Pickleball uses a rating system to rank picklers from beginners to experts. Ratings go from Level 1.0 (beginner) to Level 5.0 (top players). For more help understanding the game take a look at Pickleball Rules Made Easy
Ratings are used primarily to match players in league or tournament play. Even if you don’t play in tournaments it is useful to know your rating. Knowing your rating will let you speak knowledgeabl about your game, find players with whom you are equally matched, and helps you improve your game by showing you what skills to improve.
As of January 1, 2019, there are two rating systems:
- 2-digit system (1.0 – 5.0)
- 4-digit system (1.000 – 6.999)
Table of Contents
This is the legacy rating system. Ratings range from 1.0 to 5.0 in .5 increments. This system will continue to be used for club and league play purposes. Casual players will continue to use this rating to describe their skill level. This rating is based on the rating definitions below.
Rates can be either self-assessed (‘S’) or tournament ratings (‘T’).
The 4-digit rating system is called “USAPA Tournament Player Rating” (UTPR). Ratings range from 1.000 to 6.999 in .001 increments. This system was adopted by USAPA in January, 2019. The new ratings are based on an Elo rating system (the same system used for chess).
This new system is more dynamic. Players’ ratings change after each game based on the outcome and the rating of both players. The USAPA will maintain 5 ratings categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
USAPA will keep both a 2-digit and 4-digit rating for each tournament rated player. The 4-digit rating is used for tournament pairings. The 2-digit rating will still be used for club and league ratings. Thankfully, there is an easy chart for converting between 4-digit and 2-digit ratings.
Pickleball Ratings Conversion Table
|4-Digit Rating||2-Digit Rating|
|1.000 – 1.499||1.0|
|1.500 – 1.999||1.5|
|2.000 – 2.499||2.0|
|2.500 – 2.999||2.5|
|3.000 – 3.499||3.0|
|3.500 – 3.999||3.5|
|4.000 – 4.499||4.0|
|4.500 – 4.999||4.5|
|5.000 – 5.499||5.0|
|5.500 – 5.999||5.5|
|6.000 – 6.499||6.0|
|6.500 – 6.999||6.5|
These are the rating definitions used for the 2-digit rating system and by tournament directors to rate players who have never played in a tournament before.
- New player with 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, sideouts, 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. For quick definitions check out our glossary of terms
- Good understanding of the rules
- Struggles to cover the entire court
- Has a onsistent 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 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 dropshots.
- 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.
Chances are you have an idea of where you fall within the rating system. If you’re new to the game you can get some ideas on how and where to play in our Beginner’s Guide to Pickleball