Skill Level Definitions


Dear Members,

  • Your rating and training committee compiled this list from multiple sources (USPA, IPTPA, IPA & neighboring clubs)
  • We suggest you start by reviewing the 2.0 level and work your way up. When you get to a level where you can say “this sounds like me… I exhibit 80% of the skills on this list 80% – 90% of the time” that is likely your level.  If you feel you do some of the skills but not consistently, then you are probably at the next level down.
  • Please do an honest SELF assessment. Avoid the temptation to compare yourself to other players you know and just focus on your own skills.  We have talked to lots of clubs and players over the summer.  One thing comes through loud and clear… Everyone has more fun and enjoys the game more when they are playing with players at or around their own skill level.
  • Keep in mind these intangibles that should improve, progressively, as a player moves up the skill levels:
    • Instincts on the court (anticipation & reaction time)
    • How early to you see the ball and know what your next shot should be
    • Efficient movement & court coverage
    • Consistency in all aspects of the game
    • Reduction of unforced errors

We hope this helps. If you have any questions please reach out to one of your committee members listed below.


Kelly Lodato, Wayne Baxter, Mike Pesile, Kim Foley & Nancy Hougland

NOTE:  Click HERE to see the 3.5 / 4.0+ By-Laws which gives instructions on how to join/play in this group.


  • I have participated in novice and beginning skills practice/lessons
  • I move around the court in a balanced and safe manner.
  • I can get some serves in but not consistently.
  • I understand the scoring system,  basic rules, where to stand on the court during serve/receive of serve & general play.
  • I have some basic stroke skills : backhand, forehand, volley & dink but have obvious weaknesses.
  • I can sustain a short rally with players of equal ability.
  • I just try to return the ball with no plan for placement.
  • I am learning to come to the no-volley line (Kitchen) but frequently get caught at mid-court (the transition zone/no man’s land),
  • I know the two -bounce rule for return of serve & third shot.

2.5 – Low  Intermediate

  • I am mastering keeping score
  • I am learning to keep serves in with more consistency (50% or higher)
  • I have not yet learned how to effectively dink but am attempting to learn
  • I tend to pop the ball up and/or hit the ball out of bounds
  • I am working on stroke mechanics for forehand, backhand, volleys & dinks with some increasing accuracy, consistency & pace
  • I can sustain longer lasting slow paced rallies
  • I sometimes attempt forehand lobs with varying degrees of success
  • I am beginning to approach the non-volley zone to hit volleys
  • I am beginning to navigate the transition zone and get to the net without getting caught mid-court with some success.
  • I am learning the importance of the drop shot drop but use mostly lobs
  • My court coverage is weak but improving
  • I mostly try to keep the ball in play as opposed to hitting the ball low, with pace or placing the ball.

3.0 – Intermediate

  • I know how to re-figure the score & who is supposed to serve after losing track.
  • I am working to keep the serve deep & and placing the ball to forehand/backhand side of each receiver.
  • 75% of my serves are successful  (i.e.. not out of bounds).
  • I hit deeper and higher service returns to allow time to approach the net.
  • I move quickly toward the non-volley zone when I have the opportunity.
  • I am learning to use the approach shot & split step to navigate the transition zone without getting caught mid-court.
  • I have enough mobility, quickness and hand eye coordination to cover my half of the court.
  • I return the ball lower over the net when appropriate.
  • I am starting to be more aware of my partners position on the court and moving more as a team.
  • I demonstrate improved skill with all the basic shot strokes as well as shot placement.
  • I am beginning to use strategy when placing the ball.
  • I am starting to use the third shot drop with some success.
  • I can sustain a medium length dink rally at the net.
  • I can sustain short volley session at the net but have limited ability to place volleys.
  • I am not yet thinking about varying the speed of my shots and do not handle returning differing ball speeds consistently.
  • I use the forehand lob with some success and attempt backhand lobs.

3.5 – High Intermediate

  • I demonstrate better placement and depth on serves & return of serves.
  • 90% of my serves are successful (in the court)
  • I can consistently dink while changing directions from cross court to down the line forehand & backhand
  • I consistently execute lobs, forehand & backhand ground strokes, overheads, net volleys and sustained dinking.
  • I am starting to execute the half volley shot successfully.
  • I can consistently punch volley to back half of the  court to keep opponents at the baseline.
  • I can sustain a controlled volley exchange at the net with some ability to place the volley shot.
  • I incorporate a successful third shot drive when appropriate.
  • I can perform a third shot drop from the baseline & use more drop shots to get to the net & or reset the point.
  • I move forward with my partner to approach the non volley zone as a team for dinks & volleys.
  • I communicate with my partner for court coverage.
  • I can communicate effectively with partner to identify different strategies to try to expose opponents’ weaknesses.
  • I demonstrate improved control on forehand & backhand ground strokes : direction, speed & height.
  • I’m working to minimize unforced errors.
  • I use offensive lobs effectively  (to break a dinking rally or get to the net).
  • My control & consistency has improved when adjusting to different ball speeds.
  • I am learning to recognize and anticipate opponents’ shots.
  • I exhibit some aggressive net play including poaching .
  • I can hit balls consistently lower over the net.
  • I can place my shots and move my opponent in order to create an opening and then take advantage of it.

4.0 – Advanced

  • I demonstrate consistent placement, depth & pace on serves & return of serves.
  • 90% or more of my serves are successful (in the court).
  • I sustain a volley exchange at the net and have full directional control.
  • I utilize the block and drop volley consistently when appropriate.
  • I consistently hit a winning volley when a ball is popped up.
  • I consistently use a successful third shot drop from the baseline.
  • I move effectively with my partner easily switching sides and communicating when required.
  • I control play at the non volley zone line by keeping opponent’s back if they are at the baseline.
  • I dink with a purpose to elicit a put away shot.
  • I can poach effectively and understand  when it is appropriate.
  • I can change a fast-paced strategy to a slow one and vice versa (i.e.. reset the point).
  • I can consistently perform an overhead to place the shot for a winner.
  • I demonstrate control on forehand & backhand ground strokes (direction, depth, height, and spin).
  • I utilize proper shot selection to minimize errors.
  • I can adjust to differing ball speeds consistently.
  • I use offensive lobs effectively.
  • I can use spin effectively on a variety of shots.
  • I maintain greater patience in dink & rally’s.
  • I am often able to anticipate my opponent’s shots.