Top Ten Reasons to Go to a Pickleball Tournament
by Kathy Getto
Recently I flew to Phoenix to play in a Pickleball tournament with my sister. This was the second tournament for each of us but our first tournament playing together.
We had a great time, and I thought some of you who have never been to a tournament would like to know a bit more about it.
Here are my top ten reasons you should go to a Pickleball tournament:
10. Make your kids listen to your sports stories.
For years, I have listened to my kids’ sports stories. Through high school and college, I was their biggest cheerleader. Now that they are out of school they are both weekend warriors, and I listen to and encourage them in their endeavors.
Now it’s my turn. I tell them about my playing: how I’m doing, what the scores were, etc. And, surprisingly, they actually listen and encourage me in my endeavors.
9. See how others play.
When you play with your local group, you’re doing just that–playing. And that’s a good thing. But in going to a Pickleball tournament, you’ll have lots of down time when you are not playing. This makes a great opportunity to watch others play.
One of the things I learned at the Phoenix tournament was the importance of using my wrists more, especially when I am late to make a shot. It’s very effective to flick my wrist to get the ball up and over the net as compared to trying to make the shot with a long follow through on my swing.
8. See how you play.
At the tournament, other players are quick to pick up on your weaknesses. While frustrating, this also helps you quickly see what you need to work on. In essence, you get to see how you play through your opponents’ eyes.
7 Compare with others within your age group.
Many tournaments offer competition within your own age group.You’ll be playing against players that are not as good as you as well as players that are much better than you. (Or at least that was the case with my sister and me.) When playing opponents with higher skill levels, you will have some very challenging games so you can see how much and where you can improve.
6. Compare with others in your skill level.
Other tournaments offer competition by skill level. When you first start playing at tournaments, it is difficult to assess what skill level you should be at. My advice is to ask others within your local group and then use USAPA Ratings to determine where you should be. When in doubt, go to the lower skill level. That’s what my sister and I did, and we were glad. Now that we have played at that lower level, we know exactly what we should play at for our next skill level competition.
5 Compare with others in your gender group.
When you play with your local group, you almost always play mixed doubles–men and women all mixed together. It was interesting to play with and against only women at the tournament. Men and women play very differently, and so playing in our gender group was an interesting change of pace.
4. Play on Pickleball dedicated courts.
I was surprised at how nice it was to play on courts that were for Pickleball only. It sounds strange, but it was so great not to have to look at any other lines on the court but Pickleball lines.
3. Gain some bragging rights.
Now I have something to talk about at cocktail parties. It’s fun to brag to others about my Pickleball participation. My husband has told our neighbors that we’re going on the Pickleball tour so that I can play in lots of different tournaments.
2. Develop a sense of belonging.
One of the fun things about playing in a tournament is that you realize that you are part of a bigger community. Sure, you have that when you play with your local group. But going to a tournament helps you see that the Pickleball community is thriving and that it’s here to stay.
1. Have some fun!
And the most important reason to play in Pickleball tournaments is that it’s just plain fun! Everyone is there to have a good time. Everyone is very helpful–especially to tournament first timers. Everyone is very nice. Everyone loves Pickleball just as much as you do!