Wednesday, September 30, 2015

There’s no sour pickle on the courts in Sun City Center

Published September 30, 2015 -

If tennis is too hard and table tennis isn’t hard enough, pickleball may be just right for the competitive senior who wants to stay fit.

“The sport is a combo of badminton, ping pong and tennis,” said Renee Bray, president of the Sun City Center Pickleball Club. “It’s addicting and fun.

“We have members who’ve had hip and knee replacements or have neuropathy and sugar diabetes, but they’re still able to play,” she continued. “It’s a very competitive sport for all ages and all levels.”

Pickleball rackets look like overgrown ping pong paddles but the ball is larger than a ping pong ball and smaller than a whiffle ball.

The court is smaller than a tennis court, so there’s less distance to run, but participants still get a pretty good workout.

Lynn Seevers has been playing pickleball for eight months. A regular tennis player, she likes the convenience of jumping in and out of the two games.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yes, it's really called pickleball

Published September 23, 2015 -

What sport do you play with four people, ping pong paddles and a whiffle ball on a mini tennis court?

Well, pickleball, of course.

Reported to be the fastest growing sport in the country, pickleball has its own following in Dare County. Three days a week, a group of dedicated players can be found inside the gym “Rec Park” in Kill Devil Hills.

Played like tennis, there are serves, aces, volleys, smashes and dink shots. Pickleball even has its own scoring. Players wear court shoes, quick dry shirts, sweatbands and even gloves. The graphite paddles look like ping pong paddles on steroids.

Although it’s not offered by Dare County (NC) Parks and Recreation, leisure services supervisor Charlotte Midgett says they make the gym available to these mostly older adults to play this high-activity game.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Local pickleball player, just 20, is national success

Published September 22, 2015 -

When Fort Myers' (FL) Kyle Yates competed against some of the best paintball players in the country two years ago, he was "not even close."

Last year, he made big strides.

This time around, Yates is among the elite.

The Cypress Lake High graduate captured the bronze medal in men's singles, the silver in men's doubles and finished fourth in mixed doubles at the Tournament of Champions in Brigham City, Utah. He earned $1,500 in prize money.

"This is a big deal," said Yates, the youngest player by six years.

Pickleball has been gaining popularity in the United States and beyond. The sport blends tennis, ping pong and racquetball on a badminton-size court.

While it has been popular with older players, younger players like Yates, 20, have been drawn to the sport.

In 2016, the US Open Pickleball Championships will be held in Naples from April 26-May 1.

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Paulding's Premier Pickleball Place Pleases Players

Published Georgia Pickleball Bulletin - September 2015

Paulding County's (GA) first indoor Pickleball Court is now open at Taylor Farm Park. Ambassador Mark Mazor and his wife Chantel welcomed five other players to the Grand Opening of the new indoor court on Thursday evening September 3. Participants were given a 20% off coupon for merchandise from Sports Authority, in addition to a coupon for a free Frosty Lemonade from Chick-fil-A who is also a supporter of Pickleball play in this area, southernmost Paulding County. Play will continue on Thursday evenings beginning at 6:30pm until the Thanksgiving holidays. Then a second court will be added after a break for winter basketball camps, and play will resume sometime in mid February 2016.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The US Open comes to Naples

Published September 11, 2015 -

For the first time ever, the US Open will be played in Naples.

The Pickleball Open, that is.

From April 26 to May 1, Naples will host the first US Open Pickleball Championships. The racket-sport event is expected to draw 1,000 athletes to 19 courts at East Naples Community Park, including 12 new courts under construction. Players will compete for $25,000 in prize money.

“We’ll turn East Naples Community Park into Flushing, N.Y.,” says Parker Medley, sports marketing manager for the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Spike of the Spear: Pickleball Nears Takeoff in Naples’ Inaugural U.S. Open Championships

Published September 10, 2015 -

On Wednesday morning, a backdrop that was brought to the forefront of discussion was unveiled at East Naples Park, those in the crowd commemorating the host site that will bring the first-ever U.S. Open Pickleball Championships to the community in 2016. Today marked the first visible sign of what will become April 26 to May 1.

Ironically, a racquetball barricade painted the artistry of the event’s first-look logo; one that officially opens the door for prosperity.

“We want pictures being taken here and for people to bring them back to their communities for the years to come,” the event’s President, Terri Graham said.

“We are looking for the flesh and metal to be in Naples. This will allow us to make East Naples Park the Pickleball capital of the world,” Graham proclaimed as she spoke on what the weeklong showcase means to Naples and the surrounding area.

In her presentation to the spectators that listened to the President’s 8:00 a.m. introductory remarks, Graham shed light as to just how popular the brand of Pickleball has become all across the world, saying that there are 2.5 million players this year and that number is projected to grow to 5 million participants by next year.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

U.S. Open Pickleball Championships coming to Naples in 2016

Published September 9, 2015 -

NAPLES, Fla. - The Collier County tourism department believes Naples can someday become the pickleball capital of the world. That dream took steps toward becoming a reality Wednesday as construction began on the East Naples facility that will soon be home to the recreational sport’s national championship.

At East Naples Community Park on Wednesday morning, organizers for the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships unveiled a 10-foot by 15-foot logo for the event. The logo was put on the park’s outdoor racquetball court as construction on a new pickleball facility began later that morning.

“This county is so excited about being the host for the first pickleball championships,” Collier County commissioner Donna Fiala said. “We’re going to see one of the main focuses of this park be pickleball.”

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Carolina Characters: Pickleball knows no age limit

Published September 7, 2015 -

There is a fire burning in this place, but no flickering flames are visible to the naked eye. Still, no one at Crabtree Memorial Gymnasium can deny the passion for pickleball ablaze in Rena Grant. They feel the heat on and off the court.

Grant is a 91-year-old great-grandmother who can battle the best and win. She has pickleball power. Just check out her forehand and backhand. Yep, she’s bad.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Letter: Pickleball success in Aiken

Published September 4, 2015 -

The recently completed Third Annual Palmetto Doubles Invitational Pickleball Tournament held at the H. Odell Weeks Activity Center resulted in the largest number of participants to date and the greatest number of local athletes winning medals. Growing from the first tournament attendance of 110 players to this year’s 202 participants, the event has become a favorite among players. Of the total competing, 155 were from nine different states with the remaining 47 players coming from Aiken. Twenty-one Aiken Pickledillys medaled during the two day event – proving that their skills continue to evolve and improve. There was a crowd of spectators throughout tournament play both days.

The format of the tournament is designed to achieve the highest possible level of evenly matched competition by categorizing players into both skill levels and age levels. The result made for some very exciting, tightly contested matches.

Locals who competed and won in their age group/skill levels include gold medalists Mo Garcia, Mirabel Madera, Lisa Campbell, Sue Talada, Joyce Noland, Nick Savin, Barb Dellamora, and Warren Marinaccio; silver medalists were Jim Toler, Doug Lily, John Cox, Dick Keeler, Ron Dellamora, Keith Shaver, Warren Marinaccio, Sue Talada, Kathy Reiter, Beverly Shaver, Joyce Noland, Helen Burgess and David Snyder; bronze medalists were Alan Pakarik, David Hoel, Bill Reynolds, George Carr, Josh Booth, Pat Perry, Tony Quick, David Snyder, Diane Davies, Helen Burgess, Megan Swanstrom, Kathy Reiter, John Reiter, Maribel Madera, Freddy Dickens, Mirabel Dickhart, and Paul Leibstein. Hearty congratulations to all competitors, but especially to our local players who represented Aiken so well.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pickleball popularity continues to grow in county

Published September 3, 2015 -

Name That Game: It’s like tennis – sort of. And like badminton – sort of. To play, you use a sort of whiffle ball and a sort of ping-pong paddle. And it might or might not have been named after a Cocker Spaniel. But probably not.

Give up? It’s Pickleball, considered one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, with more than 100,000 active players in all 50 states. They’re folks of all levels of athletic ability, most ranging in age from 30 to 80 – and up!

Pickleball, so the story goes, “was invented during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, WA, at the home of Joel Pritchard (Congressman from Washington State). One Saturday afternoon, Pritchard and two buddies, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum, returned from golf and found their families bored.”

When attempting to set up a badminton game, no one could find the shuttlecock or racquets, so they improvised with ping-pong paddles and a whiffle ball and lowered the badminton net. They soon set up rules and built a permanent court in McCallum’s back yard, always keeping in mind the original purpose – to create a game the whole family could enjoy. And the rest, as they say, is history.

The pickleball court area is one-third the size of a tennis court, with play similar to that of tennis, without the intensity or speed. Like tennis, it can be played with two or four players. Its similarity allows existing tennis courts to easily be converted to dual-use with additional striping.

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) promotes the growth and development of the game on national and international levels.

Efforts to bring pickleball to Indian River County began in Sebastian and Vero Beach about a year ago, with the county soon joining the Pickle Bandwagon. Recreation Departments in Vero and Sebastian have converted some of their tennis courts to dual use with the addition of special striping, and the number of players continues to grow.

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