If you were playing pickleball before it was cool, then you'll know just how exhilarating hitting the ball around a court can be. The rush of it all, it really is exciting - isn't it? As an experienced player, you'll also know precisely what to bring to a pickleball tournament. But what if you're not a pro? What if this is your first ever tournament?
Things can get pretty daunting for a first-timer. What type of shoes do you bring? What pickleball paddles work best? Is there something you need to know beforehand? What if you forget something?
Don't panic. As with all sports, a little preparation here goes a long way -and we're going to help you get prepared. So, let's dive in and discuss everything you need to know about your upcoming first-ever pickleball tournament!
A Pickleball Tournament Preparation Checklist
How to Prepare for a Pickleball Tournament
First, and most importantly, the best way to prepare for a successful pickleball tournament is to have a partner that's going to share the same goals as you. Your partner can make or break your entire experience, so ensure you choose wisely.
In addition to locking in a good team member, you should also try to look after yourself, so that you can be a reliable team member for your partner. With this in mind, there are a few things you can do to ensure maximum performance:
- Stay hydrated in the days leading up to the tournament
- Ensure maximum performance with a healthy diet
- Practice regularly to stay on top of your game
- Stretch your muscles before you start to avoid injury
- Stay focused
What to Wear to a Pickleball Tournament
Unless you're part of a professional team who's kitted out with uniform, you can wear just about anything comfortable and weather appropriate.
For men, it's common to wear athletic sweatpants, shorts, wicking apparel, and t-shirts, amongst many other outfits. Women often wear tennis-style dresses and skirts, or they could wear shorts and a t-shirt too.
Being completely comfortable is the aim of the game. Well, along with winning, of course.
What to Bring to a Pickleball Tournament
Now, for the answer of the day - what to bring to a pickleball tournament? Without further ado, take a look at the checklist below in order to set yourself up for success:
What to bring to a pickleball tournament (1):
- Bring at least two pickleball paddles. Why two? Well, 5x Pro Gold Medal Glen Peterson brings a 7 1/2 oz paddle and a heavier 8 oz paddle just in case there are heavy winds.
- Two balls
- Sweat towel
- Water bottle
- Hat & sunglasses
- Sweat-proof sunscreen
- Lip protectant with SPF
- Extra pairs of socks and shoes
- Extra clothing if you sweat a lot or there is a weather change
- Jacket, sweatpants
- Sandals or flip flops (let your feet rest and air out at the end of play)
- Topical pain-relieving cream
- A small pack of tissues
- Food, snacks
- Ice pack
- Folding chair
- Camera (remember to capture the moments)
- Bag/tote to carry it all
- Black sharpie pen – mark your stuff and your new purchases
- Your ID for check-in
- Cash or a credit card to support the vendors
- Anti-inflammatory/cramping medicine (ibuprofen, mustard, Hyland's Leg Cramps, etc.)
Best Pickleball Equipment for a Tournament
Congratulations! Now you know exactly what you need to succeed. But there's just one more small problem -where on earth do you find professional pickleball equipment?
Lucky for you, the best part of looking for pickleball equipment is that there's so much to choose from, and in so many places. The worst part of looking for pickleball equipment? There's too much to choose from!
To make your search quicker and easier, we've picked out our favorites for the primary three items you'll need for your pickleball tournament.
Pickleball balls can be purchased in two different styles - indoor, or outdoor. In this choice, consider where you spend most of your time playing. Or, better yet, grab both for a rainy day! (literally)
Here's where you can find some of the best:
- Indoor Balls
- Outdoor Balls
Similar to any other sport, it's crucial to have the right lightweight shoes to avoid injury, and play at your very best. Again, your shoe choice really depends on what type of court you play on: indoor or outdoor.
For an outdoor tournament, you'll want something similar to a tennis shoe. If you're heading for an indoor tournament, it's best to purchase shoes with gummy soles that provide you with lots of traction.
Here are our top picks:
- Wilson RUSH PRO 2.5 2019 Pickleball Shoes
- ASICS Men's Gel-Dedicate 6 Tennis Shoes
As it's the main piece of pickleball equipment, this choice may seem a little overwhelming. However, with the right assistance, it'll be a breeze.
Here at JustPaddles, we know that buying a pickleball paddle isn't easy. That's why we offer a Paddle Coach, Resource Guide, and Buying Guide. We also have hundreds of pickleball paddles on sale, and a choice to even build your very own pack which provides you with a discount and is sure to meet your needs! Click here to check out our full range of pickleball paddles.