Different pickleball players have equally different skill levels and personalities. Some players are dinkers, others are bangers, there are even monks, and a whole plethora of other types. All of these players are valued members of the pickleball community since they all add even more flavor and variety to this dynamic sport.
Read on to learn which type of pickleball player you are.
Types of Pickleball Players According to Skill Level
One basic way to distinguish pickleball players is through their skill level. There are novices in the game, intermediate players, and advanced players. Let’s briefly define each of these types below.
Novice or Beginner Players
Those categorized as novice or beginner players have either never played pickleball or have only done so a few times. At this stage, they do not understand how to keep score or where they should position themselves on the court to maximize their shots. They are usually still dependent on others to “guide” them as they play the game.
Intermediate Pickleball Players
An intermediate player will have played more times than a novice but is not yet as savvy with the rules and subtle nuances of the game. Since pickleball is an easygoing sport that most people play during their spare time, it comes as no surprise that there are actually more intermediate pickleball players than there are novices and advanced players.
Lastly, “advanced” players are those who play on a regular basis. These players have better control over their paddles and balls and have superior mobility over the previous two categories. Since they are very familiar with the game, their smashes and drives tend to hit harder and they commit fewer mistakes or faults.
Types of Pickleball Players According to Play Style
Pickleball players can also be categorized according to how they play. Here’s a brief rundown of the nine types of pickleball players according to play style and personality.
If you’re a dinker, you’re all about the softball game. You like to draw out the game as much as you can. You’ll likely frustrate a banger, who’s more used to hard balling and hitting long shots.
Overall, you’ll know a dinker is in play if the scores are low and the games are long.
Bangers are the loud and proud players. They tend to smash the ball with a lot of force that could be difficult to reciprocate. As a banger, your number one complaint is probably where the boundary lines end. Either way, we say, keep on bangin’!
The Coach or Communicator
We’re not talking about an actual coach here, just someone who likes to give out pointers, whether warranted or not. These communicators love dishing out the details of the game to you. You can count on them to keep track of the score, and give you a few pointers on how to improve your game if you’re on their team.
Don’t be offended if they seem like they’re micromanaging. They only want to help you improve your game.
Although pickleball is usually about building your social life and initiating conversation, this doesn’t hold true for the monks. This personality likes to stay quiet during most of the game, communicating more through muffled grunts and nods rather than actual words.
You won’t have trouble distinguishing someone with the competitor playing style. Their play for the win is fierce no matter who they’re up against.
If you hit a shot out of reach for this personality, you may as well have unleashed the beast. They like to flaunt their skills with spins, so don’t forget to take cover. The competitor loves their body shots.
The Ball Magnet
Speaking of body shots, are you always on the receiving end of them? Does the ball seem attracted to you by some unknown force? If so, chances are, you’re the ball magnet. We suggest getting some goggles and protective gear for your next game.
The lobber is all about that high shot. We commend their strategic play since they’re quite difficult to compete against. Their opponents are likely to be caught off-guard, or be inclined to move backward, beyond the baseline.
The Gear Head
The gear head likes to keep up with all the new trends when it comes to pickleball accessories and equipment. You’ll likely spot such a pickleball player with the newest edition of paddles along with some high-quality pickleball balls.
Bonus points if a gear head tries to open up a conversation about their paddle’s specs and where they got it from.
Understanding Pickleball Ratings
Pickleball ratings are shown as a two-digit or four-digit figure. In addition to understanding strategies, each skill level is determined by the ability to execute several strokes, including the forehand, backhand, dink, serve, third shot, and volley.
USA Pickleball Rating System
Here is a brief rundown of the USAPA rating. You can rate yourself depending on your skill level as follows:
- 1.0 – 2.0: A player who is just beginning to play pickleball and has no prior sports experience.
- 2.5: A player with limited experience who is able to maintain a short rally.
- 3.0: A player who knows court positioning and understands fundamentals.
- 3.5: A player who recognizes the difference between a difficult and an easy game. They swiftly enter the non-volley zone. They realize when stacking may be advantageous.
- 4.0: A player that recognizes and exploits their opponents’ weaknesses. They are conscious of their teammates’ positions on the pickleball court and can play as a team.
- 4.5: A player who understands strategy and has efficient footwork. They can communicate and perform well with their companions.
- 5.0: A player who has already mastered the pickleball strategy, has good footwork and can swiftly adapt to the weaknesses and strengths of their opponents. They have the ability to exploit the weakness in their opponent’s game. They rarely commit unforced errors, and have mastered both backhand and forehand drives, dinks, drop shots, and volleys of different speeds.
- 5.5+: A player who is proficient in the game, has mastered all the pickleball strategies, and is a top-caliber player.
After reading each personality, one or a couple are bound to stick out to you. Personally speaking, I find myself in the range of being a lobber and competitor. Having said that, pickleball embraces all these personalities.
When assessing your skills and self-rating yourself, be as honest as possible. You can always work on the specific skills needed so you can reach the next point and keep improving your pickleball skill level.