Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What is Wrong with Having Pickleball? This should be a "letter to the editor".........

Hi USAPA ambassadors and Donna Donald

Just wanted everyone to know that over the last three weeks there have been two different letters to the editor News Press in Fort Myers, FL.  The first article appeared in the News Press on Thursday January 12.  This article was written by Julie Yates and the subject was that the Lee County, FL Parks and Recreation had kicked off the tennis courts a group of kids playing Pickleball. The problem in Lee County, FL is that there only a few places to play pickleball and the major site WaKe Hachee gym and the Estero gym are too small to accommodate the large number of Players in the Fort Myers / Fort Myers Beach area. Now we all know that we want the youth to be active a few hours per day but with this mental set of the Park and Recreation department runs contrary to our goals

Just in our Resort we have two courts with the addition of one more this year. The number of players in this resort is well over 120. The courts are busy 7 days a week from sun up to sundown every day. The age of players runs from 55 to 92. See places to play in Fort Myers Beach in Lee County on the web

On  Tuesday  February 7th  in the same news paper there was an article by Robyn George stating that Lee County is going to start MINI Tennis. This is primarily intended to provide a game for aging players. It did not say what the age level is going to be. This is being offered at four different venues in Lee County and are inviting everyone to come out and try it. In our Resort players are right up there in age but I don't think they are going to start Mini Tennis. The tennis players, if they want some exercise, come and play Pickleball. I don't know when the tennis people will figure it out that if the youth were to start in Pickleball they will have a wealth of tennis players in the future. Get the tennis courts marked for pickleball and everybody can

In my home town area, Fauquier County Virginia, I have encouraged the scchool system to start Pickleball in their PE curriculum. They have done this in a few of the schools, middle and high school, so possibly these youth will have a game they can play throughout their entire lifetime and keep in shape at the same time. Come on America, lets wake up, come alive and be active.

Morris Wheat
Atlantic South Region

Deadline Extended for Good Life Games

To all pickleball players - you still have time to register for the 2012 Good Life Games in Seminole, Fl

Pickleball is scheduled for March 19, 20, and April 11

Go to our web site at  to download an entry form.

We hope to see you there.

Good Life Games Committee

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pickleball Joins the Gulf Coast Games

The 23rd Annual Gulf Coast Senior Games were played this year in Manatee and Sarasota counties in Florida.  But this was the very FIRST year that athletes were able to compete in the game of pickleball.  Thanks    The Pickleball event was held  in Bradenton, FL on Tuesday February 21st. 
The Wilsons of Anna Maria Island competed in this event, and shared a few pictures taken that day.
 Three courts were set up for a single elimination event with one game played to 21 points and included singles, doubles and mixed doubles competition.

Pick up a pickleball paddle at St. Pete Beach Community Center
Tampa Bay Times,  January 17,2012

"Anybody that walks in and has a pair of tennis shoes on could pick the game up and start playing. You don't have to be John McEnroe to play it. You can be Jim Wikoff," he said with a laugh.

Pickleball can be played inside or outdoors on a court with similar dimensions to a badminton doubles court. It is played with two or four players and generally lasts 10 to 15 minutes per game.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Destin, Florida, - 2/23/12

Pickleball is the game that has caught the eye of more than a couple of dozen snowbirds that gather each Wednesday and Friday at the Destin Community Center for a friendly game.

“It’s just taken off,” said Phil Holdsworth of Ontario, who is coordinator for the game.

FULL COURT: The Destin Community Center has three courts open for Pickleball play and all were busy.

Holdsworth commended the crew at the Destin Community Center for providing the courts, nets and paddles and setting up the game.

“They have been absolutely wonderful,” he said. When he asked about setting up the game, “there were no questions … they just got to it with no hesitation.”

Pickleball is played at 10:30 a.m. until noon on Wednesday and Friday at the community center. For more information, call 654-5184.

CLICK HERE for full article and more photos.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Twenty Three Players sign up for Pickleball Skills/Techniques Clinic

 On Saturday, February 18th, twenty-three pickleball players at the Peace River RV Preserve in Wauchula, Fl came out to learn how to improve their game.  New Tampa ambassador Rich Donald provided skills/techniques clinic providing training on improving court position, proper grip and serve, dink shots, punch volleys at the net, ground strokes, lobs  and the all important third shot! 
Below the players get to participate............. 

Lots of group participation, lots of practice and lots of questions make for a great pickleball clinic!  Below is a group photo.  Ambassador Rich Donald on the far right.

Many of these players are preparing for the Sarasota Expo, where they will be competing against fellow ELS Parks, Bay Indies in Venice and Harbor Lakes in Punta Gorda on March 6th!   Good Luck!!!

Collier County(Naples) Tournament

The Collier County Senior Games are usually played this time of year in Naples, Florida.  But this year, due to budget restraints, the games were cancelled.  Thanks to Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman, our ambassadors from Southwest Florida - they turned the cancellation of the games into a USAPA Sanctioned Tier 4 Tournament open to players 16 years of age and older!      The games were played from February 10-12, 2019 at the East Naples Community Park where more than 12 court were set up to accommodate nearly 130 players. 

It seems that Mother Nature likes to test our Florida players - bringing rain,  cold weather and winds gusting to 20+ miles/hour.  But despite the weather, we all played on.  

The Singles competition took place on Friday evening, followed by the  men's and ladies doubles on Saturday and the mixed doubles on Sunday.  Below are a few pictures from the doubles competition.

This was a double elimination event, best two out of three games played to 11 points/win by two.   The competition was superb, and the winds and cold weather  emphasized the need to be able to battle the weather as well as your opponent.  Below are some of the winners from the Mixed Doubles competition on Sunday.
This was the first time that we have held a USAPA Sanctioned event in Southwest Florida.  We could have used a few more referees - but despite that we had some excellent competition and three days of great pickleball fun!!


CLICK HERE for Tournament Winners

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2nd Annual Seniors Pickleball Tournament, Jacksonville, NC

This Doubles Tournament was held at the Jacksonville Recreation Complex, 100 Recreation Lane, Jacksonville, NC on January 10 and 11, 2012.   The tournament was sponsored by the Jacksonville Recreation and Parks, Department, Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission.
Four of the Jacksonville, NC Players
 The tournament was open to seniors (50 or over by December 31, 2012). Player competed in one single age category in Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Age groups were categorized by ages 50+, ages 60+, and ages 70+.The format was a  double elimination on both days. A match consisted of one game to 15 points (switch courts at 8 points) for all matches leading up to the “medal” matches. All “medal” matches were 2 out of 3 games to 11 (switch at 6 points if a 3rd game is necessary).
High Point, NC Players

A total of 97 players registered from the games. The States represented were Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Sun City, South Carolina Players


1st PLACE: Thomas Anderson (Indian Land, SC) / Robert Meng (Fort Mill, SC)

2ND PLACE: David Allen / Kevin Chandler (Wilmington, NC)

3RD PLACE: Bill Robertson / Calvin Vaughn (High Point, NC)


1st PLACE: Rick Laskey (Jacksonville, NC) / Jonathan Lind (Manassas, VA)

2ND PLACE: Fiore Bergamasco (N. Myrtle Beach, SC) / Frank Kolbe (Little River, SC)

3RD PLACE: Tom Henry (Taneytown, MD) / Hugh Zartman (Finksburg, MD)


1st PLACE: Neil Hopkinson / Tom Schaller (Myrtle Beach, SC)


1st PLACE: Debby Rea (N. Myrtle Beach, SC) / Tricia Snyder (Myrtle Beach, SC)

2ND PLACE: Brenda Dail (Morehead City, NC) / Mary Powell (Hubert, NC)

3RD PLACE: Helen Boston (High Point, NC) / Laura Patterson (Walkertown, NC)


1st PLACE: Carolyn Law (Earlysville, VA) / Karen Pearson (McLean, VA)

2ND PLACE: Ann Henry (Taneytown, MD) / Ruth Lampert (New Windsor, MD)

3RD PLACE: Eva Diekmann / Faye Mills (Myrtle Beach, SC)


1st PLACE: Pat Clark (Sandston, VA) / Mary-Tom Gardner (Topsail Island, NC)

2ND PLACE: Kashiwa Funk / Sue Ramsey (Jacksonville, NC)

3RD PLACE: Connie Chambers / Vicki Rickard (High Point, NC)


1st PLACE: Debby Rea / Dan Sturzenbecker (N. Myrtle Beach, SC)

2ND PLACE: Laura Patterson (Walkertown, NC) / Kevin Chandler (Wilmington, NC)

3RD PLACE: Pam Kolbe / Frank Kolbe (Little River, SC)


1st PLACE: Karen Pearson (McLean, VA) / Jonathan Lind (Manassas, VA)

2ND PLACE: Ann Henry / Tom Henry (Taneytown, MD)

3RD PLACE: Carolyn Law (Earlysville, VA) / Rick Laskey (Jacksonville, NC)


1st PLACE: Mary-Tom Gardner (Topsail Island, NC) / Jim Legg (Mechanicsville, VA)

2ND PLACE: Pat Clark / Jim Clark (Sandston, VA)

3RD PLACE: Bernice May (Indian Land, SC) / Gary Hart (Fort Mill, SC)
Watch for more photos from this event in our NC Photo Gallery.

Pickleball Tournament - Seminole Recreation Center

Submitted by:
Kristyn Sabbag
Recreation Leader II
City of Seminole

Just wanted to give you the winners from our tournament we had this past Thursday, February 9, 2012.

 There was a great amount of outstanding play, long and hard rallies and a tired, but happy Pickleball group at the end of a very long day.We opened it up to other facilities, so we had some participation from Clearwater, St. Pete Beach and some visiting folk’s from Rhode Island in addition to our regular players!

Gold Medals winners pictured below: 
Women's Doubles----Mitsuko Onishi and Cheryl Kinnebrew
Men's Doubles ---------Jerry Triplett and Mike Roth
Mixed Doubles ------Mitsuko Onishi and Jerry Triplett

Silver MedalWinners Pictured Below: 
Women’s Doubles --- Donna Scott and Roberta Cecchi
Men’s Double---- Jeff McQuinn and Rick Whissel
Mixed Doubles---- Cheryl Kinnebrew and Keith Reynolds
Congratulations to all the winners!

Monday, February 13, 2012

News from Winston/Salem Ambassador, Laura Patterson

PB at Piedmont Senior Games Kick Off’s time for Senior Games again and along with this time of year comes the Kick Off session, or shall I say Kick Off sessions this year. On January 19th and January 27th we had separate Senior Game Kick Offs (one in Kernersville, NC and the other in Winston-Salem, NC). We had the pleasure of showing off the sport of pickleball at both sessions. Last year we had pickleball as a demonstration sport and this year it will be one of the events (even though we will not have pickleball at the State Games as an event). We had quite a few people to try the game and many of them are now asking where they can find the “good” racquets.

PB Demonstration at Alamance County Community Center
Back in November 2011, I was contacted by one of the Directors at the Alamance County Community Center in Burlington, NC requesting that I come and do a pickleball demonstration for some seniors. We set the date for January 30, 2012, made contact with each other on January 28th to make sure our sessions was still on. Burlington is about an hour from me so I left that morning around 8 a.m. because I figured I needed to get there about an half hour early to set up the nets since they already had badminton courts lined on the floor. When I walked into the gym, they already had 3 USAPA nets set up in the gym and a box full of balls and racquets. As the seniors started coming in I realized that I knew quite a few of the ladies from the senior softball tournaments that I had played in and I knew pickleball would be a big hit with them because most of them were great athletics! About 20 people showed up for the session and we had a great time. I saw the Director this past Thursday at a rules conference for State Games and she said the game has really picked up and they have selected a standard play date on Wednesdays. The Director of the Burlington YMCA also attended the demo and she asked me to come and do a demonstration at the Y on February 23rd.

High Point Group Plays in First Pickleball Tournament
In November 2010, I introduced a small group of people to pickleball at the Cutler Senior Center in High Point, NC. They started out on a modified court in a multi-purpose room on Wednesdays. They now play on Tuesday nights, Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings. They started playing on a couple of regulation size courts on Thursday afternoons at the Moorehead Community Center in January 2012. New players attend each week and the numbers have grown tremendously. Some of the regular players found out about the tournament that took place in Jacksonville, NC and wanted to go and just watch. I talked them into playing in the tournament and some of us started setting up practice sessions that really paid off. We had three teams to enter in the tournament (Calvin and Bill (Men’s 50+); Connie and Vickie (Women’s 70+); and Tina and Laura (Women’s 50+)) and each team brought home a bronze medal! I also completed in the 50+ mixed division and I was paired up with a player from Wilmington and we brought home the silver medal. It was a great tournament and we all had a great time and the group from High Point is searching for another tournament.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pickleball in Corporate America - UPDATE

Last month we featured a story that took Ft.Myers Ambassadors Cindy Eddleman and Nancy Myer to Flint, Michigan where they were invited to introduce pickleball to the IT Department of Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy as part of an Employee Team Building program.

Here is an update on the success of that program from the Becky Foerster, the company's Wellness Coordinator.

"Good afternoon Nancy and Cindy!

I hope all is well in your “sunny” part of the world. I wanted to give you an update…

Since your arrival to Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy in December, 2011 for the IT Team Building event Diplomat employees have found a new craze! I can hear the volleying from the atrium off and on all day! Employees bring in a change of shoes, gather some co-workers and rejuvenate during a quick game of Pickleball on their lunches and breaks.

Employee Quick Clinics are still taking place two evenings a week, with league play right around the corner. Your two day clinic was so well received. You brought your passion for life, health, fitness, and team spirit. Everyone left knowing one another a bit more than when they started. The round robin tournament was the perfect way for co-workers to interact and compete. Some employees who would have otherwise kept to themselves, got on the court, and showed their competitive edge. Others who lead, found themselves on the same playing field learning something new. Either way, individuals found ways to work together.

 Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy is embracing a culture of wellness and life balance. Pickleball brings a little balance to the workday. Thank you!"

Becky Foerster
Wellness Coordinator
Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy
Keeping Patients Healthier…Longer. ®

CLICK HERE for original story

A Plan to Introduce Pickleball to Your Community

Bill and Kim live at the Herons Glen community in Ft. Myers, Florida. Pickleball is played all around the area, and they are well on there way to getting their community on board and included in all the fun. 

They began in January of this year running "clinics" at 4:30 on Tuesday afternoons. They put a broadcast on the community television.

"In the last 5 weeks, we have had 85 people join."

Ft. Myers Ambassadors Nancy Meyer and Cindy Eddleman " have run three beginner sessions already and are in the process of scheduling an intermediate and two more beginner sessions. They are both fabulous and most helpful.

With the help of Nancy and Cindy we have graduated to running three courts of round robins on Tuesdays and then having three "clinic" type courts as well, using all six of our tennis courts. New people continue to come each week.

Our community hosts a cancer fund raiser every January and our pickleball demonstration had 408 people in attendance so we believe there is a great interest in our community.

I will present to the Recreation Board this Monday to be named a "group" within Herons Glen. It is the first step in developing our program. We currently tape off tennis courts. Our recreation committee has put dots on the tennis courts so we don't have to re-measure each time we want to use them...which is a start."

The two  pictures were send to us by Bill and Kim, and  are of the clinic and the round robin play.  It certainly sounds like they are well on there way to having a great group of players, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that they get support for the courts from their community Recreation Board.    They are "most open to any help/suggestions to help them get pickleball off the ground in our community!

Posted by Picasa

Franklin Players bring Pickleball to Naples, Fl

Submitted by
Nancy Falkenstein - Ambassador
Franklin, NC

Judy and Don(Wirth) have been trying to get PB started in Naples and it looks like they are having success. Two of the new players are Racquetball Players and have picked up PB very quickly.

It is so great to see how folks from our group are bringing others to the Game; we have John Fitzgerald working in the Florida Panhandle too!

Keep up the good work!

 Don and Judy started playing pickleball in Franklin, NC , during the summer and fall, but decided to get something going in Naples, where they spend their winters. They are currently playing on basketball courts lined for pickleball by the Community Center att Fleischman Park.
Judy says: "We have been working 3 years and are finally getting enough people to have one court on Tues, and Thurs and sometimes Sat. We have 2 courts available. The community center furnishes the equipment, although some of us  have our own paddles.

 For more information contact Jill Orstad, Fleischman Community Center Director at 239-213-3020. Her email address is
It is open to anyone who wants to come and play--free!

Below is a recent group photo.  We understand that the night before this picture they were enjoying the sunset on the beach!  Pickleball players do have fun!!

Don and Judy have taken the next step -  they will be competing in the Collier County (Naples) Tournament on February 11th and 12th.  We wish them luck!!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Daytona Beach resident aims to get the word out about pickleball

"It's a lot of laughs and a good workout," she said.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ground Hog Day Pickleball Tournament

If Punxsutawney Phil had peeked from his hole here on Thursday - he definitely would have made the same predictions.  The pickleball players at the Peace River RV Preserve in Wauchula, FL welcomed the sunshine as they held their Ground Hog Day Pickleball Tournament.  Winter in Florida?  It reached 85 degrees before the day was over! Six more weeks of winter like this?  No problem!

 Tournament organizers, Nate Showalter and Karen Wolf  scheduled a fun day of pickleball for a very good cause.  Player registration fees are to be used to help to resurface the two pickleball courts at the park.  

The format for the day included both doubles and mixed doubles competition. The  ladies took to court one, and the guys to court two in a random draw round robin.  Each player played five games to 11 points/win by 2.  The competition saw some very exciting/competitive games.
There was a bit of a twist to the mixed doubles.   The guy with the highest point total in the doubles competition was paired with the lady with the lowest point total and the lady with the highest point total with the guy who had the lowest point total in the doubles competition.  We laughed a lot; we played with partners we never played with before and we had some awesome games!  At the end of the competition two teams were tied for first place so a 15 point championship match was played.  Everyone else had finished  so it was "prime time" play!  Everyone moved their chairs to the shade and cheered at almost every point.  It was a very close game to the end with some great volleys and some really great points!

Below are the tournament winners:

Men's doubles
1st place - Richard (from nearby Torrey Oaks RV Resort) , who went undefeated in five games,
2nd place - Rene ( Peace River)
3rd place Nate (Peace River

In the ladies doubles ( pictures left to right)
3rd place - Barbara (Peace River)
1st place - Donna (Peace River) who also went undefeated in five games
2nd place - Karen (Peace River)
Karen and Barbara  were neck and neck - But Karen pulled off two games and 11-0 to take second place.
In the mixed doubles (pictured left to right)
3rd place winners, Richard (Torrey Oaks) and Vickie (Peace River),
1st place, Mike (Torrey Oaks) and Barbara (Peace River)
2nd place winners, Nate and Rosemary - both from Peace River.

Thanks to Nate and Karen for a great day - for the cases and cases of water to keep us hydrated and the Pizza for lunch!  We'll be out there helping you to resurface the courts!!   Before everyone left for the day , we took to the courts  for a picture of the Ground Hog Day Players.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

North Carolina Ambassadors Collaborate to Bring Pickleball to Senior Games

We are sharing this information with our North Carolina pickleball players.  Your local ambassadors are working hard to make sure that pickleball is recognized by  your North Carolina Senior Games officials.

Check out this information, and check out where pickleball will be played in 2012.  Spread the word to your fellow pickleball players and come out and support the games and join in the pickleball competition!

(Pictures on this page are from the 2011 NC Senior Games)

Jacksonville, NC Ambassador - Rick Laskey
Information for all Ambassadors:

When I called the state office today, and asked how I could find out which local games offer pickleball, they said they were working on such a listing and would let me know when it is available.

A random check through this list shows that badminton is offered at a majority of the local games. Once we find out which local games do not offer pickleball, if they offer badminton, I would propose that we suggest they could offer pickleball in the same venue as badminton with the same lines, and with the badminton net lowered to pickleball height.

One of the concerns I heard from someone who works with the NC State Senior Games is a concern about the availability of venues for any new event. In the past when the state office offered a new event such as bocce it was so popular they had difficulty finding places to hold it. I would again bring up the fact that the state games already includes badminton and the badminton venue(s) could be used for indoor pickleball events. 

Here is the recently updated  detailed listing of local senior games in the state to include "Other Events". This is where pickleball will be listed if offered. This listing can be found as a 53-page PDF file on page:

I counted only 11 (out of 53) local games that included pickleball under Other Events:

1. Cabarrus County
2. Charlotte-Mecklenburg
3. Gaston County
4. Greater High Point
5. Greenville-Pitt County
6. Haywood County
7. Macon County
8. Onslow County
9. Outer Banks
10. Lee County
11. New Hanover/Brunswick Counties

I believe there are 36 or 37 (out of 53) local games that included badminton singles or badminton doubles or both.

Let us each take either our own county (if pickleball is not offered) or the nearby ones and contact the Local Coordinator of those local senior games to see if we can introduce pickleball.

Laura Patterson, Ambassador Winston/Salem, NC
Information for all ambassadors: 

This year I volunteered to become an Ambassador for the North Carolina Senior Games (NCSG), which is at the State level and found out how to get pickleball into the State games.  They added corn hole toss to the senior games this year but not pickleball even though it was on the list for the coordinators to vote on. 

Although pickleball is not a "sanctioned" (sanctioned by NCSG not USAPA) event at our local games this year, there is a possibility for us to get it added at the state level next year.  There is a process that they go through to add a new sport to the games.  They will take a look at the number of counties that offer pickleball at the local level and also look at the number of people playing and then decided whether to add it to the State games. 

That's why it is important for us to have pickleball included at the local level in as many places as we can so that we can get pickleball in the senior games at the State level. .  Hope this helps everyone understand the process for getting pickleball at the State level. If you have any questions, please let me know.

What do we know right now?

 Mike and Nancy Falkenstein - Macon County Games   We are having a planning meeting Monday for our Macon County Sr. Games...  We will have PB 1st 3 days of "fun events" like we did last year , before the actual competition begins....We are playing at the National Guard Armory in Franklin, NC , April 23 - M & W Singles 1 pm; April 24 - M & W Doubles 9 am - April 25 - Mixed Doubles at 9 am.   

Mike Walsh
I met with the co-ordinator of the Raleigh-Wake (Senior) games this week and he agreed to Pickleball as a demo event for 2012

Laura Patterson, Winston/Salem
We will have pickleball in our local games this year but it will be a closed event (they want to take baby steps) and only people that live in the 5 counties that we support will be able to participate in pickleball.

Rick Laskey
We have had pickleball here in the Onslow County Senior Games for many years. I will check to see if any of the surrounding counties such as Duplin, Pender, Carteret, and Jones have it, and if not, I will do my best to promote it with the help of some of the pickleball players I know that live in those counties.   Pickleball in the Onslow Senior Games will be held Tuesday, April 10 at 9am in the Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center Gym.  There will be men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles in 5-year age groups starting at age 55. This has been listed under "upcoming tournaments". 

Earl Cunningham
The Gaston/Lincoln County Games will be played on April 5th in Gastonia, NC.  It is already listed on the website under "upcoming tournaments"  where you will find a link to the schedule and registration information.