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USTA LEAGUE

NATIONAL TENNIS RATING PROGRAM (NTRP)

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A common question for new players joining USTA League is: "What level of play is right for me?"
 
The USTA uses the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) for determining levels of competition for USTA League.

GUIDELINES

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Above all, tennis should be fun.
 
Players can get the most enjoyment from the sport by using a method of classifying skill levels for more compatible matches.
 

The rating categories are simply here to guide you. You may find that you play above or below the category, depending on your competitive ability. The category you choose is not meant to be permanent, and may be adjusted as your skills change or as your match play demonstrates the need for reclassification. Ultimately, your rating is based upon match results.

To avoid disqualification, if you are unsure of your level, choose the higher level of play.

Your improvement may be significant enough to surpass their original self-rate level.
 
For review at any time of your progression, please feel free to review our Experienced Player Guidelines and Characteristics, along with video instruction and a stroke-by-stroke rubric for self-rating - these are handy tools for any tennis player. You can also review the Self-Rate Questionnaire in English and en español.
 
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NTRP LEVEL: 1.5

 
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.
 
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NTRP LEVEL: 2.0

 
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.
 

NTRP LEVEL: 2.5

 
This player is learning to judge where the ball is going when receiving the ball, although movement and recovery are not in sync. 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.
 
Potential limitations: grip weaknesses; not attempting full swing on serve; inconsistent toss on serve; limited transitions to net.
 
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NTRP LEVEL: 3.0

 
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.
 
Potential limitations: consistency when applying or handling pace; difficulty handling shots “outside of their strike zone”; can be uncomfortable at the net.
 

NTRP LEVEL: 3.5

 
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.
 
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.
 
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NTRP LEVEL: 4.0

 
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.
 
Potential strengths: less likely to beat themselves; more dependable second serve; recognizes opportunities to finish points.
 

NTRP LEVEL: 4.5

 
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.
 
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.
 
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NTRP LEVEL: 5.0

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

NTRP LEVEL: 5.5

 
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.
 
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.
 
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NTRP LEVEL: 6.0 - 7.0

 
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.
 

USTA League, the United States' largest recreational tennis league, helps hundreds of thousands of participants get on the court, have a good time and step up their game. Take part in the fun for an unmatched team experience!
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