Quad Cities Pickleball Club – For the Love of the Game!

The Quad Cities Pickleball Club (QCPC) has recently launched a youth program and a youth clinic in the Quad Cities.  Here is their story, provided by QCPC member Ruth Senneff. Enjoy! 

Introducing the Quad Cities Pickleball Club

The cities of Bettendorf and Davenport are Mississippi River towns on the Iowa side of the river, and the cities of Rock Island, Moline and East Moline are on the Illinois side. These are the major cities in the Quad Cities, and there are about 20+ other communities in the local area. The Quad Cities Pickleball Club draws most of its members from 4 counties and 25 different towns/cities. The club has close to 450 members, and we think 2-3 times more people play the game locally. Pickleball is a hit in the Quad Cities!

How Pickleball Got Started in the Quad Cities

In 2007, a couple of friends from the area spent some time in The Villages over the winter months. Back in town, they would talk about this fun game of pickleball being played down there and wished they could get it going in the Quad Cities. When some players approached both Bettendorf and Davenport Park Boards about the sport, Davenport stepped up to the plate first and marked 3 courts at Northwest Park. Since NW Park is adjacent to the Duck Creek Bike Trail, people would stop their bikes and ask about the game. In June of 2008, a clinic was held at the courts to teach this new sport and to gauge interest from the QC community. A local newspaper, the Quad City Times, covered the clinic and printed an article about it.

The local pickleball craze was on its way. Lines were soon put down on a tennis court in nearby Bettendorf. Dean Easterlund was the first area USAPA Ambassador. The Quad Cities Pickleball Club was organized in 2013 as a nonprofit with a board of directors and about 80 members. Dean served as president of the club the first two years, established our website, and worked with city leaders in getting our first six dedicated courts in Bettendorf in the fall of 2013. Just a few miles to the north, the City of Eldridge, Iowa, put in six lighted dedicated courts the following year, followed by six more on the Illinois side at Mel McKay Park in Rock Island. In 2015, the City of Davenport put in 8 dedicated courts on the original spot where play began.

Bettendorf School District and the City built six dedicated courts on the Middle School campus in 2016, and we celebrated those new courts with school administration, city staff and some youth in June.

Bettendorf School District Staff, City Staff and Youth at new courts on the Middle School Campus

Bettendorf School District Staff, City Staff and Youth at new courts on the Middle School Campus

Silvis, Illinois now has 2 dedicated courts — making a total of 34 dedicated courts in the Quad City area. With our indoor venues, we have close to 90 courts available, and pickleball is easily accessible year-round, without the need for a membership in a retirement community or athletic club — although a membership option is available at the Quad Cities Tennis and Pickleball Club.

Growing Pickleball In the Quad Cities

The area has 5 USAPA Ambassadors living in Bettendorf, Davenport, and DeWitt, Iowa; and Coal Valley and Geneseo, Illinois. Although from different towns and across state lines, these ambassadors work very well together, supporting pickleball initiatives all across the QC. Three of the ambassadors are tournament directors. Our Paddlewheel Tournament and the area’s American Cancer Society Charity Tournament are growing in participation each year. Last year the QCPC managed the pickleball games for the regional Iowa Winter Sr. Olympics held in Rock Island. The QCPC also manages the pickleball games for the local Sr Olympics each June as well, where the pickleball event continues to be the largest event in the Olympics.

Currently, we are looking at the possibility of hosting a regional pickleball tournament in the future, and what that would require in preparation. The Quad Cities Tennis and Pickleball Club is a venue capable of handling such a tournament, as well as BettPlex, a regional sports complex currently under construction in Bettendorf. Our cities lie right along I-80 and 1-74, and a local airport serves both United and Delta, making the area easily accessible for our tournamets or pickleball visitors.

Our current president, Larry Miller, has a big vision for pickleball in the area.  Larry is a IPTPA-certified trainer, and has set up a training program for all levels, using local trainers as well as bringing in national pros. Last year Coach Russell conducted a clinic. In June we hosted Dave Weinbach and Stephanie & LeEllen Lane for a clinic. Many of our players are becoming confident and successful tournament players, playing in tournaments around the country.

Community outreach is another area of focus, and our large volunteer base is dedicated to promoting pickleball as well as giving back to our local communities. We offer free beginner lessons on both sides of the river, have held charity tournaments, have had two blood drives, food drives, participated in community health fairs, offered pickleball lessons to our Plus 60 club, and offered youth camps and clinics.

Okay, now to our involvement with youth!

Brian Roderick and Ruth Sennett win second place in Punta Gorda

Brian Roderick and Ruth Sennett win second place in Punta Gorda

In 2014, another player and I met with the Phys Ed staff at Bettendorf Middle School (from which I had recently retired as a math teacher). Pickleball has been taught at this school since the mid 1980’s as part of a racquet unit, and we thought we could do some volunteer time with the pickleball portion. As it turned out, 17 volunteers from all over the Quad Cities area helped teach pickleball in over 1000 middle schools over the course of 18 days that winter.

In the summer of 2015, we held our first Youth Clinic at our Kiwanis Park dedicated courts in Bettendorf. 40 youth signed up! We had to chalk lines on the nearby tennis courts to make enough courts available. We had enough volunteers to put two on each court, which is great to have on a court of 4 kids.

In 2016, in cooperation with Rock Island Park Department, we offered a four-day pickleball camp at the dedicated courts in Rock Island, IL. We had 11 youth participate in the camp and compete in a round-robin tournament on the last day. This camp was completely staffed by QCPC volunteers.

Our second annual youth clinic, in 2016, saw 32 youth attend with another large group of volunteers. Like the 2015 clinic, it lasted 2 hours, with a break in the middle, and lots of fun drawing prizes at the end.

2016 Summer Youth Clinic - Youth and Volunteers

2016 Summer Youth Clinic – Youth and Volunteers

This year, we had our 3rd annual clinic at the new Bettendorf Middle School courts, with 43 coming to that one! This time we didn’t have the extra space, so we had 7-8 youth on a court with 2-4 volunteers per court.

2017 Youth Clinic

2017 Youth Clinic with students watching a lesson

2017 Youth Clinic at Bettendorf Middle School

2017 Youth Clinic at Bettendorf Middle School with Quad City club members and youth

It worked really well, thanks to our volunteer trainers who were quite comfortable with the numbers and creative in keeping the kids engaged in learning skills. For our drawing at the end we had 20 Pickleball Central drawstring backpacks, along with some PC decals, carabiners, etc. donated by Pickleball Central. (Thank you! I think you have that picture already.) We also had 4 Ranger paddles donated to our program by Paddletek, and some small items from Onix. We acquired some local items as well, and each child went home with a prize.

2017 Youth Clinic on Bettendorf Middle School campus

2017 Youth Clinic on Bettendorf Middle School campus

With Larry’s passion for training along with parent requests for continued play after the clinic, Larry set up a class for pickleball skill lessons as a follow-up to our clinic. Sixteen players came to the first class last week. We found that many of the kids preferred to play the game rather than have a formal skill lesson, so trainers gave occasional pointers while letting them play. Another class will be held this coming week, and then with school starting, perhaps one later a Saturday depending on interest.

Lala Climaco, Larry Miller and Steve Paranto

Lala Climaco, Larry Miller and Steve Paranto

What is exciting and different about this summer’s clinic from previous two years are two things: 1) the sponsor support from Pickleball Central, Paddletek, and Onix; and 2), the follow-up opportunities for kid-play. With Larry’s initiative and organizational help, we extended our youth pickleball program by adding afternoon youth lessons/play times. The original thought was to offer skill lessons, but the youth that have come are showing us that, at this point anyway, they like to get together with their peers and just play pickleball!!

 

Pickleball Ken Shows How to Build a Community around Pickleball

“Pickleball has totally changed my life.”

Those are the words of Ken Marquardt, or Pickleball Ken, as he is affectionately known to friends and fellow players alike.

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Pickleball Ken has taken his life-changing passion and turned it into fodder to transform the pickleball scene of the metro Denver area.

When we last left off with Pickleball Ken it was December of 2015. As the holiday season rolled along, we presented Ken with our Pickleball Central “All Heart” Award alongside the APEX Parks and Recreation District for organizing a Pickleball for Heroes event.

Since then, Pickleball Ken has kept himself pretty busy. Around the same time Pickleball for Heroes was coming to fruition, Pickleball Ken had another iron in the fire. He was going to find a way to get the Denver area outside and playing pickleball!

Fueled by his passion, Pickleball Ken jumped head first into a project that saw the creation of 8 pickleball courts turn into 16 before finally turning into 24! Follow along as we uncover how one person’s dedication can influence a whole community.

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“I have overcome so many challenges in my life.”

As a cancer survivor who also endured two shoulder replacements and two knee replacements, Ken Marquardt has had his share of setbacks. Always an athlete, Ken was crushed to learn that he would no longer to play the sports he loved, such as tennis.

Ken spoke about how he could no longer play tennis to a classmate who travels around in her RV. She informed Ken that they don’t stop at any RV park that doesn’t have pickleball. When Ken informed her that he had never heard of the sport before, his classmate urged that he give it a try.

With his interest piqued, Ken Googled local pickleball courts and came up with one in the Denver area. Ken made the trek and played his first game.

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It was on that day that Ken Marquardt became Pickleball Ken.

“When I started playing, it changed my life. And then I saw other people with sadness in their lives, how they just forgot about that (sadness) when playing pickleball. It’s good for them mentally and physically. I want to share that with everyone. “

Traveling from the north-end of Denver to the sole pickleball court in the area, Ken and a few other local pickleball players agreed that they needed a court closer to where they lived. That’s when Pickleball Ken turned a dream into a community project.

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“The director of APEX  (Park and Recreation District) Mike Mills and I, talked about our community needs outdoor courts. Mike had 10 acres off of 82 and Sims that were free.”

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Mike Mills of APEX

With a place in mind, the project now needed funding. Ken and Mike Mills took their plans to Jefferson County Open Space.  Funds received from Jefferson County Open Space are derived from lottery money, making it tax free dollars.

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The first time Jefferson County Open Space was approached was back in November of 2013. Following a presentation by Pickleball Ken and company, the project was allotted $255,000. This was enough money for the first eight courts to be created.

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From there, the vision grew and funding was approved for eight more courts that were completed in the following year. Now, the project is in its final stages. To the tune of 1.7 million dollars, this 24 court park is going to be completed, and fully operational for all to enjoy.

Looking back at Ken’s initial charitable endeavor with Pickleball for Heroes, this new 24-court facility also pays homage to those who have sacrificed for their community. Ken stated,

“We want to honor all veterans. Whether, firefighters or policemen, and especially the military. And that is why the park is named Community Heroes Park. ”

 

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Not just in name alone, the park also pays homage through a symbolic eagle.

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Although its beauty is undeniable, Ken didn’t feel that displaying an eagle was enough to give thanks to our servicemen and women. That is why he organized the aforementioned Pickeball for Heroes event where proceeds went to veterans with traumatic brain injury.

Using pickleball for charitable efforts didn’t end there. As the park has grown, so has its community outreach. Pickleball Ken and the Denver pickleball community started putting on clinics for autistic and disabled children. As Ken fondly recalled,

“I had a mother come up to me and their son was 17 years old and never stood up in his life. And she had tears in her eyes and she said, ‘Thank you, Ken.’ And it just totally changes my life and other people’s lives. And so, I wanted to share that with everybody.”

With his passion and dedication, Pickleball Ken has blown the door open for pickleball in the Denver area. Seeing firsthand how pickleball transformed his life, he is now sharing that gift in a park made by the community, for the community. Who knows what Pickleball Ken will be up to the next time we check in with him?

 

 

 

Planning a Pickleball Tournament Just Got Easier: PickleballTournaments.com and PickleballCentral.com Become Affiliate Partners

Are you planning on holding a pickleball tournament? Do you have your committee and volunteers in place? Do you have your venue and dates picked out? What about the hundreds of other details?

The number of pickleball tournaments in the United States, and around the world, is increasing and helping to grow the sport of pickleball. At PickleballCentral we are thrilled that it is getting easier for a player to find a local pickleball tournament, but we also understand that the planning and directing of a pickleball tournament is a very complicated and time-consuming endeavor. That is why we are excited to announce that PickleballCentral.com will now be making it easier than ever for tournament directors to get everything needed for a fun, affordable and stress-free event.

PickleballCentral and PickleballTournaments Logo

On September 7, 2017 PickleballCentral and PickleballTournaments.com will begin an affiliate partnership to provide the needed services and products for pickleball tournaments. PickleballTournaments.com is the worldwide industry leader in pickleball tournament software, management and services, while PickleballCentral.com is the world’s leading online store for pickleball equipment. Working from the same set of core values, these two companies are determined to see participation in pickleball continue to grow, and the best way to accomplish that is to increase the number of available tournaments.

Tournament Planning Becomes Less Complicated

Now tournament directors will be able to quickly and easily access the #1 resource for pickleball equipment and the #1 resource for pickleball tournament registration and management during the tournament planning process. Instead of spending additional time searching a variety of sources for custom gear, apparel, medals and other tournament merchandise, now support and supplies will be just a few clicks away.

“We will offer custom pickleball t-shirts, pickleball medals, referee gear, custom pickleballs and custom pickleball paddle covers,” states Anna Copley, co-owner of PickleballCentral. “We have lots of product ideas that are unique and affordable for pickleball tournaments.”

The number of pickleball tournaments has grown at an incredible rate over the past few years, and PickleballTournaments.com has been growing as well, providing services to tournament organizers that ease their workload and make for streamlined events. Their web-based tournament management system is used by the thousands of tournament directors who register, organize and manage tournaments of all sizes, and is the one website all tournament players visit for tournament information, registration and to follow themselves or friends and family through live tournament brackets and player results.

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Developed by Bob Lanius, a Microsoft developer who needed a more timely and efficient tool for directing large events, this proprietary software handles everything from registration and payments to event marketing, scheduling and real-time activity tracking during the tournament. Many credit their easy-to-use management software as having a large impact on the rise in tournaments.

“No other software in the world can manage hundreds of matches across multiple brackets in the automated fashion that PickleballTournaments.com does,” states Melissa McCurley, CEO of PickleballTournaments.com. “If it weren’t for Bob developing this site, there would not be the explosion in the growth of tournaments like we see today. It just wouldn’t be possible. We all owe Bob a lot of gratitude.”

Partnering for Pickleball Growth

Having sponsored a number of tournaments, PickleballCentral had been looking for a way to become more directly involved in the planning process. The opportunity to work directly with PickleballTournaments.com came at the perfect time.

“We saw a need for pickleball specific tournament supplies, so we were thrilled when Melissa approached us last spring to discuss an affiliate partnership,” added Anna. “Partnering with PickleballTournaments.com connects us with the epicenter of pickleball tournaments. We are honored to be the Official Supplier of pickleball tournament supplies for PickleballTournaments.com and are excited about our new line of pickleball tournament products.”

Take a look at the pickleball tournament items we’re offering in conjunction with this wonderful partnership!

A New Age in Pickleball

Pickleball is unique in three ways:

1) It has the lowest barrier to entry of all paddle and racquet sports.

2) It largely removes advantages coming from age, gender and even athletic ability. And…

3) It has developed a unique culture where both friendship and activity intersect.

The paddle and underhand serve to lower the barrier to entry. The low bouncing ball and non-volley zone mitigate discrimination. The small court and preference for doubles and “groupy” nature encourage socialization.

But the aspect of age discrimination is eroding. And I think that’s good news for the sport.

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Dave Weinbach has won gold in Mens Doubles during both Pickleball US Opens

The inevitable rise of younger players to the top of this sport is near; this is wonderful for everyone and humbling for some, including me. Three years ago Brian Staub, at 56 years old, won Nationals with Phil Bagley (Phil was in his 40s). Two years ago Steve Dawson and his son Callam took silver in the Nationals. Steve was 50.

But in 2016, no player over 50 even medaled in the top three Mens Open tournaments in the nation. Dave Weinbach appears ageless on the court and demonstrates that a player in their 40s can still prevail in the highest levels of play.

I predict that, within 3 years, no player over 50 will ever medal again in the biggest men’s doubles events (except within age brackets). Sad for some. But great for the sport and for the many young players who enjoy it immensely. The sport which works so hard not to discriminate against age is finally giving way.

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22-year-old Kyle Yates was Dave’s partner for both Opens

Even the USAPA cannot dictate a low enough bouncing ball to stop this train!

Kyle Yates, Ty McGuffin and Ben Johns love the sport and now own it. Seniors like me do our best to simply acknowledge and celebrate this trend. Younger players bring a thrill to the sport that is exciting. And I am a happy resident of Realville!

Pickleball rallies conclude with all four players at the kitchen line. Typically, a popped up ball and lightening fast exchange concludes the point. Suffice to say, youth will prevail in these exchanges.

What are your thoughts on pickleball’s growing trend of favoring younger players?

Tournament Tips: Arizona’s Sun City Festival Pickleball Club on Brackets and Delegation

For Ann Purvis, pickleball is a community affair. Seven years ago, her husband bought her a paddle and they embarked on their pickleball journey together. The two of them began taking lessons together. As they honed their skills, Ann and her husband began teaching the rest of their family the joys of the sport. Now, Ann enjoys playing with her children and grandchildren when they all get together.

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Ann Purvis at an archaeological dig in Mesa Verde.

 

Ann became fully immersed in Buckeye, Arizona’s Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Four years after she first picked up a paddle, Ann found herself with a unique opportunity. The President of the Club needed volunteers to learn how to put on a tournament. Six members volunteered. One of them was Ann. With three years of experience under her belt, she was kind enough to share some advice with PickleballCentral.

What is the name of your tournament?

The Sun City Festival In House Pickleball Tournament.

Was there a club hosting the tournament? Name of the club?

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The Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Our club currently has a little over 500 members.

When was your tournament?

It was this past year. March 20 through 23, with a scheduled rain day on March 24.

Where was your tournament?

Sun City Festival Pickleball Courts located in Buckeye, Arizona.

How many players registered for the tournament?

We had 162 registrants.

How many courts were available for the tournament? Indoor court or outdoor courts?

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Eight outdoor courts. Hence the need for a rain day!

What events/brackets did you offer? 

Since we are a retirement community, we broke the brackets into skill levels. We wanted new members to have the tournament experience and created round robin brackets just for them. They were able to have a tournament experience while playing with people they play with every day.

Did you have a team working with you? What were their delegated tasks/roles?

Absolutely! The more people who are involved, the better the tournament and the learning experience. We had lots of committees so people did not have to spend their entire lives on the tournament. Committees were:

Set Up and Clean Up
Vendors
Volunteers
Photography
Referees
Food/Snacks/Hydration
Raffle
First Aid/Safety
Registration
We also did a lot of cross-training and mentoring.

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?

We did have sponsors. Most of them run small businesses in the community and people who participated in the tournament knew them. We charged $25 and a banner. We displayed the banners prominently.

We also had vendors who set up tables and sold their wares. Some of these were from the community and some were national. We offered them a choice of days since there was another tournament going on at the same time. Most came for two days.  The fee was $25. We provided the tables.

Did you offer refreshments? Or sell food/drink at the event?

We did have a Food/Snacks/Hydration table where we offered players and volunteers oranges, bananas, cookies, pretzels, water and Gatorade. That was to support the players. We also had a food vendor who sold breakfast, lunch and drinks at the event.

Did you charge a registration fee? How much?

This was an in-house tournament fee of $20.

Anything special or unique about your tournament?

Our club hosted the USAPA Nationals for the first six years the tournament was held. It is important to know that this tournament was started in order to teach our members how to put on a tournament and how to participate in a real tournament.

What are your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?

Choose your team carefully. Everyone on the team must be a self-starter and must be willing to take on other jobs to make sure the tournament works. The goal is to have the players enjoy their play and to make sure only the team knows when things go wrong.

Having mentors on the team was very helpful. They knew several tournament jobs and were able to help others learn and fill in when there was a problem. Also, having people on the team and in the community who knew how to operate pickleballtournaments.com was a great help.

Develop a checklist and a budget for your tournament.

Most importantly, having a supportive community and club are keys to success.

Richard Dudek Introduces Pickleball to Western Massachusetts

We love to share a good story with you. Here is one, compliments of Richard Dudek, a pickleball mover and shaker in Agawam Massachusetts. First, you must know this: Agawam Massachusetts has the distinction of the lowest zip code in the US: 01001!  If you google Agawam Mass Pickleball, you will find the local news article featuring the grand opening of this lovely court.

Richard Dudek Agawam Mass

Richard Dudek, 3rd from the left, Mayor Richard Cohen, center right, Parks and Recreation Director Christopher Sparks left center, and other community members celebrating the completion of a new dedicated pickleball court at Borgatti Field on Sept. 27. The Reminder Publications photo by Chris Goudreau

Richard Dudek is in love with the game of pickleball. He loves to teach people the fine art of the game. He played for 15 years in Florida and decided to find out how to get the game started in his home town. It took 3 years and a lot of work in the public sector and fundraising to the tune of $50,000 to get the Agawam outdoor court built.

Richard’s determination involved obtaining the thumbs-up from the local senior center, from Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen, the Parks and Rec, the Community Preservation Board, the City Council and the local court construction company. He loves how all his specifications were seriously considered: good dividers, 13 foot backdrops, 10-foot clearance area and a dividing wall. People thank Richard every day for his hard work in getting the first dedicated court built in the area.

There is nothing like it in a 40-mile radius from Agawam,” says Richard. The new Borgatti Field court is the “first true outdoor pickleball court in Western Massachusetts.” He has the go ahead to put in 2 more courts now and has the financial backing to do it. Way to go, Richard!

Folks in other nearby towns are frustrated that they have caught the pickleball “bug” but can only find dilapidated tennis courts for pickleball. Here’s hoping they find the same determination that Agawam has in Richard Dudek!

Tournament Tips: State Games of Mississippi on the Importance of Volunteerism

“I believe that volunteerism is an important contributor to the quality of life in all of  our communities and believe that we should all pitch in as we are able.”

Those are the words of Ron Eaton, tournament director for the State Games of Mississippi. Being a former racquetball, cyclist, and tennis player, Ron picked up his first pickleball paddle 20 months ago. The physicality and mental challenges of pickleball is what initially hooked Ron. However, it was the great social circle that got him to stay.

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Ron Eaton (L) with Men’s Doubles Partner, Jason David (R)

When USAPA Ambassadors in his area, Tom and Deonne Linenberger, approached Ron about taking the lead of the tournament, he couldn’t turn them down. After all, they worked tirelessly to build pickleball in his community. Ron noted, they took the pickleball community from “a very small base of people into robust program that has improved the quality of life for many people.” So when the Linenbergers asked for a helping hand, Ron Eaton was more than happy to step up. 

What is the name of your tournament?

State Games of Mississippi. We are 1 of 35 members of the National Congress of State Games.

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Mississippi State Games Medalist showing off his award.

Was there a club hosting the tournament? Name of the club?

We are the Mississippi Gulf Coast Pickleball.

When was your tournament? 

May 5 & 6, 2017.

Where was your tournament? 

A. J. Holloway Sports Complex in Biloxi, Mississippi

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Sportsmanship brings the community together.

How many players registered for the tournament?

97 players registered.

How many courts were available for the tournament? Indoor court or outdoor courts?

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We used up to 8 outdoor courts, as needed.

What events/brackets did you offer?  

Round Robin format, USAPA rules, unrated players/brackets.

We offered juniors 17 and under, 18+

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One of the main reasons Ron joined the tournament was its inclusion of all ages

35+, 50+, 55+, 60+, 65+,  70+,  75+

We also had Men and Women’s open doubles for advanced players.

Did you have a team working with you?  What were their delegated tasks/roles? 

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Ron handing out medals to gold winners in Men’s Doubles 75+, George Hults (C) and Whitner Church (R)

Yes, the tournament committee consisted of 5 people and myself. We had shared tasks and roles. They included:

  • Strategic planning and marketing
  • Administrative
  • Rules and tournament design
  • Volunteer sourcing

Tasks that fell under any and all of the roles above included:

  • Establishment of tournament priorities
    • In our case:
      1. Hospitality
      2. Inclusion of all ages (Really wanted to get youth involved)
      3. “Noon to noon” tournament
      4. Deliver most competitive fields possible
  • Establish marketing outreach
  • Confirm outdoor facility as well as indoor rain venue
  • Ensure tournament medical response protocol is established
  • Figure out registration and fee collection processes
  • Partner matching
  • Handle all pre-tournament inquiries

We also had volunteers who performed half-day assignments. Their duties included tasks such as:

  • Court set up
  • Reception center
  • Registration packet delivery
  • Running the tournament desk, including real-time bracket posting
  • Award confirmations
  • Award presentations
  • Tournament announcements
  • Runners to assist players to correct courts
  • Runners to bring back score cards to tournament desks
  • Score keeping and refereeing
  • Hydration planning- bottled water and PowerAde in several locations

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?

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State Games of Mississippi

Yes.  PickleballCentral  was very supportive in providing tournament balls, registration bags, and banners.  McAlister’s Deli graciously provided the box lunches.

Was the tournament a fund-raising event? For what charity or cause? How much did you raise?

The State Games of Mississippi is a privately-sponsored, non-profit organization that promotes amateur athletics and healthy lifestyles for residents of all ages and abilities.  Pickleball was added as a new game to the SGM venue of 38 sponsored sports on its 25th Anniversary.

Playing pickleball at the MS State Games

Did you offer refreshments?

Yes.  Bottled Water, PowerAde, bananas, apples, Nature Valley Power Bar Products, and 1 McAlister’s Box lunch for registrants and volunteers.  Nothing was sold at the tournament.

Did you charge a registration fee?  How much?  

Yes. $30.  Registration packet included a T Shirt, hand towel, first serve bracelet, and several miscellaneous items.

Officers Brian Acuna (L) and Deputy Tyrus Mack (R) sporting gold medals

Officers Brian Acuna (L) and Deputy Tyrus Mack (R) sporting gold medals

Anything special or unique about your tournament?  

It was the first all age tournament of  its type in Mississippi.  It was also the first sponsored tournament hosted by Mississippi Gulf Coast Pickleball.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Pickleball

What is your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?  

A tournament, particularly a first tournament, is much like a first impression in that you only get one chance to make it. An event that registrants and volunteers alike enjoy, feel included, feel challenged, and look forward to the next one is a goal to strive for.

It's all about the future of pickleball.

It’s all about the future of pickleball.

Our committee, with no pickleball tournament experience until this year, attended, observed, and learned from other tournaments. We held “mini” practice tournaments that built our experience and confidence.  A committee with varied skill sets, respect for one another, attention to detail, and a willingness to “real time” manage the tournament from announcement to breakdown will be appreciated by all.