Advanced Court Times

The Board is soliciting your input and suggestions.

One of the recent Board meeting topics was times for advanced players.  Bob L. said that several members have expressed an interest in establishing a court and/or times set aside for advanced (3.5 and up) players.   Historically at Hackleman we had an advanced play/challenge court designated from about 11:00 on.

Everyone recognizes this can be a sensitive subject, and the Board wants to make sure that if this is done, it be handled in a way that avoids or minimizes any tension. Discussion included that those players wanting to have such an arrangement should not entirely separate themselves from other players and should willingly mix in to sustain play on all available courts and provide a positive challenge to lower ranked players.

The Board thought the blog would be the perfect place to lay out the issues and solicit comments that everyone could particpate in.

Pls leave your comments one way or the other about this issue.

9 thoughts on “Advanced Court Times

  1. Several times when I have played with some better players, they tend to hit the ball to each other and I am ignored most of the time, then when the ball finally comes my way my attention has wondered away. So, if higher rated players are to mix it up with the rest of us, they need to make an effort to treat us equally, even though it may not be as much fun for them.

    • Steve: I know just what you mean in reverse. At times when a more advanced player is on a court with intermediate players they do not include that player in the action and all you do is stand around.

  2. I suggest a handicap system: Compute a handicap for each match by calculating the average difference between skill levels for each team. e.g.
    team 1 skill levels of 3.0 and 3.5 has average skill of 3.25 and team 2 has skill levels 3.5 and 4.0 with average skill of 3.75. The average difference is 0.5. If the handicap constant is C=4; then compute 0.5 times 4 to get handicap of 2. Team 1 would start the match with score of 2.
    Experience would have to determine the best value for ‘C’ and other factors such as how teams should be formed such as mix of skill levels. Also there needs to be agreement on each player’s skill level.

    • Like tournaments skills are classified from 2.5 to 5.0 as a way to put players of the same skills together.

  3. I spoke with the person in charge of the courts at the Boys & Girls Club and asked if we might be able to play beyond noon on Mon., Wed., & Fri., and she said “yes.” So one possibility for advanced play might be to start an advanced court around 11am and keep it going until around 1pm. Not sure about Sunday, but I think John M. will be talking with someone to see if we might be able to start earlier, in which case we might be able to do something similar that day.

  4. Play by ability level can be a complicated process. The reasoning players of the same ability want to play together is it gives a more even game, it is more competitive, one player is not picked on or one is not hit too at all, and the games end up being more fun. A foursome is only as competitive as the weakest player and in a lot of cases the higher level players only pick on the weaker player and the more experienced player does not get to play. This is not always the case, as many players will play to the higher level player to improve their skills, they understand it is not always about winning, and to keep that person engaged and wanting to come back. I agree that it is good for all level players to play together if all players play to everyone and it is not always about winning but improving our game. I would hope that players would understand and not be offended if players with a higher skill level wish to play a more competitive game – that is the case in all sports — they put players together by ability. I would hope this would be done from the start of play and not make players wait until later in the scheduled play time.
    Respectfully and for better Pickleball for everyone.

  5. I am involved somewhat with several other groups discussing this same issue. It is complicated as Craig said and sometimes feelings are hurt. At one place they have enough players to devise scheduled round robin play by skill levels. Even with many play times per week within skill levels, during “open play times” there are issues about who plays with whom and feelings are again hurt at times.

    The ambassadors are discussing similar issues around skill levels and younger players.

    What seems to be shaking out are: as you are growing pickleball in an area, you need everyone playing together to make it work. As you get larger – at some point – you need to start moving to different levels of play to keep everyone interested and progressing in skill level. This can tend to hurt feelings, if you are not careful. People playing within skill levels all generally have more fun, won’t get overwhelmed by more advanced players, and are able to improve their game.
    You also need to have some open play where players can improve by playing more skilled players. Of course this comes at the potential expense of more skilled players not feeling as challenged and losing some interest. Most advanced players like to play with all their PB friends, but also like to play within their levels. If we can all recognize some of these items, we can grow PB, increase everyone’s skills and have a great time.

    The list below came from an ambassador with many years of experience in both PB and tennis.

    1. Players of all sports will arrive at a skill level that they can maintain, through playing lesser, equal & better players, as they are available to play.

    2. Everyone will not be capable of playing at the skill level they seek, even by playing better players.

    3. No player can be coerced into playing with less skilled players, they have to be willing to join the play. Determined hours of open play encourage this activity.

    4. There will be times that better players will exclude lesser players, as they want the highest level of competition, to improve their game and enjoyment.

    5. When better players play with lesser players, too many times the weaker players are receiving more balls and the better partner plays less. This becomes frustrating to the better players and does not encourage this kind of mixed level play.

  6. There is merit to the comments made above. I realize that my lack of coordination and poor eyesight make me a lackluster PB player. I appreciate all the patience of the Albany PB players and their willingness to work with me to improve my game. Likewise, I know from tennis experience, that you can only “dumb down” your own game so much before you lose interest in playing with lesser players. I would suggest that if we have 3 courts to play on, that one court be reserved for the advanced players, assuming we have more than a dozen players to fill all the courts. Otherwise, I’d suggest some specific times for advanced players only and hope they will continue to play with the rest of us during our scheduled times, keeping in mind what type of shots are beneficial to bring along the lesser skilled players.

    • I would like to see us this outdoor season have an advanced play court from the beginning of play. It has been stated by many that in all sports players are put together by ability and ” you can only dumb down” your own game so much before you lose interest in playing with lesser players.” This is also true if you happen to not have a skill set to play with more advanced players– it is always more competitive to play with players of like skill set.The beautiful courts we have at Hack Park allow us to play by ability. With 4 courts we can easily accommodate players to play together by ability. We could have the two south courts for 3.5 and under and the two north courts divided into 2 courts of ability levels by 3.5 to 4.0 and 4.5 and above. Obviously this is always dependent on how many players show up and what abilities. I know we put paddles down to see who is next — we should have two groups of paddles to make this work by all involved.
      For better Pickleball for all,

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