Local Pickleball Guide – Boise, Idaho

It’s no surprise Idaho is a pickleball haven since major paddle manufacturer, Selkirk, was created in Hayden. The company’s name itself was inspired by the Selkirk Mountains, which travel between southeastern British Columbia, the Idaho Panhandle and eastern Washington.

Several hours south of Hayden is the capital of Boise, where there are pickleball courts a-plenty and players ready to test their skills. Join in if you have the opportunity to explore this growing hot spot!

Idaho senior games

Idaho Senior Games (Credit: BAPA)

Places to Play in Boise, Idaho

There are 20+ pickleball court locations around Boise. For an easily referenced map with details, visit the Boise Pickleball Club’s Places to Play. A partial selection of the courts are listed here.

Baggley Park – Two dual-use courts. Free to use and no scheduled play.
Fort Boise Community Center – Drop in play. Portable nets, balls and paddles available. Free lessons for new players. Call for more info: 208-608-7680
Boise Hills Park – One dual-use court. Free to use, no scheduled play.
Manitou Park – Four dedicated courts, two dual-use with painted lines. Free use.
Treasure Valley Family YMCA – Free for members, day pass required for visitors. Three indoor courts for use Mon – Wed from 9 – 11am.

USAPA Ambassadors: Boise

Don Denton — Nampa (~25 min west of Boise)  208-453-9799

While they are not USAPA ambassadors, both the Boise Area Pickleball Association (BAPA) and Boise Pickleball Club (BPC) have officers who are happy to help visitors find courts and other players.

Boise Court Construction Companies

SportMaster Sport Surfaces
Cascade Famous Fences & Tennis Courts
JPW Sports and Courts Installation

Boise, ID Pickleball Clubs

BAPA

Boise Area Pickleball Association

BPC
Boise Pickleball Club
Eagle Tennis Club (~25 min NW of Boise)

Pickleball Tournaments in Boise, Idaho

Boise’s Awesome Pickleball Adventure
Idaho Senior Games Pickleball Tournaments
Sun Valley Pickleball Championships
(All three of the above tournaments are run by BAPA. Follow link for more details.)

Pickle Jam!
Willow Lane Fall Classic

Boise Pickleball Related News and Videos

Pickleball Saved My Life (Dick Johnson, 78, Boise, Idaho)
The Pickleball Spear-It 
Featured Activity: Pickleball Takes ‘5 Minutes’ to Learn
Hayden Pickleball Paddle Company Is Growing with the Sport 
Annual Pickleball Tournament Brings Crowd to Twin Falls 
The Sport of Pickleball Is Growing Quickly in the Treasure Valley 

Health & Wellness Studies on Pickleball Support Positive Effects

Anyone who has played pickleball knows its benefits firsthand, from the physical perks of engaging in cardio exercise to the mental buzz of socializing with a positive community.

Sometimes it’s nice to see these effects confirmed via more formal methods, however, especially if you’re trying to convince someone to give the game a shot or sway a council to support local courts. When you need more than anecdotal evidence to support your enthusiasm, the following studies prove that pickleball really is all that!

The Acute and Chronic Physiological Responses to Pickleball in Middle-Aged and Older Adults
International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology (2018)

A study followed fifteen women and men who played pickleball 3 times a week for 1 hour. After the course of 6 weeks, the participants had better blood pressure and fitness levels. The researchers state that pickleball is a “feasible alternative to traditional exercise… that improves cardiorespiratory fitness… and positively modifies key cardiovascular disease risk factors.”

Serious leisure and depression in older adults: a study of pickleball players
Leisure Studies (2018)

Over 150 pickleball tournament participants were assessed, and it was found that “serious leisure” and depression were inversely related, meaning individuals who are focused on competitive leisure activities (such as pickleball) have lower levels of depression as older adults. This is partly believed to be because of the social connections made through games. The Minto US Open Pickleball Championships helped these researchers collect their data.

Pickleball high five

(Credit: Darryl Kenyon)

The Effects of a Novel Sport-Based Intervention on Lower Body Muscle Function in Older Adults
All Graduate Plan B and other Reports (2019)

A Utah State University researcher examined the effects of 6 weeks of pickleball (playing twice a week) on participants’ lower body muscle power and performance. The players experienced a 18.7% increase in knee extensor power and 7.5% increase in vertical jump height in this relatively short period of time. Another benefit noted was that people have a greater likelihood to adhere to a schedule for physical activity when it uses a sport-based model instead of basic exercises.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Experiential Date Nights: A Qualitative Study
Marriage & Family Review (2016)

This fun study wasn’t solely focused on pickleball, but it was included as part of a set of activities that were used to determine how “experiential” dates impacted couples. The findings showed that the participants’ main reason for attending these sessions was mostly to have fun, but in addition to that the couples “experienced a positive impact on their relationships after the event, such as improved communication, increase in affection and gratitude, or spending more time together.” Couples that pickle together, stick together!

Psychological Connection to Pickleball: Assessing Motives and Participation in Older Adults
Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (2017)

This study wasn’t done to show pickleball’s benefits per se, but it was used to determine the common reasons players took up pickleball and which were most “connected” to the game. It was shown that fitness and socialization were the most popular motives people had for playing pickleball, although those who were most involved also highly rated competition and skill mastery, showing the sport offers plenty of depth and opportunities to challenge oneself.

 


We’re sure pickleball will continue being a focal point for studies as it gains positive press and more people are exposed to its strengths. Let us know if you’ve seen any other studies showing all the great rewards it can bring!

Middletown – Pickleball Capital of Ohio

Middletown – Pickleball Capitol of Ohio

Middletown loves pickleball, and based on the claim they made in the local newspaper, their town has the most pickleball courts in the entire state: 16 total with 2 more on the way. (This is one more than Mentor, OH.)

With plenty of volunteer and community support for the game, the Middletown Community Fund gave the association a $1,500 grant last year to aid in expanding the courts, said Traci Barnett, executive director.

The association hosted the 12th annual Middletown Senior Pickleball Tournament on August 1-3. Open-aged singles played first followed by senior players (50 and older) playing doubles and mixed doubles.

The tournament had a record 268 registered players from eight states. Five years ago, the tournament drew 112 players.

Are there more “Pickleball Capitals” out there? Let’s start a “Bragging Rights” post.

Is your town the pickleball capital of your state? Tell us why.

Onix Evoke Premier Provides High Power at a Low Weight, Reduces Impact Vibration

Manufacturers are always coming up with new ways to innovate with their offerings, but they typically do this by altering a single aspect of a paddle design. That’s why we were particularly excited when Zach Scheller of Escalade Sports told us that the Onix Evoke Premier hadn’t only improved one aspect of their paddles’ traits, but “almost every component [had] been redesigned—handle, edge guard, shape, etc.”

Onix Evoke Premier

Onix Evoke Premier, currently $149.99

Of course, quantity of change doesn’t always equate to quality, but Onix ensured the Evoke Premier would satisfy even the most talented of players by creating it in conjunction with pickleball national champions Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova. These two pros were looking for both put-away power during attacks and stability for volleys and defense.

To accomplish this, Onix developed a paddle that disperses shock and increases swing speed. The Evoke Premier improves power without leaving the medium weight range and uses its 16″ length to comfortably increase reach.

Zach gave us some insight into the specific design decisions that went into the Evoke Premier and why it’s a fantastic offering for players who want power, speed and touch:

“We did a lot of prototyping with Matt and Lucy, some of which had outside-the-box concepts. We also used some machine tests, such as a tennis swing weight machine, to find its swing weight (or power).

“Out of all the paddles we tested, no paddle had as much swing weight as the Evoke Premier did, which was basically a full ounce higher than its actual weight. This means an 8 ounce Premier would have the momentum and power of a traditional 9 ounce paddle.”

Capturing the strength of a heavy paddle at a standard weight is impressive enough, but Onix has included even more beneficial features in the Evoke Premier’s design. One example is the DF (density finish) face which inverts the finishing layer with a graphic.

“Most paddles have the graphic and then a finishing coat over it, which means the differences in color can make peaks and valleys from the graphic. The DF composite face not only creates a more consistent feel across the entire paddle, but it also decrease the amount of paint/coatings on the paddle face, itself.”

ONIX DF Composite Face

We were also interested in the Evoke Premier’s Atomic13 edge guard which is said to disperse shock and increase power. This was done by using a unique material (most paddles use PVC) and essentially shrinking the walls of the edge guard and increasing its weight. This led to a decrease in vibration from the walls of the guard while improving its strength.

Zach adds that it’s “almost like having lead tape around the perimeter of the paddle.”

ONIX Atomic 13 Edge Guard

When asked what type of player is best suited for the Evoke Premier, Zach responded:

“While this paddle has a pretty broad following, we definitely see players who play a faster, more powerful game gravitate towards it the most. However, we’ve even had some players who like the control game love the play at the net, especially on volleys.

“[Compared to the rest of our line] it’s obviously the most similar to the Evoke Pro, but players enjoy the Premier due to its higher put-away power and solid feel. Contrasted with our extreme control or touch paddles, like the Outbreak or Voyager Pro, it definitely has a different style and performance.”

If you’re after a paddle that will adapt to offensive and defensive plays, has a flexible shape and will perform at the highest levels of competition, the Onix Evoke Premier may be the paddle you’ve been waiting for. Check out the Evoke Premier at PickleballCentral to experience how much power you can get from this paddle despite its trim weight.

Dave Thomas – USAPA Ambassador Growing Pickleball in Town of Riga, Churchville, New York

Dave Thomas – USAPA Ambassador Growing Pickleball in Town of Riga, Churchville, New York

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas, USAPA Ambassador and Recreation Supervisor, The Town of Riga, N.Y.

Hello pickleball folks! My name is Dave Thomas and I have been involved with the wonderful game of pickleball since 1983-84. I found out about the game at the New York State Physical Education Conference in Syracuse, New York. I immediately knew that this was an activity that I wanted to introduce to my students. I taught it in my PE classes to children in Grades 3-6 from 1984 until 2005 when I retired. I adjusted my teaching style to the ages of these students. I figure that I taught it to at least 8,000+ students.

After retiring from teaching, I joined our local YMCA and noticed that they were offering a pickleball league. I was SO surprised! I signed up because I had never played with other adults; I just taught it. After starting to play I researched my new activity. I couldn’t believe how huge pickleball was in 2006.

I retired and secured a new post-retirement job as Recreation Supervisor for the Town of Riga in Churchville, NY. I put my name in with the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and became a USAPA Ambassador for Rochester, New York—the very first one from this area. Within a week I was receiving emails from “snowbirds” inquiring about outdoor play once they returned. In 2006 there were only 2 pickleball courts in the area at the Westside YMCA on Elmgrove Road in Rochester. I knew we had to try and get others involved, so with the help of many folks we spread the word about pickleball. Thirteen years later, we have indoor & outdoor courts in just about every town in the Rochester, New York area. We’ve gone from 2 courts in 2006 to over 180 courts in 2019!

New Courts in Town of Riga

Recently, I contacted our New York state senator and asked him if he could support the tiny Village of Churchville, New York in the town of Riga by securing a $50.000 grant to build a 2-court venue. He wholeheartedly agreed, and the pictures you see are the result of this grant.

Before pickleball courts

Before pickleball courts

Town of Riga Highway Department Boxing Out the courts

Town of Riga Highway Department Boxing Out the courts

Town or Riga Highway Dept. rolling out gravel base

Town of Riga Highway Dept. rolling out gravel base

First layer of asphalt

First layer of asphalt

Putting second smooth coat of asphalt down

Putting second smooth coat of asphalt down

Cutting out for poles

Drilling holes for sleeve installation

Drilling holes for sleeve installation

Getting ready to cement

Getting ready to cement net post holes

Finished fencing for the court

Finished fencing for the court

Starting the Primer coat

Starting the Primer coat

Town of Riga "Super Seal Gang" that painted the courts! A terrific job!

Town of Riga “Super Seal Gang” that painted the courts! A terrific job!

Painting lines

This is how they paint the lines, with a spray can, then followed along with a roller.

Last November they put the final coat of paint on the courts but alas… it did not take as the sun did not shine and the snow ruined it! As soon as we were able to string together 3-4 sunny & 60 degree days, the company came out and repainted.

Poles installed, measured to correct height and ready for the nets

Poles installed, measured to correct height and ready for the nets

ready for the Grand Opening on June 26, 2019

Nets attached, tables in place and ready for the Grand Opening on June 26, 2019

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer making the first official serve on the Town of Riga's Pickleball Complex.

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer making the first official serve on the Town of Riga’s Pickleball Complex.

After our Grand Opening we were featured on Spectrum New’s “Your Morning Rochester” TV show, Wendy Mills was the host and we had a wonderful time bringing this facility and pickleball to the audience.

Thank you Dave for sharing your story about how you are growing pickleball in the Rochester New York region. Congratulations!

Unique Ideas for Pickleball Tournament Prizes

As pickleball’s popularity grows, more organizations have become willing to sponsor tournaments. This leads to the allure of prize money, which few players will turn down. While many groups would love to be able to offer similar rewards, what if you’re a smaller venue or want to do something different to draw in participants?

Aside from cash winnings, here are some prizes or trophies you can offer winners instead of run-of-the-mill medals.

Glasses, mugs or other drinking vessels

PNW Classic Medal

PNW Classic “Medals” – Photo by Kimberly Strong

At the recent Pacific Northwest Classic in Bend, OR winners were given glasses filled with colored paper to represent their placement (gold, silver or bronze). Aside from the interesting presentation, the glasses also had their medal color and tournament logo printed on the surface to commemorate the event.

This is a wonderful idea which allows players to show off their prowess while receiving a “medal” they can use in day-to-day life!

Refunded registration/free entry to a follow-up tournament

Sometimes the cost of entry to tournaments is not exactly cheap, especially when paired up with travel, lodging and food expenses. Returning a player’s registration fee is a great way to give them a financial break without actually having to spend money, or alternately you can offer free entry to another tournament if you’re planning more later on.

Gear or gift certificates

Soliciting businesses for cash outright can be a hard sell, especially if you’re setting up a smaller tournament or contest, but you may be able to acquire donations of a different sort. Manufacturers might donate paddles to award winners, or you can even contact local companies to see if they’ll offer gift certificates in exchange for advertising on promotional materials.

Popular options include general sports stores (for accessories and/or apparel), restaurants, specialty food shops, salons and movie theaters.

Gold and Silver PNW Classic Medals

Close-up of PNW glasses (Credit: Kimberly Strong)

Pickle-related goods

Pickleball does have an unusual name, and it can’t hurt to take advantage of it. Nalley Fine Foods was the game’s first official sponsor, after all, and they gave out jars of pickles at tournaments. Few people dislike this sour treat.

Aside from handing out the food itself, you can give away pickle ornaments, candy, mints, t-shirts or even a yodeling pickle!

There are plenty of other ideas you can explore that won’t break the bank such as tournament patches, water bottles, photos or volunteer hours. What are some of your favorite tournament awards or what would you like to see given away on the podium?

Hitting a Consistent and Powerful Serve

Your serve is the one shot you have 100% control over during a pickleball game. You can visualize ball placement, take a breath and send the ball exactly where you want it. But it can be surprisingly difficult to develop a reliable serve even when you have all these factors in your favor.

The following are a few tips that will help players improve the consistency of their serve and increase the power behind it. To start, we have a number of guidelines from pickleball instructor CJ Johnson. She lays out four points that all players should keep in mind. They are:

1. Keep the ball in front of your body. Regardless of whether you’re performing a backhand or forehand serve, it’s easier to keep both the ball and your target in sight like this instead of keeping it at your side or getting fancy.

2. Don’t use a big drop when releasing the ball from your hand. Keep the ball relatively close to your paddle and don’t use any large motions which could make it more difficult to determine the ball’s trajectory.

3. Follow through in the direction of the target with your paddle and arm. The “target” should be your opponent in the court box diagonally opposite you.

4. Develop a pre-shot routine. You’ll want to aim for your opponent’s weak point (normally their backhand), make note of any potential interference from the elements (such as sun glare and wind) and breathe. Some players include a bounce or two before their serve and this is fine as well.

To hear about these steps in depth, check out CJ’s video:

If you’d like to add more strength to your serve, Barrett of Pickleball Kitchen will show you the proper technique. Some players believe that you have to have a lot of power in your arms to develop a powerful serve, but this isn’t entirely true. While being fit and strong certainly helps, a powerful serve actually comes more from the motion in your hips than the arm or wrist.

You’ll need to develop a smooth hip rotation and also work on when you “break” your wrist. This isn’t as painful as it sounds! More specifically, when you swing there’s a certain point near the end of your follow-through where you’ll want to flip your wrist upwards to put more spin and punch behind the ball. Watch the video to see this demonstrated:

These tricks should help any player feel more confident when performing one of the most important shots in the game. What are some of your favorite methods to ensure your serves always go where intended?