I have just started playing pickleball and there are plenty of places to play–starting with tournaments. Along with pickleball games and tournaments, there are also championship tournaments where players play for money. Yes, that’s right, you can play pickleball for a job where your sole income comes from pickleball tournament winnings.
Of course, you have to be super good at your job, and that job revolves around playing pickleball. Find out where you can play a game of pickleball as an amateur or as a professional.
About Pickleball Tournaments
As a player of pickleball, there are tournaments that allow players to come together in a group setting. You need two to four players to be able to play pickleball. This means you need to have more than one person at a minimum in order to play this game.
Finding someone to play with is easier if you can sign up for a pickleball tournament. Tournament games often involve a pay to play policy, which can be problematic if you are on a tight budget. Also, you are set to play at a certain time when you register for a pickleball tournament.
Once you begin to win at pickleball tournaments, you advance up through the rankings. Rankings are key to being able to play in the most tournaments in pickleball. In fact, you have to have a certain player rating, which I will cover more in-depth in a moment, just to be able to play in higher level tournaments.
This also requires a commitment to play in formal pickleball games that differ from pick-up games. A pick-up game is another way to play pickleball, but there is not a tournament setting. With a pick-up pickleball game, you are able to play with anyone at any time, given they are on site and ready to play.
What do I need to organize a pickleball tournament? A pickleball tournament involves at least three teams and the equipment needed to play pickleball. One team can be a single or a double.
A single-player team means there is one person playing in the match. If you are playing doubles, you have another person playing with you on your team. Also, if you are playing doubles, there will be two more players on the opposing side.
These are your opponents in the pickleball match. Therefore, you need to have at least two people to play pickleball, and at least four people to have a tournament. A tournament is a match where two teams will compete and the winner will move along to compete with the third team.
From there, rankings based on points will establish who moves up in a tournament. Whether a professional tournament or an impromptu tournament hosted in your own backyard, the goal of a tournament is to play to rank up.
What type of equipment do I need for a tournament in pickleball?
In terms of the setting for a pickleball tournament, this game can be played indoors or outside. The only requirement is the pickleball, paddles, and a net, as well as a compacted hard clay surface. You cannot really play pickleball on grass due to the nature of the bounce.
The game setting for a pickleball tournament should include a clay court, a pickleball net, pickleball paddles for every player, and a pickleball. This is a specialized type of sports ball that is light in weight and made from plastic. The sphere shape is hollow due to holes throughout the ball, which is airy and easier to bounce this way.
This equipment can be purchased in sets from sporting goods stores and from online retailers.
How do you enter a pickleball tournament?
As someone starting out in pickleball, a pickleball tournament is a great way to see how others play the game–and to participate in a real-world match for yourself. You get a chance to play against other pickleball enthusiasts, both amateur and professional. Test your skills by entering a pickleball tournament near you.
To enter a pickleball tournament, you need to play well enough to win. Winning tournaments allows you to advance up a level, which is necessary to play more pickleball tournaments. “Players can earn pre-registration status by winning a gold medal (skill/age) or gold/silver/bronze (Open/Sr. Open) at the 2019 USA Pickleball National Championships.
Open event entrants must have a minimum of a 5.5 USA Pickleball Tournament Player Rating (UTPR) by July 15, 2021,” states the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).
Is there a national pickleball association to go to?
One of the easiest ways to find a tournament for pickleball is to go to the USA Pickleball Association. This nationwide organization offers support for pickleball players across the country. You do not have to be a member of the association to use the resources available for finding places to play this game. The USAPA offers information on how to find pickleball tournaments throughout the nation.
What is the Official USA Pickleball Places 2 Play database?
Through the USA Pickleball Association, I have found the most up-to-date and comprehensive database for pickleball playing locations. The Places 2 Play (P2) database features 8,000 pickleball locations. These locations are sourced by nearly 2,000 pickleball ambassadors and 40,000 USA Pickleball association members.
While these are not all tournaments for pickleball, the database includes all the places in the US to play the game. Search for places to play pickleball by city, zip code, or state. You can also search for location names directly if you already know the name of the place where you want to play.
Look up the pickleball location to see if they list any tournaments on their agenda. If you are searching for places to play pickleball across the nation, I recommend looking for pickleball by geographic location. For example, you can search for locations that might have pickleball tournaments in the Pacific Northwest or the Southeast.
I bet Florida is a great place to play, and if you go to Places 2 Play, the database suggests the following locations:
- Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Lutz, FL
- Bayfront Park in Longboat Key, FL
- Paradise Lakes Resort in Lutz, FL
As you can see, these places are not strictly labeled as pickleball courts. Most of the time, you will find an athletic center that opens up for pickleball matches.
Social media platforms offer a wealth of tools and resources for connecting pickleball players online. Facebook has a lot of groups and Pages set up for individuals who are playing pickleball in their own backyards. I suggest going online and finding local pickleball players who are in your community or city.
They will most likely be linked to resources, such as specific and local pickleball clubs, that will be most advantageous to you. If you are traveling and trying to find a place for a game of pickup pickleball, you can use social media to find sports clubs in the city where you are visiting. This way, it is easier to schedule a trip involving pickleball tournaments and game play.
What are the major pickleball tournaments?
There are several pickleball tournaments at the national level. This includes the USA Pickleball National league. Previous years have seen several pickleball tournaments established, including:
- Texas Open in Dallas, TX
- Las Vegas Pickleball Open in Las Vegas, NV
- Fall Brawl in St. George, UT
- USA Pickleball National Indoor Tournament in Hoover, AL
These are often referred to as Opens, but at the national level, they are anything but open. You must qualify in order to play in the Open tournaments, and this requires playing in regional championships.
What about the USA Pickleball Regional Championships?
In order to be eligible for a national tournament in pickleball, you must qualify for a regional championship. There are regional championships in which you must earn a gold medal in order to qualify for pre-registration. In the US, the pickleball regional tournaments include:
- Atlantic South Regional in Foley, AL
- Great Lakes Regional in Kalamazoo, MI
- Middle States Regional in Lakeville, MN
- Mid-South Regional in College Station, TX
- Pacific NW Regional in Beaverton, OR
- Southwest Regional in Surprise, AZ
Can you win money in pickleball tournaments?
Yes, you can win money playing in pickleball tournaments. According to Pickleball Max, “Pro singles medalists earned $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 while pro doubles medalists earned (per team) $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000.”
Can anyone enter a pro pickleball tournament?
To qualify for a USA Pickleball tournament, you must also have a player rating. Your USA Pickleball Tournament Player Rating (UTPR) has to be at least 5.5 to be eligible for an Open event, which is a national championship. The way to increase your UTPR is through playing in pickleball tournaments and winning.
How much is USA Pickleball membership?
If you are interested in playing in the USA Pickleball Association championships or Open, you may want to consider a membership. The annual fee for a membership to the USA Pickleball Association is $35 a year. You can also sign up for a three-year membership that is $95 or a five-year membership, which costs $150.
What is the average age of a pickleball player?
The average age of a pickleball player, as of 2022, is between 18 and 34 years. There are 28.8 percent of the total semi-pro and professional pickleball players who are this age. The senior age division of 55 to 64 years are the least represented in the game.
Only 12 percent of seniors are active in the semi-professional and professional pickleball player rankings.