March 2013  e-Newsletter 

In this issue...

From the Editors...

We’re sure you’ve noticed the new look of your e-Newsletter. It’s all part of the branding strategy implemented by our new Executive Director, Justin Maloof. Read more in his column, E.D. Corner. Note the changes and clarifications to the IFP pickleball tournament rules in Rules Review and No Dumb Questions. And this month’s Fitness column tells how those of us with bionic body parts can make them last through years of pickleball play, while The Mind Game offers advice for improving our game through mental practice. You’ve probably also noticed that your newsletter is a little late this month, partially due to a short month and lots of pickleball tournaments for your editors and publisher. On a personal note, however, we’ve been somewhat preoccupied with the loss of three members of our pickleball family already this calendar year, one a close personal friend. Along with reinforcing the need to lead life to the fullest, this experience has made us even more aware and grateful for the exceptional love and caring within the pickleball community. Throughout our friend’s long illness members of our pickleball club stepped up daily to help with care giving, providing social interaction for her and much needed respite for her husband. We should all cherish the good heartedness and unselfish caring we’ve seen from pickleballers everywhere. As our sport grows, we hope that this spirit of camaraderie, even among competitors, remains a hallmark of our sport.
       Your Editors, Lynn & Linda Laymon,

Playing Compatibly…
Compiled by the Editors

Robert Vrooman raised the following question:
Pickleball is a game that young and old alike all can play. But in the real world there are times when people choose not to play with another person. It is a very unselfish thing for people with a high level of pickleball ability to play with someone of a very low level of ability. But there are players with high abilities choosing never to play with someone with a lesser ability than theirs. Usually these people are in the 4.0 skill level or higher. What is the fair thing to do about matching up people's ability and which players get to go on the court together? In my opinion it is proper etiquette for players of high skill levels to give time to people of lesser ability. There also should be an etiquette understanding that people of lower skill levels not continually want to play with the better players (the key word is continually).  Pickleball is a developing game of the baby boomer generation and I would hope that these players do not reflect the “me” generation of people that grew up in that era.

The question is, “What is the best way to mix it up with good players and weaker players and still give the top-level players some great games with themselves?” Is the system of challenging in a good approach, or is round-robin play where paddles of the players sitting out are lined up and you just rotate in when the next four paddles are up to play? I have more questions than answers about who gets to play with whom as related to ability levels.

A.J. Fraties shared how court sharing and play scheduling is done in Bend, Oregon:
Winter pickleball is often problematic: too few indoor courts, too many people, too many levels of play. Beginners are intimidated playing with intermediates; intermediates want to play with advanced; advanced get bored. Nobody’s happy; what to do? The Bend (Oregon) Pickleball Club’s Sherie Browning and David Shirley developed a solution that has let the club host nearly 150 different players on only three courts with relatively few problems. First task? Find a place and times to play. Bend’s Boys and Girls Club had space for three courts, three times a week. The four-hour sessions were divided into two two-hour blocks. Times were allocated for beginner, intermediate and advanced play. However, the big issue remained; with hundreds of interested players in Bend, how could they fill courts without excessive waiting and insure the right level of play for everybody?

Enter SignUpGenius ( Tweaked by David and Sherie, the free court reservations service lets the players see who is in their session, sign up, and if necessary delete themselves. Publishing play standards dissuades beginners from reserving spots in the advanced time if they did not meet the skill requirements for the session.

The club first opened play to 18 to 21 people per two-hour session. With only three courts, the waiting period left many players anxious. Eventually a firm 17 players per session has been determined to be the optimum number to move along play and mix up rotations. Standard session rotation has winners splitting, losers going out. With only five players waiting you’re back on the courts in minutes. One free beginner’s session per week keeps the commitment to developing new players; one advanced session a week keeps the highly skilled engaged. How is it working? “We can’t tell you how great this is!” Sherie says. “Some computer skills are necessary and a monitor has to look after it almost daily, but we have few problems with rotations.” “The biggest issue left is that people naturally compete to make reservations,” David says. “The only answer is to provide more courts; but for the moment, we’re good.”
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The Mind Game…
One Thing at a Time    
By Harry Carpenter

How do you serve deep and in the court every time? Consistently drop the ball in the kitchen from the backcourt? Routinely smash a high ball and keep it in bounds? The answer is by etching the mechanics of each pickleball stroke into your subconscious mind -- practice, practice, practice. By practice, I mean correctly repeating the same shot over and over. Some readers might be thinking that practicing pickleball shots is a good idea, but they don’t have an opportunity to practice. No one conducts drills where they play and they can’t get some chump to feed them balls so they can hit each shot 50 times in a row, including the serve, serve return, drop shot, dink, volley, smash, lob and overhead.

Let’s face it; the majority of pickleball players would rather play games than participate in practice drills. Well, that’s a dilemma: How are you going to practice technique if there is no one to practice with? Here’s good news; there is a way you can keep playing games and practice at home, while waiting for an appointment, or riding to work (assuming you are not driving.) You can practice in your head! Mental practice is as effective, and arguably more effective, than physical play. A study in Russia showed that optimum benefits in a sport were obtained with a ratio of 25 percent physical practice to 75 percent mental practice. Mental practice works because your subconscious mind does not know the difference between real and imagined. Vividly picturing and feeling yourself swinging a pickleball paddle and making a shot in your mind’s eye activates the same patterns of neutrons in your brain as when you physically make the shot. Mental practice forms and reinforces the software for making a stroke. Moreover, mental practice is perfect. Each time you make a shot in your mind’s eye, the swing is correct and the stroke sends the ball to the right spot; each time you reinforce the software in your brain for a perfect shot. On the other hand, when you play for real, every shot is not perfect; in which case, you are reinforcing the software in your subconscious for poor technique. You can raise the level of your game by practicing that dink, kill shot, and volley on a daily basis -- in your mind. However, there is a key element to mental practice, which I’ll share in the next month’s article.
Editors’ Note: This is the third in a series of articles on the mental side of pickleball -- how to play to the best of your ability; how to improve your game while reclining in an easy chair; how to play in the “zone”; what you should be thinking about -- and not thinking about -- during play, and more. Harry W Carpenter is author of The Genie Within: Your Subconscious Mind -- How It Works and How to Use It, a manual about using your subconscious mind to achieve success, health, prosperity, and peace of mind. The manual has sold greater than 75,000 copies and is published in nine languages.
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E.D. Corner…
Brand Development, Laying the Foundation for Success
By Justin Maloof, Executive Director, USAPA
When facing a new challenge, I try to analyze the entirety of the scope, prioritize key elements, get others involved and then work the process. Upon accepting the Executive Director position, one aspect of the association that struck me was the lack of professional brand identity. With my background in professional sports, I know your brand is your lifeblood. It’s the way the world identifies and compares you to your competition. So what is branding? Some would say it’s a great looking logo. While that’s true, your logo is only one aspect of any successful campaign. For me, branding is the necessary foundation required for successful growth and respectability in the market. It represents what you stand for, what you can deliver and how your members and clients perceive you. A good brand motivates people to do business with you because you are capable of meeting their needs.

The most obvious aspect of good branding is having consistent visual style throughout the organization. Our business cards, letterhead, brochures, Website, social media, etc., must all tell the same story by using the same fonts, colors, scheme, and of course, have a captivating logo. Successful coordination of these elements earns us recognition and speaks on our behalf before we ever engage someone face to face. As our visual elements take shape, it’s also important to define a consistent message. This process ensures that our leaders (staff, board members and ambassadors) are on the same page and have the ability to tell our story and deliver our message as a singular ‘voice.’ This builds confidence with our members and demonstrates reliability to our perspective clients.

As our visual style is implemented and our consistent message is defined, we can then brand our services and demonstrate to the world what we as USAPA offer. Effectively telling our story about what makes our game and our association special will help people identify with us, appreciate what we stand for and ultimately want to do business with us. As we progress this year, I trust you’ll take notice of the transformation that USAPA is currently undertaking. We’re experiencing tremendous organic growth and the addition of effective branding will only enhance our exposure in the eyes of perspective members, media outlets and ultimately national-level sponsors. Your continued support of USAPA is appreciated and is vital to our efforts of growing this great game.
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Search For Treasurer Continues…

USAPA is in need of a Treasurer for 2013. The Treasurer is a member of the Board of Directors and is responsible for monitoring the financial management and controls of USAPA and its budgeting process. Immediate past Treasurer, Dan Ellsworth, will continue to provide day-to-day bookkeeping, but has relinquished the office of Treasurer.  It is desired that candidates for Treasurer hold a CPA license and are willing to serve on the Board. Please consider volunteering to fill this important office. If you are interested in the position or have questions, e-mail Dan Ellsworth at

USAPA Ambassadors Take Note…
Submitted by Stephanie Smith, USAPA Ambassador, How-To Group Coordinator

USAPA Ambassadors help promote and grow our sport and USAPA membership. Ambassadors can communicate with each other through the USAPA How-To discussion group. Not all ambassadors elect to become part of the group, but those who do get help and feedback from fellow ambassadors. Some of the topics recently discussed have been:
  • Marketing and promotional materials
  • Tape/vinyl lines to mark courts
  • Best shoes discussion
  • Best method for rotation of players
  • Improvements for the USAPA Website
Ambassadors who join the group are not obligated to respond to every topic. You can ignore a particular discussion or respond privately to the author. Some topics generate tons of responses and you might feel overwhelmed when you find 20 messages on one topic. But never fear; e-mail settings allow you to limit how much mail you receive. You can set your personal settings so that you never get e-mail (you have the option to view the discussion through the Web page), you only get a digest of the e-mail (one per day), or you get a summary of every 25 e-mails. Currently, e-mails are averaging about seven per day. New ambassadors are invited by e-mail to the How-To Group as part of the new ambassador welcome process. Current ambassadors who are not part of the discussion group can request to join by sending an e-mail with their name and ambassador area to
The How-To Group discussion is an important part of being an ambassador and hopefully all ambassadors think of it as a tool to help them with their duties. You are not out there all alone!
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Bits and Pieces...

Grant Money Returned…
Submitted by Bill and Terri Smith, USAPA Ambassadors, Saddleback Valley and South Orange County, California
In 2011 USAPA approved a $250 grant to help us fund the startup of our new pickleball program in Laguna Niguel, Calif. In the past 16 months we have hosted greater than 600 individual players. We are now known as the Crown Valley Pickleball Club and currently average 40 players per day, four days a week. In August 2012 the city of Laguna Niguel completed construction of eight dedicated pickleball courts on two neglected tennis courts at the Crown Valley Elementary School. An additional facility and improvements are on the drawing board to accommodate the overwhelming success of the program. We are sending a check to reimburse USAPA for its generous help during our initial efforts to introduce pickleball to our city and surrounding communities. We hope that you will be able to use these reimbursed funds to help another community to start a pickleball program.

Pickleball in Austin…
Submitted by Pam Boyd, Austin, Texas
I learned the game of pickleball while living in San Antonio, Tex., about five years ago. We moved to Penn. from 2010-2012 and this past June moved back to the Austin area. We have to travel to San Antonio to play pickleball. After getting settled in Austin, we knew we had to either find a place here to play or start our own. I noticed that the church I attended had a full-size gym and approached the gentleman in charge of gym activities. He was receptive and even agreed to advertise pickleball in the church bulletin. In January we had our first open play night with 16 people, even two children ages nine and twelve! We hold open play at the church every Thursday night from 6 to 9. We currently have three courts, with room for a fourth. We’ve designated the first hour for beginners/kids play and 7 to 9 as intermediate/advanced. However, we encourage the beginners to stay the entire time and have a court set aside for them to practice, thanks to our USAPA grant. Intermediate or advanced players who are sitting out jump in and help the beginners. It is a team effort! The only obstacle is we have run into is time. My husband and I both work. We would like to offer some daytime open play, and I’m sure the church would be receptive, but we need someone to administer daytime play. 

New Player Learns Quickly…
Submitted by John Goss, El Cajon, California
I am a new member of USAPA; I only started playing in October. I really enjoy the sport. While playing at Collier Park in La Mesa, Calif., we were having some rousing games. Then I blurted out something that the other players enjoyed, which I wanted to share. "The important thing about success in pickleball as in real estate is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION."

USAPA Grant at Work…
Submitted by Phil Champlin, Executive Director, HUB Sports Center, Liberty Lake, Washington
Thanks USAPA for the grant in support of the pickleball programs here at the HUB Sports Center. Just this last week, we had over 30 players for our drop-in program. We hosted a beginners’ clinic in January with greater than 30 people participating.

Holland, Michigan Tops 100 Dedicated Players…
Submitted by Jean Mulder, USAPA Ambassador, Holland, Michigan 
At the Evergreen Commons Senior Center we are now suffering from too many players and not enough courts since teaching the staff pickleball and convincing them that the game would fit into plans to expand their fitness program. We had 43 prospective players at our initial introduction. While none had played pickleball, most had some background in sports such as tennis, table tennis, racquetball, volleyball or badminton. In a group of players with artificial knees, hips, rods in backs, total shoulder replacement, post-heart bypass procedures, post strokes, dealing with loss of spouse, etc., you would be hard pressed to know which players fit this picture. The program has taken off and now has a solid base of 56 players playing three days a week. New member classes are twice a week and precede general play Mon., Weds, and Fri. The joy for me is more than just the game. It’s watching players having fun, developing a new community of friends, finding the benefits of “getting fit,” improving agility and anticipating where shots will be placed. We have now been able to introduce pickleball to three of our middle schools as well as our local four-year Hope College.  Thank you USAPA for being the organization that also guides the many ambassadors and is the source for all things pickleball.
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Sound Off…
Reader Feedback
Angry Males…
I recently had the misfortune of being around angry males on the pickleball courts. These males bark orders at their spouses and their less experienced female partners. While some of the spouses might be resigned to it (or maybe even co-sign such behavior), I find the behavior disturbing. It certainly does not promote the sport to have angry alphas raging and smashing every ball that comes their way. I understand that some of this behavior may be fear based: loss of control (i.e. they may lose a point due to their partner's playing or whatever). But how do you address such anti-social behavior, especially when a lot of the players are at an age when they are "set in their ways?" Any advice welcomed.  
-  Ranada, Laughlin, California 

Website Resources…
I always look forward to reading the USAPA monthly e-Newsletter; it frequently inspires me to get online to check other resources available to us on the USAPA Website. The February issue was no exception. I enjoyed reading the information provided in Choosing the Proper Ballsubmitted by Kirk E. Lingner, USAPA Ambassador, Madison, Wisconsin. Kirk advises that, "Pickleball is more fun when played with the correct ball, so ask questions and do your homework before purchasing any pickleball equipment." I wanted to know if anyone has done any standardized testing, comparison, and/or ratings of the various balls, so I went to the USAPA Website and, sure enough, there was a complete chart ( ). Thanks for all the good work!  
-  Janet Davidson, Springfield, Missouri  

Rules Review:
Distractions Rule Updated...

By Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair
There have been a few modifications to the rules over the last two months. One of these changes is in rule 12.H. Distractions. Note that one sentence was added as noted in red below. This was added to help the referee and the players understand that a motion by a player not hitting the ball that causes a paddle, hand, arm, etc., to cross the plane of the net is a distraction and will result in the loss of the rally.

12.H. Distractions. Players may not yell, stamp their feet, or otherwise try to distract an opponent when the opponent is about to play the ball. A player, or anything the player is wearing or carrying, may not cross the plane of the net (or the extension of the net beyond the posts) except when striking the ball. Note: In Doubles, team communication shall not normally be considered a distraction. However, loud communication at the time the opponent is about to strike the ball may be considered a distraction. If, in the judgment o
f the referee, a distraction has occurred, it shall result in the loss of the rally. (Revised January 15, 2013)
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Pickleball Poem of the Month…
Submitted by Jerry Peterson, Plymouth, Minnesota

Whether you "live to play"
or "play to live,"
in the game of pickleball
it is the effort you give.
They play in their 50's
60's, 70's and more,
the ultimate goal is Champion
in age 90-94.

Smash it or dink it
no matter the shot,
the benefits are fantastic
whether you win or not.
As each game is ended
with an eleven point score,
you touch paddles at the net
and wish you could play more.
The people are friendly
more awesome than not,
lasting friendships develop
with each passing shot.
At 2 A.M. your legs cramp up
and you fall into the shower door,
at 6 AM your alarm goes off
and you jump out of bed for more.
Whether you win
or whether you fall,
one can always proclaim

"it's a great day for pickleball!"

Places to Play…

Desert Foothills Pickleball Program
Submitted by Laura & Tom Ensign

We have a drop-in group that plays on Tuesdays and Thursdays 3 to 5 p.m. at the Carefree Resort Tennis Courts. We started a couple of weeks ago and to date have had six sessions and greater than 120 people coming out to play. We have lots of enthusiasm up here in Carefree/Cave Creek/North Scottsdale, Ariz. We also teach sessions for the developmentally disabled on Mondays from 3 to 4:30 p.m., in conjunction with the Scully Learning Center. Contact Glenn Gerbino, Phone: 480-595-3880.

Pickleball Rocks in OKC…
Submitted by Vicky Noakes, USAPA Ambassador, Greater Oklahoma City 

The OKC Pickleball Club started giving Pickleball 101 lessons on Mondays with the help of a generous grant by USAPA. This grant allowed us to purchase a portable net, balls and tape. We were able to tape off two courts and a total of 25 new pickleball players 
have gone through the lessons just in the month of January. Because of the turnout and interest we have added another day of beginner lessons on Fridays. OKC Pickleball has had an explosion of members and we now have more than 100, six locations at present and we are adding three more in the next month. Pickleball Rocks; come play with us! Contact: Vicky Noakes,


No Dumb Questions...
Coaching During a Game?
Question Submitted by Jo Hancock, Surprise, Arizona

I do not understand why it is fair for the players to have spectators give them advice during a game. Once the game has started it is up to the player to play the game, not the people outside the court. I have been asked by a lot of players why players go to the fence and get help during a game; if you don't know how to play the game, get help when it is over. It is not fun to have outside people telling a player what to do while the game is in progress. It is up to the player to play his or her own game.

A very timely question Jo. As of February 9, 2013 IFP Rule 12.L. Coaching was revised to read: 12.L. Coaching. Players may consult with coaches or any other person during time-outs and between games. Once the game has begun, except during time-outs, any communication between a player and any person not on the court, if determined by the referee to be coaching, shall result in a technical warning to the offending player or team and a verbal warning to spectators. If the communication occurs a second time, it shall result in a technical foul and a point will be awarded to the opponent.

A Wealth of Information

The USAPA Website is an incredible source of information about all things pickleball! The home page contains buttons to everything from tournament schedule and results to places to play in each state and province and information about pickleball clinics and demonstrations being held in your area. Interested in seeing the pros play? From the home page you are just a click away from viewing the Open competition finals at the 2012 National tournament. All this and much, much more. Take a moment to visit the site and you are guaranteed to come away more informed and ready to hit the courts than ever before.
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Are You A Humpty Dumpty?
By Barb Wintroub

Congratulations, you have just received a new body part or parts: hip replacement, knee replacement(s), shoulder or toe joint replacement. Now that Humpty Dumpty is back together again it's time to protect your new parts. The doctors are good at replacement but not so good at telling you how to protect and strengthen the new you. This information will give you a general picture of what is necessary for you to make a dynamic comeback on the pickleball court.

With a hip replacement you need to strengthen your buns. Lie on your back with knees bent. Do a bridge or hip lift while squeezing your buns and pretending you are holding a hundred dollar bill. Do this exercise often. For a shoulder replacement or rotator cuff surgery place your shoulder back behind your ears -- think military posture while standing up very straight. Use the muscles between your wings not your neck muscles. With a knee replacement take a look at your feet. If they roll inward, this movement places great stress on your knees. An off-the-shelf arch lift can work or you can see a podiatrist for a clinical evaluation. Check your pickleball shoes; they don't last two years. They may look fine but they break down after six months or less. Get good tennis shoes, not running or cross training shoes; they don't protect your knees with good support. Find a low table or chair and do sit-to-stand exercises without using your hands. Most people don't realize they cannot get out of a chair without the assistance of their hands. Once you've mastered sit-to-stand then hover over a bench or table and sit or stand veeery slooowly, with control.

Wishing you a speedy recovery and many more happy pickleball days.
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USAPA Donations Now Tax Deductible

The Internal Revenue Service has granted USAPA tax-exempt status as 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 or by sending a tax-deductible donation to: 
USAPA Donations
P.O. Box 7354
Surprise, AZ 85374

Member Benefits…
In addition to the inherent pickleball related benefits of USAPA membership, each USAPA member has the opportunity to cash in on discounts and services offered by Working Advantage. Simply register online to receive a variety of exciting discounts compliments of USAPA. How about $25 dining certificates for only $10 at over 18,000 local restaurants across the country? Or free shipping at online retailers and automatic notification of tickets to new events in your area? It’s all part of being a member of USAPA.

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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USAPA Online Store...

Need a gift for a pickleball player? Find it at the USAPA Online Store. Visit to purchase the official USAPA-IFP Tournament Rulebook, window stickers, logo apparel, net systems, instructional DVDs and more. And don’t miss the latest in apparel designs at
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Newsletter Submission Guidelines…

If you have articles, news items, questions or photos that you would like to submit please send them to The submission deadline for possible inclusion in the next issue is the 15th of the month. The desired length is between 100 and 175 words. We also encourage members to submit contact information for potential Player Profile candidates.

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…
Continue the Fun
By Jennifer Lucore, Publisher USAPA e-Newsletter

I've been so busy having fun, my final words this month are short.... Remember to laugh (really laugh), have fun with this sport and the players around you. Have fun wherever you are... and like John of Mesquite, Nev., feel free to wear your Christmas snuggle to the courts to stay warm. E-mail me your fun photos to share to:

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