8 Fun Pickleball Tournament Ideas

8 Fun Pickleball Tournament Ideas

Organize the pickleball tournament of your dreams with these eight fun pickleball tournament ideas! From fundraising to charity to creative costumes, there’s an idea to fit every tournament. 

Gone are the days of planning tournaments that leave teams feeling bored between matches. Instead of having just another pickleball tournament, it’s time to have a pickleball party competition!

Use these fun ideas to change up your next tournament in a big way.

Choose a Theme

The natural theme of all pickleball tournaments is pickleball, of course, but why stop there?

Choosing a theme for your tournament instantly amps up the fun factor! You could choose a theme based on the current season, upcoming holidays, tv shows, movies, and just about anything else you can imagine.

The tournament theme should be clearly advertised on the flyers for the tournament, at the actual tournament, and on any tournament gear you’ll give out, like free t-shirts.

This gives players the chance to get excited about the theme from the time they sign up until they leave the tournament.


A theme can be as simple or extravagant as you want. If you’re struggling to choose a theme, let pickleball club members vote for their favorite!

Themes to create a tournament around could include:

  • Superheroes
  • Halloween haunt
  • 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s

Invite Friends and Family

While pickleball tournaments are competitions, not every competition has to look the same. Invite new people to explore the sport with friends and family tournament! Each registered tournament player can bring a friend or family member who doesn’t typically play pickleball.

This is a great way to get new people on the pickleball courts in a no-pressure environment. Since there will be many novice players, no one will feel like to odd man out.

Kick off the tournament with some simple instructions for the new pickleball players so they’ll know what to expect in the tournament setting. 

Keep the friends and family members paired with the player they came with so everyone feels comfortable and has a great time! If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with more players in your pickleball club by the end of the event.

Something to Consider:

This might feel more like a pickleball party than a true tournament, but that’s okay! You can still track points scored and move through the tournament as usual. You can even organize the event by age or have mixed doubles competitions. Expect things to take longer than they would in a tournament with all experienced players.

Mentor Newbies with Mixed Skill Rotation

Players should be able to experience a tournament regardless of their playing level. If you want to host an inclusive event for all skill levels, try mixed-skill rotation.

Write down all the players and separate the names by level. Match one newbie and one advanced player to pair up for each round. The advanced players will be able to mentor and encourage the new players on the pickleball court while working together to receive tournament points.

This format also encourages players to socialize and make new friends, which is never a bad thing! Hosting tournaments that promote mingling between different skills is an excellent way to prevent pickleball cliques in your pickleball club.

Rotating Partners

When a pickleball player gets used to playing with one partner all the time, changing can be intimidating. Open the door to try new things with a rotating partners tournament! 

Each player should play one game with another player with a similar skill level. You can still use a round-robin format; just assign tournament points to individual players rather than partners.

A rotating partners tournament may feel awkward at first as everyone gets used to playing with someone new, but people will ease into it and be having a blast in no time. 

You’ll have an opportunity to find players of a similar skill level that you may not have ever played with otherwise. Who knows, you just might find a different partner you play well with! 

Support a Good Cause

Players are used to paying a fee to register for a tournament, so why not use that fee for a good cause? Host a pickleball tournament to support a specific cause, and you’ll be amazed at the turnout!

Instead of offering prize money to the tournament winners, you can make a donation to a charity on their behalf in addition to the other funds raised from the tournament and maybe give them a medal instead. People love gathering to support a good cause. If they can do that and play their favorite sport at the same time, it’s a no-brainer! 

Up the stakes by setting a donation goal for the charity of your choice. This will encourage players to donate beyond their registration fee if they’re able!

If you can, find out how the donation helped the charity and share the specifics with tournament players on social media or during club meetings. It’s always good to see your money in action!

Execution Tips

If you’re struggling to choose a charity, consider causes that don’t receive a lot of attention. Local libraries, animal shelters, and youth groups are great places to start. You can also ask pickleball club members for charity recommendations.

If funding the tournament is a concern, contact local businesses and ask for donations! Businesses love an opportunity to show they support a good cause and get a tax write-off at the same time. Offer to advertise businesses who donate on tournament flyers and gear in return for their donation.

Host a Costume Contest

Wearing a costume for a tournament might not be the most practical idea, but it’s undeniably fun! Turn the pickleball court into a costume contest with a costume tournament followed by a themed costume pickleball party.

Invite players to come in their best costumes for the next game. You can make things even more interesting by asking players to keep the costume on while they play. This will require some extra creativity for people to find a costume that looks good and doesn’t restrict their playing too much.

Make it a full-fledged pickleball party with a costume contest! In addition to naming a tournament winner, have a vote for the best costume at the tournament. Offer a prize to the costume winner, like some cash, a gift card, or a gift basket to amp up the stakes.

Have a Potluck

What’s the best way to unwind after a tournament? Delicious food, of course! Celebrate the games of the tournament with a get-together afterward full of everyone’s favorite food.

The best way to do this without creating too much work or cost for one person is with a potluck. Ask each person who plays in the tournament to bring a dish with them to the courts. You’ll end up with a good variety of food for everyone to refuel after the game.

If you want to make the person or team who wins feel extra special, have a special dish prepared to celebrate the win. This could be a pickleball-themed cake or champagne cocktails!   

Things to Consider

A potluck is more suitable for tournaments hosted at clubs rather than isolated outdoor courts. Keeping the dishes at a safe temperature is important to keep all the players safe. 

Be mindful of potential food allergies and risks associated with a potluck. It’s best to post an advisory on the tournament flyer reminding everyone that while you’re hosting the event, you are not preparing all the food and cannot account for all the ingredients or preparation methods used. 

Show Some Love to Your Local Animal Shelter

Instead of charging a registration fee to play in the event, ask each player to bring a donation to the local animal shelter or humane society.

Shelters are always in need of food, cleaning supplies, and other pet gear. You can contact the organizations to create a complete list of what they need or just use your best judgment. If each player brings a bag of pet food, imagine how much you can donate! 

While this may not be as traditionally fun as some other options, that doesn’t matter. People love supporting a good cause, and you’re giving them an opportunity to do that while getting in some good matches on the court! It’s lively and practical at the same time.


What is a pickleball scramble?

In pickleball, scramble players are matched with partners of a similar skill level. They then compete against other pairings in the same division. Whichever pairing wins the round can move up the ladder to the next round. 

How do you make pickleball fun?

Pickleball should always be fun! If you aren’t having as much fun on the court as you used to, it’s time to change things up. Challenge yourself to learn new skills, go head-to-head with players of a higher skill level, or sign up for a new tournament. 

If you aren’t having a great time, you aren’t playing pickleball correctly.

What are round robins in pickleball?

A round-robin tournament is when players, usually in doubles, play against opponents an equal number of times. Each time they win, they gain a point. The player or team with the most points at the end of the tournament wins.

Keeping Pickleball Fun

Pickleball is an incredibly competitive sport, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be played for fun. Find a change of pace on the pickleball court by hosting or registering for a tournament in your area! View upcoming tournaments and refine your skills using top-rated gear with our pickleball content.

1 thought on “8 Fun Pickleball Tournament Ideas”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *