Our Sport

Learning resources for
Summit County pickleball players

Rules of Pickleball

Player Rating System

Pickleball’s worldwide governing body, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), has created ratings to group players by ability level, thus enabling us to compete in tournaments or leagues with other players of similar ability. It improves a player’s chances of having a more competitive and fun match.  

Click on the boxes to get an idea of your likely rating.  Then ask an experienced player to share his or her thoughts.

The 1.0 Player

1.0

• New to game

• Only minimal knowledge of game/rules

The 1.5 Player

The 1.5 Player

• Can sustain a few rallies

• Learning to serve & develop forehand

• Often can’t return easy balls; may miss entirely

• Learning court lines/scoring/some basic rules

The 2.0 Player

The 2.0 Player

• Sustains short rallies with players of equal ability

• Can do forehand, backhand, volley, overhead & serve, but with obvious weaknesses

• Familiar with court positioning in doubles play

The 2.5 Player

The 2.5 Player

• Sustains longer-lasting, slow-paced rallies

• Makes most easy volleys & uses some backhands but shots need work

• Beginning to approach NVZ to hit volleys

• Aware of "soft game"

• Improved knowledge of rules

• Court coverage weak but improving

The 3.0 Player

The 3.0 Player

• More consistent on serve, service return, & returning medium-paced balls

• Shows improved skills with all basic shot strokes/placement but lacks control when trying for direction/depth/power

• Starting to attempt lobs & dinks with little success; doesn't fully understand when/why use them

The 3.5 Player

3.5 Player

• Sustains longer-lasting, slow-paced rallies

• Makes most easy volleys & uses some backhands but shots need work

• Beginning to approach NVZ to hit volleys

• Aware of "soft game"

• Improved knowledge of rules

• Court coverage weak but improving

The 4.0 Player

The 4.0 Player

• Dependable fore/backhands, including directional control & depth

• Reliable serves/lobs/overheads/approach shots/volleys; uses spin shots with some success

• Serve can occasionally force errors

• May lose rallies due to impatience

• Uses dinks/drop shots to slow down or change pace of game

• Shows 3rd shot strategies: drop shots, lobs, & fast-paced ground strokes

• Aggressive net play & teamwork in doubles

• Fully understands & can play by rules of game

The 4.5 Player

The 4.5 Player

• Starting to master power & spin; can execute all shots, controlling depth & handling pace

• Starting to master dink/drop shots & their importance

• Starting to master 3rd-shot choices

• Sound footwork; able to get to NVZ whenever needed

• Knows strategy; adjusts style of play/game plan to opponent’s strengths/weaknesses/court position

• Serves with power, accuracy, varied speed & spin

• Knows importance of keeping ball in play & effect of making errors

• Makes good shot selections

• Anticipates opponent’s shots; good court positioning

The 5.0 Player

The 5.0 Player

• Mastered all shot types/touch/spin/serves, with control & can use them as weapons

• Excellent shot anticipation, extremely accurate placement, & regularly hits winning shots

• Forces opponents into errors by keeping ball in play

• Mastered 3rd-shot choices & strategies

• Uses soft shots, dinks & lobs to set up offensive situations

• Mastered strategies; can vary strategies/styles of play in competitive/tournament matches

• Dependable in stressful situations

• Athletic ability, quickness, agility, & raw athleticism sometimes separate top players from those near top

NVZ = no-volley zone, also known as “the kitchen.”

Resources for Learning and Growing in the Game

Pickleball is easy to pick up but very challenging to master.  That’s what makes it fun.

Reading

USAPA’s Pickleball Magazine (free online subscription)
USAPA’s Pickleball Fundamentals book

Shopping

Pickleball Central — use coupon code ARLMILLER for 5% off (and 5% goes to local pickleball programs)