Pickleballs Alphabet Soup: A Guide To All The Acronyms In The Sport

Pickleballs Alphabet Soup: A Guide To All The Acronyms In The Sport

Pickleball may have been invented in the mid-1960s, but the game's gold rush is happening right before our eyes. It seems like every week there's another press release from a new sports organization or organization that's hanging up its hat and getting caught up in the hype, and it can be hard to keep up.

This article is a handy guide to company acronyms you may see in press releases, as well as the companies we cover in this column. I hope I haven't forgotten anything; After all, while you're reading this article, there's probably another pickleball company out there.

I'm going to break them down into four categories: governing bodies, professional bodies, tournament bodies and ranking systems.

Governing Body

  • USAPA: United States Pickleball Association. 501(c)3 and the self-proclaimed National Governing Body (NGB) for sport in the United States. I say "self-proclaimed" because pickleball is not yet recognized as a USOPC recognized sport, but their role within the sport as a sanctioning body and rules coordinating group is well recognized. Sometimes also referred to as USAP/USA Pickleball.
  • IFP: International Pickleball Federation. It was meant to be associated with the IOC as the international representative for the sport, but is currently not officially recognized.
  • WPF: The World Pickleball Federation, was founded as a rival organization to the IFP when concerns over IFP direction and control gripped some administrators and organizations.

In May 2022, SI published an excellent paper on IFP-WPF synergy/antagonism.

Professional organization

  • application; The Pickleball Professionals Association, the first professional pickleball tour founded by Ken Herman in early 2020, is independently owned with a focus on emerging professionals, USAPA-sanctioned senior professionals, and experienced professionals.
  • In early 2020, a few weeks after APP was founded by Connor Pardo, PPA: Pro Pickleball Association was purchased by Tom Dundon and has since partnered with MLP. Sport uses its financial resources to sign exclusive contracts for most of the players until 2023.
  • MLP: Major League Pickleball was founded in September 2021 by Steve Kuhn in Austin. Teams of players compete in weekend events in a format not dissimilar to World Team Tennis. MLP currently has dozens of top investors and is partnering with PPA for the 2023 season.
  • NPL: National Pickleball League, a new organization founded in December 2022 by former senior professionals Rick Witken and Beth Bellamy, modeled on the MLP tag team competition format for senior professionals.
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Tournament organization

  • WPT: World Pickleball Tour, which creates an amateur tour with dozens of events planned for 2023, as well as a year-end championship with a $175,000 prize pool.
  • WHAT: The Amateur Pickleball Association, a relatively new organization that creates national events aimed at junior and college players.
  • NP:National Pickleball, a tournament group that is part of the Advanced Sports Media Group, has more than 20 events planned for 2023.
  • WPA: World Pickleball Association, similar to the NGB but a smaller tournament promoter with multiple events planned for 2023.
  • WPC: World Pickleball Championship, a new international competition series held in Bonita Springs, Florida. Oddly enough, the PPA uses the acronym "WPC" to refer to several invitational tournaments scheduled for 2023.

system file

  • DUPR: Dreamland (now dynamic) Universal Pickleball Ranking. This is a modified ELO algorithm that rates players on a scale from 2.00 to 8.00 and has multiple factors. The rating roughly equates to your skill rating (i.e. if your DUPR is 4.3, you are probably a 4.0 average tournament player). Rate all players in the world on the same scale regardless of gender, not reaching 5.0 for professionals.
  • UTPR: United States Pickleball Player Ratings. Created for the USAPA in connection with pickleball tournaments, this is the official USAPA ranking that determines eligibility for tournament divisions and is used to "rank" competitors within a division on pickleball event pages. The rating is "rounded down", meaning that if you have a UTPR of 3.9, you will be rated a 3.5 tournament player.
  • WPR: Pickleball World Rankings. Sponsor pickleball tournaments, ranking based on an ELO-like algorithm that uses all player scores in the pickleball tournament database. WPR roughly calculates your skill level (3.5, 4.0, etc.) and tracks your path based on tournament results. We don't know if that's changed
  • GPR: Pickleball World Ranking. Sponsored by Pickleball Global, it is not a ranking system as a permanent system based on cumulative results. The data is old, there are no professionals in the top 1, which undermines trust.
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(Note: Text NPLs are fixed after being posted by commenters).

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