Meet The Pros – Andy Gensch

Andy Gensch at 2016 USAPA Nationals

Andy Gensch at 2016 USAPA Nationals

Meet The Pros – Andy Gensch

Andy is committed to this wonderful game of pickleball.  Mention Chicken N Pickle and he will beam with pride as he tells you about the best place in the country to play.  He is the Head Pro pickleball instructor at one of the first International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Association (IPTPA) Testing and Training facilities in the U.S. and takes pride in his work. Enjoy!

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

2015 USAPA Nationals – Men’s Doubles 50+  Silver
2015 National State Games of America – Mixed Doubles 50+ – Gold
2015 National State Games of America – Men’s Doubles 19+ – Silver
2015 National Senior Games – Mixed Doubles 50+ -Silver
2015 National Senior Games – Men’s Doubles 50+ – Silver
2014 USAPA Nationals – Mixed Doubles 50+ – Bronze
2014 Grand Canyon State Games – Mixed Doubles 50+ – Silver

What paddle do you play with and why?

30P-XL Epic

30P-XL Epic Polymer Power Core Graphite Paddle

I am a sponsored Selkirk player and play with the first version of the Selkirk 30P-XL Graphite.  It provides the most feel of any paddle that I’ve played with which is the most important thing to me. All 5.0 players can generate the power they need, so finding the right paddle that supports the finesse aspect of your soft game is key.  It’s like the putter in my golf bag, I need to have the utmost confidence when standing over that 6 footer to win a $20 Nassau!  As a Selkirk player, I find their paddles to be of exceptional quality and the support the company provides its players and all customers to be second to none.

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

Four years ago I was introduced to the sport by a friend. Having played tennis through high school but having been away from it for 30 years, I was considering getting back into it when I found pickleball. I was hooked the first night and have not thought once about getting back into tennis.

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

I enjoy playing outdoors because of the speed of the game and all the challenges that the elements of weather offer. Growing up in Kansas, we experience four distinct seasons and we get a lot of wind so I am used to the elements, particularly from golf.

Andy Gensch celebrating with Rachael Kroog after a Silver medal

Celebrating with Rachael Kroog after a Silver medal at the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis, MN.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I play mostly doubles and enjoy it by far. However, I will occasionally play some singles after a doubles workout for conditioning purposes.  You hit so many different shots in singles such as ones on the run. It’s great training and always a good workout. All the strategic aspects of doubles make it challenging and the most fun to me. Working with a partner to make adjustments during a top tournament is what I enjoy most.  It’s like a chess match!

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

The entrance to Chicken N Pickle with Stephanie Lane

The entrance to Chicken N Pickle with Stephanie Lane, Inaugural Tournament Oct 2016

I’ve had the pleasure to play on many great courts including the Zing Zang Championship Courts at the US Open, Palm Creek, Festival Melba Bishop, Bobby Riggs, Surprise City Courts, Brigham City, Casa de Brambila, Horseshoe Hall of Fame and Weinbach Court….. but my favorite courts are at Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City as there is no place like it and it is home! It’s a one-of-a-kind entertainment facility with 4 indoor courts, 4 outdoor courts, a bar and restaurant plus many other amenities. I’ve had the pleasure of consulting with the leadership team before Chicken N Pickle opened and now am the Teaching Pro there. We cracked the code on a new and fun way to accelerate the growth of Pickleball!

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

We all have natural playing styles, but striving to play smart pickleball and ever-improving your consistency takes practice, commitment and a plan. Be a student of the game, always learn from your experiences and always keep it fun!

What’s your day job?

I am the VP of Sales for a Military Brokerage firm. I manage a team of reps that call on every U.S. Military base worldwide.  We represent Nike and some other great apparel lines. Our business philosophy is that we support some of the most important customers you will ever have, our nation’s servicemen and women and their families. It always fascinates me when I visit a base and see the great commitment, discipline and work that is done at each base. It has given me a whole new level of respect and appreciation for what is done around the world to protect our freedom in this country.

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

I play 10 hours per week on average but also manage my International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) teaching duties at Chicken N Pickle, so I am on court quite a bit. As the head teaching pro at Chicken N Pickle, one of the first IPTPA training and testing facilities in the country, I have taken great pride in creating our Skill Development Program and in conducting clinics, lessons and tournaments. These responsibilities take a great deal of time and can cut into my playing time, but I really enjoy it. I find great pleasure in sharing what I’ve learned!

Andy Gensch at Casa de Brambila

This is what it’s all about… fun night at Casa de Brambila with Bill Ritchie, Shirley Johnson, Jamie Knoph, Dave Weinbach, Stephanie Lane, Kyle Yates and Lavon Major

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

No lucky rituals, but I do try to prepare at least one month before big tournaments with an increased practice regimen, good rest, hydration and nutrition. I believe success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.

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

I’m blessed with athleticism and still enjoy playing several different sports competitively.  I do have the following pickleball goals:
1) Stay healthy so I can continue to play for the next 20-30 years,
2) Always keep it fun. It’s very easy to get consumed with the sport, tournaments, practice and teaching so I strive to keep balance in my life,
3) Always give back – some special people taught me that we are all ambassadors of this great sport and we need to do our part to help grow and evolve Pickleball,
4) Last but not least, never stop improving or evolving my game.

I’ve had the privilege of standing on the podium twice at USAPA Nationals which I believe is our top tournament, but have not come away with Gold… I would like to change that!

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

I’m not sure that I am one of the best pickleball players in the world when I look at the long list of major titles that some of my friends and other pickleball greats have earned! I feel very fortunate to have had the success I’ve had in my first 4 years playing the game and the opportunity to fulfill my competitive needs playing a new sport. However, the best experience I’ve had is meeting so many great people around the country that compete so hard during the tournament day and then enjoy dinner and a beer together in the evening!

Meet The Pros – Miok Lee

Miok Lee with David Redding

Miok Lee with David Redding

Meet The Pros – Miok Lee

We love to feature local folks who are doing a tremendous job on the courts. Miok Lee is the real deal! She loves this game and her enthusiasm is contagious. Enjoy!

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

Miok Lee with Joey Farias

Miok Lee with Joey Farias

Miok Lee with Tyson McGuffin

Miok Lee with Tyson McGuffin

2017 Int’l Indoor Pickleball Championships:
    Senior Women’s Doubles Open with Julie Haney – Gold
    Senior Mixed Doubles Open with Scott Edwards – Gold
    Women’s Doubles Open with Cat Grant – Bronze
2017 Yakima pickleball Classic hosted by Tyson McGuffin – Silver
2017 Grand Canyon State Games – Mixed Doubles 50+ with Tony Tollenar – Silver
2017 Tommy Wong Memorial Tournament:
     Mixed Doubles 5.0 with Justin Rodgers – Silver
     50 + Mixed Doubles Skill 5.0 with Ross Holcomb – Bronze
2017 USAPA Southwest Regional Tournament:
    Mixed Doubles Skill 5.0, 19-49 with Joey Farias – Silver
    Women’s Doubles Skill 5.0, 50-59 with Susan Baze – Gold

Miok Lee with Susan Baze

Diane Ahern and Roberta Meakin – Silver, Miok Lee,and Susan Baze – Gold, Helle Sparre and Laura Fenton Kovanda Bronze

2016 International Indoor Pickleball Championships:
    Women’s Doubles 19+with Lynn Syler – Gold
    Mixed Doubles 50+ with Roger Archer – Gold
    Women’s Doubles Open with Lynn Syler – Bronze
2016 Western Oregon Pickleball Classic – Mixed Doubles Skill Group 5.0 – Silver
2016 US Open Pickleball Championships – Mixed Doubles 50+ with David Redding – Bronze
2015 State Games of Oregon –
    Mixed Doubles 19+ Gold with Dalton Vavra
    Women’s Doubles 5.0 with Lynn Syler – Silver
    Mixed Doubles 5.0 with Dalton Vavra – Silver
2015 4th Annual Rally in the Valley – Mixed Doubles 5.0 with Wesley Gabrielsen – Gold
2014 Timberhill Winter Blast – Mixed Doubles 5.0 with Enrique Ruiz – Gold

What paddle do you play with and why?
I love the Selkirk Pro S1G+. It has a large sweet spot and the control for the short game is excellent. The power is good for put-aways.

What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I was introduced to pickleball at our local YMCA in Gig Harbor about 6 years ago. My husband Ken and I like to stay active and wanted to establish some more regular play time at the YMCA. At the time, we were actively playing tennis and badminton. We had setup some clinic time at the YMCA to introduce badminton to folks but there were very few people that were interested to play. One day, some pickleball players dropped in during our badminton clinic and introduced us to the pickleball. They were looking for players and asked us to join in. We started with the wooden paddles. We quickly understood why folks like this game! We don’t know of any other sport where we laugh and enjoy the game so much, and it is so easy to start to play this game, starting out at Level 3.0 level.

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

Outdoor… I’m just more used to playing outdoors now. I love the fresh air.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

Doubles! I used to play singles when I was younger but you need a lot of stamina for singles game and I don’t have any more for the level I like to play at. My hat is off to the folks who play singles.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

Indoors it’s George and Kathleen Raft’s place called “The Court.” It’s very nice. They have recently built an enclosed pickleball court and they often let me play there. For outdoors, I love my local place: Sehmel Homestead Park. It is a beautiful park. It has painted lines over tennis courts and a basketball court where we use portable nets. We have 9 courts! You folks are all invited to come and play with us.

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

I feel confident with my dink game and I like the extreme angle shots. For a tip: practice, practice and go with your high percentage shots. The more you practice, the more high percentage shots you can choose from.

What’s your day job?

I’m one of those that are lucky and don’t have a job outside of the house, so, pickleball!

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

I play at least 12 hrs a week and I can move all my other tasks around my pickleball play.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Nope.

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

I’m still learning, so I would like to continue to improve and would like to win at Nationals and again at the US Open.

Miok Lee at Canadian Nationals

2017 Canadian Nationals… from the back left: Alex Hamner, Ben Johns, Kyle Thieme, Jack Munro, Tyson McGuffin, Matt Goebel, Shonda Shallenberger (I hope I spelled your name right), Matt Staub, Kyle Yates, Miok Lee, Jan Yu, Jennifer Lucore, and Morgan Evans in front

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

I’m flattered that I may be considered one of the best players in the world, but I don’t think I am. There are so many more better players than me. I am so grateful to Selkirk for supporting me. They are an amazing family and company!  I would like to just give a quick shout out and thanks to the great players that partnered with me like Tyson McGuffin, Dalton Vavra, Wesley Gabrielsen, Joey Farias, Lynn Syler, Jan Yu and so many others. I really love this game and that should be the biggest take away: Enjoy the game!

Pickleball Hall of Fame

Hall Of Fame Mockup small

PickleballCentral is honored to be working with the USA Pickleball Association and the IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association) to create the Pickleball Hall of Fame.  The Pickleball Hall of Fame will capture pickleball history while pickleball is still a young sport with a big future.  The following is an announcement from the president of the USAPA and IPTPA regarding the Pickleball Hall of Fame:

Dear Pickleball Community,

The USA Pickleball Association and the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association are proud to announce the creation of the Pickleball Hall of Fame. The Pickleball Hall of Fame will recognize individuals who have achieved exceptional results in pickleball play over the course of their career, as well as those who have made exceptional contributions to the growth, development, and leadership of the game. All candidates should have also demonstrated a high level of character, integrity, sportsmanship and consideration for others and thus earned the respect and admiration of their peers. PickleballCentral will serve as the initial home of The Pickleball Hall of Fame at their headquarters in Kent, Washington next to The Pickleball Museum.

A group of pickleball leaders has formed The Pickleball Hall of Fame Foundation. The Foundation will incorporate the Pickleball Hall of Fame as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation, establish the structure and procedures for the Hall of Fame and build an associated website. The initial inductees in the Pickleball Hall of Fame will be announced at the 2017 USAPA National Championships in November.

Seeking Nominating and Selection Committee Members
The Foundation is looking for 16 people with an extensive background in pickleball to serve on the Nominating and Selection Committees. The Nominating Committee will screen all people nominated for the Pickleball Hall of Fame and select a maximum of ten finalists for consideration by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee will review the ten finalists and select the honorees for induction into the Pickleball Hall of Fame.

If you are interested in serving on the Nominating or Selection Committee, please send an email to Seymour Rifkind at HallofFame@IPTPA.com or David Jordan at Hall_Fame@USAPA.org and answer the following questions: What is your background in pickleball? How are you uniquely qualified to screen nominees for the Pickleball Hall of Fame? Applications are due by August 15, 2017.

Please direct any questions about the Pickleball Hall of Fame to Seymour Rifkind, President of the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (HallofFame@IPTPA.com), or David Jordan, President of the USA Pickleball Association (Hall_Fame@USAPA.org).

Sincerely,

David Jordan – USAPA, President, and
Seymour Rifkind – International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Association, President

 

Meet The Pros – Christina Dorman

Meet The Pros – Christina Dorman

Christina Dorman - 2015 USAPA Nationals

Christina Dorman – 2015 USAPA Nationals

Christina Dorman is an all-around PRO in our eyes: she balances the rigor of pickleball training with homeschooling.  We love her story. Enjoy!

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

2017 Cedar Park Tournament of Champions Mixed Doubles Open – Silver
2016 Doubles Pickleball Tournament Monty Ballard YMCA @ Cinco Ranch Mixed Open – Gold
2016 Cedar Park Pickleball Championships Women’s Doubles Open – Gold
2015 Mid-South Regional Open Women’s Singles – Gold
2015 Mid-South Regional Open Women’s Doubles – Gold
2014 Mid-South Regional Open Mixed – Bronze
2014 Mid-South Regional Open Women’s Doubles – Gold
2014 Mid-South Regional Open Women’s Singles – Gold

What paddle do you play with and why?

Since the first day I held a Selkirk paddle in my hand, I have loved this brand of paddle, well before I was sponsored by Selkirk. The first paddle I started playing with was a 300A-XL Aluminum Honeycomb Core Graphite paddle, and I put it in the hands of everyone player I encountered. When the Morgan Evan’s Maxima 21P MXO Composite paddle was released, I found the perfect paddle for me. I am a small woman and found the extra length a definite plus. The core is exceptional for the soft game with just enough power to help me put balls away.

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

I have been an athlete all my life. I ran long distance for 20 combined years, played softball, volleyball and soccer. I was tired of running and had been looking for another outlet to satisfy my competitive nature. I drove past our local recreation center and saw a flashing sign advertising they had pickleball. At that time, I thought to myself, WHAT THE HECK IS PICKLEBALL?? I mean, I know sports, but what was this crazy thing?? So, I went in and was kindly invited to play by a sweet gentleman named Larry Honeycutt. I was instantly hooked and I’ve been playing ever since.

What’s your preference, playing indoor or outdoor?

Last year I would have said indoor, but we have switched to an outdoor venue this year and I absolutely love it. The elements add a certain degree of difficulty that I really like.

Christina Dorman indoor doubles

Christina Dorman indoor doubles

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer to play doubles because of the strategy and team chemistry.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

Rio Vista Dam

Rio Vista Dam near Rio Vista Tennis Courts

My favorite place to play is my home court. My husband and I play with a wonderful group of friends at the Rio Vista Tennis Courts in San Marcos, TX. The area is surrounded by beautiful pecan trees and the best part is the river that runs right next to it. We jump in after playing to cool off and heal up our sore muscles. It is a true blessing.

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

Don’t really have a secret sauce. My tip for players would be to play your own strengths. Some people play hard ball, some people are soft dinkers, some people are excellent at strategy, Yes, it’s best to have a well-rounded game, but I encourage you to be happy with your strengths and use them wisely.

What’s your day job?

I have been a homeschooling mom for the past 11 years.

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

I play a minimum of 9 hours a week, but try to get closer to 12. My schedule is very flexible, so I can get in plenty of play time.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

No lucky rituals. I do mentally remind myself to play with confidence before each match.

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

My goal is to be able to travel a bit more to get to more of the major tournaments.

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

Pickleball has given me a wonderful opportunity to compete on a very high level athletically. It’s something that has changed my life completely and I am forever grateful.

Win More Points by Being Unpredictaball

I encourage players of all levels to play high percentage pickleball. Aggressive, low percentage shots may be fun for some, but other players will get frustrated at the resulting losses.

Pickleball loves consistency, and more points are lost than won. Many more.

High percentage pickleball is frequently described as hitting the right shot in a particular situation time after time. This is partly true, but not entirely. Many players do hit the same shot in a particular situation consistently, but as their opponent, I’m completely relaxed because I know exactly what to expect.

They are predictable. They are safe. And while safe pickleball wins at many levels and is quite fun, the element of surprise is essential at higher levels. Incorporate a hint of danger into your game.

Be unpredictaball.

Leaping for pickleball

Go for difficult shots and be consistent yet flexible (Credit: Chad Ryan)

Yeah, silly word. What do I mean by it?

In every situation there are several high percentage shot options. For me, high percentage means there is over an 80% chance my shot will be in. The 80% shot should be aimed to throw my opponents off more than the 95% shot.

Such a shot might involve hitting the ball near the sideline to throw your opponent off balance or driving a shot hard and low so it’s difficult to return. These shots nearly always occur at the kitchen line, but driving a third shot from the baseline is effective at times. High percentage play is not the same as predictable play.

This element of surprise generates anxiety and tension in opponents. We don’t want our opponents too comfortable or confident! Uncertain players make more errors. I love it when I know a player so well that I can guess the exact shot they’ll hit.

If I don’t know whether a well-placed dink, drive or lob is coming, I tighten up! Don Paschal was famous for this. He would take a backhand volley off his shoelaces at the kitchen and put it in my chest. Sometimes I couldn’t even see the ball till it crested the net.

Don’t use head fakes. They appear odd. Short back swings help you sell one shot and deliver another. Large back swings foretell hard shots. Decide even before your opponent hits the ball that, if the ball arrives where you expect, you’ll deliver a surprise shot.

Pickleball in center court

Hitting balls through the center of the court can slow your opponents (Credit: Chad Ryan)

Stroke or volley the ball using the appropriate mechanics. Avoid wristy shots that are difficult to control. Moving soft kitchen shots from the sideline to the center creates confusion as to which of your opponents will take the ball. An occasional lob might force your opponents to be uncertain about whether to take a step back from the kitchen line.

Keep your opponents guessing where and how hard every ball will come. Bringing a bag of high percentage trick shots to the court might just win you a few points and a few laughs.

Meet The Pros – Kyle Thieme

Meet The Pros – Kyle Thieme

Kyle Thieme 2016 Nationals

Kyle Thieme – 2016 USAPA Nationals

Everyone has to start somewhere, right?  From college Division 1 tennis player to falling in with the local 5.0 young gun crew (you know who you are), Kyle’s trajectory is the stars… well really, it’s the moon. Enjoy!

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

2016 SPA 1 Men’s Doubles with Justin Rodgers – Gold
2016 USAPA Nationals- Men’s doubles 19+ w/ Aspen Kern – Bronze

2016 Nationals

2016 USAPA Nationals – Bronze/Kyle Thieme, Aspen Kern, Gold/Kyle Yates, Wes Gabrielsen, Silver/Matt Staub, Daniel Moore

What paddle do you play with and why?

I’m fortunate enough to be sponsored by Selkirk, a company owned by folks who share my beliefs and make great products. Currently I play with Selkirk’s 30P EPIC because it offers up loads of control and comes in my favorite color: Pink. I’ve also played with the PRO S1G from Selkirk, which has the most feel of any paddle I’ve tried.

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

My wife and I are both former Division I college tennis players. But due to an injury she’s no longer able to swing the racket. A couple years ago we came across pickleball and assumed its low impact nature wouldn’t aggravate her injury. We thought it looked like something we could maybe pick up fairly quickly and minimize the embarrassing and frustrating beginner stage of a new hobby. We played a few times but sadly her injury wouldn’t allow her to continue. However, by then I had joined a group of players which would evolve into the local 5.0, young gun crew of myself, Aspen Kern, Matt Staub, Brian Thieme, Jotham Darrin, and Erik Fosdick.

The Local Crew

The Local Crew where Kyle got introduced to pickleball

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

As an Arizona kid, I’ve only played outdoors. But since I just moved to Boise, Idaho I guess I’ll need to figure out the indoor game come winter.

Kyle and his daughter Tatum

Kyle and his daughter Tatum

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

If I were 5 years younger I’d probably love singles. But with a busy career and an even busier one-year-old daughter, I can’t make the time to get into the shape needed to compete with the young bucks. Maybe once I mature into the next age bracket I’ll give it a shot again. In the meantime, I think I’ll start playing more mixed doubles at tournaments. Any ladies needing a partner, give me a shout.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

2016 SPA 1 Gold with Justin Rodgers

2016 SPA 1 Gold with Justin Rodgers

I haven’t discovered a clear favorite yet. I’m hoping to travel a bit more and play more tournaments in the next couple seasons. I hear good things about the Little Valley Pickleball Complex in St George Utah and the Zing Zang Championship Court at the US Open in Naples Florida. I bet playing on the moon would be radical.

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

I guess my anatomy could be considered my secret sauce. The good Lord blessed me with a pickleball body. At 6’2″ I’m not so tall that I can’t get down and handle the low balls, and with a 6’6″ wingspan I can reach into the kitchen further than most.

The two tips I have would improve the level of 99% of the players out there:
Increase the effort around your footwork and movement.
Take a shorter backswing on all your strokes.

What’s your day job?

I’m the Product Manager for an e-commerce platform called Scott’s Marketplace.

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

3-4 hours a week is all I can get.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I’m still searching for a lucky ritual that will work. You did notice my major wins list wasn’t very long, right?

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

I’d like to become the first pickleballer sponsored by Nike. That way Federer, Nadal and I can do a commercial together.

2016 CDA Classic with Brian Thieme

2016 Coeur d’Alene Classic with Brian Thieme

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

The game is growing so fast. I’m still fairly new to the game, but I’ve already seen it change significantly. The talent pool keeps getting deeper and deeper. I’m just trying to keep up! So, if PickleballCentral could send me a water and fire-proof copy of them calling me “one of the best pickleball players in the world,” it would really help my credibility when I tell me future grandkids about it.

You are one of the best, Kyle! Best of luck in getting that “endorsement”!

Tournament Tips: Arizona’s Sun City Festival Pickleball Club on Brackets and Delegation

For Ann Purvis, pickleball is a community affair. Seven years ago, her husband bought her a paddle and they embarked on their pickleball journey together. The two of them began taking lessons together. As they honed their skills, Ann and her husband began teaching the rest of their family the joys of the sport. Now, Ann enjoys playing with her children and grandchildren when they all get together.

annpurvis1

Ann Purvis at an archaeological dig in Mesa Verde.

 

Ann became fully immersed in Buckeye, Arizona’s Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Four years after she first picked up a paddle, Ann found herself with a unique opportunity. The President of the Club needed volunteers to learn how to put on a tournament. Six members volunteered. One of them was Ann. With three years of experience under her belt, she was kind enough to share some advice with PickleballCentral.

What is the name of your tournament?

The Sun City Festival In House Pickleball Tournament.

Was there a club hosting the tournament? Name of the club?

scf

The Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Our club currently has a little over 500 members.

When was your tournament?

It was this past year. March 20 through 23, with a scheduled rain day on March 24.

Where was your tournament?

Sun City Festival Pickleball Courts located in Buckeye, Arizona.

How many players registered for the tournament?

We had 162 registrants.

How many courts were available for the tournament? Indoor court or outdoor courts?

overhead

Eight outdoor courts. Hence the need for a rain day!

What events/brackets did you offer? 

Since we are a retirement community, we broke the brackets into skill levels. We wanted new members to have the tournament experience and created round robin brackets just for them. They were able to have a tournament experience while playing with people they play with every day.

Did you have a team working with you? What were their delegated tasks/roles?

Absolutely! The more people who are involved, the better the tournament and the learning experience. We had lots of committees so people did not have to spend their entire lives on the tournament. Committees were:

Set Up and Clean Up
Vendors
Volunteers
Photography
Referees
Food/Snacks/Hydration
Raffle
First Aid/Safety
Registration
We also did a lot of cross-training and mentoring.

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?

We did have sponsors. Most of them run small businesses in the community and people who participated in the tournament knew them. We charged $25 and a banner. We displayed the banners prominently.

We also had vendors who set up tables and sold their wares. Some of these were from the community and some were national. We offered them a choice of days since there was another tournament going on at the same time. Most came for two days.  The fee was $25. We provided the tables.

Did you offer refreshments? Or sell food/drink at the event?

We did have a Food/Snacks/Hydration table where we offered players and volunteers oranges, bananas, cookies, pretzels, water and Gatorade. That was to support the players. We also had a food vendor who sold breakfast, lunch and drinks at the event.

Did you charge a registration fee? How much?

This was an in-house tournament fee of $20.

Anything special or unique about your tournament?

Our club hosted the USAPA Nationals for the first six years the tournament was held. It is important to know that this tournament was started in order to teach our members how to put on a tournament and how to participate in a real tournament.

What are your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?

Choose your team carefully. Everyone on the team must be a self-starter and must be willing to take on other jobs to make sure the tournament works. The goal is to have the players enjoy their play and to make sure only the team knows when things go wrong.

Having mentors on the team was very helpful. They knew several tournament jobs and were able to help others learn and fill in when there was a problem. Also, having people on the team and in the community who knew how to operate pickleballtournaments.com was a great help.

Develop a checklist and a budget for your tournament.

Most importantly, having a supportive community and club are keys to success.