Related Place: Pickleball Courts at Saddlebrooke Related Place: Pickleball Courts at SaddleBrooke Ranch Pickleball Association

Pickleball Press: All About Ratings – Tucson, Arizona

By Nancy Dowell – Nov 29, 2019


Photo of Angela Martin, See Player Profile below!


Why get rated? Ratings provide a marker that guides a consistent and competitive level of play within a club or in a tournament.

The Saddlebrooke Pickleball Association ratings range from 2.0 to 4.0 at 0.5 increments. Under the wing of SPA’s rating committee, the goal is to coordinate member’s ratings for play with others having the same rating. This includes evaluating a player for their initial rating. Once a player has been rated, the committee facilitates rating advancement with clinics for those wishing to improve their level of play. If a player feels their skill level has progressed, he or she may request an evaluation or re-evaluation. There is a 60-day waiting period between a player evaluation and re-evaluation. The SPA skill assessment matrix is listed on the club’s website. If a player has a USAPA rating, the rating for doubles may be used as a club rating.

A player being rated will need to play three consecutive games with other players whose skill level has already been assessed at the aspiring level. It sounds intimidating, but every effort is made to make the player feel comfortable and at ease so that they may play their best. After the games, the skills seen and not seen will be noted. By the end of the three required games, the raters will have made a valiant attempt to determine if the player can compete at the requested level. Starting in November, the 4.0 rating evaluation will rate a player based on the 23-point performance system. The aspirant needs to win 23 or more points during the course of three matches to achieve the 4.0 rating. Players are made aware of the format prior to the rating clinic, regardless of how the committee chooses to conduct the rating evaluation.

Rating guidelines are simple yet, very specific. As the skill level increases, a player generally exhibits improved understanding of the game and better paddle skills. A variety of mastered shots are employed during the course of a point. Strategy and court position are evident and supplement paddle skills to win points. The player shows consistency and does a good job at eliminating unforced errors. And, of course, learning to work with doubles is an important part of a successful game. This is a broad sense of what is involved in a rating.    A rating clinic is not a pass-fail test, but instead a way to sort a group of players. In pickleball, whether social or competitive, a very fun game can be had at any level if the players are of similar ability. Most players will agree that a game with a close score is much more enjoyable than a lopsided game.  Ratings occur once per month and a member must sign up in advance. Committee Chair, Glen George, takes the assessment of the raters and emails the aspirant their result. Positive details, as well as specific areas that might require improvement are passed on. This individualized scrutiny has the added benefit of being an invaluable tool for understanding your specific path to further pickleball success. The raters are volunteer SPA members, without whom this program would not be possible. If you feel you could generously support the club by volunteering to be a rater or if you are interested in being rated, email Glen for more information at

SPA has organized level play for women on Wednesday mornings (sign-up in advance is required, look under “events” on the website) and each rating level has an afternoon that is specifically reserved for same level mixed play (no need to sign-up). The information is posted at the courts.

Angela Martin SPA Player Profile

Nickname? “Ange or Angie. Someone even nicknamed me Angry Angie but I presumed they were joking!!!”

How long have you been playing Pickleball? “Probably eight and a half years.”

Why did you decide to play? “Actually, the first time I was introduced to it I did not like it at all, mainly because the instructor was not enthusiastic sounding. Many months later and, after hearing more people talk about what fun it was, I gave it another try. This time the instructor was so encouraging and up-beat saying things like you are doing great, now try getting the ball over the net! From then on I was hooked.”

Tournament player? “I have played in about five tournaments. The most fun one was at the World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. My partner had a motor home and we went there with another couple in their motor home. There were eight of us in all, some played mixed and some ladies only or men only. It was really great. “

Favorite Pro player or Club player for tips and inspiration? “When you are just starting to play many people gave you tips or ideas.”

The best tip anyone has given you? “I don’t know if this was a tip or I came up with it myself, but I liken serving to rolling a bowling ball down the lane.”


What food or drinks help you stay energized on the court? “I usually just drink plenty of water, but if I feel I need an extra bit of oomph I will add Zip Fizz to my water.”

Dinker or Banger? “Of the two I would say I’m more of a dinker than a slammer.”

Your favorite shot? “Definitely down the middle.”

Paddle? “I use a 200 PXL Composite Selkirk that I like a lot.”

Brent’s Pickleball Tip:

“Want your own pro(s)? Take advantage of the multitudinous teaching videos on YouTube. Google ‘YouTube pickleball’ or something similar and start clicking. Or try something more specific like ‘pickleball serving’, ‘pickleball 3rd shot drops’, etcetera. Be a student of the game and…happy clicking.”

See you on the courts!


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