Skill Level Descriptions

Beginner

Starting Point: Where you are

    Based on the USTA ranking system your level would be 1.0 to 3.0
  • This player has had limited experience with stroke development and is still working primarily on getting the ball into play.
  • This player is not yet ready to compete.
  • This player needs on-court experience, with an emphasis on play. This player struggles to find an appropriate contact point, needs stroke development/lessons and is not yet familiar with basic positions for singles and doubles.
  • This player is learning to judge where the ball is going when receiving the ball, although movement and recovery are not in sync. He or she can sustain a rally of slow pace with other players of similar ability and is beginning to develop strokes. This player is becoming more familiar with the basic positions for singles and doubles. This player is ready to play social matches, leagues and low-level tournaments.

Things to Learn: What to learn

  • Potential limitations: consistency when applying or handling pace; difficulty handling shots “outside of their strike zone”; can be uncomfortable at the net.
  • Potential limitations: grip weaknesses; not attempting full swing on serve; inconsistent toss on serve; limited transitions to net.

To the Next Level: How to move up

  • 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, pace or altering distance of shots. Most common doubles formation is one up, one back.

Intermediate

Starting Point: Where you are

  • According to the USTA ranking system your level would be 3.5 to 5.0
  • This player has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate shots, but still lacks depth, variety and the ability to alter distance of shots. The effective use of lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys is limited due to a lack of confidence. This player is more comfortable at the net, has improved court awareness, and is developing teamwork in doubles.
  • This player has dependable strokes, including directional control, depth and the ability to alter distance of shots on both forehand and backhand sides during moderately paced play, plus the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with more success. This player occasionally forces errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.

Things to Learn: What to learn

  • Potential limitations or strengths: “This is the level at which it begins to be about what skills a player can display on court, not what they can’t.” Players at this level may start to utilize mental skills related to concentration, tactics and strategy.
  • Potential strengths: less likely to beat themselves; more dependable second serve; recognizes opportunities to finish points.
  • Potential strengths: points are won and lost off the serve more often; better able to cover weaknesses; beginning to develop a weapon around which their game can be built.

Events/Activities: What you should do
This player has begun to vary the use of pace and spins, has good movement, can control distance and depth of shots, and is beginning to develop game plans according to strengths and weaknesses. This player can hit the first serve with power and accuracy and can place the second serve. This player tends to overhit on difficult shots. Aggressive net play is common in doubles.

Advanced

Starting Point: Where you are

  • According to the USTA ranking system your level would be 5.0 to 7.0
  • This player has good shot anticipation and frequently has an outstanding shot or attribute around which their game can be structured. This player has the confidence to regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls and can put away volleys, can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys, overheads, and has good depth and spin on most second serves.
  • This player has developed pace and/or consistency as a major weapon. This player can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive situations and hit dependable shots in stress situations.

Things to Learn: What to learn
Potential strengths: better decision making; covers and disguises weaknesses well; mentally tougher, but can still break down in stress situations.

Potential strengths: can hit offensively at any time; can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive situations; first and second serves can be depended upon in stress situations.

Events/Activities: What you should do
The 6.0 player typically has had intensive training for national tournaments or top level collegiate competition, and has obtained a national ranking. The 6.5 and 7.0 are world-class players.