Local Pickleball Guide – Columbus, Ohio

It’s inarguable that pickleball exists throughout the great state of Ohio. From hundreds of courts, to top-tier players, to unending energy, Ohio seems like the perfect place for an addiction for pickleball to grow. This guide is an Ohio resident’s all-inclusive look at pickleball in their state.

Toledo PBCPickleball Courts in Toledo, OH

While there aren’t any USAPA Ambassadors who live in Columbus directly, there are several who are relatively close. Feel free to contact any of these individuals who are always happy to help promote the sport.

  • Thomas Paschal   614-851-8016   (Galloway, Ohio)
  • William Schneider   330-958-5709   (Alliance, Ohio)
  • Bob Schrag   440-666-8051   (North Ridgeville, Ohio)

Ohio residents will rest easy knowing that there are three 5.0 ranked players by the USAPA in their state. Both of these players have one at least one gold medal in a USAPA sanctioned tournament.

  • Laura Fenton Kovanda   (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Marsha Koch   (Toledo, Ohio)
  • Thomas Wells   (Oregon, Ohio)

Middletown Pickleball5th Annual Middletown Senior Pickleball Tournament

 There are also several pickleball clubs who welcome new members with open arms:

Whether you want to just drop in and play, or find your new favorite court, the USAPA has a substantial list of places to play. Just click on “OH” and scroll until you find your nearest city! Columbus has several places within city limits:

  • Beechwold Christian Church
  • Carriage Place Community Center
  • Whetstone Community Center
  • Worthington Hills Country Club

Worthington Hills PickleballWorthington Hills Country Club

If your like for pickleball turns into a full-blown addiction, Flex Court Athletics and SportMaster Sport Surfaces would be more than happy to help create your own personal pickleball court. Both these companies do work in the state of Ohio.

For more information on pickleball in the state of Ohio, check out the following articles and videos:

Pickleball of Ohio

Arnold Classic Pickleball Tournament 2015 in Columbus

Keep up the great work, Ohio!

Our “ALL HEART” Award goes to Chuck and Linda Borozinski and the Southern Arizona Pickleball Association

I love pickleball

The PickleballCentral “All Heart” Award goes to Chuck and Linda Borozinski and the members of the Southern Arizona Pickleball Association (SAPA)! Chuck and Linda have worked with the Town of Sahuarita Parks & Rec department and have modified 2 tennis courts into 5 Pickleball courts.  4 of the courts rely on Portable nets that SAPA provides.

Southern Arizona Pickleball Association

Since June of 2014, SAPA has offered free pickleball clinics every 2 weeks in the town of Sahuarita, AZ.  They have had almost 300 people go through their clinics so far.  The clinics are designed to take on the beginner and spend enough time with them so they will enjoy the game, and not just thrust them into games and expect them to learn everything.  During the 2 hour clinics, the pickleball newbie gets to work on skills and not just play games. Their clinics attract players from many different HOA’s in the area because they have a schedule published on line of when they’re going to happen.

SAPA held their first Tournament on June 19, 2015, called the “But it’s a Dry Heat” Tournament.  It was a huge success.

But Its A Dry Heat 1st Annual Pickleball TournamentSouthern Arizona Pickleball Association

Southern Arizona Pickleball AssociationSouthern Arizona Pickleball Association


In this tournament, they focused on doing several things that have not been done before in Sahuarita.  It was:

  • The first tournament in the Town of Sahuarita on public courts,
  • A novice/beginners ONLY tournament. No one above a rated 2.5 skill level was allowed.
  • Open to all ages. The Town of Sahuarita is a family oriented community.

This tournament proved that there are plenty of novice/beginner players who would like to play in a tournament, who live in Arizona all year and would like something to happen when the snowbirds aren’t around.

Southern Arizona Pickleball Association

SAPA members are volunteering to  teach in a summer Open Recreation program for kids,
every Wednesday from 1PM to 3PM.

Members of SAPA have volunteered to run it for 4 consecutive Wednesday’s.
At times there have been 25 kids between the ages of 8 and 13 on the gym floor learning the game.


Our PickleballCentral “Paddle” Applause goes out to you folks who have been so generous with your time and resources!  PICKLE ON!


Nebraska Pickleball Meeting

NebraskaPickleball Annual Meeting 2015

Pickleball has been going strong in Nebraska since 2011, according to the PICKLEBALL NEBRASKA blog.  They have a hugely popular “annual meeting” with food, fun, and of course, pickleball.  It is definitely a family affair.

USAPA Ambassadors

If you need help getting a pickleball group started in your neighborhood, just get in touch with one of the following folks:

Omaha — Tim Dall  402-215-4450  Omaha NE
Omaha — Bill Holt  402-699-2869  Omaha NE

Court Construction Companies

If you need help getting a pickleball group started in Nebraska, just get in touch with the folks at:

Sport Construction Midwest, http://sportconstruction.com/gamecourts.htm

Local Pickleball Clubs

Prairie Lane, Nebraska Pickleball Court

It was a beautiful day at Prairie Lane Park

PB Nebraska Club

Places we play:

Pickleball Nebraska
Meadow Lane Park, Elite Sports in Omaha

UPCO Parka and St. Paul Methodist in Lincoln

Local Pickleball Tournaments

If you are interested in some friendly competition, check out the following tournament options:

State Games of America, Lincoln/Omaha
Cornhusker State Games
Pikes Peak or Bust Pickleball Tournament

Recent Articles featuring Pickleball in Nebraska

Pickleball Omaha on Facebook

5.0 Ranked Players in Area

Andy Gensch, Overland Park, Kansas

Links to YouTube Videos


Nebraska Pickleball at Nebraska Elite Sports

PICKLEBALL WISDOM: Backhand or Switch Hands?

Check out the above video where Joe Valenti switches hands to execute a beautiful around-the-post shot. A 4.0 player asked me recently whether she should use her backhand or left hand (right hand for southpaws). My 85 year old father — like many senior players — routinely uses his left hand for one simple reason: more reach. While reach is a great reason, there are other advantages to switching hands. Many 5.0 players switch hands, including Wes Gabrielsen and Enrique Ruiz, 2014 Men’s Open National champions and arguably the top two pickleball players in the world. Here are a few advantages:

  1. For many players — especially those without tennis or other racket sport backgrounds — hitting with the weak hand is more natural than using the backhand.  My wife is an example.  Her left hand stroke is beautiful and much more fluid than her backhand.
  2. Backhand strokes in a kitchen drop shot exchange often require turning your body and head away from the net such that your opponent can move without being seen. As you turn your head to hit the ball, a wily opponent can jump to the out-of-bounds area at the net and smash your return ball.  Hitting with your weak hand keeps your body more square to the net and your opponents in view.
  3. We can all reach further and faster with our forehands. For players who lack mobility, the additional reach enabled by switching hands is the only way to get the paddle on the ball.
  4. Switching hands to hit forehands on both sides confuses your opponents who are trying to hit to your weak side.

But are there disadvantages? Yep. Here are a few.

  1. Some of us can’t manage a fork with our weak hands and wouldn’t even consider a task requiring more dexterity. Don’t worry, most pickleball players keep the paddle in one hand.
  2. You might drop your paddle while switching hands. That switching hands thing looks a bit foolish with your paddle laying on the ground.
  3. Switching hands is difficult when engaged in a fast kitchen volley exchange. Consider only switching hands for balls that bounce but leave the paddle in your strong hand for backhand volleys. Most of us are less dexterous and instinctive with our weak hand making it tough in fast exchanges.

So what did I tell the 4.0 player?  If you love your backhand, keep it! If you lack mobility, find your backhand a bit awkward, or make more errors with your backhand than with your forehand, try switching. It may feel strange at first, but you may be amazed at how natural it feels given a few hours (and a few games) of play. If it sticks, you will not only be in great company, you will be grateful someday when your mobility declines!

So what comments do others have about switching hands in pickleball?

Glen Peterson

Local Pickleball Guide – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pickleball is huge in Minnesota. Whether it’s because of the large number of snowbirds who travel south for the winter and bring pickleball back up north, the family-oriented, social nature of the residents or some other factor, we’ve noticed that pickleball is just exploding! From shipping just 63 orders to Minnesota in 2010 to 604 orders last year, it’s tough to argue with the numbers.

pb mn

There are three USAPA Ambassadors registered within (or just about) Minneapolis city limits. These folk will be happy to help promote the sport in any way.

  • Dennis ‘The Menace’ Gallaher   (952) 212-7516   Eden Prairie, MN
  • Jeff ‘The Pilot’ Conradi   (612) 860-3839   Eden Prairie, MN
  • Jerry Maas   (952) 918-0500   Eden Prairie, MN
  • Jim Miller   (952) 447-4490   Prior Lake, MN
  • John Barber   (952) 451-0976   Bloomington, MN

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that there are several pickleball groups that meet up within an hour’s drive or so from Minneapolis.

owatonnaOwatonna Pickleball

You can also check out the USAPA Regional Website for the Great Lakes Area for any current news or updates.

We know how unbelievably easy it is to get addicted to pickleball! When you can no longer go even a couple of hours between playing, it’s time to create your own, personal court. Either of these court construction companies will be happy to help!

mankato area pbThe Mankato area pickleball players look like a blast!

Support your state by cheering on any of these 5.0 ranked players with Minnesota as their home state:

  • Ben Alm (St. Cloud, MN)
  • Jackie Faegre (Eden Prairie, MN)
  • Del Kauss (St. Paul, MN)
  • Rachael Kroog (Bloomington, MN)

For even more localized information about pickleball, check out these following links and videos!

Pickleball at the Apple Valley Community Center

Minnesota Senior Games: Pickleball

Pickleball at Rochester Senior Center

Pickleball picking up new fans
Click here!

Pickleball coverage via Twin Cities Live
Click here!

Keep it up, Minneapolis!

THEIR GOAL: PLAY PICKLEBALL IN ALL 50 STATES, Meet Gail Brown and Diane Reynolds

Diane Reynolds placing 1st at women's pickleball doubles

Diane Reynolds jump-hitting, placing 1st in 65+ Womens Doubles at Tampa Bay Games 2013

I heard about Gail and Diane from Maureen Groth in Gackle, North Dakota.  She let me know they stopped by to play pickleball on their “50-State Pickleball Tour”.  When I searched for Diane on facebook, I saw many of their stops had already been documented:

19 – Fallon,  Nevada

Gail and Diane in Fallon, Nevada

Gail and Diane in Fallon, Nevada

Gail Brown and Diane Reynolds stopped by Fallon, NV to play some HOT pickleball this afternoon on their way across the country and back. They are from The Villages, FL and Diane is tracking each state she has played in. Today, she got to mark off Nevada and is already up to 19 states!
Later this month, Gail and Diane will be playing in Bend, OR at the Oregon Senior Games.

21 – Oregon Senior Games, Bend, Oregon

See KTVZ.com video by clicking on the link below:

Pickeball pair hits Bend

Here are Gail Brown and Diane Reynolds up to 21 states! “Of course, always hoping to win,” Reynolds said. “Oh yeah, we came here to win, no kidding. I like the idea that at my age, I can still play and be competitive,” Brown said. “It just is the light of my life at this age,” Reynolds said. “It’s so much fun, there’s so many people, I’ve traveled all over the country, to Canada and Mexico. It’s just been a fantastic game.”


41 “Playing Pickleball in all 50 States— Gackle, ND is #41!!!!!!!”

Last summer when the pickleball courts were completed Maureen Groth put Gackle, ND on the USAPA website as one of the 5 places to play pickleball in North Dakota. At the end of June she was contacted by 2 ladies from Florida that are traveling the country to play pickleball in all 50 states.  They began this summer with 33 states completed. They left Florida the first part of June and traveled towards Wisconsin, then headed up and over to 4 Canadian provinces,  then down to Washington State! They are on their way to the National Senior Games in Minneapolis, MN on July 10th where there will be over 10,000 Senior Athletes competing in 26 sports. Their stop in Gackle on July 1st made it their 41st State!! Both these ladies have been playing for quite a few years. One of them is 69 and the other is 77. Both are retired Physical Education Teachers. Ron and Maureen had some very fun competitive games with them. These ladies were very impressed with our “small town courts”!! They have met many people throughout their travels and truly believe that -“-Pickleball people are the greatest people in the world!!”




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Gail and Diane in Iowa

Facebook post: “Two visiting players on a mission to play pickleball in all 50 states played at the Kiwanis Park Pickleball Courts on Wednesday July 15, 2015. Gail Brown and Diane Reynolds from The Villages, Florida, hit with local club members during drop-in play. They said playing in Iowa makes 43 states for them. Standing with the ladies is Dennis Johnson from Moline, Illinois.”

If any of our readers have photos from their other State visits, email them to me at Eliza@pickleballcentral.com and I’ll add them to this “documentary”.  Thanks for reading!

Local Pickleball Guide – Denver, Colorado

Colorado is a beautiful state: the mountains, the trails, the sun, the sporty nature of those individuals who live there… the pickleball! Who wouldn’t want to play your favorite sport in the fresh air with the majestic Rocky Mountains in the background?

Pickleball Ken gatheringvia CBS4

The local USAPA Ambassadors are always ready and willing to support the growth of pickleball. Try contacting any of these friendly folk if you have any pickleball questions, comments or ideas!

  • Ken Marquardt    303-422-1255    Arvada, Colorado
  • Darryl May    719-964-3234    Denver, Colorado
  • Kit May    719-964-9700    Denver, Colorado
  • Marc Rinehart    720-987-8929    Morrison, Colorado

If you want to build your own personal pickleball paradise, KCR Enterprises LLC and Rhino Sports both offer court construction in the greater-Denver area.

Pickleball Ken gathering

There are lots of pickleball players in Colorado. According to the USAPA, there’s an estimated 3865 pickleball players! You can try meeting up with a couple of pickleball-playing groups to build friendships and develop your awesome pickleball skills.

Pickleball Ken gatheringWhat a fun group of people… a PickleballKen gathering celebrating the opening of 8 new courts (via Facebook)

It’s always fun to read up on pickleball in your area, so check out these videos highlighting the explosion of pickleball in Denver:

If you’d rather watch than read, here’s a handful of videos as well:


Keep it up, Denver!