Surrey Pickleball Club

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Ratings Overview


      The Surrey Pickleball Club (SPC) is committed to providing social yet challenging play for its members, by matching members together that are at the approximately the same skill level. To promote this philosophy, the Club uses the following skill level categories, called Club Levels:  

      Novice, Intermediate, Intermediate+, Advanced, Expert

      When you join SPC you will be required to select one of the Club Levels for yourself (self-rate). Members can self-rate with Novice through to Intermediate+ and will be able to register for events in the Calendar within these three levels. For Advanced or Expert event registrations, you must meet the criteria for Advanced / Expert play. 

      If you are just joining the Club for the first time and need help in selecting your Club Level, you can use the high-level descriptions below as a guide. You can also refer to other pickleball governing bodies such as the US Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) on the USAPA site here, or the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP). Or you can ask other players that you’ve played with to rate you.

      SPC Ratings Principles

        1. SPC provides opportunities for both social and competitive play. The Calendar consists of League Play Events (competitive) and Social Play Events. Members may register for either one or both in the weekly Play Schedule.
        2.  Members can play in any event in the Calendar that includes Novice, Intermediate, or Intermediate+. 
        3. Existing members have been adjusted from their previous Club rating to the new rating system.
        4. New members self-rate for their Club Level up to Intermediate+.
        5.  Members can request to change their Club Level by emailing with their request.
        6. Members will generally NOT be moved down a Club Level unless they request it.

        2024 Ratings System


          Give yourself a pickleball self-rating of NOVICE if 
          • you are just starting to play pickleball and you know how to keep score and you have a basic understanding of the rules of pickleball ball, i.e. 2 bounce rule; OR
          • you have limited experience playing pickleball, you accurately place serve in the correct square, you can volley, and you can participate in a short rally on the pickleball court; OR
          • you have experience playing pickleball, but you lack mobility and prefer to participate in casual, fun games most of the time (don’t enjoy having balls smashed at you by aggressive players).


            Give yourself a pickleball self-rating of INTERMEDIATE if 
              • you can generally hit a medium paced forehand and backhand with direction and consistency; you are able to hit a medium paced serve with direction and consistency; you are able to sustain a dink rally with control and with players of equal ability; you are able to hit a medium paced volley with some direction and consistency; and
              • you understand basic strategy and proper court positioning, and you are able to keep score throughout the game; OR
              • you are an experienced, competitive player, but you lack the mobility to make you competitive with higher-level games.
              • Generally relates to a 3.0 skill level


                Give yourself a pickleball self-rating of INTERMEDIATE+ if 
                  • you can hit a forehand and backhand with a moderate level of shot control; you consistently place serves deep in the court and you are able to return a serve deep into the court and with pace; you dink and sustain medium length rallies and your dinks have height/depth control; you are able to hit 3rd shot drop to gain advantage; you are able to volley with medium pace and control; and
                  • you can vary your shots between the hard and soft game and know when to use it; you move quickly to the non-Volley Zone line when you have the opportunity; and you are comfortable with hard driven balls being directed at you during game play.
                  • Generally relates to a 3.5 skill level


                    Give yourself* a pickleball rating of ADVANCED if
                    • you can consistently hit strong forehand and backhand drives, serves, returns, dinks, drop shots, and volleys with pace, spin, depth, direction, and control; you can hit consistent and dependable overheads (directional control, depth and placement); you understand which balls are attackable and which are not in a dink rally; you are able to block and return fast, hard volleys; you are able to consistently execute 3rd shot drops from the baseline to approach the net; you can effectively lob; and
                    • you understand advanced strategies (including stacking and switching), aware of partner positioning and move as a team; you have a limited number of unforced errors, and you change your game play to attack your opponents’ weaknesses on the pickleball court.
                    • Generally relates to a 4.0 skill level


                    Give yourself* a pickleball rating of EXPERT if 

                      • you have mastered both forehand and backhand drives, serves, and returns with pace, as well as dinks, drop shots, and volleys of different speeds, and have consistency and control; and 
                      • you have mastered the strategy and rules of pickleball (including stacking), you rarely make unforced errors, and you attack your opponents’ weaknesses on the pickleball court. And/or
                      • you are consistently winning at the highest level, meaning that you are winning against the best pickleball players at the tournament level.
                      • Generally relates to a 4.5+ skill level
                          • *Advanced & Expert Ratings

                            In the past, SPC has been challenged to create compelling game-play for higher-level players (4.0+). In order to protect the level of play in the Advanced and Expert categories (generally related to players who play at a 4.0 and higher level), players must be approved to participate in sessions designed for Advanced and/or Expert players.

                            Some important considerations:

                          • While the Advanced category is generally considered 4.0 in traditional ratings, it is acknowledged that there is a difference between genders and ages in relation to the person’s ability to compete. The spirit and intent is that Advanced level players have a deeper understanding of the strategies of the game, make more consistent shots, leading to longer rallies against other Advanced players. Even if you have considered yourself “4.0” in the past, your game play may or may not be suitable to the Advanced level and players should be sensitive to the desire for other players to maintain a high-level of game play.

                              • The approval process was designed to be fair, transparent and impartial. There will not be any internal reviews or approvals, all approvals will follow this process with no exceptions.
                              • While many 3.5 level players wish to advance their game by playing with higher-level players, the higher-level players have experienced diluted game play and are forced to create private groups to play. We strive to offer competitive high-level game play for players who can legitimately play at this level, therefore we have developed an approval process for levels higher than Intermediate+.
                              • Programming for the Club was based on Membership Distribution – meaning that we offer the most number of sessions for the largest demographic of player (based on level). If the number of Advanced level members increases, we can add more programming for them.
                              • Tournament ratings are set lower because most often players will “play down” for tournaments – meaning the medalists for a 3.5 level tournament generally play at a 4.0 level in recreational play.
                          To receive an Advanced or Expert rating, one of the following criteria must be met:
                          1. A player has medaled (gold, silver, or bronze) in a 3.5 Level sanctioned tournament in the past two (2) years.
                          2. A player wins a SPC Mini-Tournament of Intermediate+.
                          3. The player is newly joining the Club and has a 3.75 or higher tournament rating (mixed or gender doubles) in Pickleball Brackets or a 4.0+ DUPR rating (10 or more games recorded).
                          4. The player has passed an independent review by a non-member approved Assessor. Assessment days will be provided and may have a cost associated.
                          5. The player is an existing SPC member with a minimum 4.0 Club rating for Advanced or 4.5 for Expert – effectively a “grandparent clause”.

                          Ratings Q&A

                          Does it matter what I am rated at?

                          Ratings are a way of ensuring that members get to play with other members at or near their own skill level. By identifying yourself correctly with your skill level, you and others will be able to identify the level of players registered for events.

                          What is the difference between Club Rating and Tournament Rating?

                          Club ratings are internal and only used by the Surrey Pickleball Club. Club ratings enable you to register for Club events and identify which events would suit your playing capabilities.

                          Tournament ratings are governed by or in some cases by DUPR which is another rating system. Your tournament rating will not be impacted by your participation in SPC Club events including the mini-tournaments. The only SPC organized events that will allow you to increase or decrease your tournament rating are our major tournaments that are sanctioned by Pickleball Canada. Tournament ratings use a 2 digit level (ex. 3.0, 3.5) and this level determines the level of competition you can enter.  

                          Why can’t I register for Advanced events in the Club?

                          Only Advanced or Expert level players (who have been approved by the criteria above) can register for Advanced level events. To request an Advanced level, email with proof of qualification.

                          Will mini-tournaments affect my tournament or club ratings?

                          No. Mini-Tournaments were designed as a fun competitive tournament-style event and will not impact your ratings. The only caveat is that if a player wins an Intemediate+ mini-tournament, they may qualify to play in the Advanced events going forward.

                          Can I request a new club rating?

                          Yes, send in your self-rating adjustment request to

                          I'm brand new to pickleball, what should I rate myself?

                          Novice. The Novice level includes beginner up to "just below 3.0". We acknowledge this is a relatively large gap, however in our experience, people tend to move from beginner to Novice quite quickly.

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