Why did the IPTPA create a new national rating system?

After receiving feedback from many of our teaching professionals, there seemed to be a trend among self-rated players of “over-rating”.  Over-rating obviously causes many problems during organized play and clinics offered at designated levels. It effects instructors trying to give everyone the attention they deserve for skills specific to level and to keep organized play fun and balanced for all.  After reviewing the IFP & USAPA rating descriptions in depth, there seemed to be a disconnect with the skill progressions taught by IPTPA professionals and these descriptions.  At the IPTPA, we strive to be the leaders on the court by instructing the most current and progressively accurate way to improve level by level (from the inside out).  The descriptions of each level by other organizations do not currently reflect this level of standardization.

Does the NEW IPTPA National Rating System conflict with the current USAPA rating system?

No.  The USAPA system is designed for players that compete in sanctioned tournaments.  However, as we all know, that is only a small percentage of the playing population.  There are players of all ages and skill abilities that need an accurate rating.  However, many may not be able to obtain one due to lack of sanctioned tournament play.

Club Ratings vs. IPTPA Ratings

Some of the larger clubs in the country have current “Club Rating” sessions, yet they lack effective and consistent rating standards due to several reasons:

  1. No consistent format for rating sessions
  2. Not nationally recognized
  3. Causes problems within the club due to favoritism or bias in both positive or negative ways.
  4. Volunteer raters often feel pressure and are not able to deliver an accurate rating nor do they want to continue rating due to these issues. Which leads to volunteer rater turn over.

The IPTPA rating system is being introduced by 4.5 and above certified pickleball teaching professionals. The IPTPA Rating System has been developed to clarify and specifically identify the individual skills and characteristics necessary at each skill level while working in harmony with our teaching system. IPTPA teaching professionals assess, evaluate and instruct daily and those who qualify for the CRS designation have been trained to identify and test for the specific characteristics to qualify for each skill rating.

Thus, IPTPA can initiate a national rating program which will provide a consistent rating across the country. Every player rated by an IPTPA certified rating specialist will have the same result regardless of what part of the country the player resides in or has been tested. This consistent and reliable result will be accomplished not only because of the specificity of the Rating System but because of its execution. Rating sessions will be the same across the country.  Assuring players that a “3.5 IPTPA rated player” on the east coast, will be equivalent to a “3.5 rated player” on the west coast.

The NEED for an additional rating system

IPTPA has teaching professionals all over the country receiving player feedback daily.  A frequent question asked by most new players, is the knowledge of where they stand in regards to skill level so they may accurately enter clinics, social play, inter-league play or tournaments of any kind.  Without an accurate skill rating, players shy away from anything organized.  If they do enter organized play, they often self-rate over and above what they should be rated or take the other route and sandbag to try and get easy wins.  Neither situation is good for any of the participants, thus the need for the NEW IPTPA Rating System.  The new IPTPA Rating System accurately rates players all over the country in a standardized manner, emphasizing the current progression of the sport of pickleball that the IPTPA promotes.

How will the IPTPA Rating System Work?

There will be two types of membership to the IPTPA rating system.

  1. Individual player membership

Individual player membership fee- Consists of a $25 membership fee which is good for 3 years and allows for any number of listed rating advancements. Membership allows the individual to be rated by an IPTPA Certified Rating Specialist (CRS). The rating fee charged by all CRS nationwide will be $25/person for each rating session, with 4 players required and all testing for the same skill rating. If there are less than 4 players being tested the CRS has the option of substituting a non-testing player with a USAPA or IPTPA rating equivalent to the skill level being tested.  This is an option each CRS can make on their own to accommodate instances when less than 4 players wish to be tested. A testing session of 4 players being tested typically lasts 1 ½ hours.

The IPTPA Rating System consists of the following:

A) description of skills required for each skill rating 2.5-4.5.

B) An on-line application to be filled out prior to the rating session

C) The rating session- a 3-part protocol, consisting of a skills test, modified pickleball game and match play. Each part of the rating session is weighted and objective measures are calculated to determine whether the participant has met the objectives for that particular skill rating. Lower rated skill sessions have more emphasis on the individual strokes test and modified games of the IPTPA protocol, while higher rated skill sessions have more weight on match play. This emphasizes the development of basic strokes and fundamentals for the 2.5-3.5 skill level and the application of strokes, strategies and shot selection as the player progresses into higher level play.

D) Each CRS will have an IPTPA scoring sheet which will allow them to tabulate the results of the 3-part protocol and an IPTPA calculator tool which automatically and immediately informs the CRS if the candidate reached minimum standards qualifying the player for the skill level being tested. After the rating session, the CRS will review the rating session results and inform the candidate if they met the requirements for the tested skill level. Both the player and the CRS will sign & date the score sheet and the final skill level attained will be circled. Three copies of the Scoring sheet results will be provided one will be emailed to IPTPA, one given to the player and one will be kept by the CRS.

E) IPTPA will publish the ratings of each player tested and maintain a world-wide database organized by country, state and skill level. An IPTPA Rating Card will be mailed to each player listing their skill level, the date of the rating session, and the CRS that rated them. Individual members can attempt any number of rating sessions during their 3-year membership. There will be no additional listing charges beyond S&H for new IPTPA Rating Cards if they move up to a higher skill level. Additional rating sessions still require the $25/person fee which is payable to the CRS.

     2. Club Membership

IPTPA Pickleball Club Membership is good for a 3-year term and provides a reduced IPTPA individual player membership fee for each of their individual club members. All players who are members of a pickleball club membership will have a reduced IPTPA individual player membership fee of $15 for 3 years. This is a benefit each IPTPA Pickleball Club Member can advertise to their membership.

IPTPA Pickleball Club Membership Fee- up to 50 members-$50 for a 3-year term.

IPTPA Pickleball Club Membership Fee- 50 to 500 members-$100 for a 3-year term

IPTPA Pickleball Club Membership Fee 500 member and over-$150 for a 3-year term

Each IPTPA Pickleball Club Member will be listed on the IPTPA website with their contact information, days of play, and costs associated with membership and play.