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how to organize a pickleball league

how to start a pickleball league

Take your love of pickleball to the next level by organizing a local league or joining Philly's pickleball community! The eseo sports app is here to help connect pickleball players of all levels: download it here to see how it works.

Setting up a sports league can be a rewarding, fun experience. Whether you’re an advanced athlete or you play just for fun, leagues provide a great opportunity for people to play together. The best part? Players share a common goal and get to support each other through a designated timeframe.

There are a lot of pickleball leagues organized through the USAPA (United States of American Pickleball Association). But if you want to create your own league, here’s what you need to know.

Prepare the League Organizer

Every sports league needs an organizer who will lead and oversee all the moving pieces. If you’re trying to start a pickleball league, realize the commitment you’re taking on. If you underestimate how much time, energy, and money it takes to go into organizing a league, you risk burning out or disappointing all the players who want to enjoy the sport.

You can always team-tag the organizer role and recruit a friend or fellow player to help you out. Prepare to:

  • Determine the league skill level and age group
  • Organize practices, games, and other events
  • Come up with pickleball league names
  • Provide equipment (balls, netting, etc.)
  • Create a rulebook or code of conduct for players
  • Fundraise and finance the league
  • Prepare for league growth

Once you have a good foundation to organize your league, it’s time to get players involved and ready to play.

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Get Members to Sign Up

How do you find pickleball players to join your league? You have a few options.

First, spread the word through your community. Ask friends, family members, coworkers, fitness centers, and other sports teams you’re part of. See who’s interested. Start a contact list for people to sign up.

Next, put up pickleball league flyers throughout your neighborhood and city. You never know who might be wishing there was a new league to join in their area. 

Lastly, consider announcing your upcoming league online! There are a lot of athletic forums online today where people go to find local leagues and sports clubs. Social media is also ideal for networking online, marketing a new opportunity, and making friends who have similar interests. 

Find a Pickleball Court

Finding a pickleball court might seem daunting, especially if you plan to run a pickleball league during a season with harsh weather. Consider renting out an indoor pickleball court from a sports facility in the area. 

If you can’t find a pickleball court, it’s easy to convert a tennis court into a pickleball court. Outdoor courts are also a great option since you can likely find ones that don’t cost money— however, these are often first come, first serve. 

You don’t have to use the same court every practice or game. But it helps to keep things a little consistent so players don’t confuse locations or have to worry about missing practice.

Create a Schedule

Here are the main types of meetings to include when scheduling dates and times for the pickleball league.

  • Registration dates: The open and closing deadlines for players to sign up.
  • Practices: Recurring times (often weekly) to practice as a team.
  • Drop-in play times: Fun, optional pickup games for the team and anyone else who wants to join.
  • Game days: Important dates players must compete in.
  • Tournaments: If you plan to place in a tournament, make sure to include the names and dates of each one so your team can plan ahead.

You can adjust the schedule of your league to make it suit the group. Be flexible if this is your first time setting up a league for fun!

Prepare League Equipment 

Whether you want to provide all the equipment for your players or require them to bring their own, there are still a few supplies you’ll need to have for every practice and game. 

Players need to have appropriate pickleball gear and equipment:

  • Paddles
  • Pickleballs (indoor or outdoor)
  • Safe and comfortable attire
  • Tennis shoes
  • Pickleball nets

Aside from basic playing gear, you might want to bring:

  • First-aid kit
  • Extra balls and nets
  • Clipboard for scorekeeping and game tracking
  • Tablet or iPad for notes, contact details, and other information 
  • Team jerseys 
  • Baseball caps, if playing outdoors 

Again, make it work for your league. You’ll likely learn and adjust as you go. 

Manage the League

All pickleball leagues can be fun athletic and social experiences as long as they’re managed properly. Show up on time, be a good teammate and organizer, and remain available for any questions your players may have.

If you want to run a ladder pickleball league, organize everyone by 1-on-1 or pairs. You can set up the ladder by hand or use pickleball league software to help optimize the whole experience for everyone.

Philadelphia Pickleball Community 

Want to get in touch with other pickleball players and leagues in Philly? Join Philly's pickleball community. The eseo community is for you with an app to help you find new sports friends, pickleball leagues, athletic training, and more on the eseo app (every sport for everyone). 

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how to start a pickleball league