In this issue...
From the Editors...
Instructors teach keeping your eye on the ball, but do they stress keeping the ball out of your eye? In this month’s lead feature John Gardner provides an in-depth article about eye injury and the subject of protection. In Mind Games
author Harry Carpenter shares with us how to think yourself into better pickleball. And in this month’s Rules Review
Dennis Dacey explains the new Paddle Alteration
rule, which goes into effect January 1, 2014. USAPA President David Jordan writes about his successful attendance at the S.P.O.R.T.S. conference in Daytona Beach, Fla., while Executive Director and USAPA Nationals V tournament co-director Justin Maloof writes about the event’s record-setting registration numbers. And check out Bits and Pieces to learn how to cast your vote for a pickleball commercial during the Super Bowl. As for us, we are off to beautiful St. George, Utah for the 27th annual Huntsman World Senior Games and then back to Surprise, Ariz., to prepare for Nationals V. Till next month… Your Editors, Lynn & Linda Laymon, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Case for Eye Protection...
By John Gardner, Rochester, New York
After I was hit in the eye playing pickleball I wondered why I hadn't been able to protect myself. So I recorded the sounds of pickleball play at the Ogden Community Center. Back home I analyzed the recordings to find the shortest time between two hits when both players were at or near the no-volley lines. The results explained my dilemma. It frequently took between 350 and 400 milliseconds for a slammed ball to travel from one paddle to the other, and in one instance the time was only 250 milliseconds (one quarter of a second).
Now consider reaction time. The time from when you see the ball hit the opponent’s paddle to the time you can begin to move a muscle in response is probably between 200 and 300 milliseconds. (You can test yourself at www.mathsisfun.com/games/reaction-time.html
) If you then start to move the paddle to intercept the ball, or protect your face, it takes additional
time to get the paddle where you want it. In testing I performed, it took me at least 55 milliseconds to move just the first 8.25 inches (the width of the paddle). Taking the 350 millisecond transit time and subtracting 200 milliseconds for reaction time and 55 milliseconds for the first 8.25 inches of paddle movement, only 95 milliseconds (less than one tenth of a second) remains to move the paddle the rest of the way to where you want it, like to shield your face. In my opinion, it can't be done!
So even the fastest player can’t protect him/herself from an opponent’s hard slam from the no-volley line, if he/she waits to see where the ball is going. You can't protect your eyes with your paddle or even turn your head in the available time. You may be able to anticipate your opponent’s intent to slam and gain a little reaction time, but by the time you see the ball headed toward your face, it’s way too late. So what are your options?
Close your eyes or look away before the ball is hit, and lose the point.
Play the odds that the ball probably won’t hit your eye and risk injury and possibly loss of sight.
Wear protective eyewear.
For me it’s a no-brainer! My vote is for eye protection. Lens-less racquetball glasses are perfect for those who don’t wear glasses or do wear contacts. You can find a wide selection of protective eyewear on the Internet and there are a few available for use over glasses. Safety glasses, which are available at Ace Hardware, Lowes, Home Depot and elsewhere, are another option. They even are available with interchangeable lenses and tints that allow you to see the ball better under certain conditions. I wish I had started wearing protective eyewear before I got hit in the eye in the summer of 2010. It caused internal bleeding in the eye and a small tear in the retina, but fortunately most of the damage wasn’t permanent. You might not be so lucky.
The Mind Game...
Has Your Pickleball Game Maxed Out?
By Harry Carpenter
Have you reached the limit of your pickleball ability? Do you think you can’t get better? If you entertain such thoughts, you are wrong.
Your conscious mind can be too critical. I’m referring to that voice in your head that says, “Who are you kidding? You’ll never play better.” Or, “No one in your family was athletic. Therefore, you are not athletic. You’re lucky to play as well as you do.” Your conscious mind can come up with a dozen reasons why you can’t play better pickleball. Don’t believe them. If you let these thoughts go round and round in your head, they become fixed in your subconscious. Once your subconscious accepts them, they are harder to undo.
Don’t sabotage your pickleball game; quit thinking that you reached a limit. Change your thinking. Take a deep breath, relax and daydream of greatness on the court. And add emotion to your dream. When you dream, feel the joy of hitting a good shot. Your subconscious accepts any repeated, emotional thought as truth because it does not know the difference between real and imagined. Once your subconscious accepts the concept of playing better, it will find ways to make you play better. Dream BIG. Smash through the limitation barrier. Dream of champion-level play and let your subconscious take you to a new level.
Editors’ Note: This is the next in 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. Harry welcomes reader comments at mailto: email@example.com
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Nationals...Not Just Another Tournament
By Justin Maloof, USAPA Executive Director
It’s hard to believe that October is upon us and the USAPA National Tournament is just around the corner. Where has the time gone? Planning for this event began back in March and I’ve had the pleasure of working with members of the USAPA board, our staff and a host of volunteers who are all committed to producing a terrific event. Participation levels have never been greater; over 580 players have already registered. Whether this will be your first experience at USAPA Nationals or your 5th, we hope you enjoy the competition, fun and camaraderie this special week provides. The tournament will again be held at the beautiful Sun City Festival community in Buckeye, Ariz. We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to SCF, and all of our sponsors, for making this event possible. Please do your part and support companies who are investing in our sport. For everyone attending, I encourage you to round out your tournament experience by enjoying the local communities, attractions and Arizona surroundings. November is (usually) a beautiful time of year so be sure to plan some sightseeing ventures around your pickleball schedule and take in some of the special events the greater-Phoenix area has to offer. I hope everyone comes away with great memories. For those who have yet to register, there’s still time. Final registration ends October 12, so don’t wait, sign up today!
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Message from Your President …
By David Jordan, USAPA President
As summer turns to fall and we are now comfortably back in St. George from our summer travels, I look forward to the upcoming tournaments that so many of you will be attending. Your USAPA board has worked hard along with our new Executive Director to make 2013 a year of positive change for our association; a year that will bring a more professional appearance to our association as well as increased benefits to our members.
On another positive note, during September my wife Nancy and I attended the three-day S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference in Daytona Beach, Fla. We were able to set up two courts where the attendees could get a taste of pickleball, as the South Daytona Beach Recreational group helped demonstrate. Nancy oversaw play while I met with prospective city and convention representatives to discuss how they could bring pickleball to their town or facility. Individuals scheduled the meetings in advance and all of our 36 appointment times were filled! It was a very productive experience and we made many excellent contacts. Next month I'll cover board positions and what each of them does to help make pickleball the fastest growing sport in North America.
By Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair
Paddle Specifications Rule 2.E.5. Alterations has been changed and goes into effect January 1, 2014. The revised rule reads:
2.E.5. Alterations: The only alterations that can be made to a commercial paddle are changes to the grip, adding an edge guard and adding name decals and/or other identification markings on the paddle face. These decals/markings can extend no farther than 1" (25.4 mm) above the top of the handle nor more than 1/2" (12.7 mm) from the outer edge of a paddle, or paddle edge guard if in place. Altered paddles must meet all specifications. Homemade paddles are not permitted.
Rationale for the change:
In the past modified paddles were acceptable as long as they met all specifications. What we found, however, is that people were getting “creative” with modifications to the paddle head and even to the core of the paddle. These modifications may not be obvious, but could substantially alter how the paddle plays, to the point that it no longer meets USAPA paddle specifications. Such alterations would be difficult, if not impossible, for tournament directors to detect, and therefore would be counter to the intent of the rules, which strive to keep pickleball a game based on skill rather than equipment.
In an attempt to keep paddles within specifications and the hitting surfaces fundamentally the same as tested and approved by USAPA, the rule now more clearly limits the modifications that can be made to the paddle. As stated, post-manufacture changes may only be made to the grip, the edge guard and adding one’s name, etc. to the perimeter of the paddle. Customized paddle face decals/graphics that are created and installed by the paddle manufacturer are legal.
In addition to the change in rule 2.E.5., note that rule 2.E.8. Model Designation also becomes effective January 1, 2014.
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Training Grant Funds Exhausted for 2013…
Submitted by Norm Davis, USAPA Training Chair
The USAPA Grant program has been extraordinarily successful this year. Nearly 100 grants were approved for a total of $20,801.48 in states all across the nation. That number includes $750 in donations made by our members under the new charitable tax-deductible program. In addition to the funds 378 paddles were donated by one of our very supportive vendors. Our available budgeted grant funds for 2013 are exhausted, but next year's budget is being developed. New grant requests should not be submitted until after January 1, 2014.
Bits and Pieces...
Pickleball at the Super Bowl…
Submitted by David Johnson, Kent, Washington
We at PickleballCentral.com and throughout the pickleball community are excited to be involved in a contest that Intuit is sponsoring for small businesses. The grand prize is a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl. We think we stand a good chance of winning. What a great opportunity that would be to spread awareness of pickleball! Despite entering late, we finished 11th out of 40,000+ entrants in the first round of the contest. Round two reduces the number of semi-finalists down to 20. From there Intuit employees select four companies that will have commercials produced. Those four commercials will be voted on by the general public. The commercial getting the most votes will air during the Super Bowl and the other three will run on Fox Sports 1 sometime in 2014. Advancing out of round two is based partly on public votes and partly on us producing a video about our company, which we are having professionally produced; it should be up on the contest Website later in the week.
People can vote once a day through October 13th
and the more votes we get the better the chances of seeing a pickleball commercial during the Super Bowl. You can see our current contest page and vote at: https://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com/wa/PickleballCentralcom/383529
In the name of pickleball, get online and cast your vote.
Ed. Note: This article is not an advertisement for PickleballCentral.com. The contest in which the company is entered presents a tremendous opportunity for worldwide promotion of the sport.
A Squirrel and His Pickleball…
Submitted by Rebekah Maddalena
When hand feeding excited young squirrels who are more than eager to retrieve food handouts, I use cracked and trashed pickleballs to put space between me and the squirrel’s claws. Recently one little rascal surprised me by not only snatching the free peanut, but also snagging the pickleball right out of my grip. He then took the ball up a tree for closer inspection.
Ed. Note: The editors and USAPA do not necessarily recommend hand feeding wildlife, with or without pickleballs.
Made in America…
Submitted by Ramona and Steve Boone, USAPA Regional Directors, Great Plains
The Pikes Peak Pickleball Club chooses tournament medals that are made in America. The unique 2 1/2" medals are made in Colorado from Colorado wood! Each medal is laser etched with the Pikes Peak Pickleball Club logo on the front and "Gold," "Silver" or "Bronze" on the reverse by Mohr's Wood & Trophy Items, Florence, Colo.
From Costa Rica to Bora Bora and St. John’s Newfoundland…
Submitted by Audrey Phillips, USAPA Ambassador, Southern California
I just received an e-mail from the General Manager of the Westin Golf Resort and Spa, in Playa Conchal, Costa Rica that their property has opened the first dedicated pickleball court in the country.
Also, during a recent trip to Bora Bora, French Polynesia this group of USAPA members taught French guests the game of pickleball on a grass court. We are now sending paddles, balls and nets to them in Paris. And lastly, these pickleballs were sighted in the window of a sporting goods store in St. John’s Newfoundland.
Places to Play…
Pickleball in the Mountains…
Submitted by Debbie Forrester, USAPA Ambassador
Ridgway is located in southwestern Colorado beneath the shadows of 13-14er mountains [Ed: thousands of feet in elevation
]. Thanks to USAPA, with the donation of a net and paddles, Ridgway now has another outdoor sport – pickleball. After spending many hours with the town council for approval, volunteers lined two outdoor courts on a full-court city basketball court. The inaugural event was a fun tournament with our sister pickleball group from Montrose. We are now looking for an indoor area for play when the snow starts flying. If in the area looking for a game, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Pickleball Grows at Prescott Lakes…
Submitted by Jay Davis
The Club at Prescott Lakes (Ariz.) has recently constructed five new pickleball courts and hosted its first tournament -- The City of Prescott Pickleball Senior Olympics. The Club has been in existence a little over two years and has grown to nearly 100 members with more joining each week. It is an active club with frequent in-house tournaments and social events, with plans to host multiple sanctioned tournaments in the future, with emphasis on summer events. Although we are a private club, we have interest in promoting pickleball in Northern Arizona and invite guests to come try our courts. Contact me at (928) 499-0497. The address of the courts is 311 E. Smoke Tree Lane, Prescott, Arizona.
Jasmine Creek Adds Two Courts…
Submitted by Duke Libby, Orange County, California
Nestled in the hills overlooking Newport Bay, the Jasmine Creek private community has just added two pickleball courts, each with a portable net. Sunday, Sept. 8, was the first open play. We had eight players including three guests, as well as two spectators. Since we are a gated private community, guests must be invited with their name left at the gate. We are looking for a few players who live nearby who might like to play with us on occasion. Contact me at email@example.com.
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Submitted by Ann Hueter, USAPA Ambassador, Port Townsend, Washington
I have been teaching pickleball for a number of years and one question that comes up frequently is, "Why is the non-volley zone called ‘The Kitchen’?” I can't even make up a good answer! Where did this term come from?
Ann, we have searched far and wide and still drew a blank. Possibly one of our readers has an idea about the origins of the term that they’d like to share.
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USAPA Facebook Page Update...
If you like to read interesting pickleball stories and see photos and videos of what your fellow members (and non-members) are up to, the USAPA Facebook page is the place to visit. Our page continues to grow and we now have nearly 800 pickleball players who ‘like’ our page. This is up from around 130 when this year started. Joining is easy; just click the ‘Like’ button and check it out.
There was a short story in an earlier newsletter this year about a group playing Super Pickleball
(I think). They used two courts, four players on each team and a portable net to connect the two courts. I searched all the back issues this year and can't find the article. Sounds like a lot of fun. Can you help me find it? - John Bliffen, Piqua, Ohio
Ed.: John, the article you reference is called Crazy Pickleball and appeared in the May 2013 Bits and Pieces column. All back issues of the newsletter are available online at www.usapa.org/newsletter approximately one month after the newsletter is e-mailed to USAPA members.
Mr. Nice Drill Guy
Submitted by Harry Carpenter
At 5 A.M., while most of us are still in bed, Phil Dunmeyer has already eaten breakfast, filled his van with baskets of balls, ball collectors and an assortment of brightly-colored drill targets. Six days a week, starting at 7 A.M., Phil conducts pickleball drills at Oceanside courts (M,W,F) and at Tustin, California (T,T,S); both locations are about a 70-mile round-trip drive for Phil.
Phil’s drills emphasize the basics. A typical session includes ten minutes each of dinks, serves and serve returns, drop shots and a potentially humiliating game of Long, Long, Short
. You can hit the ball in play, but if you don’t hit it long enough or short enough to suit Phil, you lose the point. Best of all, beginners get individual attention and often a chance to play with Phil in a game. All of this is free; Phil does it out of his love for the game of pickleball and a passion for helping others.
After the drills and packing up the equipment, Dunmeyer morphs from Mr. Nice Drill Guy to the Mean Pickleball Machine. He whacks the ball with killer pace. His wicked wrist snap was acquired as a nationally-ranked table tennis player and from professional baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization. On top of that, Phil played USTA tennis. He has won his share of pickleball medals, but the highlight was winning Gold in the 2012 USAPA Nationals 70+ Mixed Doubles event with partner Pickleball Pat Carroll. Earlier this year, the players at Melba Bishop courts staged a version of Flash
Dance, where they gave Phil a gift in appreciation for the time he spends conducting drills. Before retiring, Phil was an elementary school principal. He lives in San Clemente, California where this January he and Kathie, his pickleball-tolerant wife, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Thanks Phil.
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Stretching Part II
By Barb Wintroub
Now that everyone is stretching their hamstrings, right? (Ed. Note: see Fitness, Sept. 2013 issue
) It's time to stretch your calf muscles, which are attached to the hamstrings. As a tennis player from years ago, I tore both my calf muscles. As I was running to the net in a tournament doubles match I heard a gunshot. Actually, it was the pop of one of my calf muscles. Back then before MRIs and all the other medical improvements, the ER staff said, "Yep you tore something. Here are crutches; walk on your toes for six weeks, then try walking heel-toe as usual.” That was it. Today, I stretch my calf muscles many times during the day. It's easy and you can do it anywhere. Here are a few ways to get those pesky, tight calf muscles to relax, but DO NOT hang your heels off a step and bounce up and down. Good chance you'll tear something.
Stretch #1 Point your toe on the floor behind you. Pull your shoe laces toward you (don't really move your foot). The idea is to stretch the front of your shin first.
Stretch #2 Place your toes against a wall with a straight leg. Move your whole body forward until you feel a stretch in the calf.
Stretch #3 If you can get on your knees with your shins and feet on the floor, sit back toward your heels, stretching the shins.
Stretch #4 Sit on the floor or on a chair with leg straight out in front of you. Pull your toes toward your nose.
Take care of your muscles and your muscles will take care of you.
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USAPA Donations Tax Deductible...
USAPA is a 501(c)(3) public charity. This means that your contributions to USAPA are now tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. All donations will be used to augment the Training Grants program
, which promotes the growth of the sport. You can be part of it by adding a donation to your membership dues payment (the dues amount is not deductible), by donating online at https://usapa.org/store/donation
or by sending your tax-deductible donation to:
P.O. Box 7354
Surprise, AZ 85374
Want a new USAPA t-shirt? How about an Official USAPA/IFP Rulebook and a discount when registering for tournaments? Visit www.usapa.org/memberships
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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Need an official pickleball net system, USAPA logo apparel, instructional DVDs, the official USAPA-IFP Tournament Rulebook, window stickers and more? Find it all at the USAPA online store -- http://usapa.org/store/
. And don’t miss the latest in apparel designs at CafePress.com/pickleball
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
. The USAPA Editorial Guidelines
are available for viewing at www.usapa.org/newsletter
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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
one month after they have been e-mailed to members.
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The Final Word…
By Jennifer Lucore, Publisher, USAPA e-Newsletter
For those of us who use time, or lack of, as an excuse not to get out on the court:
And those players gearing up for the next tournament -- Huntsman World Senior Games and/or USAPA Nationals V:
Wherever you are, whatever your skill level, get out on the court and have fun!