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Understanding Pickleball Ratings: A Guide to the USAPA Skill Rating System

women understanding pickleball ratings

You’ve been polishing your pickleball skills and are ready to level up into the big games. But to get to the next rating level in the fascinating sport of pickleball, you must know how to navigate the sport’s complex rating system.

Fortunately, while getting into competitive pickleball may be challenging, understanding the rating systems is.

So, if you’re looking for a thorough rundown of the USAPA Skill Rating System, you’re at the right place.

In this guide, we cover all the fundamental concepts of the USAPA rating system, so you can compare skill levels at the next tournament and find similarly-skilled players to beat and level up.

Let’s jump right in!

What Is the USAPA Skill Rating System?

The United States Amateur Pickleball Association (USAPA), now reorganized as USA Pickleball (USAP), is the national pickleball organization in the United States.

The organization assigns ratings to pickleball players for their wins or losses at sanctioned tournament play. These are known as the USA Pickleball Tournament Ratings (UTPR), and their scores range from 0.000 to 6.999.

In the UTPR system, players can have different ratings for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.

The UTPR only considers sanctioned tournaments using And it only rates players that are members of the USAP.

It includes two rating types — a two-digit skill rating and a four-digit player rating.

The four-digit ratings update weekly and are dynamic ratings used for tournament seeding purposes, whereas the two-digit ratings update quarterly and are used for registration and tournament planning purposes.

The two-digit rating in the UTPR system is a round down of the four-digit rating.

So, if you have a 2.255 rating, it becomes 2.0 for the quarterly sanctioned tournaments.

UTPR scores change according to the ELO rating system, a fair and self-correcting system that scores players on their skill level.

For example, when two players with huge differences in ratings are playing together, and the high-rated pickleball player wins, there’s only a minuscule change in both players’ ratings.

On the other hand, if the low-rated pickleball player wins, the difference in their scores is significant. And when players with similar ratings play against each other, the winners’ and losers’ scores change only minimally.

This system helps prevent sandbagging, where experienced players play down in skill levels to win matches.

Here’s a summary of the main differences between the USAPA Skill Rating System and other rating systems:

  • It is more accurate than self-rating systems.
  • It is unbiased.
  • It uses two-digit and four-digit scores.
  • It doesn’t factor in recreational play results.
  • It doesn’t factor in scores but only wins/losses.
  • It doesn’t update real-time ratings; instead, it updates player ratings weekly and skill ratings quarterly.
  • It is an objective measure of a player's skill.
  • It allows players to play down in age in tournaments.
  • It doesn’t have a ranking of pickleball players.

old couple playing pickleball in court

Why Are Pickleball Ratings Important?

Playing a sport is only fun if you’re fairly matched. The same goes for pickleball.

Pickleball ratings are important because they allow you to match with players at the same skill level, thus ensuring fair competition.

In addition, these ratings allow you to enter tournaments and events and compete with players at the same level as you. They help you identify your current skill level and set goals for your next game, so you can work proactively to improve your skills.

How to Improve Your Pickleball Rating?

Once you learn your pickleball ratings, you can start working on improving your game.

Practice Drills and Exercises

When looking to improve your rating, nothing beats the time and effort you put into the game on the court.

So, get on the court as often as possible and make the best of those hours. Schedule court time for exercise or practice drills depending on the availability of an opponent.

teen boy playing pickleball

Coaching Lessons

If you need some guidance to improve, taking lessons from a coach might help.

A coach can see errors in your technique that nobody else can. They can also help hone your skills and direct your efforts to ensure maximum impact.

Watching Tutorials

Watching tutorials is an accessible way to improve your game without requiring active engagement.

You can check out various tutorials online for guidance on specific techniques or pickleball tips and tricks. And you can watch them while you’re resting.

If you’re only getting started, finding resources to read for pickleball beginners might help.

Mental Preparation and Strategizing

While you’re building your technique and working on your physical prowess, don’t forget your mind.

Pickleball is a game that requires more mental acumen than physical strength and also some strategizing. So, putting more effort into preparing your mind to reach a higher level in the game is a good idea.

Here are some helpful guides to train your mind:

Playing Against Players with a Higher Rating

It is also important to test your skills regularly. And what better way to do it than playing against players with a higher rating than yours?

You can do this at recreational games and during practice tournaments, you need to play up your levels anyway.


If you’re entering competitive pickleball, you need a rating system to identify your skill level and work toward improving it. And the USAP’s Skill Ratings system is one of the most reliable options, with accurate and unbiased ratings based on your skill level.

Now that you better understand the USAPA’s pickleball rating system, it’s time to go out, play, and see those ratings go up!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often do USAPA skill ratings get updated?

The USAPA skill ratings get updated quarterly on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31.

Can I dispute my USAPA skill rating?

It depends. As of January 1, 2019, players can only dispute their UTPRs on medical appeals with a doctor’s note from the attending physician.

How do I find out my USAPA skill rating?

You can check your USAPA Skill Rating by accessing your member profile.

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