Pickleball Canada/IFP Ratings


Pickleball Canada  has implemented the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) Rating system. This allows players to have the same Player Ratings in both Canada and the USA.

Use the following links for more details:
Rating Types:

There are three types of ratings in Pickleball:
A Self Rating which has an “S” designation on the Pickleball Canada/USAPA/IFP Ratings Website. Any unrated player may Self Rate. The Pickleball Ratings Chair recommends that you use the Pickleball Canada Skill Level Guidelines outlined below when doing so. These Guidelines were updated by the Ratings Chair in 2016 and are in line with current tournament play.

A Club Rating which has a “C” designation and appears on the Pickleball Canada  website under your profile. Any pickleball club may assign Club Ratings to their members. We urge Club Raters to use the current Pickleball Canada Skill Level Guidelines when rating club members.

A Tournament Rating which has a “T” designation. Tournament Ratings may be achieved based on merit in sanctioned tournaments. Tournament Ratings are determined by the Ratings Chair depending on the player’s success against other rated players. The bracket must also have depth ie. a significant number of players. Sometimes it may take participation in more than one tournament to establish a player’s rating. A Tournament Rating may also be assigned by the Ratings Chair following a Skill Level Assessment by a Pickleball Canada recognized Rater.

Tournament Ratings are viewable on the Pickleball Canada/USAPA/IFP website under Ratings. These ratings are entered by either the Ratings Chair of Pickleball Canada, or the USAPA Ratings Chair. They may be appealed to the Ratings Chair within a specified period of time (usually one week) if the player has a justifiable reason as to why they cannot accept their new rating designation.

If and when a player receives a tournament rating they are obligated to enter tournaments at their tournament level or above. They may not compete below their designated level. It is their responsibility when registering for tournaments on pickleballtournaments.com to update their current level. A player who plays in a level lower than their tournament rating will be stripped of any merit that they achieve and may possibly affect the sanctioning of that tournament. This is a serious offense.

A player who enters a tournament without a tournament rating may enter at any level unless the Tournament Director determines that they are playing at the wrong level. If the player has success at the level at which they compete, meaning that they prove themselves competitive at that level, to the satisfaction of the Ratings Chair then they may be confirmed at that level. The higher up the level is that a player wishes to achieve, the more stringent the criteria to achieve that level. Consistency is critical. It is unusual to be advanced based on one medal since it is not enough to substantiate consistency.

Skill Level Designations are assigned numerically as 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5. 4.0, 4.5 or 5.0 (5.0 being the highest level).
The Skill Requirements for each of these numerical designations are outlined as follows:

Pickleball Canada Skill Level Guidelines
The following skill sets are a guide for evaluating your own skill level. They were developed to provide greater detail than guidelines listed by the USAPA on their website (www.usapa.org).
*** If a person cannot move quickly enough due to physical restrictions, then a rating will be reduced according to the physical limitations as related to playing the game.

2.0 Skill Level
• Moves in a balanced and safe manner
• Getting at least 50% of serves in the service court and returning 50% of serves
• Are learning where to stand on court during serves, returns and point play but are still not comfortable with some positions
• Knows the two bounce rule and applies it during games. Can keep score comfortably.
• Will have basic ground strokes with a very limited use of backhand, overhead, and volley.
• Capable of keeping ball in play for a couple of shots.

2.5 Skill Level
· Knows the basic rules including the “two bounce rule”, scoring
· Attempting to control forehand groundstroke (direction, depth, height over net)
· Attempting backhand groundstroke
· Getting 60% of serves in the service court and returning 60% of serve returns
· Knows where to stand as the server, server’s partner, and receiver

· Consistently Approaches the non-volley line for volleys
· Can keep the ball in play for longer lasting rallies
· Sometimes lobs with forehand
· Attempting to “dink” the ball at the net, can do so for short durations.
· Moves in a safe and balanced manner
· Developing good hand-eye coordination

3.0 Skill Level - (will ALSO possess most/all of the 2.5 skills)
· Knows basic rules including how to keep score
· Developing control on forehand groundstroke (placement, direction, depth)
· Developing control on backhand groundstroke (placement, direction, depth)
· Getting 70% of serves and return of serves “in”
· Striving to place serves deep into the court
· Beginning to develop placement of serves
· Uses deeper and higher returns of serve to allow time to approach the net

· Approaches the non-volley line quickly rather than staying back
· Sustains a short volley session at the net
· Exhibits correct court positioning for doubles and how to “move as a team”
· Beginning to use the forehand lob with some success
· Developing a sustained “dink” exchange at the net
· Attempting to hit a soft ”drop shot” to approach the net (3rd, 5th, etc shot)
· Attempting to adjust to differing ball speeds (hitting & returning)
· Has good mobility
· Developing good hand-eye coordination

3.5 Skill Level - (will ALSO possess most/all of the 3.0 skills)
· Knows all the main rules including how to refigure the score and correct server
· Demonstrates control on forehand groundstroke (direction, depth and pace)
· Demonstrates some control on backhand groundstroke (direction, depth and pace)
· Getting 80% of serves and return of serves “in”
· Regularly placing serves deep into the court

· Regularly uses deeper & higher returns of serve to allow time to approach net
· Approaches the non-volley line quickly (when appropriate) rather than staying back
· Able to play with partners effectively. Beginning to use court strategies such as partner communication and team coverage of court
· Avoids hitting “out” balls
· Hitting the ball lower over the net consistently
· Developing a wide variety of shots with some consistency
· Learning when to use soft shots vs. power shots to their advantage
· Developing consistency on shot placement, including ability to create and hit “gaps”
· Sustains a short volley session at the net with some control and placement
· Initiates and maintains a sustained “dink” exchange at the net
· Able to execute a soft ”drop shot” to approach the net (3rd, 5th, etc shot)
· Able to adjust to differing ball speeds consistently
· Developing ability to hit overheads with control
· Using a forehand and backhand lob when appropriate
· Developing patience in rallies
· Has good mobility
· Has good quickness
· Has good hand-eye coordination

4.0 Skill Level - (will ALSO possess all of the 3.5 skills)
· Controls and places 90% of both serves and returns of serves
· Consistent and dependable forehand and backhand groundstrokes, including directional control, depth, placement and pace.
· Consistent and dependable volleys, including some directional control, depth, placement and pace
· Consistent and dependable overheads, including some directional control, depth, placement and pace
· Has good accuracy in placing lobs
· Consistently makes successful ”drop shots” from the back court to approach the net (3rd, 5th, etc shot)
· Regularly initiating and sustaining a “dink” exchange at the net until a “put away” shot is received
· Able to change from a soft shot strategy to a hard shot strategy, and vice versa
· Can block and return hard volleys
· Developing the ability to return overheads hit at their feet
· Can handle speed on shots without over-hitting or hitting out of bounds
· Moves effectively with partner, easily switching courts and communicating when required
· Can control play at the non-volley zone line, keeping their opponents back, driving th
em off
he line and controlling the speed or placement of the ball
· Consistently uses shots to create and hit “gaps”
· Recognizes and exploits the weaknesses in their opponent’s game
· Can poach effectively
· Maintains patience in rallies
· Has good mobility *
· Has good quickness *
· Has good hand-eye coordination *

4.5 and 5.0 Skill Level
The 4.5 player is distinguished from the 4.0 player by increased skills, a higher level of strategy, quickness of hands, judicious use of power, superior placement of shots and consistently fewer unforced errors. The 5.0 player is even more consistent in all skills than the 4.5 player with very few, if any, unforced errors.

All players are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these skills. Whether it is to identify the skills they already have or those they need to achieve the next level.