USAPA Tournament Player Ratings FAQ
UTPR General (18)
A rating provides a means to compare skill levels of two or more competitors. Ratings have been used in pickleball and other sports for years, primarily for placement in league, club, and tournament play.
The USAPA Tournament Player Rating (UTPR) will be the official tournament player rating of the USAPA.
The new USAPA Tournament Player Rating System is being implemented as a major improvement to the previous rating system. The USAPA is continuing its efforts to provide the finest in competitive pickleball play by working with PickleballTournaments.com and PickleballRatings.com to create a rating system that will greatly enhance the structure of tournaments, enabling tournament directors and organizers to create fair and balanced player brackets, while players know their precise standings.
Yes, all USAPA member players that have participated in either a sanctioned or non-sanctioned tournament using PickleballTournaments.com in the last 36 months will automatically get an initial USAPA Tournament Player Rating in each of the event categories played.
The USAPA Tournament Player Ratings will be a calculated using strategically created algorithms based on a player’s match results since June 2015. The algorithms will weigh factors including strength of opponent, strength of partner and sanctioning type. See questions 20 and 21 for additional details.
The USAPA Tournament Player Rating System will offer many advantages and will:
- Be responsive and transparent
- Be objective, equitable, and accurate
- Be self-correcting
- Be updated frequently
- Provide accurate seeding at tournaments
- Allow various bracketing options
- Allow for player rankings, comparable to ATP rankings used in tennis
The USAPA Tournament Player Rating System is currently being tested and the new USAPA Tournament Player Ratings will be released the first week of July.
Yes, players will have separate USAPA Tournament Player Ratings for each event category played since June 2015 where PickleballTournaments.com was the event software. USAPA Tournament Player Ratings will be calculated for 5 competitive divisions- men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Will the USAPA Tournament Player Rating System produce 4-digit player ratings or 2-digit player ratings?
The USAPA Tournament Player Rating System will produce both a 4-digit player rating and a 2-digit skill rating for each event category played. The more precise, 4-digit rating, will be used primarily for seeding. The 2-digit skill rating will be a derivation of the 4-digit rating and used primarily for tournament registration and structured club/league play.
The first two digits of the 4-digit rating will dictate the 2-digit skill level rating. The first 2-digits must meet or exceed a standard skill level. Example: A 3.994 4-digit rating has not met the 4.0 standard and will convert to a 3.5 skill level rating.
USAPA Conversion Chart:
1.000 – 1.499
1.500 – 1.999
2.000 – 2.499
2.500 – 2.999
3.000 – 3.499
3.500 – 3.999
4.000 – 4.499
4.500 – 4.999
5.000 – 5.499
5.500 – 5.999
A player’s 4-digit rating will be updated weekly, as it is the dynamic rating. A player’s two-digit skill level rating will be updated quarterly for registration and tournament planning purposes.
Quarterly updates will occur on:
- March 31
- June 30
- September 30
- December 31
Several factors played a part in the decision to primarily use the dynamic 4- digit rating for seeding vs event categorization:
- Tournament Directors and players are familiar and comfortable with the 2-digit skill levels that have been offered over the years.
- Players that were “on the bubble” would be challenged with knowing which event they would fall in once the tournament started, making it difficult to find partners and solidify travel plans around a tournament.
- Using a phased implementation method will allow us to see the future path that will work best for pickleball.
Yes, the USAPA has established an advisory group to oversee the rating system improvements. The advisory board includes representatives from PickleballTournaments.com, major event tournament directors, 5.0+ tournament players, statisticians and computer programmers.
USAPA member players may access their 2-digit and 4-digit USAPA Tournament Player Ratings in their USAPA.org member profile. Click here to login. Your rating will be listed in your Member Profile page. You can also view your rating using the USAPA mobile app on your mobile device.
USAPA Members may also view a list of 2-digit player ratings on the USAPA website under Tournaments & Ratings – USAPA Player Ratings – USAPA Player Ratings. Click here. Later this year USAPA member players will be able to view their ratings on their PickleballTournaments.com member profile.
In the future, we are planning the “Top 100” ranked players in each of the five divisions! These will utilize the rating but will have other contributing factors that play a part in the ranking of a player.
No, non-members will not be able to view their USAPA Tournament Rating.
A USAPA member player can get a USAPA Tournament Player Rating after participating in one tournament that uses PickleballTournaments.com software. PickleballTournaments.com is the exclusive official provider of USAPA Pickleball Tournament Ratings. For clubs that utilize USAPA ratings for organized play, we recommend in-house tournaments or round robins that are run using pickleballtournaments.com or that can be uploaded to aid in player ratings and updates.
No, official USAPA skill level notification letters will no longer be sent to members. Members may track their own USAPA Tournament Player Ratings by visiting USAPA.org or PickleballTournaments.com.
No, rating changes that were scheduled for both July 1 and September 1 under the previous rating system will no longer take place.
Perfection may be difficult to accomplish but certainly worth striving towards. As with all new systems, new opportunities for improvements will arise. The USAPA thanks all it members for their continued support, understanding and contributions while taking the challenge to advance the sport we all know and love.
UTPR Calculations (14)
The USAPA Tournament Player Ratings are based on a rating method called the ELO rating system. The ELO rating system was originally created as an improvement to the chess rating system and has since been adapted for many other sports such as football, basketball and basebal
A player’s ELO rating is represented by a number which increases or decreases depending on the outcome of games between rated players. After every game, the winning player takes points from the losing player. The difference between the ratings of the winner and loser determines the total number of points gained or lost after a game. In a series of games between a high-rated player and a low-rated player, the high-rated player is expected to score more wins. If the high-rated player wins, then only a few rating points will be taken from the low-rated player. However, if the lower rated player scores an upset win, many rating points will be transferred (the larger the gap between the player’s ratings, the more the resulting player rating will fluctuate). This means that this rating system is self-correcting. A player whose rating is too low should, in the long run, do better than the rating system predicts, and thus gain rating points until the rating reflects their true playing strength.
The USAPA Tournament Player Ratings will be calculated from historical tournament results. The rating will be 4 digits in the form of x.xxx. For example, 3.729. Ratings will range from 0.000 to 6.999. Theoretically, a player could go higher than 6.999 if a top player goes on an extended winning streak without any losses. Ratings will be calculated for men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. All tournament data, processed through PickleballTournaments.com from as far back as 2015 is being used to calculate the player rating. Ratings take into account each partner’s rating, the rating of the opponent (s), and the type of tournament being played. Tournament ratings become more accurate as a player increases the number of tournaments played.
Yes, it is possible for a player can calculate their own new rating after a match if they:
– understand the PWW formula
– know the ratings of the players prior to a match
– know who won the match
– have a scientific calculator
– know the weighting factor of the tournament type they participated in
For details on how a rating is calculated please click here to view Ratings Key and Examples.
All match results during a tournament are weighted the same for that tournament, whether the match was in the winner’s bracket or the consolation bracket.
Can tournament results that aren’t recorded in PickleballTournaments.com be used in calculating USAPA Tournament Player Ratings?
Matches will not be counted in withdrawals/forfeits where no points (game score) were earned. Matches will be counted where points have been awarded in a game and a player “withdraws” for any reason. Basically, if they match was started it will count but if it was never started it will not be used in calculating a player’s rating.
The system considers a team rating, which is to add the two ratings then divide by two. Example: Jim’s double’s rating is 3.597; his partner Steve is 3.898. Their team rating for that match would be 3.748 ((3.597+3.898)/2). Both individuals (weaker player and stronger player) are accounted for since the system uses their combined team rating in the rating computation. See question 22 for details on how ratings are calculated.
Yes, although the new USAPA Tournament Player Rating System is a fully automated, in the initial stages we will be asking players to carefully review his/her tournament history for errors including:
- tournament results
- listed partners
- divisions played
- missing tournaments or events
The more results entered into the system the more accurate and precise ratings will be. Once the system is fully functional the need to review the history will go away.
How can player X be rated higher than player Y? I have seen them play and player Y is clearly the better player.
The initial USAPA Pickleball Tournament Ratings are calculated based on tournament results data over the past 36 months. It is possible that a player has seen a dramatic improvement in their tournament play over the last few months. Their tournament rating may have a time lag to incorporate the immediate improvement into the results. The system is designed to self-correct over time.
Remember that the ratings are impacted by many variables:
- Rating of your opponent
- Rating of your partner
- Sanctioned or unsanctioned tournament participation
Yes, if your rating (or team rating) is significantly higher than your opponent’s rating, you will not increase your rating and your opponent will not see their ratings decrease for either a win or a lose.
Winning a medal match gives you no additional ratings boost. You do get the normal adjustment to your rating from simply winning the match.
The calculation looks at your ratings coming into the match versus your opponent’s ratings. If you are expected to win and do win, your ratings can go up anywhere from .0001 to .1000. Likewise, if you lose a match you are expected to win, your ratings will go down. The amount of increase or decrease is calculated by the size of the difference between the two scores. Click here to see a PDF document showing a detailed example of match by match results.
UTPR Registration and Operation Impact (11)
Are tournament directors required to use PickleballTournaments.com bracketing software in USAPA sanctioned tournaments?
Yes, the USAPA and PickleballTournaments.com have agreed to a three-year exclusive contract for USAPA sanctioned tournaments.
Tournament directors will have the ability to make use of the 4-digit rating to better bracket and seed players in each bracket. More accurate bracketing and seeding makes for a more competitive and fun tournament for all participants.
Seeding capabilities will be provided free of charge to all USAPA sanctioned tournaments using PickleballTournaments.com. Unsanctioned tournaments will be able to optionally add seeding at an additional fee. Note: The seeding feature will be available to tournament directors approximately 60 days after initial ratings are released.
If 4-digit ratings are updated weekly and the 2-digit ratings updated quarterly, how will a tournament director know which rating to go by when setting up brackets?
The tournament registration software will use the 2-digit rating that was in place at the time the player registered. If a tournament director wants to accommodate player requests to use the rating on the days leading to the event, they are empowered to do so but are not required to adjust last minute as that can have a tremendous impact on draw sizes and partners.
Yes, with the implementation of the new system the USAPA is suggesting that tournament directors open event registration on PickleballTournaments.com 90-days prior to the event.
The 90-day registration window is a function of a dynamic rating system and allows tournament directors to use the most accurate and current 2-digit player rating available.
Tournament registrations will work the same as in the past. The tournament registration system is designed to know a player’s rating at the time of registration and will automatically place the player at the appropriate skill level.
My rating changed after I signed up for a tournament, can I change my registered skill level entered to reflect my new rating?
The USAPA recommends that players play at the rating he/she had at registration. However, bracketing adjustments can be made at the tournament director’s discretion.
I don’t want to play at my old rating because my new rating is now lower? Can I change my prior registered skill level?
With the release of the new ratings, all players will have updated ratings. Since all or most players will have registered under the old system, to keep things as fair as possible and reduce stress on tournament directors, the USAPA recommends that players participate in the event that he/she originally registered for at the time of registration.
Yes, players may continue to elect to “play-up” in events a higher skill level. This elected option is available on PickleballTournaments.com during the registration process.
Will tournament directors of USAPA sanctioned tournaments continue to make rating recommendations for players?
No, tournament directors of USAPA sanctioned events will no longer make rating recommendations for players. The new USAPA Tournament Player Ratings will strictly be based on objective results from tournament matches played.
Yes, tournament directors can organize and run age-based, skill-based or age-within-skill events. For age-based events, the new ratings will be used by the tournament directors to more accurately seed and bracket players in specific age groupings. Regardless of the event format of a tournament, all match results will be entered into the new USAPA Tournament Player Rating System to determine any change in the player’s USAPA Tournament Player Rating.
NOTE: Using the new USAPA Tournament Player Ratings, there is very little expected advantage or reason to use the age-within-skill format. The ratings will be based on actual match results, creating fairer and more even brackets. Yes, a 55-year-old could play a 30-year-old with the same rating due to the fact that ratings are based on actual match results.
UTPR Self Rating (14)
A self-rating is a determination of one’s own skill rating with reference to a standard scale.
A USAPA Self-Rating is a 2-digit rating determined by the member player with reference to the skill level definitions set by the USAPA then reviewed and approved by the USAPA Ratings Administrator. This 2- digit self-rating is designed to be a temporary skill level rating. It is the entry point for a member’s first sanctioned pickleball tournament and serves as the foundation for calculating player’s USAPA Tournament Player Rating.
With the introduction of the new USAPA Tournament Player Rating System, any member player without a USAPA Tournament Player Rating that wants to participate in their first sanctioned tournament must obtain a USAPA Self-Rating before registering.
The current USAPA self-rating process asks the member player who is seeking to self-rate to review the skill level definitions on the IFP website and determine what their 2-digit skill level may be. The member player then emails the RatingsAdmin@USAPA.org with a request to be self-rated at the determined skill level, and also includes a letter of support from an experienced USAPA Tournament Rated Player, USAPA Tournament Director or USAPA Ambassador. The Ratings Administrator reviews the skill level request, documents the support letter and informs the player of the decision. Such a rating would be an “S” rating in the USAPA ratings file and will be the foundation for the T rating.
It is very important to self-rate as accurately as possible. An accurate self-rating will ensure that the player is placed in the correct skill division and compete against players of similar ability. The more accurate the self-rating the more accurate the resulting USAPA Tournament Player Rating. If the initial self-rating is inaccurate, the system will eventually self-correct and adjust as additional matches are played. The USAPA strongly recommends that all players seeking to self-rate to ask for rating guidance from either an experienced USAPA Tournament Rated player, USAPA Tournament Director or USAPA Ambassador.
Because an accurate self-rating is so important, is it better to “under-rate” or “over-rate” when determining a self-rating skill level?
Setting an accurate self-rating is ideal. However, the USAPA recommends that it would be better to “under-rate” if in doubt when selecting between two skill levels. The system is self-correcting and will adjust a player’s rating as more matches are played. Meaning, if a player “under-rates” their skill level, the player will most likely win, resulting in more matches played which means more data in the system and a quicker adjustment period. If a player “over-rates” their skill level, the player will most likely lose matches, resulting in fewer matches played which means less data in the system and a slower adjustment period. We strongly encourage you to consult with experienced players when you are determining your self-rating.
Yes, players should self-rate in the categories they wish to participate in tournaments: Singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
After the tournament, the player’s 2-digit USAPA Self-Rating will update to a 4-digit USAPA Tournament Player Rating using the event specific results.
An international player can get a USAPA Tournament Player Rating once they become a USAPA Member and play in at least one tournament either scored through PickleballTournaments.com or whose tournament results are uploaded to that system. International players will also be required to self-rate prior to their first tournament.
I am a USAPA Member and I do not play tournaments. Do I have to play in a tournament to get a USAPA Tournament Player Rating?
Yes, a member player must play at least one tournament either scored through PickleballTournaments.com or whose tournament results are uploaded to that system in order for the system to generate a USAPA Tournament Player Rating. The new system is a fully automated, results based rating and ranking system that currently feeds on tournament data. The non-tournament playing member can get a USAPA Self-Rating however, the rating will not adjust unless tournaments are played.
My club requires a USAPA Tournament Player Rating for social play and I do not play in tournaments, how do I qualify for my club play?
he USAPA does not dictate how clubs organize local recreational or structured play. Club requirements are solely club decisions. However, the USAPA fully understands that there are many players across the country that will never participate in a tournament but need to have an accurate rating. We are working toward the addition of a USAPA structured league program that will aid in non-tournament players having an official rating. In the meantime, the USAPA and PickleballTournament.com are working together to encourage clubs to run in-house tournaments using PickleballTournaments.com software so that club tournament data can feed the ratings system and produce USAPA Tournament Player Ratings.
If a non-member player has never participated in a tournament, they may review the skill level definitions on the IFP website and determine what his/her skill level may be. The USAPA strongly recommends that all players seeking to self-rate ask for rating guidance from either an experienced USAPA Tournament Rated player, USAPA Tournament Director or USAPA Ambassador. The player may then use that initial 2-digit self-rating to register for non-sanctioned tournament events.
If the non-sanctioned tournament uses PickleballTournaments.com software the non-member player’s 2-digit self-rating will update to a 4-digit tournament rating. However, the tournament rating will not be accessible to the non-member player unless the player becomes a member of the USAPA.
The non-member player’s 2-digit self-rating will remain the same 2-digit self-rating until the player becomes a USAPA Member.
No, the member player does not need a USAPA Self-Rating for non-sanctioned events but will need some sort of self-assessment in order to select the proper event to enter.