What Makes A Good Pickleball Tournament Great

Some people love to play pickleball with their local neighborhood friends.  We commonly call this social pickleball.  It is what over 90% of pickleball players do on a regular basis for fun, for exercise and for the social aspect too.  That is why they enjoy pickleball.  They can show up at the local court, grab a partner and play games to eleven points until it’s time to go home.  Win or lose, everyone gets to play as much as they want as long as the courts remain open for play.

Then there is the “other” people. Yes, they have fun playing the game, but they want more.  Their competitive juices just flow a little faster and a little hotter than your average social player.  These are the tournament players.

They love it when they arrive at the courts and there is a swag bag of goodies waiting for them at Check In. They love to hear their names called on the loud speaker system.  They love it when their is a special place set aside just for them.  We call this the free hospitality tent and it is generally loaded with fruit and snacks and drinks to help the players stay hydrated and nourished for the duration of their playing time.  These things all go into any good pickleball tournament.  Take these things away and you essentially have social pickleball, only you got to pay for it this time.

Yes, all of these things make for a good pickleball tournament, but what makes a good tournament great???

 

 

A REFEREE!!!!! 
Yes, tournament players love it when they walk on the court and are greeted by a referee.  It is the single biggest thing that separates social pickleball, where players often forgo calling foot faults, and play a let when they can’t remember how to apply a rule, to tournament pickleball where you always have the correct score and players are always serving and receiving from the correct side and people are not stepping all over the kitchen with no consequence.

A referee makes your pickleball playing experience feel special. And better yet????

 

A certified referee helps transform any good tournament into a great tournament.

We are about to wrap up this year’s USAPA Southwest Regional with over 600 registered players.  And just like every other USAPA regional tournament throughout the United States, it has a referee on the court for every single match.  And better yet, it has a fully certified referee officiating every single bronze and gold medal match.

What a wonderful sight to see the team of certified referees stepping up to make this regional a truly special experience for the players.

Yep, they’ve got the free hospitality tent and yep they’ve got some cool stuff in the player’s goody stash.  But this tournament, like all USAPA sanctioned tournaments has the one thing that makes a tournament great. REFEREES. Lots of them, and many of them USAPA Certified.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO STEPS UP TO REFEREE!!!!!  Our sport is a much better place with you on the court.

And a special Pickleball Rocks shout out to the great and growing team of Certified Referees.  You truly do make our sport great.

You truly rock!

2017 Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year Announced

During the year, people throughout Pickleball Nation email us or use our NominateAPlayer.com website to tell us about their favorite players. They tell us about players who have dominated in tournament play but many times they also tell us about players who have had tremendous impacts on their communities or towns or even the game of pickleball overall.  (We really like those.)

Throughout the year we may recognize a player, club or community of the month, or we may give a simple Facebook shout out. They are all deserving.  But once a year, we pull together all the nominations and feedback, to finally determine who is most deserving to be called the Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year.     It’s certainly not an easy task.

Past winners include:
Enrique Ruiz, Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg, Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner, Daniel Moore and Scott Moore, and Kyle Yates.
You’ll notice all our past winners are definitely great players, but you will also immediately recognize they all are very giving of their time and talents to “help pickleball grow”, which of course is the foundation of our Pickleball Rocks mission.

This year we had two players who were nominated so many times and turned up in the news so many times, we simply had to recognize both.  Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks for all they do for pickleball.
Pickleball Rocks because of our
2017 Pickleball Players of the Year:

SIMONE JARDIM and ASPEN KERN

By a landslide, Simone was our most nominated player for 2017 and here’s why:

In 2017 Simone played in 28 total events and medaled in 28 total events, bringing home 24 Gold medals and 4 Silvers. This included an impressive 5 golds in 5 US Open events and 2 golds and a silver at our pickleball’s National Championships in Casa Grande.

Pretty much the perfect pickleball playing year.

But on top of the tremendous year on the courts, Simone also demonstrated what a great ambassador should be.  By all accounts, she is a great mom and many people saw her in action after Hurricane Irma blasted through Southwest Florida. She even took up the paddle for lady players everywhere and did them and our sport proud in the fun Battle of the Sexes event. The smaller unselfish acts are simply too numerous to mention.

Simone is a true champion in every sense of the word.

Congratulations to 2017 Pickleball Player of the Year: Simone Jardim

Once again, a guy stood out in all the nominations. Few people rivaled Aspen’s playing record in 2017. 23 events, 19 medals of which 14 were gold. He had a great year on the courts indeed, but from all the feedback received at our offices, Aspen was truly special off the courts in 2017.

Aspen touched pickleball with two great feel-good projects in 2017.

First, the sport of pickleball has needed an online home where pickleball players both young and old, good players and bad could talk and discuss pickleball issues.  It had been tried numerous times before with little to no success. But Aspen, using a great sense of humor and determination to get people involved in the discussions, launched the Facebook Pickleball Forum.  Now, with over 14,000 members, anyone can ask almost anything and have an answer or discussion almost instantly.  What a great addition to help grow our sport.


Project number 2 was another big success for the sport of pickleball.

 

Aspen threw an event, which many people do.  But this event was unique in that it was not a tournament, yet people showed up in droves.  TSAC (Third Shot’s A Charm) was held in Kansas City Missouri and was billed as a three day party where you register online, then just show up for open play.  No tournament, no pressure.  Just three days of play till you drop with players of every age, every level, on any court you want to play on.  Add in a big dose of food and fun stuff and you have TSAC. It sold out in short order and from our understanding, the 2018 event is already sold out too.  What a great way to bring pickleball players together and of course “help pickleball grow”.

We love what you are doing Aspen.  Keep up the great work.
Congratulations to our 2017 Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year:  Aspen Kern