Monday, August 29, 2011

Congrats to The Villages Winners!

An Advanced Pickleball Round Robin took place at The Villages, Florida from August 22nd through August 25th.  Competing in this Skill Level event were Villages resident players rated 4.0 -4.5.  The very best competitors brings out lots of spectators, and this event was no exception.

 August Advanced Round Robin Tournament Results

Mixed Doubles
 Champions: Don Piper and  Lydia Fenster,
Runners-up: Bill Freeman and Deb Harrison.

Women's Doubles
 Champions: Deb Harrison and Lydia Fenster
Runners up: Christina Crenshaw and Barb DeWitt.

Men's Doubles:
 ChampionsBarry Gee and Don Piper,
Runners-up: Bill Freeman and Jeff Shank.

 An article in the The Villages Daily Sun, April 15, 2011,  featured the   Community Volunteer Group (PCVG)  that set up a rating system for the communities residents.   Pictured at this rating clinic is Deb Harrison (left) assisted by George Wijma and Rosamarie Pietromonaco.  The ratings system," said rating chairman Tom Nonnemacher," helps Villagers enter into leagues and tournaments that will suit their playing ability."

“You want to be competitive,” the Village of Liberty Park resident said. “The system rates players by ability level so they can match up against players of the same level to make the game enjoyable for everyone.”

Clinics were held where each player’s rating was calculated by teams of three judges.

A player was judged on their aptitude with the variety of shots the game demands: Serves, serve return, volleys, smashes, dinks, forehands, backhands and several other types of shots. 

Pickleball Expands to Hilton Head Island, SC

Donald Wheeler (pictured with wife Mary)  joined USAPA as an Ambassador for Hilton Head Island, SC just nine months ago. At that time he told us:  "I feel that offering free lessons with free use of equipment (we have enough for 8 people) as well as free court time, a consistent play time, both in the morning and evening on different days to accommodate the working and retired populous, would generate interest in the sport on HHI."

Don has introduced pickleball to players from all over Hilton Head and now maintains a “pickleball roster” consisting of 60 players . He schedules weekly play times at the nearby county courts. The players from Hilton Head Plantation, a private community where Don resides have even started their own “resident only” pickleball club. Because the tennis courts at the plantation are clay, this club also has to make use of the nearby county courts. Visitors to the island are also welcome to play.

“We have recently requested that the county paint pickleball lines on the two tennis courts we use or perhaps turn the basketball court into three pickleball courts by adding an apron onto the side of the court. The basketball court is a leftover from the elementary school that was on the site at one time and therefore the court is smaller than a high school or college court. I have also purchased a portable net to use on the basketball court since the gestation period for any new ideas to give birth is usually at least nine months!! Thus we would have three courts to play on with lines that are chalked by yours truly as needed, using the "chalker" invented, built and refined by Fred Harvey, Jane's (Ambassador, Indian Land) husband.”

We have a resident population of about 30-40,000 on Hilton Head Island but we get 2 million visitors per year!! I have welcomed and scheduled play for many visitors. The "Places to Play" section of the USAPA website has been very useful to our visitors and residents alike. We don't specifically list the courts we play on because that may change depending on where the tennis players converge. Hilton Head Island, historically, has hosted the "Family Circle Cup" tennis tournament until a few years ago. There are still many devoted courts that can be used only for tennis and some that are reserved for for tennis practice sessions during the spring. Bus loads of "Spring Fling" college students converge on the island and expect to be able to use all the courts on the island, from sun-up to sun-down, during that time. No exceptions.

Last month we welcomed Marsha and Boyd traveling from Atlanta to Tampa where they play every day. This week we'll have people from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, Vienna, Virginia and Sweden. In the near future we will poll the people on our roster, all sixty of them, to determine if we should schedule some play at other courts in addition to where we are playing now to accommodate players from the south end of the island and also later in the day for those that are still employed."

It takes just one person to get the "pickleball" rolling, and Don has done one fantastic job proving just that.  Give Don a call when you're in the neighborhood and stop by for a game or two!

CLICK HERE for photo gallery.

A Little Bit of Pickleball (Paddle) History

I got this email from Dick Freshley, our ambassador in Palm Beach County, Florida not long after the article about pickleball at the Palm Beach Kids Festival was released in the news.  This is a story about the history of these paddles.  I enjoyed reading this so much that I just had to share it with all of you.

"Regarding the Sun-Sentinel story. Great photo of the racquet which is one I made. When I started the game at Boeing in the '60s, there were hardly any commercial paddles available. I took up a collection among interested parties and bought a full 4' by 8' sheet of 3/8" AA mahogany marine plywood. It cost $20, which was a big deal in 1966.

I must have made 20 paddles from that sheet, one for all the donors and several others for later needs. I kept six for myself which have had good use. I wrapped the handles of some with tennis grips, which makes them better. Shortly after, a local entrepreneur began making them. And coincidentally, the material used was scrap floor panel materialfrom Boeing. I did some development with the Floor Panel manufacturing unit and, if I had been more alert, I could have gotten a lot of that material free. It could also be purchased at the Boeing Surplus Store for next to nothing. Alas, by the time I woke up the process had been moved to Spokane, WA 300 miles away. Now the panels are made in Mexico.

Ironically, one of the jobs I was working on was a Neumerically Controlled machine to cut out the panels. One of the features was nesting software to maximize the use of the material. It was all test and I could easily have programmed a bunch of nested PB paddles. I did use the opportunity to cut a custom rudder for my sail boat.

Floor panels are the most customized feature of a commercial airliner. Almost every plane is different depending on a number of factors; passenger, freighter or convertible, seat spacing (AKA pitch), lavl ocations and size, galley location and size, etc., etc. The material used for commercial planes is a fiberglass honeycomb sandwich called Nomex. Freighters have the same type of construction but the core is aluminum. Both are very strong for the weight which is a big consideration for planes.

The Nomex paddles were made by a start-up company formed by a couple of Boeing employees from my plant. It was called Pro-Lite and they gave me a couple of their first products to test.

So much for ancient history. I hope you found it interesting."

Amazing!!!    Thank you Dick.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Myrtle Beach Players

 Linda Hopkinson sent along the picture.  Thanks Linda!!  And Richard Skovran, Ambassador for Myrtle Beach tells us that the group at Crabtree Memorial Gym hold fun round robin events several times during the year.  These are some of the players that compted on August 12th!  Richard also reports that the kids are back in school so pickleball has resumed  at full force at  Myrtle Beach's Pepper Geddings Recreation Center.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Experiencing Pickleball in The Villages

Submitted by Rich and Donna Donald
New Tampa, Fl Ambassadors

Rich and I are fortunate to have the opportunity to spend some time this summer in The Villages, Florida.  The Villages is probably one of the very largest pickleball communities in the country today, and it is also home to one of the very best pickleball instructors, Richard Movsessian, aka Coach Mo.

Every Monday, residents here can attend a  FREE Pickleball Skills Clinic geared to improving technique, strategy and .... having a lot of fun.

  Coach “Mo”, assisted by other Picklball Medalists, conducts a clinic from 3:00 - 4:30 PM at the Churchill Recreation Center Courts. The Clinic consists of 2 sessions held on consecutive Mondays.  Even during the summer, when many of the snowbirds have gone north, the sign up sheets fill up fast!!!

While visiting here, I have had the opportunity to participate in the clinics, while Rich has worked along side Coach Mo as one of his "assistant coaches".
Above, Rich, Coach Mo and Pete, one of the other " assistant coaches" demonstrate and work with the participants.
Here are some of the folks that were attending this past Monday learning the proper grip, forehand and backhand strokes and  then doing drills  practice those as well as the "soft game".

We have never met anyone who enjoys "teaching" the game as much as they enjoy playing, and anyone who wants to improve their level of play takes advantage of his excellent instruction.

Even visitors or guests  at The Villages can take advantage of his training.

This picture was taken after USAPA Ambassadors George and Anita Rimler  (left) from Daytona Beach Shores finished their "private lessons" with  Coach Mo.  Rich (far right) and I joined the three of them for a pickleball story sharing  lunch before they headed back to the east coast.

The Villages is a great place to play pickleball..................and they have so many high level players because they do an outstanding job of teaching people the game and helping people to improve their skill levels.

The Pickleball Community Volunteer  Group (PCVG) works in conjunction with The Villages  Recreation Department in scheduling training, events, and tournaments for all levels of play.   There is Pickleball 101, 102 and 103 which is beginner training, sheduled several times throughout the month as well as Advanced Beginner play.   USAPA Ambassador for The Villages, Garf Cooper, is also a PCVG member and is the chairperson for the Beginner and Advanced Beginner Programs.  There are nine other pickleball players who are members of PCVG, headed by Steve Richter, who are responsible for the website and player e-mail  communication,  Publicity, Rating System, Rules, Intermediate and Advanced League play, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Tournaments/Programs... and so on...........

Training is also available from  Deb Harrison, another community Pickleball Teaching Professional.
Deb Harrison works through the Lifelong Learning College.  She is one of the very best -- a gold medalist many times over in highly competitive local, state and national competitions.   She is well know for her professionalism, patience and excellent communications skills.   Several individuals and groups have spent time with Deb and were extremely pleased with the lessons they received.
What a great place to live.........What a great place to learn and to play pickleball.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fun is the name of their game

Festival instills in youths the positives of staying fit through sports activities, -  July 24, 2011

Boca Raton's Sammy Hadar, 11, of the Sports Stars Summer Camp, tries his hand at pickleball during the annual Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. (PHOTO BY GARY CURRERI, Sun Sentinel)

"When I first saw it, I thought it was going to be pretty hard," said Hadar, 11, who was part of the Sports Stars Summer Camp at Don Estridge Middle School in Boca Raton. "I didn't know if the racquets were going to hit the ball that well, but once I started playing, I liked it."  READ MORE...


Monday, August 15, 2011

National Senior Games Winter Championships

Rochester, NY

September 28 - October2, 2011

Registration is now open for this year's Winter Championships. This year PICKLEBALL will be played in a new venue, the Gates Chili High School's Spartan Stadium.

You have until September 1st to register so you can get in on all the excitement of this NSGA NationalTournament, cosponsored by the USA Pickleball Association.  With great playing, two outstanding free socials, and some fabulous sight-seeing opportunities, this year's Pickleball competition is shaping up to be the best yet.  Rochester, NY is the host city for this 4th Annual NSGASenior Games Winter Championships.  This year pickleball will be held atthe Gates Chili High School's Spartan Stadium, at 1 Spartan Way, just 5miles from the Rochester Airport. This is a world class facility with an outstanding wood floor, great lighting, and plenty of space to accommodate the tournament. While in the area you will want to visit some great places such as a trip to Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes area, the Wine Trails, and other local famous places like the Susan BAnthony and George Eastman Houses.

 Friday and Saturday will end with ahappy hour where drinks, food, entertainment, and great company can be had, all at no extra charge.  Last year this alone was worth the cost of registration. So get on board and register for this exciting event.

For our pickleball RVers, there is dry camping available at the site. Contact us for additional information.

See you in Rochester.

David and Nancy Jordan

To Register: NSGASenior Games Flyer (pdf)

Additional information:


Monday, August 8, 2011

Pickleball Included in Kroc Center's Grand Opening, Augusta, GA

Submitted by:
Mike and Loretta Beckner,
Ambassadors - Aiken, SC
Just a followup on our pickleball demo at the Salvation Army's Kroc Center in Augusta, GA on Saturday August, 6th.

Eight players from our group in Aiken went to the  Kroc Center to introduce pickleball.  The Center had three net standards set up, a very large scree(approximately 16' x 20') on which they showed the USAPA Promotional DVD throughout the session. They also hung the USAPA banner nearby. 

Anthony Taylor, the Sports Director, introduced us and then we gave a brief summary of the history of the sport as well as the basic rules for play.

We then demonstrated the sport on two courts. 

Afterwards, we invited people in the stands to take a paddle and join us on the three courts to hit the ball and get a feel for it.Anyone who gave it a try was given a goodie bag of promotional items/advertising donated to us by 6 pickleball supply companies. Even the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. sent us magnets and bookmarks to include!

 Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience....we had people of all ages try the sport, but most of them were younger players, who really seemed to like it.

We have offered to go back to the Center to train some of the staff so that they can teach anyone who comes to play.

Hopefully, pickleball will take off in this wonderful new facility!

This last photo taken in front of the USAPA banner are the eight players from Aiken, SC who play regularly at the H. Odell Weeks Sports Center and graciously made the trip to August GA to share their love of the game.....".some of our most loyal players here in Aiken!"  Back Row, left to right: Dick Keeler, Rob Bromley, Ron Nelson, Rich Dezelon, Mike Beckner.  Front Row, left to right: Maggie Ward, Loretta Beckner, Stacey Dezelon

Click Here to see all the photos. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

A reminder about the Winter National Senior Games

My name is Libby Woodruff and I am the Director of
Operations for the Monroe County Sports Commission located
in Rochester, NY. This year Rochester is the host of the
2011 Winter National Senior Games presented by Zimmer
 The games are September 28th – October 2nd,
2011 and will be made up of 4 sports: pickleball, curling,
speedskating, and ice hockey.

During the games, athletes
will be treated to two player parties as well as play at
top-of-the-line facilities in our area. All athletes ages
50+ are welcome!

The community of Rochester, NY looks
forward to being the host and showcasing our city in the
best way possible. We are reaching out to you to please
spread the word on this amazing event. For more information
 or contact me directly at
585.262.3832 ext 11.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dog Days of Pickleball in Cherokee County!

Submitted by Ann Earley
N. GA Pickleball

Here is the North Georgia Pickleball Club playing in the Dog Days of
Summer. Temperature 98 degrees with a heat index of 105 degrees. Every
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday there are three courts of players
battling for 2+ hours and finally dripping off the court, many jumping in
the pool before heading home for the day.

Pat Dunn, John Pyle, Bill Whatley, Steve Everett and David Barron enjoying the N. Georgia Courts.

David Barron recently moved to Cherokee County from Phoenix, Arizona and joined our group today bringing along his daughter, Jenn Barron, and introducing her to the game. 

Also on the courts today was  Jessie Romito, Sports Director for the Summit at ATPP in Marietta, GA joining us to learn more about the game. After playing one game, she understood the addiction most people have to the game! Jessie hopes to introduce PickleBall to The Summit with an upcoming lecture and demonstration by Tom Earley and a group from the North Georgia Pickleball Club.

Earlier this week David and Nancy Jordan, USAPA National Board Members,
joined us to play. Quite a week for PB in Cherokee County!

Ambassadors Working Together in Mt. Pleasant, SC

- Pickleball Starts in Mt. Pleasant, SC
Submitted by Therese A. Shady, USAPA Ambassador, Capital District NY
(As written in the USAPA August E-Pickleball News)

Since it was my first winter in retirement, I decided to escape the blustery cold, ice, and snow in Albany, NY and winter in Mt. Pleasant - a suburb of Charleston, SC. Charleston is a charming historical city and Mt. Pleasant is a wonderful town with beautiful beaches nearby, BUT there was no pickleball. Since I couldn't survive without pickleball for four months, I immediately contacted the USAPA South Carolina ambassador Jim Hisman, who heads up a vibrant pickleball club at the Del Webb Cane Bay community about 40 minutes north of Charleston in Summerville, SC. To my delight I found out that Jim had been in touch with the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center and had already scheduled a pickleball demo clinic for March 3rd.
Over 40 people attended this first demo clinic. Jim, two other Cane Bay players, and I explained how to play pickleball by having a demo game, discussing rules, court position, and strategy. Then all 40 attendees got to try pickleball themselves. There were a lot of laughs, some great shots, and many immediate converts to the game we all love so much. Gary Jaster of the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center had scheduled more clinics and open play for the first and third Thursdays of each month until the end of April, and I volunteered to help run these clinics. I even took time out from my St Patrick's Day celebrations to run a clinic on that day - all decked out in green and white, as shown in the picture. What fun we had!!

There is plenty of interest in Mt. Pleasant for growing pickleball, but the arrival of hot and muggy weather by the end of April made it clear we needed portable nets and an indoor (air conditioned) venue. A $250 grant from the USAPA allowed the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center to order two USAPA portable net systems, and Gary is looking for an indoor venue to become operational this Fall.

One of the locals who attended the clinics, David Hirschhorn, is converting a cadre of highly skilled paddle tennis players to the game of pickleball in the interim. Another former upstate New Yorker, Emerson Horner, an experienced player from the Buffalo NY region who now lives in Mt. Pleasant, also helped at the clinics and became my trainer for the USAPA sanctioned Mid South tournament in Mandeville, LA where I, thanks to drilling with him and playing once in a while as a guest at Cane Bay, played well against nationally ranked competition.

Gary Jaster of the Mt Pleasant Senior Center is an enthusiastic advocate for the game. I know that when I return in the Fall, we'll have indoor courts so we can continue to grow our pickleball community. The future of pickleball in Mt. Pleasant looks bright. Soon we'll be able to host some local South Carolina tournaments with the Cane Bay and North Myrtle Beach pickleball clubs. Thanks to all who enabled me to play some pickleball while I wintered in South Carolina. I couldn't have survived without getting my pickleball fix satisfied.