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NTRP Category Descriptions

1.0 This player is just starting to play tennis.
1.5 This player has limited experience and is still working primarily on getting the ball into play.
2.0 This player needs on-court experience. Has obvious stroke weaknesses but is familiar with basic positions for singles and doubles play.
Incomplete swing; lacks directional intent.
Backhand: Avoids backhands; erratic contact; grip problems; incomplete swing
Serve/Return of Serve: Incomplete service motion; double faults common; toss is inconsistent; return of serve erratic.
Volley: Reluctant to play net; avoids backhands; lacks footwork.
Playing Style: Familiar with basic positions for singles and doubles play; frequently out of position.
2.5 This player is learning to judge where the ball is going although court coverage is weak. Can sustain a short rally of slow pace with other players of the same ability.
Forehand: Form developing; prepared for moderately paced shots.
Backhand: Grip and preparation problems; often chooses to hit forehand instead of backhand.
Serve/Return of Serve: Attempting a full swing; can get the ball in play at slow pace; inconsistent toss; can return slow-paced serve.
Volley: Uncomfortable at net especially on the backhand side; frequently uses forehand racket face on backhand volleys.
Special shots: Can lob intentionally but with little control; can make contact on overheads.
Playing style: Can sustain a short rally of slow pace; weak court coverage; usually remains in the initial doubles position.
3.0 This player is fairly consistent when hitting medium-paced shots, but is not comfortable with all strokes and lacks execution when trying for directional control, depth, or power. Most common doubles formation is one up, one back.
Forehand: Fairly consistent with some directional intent; lacks depth control.
Backhand: Frequently prepared; starting to hit with fair consistency on moderate shots.
Serve/Return of Serve: Developing rhythm; little consistency when trying for power; second serve is often considerably slower than first serve; can return serve with fair consistency.
Volley: Consistent forehand volley; inconsistent backhand volley; has trouble with low and wide shots.
Special Shots: Can lob consistently on moderate shots.
Playing Style: Consistent on medium-paced shots; most common doubles formation is still one-up, one-back; approaches net when play dictates but weak in execution.
3.5 This player has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth and variety. Exhibits more aggressive net play, has improved court coverage, and is developing teamwork in doubles.
Forehand: Good consistency and variety on moderate shots; good directional control; developing spin.
Backhand: Hitting with directional control on moderate shots; has difficulty on high or hard shots; returns difficult shot defensively.
Serve/Return of Serve: Starting to serve with control and some power; developing spin; can return serve consistently with directional control on moderate shots; can place the return of most second serves.
Volley: More aggressive net play; some ability to cover side shots; uses proper footwork; can direct forehand volleys; controls backhand volley but with little offense; difficulty in putting volleys away
Special Shots: Consistent overhead on shots within reach; developing approach shots, drop shots, and half volleys
Playing Style: Consistency on moderate shots with directional control; improved court coverage; starting to look for the opportunity to come to the net; developing teamwork in doubles
4.0 This player 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. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.
Forehand: Dependable; hits with depth and control on moderate shots; may try to hit too good a placement on a difficult shot
Backhand: Player can direct the ball with consistency and depth on moderate shots; developing spin
Serve/Return of Serve: Places both first and second serves; frequent power on first serve; uses spin; dependable return of serve; can return with depth in singles and mix returns in doubles
Volley: Depth and control on forehand volley; can direct backhand volleys but usually lacks depth; developing wide and low volleys on both sides of the body
Special Shots: Can put away easy overheads; can poach in doubles; follows aggressive shots to the net; beginning to finish point off; can hit to opponent's weaknesses; able to lob defensively on setups
Playing Style: Dependable ground strokes with directional control and depth demonstrated on moderate shots; not yet playing good percentage tennis; teamwork in doubles is evident; rallies may still be lost due to impatience
4.5 This player has begun to master the use of power and spins and is beginning to handle pace, has sound footwork, can control depth of shots, and is beginning to vary game plan according to opponents. Can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. Tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.
Forehand: Very dependable; uses speed and spin effectively; controls depth well; tends to overhit on difficult shots; offensive on moderate shots.
Backhand: Can control direction and depth but may break down under pressure; can hit power on moderate shots.
Serve/Return of Serve: Aggressive serving with limited double faults; uses power and spin; developing offense; on second serve frequently hits with good depth and placement; frequently hits aggressive service returns; can take pace off with moderate success in doubles
Volley: Can handle a mixed sequence of volleys; good footwork; has depth and directional control on backhand; developing touch; most common error is still overhitting
Special Shots: Approach shots hit with good depth and control; can consistently hit volleys and overheads to end the point; frequently hits aggressive service returns
Playing Style: More intentional variety in game; is hitting with more pace; covers up weaknesses well; beginning to vary game plan according to opponent; aggressive net play is common in doubles; good anticipation; beginning to handle pace
5.0 This player has good shot anticipation and frequently has an outstanding shot or attribute around which a game may be structured. Can regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls and can put away volleys, can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys, and overhead smashes and has good depth and spin on most second serves.
Forehand: Strong shot with control, depth, and spin; uses forehand to set up offensive situations; has developed good touch; consistent on passing shots
Backhand: Can use backhand as an aggressive shot with good consistency; has good direction and depth on most shots; varies spin
Serve/Return of Serve: Serve is placed effectively with the intent of hitting to a weakness or developing an offensive situation; has a variety of serves to rely on; good depth, spin, and placement on most second serves to force weak return or set up next shot; can mix aggressive and off-paced service returns with control, depth, and spin
Volley: Can hit most volleys with depth, pace, and direction; plays difficult volleys with depth; given opportunity, volley is often hit for a winner
Special Shots: Approach shots and passing shots are hit with pace and a high degree of effectiveness; can lob offensively; overhead can be hit from any position; hits mid-court volley with consistency; can mix aggressive and off-paced service returns
Playing Style: Frequently has an outstanding shot or attribute around which his/her game is built; can vary game plan according to opponent; this player is "match," plays percentage tennis, and "beats him/herself" less than the 4.5 player; solid teamwork in doubles is evident; game breaks down mentally and physically more often than the 5.5 player.
5.5 This player can hit dependable shots in stress situations; has developed good anticipation; can pick up cues from such things as opponent's toss, body position, backswing, preparation; first and second serves can be depended upon in stress situations and can be hit offensively at any time; can analyze and exploit opponent's weaknesses; has developed power and/or consistency as a major weapon; can vary strategies and style of play in a competitive situation.
6.0 This player will generally not need NTRP ratings. Rankings or past rankings will speak for themselves. This player has had an intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior and collegiate levels and has obtained a sectional and/or national ranking. This player has a reasonable chance of succeeding at the 7.0 level and has extensive satellite tournament experience.
7.0 A world class player committed to tournament competition on the international level and whose major source of income is tournament prize winnings.