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International Federation of PickleBall Rating Descriptions

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

Rating Rating Description

• 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 a 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.