Mesa Regal Pickleball Club Skill Definitions 2.0-4.0+

The following skill level sets are a guide for evaluating your own level and determining which lessons you should sign up for. They were developed utilizing both existing guidelines listed by the USAPA ( and from other pickleball clubs. This is a work in progress and we expect to continue to modify these descriptions with your input at least once a year. The club will use this information to develop training clinics and for seeding fun tournament players. The purpose of rated events is to insure a consistent and competitive level of play for all players within that event as much as possible. Therefore we request that you do NOT sign up for a lesson higher or lower than your rated skill level if you have a rating. The following lists each skill level from 2.5 to 4.0+. It also adds specific detail about skills required to be at a given level. . 2.0 Beginner Skill Level 2.0 Skill-Level Players possess the following attributes and skill

2.0 Skill Level – Possesses the following attributes and skills:

  • Have taken Mesa Regal Beginner’s training or the equivalent. 
  • Familiar with how to serve, although may be unable to execute serve consistently.
  • Learning where to stand on the court during serves, returns and point play, but still uncomfortable with some positions.
  • May not have basic ground strokes.
  • Does not demonstrate the basics of how to keep score and unable to dink more than three times.
  • At best, can keep a ball in play for a couple of shots.

2.5 Skill Level – Possesses the skills of the 2.0 level players plus the following:

  • Taken Mesa Regal Beginner’s training or the equivalent at another club or have played with other pickleball players who have taught them the very basic rules of how to play the game.
  • Should be learning to move around the court in a balanced and safe manner (as opposed to running at great speed and totally out of control, thus becoming a danger to themselves or others).
  • Learning how to get their serve in regularly.
  • Consistent in demonstrating the two-bounce rule.
  • Learning where to stand on the court during serves, returns and point play.
  • Should be allowed some freedom in staying back so they can improve their ground strokes
  • Know the basics of how to keep score, but may still struggle to do so.
  • Have not yet learned how to effectively dink but could be attempting to do so.
  • Should place more emphasis on keeping the ball in play (consistency) as opposed to trying to hit it low and hard or trying to place it better than the player’s skill allows.
  • Occasionally may lob, although probably not well.

3.0 Skill Level – Possesses the skills of the 2.5 level plus the following:

  • Know some of the rules and how to refigure the score after losing track.
  • Able to execute 50% of serves to the back 1/3 of the court.
  • Should be working towards serving to both sides of the opponent. 
  • Able to execute a deep forehand and backhand return to the back 1/3 of court.
  • Will move to the non-volley zone line after the return of the serve (within three exchanges between opponents).
  • Serving team attempts to approach the non-volley zone line with a slow paced ball (third shot).
  • Do deeper and higher returns of serve to allow time to approach the non-volley zone line.
  • Working to develop consistent forehand and backhand ground strokes.
  • Should make flatter returns after return of serve instead of high in the air.
  • Becoming more aware of their partner’s position on the court relative to themselves and how to move in concert with a partner.
  • Inconsistent in the overhead smash but attempting to do so.
  • Beginning to use the forehand lob with some success and working on developing a backhand lob.
  • Can sustain a short volley session at the net but has little if any ability to place their volleys.
  • Developing more power in their shots and the ability to return a ball hit lower and harder.
  • Should be developing a sustained “dink” exchange at the net.
  • Not yet thinking about putting varying pace on the same shots and unable to handle different paces on balls consistently.
  • Developing patience during rallies.

3.5 Skill Level – Possesses the skills of the 3.0 skill level player plus the following:

  • Should be continuing to improve their knowledge of the rules of pickleball and know all the general rules of the game.
  • Should generally be able to get their serve in play and return most serves (85%).
  • Should be regularly (85%) serving deep and returning serve deep (2 feet from baseline for both).
  • Should be able to demonstrate an ability that suggests they are aware of the strategy to defeat their opponents, such as communication with partner and changing a losing game.
  • Should be improving their skill to play with partners effectively to include proper communication and good team coverage of the courts.
  • Know to move to the net effectively after returning serve but may occasionally still stay back too long.
  • Are hitting to the weak side of opponents somewhat regularly.
  • Should possess shots such as forehand/backhand ground strokes, forehand/backhand lobs, overhead smash, net volleys, sustained dinking and hit them with a fair level of consistency.
  • Are developing the ability to place their shots with a fair level of accuracy.
  • Should be starting to practice drop shots from ¾ court and are using them with some success to get to the net in games.
  • Demonstrates patience during rallies.

4.0+ Skill Definitions are Pending