Thursday, November 19, 2015

Inaugural US Open Pickleball Championships Coming to Naples, Florida

Published November 28, 2015 -

And Pickelball is Arriving Everywhere Else, So Event Planners Better Be Ready

Some sports just suddenly seem to harness the enthusiasm of the public. Rock climbing was one. Mud races were another.

Now, the buzz is all about pickleball. And it’s not letting up, so event planners should brace themselves.

The paddle sport with the funny name, the one that is growing at a faster pace than any other, is holding its inaugural national championship. The first-ever US OPEN Pickleball Championships will take place in Naples, Florida, April 26-May 1, 2016. And the only two words for the sports business industry are this: Get ready.

"It was incredible,” said Terri Lewis, whose company, Spirit Promotions, is producing the U.S Open. “Before we even opened our registration portal, we had more than 600 people expressing interest, in one week.” It’s going to behoove sports planners to acquaint themselves with pickleball. Those who aren't familiar with the sport can learn about it easily. It is played like a racquet sport: on a court the same size as a badminton court, with a lower net, special regulation pickleball paddles and a ball similar to a whiffle ball. It is played in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. A winning score is 11 and a player needs to win by at least two points.

The sport is way easier to learn than it sounds, and way more fun to play than most first-timers can imagine. And for both those reasons, it’s growing explosively.

Pickleball is a sport filled with what might jokingly be called evangelists. Graham says the sport’s accessibility is part of its charm, and its main selling point.

"You can walk up to any place in the country where pickleball is being played. You can show up without a paddle, without a ball, without any equipment and I guarantee you someone is going to come over and hand you a paddle and say, ‘Here, come on and try this.’ And you’ll get hooked.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Test Your Pickleball Knowledge

The USAPA has designed a fun quiz to test the rules knowledge of recreational players.  Although the rules are the same for recreational and tournament play, it's up to the players to make the call when there is no referee to enforce the rules.

CLICK HERE to give the quiz a try.  A reference to the related section of the IFP/USAPA Rules is included at the end of each question.  But don’t spoil your fun, complete the quiz and see which questions you miss before referring back to the rulebook.  Good luck!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Palm Beach Gardens unveils new pickleball courts at park

Published November 12, 2015 -

What do ping pong, tennis and badminton have in common?

Pickleball. It’s a combination of all three sports. The hybrid is gaining traction all across South Florida. It’s also a hit in Palm Beach Gardens, where recreation officials decided to re-purpose an old, underutilized roller hockey rink into a pickleball complex.

The city is hosting a ribbon-cutting and grand opening noon Saturday, Nov. 14, for the new six-court pickleball complex at Plant Drive Park, 10113 Plant Dr. There will be pickleball tutorials and pickles while supplies last.

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Get hooked on pickleball

Published October 28, 2015 -

Pickleball started at Veterans Community Park in North Naples one year ago with 15 players. Now there are more than 300 registered to play. On most mornings, the eight courts set up on tennis courts are not enough, so players sign in and wait their turn. This week construction is expected to begin on eight permanent pickleball courts at Veterans Park and are expected to be completed in January.

In East Naples the 25 courts at the community park are so overcrowded with the more than 400 players that plans are underway for that park to have 48 courts.  Organizers expect the number of players to continue to grow rapidly.

“Once people try it, they are hooked instantly,” said Dominic Catalano, program director for Collier County Parks and Recreation.  “It’s a matter of getting people on the court. Once they are on the court they are hooked. I imagine the numbers will go up this year.”

CLICK HERE to read more.