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Rating Description

The IFP Rating System has been created to help describe differences in the various skill levels


  • New and have only minimal knowledge of the game and the rules


  • Makes longer lasting slow-paced rallies.

  • Makes most easy volleys and uses some backhands, but needs more work on developing shot strokes.

  • Beginning to approach the non-volley zone to hit volleys.

  • Aware of the “soft game.”

  • Knowledge of the rules has improved.

  • Court coverage is weak but improving.


  • Consistent and dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand shots.

  • Reliable serves, lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys and can use spin shots with some success.

  • Occasionally can force errors when serving.

  • Rallies may be lost due to impatience.

  • Uses the dink shot and drop shots to slow down or change the pace of the game.

  • Demonstrates 3rd shot strategies – drop shots, lobs, and fast-paced ground strokes.

  • Aggressive net play and teamwork in doubles is evident.

  • Fully understands the rules of the game and can play by them.


  • Limited to some rallies

  • Learning how to serve

  • Developing a forehand

  • Fails to return easy balls frequently and occasionally misses the ball entirely

  • Played few games and is learning the court lines, scoring and some basic rules of the game


  • More consistent on the serve and service return and when returning medium-paced balls.

  • Demonstrates improved skills with all the basic shot strokes and shot placement but lacks control when trying for direction, depth, or power on their shots.

  • Beginning to attempt lobs and dinks with little success and doesn’t fully understand when and why they should be used.


  • Beginning to master the use of power and spin, can successfully execute all shots, can control the depth of their shots, and can handle pace.

  • Beginning to master the dink shots and drop shots and their importance to the game.

  • Beginning to master 3rd shot choices.

  • Displays sound footwork and moves well enough to get to the non-volley zone whenever required.

  • Understands strategy and can adjust style of play and game plan according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and court position.

  • Serves with power and accuracy and can also vary the speed and spin of the serve.

  • Understands the importance of “keeping the ball in play” and the effect of making errors.

  • Making good choices in shot selection.

  • Anticipates the opponent’s shots resulting in good court positioning.


  • Sustains a short rally with players of equal ability.

  • Demonstrating the basic shot strokes – forehand, backhand, volley, overhead and the serve, but has obvious weaknesses in most strokes.

  • Familiar with court positioning in doubles play.


  • Demonstrates improved stroke dependability with directional control on most medium-paced balls and some faster-paced balls.

  • Demonstrates improved control when trying for direction, depth and power on their shots.

  • Needs to develop variety with their shots.

  • Exhibits some aggressive net play.

  • Beginning to anticipate opponent’s shots.

  • Learning about the importance of strategy and teamwork in doubles.


  • Mastered all the skills – all shot types, touch, spin, serves, with control and can use them as weapons.

  • Excellent shot anticipation, extremely accurate shot placement and regularly hit winning shots.

  • Forces opponents into making errors by “keeping the ball in play.”

  • Mastered the dink and drop shots.

  • Mastered the 3rd shot choices and strategies.

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

  • Mastered pickleball strategies and can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive or tournament matches.

  • Dependable in stressful situations as in tournament match play.

  • Athletic ability, quickness, agility, and raw athleticism are also qualities that are sometimes what separates the top players from those near the top.