Pickleball Success http://pickleballsuccess.com Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:59:10 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.5 en Listen to your body to avoid pickleball injuries! http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/04/listen-to-your-body-to-avoid-pickleball-injuries/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/04/listen-to-your-body-to-avoid-pickleball-injuries/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:59:10 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=78 In addition to warming-up and stretching prior to each pickleball session, it is important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you.  An ache, a pain or a weakness in any part of your body is a signal to you that your body is being stressed beyond the norm.  We have to remember that our physical body is the same age as what the calendar says!  I can relate to you a personal experience that reinforces this point.  I have suffered for the past 8 months or so with rotator cuff tendinitis.  To cope with it I went to the doctor and had cortisone shots every 3 months.  Feeling good once again, I continued to play pickleball.  This routine came to a screeching halt 4 weeks ago.  I executed my unorthodox backhand while playing and experienced extreme pain in my right shoulder.  An MRI showed that I had torn one of the tendons that make up the rotator cuff.  Consequently, I must have surgery to repair the tear.  Had I focused on strengthening the muscles and tendons when I first experienced the tendinitis, perhaps the tear wouldn’t have happened.  If something isn’t quite right in your body, it will tell you.  Listen to it!!

Eliminate unforced errors in your pickleball game http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/04/eliminate-unforced-errors-in-your-pickleball-game/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/04/eliminate-unforced-errors-in-your-pickleball-game/#comments Fri, 08 Apr 2011 18:10:02 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=77 The goal of all players, regardless of skill level, should be to decrease the number of unforced errors committed in a game.  An unforced error is an error you commit on a return of an easy shot to you or an error committed on your serve.  You are totally responsible for the error!  A forced error, on the other hand, is an error committed as a result of an aggressive, well-placed shot coming to you from the other side of the net.  Your error is “forced” by the opponents.  Strive to eliminate your “unforced errors” and your game will improve tremendously!

The “Soft” Game of Pickleball http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/03/the-soft-game-of-pickleball/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/03/the-soft-game-of-pickleball/#comments Mon, 07 Mar 2011 19:11:07 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=76 I had the opportunity to observe lots of pickleball last weekend at the Palm Creek Tournament in Casa Grand, Arizona.  I’ve seen this tournament about every year.  It seemed obvious to me that the overall calibre of play was far superior to that in the tournament a year ago.  More and more players at all levels of skill are using what’s called the “soft” game - that of dropping the ball over the net softly; and then a series of dinks back and forth until someone dinks it too high at which time it is smashed back for a winner.  This game of finesse is exciting to watch!  Too many beginners of the game, especially men, think it’s a power game with hard hit ground strokes and banging away at the net.  I can only hope that those players have the opportunity to see how the game is supposed to be played!

The popularity of pickleball is soaring! http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/02/the-popularity-of-pickleball-is-soaring/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2011/02/the-popularity-of-pickleball-is-soaring/#comments Wed, 16 Feb 2011 12:34:33 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=75 Being a part of the birth of something and the early years of its growth has been part of our lives!  Having been female physical education teachers and coaches, we were both “athletes” when the word wasn’t deemed respectable when applied to females.  Even though it has taken many years since the passing of Title IX in 1972 for that attitude to change, it has!  Women’s competitive sports are here to stay!  We have also been fortunate to have been part of the growth of pickleball.  Our first experience in competitive pickleball was in St. George with maybe 250 competitors and the Arizona Senior Olympics.  That was 9 years ago!  There were very few tournaments held anywhere in the country and the USAPA was a small organization struggling to establish an identity.  Look at what we have now!!  The website of the USAPA has links to about any information that a new or experienced pickleball player could ever need and the membership is growing in leaps and bounds!  Yea!  It’s such a great sport for all of us!  Let’s hear a loud cheer for it’s growth and popularity!

For those of you who have inquired about our latest book, “Pickleball - A Guide for Teaching”, we have had more books printed and are “in business again”!  Just send an email to mary.littlewood@gmail.com and we’ll send you book.  For the sake of making the book available to everyone, we’re lowering the price to $17.50.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

In the spirit of pickleball, Mary Littlewood and Sandy Stultz



Progress of Pickleball in Ahwatukee http://pickleballsuccess.com/2010/08/progress-of-pickleball-in-ahwatukee/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2010/08/progress-of-pickleball-in-ahwatukee/#comments Mon, 02 Aug 2010 17:13:32 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=74 Forgive us for not posting anything in our blog for several months!  Our other priorities took over our lives for a while.  We hope now that we can correct that situation.  We first presented pickleball to the residents of the Ahwatukee Recreation Center in February 2010.  Our demonstration then was conducted on a temporary court set up on rough asphalt in the parking lot.  We are still on a temporary court in the parking lot but in a different location!  Our 47 pickleball club members are among the most enthusiastic that we have ever seen!  Even through the heat of the summer, people continue to play for several hours almost every morning and under the parking lot lights at night.  We continue to converse with the ARC Board concerning the construction of either permanent courts or at least resurfacing an area of the parking lot to give us a smoother playing surface.  We are hopeful that a decision will be made soon.

In the interim, we have also talked to men at the Phoenix Recreation Department about the possibility of our using one of the tennis courts at Western Star Park for pickleball.  Their response was very positive and they agreed to paint pickleball lines on one of the courts.  That should be done in the next couple of weeks.

There has also been talk about the Ahwatukee Board of Management putting in 4 nice courts.  All in all, pickleball is here to stay in Ahwatukee!  We have players of all skill levels and backgrounds - all of whom are committed to pickleball for the rest of their lives!!

Keep the Ball in Play in Pickleball! http://pickleballsuccess.com/2010/04/keep-the-ball-in-play-in-pickleball/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2010/04/keep-the-ball-in-play-in-pickleball/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 14:06:40 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=73 Whether you are playing pickleball recreationally or are interested in competing in tournaments, your object every day should be to “keep the ball in play”!  So many errors are committed by players who are intent on “putting the ball away” or “playing the perfect shot” with the result being the ball hit into the net or out-of-bounds.  When you commit an error, you’re giving the opponents the advantage by either giving them the serve or by giving your team only one more opportunity to serve.  Always hitting the ball over the net and in bounds puts the burden of “making the good shot” on the opposing team.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be aggressive offensively!  But work on keeping the ball in play first and, when you’re able to do that consistently, then think about “putting the ball away”!

The Birth of Pickleball in Ahwatukee! http://pickleballsuccess.com/2010/01/the-birth-of-pickleball-in-ahwatukee/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2010/01/the-birth-of-pickleball-in-ahwatukee/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2010 14:27:52 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=72 Ahwatukee is a retirement community located just off of I-10 south of Phoenix, Arizona.  It is a popular haven for those of us who prefer living “on the south side” of the Phoenix area - close to shopping; the airport; restaurants and auto travel in all directions.  Even though houses in the retirement section of the Elliot-Warner loop have been here for 30+ years, the sport of pickleball had never been heard of by many of the residents.  That has changed!  Pickleball was introduced at an open house at the Ahwatukee Recreation Center on January 23, 2010.  A display of pickleball equipment and books was presented as well as a video of the game being played.  A total of 58 interested men and women signed up as wanting to learn more about the game.  The management of the ARC is totally enthused about adding pickleball to the activity offerings.  Future plans include setting up a temporary court in the parking lot and eventually re-surfacing an area there that can be used for 2 courts.  It is obvious that members of the ARC WANT to learn how to play this great game and IT WILL HAPPEN!!

Happy Pickling in 2010! http://pickleballsuccess.com/2009/12/happy-pickling-in-2010/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2009/12/happy-pickling-in-2010/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2009 12:05:51 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=71 This is a time of year for all of us reflect on how lucky and blessed we are!  To have been born in this wonderful country of ours - to be blessed with loving family and friends - AND to still be able to enjoy quality of life - most of all PICKLEBALL - is as much as any person can expect.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2010!  May you enjoy many fun times on the pickleball court!!

Scheduling Matches in a Pickleball Tournament http://pickleballsuccess.com/2009/11/scheduling-matches-in-a-pickleball-tournament/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2009/11/scheduling-matches-in-a-pickleball-tournament/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2009 16:35:14 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=70 Having been involved in athletics most of my life, I’ve been part of the battle fought by girls and women for equal opportunities in school sponsored athletics.  Prior to the passing of Title IX,  female athletes in schools all over the country were thought of as non-competitive bodies who appeared on the playing field only as a recreational pursuit.  THAT concept has completely reversed itself!  Women are competing in a variety of sports at a high level of skill and entertainment.  It is now known that female athletes CAN play fullcourt basketball without damaging themselves physically.  They swim - they run - they even box and wrestle - and all of these activities are accepted in our society as being safe.  Just as we were concerned as a society about the safety of our female athletes, shouldn’t we also be concerned about what is safe physically for our older, “more mature” athletes?  In a recent study that was done analyzing the number of entries in the Huntsman Sr. Games and the USAPA National Tournament, it was proven that people are playing and competing in pickleball at an older age.  There were more entries in men’s doubles and mixed doubles in the 70 and older age groups than we’ve ever had before.  It is time that more thought is given to the scheduling of matches in tournaments.  In the recent USAPA tournament, players went from one match to the next with only 5 minutes between matches.  In the case of the matches being played in the winners half of the draw, that meant playing 2 out of 3 games - and in some cases going to 3 games - having 5minutes to breath and drink water - and then starting the next 2 out of 3 game match.  I can’t help but wonder if that kind of scheduling is really safe for the elderly player.  Added to the stress of that kind of schedule is the hot weather.  Please think through thoroughly the impact of that kind of scheduling as you plan your next tournament!!

Comments on USAPA National Pickleball Tournament http://pickleballsuccess.com/2009/10/comments-on-usapa-national-pickleball-tournament/ http://pickleballsuccess.com/2009/10/comments-on-usapa-national-pickleball-tournament/#comments Thu, 29 Oct 2009 14:21:59 +0000 http://pickleballsuccess.com/?p=68 The first national tournament sponsored by the USA Pickleblall Association is being held in Buckeye, Arizona, November 2 to 8, 2009.  One day in the future, this will be an historical event!  It establishes the importance of the USAPA as being our national governing body and gives meaning to being a member.  Only current members of the USAPA can compete in this tournament.  There are a total of 701 entries in five different divisions - junior; young adult; adult; senior and open.  The number of entries in the senior and open divisions indicate the escalating interest among the 50 and older pickleball players in this country.  This tournament is a major “feather in the cap” of the USAPA!!  The direction of pickleball in this country is up, up and up thanks to the many volunteers in the USAPA!