Indian Wells Tennis Garden To Host USAPA National Pickleball Championships

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) has hit a home run for pickleball.  And Indian Wells Tennis Garden has positioned themselves as the host of pickleball’s premier sanctioned tournament event.

I am certainly not the keeper of all the details of this new pickleball marriage, but here is what we know so far.  It’s ALL GOOD.

This agreement is to host the USAPA National Pickleball Championships for the next FIVE years. Key word “FIVE”.

As soon as the word came out from the recently completed USAPA Ambassador’s retreat/conference, anyone who has ever visited, or Googled and looked at pictures of, the Indian Wells complex, began to scream and moan and groan about how the Tennis Garden has no “real” permanent pickleball courts.

Shame, shame, shame on those short sighted party poopers for trying to rain on the parade of the best deal the USAPA has ever made to promote and grow our sport to major status.  Now before you start penning your blasting emails or comments, let’s think a little bit about what just happened.

The governing body of our sport just created a FIVE YEAR agreement with a $77 million dollar tennis/pickleball complex. The Indian Wells Tennis Garden has themselves listed on the USAPA Places to Play and this is how they list it:
The INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN is an international professional tennis and Pickleball venue owned by Mr. Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corporation. This 77 Million Dollar sports complex includes 29 world class courts and two tennis stadiums. Stadium One is the second largest tennis stadium in the world at 16,100 seats. Enjoy Pickleball under the lights each Wednesday night, 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Enter Gate 7 on Miles Avenue and check in at the pro shop.

Now, yes they have only been playing pickleball there for a short period of time and yes it has only been on temporary courts so far.  But thinking that what the Tennis Garden looks like now, is what the Tennis Garden will look like in November is truly missing the point of why Indian Wells signed this agreement.

As you may have noticed in the Places To Play listing, Larry Ellison is the owner of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.  Coming from my personal background in Information Technology, I have known of, and been a fan of Larry Ellison for a long time.  He is always listed in the top ten wealthiest Americans and yes he plays and enjoys the sport of pickleball.

So let’s talk about what really happened in this FIVE YEAR deal between USAPA and Indian Wells.

First, Larry Ellison purchased the Indian Wells Tennis Center and has paid ten’s of millions of dollars to make it into the world class tennis facility it is today.  Each year it hosts the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world, the BNP Paribas tournament.  But besides the Tennis Garden, Mr. Ellison also purchased $30 million dollars worth of land next to the Tennis Garden.  This land is a grass parking lot at this point.  Keep that in the back of your mind for the future.  To read more about the transformation of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden from the time Larry Ellison purchased it, here is a great article.

So Larry Ellison is not known for doing things on a small scale.

Don’t think that associating his tennis complex with the USAPA Pickleball Nationals for the next five years will be any different than any other project he has tackled. Indian Wells would NOT be bringing in a pickleball event if it didn’t believe in making it first class.

So what will it take to transform Indian Wells Tennis Garden into a world class pickleball facility?????
The real answer is NOT MUCH.

Think for a moment how hard it is to transform a tennis court into 4 brand new pickleball courts.
IT IS EASY, EASY, EASY.

I and a couple of friends can finds a church parking lot, and in about 72 hours can dump 50 gallon of asphalt sealer on it, paint it, stripe it and bring in 6 commercial grade roller pickleball nets and have you playing on real courts.  Am I exaggerating?  Only a little because “I DON’T LIKE TO PAINT”. 🙂

The big point that I’m trying to make is that the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a $77 million dollar complex with loads of resources at their disposal.  Big tennis complexes resurface, repaint and rearrange courts as easily as you and I change shoes.  They could have as many permanently striped pickleball courts ready to go as they want within weeks.  I know they can convert a stadium court into a stunning Gold Medal Match court in very little time and at a mere drop in their operating expense bucket.

So remember, the Indian Wells facility and organization has five years to work with the USAPA.
I believe the only question is, will they choose to do all the 40+ pickleball courts needed to host a nationals this first year or do they do the permanent courts in in a graduated fashion.  Those are details that we don’t have yet.

But I also believe that if some courts have tempy nets, they would be something like the heavy duty outdoor nets that are quickly becoming popular with larger outdoor tennis facilities around the country.  The Douglas pickleball nets are very heavy duty, outdoor, tennis quality portable nets.  They play just like a permanent net.

So I am extremely confident that year one will be a great show for pickleball.

Yes, I believe the USAPA has hit an absolute home run for the sport of pickleball.  And yes, I believe the Indian Wells Tennis Garden has hit one too.

The 2018 USAPA Pickleball Nationals is set for November 2-12, 2018
Indian Wells Tennis Garden at
78-200 Miles Ave, Indian Wells, CA 92210

Hope to see you there in November,

Rocket
The Pickleball Rocks Team

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 there 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!

An Open Letter To Every Pickleball Loving, Pickleball Club in America

You’ve seen it first hand and now you are experiencing it. The growth of pickleball is incredible and the fun is infectious.

So congratulations. Yes, congratulations.

Whether you only have 2 or 3 players and simply have fun calling yourselves a club or you have hundreds of players and are officially organized as a corporate entity, the fact that you have a club indicates that pickleball is hot and growing in your community. Yes, congratulations are in order.

You and your fellow players are the heart that is pumping up the growth of pickleball like never before and we love what you are doing.

Anyone who knows our family, likely knows our mission statement by heart: “We will always strive to Help Pickleball Grow”.

We love what you are doing, and as we have done for the past decade, we would love to help. And we have more help available for you than ever before.

Did you know that our Pickleball Rocks team travels to over 35 tournaments a year bringing with them the world famous Pickleball Rocks brand of clothing and accessories and some of the top, fun players in the sport.

Did you know that our Pickleball Champions Club supplies free attention grabbing signs for your courts which brings more players your way?

Did you know that Pickleball Club Wear is the top pickleball apparel company in the world for supplying colorful, customized club shirts, hats, jackets and sweatshirts for your club, team or organization.

And did you know that Pickleball Rocks now has the most fun and easy fundraiser for your club or tournament or organization. If you want to raise money for your club or tournament or organization, the “Pickleball Rocks In A Box” program is just what the pickleball doctor ordered. Simple, easy and profitable for you. Check it out now at http://pickleballrocks.com/pickleball-rocks-in-a-box-fun-and-easy-fundraising/

You’ll be really glad you did and we’ll be very happy to help you.
It’s because of you that “Pickleball Rocks”.

-Rocket, Stephanie, Abby, Josh and Zack
The Pickleball Rocks Team

 

 

Pickleball Rocks at the First Ever Bainbridge Cup and Spanish Open Pickleball Tournaments

Hey Pickleball Nation,
WELCOME TO SPAIN!!! WOW! (pictured at the Royal Palace in Madrid)
Just wanted to give you a quick recap of the first ever Brainbridge Cup pickleball event and this year’s Spanish Open.
I must say, it was amazing.

After a couple of fun days of pickleball clinics with Daniel and some fabulous traditional Spanish dinners, we excitedly arrived for the main event, the first ever Bainbridge Cup.  What great fun to be part of this historic pickleball event. Over 100 players from the United States and Canada came to play matches against approximately 150 players from all over Europe.  Each match was worth one point and after over 300 matches, Team North America prevailed 201-119 to take home the cup.  But the true winner was the sport of pickleball as players from all over the world competed and then broke bread together after the tournament ended.  It was truly wonderful to see.

After a Friday of fun meeting and playing against international players in the Bainbridge Cup, the Spanish Open tournament ran on Saturday and Sunday at the famous Ciudad de la Raqueta.  This is a great venue for pickleball as well as tennis and the popular European sport of Padel.

I finally got to realize one of my pickleball dreams as I teamed with my original pickleball mentor, Lynn Carlson for the first time and we managed to take home a Spanish Open gold medal.

It was so much fun to see the people of Europe step up to our Pickleball Rocks table, such as our new British friend Carolyn (pictured), and leave proudly wearing our shirts and hats. Though many times we could not understand a word they were saying, “Pickleball Rocks” now seems to be a universally understood phrase and pickleball is going to be a truly universal sport that will bring peace and cooperation everywhere it is played.

After packing up the tournament stuff Sunday, Daniel took us on a fantastic Monday tour of Spain’s first capital city, Toledo.  Toldeo was and is a very holy city, and thus the phrase, “Holy Toledo”. 🙂

Next day Dan put us on a bullet train (reaching speeds of almost 200 miles per hour) to Barcelona where we saw some of the most beautiful buildings in the world but also a sobering reminder from the recent terrorist attack there.

And then, of course, Daniel wrapped up the tour the same way we started with some great pickleball at the University of Barcelona and then a great dinner.

Loved every minute of our PickleballTrips.com tour.  Thanks Dan for a great time and a memorable experience.

You ROCK Daniel!

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE BAINBRDGE CUP and SPANISH OPEN COVERAGE

Pickleball Rocks Training Academy Spends Summer On The Road

It’s summertime in Indiana and all of Pickleball Nation loves to move outdoors for pickleball play. We love it outside too, so it is a good time to get out of our indoor academy home at SportONE Fieldhouse and onto the road.  Of course the tournament circuit never ends for us, but it is fun to take the academy to visit towns and communities throughout the state. The reception has been simply amazing.  Thank you to everyone who have invited us to your courts to teach and play.  Pickleball Rocks because of you!

Pickleball Rocks Helping Raise Money for Parkinson Foundation

Stephanie and Abby and LeEllen and Josh
NEED YOUR HELP

Hey Pickleball Nation,

It never ceases to amaze us, the generosity of the pickleball community.

Hopefully you have not been to battle with Parkinson’s.  Hopefully you don’t know anyone who has had to battle this insidious disease.  Unfortunately, you probably have.

The good news is that progress is being made and thanks to the upcoming Gamma Pickleball Classic in Pittsburgh, money is being raised to help speed up the research and eventually cure this horrible disease.

And with your help the Pickleball Rocks Team is going to help with this great cause.

We’ll have four team members at the Gamma Pickleball Classic and you can help any or all of them as we raise funds to battle Parkinson’s disease.

We’ll be using the new USAPA Every Point Counts program to take pledges and raise money.

Josh Grubbs and Stephanie Lane will be teaming up in mixed doubles and would love to have you make a pledge for every point they score during their event.
To pledge and sponsor Josh and Abby, CLICK HERE.

Next we have Abby Grubbs teaming up with our youngest team member LeEllen Lane in ladies doubles.  To support Abby and LeEllen with a pledge, CLICK HERE.

 

YES, WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!!

So the bottom line is, we’re asking you to make a pledge where we will multiply it times every point your chosen team scores.
Or you can make a flat fee pledge too by CLICKING HERE.
And trust me, our Pickleball Rocks team members will all be doing their very best.

TO MAKE A SPONSORSHIP PLEDGE FOR TEAM Josh and Stephanie or TEAM Abby and LeEllen, CLICK ON THE SPONSORSHIP SHEET BELOW.  It will take you to a page where you can make your pledge.  You do not pay anything until after the tournament, when we will contact you with our team’s results.

Cannot thank you enough for helping us help fight Parkinson’s.
God Bless You.   -The Pickleball Rocks Team