Most sports provide a variety of ways to get involved in the industry without diverging too far from job hunting norms. If you want to be around skiers, work at a lodge. Love soccer? Become a school coach. But considering pickleball's somewhat uncommon status, it can be harder to know how to earn a living with this lovable sport.
Of course, working at PickleballCentral provides us with an easy (and fun!) way to earn income while enjoying the game. But we have some ideas for those who may not have such a specific role.
Become a Coach
Okay, we just said coaching is too easy of a way to get involved! What gives?
When it comes to pickleball, working at schools can be difficult unless you've already been certified as a general PE teacher. Most schools won't have dedicated programs for the sport, so you'd have to work it into a broader rotation.
But if you're interested in running classes or one-on-one instructor specifically for picklers, this is a great way to share your love for the game while helping others. Many pickleball coaches work on a freelance basis or through local rec centers/clubs.
You can earn official teaching credentials via the IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association) workshops to add more credibility to your offerings.
Become a Distributor
This can not only be a primary source of income, but a great 'side hustle' if you enjoy pickleball but don't want to spend all of your time working. You will need a business license, but it's a fairly simple process to become a distributor for most major paddle manufacturers and even us if you'd like to make money by sharing your favorite equipment with players.
This role requires solid product knowledge and a willingness to learn the common needs of clubs, tournament organizers and other related groups, but if you've spent some time in the world of pickleball and have a good sense for what picklers crave, then it might be the perfect role.
Get Sponsored as a Pro
This is probably the toughest and riskiest way to try and make money with pickleball, but once you achieve a high level of proficiency with the game, you may be able to court manufacturers and see if they'll sponsor your travels to various competitions.
Unfortunately, since pickleball still hasn't received as much widespread attention as the likes of tennis, even the largest companies likely can't fund the entirety of your income as pro. This is why many top level players primarily make a living through coaching and offering lessons even if they have the support of businesses.
Sell a Pickleball Product
You don't have to limit yourself by thinking of only balls or paddles. Some people have made income by selling pickleball jewelry, paddle holders, writing books or creating other functional items for the courts.
If there's a current need in the industry that no one has addressed and you have an entrepreneurial slant, brainstorm ideas of how you could solve players' needs and bring a fresh product into existence!
Are there any other unconventional ways you know to make money with pickleball? Let us know in the comments!