If you want to play in big tournaments…….

……..you better be quick on the court, as well as with your dialing finger!  And, you’ll need to stay up late, or better yet set your alarm to get back up at midnight to register!

I’m not kidding!  The 2017 Huntsman World Senior Games pickleball tournament filled up in 7 minutes!  Yes, you read that right!  SEVEN minutes……..nearly 1,700 players!  https://seniorgames.net/news/pickleball-is-closed

The popular tournament, held in St. George, Utah isn’t until October.  The Early Bird deadline to sign up is August 1, but that date is unnecessary now.  On March 1, at exactly midnight, registration opened and thousands of pickleball fanatics flooded the online registration website!  In two minutes, the mixed doubles events were filled up and in another five minutes, all the events were full and players were diverted to wait lists.

Wow!  That’s incredible!

If that isn’t an indication of the growing popularity of pickleball, I don’t know what is.

How about the US Open Pickleball Championships being held in April in Naples, Florida?  That tournament didn’t fill up quite as quickly, but registration closed months ahead of the event deadline with well over a thousand participants.

As the sport grows, so does the number of players who enter tournaments.  USAPA sanctioned events, especially regional tournaments, fill up quickly.  They provide some of the best competition, plus the opportunity to watch top and professional players, many who are now considered celebrities and are featured in Pickleball Magazine and on episodes of Pickleball Channel.

So this is great news, right?

Another good problem to have?  Maybe or maybe not. That depends on whether you get blocked out of a tournament you had your heart set on playing in.  And so begins the debate on how to handle this kind of popularity in the big tournaments.

Here’s a few thoughts that might provoke some discussion.

– Tournaments organizers and sponsors want the best players to participate in their events.  With call in registration, and quick sell outs, there’s always the possibility that some of the best of the best get shut out.  How will the sponsors react to that?

–  More and more players are achieving a 5.0 skill level, (or better).  Many of those players are wearing sponsor logos.  Will/should those players get preference during registration?

–  Will tournaments continue to have all level skill brackets so that anyone can participate as long as they are able to get through the registration procedure on time?

–  Should there be qualifying tournaments for some of the bigger/popular events, similar to how you qualify for Nationals or the State Senior games?

–  Should preference be given to players who have supported and played in a specific tournament since its inception?

What do you think?

Post a comment with your thoughts.  Be a part of the discussion.

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One thought on “If you want to play in big tournaments…….

  1. Of all the suggestions, the qualifying events seem to make the most sense, especially for something like the Open and Huntsmen World Games. But I would hope that even with this, they would allow for multiple levels to be inclusive as possible for all skill levels at an event.

    If they start limiting the events to long time supporting players, that will discourage new players from participating.

    This issue definitely isn’t going to go away with the expected growth of PB.

    Liked by 1 person

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