Identifying Pickleball Skill Levels & Pickleball Ratings

There are several ways to Identifying Pickleball Skill Levels & Pickleball Ratings, depending on who is conducting them. A “beginner/intermediate/advanced” answer will be best for players who play pickleball for social and physical reasons. For those who participate in tournaments, however, finding a two-digit number between 1.0 and 5.5+ is essential.

As developed by USA Pickleball, the USA Pickleball Tournament Player Rating (UTPR, formerly known as USAPA Pickleball Tournament Player Rating) assists in determining a player’s skill level by evaluating their performance in tournament play. UTPR’s primary purpose is to prevent players from “sandbagging” – playing below their skill level just to win medals.

If you want to know how to assess and rank your pickleball ability, there are several ways. Check out this article to understand pickleball ratings, their importance, and how to assign one to yourself. Once you know the system, take our short quiz to get your pickleball rating.

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What Are the Pickleball Ratings?

Even though the “official” pickleball rankings are supposed to remove the subjective element and political influence from the equation, politics are still involved, even in ratings! On the other hand, official ratings are much more objective but could be better too.

The standardized pickleball rating system consists of a 2-digit or 4-digit number. Each pickleball skill levels are measured by a combination of the skill level of taking shots, like the forehand, backhand, serve, dink, third shot, and volley, as well as the ability to understand strategy.

The 2-digit rating is a legacy rating. The rating typically serves as a guide for club and league play. It moved from three-digit ratings to four-digit ratings in 2019. The game is based on the ELO rating system and is designed for tournament play. Each round results in a different rating.

Every year, new rules and regulations are introduced in the world of pickleball, and 2023 is no exception. To stay informed on these new rules and how they will impact gameplay, visit our page on New Pickleball Rules 2023.

USAPA Ratings

According to USA Pickleball, the 2-digit breakdown is as follows:

  • 1.0 – 2.0  A player who has never played any other sport before and is just beginning to play pickleball.
  • 2.5  Inexperienced players who are capable of sustained rallies for short periods.
  • 3.0  Fundamentally sound and able to position oneself on the court.
  • 3.5  As a player, you should be able to recognize the difference between a challenging game and a soft game. You should be aware of when to stack on the court and when not to pile on the court.
  • 4.0  A player who can identify and attack their opponent’s weaknesses. They can move team-likely and know their partner’s position on the court.
  • 4.5  A player needs to know the strategy and run well to be a successful teammate. They must be able to communicate and move well with their partner.
  • 5.0  It is a player who has mastered pickleball strategies, has efficient footwork, and can easily adjust their play to their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. It is a player with little room for error and rarely makes unforced errors.
  • 5.5+ Those who have mastered pickleball are of the highest caliber.
Identifying Pickleball Skill Levels & Pickleball Ratings

Skill Levels in Pickleball

If you’re not yet ready to give yourself a score out of 6, there’s a more straightforward system known as a “general pickleball skill levels.” 

Here, you have three options: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced: 


The phrase “novice/beginner players” generally refers to all players who have never played pickleball or have only played a few times. These players need to become more familiar with keeping score and where to position themselves on the court, so they rely on others for guidance.

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In all three categories, intermediate players’ skill ratings will be the most substantial, while the other hand, lower-level players’ skill ratings will be the smallest. Intermediate players are likelier to be regular pickleball players who can dink, serve, and volley decently, understand the game, and know how to rally. 


Usually, players at your local YMCA or community center would describe themselves as “advanced” as they have a consistent hitting stroke, can move around quickly, and are making fewer mistakes than those around them.

These “ratings” are subjective and relative to the local YMCA or community center. The YMCA may classify players as “advanced,” but that does not mean they are much better than their peers when they play in pickleball tournaments or a more competitive pickleball club.

Pickleball Ratings: Why Are They Important?

We have seen two ways to improve your pickleball skill rating, so let’s consider why it’s so crucial. No matter how good you are, playing against opponents whose skills differ entirely from yours is never fun. For either side, it doesn’t make any sense. 

It is always better to know your pickleball ratings chart if you wish to avoid the frustration of playing against someone much more advanced (or less advanced) than you. Knowing your pickleball rating makes the game for all of us a much more enjoyable experience. 

In addition to registering for tournaments and events, your pickleball skill levels & rating will also come in handy as your pickleball journey progresses.

Pickleball Rating Improvement

This may seem weird, but it’s an important question to ask about improving your pickleball rating. The simple answer is to get better at the sport.

To improve your pickleball game, you must practice. Play as much as you can. Practice drills with no opponents, and watch YouTube tutorials for upgrading your pickleball skill levels when you are not on the court. 

Another great way to improve your pickleball ratings chart is by taking pickleball lessons. A coach can help you hone your pickleball skill levels and give you valuable tips, drills, and pointers. Finally, pushing your limits will improve your game. You’ll find that the challenge will improve your pickleball levels if you play against higher-rated players when you can.

Pickleball is a fast-growing sport that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. While the rules of the game are relatively simple, having the right pickleball equipment can make a big difference in your performance and enjoyment of the game.

Pickleball Ratings

Ranking Organizations for Pickleball

Four pickleball-ranking organizations are in operation for pickleball skill levels, and a new one is expected to be up and running soon. 

Rankings of APPs

In addition to organizing international pickleball tournaments for both professional and amateur players, the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) also rankings the top pickleball players in the world based on the results of these tournaments.

Rankings by PPA

There are also tournaments sponsored by the Professional Pickleball Association that are part of its tournament tour. Players can earn enormous prizes for the best performances and pickleball levels, and their scores are ranked according to how good their pickleball ratings chart and pickleball skill levels are.

Pickleball World Rankings

There are three pickleball rankings: the World Pickleball Rankings, the International Pickleball Rankings, and the International Handball Rankings. The World Pickleball Rankings are the gold standard for pickleball rankings because they are based on a professional’s performance in all official competitions and tournaments over a year.

Global Pickleball Rankings 

‘Pickleball Global’ is a hub that connects pickleball players and clubs from all over the world. They also run a GPR ranking based on your eight best results over the past 52 weeks, and they use these results to rank you according to pickleball skill levels.

We love this pickleball rating system because it’s an age-based system organized by state. So you can, for example, find the best 19+ male player in Kentucky by rating.

Rankings for USA Pickleball (coming soon?)

USAPA pickleball ratings have been the topic of pickleball ratings chart much discussion recently, and they are about to get even better! Read more to stay updated on USAPA pickleball ratings.

What is DUPR System?

It is constantly refined, and new players are always added daily to the DUPR system for measuring pickleball levels. If you seek a more accurate rating than the USA Pickleball Association can provide, the DUPR system may be the ideal choice for measuring pickleball skill levels. So far, it has been used for ranking players in tournaments and club competitions.

It is free to make an account for any interested player. By setting up an account, they can start tracking their score and pickleball levels, such as if four players without ratings play a game and post it, and one plays against someone with a rating, all four holders will receive ratings.

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

  1. How many points were scored during the game
  2. If the player won or lost the match 
  3. The type of game: Self-posted, a league play, or a sanctioned tournament

In addition to providing the most accurate pickleball simulation possible, they are also committed to the fact that everyone has the same chance to play.

Pickleball Ratings,Rankings and DUPR system

Pickleball Ratings: The Seven Skills That Matter

Based on your pickleball skill levels it is estimated that a two-number rating system will determine your skill level. Hence, the next time you think about evaluating your pickleball skills, consider how each of these seven pickleball skill will also affect your ability to play pickleball at a higher level.

  • Backhand returns
  • Forehand shots
  • Serves
  • Dink / Drop shots
  • Volleys
  • 3rd shots
  • Overall strategy

The seven skills below are essential in determining your pickleball levels. A 1.0-2.0 rating indicates you are new to pickleball with little experience. It may take a while to reach a rating of 3.0-4.0, meaning you are an advanced player who consistently makes excellent decisions on the court. 

The game of pickleball can prosper by anyone with the right amount of practice and dedication, and they can work towards attaining their desired pickleball skill levels for playing.

How do pickleball ratings relate to your pickleball skill levels?

Although the “official” pickleball ratings attempt to remove “relativity” and “political” influences, it is something that is inextricably linked to our lives. It exists even in pickleball ratings! Official rankings have both the advantage of being more objective and having limitations as well.

A pickleball rating is usually a number containing two or four digits. It is essential to consider how well an individual can execute various shots, such as the forehand, backhand, serve, dink, third shot, and volley, and how well they understand strategy when determining their skill level. A rating depends mainly on the fact that every aspect of playing the game is considered. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you define a pickleball player at 3.5 levels?

Novice/Intermediate Level 3.5
A player like this can serve a wide range of shots and achieve a high percentage of his serves landing. He often hits his opponent on the weak side of the court. He demonstrates a variety of strategies and tactics while playing.

How do you determine pickleball skill levels?

It is possible to determine your skill level in pickleball in three ways. In pickleball, you can decide whether you are a novice, an intermediate, or an advanced player based on your ability level. USAPA Player Skill Ratings can also specify a level between 1.0 and 5.5+, with 5.5+ indicating very experienced players. Based on your group’s wins/losses in sanctioned tournaments, USA Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings will evaluate your team.

What is a 5.0 pickleball player?

In his position on the court, this player has achieved a 5.0 skill rating. Forehand | Backhand | Serve / Return: demonstrates superior shot selection and flexibility from both the forehand and backhand sides, including touch, spin, and pace, along with the ability to control the speed of the shot to create offensive opportunities.

What is the most challenging thing to do when it comes to pickleball?

As a beginner in pickleball, one of the most challenging aspects of the game of pickleball is keeping the pickleball low (even though it is over the net) To prevent your opponent from going on offense against you with aggressive shots, and you will want to keep the pickleball below the net.

What pickleball skill levels need to be acquired for pickleball?

The first one is the dink and dink volleyball. The second one is to attack from the non-volley zone line. The third one is to reset and block from the non-volley zone line and middle court. Several groundstrokes should be taught as part of the baseline skills, including flat drives, topspin drives, dipping drives, underpins (also referred to as slices), and dropping.

In Summary

Pickleball players must regularly assess their skills to improve and reach new heights of pickleball levels . There are a variety of ranking systems available for pickleball players, each with its benefits and drawbacks. 

The ranking system you’re looking for will fit whatever your needs, whether you want to compete in sanctioned tournaments or challenge yourself against better players. Staying on top of the latest standings is crucial since these rankings constantly change.

If you have questions about pickleball levels and ranks, you are welcome to drop them in the box below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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