The Pickleball Palace – A Private Indoor Pickleball Court

While searching for the most beautiful pickleball courts in Washington State, we received a call from Terri Ross in Port Ludlow.  She confessed about her addiction to pickleball, and, she told us that she had built her own indoor pickleball court and christened it the “Pickleball Palace!”  Can you be any more of a fan of pickleball than Terri Ross?  Terri loves to play pickleball.  She played with her mother 30 years ago.  As pickleball has grown in popularity, the Port Ludlow Resort built some beautiful outdoor pickleball courts.  Since Terri and her husband built an indoor tennis court for resort members to keep playing tennis in the winter, they were asked, once again, if they might consider building an indoor pickleball court as well.  This request was what spurred their imagination to consider building an indoor pickleball court.  They had land next to their house, so they scraped off the existing building and began to plan.

 

Pickleball Palace Port Ludlow,WA

“My husband is an engineer, so, we really had no problems in the design and construction of our ‘Pickleball Palace’.” They applied for a building permit.  They chose Sound Building Systems in Port Ludlow, WA to design and build the building. The metal building guy couldn’t envision what they wanted at first.  He had never heard of pickleball!  Together they mapped out what was needed for the space around the court.

They took into consideration that the biggest complaint around the outdoor courts was that there wasn’t enough room.  The building dimensions, not including the viewing room and restrooms, is 65’ X 30’.   They began by talking with players to get an idea of how high the building had to be.  The roof ended up being 25 feet over the net, with beams 22-25 feet over the net.  The beams needed to go length-wise instead of crosswise and had to be longer to create an arch over the net.

photo 4 (2)

 

The building is insulated, but not heated and there is no air-conditioning. There are 2 big doors to open for ventilation and a door to the viewing room.  The playing surface is a gravel base with asphalt on top.  Then it was painted with the Trucourt tennis court paint in green and red, similar to the finish on their indoor tennis court. The lighting is 1000 watt, ballast bulbs on a slow-start transformer. The lighting is PERFECT.  Some say you might even need to wear sunglasses when playing inside.  It took 4 weeks for the installation of the Pickleball Palace.  Terri and her husband have nothing but good things to say about Sound Building Systems.

Pickleball Palace Cake

Over 60 folks are playing pickleball these days in Port Ludlow.  Terri has added a refrigerator, a popcorn machine and a jukebox in the viewing room of their Pickleball Palace.  They expect to be pretty busy playing pickleball this winter.  They have folks who are new to the game playing Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the more serious men’s group, with a gal or two, playing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

photo 2 (2)

Pickleball backyard indoor court waiting area

 

 

 

Pickleball Palace lounge area

 

By Eliza

Meet the Pickleball Pros – Marsha Koch

Welcome to “Meet The Pickleball Pros,” a series of blog posts where we feature some of the world’s best pickleball players.  We have our list of questions for the pros, but what questions do you have? Let us know!  We know the National Pickleball Tournament results will take on a whole new meaning for you if you’re familiar with the some of the competitors and their stories.

First up- Marsha Koch!

Marsha Koch at the 2013 National Pickleball Tournament in Surprize, AZ

Marsha Koch at the 2013 National Pickleball Tournament in Buckeye, AZ

PBC:  Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

MK:    2013 National Women’s 19+ – Gold

2013 National Women’s Open – Bronze

2014 So Cal Melba Bishop Classic Women’s 19+- Gold 

2014 So Cal Melba Bishop Classic Women’s Open – Silver

 

PBC: What pickleball paddle do you play with and why?

MK: I am currently playing with two paddles, the Onix Sports Zen and the Pickleball Inc. Aluminum Champion. I like them both for the control and power they offer.

Zen Pickleball Paddle

Zen Pickleball Paddle

 

Champion Aluminum Core Pickleball Paddle

Champion Aluminum Core Pickleball Paddle

PBC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

MK: In March of 2010 I was visiting a friend in Mesa, AZ and broke my hand in two places while playing tennis. That evening I was riding my bike around the community, heard this funny sound and followed it to the Pickleball courts. I had never heard of or seen this sport being played.  I thought I would give it a try with my left hand since the paddle was short and the ball was so light.  It was l love at first hit and I knew I would really enjoy it when I was able to play with my right hand. I flew back to Toledo and googled it to find where I might play locally. Thanks to JoAnne and Mike Tressler we had a small group of dedicated players that were making it happen in Toledo. We now have over 140 active players on the Toledo Pickleball Club roster and 6 beautiful dedicated courts.

 

PBC: What’s your preference — playing indoor or outdoor?

MK: Outdoor, I like the elements and the outdoor ball. However, with the weather in Ohio I am grateful for the indoor options we have! 🙂

 

PBC: Do you like singles or double better? Why?

MK: I have never really played singles.  I love the doubles game because of the strategy and team work it takes to try to beat the great teams.

 

PBC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

MK: I love playing at my home courts in Toledo OH. I am fortunate to have a great group of guys that I get to sharpen my skills against. 

 

PBC: What’s your “secret sauce”? Any tips for players?

MK: I am not sure I have a secret sauce.  The doubles game to me is such a partner sport so I would say pick a great partner and then think strategically as a team rather that individually.  Drill to sharpen your skill and know your opponent.

 

PBC: What’s your day job?

MK: I spent 12 years in the gift industry and 12 years in medical pharmaceutical and software sales.  A year ago all of that changed and I started my own business in window treatments. I also work part-time at my church. 

 

PBC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

MK: I try to play every day that ends in a “y”. Realistically, I play 2-3 times a week in pick up games with a group of guys.  I also participate in open play opportunities with our club to help grow the sport. (Marsha plays with the Toledo Pickleball Club)

 

PBC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

MK: Not a big “luck” person. I say a prayer before the game to remind me that there is more to this life than Pickleball.

 

PBC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

MK: My main goal each time out on the court is to give the opposing team and my partner the best game I have.  It has been fun the last year traveling and playing against the top women’s teams at the 2013 Nationals and So Cal tourney.  I am really looking forward to our upcoming Great Lakes Regional in Ft. Wayne IN, Tournament of Champions in Ogden this Sept and 2014 Nationals in November.  

 

PBC: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

MK: It is hard for me to think of myself as one of the best pickleball players in the world!  To me that wouldn’t be an accurate statement.  There are so many great players that never make it to the big tournaments because of family commitments/personal reasons.  I am blessed to be able to travel and compete in these tournaments. I also feel super blessed to have a great women’s doubles partner (Jessica LeMire) that I can team with. A great partner and great competition bring out the best in me. 

Marsh Koch taking silver at the 2014 Melba Bishop Classic with doubles partner Jessica LeMire.

Marsh Koch taking silver at the 2014 Melba Bishop Classic with doubles partner Jessica LeMire.

Thanks Marsha!

Pickleball Gets Even More Social in Maryland Sport and Social Club

Pickleball players all know that part of the fun of pickleball is how social the sport is in nature. Well, a club in Maryland has taken the social aspect to a whole new level by creating a sport and social pickleball league. For those who don’t know, sport and social clubs are clubs that bring people together for a short amount of time – typically an 8-week “season” – to introduce people to a sport through a casual, social atmosphere. Players of all skill-level are usually welcome, as is beer. Sport and social clubs are popular around the nation and range in sports from skeeball to soccer. For the first time, as far as we could find, pickleball has become a sport and social club through an organization called Play Pickleball in Baltimore: www.facebook.com/playpickleball. We were curious how things were going (beer on a pickleball court seems like it adds quite a few obstacles to those dink shots) so we caught up with Autumn, one of the co-founders of Play Pickleball, and asked her a few questions. Here’s how the conversation went:

PickleballCentral (PC): Can you tell me a little about your organization? Do you run a multitude of social leagues, or just pickleball? 

Play Pickleball (PP): This is Play Pickleball’s 3rd season. John and I started the league May 2013, ran a Fall league in September 2013, and are currently running our 3rd league in April 2014. Yes, Pickleball is the only social league we personally run.

Social Pickleball League

PC: What is your personal experience with pickleball? 

PP: John and I learned to play Pickleball while vacationing in Florida.

PC: Where did the idea for a social league come from? 

PP: After our experience in Florida, we searched for a Social Pickleball league in Baltimore and found nothing. We thought it would be a fun game among our peers, so we created Play Pickleball.

PC: What has the response been to starting the league? Are you getting a lot of interest/people signing up? Or are people saying “what’s pickleball”? 

PP: The name “Pickleball” is actually what has helped the most in spreading the world about Pickleball. Since the majority of the population has never heard of the sport, when asked the question it allows us to explain the sport and how it is played. To assist in spreading the word, we have added videos and the basic rules of Pickleball to our website www.playpickleball.org. The response to starting our league has been great! Play Pickleball’s 1st season was the hardest to recruit, but once the league started more people became interested.

Social Pickleballers

PC: What’s the structure of the league? That is, what kind of scoring will you use, what kind of bracket system, and how will it differ from typical tournaments?

PP: Play Pickleball is set up for each team to play 3 games per session for 7 weeks. Each game is played first to 13 points (win by 2) or to 20 minutes. The last session of the season is a single elimination End of Season Tournament to declare the season Champions.

PC: Who is your target audience/demo?

PP: Play Pickleball was designed to bring exposure to the sport in a social atmosphere to all interested in playing.

PC: What was your main goal in starting this league?

PP: Spread Pickleball in a fun and competitive environment.

Playing pickleball

PC: The league is social in nature and welcomes beer – will more accomplished players want to participate, or is this more for the casual player looking for an introduction to the sport? Both?

PP: Play Pickleball is designed to welcome all who are interested, whether an accomplished player or a rookie. Play Pickleball has attracted a large mixture of both competitive players and those interested in learning the sport in a social atmosphere. The more accomplished players are attracted to our league because there is currently no other opportunity for them to play and socialize in the Baltimore area. At the same time, we are attracting many who are interested in learning more about the sport and adding it to their social league “resume”. As Play Pickleball grows, we have plans to offer different levels of competition, such as Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Social.

Playing pickleball

PC: How does the introduction of beer into a precision sport like pickleball affect the outcome of matches?

PP: Play Pickleball welcomes beer to create a social atmosphere. It allows people to socialize in between matches over a drink and use the beer as an excuse when they don’t preform well. 🙂

Thanks for sharing Autumn, and best of luck in growing the league! Great idea!

What Will it Take to Get Pickleball to the Olympics?

Pickleball at the Olympics?

As we all know, pickleball is sweeping the nation. According to the USAPA, the number of places to play in North America rose from 800 to 2,000 in just three years—2010 to 2013. In the same time period, the number of courts rose from 2,000 to 6,000, and the number of players rose from 60,000 to 105,000. Now that it’s 2014, there are an estimated 150,000 players across the continent, and the sport is catching on in Europe and Asia.

With the explosion in growth, some online forums have started chatting about the idea of pickleball as an Olympic sport contender. So we started to wonder—how exactly does a sport transition from well-loved pastime to inclusion on the Olympic roster?

The short answer: it’s not an easy road. Though the Olympics have experienced phenomenal growth and a lot of changes since their re-inception in 1896 (over 100 events have been added since 1980 alone!) it isn’t all that easy to gain a place under the banner of the Olympic rings.

Pickleball champs

To make the journey, pickleball would first have to be recognized as a sport by the IOC (International Olympic Committee.) To do this, pickleball would have to gain administrative oversight by an international, non-governmental organization. This oversight by an international governing body allows a sport to gain International Sport Federation (IF) status.

Once a sport gains IF status, its governing body can apply for admittance to the IOC. The IOC judges each application in accordance with multiple rules and regulations.

First of all, the sport’s IF must have held a world championship competition prior to application for inclusion. Ready for a world pickleball tournament anyone? Fun!

Secondly, a sport must be widely practiced. And widely practiced, unfortunately, means a wee bit more than 150,000 players across North America. According to the Olympic charter, the sport must be practiced by men in at least 75 countries on 4 continents and by women in at least 40 countries across 3 continents. Playing pickleball

If a sport meets these standards while also “increasing the value and appeal” of the Olympic Games and “reflecting its modern traditions,” the IOC still won’t introduce it as a new Olympic sport right away. The sport can be initially included as a “demonstration” sport while the sport’s IF applies for inclusion. Unfortunately, there’s a holding period–the application process must begin a minimum of 6 years before the scheduled Olympic Games in which the sport hopes to debut!

The IOC also tries to limit the scope of the Olympics by only allowing the admission of new sports as other sports are discontinued. Sports are not often discontinued—to lose status as an Olympic sport they must suffer extreme lack of public interest, corruption, lack of appropriate venues for play, or too-high cost.

There is good news. In 2007, the IOC did adopt more flexible rules for adding new sports to the Olympics. The new system, which will go into effect in 2020, allows for 25 core sports with 3 “floating” sports. The floating sports will allow sports that have been waiting for inclusion to be tested out for popularity in front of an international audience. This new rule will also, however, mean that every sport, including core sports, would be up for review after each Olympic Games. This new rule will allow sports to be included or dropped by a simple majority vote (contrary to the current system of a 2/3 majority vote).

The next racquet sport vying for a spot at the Games is squash. It’s been on the waiting list for awhile, failing to make it in 2012, and is in contention for 2016. Squash currently has 13 million players in over 150 countries. Racquetball would be the next racquet sport most likely to follow squash to the Olympics.

To give you an idea how difficult it is to gain status as an Olympic sport, tennis was part of the Summer Games beginning in 1896 but was dropped in 1924. For re-inclusion, tennis had to appear as a demonstration sport in 1968 and then again in 1984 before returning again as a full-fledged medal sport in the Summer Games of 1988.

The process may sound dishearteningly difficult, but we pickleballers have nothing but heart! While pickleball may not appear at the Olympics in 2020, if we keep picking up numbers at the current rate, could we look forward to 2024?

History of the Kitchen in Pickleball

Everyone who plays pickleball knows that the sport is played on a court that’s identical to a badminton court…except for one key difference. While badminton’s short service line, or “No Volley Zone” line, is at 6’6″ from the net, pickleball’s NVZ line is at 7′. Why is pickleball’s kitchen a full 6 inches longer than badminton’s? There’s a really simple, kind of unexpected answer: it just feels right. 

Overview of a pickleball court

The answer comes from Dennis Dacey, USAPA Rules Chair, who explains that “over the first two years of the development of the sport, the NVZ was conceived and the line was tried in various 6” increments. It was at this time that those involved agreed that the 7’ line worked best. It had nothing to do with the badminton line then or now.” Dacey goes on to explain that “one would not think so, but 6” makes a big difference when playing the game with more advanced players. Having the additional 6” makes it easier to make good drop shots and to make for a more equal playing field with both tall and short players.” Pickleball may have borrowed badminton’s court size, but pickleball is faster-paced and played with a ball that bounces and moves quite differently than a shuttlecock. It makes sense that a NVZ that works perfectly well in badminton may not be the ideal fit for pickleball.

Interested in learning more about the history of pickleball? Check out an interview with Barney McCallum, one of the sport’s inventors, here. It’s near the bottom of the page, and is the video titled “Pickleball Barney McCallum Interview.”

 

 

Pickleball Week in Review September 22-29, 2013

Pickleball Week in Review

A quick look at interesting pickleball news over the last week.  Brought to you by the staff at PickleballCentral.com.

Product News

NEW  Fear the Pickle T-shirts.  Available in men’s and women’s sizes.

Stephen wearing the new Fear the Pickle shirt

Fear the Pickle shirt

Articles and Video of Note:

New Courts