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How To Create a Local Pickleball Tournament

A pickleball player reaches to make a shot on the court.

To keep it brief, pickleball is active, engaging, and fun.

It’s a workout, but not too intense. It’s competitive, but it’s rare for that competition to overshadow the enjoyment of the sport. That’s true for pickup games and pickleball tournaments, too (although professional pickleball tournaments can get pretty intense).

A local pickleball tournament is a great way to bring players together and put up some reasonable stakes, even if those stakes are just bragging rights. Finding out which player or team is the best on any given day adds a little more excitement to the game.

So, how can you create a local pickleball tournament? There are some logistics and planning required, but the process can be pretty simple at the same time. Let’s take a closer look.

A mixed doubles game of pickleball in action.

The Basics of a Local Pickleball Tournament

Here’s one thing to keep in mind when you start putting together a local tournament: It’s supposed to be fun for the players.

This isn’t a national pickleball tournament, or a PPA / APP pickleball tournament full of top-ranked pros playing at the highest skill levels. It’s a gathering of local players who want to do something a little different than playing the standard pickup or scheduled one-off games.

That said, organizing a tournament requires some time and effort. The work that goes into finding a court to host the event, attracting players, and setting up for the big day will pay off by helping everyone involved enjoy the tournament.

Now that you understand the big-picture intent of a local pickleball tournament, how should you start organizing one? Let’s look at a few key needs.

Finding a Venue for Your Pickleball Tournament

Every tournament needs a location with enough courts to avoid long waits for participants.

You can always start by asking the owners or managers of the courts on which you regularly play if they’re open to hosting a tournament. Asking fellow players about potential locations can help you gauge interest in a tournament and find more options as well.

Our court locator tool can help you quickly and easily find nearby courts, too.

Determining the Number of Players

The number of players in a tournament influences the brackets, pacing, and overall day-of schedule. How many players do you want in your tournament?

Starting small can be a good idea, especially for first-time organizers. A goal of 16 or 32 players or teams for a standard elimination tournament can make it easy to set up the brackets and keep the tournament more manageable.

Attracting Players

Your tournament needs players, and you have to convince them to sign up. The good news is that you likely have a built-in network of fellow players who can join in, help spread the word, or both.

You can also share tournament details on local social media accounts and groups related to pickleball and put up flyers at local courts.

Scheduling the Tournament

You’ll want to schedule your pickleball tournament far enough in advance to have enough time to organize it and attract players. At the same time, you don’t want to schedule it too far into the future — the excitement can die down and players may forget about the event.

Giving yourself a few months to get the ball rolling, roughly 90 days, can be the sweet spot for timing.

Setting the Tournament Format

Do you want to have a basic, single-elimination tournament? Or, are you looking for some fun pickleball tournament ideas to make things a little more exciting?

You could host a round-robin, where all pickleball players or teams are guaranteed to play each other. You might select partners for a mixed doubles tournament by random draw. A double-elimination tournament can increase the excitement of following along to the finals.

Finding Volunteers

Even a small tournament needs a few helping hands. Asking friends, family, or players you know especially well to help out can make it easier to host a successful pickleball tournament.

More Details About Hosting a Pickleball Tournament

The topics listed here are crucial for a good tournament, but there are plenty of additional details to consider.

USA Pickleball offers a detailed guide for pickleball tournament directors. Depending on your goals for your tournament, you don’t need to align with every single bullet point listed. However, this guide gives you a complete picture of what goes into a professionally organized tournament and is a great reference.

What about balls and other gear for your tournament? Pickleball Superstore has everything you need to get a pickleball tournament going: Shop our collection of pickleballs now!

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