Pickleball tournaments are popping up all across the United States and the world, which is no surprise given that the sport of pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country. While the COVID pandemic cancelled many of the pickleball tournaments for the 2020 calendar year, pickleball tournament directors, and pickleball players across the globe, are gearing up for a comeback in the 2021 calendar year.
There are many things pickleball players could look for in a pickleball tournament. One thing that may be important to pickleball players is the size of the pickleball tournament (which could also tend to correlate with quality). Some of the largest pickleball tournaments across the world include, among others:
USA Pickleball, the governing body for the sport of pickleball in the United States, organizes the premiere pickleball tournament in the world, which is the USA Pickleball National Championships. The USA Pickleball National Championships are held in Indian Wells, California at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. This event is surely the crown jewel of pickleball tournaments.
To play in the 2021 USA Pickleball National Championships, you must play in a pickleball tournament that is deemed a "National Qualifier," between July 15, 2020 and July 15, 2021. This largely means that you must play in another USA Pickleball pickleball tournament, which include, among others, the following:
To note, if you play in the pro pickleball bracket in any of the USA Pickleball National Championship Series events, then you will meet the participation requirement. However, if you play in an amateur bracket, then you will meet the participation requirement for the 2022 USA Pickleball National Championships (and not the 2021 USA Pickleball National Championships).
The US Open Pickleball Championships was first held in Naples, Florida in 2016. Since then, the US Open Pickleball Championships has “changed the game” in terms of pickleball tournaments and continues to outdo itself every year. In fact, the US Open Pickleball Championships has over tripled in size since its inception, which may be due to this event's "good times" atmosphere. The US Open Pickleball Championships is a must for your pickleball tournament bucket list, as the event is widely known as a weeklong pickleball party.
Since 2017, the International Federation of Pickleball (also known as the IFP) organizes the Bainbridge Cup, which is named after the birthplace of pickleball - Bainbridge Island, Washington. The Bainbridge Cup is an international pickleball tournament that competes North America against Europe, as pickleball players of all ages and skill levels represent their continent in a battle for the Bainbridge Cup (and bragging rights). In 2021, the Bainbridge Cup will be played in Daytona Beach, Florida, which will be the first time that this pickleball tournament is held in the United States, rather than Europe.
The 2020 calendar year marked the inaugural year for both of the premiere pro pickleball tours - the Professional Pickleball Association (also known as the PPA) and the Association of Pickleball Professionals (also known as the APP). The PPA markets itself as the pro tour where the pros play, while the APP positions itself as the pro tour where everyone plays. While both tours draw great pro pickleball players, the PPA has put up larger cash prizes for pro pickleball players to date. Both pro pickleball tours plan to continue their growth within the sport of pickleball during the 2021 calendar year.
In addition to these large pickleball tournaments, there are also hundreds of other pickleball tournaments across the United States and across the world. These other pickleball tournaments are both large and small, and many are organized by local pickleball clubs and pickleball communities. It is important to support these local pickleball tournaments because the local grassroots effort is how the sport of pickleball will continue to grow and evolve. For instance, some of these local pickleball tournaments are organized to raise money to invest in new pickleball courts or provide pickleball equipment to schools. Be on the lookout for local pickleball tournaments near you!
PickleballTournaments.com handles all of the sign-up for the large pickleball tournaments. As a result, if you are interested in playing in one of these mentioned large pickleball tournaments, you will need to register using PickleballTournaments.com. This is the same platform that many other local pickleball tournaments use. However, there are also a handful of other platforms that feature pickleball tournaments, such as PickleballBrackets.com and Pickleball.Global.
Pickleball tournaments can be a fun way to test your skills on the court. However, playing competitive pickleball in a pickleball tournament is very different than playing recreational pickleball, as there can be added pressure, lots of starts and stops throughout the day, and different pickleball rules to be concerned with. As a result, it is important to prepare yourself both physically and mentally if you decide to play in any of these pickleball tournaments. Pickler is here to help! Check out Pickler's blogs, social media, e-books, and online video lessons to elevate your pickleball skills and strategy on the pickleball court!
Updated as of May 23, 2021
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