Margaritaville Paddles & Accessories Add Tropical Charm to Your Pickleball Gear

Margaritaville was the official sponsor for the Indian Wells Pickleball National Championships this year and brought plenty of its signature island flavor to the beautiful Californian locale.

What some players may not know is that a bevvy of Margaritaville-branded pickleball gear was released several months ago, and you can snag them for yourself if you’re a fan of summery styles or just want to put yourself in a vacationing mood.

Find all the options below at PickleballCentral’s Margaritaville category page! The paddles offering were made in conjunction with experienced tennis and pickleball manufacturer HEAD, so you can be sure you’ll be getting quality in addition to style.

Margaritaville Paddles

Paddles

All of the Margaritaville paddles have polymer cores with either graphite (Changes in Latitudes, Fins) or fiberglass (Washed in the Ocean, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere) faces. Each option in the two categories offers a medium or heavier weight depending on your play preferences.

As you’ll note in the image above, the Fins and Washed in the Ocean paddles have more of an angular shape while the others are rounded at the top for a more standard design. The paddles have medium-sized circumferences with beautiful, vibrant coloring and imagery.

Margaritaville Tops

Apparel

PickleballCentral currently offers all the same designs shown on the paddle faces in t-shirt options for both men and women, so you can wear your favorite Margaritaville style regardless of the paddle you choose. The shirts are made with breathable polyester so you’ll feel just as breezy as you look.

The designs also use a unique PosiCharge technology which prevents fading and keeps the colors bright.

Margaritaville Bags

Bags

There are two Margaritaville bags that can help you carry around your gear while looking sharp. The backpack features a parrot with luggage/travel stamp imagery and has two compartments along with side pockets for water bottles.

The tote bag has a tropical appeal thanks to its palm trees foliage and orange/blue color palette. It provides a main compartment, interior accessory pouch and zippered exterior pocket.

If you’re planning a sunny getaway, be sure to grab some gear to match your surroundings! Which of the Margaritaville designs do you like the most? Are there any other Jimmy Buffett-inspired lyrics or images you’d like to see?

The Top 4 Draws of the Pickleball National Championships at Indian Wells

Now that the intense competition of the USAPA National Championships has cooled down, we’ve heard plenty of feedback from individuals who have attended as both participants and observers. The event was a rousing success and many were extremely pleased with the professionalism and attentiveness displayed by the staff at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

For those who only got to watch the coverage on ESPN or are curious if it might be worth attending next year, here are a few of the positives attendees appreciated about the event and venue:

Affordability

Parking at Indian Wells was $10 for the day, and many of the matches were completely free to attend. The Championship Court was only $10 to sit in the general seating area and ranged from $35 – 50 depending on the day and event for more premium seating.

The range of available food wasn’t incredibly varied and mostly included the basics (salad, burgers, hot dogs), but on the plus side the venue allowed visitors to bring their own meals, making it easy to maintain a budget or indulge in fine dining while watching games.

At PickleballCentral we also gave out over $9k in free merchandise, so you could’ve ended up leaving with more gear than you came with!

Incredible Matches

Around 2,300 players came to play on the 45 converted tennis courts at Nationals, and top talent from around the U.S. was on display. If you wanted to see some great games, Indian Wells was certainly the place to be.

Many visitors also noted that the pros were very approachable and enjoyed chatting with fellow competitors and attendees at their tents between games. Whether watching or participating, there were many opportunities to learn from the best by proxy.

Top Tier Management

The Indian Wells management team was noted to be very receptive to feedback and continually worked to ensure a pleasant experience for all involved. A number of observers noted that their comments were taken into consideration, such as asking for shaded bleachers outside the grandstand, and the next day portable umbrellas had been moved into the area.

Indian Wells staff held meetings with department heads daily after the games to determine what was running smoothly and what needed work. After the first day of play it was noted that the white chairs at one stadium’s end were creating a glare in the sun, and so overnight, the staff changed the chairs to dark green to improve visibility.

Clearly the staff cared about providing an exceptional experience for all involved, and they’ll only continue to get better over time.

Impressive Venue

The cleanliness and beautiful appearance of the Indian Wells facility was greatly appreciated by all present. There was live music, the courts were hosed down every night, and the seats were wiped down and cleaned.

Interestingly enough, the bathrooms were of particular note! Attendees noticed that they were continually cleaned throughout the day and had a very spacious interior. Seems like a small thing, but everyone appreciates it when the place they relieve themselves actually feels relieving!

If you got the opportunity to go to Nationals, what were some of your favorite moments or aspects of Indian Wells? We’re looking forward to another fantastic showing next year!

Pickleball Players Create Calendar to Raise Funds

Many picklers have come up with unique and interesting ways to raise funds for their clubs, from themed tournaments to collaborations with local businesses. Recently the women of Simi Valley YMCA came up with a new idea to support their local courts by making a pickleball-themed calendar.

Florence Trapani, aka Miss November, shared, “I always take pictures and videos and put them on Facebook. Then Sue and I were like, at the same time, ‘We should do a calendar!’ Then we were laughing about who’s going to buy our calendar. So we asked the guys who play with us, and they were like, ‘We’ll all buy a calendar!’”

Image from last year's  2017 Triple Crown Professional Pickleball Tournament in Simi Valley

Image from last year’s 2017 Triple Crown Professional Pickleball Tournament in Simi Valley (Credit: Simi Valley Acorn

The women involved are all sizes and dressed in their favorite pickleball attire for the images. Alongside raising cash for the YMCA, they hope that the calendar might dispel some of the uncertainty surrounding pickleball for newcomers. Gary Gossett, the local USAPA ambassador explained:

“Sometimes people poke their head through the gate and they’re intimidated because they see all of us playing and they don’t know how to play. This looks intimidating because it’s such a small court, so I think the ladies doing this will lighten it up a little bit — and it will be a hit.”

The players all decided to take action shots of their signature moves, such as the “chicken wing” and “punch.” The calendar serves as a way to promote pickleball, its players and the community.

We’ve actually seen a few other groups put together pickleball calendars, but it’s primarily been for fun/promo purposes rather than as a fundraiser. AIPA, for example, showed several of their members in different court locations to serve as memorabilia for their members, partners and friends.

Have you tried any unique ideas for fundraising to support your pickleball club? What sort of activities or goods would you be interested in?

Upcoming 2019 Pickleball Retreats in the Tropics

As the weather cools down in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve been looking out for exciting new pickleball experiences that offer a bit more warmth on the courts. Most of us prefer playing outdoors, and unless you’re used to weathering icy blasts, it’s a lot more fun to play in the sunshine!

Pickleball Vacation Adventures has a beautiful trip to the Mayan Riviera scheduled for 7 nights, running from Jan 6 – 13th in 2019. There will be daily open play at the stunning Grand Palladium Colonial Resort including clinics led by the PVA team of pros including Ben Johns and Christine McGrath.

Pickleball Vacation Adventures

Pickleball Vacation Adventures – Mayan Riviera

Meals, lodging, hotel transport and instruction are all included in the price tag. Pickleball Vacation Adventures will also be heading to Israel and Ecuador in June and August respectively, so if you don’t have enough time to plan for Mexico, take a look at their other upcoming trips.

The Pura Vida House is another excellent tropical escape that should be on your pickleball to-do list. Located in Costa Rica, this 5-star resort is home to three white sand beaches, two spas, a host of fantastic restaurants and private courts at the nearby Hacienda Pinilla.

Brian in Costa Rica

Brian in Costa Rica (Credit: Pura Vida House)

Pura Vida House also offers 7-night trips throughout the year and hosts a number of traveling pros for top tier instruction. Spots for these experiences sell out fast, but act soon and you might be able to snag time with athletes like Tyson McGuffin, Aspen Kern and Laura Fenton Kovanda.

PickleballCentral’s beloved, bearded pro Brian Ashworth helped host travelers in Costa Rica earlier last year and said the experience was one he’ll always remember. Available trips start in April 2019 and are currently scheduled through May.

Lastly, we have a reminder that PickleballTrips, run by the highly talented and kind Daniel Moore, has several tours scheduled around the world next year in stunning international destinations. The first to come up will be in San Carlos, Mexico (February) and Thailand (Feb/March).

We’ve spoken with Daniel about his work as a instructor and guide before, so be sure to take a look at our PickleballTrips interview to find out more about the exciting and personal experiences he seeks to create.

Are you planning any warm weather retreats this winter, or are you taking your game indoors so your skills don’t ice over this season?

When Should You Poach?

Poaching, which involves one player moving to take a shot that was hit to their partner, is a fairly common technique in pickleball, especially at higher levels of play.

Some picklers rightly assume that poaching can be frustrating to your partner if done indiscriminately. After all, those balls were intended for them and there should be a certain level of trust between both players. However, in high stakes scenarios like tournaments where one player is often heavily targeted (either due to a lower skill level and/or to try and fatigue half of the competition), poaching can be a necessity to avoid burnout.

So when should you make a move to cover your partner? We discuss the best circumstances below:

1) If your partner is out of position.

The best and clearest instance of when you should poach is when your partner is having to really exert themselves to cover their side of the court. Maybe your opponents hit a tricky shot right at your partner’s feet and there’s no way they could recover fast enough to chase after it. The ball was lobbed and they’re facing the wrong way. They’re struggling to follow the ball’s spin. In any of these situations and similar scenarios, if you see the opportunity it’s safe to say you should take it to avoid losing the point.

Shot down the middle

If he’s a rightie, the player in white should normally take this shot. (Credit: Michael and Sherry Martin)

2) If the ball is coming toward your forehand.

It’s easier for most players to hit with their forehand. When you encounter those annoying shots down the middle of the court, or even if the ball is heading slightly to your partner’s side, if your dominant hand is in position then you’ll be able to reach it more easily and return it with more “zing.” The same goes for your partner as well. When you switch sides on the court, try to allow whoever has the “power position” to take advantage of their role, unless either of you has a killer backhand.

3) If your opponents are being consistent.

Has the other team been reliably targeting your partner? It’s tougher to tell what your competition’s plans are at the start of the match, but if it’s obvious they’re trying to wear your partner down, it’s likely time to start drawing some of the heat away from them. Start slipping over to their side and changing up the pace of play in order to throw the other team off their game.

As always, be respectful of your partner and be sure to discuss strategies with them and if they mind you poaching before starting a game. You may find that when you’re the partner under fire, poaching can be a saving grace!

What experiences have you had poaching or being poached, and is it a technique you like to employ during games?

Are Pickleball Beginners “Owed” Time with Stronger Players?

The debate is one that’s been raging in the sport for years: Should high level picklers “play down” with other members of their club?

The simplest answer is, “If they want to,” but with a bit of digging many different opinions come to light. Some feel that “open” play is just that, and believe it should be an opportunity to play the game and have fun heedless of skill divides. With this mindset, open play is an opportunity for picklers to mix things up rather than always sticking to their own.

Some clubs or communities have open play scheduled for a set period of time followed by rank-specific games at others. This allows high level players to choose whether they want to mingle among the intermediate crowd or stay with their peers, largely eliminating the feeling that they’re being “forced” to play with those outside their bracket. Unfortunately there aren’t always enough players or court availability to make this happen, which can lead to both parties feeling wronged.

Pickleball Station Class

An easy way to learn from the pros without taking time away from their open play is to invest in a class, like ours at Pickleball Station!

The best way to handle this situation uses qualities popular across the sport: respect and communication. It helps newer players feel included when pros generously take the time to play down, but they also shouldn’t be expected to constantly lower the playing field for the sake of others.

If a 4.5/5.0 says, “No, not right now,” because they have a competition coming up, haven’t had much opportunity to play with their peers or simply don’t feel like it that day, they shouldn’t be penalized. Newer players are not entitled to play with higher skill opponents unless they’re taking part in a class, and should be able to accept “no” gracefully.

In addition to this, it’s not even beneficial for average players to hit above their weight all the time. Does the pickler in question actually have the ability to “read” the game and determine areas they can improve, watch their opponent’s techniques and apply them, and focus on skill acquisition? Or are they just going to end up frustrated when they get beat, unable to understand where their own weaknesses lie?

Unless a player has the ability and awareness to pick these things out, playing above one’s skill just becomes an exercise in frustration. Playing someone of the same rank would’ve provided more fun, opportunity for improvement and reasonable challenge.

Green Valley Pickleball

A game at the Green Valley Pickleball courts

The Green Valley Pickleball Club in Arizona has a unique and organized way of addressing this topic by using monitors that show players if they’re in the wrong group. Each player is moved up or down depending on their performance. When someone wants to jump up a level, they must set up a ratings session and play with three picklers in their goal bracket, earning a total score of at least 21 points to progress.

This means that picklers can compete with opponents of a +- 0.5 skill level. It’s a small enough gap to avoid frustrating high level players while being reasonable enough to give the lower level player a proper challenge (without getting trounced).

How does your club handle skill imbalances? Do you prefer skill-specific brackets or enjoy the fluidity and community that open play provides? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Can Pickleball Reduce Crime?

We have talked about pickleball being taken to correctional facilities before and how it’s positively influenced the inmates there. Pickleball has little if any direct physical contact between players, making it an ideal spoke to promote competition without aggression. It’s simple to get started and generally lends itself to friendly banter between opponents.

An article from the Daily Herald has presented another interesting viewpoint on pickleball’s perks, saying that the game has even reduced crime in Orem, UT.

Sharon Park Courts

A beautiful view from the Sharon Park courts

Six courts were introduced to Sharon Park, and comparing crime statistics from June – July this year to 2017, “drug calls are down 40 percent, fireworks complaints 50 percent, juvenile problems 60 percent, public peace 60 percent, suspicious activities 20 percent, and theft is down 57 percent.”

Pickleball alone likely can’t be credited with having all the solutions, as city spokesman Steven Downs said that “activating” parks is a known deterrent to crime. The city has also improved walkways, added additional lighting and benches and updated restrooms. Yet pickleball has clearly played a large role in creating a family-friendly atmosphere and revitalizing the area.

Downs says that, “These pickleball courts have not only been a physical benefit to our citizens, it has also been a social benefit. Every day you can see families, friends, neighbors, and others interacting together. We are ecstatic that these courts have been received so well. We plan to do more in the future.”

So there you have it! Pickleball not only provides benefits to health and happiness, but city safety as well. With many parks across the country opening up more pickleball courts or renovating current locations, we hope to see many more improvements in the future.

Have you ever had personal experience with pickleball making a location safer or more welcoming to the community? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!