How To Become a 4.0 Pickleball Player? Uncover the Strategies to Reach 4.0!

How to become a 4.0 pickleball player

Do you want to know how to become a 4.0 pickleball player? If so, you’re in the right place. Becoming a 4.0 pickleball player is no easy feat and requires dedication and hard work. But with the right strategies and techniques, any motivated individual can reach this level of mastery.

If you’re wondering how to strengthen your pickleball skills, this post is here to help. We’ll provide an in-depth look at the attributes and capabilities of a 4.0 player so that you can evaluate where your game stands and which areas need more attention.

What Is A 4.0 Pickleball Player?

If you’re a seasoned pickleball player, the court action and companionship have likely become second nature. The USAPA has set up a rating system that varies from 1.0 (beginner) to 5.0 (advanced). It’s beneficial to understand where your skills are so you can compete at a higher level!

A 4.0 pickleball player is comfortable playing competitive games. They’re skilled at proper footwork, stroke technique, and shot drop placement. They can execute different shots and have good footwork with excellent ball control.

They also understand strategy well and can adjust their play based on their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.

4.0 pickleball players working on drills

How Do I Know My Pickleball Skill Level?

Confusion can be a familiar feeling when understanding the pickleball rating system. Explicitly talking about self-assessment ratings -the two-digit numerical score – here is an outline of what you need to know:

The three types of pickleball skill ratings are; Self Assessment, UTPR, and DUPR. For further information on all three methods and details for each one, please refer to our comprehensive post, which delves into the complete breakdown of all systems in more depth.

Self Assessment:

By leveraging the pickleball ratings system, players can accurately assess and rate their skill level. This assessment ranges from 1.0 (beginner) to 6.0 (seasoned professionals), allowing athletes to recognize where they currently stand, pinpoint areas for growth, and set achievable goals accordingly!


The USA Pickleball Association, the authoritative figure of pickleball, classifies players according to their skill levels with a UTPR from 1.000 for novices up to 6.999 for the most experienced athletes. This rating system doesn’t depend on age and helps individuals identify opponents that fit their level of play and experience.


Pickleball players everywhere are taking up the Davenport University Pickleball Rating (DUPR) system for its precision and accuracy in measuring their level of play. The DUPR system is quickly becoming a go-to tool to accurately rate a pickleball player’s skill set, making it an increasingly popular choice among enthusiasts. Read more about it here.

How to become a 4.0 pickleball player - working on drills

How Do You Determine Your Pickleball Skill Level?

Your self-evaluation is based on seven key skills. All these areas are essential in determining a player’s skill level, so it pays off to practice as much as possible.

  • Backhand returns

  • Forehand shots

  • Serves

  • Dink / Drop shots

  • Volleys

  • 3rd shots

  • Overall strategy

Most beginning players are 1.0s – new to pickleball and without any sporting background. You may need guidance with scoring and rule-following at first, although once these basic rules are understood, your rating will rapidly ascend to 2.5-3.0! If you need help determining your skill level, ask some friends or an experienced coach to guide you.

What Skills Does a 4.0 Pickleball Player Have?

A 4.0 pickleball player rating generally indicates that the player has a good level of skill and experience in the game. They make fewer mistakes and skillfully use all the basic strokes with power, accuracy, spin, and consistency. A 4.0 pickleball player is a skilled and experienced player who can:

  • Consistently hit with depth and control on their forehand while perfecting shot selection and timing.

  • Have improved stroke mechanics and has moderate success at hitting a backhand consistently.

  • Place a high majority of serves and returns with varying depth and speed.

  • Show increased consistency and moderate control of height/depth on dinks but may end rallies too soon.

  • Mix up soft shots with power shots selectively to create an advantage, but with inconsistent results in 3rd shots.

  • Volley a variety of shots at different speeds and develop consistency and control, starting to understand the block/re-set volley.

  • Be aware of your partner’s position on the court and move as a team, change direction in an offensive manner, and have a broad knowledge of the game’s rules.

  • Have a moderate number of unforced errors per game, a solid understanding of stacking, and start to identify the opponent’s weaknesses and seek more competitive matches.

Pixkleball player practicing her dinks

Where To Put Your Focus As A 4.0 Player

Moving up a level in pickleball can be challenging, but it’s possible with enough practice and guidance. Here are some tips to help you improve your game and move up from 3.5 to 4.0:

  1. Focus on improving your footwork: Making moves laterally and efficiently and working good court position is essential for a 4.0-level player. Work on footwork drills, controlling court positions, and introducing switching techniques if you play with at partner.

  2. Develop a strong serve: A powerful and accurate serve can give you a significant advantage in a match. Have 2-3 serves in your pocket to keep your opponent on their toes. Also important is your paddle grip, having the wrong grip will produce less powerful serves. If you want to switch grips, read our breakdown of the best paddle grips and proper techniques.

  3. Improve your net play: 4.0 players have a good understanding of how to play around the non volley zone, including shot drops at your opponent’s feet, popping balls, and overhead smashes.

  4. Learn a variety of shots: 4.0 players should have a good understanding of how to hit different shots, such as lobs, drop shots, and a solid third shot.

  5. Develop your mental game: At the 4.0 level, matches can be pretty competitive and intense, so staying focused and composed under pressure is essential.

  6. Get coaching or take lessons.

  7. Practice with players that are better than you, and play against them as often as possible. There is no substitute for playing higher-ranking players. They improve your game by pushing you to your limits.

  8. Watch and study the game and pick up tips from watching how the pros play. YouTube is an excellent resource for watching instructional videos; check out our blog posts.

  9. Work on your overall fitness, stamina, and conditioning.

  10. Play in tournaments and other competitive events to gain experience and exposure to high-level play.

    Here is my favorite pickleball channel with a ton of knowledge. Briones Pickleball.

Top 3 Skills To Become A 4.0 Pickleball Player

The Punch Volley:

The punch volley utilizes leverage primarily from the elbow. Execute the shot by guiding your paddle over the ball with its butt finishing downward – typically below net level. This creates wrist, elbow, and shoulder tension, which applies leverage and topspin to the pickleball.

Typically the punch volley is used on the fourth shot, you are near the non-volley line, and your opponents are toward the back of their court. By utilizing the punch volley, your controlling your opponent’s court position and use more speed and topspin.

Effective Third Shot Drop:

With primarily one goal in mind, the third shot drop is a baseline shot that lands softly within your opponent’s kitchen. This technique enables you to move quickly toward the net and gain an advantageous position for your team. Executing the perfect drop shot into your opponent’s court is an art form and one of the most challenging skills to master in pickleball.

Offensive and defensive dinks:

Defensive dinking is an effective strategy to slow the game down and keep your opponents from scoring. It’s key to return hard, low balls without giving up a point. The perfect solution? Cross-court dinks! They help you avoid unforced errors since they require longer shots.

Leverage offensive dinking by pushing your opponents back on their heels through proactive play. Errors become much more likely and will give your team greater chances at success. Use soft, shallow dinks to limit the opponents’ ability to smash the ball.

Overall, defense and offense in pickleball can be mastered through practice and repetition. Utilizing these three skills will help you reach your 4.0-level aspirations! Get out there and have some fun. Good luck!


Becoming a 4.0 pickleball player requires mastering several different skills, such as the punch volley, third shot drop, and offensive/defensive dinks. You should also work on your returning serve and net play, develop your mental game, watch professional players for tips, and stay in shape with plenty of practice and tournaments.

Hopefully, we have provided insight into the skills and strategies needed to become a successful 4.0 pickleball player. Be sure to Check out all of our other pickleball-rating blog posts:

What Is A 3.0 Pickleball Player?

What Is A 3.5 Pickleball Player?

Ultimate Guide To The Pickleball Rating Systems