Going from recreational to competitive pickleball is a big, and exciting, jump. Entering formal competitions allows you to test your skills and have a great time with a partner on the court. Before you can enter those competitions, however, you’ll likely need to have your game rated.
Pickleball ratings can be a little confusing at first, but the system is actually quite simple. Here is an introduction to the various ratings you are likely to encounter.
A Logical Scale
As you might imagine, the skill level of a pickleball player increases as his or her rating climbs higher. The scale goes from 1.0 on the low end, up to 5.5+ on the high end. This is similar to the way ratings work in tennis, if you have ever been involved with that sport on a competitive level. A player with a 1.0 rating in pickleball is just getting started, has basically no experience, and may not know the rules. At 5.5+, a player is competitive with other top players, performs well in tournaments, and is an expert in the game.
Four Common Ratings
Most players fall somewhere near the middle of the rating scale, so you are likely to see the four ratings listed below commonly represented in tournaments near you.
- 2.5. A player at this level is still pretty new to pickleball. The player knows the basic rules and how to keep score, but does not have any advanced or even intermediate skills.
- 3.0. With this rating, a player is able to hit the basic shots that take place during an average pickleball game. A 3.0 player may still struggle with a consistent serve or making smart strategic decisions.
- 3.5. With this rating, a pickleball player generally hits consistent shots, although power may be lacking. Also, this type of player is making good choices regarding shot selection and court positioning, and can maintain longer rallies with experienced opponents.
- 4.0. Reaching a 4.0 rating takes some time and effort, and the quality of play really starts to go up at this level. The consistency of all types of shots is elevated over the other levels, and playing in concert with a partner is more successful. Strategy becomes a much bigger part of the game when reaching this rating level, as well.