Q. How does the NTRP compare to the traditional terms of beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, etc., or the frequently used letter a, b, c. aa, bb, aaa, etc.?
A. The NTRP was designed to eliminate the use of traditional terms in classifying player ability. There is so much ambiguity associated with these systems that translation is difficult. In various parts of the country for example "A" or "Advanced" is the top level of play, while in other places "AAA" is the best. In general terms, a D player would be a 2.5 and below; a C player would be a 2.6 - 3.5; a B player would be 3.6 - 4.5; and an A player would be 4.6 - 5.5; an open player would be 5.6 and above.
Q. Should players rate themselves as single players, double players, or both?
A. Players should rate themselves based on their overall tennis ability. If players are stronger at singles or doubles, they should base their rating on the stronger game.
Q. Is a rating by a qualified verifier more accurate than a self-rating and can the NTRP be successful without pro verification - as a self-rating-only program?
A. While a more accurate rating will come from the objective viewpoint of a qualified verifier, a self-rating can be accurate. But it is important to remember that THERE IS NO SUBSTITUE FOR MATCH RESULTS A MEASURE OF PLAYING ABILITY. Even when the NTRP is used as a self-rating-only program, an administrator may oversee the program and, if necessary, help the players adjust their ratings. In any competitive program it will become obvious from match results when players have rated themselves inaccurately.
Q. Is it necessary for every player who is rated at a facility to have a qualified verifier rating for the NTRP to work effectively?
A. No, but it is advantageous for at least a small percentage of the players to be rated by a qualified verifier. These players may serve as models for the remaining players to make a valid self-rating.
Q. Can existing leagues, challenge ladders and other competitive programs be used in implementing the NTRP at a facility?
A. Yes. These programs are beneficial in implementing the NTRP because a qualified verifier may assign ratings to players based on their performances in such programs.
Q. Can the NTRP self-rating program be used for placement in instructional programs without being evaluated by a qualified verifier?
A. Yes. The self-rating program can easily be used in instructional programs. If players incorrectly rate their ability levels, it will show up in class performance. It is the responsibility of the instructor to help players adjust their ratings and place them at proper class levels.
Q. Is there a prescribed "test" that a qualified verifier can use to rate a player?
A. No. There is no specific test that a qualified verifier should use to determine a player's rating. The best criteria is match results, but it is also helpful to refer to the NTRP Verification Guidelines, tennis background, and observe all strokes during the warm-up when rating players.
Q. Must players qualify on all points of all preceding NTRP descriptions before placing themselves in a particular category?
A. No. The rating categories are generalizations about skill levels. The ultimate test is in match play results.
Q. Can a player with an obvious stroke deficiency be rated at the same level, or higher, as a player who has no such deficiency?
A. Yes. Some players, for example, cannot hit topspin backhands but have certain abilities that enable them to play competitively with players who can do so. A player's competitive record is the best test of his rating.
Q. Does the NTRP rate men and women on the same scale?
A. The NTRP is used to rate both men and women, but men's and women's ratings are not intended to be equivalent. When rating themselves, players should use players of the same gender as reference points. However, for those individuals wishing to compete against players of the opposite gender, the following can be use as a guide. At approximately the 3.5 rating for a man, a woman with a 4.0 rating will be competitive. When a man reaches the 5.0 level or above a woman needs to be approximately 1.0 higher in order to be competitive.
Q. Is it possible to use graduations smaller that .5 in rating players?
A. Yes. It is recommended, however, that for self-verification, players use .5 increments. For initial verification, a qualified verifier may use the minus (-) sing to indicate the lower end of the playing category as compared with the upper limit of that category.
Q. What does it mean to play "competitively" with another player?
A. A "competitive" match is one in which the outcome is unpredictable (scores such s 6-4, 6-4 or closer). When one player consistently wins with only the occasional loss of a few games, the match is not "competitive." Properly rated, players within .2 of each other should be competitive in playing ability.
Q. What does it mean to be "compatible" with another player?
A. Players with up to a .5 difference is ratings are generally considered "compatible." At a .5 difference in ratings, the outcome is predictable with the higher rated player winning routinely. "Compatible" players however, can offer each other recreational, social, and practice benefits.
Q. Can a player's rating change?
A. Yes. The initial analysis of a player's game is not always perfect; therefore, a qualifier verifier should always explain to a player that the initial on-court verification is a provisional rating and may change based on match results.
Q. What is the relationship between ranking and rating?
A. Ranking is based upon achievement in sanctioned tournaments, many of which are based on age divisions. Rating is based on match results, tennis background, and the NTRP Verification Guideline descriptions.
Q. How should individuals rate themselves if they are formerly ranked players who have not played much in recent year or who have had a permanent injury?
A. Ratings will not be downgraded due to layoffs. A person's rating should be closely related to his or her potential upon resuming play on a regular basis. Only permanent injuries or aging debilities should allow for downgraded ratings. Ratings should not be downgraded due to temporary injury.
Q. How does age enter into the NTRP ratings?
A. The NTRP is not based on age divisions. All players of the same gender, regardless of age, should be used as reference points in determining player ratings. After choosing a rating, players should ask themselves: "Can I play competitively against any age player of my gender who is rated at the same level that I have rated myself?"
Q. Can the NTRP be used to rate junior players?
A. Yes If junior player participate in an adult activity using the NTRP, their ratings are in comparison to all other players of the same gender of any age - not just other junior players. Junior players should not be rated until they are experienced in match play.
Q. How does mobility, age, competitive experience, and conditioning affect your rating?
A. Mobility: Ability to cover the court is a prime factor in competitive success. Players need to be observed in a competitive situation so that, in addition to their shot making ability, mobility can be estimated. Mobility is a more important factor in singles that in doubles.
Age and Competitive Experience: as speed decreased with age, a player's competitive ability may be affected. At the same time, strategy and skills may have improve as a player ages. Therefore, one must rely on competitive results.
Conditioning: Temporary changes in conditioning such as a non-permanent injury should not affect a player's rating. Players whose game and physical fitness have suffered due to lack of practice and exercise will not be matched tough and should be placed in the category where they normally compete.Source: USTA