Tennis Organization Of The Month December
SSV - Serve,
Stroke & Volley
(San Diego, California)
What is SSV?
SSV is advertised as an "objective
method for measuring tennis ability." The premise is that
other ratings or ranking systems are subjective because they
only measure match results without any regard for a player's
real abilities, while SSV is evaluating a player's abilities
SSV ratings create a standard
method, a benchmark to compare players' level of play regardless
of age and gender. SSV ratings are divided into 10 levels of
play, from beginner to expert.
From the SSV Tennis
The SSV Tennis
The relative ability of tennis players can be determined by objectively
measuring the Control and Power aspects of a player hitting the
five basic tennis strokes:
- forehand volley
- backhand volley
Unit of Measure
Assigning a value to the location of the first bounce for Control
and the location of the second bounce for Power is the SSV Standard
Unit of Measure.
The SSV Score is determined by adding
- SSV Points
- SSV Mobility Bonus Points
Who Founded SSV?
SSV- Serve, Stroke & Volley
was founded by San Diegan Neil Johnson more than 40 years ago.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, resides lives in Escondido, California.
He played high school and college tennis and created and patented
the first objective method for measuring tennis ability in 1970.
In 1974 Neil Johnson ran the
first Serve, Stroke & Volley tennis basic skills competition
similar to Football's "Punt, Pass & Kick". In 2000
he created an interactive internet database for the rating system
and in 2010 he created a series of tournaments titled SSV San
Diego Junior Grand Prix.
Neil Johnson/s primary business
is video productions. The firm is run by one of his sons while
Neil funds the SSV program for the most parts out of pocket.
The little money its making goes to office and staff expenses.
His son Randy runs all activities in the Los Angeles area while
Neil concentrates more on San Diego.
According to the SSV introductory
video on their web site,
80% of tournament winners are players with the highest SSV scores.
At this time, most SSV activities are concentrating on junior
tennis but Neil is hoping to find more coaches and clubs introducing
SSV to their adult players. In San Diego, close to 1,500 kids
are currently SSV rated and playing SSV Grand Prix tournaments.
How do SSV Ratings Clinics
The 10-15 minute on-court test
consists of testing forehand, backhand, forehand volley, backhand
volley, and a running mobility drill. The scores are entered
in the SSV web site and an SSV Tennis Rating is being returned.
Most coaches charge between $20 and $30 for the test. There is
no fee for coaches to SSV.
SSV and USTA
The US governing body of tennis,
forever defending the superiority of their proprietory NTRP ratings
system, has recently come a little closer to acknowledging that
NTRP and SSV can actually work together and complement each other.
Since the USTA has never had a rating system for junior players,
this would actually be a timely move with far reaching, positive
SSV and High School
San Diego High School coaches
use SSV as a means for student tryouts and to rate the improvements
of their players after a specified period of time.
SSV Grand Prix Tournaments
SSV Grand Prix tournaments distinguish
themselve from "regular" USTA sanctioned tournaments
in many ways. They are 1-day tournaments and therefore don't
"destroy" a family's weekend (or 2 weekends). They
are round robin with flights of 4 players or teams. The format
is 1 set. 6 games, no-ad. And.. they disregard age and gender.
Wheher you are a boy, girl, woman or man, when your SSV rating
is e.g. 135 you are ready to play each other!
SSV and adult players
- The Bay Club
Tom Shea is Director of Tennis
Bay Club, formerly Pacific Athletic Club, in the Carmel Valley
area of San Diego. He is using the SSV ratings for all juniors
and for many adult players. He measures his players in the beginning
of a program or a series of lessons, and then again at the end.
SSV can give him a clear understanding how the player's abilities
In the adult leagues program
he uses SSV ratings to measure where on the NTRP scale his players
really are. The reasons are diverse, but being a 3.5, wanting
to be a 3.5, or really being a 3.0 is a well known issue with
adult league players. SSV steps in and tells a player in no uncertain
terms where they stand - without club politics or other elements
clouding the issue.
Tom Shea finds the humorous side
of human beings realizing ther rating is really lower than they
want it to be: "It's like breaking up with your girlfriend.
In your heart you hate it, but in your mind you understand it."
It is easy to see that a USTA
adult league captain can evaluate his or her chances whether
the team has a chance to go to sectionals or nationals much more
accurate once all team members have SSV ratings.
Congratulations to SSV Serve,
Stroke & Volley for becoming our Tennis Organization of the
Month for December 2015.