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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pickleball Ruling....Another Good Day

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club Website:  Visit us....

Another day of good participation.  18 players showed up (including two new first time Pickleball players).  The two stayed the entire time and one said to me when they were leaving, "this is a better workout than tennis."  I smiled, because tennis is a great game as well, and if you can get a good workout in either, good for you.  Try playing our game as well.  Veteran tennis players say it really helps their footwork, their conditioning, and, their net game.

As the Ambassador for this area, I have stressed the importance of the third shot "dink."  The players are figuring it out the hard way as too many third shots are hit too hard or two high and result in lost rallies.  Today I saw a real concerted effort on the part of many players to get that third shot short in the NVZ, making the opponent hit up on the ball.  Hitting that soft third shot also allows you to get to the 7' line a little quicker.  The key to this shot:  Try not to hit a underspin dink.  Believe me, I hit too many of those myself, and the ball seems to float and stay elevated longer (unless you hit it perfectly).  a better technique....bump or push the ball back with the nose of the paddle down and the ball between your feet as you hit.  It takes some practice, but you will like the rewards.  Believe in feedback?  The feedback of the ball off of your opponent's paddle will tell you how you are doing on that third shot.  If they are hitting down or "not hitting up," you need to make adjustments.

The ruling on Monday's blog infraction!  You must always play the ball and not the opponent.  The unsuccessful attempt to "help" the ball over is unnerving, but so is the fake poach, etc.

Today's tag line...."how did the ball come off your opponent's paddle."  Were you placing the ball at their feet and forcing them to hit up?  Think about it.  "As you dink, so shall you win."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pickleball Situation Ruling....18 Players Today

Our Paso Robles website:  Visit us when you can.

My tag line has always been...."how did the ball come off your paddle today?"  This entry will deal with a situation that happened where the ball didn't come off the paddle and how it affected play.  The scenario:  On court one, one of our players hits a soft lob that looked like it was not going to go over the net.  Playfully his partner attempted to "assist" the ball over the net by reaching up to tap it (knowing full well that touching the ball a second time would be a violation).  The partner missed the ball completely, AND, the ball did barely make it back over the net and bounced twice on the opponent's side.  One of the opponents claimed that the attempt to "assist" the ball over the net was a distraction and she gave up on the ball because of that action.  If you were officiating this game, how would you rule?  In the comments section below, please give your ruling.

We had 18 players today.  To the many Pickleball venues around the country that have 8-12-16 courts, this number does not sound too impressive.  Here in Paso Robles we have five outdoor courts and we are getting such good participation (after only 10 months of playing) that we are almost full on a regular basis.  Impressive....and we had 6-8 regulars who were not here.  BTW, wherever you played today, "how did the ball come off your paddle?"

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Shading On The Pickleball Court....19 Players Today

I noticed today on the Pickleball courts that we could all use a little refresher course on court coverage---sometimes called "shading."  Basically, this term refers to a doubles team moving in unison to cover the essential 12-15 ft. "slice of the pie"nearest the bounce of the ball (on the opponent's side).   To illustrate:  One of you hits a service return that bounces in the far right corner (your view over the net) of your opponent's court.  "Shading" suggests that one of you is at the no volley zone line and is 3 feet from the right sideline (arms reach), while the other partner has moved with you in the direction of the right sideline and actually is positioned almost at center court, at the NVZ line, with his/her right foot on the center service.  I do not have the capability to illustrate this in this blog, so use your imagination.  This allows for good coverage of your opponent's highest percentage return shot--at or between the two of you.  Force them to hit the lower percentage shot which would be cross court.  If the ball was returned by one of you to the left corner on your opponent's side (your view over the net), positioning would be flip-flopped with one of you at the NVZ line and 3 feet from the sideline, and your partner would be shading the middle, at the NVZ line with his/her left foot on the center service line.  The idea in this shading coverage is to cover the shot between the two of you and make them hit a lower percentage angle shot to a smaller area of the court.  In this case, to the right of the player standing in the middle.

What happens to the shading philosophy when the ball is returned deep down the middle?  Cover the middle 12-15 feet and make them hit an angle shot between you and the sideline.  Play for a hard return, because if the return shot is soft (a dink) you will be able to get to the ball with one shuffle of the feet.  The softer the shot, the easier the coverage for you and your partner.

If you played today, how was your placement, how was your patience, and how did the ball come off your paddle?

BTW, we had 19 players today.  It was another perfect day for Pickleball and we played for almost three hours.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Pickleball....Crown Valley Pickleball Club

View our Paso Robles Pickleball Club Website:  Drop-in when you can.

This situation came up a couple of times today and I think it needs to be addressed.  Do not help your opponents by blurting out something like "darn" or "oh no" when you have hit a ball that you think is going out.  All you do is alert your opponent to the fact that you have probably hit a wide or long shot....and they will think twice about returning the ball.  Also, it would be unethical to try and deceive your opponent into letting a ball go that you are sure is in by using one of the above phrases.  We are all about ethics in this great and enjoyable game.

18 players showed up to play on this Friday morning.  Again, very nice weather.  We have five courts and five nets.  Lately we have been close to our max.  Looking forward to Saturday play.  Same time: 7:30 a.m.  A nice Farmer's Market in town at the city park.  Homemade zucchini bread made and sold by one of the vendors is a great treat after a couple of hours of PB.  Isn't this one of the reasons we play?

I like to include a picture in my blog.  Not always able to or not always relevant.  I do want to write briefly about the first class courts at the Crown Valley Pickleball Club in Laguna Niguel.  I learned how to play at CVPC.  Ambassadors Bill and Terri Smith mentored me.  Jack Bond put up with me on that first day and was my PB partner through a great day of learning.  I wanted to come back because of his encouragement.  I mention this because during your playing days, you are going to mentor a new player or two, and, you hope they enjoy the experience enough to return.  Two or three sessions....all it takes to be hooked.  Your role is very important.  Thanks, Bill, Terri, Jack, and all the CVPC players who mentored me through "on the job training." I returned, and then some!!!!

The Crown Valley Pickleball Courts....the best facility in Southern California.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pickleball On Vacation

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club Website:  Visit us anytime you are traveling the Central Coast of California.  200+ wineries within 20 minutes of our courts.  Don't forget your paddle....but we do have loaners, just in case.

Today was an off day for Pickleball.  We will play again tomorrow, bright and early....7:30 a.m.

Received an email today from one of our players:

Just spent five days at a family reunion.  We rented a huge six bedroom villa with 18 family members down in San Diego. First thing I saw was this huge concrete parking area. I set up the Pickleball set. No one had played before.  Within a day the entire vacation centered around playing Pickleball. Family ages--8 to 84. We had family  lined up waiting to play. It was great.  Dick S.

Enough said........BTW, "How did the ball come off your paddle today."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Pickleball Guy....Wine Country....Pismo Beach

Visit our website to see what our Pickleball Club is doing:

It happened again today.  In fact, it has happened three or four times this week.  It's all good, though....

I'm standing in the post office line and a guy behind me says, "aren't you the Pickleball guy?"  I turn, smile, say yes (muffled sigh) and introduce myself.  My easy name escapes them, but the word Pickleball is hard to forget.  As I said, "it's all good." Many people say we should change the name of this game....who would remember me as the "wiffleball" guy?

16 players today on another perfect morning in the beautiful wine country of Paso Robles.  We are lucky....and, the July weather has been much more mild than it was last year at this time.  I took the picture below a year ago looking north from Brave Oak Vineyard towards San Miguel.  Yes, an amateur photographer I am....

On Wednesday I also go down and play in the afternoon at the Pismo Beach Athletic Club.  As I have mentioned before, very nice courts and very good players.  General Manager Ryan Tomich has done a superb job putting Pickleball on the map in Pismo Beach.  Most of the play is casual at this time, but I think a number of those players would do well on the tournament circuit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Simple Things To Improve Your Pickleball Play....Answers

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club Website:  Check us out.

No Pickleball today.  We play on MWFSat 7:30-10:30 at Centennial Park in Paso Robles.


1. PLAY.  Sound too obvious?  Let’s rephrase....PLAY with an AGENDA.  Today I am working on my dink shot or return of serve or getting to the 7 ft. thing each day.  Make it simple.

2. STRETCH.  I cannot overemphasize the importance.  Do not cold stretch.  Walk/jog briskly from the car to the courts.  Walk/jog around the courts.  Get the blood flowing to the muscles before you start stretching.  Find your favorite stretches.  Do them.

3. WARM DOWN....after playing.  Take 5-10 minutes to re-stretch.

4. OBSERVE.  You learn a lot by watching the good and not-so-good players.

5. ASK QUESTIONS.  You have questions that need to be answered?  ASK.

6. KNOW THE RULES AND SCORING.  Being confused takes away from your performance.

7. PLAY THE TOUGHER OPPONENT.  If you are not worried about winning/losing, play the tougher player on the other side of the net.  You will improve.

8. PRACTICE.  Tougher than you think, because everyone has a time frame for playing.  See if someone will come out early or stay late.  

9. PLAY SINGLES.  Believe it or not, your game will improve.  So will your conditioning.  If mobility is an issue, use only half the court.  Play 10’ X 22’ singles.

10. STUDY.  There are so many good instructors out there with great information on websites.  Google.  Ask questions the next day when you are down at the courts if you did not understand a lesson discussed on the internet.

Remember, I said these would be simple....and yet, we tend to overlook the simplest of things.  “If this were easy, everybody would be good.”

Answers To Yesterday's Questions:

Pickleball Situations

Your partner calls an opponent’s ball “out”  and returns the ball back over the net.  He then says he made a mistake....the ball was good.  What is the ruling?

Rule in favor of your opponent.

You hit a volley for a winner and during your follow through, you bump into your partner who has one foot in the No Volley Zone.  Ruling?

Violation of No Volley Zone.

In the middle of a point, you call a ball out and your partner calls the ball in.  What is the ruling?

Rule in favor of your opponent.

T or F?  When the contact point of the ball on the paddle is below the net, you should hit a defensive shot to try and get yourself back into the point.


T or F?  You win the point if a ball you hit deflects off the net post, and bounces twice on your opponent’s side.


"How did the ball come off your paddle today?"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Paso Robles Pickleball....USAPA....Pickleball Rules

We were almost rained out today.  For many, this is not that unusual, but up here in Paso, in July, this is highly unusual.  Arrived at our Centennial Park courts at 7:30 this morning in a light drizzle.  Had already received a couple of texts asking about the condition of the courts.  The courts were damp, the drizzle continued until about 7:50, but 12 determined Pickleball players still put up the nets and were able to play by 8:15.  Two hours later we shook hands and said a thank you for another day of exercise on a beautiful and cool morning.  They say in this part of California that during the summer the days can be hot, but the mornings and evenings are perfect.  Add to that perfection....morning Pickleball.  It doesn't get much better.

Read a good article about exercise and Pickleball:
On the note of good articles, our National Governing body, the  published an article that appeared in our local Paso Robles Magazine.  Go to "In The News" to see the article entitled "What The Heck Is Pickleball?"

Let's Test Your Knowledge:  Answers will appear in tomorrow's blog.

How Would You Rule?:  Pickleball Situations
  1. Your partner calls an opponent’s ball “out”  and returns the ball back over the net.  He then says he made a mistake....the ball was good.  What is the ruling?

  1. You hit a volley for a winner and during your follow through, you bump into your partner who has one foot in the No Volley Zone.  Ruling?

  1. In the middle of a point, you call a ball out and your partner calls the ball in.  What is the ruling?

  1. T or F?  When the contact point of the ball on the paddle is below the net, you should hit a defensive shot to try and get yourself back into the point.

  1. T or F?  You win the point if a ball you hit deflects off the net post, and bounces twice on your opponent’s side.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pickleball Interest Continues.....Pickleball Rules

16 players today on a perfect weather Saturday morning.  Included in the 16 were three new players....we'll take two or three newcomers every session.  In asking how they heard about Pickleball, one said they saw our USAPA sign on the fence, looked up the website, and were very intrigued about the game.  The other two were referred by a friend.  Signs and word-of-mouth....sometimes more effective than a blog.  But, the synergy of different means to spread the word is what will make us continue to grow.  Signs, posters, emails, blogs, meet-ups, clinics, articles, a website.  These are all good and our members are to be congratulated on a job well done.  Our goal is to get some of those people out who have the attitude that because Pickleball is a funny name for a game it, therefore, must be silly or not very competitive.  All they need to do is try the game and they will see the merit.  What is funny is having people be so image conscious.  150,000 people cannot be wrong....

Today's Rule Explanation:  A ball does not have to cross over the net and can be hit around the post (net frame if portable) as long as the ball lands in fair territory on the other side.  A shot that hits the portable net post and goes into fair territory on the opponent's court is considered a violation because the net post is already in out of bounds territory.  Does not happen often, but it does happen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Rules Of Pickleball....Central Coast Desserts

Here are Ten Random Rules Of Pickleball....and believe me, the list goes on and on:

1.  Practice does not make perfect....perfect practice makes perfect.  The dink part of your game?
2.  Find the lesson in every lost point and lost game and you will start winning more.
3.  Playing smart is better than playing clever.
4.  This game is very fun, but don't confuse fun with fulfillment.
5.  You can't control what happens around you....only how you react.  Play with class.
6.  A good partner helps you feel worthy and makes you want to play better.  Be a good partner.
7.  If you aren't mentally tough, the skills won't matter.
8.  Don't think too hard.  Relax and let the game situations come to you.
9.  The Three Other P's.  Placement, Patience, and, occasionally, that order.
10....And, one of my favorites:  If Pickleball were easy, everybody would be good.

Did I mention I love eating?  Who doesn't.  How about desserts?  My favorite part of any meal....or, for that matter, my favorite meal.  Dessert is food---at its best.  Soooooo, on that subject, I have been doing quite an extensive study on the fruit oat bar offerings here on the Central Coast.  Have not found one worth touting in Paso Robles.  The #2 location for the best Apricot and Raspberry oats bars on the Central Coast would the The Porch, in Santa Margarita.  For a long time, they were No. 1.  However, recently I discovered the best berry oat bar can be found in Cambria at the Village Bean.  They make their own, make them with various fruits (blackberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.).  The bars are big, tasty, and well worth the price of $2.50 each.

What does this have to do with Pickleball?  You will need to find out for yourself.  Meanwhile...."how did the ball come off your paddle today?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pickleball In Paso Robles

15 players took the courts today..  With the Mid-State Fair officially starting, I thought we might be a little light on attendance.  It is nice to see us staying strong and consistent.  It is also nice to see some newcomers returning (it can become addicting)....and, the newbies are getting better.  It takes some time to get familiar with the rules, the different sized court, the paddle, the ball....but in the long run, what a treat as far as fun and exercise!  Today's play featured the doubles team of Dick Beiden and Jack Hodges defeating the rarely defeated team of Kathi Stanley and Tony Domingos, two sets to one.  This could have been a gold medal match.  People sometimes ask me what the difference is between a 4.0 player and a 4.5 (5.0 being the top rating).  The answer is consistency.  You can be a 4.0 one day and then play lights out 4.5 Pickleball on other days.  O.K., they ask.  How about the difference between a 4.5 and a 5.0.  Not much really.... technically very similar, but there is usually an experience difference.....the 5.0 has played in, and been successful in, tournaments.  Soooooooo.....there is a fine line between the 4.0 and the 4.5, because on given days (or weeks) the 4.0 brings his/her "A" game.  The 4.5 could be lacking in tournament experience or tournament medals.  To take the next step, play smarter, play under control, use placement rather than power, play "no unforced error" Pickleball. You will slowly progress through the ratings.  Seems simple, but if it were, everybody would be good....

....and, play in some tournaments.  They are all over the country.

Keep dinking.....and thinking, "how did the ball come off my paddle today?"

Monday, July 15, 2013

PICKLEBALL....Pickleball Footwork....Mid State Fair

Our website:

Do us a favor.....Share this blog with other picklers.  We would welcome similar connections throughout the Pickleball World.  My contact info is on our website.

16 players this morning and the weather was great.  The summer mornings and evenings are perfect here in Paso Robles.  Our summer start at 7:30 a.m. gives us a chance to get in 2-3 hours of play before it starts to warm up.  We said adios to full time RVer Bruce Kimmell (he calls Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort, outside of Surprise, AZ, home) who had played with us daily for the last month.  Bruce and his wife Debbie are on to their next stop, Reno, Nevada.  Bruce brought an excellent game with him and we all enjoyed his play.  Always a gentleman on the court.  Until next year.....

We also welcomed traveler Ron Allevato from Oceanside.  He plays at Melba Bishop Park in Oceanside and also at Castle Creek in Escondido.  Both excellent Pickleball Clubs with good, veteran players.  Ron represented those two clubs very well.  It is always nice to see a new, unfamiliar face arrive carrying their paddle.  They always mean business!

Sorry to keep mentioning the importance our feet play in the success of our Pickleball game, but, no footwork, no medals....figurative or otherwise!!!!

1.  You know the importance of getting to the NVZ line.
2.  Short, quick, lateral steps at the NVZ line are imperative.
3.  Play low.  How low?  Your paddle should touch the ground if you extend your arm.
4.  Low with quick, lateral shuffle steps keeps the body balanced and greatly reduces the chance of injury.
5.  And the best news of all.....this repeated low, flexed position and quick steps promotes physical conditioning, and is very, very, figure/physique friendly.  Our club members speak fondly of how much weight and inches they have lost.

Note:  Credit where credit is due:  A great deal of this information comes from playing with excellent players at the Crown Valley Pickleball Club in Laguna Niguel, CA, and from Pat Carroll's Bootcamps (Oceanside, CA).  Thank you fellow Ambassadors/Picklers.

The California Mid-State Fair starts this week, July 17-29.  If you are coming up to the Fair, bring your Pickleball paddle and join us at Centennial Park on MWFSat. mornings, 7:30-10:30ish.  The Fair doesn't really get going until the afternoon.

Mahalo for taking the time to read this blog and the few pointers I enjoy sharing with you.  Wherever you are, "how was the ball coming off your paddle today?"

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013....Pickleball Strategies

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club website:

Today's Ten Commandments of Pickleball.......

1.  Most points are won at the net.  Get there as quickly as possible.
2.  Do not crossover step at the No Volley Zone line.  Shuffle along the line.
3.  Think "placement," not power.  Avoid overhitting.
4.  Force your opponent to hit the ball when it is close to the ground.  Short hop their feet and to the side of their feet.  They will hit it up.
5.  Learn to "shade."  Cover the easy shots.  Make them hit to a tougher part of the court.
6.  There are two types of shots in Pickleball.  The swing and the push.  The closer you are to the net, the less you swing the paddle on a groundstroke.  Push the ball.
7.  Never try to hit a winner off of what looks like a winner (from your opponent).  Just get it back.
8.  Avoid putting spin on the ball when you are close to the net.  Avoid spin most of the time.  The paddle surface was not engineered for spin.
9.  Practice using the reverse hinge technique when dinking.  No wrist action.
10. When dinking, the handle should be higher than face of the paddle.  Tip of paddle down!

More to come..............

Saturday, July 13, 2013....Pickleball Strategy....Pickleball Photo

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club website:

A photo from today's Pickleball Play.  Was this point won or lost, because there is a lot of reaching going on?

Reaching usually results in lost rallies.  One of the most important points to remember is that you hit winner's with your FEET (and your paddle, of course).  By this, I mean you should always strive to make contact in your "comfort zone." That zone is 1 foot in front of your body and no more than 1 foot to either side.  To accomplish this, your footwork (extra steps/shuffles) needs to put you in position (the comfort zone) to push the ball back.  We will need to reach on occasion, but don't be lazy. Watch the feet of good players.  Those feet are always moving to get themselves into a good hitting position.  Same with a good infielder in baseball.  They are always striving to field the ball in their "comfort zone."


1.  Play low.  Knees bent enough so that you are ready to react.  A flexed muscle is faster.
2.  Feet wider than shoulders.
3.  Paddle in the ready (backhand) position.
4.  Face the opponent whom you anticipate will hit the next shot.
5.  Make your feet keep you in your COMFORT ZONE.

More pointers, strategies, rules in the next post........

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013....Pickleball Play....Pismo Beach....See's Candy

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club website:

We are in the middle of the summer months, and with this comes vacations and short trips to other parts of California.  We had eleven players this morning.  Half the number we had on Monday of this week (22).  Still good Pickleball, and our new players are learning and getter better all the time.  Two more told me they have ordered their paddles from  I find that owner Kenneth Allbert at Pickleball Paddles Plus is such a nice person to talk to, has fair prices, and excellent inventory.  Give them a try.

I try to make it down to the Pismo Beach Athletic Club courts on Wednesday afternoon (after playing in the morning on our Paso Robles courts).  They have four new excellent courts.

Speaking of excellent, so are the players.  The Club has been playing for over a year and since day one, I have always found the competition to be very keen.  Their advanced players are all 4.0's or better and you better bring your "A" game with you when you show up to play.  Their intermediate players have also improved so much that there is a group of 10-12 very solid players.  Great setting, great courts, great competition.  That is why I drive 40+ miles once a week to play.

Because I pass through San Luis Obispo on the way down to the Athletic Club, I make it a point to stop at See's Candies in SLO.  This is the only See's within 150 miles of Paso Robles.  Always have to get the Dark Chocolate Almonds, Peanut Butter Patties, Coconut Specials.   After all, having to bring your 'A' Pickleball game to the Pismo Club means your are going to burn a lot of calories......TREAT YOURSELF!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013....Pickleball Paddles....The Lone Ranger

Paso Robles Pickleball Club website:

No Pickleball today.  We play MWFSat.

Many of our players who have tried our different loaner paddles are now ready to buy their own.  They are asking the right questions regarding graphite vs. composite hitting surfaces, aluminum core vs. composite core (carbon fiber, resin, fiberglass, etc.).  Let's do a little review of what has been said about these paddles.

1.  Graphite paddles tend to weigh a little less.  To some players, this is important.  Many say that the graphite surface offers a little more control.  Others claim no difference.

2.  Heavier paddles (in the 8-9 oz. range) are generally preferred by the older crowd (seems opposite of what you would expect).  However,  the extra "mass" does mean a little less work on the baseline swing and a little less work on the volley.  Big hitters seem to prefer a lighter paddle.

3.  When comparing graphite and composite paddles, it is best to compare the same brand paddle.   As an example, try the Z5 in both compositions.

4.  Another thing to consider is the core.  Most paddle cores are of a composite (combination of) material.  A honeycomb nomex core is an example.  Aluminum core is just that....Aluminum (not a composite).  The aluminum core is also honeycomb, but not a blend (if that make sense). It is said the exit velocity off an aluminum paddle is a little faster (but still within regulations).  Maybe.......

5.  A lot to consider, but the general rule for purchasing a paddle is this:  ounces are not pounds.  So, the difference of an ounce may not be as important as the "feel" of the paddle and the way you play baseline, volley, and dink shots.  Because placement is the number one goal in this game, judge how the ball comes off the paddle when hitting placement shots.  If you like your results, you have found your paddle!

Now, let's talk about The Lone Ranger....

Went to see the movie this afternoon and it gets a definite Two Thumbs Up!  Johnny Depp is great. Silver is super.  Armie Hammer does a good job....all the acting is good.  A fun movie that reveals/unravels a little of the history surrounding the masked man.  The climactic train scene at the end is worth the price of admission.  That scene, with the William Tell Overture as the background action music is a good as it gets.  Once again, Two Thumbs Up!!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013....New Pickleball Record....The Funny Pickleball Name

Paso Robles Pickleball Club website:

On a beautiful Monday morning here on the Central Coast of California (Paso Robles), we set an attendance record.  Twenty-two players showed up to play on our five courts.  This is without 5-6 of our regulars who are always in attendance.  Interest and growth has been steady and the summer months seems to bring out a few more players (although we have only been playing since last September), so we cannot use the summer of 2012 as a barometer.  Two new players came over after playing tennis on the adjacent city courts.  They played 3-4 games and seemed to really like our fun game with the funny name.

Speaking of the funny name.  People always seem to have an adverse reaction to the mention of Pickleball.  I know. I did.  Sister (plays PB in AZ) kept telling me to try out this game.  One email a week.  "Have you gone down to the local PB club and tried the game?"  I kept finding excuses....too busy, no equipment, leg's a little sore, tough night last night....but I was guilty of not doing my homework and instead turning my nose up to a game with a funny name.  Finally, in June of 2011, I retired.  The next day I received a one sentence email from her...."What is your excuse now?"  A short while later I went down to the Crown Valley Pickleball Club in Laguna Niguel.  In fifteen minutes I was hooked.  Now, I am the one doing the promoting/recruiting.  Naysayers hint that the game might catch on faster if the name were different.  Pickleball is catching on just fine, thank you.  30 new venues a month according to our national governing  More Pickleball courts being built than tennis courts.  City after city converting idle tennis courts to Pickleball courts (you can fit four on one tennis court).  So, just for the sake of wondering....what would have happened to these sports with funny names if organizations succumbed to pressure:

1.  Football (it really is passball or runball)
2.  Soccer
3.  Cricket
4.  Squash
5.  Racquetball (are we referring to the implement or the sound?)
6.  Ping Pong
7.  Croquet
8.  Fencing
9.  Even tennis

Go Pickleball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013....Pickleball Paddles....The Los Angeles Dodgers

Paso Robles Pickleball Club:

No Pickleball today.  We play again tomorrow.  Our summer schedule is a four day a week schedule: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday.  We are starting a little earlier (7:30 a.m.) to beat the late morning heat.  As mentioned in an earlier blog, we started Pickleball here on the Central Coast of California (in Paso Robles) on September 17, 2013.  Hats off to the only two players who showed up to that first class----Jerry LaFlame and Lori Stinchfield.  Since that day, we have had 128 different people come out to see what Pickleball was all about.  We average 15-20 players per day.  We have five courts.  Progress!!!!  We encourage travelers to pack their paddles and come by for a morning of exercise before they visit some of the 200+ wineries within 15 miles of Paso Robles.  What a great area to wine and pickle.

Today's rule coverage:  Questions are asked of me all the time as to what paddle to order.  We have many loaner paddles, and I encourage our players to try the different brands (and weights).  In general, paddles range in weight from 6.5 oz. to 10 oz.  Each person must find out what works for them.  The theory....the heavier the paddle, the more mass behind the "ball strike" and, therefore, the less work that needs to be done on the finish (follow through).  The heavier paddle may result in a little slower reaction time at the net during volleys.  Some players say yes, others say an ounce+ is not enough to make a difference.  You decide.  USAPA rules mandate that the combined length and width shall not exceed 24 inches.  Most paddles are approximately 8" wide by 15 3/4" long.  I will talk composition of paddles later.

Go Dodgers!!!!  The Central Coast of California (midway between L.A. and San Francisco) is decidedly Giant territory.  Don's see much Dodger gear up this way.  However, the Dodgers do have a dedicated fan in this Ambassador.  The days and evenings are nicer when the "Big Blue" wins.  Today was a nice day!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013....Pickleball....Pickleball Rules....Champagne

Our website:

Picture from one of our previous clinics.........

16 players this Saturday morning.  The weather was nice and mild.  Played from 7:30 a.m. until just a little before 10.  Play was highlighted by local first time player Janet Van Boxtel teaming with Ambassador Jack Hodges to defeat veteran players Steve Sidwell and Doug Bates 12-10.  Major victory for the rookie newcomer!!!!  Janet played well all day.  Next Saturday, July 13th, we will put on our monthly FREE Demonstration Clinic which is open to anyone interested in finding out more about this great game.  Time: 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.  Loaner equipment is available, so all you have to do is show up.

This "momentum" rule came up again.  Remember, momentum is continuous.  If you hit a winning volley that passes your opponents, rolls against the back fence, is picked up by one of the opponents AND THEN you (teetering on the legal side of the No Volley Zone) fall in to the NVZ, it is a fault or a point for the opposition.  Until you gain control of your body, "Mo" still applies.  Teetering is not control.  There is NO MOMENTUM violation if the ball bounced on your side of the court, you moved forward to hit, and after the hit, your forward momentum carried you into the NVZ.  This is legal because the ball bounced.  Remember, a volley is different from a groundstroke!

And now....the Champagne.  You are going to get a review (opinion) on things other than Pickleball on this blog.  Good food, good desserts, good restaurants, good "something."  Today's blog gives two thumbs up to Cuvee Bistro and Champagne Bar in Avila Beach.  Under new ownership, and with new Executive Chef Mari Lenci, Cuvee is quickly becoming a favorite spot for Avila Beach locals and visitors alike.  We ate lunch there two days in row and the food and drinks were great.  I might recommend the Chicken Caesar Salad and the Turkey Panini.  The quiche was also excellent.  BTW, they also have great desserts.

Check them out:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013....Pickleball and Dessert

Our Club Website:

19 players on the morning of Independence Day Eve.  Good, healthy play as everyone seemed in a festive mood for the upcoming 4th of July.  North Orange County Ambassador Kelly Painter played with us as did recent So. Cal Classic (Oceanside) medal winner Romy Obrique, who hails from Victorville.  It was nice to have them visit and shows us their very good games.  No Pickleball this Friday (the 5th), but we will play on Saturday morning.  Weather should be cooler and nice.

Now, for a Dessert Review:  This comes from someone who would just as soon eat dessert as eat what everyone else says is a more healthy meal.  What can be more healthy than a good dessert?  What does dessert have to do with Pickleball?  Eat a good one and find out!!!!  First tip, if you are watching calories, then eat a good dessert once a week....but make it a "10."  Not three "3's" on three different occasions.  Speaking of a "10,"  I think the best dessert (overall) in ALL of the Central Coast locations that we have visited is the Olive Oil Cake from Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles.  Mind you, there are many great desserts that I have sampled (and I will cover those in future entries), but the "10" is Olive Oil Cake.  Visit them and find out.  Good food as well.

The "10."  Notice the infinity sign under the cake.  Great Pickling forever if you indulge!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013....Pickleball Line Calls: Responsibilities

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Club website:

Fourteen players this morning.  Temperatures slightly cooler with a little cloud cover.  Still warm and a little uncomfortable by 10:00 a.m.  Nice to see the regulars out there staying active and having fun.  Also, nice to see players getting better.  We have come a long since that third week in September (the 17th to be exact).  Painter's tape lines on two courts.  We kept trying to add two more courts with tape but the skateboarder's and roller hockey people kept tearing the lines up with their wheels and skates.  Finally got permission from the city to paint permanent lines.  We played the morning of January 30th and then a group of us stayed through the afternoon painting permanent lines on five courts.  It has made all the difference.

Line Call Suggestions:  It is very difficult to be on the run (towards a sideline) or standing on or near the baseline and have to hit and make an "out" call at the same time.  It should be much easier for your partner to watch the ball and make the call.  It is nice to hear both players say "out" at the same time, but the call should be made by the inactive (somewhat), standing partner.  Try it, you will be more accurate and fairer.

Nice picture of our new USAPA sign.  We are becoming more and more official!!!!