2 Easy Ways to Organize Paddles for Open Play

Are your pickleball courts so busy that you have to wait your turn to play? If so, how do you remember who’s next in line?

It seems many players resort to lying out their paddles on a bench, moving them along a chain link fence (what happens if they fall? yikes!) or simply using a sign-up form. But surely there’s got to be a better way?

We currently know of two options that offer a simple, flexible system for storing paddles and maintaining order during open play. Which one sounds most enticing to you?

Paddle Saddle

Paddle Saddle

The Paddle Saddle is a convenient paddle holder that can be attached to a chain link fence. Several tubes provide space for paddles, while a “Next” marker slides along the outer support to show which player is waiting in the wings for a game.

It’s a smart way to make sure your paddles are protected and accessible while ensuring you know who’s up next. The only downside is that you do have to remember to slide the “Next” marker, but no doubt the upcoming players will make sure everyone knows where it should be…

You can find the Paddle Saddle at this site.

Lone Jones' Rotating Paddle Holder

(Image Credit: Jennifer Lucore)

Lon Jones’ Rotating Paddle Holder

This elegant paddle holder was created for the Castle Creek Pickleball Club at Escondido, CA. The nice thing about this setup is that it doesn’t require manual movement at all. You just place your paddles in the holder, and gravity pulls the next paddles into the “waiting” position once equipment is removed.

Lon eventually wants to create a universal mount, stronger sealed bearings and a more compact design, but we think it’s pretty impressive as is! Unfortunately it looks like Lon isn’t selling these via a store yet, but you can get in touch with the Castle Creek group to see if he might be willing to make more.


How does your group keep everyone organized when there are players waiting for games?

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?

The Great Pickleball Debate

A Controversy is Brewing:  Is Pickleball A Sport for Participants or Spectators?

Original-Pickleball-Court

It started fifty years ago with several bored kids, plywood paddles and a wiffle ball on a miniature tennis court. Some quirky rules and a silly name with uncertain origins was applied. Double hits were overlooked. A kitchen emerged. Nothing more than an improvised backyard kids game. Now we are two weeks away from the inaugural US OPEN Pickleball Championships attracting over 800 players pursuing $25,000 in prize money in front of record crowds in Naples, Florida. And while game strategies and paddles have evolved greatly, the game still revolves around a wiffle ball and smooth paddles on a little tennis court.

But pickleball has a problem. To non-players, it is BORING. Sixty stroke rallies snore on. Complex shots appear simple. A sport in which a 54 year old can compete with a 22 year old in the highest match in the land! Seriously? Some people think “I’ll watch Federer and Djokovic, thank you very much.” Or any sport where real athletes with herculean physiques and personalities perform gigantic feats.

And without spectators there will be scant money, no big prizes, no lucrative endorsements, no huge personalities and, alas, no Olympics.  But when yawning spectators pick up a paddle and try for themselves, a different thought process begins to churn. This ain’t shuffleboard.

Traditionalists care little about spectators. Pickleball is for participants. We love long rallies dictated by a kitchen, hard surface paddles, and smooth, low bouncing balls. We prefer to keep the sport accessible to all. No other racket or paddle sport is easier to learn. Tennis, ping pong, badminton and racquetball all involve hard to master strokes and spins. Not pickleball. Bang away. Pickleball is social, addictive, easy to learn and indifferent to age, gender and even mobility at many levels. And while Pickleball can be fiercely competitive, scrappy, and even a bit intimidating, it is friendly, accessible and evokes smiles. And we love the fact that a 62 year old with a 38 inch waist line can compete with a 25 year old with a 32 inch waist.

Enter the controversy:  All this may be about to change.

Many newcomers to the industry want to accelerate the game for better tennis-like viewing. According to Joe Dinoffer, OncourtOffcourt (Pickleball Tutor), top tennis players average 3.5 strokes per point while pickleball points average 9 strokes. Nearly half of pickleball strokes are soft dink shots while almost no tennis strokes are soft. The game is accelerated with rougher paddle surfaces (e.g. Encore’s Engage) and softer ball surfaces so players can ‘grab’ balls and impart topspin like tennis rackets. Making balls that bounce higher also allows more aggressive play (Onix’s Pure Outdoor Ball).  Here is an example of a fast paced rally from the LeMaster-Davison Classic championship match this past weekend in Arizona:

 

 

Now watch this slower, albeit exciting, 40 stroke rally from the same match.

To counter this trend, back in November 2015, the USAPA imposed a new rule limiting the bounce to 34 inches (from 37 inches). This new rule takes effect October 1, 2016. The two most popular indoor balls, Jugs and Pickleball Now, bounce 37 inches. The Jugs ball has been around for nearly a decade and is used in over eighty percent of indoor play. Players love it!  And now it is being disqualified. Part of the problem is that bounce height is measured on a granite surface which performs similar to outdoor asphalt surfaces. Wood floors absorb the ball’s energy generating less bounce than asphalt. Additionally, the USAPA imposed a roughness limit on paddles to reduce players’ ability to impart topspin for harder drives.

So why did the USAPA limit the bounce height? Recently introduced balls like the Onix Pure Outdoor ball bounce 37 inches encouraging more aggressive play. When reformulated to bounce 34 inches or less, this ball will help maintain the longer rallies and more patient style of play preferred by the USAPA and other traditionalists in this sport.

In summary, many players prefer to limit the ball bounce and paddle friction to encourage longer rallies requiring patience and tactics. Others find the long rallies boring and would prefer balls and paddles that allow an explosive exchange of topspin drives. Spectators might agree.

What do you think?

 

Recycle Broken Pickleballs

What do you do with old, broken pickleballs?

Broken Pickleball

Can I recycle pickleballs?

This is a question that we get asked fairly frequently. Unfortunately, pickleballs themselves cannot be recycled by a recycling center.

In the May 2014 USAPA e-Newsletter, Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair, states that he believes the answer is “no”:

“For now the simple answer appears to be ‘no,’ a pickleball cannot economically be recycled. I’m no expert, but from what I see, because of the type of material with which it is combined and the fact that there is no recycling symbol, the ball is impractical for recycling.”

That being said, you can always get a little creative with these broken, disformed, out-of-round, or otherwise unusable pickleballs!  Here’s a list of some ideas we gathered from the Internet:

  1. A Hanging Parking Guide via Facebook

A Hanging Parking Guide

2. Googley-Eyed Sunglasses via Facebook

Googley Eye Sunglasses

3. A Hanging Pickleball Mascot via Facebook

A Hanging Pickleball Mascot

4. A Pickleball Christmas Tree via Facebook

A Christmas Tree Made Out of Pickleballs

5. A Tree Decorated with Painted Pickleballs via Facebook

...or a Tree Decorated with Pickleballs!

6. Pickleball Mobiles via Facebook

A Pickleball Mobile

7. Pickleball Friendship Balls via Facebook

Friendship Balls, an idea by Nadine McKay In case you’d like to make some, here’s the supply list: Yarn and darning needle, skein of inexpensive colorful yarn, scissors and broken pickleballs. Each skein will make four to five balls. Wrap the ball about five times to create a form. Use the blanket stitch and fill each section. Or wrap the center of the ball and then do a blanket stitch consistently, each row becoming smaller until the end. Don’t worry if you miss a stitch, this is not rocket science technology!

Friendship Balls, an idea by Nadine McKay
In case you’d like to make some, here’s the supply list: Yarn and darning needle, skein of inexpensive colorful yarn, scissors and broken pickleballs. Each skein will make four to five balls. Wrap the ball about five times to create a form. Use the blanket stitch and fill each section. Or wrap the center of the ball and then do a blanket stitch consistently, each row becoming smaller until the end. Don’t worry if you miss a stitch, this is not rocket science technology!

8. Painted Pickleball Trophies for Tournaments via Jennifer Lucore’s pickleball blog

Trophies for Pickleball Tournaments (Painted Pickleballs)

9. Costumes denoting Pickleball Royalty via Facebook:

pickleball costumes

10. Golf Cart Decor

There are definitely some very creative pickleball recyclers out there! Do you have any clever uses for broken pickleballs? Let us know!

Pickleball Gifts for Her on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day: a day defined by sweeping, romantic gestures, fine wine and chocolates, and quality time with your honey. If pickleball is «l’amour de sa vie» (the love of her life), why not surprise her with a pickleball-themed gift to show her how much you truly adore her?

Pickleball Gifts Valentine's Day

Sugar and spice and everything nice: that’s what pickleball players are made of! Show your pickleball sweetie how much you love her with a little token of love. Whether it’s a new paddle, a shimmery pendant or a bear to cuddle, she’s guaranteed to feel your love.

Product Details:

1. Leader Jacket
2. Tail Essentials Doral Skort
3. Pickleball Partners Stained Glass (colors vary)
4. Sterling Silver Pickleball Heart Pendant
5. Sterling Silver Pickleball Earrings

6. Selkirk 30P-XL Epic Polymer PowerCore Graphite Paddle (pictured in Indigo Rose)
7. Midnight Indoor Pickleballs (pictured in Pink)
8. Copper Pickleball Pendant or Charm
9. Sporty Pickleball Teddy Bears (pictured in Win/Lose, Hug Me)

Pickleball Holiday Gift Guide

It’s hard to pick out holiday gifts. We get it, and we’re here to help.

PBC Holiday Gift Guide Banner

For the Avid Athlete

We all have that friend who is always keeping up with current sport scores, seeking out the newest equipment to hit the market and talking in sports lingo. You’ll win their heart when you surprise them with any or all of these products.

Product Details:

For the Girly Girl

Some girls like pink – other girls love pink. For those ladies out there who are ready to channel their inner sparkle-addicted, pink-loving, pickleball fashionista, these products are for you. There really is no such thing as “too much pink” (or turquoise)!

Product Details:

For the Proud Pickleballer

Pickleball players really enjoy showing off their love for the sport loud and proud. Actions speak louder than words, but words can definitely help you express your passion. These products are either unique to pickleball (such as the shirts, license plate and cover) or great gifts for this type of person.

Product Details:

For the Bewildered Beginner

We love beginners! Even the best 5.0 players had to start somewhere. All you really need is confidence and a paddle (we recommend the Rally Graphite – it’s really, truly, 100% the best paddle for beginners) but these other doohickeys will definitely help as well.

Product Details:

For the Classic Charmer

There are some pieces that just stand the test of time even as people, cultures and environments change. For those men out there that are always reminiscing about the “good ‘ol days” or just have a more sophisticated palette, these products should tickle your fancy.

Product Details:

Of course, it’s the thought behind each and every gift that truly matters. We’re wishing you a safe, healthy and happy holiday season full of pickleball. Pickle on!

PickleballCentral Test Kitchen – Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Cookies

Tis the season to… bake cookies?

Just in time for the holiday season, PickleballCentral is releasing the first-ever set of Pickleball Cookie Cutters.

Pickleball Cookie Cutter

Each set comes with a pickleball paddle as well as a pickleball-shaped cutter in a vibrant orange hue. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for the baker in your pickleball group!

Not sure what to bake first with these wonderful cutters? Try the Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cookies! Delightfully spiced with a faint whisp of pumpkin, these soft-bake cookies are a fall lover’s dream come true. Whether you’re having a mid-fall fete or a Thanksgiving feast, you’ll be sure to know that these pickleball-shaped cookies are guaranteed to be a hit!

Stack of Pickleball CookiesPumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cookies

Adapted from Glorious Treats

Ingredients

  • 3-1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 C white sugar
  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C pumpkin puree

Directions

Step 1: Mix together flour, baking powder and spices in a large bowl.

Step 2: Beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Step 3: Add egg, vanilla, and pumpkin and mix until well blended.

Step 4: Slowly add flour mixture and mix until all the flour is added. Keep mixing until the dough starts to ball together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Step 5: Scoop the dough out and divide into two balls; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 6: After the time has passed, roll dough out onto a lightly floured work-station so that the dough is just about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut out your awesome pickleball shapes!
Pro-tip: Make sure to really push down on the entire surface of the ball cookie cutter. Otherwise, your ball might be missing some holes 🙂

Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees on an ungreased baking sheet for 9-11 minutes (mine were perfect right at 10 minutes).

Step 8: Let cool on sheets for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack. Store in an airtight container

Pickleball Paddle Cookie         Pickleball Ball Cookie

Enjoy! The Pickleball Cookie Cutters are definitely not a “crumby” gift to receive 🙂 (Pun intended)

Love the cutters? Click here to see the product on our website and to purchase!