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7 Tips to Dominate The US Open Pickleball Championships (or Any Other Pickleball Tournament)

Strategy & Technique Pickle4 Team 03-27-2024

Pickleball tournaments are becoming increasingly popular among pickleball players. This includes The Biggest Pickleball Party in the World™—the US Open Pickleball Championships which begins on Saturday, April 13th, 2024 in Naples, Florida. The US Open Pickleball Championships is hosting more than 3,000 pickleball players and expecting more than 50,000 spectators over the weeklong event. 

As we enter the final countdown to the US Open Pickleball Championships, here are seven things to know for all those Picklers competing there (or in any other pickleball tournament):

1. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Staying hydrated is a challenge when you are out on the pickleball courts all day in the hot sun (especially under the hot Florida sun). Be sure to drink plenty of water, which should start a few days before the tournament and continue throughout the end of the competition. Water filling stations are available throughout the park at the US Open.

2. Find Shade. Pickleball tournaments can mean long days. As much as it is important to stay hydrated, it is just as important to conserve energy, find shade and rest in between matches. The tricky part is managing to stay loose and limber for that next pickleball match! At the US Open, the Fan Zone is a great spot to cool down. The open air pavilion is fully covered, has bathrooms, food and drink trucks, comfortable seating, and you can watch great matches! 

3. Warm-Up – Physically and Mentally. Make sure you do a thorough warm-up (body and mind) before your first pickleball game, as well as each other game throughout the day. A proper warm-up will help you to prevent injury and prepare your muscles and your mind for intense activity. One of the hardest skills on the pickleball court is identifying the right strategy to play against your opponents (and doing it quickly—before the 11th point is won!). With that said, one pickleball strategy that rarely fails is playing to your strengths. Use the strategies and tactics that have worked for you in the past. Also, the difference between winning and losing often comes down to who is mentally tougher. So, remember to stay positive (particularly, with your partner), stay mentally focused on each shot, and avoid distractions of what is going on around you (especially in an atmosphere like the US Open Pickleball Championships).

4. Read the Rules. Be knowledgeable about the rules of the tournament, including the format of the bracket. For instance, at the US Open, if you fall into the consolation bracket, the best result you can achieve is bronze, as only the winners bracket can compete for gold and silver. The US Open also announced new rules for their hybrid event. Knowing the rules ahead of time can help mentally prepare you for the day and help you avoid any surprises on the pickleball courts. Be sure to check your email leading up to the tournament, as many pickleball tournaments will email you final rules leading up to the day of competition.

5. Listen for Your Name or Notifications. Many tournaments call participants over loudspeakers. It is important to stay alert and listen for your name to be called because failure to report to the appropriate pickleball court on time may result in a forfeit. Other tournaments, like the US Open, use on-site texting to notify people of their start time and court assignment. In this case, be sure to check your messages to avoid missing any updates. 

6. Adjust to the Elements. Every day is different on the pickleball courts. Some days, the sun is out. Other days, the wind is blowing, etc. Be prepared to adjust your pickleball game to the playing conditions on the day and use the elements to your advantage.

7. Enjoy the Moment. Pickleball tournaments are an opportunity to show off all of your hard work on the pickleball court and to play the great sport of pickleball with your friends and family. The atmosphere at The Open is unlike any other tournament. In addition to the fierce competition, the US Open offers shopping, food and beverage trucks, Pro Clinics, free seminars and Q&As, on-site giveaways and more! For many, the US Open Pickleball Championships is a bucket list item. Although we all want to rise to the challenge and compete, remember to have fun and enjoy the moment out on the pickleball courts!

Good luck to all of the pickleball players heading to Naples, Florida to compete in The Biggest Pickleball Party in the World™! We look forward to seeing you there!

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