By Roger Long
Advanced Certified Instructor
If you want to see pool players get really fired up about something, just get them talking about rating other players. There is no hotter topic in pool than who should be able to beat who, and why it all should be obviously so. Problem is, everyone’s opinions are just that – opinions. But maybe that’s no problem at all. Maybe the fact that no comprehensive rating system exists, is also what keeps the subject so fresh and interesting. After all, if it were easy, it would be dull.
So, with that thought in mind, please allow me to interject my own opinions on how players should be rated. My method is based upon Phil Capelle’s “Pyramid of Excellence” that he introduced in his excellent book, Play Your Best Pool. Phil’s “Pyramid” identified 10 skill levels, ranging from D up to A+. I liked Phil’s basic premise, but I didn’t think it was quite broad enough, so I added two new levels to the “D” category and then made up my own descriptions for all 12 levels.
D- Novice. Knows almost nothing about the game except maybe a few general rules of play.
D Novice. May not know anything about the fundamentals or making shots. Non-competitive.
D+ Novice. Knows little about the fundamentals, but might know a couple of shots. Average
C- Novice. Very basic knowledge of the fundamentals. Knows almost nothing about position
play. Lowest level league and tournament player.
C Novice. Has a grasp of the fundamentals, but does not know much about the physics of the
game. Lower-level league and tournament player.
C+ Intermediate. Has learned quite a few shots, but has a lot to learn about position play and
strategy. Inconsistent. Average league player.
B- Intermediate. Fair amount of knowledge and experience, but inconsistent in execution.
Above average league player.
B Advanced. Good position play, strategy and consistency. Strong league player. Competitive
in local open tournaments.
B+ Advanced. Very good position play, strategy and consistency. Top-level league player.
Consistent competitor in local open tournaments.
A- Semi-pro, or player possessing professional skills. Capable of winning or placing high in the
money in local and regional open tournaments.
A Professional, or player possessing professional skills. Capable of winning local and regional
open tournaments. Usually finishes in the money in regional tournaments.
A+ Top professional. World-class player. Capable of winning major professional tournaments.
Almost always finishes in the money in any tournament entered.
Now all I have to do is to take every player in the world and stick him or her into one of these categories. No sweat.