Pickleball court

Pickleball Skill Level Definitions & How To Find Out Your Rating

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In pickleball player’s skills are rated using a numeric system. This makes it easier to find picklers of similar ability to play against in tournaments.

However, knowing your pickleball skill level is also useful for players who don’t compete, as it enables you to find people at your level to practice with.

Skill levels also show how much your game is improving. As you spend more time on the court, your rating will rise!

The ratings start at 1 for absolute newbies and anything over 5 is what you would expect from a pro-Pickleball player. The ratings below are according to the USAPA definitions.


What are the Pickleball skill level ratings?

1.0 – 2.0

This player is completely new to Pickleball and has only a very basic understanding of the game. Players with this rating will likely have no sporting background.

2.5

This player has limited experience but is able to maintain a rally with players of similar ability. They know how to keep score during a match.

3.0

This is an intermediate Pickleball player. They understand the strategy, court positioning, can keep score and are likely to be playing tournaments. Players of this level can serve and return but the shot may lack pace, depth or direction. They are not always able to sustain a dink rally.

3.5

Players of this rating move quickly towards the non-volley zone, when there is an opportunity. They can dink, serve and return with increased consistency and have basic knowledge of stacking.

While their backhand is improving, they will avoid this move if possible. A 3.5 will be playing tournaments, as well as recreationally and can vary their play to suit each situation.

4.0

This player can use most shots with moderate success. They have a broad knowledge of the game and are playing strategically. They are aware of their partner’s position on the court and are skilled at working as a team.

Picklers of this rating can change direction for offensive play and know when to use stacking during a match. They will be competing at a higher level and starting to look for the opponent’s weaknesses during tournaments.

4.5

This player is highly skilled and can adjust their strategy depending on their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. They have good footwork, work well with their partner and have a good understanding of stacking. Serves and volleys are consistent and have depth and pace.

5.0

Someone with this rating is close to being a pro-Pickleball player. They are able to hit all shots from forehand and backhand sides, with high skill and consistency.

This player’s technique for dinks and drops shots means they can vary the pace to create the opportunity to attack. Fluent in many pickleball strategies, they can turn defensive shots into offensive shots and are unlikely to make any unforced errors.

5.5+

This player is a pro. They consistently win tournaments and their performance shows an indisputable understanding of strategy, as well as a mastering of Pickleball shots and techniques.

What is my Pickleball skill rating?

There are two ways to find out your skill rating. Players can decide their own rating, after looking at the definitions. However, it is best to seek guidance on this from experienced USAPA players or tournament directors. This self-rating can then be added to your Pickleball Tournaments profile.

Players who have participated in tournaments using the official USAPA software will see their ratings adjust automatically based on the results of their games.

This is called a USAPA tournament player rating. Players will have separate ratings for each category of play, for example, women’s doubles and singles.

The only way to improve your rating is to keep practicing. Pickleball training camps are often divided into different skill levels and provide the perfect way to enhance your skills. Good luck!


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