Serve, Stroke & Volley (SSV)

SSV Logo

NJTP will be taking part in the Serve, Stroke & Volley (SSV) testing and tournament program in the near future.

What is SSV?

SSV is two things:

  • It’s a standardized skill test that measures tennis playing ability.
  • And, it’s a series of local one-day tournaments where players compete against other players of similar skill levels.

Why Play SSV Tournaments?

SSV tournaments offer several advantages over other types of tournaments:

  • The SSV rating system helps ensure that you will be matched up against other players of a similar skill level, so the matches are usually competitive and not one-sided
  • SSV tournaments are held at local clubs and parks in the San Fernando Valley area
  • SSV tournaments are one-day events that take approximately 2-3 hours to complete, so you don’t spend a whole day playing a tournament
  • SSV tournaments use a round-robin format, so you get a guaranteed number of matches
  • SSV tournaments are held every weekend, so you get frequent opportunities to play

The Serve, Stroke & Volley Test

The SSV test was created by Neil Johnson way back in the 1970s, and is an on-court test that measures tennis playing ability.

The test assesses a player’s shot-making ability in the 5 basic tennis strokes: the serve, the forehand and backhand groundstrokes, and forehand and backhand volleys.   Each shot is rated for control (accuracy in hitting a target area) and power (hitting the shot deep and with pace and spin).  There is an additional test for mobility (agility and running speed).

The complete test takes about 10-15 minutes, and gives each player a numeric rating that is based only on tennis ability, without regard to age or gender.

Why Take the SSV Test?

The SSV test gives players several benefits:

  • It shows you what your current level of play really is
  • It enables you to play SSV matches and tournaments against other players of a similar skill level
  • It shows you areas in your game where you can improve

Once you have your SSV rating, it enables you to play in local SSV tournaments that are held every weekend around the San Fernando Valley area.

SSV tournaments are a great way to play matches against opponents who are close to your own skill level.  This means the matches will usually be closer, so it’s a lot more fun and better competition!

How Do I Get Tested?

SSV testing is done by local clubs and organizations from time to time.

You can also learn about other upcoming SSV testing dates and locations at the SSV Testing website.  Click the links there to sign up for their e-mail newsletter with testing dates and other information.

How Does the Test Work?

Here are some videos explaining how the testing is done, what the rules are, and how you can prepare for the test:

SSV Testing – Player Procedures

SSV Mobility Test Procedure

What Does My Rating Mean?

The SSV ratings are categorized as follows (from the SSV Guidebook for 2014):

SSV Rating
Level of Play
0 – 59 Beginner
60 – 79 Intermediate
80 – 99 Advanced
100 – 119 Competition
120 – 139 Tournament
140 – 159 Championship
160 – 179 Open
180 – 200 Expert

This shows you approximately where your skill level is, in relation to all classes of tennis players.

SSV Tournaments

The SSV program offers tournaments in the Los Angeles / San Fernando Valley area, and also in Orange County and San Diego.

As we mentioned earlier, SSV tournaments are convenient for players and parents because they are one-day events that last about 3 hours.  And, SSV tournaments use a round-robin format, so you’ll get a guaranteed number of matches (as opposed to typical single-elimination tournaments where you could get knocked out after one match).

SSV tournaments now offer students the choice to play singles, doubles, or both.

You must have an SSV rating to play in SSV tournaments so that you can be matched against opponents who are approximately at your skill level.

For information on upcoming SSV tournament dates, see the SSV Schedule page.

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