Whether you first stepped on the court several years ago or several days ago, you’ve probably heard pickleball players talking about their ratings.
“I’m a 3.5, but I’m trying to get to 4.0 by the end of the year.”
“I thought I was a 4.0, but I just played in a tournament against other 4.0 players and they totally destroyed us. I think we were sandbagged.”
“You’re a 4.5? I’m only a 3.0. No way am I playing against you.”
Player ratings help us gauge our skill level compared to our competitors, find good match-ups with other teams, and measure our improvement over time. That last piece is probably the most important–without ratings, you have no way to determine how much you’ve improved or how much more work you need to put in to reach your goals.
That being said, how you’re rated as a player depends on your rating system–and not all of them are created equal. Read on for an introduction to the different types of rating systems, plus the pros and cons of each.
DUPR is one of the most popular pickleball rating systems, especially for amateur players. It includes both doubles and singles play and is designed to be a universal standard.
Algorithm: DUPR includes both doubles and singles, and is based on your most recent 60 matches (for doubles) or 30 matches (for singles) within 12 months. It employs a proprietary algorithm, which considers factors like the competitive level of the match, the type of match (club, tournament, etc.), and winning/losing to provide a rating between 2.0 and 8.0.
A player’s USA Pickleball Tournament Player Rating (UTPR) is calculated based on the player’s performance in USAPA-sanctioned tournaments. The rating algorithm takes into account tournament wins/losses as well as the ratings of all opponents. Ratings are initially calculated as 4-digits, then rounded down to provide a 2-digit rating ranging from 1.0 to 6.0+.
Players without a UTPR can self-rate to enter tournaments. Guidelines are provided by USAPA to help players self-rate, by assessing their proficiency in skills such as dinking, serving, volleying, and strategizing.
For example, a player just starting out in the game without much sports experience would be a 1.0-2.0 player, whereas a pickleball pro would rank at 5.0 and above.
Algorithm: The UTPR calculates a player’s 4-digit rating for each player, adjusting after each sanctioned tournament based on match outcomes and the ratings of opponents. That 4-digit rating is then rounded down to a 2-digit skill rating.
PickleballTournaments.com developed the World Pickleball Ratings (WPR) system to be as comprehensive as possible.
Algorithm: The WPR algorithm uses a Glicko-2 ratings system to calculate a player’s rating on a quarterly basis based on factors such as results from sanctioned and non-sanctioned tournaments, match frequency, and opponents’ player ratings.
There are a handful of additional rating systems, but they are less common:
Remember, each rating system has its specific goals and use cases, and the best way to improve your rating will depend on your competitive focus and the resources you have available, including using advanced analytics platforms like PB Vision to get more detailed insights into your game.
With recorded data from everything that happens on the court, PB Vision is working toward a more objective rating system. For more information about how computer vision can be used to improve your game and–one day–provide you with the most accurate player rating, check out part two of this post here.
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