December 2014  e-Newsletter 
In this issue...

‚ÄčFrom the Editors...

Well, tournament season here in Arizona and elsewhere in the sunbelt is in full swing. Between playing and serving as referee coordinators we have been swamped! Nationals VI is history, but it leaves behind some interesting numbers – the largest pickleball tournament yet. Don’t miss this month’s ED Corner and Chris Thomas and Justin Maloof’s Nationals VI By the Numbers feature. In the President’s Message David Jordan shares with us a new and exciting tournament opportunity and introduces USAPA’s tournament team service.  
December’s Tips from a Pro is contributed by Enrique Ruiz, who just won Gold in both Open Men’s Doubles and Open Mixed Doubles at Nationals VI. Who else could be more qualified to offer advice on How to Win at Doubles? Then in Fitness Barb Wintroub gives us some exercises to keep those forehands and backhands strong and at ready. And last but not least, in this issue learn when and where Nationals VII will be held. As usual, the December e-Newsletter contains some really good reads. Enjoy…

Your Editors, 
Lynn & Linda Laymon
Message from Your President...
By David Jordan, USAPA President   
WOW, what a week of pickleball we had at this year’s USAPA National Tournament! It was eight days of great play and social interaction, and it was a pleasure to see all the new faces that showed up this year. I thank you all for your participation and spirited play.
Now that Nationals VI is over it is time to announce a new focus for USAPA. We have been invited to put on a tournament March 6-8, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Festival. This is a unique opportunity in a couple of ways. First, it gives USAPA the chance to try out our first tournament team. This is a concept in which we provide hands-on services to tournament directors and local clubs. It gives us the opportunity to train this local club on how to run a tournament and is a great way to market pickleball worldwide, since the Arnold Schwarzenegger Festivals are held in other countries as well. According to the organizers, the festival will be attended by over 18,000 participants and spectators; this offers pickleball a huge untapped audience.
The tournament will be skill based, with men’s and women’s doubles and singles, plus mixed doubles. So mark your calendar for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 6-8, 2015 for this exciting new pickleball event.
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Tips From a Pro...

How to Win at Doubles...
By Enrique Ruiz
Doubling up in pickleball requires patience, discipline and encouragement among other things. But most of all it is about having fun!
The team with the most patience will more often than not win the match. Pulling the trigger too soon creates unforced errors. Well-seasoned players will take advantage of a team/player that lacks patience and it is not hard for them to identify such teams/players. In pickleball it is proven that the early bird does not always get the worm.
Basic drills help you to master patience and control. It cannot be emphasized enough how important drills are to improving your game. They will teach you to be patient, disciplined and to wait for the right opportunity to put a ball away. Drills are important for footwork, especially at the kitchen. Always have happy feet and don’t plant yourself! Reaching for balls instead of moving to them results in more errors.
The third shot drop is highly overrated. The return of serve is just as important, if not more important. As a seasoned player, I recommend you work on developing a nice, long, hard, deep serve return. The return of serve will more often than not dictate the outcome of the rally.
The lob shot is not just a defensive shot. If used offensively, it is very effective against today’s top players, as I proved at this year’s nationals in the gold medal match. Again, it is important to drill and practice to get better at the offensive lob.
Pickleball, like everything else in life, needs to be fun. A discouraging partner does not make for a fun game and does not bring out the best in teammates. Choose your partner wisely! Compliments and encouragement will take you further and will relax your partner. Just like mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Practice, Practice, Practice! Drill, Drill, Drill! And go out and HAVE FUN!!!!!

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E.D. Corner...
USAPA Nationals VI Recap
By Justin Maloof, USAPA Executive Director and Tournament Co-Director
November 2-9, 2014 -- what a week for pickleball! With players from all over the nation converging on Buckeye, Ariz., and building off the momentum generated by last year’s record-breaking tournament, Nationals VI was the largest tournament in the history of the sport. There were a number of new faces (and winners) this year, which further demonstrates the growth of the game and the ability to attract quality players from all over the country.
The age groups were larger than the previous year and $14,000 in prize money was at stake in the Open and newly-created Senior Open divisions. Click here to see the medal winners for all divisions.
We could not have hosted an event of this size without the support of our members, sponsors and volunteers. To all of these folks, we say ‘THANK YOU!’ Click here to see the complete list of Nationals VI sponsors.
Of course, such a large event would not have been possible without the venue provided by Pulte/Del Webb and the dedicated support of the Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Many thanks also to referee co-chairs, Dennis Dacey and Lynn and Linda Laymon. With nearly 1,800 matches, calls for referees were few and far between. 

Photos, Videos and Event Shirts
Click here to view and purchase official photographs from the event. Post-event production on the ten Open and Senior Open Division gold medal match videos is nearly complete. Links will be posted on the USAPA homepage and an e-mail notice will be sent to all USAPA members once the videos are available for viewing.
A limited number of Nationals VI shirts are still available for purchase. Men’s and women’s Moisture Wicking shirts and ash-color t-shirts are available at the USAPA store.

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Nationals VI By the Numbers...

Compiled by Chris Thomas & Justin Maloof

Here are a few Nationals VI highlights:
  • 713 players paid/registered for the tournament
  • 95 non-tournament players registered in one of the skills clinics
  • 670 players participated in the tournament: 20 youth, 119 adults (19+) and 531 Seniors (50+) 
  • 413 male players and 257 female players
  • 28 courts - (36 courts on age mixed doubles day)
  • 1,796 total matches
  • Players from 38 states and 3 Canadian provinces 
  • Greater than 300 volunteers assisted
Here is a brief unaudited statistical review of the adult and senior medal results:
There were a total of 264 medals awarded -- 88 each for Gold, Silver, and Bronze (two per team in doubles). Players from twenty-four states and one Canadian province were awarded medals. The top five states awarded medals:
California: 64 for 24% of the total
Arizona: 52 for 20% of the total
Washington: 32 for 12% of the total
Florida: 22 for 8% of the total
Texas: 15 for 6% of the total
The three top states – Calif., Ariz., and Wash. -- accounted for 148 medals, or 56% of all medals awarded. The top five winning states accounted for 70% of the total medals. The last time we compiled these numbers, three or four years ago, the top three states were in this order: Wash., Ariz. and Calif.
The top states for Gold medals awarded were:
California: 24 for 27% of the total
Arizona: 16 for 18% of the total
Washington: 12 for 14% of the total
These three states accounted for 52 gold medals, which amounted to 59% of all gold medals awarded.
Fifty-nine different men and 77 different women were awarded at least one medal. There were 28 men awarded more than one medal and 32 women awarded more than one medal.
Since Senior Open was a new category, we looked at those medal winners as well. There were a total of 24 medals awarded in Senior Open. Seventy-five percent went to players between ages 50 and 59 and 25% to those 60 and above.
Christine Barksdale, Wes Gabrielsen and Alex Hamner tied for the most individual medals – five apiece. Mark Friendenberg had the second most awarded medals -- a total of four.
The player with the most Gold medals was Jennifer Lucore with four, followed by Wes Gabrielsen, Alex Hamner and Luba Zhekhovskaya with three Golds each. The most silver medals went to Joy Leising with four.

Alex Hamner & Jennifer Lucore won
 Women's Open Doubles Gold for the fourth straight year.

See the Gold Medal winners here:

Open Women's Doubles
Alexandra Hamner and Jennifer Lucore

Senior Open Women's Doubles
Mona Burnett and Luba Zhekhovskaya

Open Men's Doubles
Enrique Ruiz and Wesley Gabrielsen
Senior Open Men's Doubles 
Tyler Sheffield and Larry Moon
Open Mixed Doubles
Gigi LeMaster and Enrique Ruiz
Senior Open Mixed Doubles
Luba Zhekhovskaya and Michael Gates

Open Women's Singles
Jennifer Lucore
Senior Open Women's Singles
Alexandra Hamner
Open Men's Singles
Daniel Moore
Scott Moore
Ed Note: Although assumed accurate, these statistics are unaudited.

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USAPA Regional Tournaments…

2014 USAPA Southwest Region Tournament
The southwest region’s first regional tournament is coming up in just a couple of weeks -- December 11-14 -- at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort in El Mirage, Ariz. Format will be five-year age brackets, plus an open division for 4.5 and 5.0 rated players. Only USAPA members may participate. Online registration closes December 3. For more information visit
2015 USAPA Atlantic-South Region Tournament
The Atlantic-South Regional Tournament will be held March 19-22, 2015 in Concord, North Carolina. For information click here or contact Karen Parrish, USAPA Atlantic South Regional Director at: 850-699-1692 or
Dates Set for 2015 USAPA Great Plains Region Tournament
Colorado Springs will host the inaugural Great Plains Regional Pickleball Tournament September 10 - 13, 2015. Registration opens May 25, 2015. Events will be played on 13 recently converted courts at Monument Valley Park. For more information contact Great Plains USAPA Regional Directors Steve and Ramona Boone at 719-231-5874.

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(dates and details to be announced in Dec or early Jan)

Places to Play...

Pickleball Finally Arrives in Palm Coast, Florida
Submitted by Steve & Jeanne Mager, USAPA Ambassadors, Palm Coast, Florida
It took a Senior Games tournament to make it a reality, but pickleball has finally come to Palm Coast.
After taping courts and hosting a Florida Senior Games qualifier, the courts at Belle Terre Park are now available for open play. It has taken some give and take with the local tennis players, but we now have reserved pickleball courts Mondays 1:30-3:30 and Wednesdays from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. We started with a few
demo sessions in early October and most days 10 to 12 players come per session. The Palm Coast Parks & Rec department has promised us that painted lines are in the near future. We want to thank USAPA for our grant that greatly assisted in getting us off the ground. The Parks & Rec department has purchased more nets, paddles and balls; this should help to expand our program.
For more information contact: James Hirst, Palm Coast Parks & Rec, (386)986-2323,

Belle Terre Park -- Palm Coast, Florida

Santa Fe Correction…
Last issue we published Pickleball Alive and Well in Santa Fe, submitted by USAPA Ambassador Bob Nibarger. As it turns out, some of the information was incorrect. In Santa Fe they play year round, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 a.m. and the contact is: Victoria Seale,, 505-466-2441.
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Paddle Back Quickly Then Hit
By Barbara Wintroub

When you are in the back court running the baseline is your paddle ready to hit the ball? Do you know where your paddle is? Many of us run with the paddle somewhere, but not back in a ready position.
If your legs can get you to the ball you should be able to swing the paddle and get the ball over the net. You will find your shots will be more effective and offensive if your paddle is back sooner rather than later. Here are two exercises, one for the forehand and one for the backhand, which will make your shots more powerful.

For the forehand:

Tie an elastic band around something stable and the handle of your paddle.
Using the forehand stroke swing hard against the band.

For the backhand:

Using the backhand stroke swing hard against the band.                              
Ed. Note: Fitness guru Barbara Wintroub is the author of Fighting Gravity

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Pickleball Channel...

Pickleball Channel's Executive Producer Rusty Howes gives a shout out from USAPA Nationals VI and more…

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Bits and Pieces…
Pickleball on the Old Continent …
Submitted by Helen White, USAPA Ambassador, Northern Virginia
I play or teach pickleball almost every day of the week, sometimes for up to four hours a day. As a result of my passion for the sport, I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy the game. I found one recently -- pickleball in Spain. This past September, my husband Andy Leighton and I signed up for the inaugural Viva Spain Pickleball Tour. We were two of the 14 Americans who traveled to Europe to enjoy the food, culture, history, art, entertainment, people and pickleball of Spain.
We played several hours of pickleball every morning and thoroughly enjoyed competing with the Spaniards, some of whom play very well. Although I don’t speak much Spanish, I found that through sport we could communicate quite well. I definitely improved my pickleball Spanish, for example: buen punto (nice shot), fuera (out), tuyo (yours) and mio (mine). It’s exciting to see the sport catching on there and to act as a Global Ambassador to help it grow.
When we weren’t on the pickleball courts, we were wandering along century-old, cobblestone streets, visiting castles and royal palaces, eating in medieval restaurants, and even sitting stage-side at a fiery flamenco dancing and live music show. I’ve made new friends from across the globe and have memories for a lifetime -- all thanks to pickleball. Viva pickleball!
Viva Pickleball Group in Segovia, Spain -- September 2014






No Dumb Questions…

Question: If the receiver is not able to hear the score (Not hard of hearing) -- and a lot of serves happen simultaneously with calling the score -- why can they not call “Not Ready” even after the serve motion has started?
Rick Lane
Answer by Dennis Dacey: The rational for rule 4.I.3. is to prevent players from arbitrarily becoming "not ready" for the purpose of disturbing the server and causing the server to serve again. Basically trying to get into the server’s head.
If a receiver did not hear the call they can simply not try to hit the ball and stop play. They can then tell the referee that they did not hear the score and request a replay. It would then be up to the referee to accept or deny this request.

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Sound Off...

Reader questions Line Call rules. It appears to me the Line Calls rules present puzzles. Take 6.D.12: If the call is made after the ball hits the playing surface ... play should stop. However, 6.D.10 says that if the partner disagrees, the benefit of doubt should go to the opponent. In other words, play should not have stopped.
Another is 6.D.7, requiring calls to be made instantly, while 6.D.5 lets players ask for the opponents' opinion, but the asking clearly happens after the expiration of the instant.
It looks to me as if there are frequent occasions when one cannot be in compliance with all the rules.
John Kaplan, St. Paul, Minn.
Reader wants Singles events scheduled last. I would love to play more singles in tournaments, but it takes a lot of energy to play singles. If the singles event is scheduled prior to the doubles events I feel I would be jeopardizing my ability to give my all to the doubles and I don't want to let my doubles partners down. Most tournaments seem to schedule the singles events first. How can we convince the tournament directors to schedule the singles events after the doubles events?
Ken Holman

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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 --

USAPA Facebook Page...

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 rapidly and we now have greater than 2,700 Facebook fans. Joining is easy; just click the Like button.

Member Benefits...
Member benefits are many! 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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