Pickleball Press—Player Development Program

New member Marci LeDuc is taking a clinic to prepare for a 3.0 rating.

New member Marci LeDuc is taking a clinic to prepare for a 3.0 rating.

Nancy Dowell

Membership in SaddleBrooke Pickleball Association (SPA) is on the rise. The summer has seen a spike in new memberships, and the club could not be more delighted to welcome the new members.

Once a resident becomes a member of SPA, he or she may take advantage of all the player development program has to offer. Chair of the Player Development Program, Greg Nelson, has organized a structured system called Assisted Play that transitions players from one series of lessons to more advanced lessons. He personally teaches beginner lessons to players new to the game, those who need a refresh, or those looking to understand basic game strategy. After taking Greg’s lessons, the player’s resulting skills may be rated a 2.0 or a 2.5.

Chair of Advanced Assisted Play, Kosmo Kramer, coaches basic skills, technique, and consistency to 2.0 and 2.5 rated players. In either level, one must demonstrate a basic understanding of the game and rules, how to score, and to be able to sustain short rallies. Those players with a background in paddle sports and those with good athletic skills and mobility may rapidly progress to being rated by the club in order to access the next level of lessons. Others newer to racquet sports may need more extended practice and lessons to achieve the skills needed to move to the next level.

Co-Chairs Deb Westwater and Rich Reiner host a series of lessons called Assisted Play 3.0. This advanced series helps prepare those players that already have a 3.0 rating improve their skills in order to try for a 3.5 level rating. Their lessons build upon previous ones, so the cumulative instruction provides a very complete and well-rounded program. SPA member Brent Carlson leads clinics for those players that are already rated 3.5 and want to achieve a rating of 4.0. Brent looks for a commitment to a lesson series, as each lesson is essential to his player’s success.

The Assisted Play coaching at the 3.0 and 3.5 levels does not produce a rating but does help prepare a player to be rated by the club. Anyone looking for a club rating above a 2.5 is required to sign up to be rated by Ratings Chair Glen George. Glen will have monthly opportunities in the fall, winter, and spring months to be rated at 3.0 and above. Once a player is rated, SPA also has multiple opportunities for level play for those wishing to connect and compete with others of similar abilities at specified times and days. If you are a tournament player, a rating in doubles by USA Pickleball will serve as a club rating.

The Player Development Program is not just for new members. Greg encourages members, new and existing, to take advantage of this amazing program. “Pickleball is a great sport for having a good time and getting some exercise at the same time. The SPA Player Development Program has something for everybody, from total beginners up to advanced players. Our all-volunteer group of instructors is dedicated to helping you improve your skills. Sign up. Join the fun.” Signing up is easy. Just go to the SPA website, login, and select Events. This area produces a calendar for members to browse opportunities for Assisted Play, Level Play, and Rating Clinics.

See you on the courts!