If you have decided to test your pickleball skills in a pickleball tournament, then there are some things that you should do to prepare yourself for the pickleball tournament. Whether it is your 1st pickleball tournament, or your 100th pickleball tournament, these same steps will help you make the most of the event.
- Pick a Pickleball Tournament – If you have decided that you’d like to play in a pickleball tournament, there are thousands of pickleball tournaments across the world that you can pick from. What determines which pickleball tournaments you will play in? Click here for a list of factors, in no particular order, that you may consider when deciding which pickleball tournaments to participate in. Once you have decided what you are looking for, then it’s time to find the pickleball tournament that meets the most of those factors that you consider most important. For a calendar of the biggest pickleball tournaments, plus how to find other pickleball tournaments near you, click here.
- Pick the Right Partner – If you are playing doubles pickleball, you must, first and foremost, find the right partner for you. In fact, picking the right pickleball partner is one of our most important tips if you are playing pickleball to win—for instance, like playing pickleball in a pickleball tournament. Finding the right pickleball partner can be extremely difficult, as you typically want to find someone that is a strong player at your skill level. But, sometimes, the best player on paper is not always the best partner for you in reality. You need to find someone that jibes with your style of play on the court, as well as someone that jibes from a personality and emotional perspective. And, once you pick your pickleball tournament and the right partner to hit the court with, don’t forget to actually sign up for the event!
- Prepare Your Game - Preparing for a pickleball tournament starts well before the day of the event. It starts with improving your skills on the pickleball court, playing in pressure situations, so that you are ready for the pressure of competition on the day of the event, and taking care of your body consistently by eating healthy, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. For tips to improve your pickleball game, you have already come to the right place. Here at Pickler we constantly are providing content to help you learn to play better pickleball—for instance, learn the Top 7 Tips If You Are Playing to Win, grab some Pickleball Tournament Tips, learn 13 Pickleball Strategy Tips and Techniques to Win Big, and many more.
- Know the Tournament Rules – Prior to the start of a pickleball tournament, it is important to take the time to learn the pickleball tournament format, scoring, and other rules that may apply on the court. Each pickleball tournament's rules may vary, so be aware of the specific rules that apply to the tournament you are playing in. It is also important to understand how you will be notified of when and where you will be playing on the day of the event, as a common mistake on tournament days is not showing up on time (which will result in a forfeit).
- Pack Your Bag! – As you near the day of the event, it will become time for you to pack your pickleball bag.
- Pickleball Paddle (Plus, a Back-Up Pickleball Paddle) – Obviously, one of the essential items in your pickleball bag is your pickleball paddle. However, it is a good idea to have a “back-up” pickleball paddle in the unfortunate event that your pickleball paddle breaks or eventually wears out.
- Pickleballs (and Extra Pickleballs!) – Another essential is pickleballs (and plenty of extra pickleballs if and when they break). It is important to have the same kind of pickleball that will be used during the pickleball tournament. This will help prepare you the best for the pickleball tournament, as each kind of ball can have a different touch and feel.
- Pickleball Shoes – A pair of pickleball shoes that you can feel comfortable in all day, as pickleball tournaments can be long, grueling days on the pickleball court.
- Water Bottle with Liquids – Again, pickleball tournament days can be long, grueling days. Like any other physical activity, it is important to stay hydrated on the pickleball court (and to work on your hydration well before the day of your event!). With that said, be sure to bring your own water bottle that is filled with water or some other liquid to keep you hydrated on the pickleball court.
- Electrolytes and/or Snacks – In addition to water, it is important to bring electrolytes and/or snacks (like a banana or nuts) to keep your energy level up. Sometimes, it is impossible to sneak away for a proper meal during pickleball tournament days, as you may not have much time between matches. So, bring electrolytes and snacks that can keep you going on the pickleball court.
- Pickleball Eyewear – If you are a pickleball player that wears glasses, or prefers sunglasses when sunny, this is surely one item you will not want to forget - pickleball eyewear!
- Sun Protection: Hat and Sunscreen – If the pickleball tournament is to be played outdoors, be sure to pack a hat or visor and sunscreen in your pickleball bag. Protect yourself against the sun and help block the sun from interfering with your vision on the pickleball court.
- Items to Combat Sweat: Towel, Sweatbands, Extra Clothes, and Deodorant – Whether your pickleball tournament is indoors or outdoors, you are sure to break a sweat. Sometimes, sweat can interfere with your pickleball play, as the sweat makes your grip on the pickleball paddle loose and slick, or makes you uncomfortable in your sweaty clothes. To manage this, be sure to pack a clean towel, sweatbands, extra clothes (like t-shirts and socks (and maybe even an extra pair of pickleball shoes)), and even deodorant in your pickleball bag.
- Chair and Shade – Pickleball tournaments are long days on the pickleball court and around the venue. Sometimes, there is adequate seating in the shade. However, unfortunately, oftentimes, there is not enough seating in the shade. So, be sure to bring your own folding chair and, possibly, tent and/or umbrella, so you have some reprieve from the sun.
- Personal Items – Upon check-in for a pickleball tournament, you may be asked to show personal identification to prove that you are in fact you. Plus, throughout the day, you may need your cell phone in order to get alerts of your court assignment and time to play. Lastly, you may need your credit card to purchase food, water, and other tournament knick-knacks. So, don’t forget to bring your personal items, like your driver’s license, cell phone, and credit card.
- First Aid Kit – Hopefully, this last item to pack is never needed. However, you never know when an accident may happen or when a little pain may come. So, be sure to pack a small first aid kit with items from band-aids to Advil to TRUST Biologic CBD pain gel.
Now that you have signed up for the pickleball tournament with your partner, know the rules, prepared for the event, and packed your pickleball bag, it is time to show off all of your hard work on the pickleball court on the day of the event. Show up early, warm up, get in the right mental space, strategize with your partner, and stay focused on the moment. And, most importantly, have fun! Because when you are having fun and playing loose, you will certainly be playing your best pickleball.