How to Plan a Pickleball Tournament

|

September 27, 2023

|

category

minute read

PUblished

September 27, 2023

A racquet club member playing pickleball on a court

Tournament hosting is a crucial member engagement and revenue driver for racquet clubs. Tournaments help players hone their skills, foster engagement and participation, promote your club’s growth, drive revenue, and attract new memberships. Given the surging popularity of pickleball now is the perfect time to capture the interest of potential players with a pickleball tournament.  

But planning a tournament is no walk in the park. Coordinating an event as big as a tournament takes a lot of time and effort. If you’re interested in planning a pickleball tournament but you’re not sure where to start, follow these steps.

Why Should You Plan a Pickleball Tournament?

While once a well-kept secret among a niche community of enthusiasts, pickleball has exploded in popularity in recent years, captivating players of all ages and skill levels. Due to its cross-generational appeal and relatively short learning curve, the fast-paced paddle sport now has 8.9 million players in the United States over the age of six years old, a drastic increase compared to 2022’s 4.8 million players. As the pickleball craze continues to sweep the nation, racquet clubs have a golden opportunity to attract a new, diverse demographic of players while simultaneously boosting their revenue.  

Pickleball’s growing popularity has secured its position as a key revenue driver for racquet clubs.  When analyzing the same clubs year-over-year, clubs partnered with Club Automation found that members who paid for a pickleball or tennis membership spent $17 more for their memberships than members who didn’t participate in racquet offerings, resulting in a 20% premium.  

In 2023, pickleball was deemed America’s fastest-growing sport for the third year in a row according to the 2023 Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) Topline Participation Report. With more people interested in the sport than ever before, making the decision to run a pickleball tournament will create a buzz of excitement and activity at your club, drawing in players and spectators alike while showcasing everything your club has to offer.

A racquet club member on the court playing pickleball
In May 2023, clubs partnered with Club Automation saw an 11% increase in year-over-year sales for pickleball and tennis services.

How to Plan a Pickleball Tournament

Step 1: Pick Your Date

Coordinate with your internal team and potential players to choose a date that accommodates as many people as possible, ensuring a high turn-out for the event. Make sure to consider  the overall club schedule when picking a date – avoid double booking courts or forcing players to choose between different events hosted on the same day.

Step 2: Build Your Team

Assign a tournament director and event coordinator to manage the logistics, volunteers, rule enforcement, and  scorekeeping. These individuals will serve as your key organizers and should  maintain a hands-on role throughout the entire process.

However, it’s important to realize they can’t carry the entire tournament on their own. Building a dependable volunteer team is essential. Enlist a dedicated group of volunteers to support your staff with tasks such as setting up courts and maintaining scoreboards.

Step 3: Recruit Your Players

You’ll need plenty of players to fill up your courts. Promote the tournament on each one of your digital platforms, paying special attention to your website, text messages, and social media channels. Segment your outreach and focus on members who regularly reserve court time to attract experienced players. If your tournament is beginner friendly, expand your reach to members who’ve shown interest in your pickleball services as well.

In addition to syncing up with your known potential players, leverage your personal network and ask if they have anyone in their circles that they could recruit for the tournament. “Bring-a-friend" events are a great opportunity to convert new members, as 92% of people trust recommendations from those they know.

Step 4: Finalize the Logistics

Once you have a date and players lined up, it's time to fine-tune the details, including securing any necessary insurance and permits. Consider both the day-of elements, such as court setups, lighting, and event hours, as well as behind-the-scenes tasks involved in securing the necessary insurance coverage and permits. Ensuring these logistics are nailed down well in advance is crucial to avoiding any day-of chaos.

After that, finalize the schedule by specifying match time and court assignments. Assign each player or team a unique number, using a random number generator for fair placement in the tournament brackets. If your tournament hosts multiple skill levels, consider using skill-level assignments to keep the playing field even and make the matches more enjoyable for everyone.  

Create an easy-to-read event board showing these divisions and place it in a high-visibility area.  An organized and transparent scheduling process contributes to a smooth event.

Step 5: Keep Score Transparently

Maintaining transparent scoring is fundamental for the tournament's integrity. Dedicate a person to managing this, regularly updating and displaying scores. Initiate the rounds according to the predetermined schedule, keeping a close eye on wins and losses. Adjust as needed for the subsequent rounds to ensure the tournament progresses smoothly.

A group of racquet club members playing pickleball together
When analyzing the same clubs year-over-year, clubs partnered with Club Automation found that members who paid for pickleball or tennis memberships averaged 7% more check-ins than members who didn’t participate in racquet offerings.

Step 6: Maintain a Positive Atmosphere

While pickleball is competitive, its ability to create a friendly social atmosphere for all age groups is impossible to ignore. Capture that balance by promoting good sportsmanship and providing a fun environment with music, food, and even side activities to keep everyone engaged off the court. A well-rounded experience makes the event memorable, encourages future engagement, and solidifies your club’s reputation as a go-to destination for community events.

Step 7: Follow Up After the Tournament

Once the last game in your tournament concludes, the work isn’t over. Create a wrap-up email thanking everyone for their participation and highlighting key moments of the tournament. Include a quick survey to gather feedback from your players, staff, and volunteers. Inquire about what aspects they enjoyed and how you can enhance the experience for future tournaments.  This email serves as a powerful tool to keep members engaged after the tournament and help you plan future tournaments.

Is Your Software Up to the Challenge?

Planning a pickleball tournament is a hefty task for your team. To minimize the time poured into hosting a successful tournament, you need a powerful pickleball club management platform that’s streamlined and easy to use.

Ready to take your pickleball club management to the next level? Schedule a demo with the Club Automation team.

What’s a Rich Text element?

Thi sis a

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

dadasd

Static and dynamic content editing. A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

ddddd

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

dsadadasdas

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

  • Just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection
  • Any collection and then connect
  • This i any collection and then connect

Into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

other articles

continued reading

IHRSA 2024 Recap: Unpack the Latest Insights and Innovations

read article

IHRSA 2024 Recap: Unpack the Latest Insights and Innovations

Couldn’t attend IHRSA 2024? No problem. Catch up on the latest fitness industry trends and tap into the IHRSA energy at home with an on-demand recap webinar.

Read Article

8 Things You Need for Better Gym Lead Generation

read article

8 Things You Need for Better Gym Lead Generation

Attract more leads and increase your gym’s revenue with the right techniques and technology. Here are 8 things you need to improve your gym’s lead generation.

Read Article

Top Fitness Industry Trends to Know for 2024

read article

Top Fitness Industry Trends to Know for 2024

We analyzed 880+ Club Automation users to discover the fitness industry trends to know in 2024. Learn how we grew in 2023 and how to keep that momentum in 2024.

Read Article

How to Improve Your Gym Sales Funnel with Automation

read article

How to Improve Your Gym Sales Funnel with Automation

Discover insights on optimizing your gym sales funnel with automation. Learn how to leverage technology to draw in new members and keep current members engaged.

Read Article

Your Guide to IHRSA 2024

read article

Your Guide to IHRSA 2024

IHRSA 2024 is almost here. Use this guide to discover must-see events, plan your schedule, and navigate the convention to have the best experience possible.

Read Article

How to Start Persona-Based Marketing at Your Fitness Club

read article

How to Start Persona-Based Marketing at Your Fitness Club

Understanding your members is the key to growing your club. Unlock growth by creating member personas and boost engagement through persona-based marketing.

Read Article

How a New Website Transformed a Mom & Pop Gym Into a Modern Fitness Center

read article

How a New Website Transformed a Mom & Pop Gym Into a Modern Fitness Center

Discover how Coaches’ Corner Fitness transformed their operations with a new fitness club website designed by Club Automation.

Read Article

Ready to outrival
the best?

Talk to our team and unlock your full potential.

Get a Demo
Get a Demo