The Player Rating Guide
The descriptions shown below are intended as a guide. Internationally recognised ratings are 1 to 5 in 0.5 increments. It is not intended to indicate a player has mastered all the skills listed for any skill level. It is useful to know, what you should be striving to achieve. Each player’s level of success will vary widely within any skill level. Some players will be stronger in some areas and weaker in others. The point is, you can use this list as a guide to improve your game and assess your skill level for tournament entry. In assessing your ability, you need to achieve a consistency rate of 80% for each skill, appertaining to a skill level, to consider you have attained that skill level. If entering a tournament using the attached skill level indicators – NEVER over estimate your skill level.
- New to pickleball, learning scoring and rules.
- Can hit some of the slower balls with their forehand.
- Have a hard time playing games because they are unable to sustain a rally.
- These players keep some short rallies going but still fail to return balls frequently, occasionally misses the ball entirely
- They have played a few games and know how to keep score and know the basic rules of the game.
- Learning how to serve.
- Developing a forehand.
- These players are learning to judge where the ball is going, and can sustain a short rally with players of equal ability.
- They have obvious weaknesses in their strokes and are working to improve these weaknesses.
- Able to keep score.
- They are familiar with court positioning in doubles play, but reluctant to move to the non-volley zone line.
- These players are able to make longer lasting rallies.
- Make most easier volleys, and are beginning to make more backhands, but need to work more on developing their strokes.
- They are thinking more about coming up to the non-volley zone to hit volleys and are making an effort to be more aggressive.
- They are thinking more about the use of dinks and lobs but don’t fully understand when and why they should be used.
- Beginning to get their serve in regularly.
- Knowledge of the rules has improved.
- Court coverage is weak but improving.
- These players are fairly consistent on the serve and service return and when hitting medium-paced shots.
- They are demonstrating improved skills with all the basic shot strokes and shot placement but lack control when trying for direction, depth, or power on their shots.
- They are using dinks and lobs on a regular basis as an important part of the game.
- These players have achieved improved stroke dependability with directional control on most medium balls and some harder hit balls.
- They still need to develop more depth and variety with their shots, but are exhibiting more aggressive net play.
- They are anticipating their opponents shots better, and are developing team-work in doubles.
- They are beginning to use Third Shot drops, dinks, and a mixture of pace, angles and lobs in their games.
- These players have dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand sides.
- They can use lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys with success and occasionally force errors when serving.
- Successful Third Shot drops, dinks, and a mixture of pace, angles and lobs are a regular part of their games.
- They fully understand the rules of the game and can play by them.
- They understand the importance of “keeping the ball in play” and the effect of making errors.
- Rallies may be lost due to impatience.
- Teamwork in doubles is evident.
- These players have mastered all the skills, all shot types, touch, spin, serves, can control the depth of their shots, and can handle pace.
- They have excellent shot anticipation, extremely accurate shot placement and regularly hit winning shots.
- They can force opponents into making errors by “keeping the ball in play.” • They anticipate the opponent’s shots resulting in good court positioning.
- They have mastered Shot choices and strategies, vary strategies and styles of play according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and court position.
- They use soft shots, dinks, a mixture of pace, angles and lobs to set up offensive situations.
- They keep their unforced errors to a minimum and take advantage of opponent errors.
- They have mastered all the skills – all shot types, touch, spin, serves, with control and can use them as weapons.
- Excellent shot anticipation, extremely accurate shot placement and regularly hit winning shots.
- Forces opponents into making errors by “keeping the ball in play.”
- Mastered the dink and drop shots.
- Mastered the 3rd shot choices and strategies.
- Uses soft shots, dinks and lobs to set up offensive situations.
- Mastered pickleball strategies and can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive or tournament matches.
- Dependable in stressful situations as in tournament match play.
- Athletic ability, quickness, agility, and raw athleticism are also qualities that are sometimes what separates the top players from those near the top.