Want to add hilarity to your next pickleball tournament? Award prizes to the players that compete wearing a costume. Let the fun begin!
PickleballCentral loves all its customers, especially our new walk-in customers.
Patrick Cantor walked in one Saturday afternoon and tried out some paddles on our new indoor pickleball court. He purchased a Magnum Graphite Stealth paddle and came back a couple of weeks later with his wife. She selected a pink Graphite Z5 paddle. The third time Patrick visited he bought a PickleNet Portable Net System and said he would be taking it with him on his next trip to the Philippines!
Here’s Patrick’s Pickleball to the Philippines story:
I came to the U. S. as a 5-year-old when my parents immigrated to the United States on work visas. I grew up in the Renton area and started playing pickleball around the time I finished high school. After I started college, I played at the University of Washington.
After 20 years, I’m playing pickleball again. I’ve found Pickleball to be an “addictive” sport, in the good habit-forming sense of the word. It is a way to stay in shape and be social with friends who also like to play. Just before I went on vacation, I bought 4 wooden paddles and a badminton net to use in the Philippines. Before I introduced Pickleball in the Philippines, no one knew about it. When I showed my friends how to play, they picked it up pretty fast. Here are a couple of pictures that show the court being set up.
I travel to the Philippines every year. The net system I bought this month will go with me on my next trip.
Thanks, Patrick, for sharing your story with us. We love hearing about how pickleball is taking over the world. 😉 Anna
Squash and tennis are huge sports in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Pickleball is just getting started there but already the Calgary Pickleball Academy is training athletes to become elite pickleball players through coaching and league play. Here’s their mission statement:
The Calgary Pickleball Academy provides professional training and competitive opportunities to pickleball athletes of all ages and levels. However, the primary focus of the Academy is on introducing pickleball to players in the 20-50-year-old age range.
The Calgary Pickleball Academy is part of Racquet Network, an all-racquetball sports network, with 3,000 players. Racquet Network employs 10 coaches that specialize in squash and tennis and now pickleball is also one of their specialties. Founder Brent Johner teaches 5 different racket sports including pickleball.
The Calgary Pickleball Academy primarily serves pickleball players between the age 20 and 55. Before joining a pickleball league, you must first try out. Here’s how they describe their program:
This is not a typical pickleball program; it was not designed for seniors. Team Pickleball was created to serve younger, more athletic pickleball players who enjoy competition and want a satisfying full body workout.
(I think a fair number of seniors also want a competitive and fully body workout, but that’s another blog entry.)
According to Johner, younger pickleball players want to use a heavier power paddle. They play singles and want an athletic, calorie-burning work out. The 55 and older players use lighter paddles and mix in social interaction while playing pickleball games. The younger players go out to the pub after the games for beer and wings; that’s their social time.
Right now, most of the folks who play in the pickleball league are Racquet Network staff and friends of staff. It’s a small league but highly competitive.
At Calgary Pickleball Academy, they believe a professional pickleball instructor can make a real difference in performance. Techniques in the play of squash transfer easily to the game of pickleball. They believe the training they offer produces better pickleball players.
Calgary Pickleball Academy has a dress code, “All players must be appropriately dressed in athletic clothing and must be wearing proper footwear.” Johner heartily endorses court shoes when playing pickleball. Court shoes allow the player to glide over the court surface. Running shoes often have lots of traction that grip the court and can cause the player to fall and get hurt. Johner also suggests wearing clothing that allows free movement to guard against falls.
The Pickleball Academy is currently training groups of firefighters. All the fire stations in Calgary have badminton courts that easily convert to pickleball courts. The firefighters want an athletic work out and pickleball provides them with a exactly what they’re looking for!
Many people from Edmonton and the U.S. take lessons while visiting Calgary. Next time you’re in Calgary, visit the Pickleball Academy.
The Bend Pickleball Club began 3 years ago with just a few players. Now there are over 600 players in the Central Oregon area.
This phenomenal growth is due to the work of A. J. and Irene Fraties and a team of pickleball ambassadors. Clinics, classes and demos were offered at private clubs. Soon the new pickleball players needed more places to play. The Fraties reached out to different types of organizations, they were eventually able to get some indoor courts at the Boys and Girls Club.
Ease of access to courts was facilitated by an online scheduling program. Members could schedule their playtimes and keep track of where and when people were playing.
In the meantime, the City of Bend was considering building more public outdoor Pickleball courts. Being that pickleball was still a new sport in the area, the city wasn’t interested in putting a lot money into new facilities. However, pickleball grew. The ambassadors were able to show the city that courts would be heavily used and greatly enjoyed.
A cooperative project developed between the Bend Pickleball Club and the city of Bend. The club offered to pay 50% of the court costs. The city gave the club two years to come up with their portion of the funding for the new courts. The Pickleball club had to get busy!
The first and easiest fundraising strategy was to place a simple plea for donations on the club website. The club used an online donation system that worked well. Secondly, the club hosted a large dinner party with a silent auction and raffle. Third, the club recruited sponsors. Their first sponsor was a large RV company in the area named Big Country RV. Big Country RV is very involved with the Bend community. Fourth, the Bend Pickleball Club is hosting a large Pickleball Tournament. Tournament sponsors can have a large company banner displayed on the fence of the courts for a full year and advertisements on the Bend Pickleball website, Facebook page and all social media. The Bend Pickleball Club is well on their way to earning all the funds for their new courts.
It was important that they work together with the city in a cooperative effort, focusing on the needs of both the city and the club. In doing that, the project is coming along nicely and they are excited to soon having a new place to play Pickleball
1. Develop Need. If there’s not a visible component showing the need of people wanting to play, nothing will get done.
2. Ambassador Program. Start beginning training – classes, demos, clinics. Build your ambassadors so there is a strong group to help build the growth of the sport in your area.
3. Media. Make sure the press knows what’s going on so you can get articles written and gain support from your community.
4. Identify facilities. Zero in on a community facility where people can play.
5. Actual needs. Develop your funding plan around the actual needs of the group.
“Hi, I’m new to pickleball and need a paddle. What paddle should I choose?” This is our most common question from new customers. They love pickleball already and want to make sure and get a good first paddle. What should they choose?
Here’s what we say:
Go with a classic design. Your first paddle should have a standard pickleball paddle shape. This means something that is approximately 7 ¾ – 8 inches wide and 15 ½ – 15 ¾ inches long. You can try out specialty paddles once you have a great classic paddle in your bag.
How do I pick a paddle? There are so many choices!
The best way to select a paddle is to try them out! Ask your fellow pickleball players if you can test-drive their paddles. Try various weights and grip sizes. If you find a paddle that feels good and balanced in your hand try to get that paddle’s weight. At PickleballCentral we will hand-weigh paddles to match the weight that you are seeking.
If you don’t have the opportunity to try out other people’s paddles, we do have a wonderful 30-day return policy. You’re free to purchase any of our paddles, try them out for 30 days, and if you then want to keep one paddle and send back the others, we’ll be happy to accommodate. You can also exchange out your current paddle to try another one.
Lastly, take a look at our extensive Pickleball Paddle Guide to get an idea of which paddle might suit your needs and play style best.