Youngster playing pickleball.
Youngster playing pickleball. Shutterstock

Junior PPA parent tip: Tournament must-haves

DALLAS, TX - Now that kids are out of school, traveling to a pickleball tournament is truly a family affair.

The Junior PPA offers a perfect space for youngsters to compete against each other and develop their skills in the process, so participating in events around the country is a wonderful summertime activity. 

Before you start zipping up those tournament bags, though, check out some key items that Junior PPA parents suggest are super important to always include for any trip. 

Remember the necessities

“I’m traveling with a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old, so they forget a lot. I prep everything the night before. I double everything. I make sure they have two sets of uniforms, double sneakers, and paddles, towels, and a hat,” explained Polina Libo.

With the hustle and bustle of making sure everyone has what they need, sometimes it’s the little things like socks and shoes that somehow get lost in the scuffle.

Remember to cover the basics.  

“Make sure the kids have their necessities - their shoes, socks, and paddles - because believe it or not, they still forget their shoes and leave them in the car,” said Erika Paman-Mercado.

Ricky Thais also noted that an extra pair of sunglasses and a sunglass strap to keep them in place is a necessity. 

Paman-Mercado recommended a First Aid Kit as well.

Hydration and electrolytes 

Since the majority of tournaments are held outdoors and we’re moving into the hot summer months, ample hydration is a must. 

“Electrolytes are important because kids just run themselves ragged, and in between matches, they just want to keep playing,” shared Daniella Eisman. “If they have electrolytes, that helps keep them going because they’ll just crash otherwise because kids in general just don’t drink enough water.”

Doria Anselmo also noted that her son forgets to drink water, too. Clearly, this is a running theme for the kiddos, so make sure to always have water on hand and some electrolytes for an additional hydration boost. 

Sunscreen and sun protection 

“Stay hydrated and bring sunscreen because you’re out in the sun. Bring a hat, too. My son forgets to put on sunscreen, so that’s what I’m constantly looking out for,” said Anselmo. 

As unglamorous as it is, sometimes you need to chase your kid down and cover them with sunscreen. Just do it. It’s for their own good.

 Healthy snacks

“I bring healthy snacks like nuts, an apple, or a banana,” recommended Anselmo. 

“I always have energy bars, but I also like to prep him when we go somewhere warm. I tell him that he needs to hydrate and stop eating sugar a couple of days before to really prep his whole body and mind,” mentioned Libo.

“Despite that, you also want to make it fun. And for breakfast, we’ll have waffles in the morning. It’s small traditions that we always keep and have fun,” she added. 

It’s about balance. Keep it healthy, but remember they’re still kids and tournaments are supposed to be fun.

Check their bag twice

“Make sure you check their bag twice,” advised Libo. 

After all, they’re only kids. And whether it’s leaving an old banana in their bag or smelly socks, it’s good to cover your bases and verify.

What are tournament must-haves with your kid? Leave us a comment on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).