In this issue...
From the Editors...
Well, 2012 is upon us and your new e-newsletter team has the first issue under our belts. And “thank you” for those kind words about the fresh new look and the USAPA National tournament coverage. Publisher Jennifer Lucore did a great job of mastering the new publishing software, designing the layout and getting the newsletter to your inboxes on time.
We have put together an editorial schedule for future issues, so if you have articles, news items or questions that you would like to submit for the next issue please send them to us at email@example.com by the 15thof the preceding month.
In response to our request for No Dumb Questions Marty Novak of Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote asking for advice about engaging youth in pickleball. We gathered so much good information while compiling an answer that we decided to make the subject this month’s feature article, The Future of the Sport…Getting Youth Engaged.
Also in this issue Dennis Dacey explains one of the rules covering momentum and the non-volley zone. In Bits and Pieces Christie Borne writes about Five Men and a Vacuum, and fitness expert Barbara Wintroub takes a look at the Abdominal Snowman. Enjoy this issue and remember that keeping every ball over the net and within the lines is a certain winner…
Your Editors, Lynn & Linda Laymon
The Future of the Sport... Getting Youth Engaged
Looking only at demographics, seniors have been the heart of pickleball almost from the beginning. To truly grow the sport, however, we need to reach out to younger generations. But how is that best accomplished?
Tom Wheeler and Tim Finger, co-founders of Pickleball Now, L.L.C., a pickleball products company, have set a goal “to expand the sport through the introduction of pickleball to kids.”
Finger, who has been teaching kids tennis for more than 35 years, and more recently pickleball, believes that pickleball more than any other sport appeals to kids regardless of ability because it is easy to learn, lots of fun, very social and is one of the few games that kids can play with their parents.
With the help of a general benefactor they have provided the high schools and middle schools in St. George, Utah, with paddles, balls and instruction and are currently working on pickleball becoming a club sport in the schools.
John Gullo, USAPA ambassador for Ogden, Utah, offers this sound advice, “It is critical that you find movers and shakers in your community who are not politicians and get them hooked on the sport. You need individuals who can open doors with community leaders. True believers in the benefits of this sport are mandatory in making it grow. Personal contact, not email or brochures, is what makes the program successful.”
In late 2011, a cooperative effort between Ogden City School District, Ogden City Recreation, YMCA, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis resulted in pickleball being implemented as a mandatory physical education and after school program. Three high schools, five junior highs, six elementary schools, and eight after school programs participate. As a part of this cooperative effort, Ogden City Recreation will establish pickleball clubs and hold tournaments for all Ogden City youth.
The key is getting a foot in the door. Bill Marshall, USAPA Ambassador in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who has been teaching pickleball at local schools for the past two years, suggests “getting to know the teachers in the area, going to functions they have and offering to do exhibitions.” As a result he got invited to a local teachers’ conference and ended up with an invitation to the state conference to talk about pickleball.
Norm Davis, USAPA Training Chair, who is actively involved in teaching pickleball at schools in Surprise, Ariz., started with middle schools, but quickly learned that the best results are achieved with youth ages 14 to 18. Davis recommends talking to principals and gym teachers and adds, “Kids view pickleball as an old-person’s game; so try to get youthful volunteers to do the teaching.”
To help promote the game to youth and others USAPA has two promotional videos available and offers training grants to help fund introducing the game to new players and establishing new places to play. Visit http://usapa.org/store/
to view the videos and http://usapa.org/training/training_fund_2010.php
for information regarding training grants.
Member Profile, Jo Hancock
USAPA Member #1
An avid pickleball player for the past 11 years, Jo Hancock was the first member of the newly-formed USAPA. “In addition to playing, I had been helping out in any way I could with area tournaments. So when the proposal for the USAPA was announced in 2005 I was happy to support it.”
Moving to Arizona Traditions in the City of Surprise, near Phoenix, 12 years ago as a breast cancer survivor, Jo was determined to stay active and regain full range of arm motion. Although retired from a desk job, Jo has always loved sports. Unable to find competitive tennis partners, she decided to try this other game friends had told her about. She instantly fell in love with pickleball and that same year won a bronze medal in mixed doubles in her first tournament.
Like other new players, Jo started out banging the ball as hard as she could. “I soon realized that I had to learn to dink and do drop shots, which improved my game immensely,” Jo recalls. It must have helped, because last spring Jo reached an impressive milestone when she won her 100th
tournament medal. Jo gives a lot of the credit for her success to the more than a dozen great women’s and men’s doubles partners she has played with over the years.
In addition to tournament play, Jo enjoys playing wherever she and husband, Bill, go during their summer travels. “I check the Places to Play
page on the USAPA Website and contact the local players. They have always graciously welcomed me to play with them.”
Jo feels strongly that everyone who plays pickleball, especially in tournaments, should learn to referee or volunteer in some other capacity. “We need new, younger people to be actively involved in organizing and spreading the word about pickleball.”
At age 75, Jo has slowed only slightly. She now plays only two to three hours a day, five days a week. Her favorite thing about pickleball? “I love the people. I have never found an unfriendly person playing this game.”