Serve, Return, Third-Shot-Drop, Dink, Dink, Attach, Reset, Dink, Dink, Point!
USA Pickleball – Pickleball has a very interesting name, especially since no pickles are used. Accounts of how the name originated differ. (1) According to Joel Pritchard’s wife (Joan), she started calling the game pickleball because “the combination of different sports reminded me of the pickle boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of other boats”. (2) However, according to Barney McCallum, the game was officially named after the Pritchard’s’ dog Pickles who would chase the ball and run off with it. According to McCallum, “The Pritchard’s had a dog named Pickles, and you’re having fun at a party, right? So anyways, what the hell, let’s just call it pickleball.”
Others claim both accounts may actually be true. In the early years, no official name was assigned to the game. However, a year or two after the game was invented, the Pritchard’s purchased a cocker spaniel and named it Pickles. As the game progressed, an official name was needed and “pickleball” was it.
PICKLEBALL SAFETY AND RULES
The Official Tournament Rulebook contains every rule set forth for the game of pickleball by the International Federation of Pickleball and the United States of America Pickleball.
USA Pickleball – Basics, Rules Summary
USA Pickleball – How to Play
USA Pickleball – History of the Game
SKILL EXPECTATIONS FOR EACH LEVEL OF PLAY
Note: Above the 2.0 level, all levels should be able to demonstrate most of the skills for their level plus most of the skills from preceding levels. Thus a 2.5 level player, for example, demonstrates most skills in the 2.5 level list as well as most skills in the 2.0 level list, and so on.
As players self-determine their rating, keep in mind that you are welcome to use .25 and .75 rating numbers also. For instance, if you feel that you are better than a 2.5 but not quite to the 3.0 level, you can rate yourself as a 2.75.
2.0 Skill Level
- Has taken a beginner’s class (or demonstrates equivalent knowledge)
- Moves around court in balanced, safe manner
- Gets some serves “in”, perhaps not regularly
- Realizes aspects of score-keeping, rules and where to stand on court during serve, receipt of serve, and general play
- Has some basic stroke skills
2.5 Skill Level
- Knows two-bounce rule and demonstrates it most times
- Knows where to stand on the court during serve, receipt of serve and general play
- Able to keep score.
- Is able to hit at least 50% of serves “in”.
- Is able to hit at least 50% of forehand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 50% of backhand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 50% of forehand volleys.
- Is able to hit at least 50% of backhand volleys.
3.0 Skill level. Also possesses all 2.5 Skills
- Knows the rules and can keep score.
- Aware of partner’s position on the court & moving as a team
- Aware of hitting a drop shot and moving quickly towards the non-volley zone.
- Is able to sustain a dinking rally in the game.
- Is able to hit at least 70% of serves “in”.
- Is able to hit at least 70% of forehand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 70% of backhand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 70% of forehand volleys.
- Is able to hit at least 70% of backhand volleys.
3.5 Skill level Also possesses all 3.0 Skills
- Demonstrates strategies of playing during games
- Actively works with partners in communicating, covering court, moving to net
- With varying consistency executes: forehand/backhand ground strokes, overheads, net volleys, and sustained dinking
- Specifically places shots rather than just hitting shots anywhere
- Selective mixing up soft shots with power shots to create an advantage
- Is able to hit at least 50% of drop shots successfully.
- Is able to hit at least 80% of serves “in”.
- Is able to hit at least 80% of forehand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 80% of backhand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 80% of forehand volleys.
- Is able to hit at least 80% of backhand volleys.
4.0 Skill Level. Also possesses all 3.5 Skills.
- Players at or above 4.0 will generally have earned their rating through tournament play.
- Primarily plays in an offensive mode rather than reactively
- Controls and places serve and return of serve to best advantage
- Puts advanced playing strategy into the game, particularly in dinking
- Consistently varies shots for competitive advantage, uses power shots selectively
- Communicates and moves well with partner — easily “switches” court positions
- Very comfortable playing at the non-volley zone. Works with partner to control the line, keeping opponents back and driving them off the line.
- Can block hard volleys directed at them
- Has good footwork and moves laterally, backward and forward with ease.
- Hits overhead shots consistently, often as put-aways
- Ability to change a hard shot to a soft shot
- Consistently executes effective drop shots that are not easily returned for advantage
- Can effectively poach
- Hits a low # of unforced errors per game
- Regularly demonstrates “anticipation of play”
- Self-correcting during play
- Consistently is a multi-dimensional player and/or is exceptionally dominant in a limited playing repertoire.
- Is able to hit at least 70% of drop shots successfully.
- Is able to hit at least 90% of serves “in”.
- Is able to hit at least 90% of forehand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 90% of backhand returns.
- Is able to hit at least 90% of forehand volleys.
- Is able to hit at least 90% of backhand volleys.