Saturday Play at LaVerndrye

The club has the gym on both Saturday, Dec. 8th and Saturday, Dec. 15 for play from noon to 2 p.m.  (Please do not arrive early.)  As part of the new playing format devised by the working group, Saturday play is for intermediate/advanced play.  In order to participate the player must be at 3.0 or above (as determined by the internal club rating).  If you are unsure of your level (rating) you can speak to Sue, Julie, or Chris.


New Playing Format at LaVerendrye

The new playing format begins on Tuesday, December 4th.  See the November 28th post for details or speak to a member of the working group (Sue, Lori, Chris, Julie, and Sally).

Ratings and Skill Assessment Sheets

As players try to develop their skill, and as the club moves to a new playing format, it is helpful for player to know his or her rating.  Players at LaVerendrye have been evaluated — the following is how the ratings were determined:
Three players, independently and then collaboratively, rated individuals using skill assessment sheets based on those provided by the USAPA.  A player must demonstrate an ability to use certain skills consistently in real games, in order to be rated at a given level.
If a player would like to know why they received a certain rating or disagrees with their rating, they should  bring it to the attention of Julie, Chris, or Sue.  The three of them, together, will go over the skills sheet and note areas that need improvement (for player wanting to know why) or re-evaluate the rating (for the player who disagrees with his/her rating).  This information will then be shared with the player.
The skills sheets are below and are also available at the court.



Players at Level 2.0 demonstrate the following:

o   Knows some of the basic rules, including the”two bounce rule”and scoring

o   Demonstrates a forehand groundstroke

o   Demonstrates a backhand groundstroke

o   Demonstrates a volley

o   Demonstrates an overhead smash

o   Gets some serves into the correct service square

o   Knows where to stand as the serve team and the return team



Players at Level 2.5 possess Level 2.0 and lower skills and consistently demonstrate the following:

o   Knows some of the basic rules including the two bounce rule after serve, and how     to score

o   Demonstrates control on forehand groundstrokes (direction, depth, height)

o   Uses backhand groundstrokes

o   Placing serves in correct service court

o   Knows correct court positioning as the serve and return team

o   Approaches the non-volley line to hit volleys

o   Keeps the ball in play on short rallies

o   Uses the forehand lob

o   Dinking the ball at the net

o   Attempting to hit a slower paced ball landing in the non-volley

zone (3rd shot)



Players at Level 3.0 possess Level 2.5 and lower skills and consistently demonstrate the following:

o       Demonstrates placement of serves (depth, location)

o       Uses deeper and higher returns of serve to allow time to approach the net

o       Serve team attempts to approach the net on the 3rd shot with a slower-paced/ drop shot

o       Approaches the non-volley line quickly and holds the line

o       Sustains a dink exchange at the net

o       Sustains a short volley session at the net

o       Exhibits correct court positioning for doubles and how to “move as a team”

o       Adjusts to differing ball speeds (serves, volleys, groundstrokes)

o       Demonstrates controlled forehand groundstrokes (placement, direction, depth)

o       Demonstrates controlled backhand groundstrokes (placement, direction, depth)

o       Uses the forehand lob with some success

o       Returns the ball lower over the net



Players at Level 3.5 possess Level 3.0 and lower skills and consistently demonstrate the following:

o   Places serves deep into the court with appropriate placement

o   Can utilize the 3rdshot slower-paced/drop shot to approach the net

o   Quickly approaches and holds the non-volley line when appropriate

o   Uses deeper and higher returns of serve to approach the net

o   Sustains a short volley session at the net with some placement and control

o   Initiates and maintains a sustained dink exchange at the net

o   Consistently returns lower balls over the net

o   Demonstrates control/consistency on both forehand and backhand groundstrokes (direction, depth, and pace)

o   Uses slower paced shots vs faster paced shots to their advantage; able to adjust to differing ball speeds consistently

o   Able to create coverage gaps and then hit to these gaps

o   Hits overheads with control

o   Avoids hitting out balls

o   Uses a forehand and backhand lob when appropriate

o   Developing patience during rallies

o  Able to play with partners effectively using court strategies such as partner communication

o   Knows all main rules including how to determine the score based on server/ player position



Players at Level 4.0 possess Level 3.5 and lower skills and consistently demonstrate the following:

o   Controls and places serves and return of serves

o   Consistent and dependable forehand and backhand groundstrokes (directional control, depth, placement, and pace)

o   Consistent and dependable volleys (directional control, depth, placement, and pace)

o   Consistent and dependable overheads (directional control, depth, placement, and pace)

o   Accuracy in placing lobs

o   Consistently executes successful slow paced (3rd shot) from the baseline to approach net

o   Initiates and maintains a sustained dink exchange at the net to elicit a “put away” shot

o   Able to change a slow paced strategy to a fast paced strategy, vice versa

o   Can block and return fast, hard volleys

o   Can handle speed on shots without over-hitting or hitting out-of-bounds

o   Moves effectively with partner, easily switching sides, and communicates when required

o   Controls play at the non-volley line, keeping their opponents back, driving them off the line and controlling the speed or placement of the ball

o   Consistently creates coverage gaps and hits to these gaps

o   Recognizes and exploits weaknesses in their opponent’s game

o   Poaches effectively

o   Developing their use of spin on a variety of shots

o  Maintains patience in rallies

* Skill assessment sheets are based on those provided by the USAPA website. These were compiled for use in assigning internal club skill ratings and do not replace the official USAPA/IFP skill level definitions, but provide assistance to help rate players within local clubs.  Players can also use these sheets to determine what particular skills they need to work on.

See more information




Playing Format Changing at LaVerendrye

Pickleball is growing and our numbers are increasing!  In response to feedback from players and in an attempt to make sure that everyone has fun games and chances to improve their skill, [and minimal wait times] the working group is revising our playing format.  We’ll be giving this a try over the next several months and making changes as necessary.  The working group (Sally Barnett, Lori Harder, Roger LePage, Chris Lobbecke, Julie McKenna, and Sue Yuan) welcomes your feedback.

Beginning Tuesday, December 4ththe following format will be used:

Tuesday and Thursday  7:00-8:30  open play* (all levels)

                                            8:30-9:55 intermediate/advanced play  (level 3.0 and above)

Saturday (when the gym is available) intermediate/advanced play  (3.0 and above)

Note:  1) On T/TH play stops at 8:30 even if you’re in the middle of a game; 2) Please remember to include (hit to) all four players in the game during open play; and 3)  A playing format for intermediate/advanced play is being developed.

If you’re hoping to play during intermediate/advanced play times please see Chris, Julie, or Sue for your rating.


*PLAYING FORMAT FOR OPEN PLAY (for 2 or more people waiting – games to 9, win by 2 points)

  • All 4 players come off
  • Place your paddle at the back of the line in the appropriate box (winners or almost winners); the 4 paddles from the box with the band take the court and the band moves to the paddles in the other box
  • Please play with someone other than your partner from previous games even if the teams seem uneven – this helps to ensure that players are mixed up
  • If you would like to practice with a specific partner please use the challenge court



Free Play in December When You Join PAO


Becoming a member of the Pickleball Association of Ontario helps to support and promote the game across the province. Join PAO (membership is $15) and PLAY PICKLEBALL FOR FREE at LaVerendrye on Tuesday and Thursday evening during the month of December.  Go to for information about the association.

Basic Drop Shot Technique

The third shot in PB is often a drop shot.  When this shot is executed properly the ball lands softly in the opponent’s kitchen.  The shot is designed to get your team to the net. For players interested in adding the drop shot to their skills there is a video under “Playing Tips” (look at Aprils post).  An informative article is also posted under “Playing Tips” (November)

Check out “Play Tips”

Is my serve legal?  What type of serve should I use?  What are the advantages of different types of serves?  The October 2016 post regarding serving has some new video links that will help you answer these questions.

Why should I have a drop shot in my repertoire?  What is the purpose of a drop shot and when should I do one?  How do I do a drop shot?  There are two posts on the “Playing Tips” page that help answer these questions.