Website Last Update: 1-15-2020
2019 SSIPA Tournament Director Planning Tool
For Tournament Directors

This SSIPA Tournament Planning Tool is for use by Tournament Directors (TD). This tool will provide guidance and direction during the listing and implementation of a SSIPA circuit event. The planning tool and tournament guidelines/procedures will be administered by the TD with assistance from a SSIPA support team member.


Tournament Directors (TD):

  • Tournament Directors and venues will be approved by the SSIPA Tournament Support Team.

  • Support contact:

  • Financial Responsibility: TD assumes full financial responsibility for all tournament operations.


Registration and Fees: (Regional and International Tournaments pay no fees and are exempt from the fee structure below.)

  • SSIPA-designated funds ($1.00 per player) will be collected by tournament directors from the tournament registration fees and sent to the SSIPA Treasurer at the conclusion of the event – see below.

  • All entrants must be current USAPA and SSIPA members or pay a one tournament temporary SSIPA membership fee of $5.00 and sent to the SSIPA Treasurer at the conclusion of the event – see below.

  • Arizona tournament players will not be eligible for the temporary membership fee and must be a full member of SSIPA beginning in 2019.

  • SSIPA is currently working with for membership verification to be built into the registration process.  This will eliminate the need for tournament directors or SSIPA support to do unnecessary work.


For Payment: Send check to:

  1. SSIPA, 12121 Glenbrook St, Denton, TX 76207

  2. Or transfer funds into SSIPA PayPal account within 7 days of the close of the tournament.

  3. Contact Fred Thompson, Treasurer,  - (817) 522-6301


All Tournaments will be USAPA Sanctioned:


Additional Tournament Listings:

  • Tournament will be posted on  tournament calendar and identified on the SSIPA Facebook page. TD should immediately notify the SSIPA Tournament Coordinator of any changes to the event. When the tournament is open for registration, a link will be provided from the SSIPA website to will be used for registration and tournament operations/management:

  • See “Create Your Tournament” at:  

  • TD will coordinate with the SSIPA Tournament Support Team prior to posting. The tournament can be posted anytime to let players/members know the dates; it is suggested that the Registration Start Date be approximately 90 days prior to the tournament.


Tournament Balls:

  • Check – under Rules and Referees for current ball and paddle information.

  • Tournament Directors select and determine the ball to be used for play.

  • Refer to USAPA/IFP for current list of approved balls:  

  • Contact your SSIPA Support Team member for assistance or suggestions as companies providing balls change frequently.



Tournament Support from Pickleball Rocks: 

  • Tournament Directors can order SSIPA Circuit Tournament – dri-fit “T” shirts from Pickleball Rocks for a cost of $10.00 per shirt. Minimum order is 12 and includes free shipping. See SSIPA Circuit tournament shirts at for order information. Look for the "WE LOVE SSIPA" link in the upper right corner of the homepage. Select from several SSIPA logo options and then select your shirt color.  There must be only one shipping address for this in order to receive the free shipping. Coordinate with Pickleball Rocks staff to get a mock-up of your chosen shirt design to put on your tournament info page. 

  • Pickleball Rocks will also support each event with FREE “Lime Green Pickleball Rocks” serving bands. Contact Rodney “Rocket” Grubbs to coordinate – 513-703-6338 –



USAPA and SSIPA Banners:

  • USAPA banners can be borrowed from your USAPA Regional Directors. SSIPA Banners will be provided for the tournament by a SSIPA Support Team member.



  • A SSIPA logo will be provided for posting on and for any other marketing needs associated with the authorized SSIPA circuit event.

SSIPA Circuit Event
SSIPA Regional Points Event
SSIPA International Circuit Event

National Anthem:

  • USAPA Sanctioning guidelines require playing the National Anthem.


Tournament Photos:

  • SSIPA has a Tournament Gallery on its web page and would be glad to post photos or a link to any photos that you might take of podium winners or casual shots during play. These can also be posted on the SSIPA group Facebook page. Please provide any photos to our webmaster at:


Budget Development Assistance:

  • Tournament budget development assistance is available upon request. Contact:


SSIPA Representative at your Tournament:

  • A SSIPA Representative may be in attendance to answer any questions you may ask SSIPA procedures. If you have previously run a SSIPA circuit event or are an experienced TD, then a representative may not be assigned for your tournament.  Phone support will be available.

  • Remember, this is your tournament following SSIPA Guidelines.


Tournament Director Commitment Form and Submit:

  • The SSIPA Board will only consider tournaments that have appropriate lead time from approval to tournament start date for consideration as a SSIPA Circuit Event.

  • Please complete and submit a Tournament Director Commitment Form on line at



Tournament Tips from Past SSIPA Events:

  • Tournament Schedule Format – If you will be having singles competition we suggest the following 3-day format: Men’s Doubles/Women’s Singles; Mixed Doubles and then Women’s Doubles and Men’s Singles.

  • Seeding should be done using the UTPR System in

  • Players in SSIPA circuit events may choose to play down in age groups or up in skill groups at registration, but may only change if a partner change is required.

  • Tournament directors need to understand how to create age/skill brackets.  Skill/Age brackets are not an acceptable format for any SSIPA Circuit Event. Regional Tournaments will follow USAPA Guidelines.

  • Consider scheduling older players (70+) for early AM play if high temperatures are anticipated or forecast.

  • Referee Training/Referee Coordinators – A sanctioned tournament requires referee training provided to referees and players prior to a tournament.  The training should be provided by a National Referee Trainer, a USAPA certified referee, or an experienced referee.  These options for a referee coordinator are in order of preference.  Having an experienced referee coordinator working with the operations staff will improve the quality of your tournament.

  • Additionally, many tournaments are using the Player/Referee Pre-Match Orientation that is INCLUDED IN A WELCOME LETTER. The SSIPA support team can provide sample letters to the Tournament Director. See Appendix 2 on page 10.


              Content                                                                                           Page

1           SSIPA Tournament Guidelines/Procedures for                                  6

             Tournament Directors 

2           Player/Referee Pre-Match Orientation                                              10



SSIPA circuit events are managed by tournament directors with oversight from SSIPA. This document outlines roles, responsibilities and guidelines/procedures to be used for the events.





                                                (1)  INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT GUIDELINES


  • International tournaments qualify to be a SSIPA International Circuit Event by offering competition for 60+ age groups.

  • International tournaments are encouraged to follow the SSIPA Planning Tool and Guidelines/Procedures to the maximum extent possible.

  • Tournaments will be identified as: SSIPA INTERNATION EVENTS.

  • There are no fees or SSIPA player fees charged to an International tournament for being a SSIPA International Circuit Event.

  • Players in international tournaments that are SSIPA members (annual or higher) will receive points for medaling in these competitions.

  • SSIPA board will make final determination regarding international tournaments.



                                                (2) REGIONAL TOURNAMENT GUIDELINES


                                   USAPA Regional Tournament Guidelines for a SSIPA Point Event

  1. SSIPA will charge no fee for a regional tournament to be a SSIPA Point Event.

  2. SSIPA will require no memberships in SSIPA for entrants in any regional tournament.

  3. Regional tournaments will follow the guidelines established by the USAPA for regional tournament operations.

  4. SSIPA members that medal in a regional tournament will be awarded points according to the SSIPA Circuit Point System.

  5. SSIPA will be given access for a day to the regional tournament results by staff for determining point awards for SSIPA members that participate in a regional tournament.

  6. The SSIPA Point Event logo will be used on the listing for the regional tournament and may be used in any advertising or promotion of the tournament.

            Adopted by the SSIPA Board 11/6/2019



                                                             (3)  SSIPA CIRCUIT EVENTS GUIDELINES



SSIPA Tournament Coordinators / Board of Directors

  • Develop SSIPA tournament circuit.

  • Work with tournament directors to ensure understanding and compliance with SSIPA guidelines.

  • Publish annual point leader awards guidelines, and determine winners for each age group.


Player - Membership Requirements

  • Participants in SSIPA events must be a SSIPA member.

    1. Memberships are available in annual, 3-year, 5-year and lifetime terms.

  •  Non-members can pay a $5 temporary tournament membership fee in lieu of membership, except for tournaments in Arizona.

  • Only SSIPA members are eligible for points leader’s competition.


Tournament Directors

  • Sign a tournament commitment form agreeing to comply with SSIPA guidelines.

  • Assume full financial responsibility for any SSIPA standalone or embedded circuit event. SSIPA is not responsible for any financial obligations that occur as a result of any tournament.

  • Pay SSIPA an entry fee of $1 per player in the SSIPA events (60+ age groups).

  • Reimburse SSIPA for $5 temporary tournament fees collected through registration.

  • All funds must be paid to SSIPA within 7 days of close of tournament.

  • Use ( for registration and tournament operations, and advertising.

  • Place following note on Welcome page: “Players may choose to play down in age or up a skill level in any SSIPA circuit event.”

  • Set up to ensure that:

    1. Players will have the option at registration to use the age or skill overrides or both.

    2. When registration opens current player list MUST BE TURNED ON.

  • SSIPA Circuit Event logo will be used on circuit events listed on and in any other advertising related to the event. Regional and International logos may be different.

  • SSIPA Circuit Events in the United States will be USAPA sanctioned.

  • Comply with Event Formats (see next section).

  • SSIPA management will be provided administrative access to your tournament in to monitor and assist in following event guidelines.

  • Failure to follow SSIPA tournament guidelines are grounds for removal as a SSIPA circuit event.



Event Formats


  • Events will be held in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.

  • Singles events are encouraged, but are at the tournament director’s discretion.

   Age Groups

  • Events will be held in age groups 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 & 80+.


   Bracket Sizes

  • Bracket sizes 5 and larger would be preferred for SSIPA circuit events.  This can be achieved by combining skills or having players play down one age group to maintain a common skill level.  In certain cases, it will be necessary to have brackets that contain 3 or 4 entries.

   Skill Levels

  • Age groups will be divided into Age/Skill levels when there are 3 or more entries in any Age/Skill event.

  1. Example:  60-64, 3.5, 3 or more entries would constitute a bracket.  However, this group might be combined with another group based on the number of entries following the next guideline below.

  • If there are fewer than 3 entries in any Age/Skill level, the following guidelines would be followed:

  1. 3.0 and 3.5 skill level entrants would be combined within an age group.

  2. 4.5 and 5.0 skill level entrants would be combined within an age group.

  3. 4.0 could be combined with a) or b) above depending on the total number of entries within the age group.

  4. 3.0 and 3.5 will not be combined with 4.5 and 5.0 in age groups 60+, 65+ and 70+.

  5. Players may choose to play down into any age group to play with players at their same skill level.

  Match Formats (as approved by the USAPA for sanctioning)

  • 3 or 4 entrants – Round Robin.

  • 5 entrants – Round Robin or Double Elimination.

  • 6 entrants and up – Double Elimination.


  • When there are not enough entrants to make an event bracket in any of the five SSIPA age groups and/or skill levels, the following guidelines will be followed:

    1. Players will be placed into a lower age bracket using the guidelines outlined above.

    2. Players will be responsible for monitoring the registration of the groupings for the events they enter.  Any event where players are being combined down in age due to a limited number of entries will constitute a possible request for a refund by a player either for the event or the entire entry.  Players requesting a refund prior to the closing of registration will be provided a full refund minus any service charge previously stated by the tournament management.  Tournament Directors will allow these refunds after tournament registration closes.

  • If there are a limited number of players in the 75+ and 80+ age categories in a SSIPA circuit event, Tournament Directors will combine all teams, regardless of skill levels into a single bracket for each event. The two age groups would be combined also. In this case, all age/skill levels would be medaled separately. Remember, players can ALWAYS play down in age to stay in their skill level.



  • Note: Any player who "elects" to play down in age, or up in skill, when their age/skill brackets are already available, will only medal in that bracket they choose.  For example, if in MS, a 75-79 player elects to play down in 70-74, and there is a 75-79 bracket available, then that player, if he finishes 4th out of 4 players, gets no medal.  This does NOT apply to those "combo" brackets that the TD has combined.  This only applies to those players who volunteer to play down in age or up in skill. Additionally, if a player registering for an event at a higher skill level or lower age group with 2 or more entrants for the purpose of winning a medal or gaining SSIPA points is not acceptable and is grounds for removal from the points system competition and forfeiture of the medal to be awarded. ( flags these entrants in the system for simple recognition and review during the registration process.)

  • SSIPA will continue to separate medal age and skill groups that have been entered according to the regular age group and rating system (UTPR – USAPA Tournament Player Rating).






This tournament will be using a format for how Referees will review and present the Match Pre-Orientation instructions which are given prior to each match.  You should also review the most recent rule revisions (USAPA website under 'Rules/Refs’, click on ‘Official Rules’, then scroll down to Major Rules Revisions).  Also, ensure the paddle you plan to use is officially approved by USAPA (USAPA website under Rules/Refs).
PLAYERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR reading and understanding all IFP rules as stated in the 2018 OFFICIAL PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENT RULEBOOK and the Pre-Orientation Instructions which are outlined below.  All pre-match instructions below will not be covered in the pre-match briefing.  Your participation assumes you have read and understand the rules below prior to the tournament.


  1. Wait for the referee to call the complete score before you begin your service motion.  Failure to do so, will result in a Fault. 

  2. Players call the center line on serves.  Referee will call short serves.

  3. Players make all line calls: “OUT” with arm raised high.  No immediate call means “IN.”  Players can appeal line calls to the referee.  Referees will not give their opinion unless asked.  [Exceptions to this will be matches using line judges.]

  4. The Referee watches for foot faults at the NVZ and server foot faults. 

  5. Players may ask, “Am I the correct server?” and “What is the score?” The Referee will only answer the question you have asked. (The Referee will no longer answer any question about player position; only the player’s score will be stated. New rule; 4B.9.)

  6. Once the score has been called, the receiver cannot become “not ready” unless there is a valid hinder. (New rules; 4C.2. and results in a Fault; 4N.4.)

  7. A player may appeal to the referee to make the call if he or she did not clearly see the ball land. If the referee is unable to make the call, the ball is “in.”

  8. Each team gets two 1-minute time outs per-game.   Referee will announce, “15 seconds,” and players must then get into position by the end of the 1-minute time out. Referee will then call the score, server will have 10 seconds to serve and the receiver must immediately be ready to receive.  It is recommended that players place paddles on the court in the correct court position with the ball under the server’s paddle when a time out is called.

  9. Round Robin Tie Breaker: 1st = head to head; 2nd is point differential of all games played. 

  10. Remember the Code of Ethics for line-calling. “When in doubt, do not say “Out.”

  11. Inappropriate behavior (verbal or physical) will not be tolerated.  This IS your Warning.  A Technical Foul will be called.  A second technical foul will affect forfeiture of the match.  (13.G.3.a.)


The referee will ask the players if they have read the pre-orientation instructions and understand the rules.  Players will answer, “yes”.


Referee will do introductions, verify players, ID first servers & proper wrist bands, check paddles, inform players of format (2 out of 3 to 11 win by 2 or 1 to 15 win by 2, or 1 to 21 win by 2).  Select a player to choose between “1 or 2”.  Winner of that choice will be the first to select “serve, side, or receive.” Referee will then state, “Wait for me to call the complete score before you serve, or a fault will be called.  Make “OUT” calls immediately, loudly. Any Questions? 

CLICK HERE to review and fill out the Tournament Directors Commitment Form