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.  Knowing one’s rating improves a player’s chances of having more competitive and fun matches.  

Click on the boxes below to get an idea of your likely rating.  Then ask an experienced player to share his or her thoughts.  For even more detail, peruse the USAPA Player Skill Ratings Definitions

The 1.0 Player

1.0

Just getting started, without any similar sports background

The 1.5 Player

The 1.5 Player

• Learning court lines/scoring/some basic rules

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

The 2.0 Player

The 2.0 Player

• Sustains only short rallies with players of equal ability

• Minimal understanding of rules

The 2.5 Player

The 2.5 Player

• Sustains short rallies with players of equal ability

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

• Aware of "soft game"

• Able to keep score

• Court coverage weak but improving with experience

The 3.0 Player

The 3.0 Player

• Can hit medium-paced forehands & volleys, but lacks directional control & consistency

• Avoid backhand

• Not able to control dink or consistently sustain dink rally

• Understands fundamental strategy & learning proper court positioning

The 3.5 Player

3.5 Player

• Moderate level of shot control including med-paced volleys; still avoids backhand if possible

• Consistently gets serve/return in play w/limited control of depth

• Sustains med-length dink rallies w/limited depth/height control; starting to vary pace

• Developing drop shot to get to net

• Moves quickly towards NVZ & starting to vary hard vs. soft game

The 4.0 Player

The 4.0 Player

• Dependable fore/backhands, including directional control & depth; still perfecting shot selection & timing

• Places high majority of serves/ returns; varies depth/speed. Mixes soft/power 3rd shots tho inconsistent

• Moderately controls dink height/depth. Starting to know which balls attackable but suffers from impatience

• Can volley various shots at different speeds w/improving control. Starting to use volley to block/reset.

• Able to move on court as team w/partner. Can change direction offensively. Starting to identify opponents' weaknesses in attempt to formulate game plan

The 4.5 Player

The 4.5 Player

• Very consistent fore/backhand; uses pace/depth to force opponents' errors or set up next shot

• Serves w/power, accuracy & depth; can vary serve's speed/spin. Consistently executes 3rd shot strategies not easily returned for advantage

• Blocks hard volleys directed at them; can consistently drop them into NVZ. Hits overhead shots consistently, often as putaways

• Moves well laterally, backward, and forward. Uses weight transfer for efficient footwork. Changes direction with ease.

• Very comfortable playing at NVZ. Communicates & moves well w/partner. Adjust style & game plan to opponent’s strengths/weaknesses & court position. Limited # of unforced errors

The 5.0 Player

The 5.0 Player

• Has mastered all shot types from forehand & backhand sides w/touch, spin, pace & control to set up offensive situations. Good touch from all over court. Serves w/high variety, depth & pace

• Mastered dink & drop Patience during rallies to create opportunities to attack

• Sets up winners w/3rd shot choices & strategies. Consistently drops & drives ball from forehand & backhand sides

• Blocks hard volleys consistently drops them into NVZ. Places overhead winners w/ease. Consistently volleys shots to opponents' feet. Uses swinging volley to attack back or neutralize return

• Varies strategies & styles of play. Turns defensive into offensive shots. Efficient/effective footwork & weight transfer for quickness. Easily and quickly adjusts style & game plan. Rarely makes unforced errors

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)