Rating the APTA’s Self Rating System - B Nationals Here I Come

June 6, 2018
Franklin Lakes, NJ
By Pam Berk

At one of my league matches at the Indian Trail Club in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, I bumped into head pro Mike Gillespie and asked him about the B Nationals tournament that they were hosting. “What exactly constitutes a B player?” I inquired. “Am I a B player?” Mike quickly referred me to the APTA’s online self-rating system to help me assess my level of play. He then added politely, “You should play.”

I have played in numerous B tournaments over the years, not all APTA sanctioned, which was the cause of my confusion, and a reason for the implementation of the self-rating system. A "B" player in Illinois may not be the same as a B player in New Jersey. This system offers consistency for paddle players on the move, to find appropriate matches and tournaments when playing in new venues with new players.

I decided to give it a try. The questions assessed my ability on all of the important elements of the game—serve, return of serve, volley, etc. My favorite category was “fear factor,” as I have possibly, very occasionally been seen heading for the hills when facing a wicked drive. If you are honest with yourself, the correct answers jump out at you. If you have trouble being honest with yourself, do it together with your partner. The correct responses will surely jump out at them!

I decided not to play in the B Nationals this year, but I was an avid spectator. Sandwiched in between our weekly Nor’easters, the weather was great, providing a perfect backdrop for some incredibly entertaining matches. The women participating were very good players. The main draw final went three sets with Shauna Muller and Pattie Van Tassel Cromie of NJ defeating Jackie Gaines and Kate Schneider of NY in a great match, in front of a large crowd who cheered every impressive shot.

Now that I’ve completed the self-rating system, I’ve decided I will play in the B Nationals next year, with reasonable expectations. I will land in the appropriate back draw and be great there, meeting new friends and clinking glasses with the old ones. Did I mention the great favor they give?

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Pam Berk lives in Ramsey, NJ, and plays paddle for Ramsey Golf and Country Club.  She has served on the board of the NJWPTL and as the tournament director for the NJ Women’s state tournament. She retired from Morgan Stanley and is now a freelance writer.  

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