Several friends have been asking me what tournaments they should compete in this year in order to qualify for the 2022 USA Pickleball National Championships. The qualifying process is much different this year (the regional tournaments are no longer feeders for Nationals; instead they will feed into the Diamond Amateur Championship) than it has been in the past so I decided to create this chart to visually explain what tournaments feed into Nationals.
If you are looking for a guaranteed spot in the 2022 Nationals then you’ll want to compete and earn a gold medal in one of six National Championship Series (NCS) tournaments. Five of these are APP Tour stops and one is the USA Pickleball Newport Beach Championship.
In addition to the six NCS tournaments this year, players who earned gold medals in the 2021 USA Pickleball National Championships (previous Nationals) or one of the following tournaments in 2021 also qualify for pre-registration into 2022 Nationals.
- 2021 Newport Beach Championships (NCS)
- 2021 USA Pickleball Mid-Atlantic Regional
- 2021 USA Pickleball West Regional
- 2021 Tournament of Champions (NCS)
- 2021 APP Atlanta Metro Open (NCS)
- 2021 APP Hilton Head (NCS)
Does this mean you should skip the regional tournaments? Not necessarily — because the regional tournaments feed into the 2022 Diamond Amateur Championship (DAC) which will get you qualified for 2023 Nationals.
All gold and silver medalists from the twelve regional tournaments will earn pre-registration into the DAC at Pictona. All other participants from the regional tournaments will be eligible for the lottery into the DAC. From there, all gold medalists from the 2022 DAC are eligible for pre-registration for 2023 Nationals.
If you do not earn a guaranteed spot for Nationals, fear not, because there is also a lottery process.
2022 Nationals Lottery: All silver and bronze medalists from the 2021 Nationals, 2021 USAP Mid-Atlantic Regional, 2021 USAP West Regional, and the 2021/2022 NCS tournaments will be eligible for the 2022 Nationals lottery.
2023 Nationals Lottery: Silver and bronze medalists from the 2022 DAC will be eligible for phase 1 of the 2023 Nationals lottery. If there any open spots remaining, all medalists from the regional tournaments will be eligible for phase 2 of the 2023 Nationals lottery.
Ultimately, the best way to secure your spot is to earn a gold medal or “golden ticket” but you’ll have to compete in the right tournaments depending on whether your goal is to play in the 2022 Nationals or 2023 Nationals.
The NCS tournaments offer a direct route to the Nationals for the current year, whereas the regional tournaments is an indirect route to the following year’s National tournament via the DAC. If you did not medal but participated in one of these tournaments, the registration lottery is an option but this hinges on spots not being filled by gold medal winners.
I hope that you find this information helpful. If you have questions, please post them in the comments.