LEARN about the USAPA Honorary Donations Program and READ a report from last month's Ambassador Retreat in Lake Tahoe.
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July 2015 Edition
In this issue...  

Pickleball players are very social people. Don't forget to tag your social updates with #USAPA so we can share them on Facebook and Twitter.


Register for Nationals VII

Message from the President

The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

As Nancy and I traveled this last month and played and visited with players in Arizona, Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia, one of the main questions that we were asked is the reason for the ever-increasing number of tournaments each year. In a round table discussion at Tom and Ann Earley’s courts in Canton, Ga., we batted that question around; and there are many answers. I think the main reasons we came up with is that players like to test their skills against other players outside their normal realm of recreational play. It also allows local pickleball clubs to raise funds to help in their local efforts of supporting the sport. Put these two together with the fact that the number of players is increasing every year and you have a booming tournament circuit.

With the rise in popularity of tournaments, we have also seen a number of "power tournaments" gain traction. Next year, a new power tournament – the US Open Pickleball Championships – will be held in Naples, Fla., It will have a total purse of $20,000 and is the brainchild of Terri Graham who has a long sports background in tennis and racquetball as well as the sports industry, having worked for Wilson Sporting Goods.

This will be a USAPA sanctioned tournament requiring USAPA membership. It is shaping up to be a top-notch tournament with championship courts, gold box seating, event parties, a kids day, live entertainment and much more. Organizers are expecting well over 500 of the top players in the country to attend.

What we want to emphasize, is these large tournaments should not be considered substitutes for USAPA National Tournament, held this year at Casa Grande, November 8 â€“ 15, 2015. The USAPA National and Regional Pickleball Tournaments are and will continue to be the only tournaments which are run and managed by the USAPA. 

The mission of the USAPA is to promote the growth of pickleball and I feel that all levels of tournaments help to accomplish this goal. The USAPA is here to lend support to all who have questions or need help organizing a tournament. We also encourage all tournament directors to sanction their tournaments so players know that the tournament they are signing up for will be run by the standards set up by your national organization. Sanctioning also provides secondary accident insurance to all USAPA member participants and liability insurance for the tournament.

As we have seen on our travels, summer tournament season is in full swing. Please enjoy your tournament experiences as well as have fun at your local playing facility, and remember to travel safely. See you on the road.

David Jordan, USAPA President

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More than 40 drills and gamelike activities will speed your learning while improving performance. You’ll also find competitive tactics for various scenarios and strategies for both singles and doubles play.

Learn from some of the best players in the game as Jennifer Lucore, Alex Hamner, Jim Hackenberg, Wes Gabrielsen, Gigi LeMaster and David Zapatka all shared helpful tips that are sure to improve your game.

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Upcoming Regional Tournaments

Here's your chance to register for these USAPA Regional Tournaments

Upcoming National Tournaments

Register today for these tournaments on PickleballTournaments.com

If you live in the Minneapolis, Minn., area, please consider checking out the National Senior Games Association Pickleball Tournament. Over 650 players are registered to compete
July 10-15. For more information, visit the NSGA website.

July 30 - August 2, 2015
Omaha, Neb.
Register on SGA2015.com
November 8-15, 2015
Casa Grande, Ariz.
Register on PickleballTournaments.com

Nationals VII: Aetna Named as 2015 Presenting Sponsor

This year we are happy to announce the addition of Aetna as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2015 USAPA Nationals VII Pickleball Tournament in Casa Grande, Ariz.

"We are very honored and excited about Aetna’s title sponsorship this year,” said Justin Maloof, Executive Director, USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). “Nationals is the pinnacle event for our sport and we feel very fortunate to have one of the nation’s leading advocates for health and wellness partnering with us this year."

Last year, USAPA Nationals VI attracted over 700 players from 38 states. A total of 1,800 matches were played on 28 courts, making it the largest pickleball tournament ever held. This year’s event will again feature age divisions for juniors, adults and senior players and will also offer Open and Senior Open play for 4.5 and above rated players. In addition to incredible pickleball action, the public event will also feature instructional clinics, manufacturer demonstrations and numerous industry vendors displaying and selling the latest gear and equipment.

Read more about Nationals VII

First Ambassadors' retreat a success!

135 ambassadors & guests attend first USAPA Ambassador retreat on the shores of Lake Tahoe

Written by Bev Youngren and Jennifer Lucore

What a great idea Larry & Rita Tucker had...Let’s do an Ambassador Retreat at the Granlibakken Resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif. This beautiful alpine resort is on 74 acres; a secluded valley with wonderful accommodations, meeting spaces for our seminars, close to the town of Tahoe City...plus room for 18 pickleball courts! Thanks to all the organizers for an enriching and exciting time that was had by all.

Ambassadors and guests from 23 states plus Costa Rica – 135 to be exact – attended the retreat. Cocktail parties took place every evening under the stars, giving the ambassadors a chance to interact with each other on an informal basis.

So many new pickleball friends, so many new ideas shared, and best of all, everyone had a wonderful time.

Read the Full Report

This month's Newsletter sponsors

Changes to the Rulebook 

From time to time, the USAPA Rules Committee makes changes to the rulebook to allow for better interpretation of the rules of pickleball. On June 1, five rulebook changes went into effect; four were in Section 10 – Scoring, Game, Match Rules, and one was in Section 13 – Sanctioned Tournament Formats. Although these changes may not appear in your current hardcopy rulebook, they have been included in the online version and the changes are highlighted at usapa.org under Rules & Referees.

10.C. Game (Standard Tournament Format). The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least a 2-point margin wins. If both sides are tied at 10 points, then play continues until one side wins by 2 points.

10.E. Alternate Tournament Formats.

10.E.1. A tournament director may choose to have some or all matches (except Round Robin) consist of one game to 15 points or one game to 21 points with a win by 2 points. This applies to a single or double elimination bracket. For Round Robin events a winning margin of one point is required.

10.E.2. A tournament director may choose to have Round Robin or Round Robin Pool Play feeding to a medal bracket. For any Round Robin event, games must be “win by 1 point” (not 2 points). Also see 13.A.4. and 13.A.6.

13.A.4. Round Robin. All players (in singles) or teams will play each other. All matches will be played with the same number of games for each match. i.e., 1 game to 15 win by 1, or 1 game to 21 win by 1, or 3 games to 11 win by 1 (1 or 2 games to 11 is not permitted, all 3 games to 11 must be played even if a player/team win the first two games). The player or team winning the most matches is declared the winner. If two or more teams are tied for a medal, the player or team winning the most points will be declared the winner of the tie.

If you have questions about these rules, feel free to contact the Rules Chair using the USAPA Contact form

Rules Review: NVZ Foot Fault Question

A comprehensive explanation of the rules by Dennis Dacey, the USAPA's Rules Chairman. If you have a question you'd like answered, email ruleschair@usapa.org


Is it possible to hit a volley from mid court, or even back court (near the baseline) and have a foot fault in the NVZ?


The answer is YES! Are you surprised? Rule 9.D. states in part “If a player has touched the NVZ for any reason, that player cannot volley the return until both feet have made contact with the playing surface completely outside the NVZ.” So, think about it. I’ve seen this happen many times. A player will be up near the NVZ. They will inadvertently put one foot on the NVZ line to push off and back up for a deep volley. If that foot does not make contact with the court (or playing surface), outside the NVZ, before hitting a volley, it is a NVZ foot fault. A player is normally a little shocked when called for this fault but it happens more times than you might think. Referees, be on the lookout for this as well as other foot faults in the NVZ. That’s your job!

Learn: USAPA's "Honorary Donation" Program

Submission by Darryl A Noble, Treasurer USAPA

Is there someone special that has contributed to you being involved in the sport of pickleball? I'm sure there is; we all have that special person in our lives that said "I play pickleball" and it sparked our interest.

Many of us have developed a whole network of pickleball friends and our lives have been enriched by playing the game. I had one gentleman in Ohio tell me that he wouldn't be alive had he not found pickleball to play and improve his health. 

As you may know the USAPA is a 501c(3) charitable organization. This designation by the Internal Revenue Service allows all donations to the organization to be tax deductible to the donor. The USAPA has now added to our donation page on the USAPA website several ways that you can honor or memorialize that special person.

Learn more about Tax-Deductible Donations to the USAPA

There is an "Honorary Donation" which can be used to honor someone who is special to you and has contributed to your life through pickleball. Also, to mark a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. We also have a "Memorial Donation" which is a wonderful way to remember loved ones and to carry on the sport they cared deeply about. Both of these Donations have a Bronze level ($100), Silver level ($150), Gold level ($200) and Platinum level ($500) for you to pick from. 

Donor names of all Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze donors will be listed in the USAPA monthly e-newsletter. In addition Honorary and Memorial contributors can include the name of the person in whose honor or memory you are giving. In the USAPA monthly e-newsletter, you may also include an optional, 30 word personal message that can be linked to your name if desired. These donations are used to further the USAPA's mission of promoting the growth of the sport. Please consider taking advantage of helping promote pickleball, honor or remember someone and get a tax deduction to boot!!

USAPA also still has the "Grant Donation." Any donation under this will be added to the USAPA's annual grant program, which provides funds to subsidize training programs for school students, local residents and organizations. This donation has levels from $10 up to $500.

To take advantage of any of these donation methods just go to www.usapa.org and hover over the membership/donation tab and select "tax deductible donations." Click on "donate now" and you will be prompted through the process. The donation can be charged to your credit card, which is the preferred method, or you can send a check.

Learn more about Tax-Deductible Donations to the USAPA

Pickleball 411: How timeouts can help you win

In this episode of Pickleball 411Rusty Howes talks about the benefits of strategic timeouts during tournament playing; specifically how calling a timeout might help you win.

Sound Off: Member Correspondence

A sampling of letters we receive each month from USAPA members. This letter was submitted by Leonard Evans

What’s in a word

When I first encountered pickleball after 4 decades of scientific research and writing, it was “love at first sight.” I believe that two central goals of science, namely simplicity and clarity, can contribute to making pickleball even better and more popular.

The official rules of pickleball refer 31 times to the Non-volley zone, a straight-forward concept. There are zero mentions of Kitchen. Yet when playing and watching pickleball one hears frequent references to the Kitchen. I encounter competent players so confused by this term that they misunderstand some key rules. They ask “Can I stand in the Kitchen?” “Can I hit the ball when standing in the Kitchen?” “Can I step into the Kitchen?” “Must I get out of the Kitchen after hitting the ball?”

Such questions would hardly arise if pickleballers were exposed to only the one term - the Non-volley zone. The present situation is as if we called a No-parking zone, say, the Basement. Confused drivers would ask “Can I drive in the Basement?” “Can I stop in the Basement?” “Can I reverse in the Basement?” “Can I drop off passengers in the Basement?

Spectators watching the game for the first time who hear Kitchen will have no idea what is meant. Using Kitchen conveys an impression that the rules are opaque. We should strive to make pickleball as accessible as possible to others, not create jargon that puts them off. Jargon has the appeal that it gives those who use it a sense of control or superiority over those outside. We should resist these unattractive temptations.

In the Non-volley zone you must not volley. What could be simpler? Why introduce jargon when there is no benefit beyond replacing four syllables by two? If reducing syllables is the goal, at least go for a one syllable word - say Pit. No - let’s not do this! Keep it simple - use only one term, the self-explanatory Non-volley zone.

Fitness: Pickleball

Do not wear running shoes!

Written by Barb Wintroub.

Time to get new shoes. Why? Because the shoes I've seen on the court recently are terrible and disgusting. How long have you had your shoes, six months, a year, four years? Dump them immediately. Maybe they don't look worn out, dump them anyway. Shoes don't last anymore. It's the inner sole that breaks down first. I've seen players walking totally on the outside or inside of their shoes. Both positions hurt your back and knees.

Don't Wear Running Shoes to play Pickleball! They are meant for running forward not sideways; LeBron wouldn't play in them, why are you? Bought $150 shoes on sale for $30. Not a good deal if they aren't good for your kind of feet. Seek professional shoe assistance when looking for new shoes. Your body will appreciate it.

This month's Newsletter sponsors

Bits & Pieces: Submissions wanted

We're always looking for updates from your local clubs that we can share in our monthly member newsletter, on Facebook, Twitter and on the USAPA website. If you have news that you think would benefit the membership, send us an email to newsletter@usapa.org.

Editorial Guidelines for Bits & PiecesThis general interest column consists of short (75 to 150 words) articles about happenings in the pickleball community that have a unique angle that is of interest to pickleball players everywhere, not just to those directly involved. What is newsworthy to local players is often not relevant to readers who were not present and do not know the individuals involved. The uniqueness of a submission is determined by the editors.

USAPA Lifetime Memberships Now Available! 

You've been asking and the USAPA Board has delivered! Youth and adult members may purchase a USAPA Lifetime Membership for $300! This is a great deal! New members may select this option while existing members will be able to select this option when they renew. If you have secured a multi-year membership in the last 12 months and are interested in upgrading to the Lifetime Membership, visit USAPA.org for more information

Lifetime memberships, like all other memberships, are non-refundable and non-transferable. This price is subject to increase so act now if you plan to play pickleball way into the future. In addition to the new Lifetime membership option, minor rate increases to some multi-year rates will take effect on July 1, 2015. The new rates are noted on the membership page of the website. There are no increases for 1 year rates.

Member Benefits

If you are asking yourself, "what do I get as a member of the USAPA?," there are many benefits! Want an Official USAPA/IFP Rulebook and a discount when registering for tournaments? Or how about an Association t-shirt with the USAPA logo? Visit the Member Discount page on USAPA.org to learn more about all the benefits of renewing your membership today. In addition, 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.
Copyright © 2015 USA Pickleball Association, All rights reserved.

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