The Top Pickleball Snowbird Destinations

Hang around the pickleball community long enough and you’ll probably hear the term “snowbird” pop up as the winter chill sets in. This endearing phrase refers to picklers who pack their bags to stay in warmer climates during the frosty seasons.

Now that spring is nearly here most snowbirds are making return trips home, but if you’re curious about the most temperate and active pickleball hotspots, we’ve compiled a list so you’ll know the best locations to escape to.


Pickleball in The Villages

Without a doubt, FL is the world’s number one activity hub for pickleball, and it just so happens to boast beautiful beaches and sunshine throughout the year. The most famous place for pickleball is The Villages, a retirement community in Sumter County. The Villages host over 150 courts, free drill clinics held by 5.0 players, opportunities to be coached by the best (such as Coach Mo, Deb Harrison and Lydia Willis) and of course, tons of opportunities to play pickleball at every skill level.

Other popular pickleball destinations in FL are Naples (home of the US Open and its corresponding Pickleball Academy run by Simone Jardim), Vero Beach and Delray Beach.


Is dry heat more your style than the humid haze of FL? Arizona is known as the pickleball RV capital and provides plenty of warmth with its desert beauty. The Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort in Casa Grande has over 30 dedicated courts, free clinics, traveling pros and hosts the USAPA National Championships.

Other popular but smaller pickleball parks are the Voyager RV Park and Happy Trails Resort (with lessons taught by Bob Youngren). Both have 14 courts, mentoring and structured play.


Bobby Riggs Pickleball

California may be called the land of milk and honey, but did you know it’s also a solid choice for pickleball? In Encinitas the Bobby Riggs Tennis Center has made way for pickleball with various leagues and active drop-in play. Many of the players at this location went home with medals from the US Open.

There are also many areas in Palm Springs and Palm Desert to play, such as Demuth Park and Thousand Trails.

International Pickleball Destinations

In addition to these sunny retreats in the U.S. there are also several international locations that have become popular for pickleball.


Check out the Pickleball Spain page to find several courts, partiuclarly in Madrid. The Spanish Open/Bainbridge Cup will be taking place in September for those looking to get in on some extra competition.


Thailand has grown in its pickleball passion of late, with the first Bangkok Open occurring in May last year. The next competition will be happening soon in April, although you can play with locals anytime at the Santisuk English School.


Tres Palapas

Baja is home to a much-loved pickleball resort called Tres Palapas. While it may not be financially feasible to stay there for an extended period of time, it makes for a great hideaway when you’re craving some more Vitamin D.

They host basic and advanced workshops in addition to specialized training with champion Matthew Blom (coming up this April).

Do you have a favorite warm weather pickleball destination? Share it with us in the comments!

Meet The Pros – Marsha Freso

Meet the Pros – Marsha Freso

Byron and Marsha Freso

Byron and Marsha Freso, center, welcomed to Stevenson park in Friendswood, Texas

Marsha Freso and her husband Byron are well known in national pickleball circles. She is very humble about her level of play, but she has competed with the best and rides the Onix Bus, so she’s a pro in my eyes. Enjoy!

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

2017 USAPA Nationals :  Silver – Mixed Doubles 65+/5.0 with Mark Friedenberg
              Bronze Women’s Doubles 60/+5.0 (with Dalonna Cooper);
              Bronze Women’s Singles 65+/5.0
2017 Huntsman World Senior Games:  Silver – Mixed Doubles 65-69 with David Killen
             Bronze – Women’s Doubles 65-69A  with Carolyn Bagley;
            Bronze – Women’s Singles 65-69A
2017 Grand Canyon State Games:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 65+ with Carol Lindow
           Silver – Mixed Doubles 65+ with Tim Murphy
2016 USAPA Nationals:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 55+ with Linda Kauss
           Bronze – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Gary M. Miller
2016 Huntsman World Senior Games:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60-64A with Gary M. Miller
2016 US Open Championships:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Jim Cetlinski
           Silver – Women’s Doubles 60+ with Denise Boutin

 2015 Huntsman Sr. Games, Marsha Freso, Larry Moon, Gold; Sheila Schoonover, Steve Paranto, Silver, Bill Propert, Cookie Drake, Bronze

2015 Huntsman Sr. Games, Marsha Freso, Larry Moon, Gold; Sheila Schoonover, Steve Paranto, Silver, Bill Propert, Cookie Drake, Bronze

2016 Grand Canyon State Games:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 60+ with Dee Rochel
           Bronze – Mixed Doubles 60+ (with Troy Horton)
2015 USAPA Nationals:  Silver – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Al Hager
2015 Huntsman World Senior Games:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60-64A with Larry Moon
           Gold – Women’s Doubles 60-64A with Sheila Schoonover Bronze – Women’s Singles 60-64
2015 State Games of America:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Byron Freso
           Gold – Women’s Singles 60+; Silver – Women’s Doubles 60+ with Barbara Wintroub
2015 National Senior Games:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 55+ with Linda Kauss
           Silver – Women’s Singles 60+

What paddle do you play with and why?

I’ve been playing with the Engage Blade for about the past two years.  It took me about a month to get comfortable using an elongated paddle. The Blade gives me extra reach, which definitely helps me get to more balls.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I found pickleball in 2011 when my husband and I moved to the Tampa Bay area in Florida from Atlanta, Georgia. Our community had four dedicated pickleball courts at that time and all our new neighbors said we had to learn to play pickleball. Of course, our response was the proverbial “What is pickleball?” After we played the first time, we were hooked! It wasn’t long before we started playing in tournaments in search for additional competition. We now travel the country in the “Onix Bus” — what fun that is!

The Onix Bus

The Onix Bus

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer playing outdoors, but indoors is fun too.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I like them both. I enjoy the workout that the singles game offers, but I also like the challenge of working effectively with a doubles partner.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

The courts at Pine Nursery Park in Bend, Oregon are unique in color and blend perfectly with the surroundings. I find it very soothing to play there.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I don’t have a “secret sauce.” I just try to get the ball back over the net and in the court. My primary tips are “have fun” and “spread the joy.”

Referee Marsha

Referee Marsha, photo provided by Sarah Ansboury’s blog

What is your day job?

I have been retired for over 13 years, so my day job is having fun and being kind to others. Pickleball is usually on my daily to-do list.

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

I average a few hours of play every day. Remember—I’m retired, so I can play whenever I want to!

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Nope. I don’t look at the draw; I just show up when I’m called to a court. It’s less stressful for me that way.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

As a true super senior player (age 65+), my ultimate goal is to be the “last one standing.” I want to compete as long as I’m physically able.

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

I LOVE PICKLEBALL! I’m definitely not a pro player, but I am proud to have won or medaled in a good share of the tournaments I’ve played in.  The sport has truly changed my life and my husband’s by allowing me to make new friends everywhere and to be more physically active at this stage of my life than I ever dreamed.

Join the International Indoor Pickleball Championship to Play Among 500 of the World’s Best Picklers

Registration for the 2018 International Indoor Pickleball Championships in Centralia, WA is filling and will be closing April 30th – or sooner if the event is full, so be sure to seize your opportunity soon! This USAPA-sanctioned competition is offering an incredible $25,000 prize pool.

The event was acquired by PickleballCentral in February this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue growing its legacy. In recent years the International Indoor Pickleball Championships was managed by the South Sound Pickleball Club who has successfully nurtured the growth of this international competition using a team of volunteers. To help ensure a well run event, Pickleball Central and the South Sound Pickleball Club will collaborate on tournament operations. Tournament Director Ken Lee and many core members of the South Sound Club will stay on this year and in coming years to advise and help the event grow further.

International Indoor Pickleball Championships

The International Indoor Pickleball Championship is the largest annual indoor surface tournament and will have many traveling pros in attendance. Hundreds of players of all levels participate in this 6-day action-packed tournament. Previous competitors include Tyson McGuffin, Christine BarksdaleSteve Paranto, Miok Lee, Glen Peterson and many more!

If you’re looking for your chance to compete against the best and win big, this is a prime opportunity.

Registration closes on April 30th and the event itself will be held May 29 – June 3 at the Northwest Sports Hub.

Men's Singles Open Winners - Indoor Championships

Men’s Singles Winners – Tyson McGuffin, Nicklaus Williams and Rob Cassidy

The Northwest Sports Hub has beautiful hardwood flooring that will feel familiar to anyone who regularly plays in gyms and boasts an impressive 26 courts.

The tournament was originally managed by the South Sound Pickleball Club, which put in many volunteer hours to build its reach and viability.

Northwest Sports Hub

The Northwest Sports Hub during setup for the tournament

As most tournaments are geared toward outdoor courts, this is a great chance to show off your indoor pickling skills. The SSPBC will still stay on as a collaborative force with PickleballCentral to advise on the event and ensure its continued success.

Registration is open now at and you can check out the current list of competitors here.

There are many brackets available based on both age and skill level, with singles and doubles being represented. Visit the Pickleball Tournaments link to see the full schedule breakdown.

Mixed Doubles Group 70 - Indoor Championships

Mixed Doubles 70+ Winners – Jane Meadows and Noriko Nishiguchi, Beverly Hoffman and Steve Bennett, Fran Myer and Bob Sester

Don’t have a partner yet? No problem! Just click the “Players Needing Partners” button at the very bottom of the PBT page and you’ll be able to get in touch with anyone looking to team up based on the events they’re participating in.

The International Indoor Pickleball Championships is shaping up to present another great year of competition, fun and prizes. Join today by visiting Pickleball Tournaments!

Joy Leising and Christine Barksdale

Joy Leising and Christine Barksdale

4 Fun Ideas to Make Your Pickleball Club More Engaging

Pickleball is a game that’s still relatively new despite its growing popularity. If you have one or multiple clubs in your area, then you’re already ahead of the curve compared to players where the sport has yet to be introduced.

Being part of a club is a fun and rewarding experience which involves, at its core, having a regular group of picklers that play together. However, if you’ve already got a baseline established, you may wonder how you can take your club’s activities to the next level by adding new events to your schedule.

Players that game together, stay together, after all!

Try flipping your typical club activities on their head! (Credit: Constance Sarantos)

Here are several ideas you may want to try in order to provide members with more variety and excitement:

Hold a fundraiser

Many of the clubs we’ve featured here on the PickleballCentral blog have run fundraiser events, and the causes you can support are truly endless. Maybe you want to invest in court improvements for the club such as new nets or benches.

If you want to head in a more philanthropic direction, you could support local libraries, breast cancer research or another medical initiative, wounded veterans, animal shelters and more.

Most picklers run fundraisers in the form of tournaments with entry fees and/or auctions for equipment and other goods, but you can certainly get crafty with this idea and explore what else your members could offer to raise money.

Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club runs the Pink and Dink Tournament for breast cancer

Run a potluck

Potlucks have become a sort of unofficial tradition here at PickleballCentral, and we’ve also combined pickleball and good eats in Pickleball Station events such as our pizza nights and ice cream socials. (See if we have any more coming up on the Pickleball Station site.)

There’s little else that beats pickleball followed by a delicious meal. See if your members agree and ask if they could bring their favorite snacks and dishes to the courts one day so you can reward yourselves with great food after playing.

Volunteer to teach pickleball

There’s something innately satisfying about sharing a beloved activity with newbies who have never experienced the joy of pickleball. Not only does it make you feel like you’ve done your good deed for the day, but you’re helping to create a wider pool of players who will add fun and competition to the local scene!

Quite a few groups have found success contacting local schools to set up pickleball days for the students, but if you want to work with individuals closer to home, you could create a “friends and family” day to try and convert doubters into pickleball fantatics in a beginner-friendly environment.

Some driven players have even brought pickleball overseas and to prisons. Think of how you might improve other people’s lives by sharing your love of pickleball, and the possibilities will be endless!

Students playing pickleball at Trinity Episcopal

Create specialty tournaments

Most clubs already run tournaments on a regular basis, but maybe you’re a little tired of the same old skill-based brackets. You could run your tournament in a new format, or go wild by setting up something like a costumed or superhero tournament!

What unique and intriguing ideas have you tried out at your club? What was the most fun you had at a local event? Share your stories in the comments!

Onix Fuse Pickleballs Offer Soft Touch with Tournament-Approved Bounce

The Onix Fuse Pickleballs have finally arrived!

After the release of the Pure 2 Balls, many players were eager to see Onix create a similar product that could be used for USAPA-approved tournaments in addition to recreational play.

That time has finally arrived. The Fuse Balls are fully approved for tournament use while maintaining the gentle touch of the Pure 2 Balls. They optimize play thanks to their superior balance and true flight.

Onix Fuse Pickleballs

The Fuse Balls have a great rebound and resist wind thanks to their smaller hole size, making them a perfect option for both indoor and outdoor play.

A few notable differences between these balls and the Pure 2s are their bounce height and construction. The Fuse Balls bounce lower than Pure 2 Balls so they can properly adhere to USAPA guidelines.

They’re made via a two piece injection-mold process just like the Pure 2s and Jugs. However, Fuse durability is more in line with that of rotationally-molded balls like the Dura or TOP.

Despite this, they are constructed with powerful seam welding so they resist splitting and will maintain their structure for as long as possible.

Early feedback has already been very positive, and if you’ve been looking for a softer ball that will still allow you to prep for official tournaments, the Fuse is the perfect solution.

Currently the balls only come in yellow, but the color is visible in just about all lighting conditions and should be easy to see regardless of your court’s color. They are being offered in 3, 6 and 12 packs.

Players will not need to condition these balls or worry about taking any additional steps to get them prepped for play. Simply open the box and they’re good to go!

Grab your first pack of Fuse Pickleballs at PickleballCentral and start enjoying the improved feel, consistency and bounce for yourself!

Pickleball Magazine Features Romance, RVers and Rule Changes in Jan/Feb Issue

The first Pickleball Magazine of the year has arrived and it’s another one worth saving! Packed full of helpful tips and tricks from the pros, industry innovations and news on pickleball’s growth worldwide, Pickleball Magazine is a great way to make sure you know all the details surrounding your favorite game.

The January/February issue took a moment to highlight romance for Valentine’s Day by providing a charming article on couple Rob and Shonda Davidson. After meeting at a tournament, the pair wanted to bring the joy of pickleball to all their friends and family by featuring it during their wedding.

Pickleball Wedding - Rob and Shonda

Rob and Shonda Davidson

Find out how they chose a venue and game format, handled their guests’ varying skill levels and prepped for the main ceremony in Pickleball Magazine. Personally, we love Rhonda’s sporty sky blue shoes peeking out from underneath her gorgeous dress in this picture!

If you haven’t read up on the new rule changes made by the USAPA, this is also a great time to brush up on all the facts. In this issue, Pickleball Magazine shares an updated list of all the revisions that have been made and and how they affect the game.

Backhand Roll - Ben Johns

Ben Johns and his backhand roll

The featured pro is 19-year-old Ben Johns. A follow-up article shares his favorite shot, called the backhand roll. This unique skill actually allows players to attack balls from below the net by applying topspin and power in a low stance. You’ll learn proper setup and execution by reading through all the details in the explanation from Ben.

There are also tips from Steve Paranto on hitting at your opponents’ feet and a rules Q&As with Christine Barksdale.

RV Picklers

Find out more about one of the fastest-growing pickleball populations: RV owners. With old tennis courts being converted, many parks are simply choosing to invest in pickleball these days as it becomes one of the most-requested features.

You’ll see some of the most polished courts at RV resorts from across the U.S. and why players have come to call them home.

Find a breakdown of newly-released equipment, lessons from Nationals champs and much more in Pickleball Magazine. Just click for options to subscribe for 1 or 2 years. Delivery is currently available in the U.S. and Canada.


Staying Safe While Playing Pickleball

People often view pickleball as “tennis lite” due to the small court size, slower ball and manageable paddle sizes. While it’s true that pickleball is easier on the body compared to tennis and most other racquet sports, it’s dangerous to presume that you can’t get injured at all playing the game.

As with any sport, there are risks involved. Thankfully these problems can be minimized with proper precautions and self care. Here are a few ways to ensure you stay safe so you can continue playing pickleball for a long time:

Don’t rush for shots

You know how volleyball players will throw themselves into dramatic dives to return the ball? Don’t do that!

Skinned knees, smacked elbows and possibly even broken bones are not worth saving a single point. While it’s understandable that you might be tempted to leap for a ball that’s just out of range, you don’t want to put off play for weeks on end because you pushed yourself too far.

Let the ball go instead of doing lasting damage to your body.

Volleyball dive

Don’t run backwards during lobs

Similar to the point above, too many players end up scuttling backwards when they see a high shot and end up tripping over themselves.

Take a moment to fully twist your hips to the side and let your feet point in the direction you’re moving. You can keep your eye on the ball, but if you feel yourself losing balance, take a moment to reacquaint yourself with your position on the court.

Avoid pickleball elbow

In many cases, prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to pickleball elbow. Choose a paddle that’s the right weight for you so you don’t strain your tendons, and don’t play so much that you put undue stress on your body.

Properly warming up, stretching, wearing braces and adding some weight lifting into your exercise routine can also help prep yourself for play.

Elbow brace

Wear the right shoes

We recommend using a good tennis or volleyball shoe for pickleball depending on whether you’re playing outdoors or indoors.

Make sure you’re not wearing anything with slippery soles so you don’t lose your balance on the court, nor anything too “grippy” so that you don’t trip over yourself during faster movements.

Pay attention to your body

If you’re feeling tired, winded, dizzy or simply drained, give yourself a break! Pickleball games tend to be short and your partner and opponents will likely appreciate the rest period as well. Your health comes before play.

You may think it could never happen to you, but some players have experienced heart attacks after playing pickleball, and you should be wary of the warning signs. Pay attention for pressure in the chest, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and pain along the arms, back, neck and jaw.

Communicate with other players

Especially if you’re playing doubles, make sure you’re calling “mine” or “yours” and have an established method for determining who goes after what ball. Talking to your partner will help you avoid accidental collisions, which can be as minor as a smacked hand or as dramatic as running into each other during a lob.

Don’t be afraid to talk with your opponents, either. This can be particularly relevant if you’re playing against more aggressive players who use tagging (hitting the ball into the body) to score points. This is an accepted part of the game, but casual games don’t need to be held to the same standards as those in tournaments.

Pickleball is safer than many sports, but you should still be cautious and ensure proper care of your body. Are there any unfortunate situations you could have avoided with a bit more awareness?