The Board of Directors prepared these guidelines to assist you in self rating your level of play. From inception we have been a club that allows members to self-rate. We also have a committee that can give you an official USAPA Rating or an informal evaluation.
SKILL EXPECTATIONS FOR EACH LEVEL OF PLAY
--these bullet points are a condensed version of the larger Pickleball Skill Level Definitions doc. --
Note: Above the 2.0 level, all levels should be able to demonstrate most of the skills for their level plus most of the skills from preceding levels. Thus a 2.5 level player, for example, demonstrates most skills in the 2.5 level list as well as most skills in the 2.0 level list, and so on.
2.0 Skill Level
● Has taken the Palm Creek beginners lesson (or demonstrates equivalent knowledge)
● Moves around court in balanced, safe manner
● Gets some serves “in”, perhaps not regularly
● Realizes aspects of score-keeping, rules and where to stand on court during serve, receive of serve, and general play
● Has some basic stroke skills
2.5 Skill Level
● Able to serve “in” more regularly
● Knows two-bounce rule and demonstrates it most times
● Knows where to stand on the court during serve, receipt of serve and general play
● Is mastering keeping score.
● Attempts to dink but not always effective at it
● Working on their form for ground strokes, accuracy is variable
● Can keep the ball in play longer
● Sometimes lobs with forehand with varying degrees of success.
3.0 Skill level
a. Knows the fundamental rules and can keep score
b. Regularly gets serves “in” to mid-court or deeper
c. Dinks mostly in opp. kitchen and is dinking lower over the net
d. Able to sustain dinking in the game
e. Using both forehand and backhand on returns and forehands on overhead returns
f. Working at keeping the serve deep and return of serve deep
g. Moves quickly towards the non-volley zone when opportunity is there
h. Trying to make flatter returns (where appropriate)
i. More aware of their partner’s position on the court and moving more as a team
j. Developing more power in their shots
3.5 Skill level
● Demonstrates a broad knowledge of the rules of the game
● Gets a high majority of serves “in”
● Able to serve and return serve deep
● Hits to the weak side of opponent often
● Demonstrates more strategies of playing during games
● Works better with partners in communicating, covering court, moving to net
● With varying consistency executes: lobs, forehand/backhand ground strokes, overheads, net volleys, and sustained dinking
● Starting to use drop shots in order to get to the net
● Knows when to make some specific placed shots in the game
● Working on mixing up soft shots with power shots to create an advantage
● Hits fewer balls out of bounds or in the net
● Has a moderate # of unforced errors per game
4.0 Skill Level
● Primarily plays offensively rather than reactively
● Controls and places serves and return of serves to best advantage
● Puts strategy into play in the game
● Consistently varies shots to create a competitive advantage
● Works and moves well with partner -- easily switches court positions when required
● Very comfortable playing at the non-volley zone. Works with partner to control the line, keeping opponents back and driving them off line.
● Can block volleys directed at them
● Has good footwork and moves laterally, backward and forward with ease.
● Uses strategy in dinking to get a put-away shot
● Hits overhead shots consistently, often returning them to feet of opponent
● Moderate ability to change a hard shot to a soft shot
● Consistently executes effective drop shots.
● Can poach effectively
● Hits a low # of unforced errors per game
4.5 - 5.0 Skill Level
1. Able to regularly convert a hard shot to a soft shot
2. Exhibits patience at a superior level
3. Shows noticeably increased skills, a higher level of strategy, quickness of hands and movement, judicious use of power, superior placement of shots, anticipation of play, sustained volleying skills, superior put-aways ---all with consistency
Differences between 4.5 and 5.0 are subjective – but, generally, each of the four points above is even more pronounced at the 5.0 level.
A permanent link with this information has been added under Club Information for future reference