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.