NEPC reviews all available information to determine the most accurate skill rating for each player. This comprehensive approach includes evaluating performance in our competitive Give ‘N Take League, Blue Square Group Play Events, as well as any external tournaments. Our goal is to use a wide range of data to make the fairest skill rating decisions possible.
For players who don’t have sufficient competitive data, which is often the case, the club allocates staff resources to observe and assess skill levels during our Blue Square Group Play Events. These skill assessments are conducted or reviewed periodically to ensure they remain accurate and up-to-date.
If you’re interested in having your skill level assessed, you can sign up for an event on the calendar where Stephen Iandoli is the coordinator. Be sure to ask him for a skill assessment before the event starts. If you’re new to NEPC and unsure about your skill level, it’s better to self-rate conservatively, for example, as a 2.5, and then you can request an upgrade to a 3.0 based on your performance in the Give ‘N Take League or after an assessment.
NEPC has a diverse player base with varying levels of tournament experience, both regionally and nationally. This allows us to maintain accurate benchmarks for each skill level, which are updated regularly. Whether you’re competing in New England or elsewhere, you can expect our skill ratings to be on par with those in strong regional or reasonably strong national tournaments. For instance, our 3.5 male and female players are competitive with players rated between 3.5 and 3.9 in such tournaments. We do not differentiate between senior and regular skill ratings, so some senior players who excel in 3.5-level tournaments may find that they fit best in our 3.0 skill rating category.
No. The club assesses all players’ scores and balances to assign the most appropriate skill rating, irrespective of the event level you’re competing in. Part of the fun of the Give ‘N Take system is to monitor your +/- balance and select events or private matches that you enjoy and while maintaining a balance that doesn’t stray too far from zero. If you consistently participate in events at the same level, and your balance trends higher and higher in the same direction (either positive or negative), the club will notice this and may request or require you to compete in events or matches with a different skill rating to get the trend going in the other direction.
Aside from resolving your +/- balance, registering for a Give ‘N Take below your current NEPC skill level can offer several other benefits, such as gaining experience against diverse players and playing styles, learning the tactics and strategies needed to defeat players with lower versus higher skill ratings, boosting confidence, and potentially discovering a new, up-and-coming player at the lower skill level whom you can invite as a partner for a higher skill level event.
Essentially, we review how a player performs against other players known to be at that level. We assess:
- Overall skill with the basic shots (consistency, power, quickness)
- How well they defend and/or attack.
- Keeping rallies alive.
- Body positioning on the court and anticipation: do they know where to be at the right times.
- Shot selection.
The more consistent a player is, in those areas, their rating moves accordingly. It’s a fluid process and ratings are never set in stone: as the club gets more information (either through observation or data from competition), we consider changes both up and down. Ultimately, the most accurate way to determine your skill rating is in a competitive situation where your opponents are known to be of a certain skill rating: this can be done through our Give ‘N Take League.
Always use the wait list on CourtReserve if you can’t get into something! This is how we know to add more courts to the event.
When members have a suggestion for adjusting the calendar, they are encouraged to let one of the group play coordinators know, or contact the club.
Checkout the green circle, blue square, black diamond graphic on our Group Play page.
Have you ever driven 30 minutes to play, and, because you were the best player on the court, nobody would hit you the ball?
Have you ever been in a foursome where three of the players are “sharing” the ball around to each player, but the fourth player is constantly hitting almost every ball to the weaker player?
When it comes to how your private foursome handles its etiquette, that’s up to you. However, all of NEPC’s group play will operate with clear etiquette guidelines. These guidelines are comparable to how most successful pickleball clubs and communities around the country operate. NEPC is simply taking a step further to define the guidelines explicitly, so that all four players on your court are on the same page.
Are you a beginner who just learned the rules and are looking to learn the game in the most welcoming, social environment? Are you an intermediate or advanced player who would like to spend some time playing with beginners and experience play with the most casual, social, less-competitive players at the club? That’s “green circle” group play.
Are you looking for the classic recreational play that most pickleballers are used to at their local courts? That’s “blue square” group play. It’s not a tournament, your result isn’t going to affect your skill rating, and, in blue square play it’s bad etiquette to constantly keep the ball away from the stronger player. Blue square play is the midpoint of competitive play at your skill level, social and fun, and a great place to work on areas of your game and strategies that are out of your comfort zone.
Do you and your friend want to compete against another team to see who is the best team? Do you want to exercise strategies trying to exploit your opponents’ weaknesses, and, on the flipside, exercise strategies so your opponents aren’t able to target the weaknesses on your team? Do you want to feel the tournament jitters? Welcome to NEPC’s final category: “black diamond” group play. Members who are used to classic recreational play will find the black diamond play is a whole new world of experience and learning. Any seasoned player around the country will tell you that making some of your play blue square and some of your play black diamond, with a clear distinction between the two, is the only way to get the complete experience of the sport.
A final note on etiquette: etiquette is often not going to be perfect. Many of us have been in situations even with our friends where we feel like we’re not getting hit the ball. This is usually just the rhythm of that particular game and not intentional. Maybe one of your opponents just naturally plays 80-90% of their shots crosscourt, and, if you’re not crosscourt from them, you’re not going to see the ball…
If you’re in blue square play, and, you feel your opponents are not practicing good etiquette, the best approach is usually… step #1: give it a little time to see if it is intentional (it’s usually not), step #2: if the games are going by and it does appear to be intentional, try a “soft” approach of gently suggesting something to your opponents and/or gently pointing them to the club’s green circle, blue square, and black diamond guidelines which are posted on practice court fence, and finally, step #3: if necessary, members are welcome to bring the situation to the attention of their group organizer to manage.
FAQs around green circle, blue square & black diamond:
Q: Can intermediates or advanced players play in green circle with beginners?
A: Yes! Feel free to do that for a change of pace and to help onboard new players into the club.
Q: Is “stacking” allowed in blue square play?
A: Absolutely. Blue square play is a great opportunity for teams to work on blending together, as long as that doesn’t involve heavily isolating one of your opponents. Also, if your team is just struggling or all of the balls seem to be going to one side of the court, this can also be a good reason to “stack”.
Q: Blue square play is supposed to be “friendlier” than black diamond play, but my opponents are just banging everything, is that OK?
A: Yes. NEPC is an equal opportunity club when it comes to playing the banger vs playing the soft game. There are many tactics and skills that Four Bases Academy can teach you to deal with the bangers. In fact, ‘back of the ball offense’ is the first base (the bangers) and, much the Four Bases framework after first base is devoted to countering that offense.
Login to your CourtReserve account through the website OR login through the CourtReserve mobile app:
If you don’t have a CourtReserve account, create a free nonmember account here. As a nonmember, you can look forward 72 hours from now and book anything that’s still available (whereas members can look ahead 10 days on the calendar).
With the goal of preventing abuse of court bookings and facilitating the fairest use of the courts across the membership, the following restrictions apply for all members up until 36 hours before the booking time (at which point all restrictions below will be automatically be lifted by the CourtReserve software):
- All members can book 10 days in advance.
- Maximum 5 outstanding bookings per member (all foursomes that you are signed up for are counted, regardless of whether or not you were the initial member who booked the court).
- Max reservations per week: 4.
- Max reservations per day: 1.
- Three hours max per day.
- One private booking per week on weekend mornings (Sat/Sun 8am-12pm).
These restrictions only apply to private court bookings, not group plays, and are subject to change.
Your court assignment (ie which court you are playing on) is subject to change prior to check-in to maximize court utilization and staffing.
If you can’t get the doubles game that you want, booking a court as a twosome for drilling, skinny singles, or full court singles is highly recommended. This will enable you to drill your weaknesses, and get good competition with the drilling partner of your choice.
Please keep in mind that the membership page defines your court rate in terms of foursomes. If you book a court as a twosome, your hourly court rate will effectively double.
If you already have a CourtReserve Account at another club and you’re having trouble trying to signup for NEPClub’s CourtReserve, take these steps: 1) login to your existing CourtReserve account, 2) go under your name, choose “My Organizations”, 3) choose “Add Organization”, and then choose New England Pickleball Club.
All members are required to have a credit card on file in their CourtReserve account. Your credit card will not be charged for each individual transaction: your outstanding balance (court fees and other purchases such as pro shop purchases) will be charged once per week.
Yes, this is required for court booking and liability waiver purposes.
TENNIS / COURT SHOES are required, street shoes not allowed:
- Most injuries in pickleball occur because court shoes are not being worn. For example, running shoes are not built for sideways movement which can easily cause injury.
- Non-court shoes may permanently mark the courts.
We recommend buying tennis shoes/sneakers prior to your first visit at NEPC. NEPC does stock tennis sneakers at our pro shop, however, due to supply chain constraints on sneaker inventory, we cannot guarantee to have your size in stock!will be capped so that court demand doesn’t over-saturate, and so that NEPClub members never want to leave!
- Any student or player can borrow a demo paddle from the front desk, free of charge. Demo paddles must remain at the club.
- All paddle purchases are final. The only exception is, Gearbox paddles (and most pickleball brands) come with a one year warranty from the manufacturer that can be used if there’s a defective paddle (not valid for normal wear and tear). If you believe a paddle you purchased from NEPC is defective, please get in touch with Dave.
- Beginners are recommended to not purchase a paddle prior to their first class: they can use our high quality demo paddles for free and purchase a paddle at the pro shop after class if they like them. Low priced and quality paddles don’t provide enough power or consistency for any level player (not enough fun!) especially beginners.
Only a minority of pickleball players wear protective eyewear, but NEPC strongly recommends all players wear them.
- NEPC is determined to provide all elements needed to fulfill any pickleball players’ experience; whether it’s social, competitive, improvement, or anywhere in between. We are committed to offering a breadth of options so players of any skill level can find what fits them best. And we require everybody to have fun!
- Group play and private court bookings, generally, will have the best access to court booking times.
- Members will have priority access, with non-members able to book courts only if there’s availability after the membership. Membership will be capped so that court demand doesn’t over-saturate, and so that NEPClub members never want to leave!
Bluetooth or other speakers during play are not permitted without explicit permission from the club.
Only Four Bases instructors are allowed to teach at the club.