September 25, 2009

Memoirs of a Tournament Director by Marilyn Holladay

by Marilyn Holladay

The Greater Rochester Pickleball Fest was my first experience at organizing a tournament. I knew it would not be an easy task and I was right. What I didn’t realize was how rewarding and fulfilling it would be.

We worried that there would not be enough participants but players continued to sign up until and after the deadline. This happened because of the members of the committee who spread the word through various contacts. (I have vowed to myself that I will NOT delay in signing up for any tournament I am planning to enter to keep other tournament directors from having sleepless nights about possibly having to cancel.)

We worried about not having enough referees. This proved to not be a problem as players showed up to ref at times they were not scheduled to play and others stepped up to help out after they had lost a second time. Some did game after game without much of a break – and didn’t complain.

Having the competition at an outdoor facility away from our normal courts and equipment added to the time and hassles of setup and cleanup. There were always plenty of players or fans to step forward and help carry equipment, put down tape, put up signs, etc.

I got the kudos for a smooth running tournament but it only happened because of the type of people who make up the Pickleball community here in Michigan. The tournament was planned an executed by a committee but, more importantly, the players were flexible and supportive of each other and of us.

So … if you are thinking of directing a tournament at your local site do not be afraid. There are plenty of people to give you information and support, the USAPA website has guidelines and a checklist for directors and tournament software that guides you through the organization of play. You will maybe have some sleepless nights anyway, but when it is over you will have renewed energy from the great people in the Pickleball world and the added boost of the people who stopped by to watch and expressed enthusiasm about learning to play.

Marilyn Holladay
USA Pickleball Association Director/Rankings

1st Annual Greater Rochester Pickleball Fest/Tournament Chair

Special Thanks to Photographer George Ingram