What Level Am I? What Is a Skills Rating?
Pickleball players are rated based on their skill level. The numerical reflection of a pickleball player’s skill level is called a pickleball rating. Pickleball ratings may also be referred to as pickleball skill levels. Pickleball ratings vary from 1 to 5.
At the Red Deer Pickleball Club you will hear talk about:
- Self Ratings
- Club Ratings
- Pickleball Brackets/Tournament Ratings
- USAPA Tournament Rating
USAPA is very common among our snowbird members and those that occasionally or frequently compete in the US.
Why do we have ratings?
Ratings are used to group similar players together so they can enjoy a competitive game or challenge. It is also used as a benchmark for players to improve their skills and abilities on the court.
You will see clinics that are specifically geared or targeted to certain skill levels, such as 2.0/2.5 or 3.0/3.5 etc. These are typically communicated as “this clinic is for 3.0 level players” or “prerequisite 3.5 for registration”.
These are the rating definitions used for the 2-digit rating system. They may be used to self-rate players who have never played in a tournament before or participated in performance-based club play.
- New player with an understanding of the game and rules.
- Can hit the ball back and forth a bit
- Learning to serve
- Fails to hit easy balls frequently
- Beginning to learn the basic rules such as scoring, lines, side outs, etc.
- Sustains short rallies
- Makes basic strokes such as forehand, backhand, volley, and can serve the ball
- Understands court positioning and doubles rules
- Can sustain longer rallies but not a fast pace
- Makes most easy shots including backhands, but still needs some work
- Able to approach the non-volley zone and hit volleys.
- Aware of dinks
- Good understanding of the rules
- Struggles to cover the entire court
- Has a consistent serve and returns medium-paced balls reliably.
- Able to make all basic strokes. Lacks control when trying to place the ball.
- Attempts lobs and dinks with limited success.
- Consistent control and placement of medium-paced shots. Able to return fast-paced shots with slightly less success.
- Improved control and placement of the ball.
- Needs more shot variety.
- Can play aggressively at the non-volley zone.
- Anticipates opponent’s shots.
- Learning the strategy of doubles play.
- Consistent with both forehand and backhand strokes.
- Can use spin with some success.
- Can occasionally force errors when serving.
- May lose rallies due to impatience.
- Uses the dink and drop shot successfully.
- Demonstrates 3rd shot strategies.
- Aggressive net play in doubles.
- Full understanding of the rules.
- Beginning to master placement and spin.
- Beginning to master 3rd shot choices.
- Good footwork and positioning.
- Adjusts game style to account for opponent’s strengths/weaknesses and court position.
- Good shot selection. Does not force shots.
- Serves consistently and can vary speed and spin.
- Good court positioning. Anticipates opponent’s shot.
- Mastered all shot types. Excellent shot anticipation.
- Accurate shot placement.
- Forces errors. Limits their own unforced errors.
- Mastered dinks and drop shots.
- Mastered 3rd shot strategy.
- Mastered different strategies and can vary play style.
- Raw athletic ability is often what separates 5.0 players from the rest.