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

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

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

Chrome N-R-G, $88.99

A Broader Sweet Spot

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

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

Power in Every Hit

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

ProLite Chrome Sweet Spot

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

Game-Changing Control

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

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

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

Popping Bottles and Pickleballs – Our Resolutions for 2018

Happy New Year from PickleballCentral!

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

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

2018 Fireworks

Credit: bayasaa

Drill more often

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

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

Perfect the third-shot drop

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

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

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

Pickleball fun

Credit: TEDxKC

Take chances

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

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

Have fun

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

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

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

Wood pickleball paddles

Credit: Balboa

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

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

A Pickleball Pick-Me-Up During the Holidays

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pickleball Mistletoe

Pickleball Mistletoe (BetterThanBellows)

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

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

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

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

PBC Warehouse

Our PickleballCentral warehouse team hard at work

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

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

Local Pickleball Tournaments in Washington State

Local pickleball tournaments are a great way to get involved in the community and test your skills without breaking the bank or sacrificing a lot of time to travel.

After Karen Thomas, our Director of Marketing/Communications and an excellent pickleball player, shared how much fun she had at a few nearby tournaments, we started rounding up a variety of Washington-based competitions to spread the love.

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier in the lovely Pacific Northwest (Credit: the norse)

These events are a great way to support your local pickleball community, meet other players and hone your abilities on the court. Instead of worrying whether you’ll place the highest, just focus on getting the most enjoyment out of each event!

There are options available for players of all skill levels to get in on the action in a relaxed environment. Each city is noted on the first line under the tournament name so you can stay close to home.

The information listed here is based on data gathered during late 2017 and is only intended to give a general idea of entry costs, time of year and the format for each event, so please note that details will likely vary in the future.

To check the most up-to-date information, follow the event links to each group’s homepage.

City of Edmonds Pickleball Tournament 

  • Yost Park (Edmonds)
  • September 9
  • $25 first event / $10 each additional
  • Double elimination or round robin depending on # of participants
  • Doubles only, open

Columbia Basin Pickleball Classic

  • Lawrence Scott Park (Kennewick)
  • August 4 – 6
  • $50 early bird, $60 normal registration + $10 per event
  • Round robin
  • Singles and doubles

Larry & Marlene Nicholson Memorial Tournament

  • Steamboat Tennis and Athletic Club (Olympia)
  • January 19 – 21
  • Fee TBA
  • First match losers consolation
  • Doubles only

Lighthouse Oktoberfest Picklepalooza

  • Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort (Long Beach)
  • Oct 20 – 22
  • Double elimination
  • Doubles only

North Cascades Fall Pickleball Classic

  • North Cascades Athletic Club (Omak)
  • Oct 14 – 15
  • Friday clinics with pro Tyson McGuffin
  • Cost and elimination style not noted
  • Singles and doubles

Pickleball Station Tournaments

  • Pickleball Station, part of PickleballCentral in Kent
  • Monthly tournaments
  • Usually $30 registration + $10 per event
  • Double elimination or round robin
  • Primarily doubles

Selkirk PIG (Pickleball Is Great) Chase Tournaments

  • Tualatin Hills Tennis Club (Beaverton), Cascade Middle School (Vancouver), Club Green Meadows (Vancouver)
  • Jan 6 – 7, Feb 17 – 19, March 17 – 18, Apr 21 – 22, June 2 – 3
  • $45 one event/$55 two events/$65 three events (Feb only)
  • Round robin
  • Doubles, singles only in Feb only

Rainier Community Center Men & Women’s Doubles Tournament

  • Rainier Community Center (Seattle)
  • November 4
  • $15 per team / $8 per person
  • Double elimination, best 2 out of 3
  • Doubles only, open

Washington State Senior Games

  • Auburn Riverside High School (Tennis Courts)
  • July 21 – 23
  • $33 or $23 early bird registration / $9 per person per event
  • Double elimination, best 2 out of 3
  • Singles and doubles, open and non-open

Washougal Rivers Edge Dinosaur Doubles

  • Hathaway Park (Washougal)
  • June 24 – 25
  • $35 registration
  • Round robin
  • Doubles only

If you know of any other sanctioned or non-sanctioned tournaments that are worth a visit in Washington, be sure to let us know in the comments!

2017 Pickleball Holiday Gift Guide

As the holidays draw nearer, it’s a great time to take advantage of good deals to grab pickleball savings for yourself and others. The following products are some of our most popular and money-saving options, allowing you to mix-and-match whatever items you think will suit your needs.

Whether you’re looking for a deal or wondering what the hottest new picks are, something is sure to catch your eye. Happy holidays and shopping!

Pickleball Luxury Gifts

These gifts spell luxury for a reason. If you’re trying to find a gift for the pickleball fanatic that has it all, or just want to go straight to the top of the line when it comes to quality, these products are sure to please thanks to their design and utility. Whether you want responsive paddles, sturdy storage or the most efficient gear, there’s something to please even the pickiest player.

 

Luxury Gifts

 

 5-Star Rated Paddles

These paddles provide an excellent combination of reactivity, control and power. Regardless of your giftee’s needs as a player, the variety of shapes and styles available will allow you to select the best fit for their playstyle. Save on popular picks before you’ll have to go back to paying a premium!

 

5-Star Paddles

 

Men’s Pickleball Gifts

Most men appreciate a combination of classic looks and functional design. These items are ideal when you want to pick a gift your favorite pickleball guy will want to use on a regular basis. Proven training tips, comfy yet stylish apparel and well-made equipment are exactly what most men will appreciate this season.

 

Mens Gifts

 

Women’s Pickleball Gifts

When it comes to picking a gift for a lady pickler, you’ve got to have it all. Looks, smarts and quality! That’s just what the following products provide, whether you want to give the gift of style or knowledge. We’ve covered all the bases with sterling jewelry, training aids, classy attire and paddles that look as good as they play!

 

Womens Gifts

 

New Products

Not sure what sort of present to buy or feel like you’ve seen it all? Check out our newest releases and see if one might catch your fancy and add new life to your game. These products come with some of the freshest technologies that promise to strengthen play and bring more pizzazz to the courts.

 

New Products

 

Biggest Deals

What’s one of the best parts of shopping during the holiday season? Being able to save big! These items have some of the steepest discounts on our site despite being well-rounded buys for just about any type of player. Whether it’s a new t-shirt, a full net bundle or intriguing piece of gear, treat yourself while the getting’s good.

 

Gift Savings

 

Paddles for Beginners

Want a paddle that anyone will be able to pick up and use? These options offer a broad sweet spot and generous amount of “pop” so that it’s easier for newbies to get the hang of play and start returning pickleballs with ease. Some options like the Tyro and Ranger are even effective choices for kids thanks to their slender design and light weight.

 

Gift Paddles

 

Pickleball Stocking Stuffers

If you need a few smaller accessories or trinkets to keep the holiday cheer rolling, take a look at the following items to bring that extra touch of effort. These products make great add-ons for just about any pickleball-themed gift. Mix and match or grab whatever looks best to up the amount of pickleball “swag.”

 

Pickleball Stocking Stuffers

What Is Pickleball Elbow and How to Treat It

We all know how addicting pickleball can be. Once you get a taste for the game, you may soon find yourself on the courts several weeks in a row.

Pickleball is much gentler on the body than tennis, but as with any racquet sport, it still carries risks. You might find that a little niggling soreness in your swinging arm develops into a full-blown overuse injury.

If that happens, you might be dealing with “pickleball elbow.” Like tennis elbow, pickleball elbow occurs when the tendons in your arm become strained from repetitive motion. The technical name for this condition is lateral epicondylitis, and although a number of factors can contribute to it, the most commonly affected tendon is the extensor carpi radialis brevis or ECRB.

Tennis elbow

Credit: Rakka

This tendon is what helps stabilize the wrist when the elbow is held straight. As such, it’s most likely to be damaged by use of improper form during groundstrokes and backhanded hits, although sometimes you may just need to strengthen the surrounding muscles to prevent these motions from causing damage.

This condition can be frustrating to deal with, as it can put you out of commission for several months while healing. Worse still, if you don’t fully allow your body to recover during that period, there’s a high chance for recurrence.

Here are some key ways to treat pickleball elbow if you’ve experienced these common pains:

Anti-Inflammatories

Anti-inflammatory medicine can help reduce the pain of pickleball elbow and recover more comfortably during breaks. If it’s safe for you to take an aspirin now and then, go ahead and let the pill do its work. Just don’t take advantage of the lack of pain to jump back into play until you’re truly healed!

Rest

Playing safely and taking stock of your body’s limitations is often the best way to prevent pickleball elbow. A little extra rest now and then is much preferable to having to swear off pickleball for months, so remain aware of any discomfort you feel during play. If you start to feel pain, take a break and don’t force extra play time if your body isn’t prepared.

Pickleball elbow - rest

Credit: Joyce Cole

Stretching and Physiotherapy

Gentle forearm stretches and “banding” can alleviate pain while also making your body more receptive to increased activity. If you’re finding at-home treatment isn’t working, consult a physiotherapist for proper treatment and offer tips on how to keep your body functioning at its highest level.

Weight Training

A good way to avoid overuse injuries is to ensure your body is as prepped for play as possible. By building up the muscles in your forearm, you can take stress away from the elbow. You can use a light weight to perform wrist curls and reverse curls, which will gradually strengthen the load and shock your arm can withstand. Another good exercise is to squeeze a stress ball or weakened tennis ball to build up your grip strength.

Proper Technique

Work with a pickleball coach to ensure that the “riskiest” strokes you perform are executed properly to avoid undue stress on your tendons. Another consideration is that you may want to change up your playstyle and grip. For example, the Western grip is less common in pickleball than tennis but can still help to add additional topspin to your shots. Unfortunately, it also places a lot of pressure on your arm, meaning you may want to try a different method to prevent injury.

Pickleball elbow - technique

Credit: zerothousand

As always, we hope picklers everywhere will stay safe and treat themselves well both on and off the courts. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if you’re dealing with pain.

Pickleball should help promote your health, not hold you back!

Pro Player Daniel Moore on Pickleball Tourism and Why You Should Get Your Karaoke On in Japan

Daniel Moore and his father, Scott Moore, have been popular pros around the tournament circuit for years now. But even we were impressed when we found out just how far that circuit actually runs!

Daniel has only recently returned from a whirlwind of pickleball-related travel ranging from London, France, Spain and Japan to the recent USAPA Nationals, where he won three bronze medals in the age events, along with silver in the mixed doubles open event with Simone Jardim and gold in the men’s doubles open event with Matt Wright.

It would be wrong to say this jet-setting lifestyle is a recent development. Daniel grew up in Japan for 16 years before moving to LA, where he then studied abroad in Mexico before traveling to Kenya to work at a social enterprise organisation.

Daniel with Bainbridge Cup

As part of Team North America, Daniel helped us take home the Bainbridge Cup

Not wanting to give up pickleball or travel, what was the Moore family to do? Run a pickleball tourism company!

Today, the Moores (including Daniel’s mom, Susan) manage PickleballTrips.com where they lead groups of picklers to beautiful international locations to see the sights, meet friendly locals and of course, test their pickleball skills on foreign soil. Such destinations include Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand and Daniel’s “home away from home,” Japan.

Working not only as an official Paddletek representative but a tour leader for WalkJapan, Daniel has extensive experience finding great locations to share off the beaten path.

PickleballTrips

We feel extremely fortunate Daniel made time amid his busy schedule to share his work and why he believes picklers should broaden their horizons by signing up for a tour. Enjoy the interview below!

PBC: How did you and your family decide to start Pickleballtrips.com, and what sort of difficulties have you faced?

DM: My dad and I got involved in pickleball a few years ago. I was already in the tourism business in Japan, bringing international tourists over for walking tours of the Japanese countryside. So doing a pickleball trip to Japan was the first obvious step. We both liked travel and pickleball, and pickleball trips was an excuse to get paid for being able to do both of those things.

Obviously there is a lot of hard work that goes into the trips, but that’s just part of any business. After Japan though, we kind of said, why can’t we do this all over the world? Doing camps across North America was the easiest place to start since that’s where my dad is based, and from there we have branched off into Spain, Mexico for now, with hopefully a lot more destinations in 2019.

PickleballTrips in Barcelona

PickleballTrips in Barcelona, Spain

PBC: What are some of the things you think separate the typical “tourist experience” from a trip that stays with people on a more meaningful level? 

DM: Our trips are totally different from your typical sightseeing vacation because we endeavor to do three main things. First, our customers receive top notch instruction from certified professional pickleball players. The instructors are usually myself and my dad but we are branching out and bringing in different pros on the trips.

Jennifer Lucore is coming to the May 2018 Japan pickleball trip, for example. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on teaching so we want to provide that as well as the chance to come on a trip with different top players. Second, we connect people around the world through pickleball. We give our customers the chance to grow pickleball in a new country while making friends and doing things most tourists would never be able to do.

I think this is a huge reason why people come back on multiple trips with us: the relationships with local players and other participants on the trip. Finally, we do a few typical tourist activities because some places are popular for a reason!

PBC: Are there any particularly fun or amusing events that have stood out to you during your previous pickleball trips to Japan?

DM: On this year’s Japan trip we had a karaoke party in Osaka that was absolutely insane. After karaoke, we played bingo and the locals had prepared these gag gifts that our customers wore. You can see the photos below for the result. 🙂

PickleballTrips Karaoke   PickleballTrips Karaoke

The language barrier can slow things down, but I speak fluent Japanese and Spanish and translate as much as I can. Hotels, trains, restaurants and so on are pretty English-friendly. The local players don’t always speak that much, but pickleball is a common language and people manage fairly well.

I find that hand gestures and a desire to communicate will take you a long way when traveling internationally and people appreciate any effort to learn their language.

PBC: What are some of the main things your groups have taken away from their experiences in Japan?

DM: Being able to help spread pickleball across the world is a huge benefit for our trip participants. People feel like they are part of something bigger than just improving their own game. And like I said previously, it really is about the relationships formed with local players and other people on the trip.

PBC: You wrote about your first time introducing pickleball to Japan and experienced some difficulties, but it turned out to be a learning experience. How have things progressed and what does the pickleball scene look like these days?

DM: Pickleball in Japan right now is still small but definitely growing. We have about 5 clubs between Tokyo and Nagano Prefecture, where I live. I would guess that over 1,000 people have actually played pickleball and around 250 are playing consistently.

The hardest part right now is not court space (every gym in Japan has badminton courts lined) but finding someone to manage the local clubs. The goal is to grow the number of clubs across the country and get people playing consistently, not just one time.

Daniel Starting Pickleball in Japan

Daniel at one of his first pickleball events in Japan

I travel around a lot, but funding and time are always issues. The JPA (Japan Pickleball Association) has done a great job translating materials and introducing people to the sport, though, so I think it will continue to grow steadily.

We have a pretty diverse mix of sports backgrounds that people come from. Badminton and table tennis are big in Japan, but probably because of my tennis background, at the moment we have more people who came from that. And just like in the States, we’ve had people join who have never even played sports before, which I think is awesome.

PBC: How have you managed to get the necessary funding and equipment over to Japan? Has it mostly been a labor of love?

DM: I have definitely invested a lot of time and money into growing the sport in Japan. Paddletek has given me some paddles and apparel, and some people in Japan have put a lot of their time and money into it.

That seems to be how it always is though; someone has to do it for a while out of a love of the sport before you see any results.

PickleballTrips in Saku

PickleballTrips in Saku, Japan

PBC: It looks like the Hachioji PBA has really taken off! If someone was visiting Japan on their own, would they be able to drop by the club for practice?

Yes, Hachioji is probably the biggest club in Japan right now, but Saku is up there too. Hachioji has been playing the longest so they have that advantage. But mostly it’s the dedication of people like Makoto Sato who organize play and manage the club.

At first everyone was playing at one location but as the number of people has grown, they’ve expanded to multiple gyms and play almost every day of the week. It’s also branched off into places around Hachioji like Yokohama, so that’s cool to see.

They love having people join! Hachioji is actually on the USAPA places to play, but the best way to find out about the time/location is to e-mail Makoto directly, makoto.sato@jpickleball.org.

Some solid play from locals at the Hachioji Club

PBC: We noticed you were covered in the newspaper/on TV during a trip to an Okayama school. What was the response from kids and how did the opportunity come about? 

DM: A friend of mine had a connection with Mimasaka University in Okayama Prefecture so we went down to teach a PE class. The students absolutely loved it! We taught about 80 kids in 3 different classes and they want us to come back sometime next year.

High school students in Japan are pretty busy with their traditional school sports and studying, so the goal is to get it into college campuses across Japan where kids have a little more free time. Then when they graduate and move around the country, hopefully they’ll take pickleball with them.

Pickleball in Okayama

PBC: Is there anything you’d like to add about your tours or pickleball in Japan in general? Why would you recommend people sign up for a tour?

DM: The pickleball trips we provide are experiences of a lifetime. Japan can be a little tough to access on your own, but through our tours we can show you how beautiful and welcoming it really is by getting a local’s perspective. It’s an amazing place you won’t want to miss!

If you’re curious about other locations as well, please check out our site because we have many more trips on the way, especially starting in 2019. I’m thinking China, India and Kenya…

At PBC we greatly appreciate the Moores’ contributions to the pickleball community and believe these irresistible tours are packed with value. Want to see the world while enjoying your favorite game?

Sign up at PickleballTrips.com (click the images to see full itineraries) or surprise friends and family with an experience they’ll never forget. They will be visiting Japan twice in 2018 in May and October