After playing golf one Saturday during the summer, Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, successful businessman, returned to Pritchard’s home on Bainbridge Island, WA (near Seattle) to find their families sitting around with nothing to do. The property had an old badminton court so Pritchard and Bell looked for some badminton equipment and could not find a full set of rackets. They improvised and started playing with ping-pong paddles and a perforated plastic ball. At first, they placed the net at badminton height of 60 inches and volleyed the ball over the net. As the weekend progressed, the players found that the ball bounced well on the asphalt surface and soon the net was lowered to 36 inches. The following weekend, Barney McCallum was introduced to the game at Pritchard’s home. Soon, the three men created rules, relying heavily on badminton. They kept in mind the original purpose, which was to provide a game that the whole family could play together.
BREAKDOWN OF KEY PICKLEBALL PADDLE FEATURES
Pickleball paddles are made of wood, composite, or graphite. Each material has its pros and cons.
Wood: Wood is inexpensive. It offers adequate performance and durability. Because it’s the heaviest material, however, it isn’t a desirable option for all players.
Composite: A composite pickleball paddle is lighter than wood and offers a textured surface. This is important once you move up from the beginner ranks and want a paddle that gives you greater ball control. A composite paddle costs more than a wood paddle.
Graphite: High-end paddles are made of graphite (also known as carbon fiber). This material gives you the lightest weight with the most power. The higher price range of this paddle makes it a better option for the serious player.
For competition, USA Pickleball states that the size of a pickleball paddle (including the handle) cannot exceed 24 inches, while the paddle cannot exceed 17 inches. There are no restrictions when it comes to the paddle’s thickness. The average paddle is 8 inches wide by 15 inches long. However, if you prefer, you can get an elongated paddle. This might not be a desirable option if you have larger hands because it means the handle will be shorter.
Edged vs. edgeless
The edge guards on a pickleball paddle help protect it from damage that may occur from swiping it across the ground during gameplay. A player may opt to sacrifice this protection to get an edgeless paddle. These models maximize the playing surface and give the player a larger sweet spot at the expense of having a paddle that’s more vulnerable to damage.
The ideal weight of a pickleball paddle is a preference. With a lighter paddle, a player needs to swing harder to get a powerful shot, but they have more control. Conversely, a heavier paddle gives a player less control but more power.
Whether you’re a beginner or a pickleball pro, choosing a vacation destination with ample pickleball resources is sure to enhance the experience. Vibrant pickleball communities thrive all over the country––especially in warm, dry places––making a pickleball trip the perfect escape in winter months. As the fastest-growing sport in the US, pickleball is a great way to connect with new communities and enjoy fun, low-impact physical activity with your travel companions. But unlike other popular leisure and vacation sports like golf, pickleball is easy to learn and won’t break the bank.
As pickleball grows in popularity throughout the country, tourist destinations have begun to capitalize on the opportunity to use pickleball to attract visitors––building pickleball courts at resorts and hosting pickleball events and tournaments. That means there are lots of options out there for pickleball lovers––whether you’re planning a pickleball-centered trip or just want to make sure you can practice your drop shot while you travel.
SaddleBrooke Ranch is a regional pickleball hub because of its 24 courts available to members of the Pickleball Club and visiting friends and relatives. It is also used by those who are looking for that perfect retirement spot in sunny Arizona in which to plant roots in a 55+ Active Community. Those looking for re-sale homes can contact Lynn Baker or Douglas Sedam at SBRanchRealty.com or call 520-829-5219 ext. 3 or we can accompany you to the Sales Office if you are looking to build. While you look at homes during the day, Lynn can plug you in to a few games of pickleball with friendly club members in the evening under lighted courts.
Weight. Weight is the most important factor when choosing a paddle. Pickleball paddles can range from 6 to 14 ounces. Most composite or graphite paddles weigh from 6 to 9 ounces. Weight influences how a paddle feels when you pick it up and swing it on the court. For someone without pre-existing injuries, your choice of paddle weight is entirely up to your personal fitness level and comfort. A heavier paddle will help you to drive the ball, but will provide less control of the ball. However, be aware that the heaviness of the paddle also accelerates fatigue in your arm and can strain your elbow. Conversely, a paddle that is too light may not provide enough drive but will increase ball control.
Grip Size. It is important to play with a paddle that has the correct grip circumference for your hand. Playing with a paddle grip that is too big may cause the paddle to slip in your hand and can lead to elbow problems. For this reason if you are trying to decide between two sizes, try the smaller size first. Smaller grips allow for more wrist action, which aids in putting spin on the ball and enhances control. This wrist action also produces powerful serves and facilitates quick hand changes for those players that switch hands during play. A larger grip will provide more stability, and be easier on your arm, so you can see that it is important to find the “just right” size for your hand. Competitive pickleball players often customize their paddle grips using an over-grip to re-wrap their paddle exactly to fit their personal preference.
The USA Pickleball Board collaborated with a committee comprised of selected individuals, both “Standing Players” and “Wheelchair Players” to develop rules specific to wheelchair pickleball. The following rules have been finalized and have been added as “Section 16 – Wheelchair Pickleball” to the IFP Pickleball Rule Book.
16.A. Basic Play
The wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body and all applicable rules that apply to a player’s body will apply to the wheelchair except in non-volley zone as listed below.
All applicable rules which apply to standing players apply to those in a wheelchair except as listed below.
16.B. Two Bounce Rule
The wheelchair pickleball player is allowed two bounces of the ball on his or her side of the net. The second bounce can be anywhere inside or outside of the court boundaries.
- C.1. Server shall be in stationary position, and then allowed one push before striking ball.
- C.2. At the time the server strikes the ball, the server shall not touch with any wheel: any baselines, sidelines, center lines or the extended center or sidelines.
16.D. Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) (two bounce rule applies)
- D.1. When a wheelchair player strikes a ball in the NVZ, on a volley, it is a fault only if the larger-rear wheels contact NVZ.
- D.2. Upon exiting the NVZ, after striking a bounced ball, the player’s larger-rear wheels must return to outside the NVZ boundaries (so no rear wheel contact is made in the NVZ) before hitting a volley, or it is a fault.
16.E. Wheelchair/Standing Pickleball
- E.1. When a wheelchair pickleball player is playing with or against a standing person in singles or doubles, the rules of pickleball for standing players shall apply to all standing players while the wheelchair pickleball rules shall apply to all wheelchair players.
16.F. Singles Wheelchair Pickleball
- F.1. Singles play with one or both players in a wheelchair shall be played on half court. The server and the receiver shall serve, receive and play the entire point from their respective service and receiving court.
Welcome to the SaddleBrooke Ranch Pickleball court complex. We have completed construction of 24 courts. Various courts are available to our members, residents and guests. You can reach the courts by taking Arizona Highway #77 (Oracle Road) north of Tucson and turning left onto SaddleBrooke Ranch Road West. Follow the road past the 4-way stop and continue to the end where you will find the courts on your left. The physical address is 31080 S. Amenity Drive. At times courts are reserved for Club play but there other times during the day or evening that anyone can play. The complex is one of the best venues for play in southern Arizona. Courts are directly across the street from the Fine Arts building (including wood working, technology, glass and many other artistic pursuits), Library and Dog Park.
The mission of the SBRPA is to establish SaddleBrooke Ranch as a premiere pickleball community serving all skill levels and formats of play, thereby promoting the passion and sport of the game both inside and outside our community.
Strategies (as prioritized by our membership)
combinations of play (develop)
and accessories (promote)
Why is pickleball so popular?
Why is pickleball so popular? Well, first of all, it’s not new as 2021 marked its 56th anniversary. The game, with its handmade equipment and simple rules, was invented in the Seattle area by three enterprising dads whose children were bored with their usual summertime activities. And the name? As the story goes, one of the founders had a dog named Pickles who would chase the ball and run off with it, so they called it.
As of 2020, Pickleball has 4.2 million players in the U.S., according to the SFIA 2021 Topline Participation Report. The known places to play totaled 8,735 at the end of 2020, and the number continues to grow.
As of 2020, Pickleball has 4.2 million players in the U.S., according to the SFIA 2021 Topline Participation Report. The known places to play totaled 8,735 at the end of 2020, and the number continues to grow. Every U.S. state now has pickleball venues, with senior residence communities, YMCA’s, local recreation centers, schools and parks the most common places that have courts.
So, to answer the question about why pickleball is so popular, in a nutshell, the game is an easy to learn paddle sport appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. It’s easy on the joints, and combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. The only equipment needed is a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. Though a great sport for beginners, experienced players compete against each other in fast-paced, challenging and competitive games.
If you’ve played pickleball long enough, chances are you’ve thought about joining a tournament. The truth is there’s just something so exhilarating about being in a competition and the potential of taking home first prize.
However, if you’re a first-timer, preparing for a pickleball tournament can be daunting. A lot can go into your preparations more than you realize. How do you make sure you’re ready for the big day? Do you need to pack a lot of things? Are there things you need to know beforehand?
Today, we’ll be walking you through seven keys to success as you get ready for your first pickleball tournament.
Success Tip #1: Pick the Right Partner
If you intend to play doubles pickleball, then you need to find the right partner. Pickleball is a very social game so you have to make sure that you’re completely in sync with the person you are playing with both skills-wise and strategy-wise. This is particularly helpful in tournaments where the competitive nature of people is heightened.
Your pickleball partner should be someone who not only has the same skill rating as you but also has the same goals and expectations going into the tournament.
Having a shared mindset makes for a better playing experience especially when you’re in competitive play. You’ll be able to communicate and perform better at the court.
Success Tip #2: Understand What You’re Getting Yourself Into and Be Mentally Prepared for It
Tournaments are a whole other playing field than casual play. More often than not, people are there to win so it’s important to know what to expect when you’re there.
Since you’ll be playing for the first time in a competitive environment, chances are you’ll meet and might even play with people who have more experience than you. The truth is the best players have to beat you first before you can become better.
Remember that your first tournament doesn’t have to be taking home the gold prize however nice that idea is.
Focus on giving your best in the competition and don’t get so riled up about winning. Set your goals with your partner to manage your thoughts and expectations. Manifest positivity so that come game day, you’ll have a fulfilling experience.
Success Tip #5: Do Your Research
It’s never a good idea to come to a match clueless and without a proper plan. That being said, it’s important to do your research weeks before the tournament actually begins so you wouldn’t find yourself dumbstruck and unable to perform on the day of the competition.
First of all, you have to familiarize yourself with the tournament format. Is it going to be a double elimination, a round-robin, or luck of the draw? Get to know the rules inside and out.
It’s also important to know the playing environment at the tournament. Will you be playing indoors or outdoors? Make sure that you have plenty of time practicing in the setting similar to what will be used during the competition so you are acclimated early on.
Lastly, get used to the ball that will be used during the tournament. Balls used in this sport come in a wider variety of types and each one performs differently than the others. Get to know the official ball that’ll be used in the tournament and have plenty of practice with it.
Success Tip #4: Enjoy Yourself
If you’re new to tournaments, it can be pretty daunting and stressful sometimes. While having an “in-it-to-win-it” attitude helps in pumping you up for matches, it’s also important to know that you’re there to have a good time too.
Don’t forget that pickleball is a fun game even in a competitive scenario. For tournament newbies, having a positive overall experience should be much more important than obliterating your opponents.
Take your first tournament as a positive learning experience. Consider it as a chance to hone your skills, to learn new things, and to meet and play with players who may have a higher skill level than you.
You may not take home a medal immediately but by enjoying yourself, you can take home great memories and a can-do attitude for the next tournament you’ll sign up for.
Success Tip #5: Prepare Your Body
Pickleball tournaments can be taxing to the body. As with any sport, it’s important to keep your body in top condition before, during, and after the tournament.
First of all, keep your body hydrated. In a tournament, you’ll most likely be running around the court and exposed to the sun. You’ll be sweating like crazy and this will deplete your water stores, cause your body to overheat, and even cause cramping.
Be sure to have plenty of water with you at all times and load up in between matches. Avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee as well.
Another way to prep your body for a tournament is to eat nutritious food. Eat balanced meals every day in the weeks leading up to the competition and of course throughout the duration of the tournament. Stock up on vegetables, grains, healthy meats, nuts, and seafood.
By making sure that your body is sustained with the right food, you can maximize your energy during matches and perform at your best.
Most importantly, be sure to warm up before your matches. Hours before the game starts, have a warm-up session with your partner. Stretch your muscles and practice your dinks, serves, returns, and the like. This gets you started on a good rhythm so you are already in sync once your game starts.
Success Tip #6: Bring the Right Tools and Equipment
Packing for a tournament is a whole lot different than just preparing for casual games at your local club. Tournaments are much more intense so you need to bring the right tools and equipment so help you play your best during matches.
Since you’ll be sweating a lot as you move from one match to another, it’s helpful to bring a big towel and extra clothes. You’d want to change into dry clothes in between matches so you remain comfortable at all times.
You also need to pack extra shoes and socks. You’ll be running around all day trying to hit the ball across the court. To prevent blistered feet, be sure to bring extra socks and shoes you can change into in between matches. You may also bring a pair of sandals to give your feet a break from shoes.
It’s also a good idea to bring extra paddles and balls. You’ll never know what’ll happen to your paddle during a match or during your practice sessions. Likewise, a couple of extra balls is also helpful particularly if you want to practice before your game.
If you’re playing outdoors, be sure to bring sunscreen. Make sure it’s sweat-proof and be sure also to apply it as often as you can.
Most importantly, pack your bag the night before. You wouldn’t want to be rushing on the morning of the tournament shoving random things in your backpack. Do yourself a favor and prepare what you need the night before so you don’t have to stress about it the next day.
Success Tip #7: Participate in Pre-Tournament Clinics
Some hosts hold pre-tournament clinics for participants. Not only is it a great place to socialize and meet the players you’ll be competing with but it’s also a great venue to learn more things prior to the actual tournament.
Sometimes, professional players also come to these clinics to give out valuable instructions to tournament participants. Who would want to miss out on an opportunity to learn from the best?