May 2014  e-Newsletter 

In this issue...

From the Editors...

Want a say in the future of pickleball? Don’t miss President David Jordan’s message; he invites your input. Or how about increasing your knowledge of the USAPA Player Rating process and the tools available to club, local, state and regional rating committees, and tournament directors? Chris Thomas provides all of that in Player Ratings Update. Also, in his Nationals VI Open Play and Ratings article Chris explains that Open competition at Nationals VI will be restricted to skill levels 4.5 and 5.0, and how rating changes associated with those events will be handled. In Pickleball Going Green we broach the subject of recycling pickleballs, and in Mind Games author Harry Carpenter shares pointers for getting into the zone, and staying there during competitive play. This month’s No Dumb Questions addresses what happens when a ball is called “out” just before it drops in, and in Fitness Barb Wintroub offers exercises that will help us avoid that proverbial pain in the back. In closing, since the Brian Williams pickleball piece on NBC Nightly News there has been a noticeable increase in local news coverage. Pickles the dog is finally getting the attention he deserves. Visit the USAPA home page for links to the latest news stories. 
    Your Editors, Lynn & Linda Laymon,

Pickle Ball, Pickleball or pickleball?
By the Editors

What is the name of this game we all love so much? Over the years people have expressed it in several different forms. Some have used Pickle Ball, others Pickleball. But the correct name is pickleball – all lowercase unless the first word in a sentence. A number of months ago we wrote a similar piece as this in the newsletter, but we occasionally are still seeing it expressed incorrectly. Now that pickleball is getting significantly more media coverage (Amen) it is even more important that we all use the correct spelling -- pickleball.
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Message from Your President...
By David Jordan, USAPA President

As pickleball grows in popularity the game will become inundated with new equipment, new thoughts on how the game should be played and new ways to get more players involved. It is not unusual for a sport to undergo this type of metamorphosis. All sports have faced such revelations. As with any sport the governing body, in this case USAPA, must be able to set and regulate proper equipment specifications and rule updates and help with the overall development of the game. Thus, what is the mission of USAPA and how can it best guide the development of pickleball, which by all accounts is still in its infancy? Our mission is to promote the development and growth of the game, and we can only do that with a strong membership base willing to help us define the goals and objectives of how and where this sport will go in the coming years. How do we work together to best achieve a positive outcome?

From time to time USAPA solicits member input via surveys seeking how they see the future of pickleball and how they think USAPA can best guide the sport in the right direction. We also ask for volunteers to serve on committees looking at potential changes and new ideas. Your input is critical. By working together we can continue the growth and governance in a positive manner. Of course, you can contact us at any time to express your ideas or concerns at

Your cooperation and help are greatly appreciated; together we can better support and improve the game we all love. Let’s embrace the future together and keep fun as our main goal.  

Player Ratings Update…
Submitted by Chris Thomas, USAPA Ratings Chair
The Ratings Steering Committee submitted to the USAPA board several items related to player ratings. The board adopted all of the committee’s recommendations, which are now published on the USAPA website. Following is a brief description of each item, and where you can locate it on the website:
  1. Ratings Committee Tips/Tools -- This outlines how to form a club, local, state or regional ratings committee. This document provides guidelines regarding: how to organize a committee, basic procedural steps, and some guidelines on what the committee should consider with regard to setting or changing a player’s skill rating. There is also a link to a spreadsheet tool that can be used to gather player information and data, such as tournament results, so that committee members can view the list of players for possible rating changes. This spreadsheet can also be used by tournament directors when recommending rating changes. Ratings committees and tournament directors perform a critical task in reviewing players and then submitting any recommended rating changes to the USAPA ratings chair. These tips/tools can be found at the USAPA website
  2. Ratings Changes and Appeals -- Two sections of the Ratings Changes documentation were revised. The first was Section II. Ratings Changes and Appeals, Rating Changes. Text was added regarding the basis for when a player’s rating change (either up or down) will occur. The second revision was in this same general section, but under the subsection of Who May Appeal a Rating and When. A paragraph was inserted that details specific reasons that would serve as the basis for an appeal by a player. These items can be found at the IFP Rating System.

The Mind Game...
Playing in the Zone, Part 2...
By Harry Carpenter

Some elite athletes have a natural ability to play in the zone. If you are not one of the few that has this natural ability, it can be acquired. First, you have to learn to go into alpha. Going into alpha is simple: sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, relax, and stay in the present. An easy way to stay in the present is to be aware of your breathing. Don’t evaluate your breathing, just be aware of it. While in alpha, tell your subconscious that whenever you want to play in the zone, you return to this alpha state. And, while playing in the zone, you are 100 percent focused on the game and you let your subconscious take control. All you (your conscious mind) have to do is watch the ball. Thank your subconscious for playing at a high level. Everyone likes to be thanked, even your subconscious, and this is a sneaky way of reinforcing the suggestion to play better.

Second, practice this until your subconscious is conditioned, so that you can open your eyes and stay in alpha, not just while you are in a comfortable chair, but while you play on the court. Last, associate this new habit with a trigger, like Pavlov did with his dog. Every time he fed the dog, he rang a bell. After the dog was conditioned, it would salivate when the bell rang, even without food. In your case, the trigger will put you in the zone. You can use words as a trigger,  like Zone Red. Using a word, or words, as a trigger is useful because you may not always want to play in the zone. Sometimes you just want to play for fun. 
Editors’ Note: This is a continuing series of articles on the mental side of pickleball: what you should be thinking about – and not thinking about – during play, and more. Harry W Carpenter is author of a new eBook, Pickleball; The Mental Side, as well as The Genie Within: Your Subconscious Mind – How It Works and How to Use It

Pickleball Going Green…
By the Editors
No, we are not talking about green pickleballs; this article is ecologically focused on two questions from pickleball player Joyce Harant of Peoria, Illinois. “Are pickleballs recyclable? If not, what can we do to change that?”

We put those questions to Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair and the person in charge of ball testing. He provides a simple answer and some excerpted background. “For now the simple answer appears to be ‘no,’ a pickleball cannot economically be recycled. Below is just a bit of information about plastic recycling. I'm no expert, but from what I see, because of the type of material with which it is combined and the fact that there is no recycling symbol, the ball is impractical for recycling.”

Low national plastic recycling rates have been due to the complexity of sorting and processing, unfavorable economics and consumer confusion about which plastics can actually be recycled. Part of the confusion has been due to the use of the resin identification code, which is not on all plastic parts, but just a subset that includes the recycling symbol as part of its design. The resin identification code is stamped or printed on the bottom of containers and surrounded by a triangle of arrows. The intent of these symbols was to make it easier to identify the type of plastics used to make a particular container and to indicate that the plastic is potentially recyclable. The question that remains is, “Which types of plastics can be recycled by your local recycling center?” In many communities, not all types of plastics are accepted for sidewalk recycling collection programs due to the high processing costs and complexity of the equipment required to recycle certain materials. There is also sometimes a seemingly low demand for the recycled product depending on a recycling center's proximity to entities seeking recycled materials. Another major barrier is that the cost to recycle certain materials and the corresponding market price for those materials sometimes does not present an opportunity for profit.

A few days later Joyce at least partially answered her own question. “I was able to ask someone who has a background in plastic recycling about this. He thought it is probably called HDPE plastic, which is thermally shaped and would be in a miscellaneous number 3-7 recycling category. Thus, the prospects for recycling are poor right now. Whether or not an area recycles a certain type of plastic is moot, if we do not have the ball coded.”  Joyce then brings up an additional concern and opportunity for recycling. “I have not seen the recycling of plastic water bottles at any tournaments I have attended. Could the recycling of plastic bottles be required at tournaments?” We agree that encouraging the recycling of plastic water bottles should be standard practice at tournaments. Here in Arizona and at other locations around the country players often are provided one bottle of water at check-in and instructed to refill it at water coolers that are scattered around the venue. Even better, at some tournaments players are asked to bring their own drinking container and then refill it from the coolers. This completely eliminates plastic bottle waste.

In closing, Joyce adds, “I hope pickleball can become an example of more responsible and sustainable recycling practices.” We agree. It seems to be a matter of timing.

E.D. Corner…
Help Wanted...
By Justin Maloof, USAPA Executive Director

Are you a Facebook guru? Do you consider yourself a computer geek? If so, USAPA has a place for you! As the sport of pickleball continues unprecedented growth, the association is finding it more and more difficult to keep up with the demands. Day-to-day operations are going well, however, there is still so much to be done and we are looking for folks who are able and willing to lend a hand in the following areas to improve our level of service and expand our current abilities:

· Social Media / Facebook Contributors (ongoing)
·  IT / Website Committee (ongoing)
·  Media Correspondents (National Tournament – November)
·  Referee Certification Committee (ongoing)

If you have experience with any of the above and would like to get involved, we would like to hear from you. There’s no set schedule; you can work on your timetable. We just need dedicated folks who have a passion for pickleball and USAPA, and are willing to donate their time and expertise. In the very near future we will have a new Volunteer page on the website where we will post more positions as they arise. Members will be able to click on position titles, read the duties and requirements and send a note indicating their level of interest. In the meantime, if you are interested in hearing more about the above needs, please Click here.

Thanks for your consideration and we look forward to hearing from you.
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Nationals VI...

Start making your plans early for this year’s USAPA National Tournament. Great play, clinics, more vendors and the addition of the Senior Open events will make this the best Nationals ever. Get all the exciting news about this year’s National Tournament at our website. Registration opens June 2nd, 2014.

Nationals VI Open Play and Ratings…
Submitted by Chris Thomas, USAPA Ratings Chair
In terms of eligibility for the USAPA 2014 National Tournament Open Division or Senior Open Division events, any 4.5 or higher rated player may play in either division, but not both. The tournament registration deadline is October 5, 2014; however, all players who wish to play in an Open division need to have secured an official 4.5 or higher rating by September 1, 2014. Since rating changes typically are enacted four times a year -- January 1, April 1, June 1 and September 1 -- September 1 is the deadline for a ratings change. Rating changes are to follow the normal processes as outlined at Most player ratings occur based on tournament director recommendations submitted to There will be no rating change granted to a player based solely on the player’s desire to participate in Open Division play at Nationals VI.

National Senior Games…
Submitted by David Jordan, USAPA President

State Senior Games events for May: Connecticut, Indiana, South Carolina, Virginia and Vermont. Be sure to qualify before the end of the year. Remember, this year it is the top 4 finishers that qualify.  For all the details visit: or the USAPA website.


National State Games...
Submitted by David Jordan, USAPA President

Be sure to get information about all the state game sites where you can qualify for next year’s National State Games tournament. For all the new information and FAQs visit our website  or




No Dumb Questions…
Submitted by Bill Leach
Question:  We had a problem in a neighborhood match and would like an indication of how to score the volley. A player prematurely called a ball out to warn his partner not to play the ball. However it caught the backline, so the player who made the call returned it. The other team had stopped since the ball was called out. Is this a fault for the team who hit the deep shot or for the team making the erroneous call, or should it have been played over?
Answer: As clearly stated in IFP Rule 6.D.12.:  If, while the ball is in the air, a player yells “out,” “no,” “bounce it,” or any other word to communicate to his or her partner that the ball may be out, it shall be considered player communication. If the ball lands in, play will continue. If the out call is made after the ball has hit the playing surface, it shall be considered a line call and play shall stop. (revised April 1, 2011)

As a courtesy to our opponents, when one of us communicates that we think a ball will be out by calling “out”, and it lands "in" and we play it, we immediately call to the other team that it was good, so there is no question that they should play our return. This is not in the rules, but just something we personally do to avoid misunderstanding. 
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Bits and Pieces…

Determining Top Dog…
Submitted by Scott Lipitz, Rochester, New York
After winning the New York State (NYS) Pickleball Championship, Joshua Gleason of Rochester came up with the idea of forming the Professional Pickleball League (PPL) in his area. He invited the top 20 players from the Upstate New York region and devised a point system that would be recorded throughout the PPL season (January – December). The purpose of the league is to determine who is the Top Dog of pickleball in this region. This league has brought out the competitive nature among the elite players of Rochester and has also attracted players from outside the state as well. Players take the competition seriously, but at the same time have fun. Since the inception of the league the quality of play has improved tremendously while the camaraderie has been a rewarding byproduct.

Revitalizing Underused Paddle Tennis Courts…
Submitted by Doug Nichols, USAPA Ambassador, Santa Monica, California
Seeking public opportunities to play pickleball in Santa Monica, Calif., I discovered that there are greater than 100 underutilized paddle tennis courts in Los Angeles County. I was excited to find that the court dimensions for paddle tennis are the same as pickleball, but the net is two inches lower. Having used USAPA portable net systems on tennis courts in Philadelphia, I realized that this was a golden opportunity. The only missing line is the kitchen line, which I lay down each time with painter’s tape. The other benefit of this conversion is that virtually all of these courts are individually enclosed by chain link fences, preventing interference from balls crossing onto other courts. With no public paddle tennis courts in Santa Monica, on the national Paddle Tennis website I found approximately 25 locations where public and private paddle tennis courts exist in Los Angeles County. My goal is to find people who will both start and manage a pickleball group in each location.

Pickleball Ole’ In Riviera Maya…
Submitted by Chris Thomas
Perfect weather and a crystal blue Caribbean sea welcomed 300 pickleball players from 35 states, ages 39 to 87, to the Grand Palladium all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. This year’s trip, which was open to all USAPA members, was offered in two one-week adventures that included 16 pickleball courts for 24 hour open play, nightly get-togethers, a very funny tournament, where changing partners was constant, skill level clinics, parties filled with dancing, margaritas and mucho ole’. Although pickleball was the magnet that pulled this diverse group together, the friendships that blossomed and the ability to have fun, both on and off the courts, was the best part of the trip. Whether we were learning to dink better or hit a new serve, climbing Coba pyramid or snorkeling underground cenotes, we joined forces as groups and individuals, bonded in our passion for pickleball.

The trip was organized by Audrey Phillips, USAPA Ambassador from San Diego. This year, 30 ambassadors joined the adventure as well as two USAPA board members and two regional directors. As a thank you for her work in organizing the trip, the participants presented Audrey with a USAPA grant, which she asked be made as a memorial to Duke Allan Libby and used to enhance pickleball programs throughout North America.

The next pickleball adventure -- Pickle Punta Cana -- is planned for early December 2015 to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. If interested in receiving information about the 2015 trip, contact Audrey at Hasta luego pepitos!
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Places to Play…

New Venue in Columbia, South Carolina…
Submitted by Carlos Anrrich
I would like to announce a place to play at Seven Oaks Recreation Park, 200 Leisure Lane, Columbia, S.C. We play Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. No charge; paddles and balls provided. Contact: Carlos Anrrich, 803-772-3336; e-mail

Rules Review
The Service Motion…
By Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair

Okay, after last month’s April Fool’s Day spoof it’s time to get down to more serious stuff. How ‘bout we tackle “the serve,” and specifically the service motion. There is now a very good video on the Pickleball Channel that covers the three main aspects of the service motion: arm moving in an upward arc, ball below the waist and paddle head below the wrist, all at time of impact. This should clear up most of the misconceptions that people have about the serving motion rules. Know what a good service motion is, know the correct server position (covered in rule 4.B.) and you’re halfway to completing a good serve. All the service rules are too lengthy to cover here, so I suggest that you take the time to read Section 4 of the rule book

Remember that the court and the playing surface is a two-dimensional plane, not a three-dimensional area, so any part of the ball, feet, body, paddle, etc. can be over the top of the court during the serve. Knowing this, reading and understanding section 4 of the rules and watching the aforementioned video should help you to never make a bad serve. Well, almost never.

Take a Look

Pickleball recently has been receiving significant air time, both local and national, including a lengthy piece by Brian Williams on the NBC Nightly News; don’t miss the links at the redesigned USAPA website – The home page contains buttons to everything from tournaments to places to play in each state and province, benefits of USAPA membership and an all-inclusive Guide to Refereeing. All this and much, much more. Take a moment to visit, it is an incredible source of information about all things pickleball!

USAPA Online Store…
Need an official portable net system, USAPA logo wear, instructional DVDs, the official USAPA-IFP Tournament Rulebook, window stickers and more? Find it all at the USAPA online store

Fitness…Back Pain, Part I
By Barbara Wintroub
Recently a pickleball friend was playing in a tournament when her back went out. She couldn't move. I'm not sure she could even finish the match. She was given painkillers by the doctor to help her make it through the day. My question is, why did this happen and when could it happen again? First: How much are you stretching every single day? Second: What exercises are you doing to strengthen your hamstrings and bun muscles? Third: Are you stretching your hamstrings? Since our life is lived forward and seated, our back side gets weak and can no longer hold us upright. Twisting for a fast rally or bending to dink several times can be all that is needed to throw your back out. Back pain is a very complicated situation with many diagnoses. Wouldn't it be an easy solution to just do my recommended exercises and all the pain goes away? Try these exercises.

Picture #1 Heels on a chair -- lift buns off the ground to strengthen hamstrings and buns.
Picture #2 Knees to the chest to stretch back and bun muscles.
Picture #3 Seated figure 4 -- cross leg to stretch lower back and bun muscles.
Picture #4 Leg on a chair, other leg on the ground for a hamstring stretch.

Ed. Note: Fitness guru Barbara Wintroub is the author of Fighting Gravity. 
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Pickleball Channel "Pickleball 411"…
Submitted by Lauren, Rumer Studios

Every Friday, Pickleball Channel releases a new episode of one of their shows. The third Friday of the month brings a new episode of Pickleball 411 – a show that delves into the tips, tricks and techniques of pickleball. April’s edition explains the underhand serve motion. The host, Rusty Howes, walks viewers through the three main elements of the serve: the underhand stroke, ball contact and the paddle head position. His description, coupled with clear motion graphics, clarifies some of the trickier points of this skill. You can watch the episode here.


Member Benefits...

Want an Official USAPA/IFP Rulebook and a discount when registering for tournaments? Or how about an association t-shirt with the new USAPA logo? Visit to learn more about all the benefits of renewing your membership today. Plus, all USAPA members have access to the Working Advantage discount network, which can save you up to 60% on ticketed events, online shopping and much more!
Disclaimer: Working Advantage is an independent gateway for USAPA's members to access voluntary benefits, discounts and special services offered by vendors and other companies affiliated with Working Advantage. USAPA does not promote or endorse and is not responsible for any of these products or services.
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e-Newsletter Submission and Editorial Guidelines…
If you have articles, news items, questions or photos that you would like to submit for publication in the e-Newsletter please send them to The USAPA Editorial Guidelines are available for viewing here
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Do Not Forward...

Please do not forward this newsletter. It is a benefit of USAPA membership. If one of your forwarded recipients clicks the unsubscribe link it automatically will unsubscribe you from the newsletter and all future USAPA communications. Forwarders beware. If you forward the newsletter to someone and they click 'unsubscribe' it will be your e-mail address that is unsubscribed. Prior newsletters are available in the newsletter section at one month after they have been e-mailed to members. 
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The Final Word…
By Jennifer Lucore, Publisher, USAPA e-Newsletter

April was action packed for me. First stop, The Villages, Fla., to participate in a Pro-Exhibition, which was a three-day event for both club members and the general public. Jeff Shank organized a wonderful event in which 450 participants watched the pros play, attended question/answer sessions and got help with their games. Super fun and I so enjoyed my first ever visit to The Villages.

Second stop, to check out four pickleball venues in the Florida Keys, in route to Key West. Visited with the people, played and took photos. At Key West I played with the local group that is headed by Colleen Blakley, USAPA Ambassador for Key West and with Rick Laskey, visiting USAPA Ambassador from Jacksonville, N.C. We had great games, good fun and now for me, more special pickleball friends!

Then, off to the eastern Caribbean – St. Lucia Island (yes, the same location that was just on the TV show – The Bachelor). I did not find a pickleball court there, but created a makeshift one. A highlight of my stay was a hike up Piton Mountain, and of course, I had to pack the pickleball. 

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