In this issue...
From the Editors...
The buzz phrase this month seems to be, “Wow; we’ve come a long way pickleballers!” In 1998, when we first were introduced to the game, play was pretty much confined to the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and a smattering of RV resorts and senior communities scattered across the country. Fast forward to the present. The latest figures show nearly 200,000 players, 8,000 courts and 2,500 places to play, with the lion’s share of that growth coming during the past couple of years. Pickleball has come a long way, but, as Justin Maloof points out in E.D. Corner
, we have so much further to go. To help us get there Justin describes some of the rewards now available to USAPA members.
In this month’s Mind Game
author Harry Carpenter shares his perspective on playing with a considerably weaker partner and then the opposite side of the coin, being the least skilled player on the court; don’t miss it. Also this issue Marc Rinehart shares a member’s personal experience with why eye protection is such an important safety accessory for all pickleball players. This month’s Bits and Pieces
is chock full of interesting tidbits. Read about what the USAPA grant program has done for some Boys & Girls Clubs, Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack Park, the Salvation Army Gateway Community Center and more. And, if you want to know about making the correct line call, follow the link to Pickleball 411
. And finally, you know you have arrived when you are a question in a Crossword Puzzle
; see Stephen Hanrahan’s contribution in Bits and Pieces
. Enjoy a great month of pickleball…
Your Editors, Lynn & Linda Laymon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Take Advantage of USAPA Member Rewards...
By Justin Maloof, USAPA Executive Director
We’ve all seen the local and national media accounts (NBC with Brian Williams, etc.) about the explosion of pickleball. Yes, the sport is certainly experiencing a surge in popularity and people are flocking to the game in record numbers! In fact USAPA membership has increased 48.39% in 16 months. While that’s certainly a very encouraging number, we can, and should, be doing even better.
As members, we’ve joined USAPA for various reasons… tournament benefits, support for the mission statement, cool t-shirt, etc. Whatever the reason, you made the decision to join and we certainly thank you. Our challenge moving forward, however, is finding ways to get even more players joining the ranks of USAPA.
While some long-term objectives are currently being discussed, an immediate initiative that’s already been implemented is the addition of various discounts to the current membership package. When we launched the new website in January, you may have noticed a new page called Member Rewards
. This page not only contains information on the Working Advantage
program, but also includes many new special discount offers for USAPA members.
What is Working Advantage?
As a member of Working Advantage, USAPA offers free access to member-only savings on a vast menu of goods and services, gifts and entertainment options, including movies, sporting events, theme parks and Broadway shows. USAPA members can join for free by following the steps on the USAPA Member Rewards page. To help you see sample offers before you join, we’ve included some buttons on the Rewards page that give you a preview. Yes, the Working Advantage page is a little clunky and you have to navigate to find what you’re looking for; however, I would start by using it for the movie ticket discounts.
USAPA Sponsor Offers
Over the past few months, we’ve reached out to our sponsors and they responded with discount offers to anyone who joins or renews their USAPA membership this year. Coupons for these offers are included inside the membership packets. Simply taking advantage of two of these offers will cover most, if not all, of your single-year membership fee.
USAPA Portable Nets
Another great member perk is the $10 discount on the USAPA portable net system
. These nets are great because they give players the ability to quickly set up a court virtually anywhere.
This is just the beginning. The goal is to continue to build on these offers and add more and more value to the point where USAPA membership
becomes a no brainer
for all pickleball players.
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Message from Your President...
By David Jordan, USAPA President
Where has the year gone? It is already June and the beginning of summer! Nationals VI registration starts tomorrow, June 2nd, snowbirds are leaving their winter homes and summer travel plans are in effect. The USAPA board is also working hard on several key issues. Chris Thomas has put together a top notch committee to work on ratings issues. David Conover is forming committees to work on membership growth and youth training. John Gullo has jumped in with both feet with his committee on marketing pickleball and USAPA. Winnie Montgomery is establishing a committee to work on improving the sanctioning process to bring additional benefits for sanctioned tournaments. Jack Thomas has established an enhanced procedure for conference calls with his regional directors to better disseminate information and solicit ideas from all ambassadors. All these new board members are a great asset to the board and are helping to move us forward in the promotion and development of pickleball.
This is not to say veteran board members are not doing their part with referee certification work, Nationals VI, website enhancement, training room updates, e-Newsletter enhancements and awarding grant money at a record pace, just to name a few continuing projects the board is working on. I would like to thank all of you who have volunteered to serve on a committee and assist the USAPA board. It has been a great year so far and with your support we can continue to move forward doing great things for the game we all love, yes the one with the funny name -- pickleball. Remember all board members are volunteers, so give them a big pat on the back next time you see one.
Eye Protection Highly Recommended…
Submitted by Marc Rinehart, USAPA Ambassador, West Denver, Colorado
Following is a USAPA member’s personal experience with the need for eye protection when playing pickleball:
When I started playing pickleball over two years ago, almost no one wore eye protection. I had always worn goggles playing racquetball and squash, but did not see the need to wear them playing pickleball (it wasn’t mandatory and I really didn’t know USAPA’s position). I have always worn sunglasses when playing outdoors, but I started wearing goggles about two weeks ago during indoor play; I finally realized it was the smart thing to do to protect one’s eyes. This decision was soon reinforced when a ball ricocheted off an opponent’s paddle and hit his partner square on the eye; it was a scary moment, but fortunately there was no permanent injury. You can bet that the 12 players on the adjoining courts have a new appreciation for wearing eye protection.
With the popularity of pickleball, you never know who you will be playing against or with -- players of varying abilities, hard hitters, forceful volleys, etc. The last thing you want is to take a ball or paddle in the eye. Eye protection is an important piece of safety equipment. Fortunately, it seems like more players are starting to wear goggles. Eye protection while playing pickleball is a personal choice, but based on my experience it is the only safe choice. Make the right decision!
Bits and Pieces…
Another 90+ Pickleball Player…
Submitted by Josh Kalin, USAPA Ambassador, Delray Beach, Florida
Did you see the pickleball piece on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams last month? The man who was highlighted (in the orange shirt) was 91-year-old Lee Kritzer. Lee, who is the oldest pickleball player in the area, plays at Delray Beach Community Center. After learning the sport in Charlotte, N.C, Lee has been playing for 12 years. A nice guy who plays three days a week, he considers himself a 3.0 to 3.5 player and enjoys other activities as well. Friendly and very competitive, Lee played with 82-year-old partner Dick Reb in the Senior Games. On a typical day, after playing a number of games of pickleball, Lee heads out to play bridge and work as Chairman of his own company.
Is the Ball ‘In’ or ‘Out’?
Want to know more about calling a ball in or out? Check out Pickleball Channel’s Pickleball 411, where host Rusty Howes discusses court lines, ball compression and point of contact.
USAPA Grant a Success in Salida…
Submitted by Irv Broudy
First, thank you USAPA for the training grant. Pickleball has been a huge success at our Boys & Girls Club chapter here in Salida, Colo. Each Friday afternoon we have more than 20 elementary and middle school kids playing. We also have introduced the game to our older members during our weekly teen night. All of the kids are really enjoying pickleball and are learning fast. It gives the staff, who are also enjoying playing, opportunities to teach the kids good sportsmanship and adds another healthy activity to our program. We've also been able to attract some adult volunteers from the community to help the kids learn and enjoy the game.
The Pickleball Capital of Arizona…
When Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott proclaimed the City of Surprise the Pickleball Capital of Arizona it sparked an immediate challenge from radio KMLE FM morning show hosts Nina & Steve. With a key to the city at stake the radio personalities took on Wolcott and local player Scott Stone in a best-two-of-three match. With the mayor and Stone achieving victory in two straight games – 11-1, 11-4 – instead of a key to the city Nina & Steve had to settle for an oversize door pass.
Left Photo - Mayor Wolcott (center), her partner and Nina and Steve receive pre-game instructions from referee Dave Heinz.
Right Photo - Nina & Steve settle for the consolation prize – an oversize door pass.
Pickleball at the Salvation Army Gateway Community Center…
Submitted by Connie Reker, Community Center Director, St Louis area
We here at the Salvation Army Gateway Community Center are very appreciative of the training grant that USAPA so graciously awarded us. Our program is growing by leaps and bounds. We started out with drop-in pickleball on a Saturday night and now we play three days per week. So, pickleball in the St. Louis area is making a big footprint on the USAPA places to play map. I hope everybody is having as much fun playing, socializing, and making new pickleball friends as we are.
Pickleball Goes to College…
Submitted by Wayne and Betty Tucker
Thanks to the USAPA Grant Program, Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondack Park of Upstate New York has been able to launch a pickleball program within their facility for both students and community. As local residents and long-time USAPA members, through the grant program we sought help to procure the portable nets and even received a secondary vendor grant for paddles and balls. Some of the students had played pickleball while in high school, which helped with the initial demonstration, but now through campus announcements, newcomers are fast becoming pickleball enthusiasts. Local newspaper announcements also attracted the community at large and established a good mix of players, which is great for differing generations to play each other. Paul Smith’s staff has been instrumental in arranging court time, supplies and local interest. Interest has been so good that the college is adding a second night for pickleball play and also intends to continue it during summer vacation. Thank you USAPA for your forward thinking.
Pickleball Makes the Crossword Puzzle…
Submitted by Stephen Hanrahan, Houston, Texas
The Crossword Puzzle in the May 2, 2014 issue of The Week magazine contained a pickleball related question. Page 38, “28 down, Pickleball equipment." Three letters. I wonder how many people are saying, what's pickleball? Let alone the answer: net.
Thank You for Your Funding Support…
Submitted by Brian Beaulieu, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chaffee County
I write to thank USAPA for your funding support of our Buena Vista pickleball program. The kids have embraced the pilot program even though we've been using an inadequate net. I had a two-hour session with 20-plus kids yesterday. I'm excited to surprise them soon with the new net we are able to purchase thanks to the USAPA grant! Pickleball is getting so much stronger in Chaffee County and your support is one of the biggest reasons.
Unlocking the Potential of People with Disabilities…
Submitted by Chris Thomas, USAPA Ratings Chair
At the request of Judy May, regional director of Incight, in April I led a pickleball demo and clinic for Incight at Palm Desert Civic Park. Incight is a disability services organization whose mission is “unlocking the potential of people with disabilities.” They offer programs in education, scholarships, employment, training and recreation that are available to all individuals with disabilities, regardless of type. The event was such a success that they decided to purchase two portable nets, paddles and balls and set up an ongoing pickleball class at the park.
Pickleball Triple Style…
Submitted by Annette Hayes, Louisa, Virginia
This may not be new, but in Louisa, Va., we sometimes play with six people on the court at the same time. This sometimes is because we only have six people and sometimes because we have a couple of players who aren't very mobile. We play with the third person standing in the middle the entire game, while the other two play as normal. The middle player does not serve, but can assist in returning a serve. We find it to be really fun for all, a break from the usual game and allows the beginner level players to easier participate.
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Submitted by David Jordan, Co-tournament Director
2014 USAPA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT
NOVEMBER 2 - 9, 2014
Crunch No More: Back Pain Part II
By Barbara Wintroub
Every time I'm at the gym I see people on the crunch machine or crunch bench with feet curled over the bars doing crunches and full sit ups. WHY? They are not doing their backs a bit of good and not working the right stomach muscles to strengthen their backs. The main crunch muscle is mainly for show on Venice Beach, not to protect your back for pickleball. The main crunch muscle makes you shorter from top to bottom. Oh great, just what I need, to be shorter. When you are hunched over the stress on your lower back becomes huge. The most important muscle is the Transversus Abdominis
that wraps around your body like a big compression belt and tucks into the back muscles that stabilize your spine. Think flat stomach. The following exercises will help strengthen the core muscles and protect and support your lower back.
Picture #1 Plank position (can be executed on elbows). Hold stomach muscles in while balancing on one hand then the other.
Picture #2 Lying on your back with knees in tabletop position, touch one heel to the floor then the other while holding in stomach muscles.
Picture #3 Lying on your back with knees in tabletop position, hold abs in, cross one ankle over the other, take your legs straight out and back in; then change ankles.
Ed. Note: Fitness guru Barbara Wintroub is the author of Fighting Gravity.
National State Games...
Submitted by David Jordan, USAPA President
Another first for pickleball! The State Games of America, which is a national tournament for players who qualify, is held every two years. The 2015 games will be the first year that pickleball is included as an event. Held in Omaha, Nebr., on July 30 to August 2 at the Miracle Hill Golf and Tennis Club, there will be 16 courts set up on 8 indoor tennis courts. To qualify, before July 1, 2015 a player must medal in a pickleball tournament that has membership in the National Congress of State Games. For more information visit: http://www.stategames.org/member_states
Following is a list of the 16 states that include pickleball in their state games:
Your participation in the 2015 State Games of America will contribute to a successful introduction of pickleball to this biennial event.
No Dumb Questions…
Submitted by Julia Stanley, USAPA member
In reading the May 2014 USAPA e-Newsletter I came away with a lot of questions. I am new to pickleball and tournament terminology. What do they mean by sanction and national? How do they rate players? Do you have to pay more for tournaments if you are a member of USAPA, which I am? Do you put your member number on your registration form? I didn't when I played in the San Antonio Senior Games on April 3rd; boy I had a blast! It was so much fun and I won a bronze medal in women doubles first time playing in a tournament.
Julia, Congratulations on your medal! We'll provide a few short answers here and refer you to the USAPA website (www.usapa.org
); it will answer ALL of your questions and more.
A sanctioned tournament
is one that agrees to meet all of the USAPA sanctioning requirements -- referees for every match, accepted format, etc. Many tournaments give a registration discount to USAPA members. If so, that will be on the registration form. National tournaments are the highest level of competition for a particular organization (e.g., NSGA national tournament, National State Games national tournament and the greatest nationals of them all -- USAPA National tournament held each November). You can expect to see the top competitors at national events, but especially the USAPA Nationals. Your San Antonio Senior Games may have been associated with NSGA and possibly was a qualifying event. If so, that means that by medaling you qualified for the 2015 NSGA National tournament. National State Games also holds qualifying events.
USAPA Nationals is open to players of all ages (as opposed to "senior" games), so it attracts the best young players as well as the top seniors. Players are rated by skill level -- 2.0 through 5.0 -- by local/state/regional rating committees that submit their rating recommendations to the USAPA Ratings Chair. The website explains all of that and lists the ratings of USAPA players who have played sanctioned tournaments.
Time spent exploring www.usapa.org
is time well spent; you'll become very well informed. Thanks for the questions.
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Reader Feedback Regarding “Underused Paddle Tennis Courts”
I just want to make a correction and comment on the Revitalizing Underused Paddle Tennis Courts
article that appeared in the May e-Newsletter. The actual dimensions of a paddle tennis court are 50’ x 20’. The baseline in paddle tennis is 3 feet past the service line. When we use a pickleball court at our club to play paddle tennis, we add a tape line 3 feet deeper than the pickleball baseline. - Joe Borrelli, USAPA Ambassador, Raleigh, N.C.
Reader Feedback Regarding “‘Out’ as partner communications”
To avoid confusion and arguments, players need to train themselves to not call a ball “OUT” before it lands. Instead “bounce it” is a good option for partner communication. The word “OUT,” when verbalized, shuts down the mental and physical continuation of all players on the court and creates an inequitable shift in advantage to the team calling “OUT” (before it lands), if the ball then lands in and is played by the team that called it “OUT.” Leaving the rule as stated in IFP Rule 6.D.12 also allows impolite/clever players to create “legal,” but unfair, situations from which they can benefit.
The rule should be changed to say something about “if a ball is called 'OUT' before it lands and is 'IN', the team making the erroneous 'OUT' call shall lose the point.” With that possible penalty in place, players will be motivated to choose a truly communicative word that is not misleading or disruptive to their opponents. Making an “OUT” call is interpreted by most of us as the end of a point.
Sorry to disagree with the rules clarification, but some things need to be changed to eliminate placing innocent/fair players at a disadvantage and reform the erroneous, clever or thoughtless behavior of those who do something that can give them an unwarranted advantage in a point. A single point reversed or nullified based on an unfair or deceptive tactic can certainly turn a game and a match. - Jeff McQuinn
Reader Feedback Regarding “Pickle Ball, Pickleball or pickleball?”
was named after the family's dog then it ought to have a capital P. Just a retired teacher's opinion. - Esther Franco
Editors’ Response: Thanks for your opinion Esther. If the game were called Pickle’s Ball, we would agree; however, it is not. So, we are sticking with “pickleball” – lowercase p.
The Mind Game...
By Harry Carpenter
I received the following mental pickleball
questions from an anonymous reader:
How Do I Deal with a Weak Partner?
No matter what your level of play, there are times you end up on the court with a partner that is two levels weaker than you and your opponents. It’s easy to ignore your partner and act like you can’t wait for the game to be over. That’s rude. Think of it from their side. The weak player is nervous because he doesn’t want to let you down, nor does he want to be shown up as a (comparatively) poor player. So why not use this opportunity to be a mentor? Encourage him with a compliment when he makes a good shot. If he is receptive, make suggestions on how he can improve his game. On the flip side, you can use this opportunity to improve your game. Instead of being bored and letting your mind drift, practice keeping your mind on the ball, not on your partner. Besides, if you don’t keep your mind on the ball and it is hit to you, you flub an easy shot and you’re the one that looks weak.
What About When
I Am the Weak Player?
Most importantly, don’t be overly meek. Don’t think, “Well, I’m the weak player so I’m going to lose all the points.” If you think that way, you will
lose all the points. Use this as a valuable learning experience, which it is. Act like you belong on the court, which you do. Use this opportunity to raise your level of play, which it will. Don’t think of the other players; that’s not your job. Keep your mind on the ball. It’s the same ball you always play with. Play the ball, not the other players on the court.
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 the eBook, Pickleball; The Mental Side, as well as The Genie Within: Your Subconscious Mind – How It Works and How to Use It and a CD that contains mental conditioning exercises that will help you get in the zone.
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Yes, I'm talking to YOU
By Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair
Okay, this month I want to talk about refereeing. Yes, I’m talking to YOU. If you play in sanctioned tournaments you should be volunteering to referee. This task is needed in tournament play for many reasons that I don’t really want to get into for this article, but let’s just say it’s needed. So, just like you prepare to play in the tournament, you should also prepare to referee in the tournament. If all players consider this part of their responsibility, and actually do it, it would make life better for everyone.
To start, read and reread the IFP rules
. This will not only prepare you to referee, but knowing the rules will also help you play better. After this, take the referee quiz
and see just how much you know about the rules of the game.
In the near future we’re going to have a referee certification program. For now begin by reading the USAPA Referee Guide
. All of this and more can be found at www.usapa.org
under the Rules & Referees
tab. Try to go to a referee class; if you can’t, just jump in with another referee for a game or two and see how it’s done; then go for it. You will be a better player because of it and more highly respected by your peers for helping with this task. When you’re playing remember to respect the referee. Understand that referees are for the most part volunteers. Some may be more competent than others, some may make more bad calls than others, some may be more arrogant than others, but they all are doing the best they can and should be acknowledged for this. If you see a need to challenge their calls do it respectfully, and no matter what happens during the game, always, always thank them at the end of the match.
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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 – www.usapa.org
. 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 http://www.usapa.org
, it is an incredible source of information about all things pickleball!
USAPA Online Store…
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USAPA Facebook Page Update…
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
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 over 1,700 pickleball players who ‘like’ our page. Joining is easy; just click the Like
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 email@example.com
. The USAPA Editorial Guidelines
are available for viewing here
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. Past 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 you who have been around the game for a while, the ride just got wild. Pickleball has reached critical mass! My guess is that you too have experienced the sudden explosion of this great game. Here are two facts to back up this claim.
My friend Mike from Irvine, Calif., is a top 5.0 pickleball player and has been quietly spreading the word of pickleball to his paddle tennis friends. Mike has over 37 years of paddle tennis experience, for that is where he crossed Hilary Hilton Marold’s path in the 1970’s [Ed., now she’s a top 5.0 pickleball player]. The last few months the majority of his paddle tennis friends have jumped over to the pickleball side, and he cannot believe the buzz that is going on – pickleball has reached critical mass
. His friend, Greg, a retired attorney who was the # 1 paddle tennis player in the country for years, said to him, “The game is easy to learn, but I can see how it will take a while to master. I can't wait to play again.”
It seems everywhere he turns people are talking about pickleball and asking questions. For example, he recently entered a Sports Authority in Huntington Beach, Calif., looking to buy pickleballs. The manager, who happened to help him, shared that pickleball items are some of the best sellers and they can barely keep balls in stock. And the manager wants to learn to play. The May 15, 2014, New York Times ran an article about pickleball
in Gainesville, Va., and they too say “nearly a half-century since its creation, pickleball has reached critical mass.” Are you feeling the buzz
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