts and I told her to save her money for future birthdays/Xmas. I do have a 6 racquet bag, but that is because the center section holds my ASO braces, knee braces, gatorade, etc., plus sweatshirt and pants when I play (indoors) during the winter.
    One definition of a 3.5 I read in this forum is someone with 4.0 shots but 3.0 consistency, or vice versa. I more closely fit the former - if I'm on I'm not bad, if I'm not on I'm not good.
     
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  13. Traffic

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    I wear recycled running/cross training apparel. My only tennis specific item is my shoes. Plus I carry my racquets in a 3rd hand-me-down from my 10 y/o daughter Babolat backpack.
    Oh, I've got a can of unopened PENN balls from a Costco box in my bag.
    So where does that put me?
     
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  14. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    Not if they're actually rated 4.0 or 4.5; the computer would prevent them from entering.

    However, they could sandbag and lose on purpose to get rated down.
     
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  15. kevrol

    kevrol Professional

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    In doubles 3.0s have no awareness of court positioning. Also no one in 3.0 has a weapon beyond a serve that ends in an ace 1 out of every 25 times.
     
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  16. Dartagnan64

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    Umm, there are 4 levels of "learning" below 3.0. I think 3.0's have learned tennis but aren't very good. Their ceiling is 3.5 for the most part. They get there by becoming more consistent, not learning more tennis. Most 3.0's that I see are pretty close to their cap athletically. They've learned all they are willing to learn.

    The 3.5's are mostly the good 3.0's. Still have learned most of what they are going to learn. A percentage will be athletic guys working their way to 4.0 and 4.5. They don't hang around 3.5 very long and only get back to it when they are 65 and up.

    All the 5.0's I've seen started as juniors and were probably 3.0 at age 7. They were part of the huge adult contingent of 3.0-4.0 intermediate tennis players.
     
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  17. Mongolmike

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    A 7? 71/2?
     
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  18. Traffic

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    Ok. I just attended a 3.5 and below skills class. Shoot, took me the first 30min to adjust to the junk ball pace. I couldn't hit a damn thing during that time. Then I was able to adjust and get back into it and actually do better on volleys and court position. My guess is that if I'm better, I don't take 30min to adjust as it would be 2-6 loss of the first set…

    This tennis game is almost like golf. Sheesh...
     
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  19. Moveforwardalways

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    A 3.5 is a 3.0 with a Federer bandana, an RF97A, and Rafa's bull logo white short shorts. Those are worth a 0.5 NTRP bump, at least.
     
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  20. stapletonj

    stapletonj Professional

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    right next to me with my daughter's 4th grade Barbie Pink satin racket bag......
     
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  21. amlemus

    amlemus Rookie

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    It sounds like we're on the same path here. I got the opportunity to play with a 4.0-4.5 yesterday. And even though I got double bageled, there were a lot of hopeful moments. The biggest difference I noticed between him and I was that he had consistency, pace, and placement, whereas I could only muster one or two of those at a time. Biggest tip he gave me was to get my feet set and swing towards the ball, not to retreat from it. I took that to heart and saw a bit of improvement.

    It's great to hear about your journey in the game! Keep sharing!
     
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  22. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Hall of Fame

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    I find that happening to me a lot. I play better against harder hitters and can struggle with someone who hits softer. I tend to want to generate my own pace in cases like that and it's not a sharpened part of my skill set.
     
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  23. BlueB

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    If you could muster 2 out of consistency, pace and placement, all the time, you are already 4.0 at least. All 3 would be 5.0 and up.

    Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
     
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  24. Traffic

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    Yeah, I hear ya. I practice with my 14y/o son. He's equivalent to about a 4.0. He takes it easy on me as I know he can hit way harder. But he just does not miss shots. He returns everything and keeps the ball in play. I can string together some good shots for an eventual put away. But that's like 2 times versus his 5 times that he just hits the ball back and doesn't make silly mistakes.

    Then I go up against a 3.0 adult with no pace and I can't hit a thing.:confused:
     
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  25. parasailing

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    No pace balls are the hardest to hit because you really have to have good foot work, good preparation, and good racquet head speed. Fast pace balls are much easier because the ball comes to you though you do have to prepare earlier.
     
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  26. TimeToPlaySets

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    3.0 can't hit hard.
    3.5 hits hard (but can't keep it in play)
     
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  27. tennis tom

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    I think a 3.0 characteristic may also be someone who can't put the ball away for a sure point. His partner constructs a point or hits a good serve that sets him up for an "easy" put-away angle, and he pulls out his frying pan grip and bunts the ball back and the opposition has been resurrected back into the point--or, he chokes on the setter and dumps it into the net or over hits it out. Played with this guy last night in a mixer, he's been playing for fifty years, team captain, all the physical attributes, and when it comes time to end the point, he bunts it back with his frying pan like a 3.0 woman--(no offense to the women)--PUT IT AWAY, WILL YA'!
     
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  28. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    I've seen even 4.0s dumping a put away into the net, or over hitting a smash out, plenty... I'm guilty as charged, too.

    Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
     
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  29. kimguroo

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    mainly consistency.
    3.0: most of points ended that whoever hits more than 5 times. also second serves are very slow and see many double faults.
    3.5: players can rally almost forever with slow paces so needs to develop fast pace balls. First serves are faster and less double faults. still see slow second serves.
     
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  30. Moveforwardalways

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    [​IMG]
     
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  31. kimguroo

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    obviously "exaggerated" hahahaha.
    there are many slow pace hitters in 3.5 level with consistencies especially moon ballers. when i played at 3.5 level, I could rally more than 20 shots.
    At 3.5 level, players can easily rally more than 5 times with slow paces but 3.0 players mostly miss balls within 5 times.
     
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  32. g4driver

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    I wish the 3.5 guys on my 7.5 team could rally forever.

    Heck I know plenty of 4.0 guys who lose ever point if you make them hit a 5th ball. Plenty of 4.0 guys around town lose matches before the first point is played. . They just don't know it yet.

    They just aren't as not mentally tough as the better players. Several 4.0 guys have pretty big serves (faster than several 4.5 guys) and their head explodes when another 4.0 puts their big serve back in play. Unlike the 4.5 players, these guys don't have the rest of game to match their big serves.
     
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  33. OnTheLine

    OnTheLine Professional

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    Was watching a 3.5 women's singles Districts 18+ matches last night.
    There was a 3.0 women's districts singles match on the court to my right and a 4.0 match to my left.

    I was paying attention to the shot tolerance between the three matches. This is a really small sample size but what I observed intrigued me.

    1. 3.0 match ... pair of backboards these two players. points went on forever. Often counting 8 or more hits PER SIDE on a point. never going to net. Safe moonball after safe moonball, often to the middle of the court, not the corners
    2. 3.5 match... Usually points were ending at 3-5 hits per side, but most points were decided at the net. Typical pattern play, cross, cross, DTL approach, volley volley
    3. 4.0 match ... Total mis-match in playing styles. One a young serve and volleyer, the other a baseliner. Shots were not hit much harder than in the 3.5 match but points were ended much earlier ... maybe 2-3 hits per side maximum. I would not say this is the typical match. FYI the S&V player won, the baseliner could not get a passing shot and the youngster got to every lob.
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    3.0's try to hit the ball.
    3.5's try to engage strategy to their hitting the ball.
     
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  35. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    The no put away and/or weapon is a big difference between a good 3.0 and good 3.5.
    Too many types of players to answer here in a short forum but overall a good 3.5 will have a weapon and a much better and more consistent backhand.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  36. Max G.

    Max G. Legend

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    IMO, the only real difference is that 3.5s are better.

    I don't see any fundamental difference between the levels in terms of what shots are or aren't "possible" or even overall strategy. There are grinders/lobbers in both levels, some inconsistent hard hitters, some guys with variety. I don't believe any of the generalizations posted above about how "3.5s" and "3.0s" play. On average, the better players are more consistent and/or hit harder, but there's still a lot of different styles in both levels.
     
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  37. tennis tom

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    but when a pro does it it's extremely rare--a 3.0 does it 9 out of 10 times--and using the frying pan grip.
     
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  38. tennis tom

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    Now you tell us!
     
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  39. OrangePower

    OrangePower Legend

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    There's no good way to characterize play at 3.0 vs 3.5, or at any level for that matter. Rating is based on results and there are many ways to get the same results. A young athletic 3.0 who has recently started playing is going to play completely different to an elderly 3.0, but they might get similar results. Etc.
     
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  40. tennis tom

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    Agreed, that's why it's so absurd for an 18 yo to be playing a 90 yo. Yet USTA does publish guidelines for play characteristics for the different levels, in their attempt to create a handicap system like golf. If senior tennis players had golf carts on the courts for play against the young tikes it would make more sense.

    Those guys who came up with the five year increments for Senior Age Group Tournaments knew what they were doing. Most other sports have the same "masters" age categories like swimming and running, etc. A player being able to compete head to head with the tikes past age 35 is the anomaly rather then the norm. Andre retired at 36 and he was one of the fittest in tennis. Maybe in pre-professional days you could compete at the USO at 40 but tennis is much more physically competitive now especially with all those tall guys getting into the sport now that they don't go to basketball. 3.0/3.5's competing for best of the mediocre nationally is crazy--but I guess it's a good op to travel to somewhere exotic with the boys. There's plenty of good competition back at ye' ol' club without having to pack into a Prius or a Denali to drive 'cross county to another club contributing to global warming--or is it cooling?--I'm more concerned with the sky falling myself.
     
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  41. atp2015

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    My experience playing different levels -

    3.0 - no forced errors on serve,forehand moonball exchange average 10 shots, lots of 20+ shot rallies. Backhand moonball exchange if 2hbh. If 1hbh, slice any backhand and get back to forehand. Any hard hit shots to backhand ends the point.

    3.5 - some serve points, short hard hit rallies, backhand defense is not bad, players with 1hbh drive the ball in addition to slicing. volley/oh is used but infrequently.

    4.0 - quite a few serve points, strong fh, solid bh or run around fh, most short balls end with an approach shot one way or the other. Most rallies are very short with players trying to blast a hard shot at the first opportunity.

    4.5 - all 4.0 skills, good top spin or accurate flat shots on approach(take the ball at the top of the bounce), volley/OH are not missed,
    good serve placement, at least one great shot. ( I have not played 4.5 level yet, observation based on guys who I played at 4.0 and moved up after beating me 1 and 2)


    Anyone that plays 4.5 confirm the 4.5 attributes??
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  42. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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  43. CopolyX

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    winning
     
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  44. awjack

    awjack New User

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    I would agree if you are talking about womens tennis.
     
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  45. atp2015

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    women play tennis?
     
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  46. johnnyb

    johnnyb Semi-Pro

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    Depending on your perspective you can say that of 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 and so on. In the end, anyone can play. Ones play better than others.
     
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  47. BeyondTheTape

    BeyondTheTape Rookie

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    I don't think your 4.5 attributes are accurate. If I only had one great shot, I for sure would be relegated down to 4.0. You dont win at 4.5 or get to 4.5 with only one great shot. You need to be a shot maker from both wings. You also dont win 4.5 matches with "good" serve placement, it is more like excellent. One of the biggest differences from 4.0 to 4.5 is the serve. From my experience, 4.5s hardly double fault. They will pick apart your weakest wing and eat you alive. 4.0 was a battle of attrition and letting your opponent make a mistake, 4.5 requires a winning shot to end the point.
     
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  48. atp2015

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    I didn't mean only one great shot. At least one great shot (frankly one shot that is much superior to mine since my observation is based on a few players that used to be 4.0 that moved up to 4.5), it could be more than one.
    I agree shot making from both wings is necessary to beat me (a 4.0), but great defense from BH may work quite often if it does not break down on key points.
    When I said 'good serve placement', it's good enough to win the point quickly.(2-3 shots - serve, shot 1 or serve,shot 1 and 2) - A good placement hit with regular speed.
     
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  49. ChaelAZ

    ChaelAZ Hall of Fame

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    In my experience it really varies by region. But in general, here's the kinda play I see at each level.

    3.0



    Normal 3.5





    High 3.5 (maybe low 4.0)




    Here is what a 3.5 looks like matching up with a 3.0




    Ideally you go from a 3.0 with a very loft,y technically flawed strokes with simple errors and lacking serve or service return consistency, to a 3.5 having less loft and more power on the ball, hitting a few winners for points instead of waiting for errors, and having a 75% first/second serve and better service returning. Moving to 4.0 is all about consistency, being able to move better on court for positioning, and getting more serves and returns in play to get into points.
     
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  50. Dartagnan64

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    I think once you get to 4.0 and above the "styles of play" come into it. You can be a high level player with one great shot (the attacker) or with a variety of good shots but no real weakness (the baseline defender)

    The whole thing to me with NTRP is that the higher you go the better you can handle pace. I watched a lot of tennis at our club tournament and you could see between the Open, A, B and C players very clear differences in ability to take on faster paced balls.

    Consistency and errors were pretty similar amongst all matches but the pace of the ball traveling between opponents was markedly different.
     
    #50

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