Give a Special Gift with Custom Pickleball Paddles

Have you ever thought it would be fun to design your own paddle? Or create a unique paddle for a friend or family member? The good news is—it’s entirely possible to do this!  While we currently don’t have the ability to make custom paddles here at PickleballCentral, some of the manufacturers we work with do offer this service at a fairly affordable price.

Custom paddles make wonderful gifts since you can use pictures or other personal images on the paddle’s face, giving the giftee a little reminder of you whenever they play. They also serve as great prizes if you want to offer a truly unique reward for members of your local club during tournaments. You can use your team’s logo or another clever image to make your prize paddle stand out.

Pro-Lite Custom Paddles

An example of Pro-Lite’s custom paddles

The first and probably easiest way to get a custom paddle is through Pro-Lite. You can use your own image on their popular graphite Blaster paddle through the order form here. You can even select what type of grip you’d like them to apply and put different pictures on each side of the face.

The other option is going through Manta. While they don’t have an order form on their site, you should be able to contact them and request pricing. They have stated that they currently do custom images on their Extreme and Custom Pro series, however you must make a minimum purchase of 12 paddles for them to do this. As such, it makes more sense going through Manta if you want matching paddles for clubs or other communities.

POP Paddle Designs

Different variations of POP designs

We’re pretty sure POP offers custom paddles too. There are limited designs to choose from, but you have more flexibility when it comes to selecting the materials and weight. You can contact the owner, Brian Jensen, at brian@performanceonepaddle.com.

And what if you want a paddle with its standard design and slight modifications, such as a smaller grip size? Manufacturers are usually pretty accommodating with such requests. We ask that customers give the manufacturer a call directly, as sometimes they will be able to shave down a grip or modify a paddle’s weight to better meet a player’s needs.

Would you ever use a custom-designed paddle? What image(s) would you like to see on it?

How to Set Up a Local Pickleball Club

Pickleball is a social sport by nature, and since many players’ favorite type of game is doubles, more people equals more fun. But what can you do if there aren’t many picklers in your area, or if pickleball itself is relatively unknown?

We recommend starting your own pickleball club. This can seem daunting at first, but the truth is it can be as simple as contacting a nearby rec center or finding an old tennis court. You’ll end up with more people to play with, and a whole new group of pickleball fanatics will be born. It’s win-win!

Pickleball is highly addictive, and if you can get even a few people on the courts, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get return visitors bringing their friends. Let’s walk through how you can go about setting up your own pickleball paradise.

Find a Place to Play Pickleball

The first step is finding a suitable place to play. Choosing a centralized location in your city is always a plus, as it will make your club more accessible to visitors. If you know of a nearby rec center, park or other public facility where there are already tennis courts then that’s a plus, as you can fit 4 pickleball courts within 1 tennis court. There are detailed instructions on how to utilize a tennis court for pickleball here. Doubles badminton courts are the same size as those used in pickleball as well.

Warehouse Pickleball Court

Our court is in the warehouse, but the net gets moved around depending on how many boxes are present…

If you can find a location with pre-established courts, you’ll need to ask the owner or coordinator of the facility if it would be possible to allow a time for pickleball drop-ins to play, and if it’s okay to use court tape or temporary markers on the ground to establish boundary lines. Another useful tool is a net adjuster so you can lower tennis or badminton nets to the appropriate height of 34”.

Of course, the most accessible place to play is the court you build yourself! If you have the space, you can always install your own court using our Wilson posts or set things up on the go using a portable net system. We also know about plenty of communities that have lobbied to get public pickleball courts installed with great success.

Choose the Right Equipment

Once you have a court, the next step is to ensure your members have equipment. It’s great if people can bring their own paddles and balls, however if you’re starting from scratch, there’s a possibility most of your members will be newbies. It doesn’t hurt to have extras on hand for anyone curious about the game either, since most people end up investing in better paddles down the line.

The most affordable type of paddles are wood, so it’s possible to buy several without breaking the bank. However, if you want potential members to get a real sense of what a “good” pickleball paddle plays like, buying a couple low cost composite paddles (which will be cheaper if they’re gently used) will be your best bet.

Find Members for Your Pickleball Club

So how do you go about finding members? A good place to start is to look at nearby USAPA members and other clubs in your area by going to USAPA.org. Not only will they be able to offer advice on getting up your club set up, but some members might find it convenient to visit your location.

You can also build interest by advertising at recreation centers, senior communities, talking with friends and otherwise sharing it along the grapevine. Word tends to spread naturally once you find a few people to start, as members get their friends and family involved. Offering free lessons is the best way to get newcomers to the courts, otherwise they may feel out of their depth. You don’t have to be a professional to share your love and general knowledge of the game.

Pickleball teacher

A pickleball coach sharing the game from Pickleball Canada

The USAPA provides a lot of materials that you can use to supply players with information. At PickleballCentral we include Coach Mo’s Strategy Guide in most of the packages we send out, so that’s another good tool to have in your arsenal. These sort of “take home” packages are a plus, but we find that simply getting people onto the court is the quickest way to rack up interest.

Another tried-and-true way to get attention and make sure everyone in your area knows about pickleball is to contact the local media. Even if only a few members are in attendance, news outlets are eager to feature new initiatives, and the increase in exposure can really help your club thrive.

Keep People in the Loop

A simple way to maintain ongoing engagement is to create a website so people can view your schedule. This makes it easier to get information to members and beginners alike. Setting up a website is quite simple these days. You can sign up for free at WordPress to get access to the same user-friendly platform we use to share our blog. You should also get yourself listed on the USAPA’s Communities and Clubs list and their Places to Play section—it’s free!

Enjoy the Best Savings

Lastly, be sure to sign up with our Club Rewards program. There’s no fee to get started, and you and your club members will receive a special code to get 5% off every order at PickleballCentral. Another 5% of your order total will go into a savings account which will accrue funds based on all your members’ purchases throughout the year. At the start of the New Year, we’ll send you a gift certificate code for the money you saved to be spent on new supplies and gear.

US Open Courts

A look at the extensive U.S. Open courts

The USAPA says that in 2015 an average of nearly 20 new locations to play pickleball are being established weekly: That’s over 1,040 courts a year! With the sport experiencing such massive growth you can bet that starting your own club will allow you to get the most out of the pickleball movement.

Pickleball “All Heart” Award: Dick Howell and the Heart O’ The Hills Camp for Girls

i-love-pickleball1

This is a pickleball love story.  Enjoy what Dick Howell has to say about the history and development of pickleball at a girls camp in Hunt, Texas.

In 1976, Heart O’ The Hills Camp for Girls in Hunt, Texas, constructed a dedicated Pickleball Court with equipment brought to the Heart O’ The Hills Camp by a man from Atlanta.  Most of the equipment was lost in an ensuing flood and no one knew how to replace it.

Heart O Hills 1

Heart O Hills Pickleball Court

It became a badminton court. Then it was used as a volleyball, dodgeball and basketball court, as well as a staging area for many tribal activities. But, it has always been called the pickleball court. I confessed to many a parent that I had no idea what the game of pickleball was, only that it was a court game.

 Then, one day I played pickleball.  

 Two years ago I started up pickleball again at the Heart O’ The Hills Girls Camp as an elective activity. All of the girls that try it, love it. This year I am expecting 25 girls for a four-week session. It has been a great experience,  a learning experience for me. Success in anything boosts confidence and self-esteem, and I do not know of another sports where success comes so suddenly.

Heart O Hills 2

First Class of Pickleball 6-8 year old girls at Camp Heart O’ The Hills

Thank you so much, Dick Howell, for sharing this story of pickleball lost and pickleball found at the Heart O’ The Hills Girls Camp.   You definitely have earned the PickleballCentral “All Heart” Award.  Congratulations!

Sequim Picklers

It takes a village to grow a pickleball community.  Sequim Picklers is one such community that is growing because folks like Jack Olmsted, Video Blogger and Ben Sanders, USAPA Ambassador work hard to get the word out about pickleball in their community.  Enjoy!

Transcript

Ben: Hi my name is Ben Sanders. I’m director of court operations for the Sequim Picklers in Sequim, Washington. We are presently at the Boys and Girls Club which we rent on weekends for indoor play when it it raining, which it is going now. So we have an indoor venue. We have a hundred and thirty-four members at present. We would love to have anyone in the Sequim area, even on the peninsula. We have several people from Port Townsend, numerous people from Port Angeles that come to play with us and our members of our club. And we’d love to have you.

We play Pickleball. You see the venue behind me. We end up with between 25 and 35 people on Saturdays and Sundays each day. And then we play seven days a week. That is Monday Wednesday and Friday at 9 o’clock in the morning till noon. Tuesdays and Thursdays from three o’clock until five. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays has at three o’clock also has free instruction for anyone member or non-member to come and learn how to play the game of pickleball.

Jack: How do you become a member?

You can come any of our events seven days a week Monday though Friday, plus Saturdays and Sundays indoor at the Boys/Girls Club and at any of those events will have cards ready for you to sign for membership. Membership is not very expensive, it is a little over buck a month. So, you’re at fifteen dollars a year for membership. We will then explain what we are doing. We are in the process right now of building our own courts that will be at Kerry Park near the dog park. We are looking to build 12 courts ourselves. The city has chipped in we have raised well over $116,000 ourselves. So that we can end up with a state-of-the- art facility for members to play at and we will also open it up to the public.

Jack: What is the goal? How much do you have to raise?

Ben: Our goal is $250,000. It has to be built with union and professionally. We have to go by the City codes and so it’s a little more expensive. But, we have a goal of $260,000. We’ve raised, I believe $116,000. So, we are well on our way to get the courts we want built. We’re all trying to do it sooner than later because we are running of years.

Jack: You are running out of years because of your age bracket?

Ben: Because our age bracket. We have a lot of young players. Our president is a young player. He came from the tennis group but he’s given up tennis and has taken on pickleball. Doug Hastings is the president of  the board. I ams also a three year board member and also an ambassador to the United States Pickleball Association. So, anytime you have any questions or the instruction, set-up or practice or anything you can give me a call. My name is Ken Sanders my number is locally 360) 808-1024 We play on Tuesdays and Thursdays even when I’m not here I have a group of instructors that come in and continue that instruction once you start it on Tuesdays and Thursdays at three o’clock on either of those two days. It is basic instruction, intermediate instruction and even advanced practice where you can work on lobs or you can work can overhead slams and all aspects of the game.

Jack: Can you give us a little tip? You got a paddle and a ball in your hand right now. Can you give us a little pickle ball tip?

Ben: The tip is that most people are afraid that when they stand at the kitchen line which is right in front of the net they afraid that when the ball comes at them they will bet hit. So, if you simply take your paddle hold it nice and loose when you are at the kitchen line put your thumb on the back, like this, and then hold it here and touch the paddle and anything that comes at you just punch the ball forward. Punch the ball forward. Anything that comes right at you – your face or your chest or over here all you do is punch the ball forward. You don’t have to be afraid of anything coming right at you because you are all prepared to defend it and it gets back over the net and extends the game and become a pickleball player.

If you would like to see the whole interview, you can find it on the Seattle PI website:

http://blog.seattlepi.com/videoblogging/2016/03/07/sequim-pickleball/

Super-Hero Pickleball Tournament

We love when we get stories from our readers about community events, pickleball get-togethers and especially themed tournaments! Rick Varley, a reader out of Dowell, Maryland recently sent us this message and it was too good not to share. Enjoy!

Oyster Bay Halloween Tournament

Oyster Bay Super Hero Tournament

Batman & Superman defeated by Captain America & Super Shopper

We have a private community in Dowell, Maryland called Oyster Bay.  We converted 3 unused tennis courts into 4 pickleball courts. We have 3 holiday tournaments throughout the year to give our members some tournament experience. Our last event around Halloween was given the theme ‘Super Hero’ and everyone was to dress in their favorite tee-shirt or attire. Prizes were donated and they are always humorous. The winners of this tournament were presented with ‘Pickle Bandages‘ and a can of ‘Pickle Mints‘.  Many times it is just a jar of pickles! It was a fun day and a great format that took about a hour and 30 minutes to complete.

Pickleball Superman and Batman Oyster Bay Pickleball Club TournamentHow the tournament works:

  • On pieces of paper, write four “1”s, four “2”s, four “3”s and four “4”s. Each number corresponds to a court (Court 1, Court 2, Court 3 and Court 4).
  • Each player blindly draws a number and goes to that court.
  • Everyone plays one game to 11 with each person at that court (for a total of three matches at that court). You do not win by 2; whoever reaches 11 points first, wins.
  • At the end of each game, you tell the scorekeeper how many points you scored individually, as well as whether it was a win or a loss. A win is 1 point, a loss is 0 points.
    • For example, Anna is playing at Court 3. She wins every game, resulting in 11 points every game for a total of 33 points. The also receives 3 “Win” points for a total of 36 points.
    • POINT BREAKDOWN:
    • 11 points x 3 games = 33 points.
    • 1 Win Point x 3 Wins = 3 points.
    • 33 points + 3 points = 36 points total.
  • Once everyone is done playing at their court, tally up the points and determine the top 4 players.
  • These players play in the Championship Match to 15 points.

Captain America Pickleball Oyster Bay Tournament

Looks like a fun group of people and a great way to get everyone excited about the game!

Happy Anniversary, Pickleball

While browsing Facebook, we stumbled upon photos from First State Pickleball’s 50th Anniversary party for pickleball! Looks like the kind of party we’d love to go to. What’s not to love about cake, pickleball and more pickleball?

50th Anniversary Cake

50th Anniversary Cake – looks delicious!

 

First State Pickleball Club

First State Pickleball Club celebrates pickleball’s 50th anniversary

 

Pin the Ball on the Paddle

Pin the Ball on the Paddle

Pickleball and friends

Spin, spin, spin!

 

Pickleball exhibition at Rehoboth Beach Museum

Pickleball exhibition at Rehoboth Beach Museum- over 100 guests turned out!

Great work, First State! To read more about their event or to see more photos, hop on over to their Facebook page.

Here’s to 50 more years!

Pickleball playing

Pickle on!

All photos via First State Pickleball Club

Local Pickleball Guide – Lower East “Mitten”, Michigan

Local Pickleball Guide – Detroit “Lower East Mitten”, Michigan

We love to hear about Pickleball Clubs that dig in and have fun, no matter what the weather!  Here’s the latest “Scoop” on the Detroit Suburbs, otherwise known as SE “Mitten”, Michigan. 

Due Donlin playing pickleball with a Z5

Sue Donlin at Whittier Park, Royal Oak, Michigan

USAPA Ambassadors – Michigan 

The Michigan list of USAPA Pickleball Ambassadors includes:
SE Michigan — Gary Bejin 248-770-7589 Waterford MI
SE Michigan — Chuck Dominick 248-224-5188 Rochester Hills MI
SE Michigan — Peggy Murphy Kurza 586-779-7660 Grosse Pointe Woods MI
SE Michigan — Pam Mackowski 248-828-7395 Troy MI
SE Michigan — Ray Snay 586-322-6142 Shelby Township MI
All of these folks are willing to help in the promotion of the sport of pickleball in their community.  They know everything about the game and can lend a hand if you want to get a new group of “picklers” off the ground.

Pickleball Court Constructors in Michigan

You can find information about building new pickleball courts by contacting the company listed below:
Sport Court, Michigan http://www.sportcourtmi.com/commercial.php?gclid=CNuVsLy2yMACFQiDfgod8QwACA

Michigan Pickleball Clubs

Pickleball Clubs and YMCAs are the best place to go to find pickleball aficionados!  Check out the following in your area:

Royal Oak Pickleball Club
Royal Oaks Pickleball https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOakPickleballClub
Carl’s Family YMCA http://ymcadetroit.org/carls/healthy-living/sports-recreation/adult-pickleball

Pickleball Tournaments in Michigan

Check out the list of tournaments in Michigan.  Take your pick:

Royal Oak Michigan Tournament
State Games of Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI
Annual Pickleball Fun Tournament
Meijer State Games of Michigan
Toledo Pickleball Glass City Tournament
Michigan Senior Olympics, Summer Games

5.0 Ranked Players in Michigan

Where there are 5.0 Pickleball players there are opportunities to learn new skills!

Bremnath (Prem) Carnot, Empire, MI
Bart C Ford, Cedar, MI
James K Hackenberg, Kalamazoo, MI
Paul D Sprainitis, Canton, MI
Carolyn A Ebbinghaus, Traverse City, MI
Wendy W Garrido, Empire, MI
Yvonne M Hackenberg, Kalamazoo, MI

Pickleball Lessons in Michigan

Pickleball Guru Clinic

Rochester, MI – Free 50+ Beginner Pickleball Lessons-Wednesdays 09:30am–10:30am  Rochester Older Persons’ Commission, 650 Letica Drive, Rochester, MI 48307

There is no need for a partner and OPC provides all equipment. FREE for anyone 50 or older. You do not need to be a member of OPC for these lessons. Upon the completion of the beginner lessons you are invited to stay for Beginner/Mentor Games from 10:30am-11:30am. For more information, contact OPC at (248) 608-0295.

Royal Oak, MI – Free Lessons Tuesday evenings 06:30pm beginning Jun2–Jun 30
Whittier Park Pickleball Complex, E. Farnum Ave (North of 11 Mile and east of Main), Royal Oak MI

Don’t overlook any opportunity to learn from the “Pickleball Guru” Prem Carnot!

Pickleball Courts Around Michigan

So if you are looking for places to play in lower east “mitten” Michigan, check out the links below, and have fun:

Birmingham, Michigan
Farmington Hills
Southfield
Royal Oak

Michigan Pickleball Related News and Youtube Videos

Live Long, Live Well in Michigan has created a great video on how to play pickleball.  Check it out!

Take a look at this article posted by aHealthierMichigan.org:

http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2013/06/11/in-a-pickle-for-a-new-workout-have-you-tried-pickleball/

 

Great Lakes Pickleball

See the “mitten”?