Surrey Pickleball Club

Welcome to your information centre for the Surrey Pickleball Club



The Surrey Pickleball Club (SPC) employs levels of play (e.g. 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0) 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.

Current members are assigned to a level based on a previous skills assessment performed by our Ratings Committee, and therefore are “Club Rated”. 

New members select their own level (“self rated”) when they join SPC, and then will eventually get a Club Rating. They may only self rate up to level 3.5. If the Captain of that level deems they are clearly at the wrong Level, they will reassign them temporarily.

Members can move from one level to another if they so request, via a two step process beginning in 2020.

1.     They compete in the SPC’s Competitive Sessions for their level. This is similar to a ladder system. If they rise to the top in their level, then
2.     They will be eligible to undergo a skills assessment by our Ratings Committee to determine if they will move up a level. Dates for these assessments will be posted in the CALENDAR.

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 3.0, you will play in the 3.0 sessions with other 3.0 players. There are different ways to rate players, such as a ladder system, tournament play, skills assessment, etc. In 2020 SPC will be using a two step process that employs a competitive ladder phase followed by a skills assessment phase. Only the top players in the ladder phase will be eligible to move to the skills assessment phase. Those members that pass both phases will be moved to the next highest level.

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?

The Self Rating is for new members. When you join the club, you self-rate. You play at this level unless you request to move up a level and are successful in being assessed to move up.  While you are playing on the self rating, the Captain of the session may reassign you to a different level if they determine you are at the wrong level.

The Club rating is for those who have successfully gone through the club ratings process. 

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 below to select which 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 go through the Club’s 2 step Ratings Process. are club rated at a club ratings session. While you are playing with your self rating, if the Captain of your sessions 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 until you are club rated.

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. You will continue to play at that level until you apply for and successfully pass the 2 step ratings process. 

Why is there a two step process to move up a level?

In 2020, the SPC will begin  to move towards a performance based ratings system rather than a skills based ratings system. The first step is a performance based ladder system, and the second step is a skills based assessment by the Ratings Committee. The goal is to move entirely to a performance based system in 2021.

Can I request to be club rated?

Yes. You simply register for the competitive sessions for your level. They are offered regularly. After playing a minimum of 5 competitive sessions, and if you are in the top several for your level, you will then be eligible to attend a skills assessment performed by the Ratings Committee to determine if you are ready for the next higher 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 self rate and play at that level (up to a maximum of 3.5) until such time as you go through SPC’s 2 step ratings process.

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 4.0. Make sure you enter your USAPA rating when you sign up, so that we know to set your club rating correctly.

Must ALL members get club rated?

No. If you simply want to continue playing socially in your existing level, you may do so. You can also play in the Competitive Sessions if you like, even if you don’t want to move up a level.

How many ratings sessions will there be and when will they be?

We are planning to have 2-3 ratings sessions each playing season. They will probably begin in June, and will be posted in the CALENDAR . 

How do I sign up for a ratings session?

If you play in the Competitive Sessions in your Level and rise to the top 4-5, then you will automatically be invited to a ratings session.

What happens at a ratings session (i.e. how do I get rated)?

There will be a number of raters (typically 3-6). They will divide you up into playing groups of 4, with players at or above your skill level. They may have you perform some skills and assess your skills capability. They will have you play games with rotating partners. During those games, the raters will be assessing your skills with different shots, your movement, your shot selections and your use of strategy, all in live play. The methods they use to assess you are based on well accepted standards of assessment, and can be viewed below under Skill Level Criteria (click on  the level you want to see).

When will I know the results of my assessment?

The Ratings Committee will try to let you know shortly after the ratings session. If they are not able do that immediately (e.g. too many candidates, too few raters, etc.), they will let you know when and how they will tell you. It should not be more than a day or two

If I’m successful at getting rated higher, when can I start playing at that level?

In 1-2 days or less. The raters must pass their results for each person to the system administrators, who will then input your new level into the website. Once that is done, you can register for sessions at your new level.

Skill Level Criteria

The SPC uses criteria for skill levels that are developed by the US Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA) and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP).  The rating sheets for each of the skill levels can be found through the following links: 







Ratings Descriptions*

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 State, Regional, or National 5.0 competition

*Taken from

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