Pickleball - The Sport
With over 5 million players, exploding growth and constantly increasing places to play, pickleball has continued to be the number one growing sport in the United States. The dink, soft game, bangers, concentration, exercise, competition, and most of all fun, are all part of the pickleball world. Basically the sport is a blend of badminton, ping pong, and tennis. Pickleball has a relatively short learning curve, thereby giving even a newbie beginner the chance to start having fun right from the start. Played with light-weight paddles and a plastic wiffle ball, games are played on a court the approximate size of a badminton court. The net is set slightly lower than a standard tennis net. Play format includes both singles (two players) or doubles teams (four players, two per team). Bottom line is the sport is addictive and a blast to play!
Pickleball players are among the most diverse of any sport, including folks within a wide range of age and skill. Many tournaments see the largest number of players in the 50+ brackets. However, pickleball is far from being a seniors-only sport. Top players of all ages are well conditioned athletes, with competition demanding excellent skill levels, conditioning and training. For a taste of pro-level action, check out some women's and men's matches on YouTube. Names like Ben Johns, JW Johnson, Zane Navratil, Dekel Bar, Tyson McGuffin, and Riley Newman are a few of the top men's group. While, Anna Leigh Waters, Irina Tereschenko, Lucy Kovalova, Corrine Carr, and Catherine Parenteau are a few of the amazingly talented women pros. In pro competition, as in rec play, we find players of all ages. Considered to be one of the best senior players in the world and friend of RMP, at 50+ Scott Moore is a 20x National Champion and continues to show his unparalleled skill on the court. For the majority of players, pickleball represents a fun, challenging and competitive means of providing great exercise and socializing. As skills and conditioning improve, often the competitive drive emerges in many players as they strive for higher rankings and a tournament medal or two. The satisfaction of such accomplishment, especially at the higher age levels, is something not often available in most other sports. It's an awesome feeling at any age.
This exciting group of young athletes define the future of pickleball. While currently under the age of 18, some have already reached the the professional level of compitition. At 12 years old, Anna Leigh Waters and her Mom, Leigh, were gold medalists in the Women's Doubles Open Pro event at the prestigious Tournament of Champions. An awesome feat for anyone, but to be part of the national-level championship doubles team at 12, well that's spectacular.
Some of the current top juniors include Wyatt Stone, William Sobek, Danny Phillips, Kale Kline and many others. These are but a few of tomorrow's big names in pickleball.
Whether reaching the heights of these special players or just playing in some fun rec games, pickleball is a sport for all ages..... although, like most things, the sooner you start the more potential you may have! So grab a paddle and jump in. We're pretty sure you'll have a ball.
As new players improve and begin thinking about competing in tournaments, the next step is determining your skill rating. Ratings are a means of determining a player's abilities, attempting to make the game more fun and competitive for everyone. Rating systems ensure that players of similar skill levels are matched against each other in tournaments and other competitions.
Rating systems consist of skill levels ranging from 1.0 to 8.0. These numeric ratings provide a more accurate determination of a player's skill level and even better matches. While none of the rating systems are perfect, the player experience derived from them helps to enhance the game, benefiting us all.
Until recently, there was only one player rating system, the United Tournament Players Rating (UTPR). USA Pickleball operates the system, incorporating results exclusively from USAP sanctioned tournaments to determine a player's rating. Ratings include a four-digit numerical skill level, although levels are commonly referenced using a two-digit interpretation, such as 3.5 or 4.0.
WPR is a system supported by PickleballTournaments.com, including ratings for both amateur and professional players. Beginning January of 2022, players registering for a tournament on PickleballTournaments.com will automatically receive a WPR. According to WPR: their system "provides the most comprehensive pickleball player tournament rating system." For more information on WPF, use this link: WPR Info.
The DUPR system is the official player rating system of the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA) and is endorsed by some of the world's best players. DUPR claims itself as "the most accurate global rating system." DUPR Uses algorithms based on match results in determining both an amateur and pro rating system. Check out DUPR Info for answers to questions regarding this system.
Each of the three player rating systems offer unique benefits. Whether new to pickleball or a seasoned 4.5 player, we suggest you visit the links provided to help determine which rating system may be best for you.
Following some basic instructions and review of the rules, most anyone can begin playing, enjoying, and becoming addicted to pickleball.
The 2021 Margaritaville Nationals tournament in Indian Wells, California featured over 2200 players from 47 states and 18 countries.
The skill, tallent, and athletism of the professional players is trully exceptional. Watching Ben, Simone, Kyle, Irina, Riley, Jesse, and the rest of the top pros compete is extraordinary. They provide us mortal players with goals most won't be able to achieve.... but it's fun to try.
Welcoming nearly 1000 athletes from around the world, the 2021 Rocky Mountain Championships was truly an historic event.
Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.