Pickleball Tournaments – What you need to know
Do you like competition? Pickleball tournaments could be your answer. We’ll explore how to find tournaments, sign up for tournaments and the basics of what to expect once you arrive at the tournament.
Before you sign up for a tournament you need to get your personal USApickleball number from the www.USApickleball.org site. USA pickleball is the governing body for pickleball and a current membership is required to play in most tournaments. On the membership registration you will need to self-rate your skill level. The site offers a description of each level. You don’t need to be exact in your rating however, I would suggest not to highly over rate your level. Tournaments carry added stress on players so what you can do in recreational play may not generalize to tournament play. Tournament skill levels generally start at a 3.0 level in tournaments.
Next create a profile on www.pickleballtournaments.com . This is the site that will post tournaments around the nation and keep record of each tournament you play as well as the teams and scores for each match you play. Once you enter your USApickleball # it will be a part of your records and you will not need to enter it for each tournament.
At this point in time pickleballtournaments.com is the one location you return to enter tournaments. You can locate tournaments by state or by date. They have calendar options (open registration/ closing and date of tournament) to view so you can plan. You can enter tournaments without a partner as each tournament will have a tab called “partners needing partners” and you can look at names, ages, and the events they need a partner for. Once you find a potential partner you will have access to their email to write and connect. Don’t wait until the last minute to connect as the tournaments have deadlines. If the bracket fills before you find a partner, you may be put on the waiting list for that event. In order to be considered holding a spot in that bracket you have to pay once you register. You can usually add an event after you have formally registered as long as the bracket is still open. Make sure you know the deadlines and each tournament instructions. All this information is on the cover sheet of each tournament, and you can access it prior to registration.
Now that you’ve registered make sure your paddle is USAPA approved. It will be printed on your paddle down by the handle. If it’s not printed, you can find a list on www.USApickleball.org . It is your responsibility to make sure it is approved. If it’s not, find one that is as you won’t be able to play with a non-approved paddle. I suggest having two paddles in your bag. You never know when one will break or feel dead in the sweet spot.
Make sure you have plenty of water. Water jugs are allowed on the court when you play (usually tucked away on the side you start on) as well as your towel. Your bag is usually not allowed on the court. If you leave the court to retrieve another paddle you will need to have the referee exam it prior to resuming play. If you don’t have a referee for your match this will not be an issue. The tournament will want you to check in at least 30 minutes prior to your assigned time to play. I always come at least 60 minutes ahead to check in, find a location to sit and warm up with my partner.
Check the tournament website the first thing in the morning as they can change your time of play. You have to be proactive in checking the website constantly for updates and changes. When you register you will know what day you play but not the time. Check back a week prior and then constantly because changes happen often, and you may not be emailed with those changes. Many of the tournaments will notify you of which court you’ll be playing on via text so make sure that your text number is on your profile page. You are registered, know your partner, checked in and warmed up so now go enjoy the day. Good luck