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Choosing the right tennis league

Haven’t played tennis in a while and trying to join a league to start again? Confused by what people mean when they ask you for your level? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one! Most players are confused by the system and we are here to help.

Ratings 101

So first off - anyone who you talk to will ask you what your level is. Tough thing is that there are two rating systems - the USTA’s National Tennis Rating System coined the NTRP rating system and the Universal Tennis Rating system (UTR for short) both of which are different.

Then to top it off, rating systems vary from state to state since it’s all relative based on match play - so let’s say you remember being a 5.0 in Pennsylvania, you may actually be a 3.0 in New York for instance.

And if that wasn’t enough, the rating systems are based on the matches played through the USTA or the UTR which makes it very difficult if you haven’t played within either system for a while (which don’t worry, most haven’t!).

So when someone asks, how do you respond? And how do you actually determine the right league for you?

Determining your level

When people ask what your level is, first off ask them if they use the NTRP vs. UTR’s rating system. Then from there you can either respond not sure and join a class or clinic and ask the coach to tell you what he or she thinks you are or you can request a consultation from one of our in-house pros at Given that you haven’t actually played a match though - it is important to understand that your level will likely become more concrete as you play matches where a coach is present to help determine your level.

How to find the right league

Once you have a guesstimate of your level, we recommend choosing your league wisely by figuring out the following:


It's always good to check whether you you have to committ to a full season or if it's more of a drop in culture. Some people love the consistency of a recurring weekly and some don't. Some leagues also might ask for a season long commitment but they might not have a fixed schedule due to the court availability so good to ask some of these questions prior to commmitting. The last thing you want is to potentially have a mismatch of expectations!

Level of competitiveness

It's important to be honest about how competitive you want to get. Some leagues are super competitive and are more focused on winning while others are competitive in nature given that there is a line up and there is match play but have a bit more emphasis around the socializing before and after.

Type of play

Something to learn more about is whether you would be playing doubles vs. singles. If you are playing singles but like doubles more, might be worth asking for leagues that are doubles based. If you like singles but the league offers doubles it might be worth your time either looking for leagues that will take you as a singles player or joining the doubles league if you like the partner and the people you would be playing with in the doubles league. For doubles, the benefits are that you could meet more people but the doubles experience is really impacted based on who you get matched up with and whether you enjoy playing with your partner.

Team captain's communication style

The experience of the league is very much swayed by the team captain who is the one organizing all of the practices and match play. It's tough to gage in the beginning but if there is a way to understand how far in advance they communicate around things like cancellations, reschedules, and fill-ins that is something to look out for. It is also important to voice to the captain what you are looking to get out of your experience and see how she or he responds to gage whether you will get the experience you are looking for from the captain. If not, you can always politely ask for recommendations to other leagues or search through our platform for other options!

- Break HQ

PS: Starting in February 2020, you will be able to search through local leagues on Break the Love.

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