Scheduling Matches in a Pickleball Tournament

Having been involved in athletics most of my life, I’ve been part of the battle fought by girls and women for equal opportunities in school sponsored athletics.  Prior to the passing of Title IX,  female athletes in schools all over the country were thought of as non-competitive bodies who appeared on the playing field only as a recreational pursuit.  THAT concept has completely reversed itself!  Women are competing in a variety of sports at a high level of skill and entertainment.  It is now known that female athletes CAN play fullcourt basketball without damaging themselves physically.  They swim - they run - they even box and wrestle - and all of these activities are accepted in our society as being safe.  Just as we were concerned as a society about the safety of our female athletes, shouldn’t we also be concerned about what is safe physically for our older, “more mature” athletes?  In a recent study that was done analyzing the number of entries in the Huntsman Sr. Games and the USAPA National Tournament, it was proven that people are playing and competing in pickleball at an older age.  There were more entries in men’s doubles and mixed doubles in the 70 and older age groups than we’ve ever had before.  It is time that more thought is given to the scheduling of matches in tournaments.  In the recent USAPA tournament, players went from one match to the next with only 5 minutes between matches.  In the case of the matches being played in the winners half of the draw, that meant playing 2 out of 3 games - and in some cases going to 3 games - having 5minutes to breath and drink water - and then starting the next 2 out of 3 game match.  I can’t help but wonder if that kind of scheduling is really safe for the elderly player.  Added to the stress of that kind of schedule is the hot weather.  Please think through thoroughly the impact of that kind of scheduling as you plan your next tournament!!

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