SKILL EXPECTATIONS FOR EACH LEVEL OF PLAY
Note: Above the 2.0 level, all levels should be able to demonstrate most of the skills for their level plus most of the skills from preceding levels. Thus a 2.5 level player, for example, demonstrates most skills in the 2.5 level list as well as most skills in the 2.0 level list, and so on.
1.0 Skill Level
- New and have only minimal knowledge of the game and the rules.
1.5 Skill Level
- Limited to some rallies.
- Learning how to serve.
- Developing a forehand.
- Fails to return easy balls frequently and occasionally misses the ball entirely.
- Played a few games and is learning the court lines, scoring, and some basic rules of the game.
2.0 Skill Level
- Moves around court in balanced, safe manner
- Gets some serves “in”, perhaps not regularly
- Realizes aspects of score-keeping, rules and where to stand on court during serve, receipt of serve, and general play
- Has some basic stroke skills
2.5 Skill Level
- Able to serve “in” more regularly
- Knows two-bounce rule and demonstrates it most times
- Knows where to stand on the court during serve, receipt of serve and general play
- Is mastering keeping score.
- Attempts to dink but not always effective at it
- Working on their form for ground strokes, accuracy is variable
- Can keep the ball in play longer
- Sometimes lobs with forehand with varying degrees of success.
3.0 Skill level
- Knows the fundamental rules and can keep score
- Regularly gets serves “in” to mid-court or deeper
- Dinks mostly in opposite kitchen and is dinking lower over the net
- Able to sustain dinking in the game
- Using both forehand and backhand on returns and forehands on overhead returns
- Working at keeping the serve deep and return of serve deep
- Moves quickly towards the non-volley zone when opportunity is there
- Trying to make flatter returns (where appropriate)
- Aware of partner’s position on the court & moving as a team
- Developing more power and/or softness in their shots
- Somewhat a uni-dimensional player working at broadening their playing repertoire.
3.5 Skill level
- Demonstrates a broad knowledge of the rules of the game
- Gets a high majority of serves in deep & returns serve deep
- Often hits to the weak side of opponent
- Demonstrates strategies of playing during games
- Actively works with partners in communicating, covering court, moving to net
- With varying consistency executes: lobs, forehand/backhand ground strokes, overheads, net volleys, and sustained dinking
- Some use of drop shots to get to the net
- Specifically places shots rather than just hitting shots anywhere
- Selective mixing up soft shots with power shots to create an advantage
- Hits fewer balls out of bounds or in the net
- Has a moderate # of unforced errors per game
- Demonstrates ability to intentionally play in offensive mode
- Self-correcting after play is over
- Demonstrates extended periods of multi-dimensional play
4.0 Skill Level
- Primarily plays in an offensive mode rather than reactively
- Controls and places serves and return of serves to best advantage
- Puts advanced playing strategy into the game, particularly in dinking
- Consistently varies shots for competitive advantage, uses power shots selectively
- Communicates and moves well with partner — easily “switches” court positions
- Very comfortable playing at the non-volley zone. Works with partner to control the line, keeping opponents back and driving them off the line.
- Can block hard volleys directed at them
- Has good footwork and moves laterally, backward and forward with ease.
- Hits overhead shots consistently, often as put-aways
- Ability to change a hard shot to a soft shot
- Consistently executes effective drop shots that are not easily returned for advantage
- Can effectively poach
- Hits a low # of unforced errors per game
- Regularly demonstrates “anticipation of play”
- Self-correcting during play
- Consistently is a multi-dimensional player and/or is exceptionally dominate in a limited playing repertoire.
4.5 – 5.0 Skill Level
- Can regularly convert a hard shot to a soft shot
- Exhibits patience in play at a superior level
- Shows noticeably increased skills, a higher level of strategy, quickness of hands and movement, judicious use of power, superior placement of shots, superb anticipation of play, sustained volleying skills, superior put-aways —all with consistency
- Makes very few unforced errors
Differences between 4.5 and 5.0 are subjective – but, generally, each of the four points above is even more pronounced at the 5.0 level.