Ratings 2021

Why have Ratings?

Ratings provide a means to compare the skill levels of competitors.  They may be used to determine a player’s skill level for tournament entry, club league play and recreational play where, for example, there are separate courts for different skill levels. See Terminology and definitions

There are three common  methods to provide players with a skill level rating

  1. Tournament Ratings
  2. Performance-Based Ratings Engine
  3. Skill-Based Assessment

Tournament Ratings

In 2021, Pickleball Canada (PCO) will be working towards the introduction of a “made in Canada” Canadian Tournament Player Rating (CTPR), which will apply to all sanctioned Tier 1, 2, 3, and Tier 4 tournament play. CTPRs for players will be recorded under the PCO ‘club’ in Pickleball Brackets (PB), the recognized ratings, tournament, and League/Ladder software provider for PCO.

The initial CTPR will be critical to the future validity of player ratings. Once fully implemented, all players who wish to play in PCO sanctioned tournaments will be required to set up a Player Profile in PB and asked to complete a form which will provide “filters” as guides to help PCO determine each player’s initial CTPR. This is a one-time process for each player before their first sanctioned tournament is played. Going forward, only games from PCO sanctioned tournaments will affect a players’ CTPR.

It is important to understand that a PB tournament rating will be calculated following the very first game(s) played by each player who enters a tournament using the PB tournament software.  This number is determined from skill levels selected in the personal Player Profile.  There are important considerations for players in selecting their skill levels that all players should be aware of when starting to play in these performance-based tournaments.  The PB tournament rating calculation will capture all game results for all players in any tournament a player plays in that uses this software. 

Be sure to read and understand the Implications of Self-Assessment Skill Levels choices. Once the first game is recorded the players initial number is “locked and loaded”.

After tournament results are processed, each player will be able to review a complete breakdown of all the matches they have played. They will see both the projected and actual outcomes of every game played in Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Singles along with the impact on their tournament ratings by by viewing their ‘stats’.

Performance-Based Ratings Engine

In recent times algorithms have been introduced to the game of Pickleball that are able to very accurately interpret the results of actual recorded game data that will provide player ratings based upon the performance of players at any skill level. This method is able to fill in the gaps that exist between a traditional single decimal point skill level and the next level. With technology, expanded rating numbers out to several digits provide the ability to see a player rating in terms of 3.653 as opposed to only 3.5. This gives clubs and tournament directors a way in which to make meaningful ‘seeding’ a reality.

Games played between either four players (Doubles or Mixed Doubles) or two players (Singles) are uploaded to software that uses specific mathematical algorithms that consider the current ratings of each player and each team pairing. The stronger team has a probability to win factor and rating points are exchanged affecting all players in the game. The wider the spread between the two teams the higher the probability of the stronger team winning resulting in less points being redistributed should the stronger team prevail. Should there be an upset the weaker team gains more points in the exchange from the stronger team. 100% results based play. This method provides a dynamic rating number that updates with each and every game played and is self-correcting as health, age and other factors come into focus for a player. It will recognize an emerging player and move them up the competitive ladder in real time without having to wait for a skills-based assessment to be scheduled. Players are in control of their own pickleball rating process.

All players who wish to play in performance-based club play, tournaments or league/ladder (if applicable) will be required to go to pickleballbrackets.com and set-up their Player Profile.

Low profile PBB logo

This profile will require entry of a traditional skill level. Players will then search for their local club on the website and request to join their club(s). All clubs will also visit the PB website to set up their club and assign administrators who will be able to edit members’ initial rating numbers for future performance-based club play prior to the first game a player records. Joining a PCO affiliated club on PB is restricted to PCO members who have first purchased a PCO membership through the Pickleball Canada National System. Obtaining an initial CTPR and joining the PCO ‘club’ on PB is a requirement for players competing in PCO Sanctioned tournaments.

When games results are uploaded, each player will be able to see a complete breakout of all the games they have played. They will see all players they played with and against and see both the projected and actual outcomes of each game played and recorded. Players will be able to establish Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Singles, and Skinny Singles, for club play.

Factors considered: Win/Loss, Game result point spread, Max point exchange

Partners = 65% weighting lower rated partner + 35% weighting higher rated partner. This takes into consideration the lower rated player may be targeted with more balls.

Actual game result point spread:
The algorithms calculate a projected point result and compare it to the game result. When a stronger team does better than projected, they receive more points in the exchange. Less if they fall below the projected outcome. It is also a factor in a complete upset where the weaker team prevails.

Clubs are able to set a maximum point exchange per game to mitigate a team having a unusually bad day.

Designated club programs such as Leagues, Ladders and Club Member Only unsanctioned tournaments, may be uploaded to Club ratings, and games played in PCO sanctioned tournaments will update the player’s CTPR.

Performance-based game results through Club play that are captured for rating purposes is by far the fastest way to establish Club level player ratings.

Skill-Based Assessment

This is the main historical method used to establish a Pickleball player rating. This method has been, by its nature very subjective, given more to observation of basic skills demonstration without consideration of actual game performance. Most often it has been carried out at the club level using higher rated players to provide an assessment of lower rated players.

Skills-based assessment has recently evolved with the IPTPA re-working their methodology claiming it will provide a more meaningful ratings option. They have retooled the designation of the Certified Ratings Specialist (CRS) which now has two components. Part 1 (Skills Demonstration) Part 2 ( Live game capture) both of which require a pass.
The method tests only for a very specific traditional rating skill level (3.5, or 4.0 examples) and is not able to fill in the vast divide that exists with traditional skill rating numbers. It does however provide the entrance into a basic skill level and may appeal to some players.

It is perhaps a good idea for clubs to recognize the IPTPA Certified Ratings Specialist as an option for members. It is not recommended that clubs and organizations continue to rate players using skills-assessment outside this specific option.

Players and clubs interested in this type of testing will go to IPTPA for more information and to complete an application form. There is a cost associated with this program first for the testing application and then for the services of the CRS.