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Five Reasons to Play in The Dink Minor League Pickleball

by Jason Flamm on

Pickleball tournaments can be a lot of fun. They can also be long, frustrating, and a pain in the you-know-what. While many players consider those annoyances part of the experience, The Dink Minor League proves they don’t have to be.

While we wanted to name this piece "Why The Dink Minor League Tournaments Are Better Than Any You’ve Ever Competed in Before," we decided its current title was probably best.

Here are Five Reasons to Play in The Dink Minor League Pickleball.

They start on time and don’t take your entire day

Every tournament player knows that the worst part of tournaments is that they rarely start on time, and you end up spending the entire day mostly just sitting around.

The time between matches could be 15 minutes or two and a half hours.

This is not the case with The Dink Minor League tournaments. 

If you have a tournament that starts in the morning and have a family event later that night, you don’t have to worry about telling your mom you’ll be late. 

Thanks to the way the games and matches are formatted, tournaments start on time and finish within a few hours. Almost as soon as one game ends, another begins.

This means less time sitting around waiting and more time playing.

(It also means less cramping, though I’d still bring my massage gun if I were you.)

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They feature all types of play in one day

Most tournament schedules include separate days for singles, doubles, and mixed events. So, if you play in more than one, you might be expected to show up on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Going out of town for a tournament becomes a week-long road trip.

Again, not with The Dink Minor League.

Each match guarantees two games of mixed and gender doubles. If your teams are tied after the first four matches, you play a singles-style match called a DreamBreaker to determine the winner.

That means you can play singles, gender, and mixed doubles all in one. That’s fun.

They have less sandbagging

Another common complaint among tournament players is the amount of sandbagging. Sandbagging is when a player or a team plays well below their rating in an attempt to get an easy win.

For example, if a 5.200 DUPR-rated player enters a 4.0-level tournament, they could end up with lopsided matches. Unfortunately, most tournaments can’t handle large discrepancies in player ratings and matchups.

In The Dink Minor League tournaments, levels are made up of aggregate DUPR scores:

  • DUPR 20 (The team’s aggregate DUPR must not exceed 20.99)
  • DUPR 18 (max aggregate 18.30)
  • DUPR 16 (max aggregate 16.30)
  • DUPR 14* (max aggregate 14.30)
  • DUPR 12** (max aggregate 12.30)

*Maximum individual player DUPR cannot exceed 4.10 to play in DUPR 14

**Maximum individual player DUPR cannot exceed 3.60 to play in DUPR 12

For example, in a DUPR 20 Division, you could have four players rated 5.00 (5+5+5+5=20) or players rated 6.00,4.50,4.50,5.00 (=20), or any combination thereof that is < 20.30. The same logic applies to DUPR 18, 16, 14 Divisions.

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*DUPR 12 and 22 are available in specific markets and special events. If DUPR 22 is available, the DUPR 20 max aggregate is 20.30, and DUPR 22 is 22.99) 

Because of this, The Dink Minor League can create level-based, competitive play across all DUPR skill levels. 

If a player or an entire team is "better" than their DUPR score says they are, that will change once the tournament results are posted, preventing them from playing "down" a level in the next one.

They can be far less expensive

Besides entry fees, tournaments can be expensive, especially for those who travel. You must pay for food, drinks, lodging, and travel expenses. If you’re playing in more than one event, you’d have to do this for multiple days.

The Dink Minor League tournaments last only one day – maybe two if it’s a large one

If you like bringing your kids to tournaments, that’s a game-changer. 

They have a National Leaderboard

The final reason to play in The Dink Minor League is the National Leaderboard. Who doesn’t like to see their name on the high score list? 

Each The Dink Minor League event you play in – local or regional – awards you points based on performance. 

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Those points change depending on the number of teams in your division. For example, let’s say a DUPR 14 event has nine teams. The team that wins that tournament receives nine points. Second place receives eight points. Even last place receives one point.

The more events you play in, the more points you can earn. 

The only caveat is that each division has its own set of points. This means that if you play a DUPR 14 event and earn six points and then play in a DUPR 12 event and earn 10 points, you won’t get 16 points for the leaderboard. Instead, you receive six points on the DUPR 14 board and 10 points on the DUPR 12 board.

This is another way to prevent players from sandbagging and accumulating extra points outside their main division.

You can find the National Leaderboard – updated monthly – here.

Ready to play in The Dink Minor League?

You can learn more about The Dink Minor League and see the calendar of upcoming tournaments at The Dink Minor League website.

And if you have questions, check out our recent FAQ:

Frequently Asked Questions About The Dink Minor League
Looking for more information about The Dink Minor League? Want to learn more about how to host a local event? We’ve got all of your resources.

So, are you ready to play? Let's go!


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Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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