Today we discuss the framework a 4.0 player can use to improve their game and become a 4.5 player. Still, the principles in this episode apply to anyone looking to improve their level.
Note: 4.0 & 4.5 are level-based ratings created by the United States Tennis Association.
- USTA describes a 4.0 player as: “This player has dependable strokes with directional control and the ability to alter depth of shots on both forehand and backhand sides during moderately paced play. This player also has the ability to use lobs, overheads, approach shots, and volleys with success. This player occasionally forces errors when serving. Points may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident.”
- They describe a 4.5 player as: “This player can vary the use of pace and spins, has effective court coverage, can control depth of shots, and is able 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.”
I have my own opinions on the differences based on my experience watching and playing at the 4.5 level over the last 5+ years around the USTA Texas Section. The framework that I go over in this episode comes from that experience and learning from some of the best coaches and players in the world.
Show Notes from this Podcast
Here are some of the things I mention in this podcast episode:
- Differences Between 4.0s and 4.5s
- Mechanical strokes tend to disappear at 4.5
- More spin/pace, kick serves, & heavier groundstrokes
- Serves/overheads are much better, resulting in less lobbing
- 4.0s usually have one or two good shots and rely on them
- Technique vs. Tactics
- Technique issues revolve around hitting better strokes, often the backhand for 4.0s
- Tactical issues revolve around things like hitting too many down-the-line shots, taking low percentage shots, and missing too many first serves
- Ways to Improve
- Watch/play against people better than you and film it if possible
- Improve technique with a ball machine or coach by improving your technique and getting lots of reps
- Find a good coach and use synced videos to expedite improvements
- Listen: Jack Broudy Podcast Interview
- Read: Jack’s Website
- Tennis Analytics Courses