Why is pickleball so addictive?

In just about every news article and video, people say pickleball is so addictive!  We asked folks what they mean when they say that pickleball is addictive.  Here is what we found out:

Janice Hobson wrote: It’s great exercise and the people you meet are instant friends.

Jeremy Sabin

Jeremy Sabin

Jeremy Sabin answered: People who like to be competitive love the game. Everyone can pick it up easily and be competitive. It takes more than brute strength. It takes finesse! Kids can learn quickly and be competitive – not like other sports.

Anonymous quipped: “If my wife would allow me to play 8 hours a day, I’d play 8 hours a day.

Paul May wrote: “I believe the game is so addictive because you seldom get the same shot twice. Always a different height, speed and angle. It requires practice which yields exercise and all while you are having fun. Enjoyable social heckling, all in good fun, adds to the allure of the game.”

Gigi LeMaster writes: “It’s a fun, social game. Easy to learn, you get better at it fast. You can play it anytime, anywhere. You can play for fun or competitively. It’s inexpensive.”

I asked my co-workers and got these replies:

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John and Sheila Cowley

John wrote: “I love it because I can play with so many different people. My wife is not a sports nut, but she enjoys the game. My daughter is 13 and my son is 23 and all of us can play together. And then when I get playing Jared or David, I can get more competitive.”

 

 

 

Judy replied: “For me, the sound of the ball hitting the paddle and the quick rallies at the net are the most addictive parts of the game.

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Pickleball Central Team

As for me, it gives me a chance to be competitive without much experience coming into the game.  It also provides me with plenty of opportunity to laugh at myself, which I dearly need to do on a daily basis!

So, what is your response to why pickleball is so addictive?  We’d love to hear from you!

Mt Charleston Pickleball Club – Pass the Teapot!

The Mt. Charleston Pickleball Club in Nevada appears to be a really fun bunch.  They posted a picture on Facebook recently that caught lots of attention:

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One viewer commented “They need to Stay out of the Kitchen”!  Hahaha!

They are mostly police volunteers who love getting together and having fun every week.  As I looked at all the photos of the happy bunch of pickleball club members, I saw photos of folks posing with a lovely teapot.  I had to ask, what’s with the teapot?

Lauren Olson, one of the members responded: “As it happens it was quite by accident. My husband, Chris, was chasing after a pickleball which went into the bushes and came back with the teapot.”

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Chris and newcomer Liz won the pot in September 2014!

 

“Brenda Talley, one of our players, said that we should make that our trophy. She took it home, cleaned and polished it and the next time we played I suggested that everyone keep track of how many games they win and the top two people will win the “pickleball pot”. They then get their picture taken with the pickleball pot each week. It’s become a coveted award.”

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“Another one of our player’s children decided since it was a “pot” it needed money inside of it and now it has gold plastic coins inside. It has been fun.”

Yes I can see that this club knows how to have fun.  Thanks for sharing your story with our readers!

 

 

Golf Pro turns Pickleball Pro – Denise Boutin, USAPA Gold Medalist

In the Pickleball Central Winner’s Circle, Anna interviewed a former Golf Pro, Denise Boutin.  Of course, The Villages had something to do with her “conversion” to pickleball.  Enjoy!

Hi, my name is Denise Boutin and I live in the Villages, Florida. And I’ve been playing pickleball for six or seven years, but I moved to the Villages because I am a retired golf professional and I moved there to play golf. And once I started playing pickleball, I don’t play a lot of golf, but I started playing and went back and forth to New York to work and then I decided I wanted to play full time. So in 2010, I quit, I stopped working and then I’ve been playing pickleball consistently ever since then. So really more full time for four years.

And so, all that practicing and all that hard work, how did it pay off for you today?

Today, my partner, Alison Fulton, who would play in 55+, because I am actually 60, and we took gold. And we had a great match against the people who took silver and one of the other people from that match is from the Villages as well, so we play against each other all the time. So we, uhm, we have a lot of talent where we are because we have 150 designated pickleball courts in (an) over 55 community. And all of us are pretty much over 55.

Right. So what is it about pickleball that is different? You said you went to the Villages to play golf. You ended up, what?…

Well, pickleball was a sport that I didn’t have, my learning curve was much steeper than my golf learning curve and I really liked it and I used to play tennis and I couldn’t because I injured my shoulder and then since the pickleball paddle is shorter and the ball was a little slower and the court is smaller, I could start playing it and it gives me great exercise and it’s fun. So, and it’s very social. So and you can test your patience, your persistence, your tenacity and your ability to focus.

Thank you so much.
Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you.

Rocky Clark and Pickleball Growing Off the Charts in New England

It is amazing how fast pickleball is growing in popularity across the country and the globe.  Hear Rocky’s report from the 2014 USAPA Nationals to our own Anna Copley, as he lets us know how pickleball is growing off the charts in New England!

Rocky:  I’m Rocky Clark from Portland, Maine. I’m here, out here in Arizona, for the Nationals.  I am the Regional Director for the Atlantic Region, which goes from the Canadian Maritimes down to Virginia.  My job is to work with the District Ambassadors and local ambassadors in our area to promote pickleball.

We have a great group of people working for us, and our growth rate in New England is really fantastic right now. Maine has gone from, oh, 10 USAPA members to 180 in two years. And New England itself, has gone off the charts, so we are very, very excited.

Anna:  Great, well thank you so much for talking with us.

Rocky:  Alright, thanks.

 It is not surprising to hear of pickleball’s phenomenal growth in popularity, but it isn’t often we hear first-hand from folks in New England.  Thanks again, Rocky, for your time.

Alex Hamner and Jennifer Lucore – Doubles Champions

We love these two because they are so gracious, and because they are so funny!  Enjoy their conversation with Anna at Nationals last year.

Anna: We’re here at the National Pickleball Tournament and I’ve got Alex Hammer.

Alex: Hamner.

Anna: Hamner, sorry. Hamner here.

Alex: You’re the first one to do that. No, I’m kidding. (Laughs) He announced my name wrong today.

Anna: So Alex, how’s today going for you?

Alex: Today has been great so far. I just got off the medal stand, got a gold in the 35+ Women’s Doubles. So it was a ton of fun and we did good today. We didn’t ever drop into the loser’s bracket, so it made it a little easier on ourselves, I guess.

Anna: Congratulations.

Alex: You know, pickleball is so fun. It was a great day and a lot of fun.

Anna: How is it that you got involved in pickleball?

Alex: I started playing pickleball because Jennifer Lucore, my partner, she played because her parents played, Bob and Bev Youngren. And she finally said come on let’s get out there and play. So we played a little bit and then she dragged me out to Nationals a few years ago and we’ve been playing ever since.

Anna: Well, great! And so, is there a paddle, I know you probably play with a lot of different paddles, is there one that you played with, you know, is there a favorite paddle that you have or what did you play with today?

Alex: I mixed around a little bit with paddles the last couple of years. Right now, I am playing with the Legacy, which is from Pickleball Inc.

Anna: Do you have it? Is that the one…?

Alex: I do have one right here.

Anna: Oh.

Alex: This is the one I played with today. Did good with it today. It’s known as a power paddle.

Anna: Uh-huh.

Alex: But I find I have good control as well, so I like it for both. I can, I can control my dinks and I can still hit my balls hard. Works for me.
Jennifer: And she is so good on that Legacy. 
(Laughs)

Anna: And so we have Jennifer Lucore.

Jennifer: Yes, I’m attached to the hip. We had so much fun today and we have five more days of fun at Nationals.

Anna: Congratulations on your win today.

Jennifer: Yes.

Anna: It’s really great.

Jennifer: It was good. Another tough day of pickleball.
Yeah, the wind came up and that made it a little tricky some times.

Anna: Right.

Alex: So the morning was great and it got a little more difficult between the players and the wind as the day went on.
Jennifer: As each side, yeah. So, love pickleball. Rah- rah.

Anna: So, what changes have you guys seen in the sport since you’ve been playing, coming to Nationals?

Jennifer: More people, which is beautiful.
Alex: More people and … 
Jennifer: More friends to meet.
(Laughs)
Alex: Yeah, I don’t know. More, I think at least in the women’s game, a little more diversity, as far as, hitting the ball harder more often. But, it’s, you know, there’s a lot of dinks going on too. So I think, maybe earlier on it was a lot more dinks and we didn’t know too much better so we came out and we were hitting hard and I don’t know, people started hitting hard as well and now we find ourselves dinking.
Jennifer: There you go.
Alex: A lot more.
Jennifer: So, it’s fun. Thank you.

Anna: Thank you guys so much.

Meet the Pros – Stephanie Lane

Stephanie Lane

Stephanie has been seen often in the “Winner’s Circle” of the USAPA Nationals.  She is a PE teacher turned Pickleball Pro.  Stephanie is an excellent example of someone who has a lifelong commitment to physical fitness.  Enjoy her pickleball story!

Can you list for us some of your accomplishments?

2014 Nationals: Silver Medal in 35+ Mixed Doubles with Steve Wong
                            Bronze Medal in 35+ Women’s Singles
2013 Nationals: Bronze in open Women’s Singles
                            Bronze Medal in 35+ Women’s Singles
2012 Nationals: Gold Medal in 35+ Women’s Singles
                            Bronze Medal in 35+ Women’s Doubles with Nicole Hobson

Phoenix PRo

Phoenix Pro Pickleball Paddle

What paddle do you play with and why?

I choose Paddletek paddles, especially the Phoenix Pro. From the first time I demo-ed this paddle, I felt I had the power AND touch I needed to play my best!

What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I played small college tennis in Nashville.  We did not have access to indoor tennis courts when it rained, so our coach kept a racquet or paddle in our hands in the gym. One of the sports she taught us was pickleball. When I decided to become a PE Teacher, this same coach, Trish Hodgson, explained the sport in more depth so that I could teach children how to play it. I included it in my curriculum for all 8 years I taught middle and high school PE, and students from all backgrounds LOVED it. I just didn’t realize that adults played pickleball too. Sadly, Trish, who gets the credit for my love of teaching & pickleball, died of ovarian cancer before knowing that I put down mytennis racquet to play on the “pickleball tournament circuit” all around the USA.

Stephanie with paddle

Bart Ford, Stephanie and Kyle Yates

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I think I might be a tad better player indoors but I love the outdoors the most!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

The singles game comes more easily to me but I have grown to love mixed doubles the most. I have my tennis doubles partner Nicole Hobson to thank for teaching me the strategies & teamwork of doubles. She patiently & persistently took me step by step & converted me into a decent doubles partner,  from my mindset of doubles being two singles games going on at the same time!

What are your favorite places to play? Why?

I love playing in St. George, Utah. The Little Valley courts are beautiful and have a very special personalized brick placed there, in memory of my brother, Stephen Shouse. Some thoughtful friends bought the brick & presented it to me. The sibling rivalry I had with my brother is the reason I love tough competition so much. I still draw from that memory of competitive times with my brother in playing the game of pickleball.

What’s your “secret sauce”? Any tips for players?

Have confidence & believe in yourself!  Also, I think being cohesive with your partner is very important. Have a game plan, but be ready to change it if things aren’t working. Have fun & treat others with respect whether you win or lose.

What is your day job?

I’ve taught physical education for over 20 years. I enjoy teaching children & being a part of their growth, especially when the light bulb goes off and things begin to “click”. Finding an enjoyable physical activity while they are children plays an important role for them in being active as an adult.

Do you mind sharing about your personal life?

I have been married for over 20 years to Andy Lane. We have one daughter, LeEllen, who is about to begin her teenage years. She is playing pickleball in more and more tournaments.

stephanie and daughter 1

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make the time to play?

Pickleball is my daily dose of “feel-good” happiness! In the winter months when we play indoors, we are lucky if we get to play 4 times per week. However, in the spring, summer & fall, some of us are happiest when we get to play 6-7 times per week.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I like a thorough warm-up. I play my best when I can hit several of the same shots that I plan to use in the match. Then it’s the icing on the cake if I can play a few live points, which tells me if I need to make any adjustments. I have been surprised that some top players do not want to know who they are playing until they walk onto the court; but I like to know who my opponents are ahead of time, which is helpful in establishing a game plan.

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Scott Clayson and Stephanie Lane

Do you have any Pickleball goals that you would like to share?

With pickleball being a lifetime sport, I hope to do just that….to play pickleball for the rest of my life!

 

Thank you, Stephanie, for your dedication to life long fitness and for your love of the game!

Sun City West…and the Nationals Referee Experience

 You are going to love this couple…they really do embody the “fun” part of pickleball!  Enjoy!

Anna: I guess you could introduce yourself:

Bill: I’m Bill, this is Jane, my wife.

Anna: And.. tell us about your club…

Jane: You tell ‘em…
Bill: Say that again…

Anna: Tell us about your club, your pickleball club.

Bill: Oh well…we’re in the Sun City West Pickleball Club. About 10 years ago it had 50 members, and now it has somewhere between 900 and a thousand. It’s really cool. Good club…good people.

Anna: Why did it… what happened… why did it grow?

Jane: Oh people started to get to know about it, it’s so fun, it changes your life It’s like… we do it ‘cuz we can. And here we are old people, and, it’s just cool. (Laughter)

Anna: And tell me, how does it change your life?

Bill: When we started to play, first of all it’s like being a little kid again at recess. We were just hittin’ the paddle, and we’re old people…we, we didn’t lose our reflexes…
Jane: We used to sit on the couch and do nothing..(laughter)
Bill: We want to be active, and I was walking down this alley-way, just between these pickleball courts and I hear laughter. All the courts were full, and I hear laughter…here…and there…it was a fun crowd…and it was like, ok, this works, this is a keeper! If you’re going to do something, and you don’t like exercising, pickleball is a way to play. The heck with all that exercising stuff. So it’s really fun, yeah!

Anna: And you’re here today at the National Tournament as a referee…

Bill: Yes… yeah.

Anna: And tell me about that…

Bill: I GET TO REFEREE AT THE NATIONALS…COOL…who gets to do that? (laughter) I ref’d a medal match last night, whoa! See, I’ve been ref’in’ for about 4 years, and we have tournaments at…the Sun City West Pickleball Club and so they train referees to run that, to help with the tournament. So that’s where I was trained and I got to do it.

Anna: Do you feel any kind of…especially at that level…the Nationals Gold level, you know, a match like that, do you feel a lot of pressure, or stress from the calls that you make? Have you ever had a tough call?

Bill: No, I’ve ref’d long enough [to know] that you enlist the players to help. So, if you want to go in and be the ref and domineer, uh, Its’ not the idea. The idea is to have a fair game. It’s about the players, it’s not about the ref, and once they get that, then they’re on board and they really want the same thing. So it’s again, a win-win deal.

Anna: Well, thank you so much. We really appreciate your taking the time to talk with us.