I first started playing pickleball in grade school.
30 years later I bought paddles and started playing with my son.
The more we played, the better he became.
He was hooked and I was too.
Each day when I picked him up after school, the first thing he wanted to do was play pickleball.
Playing ice hockey was expensive for my parents growing up.
Investing a few hundred dollars in paddles, 100 balls, a ball hopper, and ball picker uppers seemed like a no-brainer.
Graciously, other players at the park taught us how to play pickleball.
It was YouTube that helped us understand more specifics about the game.
Now, we have the whole family involved including my parents at the assisted living home.
What warms my heart the most is when my son sees kids watching on the other side of the fence, he stops our play, and invites them to participate. He enjoys see kids playing for the first time and will teach them some skills he has learned just like his Dad.
Pickleball Expanded Outside My Own Community
I’ve met some really incredible people trying to coordinate playing times, finding new places to work while I’m on work assignment out of the area, and trying to make new friends outside of my normal circle.
When I started sharing places I’ve played, I learned my existing network was either playing pickleball or wanted to learn.
Here is a short list of places where I’ve played pickleball:
- Sunset Park – Las Vegas, NV
- Newport Beach Pickleball Club, Newport Beach, CA
- Pictona – Daytona Beach, FL
- Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center, Hilton Head, SC
- Asheville Racquet Club, Asheville, NC
- Vetta Sports, St. Louis, MO
- Naples Pickleball Center, Naples, FL
- Evergreen Racquet Club
- Worthy Park – Huntington Beach, CA
- On the beach
- In an empty hotel conference room
- Inside the airport waiting for a flight
- Inside the airport waiting at baggage claim.
If you have hired me in the past to speak to your organization, let’s find a time to play and I can stay afterwards to lead an informational session about pickleball or host a private clinic for your team.
The Birth of a Pickleball Apparel Line
It’s on ESPN, YouTube, and the Wall Street Journal.
You can’t ignore it, especially if courts are close to your house and you hear the sound of balls popping on your way home from work.
Slogans like “One More Game!”, “Dink until you Drop”, and “Zero Zero Start” were said by players but only a few players wore pickleball gear to support their love for the game.
In January 2023, I created a pickleball apparel line called the Dinking Zone with my business partner Julie Funke. She has over 30 years in the custom print and design of promotional products and is an amazing human too. While it’s her job to help create amazing products, it’s my job to help get them into your hands too.
The Birth of a Pickleball Training and Coaching Division
In February of 2023, I attended the Professional Pickleball Registry’s Annual Conference and Symposium. This congregation of esteemed pickleball coaches, suppliers, and tournament directors showcased the latest trends. Not only did I get PPR Certified to be a pickleball coach, but I was also randomly chosen as a coach to be an extra in the PPR coaching video library.
If you have ever wanted to get pickleball certified from the premiere training partner of USA Pickleball, here are the steps:
How can you get better at playing pickleball?
You not might go the distance and get PPR Certified however you might have been curious on how to get started playing the game.
There is no age limit on your participation. My son Harry started when he was seven and my Mom is seventy and Dad 80. There is also accessible pickleball for those who operate out of a wheelchair.
Soon you will start seeing pickleball featured at the Special Olympics.
What Pickleball Equipement Should You Buy?
The best thing you can do when starting out is get the right equipment.
The best investment is in shoes so you don’t hurt yourself. It will be the day you don’t bring court shoes or leave them at home and think you will be ok without them is when you will get injured. Trust me on this.
Pickleball players don’t realize that proper pickleball shoes are the 2nd most important piece of equipment next to the paddle. Even though many use tennis shoes for pickleball, our foot movement on the courts is much different, and pickleball is played on different surfaces. In fact, a good pickleball shoe feels very different than a tennis shoe. You really can up your game using the best shoes and a high quality paddle that suits your needs. I’ve recently started using the Acacia Tyler Loong Pickleball Shoes, and I can say first hand that increased stability contributes to increased consistency. It took 2 years of playing pickleball to realize this obvious need to properly equip my feet.Chuck Connolly, PPR certified Coach from Lewes, Delware
If you need a paddle, Chuck recommends Selkirk.
Where are Places to Play Pickleball?
Pickleball is an extremely social sport because you need someone else to play. Many times you can show up at a court for open play or register at a facility where you can meet other players at your same skill level.
Find a place to play pickleball online and ask other players where they play. Each place has their own rules, times when you can play, and some are just open for you to figure it out at your leisure. Courts are popping up daily across the United States and pickleball has gone global.
What are Pickleball Ratings?
If you are just starting, your pickleball rating is between 1-2.
The more skills you acquire and learn to win games, the higher rating you will have.
Keep in mind ratings start out as self-assessments.
When you start playing tournaments, you can add your scores to help calculate your ratings that are automatically calculated however these ratings can vary widely based on who you play against.
One of the best ways to receive your pickleball rating is to be evaluated by a PPR Certified Coach who has been trained on assessing a player’s pickleball rating.
How to Become the Best Pickleball Player
Competitive players are constantly searching for ways to improve their game.
They don’t like losing and are super critical of their mistakes with the awareness that they need help beyond what watching a YouTube video can do for them.
I’ve started offered pickleball coaching for groups up to four people, created a proprietary pickleball rating assessment, workbook aimed to close performance gaps, and have more resources in the works to offer more value to those who are more serious than others.
Take these steps if you are serious about improving your pickleball game.
- Take this pickleball skill ratings assessment.
- Consider hiring a PPR certified coach for a 90-minute clinic.
- Register for a pickleball tournament near you.
Here’s a sneak peek at a workbook I’m creating in collaboration with PPR Certified Clinician Taylor Taylor who operates her professional pickleball consultancy out of Memphis, TN. Taylor’s non-profit Picklemania that helps underserved communities in Memphis.
What’s next with pickleball in 2024?
It’s very likely the sport will double again with the amount of professional pickleball leagues, high profile celebrities now involved, and amount of courts that are being installed. In my primary work with real estate organizations I will be exploring new ways where communities can use pickleball as a social impact tool for underserved communities as well as offer insights to how pickleball affects property ownership values.
Zero, Zero, Start!