Pickleball is not all about winning. As the most addictively fun pastime we've ever come across, pickleball is a blast from the moment you pick up a paddle. But even though it's the taking part that counts, it's also nice to develop your skills and eventually win a few games.
Practicing with your friends and your local pickleball group is the number one way to get in court time and improve your game.
But there comes a point where you need some professional help to progress your game to the next level and get a little more competitive. This is where a dedicated pickleball camp or pickleball clinic comes in.
So, what actually is a pickleball camp, and what's a pickleball clinic? And how do pickleball camps improve your game?
In this article, we're going to answer those questions and give our rundown of the best pickleball camps in the US today. We'll also look at how the camps work and how to choose the best camp for your skill level. First up, let's give you our list of the top camps.
The best pickleball camps
Camps for adults
The following camps are geared toward individuals who are 18 years old or older:
- Nike Pickleball Camp for Adults: beginners, intermediate, advanced
- LevelUp Pickleball Camps: beginners, intermediate, advanced
- Engage Pickleball Camps: advanced beginners, intermediate, advanced
- USTA Pickleball Camps: intermediate
- Rise Pickleball Camps: intermediate
- Gamma Pickleball Camps: beginner, intermediate, advanced
- Tyson Mcguffin Pickleball Camps: intermediate, advanced
- World Team Pickleball Camps: beginner, intermediate, advanced
- Simone Jardim Pickleball Camps: beginner, intermediate, advanced
- WeArePickleball Camps: beginner, intermediate, advanced
- Pickleball Trips: beginner, intermediate, advanced
- SunCoast Pickleball Camps: beginner, intermediate, advanced
- Mark Price Pickleball Camps: beginner, intermediate, advanced
Camps for kids
For players under 18 years old, these are the best options we've come across:
Camps for seniors
Nearly all camps in the USA accept all ages above 18, but we wanted to give this one in Costa Rica a special mention as it's specifically geared towards senior pickleball players (and it looks absolutely wonderful).
- Pura Vida House, Costa Rica
How pickleball camps work
Now that we've listed our favorites, let's talk about how a pickleball camp works, and what you can expect.
Firstly, what about the timeframe? Pickleball camps offer a range of schedules—everything from one-day sessions to week-long experiences. Lunch is often included between morning and afternoon training sessions.
When the camps are multi-day events, accommodation is sometimes provided for an extra cost. If not, hotels in the area are usually available to campers. Some pickleball camps even offer all-inclusive deals.
Days are usually divided into two sessions with a break in the middle for lunch. The idea is to give you a fully-immersive experience where you can learn a lot in a short amount of time, whether it's the basics of pickleball or some advanced pickleball strategies.
Generally, there are professional coaches available throughout your time at the camp and maybe even a pickleball celebrity (Sarah Ansboury hosts a Nike Pickleball camp in South Carolina). The pros also give specialized hours of instruction focusing on various aspects of your pickleball game.
Pickleball camps and clinics are designed to help you improve your skills and leave you with plenty of takeaways to practice when you get home. Therefore, you should choose a camp that will benefit you the most. But to do so, you'll need to decide what you want from the experience.
How to choose the best pickleball camp for you
To pick the best pickleball camp for your needs, keep in mind the following criteria:
Your expectations and physical fitness
Are you looking to have fun with other pickleheads in a friendly resort with poolside drinks in the afternoon? Or do you want an intensive day or weekend course where you can focus purely on upping certain skills on the pickleball court?
These are the first questions that determine what type of pickleball camp is right for you.
Training schedule and instructors
Another important criteria to keep in mind is how much actual pickleball instruction you will receive. Are there one-to-one sessions? How many instructors are there per group? Will you actually get time with the pros?
Remember to check out the camp curriculum beforehand. Are they focusing on areas of your game that need improvement? There's no point going on a dinking crash course if that's already your strongest area.
Finally, look at the technical parts, like the camp dates, the camp's cancellation policy, and whether the camp is USAPA approved.
Why does choosing the right camp level matter?
In order to get the most from your experience, it's crucial to find a camp or clinic that matches your skill level and physical ability. There's no point in aiming high by attending a pickleball camp for intermediate players if you're a complete beginner. It'll just end in frustration and be a waste of money.
Be honest with yourself about your skill level and sign up for a camp accordingly. Many camps specify the skill level range that they accept, which makes it much easier to choose. Your pickleball experience will be much more fun when you play and train with players who have a similar skill level to your own.
Pickleball camps vs pickleball clinics
We've used the terms 'camp' and 'clinic' almost interchangeably so far, and many training providers do the same. A pickleball clinic is usually more like a training session with a pro, where the focus is on specific aspects of the game. You might have a serving clinic or one dedicated to your dink game.
Pickleball camps are generally longer, sometimes multi-day events where a wider range of skills are addressed. However, as we've said, the terms 'pickleball clinic' and 'pickleball camp' tend to be used interchangeably.
Pickleball camps and clinics are an awesome way to improve your game, expand your pickleball network, and learn tips and tricks to avoid strain and injury over time.
Whether it's an intensive one-day camp in a local pickleball center or a week-long pickleball vacation in Florida, we really can't recommend camp experiences enough.
From simple pickleball tips to deep technical knowledge of the game, these experiences will help you to play better pickleball and get more from the game we all love.
Have you attended a camp or clinic that you'd like to share with your fellow pickleheads? Reach out to us on our socials—we'd love to hear from you.