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.

GAMMA’s Dart Hits the Mark with Its Low Cost and Precision Placement

GAMMA’s Dart Paddle has reached our shelves and with its price efficient yet high quality features it’s already winning admirers. The clean black and yellow design stands out with its sleek looks, but what does it have to offer when it comes to play?

We connected with GAMMA to better understand the Dart’s best qualities and share what makes it a great buy.

Tennis-Style Grip

GAMMA knows that many pickleball players are entering the game from other racquet sports like tennis. To try and recreate a familiar feel in their equipment, GAMMA gave the Dart’s handle angular edges and used a gel-textured grip to create traction without feeling overly sticky. It provides just enough cushioning and draws sweat away from your skin.

The result is a firm hand-paddle connection that won’t slip or waver during play. It also looks just as polished as it feels thanks to the matching bee-like colors that mirror the face.

Adaptable Weight and Texture

The GAMMA Dart is a trim 7.4 oz which lends itself to easy maneuverability and control, but it’s not so light that you can’t add power when needed. The composite face is the same used in the GAMMA Mirage and Pin paddles, which offers a light texture for added spin.

Davon Martin with the Dart

Davon Martin with the Dart

GAMMA-represented player Davon Martin (4.5) shares that, “The texture… is perfect. It allows you to achieve really good under spin when slicing and awesome top spin when rolling the ball corner to corner or down the baselines.” The company adds, “The Dart’s composite face allows for the extra punch needed for groundstrokes and smashes.”

Touch-Centric Feel

The Dart uses a polyester core which is suitable for a broad spectrum of players. GAMMA mentions that many of their pros took to the paddle quickly at Nationals and appreciated its speed and pop. The face shape isn’t especially rounded so that picklers can use that extra bit of surface space along the edges to return difficult shots when required.

Davon adds, “The paddle hits exceptionally well… the Dart allows you to generate more power with less effort. Ground strokes came naturally with the DART, and I could really lay into my back hand from the base line when I need to. The DART offers lots of touch, which helps to keep balls low, to redirect shots, and with blocking and handling dinks.”

Davon Martin and the Dart

Davon Martin and the Dart

At only $69.99, the Dart offers a lot of value at a reasonable price point. If you’re looking for a paddle that’s versatile enough to support both slams and dinks, with a quick speed and gentle touch, it might be the right choice for you.

Take a look at the GAMMA Dart for yourself and see if it hits the bullseye for your pickleball needs!

Is Your Pickleball Paddle Dead? Here’s How to Know If It’s Time for a Replacement

Very few players are paddle agnostic. Many of us have our favorite “go-to” choice to use on the courts, with some even switching to a secondary Ol’ Reliable depending on the location and conditions. This makes it all the more difficult to handle when your paddle starts to lose its juice and go dead.

A “dead paddle” is a paddle has been damaged or (over)used to the point that it’s no longer playing at its optimal potential. While this can occur due to obvious incidents like being thrown, getting hit on the ground or breakage, it could also be the case that your equipment has simply reached the end of its natural lifespan.

Paddles in sand

Is it time to retire your paddle? (Credit: Baliboa)

Most high qualities paddles will last at least a year, but it’s not unheard of to need to switch things out earlier if you’re a very frequent and/or aggressive player. However, if you’ve only had a paddle a few months and it starts to feel less “poppy” and responsive, something may have gone wrong. Be sure to look up your paddle’s warranty info if you feel it’s died before its time.

All this being said, it can sometimes be a little tricky to tell if a paddle has started to break down. Here are a few ways to assess the damage:

Does Your Paddle Sound Dull?

Every paddle has a unique sound, with some providing a nice, sharp pop and others being a bit more low key. However, generally speaking a fully functional paddle has a bit of a hollow sound when you hit in its sweet spot. If your paddle sounds different than the day you got it and makes a “duller” noise, then it may have started to develop dead spots where the interior honeycomb has been misshapen.

Does Your Paddle Feel Unresponsive?

Most paddles will provide less responsiveness along the edges of the face and near the handle, although this can vary depending on your paddle’s design. You should have a general idea of where your gear’s sweet spot lies—that area where pickleballs seem to fly off its surface with ease. If the sweet spot suddenly seems to have a dampened feel and those balls aren’t jumping away as easily, your paddle may have lost its potency.

Can You See Unevenness in the Paddle’s Face?

The most obvious signs of damage are those you can see. Sometimes this can be difficult to notice at a glance, however if you carefully examine your paddle at different angles in bright lighting, you may be able to note small dips in its face. This is a sure-fire sign that the core has been damaged to some extent. You may not need to replace your paddle right away, but the deeper those grooves get, the more likely you are to lose control and responsiveness in your game.

If you’ve discovered that your paddle isn’t playing like it used to, never fear! You now have the perfect excuse—err, opportunity—to try out a new paddle and see if something different might better support your play style. Or if you’re a die-hard fan, you can always purchase a new version of your favorite model.

Have you had a paddle die on you before? If so, did you take the opportunity to try something different or stick to your tried and true choice?

Products to Stay Warm While You’re Playing Pickleball in the Winter

If you’re determined to play pickleball outdoors when the temperature has dipped below most people’s comfort level, PickleballCentral has several options that will help you endure the cold. Take a look at our offerings and see if any of the apparel or accessories can support your temperature-defying activities!

Pickleball Sport Beanie

This attractive beanie is made from an acrylic fabric and has “Pickleball” and its date of establishment printed in the center of the design. Our heads are more sensitive to temperature changes than most other areas of the body, so it will go a long way to helping you feel warmer and cozier by keeping it protected from the chill.

Polar Tack Gloves

As of this publishing date, our Polar Tack Gloves are currently on clearance pricing (only $19.99 from their usual $34.99), so they’re a great buy if you’re looking to keep your hands protected on a budget. The gloves’ palm and fingers use sheepskin to create a wonderfully soft feel while also improving performance. A fleece backing and lining keep you insulated in addition to a wrist strap that prevents heat from leaving.

Hot Glove Mitt

The Hot Glove Mitt is entirely made of fleece and perfect for players who still want to be able to grip their paddle directly without dealing with frosty fingers. With this product, your paddle’s handle slips directly into the mitt with your hand so you can enjoy the full tactile sensation of having contact with your grip.

USAPA Discover Pullover

This pullover provides excellent insulation and style. The polyester is also ideal for wicking sweat away from the body, meaning you stay dry without sacrificing comfort. The sharp design also includes several zipped pockets so you can store accessories (or a hand warmer!) on your person.

Impact Pullover

Our Impact Pullover is a popular piece that adds an extra layer of coziness to your outfit. It uses a polyester material like the Discover to keep sweat from weighing you down during play. The mandarin collar adds a little more protection around your neck while the zipper can be kept up at the start of the match and lowered as you begin to heat up.

Impact Pullover

Impact Pullover (Women’s / Men’s)

What are your must-haves for the winter season when you’re taking to the courts? Any special products you’d like to see to better handle the weather?

Is Pickleball a Year-Round Sport?

Certain sports are simply made for the summer. Baseball, soccer, golf and other activities practically necessitate nice weather since indoor alternatives just don’t feel the same or provide the space the sports truly require.

While many picklers will say they prefer playing outside, one of pickleball’s strengths is that it’s quite easy to take indoors as well. Many rec players use gyms, indoor tennis or badminton courts and other alternatives with hard flooring to play their favorite game throughout the year.

At the same time, pickleball has a reputation for being much beloved by “snowbirds” who abandon one location for sunnier locales like FL, AZ or HI when the climate turns chilly. Others who live in these locations chose them specifically because they knew the weather would never prevent them from going outside to indulge in a game.

Sunny pickleball

We don’t all get to enjoy weather like this throughout the year (Credit: Darryl Kenyon

It’s true that outdoor and indoor pickleball have their differences, and it’s not always easy to make the transition. Each typically uses a unique ball, the indoor style being a softer, bouncier and slower moving than the outdoor alternative. The flooring is different (sometimes requiring unique shoes) and environmental conditions affect play much more outdoors than they do inside. Some players even switch paddles depending on where they’re playing.

Both styles of the game can be satisfying, but not all players are open to the idea of switching their preferred setting once they’ve gotten familiar with one.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you solely play indoors or outdoors, or are you willing to transition between the two depending on what’s available?

With big indoor tournaments like the International Indoor Pickleball Championship in Centralia coming up, we think you shouldn’t limit your options! But perhaps there should be an easier way to keep picklers playing regardless of where they’re located.

Do you need any convincing to play pickleball in your less-preferred setting?

How USAPA Ambassador Cindy Clodfelter Brought Pickleball to NC Schools

We were contacted by USAPA Ambassador Cindy Clodfelter to share an exciting story about her success bringing pickleball to Lee County schools in NC. This was done with the help of Tramway Elementary teacher Cara Langston, additional ambassadors and supporters of the USAPA including PickleballCentral.

If you’re curious about how pickleball has been brought to schools and other communities, the following interview provided by Cindy will be of great interest and show how the entire pickleball community can help rally behind a great cause. Enjoy!

How did you end up helping Lee County with their pickleball program? 

I was contacted by Joe Borelli with the USAPA to present pickleball at the NCAAHPERD (North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, and Sport Management) Convention. He also contacted Cara Langston to help me with the presentation. I didn’t know Cara at the time but enjoyed working with her. We were given 50 minute time slot and spent some time planning together by email/phone.

There were 80 participants who attended our presentation at the convention, which was held at the Benton Convention Center in Winston Salem, NC. Most were PE teachers from the state public schools and colleges. Several were already avid pickleball players themselves. Many said they tended to introduce pickleball at their schools near the end of the year, because once their students played, they didn’t want to go switch to any other game!

Cindy with students

Cindy Clodfelter with Tramway students (Sanford Herald)

What sort of support did you receive? 

I contacted the USAPA, PickleballCentral, Onix, TOPP and Engage for support in bringing pickleball to Lee County.

Bynum Tuttle from Onix presented me with a special program called the Onix Give Back Program which included special prices on nets, paddles and balls. He also gave the school 8 paddles and balls to get started. PickleballCentral gave me discount cards and bags for participants. TOPP Pickleball gave me a demo paddle for students to use.

I applied for a USAPA grant and was provided $350 which I used to purchase 2 net systems and 8 PickleballCentral paddles.

What’s it like being a USAPA ambassador and what was the process like for bringing pickleball to these schools? 

As an ambassador for the USAPA, I made a commitment to grow the sport of pickleball for people of all ages. I was part of NCAAHPERD for 30 years myself and am a retired member now. I was a Nationally Board Certified Physical Educator during my career, so I’m very passionate about PE and pickleball.

I currently play pickleball, teach beginners how to get into the game and participate in ambassador meetings and events.

As a member of the USAPA, I stay informed of the growth of the sport. All ambassadors have the same grant info provided on the USAPA website. An ambassador is the only person who can write a USAPA grant. To become an ambassador, one must be a member of USAPA and complete an application to be appointed. Schools can contact local ambassadors for help, as the USAPA offers both school and recreation grants. I often help with program and court development.

Cara Langston is a player too and knows the value of the game. She’s an accomplished PE teacher who has a desire to help her students be more fit and and live well. Her middle school already had a program in place and she had a goal of getting her students playing in addition to sharing her equipment with Southern Lee High so kids in Lee County could learn the game throughout high school.

When I was teacher, I wrote grants for my students because I didn’t have a budget to get equipment. Grants take some work, but you must want to make a difference in the lives of students and your community.

Gael with students

Gael Hogan helping to teach the pickleball walkthrough (Sanford Herald)

What is your general advice for picklers looking to start programs like this and what do you enjoy most about the process? 

There is often money for bright ideas, but you have to apply to get it and show the data to prove the impact in your teaching.

Don’t be afraid to ask companies for support—all they can say is no, and many don’t mind helping!

Cara’s students were awesome. They had fun and seemed excited about learning more about game. I called on fellow ambassadors from my area and players in Lee County to help me teach.   Other ambassadors are always willing to help, and in this case it was Gael Hogan from Sandford, NC who supporting me in the walkthrough at Tramway.

Pickleball is addictive and the fastest growing sport in the country. It’s often more than a sport, but a way of life. I’m always grateful for the friends I have met playing this game. My “pickleball family,” as I call them, mean the world to me.

Lee County School System was very proud of Cara and her willingness to better educate her students. Cara will work with Vickie Wilkins from Southern Lee to develop lesson plans for the game. Vickie is a tennis coach at Southern Lee High—and it’s a good indoor tennis practice activity. I am reminded of pickleball pro Stephanie Lane who was first introduced to pickleball from her tennis coach.

I’m always open to helping schools have better PE activities. It’s hard not to like pickleball and it’s great that you don’t even need to be an athlete to give it a go.

Cindy Clodfelter

USAPA Ambassador – Archdale, NC