Practice Makes Perfect – That is-Perfect Practice

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Practice Equipment Edition

Here is another training product to consider. A pickleball rebounder is a highly versatile product to enable players to practice a variety of different drills. It’s cheaper than a ball machine and will not break. You’ll also get a better workout and far more actual pickleball hits during your training session using a rebounder compared to a ball machine. Check out the website here to learn 

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Beech Mountain Adds Pickleball Mixer

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Pickleball Mixer – Beech Mountain, NC

August 5 thru 9th 2019

“Hats Off” to Bob and Liz Higginbottom for putting together another outstanding event scheduled for August 5th thru 9th 2019.  The event fees will feature a bar b q, sit down dinner at the beautiful Beech Mountain ClubHouse, Club registration fees and a fun round robin pickleball tournament.  Beech Mountain locals will be there to challenge your skills.  Total cost is only $121.00 per person excluding lodging.

The Beech Mountain Club Pickleball Center has 5 beautiful new courts located at the heart of the Club’s recreation campus. Deck seating and a convenient sports café overlook the courts along with a covered pavilion for social events. Pickleball teaching professionals direct the Club’s program during the summer which includes private lessons, clinics, league and tournament play, as well as special sessions throughout the week.

Paddles are available for rent and for sale along with the latest in Pickleball attire through the Pickleball Center Office/Shop. The Beech Mountain Club has been at the forefront of promoting this fast-growing sport in the high-country area.

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Interested parties should call Bob Nibarger at 757-685-5909 or email at    Registration ends soon so call today.


North Carolina Pickleball 2018 Holiday Smash Results



The 2018 North Carolina Holiday Smash concluded on November 17 and 18 at the beautiful 18 indoor court facility Carolina Courts Concord.  Over 200+ players fought it out over two days.  Here are the medal winners from this weekend.

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Stephanie Lane and Richard Rineholz   5.0 Mixed Doubles Winners


Jacob Noble and Sarah Parker 5.0 Silver Medal Winners Mixed Doubles

Spec Tennis Coming To A Court Near U

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Spec Tennis Overview

North Carolina Pickleball received a very interesting promotional note in our inbox.  The information announced a new sport introduced and currently being played in California.  The Sport is Spec Tennis.  Spec Tennis is a new paddle sport that utilizes a pickleball court.  The sport has it’s own equipment and rules.  Here is what we received:

Dear All,

Please check out Spec Tennis

It’s been gaining popularity in California.


Spec Tennis is played on a pickleball court with a different paddle, ball, and style of play similar to tennis.

The “kitchen” rule does not apply to Spec.

Many pickleball clubs have reached out to me with interest in adding it to their program.

Reasons Spec Tennis could be of interest to you:

1) Players may enjoy playing both pickleball & Spec–especially those who come from a tennis background.

2) It helps solve the noise problem that many communities fight pickleball on.

3) Demonstrates the need to build more pickleball courts by showing that there are multiple groups using the court.

4) It lessens the tension between tennis and pickleball players

Please let me know how I can help you learn more about Spec, and how you can try it out!


Spec Tennis
The Tennis Player’s Competitive Alternative to Pickleball

Pickleball Age vs. Skill

North Carolina Pickleball

Special Age/Skill Edition



by Ford Roberson, SSIPA President

This is another article in the debunking SSIPA series written to help players understand tournament formats and their advantages and disadvantages based on providing a fair and level competitive playing field for pickleball tournaments.  Have you heard players say, “A 3.5 player has certain skills regardless of age, all 3.5 players are the same.” Wow, can you find any player that is in the 60+ age categories that believes that statement. If you can, they are clearly the exception rather than the rule.  SSIPA was founded on the belief that older players were overwhelmed by playing players 10 or more years younger than themselves.

Let’s take a few moments to look at and understand the different tournament formats and how they benefit certain players.  The philosophy of each tournament format is based on the beliefs held by groups of players within both age groups and skill levels.  The four basic types of tournaments are: 1) skill only, 2) age only, 3) skill/age, and 4) age/skill. Understanding each format will help you decide what might be your personal best format for fair competition at both your age and skill level.

Skill only tournaments:  Just like it reads, these tournaments are only concerned with your skill level, regardless of age, all players at a skill level entered will be grouped together.  All 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0 are competing against each other in a group. Exceptions managed by a tournament director within skill groups do occur, often in smaller tournaments or in areas where there are skill voids.  A skill void is where there are only a few players within any skill level. In pickleball in general there are only a few 5.0 players in certain locals. Some states have less than 20 players in the entire 5.0 grouping. In these cases, tournament directors combine skill groups to make brackets for the tournament based on brackets sizes and player numbers within a skill level.  In other words, 4.5 and 5.0 may need to be combined.

Age only tournaments: These tournaments use age only groupings and ignore completely skill levels.  Common age groupings are 19-34, 35-49, 50-59, 60-70 and 70+. Age only tournaments once again, may combine age groups based on the tournament director’s decisions.  In an extreme case, depending on the number of entries, you might just have two groupings of the under 50 and 50+ in age. These age groups are used mostly in tournaments where the competitive levels are limited to high skilled players.  NAGA and State Games of America have generally in the past been age only tournaments. Players with high skills dominate the podium in this type of tournament.

Skill/Age tournaments: These tournaments combine age groups within skill levels as the competitive format.  When entering these tournaments, players enter their respective skill level at a certain age, often thinking that there are enough teams to make a bracket.  After traveling sometimes long distances, only to find out that their skill has been combined into multiple age groups. An example would be 4.0 skill level with age groups 50+, 60+ and 70+ or 4.0: 50+ when you are 77 years old competing with players 25 years younger than yourself.

Age/Skill tournaments:  These tournaments combine skill groups within age allowing for various skills to compete within an age group.  The idea of using this format is that older players skills are often closer due to physical limitations than those of lower age groups.  However, this format allows players the most flexibility since players may still play down in age to compete with younger players of the same skill level.  This format gives the players more choices rather than having them made for them. In all tournaments, players may choose to play down in age and up in skill.  This last format is the one used by SSIPA to give players the greatest number of choices and options.

In conclusion:  Since SSIPA is a player driven association, it desires to protect the best interest of players in the 60+ age categories.  Following the SSIPA tournament guidelines in SSIPA circuit events gives players the SSIPA guarantee that they will not be forced at the last minute by tournament directors to play younger players unless they desire to do so.

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