Last weekend, Toledo Pickleball Club hosted their annual fundraising tournament, the Glass City Classic at their courts in Rossford, Ohio. The tournament offered men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. These events were completed over three days with a total of 236 matches played. Players came from near and far, including Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, and even England.
It was exciting to see many local players from the clubs in the metro Toledo area enter the tournament. For many, this was their first tournament besides their own inter-club tournaments. Some matches were against players they knew, and others against players they met for the first time. Playing against teams for the first time offers an additional challenge that you don’t get when you play against the same folks all the time in open play, where you get to know their game.
Since I love playing in tournaments, it was a pleasure to see the positive energy and excitement shared by so many. Comments from some of the newer tournament players, included, “I need to work on my soft game,” and “Wow, I thought I was x.x rating, but I struggled in my bracket,” and I even heard the opposite, “…….I seemed to win my games pretty easily.” But the best comment I heard was, “How do I find out where more tournaments are? That was a blast!”
For those of you who want to continue to play in tournaments, I would like to offer you just a couple simple suggestions:
- Learn and practice your soft game. This doesn’t mean that you can’t hit the ball hard, but by adding a soft shot to your game you will be able to change up the pace of the rally if you find you are being beat by a team who is able to handle your hard shots. Remember, a series soft shots (dinks) are intended to move your opponent into a position that will create a hole for you to hit to and potentially put away and score the point.
- Use your time outs! You’re given two time outs in each game. If you have given up 3-4 points in a row to your opponent, it might be time to call a time out and “stop the bleeding!” This time is best used to talk to your partner to either calm them (or you) down or to discuss an alternate strategy. If you have a time out left and you are losing, definitely call a time out when your opponent gets to 9 or 10 points (13 or 14 in a game to 15). Just stopping their momentum could allow you to get back into the game. Forgetting your time outs when you are losing is like forgetting your mulligans in a golf outing!
- If you either struggled or breezed through your matches, take time to check out the International Federation of Pickleball website for a complete list of rating descriptions. These descriptions will help you determine whether you should enter your next tournament at a different rating, or what skills you should work on in order to better compete at your current rating.
- Look for your next tournament opportunity at PickleballTournaments.com. There you can search by for tournaments in chronological order, or by state. Not all tournaments are listed there, but most are.
Since Toledo is the Glass City, instead of medals, the prize awards are always some type of custom etched glassware. Congratulations to all the “Plate” winners at the Toledo Pickleball Club Glass City Classic!
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