Meet the Passionate Organizer Behind The Dink Minor League Pickleball

DUPR
May 22, 2024
2 min

With pickleball's rising popularity, there's a growing demand for local tournaments catering to amateurs.

The Dink Minor League Pickleball (formerly known as Minor League Pickleball) gives players an exciting way to compete, emphasizing teamwork, strategy, and camaraderie. 

Following Major League Pickleball’s innovative format involving teams of four players (two women and two men), teams compete against other teams in four events: women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and two mixed doubles matches. A singles-based tiebreaker format, called a dreambreaker, is used when teams are tied 2-2. 

The Dink Minor League Pickleball’s National Pathway allows teams to compete locally to pursue a spot at the national championship. A national leaderboard is utilized to display ranked players, allowing you to easily view their standings.

Its first official season was in 2023, and its director, Caroline Luelf, is tasked with growing the organization.

Luelf's journey with the league began as a participant, along with her husband, in a one-day event in Kansas City. The convenience of these short events appealed to the couple, balancing their passion for pickleball with family commitments. 

As Luelf says, “When you have four kids, planning the logistics, getting all the kids to where they need to be and us being gone three or four days for a tournament, that's not easy.”

After participating in several Minor League Pickleball events and experiencing firsthand the thrill of competition and community, Luelf was inspired to bring the experience to her hometown in Oklahoma. Her first event sold out and received rave reviews. Luelf shares, “This one team posted on Facebook that it was their favorite tournament ever. They didn't even win a match!”

People were hungry for more events, and Luelf decided to reach out directly to the league saying, “I love everything about Minor League Pickleball, and I have all these ideas on how to grow it.” A few weeks later, they offered her a job.

What sets the league apart is its emphasis on the team concept.


Unlike traditional tournaments, where players compete individually, The Dink Minor League Pickleball encourages collaboration and support among teammates. With rally scoring and opportunities for coaching between points, players are fully engaged both on and off the court, creating an electrifying atmosphere for participants and spectators alike. 

"The Dink Minor League Pickleball is for everyone,” Luelf notes. It’s for any player — from amateurs to non-contracted pros, regardless of age. Events have seen players as young as 12 and as old as 70. The family-friendly nature is obvious, with Caroline herself cherishing the opportunity to play alongside her husband and 18-year-old son and create lasting memories on the court.

Looking ahead, The Dink MiLP's goal is “to be in all 50 states” (they are currently in 29 states) and “continue to expand globally,” according to Luelf. With events planned across the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and beyond, it’s poised to become the premier destination for amateur pickleball enthusiasts worldwide.

Whether you're a seasoned player or new to the game, The Dink Minor League Pickleball welcomes you to find a team, join the fun, forge new friendships, and experience the thrill of pickleball like never before.

Join a team, have fun, and experience the excitement of pickleball! Sign up now!

Written by Alana Jackler

More Posts For You

May 14, 2024

Meet the Passionate Organizer Behind The Dink Minor League Pickleball

With pickleball's rising popularity, there's a growing demand for local tournaments catering to amateurs.

The Dink Minor League Pickleball (formerly known as Minor League Pickleball) gives players an exciting way to compete, emphasizing teamwork, strategy, and camaraderie. 

Following Major League Pickleball’s innovative format involving teams of four players (two women and two men), teams compete against other teams in four events: women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and two mixed doubles matches. A singles-based tiebreaker format, called a dreambreaker, is used when teams are tied 2-2. 

The Dink Minor League Pickleball’s National Pathway allows teams to compete locally to pursue a spot at the national championship. A national leaderboard is utilized to display ranked players, allowing you to easily view their standings.

Its first official season was in 2023, and its director, Caroline Luelf, is tasked with growing the organization.

Luelf's journey with the league began as a participant, along with her husband, in a one-day event in Kansas City. The convenience of these short events appealed to the couple, balancing their passion for pickleball with family commitments. 

As Luelf says, “When you have four kids, planning the logistics, getting all the kids to where they need to be and us being gone three or four days for a tournament, that's not easy.”

After participating in several Minor League Pickleball events and experiencing firsthand the thrill of competition and community, Luelf was inspired to bring the experience to her hometown in Oklahoma. Her first event sold out and received rave reviews. Luelf shares, “This one team posted on Facebook that it was their favorite tournament ever. They didn't even win a match!”

People were hungry for more events, and Luelf decided to reach out directly to the league saying, “I love everything about Minor League Pickleball, and I have all these ideas on how to grow it.” A few weeks later, they offered her a job.

What sets the league apart is its emphasis on the team concept.


Unlike traditional tournaments, where players compete individually, The Dink Minor League Pickleball encourages collaboration and support among teammates. With rally scoring and opportunities for coaching between points, players are fully engaged both on and off the court, creating an electrifying atmosphere for participants and spectators alike. 

"The Dink Minor League Pickleball is for everyone,” Luelf notes. It’s for any player — from amateurs to non-contracted pros, regardless of age. Events have seen players as young as 12 and as old as 70. The family-friendly nature is obvious, with Caroline herself cherishing the opportunity to play alongside her husband and 18-year-old son and create lasting memories on the court.

Looking ahead, The Dink MiLP's goal is “to be in all 50 states” (they are currently in 29 states) and “continue to expand globally,” according to Luelf. With events planned across the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and beyond, it’s poised to become the premier destination for amateur pickleball enthusiasts worldwide.

Whether you're a seasoned player or new to the game, The Dink Minor League Pickleball welcomes you to find a team, join the fun, forge new friendships, and experience the thrill of pickleball like never before.

Join a team, have fun, and experience the excitement of pickleball! Sign up now!

Written by Alana Jackler

Minor League
Collegiate
April 23, 2024

The Wait Is Over - Presenting The Dink Minor League Pickleball Regional Showdowns!

Prepare for an epic showdown as The Dink Minor League Pickleball announces seven thrilling tournaments! With 12 to 16 teams per division, each Regional Showdown promises fierce competition. The stakes are high, and the first-place team of each division takes home a Dream Ticket, automatically qualifying them for the 2024 National Championship!

Discover the 7 Regional Showdown Locations

The Regional Showdowns span the nation, offering aspiring players from all corners of the country an equal opportunity to showcase their skills and play for a chance to secure the coveted Dream Ticket to the National Championship. Learn how you can earn points at Regional Showdowns to climb the National Leaderboard

Take a look and sign up for a Regional Showdown near you!

  1. Northeast Regional Showdown
  2. Midsouth Regional Showdown
  3. Midwest Regional Showdown
  4. West Coast Regional Showdown
  5. Northwest Regional Showdown
  6. Southwest Regional Showdown 
  7. Southeast Regional Showdown

Explore Regional Showdown Divisions and Pricing 

Offered Divisions: 12*, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22* (*DUPR 12 and 22 are only available in specific locations)

Price: $100-$150

Unleash the Rewards: What Players Can Expect

  • Guaranteed 4 Matches (8 games) where all teams go to bracket. There is a single elimination back draw and the main draw plays for gold medals.
  • Winners of each division earn a Dream Ticket to the National Championship. some text
    • Dream Ticket = guaranteed team spot at Nationals. 
    • If the gold medalist team chooses not to compete at Nationals, the silver medalist team will be offered the Dream Ticket. 
  • The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners receive The Dink Minor League Pickleball medals.
  • Players receive a swag bag which includes a Gamma Chuck Tournament Pickleball, the official ball of DUPR. 

 

Northeast Regional Showdown Hosted by All State Pickleball League

Date: July 20th

Venue: Bounce

City, State: Malvern, Pennsylvania

Divisions: 12, 14, 16, 18

Register Now!

Midsouth Regional Showdown Hosted by OPC & Pickleball Kingdom

Date: July 27th & 28th

Venue: Pickleball Kingdom Plano

City, State: Plano, Texas

Divisions: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22

Register Now! 

Midwest Regional Showdown Hosted by iPickle Nation and Sponsored by JustPaddles

Date: August 10th

Venue: PickleCon (Kansas City Convention Center)

City, State: Kansas City, Missouri

Divisions: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

Register Now! 

West Coast Regional Showdown Hosted by Carmen Sanz Pickleball Club

Date: August 31st

Venue: Willow Pass Community Park in Concord

City, State: Concord, California

Divisions: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

Register Now!

Northwest Regional Hosted BY ZZ2 Pickleball 

Date: September 7th & 8th 

Venue: Caverlero MidHigh School

City, State: Lake Stevens, Washington

Divisions: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22

Register Now!

Southwest Regional Showdown Hosted by iPickle Nation and Sponsored by JustPaddles

Date: October 5th & 6th, 2024

Venue: Picklemall ~ Tempe

City, State: Tempe, Arizona

Divisions: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22

Register Now!

Southeast Regional Showdown Hosted by All Florida Pickleball 

Date: November 9th & 10th

Venue: Lone Palm Country Club

City, State: Lakeland, Florida

Divisions: 14, 16, 18, 20 

Register Now!

To learn more about The Dink Minor League Pickleball, visit the website. Visit our blog for more information on the 2024 National Championship. Sign up for a The Dink Minor League Pickleball event now to get on the National Leaderboard and start your journey toward Nationals!

Minor League
April 15, 2024

Minor League Pickleball and The Dink Announce Joint Venture, Launch "The Dink Minor League Pickleball"

Minor League Pickleball (MiLP) and The Dink, pickleball’s leading media platform, today announced The Dink Minor League Pickleball, a new joint venture designed to grow local competitive opportunities for amateur players.

The Dink Minor League Pickleball will extend the reach of MiLP to create more events and opportunities for amateur players in the United States and worldwide. Since its inception in the fall of 2022, MiLP has hosted over 120 events involving over 8000 participants, gaining considerable traction and acceptance among competitive amateur players due to its exciting format, frequency of events, and electrifying atmosphere. With The Dink coming on board as a partner, The Dink Minor League Pickleball is aiming to host more than 200 events in the US this year alone, with plans to expand its footprint and format worldwide.

“Amateurs drive the sport; they're the reason we're all here. We've published thousands of pieces of content to help recreational players, from beginner to 5.0, improve their game. Through The Dink Minor League Pickleball, we're offering an environment to put those skills into practice, compete, and have an unforgettable experience. And oh yeah, they can also win some money,” said Thomas Shields, The Dink’s Founder & CEO. 

Minor League Pickleball, a subsidiary of DUPR (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating), is an innovative team competition where teams of four players (two women and two men) compete against each other in a novel and engaging format, with twists on traditional match-ups and scoring for games, matches, and tiebreakers. Under the joint venture, The Dink Minor League Pickleball will host over 200 events across the country, including seven new regional events and a national championship, to bring the country’s most competitive amateurs together in an unforgettable tournament weekend.

“We are excited to partner with The Dink, the premier media and news source in pickleball, to grow Minor League Pickleball into the largest amateur pickleball league worldwide by providing more and better playing opportunities and a unique ‘play like the pros’ experience,” said Tito Machado, DUPR CEO. “Combining the power of The Dink’s media platform with MiLP’s exciting format and engaged community offers new ways to spotlight the game, the players and the venues, and further develop the most exciting amateur league the world has seen.”  

The Dink Minor League Pickleball Key Events 

Northeast Regional – July 20th

Bounce Pickleball – Malvern, PA 

Hosted by All State Pickleball League, Stephen Conger

Midsouth Regional – July 27th - 28th

Pickleball Kingdom Plano, TX 

Hosted by OPC, Caroline Luelf 

Midwest Regional – August 10th

PickleCon (Kansas City Convention Center) – Kansas City, MO 

Hosted by iPickle Nation, Rick Fortuna 

West Coast Regional – August 31st

Willow Pass Community Park – Concord, CA 

Hosted by Carmen Sanz Pickleball Club, Carmen Sanz

Northwest Regional – September 7th - 8th 

Cavelero Courts – Lake Stevens, WA

Hosted by ZZ2 Pickleball, Pablo Granados 

Southwest Regional – October 5th - 6th

Picklemall – Tempe, AZ

Hosted by iPickle Nation, Rick Fortuna

Southeast Regional – November 9th -10th 

Lone Palm Country Club – Lakeland, FL

Hosted by All Florida Pickleball, David Tabb 

National Championship – December 13th - 15th 

Missouri Pickleball Club – Fenton, MO 

Hosted by DUPR 

The Dink Minor League Format: Teams compete against each other in Matches using the MLPlay™ format, featuring team matches that are composed of four 21-point games, one women’s doubles, one men’s doubles, and the final two games consisting of mixed doubles. Teams play in a round robin pool, with guaranteed matches and a playoff bracket to determine the winning team. All participating players must have a DUPR (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating) account, and teams are formed by combining the DUPR ratings of all four players.

For a full list of events and to sign up to participate as a player or host, please visit dupr.com/minorleague.

For further information on partnership and sponsor inquiries, reach out to thedinkteam@heydink.com.

About Minor League Pickleball

Minor League Pickleball offers an innovative team competition format, bringing together teams consisting of four players (two women and two men). Spanning multiple days, our events feature a unique and engaging format with exciting variations on traditional match-ups and scoring systems for games, matches, and tiebreakers. With events hosted in 25 states across the nation, including 108 confirmed events and 7 Regionals, Minor League Pickleball has attracted over 8000 players since its inception in 2022, providing a dynamic and competitive platform for pickleball players of all skill levels For more information visit www.dupr.com/minorleague.

About DUPR

DUPR (Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating) is the premier global pickleball rating system and technology platform, trusted by the world's leading clubs, tournaments, leagues and players. DUPR's dynamic rating system unifies pickleball across age, gender and location by analyzing match results to accurately evaluate all players across a 2.000 - 8.000 scale. Players and operators can visit www.dupr.com to sign up and learn more.

About The Dink

The Dink is pickleball’s #1 media and news source, offering a range of content via its newsletters, website, podcast network and social media channels. The Dink publishes daily to over 1 million pickleball players of all levels, covering news, stories, tips & strategy, product reviews, pro analysis and basic information about the sport. The Dink is also the creator of The Pickleball Box, a pickleball subscription box, and hosts a number of pro, amateur and celebrity events throughout the year. Visit thedinkpickleball.com to learn more.

Minor League