Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.
It was once a pretty niche sport played mainly by amateurs up until quite recently, but it has now amassed such a following that you can now become a professional pickleball player, playing the sport full-time and earning a pretty decent salary while you’re at it.
The US Pickleball Association found that in 2019 there were more than 3 million pickleball players playing the sport on around 20,000 courts all over the country.
Still, it’s worth remembering that when compared to other racket sports, pickleball offers considerably lower prize money when playing in tournaments, so to make a decent living off pickleball it needs to be supplemented with other sources of income.
A lot of professional pickleball players (see also ‘Top 10 Best Female Pickleball Players In The World‘) supplement their tournament winnings with gear and equipment sponsorships, or holding clinics and coaching sessions.
Below, we’ll take a look at how much professional pickleball players earn on average, what typical tournament winnings amount to, and how lucrative other streams of income are.
So How Much Do Professional Pickleball Players Make?
It’s worth remembering that unlike a lot of other sports, ‘professional’ is a very loose definition when describing pro pickleball players (see also ‘How Many Players Do You Need For Pickleball?‘).
For a long time, the only thing you needed to do to enter a pickleball game was to pay the entry fee.
Therefore, many players who played in big tournaments are not technically professionals.
But in this instance, when we talk about professionals we’re talking about those who play pickleball full time and are involved in pickleball throughout the year.
Still, the question remains – how much do professional pickleball players make?
Well, a top pickleball pro can make anywhere from $50k to $200k a year, and a lot of these earnings come from gear sponsorship.
How Much Can You Make From Pickleball Tournaments?
The prize money for winning a pickleball tournament is still pretty low and a lot of players can’t make a living full-time from playing pickleball tournaments.
For instance, the total prize money pool for the 2019 USA Pickleball National Championships was $80k.
However, the winners in the men and women’s singles category won just $2.5k. Plus, there are only 10 other tournaments in the US that offer a prize pool of over $20k.
To make a worthwhile career out of pickleball, you just need to dedicate yourself to the sport and practice.
It’s also heartening to know that sponsors are getting increasingly involved with the sport, and these sponsorships can help supplement your tournament winnings.
How Much Can You Make From Equipment And Gear Sponsorships?
A considerable amount of professional pickleball players’ earnings is derived from equipment and gear sponsors and the amounts that businesses are willing to pay to sponsor a pro pickleball player is increasing.
For instance, Selkirk Sport is the most popular pickleball paddle and gear brand and has boosted the incentive pool for pro players by over 50% to $300k.
As more pickleball equipment brands increase their incentive purses and take on more sponsorships with more pro players, hopefully the easier it will become for pro pickleball players to make a living out of just competition alone, rather than relying on coaching sessions.
How Much Can You Make From Coaching Pickleball?
For those who are ranked lower down in pickleball league tables, coaching can be a suitable way to make a living out of your love of pickleball.
Pickleball Coaching International is an agency that awards coaching certificates to pickleball coaches, so if you would like to combine your coaching career with a love of pickleball then you can obtain a certificate from agencies like the PCI to legitimize your business.
Costs will naturally vary depending on where you live, but below you will find an indicator of how much you can earn coaching pickleball.
At the most basic level, a pickleball student can expect to pay $10 per hour for pickleball coaching classes that usually consist of 10-30 students.
A portion of this money is used to book courts and to hire gear/equipment, but 75% of this money can also be put towards the coach’s salary.
Advanced or specialized pickleball coaching can be more expensive, and regular private coaching sessions can also be priced at a higher rate.
You can also hold online pickleball coaching sessions, and a lot of pickleball coaches have created YouTube channels or blogs to teach pickleball to amateurs, beginners, and even intermediate pickleball players.
Some pickleball coaches also provide free coaching tips with written resources or video resources, and their income comes from affiliate links or advertisements.
Barrett Kincheloe is a good example of this. He is a well-known pickleball coach and instructor, and his YouTube channel and blog are his full-time income.
Most of the content he posts is free to access, but for those who are interested he also offers paid pickleball coaching instruction.
Although it’s unclear how much Barrett Kincheloe makes from their pickleball coaching, we do know that it is his full-time job that provides him with a wage of at least $30k a year.
It’s hard to deny pickleball is growing in popularity each year. In fact, it’s becoming so popular that players of other racquet sports are turning to pickleball instead!
It’s easy to acquire equipment for pickleball, and pickleball courts are easy to find too, due to the fact that the equipment and courts are similar to badminton and tennis courts.
Still, despite its growing popularity, tournament winnings are still relatively modest.
Some professional pickleball players do make considerable amounts of money from tournaments, but this is very rare, and for a lot of pickleball professional players, tournament winnings are not yet at the stage where they can make a full-time career out of playing tournaments.
But the growth pickleball has experienced in recent years shows no signs of stopping. It continues to grow in popularity, and the sponsorship opportunities keep on growing too.
The future of professional pickleball is looking promising!