Scott Lennan Joins The Pickleball Rocks Team

Scott Lennan Sponsored By Pickleball Rocks and Gearbox –

Scott Lennan

We are so pleased to announce our newest Pickleball Rocks brand sponsored player.

While traveling the country we search for players who exemplify our mantra to “Help Pickleball Grow”. They must be a player who reaches out to help others while exhibiting the utmost integrity on and off the courts. We feel we have found the perfect match for us.

As a member of the Pickleball Rocks team Scott will travel from community to community and tournament to tournament, spreading the good word about pickleball.

We are truly excited and proud to have him wearing and promoting the Pickleball Rocks apparel brand.

We are equally excited for Scott as this sponsorship also provides him with an exclusive paddle sponsorship from our branding partners at Gearbox Sports. Watch for Scott as he uses the new technology GX5 and GX6 paddles.  Hit him up for a demo.  I’m sure he will be happy to help.

So help us welcome Scott Lennan to the Pickleball Rocks team

Though we’re sure we’ve missed some, here is a good list of Scott’s tournament medal accomplishments.

2021 Minto US Open – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Moira Roush – Gold*

2020 Fall Brawl – Senior Men’s PRO with Joe Frasca – Bronze

2019 USA Pickleball National Championships – Men’s Doubles Skill/Age 5.0: 55+ with Steve Cole – Gold*

2019 Grand Rapids Beer City Open – Senior Mixed PRO with Deb Mascarin – Gold*

2019 Grand Rapids Beer City Open – Senior Men’s PRO with Scott Moore – Gold*

2019 Minto US Open – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Cherie Chao – Silver*

2018 USA Pickleball National Championships – Men’s Doubles 5.0: 55+ with Steve Cole – Gold*

2018 Pickleball Zone Bend Pacific Northwest Regional – Senior PRO Mixed Doubles with Susan Baze – Bronze

2018 Pickleball Zone Bend Pacific Northwest Regional – Senior PRO Men’s Doubles with Steve Cole – Silver

2018 Brigham City Memorial – Senior PRO Mixed Doubles with Stephanie Lane – Gold

2018 Brigham City Memorial – Senior PRO Men’s Doubles with Steve Cole – Silver

2018 Minto US Open – Men’s Doubles 55+ with Steve Cole – Bronze*

2017 Pickleball Zone Bend Pacific Northwest Regional – Senior PRO Men’s Doubles with Jim Hackenberg – Silver

2017 Pickleball Zone Bend Pacific Northwest Regional – Senior PRO Mixed Doubles with Roxanne Pierce – Bronze

2016 USAPA Nationals VIII – Men’s Doubles 55+ with Jim Hackenberg – Gold*

2016 USAPA Nationals VIII – Mixed Doubles 55+ with Roxanne Pierce – Gold*

2016 SoCal Summer Classic – Senior Open Men’s Doubles with Dan Gabanek – Gold*

2015 USAPA Nationals VII – Men’s Doubles 55+ with Jim Hackenberg- Gold*

2015 USAPA Nationals VII – Mixed Doubles 55+ with Roxanne Pierce – Silver*

2015 SoCal Summer Classic – Men’s Doubles 50+ with Scott Moore – Gold*

2014 USAPA Nationals VI – Men’s Doubles 35+ with Tony Tollenaar – Bronze*

2014 USAPA Nationals VI  -Mixed Doubles 55+ with Roxanne Pierce – Gold*

2014 USAPA Nationals VI – Senior Open Men’s Doubles with David Redding – Silver*

2013 USAPA Nationals V – Men’s Doubles 50+ with Jim Hackenberg – Gold*

2013 USAPA Nationals V – Mixed Doubles 50+ with Roxanne Pierce – Gold

Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month: John Browning

Sometimes, we hear about a player or champion of the sport over and over and over again. And since our mission is to help pickleball grow, this choice for Player of the Month was an easy one.

This player has grown his reputation, not just through playing pickleball, but for his incredible love and passion for it.

As the story goes, John took his own basketball court and converted it to a pickleball court so he could start teaching friends and neighbors this great game. He has taught many, many people from Fowler, and Fresno, California, including
many high school groups.  And because of his giving and giving and giving to grow pickleball there, the town of Fowler has even built two courts and dedicated them to John.

His pickleball passion and energy is just boundless.

So please help us congratulate our Pickleball Rocks Player of the Month, John Browning.

2020 Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year Announced

The Pickleball Rocks Players of the Year: Team Newman and Stephanie Lane

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 amazing people such as Ben Johns, Team Waters, Enrique Ruiz, Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg, Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner, Daniel Moore and Scott Moore, Aspen Kern, Simone Jardim, Dick Johnson and more.
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.

We believe everyone will agree, 2020 was a crazy year for our wonderful sport.  Many tournaments were cancelled. Public pickleball courts were closed and padlocked.  A challenging year indeed.  But in spite of it all, players still creatively found ways to safely and effectively play, and new players found pickleball in record numbers.

This year we are recognizing a team and an individual who throughout the year brought joy to those around them both on and off the courts.  Are they great players?  Yes indeed. But a lot of great players received votes throughout the year.

This year’s Player Of The Year recipients stood out for those “extra” things that make the sport of pickleball so special.  

Our first award winner burst on the pickleball scene only three years ago. But this brother and sister duo have quickly captured the hearts of people nationwide. Their mixed doubles style of teamwork is fun to watch, and has put them on the medal stands in virtually every tournament they’ve entered. 

Both Lindsey and Riley have quickly become famous for their two handed strokes, both for drives and dinks and even blocking. We see this style is now being tried by even some of the top pros as an effective way to control the ball during a point.

The final point that really put Team Newman on our medal stand was the fact that in 2020, we saw them playing, not only on the biggest pickleball stages, but in all parts of the country and all sizes of tournaments.  They are always great examples of fantastic teamwork, but more importantly, class and good sportsmanship. This support for our great sport during a truly trying year, meant a lot in our book as well as the many people who sent in their votes and feedback.

 

So our team wants to personally thank Riley and Lindsey Newman for being beacons for pickleball.

Help us congratulate them as 2020 Pickleball Rocks Players Of The Year.

Our next 2020 Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year was a no-brainer this year.  People have been sending in votes for her for years and we too have always loved Stephanie Lane.  This was the year that set Stephanie above all our other nominees.

Everyone knows that Stephanie has been playing and growing pickleball for years and has been on the medal stands with some of the biggest names in the sport.  But what put her over the top in 2020 was her relentless pursuit of doing good for pickleball.

Throughout 2020, Stephanie donned her mask and journeyed to courts everywhere to teach her famous clinics to help those brand new players get started right.  Everyone who takes her clinics are amazed at how quickly they are able to play and compete themselves.

But on top of that, Stephanie is also one of the top trainers for the IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Association) and 2020 was a banner year for her.  Her quest is to teach people how to teach pickleball in such a way that everyone receives good, consistent training.  So this year she taught multiple sessions where she taught pickleball players and tennis teaching pros alike, how to teach this great sport.  So watch for a lot of new players coming into the game who know how to dink, drop, drive and yes lob.

Her birthday shout outs on Facebook are legendary and just the icing on the cake for her to win our 2020 Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year award.  Please help us congratulate this great player and friend to everyone, Stephanie Lane.

 

Shopping Local is Going National For Two Days

Help us help the small local businesses.

Sadly, this year many small businesses will not be open for business because of the effects of covid19.   We know the pandemic has shut down many small pickleball businesses as well as many small local businesses of every type.

We are truly thankful that players across the country have made Pickleball Rocks the most recognized pickleball apparel brand in America. And we are equally thankful that every Christmas season, many players choose to do their online shopping with us.  This year seems to be no different. Orders for Christmas presents are rolling in and we are doing our best to get them prepared and on the way to you in time for Christmas.

I wish we could do more to help the small local businesses that are hurting so badly right now.  But at least we can do something.

So in an attempt to help some of our local business friends, we are going to take almost all the orders that are placed during the next two days and have them printed and decorated by a couple of our local small business owners here in our tiny hometown of Brookville, Indiana.

We are assured that everything will be the same quality that you are accustomed to receiving from Pickleball Rocks.  And we are also confident that we will be able to get everything delivered to you in plenty of time for your Christmas giving (and receiving).

So from now until midnight Tuesday 12/8, help us help our local business owners.

Have fun shopping from our 2020 Christmas Shopping Guide.  And know you are helping more than ever.

We hope you have a holiday season filled with joy, peace and hopefully a little pickleball.  
-Rocket and the whole Pickleball Rocks Team

14 Days of Legendary: Honoring Those Who Helped Make Pickleball Great

Brought to you by: The Pickleball Rocks Clothing & Equipment Company

14 Days Of Legendary

Honoring those who have made pickleball GREAT

DAY ONE:  Pat Kane
When I started playing over 12 years ago, there was only one answer to who was the best player in the game.  Everyone agreed it was Pat Kane.  In my early years I saw him play many times and it didn’t matter whether it was singles, men’s doubles or mixed doubles, I NEVER saw him lose.
Simply a legendary player.

DAY TWO:  Arlen Paranto
Can you say legend? Arlen Paranto could fill a whole chapter in the history of pickleball book. But what is important to you and what we know for sure is that pickleball paddles would not be what they are today with the his creativity. In 1984 Arlen, a Boeing Industrial Engineer, put together fiberglass and a Nomex Honeycomb and created the very first composite paddle.  Yes, Arlen moved us away from wooden paddles.
Simply a legendary man..

DAY THREE:  Fran Myer
Fran is another legend that helped form pickleball as you know it today.  Fran was on the very first board of directors for USA Pickleball, then known as the USAPA. In 1999 Fran along with her husband Barney launched the very first pickleball website, called Pickleball Stuff.  It offered information as well as products, though you couldn’t pay for the product online with a credit card at that time.
 So Fran Myer has helped shape the sport of pickleball from the business side, the administrative side and the player side. Thank you Fran for all you have done and continue to do.

DAY FOUR:  Billy Jacobsen
Many years ago I attended my first Nationals tournament in Buckeye, Arizona.  And one of the very first high level players I saw was a guy who simply looked like a professional athlete. When I met Billy, he instantly impressed me as a kind, generous soul, but on the court he was amazing. So much fun to watch.  During his hey day, he was almost unbeatable.
3x USAPA Nationals: National Champion
4x USAPA Nationals: Silver medalist
2x USAPA Nationals: Bronze Medalist
Billy was a dominant open player for two decades. And to add to his legendary status, Billy Jacobsen is the only player to have ever won national level tournaments in singles and doubles playing entirely left handed during one tournament and then entirely right handed during another. Quite simply, everyone who saw or met him loved Billy, and still do today.  Billy was one of the very first inductees into the Pickleball Hall of Fame.  A Legend.

DAY FIVE:  Mark “Yoda” Friedenberg

Some say Mark Friedenberg invented pickleball.  That is not true, but Mark has done so much to shape pickleball that it would seem he created it.  Mark was the first president of the USA Pickleball Association as well as the first Ratings and Rankings director. (No do not blame him for the current rating system). Mark has won more gold medals than can be counted at the National and Regional levels. 8x USAPA National Champion
4x USAPA Nationals Silver medalist
6x USAPA Nationals Bonze medalist
For many years Mark owned Pro-lite Sports and made it one of the major paddle companies. He also authored The Official Pickleball Handbook which has exposed an entire new wave of players to pickleball. But the one thing that truly makes Mark legendary is his penchant for teaching.  Though we cannot track the actual numbers, we believe he may be the all time leader in lessons given.  Truly a giver and a well known legend.

Mark Friedenberg

DAY SIX:  Robert Lanius

This will be a new one for most newer players.   But if you have ever been to a tournament that ran smoothly because the tournament director chose to use the PickleballTournaments software, then you have long time pickleball player Robert Lanius to thank.  Robert and his wonderful wife Jettye worked tirelessly as tournament directors for years.  And as Bob recognized the various challenges encountered during the tournaments, he designed and coded the software that eliminated the problems and essentially has made it possible to have tournaments with large numbers of players  If not for computer software, it would be almost impossible to smoothly run a tournament over a few hundred players. Today that software is known as PickleballTournaments.com.  Thank you Robert Lanius.  You are a true legend of pickleball.

Mark Friedenberg

DAY SEVEN:  Earl Hill

Earl is a familiar name to anyone who has been around pickleball for awhile. He was on the very first board of directors for the new USAPA. But what many people may not know is that pickleball is now growing at an exponential rate because of Earl’s tireless work and his creation of the USAPA Ambassador program.  It is because of Earl that today there are over 1600 passionate ambassadors growing pickleball in every nook and cranny of the US. Thanks to Earl Hill.  A legend.

Mark Friedenberg

DAY EIGHT:  Enrique Ruiz

When you meet Enrique the first time, you will never forget him and everyone loves him. He reaches out to players everywhere with a helping hand and words of encouragement.  He is a true gentleman on and off the court. Enrique was one of the first true ambidextrous players on the tournament scene.  He switches effortlessly from right hand to left which allows him to cover big chunks of the court with minimal movement.  So when you see him play, you just automatically want to copy is style of play, but few can.  He has won multiple national championships and is simply a special person in our sport. Yes, a legend.

Enrique Ruiz

DAY NINE:  THE TEAM – Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner

It is really hard to mention one without the other.  For years and years and years, the team of Alex and Jennifer ruled women’s pickleball at the very top level.  We don’t have a final count of how many tournaments these wonderful ladies won together, but I do know they are still stacking titles up today, and I know this:  In 2011 this duo traveled to Buckeye, Arizona and won the Womens Open Doubles title at the USAPA National tournament.  Just a side note, the entry fee for a player to enter was $30. From 2011 all the way through Nationals 2014, Jennifer and Alex did not lose a Womens Open match.  This is a streak at the top level which will likely never be beaten. Two awesome ladies on and off the court, they are truly legendary.

Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner

DAY TEN:  Steve Paranto

 

Let’s start with the fact that Steve’s USAPA member number is 1502 (and they start at 1001). That means he has been around our sport for a long time. But being around a long time does not make a legend. But in 1976 Steve played in the very first known tournament in country at South Center Athletic Club in Tukwila, Washington. Most of the players were college tennis players and Steve took Silver in singles. Steve has played Open/5.0 for over 45 years and today is one of the most respected pickleball coaches in the country.  His instructional videos are always fantastic, and his willingness to help players be better players is simply legendary.  Steve is one of the true legends who have shaped pickleball.

 

Steve Paranto

DAY ELEVEN:  Scott Moore

 

Where do you begin with Scott Moore. In 2015 he was selected the Pickleball Rocks Player of the Year, but his legendary story began a couple of years before that. In 2013 Scott played in his first USAPA National tournament and took home a Silver medal.  That began a medal winning streak that has made him one of the most decorated Nationals players in history.  He has simply dominated the sport at the national level for the last 7 years.  And in his spare time, he established the High Performance Pickleball Academy which has developed maybe the most comprehensive video training package on the planet. Scott continues to travel the US, and yes the world, teaching and preaching the sport of pickleball.  He is truly a legend in our sport.

Steve Paranto

DAY Twelve:  Wes Gabrielsen

There are certain players who become legendary for more than just their playing.
Another true ambidextrous player, the first published tournament we could find that Wes played in, was in Bend, Oregon in 2012.  Wes registered for both Mens Doubles 5.0 and Mixed Doubles 5.0 and took home gold in both.
For many years Wes has been a great friend and champion of the sport of pickleball. His combination of friendliness and humbleness makes him the guy everyone loves on and off the court, and he is always at the top of everybody’s partner wish list. But he is also greatly admired by fellow players across the country because of his respect for the history of the sport.  He currently sits on the board of directors for the Pickleball Hall of Fame and yes, he has picked up a boatload of medals along the way:

  • 11x USA National Champion
  • 2x US Open Champion
  • 2x Tournament of Champions Gold Medalist
    We truly appreciate the way Wes Gabrielsen represents our great sport, and this makes him truly legendary.
Wes Gabrielsen

DAY THIRTEEN:  Hilary Marold

There are legendary players in our sport, and then there are people who are legendary in pretty much everything they do. Meet Hilary Marold.

The list of accomplishments is simply too long to cover in this short blog post, but here is the condensed version of this pickleball legend:

– Won 11 APTA National Platform Tennis Championships. Inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1998.

– Won 17 National Paddle (POP) Tennis Championships. Inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2012.

– Won 19 USTA National Tennis Balls – 8 Gold, 8 Silver and 3 Bronze.

So what has she done in pickleball?  Only become what we believe is the most Nationals decorated player in history with a whopping 22 Nationals Gold Medals plus an induction into the 2020 Pickleball Hall of Fame.

Oh and it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t mention that in the summer of 1973 Hilary made national news by beating the legendary tennis player Bobby Riggs in a paddle tennis challenge match. Actually beat him badly. 🙂
She is one of the truly legendary people and players in our sport.

To read more about Hilary’s legendary life and career, click here for a wonderful article by The Bend Magazine.

Wes Gabrielsen

DAY FOURTEEN:  Erne Perry

Let us re-introduce you to Erne. So where did you first meet Erne?  You were introduced to Erne the very first time you did your first dink straight across the net and your opponent ran around the end of the non-volley zone and spiked the ball away for a winner.  Many of you met Erne through the shot that was named after him.  Yes, the “ERNE SHOT” was named after the legendary player, Erne Perry.

Erne has been playing pickleball at the highest level for over 20 years, playing against and with many of the players on our legendary list.  This video will let you get to know today’s legend much better.  So enjoy learning from and about Erne “The Shot Maker” Perry, a legend in pickleball.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW THE ERNE CAME TO BE.

Wes Gabrielsen

How To Get Your Pickleball Courts Built: Show Me The Money

How To Get Courts: Here’s A Great Example

Why don’t more communities have dedicated pickleball courts?
99.99% of the time, the answer is MONEY.  Trust me, if you walk into any town council meeting or parks and rec meeting and announce that you have the total amount of money needed to build some pickleball courts or better yet, a pickleball facility, you will get instant cooperation.  Roadblocks and obstacles will disappear like magic.  And soon your community will be playing pickleball.
So then the question is…where do you find the money?
THE ANSWER?
EVERYWHERE!!!

So what is the formula for getting money from everywhere to build a place to play pickleball?  Here is the perfect example and the perfect blueprint, and it is called PICTONA.

We recently visited Pictona to participate in their very first tournament.  We had the Pickleball Rocks booth there as a vendor and I was lucky enough to find someone to partner with me so I could play men’s double.  Had a great time.

But I got so much more by attending.  I saw first hand what is possible when you get private citizens, organizations, companies and civic leaders all pulling together for the good of a community.

The picture above is a recent photo.  To help you better understand how any community of any size could do this, let me take you on a tour.

In the picture, let’s begin on the left side.  That is three beautiful Bocce courts. Then right above that you see a shade structure sitting right next to a regulation size Croquet court.  Next, though it is hard to see in the picture, sits two Shuffleboard courts. All these are free, fun outdoor activities for seniors. 
Keep that in mind as we take the rest of the tour.

Who do you know that supports senior activities?

Next, look at the lower right hand corner.  That area is the Community Gardens.  It contains raised garden plots that you can rent for a season, as well as a children’s garden where kids learn how to plant and raise flowers and vegetables.  Plus there is a Hydroponic garden that supplies the fresh vegetables for the in-house restaurant and bar that is appropriately named, “The Kitchen”.   More about The Kitchen in a bit.
Who do you know that supports gardening or kids education?

Now let’s move to the center of the picture.  You will see dark green areas.  Those are shade structures scattered throughout 16 beautiful, individually fenced pickleball courts.  Each court has at least 8 feet of space on each side and 10 feet beyond the baselines.  Outdoor pickleball at its best. 
Great fun and great exercise.

Who do you know that supports healthy living and exercise?

Also in almost the exact center of the picture is a small grey shade structure.  Actually it is not small at all.  That is a big covered pavilion area with picnic tables, nice restrooms and storage building.   This is a great area to bring the family for a picnic or bring a group for a relaxing game of cards or a board game. 
Just a fun area.

Who do you know that supports family activities?

Now we’ll move to the crown jewel of Pictona.  This is the big covered area in the upper center of the photograph.

That is the home of 8 more pickleball courts, all under one roof with fences, bleachers and an amazing upstairs 180 foot long observation deck.   Take some food upstairs and enjoy the view and watch the competition.

In the picture you can’t see it because it has a slanted roof, but attached to the back side of the 8 covered court structure is the heartbeat of Pictona.  It runs all the way to the rear parking lot.   It is a building that houses “The Kitchen” in-house restaurant, which serves a variety of smoothies and healthy food items along with a fully stocked bar area. 

In addition, it houses a Table Tennis Room (yes they have a Table Tennis Club) and also hosts some fun Cornhole games, as well as locker rooms, massage room, conference rooms and the Welcome Desk, plus a fully stocked Player Shop with paddles, apparel and accessories.
Who do you know that supports healthy, fun community activities?

So I give you this tour not to tout Pictona, though it is a magnificent facility, but to show what can be done when you get multiple people and entities working together to support the community.

The ground was broken for Pictona in May 2019 with completion in July 2020. The total cost?  $6M. 
How was it raised?

It started with a $3M donation from wonderful community supporters and pickleball player’s Rainer and Julie Martens.
It included private contributions from 560 people who signed up as pickleball club members even before the construction was complete.
It included a $400K ECHO grant. (please don’t write me to find out what that is or how to apply).
It included sponsorships including:
Florida Health Care Plans ($100K for each of the next 5 years) to be the sponsor/supporter of all the Senior related activities.
Advent Health ($20K for each of the next 5 years) to be the sponsor/supporter of the 8 covered courts.

Brown & Brown Insurance ($10K each of the next 5 years) to be the sponsor/supporter of all the Youth related activities.
S.R. Perrott ($5K for each of the next 5 years) to be the sponsor/supporter of the covered recreational pavilion and “The Kitchen”.

Yes, this was a huge project and is now a wonderful community centered facility for Holly Hill Florida.

But what it really is, is the template for how to build pickleball courts or a a pickleball facility of any size in any community.

Pictona was built by people, organizations, small businesses and corporations who love to help support good worthwhile causes. That is the key.  Find those who support worthy causes and bring them together for a great community project.

Those supporters are out there in every community. It is just a matter of finding them and letting they know that building pickleball courts are a key activity that can help improve any community large or small.

So we would encourage you to change the way you think about getting pickleball courts.  Even indoor courts.

Don’t try to convince the city or town leaders, or parks departments to build courts.  We know how that goes…most of the time.

Instead, find those financial supporters first.  Sponsor and donors, private and corporate, they are your key.

Money talks and money wins the pickleball courts….every time!

Good luck and keep those new courts coming.

Rocket

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