Surrey Pickleball Club
Welcome to your information centre for the Surrey Pickleball Club
Skill Level Criteria
The SPC uses a standardized two-digit ratings for pickleball skill levels which rate skill sets from 1.0 through 5.0 in half-point increments. The rating criteria were developed and are maintained by the various international pickleball governing bodies (notably the US Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP)).
If you are interested in seeing the rating information available through the USAPA (including descriptions and rating "checklist" sheets for determining each of the skill levels), it can be found on the USAPA site, here.
If you're interested in your approximate skill level rating, you can use the high-level descriptions below to self-assess your skill level.
The Surrey Pickleball Club (SPC) employs the skill levels of play as a means of determining eligibility to play in the various club play events shown on the Calendar. The purpose is to match members together that are at the approximately same skill level, thereby providing social yet challenging play. SPC uses the following skill level categories: 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0.
In previous years, members were assigned to a level based on a skills assessment performed by our Ratings Committee, and therefore were “Club Rated”. Starting in 2021, the Club will move from a Ratings Committee System to a Performance Based Ratings System, which calculates a player's rating based on their playing performance against other players. The club uses a system provided by pickleballbrackets.com to track game scores and calculate ratings. In order to have their skill level rating calculated, all club members must be members (free) of pickleballbrackets.com under the Surrey Pickleball Club. Instructions for how to properly join pickleballbrackets.com can be found here.
Highlights of the club's Performance Based Ratings system include:
Q & A
What are ratings and why do we use them?
Ratings are a way of ensuring that members get to play with other members at or near their own level of play. For example, if you are rated at a 3.0 Club Skill Level, you will play in the 3.0 events with other 3.0 players. There are different ways to rate players, such as a ladder system, tournament play, skills assessment, etc. In 2021, SPC will be moving from a Ratings Committee System to a Performance Based Ratings System, using "Rated" Events in the Calendar.
What is the difference between Level and Rating?
Each current member has a 2 digit Club Skill Level that is referred to as their Level (e.g. 3.5). This Level determines which Events they can register for in the Weekly Schedule in the Calendar. If a member chooses to register for "Rated" Events, they will then be asked to Sign Up on pickleballbrackets.com (first time only). Once they do this, they will be assigned an 8 digit rating (e.g. a 3.5 is assigned a 3.75000000 rating) and that becomes their Club Rating. Each time they play in a "Rated" Event, the results will be entered into pickleballbrackets.com, and their rating will be adjusted based on a number of factors including scores, partner's rating, opponents' ratings, total # of games they've played, etc. If their 8 digit rating moves high enough to be in another 2 digit Club Skill Level, they will be moved up a Level and will then be able to sign up for Events including that Level in the Calendar. Similarly if they move down.
In my member profile, there are three ratings origin choices (S = Self Rated, C = Club Rated, and T = Tournament Rated). What’s the difference between these and why have three?
These three origin ratings are to define a member's Club Skill Level, which determines which Events they can register for in the Calendar.
The Self Rating is for new members. When you join the club, you self-rate. You can play in Calendar Events that include that Club Skill Level. While you are playing on the self rating, the Captain has the authority to reassign you to a different level if they determine you are clearly at the wrong level.
The Club rating is for those who have successfully gone through the club ratings process, either in the past or current year.
The Tournament Rating is optional and is a place for you to store your USAPA rating.
What rating do I get when I first join SPC?
When you Join and complete the registration form, you will be asked to self rate. Use the ratings descriptions (see below this Q&A) to select which Club Skill Level you should be playing at. You can also ask others who have watched you play to help you make that decision. You will then play at that Level until you successfully move up a Level via "Rated" Play. While you are playing with your self rating, if the Captain of your Event determines that you are clearly at the wrong level, he/she may reassign you to a more appropriate level. You cannot self rate higher than 3.5. If you do, you will be moved to 3.5. There are two exception:
I’m renewing my membership. At what level do I play?
If you are a renewing member, you have a Club Rating from last year that defined your Club Skill Level. You will continue to play at that Level until you successfully move to a higher Level by playing in "Rated" Events.
Can I request a new club rating?
You no longer need to make a request. If you want to move up to a higher Club Skill Level, you simply register for "Rated" Events in the Calendar. Your results in these Events will be input into pickleballbrackets.com and your 8 digit rating (Club Rating) will be adjusted. These sessions are offered regularly. If your 8 digit rating (Club Rating) improves enough, you will then move to a higher Club Skill Level and be able to register in the higher Level Events in the Calendar. Alternatively, if your rating slides enough, you will move to a lower Level.
I transferred from another club. Can I transfer my rating?
If you transferred from another club where you had a rating, you are treated as a new member and must follow the rules for new members (see above).
I have a USAPA rating. Can I self rate with that rating even if it’s higher than 3.5?
Yes. We accept USAPA ratings and they take preference over the club rating if you want them to. For example, if you are 4.0 USAPA rated, you can play in 4.0 Club Skill Level Events. Make sure you enter your USAPA rating when you sign up, so that we know to set your Club Rating correctly.
I'm a New Member, but I am definitely higher than a 3.5. Can I start with a higher Level ?
Yes, if you either:
Must I get a club rating?
All members must have a 2 digit Club Skill Level. They do not, however, need to signup for "Rated" Events in the Calendar and get an 8 digit Club Rating. If a member simply wants to continue playing socially in their existing Level, they may do so. They can also play in the "Rated" Events if they like, even if they don’t want to move up a Level, but their rating will change, and eventually their Club Skill Level may change.
How many ratings sessions will there be and when will they be?
We are planning to have as many "Rated" Events as needed. To start the season, there will be a minimum of 3 per week. If more are required, we will add more courts or more times.
How can I see what my current rating is?
You can see your 2 digit Club Skill Level or your 8 digit Club Rating (if you have one), by looking in your Profile on the club website. You also see your 8 digit Club Rating each time you register for an Event. And you can check your 8 digit rating and all your match history by logging into pickleballbrackets.com, but you must Signup to that site first:
When you register for a "Rated" Event in the Calendar for the first time, you will be told to Signup on pickleballbrackets.com. When you do this, you will enter your 2 digit Club Skill Level and will be automatically assigned an 8 digit rating (a Level 3.5 will get a 3.75000000 rating). That rating will change, based on your performance in "Rated" Events.
If I’m successful at getting rated higher, when can I start playing at that level?
In 1-2 days or less. Our club administrators must make the change in our club website. Once that is done, you can register for sessions at your new Club Skill Level.
How do the "Ratings" Events work and are they run much differently that the "Social" Events" ?
The 'Social" Events are similar to the Events of past years, except for differences due to Covid-19. You register, you show up, and the Captain runs the event.
The "Rated" Events run a little differently:
Can I get together with 3 other members and play some games and have the results go towards my 8 digit Club Rating ?
If you're interested in your approximate skill level rating, you can use the following high-level descriptions to self-assess:
1.0 New and have only minimal knowledge of the game and the rules. Need to work most on developing their hand/eye coordination. Frequently miss the ball entirely, but can hit some of the slower balls with their forehand. They have a hard time playing games because they can’t keep a rally going.
1.5 Keep some short rallies going with their forehand, but still fail to return easy balls frequently and occasionally miss the ball entirely. They have played a few games and know the basic rules of the game, including scoring.
2.0 Learning to judge where the ball is going, and can sustain a short rally with players of equal ability. They have obvious weaknesses in most of their strokes. Familiar with court positioning in doubles play.
2.5 Able to keep quite a few balls going with their forehands, make most easy volleys, and are beginning to make some backhands but need to work more on developing their strokes. They are beginning to approach the non-volley zone to hit volleys and are making an effort to be more aggressive, including trying dinks and lobs. Familiar with the rules.
3.0 More consistent on the serve and service return, and when hitting medium-paced shots, but are not comfortable with all strokes and lack control when trying for direction, depth, or power on their shots. They are using lobs and dinks with limited success but don’t fully understand when and why they should use them and don’t have a lot of success with them. This player could be thought of as a “C” player.
3.5 Have achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on most medium-paced balls and some harder hit balls. They still need to develop more depth and variety with their shots, but are exhibiting more aggressive net play, are anticipating their opponent’s shots better, use lobs and dinks on a regular basis with more success, and are developing teamwork in doubles. Need to develop variety with their shots.
4.0 Have consistent and dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides. They can reliably serve, use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys, and can use spin shots with some success. Occasionally can force errors when serving. Rallies may be lost due to impatience. Teamwork in doubles is evident. Dinks and lobs are used as a major part of their game. They know the rules of the game and play by them.
4.5 Beginning to master the use of power and spin, can successfully execute all shots, can control the depth of their shots, and can handle pace. They have sound footwork and they move well enough to get to the non-volley zone whenever required. They understand strategy and can adjust their style of play according to their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and their position on the court. They can hit serves with power and accuracy and can also vary the speed and spin of the serve if desired. Dinks and lobs are weapons, and they have had success in tournaments.
5.0 Have mastered all the skills – all the shot types, touch, and spin. Serves are used as weapons. Excellent shot anticipation, extremely accurate shot placement and regularly hit winning shots. Can force opponents into making errors by “keeping the ball in play.” Have mastered the dink and drop shots. Have mastered the shot choices and strategies for drop shots, lobs, and fast-paced ground strokes. Uses soft shots, dinks and lobs to set up offensive situations. Have mastered Pickleball strategies and can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive or tournament matches. Are dependable in stressful situations such as tournament match play. They have athletic ability, quickness, agility and raw athleticism that separate top players from those near the top. Are able to keep unforced errors to a minimum. They can take advantage of opponents errors. Have had successful experience with Provincial, State, Regional, or National 5.0 competition.