Take your pickleball tournament to the next level by sanctioning with USA Pickleball! Sanctioning your tournament with USA Pickleball comes with numerous benefits for tournament directors and players, including exposure on the USA Pickleball event calendar, extensive insurance coverage for your players, staff, volunteers, and referees, access to the Tournament Director Handbook, referee support, and much more. Set your event and players up for success! Learn more about the advantages of sanctioning your tournament with USA Pickleball below.

Embrace the Competition, We've Got You Covered!


Sanctioning Benefits

UTPR Ratings

Players receive 100% towards UTPR Rating

Player Ratings based on win/loss record and opponents UTPR

Sanctioning provides more accuracy for bracketing and seeding


Approved Formats

Standard Sanctioning, MMP and No-Referee.

Designated matches officiated depending on level of sanctioning

Increased participation due to organization and structure of event


USA Pickleball Insurance

General event liability insurance

Secondary accident insurance for USA Pickleball Members/Participants

Ensure you and your volunteers are all covered for sanctioned tournaments


Sanctioning is the process through which USA Pickleball grants qualifying tournaments the Sanctioned designation. A Tournament Director who applies and receives sanctioning agrees to meet and abide by all the sanctioning requirements, therefore the TD and the players who participate in a sanctioned event are eligible to receive the benefits associated with sanctioning.

USA Pickleball offers 3 sanctioning options: No-Referee, MMP and Standard sanctioning. The No-Referee option requires a Certified Referee onsite to act as head referee; Medal Match Plus (MMP) sanctioning allows for a modified referee requirement; and Standard sanctioning requires all matches to be refereed.

Tournament Sanctioning FAQ's

  • The calculated player rating, based on tournament win/loss results and opponents UTPR.
  • Has both a 4-digit calculated rating and a rounded down 2-digit skill level.
  • The official USA Pickleball rating for sanctioned tournament play. Players may have a doubles, mixed doubles and a singles rating (one for each type of event they participate in).
  • Are used to register for sanctioned tournaments

General Liability covers volunteers, staff and first responders that you have at your tournament.  Depending on the number of players and number of days of your tournament, this insurance, if purchased separately, could run between $100 to $700 and more

Secondary Accident coverage is secondary to the players primary insurance but available to the USA Pickleball members who participate in a sanctioned tournament.  If a player does not have primary insurance, this will be used as their primary insurance.  If purchased separately, the cost is generally the same, $100 to $700 and more.

Insurance Request

USA Pickleball sanctioned tournaments are insured by a General Liability Policy and Participant Accident Policy. The general liability insurance provided with USA Pickleball sanctioning is in effect when the Tournament Director requests a certificate for proof of insurance (Click here). The certificate should be requested at least 30 days before the start of the tournament. A certificate will only be issued upon request and after receipt of the sanction fee (If you are not using pickleballtournaments.com software).

USA Pickleball Right of Refusal

USA Pickleball reserves the right to refuse to sanction tournaments, list tournaments on the USA Pickleball website/calendar, or accept advertising where a tournament director has:

  • Not complied with USA Pickleball policies or rules
  • Disparaged USA Pickleball
  • Created deceptive or confusing forms, advertising or promotional materials wrongly implying or stating USA Pickleball involvement in the tournament or making other factual misstatements that could mislead players on significant matters. This includes duplicating major USA Pickleball tournament names, with terms such as “National”, “Regional”, etc. where USA Pickleball deems the term is in direct conflict with an existing USA Pickleball event.

Player requirements

  • USA Pickleball member in good standing.
  • *NOTE – If you are planning on playing in a USA Pickleball sanctioned tournament and your membership expires before the end of the tournament you will need to renew your membership before you can register.

TD Requirements

Tournament Scoring Options

The recommended tournament scoring option is best two of three games to 11 points, win by 2 points. Other options include:

  • One game to 15 or one game to 21
  • All formats win by 2 points
  • Round Robins may also use one game to 11, win by 2, as long as the bracket has six or more teams.

5 tournament formats may be used:

  1. Single Elimination with Consolation Bracket
  2. Double Elimination
  3. Round Robin
  4. Pool Play
  5. Non-Pool Play

For detailed information on each approved format, please utilize the USA Pickleball Rulebook

Approved Formats 

  • Agree to use Approved Formats
  • Submit the completed tournament results report within one week of tournament completion to the Tournament Results Chair (tourney-results@usapickleball.org) 
  • **STRONGLY SUGGESTED - Do not open registration more than 90 days before the tournament start date

MMP Referee Requirements for ALL MMP tournaments 

  • Medal matches in a single or double-elimination bracket.
  • Plus, the two matches leading up to the medal matches. In the single or double-elimination format, it is the final match in the winner’s bracket and the match leading up to the bronze medal match in the consolation bracket.
  • If a USA Pickleball trained referee (Trainee, Level 1 or Level 2 referees) requests to referee a match(es), the TD or Referee Coordinator will ask players if they want a referee for their match. If all four players agree to have a referee and one is available, the referee will be granted the opportunity to referee those matches without pay. This will be applicable for the earlier round matches which are not required to be refereed.
  • The TD must list the referee’s name for each required match. Please get in touch with info@pickleballtournaments.com if needing assistance to provide this referee information.
  • Tournament Directors must provide an opportunity for referee training before and during (e.g. shadowing) the event. USA Pickleball recommends a referee training class conducted by a certified referee or registered trainer prior to the event with an option of referee shadowing during the event.

What is Medal-Match Plus (MMP) Sanctioning?

MMP (Medal Match Plus) allows a modified referee requirement for USA Pickleball sanctioned tournaments. You must have a referee for the winner bracket and consolation bracket finals as well as the Gold/Silver and Bronze medal matches.  

  • If a USA Pickleball trained referee (Trainee, Level 1 or Level 2 referees) requests to referee a match(es), the TD or Referee Coordinator will ask players if they want a referee for their match. If all four players agree to having a referee and one is available, the referee will be granted the opportunity to referee those matches without pay. This will be applicable for the earlier round matches which are not required to be refereed.
  • The TD must list the referee’s name for each required match. Please contact info@pickleballtournaments.com if needing assistance to provide this referee information.
  • Tournament Directors must provide an opportunity for referee training before and during (e.g. shadowing) the event. USA Pickleball recommends a referee training class conducted by a certified referee or registered trainer prior to the event with an option of referee shadowing during the event.
What is Standard Sanctioning?
In a standard sanctioned tournament every match is required to have a referee.
What is No-Referee Sanctioning?
No-referee sanctioning is available for tournaments with less than 300 players. Referees are not required for matches, but any tournament requesting to use the no-referee option requires an on-site USA Pickleball Certified Referee, who will be present at the venue to answer player questions and address on-court issues. 

The No-Referee option is not available to the following tournaments:

  1. USA Pickleball National Championship
  2. All National Championship Series (NCS) Tournaments
  3. National Indoor Championship
  4. USA Pickleball Diamond Regional Tournaments
  5. Diamond Amateur Championship
  6. Any tournament with prize money. Every bracket of prize money tournaments must be refereed at least at the MMP level.
  7. Any tournament with greater than 300 registered players

*For suggested referee compensation, please contact our Director of Officiating

*Please make sure you contact us before establishing your tournament budget*

The Tournament Director or sponsoring club must complete and submit a USA Pickleball Tournament  Sanctioning Application at least 30 days prior to the registration opening date. The USA Pickleball Tournament Coordinator is responsible for approving or denying all sanctioning requests.

Do NOT open tournament registration until the tournament status has been updated from 'pending' to 'sanctioned'


1. The Tournament Director has consulted with local government officials and has been advised accordingly that this tournament may be held so long as all applicable government requirements have been satisfied and are maintained throughout the duration of the tournament. 

2. The Tournament Director must sign and return the CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE that confirms the tournament meets all government requirements and protocols will be implemented and enforced by the tournament organizers and facility management for the duration of the tournament. This document must also be emailed to USA Pickleball: sanctioning@usapickleball.org.

3. The updated USA Pickleball participant waiver (with the COVID-19 language) must be signed by all players prior to check-in.  Tournament Directors will be given a copy of the waiver in advance.

All players must sign the new USA Pickleball waiver (2020 version) prior to check-in.

  1. Please do not open your registration prior to the update of tournament status from pending to sanctioned
  2. Please use the COVID-19 waiver that is provided
  3. Please ensure that all players sign the COVID-19 waiver prior to check-in (click here for waiver)

Items required before tournament is updated from 'pending' to 'sanctioned'

  • submit sanction fee (if not using PickleballTournaments.com software) 
  • declare tournament ball
  • submit Tournament Director Checklist
  • submit completed & signed Certificate of Compliance

USA Pickleball Sanction Application

Payment of Sanction Fee - $150 (complimentary if using PickleballTournaments.com Software)

After the sanctioning request has been approved by the USA Pickleball Tournament Coordinator, the Tournament Director may advertise that they are sanctioned by USA Pickleball. After receiving payment of the sanction fee, USA Pickleball will advertise the tournament on the USA Pickleball calendar and will display the sanctioning logo. The “USA Pickleball Sanctioned Event” logo will be supplied via email to the tournament director and may be used in all tournament media.

Tournament Director Checklist

The Tournament Director must agree to complete and submit the Tournament Director Checklist.

Tournament Director Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Tournament Director to be certain that players are competing in the correct events based on age or rating. List of approved events can be found here. Allowing ineligible players to compete in a bracket impacts the sanctioning. Questions about combining brackets can be addressed to: USA Pickleball Tournament Results Chair. If any players join or renew USA Pickleball membership at the tournament, please let us know. A player’s age in a sanctioned tournament will be determined by the player’s age on December 31. An exception will be made if a state senior games organization mandates a different date in their tournament.

*For suggested referee compensation please contact Director of Officiating Mark Peifer @ mpeifer@usapickleball.org*

*Please make sure you contact Mark prior to establishing your tournament budget*

Tournament Rules

The tournament director must follow all USA Pickleball Official Tournament Rules.

Tournament Management Software

Use pickleballtournaments.com software (auto USA Pickleball member verification and data linked for ratings. Pickleballbrackets.com and pickleballden.com are also available options for sanctioned tournaments of 300 players or less for UTPR calculation.

UTPR Upload Rules 

UTPR Upload Guidelines (PDF) 

Results Reporting

Within one week of the end of a tournament, completed results must be reported to the Tournament Results Chair. USA Pickleball member numbers and expiration dates must be included to ensure accurate identification. If results are not received within 2 weeks of completion of tournament they may not be accepted for UTPR calculations.

USA Pickleball Membership Forms

Arrange for a USA Pickleball Ambassador to be available during the duration of the event to promote the sport, answer questions regarding membership for players who wish to join USA Pickleball or renew their memberships and field any other questions from players and/or spectators. New memberships and membership renewals along with their checks must be sent to: USA Pickleball, PO Box 7354, Surprise, AZ 85374.


The tournament shall be open to all players who meet the general requirements of any tournament, such as age or skill level. Entries may be limited by geographical locations such as city, county, regional, or state residency. Draw sizes in events may be limited because of court availability, but must take entrants in the order they are received.

Rating Skills

The ratings for many USA Pickleball members are in the USA Pickleball rating system and can be viewed on the USA Pickleball Ratings page. This is most important for skill-level tournaments. Ratings are also important for seeding players within events. If a player is not rated they can self-rate. When members do not request to "pre-set" their 4-digit UTPR with their determined self-rating, their initial 4-digit rating becomes the average of the players playing in their first event bracket, hence a higher than expected UTPR can be generated.  For assistance on presetting your rating please contact ratingsadmin@usapickleball.org.

Wheelchair Players

In accordance with the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act, USA Pickleball will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs or activities.  Rules for wheelchair players are in the IFP Rulebook or you can click here to view them.

Junior Competition 

For Junior competitive divisions please use the following approved format

  • Three age divisions: 12U, 14U, 18U
  • Round Robin Non-Elimination Draws

*Juniors may play up in the junior age divisions or participate in the 19+ only adult division

NOTE: They may not enter into any other older age events, however, if brackets have to be combined:

  • The 19+ bracket can only be combined with a 35+ bracket if there is a junior team in the 19+ bracket
  • If there are not enough teams in the 19+ and 35+ bracket the junior team would need to play up in skill to the next 19+ bracket. i.e. 3.0 19+ to 3.5 19+
  • In the event that there is one player who is a junior and one who is not, they can play in the 19+ bracket and the next age bracket that needs to be combined.  i.e. Team A 14yrs old & 54yrs old / Teams B, C and D, 52yrs old and 52yrs old combine the brackets 19+ and 50+.  You have one player who is eligible to play in the 50+ bracket, but is playing down in the 19+ bracket with a younger player which allows them to play 19+.
  • If there is a juniors team playing in the 19+ age group then 50+ and up age brackets cannot be combined down to play with the 19+ bracket.
  • Juniors may not play in both junior and adult divisions in the same tournament.

**Juniors Tournaments will not utilize a system of player ratings for category/skill differentiation.

***Players that participate in a junior division will NOT receive UTPR credit.

Click here for recommendations and rationale for youth participation and tournament play.

Sanctioned Tournaments earning USA Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings (UTPR)

Effective April 1, 2021

USA Pickleball, as part of the on-going improvements to align the sport for the continued and next wave of growth, is making updates to the earning of UTPR’s at various tournaments.  If you are playing in a tournament scheduled after April 1, 2021 and it is not sanctioned you will no longer receive UTPR credit.  

Effective April 1, 2021, USA Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings (UTPR) towards will be earned as follows:

  • All Tournaments Standard, MMP or No-Ref will receive 100% UTPR credit

  • Fully Sanctioned Tournaments require referees for every match

  • MMP (Medal Match Plus) Sanctioned Tournaments will have referees for the Gold/Silver and Bronze medal matches as well as the winner and consolation bracket finals

  • No-Ref Sanctioned Tournaments require a Certified Referee onsite for the entire tournament to address on court issues and answer any player questions while assisting the tournament director
  • Non-Sanctioned Tournaments – effective April 1, 2021 changes from 60% towards UTPR rating to 0% towards UTPR rating, this is in alignment with national sports governing bodies sanctioned events.

  • Sanctioning Fees are required and all players must be USA Pickleball members to participate in a sanctioned event

There are significant benefits to the various sanctioned tournaments for both Tournament Directors and players to ensure a great success for all. 

Non-Sanctioned Events

USA Pickleball sanctioned tournaments that wish to offer non-sanctioned events, such as demonstrations, clinics, and co-occurring tournaments, should, if possible, offer these events on days either before or after the dates set for sanctioned tournament play.

If holding these events before or after the tournament play dates is not possible, all non-sanctioned events must be disclosed in the application process and approved by USA Pickleball before they can be publicized and held.

If the tournament director or organizer receives approval by USA Pickleball to conduct a non-sanctioned event with its sanctioned tournament, the director or organizer agrees and acknowledges that:

  1. The event is not covered under any USA Pickleball-issued certificate of insurance unless the certificate explicitly states that it is covered;
  2. Players participating in the non-sanctioned event are not covered by any USA Pickleball insurance policy unless the certificate explicitly states that they are covered;
  3. USA Pickleball player ratings will not be awarded; and
  4. The tournament director or organizer will communicate the above three conditions to the event participants in the disclosure materials and application forms (electronic or otherwise) furnished to them.

At the discretion of USA Pickleball, tournament directors and organizers who attempt to circumvent the sanctioning process in any way or who offer contemporaneous unapproved events with a USA Pickleball sanctioned tournament will not receive sanctioning approval or will have their sanctioning revoked.