Edlesborough Tennis Club

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Tennis Tips

What Level Are You?

You are a beginner. You may have played socially a few times over a period of several years, but, basically you do not know how to strike the ball.
You have learned to rally well enough to have fun, but cannot strike the ball well enough to sustain a 6 stroke rally. While you are able to have some short 3 ball rallies, you do not understand the most basic principles of any stroke. You may have developed some stroke habits in order to keep rallies going.
You have taken lessons often enough to know the classical stages of a stroke (takeback, step, swing, follow-through) and have played enough to win games and sets from a 2.0 player. But the strokes you have are not consistent (you cannot sustain a 5 shot sequence from the baseline with any stroke). You do not understand the four most basic technique principles: (1) making the racquet move in a straight line; (2) keeping the elbow in front of the body plane; (3) the wrist leading the racquet head; (4) keeping the wrist laid back. Also, you do not understand the four stages of position adjustment and visual processing: (1) the height of the ball over the net; (2) the bounce; (3) the maximum height after the bounce; (4) the key frame.
You can sustain a multi-shot (6 or more) rally from the baseline with either the forehand or backhand. You can put your serve in most of the time. While your rallies are consistent, they are often short (the ball lands near or inside the service court). You can move from side to side for 4 shots without missing. You can block your volleys.
You have an understanding of the 3.0 level but have not mastered these points. Your racquet still has some tendency to pull off the path of the ball before contact. You still break your wrist on occasions, and the wrist sometimes gets ahead of the racquet head causing you to shank the ball. You do not know the role of the shoulder in striking the ball. You are only able to rally at low speeds. You do not have an understanding of moving the racquet with stability or the role of stability in increasing the speed of your rallies.
You can sustain long and deep (within 9 feet of the baseline) ground stroke rallies. You can hit a basic defensive volley, overhead, lob, and serve. You can occasionally hit an offensive serve. You are good at keeping the wrist ahead of the racquet head and moving the racquet in a straight line into the ball for 8 inches or more, and you can execute consistently the four basic elements of a stroke and of position and visual processing described in 3.0 above except you are still slow in acquiring the key frame. While your rallies are deeper and faster than the 3.5 level, you have not mastered the basic skills sufficiently to operate at higher speeds.
You have thoroughly mastered all 8 factors described in 3.0 above for all strokes (but not every spin) except the key frame acquisition which still needs more development. Your footwork is sufficiently stable to permit you to rally at fairly high speeds.You do not fully understand or utilize the shoulder in stroke production of all strokes. Also, you have not mastered pulling the racquet by the butt until the stroke reaches the acceleration stage. You are not using the shoulder to lengthen the linear interval of the strike stage on all strokes, and you do not understand the punch component of the acceleration stage. You can execute the specialty shots needed to hit strong approach shots off of balls that fall in the service box.
You have all skills of the 4.5 level. In addition you have begun to use the shoulder at some level in every stroke. You have begun to use the punch at some level. You have developed each stroke to a stable level, but you do not yet understand the technique of pulling the racquet forward by the butt and transitioning this motion into the acceleration stage to combine it with the punch. Your strokes, while very good, may be confined to either being flat ball shots or top spin shots (depending on your comfort level) without the ability to combine these methods in a single rally.
You have all skills of the 5.0 level plus the ability to punch the ball consistently. You also can combine flat balls and top spins in a single rally. While you can execute 3-4 ball rallies at high speeds, you do not understand the method of advancing the racquet by the butt and transitioning this motion into the punch sufficiently to sustain unlimited rallies at high speeds.
You have the 5.5 skills plus you understand the technique of pulling the racquet forward by the butt and transitioning the stroke into the acceleration stage for the punch. Your foot work provides the stability needed to assure that your racquet motion has a stable transition from the contract and rotation stages (where the racquet is being advanced by the butt) to the acceleration stage where the motion is transitioned to the punch, followed by the use of the shoulders to maintain the racquet orientation through the strike. You can hit any shot consistently for a hundred repetitions or more. You understand and can utilize all spins.
You have the 6.0 skills but can execute all skills more consistently and at significantly higher speeds than the 6.0 skill level.