WILL THE USTA JUMP “HEAD FIRST” INTO PICKLEBALL?

North Carolina Pickleball

  USTA FLORIDA NOW HOSTING PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENTS – WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR THE FUTURE GROWTH OF THE USAPA? 

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USTA FLORIDA PICKLEBALL BREAK OUT –  USTA NOW HOSTING PICKLEBALL TOURNAMENTS AND JOINS THE AAU AS A MAJOR PLAYER NOW IN THE PREVIOUSLY NON-COMPETITIVE PICKLEBALL SPACE ????

FINAL SERIES –

The USTA (United States Tennis Association) has consistently stated that they have no interest in pickleball and have even refused to accept “blended lines” at their sanctioned tournaments.  A quick Google search of tennis clubs that provide pickleball now totally refute that notion no matter what the “wheels” at USTA may say. Now fast forward since the Bobby Riggs  Tennis Center added pickleball two years ago….With the tennis 1. industry flat, 2. tennis members participating shrinking, 3. tennis revenues down, 4. tennis instructors looking for new revenue sources and 5. hundreds of unused or underutilized tennis courts, the USTA may be now taking a fresh look at pickleball.   FLORIDA BREAK OUT –  The Forrest Tennis and Pickleball Club, a USTA facility in Florida, recently hosted a pickleball tournament which was held on February 2, 2019 at their club in Florida. Several other Florida tennis clubs will also be hosting pickleball tournaments this year.  Before we look closer at the possible USTA sponsorship of pickleball tournaments, let’s review a recent article in the Tennis Industry Magazine – this article may be setting the table for a full USTA Launch into pickleball? 

A Blended-Court Solution?A cooperative pilot program using 60-foot courts for pickleball may offer opportunities for both
players and tennis facilities.
By Peter Francesconi

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For tennis facilities, one of the more challenging aspects of accommodating the needs of pickleball players is how to handle the lines on the court. A pickleball court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide, dimensions that don’t fit neatly into the lines of a standard 78-foot tennis 30 court, and aren’t quite  the same as lines for a 36- or 60-foot court.
But a potential solution, suggested by the USTA with the support of the USA Pickleball Association, may be at hand, and may offer advantages and opportunities for players and facilities. In a free pilot program, the USTA has offered to add the pickleball “non-volley” line (also called the “kitchen” line) to existing 60-foot courts (or to new blended-line applicants). The non-volley line is 7 feet from the net on each side.

On 78- and 60-foot courts, the distance from service line to service line is 42 feet, and the width of the singles sidelines on a 60-foot court is 21 feet – both just slightly off from pickleball’s 44- by 20-foot court. But the USAPA has agreed that recreational pickleball, which accounts for the vast majority of play, can take place on a 60-foot tennis court. (The pickleball net height is different, too – 34 inches at the center and 36 inches at the posts, as opposed to a tennis net height of 36 and 42 inches. Temporary net adjusters are available to pull it down to pickleball height.) 
For pickleball players, they’ll be on a court that is a foot shorter on each end, and 6 inches wider on each side. But since much of pickleball takes place in the forecourt, the shorter court for recreational play should not be a concern, says Kurt Kamperman, the USTA’s chief executive for the USTA National Campus, who has been looking at solutions for accommodating pickleball. Kamperman met with USAPA Executive Director Justin Maloof in April to present this pilot concept. “Our interest is in helping tennis facilities and parks that have a demand for pickleball, so they have an option that doesn’t involve having excessive lines on a tennis court, or worse, potentially losing tennis courts,” Kamperman says. The USTA has been promoting 36- and 60-foot blended-line courts for almost a decade. Today, there are an estimated 25,000 of these courts across the U.S. A 60-foot court can be used for several racquet sports: youth and adult tennis, pickleball and POP Tennis. “We can look at pickleball as a competitor or as a racquet sport cousin,” Kamperman notes. “Many older tennis players are considering moving or have moved to activities that might require less court coverage, such as pickleball. This blended-line solution allows longtime tennis players to continue playing racquet sports at their tennis facilities.” For facilities, adding 60-foot blended lines for pickleball can help fill off-peak court time. Pickleball’s 3.11 million players (according to PAC data) include a strong contingent of retirees who can play during middle-of-the-day hours. Plus, facilities and shops can increase retail, lesson and clinic revenue. In the pilot program, which ends July 31, the USTA will provide free lines for up to 50 tennis facilities. “If you have existing 60-foot courts, we’ll add the lines for the pickleball kitchen,” Kamperman says. “If your facility doesn’t yet have 60-foot blended lines, we’ll add them for you and include the kitchen line.” In early May, Kamperman presented the concept to USTA Section executive directors, who have been recommending parks and tennis facilities for the pilot program. Facilities apply for the grants online through the USTA Facilities Assistance Program (usta.com/facilities). Kamperman says the USTA, including the sections, will evaluate the pilots and then, along with USAPA, decide if the program should continue. David LaSota, a top facility designer who works with the USTA, says this is a solution that could work for everyone. “It’s very easy to add a blended line in the service box as a kitchen line,” he says. “So we can accommodate pickleball play without having lines all over the place.” “This solution makes sense because it gives businesses flexibility,” says Chuck Gill, the director of sports at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Fla. Ibis has 16 tennis courts and four pickleball courts. “I was worried pickleball could take players away from our tennis program, but the reality is you get a whole different person playing pickleball. We get golfers who may be a bit intimidated by a full size tennis court, and people who maybe can’t move as well as they used to. We find pickleball complements tennis well.” John Kerr, director of tennis and pickleball at Palmetto Dunes on Hilton Head Island, S.C., echoes this. “Pickleball has turned out to be a totally new revenue stream for us. Adding something with such wide appeal is a breath of fresh air.” “We put in four pickleball courts last fall and immediately started making money,” adds Nancy Ehrola, business operations director at The Atlantic Club in Manasquan, N.J. “From Nov. 1 to April 30, we did $28,000 in pickleball income – and that’s in off-peak times.” Kamperman realizes accommodating pickleball play can be a sensitive issue for diehard tennis players. “From infrastructure and business points of view,” he says, “it makes sense to try and find a solution where everyone benefits – the USTA, USAPA, existing tennis facilities looking to keep their players and add a revenue stream, and especially players looking to get out on the courts and be active.”

BELOW ARE TEN VENUES THAT HAVE STARTED PICKLEBALL OR MAY SOON ADD TO THEIR TENNIS AND RECREATIONAL PROGRAMS

Time will tell but it looks like tennis is about to make a huge move into the exploding pickleball industry and attract more and more players to previously “tennis only” clubs.  Easing the “blended line” restriction should be a wake call to those who doubt this takeover is just around the corner….

DisclaimerThe views expressed herein are not necessary those of North Carolina Pickleball, it’s editors or viewers.

Is Tennis The New Pickleball – Part Two –

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Tennis Report Two

North Carolina Pickleball Reported first reported and asked the question – Is Tennis slowing taking over pickleball?   When you look at the declining participation on Tennis and the acceleration growth in pickleball, the answer is clearly yes.  The break out first began with the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in California.  Two years ago, the Bobby Riggs Club reported newly created pickleball courts.  Fast forward two years, and Bobby Riggs now has a full blown pickleball program with memberships.

North Carolina Pickleball then decided to take a look at USTA facilities and clubs on the East Coast and we quickly discovered that pickleball is alive and well and is being jointly offered alongside tennis.  A quick search found five clubs in the Sarasota/Tampa area  that offer both memberships.

https://www.fwbtenniscenter.com

http://www.belleaircc.com/tennis

https://www.lakewoodranchgolf.com/tennis/pickleball

https://bradentoncc.org/

https://www.palmaire.net/Tennis/SPORTS/Pickleball

In summary, I would say that Tennis is the new pickleball

The Changing World of Pickleball

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Report – Our Changing Landscape

A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides surprising details of how pickleball is and will soon be changing.  The following list provides more questions than answers unless you are one of the organizers.  As example, what is the American Pickleball Association, the National Pickleball Center and Premier Pickleball League?  I am sure that we will be hearing more about these newcomers in the weeks ahead.  We now welcome the World Pickleball Federation to the mix.

TO CONDUCT A SEARCH TYPE PICKLEBALL INTO THE SEARCH LINE

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Seymour Rifkin “RIF” a internationally known figure in pickleball and owner of the IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association)  announced earlier this week and launch of the WORLD PICKLEBALL FEDERATION  .  The World Federation is now is the second type association to operate within this space. ScreenHunter 302 The International Federation of Pickleball is almost 10 year old.  In early 2010, a committee was formed to advance the concept of an International Federation of Pickleball (IFP). The IFP is organized under this Constitution to perpetuate the international growth and development of pickleball. The IFP officially established its Constitution, Bylaws and Officers in 2015 with the following inaugural member countries: USA, Canada, Spain and India. The IFP has since expanded its membership to include the following Associations: France, the United Kingdom and Great Britain. Membership is expected to grow each year as the sport continues expanding to new countries throughout the world. The new World Federation has several “lofty goals” that are enumerated on their web page.  ”

Welcome World Pickleball Federation (WPF). The Federation has been organized to fuel the growth of pickleball worldwide by providing practical support and governance. WPF has been organized with 6 confederations representing the world continents. Each confederation possesses a better understanding of the unique challenges each country within their region is faced with. The WPF is committed to assisting member countries by providing resources such as: funding & revenue-building opportunities, access to IPTPA teacher training and rating assessments, software programs for clubs and tournaments, access to the best players in the world for exhibitions & player clinics. Along with fueling the growth of pickleball worldwide, the WPF is committed to raising the awareness of our professional players. Publicity through major media outlets helps to build awareness to our sport. Recognizing and rewarding our pros is a key element to fueling the growth of pickleball. This requires sponsorships from companies outside of our sport. Financial institutions, hotels, airlines, etc. all are potential sponsors which can provide additional funding to assist the growth of our sport, while increasing the prize money for our pros at recognized WPF tournaments. Our board is comprised of business people that are passionate about pickleball while also possessing connections to board rooms of some of the largest companies in the world. The WPF has taken the first step of what will become an annual end of year ranking of the best players in the world. We established a formula for 2018, that recognizes tier 1 and tier 2 tournaments for our professional players. Points were given based on the level of competition and the prize money awarded. A full explanation of our formula can be seen on our facebook page. Moving forward we will be announcing our WPF Series of tournaments. This has a two-fold purpose: 1) assist our pros in planning which tournaments to attend based on prize money and points, 2) assist international tournaments with funding for prize money to attract pros and the tournament draw.  Seymour Rifkin ScreenHunter 299

We welcome your comments and invite you to join our North Carolina Facebook Page   – Simply type North Carolina Pickleball in the top search box and hit join…..

Ambassador Conference Kicks Off

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Ambassador Retreat

USAPA Ambassadors Meet at Club Med Port St. Lucie Florida – The annual ambassador retreat kicked off yesterday with a meet n greet followed by dinner. Two nice additions this year was special seating for all attendees plus the Board members sat at a different table and interacted with and answered questions. Pickleball University was offered prior to the event and was a huge success. Brian StaubJennifer Lucore, Sarah Linh Ansboury and Byron Freso were guest instructors. More information throughout the week.

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2019 NORTH CAROLINA SENIOR GAMES

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Senior Games Notice

Please see attached and below (an additional $5.00 off reg. fee if you sign up at this event).  Thanks.

Come have fun at the annual Senior Games Kick-Off event.  This year’s Kick-Off event will be held on Friday, February 1st at 3 locations: Tyvola Senior Center, North Meck Senior Center and the Levine Senior Center (see attached flyer for more information).  Don’t miss out on your 1st chance to register for the 2019 Mecklenburg Senior Games and save $5.00 off the Early Bird price. (Games start in April)  Time for the kickoff will be 2:30 to 5:30pm at all three locations.

For more information, please contact us at SeniorGames@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov.

 

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Powerade Heads to Charlotte NC

North Carolina Pickleball

Powerade Heads To Charlotte

powerade pre announcement 2019

Overview

COMPETITION DATES: June 7-9

COMPETITION SITE: Olde Providence Racquet Club Indoor Tennis Center

ENTRY FEE: Early registration fee of $50 per player through March 10th. Fee includes entry into all events and the Player’s Social. Registration fee will increase by $10 starting on March 11th.

ENTRY DEADLINE: 11:59pm on May 24

DIVISIONS OFFERED:
– 18-49 (4.0 & Under)
– 18-49 (4.5 & Over)
– 50-59 (4.0 & Under)
– 50-59 (4.5 & Over)
– 60-69 (4.0 & Under)
– 60-69 (4.5 & Over)
– 70+ (4.0 & Under)
– 70+ (4.5 & Over)

 ** This will be a USAPA Medal Match Only Sanctioned Tournament (all medal matches will be officiated). A current USAPA membership is required. All divisions offered for Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles. Tournament staff reserves the right to combine divisions.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Double Elimination (2 of 3 to 11, 1 to 15). Divisions with 4 or fewer teams will be a Round Robin.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:
Friday (June 7) – MD/WD 50+, 60+, 70+ for all skill levels
Saturday (June 8) – MXD for all ages and skill levels
Sunday (June 9) – MD/WD 18+ for all skill levels

Venue Directions

CAROLINA BEACH – Pickleball or Bicker Ball

NORTH CAROLINA PICKLEBALL

screenhunter 189ON THE ROAD – CAROLINA BEACH SETS NEW RULES

Ed Note – In an effort to please everyone they will please no one…..

CAROLINA BEACH — Being told you can’t play on the same court as someone else might sound like middle-school drama, but in Carolina Beach, it’s not the children who are fussing over a game.

According to town emails between a resident and Parks and Programs Superintendent Tim Murphy, there has been some tension on the pickleball courts.

Recently the town decided it would be best to remove advanced and intermediate pickleball hours from its schedule, instead opting for an ‘all-levels’ open play due to some disputes amongst players.

“The past several weeks we have been having some folks who were told they were not allowed to play in the intermediate sessions. They considered themselves intermediate players but were having their paddles moved and told they were not allowed to play from other players,” Murphy said in an email.

“Taking this into consideration, and the new influx of people who have joined and are interested in playing, Eric, myself and the front desk staff think the best way to schedule moving forward is to make open pickleball for all skill types. I hope you understand this decision and still enjoy participating. We love seeing the gym full of people playing pickleball,” he concluded.

The resident acknowledged there has been some so-called “pickleball drama” between “warring factions” but said he has not experienced someone telling another player they cannot play.

“If I may add a variation to the pickleball drama. Yes, there is a level of angst between the warring factions, please understand my tongue in cheek. However, I am there mostly every day and I have never heard any player say that others can’t play. Is there mumbling and grumbling, oh yeah, by both sides.

“In fact, I have discussed that levels are self-regulated as they are at the Y where I play weekends. Do paddles get moved, yes by both sides. If I don’t want to play with a person(s), I’ll hold my paddle out for the next group or grouping that I want,” the resident said in his email.  Story by Michael Pratts

Final thought,  this problem could easily be resolved with proper rules and leadership.  The Villages with over 200 pickleball courts have figured it out.  Perhaps the local USAPA ambassador in that area could assist and guide them through these troubled times…

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