This section is about
players who are getting into the game. The USTA has a ranking system that gives
a rating of players from 1.0 to 7.0. An Intermediate level is from 3.0 to 4.0.
Here we find players who are really enjoying the game with a lot of enthusiasm.
There is a genuine joy in playing without a great deal of expectation but truly
a great desire to learn the shots.
The USTA gives us
the following concepts to determine 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 players.
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 and one-back.
3.5 Has achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on moderate
shots, but still lacks depth and variety. Starting to exhibit more aggressive
net play, has improved court coverage and is developing teamwork in doubles.
4.0 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 and teamwork in doubles is evident. Rallies may be lost due to impatience.
These concepts do
not really cover the essence of what an intermediate player is nor how to move
to the next level of advanced. The problem occurs when attempting to categorize
people along this line is the inability to actually produce any reasonable understanding
of what Tennis is and what level this player is on.
A more responsive
way to look at it is the manner in which to naturally think of rating a player
according to an A, B & C rating... With Above A being semipro and professional
and below "C" being complete novice or beginner. Juniors stack up in
a similar manner as well as seniors or age groups.
The fact that some
professionals cannot hit a volley should not limit them from being considered
an "A" player. The innovative, distinctive and innate talent of professionals
have a way of making these standards of the Tennis Bureaucracy of teaching professionals
look ridiculous. We could go through a litany of obtuse and famously outlandish
shots, styles and form adaptations in the professional ranks where there is neither
a consistency or continuity to teach the "right way."
What is the desire
level of an intermediate? What is the amount of practice time on court? Is there
a willingness to take lessons to learn the different possibilities of style and
form? How athletic is this "B" player?
In determining your
relative position as a tennis player you must understand the game is a competitive
contest between two or four individuals to move a ball back and forth over the
net. There are innumerable ways in which to accomplish this. Winning is reward
enough for many players and they use every shot in their arsenal of spin, drop,
lob, hard, soft, low high etc. to win. Other players are purists who decide that
tennis is more of an art form and that there are style points. Funny I don't remember
seeing my style points recorded next to my set scores.
So as we begin the
focus on Intermediate Tennis, we begin to focus on winning tennis. Winning tennis
means match-ups and controlling the movement of the ball back and forth over the
net one more time than your opponent. With that settled we can move to the best
way for YOU to accomplish this, and it will probably be a different game, unique
to your personality, physique, mental, emotional and competitive requirements.
The goal of Intermediate
or "B" Tennis is to grow a solid game to become an "A" Player.
Many Tennis Players become terminal "B" players through lack of understanding
of the principles of tennis. Natural talent helps but tennis is a mental / physical
/ emotional skill sport. It takes much more than money for lessons, racquets and
walking on the court. It takes a synthesis and why the game is so challenging
Some day you will
become an "A" player. In that moment you know you can believe, compete
and win against anyone.