Use these definitions from the National Tennis Rating Program to self-rank your level of ability:
- 2.0 - This player may have had some lessons but needs on-court experience; has some obvious stroke weaknesses but is familiar with basic positions for singles and doubles play.
- FOREHAND: 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 BH; lacks footwork
- PLAYING STYLE: Familiar with basic positions for 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 FH instead of BH
- 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 BH side; frequently uses FH racket face on BH 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 shorts, 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 FH volley; inconsistent BH 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. This player 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
- VOLLEY: More aggressive net play; some ability to cover side shots; uses proper footwork; can direct FH volleys; controls BH volley but with little offense; difficulty putting volleys away
- SPECIAL SHOTS: Consistent overhead on shots within reach; developing approach shots, drop shots; and half volleys; can place the return of most second serves
- 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. This player 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 FH volley; can direct BH 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; dependable return of serve
- 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. This player can hit first serves with power and accuracy and place the second serve. This player tends to over hit 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 BH; 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. This player can regularly hit winners or force errors off of short balls and can put away volleys, can successfully execute lobs, drop shots, half volleys, overhead smashes, and has good depth and spin on most 2nd serves.
- FOREHAND: Strong shot with control, depth, and spin; uses FH to set up offensive situations; has developed good touch; consistent on passing shots
- BACKHAND: Can use BH 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 game is built; can vary game plan according to opponent; this player is 'match wise,' plays percentage tennis, and 'beats himself' 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 execute all strokes offensively and defensively; can hit dependable shots under pressure; has developed power and /or consistency as a major weapon; has developed good anticipation and can pick up cues from such things as opponent's toss, body position, backswing, preparation; is able to analyze opponents' styles and can employ patterns of play to assure the greatest possiblity of winning points and exploit opponent's weaknesses; can hit winners or force errors with both first and second serves, which can be hit offensively at any time. Returns of serve can be an offensive weapon; can vary strategies and style of play in a competitive situation.
Top Amateur/Touring Pro
- 6.0 - 7.0 - Theses players will generally not need NTRP ratings. Rankings or past rankings will generally speak for themselves. The 6.0 player typically has had intensive training for national tournament competition at the junior and collegiate levels and has obtained a sectional and/or national ranking. The 7.0 is a world class player.