Strawberry Park Resort Campground Pickleball Tournament

Strawberry Park Resort Campground Pickleball Tournament


Gene Burch emailed us the other day to share the story of pickleball in Connecticut.  Enjoy!

Four years ago my wife and I introduced pickleball to some of our friends at Strawberry Park Resort Campground in Preston, Connecticut. We started playing on the basketball courts with a piece of rope for a net and some chalked lines. Having played the game at our winter home at Solivita in Kissimmee, Fl. we thought some of our tennis playing friends might like the sport. Well, by the end of the summer, two portable nets and two courts with painted lines we had over ninety players, it took off. The very next year the park put in two permanent courts. We now have four permanent and two portable courts with space for one more portable when needed.

This past weekend we had our first tournament with forty eight players coming from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut making sixteen men’s doubles and eight women’s doubles teams. The event was headed by one of the five attending USAPA Ambassadors, Jim LaBrosse from Rhode Island. First, second and third place trophies were awarded in each division. The cost for the event was fifteen dollars that included park entry, lunch, awards and a great time. Many of the players asked “when is the next tournament”?

Gene Burch

U.S.A.P.A. Southern Connecticut Ambassador

Local USAPA Ambassadors


USAPA Ambassadors l-R, Margo Chase-Wells, Gene Burch, Kathy Reidy, CT, Jim LaBrosse, RI, Dan Pechtol, NH

Court Play


Men’s Winners


L-R 2nd Bob Danielson & Steve Sirico, 1st. Matt Rowe& James LaBrosse, 3rd. Tom Duyette & Mike Wilkins

Women’s winners


L-R  3rd Mary Martinik, 1st Christine Costa & Liz Dellecave, 2nd Margo Chase-Wells & Kathy Reidy

It certainly looks like a good time was had by all.  Those are fabulous trophies, don’t you think.  Thanks Gene and keep up the good work spreading the good news about pickleball in your community!

Pickleball is a Baby

We estimate that pickleball is maybe a 25 million dollar industry. According to a recent report by the Tennis Industry Association, tennis in the USA is a $5.57 billion dollar business.

Think about it. Tennis is everywhere. I bet most homes have at least one tennis racket stored in the garage or attic. How many parks in your town have at least one tennis court?  Now think about pickleball. Very few people have even heard of our beloved sport. Courts are few and far between.  As much as pickleball is growing, it’s still a baby. It hasn’t reached it’s tipping point where its part of main stream culture. This is terribly exciting because there’s so much opportunity for growth and we early adopters get to watch it grow. We are the early pioneers of pickleball. History is being made and we’re a part of it. Over the next couple of years we get to watch the world fall in love with pickleball.

baby orange hair



Cure For Pickleball Potty Mouth

We love Brian Ashworth.  He works at PickleballCentral and is also one of the world’s best pickleball players. At the recent International Indoor Pickleball Championships in Centralia, Washington, Brian became so engaged in competition that a few choice words escaped from this mouth and landed in the young ears of sisters McKenna and Kendall Hastings. This is a serious concern; not only could cursing corrupt young minds but it can also result in a technical foul.

IFP Official Tournament Rulebook, Rule 14.M.1.

A player using objectionable or demeaning language directed at another person shall incur a technical warning or a technical foul, depending upon its severity. Once a technical warning has been issued, the second offense will result in a technical foul. Excessive profanity used for any reason shall incur similar action. The referee will determine the severity of any violation.


In order to help Brian out the Hastings sisters composed, “The Hasting’s Guide to ….Words to Say Instead of Cursing:  Created to protect the minds of children.” We thought this guide might be helpful for other pickleball players that are facing this vocabulary challenge.

Words to Use in Place of the Sh- Word 

  1. Snickers
  2. Shoot
  3. Shucks
  4. Shoes
  5. Snickerdoodles
  6. Snoopy
  7. Phifel Sniffle
  8. Pooper Scooper

Words to Use in Place of the F-Word

  1. Fudge
  2. Fudgesickle
  3. Fudrucksack (Fud-ruck-sack)
  4. Foot
  5. Frog Butt
  6. Footrot
  7. Frack
  8. Fiddle Diddle
  9. Fart
  10. Fart Tart


  1. Kids will be watching
  2. People will be watching
  3. Talk like your mothers listening
  4. Remember to use this guide


Enjoy Watching the Spinning Ball: Winning Advice From Glen Peterson

Here is some great advice from our resident expert, Glen Peterson.  Enjoy!

Onix Pure ball

To start, here are three things I tell every beginner:

  1. Be mesmerized by the spinning ball and ignore everything else.
  2. Move into the best position to hit the ball and get to the kitchen.
  3. Stroke the ball over the net and inside the lines every time, and let your opponents try to hit the winners.

Keeping my head down and eyes on the ball throughout the stroke is the most effective way to improve my game. This is likely true at every level of pickleball. Some suggest watching your opponents to anticipate their next shot or target their right hip or shoulder or hit to the hole between them. All of that is fine as long as you are not actually watching them but are simply aware. One of the greatest advances in tennis occurred when a well-known instructor authored a book essentially suggesting players do  only one thing: watch the ball. Everything else happens by instinct.

Pickleball is fraught with distractions. Where is my partner? Where are our opponents? Where will they hit the next ball?  How close are my toes to the kitchen line? Did we serve or receive correctly? Where should I hit the next ball? What is all that commotion in the adjacent court? Does my outfit match my paddle?

The wiffle ball is no distraction. It is the focus. The only focus. So watch the bouncing ball and say goodbye to all distractions. And watch it all the way to your paddle!

Why is this important?

First, check out the paddles of great players. You will likely find a 3 inch circle at the center of the paddle where the paint is marred or the paddle is discolored indicating that most balls strike the center. A ball which strikes the center of the paddle emerges with a consistent velocity. Beginners use the entire paddle face. Balls which strike the paddle near the edge come off with less energy and consistency.

Second, keeping your eyes on the ball throughout the stroke keeps your head down and steady. Most beginners raise their heads just before hitting the ball to see their opponents and find a good target. When they raise their heads, their entire body lifts, often resulting in miss-hits. Golfers get this.

Thirdly, raising your eyes before hitting the ball telegraphs to your opponents where you plan to hit. This may not seem intuitive, but your body is aware of the target without actually looking at it. In many sports, including basketball, only the target matters. In racquet and paddle sports, only the ball matters. Never aim. Let your body perform. Baseball pitchers see only a target while hitters and fielders see only a ball.

Fourthly, if you see how the ball is spinning, you can make adjustments. Look for back spin that might require that you lift the ball a bit higher to avoid hitting the net. More importantly, by looking for ball spin, you will actually ensure that you are focusing on the ball.

Now for one small exception: Don’t watch the ball when your partner is hitting. Keep your eyes forward and see the ball emerge back into your peripheral vision. If you watch it carefully, you will see it hit the opponents’ paddle and be prepared when it flies toward you.

Pickleball is such a simple game!  Practice being mesmerized by the spinning ball and see whether this helps your game. When I won the Senior Open Men’s Singles and Doubles at the US Open in Naples a few weeks ago, I reminded myself at nearly every point to do one thing: watch the silly ball all the way to my paddle!

Glen peterson

Glen Peterson at the US Open Pickleball Tournament in Naples, Florida

If anyone has suggestions for drills or tips to develop this habit, I am listening!

Glen Peterson

Historic First – Professional Pickleball TV Broadcast!


On Friday, May 20 @ 7 pm EST and again on Monday, May 23 @ 7 pm EST, millions of viewers will have the chance to watch professional pickleball on TV! This is the first time professional level pickleball competition is getting widespread national TV coverage. The CBS Sports Network is a cable channel with over 50  million subscribers. Will these viewers be inspired to find a court and play? We think so! Pickleball is ready to explode and we are excited to be a part of this community.

You can make a difference. The more people who watch the show, the more frequently CBS will rebroadcast it. Let’s all watch the show and help pickleball enter into the mainstream! Invite your friends over to watch the show together or organize a viewing party at your local sports bar.

CBS will be paying close attention to the reaction to this broadcast.  If the viewership is high and they get positive feedback, they will be more inclined to re-broadcast the show again and again. Consider writing and letting CBS know you want to see more pickleball on TV. Here’s the address:

CBS Headquarters
51 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6188

Need help finding the CBS Sports Network channel?  DIRECTV (channel 221) carries CBS Sports Network in its Choice Extra package while Dish Network (channel 158) carries CBS Sports Network in its America’s Top 200 package. A few cable operators have placed CBS Sports Network on a sports tier.  Click here for the Channel Finder.

In celebration of this historic event, we’ve made it easier than ever to start playing with our “Paddles Under $50” collection—now’s the time to encourage friends and family onto the courts. Be sure to tune in and enjoy the games!


Neo Composite Paddle, Regular Price $47.99



Club Wood Paddle- Koko Dom, Sale Price $19.99

tyro large

Rally Tyro Pickleball Paddle, Regular Price $39.99

Raven large

Raven Oversized Widebody, Regular Price $49.99

Meet the Pros – Joyce Jones

Joyce Jones is a National Treasure in Pickleball circles.  She knew Senator Joel Pritchard  personally!!  Enjoy her story!

2013 National Senior Games Medals

2013 National Senior Games Medals

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
I haven’t kept track of my wins, so I have no idea how many I have accumulated, but I have WON my share of Singles, Doubles & Mixed Doubles competitions at the 3 most prestigious tournaments held: USAPA Nationals, the Huntsman World Senior Games, and in all 3 categories in the National Senior Games since they started offering pickleball.
2015 USAPA Nationals, Women’s Singles 75+: 85+ – GOLD
2015 Women’s Doubles with Marty Trifonoff 75+:80+ – GOLD
2015 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles with Gil Middleton, 80+ – Silver

What paddle do you play with and why?
I play with the Stryker, which I bought from Fran Myer, because she recommended it, and I trust her judgement.

What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
Pickleball was my 3rd sport. I played badminton all my life, then started tennis when I was 46, then pickleball came next. My husband, Don, grew up playing badminton with Joel Pritchard (who incidentally, was one of the very few honest politicians around), so we picked up pickleball pretty easily. Don was playing in the semi-finals against Joel in Magnolia (Seattle district) where Joel lived at one time, so all of his Magnolia supporters came out to cheer for him, which they did loudly. So finally, when Don made a really good winner, & it was silent, he turned to the crowd and asked them if that shot wasn’t worth a cheer. They agreed, and from then on they cheered for both player’s good shots. Don ended up winning that hot match, and then went on to win the finals easily.

What’s your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?
I definitely prefer indoors (after all, I live in Seattle). It makes it difficult, as most of the tournaments are held outdoors.

Joyce and Gil middleton

Joyce Jones and Gil Middleton – Gold, 80+ Mixed Doubles

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I like singles, but at the age of 85, I prefer doubles. Besides, there are so many players at the facilities, that courts are not available to practice singles.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
I play at several different facilities, one because my best friends play there, one that has many beginners & intermediates who I like to help to improve their games, and two where there is the best competition.

Joyce and Nikki

Joyce Jones and Nikki Ryan win Gold – 2015 National Senior Games

What’s your “secret sauce”? Any tips for players?
The most important advice I can give is to have fun playing. I’m a competitor, and love competing and seeing all my friends at tournaments, but if you don’t enjoy playing, what’s the use? Life is short (and getting shorter all the time!)

What’s your day job?
Job? What’s that? Too much playing to have time for a job!

Joyce raises a glass with friends

Celebration Dinner with Nikki Ryan

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I play 3 to 4 times a week, plus working in a tennis match once in a while. I’m limiting my badminton playing, as it’s getting too difficult for this old body to hang in there. My competitive juices force me to try for every shot, even if there’s no chance that I can possibly get to it, and then I’m sorry later when my body complains!

Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
Pickleball is a GREAT sport, and I have many tennis friends who have turned to pickleball because of bad knees, and badminton friends who have done the same because of aching shoulders. It’s such a great sport for everyone, young and old!

Joyce oldest and youngest

The Youngest (Age 12) and the Oldest (Age 85) to compete in the 2015 Nationals

PICKLEBALL WISDOM: Backhand or Switch Hands?

Check out the above video where Joe Valenti switches hands to execute a beautiful around-the-post shot. A 4.0 player asked me recently whether she should use her backhand or left hand (right hand for southpaws). My 85 year old father — like many senior players — routinely uses his left hand for one simple reason: more reach. While reach is a great reason, there are other advantages to switching hands. Many 5.0 players switch hands, including Wes Gabrielsen and Enrique Ruiz, 2014 Men’s Open National champions and arguably the top two pickleball players in the world. Here are a few advantages:

  1. For many players — especially those without tennis or other racket sport backgrounds — hitting with the weak hand is more natural than using the backhand.  My wife is an example.  Her left hand stroke is beautiful and much more fluid than her backhand.
  2. Backhand strokes in a kitchen drop shot exchange often require turning your body and head away from the net such that your opponent can move without being seen. As you turn your head to hit the ball, a wily opponent can jump to the out-of-bounds area at the net and smash your return ball.  Hitting with your weak hand keeps your body more square to the net and your opponents in view.
  3. We can all reach further and faster with our forehands. For players who lack mobility, the additional reach enabled by switching hands is the only way to get the paddle on the ball.
  4. Switching hands to hit forehands on both sides confuses your opponents who are trying to hit to your weak side.

But are there disadvantages? Yep. Here are a few.

  1. Some of us can’t manage a fork with our weak hands and wouldn’t even consider a task requiring more dexterity. Don’t worry, most pickleball players keep the paddle in one hand.
  2. You might drop your paddle while switching hands. That switching hands thing looks a bit foolish with your paddle laying on the ground.
  3. Switching hands is difficult when engaged in a fast kitchen volley exchange. Consider only switching hands for balls that bounce but leave the paddle in your strong hand for backhand volleys. Most of us are less dexterous and instinctive with our weak hand making it tough in fast exchanges.

So what did I tell the 4.0 player?  If you love your backhand, keep it! If you lack mobility, find your backhand a bit awkward, or make more errors with your backhand than with your forehand, try switching. It may feel strange at first, but you may be amazed at how natural it feels given a few hours (and a few games) of play. If it sticks, you will not only be in great company, you will be grateful someday when your mobility declines!

So what comments do others have about switching hands in pickleball?

Glen Peterson

Singles Pickleball Strategy


While most pickleball players prefer doubles with its longer rallies, social interactions and lower physical demands, singles can be exhilarating and give you a great workout in a short amount of time. Singles also improves your stamina and technique for doubles. Most players will burn as many calories in 20 minutes of singles as in 3 hours of doubles.  Here are six basic tips for playing singles:

1.  Return and advance to the kitchen line. The player who gets to the net first will likely win the point. Unlike tennis, the small pickleball court and smooth, hard paddles and balls make passing very difficult. As players and paddles improve this may change, but the current level of singles favors a return and volley strategy.

2.  Hit deep serves and returns.  Most singles points involve only four or fewer hits: a serve, return, passing shot and volley. A deep, hard serve usually forces a weak return. This sets the server up to pass the player approaching the net. A deep, hard return, especially to the backhand, gives the returner time to advance to the kitchen line and makes it difficult to hit an effective passing shot. Practice hitting serves and returns within three feet of the baseline and to the backhand side.

3.  Hit to the corners.  While hitting to the center between the two opponents is often the best shot in doubles, in singles, hitting deep to the corners keeps your opponent moving. Aim for about one foot inside the line.

4. Use the kitchen. When faced with a difficult passing shot, try hitting a 3rd shot dink to the backhand as you would in doubles. This can neutralize the attacker. A well-placed shot to the kitchen line is typically better than a wild attempt at a passing shot. Players with superior ground-strokes often fall prey to cagey pickleball players who effectively employ this shot into the non-volley zone followed by an approach and kitchen exchange.

5.  Attack and volley!  While retreating may be effective at times in doubles, in singles it is not. Get to the kitchen line and force your opponent to attempt a passing shot. To hit effective volleys, stay low, punch the ball (rather than swinging), watch the ball strike your paddle, and enjoy running your opponent all over the court! Use both deep and drop volleys.

6.  Run around your backhand and hit forehands. Many of the best singles players position themselves to hit forehands whenever possible. This requires great footwork. With a few exceptions (including switch hitters), most of us have stronger forehands than backhands.

Here are Scott Moore’s (2014 Nationals Champion Open Senior Singles) suggestions for singles strategy.

Finally, more players are effectively employing their aggressive singles strokes into their doubles play. Scott Moore is a great example of this.  So while you are waiting for that 3rd and 4th player to show up, grab your paddles and enjoy an exhausting game of singles.  And remember to hydrate!

by Glen Peterson

Meet the Pickleball Pros- Christine Barksdale

Christine Barksdale is playing some amazing pickleball. She was on medal stand five times during the USAPA’s National Pickleball Tournament earlier this month.  Christine has a heart for pickleball, and her positive attitude on the court is contagious.

Pickleball Nationals 2013

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

(We updated Christine’s list of major wins to reflect her FIVE  medal wins at Nationals earlier this month! )

  • 2014 Nationals – Gold, Women’ Singles +35
  • 2014 Nationals – Silver, Women’s Doubles +35 with partner Joy Leising
  • 2014 Nationals – Bronze, Open Women’s Singles
  • 2014 Nationals – Silver, Open Women’s Doubles with Joy Leising
  • 2014 Nationals – Gold, Mixed Doubles 19+ with Wesley Gabrielsen
  • 2013 Nationals – Gold, Age Women’s Singles 
  • 2013 Nationals – Age Mixed Doubles with Wesley Gabrielsen
  • 2013 Tournament of Champions – 3rd Mixed Doubles with Wesley Gabrielsen
  • 2012 Nationals – Gold,  Age Women’s singles
  • 2012 Nationals –  Silver, Open Women’s Singles

PC: What paddle do you play with and why?
CB: I use a Pro Lite Blaster for outdoor and a Pro Lite Magnum for indoor. When my dad taught me to play, that is what he used so it what I started using and have not changed.     

  Pro-Lite Graphite Blaster Pro-Lite Magnum









PC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
CB: I started playing pickleball for fun in 2009 when my Dad introduced the game to me while I was visiting him at the Voyager RV resort in Tucson, AZ. For the first two years, I only played during my annual visit in AZ. I enjoyed being able to spend time with him. One day, for fun I decided to look into local places to play. That is where I met my early teachers Mike Wolfe, Hunter Duval and Enrique Ruiz. I was extremely fortunate that Enrique called me wanting to play in a tournament.

PC: What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
CB: I love outdoor pickleball. While, it is the plexipave surface I love (indoor or outdoor), I also love the outdoor ball and playing in the elements. I grew up playing tennis and outdoor pickleball allows me to use the skills I developed as a tennis player.

PC: Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
CB: That is a difficult question, I see them as totally different sports. If I was forced to pick, I would pick Doubles. I have been fortunate to have some talented partners. I look forward to 2014/2015 with Joy and Wes, my amazing partners and good friends.  

Christine Barksdale and Wes Gabrielsen

PC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
CB: I love to play any place that has permanent outdoor courts, but would say Brigham, Utah. The courts are designed well and the setting is beautiful!

PC: What’s your “secret sauce”? Any tips for players?
CB: Practice, Practice, Practice. Grab a bucket of balls, a friend and get out and hit shots over and over.   Then, the next time you are out socially playing be sure to implement what you have practiced. Don’t be afraid to lose a game or two while developing a new skill.

PC: What’s your day job?
CB: Desktop Support for the Vancouver Public Schools, yes, a computer nerd.

PC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
CB: I generally play once/twice a week. I work pretty long hours so between work, running, tennis and pickleball it’s tough to fit more in. However, I would play more if we had permanent/lighted courts in Vancouver!

PC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
CB: I don’t have lucky rituals, but I don’t like to mess with luck. I have lucky outfits that I use specifically for tournaments. Also, I never look at the draw. I find out who I am playing when they call my name! I am always amazed at the number of people that know this about me and respectfully don’t discuss the draw in front of me.

Pickleball Nationals 2013

PC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
CB: I have two goals. First, I want to play a generation tournament with my dad.   Second, I want to travel to another country to play a tournament and help spread the word that pickleball truly is a sport for a lifetime.

PC: Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?
CB: I am single and have two cats (Mac and Deuce). I have an extremely supportive boyfriend that I have been dating for many years.   I love that when I am playing a tourney he is always following the results. He knows the draws better than I do. He loves the software that we use for pickleball, since he can see so many details realtime.

PC: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
CB: I guess I don’t think of myself as one of the best pickleball players in the world. I think there are lots of folks out there yet to discover the game that will become amazing players! I can tell you that I start getting excited about Nationals, the day Nationals ends the year before. I love the chance to compete but more important, I love the chance to play with and against the top players in the country, then go have dinner with them as my friends.


Thanks again, Christine!

Trying to find videos of Christine playing? Look no longer!


by Miranda


Meet the Pickleball Pros: Don Paschal

In this installment of our “Meet the Pros” series we meet Don Paschal. Don is a well-known name in the pickleball pro community and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Don Paschal


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


  • 2009 Nationals Mens doubles Open bronze
  • 2009 and 2010 Mens doubles 35+
  • 2009 Nationals Mens singles 35+
  • 2010 Nationals Mens doubles – open gold
  • 2011 Nationals Mens doubles – open silver
  • 2012 Nationals Mens doubles – open silver
  • +And, just a couple of weeks ago, 2014 Nationals Mens singles 35+ bronze


PBC: What paddle do you play with and why?

DP:  I play with a Prolite Blaster 7.2 ounce   I’ve always liked the feel of the Prolite paddles. I need the paddle to be light enough to allow me to react at the net.

Pro-Lite Graphtie Blaster

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

DP: I have been playing since High School, played in college with some friends, and have been playing ever since at 24 hour fitness in Bellevue (now Redmond).  My grandad even introduced it to me as a youngster at the tennis court at Alderwood Golf & Country club, even though I did not know what it was at that time. I often wonder if that initial introduction stayed with me all these years, subconciously perhaps.


PBC: What’s your preference — playing indoor or outdoor?

DP: Well in Seattle we often do not have a choice in the matter, but I do enjoy the sunshine, so as a recreation and exercise, I prefer outdoor, but for the purest pickleball, indoor definitely has its advantages.


PBC: Do you like singles or double better? Why?

DP: I would say doubles. It’s primarily what I play and singles is a lot of work.


PBC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

DP:  I really enjoy playing in Surprise, Arizona. Always a fun atmosphere, and great sunshine.


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

DP: Stay focused. That is the #1 reason for errors. Don’t get discouraged.

Don Paschal

PBC: What’s your day job?

DP:  I am a service manager for a beverage company in Kent, WA. My job is mostly out of the office, so I do not sit behind a desk very often, and it allows me the flexibility to play pickleball when I want.


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

DP:  I play about 10-15 hours per week. During the summer time, we try to play outdoors twice per week. And usually either on Saturday or Sunday.


PBC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

DP:  Not really, I just go over strategy with my partner and say “let’s have a good match” and “let’s have fun“.


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

DP: I would love to play in the Olympics one day, but I’m afraid I might be 80 when that happens.


PBC: Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?

DP:  I am single and have a girlfriend.


PBC: Do you have any final words about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

DP:  Having come back from Ogden, Utah (at the Tournament of Champions) recently, you see so many great players out there, who have been introduced to our sport. It was a blast on the day before the Tournament of Champions to play with all those great players.


Thanks, Don!

Click here to see a video of Don Paschal playing at the 2012 National Pickleball Tournament.

by Miranda