Rating system

Please Note: These skills and abilities should represent your typical play day, not your strongest one. While everyone has days when they are really great or not so great, this should reflect your consistent performance. If you were playing in a tournament today, what would you play? The number of years playing does not determine your skill level. Everyone progresses at a different rate, and friends and spouses may differ in skills and/or mobility. The Pickle Factory team will review all members and make changes if needed to ensure competitive and fun play for each open-play level.


What is my skill level?

1.5 Starterpickleball rating scale - 1.5 starter

  • Still learning scorekeeping
  • Still learning court positioning
  • Serves and serve returns in 40% or less
  • Limited mobility

2.0 Beginnerpickleball rating scale - 2.0 beginner

  • Needs reminders with scorekeeping
  • Has minimal understanding of court positioning
  • Serves and serve returns 40% to 50% of the time
  • Showing adequate mobility (safe and balanced)

2.5 Ratingpickleball rating scale - 2.5 Rating

  • Must know how to keep score 
  • Must know where to position yourself at the start of each point
  • Able to hold a brief rally with players who are around the same skill level
  • 50% of serves and returns are usually in bounds
  • Prefers to use their forehand and attempt to hit a backhand stroke
  • Showing good mobility and can move around the court in a safe manner

2.75 Ratingpickleball rating scale - 2.75 rating

  • Must be able to meet all of the 2.5 rating level requirements
  • 60% of serves and returns are in bounds, working on accuracy and depth
  • Demonstrate a ready position at the NVZ
  • Able to demonstrate proper punch volleys (using backhand correctly)
  • Showing good mobility, hand-eye coordination, and moderate quickness

3.0 Ratingpickleball rating scale - 3.0 Rating

  • Must be able to meet all of the 2.75 rating level requirements
  • 100% knowledge on the basic rules and being aware of where to position yourself on each point
  • Must get serves and returns in 75% of the time
  • Must move to the NVZ after the return of serve and not retreat during play
  • Must be able to maintain at least a 5+ shot rally
  • Able to successfully hit forehand and backhand volleys at the NVZ
  • Able to hit most forehands and backhands with direction and control regarding height & depth
  • Aware of dinking and will occasionally engage in it, but lacks control over the height and positioning of their dinks
  • Starting to use the third shot drop in game play, but not consistently or in control. More at ease on a third shot drive.

3.25 Ratingpickleball rating scale - 3.25 Rating

  • Must be able to meet all of the 3.0 rating requirements
  • Consistently gets serve and service returns in
  • Attempts and executes dink rally 50% of the time
  • Attempts and executes 3rd shot drops 50% of the time
  • Aware of unforced errors and is working and drilling to minimize

3.5 Ratingpickleball rating scale - 3.5 Rating

  • Able to meet all of the 3.25 rating level requirements
  • Possesses a broader understanding of the regulations than just the fundamentals (including net rules, net post problems, NVZ, etc.)
  • Must be successful in dropping from the baseline (3rd, 5th, etc.) to get to the NVZ at least 60% of the time
  • Unforced errors are less than 8 in a game
  • Deep and reliable serves and returns
  • Successfully putting balls away using overheads and volleys
  • Is initiating dinking and can maintain a controlled dink rally
  • Growing more accurate with shots and beginning to apply this in your strategies
  • Starting to plan and collaborate with your partner to build the point
  • Accumulating a range of shots, both quick and slow, in their arsenal
  • Competed in tournaments and consistently won or placed in the top 3 teams in 3.0 Skill Brackets

3.75 Ratingpickleball rating scale - 3.0 Rating

  • Able to meet all of the 3.5 rating level requirements
  • Must be successful in dropping from the baseline (3rd, 5th, 7th, etc) and driving from the baseline
  • Unforced errors less than 6 in one game
  • Attempts and executes resetting from the transition zone with 50% accuracy
  • Demonstrates understanding of which balls are attackable and which are not
  • Understanding proper court positioning and working with a partner
  • Recognizes the balls in a dink rally that can be attacked and those that cannot
  • Competed in tournaments and consistently won or placed in the top 3 teams in 3.5 Skill Brackets

4.0+ Ratingpickleball rating scale - 4.0+ Rating

  • Able to meet all of the 3.75 rating level requirements
  • Resetting from the transition zone and when forced back to baseline
  • Apply both 3rd shot drops and drives as the conditions dictate (90% success rate)
  • Totally understands the importance of court positioning in collaboration with a partner
  • Low unforced errors, 5 or less during a single game
  • A significant number of serves and returns are placed with variable depth and speed
  • Lobbing only from NVZ and not using lob as a reset or panic
  • Able to maintain dink rallies at different shot heights and depths
  • Able to recognize an opponent’s flaws and devise a plan to exploit them
  • Developing the block to return fast, hard volleys
  • Able to switch between soft and power shots to gain the upper hand
  • Able to stack and how to use it

4.25+ Ratingpickleball rating scale - 3.0 Rating

  • Able to meet all of the 4.0 rating level requirements
  • Able to place shots with consistent changing paces and touch anywhere on the court
  • Serves and returns with strength, precision, and variety of spins and depth
  • Capable of a consistent dinking game, maintaining long rallies with variety and precision with an offensive intent
  • Consistently carries out third-shot strategies, both drive and drop, that are not easily returned for advantage
  • Able to reliably reset or block hard volleys
  • Easily stacks court positions and is aware of the strategy of using it
  • Understands strategy and can modify their play style and game plan to counter the advantages and disadvantages of their opponents
  • Competed in tournaments and consistently won or placed in the top 3 teams in 4.0 Skill Brackets