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Explaining The Pickleball Rating System: Getting Ranked

Two players on a pickleball doubles team talk strategy before the next serve.

TL;DR: Understanding the pickleball rating system is crucial for players to gauge their skill levels and find suitable opponents. The USA Pickleball system, including the UTPR and the new UTR-P, categorizes players based on their abilities, facilitating fair matchups and tournament seeding. DUPR offers an alternative and comprehensive rating system or all players globally

Main Points:

  • Various pickleball rating systems exist, with the USA Pickleball system being prominent.
  • The USA Pickleball system categorizes players from 1.0 to 5.5+, with specific expectations for each level.
  • A new rating system, UTR-P, is introduced, replacing UTPR, aiming for more accurate player assessment.
  • DUPR is an independent and popular rating system used by players across the globe.
  • Understanding one's rating helps in finding suitable opponents, improving skills, and tracking progress.

Rating systems are useful in a wide variety of sports, including pickleball. Player ratings help players understand their own skill level and identify possible areas of improvement. These ratings are also useful for gauging the skill levels of potential opponents, setting expectations for tournaments, and more.

So, what is the pickleball rating system? How does it work, and what are the skill levels? How do you determine your pickleball rating?

Keep reading to find answers to these questions and others about the pickleball rating system.

How Do Pickleball Ratings Work?

There are several pickleball rating systems and some of them share the same metrics for rating players.

For example, USA Pickleball, the governing body for pickleball in the United States, shares a pickleball rating chart. This chart can be used for self-assessment and as a guide for the official USA Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings (UTPR).

Of course, self-assessment is a subjective process. However, self-assessment is also very valuable if you can honestly and accurately review your skills and needs as a pickleball player.

Placing yourself on this pickleball rating scale, which includes eight distinct categories from 1.0 to 5.5+, can help you:

  • Find opponents with a similar skill level for casual play, avoiding very lopsided matchups.
  • Identify potential areas of need as a player. You can then focus on those needs as you take pickleball lessons or train by yourself, using pickleball skill videos and other resources.
  • Recognize your accomplishments and growth as a pickleball player, as you move up the rating scale over time.

The USA Pickleball rating chart is also used in setting the UTPR for tournament players. Although the same numerical scale applies, it is determined by the results of tournament play as opposed to self-assessment.

UTPR ratings include a more specific four-digit rating and a rounded, two-digit skill level. The four-digit rating is only visible to the player themselves and sanctioned tournament directors. That number can be used for tournament seeding to better match players in the early rounds of these events.

A pickleball doubles game in action.

Pickleball Rating System: Individual Ratings

The USA Pickleball Rating System starts with 1.0. This rating represents a brand-new player with no other sports background who’s just starting to learn about the game.

This rating system takes both knowledge of the game and pickleball skills into account. For example, a 2.5 rating includes two key qualifiers: an ability to maintain short rallies with other players at similar skill levels and basic scorekeeping knowledge.

As the numerical skill level increases, so do the expectations related to specific parts of pickleball play. A player with a 4.5 rating is expected to have a certain level of skill with specific shots and parts of the game. This includes, among many other skills, the ability to serve and return serves with power, accuracy, and depth, along with variable speed and spin.

The highest pickleball rating in the USA Pickleball system is 5.5+. The official definition is: “This player is a top caliber player. Performance and tournament wins speak for this player's ability to consistently perform at a high level.”

Want to learn more about the individual ratings? Our blog goes into much more detail about each of the most common pickleball ratings (from 2.0 through 5.0).

A New Approach to Official Tournament Pickleball Ratings

USA Pickleball announced a partnership with sports data and analysis firm UTR Sports in late April 2024. One especially important result of this partnership for tournament players is the introduction of a new rating system: UTR-P.

This system includes a provisional rating for new players on a scale of 1-5. It includes a more detailed system for rating established players, ranging from 1 (beginner) to 10.0 (expert and/or professional).

Along with a rating of 1, ratings of 2 (social/casual) and 3 (intermediate) are whole-number ratings for less-experienced players. From 4.0-10.0, the ratings include a decimal place to more precisely assess advanced player skills.

USA Pickleball and UTR Sports have clarified that UTR-P is expected to fully replace UTPR ratings soon. This new metric will be used at sanctioned tournaments and other USA Pickleball official events in 2024, and the old rankings format will sunset.

DUPR: A Popular and Universal Alternative Rating System

Outside of USA Pickleball’s official rating system, Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating (DUPR) is an especially popular and widespread alternative. Free and open to all players, DUPR takes game results from players and calculates their rating based on performance.

The ratings become more accurate as the system gathers more data about individual players. Because every pickleball player can use it, it’s free, and it offers consistent and useful results, DUPR has grown to become a standard rating tool at all levels of the sport.

You can set up a free DUPR account, download the DUPR app, and start reporting your scores starting with your next game!

Pickleball Superstore: Exceptional Equipment for Every Pickleball Player

Whether you’re just starting with pickleball or expect to rank in the high 9s in the new UTR-P system, Pickleball Superstore gives you the gear you need to succeed.

We also help you find nearby courts so you can pick up your paddle and start playing! Check out our Court Locator to find your next game.

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