Chrome N-R-G Brings Bigger Sweet Spot to Teardrop Paddles

Elongated paddles have brought more versatility to pickleball by allowing players to utilize impressive reach. This makes stretching for ground strokes or cross-court volleys less of a struggle, particularly when playing singles.

The only difficulty players may face with this style is accuracy due to a slim design and sweet spot typically residing in the upper-third of the paddle face.

Chrome N-R-G, $88.99

A Broader Sweet Spot

ProLite has come to the rescue and created a paddle that reduces these issues with its Chrome N-R-G. The head-weighted and tapered design of the N-R-G stretches out the length of the sweet spot while simultaneously making it easier to return pickleballs.

While its forgiving shape eases beginners toward familiarity, the Chrome also empowers higher level players to take advantage of its reactivity and power. By making maximum use of the allowable USAPA dimensions, players enjoy exceptional placement and better control over their swings.

Power in Every Hit

ProLite’s QuadCore™ polymer honeycomb core also helps to reduce vibration while delivering noticeable power. Players can use less energy putting force behind their hits and instead focus on returning accurate shots with just the right amount of pop.

ProLite Chrome Sweet Spot

ProLite believes that no other teardrop paddle in the industry has enhanced the sweet spot to such a generous size until now. Try it out and you’re sure to feel the difference for yourself!

Game-Changing Control

The N-R-G’s face is gel-coated and made with triple-layer fiberglass which has a gentle touch during play. Despite its strength, this surface is also ideal for rallies at the net while you’re focused on the soft game. Pickleballs will linger against the face just a bit longer so you can make your shot precisely when you’re ready.

As with all ProLite paddles, the N-R-G is manufactured within the USA and is acceptable for tournament use. It has a reliable medium weight (around 7.8 oz on average) that will prevent wrist strain while offering players a sturdy feel.

Check out the Chrome N-R-G on PickleballCentral and remember that you can always try any of our paddles risk-free for 30-days, or you can drop by Pickleball Station in Kent, WA if you’d like to give it a go on our courts.

Meet The Pros – Scott Burr

Meet The Pros – Scott Burr

USAPA Senior Men’s Open - BRONZE- Del Kauss-Steve Cole. SILVER- Tony Tallengar-Mike Gates GOLD Scott Burr Steve Kennedy

2017 USAPA Senior Men’s Open – BRONZE- Del Kauss-Steve Cole. SILVER- Tony Tollenaar-Mike Gates GOLD Scott Burr-Steve Kennedy

We like to hear about pickleball success stories – Scott Burr proves himself to be a master on the court, and he gives back to the community as well. I call that a success story! Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2017 USAPA Nationals – Sr. Open Men’s Doubles with Steve Kennedy – Gold
50+ Men’s Age/Skill Doubles with Jay Rippel – Gold
50+ Men’s Age/Skill Singles – Gold
2017 SoCal Classic – Sr. Open Men’s Doubles with Roberto Donati – Gold
2015 SoCal Classic – Men’s Open Doubles with Marcin Rozpdski – Gold

I also have multiple silvers and bronzes from other Nationals and TOCs.

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play doubles with the Engage Encore Pro because it has great feel for dinking and plenty of pop for power. I play singles with the Engage Blade because it has the most power of any paddle I’ve tried.

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

I was working as the Director of Golf at Monterey CC in Palm Desert when USAPA Ambassador Chris Thomas came to our tennis facility to give a demonstration to our members. I was hooked after 5 minutes! It brought me back to my childhood playing paddle tennis at the beach all day.

What’s your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

Definitely outdoors. For 8 months of the year we have the best weather in the world in La Quinta, so how couldn’t I prefer outdoors! We do have an indoor facility here in the desert that we use a little during our brutal summers, but I’d still rather play early morning outdoors.

Morgan Evans, Marcin Rozpedski, Aspen Kern, and Scott Burr, with the future of Pickleball

Morgan Evans, Marcin Rozpedski, Aspen Kern, and Scott Burr, with the future of Pickleball Gerald Ford Elementary in Indian Wells

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I love both but would give the edge to doubles. The social aspect, trash talking and camaraderie are what make it so great. Singles is great for personal satisfaction and fitness but takes a toll on my bones.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

For tournament play, Nationals hands down. The atmosphere, prestige and aura are unequaled. For rec play, I am very fortunate to have great playing partners at various clubs in the desert that have beautiful pickleball facilities.

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

I found the magic of drilling this year. I spent a lot of time drilling with my mixed partner, Kim Jagd, and Hall of Fame volleyball coach Andy Banachowski. They designed a number of drills that mimic game situations for realistic and repetitive practice. I also play most of my rec games with Marcin and Morgan. You know you’re getting good practice if your rec partners are known by their first names only!

What’s your day job?

My wife, Andrea, and I own a restaurant in Indio called Your Pie. It’s a pizza restaurant and we get great support from the pickleball community. I was a golf pro for 25 years before deciding to go into business.

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

Once or twice a week. If I’m getting ready for a tournament, I’ll try to get out 3-4 times a week. It’s tough to find the time while trying to run a restaurant and raise two girls, but I have family that really supports my mid-life crisis hobby!

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Just having the habit of picking good partners! And eating popcorn during tournament day!

Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

After last year, I set the goal of winning gold at Nationals this year. Fortunately, I was able to achieve that goal and will now set new ones for next year.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

I truly feel so fortunate to be able to play this game at the time when the sport is exploding. It’s so fun to compete with the great players/people that we do and to be part of the exponential growth that we are experiencing. I’m a kid all over again!

A Complete Breakdown of IFP Ratings

Ratings are a staple in sports because they allow for players of similar ability to be paired up against one another. That makes for a more competitive game and pushes the inner athlete in all of us to be our very best.

Pickleball ratings are currently somewhat subjective. They’re not intended to put anyone in a box, hurt their feelings or limit potential. If anything, ratings should serve as benchmarks to reach when you’re attempting to crush your pickleball goals.

International Federation of Pickleball

Ratings and Rated Events

The primary reason ratings are important is because they serve as the basis for how most tournaments are seeded. These sorts of tournaments are called rated events.

Events at bigger pickleball tournaments are regulated by rating. When you sign up for an event, your rating will determine the brackets of players you play against such as in “Men’s 3.0 Doubles” or “Women’s 4.5 Singles.” These numbers reference the player rating of those competing.

The instances where a rating is necessary are outlined on the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) website. As they explain:

  1. IFP ratings are not currently required to enter USAPA or PCO sanctioned tournaments.
  2. IFP rated players are required to enter events that are rated no lower than their current rating, although they may enter higher-rated events if they choose.
  3. Tournament directors have the final decision on what rating level unrated players will play.
  4. Rated players must be allowed to play at their rating level although they may always choose to play in a higher rating group. Exceptions may occur when rated events have to be combined because of lack of entries.

How to Get an IFP Rating

There are three ways to obtain a rating. You can call it the SAT Method:

S elf – A non-rated player rates themselves

A ppealed – A player disagrees with their rating and appeals

T ournament – A player’s rating is calculated by tournament wins and losses

Starting off with the S, this is for first-time tournament entrants. If you have never been rated before, you can give yourself your inaugural rating. The only caveat is that the Tournament Director must approve of the rating you give yourself. Based on the results of the tournament, if you do not exhibit the potential of the rating you saddled yourself with, a new rating will be appointed to reflect the proper skill level.

Next up, we will skip to the T. Tournament performances affect ratings. However, this is yet another subjective practice. Ratings following tournaments are determined by:

  • Outcome of the Current Tournament
  • Other Tournament Performances
  • Recommendations by Tournament Directors
  • Other Players’ Trusted Opinion

If you have registered for a tournament in the past, you can find out your rating by checking out the USAPA Ratings Page.

If you do not agree with the rating you are classified by, then the A process kicks in. You have the right to appeal and state your case to the IFP.

Pickleball rating

Credit: uncoolbob

Appeals can be done to move yourself up and down the ladder. Each situation is unique but appeals ending in a ranking that is favorable to the player typically fall into the categories of:

  • Permanent or Long-Term Injury
  • Severe Change in Physical Health
  • Declining Skill Level
  • Improved Skill Level

Appealing to go down a skill level to play with a particular partner in a lower level for a rated doubles event is not permitted.

If you feel you have a legitimate claim to a different rating, you can file an appeal on the USAPA Ratings Page. From there, click the Ratings Committee link. Once you are redirected, you can start the appeal process by writing a formal e-mail to the board requesting that they change your rating. Be sure to finish the e-mail with the reasons why you want to move up or down in ratings.

How to Know What Your Rating Means

It helps to know just what these numbers mean when trying to decide where in the spectrum you fit.

The ratings breakdown is as follows:

1.0: Limited knowledge of the game

1.5: Has minimal skills, played a few games

2.0: Holds short rallies and has doubles play courting down

2.5: Making most volleys, some backhands, but has weak court coverage

3.0: Consistent serve, returning medium-paced balls, but lacks directional control, trying dinks

3.5: Demonstrating aggressive net play, beginning to anticipate opponent’s shots

4.0: Using 3rd shot strategies but loses rallies due to impatience, fully knows game rules

4.5: Keeping ball in play, solid footwork, beginning to master 3rd shots

5.0: Master, ready for highest competition

For a more in-depth explanation of each rating, please visit the IFP Pickleball Rating Descriptions Page.

You and Ratings

Have you registered for a tournament? What was the rating you gave yourself? Did it match up to your skill set? What is your rating now? We would love to hear more about your experiences with IFP ratings at tournaments!

Popping Bottles and Pickleballs – Our Resolutions for 2018

Happy New Year from PickleballCentral!

We hope everyone has been having a fantastic January so far and had the opportunity to play their first game(s) of 2018—hopefully indoors if you’re dealing with the winter chill.

With the recent focus on new beginnings, we’ve been pondering what pickleball-centric resolutions players may have set for themselves. If you’re not sure where to take your game from here and need some inspiration, here are several goals to consider:

2018 Fireworks

Credit: bayasaa

Drill more often

As fun as it is to play games all the time, pickleball is all about “percentages” and reducing errors. If you can perfect the basics such as your serve, dinks, lobs and accurately returning volleys, you’ll find your game will improve as a whole.

Carefully returning dink after dink or only using groundstrokes may feel a little dull when it’s all you’re practicing for an hour, but once you take those skills back into play you’ll find you can adapt to different situations more easily. Biding your time and letting opponents make the mistakes is a wise strategy to rack up wins.

Perfect the third-shot drop

Many players have heard about the third-shot drop but don’t necessarily know why it’s a good tactic or how to work it into their play.

The third-shot is simply the shot after the serve and return of serve. When you’re playing against skilled opponents, they will generally have rushed up to the no-volley zone/kitchen after the return of serve and will have you at a disadvantage if they’re able to keep you at the base line. If you hit a drop shot into the kitchen they will be forced to wait for the bounce, giving you more time to reach the net and get into position.

If you work on this shot, you’ll help consistently put yourself on an even playing field against others.

Pickleball fun

Credit: TEDxKC

Take chances

Contrary to the first recommendation on this list, if you feel you’ve achieved a fairly strong level of performance but your game has been stagnating, it may be time to start changing things up. If you’ve been locked in a dink battle for ages, surprise your opponent by pushing them back with a lob. Go for a shot down the middle of the court if you’ve been hitting across.

Once you lull your opponents into a rhythm, that’s the time to look for an unexpected shot to steal the point.

Have fun

This might seem obvious, but if you’re involved with the competitive side of pickleball or find yourself taking more casual games to heart, it might be time to reassess why you’re playing the sport and what its biggest benefits truly are.

Pickleball began as a family game and has retained the majority of its relaxed, social nature. While it provides a variety of health benefits and allows people to indulge in their competitive side, we believe its greatest asset is the way the community welcomes players of all backgrounds and lets everyone have fun without preconceptions.

If you’ve been feeling stressed about practice or how much you’re improving, remember that the point of pickleball is to engage with other players and have a good time.

Wood pickleball paddles

Credit: Balboa

Smile more, laugh at yourself and of course, feel free to work on your technique at the same time!

What are some of your resolutions for 2018, pickleball-related or not? Tell us in the comments and enjoy the New Year!

Meet The Pros – Suzee Millar Anderson

Suzee Anderson with Ernesto Cardenas – Spanish Open

Meet The Pros – Suzee Millar Anderson

Suzee Millar Anderson gives back as much as she gets playing this wonderful game called pickleball. Be sure to watch the video from France where she helped give a pickleball clinic along with Kyle Yates, Daniel Moore and Hilary Marold. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2017 US Open Women’s Doubles (WD) 35+ with Susan Schneider – Silver
2017 US Open WD Skill 5.0 with Susan Schneider – Silver
2017 Spanish Open Madrid WD PPF/Elite Division with Hilary Marold – Silver
Spanish Open Madrid 2017 Mixed Doubles PPF/Elite Division with Mills Miller – Bronze

Spanish Open: Hilary Marold,/Suzee Anderson, Silver

Spanish Open: Hilary Marold,/Suzee Anderson, Silver; Irina Tereschenko/Christine McGrath, Gold; Carolyn Stevens/Jenny Butler, Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the Paddletek Bantam TS-5. I love the light weight combined with the touch of this paddle. It’s my all-time favorite!

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

I found pickleball at our local rec center. My husband had learned the game before me and spent a few months trying to convince me to come and try it out. I was always attending a masters swim workout at the same time pickleball was being played, but one day the swim coach wasn’t there for practice and my husband convinced me to play. It was hands down the funnest game I ever played. I never went back to another swim workout again, and within 3 months I had sold my triathlon bike and dedicated all my extra time to pickleball!

What’s your preference, playing indoor or outdoor?

I really love outdoors. I love to be outside in the sunshine. I also prefer the outdoor surface and ball.

Suzee Anderson in action

Suzee Anderson in action

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles. I like the strategy and team play of doubles.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

I love to play anywhere! Pickleball has taken me to some amazing places this last year: London, the south of France, Spain, as well as a few great places in the USA. I have been fortunate to meet amazing players wherever I go and I really love the community of pickleball that exists all over the world.

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

I’m not sure I have any secret sauce, but I have come up with a clever idea to help myself stay patient at the kitchen. I have a tendency to want to speed the ball up too soon sometimes and that is where the idea was born. I call it Red, Yellow, Green Light. The idea is that any ball that’s below your waist is a red light. This is a no go for being aggressive. Use your patience and keep dinking it.

Balls at your waist height are a yellow light. Proceed with caution! Keep dinking these too and when it is just right you can push it at your opponent. Be aware that the trajectory of a push from this height is going to be flat and not down at their feet. The likelihood that this will come back at you hard and flat is high unless you catch them off guard.

Anything shoulder height or higher is a green light and is a go for being aggressive! When the ball is high you have the ability to get down on it and a better chance at a clean put away at your opponent’s feet.

What’s your day job?

I am a commercial photographer and mom to 2 awesome kiddos.

Suzee Millar Anderson, Photographer

Suzee Millar Anderson, Photographer

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

I play 6-10 hours a week and make sure that 3-4 opportunities to play are scheduled into my busy life each week.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I like to eat the same things on the morning of and during a tournament. I usually overnight oats in a mason jar. I’ve been teased for carting my jar and oats all over the world with me. I always have a peanut butter and honey sandwich packed to eat in between matches.

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

One of my favorite parts of my pickleball experience is the amazing community of the sport. I have been privileged to meet the kindest, most generous people all over the world who are associated with this sport. I am so grateful for the friendships I have made in the pickleball community.

A Pickleball Pick-Me-Up During the Holidays

The holidays are usually a joyful time when many get to share special moments with their families and celebrate the lives they share together. There are circumstances, however, where either tangible or hidden troubles can prevent people from getting to enjoy this season as they should.

We read an article about Cathy Sykes earlier this month, a player in Durango, CO who was able to better manage her depression and ADHD thanks to pickleball and the increased social interaction surrounding it.

At PickleballCentral we always hear people say they love this sport not only because of its simplicity, but because it truly does support a caring, friendly community.

The social aspect of the game is often the part players love the most, with doubles being extremely popular and the low barrier to entry allowing people to start playing almost immediately. In Cathy’s case, this meant traveling with her mother to the local rec center to meet pickleball ambassador Paul Toppenberg.

During her time there, she grew more comfortable with meeting new people, gained self confidence and learned more about the game.

Now she’s not only become a pickleball fanatic, but challenged herself to compete in a 5 km race in July and her first triathlon in August. She is planning to enter her first pickleball tournament next year.

Pickleball Mistletoe

Pickleball Mistletoe (BetterThanBellows)

There are many ways to battle back against health problems both physical and mental. We truly believe that pickleball provides a special mix of both, allowing people to start moving in an environment that’s often full of friendly faces eager to welcome newcomers to the game.

This game allows athletes and beginners, young and old, men and women all to find a sense of enjoyment with each other. That’s a special thing, and we thank you all for being part of this wonderful sport and helping the game grow over the years, whether it’s through spreading the word among friends or advocating for pickleball as an official ambassador.

We hope our readers have had a fantastic year full of wins and losses that have all taught them how to pick themselves up, learn a bit more about themselves and keep on having fun.

For those that have been going through rough times, our thoughts are with you and we hope you’ll find strength among caring arms to bounce back even stronger.

PBC Warehouse

Our PickleballCentral warehouse team hard at work

Happy holidays from everyone at PickleballCentral! It’s been a pleasure for us to serve, support and inform all our customers these past 12 months.

We look forward to spreading the fun and community of pickleball even farther next year and hope you’ll continue to join us on the ride!

Meet The Pros – Kevin Booth

Meet The Pros – Kevin Booth

Kevin Booth and Kris Anderson

Kevin Booth and Kris Anderson

Can you list for us your major wins, so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
In the pickleball world I’m fairly new to the game. Some of my wins include:
            2017 Tournament Of Champions, Sr Open Mixed Doubles with Kris Anderson – Gold
2017 PPF Desert Championships, Senior Mixed Doubles with Kris Anderson – Gold
            2016 So Cal Classic, Men’s Doubles 50+ with Steve Dawson – Gold
In Outdoor Racquetball I was a 5-time National Champion in Men’s Pro Doubles and 7-time winner in the 40+ division.  

What paddle do you play with and why?
I use the Paddletek Tempest Wave. I like how soft and responsive the paddle is and the accuracy it gives me.

What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
After retiring from racquetball, I needed a new sport and a friend told me about pickleball. I was hooked from the first day I played.

What’s your preference, playing indoor or outdoor?
Well, although I only played indoors once at the Simi Valley Pro Tournament and placed 4th and loved it, I really only play outdoors. Who wouldn’t rather be outdoors if possible?

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
Doubles really. There is so much more going on mentally. The way you have to play with and compliment your partner just makes it more fun. I’ve never played singles yet, but plan to in 2018.

Kevin Booth and Kris Anderson

Kevin and Kris – Winning Doubles Partners

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
I guess I would have to say center court at the USAPA Nationals. It was quite a buzz and fun to play in front of a crowd that is into the match and only watching you. Very exhilarating. I could have played for another 2 hours!

What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
Beyond the Tempest Wave Paddle, I would have to say a combination of patience and creativity. Master the soft short game and the rest will come.

What’s your day job?
We own New Life Cryotherapy in Rancho Santa Margarita in Southern California. It’s a Whole Body Cryotherapy and Wellness Center. I also market BEMER devices for increasing micro-circulation and wellness.  

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
Probably around 9 hours. We have a great group of 5.0 players here in Orange County, and oh yes, my wife lets me play!

Lon Krantz and Kevin Booth

Lon Krantz and Kevin Booth – Bronze, Senior Pro Tournament at Lakes Country Club in Palm Desert

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
Not sure I would call them “lucky,” but I believe in making sure my body is free of any excess inflammation and that my micro-circulation is properly functioning. 

Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
Play as much as I can, travel if possible to some of the other larger tournaments and stay healthy!

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
Ha, “best in the world”…  I guess we were “best” last Saturday for about 12 hours! Play, have fun, find a good partner and stay hydrated!