Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Tournament Tough

Coach Wayne’s Corner

Photo courtesy of Jodi Pree
| “See top professional players like Triple Crown winner Simone Jardim scheduled to compete at this year Open!”


Upon seeing the title of this column, you were probably anticipating receiving some insight and advice on how to prepare yourself and your game for a tournament, but have you ever stopped to think about all of the preparation that goes into running a tournament? Especially an event as large and spectacular is the Minto U.S. Open Pickleball Championships?

“The Open” is scheduled for the week of April 17 to 26. Daily attendance is free, with access to all 60 courts, except for the Zing Zang Championship Courts.

Preparation for converting East Naples Community Park from the world’s largest public pickleball facility to the world’s largest pickleball party began back on March 28th. Several major improvements are being initiated in preparation for the event.

The Zing Zang Championship Court is being resurfaced and grandstands will be set up on the four surrounding teaching courts under the big blue canopy. The four teaching courts will be resurfaced after the tournament providing five new teaching courts under the canopy. 

The bathrooms have been updated and remodeled.

Numerous drink stations have been installed throughout the park.

In addition to these permanent improvements, many temporary changes are being made to accommodate the event.

The main parking lot will be covered in tents to house the vender display booths.

The soccer fields will be utilized for parking.

Additional parking will be available at Sugden Park with shuttle service to the tournament site.

Some 300 tournament sponsors banners will be hung throughout the park.

A lot of time, effort, and hard work go into preparing a site for a tournament as large as the U.S. Open. Work crews and volunteers will be busy right up to the opening day of the tournament.

So, if you plan on attending “The Open”, make sure that while you are there enjoying yourself and watching some of the best professional players in the world, take the time to look around and notice all the hard work and preparation that went into making the Minto U S Open Championships the biggest pickleball party in the world. 

Oh, and take the time to thank a volunteer for being there helping to make your tournament attendance experience as great as it is!

Finally, here is some advice on how to be “tournament tough” as a spectator.

Stay well hydrated. Bring your own water bottle – there are drink stations located all over the park.

Take sunscreen with you and plan on re-applying during the day.

Wear a hat.

Wear a comfortable pair of walking or running shoes.

Plan on taking advantage of some of the great food vendors and having lunch or dinner at the tournament.

Plan on doing some shopping at one of the many product vendors display booths.

Most of all, enjoy watching some of the best pickleball players on the planet compete.

Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with The Naples Pickleball Center and Training Academy at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at coachwayneclark@aol.com, or by or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.


Submitted Photo


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