As a player and tournament helper, I was curious to learn about the behind the scenes of this website. A thank you to Melissa McCurley for sharing the following information:
So, what is pickleballtournaments.com, who are the people behind it and how does it help Tournament Directors more efficiently structure and manage their tournaments so that players have the best experience possible?
Pickleballtournaments.com is an online web based system that was started in 2004 by legendary pickleball pioneers Bob and Jettye Lanius. Bob and Jettye created the system (after their own experience in managing tournaments manually) to eliminate Tournament Directors spending countless hours:
- drawing up brackets or redrawing brackets to address bracket changes
- verifying tournament information thereby eliminating risk of errors in match ups, order of play, as well as reducing wait time for players between matches
The number of hours spent before, during and after a tournament all depends on the structure of the tournament, number of events and reporting and not the number of players playing in a tournament. For example, do you have singles, doubles, age groups, skill groups, round robins, free shirts, dinners, clinics or other items? Everything complicates the process.
In order to fully appreciate the system, a tournament should be totally done by hand. An analogy would be writing a report by hand written script versus using a typewriter, word-processor, or spreadsheet. The bigger and more complicated the report, the more you want the program to make corrections and additions without rewriting the entire report by hand.
The system also understands the relationship of matches through seeding and where winners and losers play next within the bracket. Match results are entered into the system and made available on the web, allowing pickleballers to virtually follow how their fellow picklers are doing at a tourney! The key point is that the system relieves the tournament director and registration person from the mundane tasks that must be done before, during and after a tournament, so they can focus on the larger tasks or issues to provide a better tournament experience for the players. It’s also important to note that no tournament could be successful without its volunteers that work hard putting the tournament together, working first aid, handling raffles, refereeing, checking in players, working the desk operations, posting scores, answering questions and many other things!
In August of 2014 pickleballtournaments.com was purchased from Bob and Jettye by sister and brother team Melissa McCurley and Greg Thompson. This purchase includes a transition from a donation based pay option to a services description and fee structure. The fee structure was put in place to help cover the costs of equipment, maintenance, software development, availability of the system, support as well as services required to keep up with the growth of pickleball. The new services description and fees can be found on www.pickleballtournaments.com and any questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Melissa and Greg have 30 years of Information Technology (IT) experience between them and will be transitioning with Bob and Jettye for several months.
Melissa and Greg first learned to play pickleball in their driveway in 2007 after inheriting a pickleball set from their Aunt, but they didn’t start playing regularly until 2013. They are both athletes and have participated in a variety of other sports including tennis, soccer, volleyball and basketball. Between their IT experience, sports background and customer service background they are well positioned to manage pickleballtournaments.com in its current operational state and well positioned to take it in to the future!
Stay tuned… but to give you a glimpse in to the future; look forward to improvements to help Tournament Directors learn and use the system more easily, a new home page and additional services to assist Tournament Directors in putting on their tournament!
We hope Jennifer’s blog post helps you better understand pickleballtournaments.com and it’s past, present and future significance to pickleball tournaments. And we also hope that the next time you are at a tournament and you hear the announcer say “this pickleball tournament is being powered by pickleballtournaments.com” you will have a better idea of what that means and a better understanding of the effort put in by the people, behind the scenes, doing what they can to ensure you have the best tournament experience possible!