By: Tony Roig | March 5, 2021 |

What Pickleball Tournament Play Taught Me About Rec Play

Last weekend, I competed in the Professional Pickleball Players (PPA) event in Tampa. Even though I was entered in the Senior Pro division, PPA events have skill levels and age events for all players. The division doesn’t matter. The things I garnered from those two days and what I’m about to share with you go far beyond playing in a pickleball tournament.

Let me start by saying it didn’t matter that I was playing in a pickleball tournament. It was a really good weekend! There are times when things just seem to click, and this was one of those weekends for me as a player and, more importantly, as a person.

Does that mean that I played perfect pickleball … or won all my matches … or got the gold?


I made mistakes. Both physical and mental. We did not win all our matches. And we did not win gold – or even medal.




Went out there and did our best.


Played with honor. Honor for the game, for our opponents, our partners, and, importantly, for ourselves.

Were gracious in both victory and defeat, even when it was lopsided.

When playing at a level that challenges us, and I assure you that playing Pro definitely does 🙂, we have to accept that only three out of X teams will be on the medal stand. If success is only measured by being one of those three teams (much less thinking gold alone is the metric), you will mostly not enjoy tournament play or rec play for that matter.

I walked off each court with my head held high knowing that we had left what we had on the court. Win, lose, or (almost) draw (we had an exciting match with an 18-16 result which we will be talking about more in the coming weeks), we went out there and gave it our all.

Check out Tony and our VIPickleball Members, Casey, Laurie, Bob, and Jill, in Action at PPA Tampa

What if we could apply those same lessons to rec play?

Accept and Learn from your mistakes

Don’t expect to win every game

Stop measuring your success by W’s and L’s

Leave it all on the court

Be gracious in victory and defeat. Bobby D. recently observed “Sometimes you’re the lion and other times you’re the dear in the headlights”

We’d love to know what have you learned from pickleball tournament play, fun events, or rec play? Put it in the comments below.


Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.