Pickleball Skill Levels

Not sure what your pickleball skill level is? Want to know the skills you need to level up your game? Here are guidelines to help you assess your pickleball playing level.

 

Beginner - 2.5 Skills 

  • Know the rules of the game including two-bounce rule, scoring, positioning, and transition to kitchen
  • Able to hit a forehand but does not yet have not direction or depth control
  • Able to hit a backhand but does not yet have not direction or depth control
  • Accurately places service into the proper diagonal box but does not have depth, spin or pace control
  • Able to sustain a dink rally with players of equal ability
  • Able to volley with some control and direction
  • Understands proper court positioning
  • Able to accurately keep score throughout the game
  • Has necessary mobility to assure safe and balance movement
  • Able to hit a return of serve but does not have depth, or placement control

 

Advanced Beginner - 3.0 Skills 

  • Able to hit a medium -to-fast paced forehand with direction, depth, and consistency
  • Able to hit a medium-to-fast paced backhand with direction, depth, and consistency
  • Able to hit a medium paced serve with depth, direction, and consistency
  • Able to consistently sustain a dink rally with forehands and backhands
  • Able to hit a 3rd shot drop with direction and consistency
  • Able to hit a medium paced volley with direction and consistency
  • Able to hit a medium paced return of serve with adequate depth, control, and consistency
  • Understands the fundamental strategies of playing points throughout the game
  • Understands proper court positioning
  • Understands the rules and can keep score

 

Intermediate - 3.5 Skills

  • Able to use a forehand with a moderate to high level of placement, depth, spin, pace, and control.
  • Able to use a backhand with a moderate to high level of placement, depth, spin, pace and control
  • Consistently gets serve in with depth and control and beginning spin
  • Consistently gets return of serve in with depth, control and beginning spin
  • Able to dink with forehands and backhands in the kitchen with consistency, placement, and spin for lengthy rallies
  • Able to control the ball height and depth during dink rallies
  • Able to hit a 3rd shot drop with control, direction, and proper height over the net with a medium to high level of success
  • Able to volley with depth, pace, placement and control
  • Able to reset balls back into the opponent’s kitchen during transition from the baseline to the kitchen
  • Moves quickly and properly to the kitchen, through the transition zone, after return of serves
  • Understands proper court positions and strategies
  • Understands the difference between the hard (banging) and soft game and knows how and when to use them
  • Understands the concept of stacking and how to use it and defend against it

 

Advanced - 4.0 Skills

  • Consistently hits forehand with depth, control, pace, and spin during competition
  • Consistently hits backhand with depth, control, pace, and spin during competition
  • Consistently gets serve in with depth, placement, control, and spin during competition
  • Consistently gets return of serve in with depth, placement, control and spin during competition
  • Consistent and dependable overheads with directional control, depth, placement during competition
  • Able to execute a dink or air dink lob from the kitchen with a moderate level of consistency
  • Able to sustain a forehand/backhand dink rally with height control, direction, spin and pace during competition
  • Able to recognize balls that are attachable and those that are not in a dink rally
  • Consistently executes during completion a 3rd shot sequence that demonstrates placement, height control and  consistency,
  • Transitions properly from the baseline to the kitchen with a consistent capacity to reset 5th, 7th, and 9th shots
  • Able to change hard shots to soft shots and soft shots to hard shots
  • Able to volley with direction, control, placement.
  • Able to control the NVZ keeping opponents back on the baseline while
    being able to soften hard hit shots
  • Able to control the NVZ (non-volley zone) while keeping opponents back on the baseline
  • Aware of partner’s position on the court and moves as a team practicing tethering
  • Solid understanding of how to use the stack and defend against it
  • Plays a cerebral type of pickleball that limits mental errors
  • Demonstrates a broad knowledge of the rules and concepts of the game
  • Limits unforced errors during competition
  • Can identify opponent’s weaknesses and formulate a plan to attack weaknesses