Pickleball players on court

A Complete Guide to Pickleball Tournament Formats

Pickleball is addictive – believe us we know! If you’re new to the sport it won’t be long until you feel the urge to take part in a tournament.

Nothing can beat the buzz of heading out on the court with the chance to pick up a medal (or two).

But, what does a Pickleball tournament entail? How do the games REALLy go down on the day? We’ve got the 411 on Pickleball tournament formats, scoring and much more.

Pickleball Tournament Formats

There are two types of Pickleball tournaments: sanctioned and unsanctioned. Unsanctioned tournaments are just for fun. Sanctioned tournaments must follow the rules as stated by United States Pickleball Association.

This includes court size and space requirements. When a tournament is sanctioned, this means it is listed on the USAPA website and pickleball players will receive tournament points. These points can affect their skill level rating.

Categories will be divided by doubles, singles, and gender. Picklers must play others of the same skill level. Tournaments also separate participants by age.

If playing doubles, you must compete at the skill level of the highest partner. Similarly, you must play in the category of the youngest player.

Matches will be between 40-60 minutes long. The early matches will er on the shorter side. As the tournament progresses play length will increase.

Pickleball scoring

Double elimination

Double elimination scoring is used often in Pickleball tournaments. This works well when there are six or more teams playing.

There will usually be 3 matches and those who win the majority to 11 points, will play the other winners.

Teams who lose these first matches will play a game against players in the consolidation draw.

The consolidation drawer will be one game, up to 15 points, and players can win by 2.

The winner of the consolidation drawer will be able to move into the winner’s bracket. After that, they must win 2 out of 3 of these games.

In the event of a, tiebreaker the match will be played to 15 points.

Your ranking will be determined by the ratio of points won, compared with what you could have won.

Round Robin Draw in Pickleball

A round-robin will take place when there are less than six teams taking part in a tournament.

Each match will be one game to 15 points, 21 points or the best out of 3 games.

The winner will be the participant who wins the most games overall. If there is a tie-breaker these teams will go head to head.

If a winner is still not clear, the total points scored throughout the day will be considered.

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