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The Rating System has been created to help describe differences in the various skill levels, learn more below.

Image by Ben Hershey


➔ New and have only minimal knowledge of the game and the rules.


➔ 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.


➔ 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.


➔ 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.


 ➔ 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.


➔ 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.


 ➔ 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.


 ➔ 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.


 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.


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