Future of Pickleball Ratings

There are two types of Rating Designations in Pickleball:
 A Tournament Rating (T)  or a Self Rating (S).
A Self Rating is subjective and most self rated players tend to rate themselves too high.
A Tournament Rating is more objective and can be achieved in two ways:                        
  • through a Skill Assessment conducted by a Certified Rater or,
  • from Merit achieved while competing in a Sanctioned Tournament.
A Tournament Rating assigned through Skill Assessment is a measure of a players Skills as described in the Pickleball Canada Skill Level Requirements.  These Skills define multidimensional players. Skill Assessment is both labor intensive and time consuming. 

The fact that many Pickleball Players do not wish to compete in Tournaments but do want access to “Rated Play” sessions in Clubs and Recreational Facilitates necessitates the need for Skill Rating Assessments to maintain the integrity of Rated Play
A Tournament Rating acquired through Tournaments can be achieved by players both multidimensional and unidimensional in skill.  Many players win matches in their brackets, particularly at a lower level, by merely hitting the ball harder than anyone else on the court. 80% of ratings are acquired through Tournaments. 
Ratings are recorded on the PCO/USAPA website. The USAPA and Pickleball Canada have a symbiotic relationship in regard to ratings since so many Canadian Players participate in U.S. Tournaments and vice versa.  Therefore the future of ratings in the USAPA will naturally affect the future of ratings in Canada. 

Imminent Tournament Rating System:

The USAPA is currently establishing a new rating system which will take the subjectivity out of Tournament Ratings.  This system will assign each player a four digit rating which will be “self-correcting”.  Every time a player participates in a Sanctioned Tournament their success will be measured depending upon their competition, their partners, their age and gender.   An algorithm will determine their rating which will change following every match in every tournament.  
The impetus behind this four digit rating system is to ensure better competition for all players while eliminating the subjectivity of ratings. In time players should find themselves competing against opponents of similar rating who have had similar success. 
Paul Porch, a mathematician, explains how the New Tournament Rating System will work. This system is already being used by other sports and is being improvised to use within Pickleball:
Assuming that there will be a conversion table between the four digit tournament rating system and the current two digit tournament rating system we are still cognizant of the fact that many players do not play tournaments and will require a Club Rating.  
A player’s currently assigned two digit Tournament Rating (ie 3.5) will become a Club Rating.  

Club Ratings:

Currently, many clubs are using Tournament Ratings to define “Rated Play” within  their organization. However, Rated Play within clubs will eventually be based on Club Ratings. This is the future of non-Tournament play.

Each Club will be responsible for rating their own players.  Needless to say Pickleball Canada highly recommends that in order to maintain the universality of your ratings that you consult with the Pickleball Canada Skill Level Requirements.  These are updated continuously by the Ratings Co-Chairs of Pickleball Canada and are in keeping with the current level of play in Tournaments. 
They can be viewed on the pickleballcanada.org website under Ratings.  Rating your players according to these skills will ensure better skilled play within each group.  You can also contact ratings@pickleballcanada.org to ask for a ratings package.  This package was designed by the Co-Chairs to help conduct Skill Level Assessments.
There are many software providers who are offering the use of their expertise to assist clubs in establishing club ratings. When considering this option, please keep in mind that it is only capable of offering ratings within a “closed group” of players. In other words, it will only measure a club player against it’s own club players, and may not be an accurate depiction of their level outside of the group (Regionally, Nationally or Internationally). 
We continue to encourage all groups hosting Tournaments to Sanction their events with Pickleball Canada. Without this, the events will not be recognized for rating purposes.
Furthermore, we encourage the use of PickleballTournaments.com as the currently endorsed website to record Tournament results. This provides a history that is accessible by all, including players, tournament directors, Pickleball Canada and the USAPA.