Why is it so tough for players to rate themselves according to the NTRP rating system?
I would argue that recreational players find it hard to rate themselves due to the following:
- skill level varies day by day
- variability between various stroke ( 4.0 serve, 4.5 forehand, 3.0 overhead, etc)
- lack ability to vary tactics according to opposition
- preference for doubles versus singles (4.0 doubles and 3.5 singles)
- people tend to over or under rate themselves based on their current mood and confidence level
All of these variables create a continuum of overall ability. What really counts is the ability to quickly size up an opponent and locate weaknesses so as to achieve tennis success.
Just as important is the ability to try and “hide” ones own weaknesses.
This explains why people find it hard to play a left hander for example. The skilled left hander will try and set up cross court exchanges between their forehand and their opponents backhand whenever possible. Typically the forehand gives the advantage to left hander. The ability to do this consistently may actually raise a persons rating.
By effectively playing against an opponents weakest strokes a 4.0 player can effectively play a 3.0 player most of the time, or at key points in the match.
Please keep this in mind the next time you take to the courts.