Ultimate Guide To The Pickleball Rating Systems

What is your pickleball rating? It can get confusing figuring out all the different rating systems and the skills assessed. Understanding these pickleball systems can help you become the best player, and you can determine where and what skills need work by evaluating your skills. In this post, we plan to fully explain each system, how to use them, and how you can become a better pickleball player.

Use this guide to find out where you would fall in a tournament bracket or see how well you are doing.

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Pickleball Rating Systems

Overview of the Pickleball Rating Systems

There are three main rating categories in pickleball ratings. Have you heard someone say, “Oh, she’s a 4.5 player” while this may not mean anything to the lamens, as pickleball players, we should be able to talk about the basics of pickleball ratings and how they work?

The USAPA, pickleball’s official governing body, has created and implemented a pickleball rating system widely used for tournaments and self-evaluation. They have two rating system numbers, one for self-rating and a two-digit number, and one for members, a four-digit calculated score.

USA Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings are determined by a player’s skill level and assigned by the USAPA. The system goes from 1.000 to 6.999, with 1.0 being a beginner and 7.0 being the most skilled player. A player’s rating is based on their ability to play the game and is not determined by age. The ratings are determined using the Elo rating system developed for chess in the 1960s.

The self-rating system allows pickleball players to rate their skill level. This system can help identify areas of your game that need improvement. To rate yourself, you will need to assess your skills and give yourself a score between 1.0-6.0. I will break down every aspect of the self-assessment below.

Lastly, the DUPR Pickleball rating system is a relatively new system gaining popularity and stands for the Davenport University Pickleball Rating System. The system is designed to give pickleball players a more accurate rating based on their skill level.

Here are the main ratings and Rankings we will cover today:

The following pickleball rating systems outline the guidelines for players to self-assess or be rated by a member.

Self-Rating for Pickleball

They may ask if you have a rating if you want to participate in any events. So it is your duty to self-rate or have an evaluation done by an official or other players. USA Pickleball Association defines players’ skill ratings on their official website with documentation. 

The Seven Skills That Affect Your Pickleball Ratings

A two-number rating system determines your skill level. So next time you evaluate your pickleball abilities, consider each of these seven skills and how they affect your overall rating as a player.

    • Backhand returns

    • Forehand shots

    • Serves

    • Dink / Drop shots

    • Volleys

    • 3rd shots

    • Overall strategy

Each of these seven skills is crucial in determining your pickleball rating. A 1.0-2.0 rating means you are just starting with little pickleball experience. As you improve, your rating may increase to 3.0-4.0, which signifies that you are an advanced player who consistently makes significant decisions on the court. 

With practice and dedication, anyone can improve their pickleball game and work towards their desired level of play.

1.0-2.5

      • This player is new to pickleball and has no sports background. They need to learn the rules of the game better.

      • This player is still inexperienced. They can manage a short rally with players of the same skill level but will need help keeping score.

    3.0-4.0

        • Lacks directional intent and consistency, which makes rallies challenging to sustain. It avoids using a backhand due to lack of control leading to unpredictable outcomes.

        • A 3.0 player needs more direction and is consistent but understands the fundamentals. They are learning proper court positioning and know the fundamental rules and keeping score.

        • Depth and control shots are hit with consistency. However, shot selection and timing still need improvement. Stroke mechanics have improved moderately, which leads to more consistent backhands.

        • Still, inconsistently mix up soft game and power shots, but with some success in creating an advantage. Volleying is still developing; however able to hit different speeds consistently enough for now.

      4.0-5.0

          • The player begins to understand the importance of patience when to end a rally and the differences between an attackable ball and one not worth attacking.

          • Consistent using pace and depth to generate opponents’ errors or set up the next shot.

          • Can hit the ball with consistent depth and speed while effectively directing it.

          • Able to block hard volleys directed at them and consistently drop them into the NVZ (non-volley zone). They hit overhead shots always, often as putaway shots, Have good footwork, and move laterally, backward, and forward well.

        5.5+

            • This player can hit all shots with precision, control, and spin from both the forehand and backhand. They have also mastered third-shot choices and strategies to create opportunities for winning points. Additionally, they can block hard volleys directed at them and consistently drop them into the non-volley zone.

            • This player is one of the best; they have mastered pickleball strategies and all shots. They’ve won multiple tournaments and performed well under pressure, consistently delivering a top-tier performance.

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          USAPA Pickleball Skill Rating System Explained

          The USAPA has created and implemented an online rating system; here’s how it is assessed. USA Pickleball, the official governing body for pickleball tournament play, developed the UTPR. The UTPR is designed to indicate a tournament player’s skill level more accurately than self-rating, ensuring fair matches for all participants.

          To gain a rating, a pickleball player must play in a sanctioned tournament or be assessed by a certified USAPA Pickleball Rating Instructor to get a rating. All pickleball players skills will be evaluated in netplay, ground strokes, serving, and court strategy. After the skills are considered, tournament officials will total the points and assign the rating.

          What is DUPR?

          The DUPR system continues to be refined, and more players are always added daily. So far, it has been used to rank players in tournaments and club play. If you’re looking for a more accurate rating than the USA Pickleball Association offers, the DUPR system may be the right choice.

          Any player can set up an account and start tracking their score. For example, if four players without ratings play a game and post it, and one person plays against someone with a rating, all four original players will receive ratings.

          Their algorithm uses a player’s last eligible matches and considers three factors: 

              • How many points were won during the game

              • If the player won or lost the match 

              • The type of game: Self-posted, a league play, or a sanctioned tournament

            DUPR’s aim is the highest level of accuracy for pickleball, designed to be the fairest system in pickleball. They rate players on an equal playing field, without age or gender bias. If you want to set up an account, head to DUPR.com, or they have an android and IOS app.

            Pickleball Skill Levels

            YMCAs and community centers around the U.S. usually rate and divide play according to the skill level of the participants. This allows pickleball players from similar abilities to play together more fairly. Pickleball rating is usually classified as beginner, intermediate, and advanced in these places. These skill classifications are relatively unofficial only and highly subjective.

            World Pickleball Rankings

            The world pickleball rankings have been available since June 2020. They offer objective performance-based ratings instead of subjective ratings used for tournament entry and bracket registration in non-sanctioned tournaments to ensure accurate placement in brackets.

            WPR is designed from the ground up to solve the following challenges:

                • Create a player’s initial rating based on actual tournament results.

                • Eliminate self-rating for bracket qualification and seeding in non-sanctioned tournaments. Together with technology changes, this will play a significant role in reducing “sandbagging.”

                • Incorporate the most extensive match results from all sanctioned and non-sanctioned tournaments on PickleballTournaments.com.

              The APP Rankings

              The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) is a tournament tour for pros and amateur players. They have set the standard for competitive play and allow players to compete in tournaments worldwide. In 2022 they offered three international events and are pushing for a broader worldwide tour in the years to come. They offer amateur pickleball players the opportunity to play in pro events if they have

                  • A UTPR rating of 5.000 or above

                  • Players must be ranked in the Top 50 World Pickleball Rankings.

                  • World Pickleball Rankings (WPR), not APP Standings, will be used to seed Pro Draws.

                  • UTPR and not APP Standings will be used to seed amateur draws

                APP rankings are calculated on a 12-month rolling calendar, allowing players of all skill levels to compete in official pickleball tournaments. If you are interested in learning more about APP, check their website for player rankings, tournament info, and prize pools.

                The PPA Rankings

                The Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) is a tournament tour for some of the biggest names in the sport. The PPA ranks professional pickleball players solely in PPA Tour events. Their ranking system includes accumulative points throughout the year for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events.

                Wrapping Up

                As pickleball players, it’s essential to regularly assess your skills to improve and reach new levels of success. There are various ranking systems for pickleball players, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Whether you’re looking to play in sanctioned tournaments or want to challenge yourself against better players, there’s a ranking system out there that will fit your needs. Keep in mind that these rankings are constantly changing, so it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest standings.

                I hope I’ve provided some good information and things are clearer. Now I want to hear from you. Have you competed in any official or non-official pickleball tournaments?

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