Test Your Indoor Pickleball Skills at the Finnish Open

This week the U.S. is hosting the lnternational Indoor Pickleball Championships in Centralia, but there’s another competition coming up you won’t want to miss if you’re seeking more opportunities for international exploration and honing your indoor skills: the Finnish Open!

Pickleball Finland will be hosting the tournament June 14 – 16 at the Esport Center in Espoo. This is the largest indoor sports complex in all of the Nordic countries. There are a total of 16 courts available and the venue is very polished, to say the least.

Finnish Open 2019

The Esport Center offers a large variety of services for participants and visitors, including a café with 70 seats, pro shop, locker and shower rooms, and saunas—an obvious “must” considering the location!

Espoo is only a 20-minute ride on the metro line from Helsinki, making it easy to shuttle back and forth. The capital of Finland provides plenty of options for fun when you’re not at the courts, from its famous market square where countless stalls and fishing boats sell their goods, to a church made from ancient rock, a zoo filled with 150 species, a giant central park, elegant museums and a UNESCO-protected island fortress.

Helsinki

Helsinki (Credit: Travel Triangle)

The 3rd Finnish Open is a skill-level tournament (official of self-assessed) with singles, doubles and mixed events. Participants are guaranteed a minimum of four games per event. The deadline for registration is May 24th, so make sure to sign up through their management site soon.

The registration fee including one event is 45€ (~$50). The price lowers for each additional event you join, costing 15€ for the second and 10€ for the third. You can also add a full-course buffet dinner on Saturday for ~$40 and a special tournament t-shirt for ~$17.

Before the tournament begins, on Thursday (6/13) players can enjoy Pickleball Finland’s weekly open court session to warm up and meet your competition. A special deal has also been arranged with Sokos Hotel Tapiola Garden for discounted rates. Click here to read more about the opportunities for lodging.

Esport Center

Pickleball at the Esport Center (Credit: Pickleball Finland)

Sokos Hotel is only about 1.5 mi from Espoo and has a number of enjoyable amenities including a shopping center, cultural center, the Espoo Museum of Modern Art and a Lutheran church. If you’d prefer not to walk the distance to the Esport Center, you can also take the affordable metro, bus or a taxi.

Don’t miss out on this special opportunity to take in the sights of beautiful Finland while fitting in your craving for pickleball. Go visit Pickleball Finland to reserve your spot!

Randy Wince Adds Extra Fun to Pickleball with Unique Events

Randy Wince gives his local group of picklers plenty to look forward to thanks to the fun activities he plans every month at the Life Fitness Center in Bettendorf, IA.

Randy had always loved organizing parties and celebrations during his previous employment at Northwestern Bell. Now retired, he applies his knack for event planning to devise unique pickleball events.

Judy Petersen and Paul Willoughby

Judy Petersen and Paul Willoughby (Credit: QC Times)

The seven courts he frequents normally host around 50 players during standard times of play, but his festivities have brought in an extra influx of participants. This month Randy set up a St. Patrick’s-themed gathering and 75 people wanted in on the action! A bagpipe player was even brought in to set the mood.

Another idea Randy expanded on came from joking about players needing to compete for WWE-style belts. A short time later, he actually brought in belts that picklers in A and B divisions now wear. The belts are used by each individual for a week and are then passed to other winners. Randy has also provided smaller trophies to be given as permanent awards.

Myrna Seline

Myrna Seline (Credit: QC Times)

In March last year, Randy underwent back surgery and has shared how pickleball helped him to physically and mentally recover from the operation. By setting up these events, he’s been able to pass on the support and “good vibes” the community provided him when he needed it the most.

We love when picklers get creative with their ideas and find ways to add even more excitement to the sport. Have you ever set up a special event for your pickleball club or group? Are there any concepts you haven’t seen yet but would like to make a reality?

Marlene Corray

Marlene Corray (Credit: QC Times)

Play at the 2019 French Open and Explore the Medieval Village of Fayence

France is renowned among many for its food, fragrances and fashion, but if that wasn’t enough to entice you to visit, you can now add pickleball to that list as well!

This year from August 30th to September 1st Pickleball France will be hosting the French Open Pickleball Championships. The locale is Fayence, a stunning medieval village within the Provence region.

French Open 2019

Fayence is within an hour’s drive of popular cities like Nice and Cannes, but even within the village are plenty of activities including fishing, horseback riding, swimming, hiking and enjoying gourmet food. A total of 9 “perched villages” all reside within the same area so you can take in the picturesque landscape by exploring them all. Click here to learn more about Fayence and take in the stunning sights!

The French Open will host clinics with pro players Kyle Yates and Irina Tereschenko (both gold medallists at the US Open) the Thursday before competition begins as well as the first day (8/30). Events include:

Men’s and Women’s Singles

Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles

Age/Skill-Based Tournament

19+, 50+, 60+, 70+, 80+ (Depending on # of participants)

Every player is guaranteed at least four matches per category. Participation is limited 200 participants, so sign up now to avoid missing out! Official IFP rules apply, however this is not an IFP-sanctioned tournament. Everyone gets to enjoy a tournament dinner on Sat (8/31) including some of the region’s famous Rosé wines.
Fayence

Fayence (Credit: Experience Cote D’azur)

If you’d like to turn your trip into a real tour, you’ll be happy to know that Kyle and Irina will be running a bootcamp (for 16 participants) immediately after the Open. From Sept 2 – 5 you can receive personalized coaching from some of the best players in the world over the course of 5 sessions. You’ll also be swept away for a day-long busy tour to St. Tropez and dinner at the La Camandoule restaurant.

For more information and pricing, visit Pickleball France.

No need to stop there! Once you’ve warmed up and learned from the pros, you can even continue on to Madrid for the Spanish Open running from Sept 6 – 8th for a true European pickleball trial.

The venue for the French Open is the Tennis Club de Fayence which holds 16 outdoor courts. Registration fees are 40€ or approximately $46 for early birds (Feb 1 – May 31) or 50€/~$57 for standard registration (June 1 – July 31). It is 10€/~$11 per event.

Fayence Court

Start planning your trip today and visit PickleballTournaments to sign up for this incredible opportunity to wander the dreamy south of France while testing your skills in your favorite sport!

Should You Want to Win in Rec Play?

Recreational play means a variety of things to picklers depending on who you ask. Almost everyone would prefer to win even in rec games, but individual goals range from simply wanting to have fun, improving one’s skills, enjoy some exercise or taking an opportunity to review habits.

Are any of these aims more legitimate than the others? We personally don’t believe so – everyone has unique reasons for playing pickleball, and so long as your focus is making you happy and fulfilled, that’s all that matters. Of course, when your goals come into conflict with those of a partner or opponent, that can make things more complicated.

Pickler taking a swing

(Credit: Darryl Kenyon)

It’s generally for the best if you find a doubles partner with a similar mindset so you don’t get frustrated with one another outside of competitions. If your partner just wants to “zone out” and hit some balls without really focusing on bettering their skills while you want to talk strategy and adapt to the other team in the midst of things, it will be more difficult for everyone to leave the court saying they had a good time.

Beyond making sure you’ve found someone on the same page, the fact remains that you can only control your own mindset and feelings. If another player is joking around and only playing at 50% of their ability while you’d prefer they put in max effort, a competitive league might be a better fit. Or you could always focus on being consistent, perfecting your own shots and looking at the game as a sort of extended drill rather than a chance to prove your abilities.

Winning is almost always fun in rec play – but it can be important to look behind everything that went into a win and decide if it was really worth it. Did you have fun throughout the game, or were you stressing the whole time? Did you pay attention to your decision making, work on getting better and remain considerate of your partner’s well being?

Sometimes winning isn’t worth the sacrifice if it means everyone leaves frustrated due to poor sportsmanship, but perhaps you’ve been taking it easy and want to focus on more opportunities to improve. Whatever your goal, keep it at the forefront of your mind during rec play and you’ll be sure to get more out of every game.

What sort of outlook do you have when playing rec games? Is winning your top priority or something else?

Three Fans Pitch Pickleball and Win Support for Local Courts

Here’s a unique and interesting way several individuals have gained support for pickleball: The art of the pitch!

In this case we don’t mean a “pitch” as in baseball but through public speaking. In an event called the Vesuvius Coworking Pitch Night Competition, Robin Able, Cheryl McKinney and Jessica Jones won over $4,000 which will be used to bring pickleball to Madison County.

Vesuvius Coworking was started two years ago by Shane Bivens as a program to “encourage and financially support the work of Central Indiana inventors, creatives and idealists.”

Vesuvius

This year the applicants were asked to focus on community engagement and ideas that would create positive impact among many people with only a few thousand dollars.

Bivens stated that, “We started this as part our programming to allow entrepreneurs a stage for the community to see we have a lot of amazing things going on here that no one knows about.”

Six finalists were asked to present their ideas out of 20 original applicants last Friday, all selected by a group of entrepreneurs and business experts.

It’s no surprise to us that the panel found pickleball to be a wise investment for the community’s happiness and sense of unity. Congratulations to these brave pickleball advocates!

“We want a large enough facility that we can offer clinics and have space for lots of courts, and then outdoors, weather providing. We’ve been playing for a year, for free already, and we want to pass that opportunity on not just for learning the sport and the health benefits, but for the community it has provided for us,” says Able.

You can view the contestants’ winning presentation below starting at 44:43.

 

Previous winners have used their winnings to open a restaurant offering whole foods and a Fit2Fly center that uses bungee cords for low-impact exercise routines.

Have you ever had to give a presentation to support pickleball, such as at a city council meeting or contest like this? Let us know about ways you’ve found unique support for the sport!

Mumbai’s JMD Youth Club Funds 2 Courts to Expand the Game in India

Our friends at AIPA (All India Pickleball Association) got in touch to share some exciting news about the construction of two new outdoor courts within Mumbai, which has helped to drive newcomers to the game in addition to supporting pre-existing high level players.

Congratulations to the JMDYC and the Indian pickleball community on the continued growth! Chetan Sanil of AIPA’s media cell has written up a summary of the celebration that took place to commemorate the courts:

JMD Courts Front

The new JMD courts

It was a dream come true for members of Jal Mangal Deep Youth Club (JMDYC) when a glittering function was held on Valentine’s Day to celebrate the opening of two dedicated pickleball courts at the residential complex of Jal Mangal Deep Housing Society (JMDHS).

JMD Housing Society is located in the western suburbs of Mumbai at Bangur Nagar, Goregaon West. Bangur Nagar is a huge locality consisting of more than 40 residential housing societies, shops, schools, temples, church, parks and more, with a population of around 30 – 40k people. JMD holds around 500 residents itself.

They are a close-knit group of people who celebrate each festival with fun and vigor be it the Ganesh Festival, Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s or Holi. They also organize an annual sports event called “JMD Khel Mahatsov” for their members which is spread over 45 days culminating in a prize distribution ceremony held on the Republic Day (January 26th).

JMD Courts

JMD Courts

Pickleball was introduced to members of JMDYC by Manish Rao, India’s goodwill ambassador for the game, on April 15, 2017. They started playing the game on a makeshift cemented area between two buildings with a badminton net tied at ground level. Many enjoyed the game and took to it like ducks to water. Most of the players were office goers who would play the game after work from 8 – 10 pm on a daily basis.

Seeing them play, others joined the group and slowly became addicted to the game. They started participating in tournaments in Mumbai and other locations in India. They even won several medals in those tournaments.

The pickleball community in India started to take notice of the talented players from JMDYC. At that point, the JMDYC felt they could really use a proper court to practice and play in properly. It was decided to construct two courts on the small ground in the complex. The members approached the managing committee and obtained a grant of Rs 1 lakh from them.

JMD Ribbon Cutting

The ribbon cutting

Construction of the court began, but the expenses ended up costing much more than the sanctioned amount. This did not affect the resolve of JMDYC’s members to build the court. They chipped in with their own money to generously fund the project. After much struggle, the twin courts were finally ready.

The group decided to celebrate this huge achievement by organizing an opening ceremony. They invited AIPA office bearers and members of other pickleball clubs in and around Mumbai. They chose February 14th as the day for the celebration since Valentine’s Day would help  showcase the love and passion JMDYC has for this lovely game called pickleball.

The program started with a dance seeking blessings from Lord Ganesh performed by the female members of JMDYC. The traditional lamp was lit by members of the managing committee from the housing society and one of the chief guests, Mr. M.G. Suvarna, an ex-FIFA referee. The ribbon was cut by Ashok Mohanani, President of AIPA, and Sunil Valavalkar, Founder Secretary of AIPA.

Ashok Mohanani

Ashok Mohanani

They were later congratulated by JMDYC along with the members of various pickleball clubs of Mumbai. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mohanani congratulated JMDYC for creating the twin courts. He said he was sure that they would influence more people from the neighborhood to take up the game.

Mr. Valavalkar also congratulated JMDYC for their resolve and determination in completing the court despite the various hurdles that arose. He was very happy to see bonding within the community partly as a result of pickleball. He requested all the members to start playing the game to help them in stay fit. The new JMDYC logo was also unveiled.

The program continued with songs and dances performance by the youngsters of JMDYC and ended with a sumptuous dinner organised for the occasion.

JMDYC new logo

JMDYC’s new logo

The newly laid pickleball courts are a testimony of the vision and effort of JMDYC. Going forward, they are planning to take the game to the next level in their community and ensure more and more people are introduced to pickleball.

The Importance of Coordinating Colors for Indoor Pickleball

Playing pickleball indoors provides several benefits: You get to stay out of harsh weather, never have to worry about wind interference and enjoy bouncier pickleballs that provide extra time to respond.

Despite all these perks, there are few potential downsides that might dampen your fun when moving games indoors. Aside from making sure low ceilings won’t affect your play. the primary topic that throw picklers for a loop is color—or more specifically, its affect on visibility.

Where it’s typically easy to see balls and court markings outdoors, certain lighting can make it more difficult to see the action when you’re inside, in addition to any reflective flooring causing additional glare.

Dealing with these setbacks is a little like dealing with direct sunlight in your eyes, but instead of wearing a hat, we recommend tinted glasses to help negate these problems.

Tourna Specs

Tourna Specs in yellow

Tourna Specs come in both blue and yellow tints which can help to reduce shine and make it easier to see pickleballs in motion.

If you’re not a fan of eyewear but are still having trouble following the action, then you may want to try altering your ball color outside of the typical yellow, orange or white options. We carry several more unusual choices in our Midnight Indoor Pickleballs, including indigo, pink, black and red.

Many players tell us the red is easiest to see when playing indoors, so give them a try if the standard colors have given you trouble. They have the same gentle feel and high bounce as the popular Jugs Indoor Pickleballs, so you won’t be missing out on quality.

When dealing with court markings, many players resort to using tape when they can’t paint permanent lines, and you’ll find both yellow and orange colors on our site. But sometimes a light, bright option is the only thing that truly stands out. For that, we recommend Liquid Lines.

This unique product is a temporary paint which you can quickly lay down and then remove just as easily. The white lines simply wipe away with water after you’re finished playing.

Do you have a favorite product or color which seems to stand out against your indoor courts? Everyone’s location is different, and sometimes it can take a bit of experimentation to find the products which perfectly complement your environment.