PPA starting Junior Tour in 2024
January 3, 2024|
Some players, like Leo Chun, want to someday win an Olympic pickleball gold medal.
Others, like Jack Loughridge, want to be a pro.
But whatever your pickleball goals are, if you’re 16 or younger, the PPA Tour has a spot for you.
Starting in 2024, the Junior PPA will launch and anyone between the ages of 8-16 can play – and that includes singles, gender doubles, and co-ed doubles. The Junior Tour events will be held concurrently with all the other events at each PPA Tour stop this year.
“I think adding a juniors bracket will give kids across the country a chance to compete against their peers,” said Courtney Loughridge, the mother of 9-year-old Jack, who has competed at a number of PPA events during the past two years. “When juniors are playing against each other you can see the skill and talent they have, when they aren’t being overpowered by a bigger, stronger mature adult. The more opportunities there are to compete, the more juniors will begin to choose pickleball as their primary sport.”
Jack Loughridge chose pickleball when he was 7 and now has aspirations to be a professional player.
“I think it’s great that kids are getting a chance to play against other kids,” Jack said. “I will have good competition against kids my own age and meet new friends who love the sport like I do.”
In addition to just the regular junior events on tour, the PPA Tour has launched “Junior PPA Serves,” an initiative committed to serving the youth pickleball community. Its mission is to advance the culture of youth pickleball.
Chun, who is 12 years old and has been playing for four years seems to be the perfect fit for the Junior Tour.
“I enjoy playing with and against adults, but this will be a great place for us juniors,” Chun said. “I will need to practice better and the tour will allow me to play against really good kids.”
At each PPA Tour stop, there will be clinics and events designed for juniors which will offer chances to maximize youth development. All are free of charge.
There are divisions for boys and girls between singles 8-12 years old, 13-14 years old and 15-16 years old. In doubles, there are two divisions – 8-12 and 13-16.
“The Junior Tour will be great to connect junior players across the country so they can find new partners and develop friendships,” Courtney Loughridge said.
Have a child who might be interested in competing? Follow the junior tour on Instagram at @junior.ppa for news, announcements, and more. To register for a Junior Tour event go to pickleballbrackets.com. The fee is just $25 and then $5 per event.
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