There are only a few days left before the holidays, but just because you don’t have time to spare for shipping doesn’t mean you can’t give a present to a pickleball lover.
The following all require zero time in transit so that you can provide them at the perfect moment. Better still, several of these options are experiential, so they’ll live forever in the recipient’s memories. Go ahead and choose a gift that will keep on giving!
Gift certificates get a bad rap as being uninspired and noncommittal, but many pickleball players are very selective about their gear and prefer freedom to find the right fit. Perhaps they mentioned a specific paddle they’re after, but unless you’re in close contact they may have already bought the item they wanted, so it’s safer to let them choose their own products. A gift card is always appreciated and lets the recipient select a present they’ll certainly use. Be sure to choose email delivery after adding the gift card to your cart so you won’t be waiting on snail mail.
Pickle Palooza is an event that will run from Feb 21-23 (2020) in Phoenix, AZ. Hosted by senior pros Steve Dawson and Dave Fleming, it includes court exhibitions, paddle demos, pro interviews, skill instruction, open play and more. This is an ideal experience for a player you know who loves the sport but might not feel ready for competitive play, or even for a tournament-goer who’d enjoy downtime around the greats. Visitors have tons of opportunities to engage with the pickleball community at large in a fun, lively environment. The celebration takes place at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, which offers plenty of its own entertainment with a spa, golf course, 5 pools and outstanding restaurants.
Help take someone’s skills to the next level with an intensive BOOST training camp. Geared towards 3.0 – 4.0 rated players, these intermediate courses run for several days and are led by some of the world’s best pickleball players and instructors. The programs involve drills and clinics that improve technique and translate into fast improvement during competitive games. Participants spend over 12 hours with optional open play time working to strengthen their mechanics and strategies. The instructor to student ratio is 8 to 1 to allow for personal attention, and camps are offered in several locations throughout the U.S. including WA, CA, HI and AZ.
Pickleball originated on Bainbridge Island, WA when a group of families wanted to create a game to share with their kids. In honor of the three founders’ contributions, six new courts are being built on the island at Battle Point Park. For $150 you can buy one of the bricks that will be used to build the walkways and areas between the courts and have the recipient’s name immortalized within the facility. It’s a great way to publicly show the giftee’s support and love for the sport. This is an especially meaningful gift for someone who inspired your pickleball journey—whether that’s the person who introduced you to the game or a club leader (larger bricks are available if you want to include a logo or other image in the design). Their contributions will be known to all in a soon-to-be historic location.
5. Make a Donation To a Pickleball-Related Cause
Similar to the suggestion above, there are other ways you can contribute to pickleball in honor of a friend or family member at your own price point. One organization is the PLS (Pickleball Legacy Scholarship) Foundation. This group uses funds to award scholarships to qualifying young athletes which can be used toward tuition at accredited educational institutes.
The USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) and Sid Williams Junior Pickleball Fund are both dedicated to increasing accessibility to the sport through the development of programs in schools, recreation centers and other locations (specifically focused on youth pickleball in the case of the Sid Williams Fund). Donations can easily be made online or by sending a check to the addresses listed via the link.
6. Sign Your Giftee Up as a Doubles Tournament Partner
Maybe you’re a pickleball player yourself and enjoy playing the game with your friend. If you know they enjoy competitive play and will have the time for a specific tournament date, you can take the initiative to sign them up (taking care of registration fees) as your doubles partner. Better still if you’re willing to cover their travel costs, especially if it’s to a dreamy destination like Kona at next year’s Hawaii Open (1/22 – 1/25). This event takes place directly after one of the aforementioned BOOST camps in Kona, so you can double down on the pickleball training for an extended stay.
Another great upcoming tournament for those who can’t travel quite so far is the IIPC, the International Indoor Pickleball Championships in Centralia, WA. It’s one of the largest indoor tournaments in the world and runs from 3/30 – 4/5, making it a great option for those who might enjoy a side trip to Portland or Seattle in the early spring.
Lastly, there are two exciting pickleball tours coming up with tournament locations spread widely across the country. If you haven’t seen a nearby state listed yet, take a look at the APP (Association of Pickleball Professionals) and PPA (Professional Pickleball Association) lists to see if they’re hosting a competition in your neighborhood. These tournaments have strong prize money offerings and also lead to championship games with even greater stakes.