A lot is going on in pickleball as interest in the sport keeps skyrocketing. For instance, the two international governing organizations are feuding. Meanwhile, the United States has both the Association of Pickleball Professionals and the Professional Pickleball Association. They have plenty of friction of their own. If you’re interested in pickleball and its future, it is worth knowing about the main pickleball associations at the different levels.

International Pickleball Associations

The International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) and the World Pickleball Federation (WPF) are the two international governing bodies of the sport. However, the IFP has recently experienced significant turmoil, with nine national associations withdrawing their membership due to a letter of no confidence against IFP President Pat Murphy. The WPF has an opportunity to take the lead in setting the vision for pickleball on the international stage.

International Federation of Pickleball (IFP): In February 2022, IFP President Pat Murphy got a letter of no confidence from eight of the organization’s directors and two of its board members. The letter listed 13 apparent protocol breaches and demanded that Murphy resign right away. When Murphy had not responded as of six weeks later, the people who signed the letter then resigned. Nine national associations withdrew from IFP, with India remaining a member.

World Pickleball Federation (WFP): Many countries had already been members of both the IFP and the WPF. With the IFP in shambles, the WPF has its chance to set a vision and guide the course of pickleball on the international stage.

Pickleball Associations in the United States

In the United States, three main pickleball associations operate: the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP), the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), and the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA).

USA Pickleball (USAPA): The USAPA is the national membership group for pickleball in the United States. Unlike the PPA, the USAPA did not register with the WPF but instead joined the IFP.

Professional Pickleball Association (PPA): The PPA is a professional tour that has attracted some of the top players in the world. It has made a name for itself by offering exclusive contracts to players for one to three years, in exchange for recusing themselves from APP events and tournaments. In 2022, the PPA is hosting about 20 tournaments with $2.5 million in total prize money.

Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP):

The APP has a different approach than the PPA, with no exclusivity contracts or demands. However, the APP requires players to register with the USAPA and use APP-approved referees. The 2022 schedule includesd 32 tournaments across five countries, with a total of $2 million in prizes.

From some perspectives, the APP is similar to triple AAA baseball. It is not quite the major leagues, and players can get a lot of practice in before moving to the next level. Of course, from other perspectives, the APP is the major league in its own right.

In any case, the competing PPA and APP visions mean that some top-rated players don’t participate in certain tournaments.

Major League Pickleball (MLP):

The newest association, MLP, hit the scene in 2021 with both APP and PPA competitors. In 2022, PPA players could no longer compete in MLP. Major League Pickleball has attracted high-profile athletes who are purchasing their own pickleball teams, with Tom Brady recently purchasing a team and joining the likes of LeBron James.

Learn More About Pickleball

If you’re interested in joining one of the pickleball associations, you probably want beginner paddles and good shoes. Check out the selection at Pickleball Insiders today.