Tournaments, they’re not for everyone. I have heard some say they don’t like them for a variety of reasons. Some play for the pure joy and the camaraderie that is created playing with your local group. Others out right have told me the competitive play makes them nervous and they don’t like the feeling. Ultimately tournaments may not be for everyone and that is ok.
However, if playing tournaments is in your future, I would like to tell you about a few things that may help you in your future endeavor.
There are two types of tournaments, sanctioned tournaments and unsanctioned tournaments. In order to play in sanctioned tournaments, you will need to register with the USAPA as a player. That is the USA Pickleball Association. You can register at www.usapa.org. The registration process is simple and the annual fee is $20.00. For unsanctioned tournaments you don’t need to be registered with the USAPA. If you are unsure about tournaments, playing in an unsanctioned tournament may provide you some incite into tournament play without any long term commitment. However, remember that one of the functions of sanctioned tournaments is managing player ratings, so playing in an unsanctioned event will not aid in determining your USAPA rating.
Sanctioned tournaments are more structured. They are required to cary such things as general liability insurance, referees, and reporting of results to the USAPA. If you are interested in finding a tournament in your area, the absolute best place to look is www.pickleballtournaments.com . For the larger tournaments, you will need to be ready with your personal information minutes prior to the registration time. Some larger tournaments fill up so fast, hundreds of slots can fill up in a matter of 10 to 15 minutes, so your desire to play in a given tournament does not guarantee you a slot. There are many smaller tournaments that don’t fill up for weeks. If you have never played in a tournament, I would suggest one of these smaller tournaments.
Once you have signed up there are some important things to remember. Tournaments will generally have plenty of water and player snacks. However, you need to plan on brining your own snacks. Tournament play takes a lot more effort than regular neighborhood play. Plan on beverage and snack selection designed for athletic activities. The generic trail mix is also a great option, but as anything in life, its better to bring too much and have left overs, than not to bring enough. Not having enough fuel can be detrimental to your play and also your well being.
Finally, remember, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. In my last tournament we had a referee go down to dehydration and exhaustion.
Finally Finally, note that tournament play can add a whole different level of pickleball fun, and personally, I have found that my play has improved dramatically since I started playing tournaments.
I hope the information I have provided helps you in the event you are looking into tournament play. if you have specific questions or require a little more guidance, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and please follow my blog.