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Pickleball Lives Here

National Junior Pickleball Tour Takes Off

by Luke Burton on

The National Junior Pickleball (NJP) Southeast Regional Powered by DUPR at Rhythm & Rally took place from February 2nd to 4th, transforming Macon, GA, into a hub of competitive spirit. This event though was more than just a tournament; it was a unique opportunity to unite Junior players and families, fostering the growth of the Junior Pickleball community.

Inclusive and Friendly Competition

The Juniors-Only tournament was open to players ages 8-18 of all skill levels, emphasizing inclusivity and sportsmanship. The event started by allowing players to meet and form partnerships before committing to a team, ensuring everyone had the chance to join in the fun. The event was organized with a round-robin format followed by medal matches.

The tournament also featured a 4-Player Team Event, with teams consisting of 4 youth players regardless of gender. This included a singles tie-breaker which added an element of unpredictability, ensuring an unforgettable experience for both players and their families.

Lesson From The Pros

Ryler DeHeart and Megan Fudge Hosting a Clinic

The kids also had the opportunity to take a clinic with Pickleball Pros Megan Fudge and Ryler DeHeart, a fantastic learning experience we're sure they won't forget.

The NJP Tournament experience goes beyond the courts, families have opportunities to connect, new friendships are formed, and the shared love for pickleball is celebrated, making the tournament a truly memorable experience for everyone involved.

"Most of these kids are playing adults in their recreational play. They were thrilled to finally play with other kids their age. Some families said they're already booking flights to come to our next tour stops."
— Courtney Loughridge, CEO of NJP Tour

The kids received an event t-shirt and a Skechers swag bag packed with exciting items, including a DUPR towel, a Franklin X-40 pickleball, a pair of Locklaces, a Pickleball Superstore bag tag, a CRUSH Court Med Kit, a Chick-fil-A meal coupon, and more. The personalized NJP MYPadL band added a special touch to commemorate the event.

Junior Champs

NJP Tour Medal Winners

Medals were awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in all divisions, with Gold Medalists earning free registration into the NJP Championships in the fall. This not only celebrated the achievements of the young athletes but also provided a pathway for further competition and recognition.

The Tour Has Just Begun

NJP Tour Players Competing

The Southeast Regional was just the beginning of the 2024 NJP Tour, with five more regional tournaments and a Championship Cup planned throughout the year. The estimated 1,000 Junior participants across the events are set to create a groundbreaking opportunity for showcasing the remarkable talent of Junior players. Their next stop is at Picklemall in Tempe, AZ on March 21-24.

The 2024 National Junior Pickleball Tour promises an exciting journey for Junior players and their supporters, building on the success of past championships and creating lasting memories in the vibrant world of pickleball.

Luke Burton

Luke Burton

Luke is the Chief Growth Officer at The Dink as well as the producer for the pickleball podcast Tennis Sucks. He picked up pickleball in 2020 and now plays competitively in the state.