September 21, 2010

MI Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings

Dear Michigan Pickleball Tournament Players,

Following the Rochester Pickleball Tournament & Festival in Royal Oak, ratings were developed as a service by the Michigan Rating Group. The Group consists of Ambassadors Jim and Yvonne Hackenburg and Pat Sullivan, all of whom have played in the USAPA National Tournament as well as in events in Arizona, where many players have been playing for decades rather than a few years like most of us.

I mentioned this because one of the goals of introducing ratings here in Michigan is to encourage consistency, so that a 4.0 rating in Michigan means the same thing as a 4.0 rating in AZ and across the country.

The ratings were developed using the criteria:
Royal Oak now has Drop-in, Clinics, and Ladders that are based on ratings in order to enable players to play with others at their level for the fun of it and in order to encourage skill level improvement. Next summer Royal Oak will be hosting League play where a given team will have players at each rating level to ensure equitably challenging team play.

The ratings are purposely conservative focusing on specific criteria elements even more than on the results of local tournament play. We are a relatively young Pickleball community, meaning that some of us may have achieved medal-winning status without ever experiencing the competition of more experienced players from outside of Michigan. If you have ever competed in Arizona, you know that the “soft game” is an essential dimension to Pickleball that most of us Michiganders have not experienced before and may not fully appreciate. As a general rule, players who incorporate a soft game into their repertoire will win consistently against hard-hitting-only players. That is precisely why you will see the following three elements in the definition of a 4.0 player:
  • can sustain “dinks” and many times “put away” their shots at the net
  • is working to master the “third shot soft” from the baseline (into the kitchen) as a tool to approach the NV line after receiving the return of service
  • is striving to be able to change a soft shot to a hard shot strategy during any given point and vice versa
Consequently, the ratings show some of our most successful players with a 3.5 rating rather a 4.0 because they have not yet had a chance to incorporate the “soft game” into their skill set,. This is to ensure consistency with the national criteria and to encourage the development of a full set of skills that will be effective inside and outside of Michigan.

Ratings can change over time and, of course, they can be appealed. To file an appeal, simply go to the USAPA website Ratings Page and click on the USAPA Ratings Committee link. You can email the USAPA Ratings Committee your request for a change; provide your reasons as to why your rating should be changed up or down.

Thanks to the MI Rating Group for their dilligent efforts. Let's not make ratings that big a deal; they are just one more dimension to the fun we have playing Pickleball.

Not all players received a rating. If the committee did not have sufficient opportunity to observe a player in competitive situations, the player was not given a rating or, if he/she already had a rating, the rating was not changed.

NOTE: if you enter a skill level tournament you may NOT play in an event rated LOWER than your rating, but you may play in an event with a higher rating. When uncertain about a rating, it is better to give the player the lower rating and let them earn the higher rating in a subsequent rated tournament.

To check your rating, go to:
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.

Next year the Rochester Pickleball Club Tournament & Festival will be a skill level tournament. Hopefully we will have players in 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and also 5.0 without combining levels. We will do Recreation Speed Pickleball to encourage play by newer players, Men's Doubles, Women's Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Mixed Generation Doubles. Save the dates APRIL 29, 30, AND MAY 1 this is Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday and will be indoors in the gyms of a Rochester school. We will not have weather issues. We will be able to have players under the age of 50.

Marilyn Holladay
Tournament Director
Rochester Pickleball Club Tournament & Festival