Tips for Running a Pickleball Tournament

October 29, 2021
Pickleball Tournament

If you are thinking of organizing a Pickleball tournament, there are a few things you should remember. It may be the first time you have managed a competition. Perhaps you have run a few in the past, and things didn’t go as well as you planned. Whatever the case, running your next pickleball tournament can result in a rousing success for everyone involved with the following tips and best practices.

Understand Your Typical Player

In the United States, where most Pickleball games happen, 2 out of three players are over 60 years old. Roughly 8 out of ten players are 50 or older. What does this mean as far as running a successful pickleball tournament? It means that you should keep these age demographics in mind.

Generally speaking, people from 50 to 70 years of age, your typical Pickleballers, do not want to be staying up late at night playing in a tournament that runs into the wee hours of the morning. Moreover, this means you should schedule more divisions for the 50 or older than the 49 and under divisions.

Start off Small

For many obvious reasons, it would be better to keep a few participants in the first Pickleball tournament you’ll host and manage.

Additionally, you wouldn’t want your first event to have hundreds of entrants because more players may pose more possible problems.

If this is your first time hosting a tournament, run something that caters to your friends and other local Pickleball players you know to keep your participant pool manageable.

Think about the Physical Logistics

Is there enough free parking available? How many courts do you have? Have you reserved the courts in advance? Where will players rest between matches? How about restroom facilities? Is there enough nearby shade? Will food and drink options be provided? Asking these and any other applicable questions regarding the physical location is necessary to keep things organized all the way.

Awards, Medals, T-Shirts or Trophies?

How are you going to celebrate the winners? You should have a kind of printable certification or award, or you may also decide to offer trophies, T-shirts, or medals. These considerations need to be taken care of well in advance of advertising your tournament.

Are You Going Single Elimination, Double Elimination or Round Robin?

Will your tournament be a “one and done” scenario, where players head home after losing once?

Double-elimination tournaments are more appealing to players because they can have one bad game and still win the entire competition. However, remember that double-elimination tournaments run much longer than single-elimination events, and round-robin tourneys can take forever if you have a lot of participants.

Consider Developing a Tournament Committee

Whether you have run pickleball tournaments before or not, you should not overlook the potential advantages of having a group rather than having an individual run the show alone. Think about it. You have to organize volunteers, have someone sign in players, you may want to build a website for online registration, and you should arrange for food and drink options.

Who is going to order the awards, certifications, and T-shirts? Who will be running the bracket? How are you going to get the word out; do you need a marketing team? Even if you are solely running a small tournament, a committee can take the load off a single individual and make for a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

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