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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Introducing Tips and Techniques

Many of you have asked me to memorialize the tips and techniques we are so quick to hand out at each open-play session. (Well, OK, nobody asked but I know you would have asked if you had thought of it.) What we have been doing thus far is picking a subject based on what we have observed people doing as they play and trying to distill a few thoughts as to how they might improve (if necessary) in those areas. I will therefore gracefully succumb to the pressure of your unspoken desire to have me capture this week's Tips and Techniques below, and (even better!) will soon capture these and more in a weekly-updated link on this site so that you can refer back and learn how YOU can become just as good as ME (or, better, as good as Irene!). And with no further ado, let me talk about Partner Communication, this week's Tip and Technique.

Partner Communication is very problematic for new players and more experienced players alike. This is compounded by the nature of our sport where we play with new partners every couple of games. This is also exacerbated by the fact that many of us are older and have some physical limitations, which SHOULD dictate that we discuss who covers what shot with EVERY new partner we have. Let me cover in brief the basics of what you should discuss with every new partner:

1. Decide who covers the middle of the court on each exchange. Generally, the forehand covers the middle, and covers it to about a paddle-width into your partner's court as well. Your partner maintains his/her position, roughly in the center of their box on the court. If you have one left-hander on the team you must be aware that there are times when there is NO forehand in the middle and one of the two of you must verbalize that you have it...."I have the middle," or "You have the middle" before each point is played.
2.  Decide who covers lobs (if you opponents are lobbers). Often this is decided by who is mobile enough to go back and get the lob. If you are each covering your own lobs, both of you should go back against an opponent's lob. If one person is covering the back lobs and comes into his/her partner's court to do it, the partner, staying up, shifts over to the other court AND STAYS THERE until the point is over.
3.  Call everything, even obvious shots, with QUICK, SHORT statements..."MINE, YOURS, or (to quote the infamous Bob Youngren) "I GO!", generally said just before El Poacho tramples you.
4.  Major don'ts - (1) Do NOT NOT communicate. Any attempt is better than silence in pickleball; the game is too fast for a lack of communication. And the better the two of you are the more you need to, for reasons that become obvious at higher, faster levels of play. (2) Do NOT say "I'VE GOT IT!" I don't know why it is, but saying that particular phrase, which is too long to begin with, is also the kiss of death and will virtually guarantee you will NOT get it, whatever "it" happens to be.

Do those things consistently and you will be a better pickleball player almost immediately.

Meet your Vice President Karen Fellows!

Karen Fellows stepped up to the plate when the club needed a Vice President! She is the "little" one that is out on the court helping put up nets or tape when AJ and Irene are not able to be there. Her laugh is infectious! She loves pickleball and is always out there to help in anyway she can. Karen lives out near Thousand Trails so when she comes to "town" to play pickleball it is a full day for her! Many of you have met her husband, Roger. He is the one that cannot play for now because of recent shoulder surgery, however, watch out because he is working on playing left handed! Come up and intoduce yourself to Karen and Roger if you have not met them. They love the game and Roger loves to teach! Oh yes...don't forget to pat Bogie (their weiner dog) on the head. Bogie is always with Karen or Roger; just look where there is shade under a chair or bench! If Bogie could talk he could sure tell you all a lot about pickleball!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Meet our Pickleball President..Mr AJ Fraties

This picture is to introduce everyone who has not met our President of the Bend Pickleball Club. He and his wife, Irene, have put a lot of effort and time into personally answering each email that is sent to the They do NOT consider this a task it is just the way this couple functions! They both love pickleball and have proven that by sharing their time and knowledge to help this wonderful sport grow! Each one of you that have taken the time to write to the pickleball address have a desire to learn this sport and we are so fortunate to have people like the Fraties and the rest of the board members, here in Bend Oregon, to help this sport become more popular! It is an addicting game as many of you now know! Let us all who carry a paddle spread the word and invite more of our friends and family to come and play!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Get On the List!

In this day and age, most of us spend more time trying to get OFF lists than on, and yet I have heard from several of you that you really want to get ON the Bend Pickleball Club list, so as be notified of upcoming events with the club and so on. My take on this is that I should be better about posting upcoming events for the club and for pickleball in general and you in turn should be better about checking this blog site and then the whole issue would be moot. But that's "livin' in a dream world", as my father-in-law used to accuse Irene's mom of doing, and in any event if you'd like to be on the Bend Pickleball Club's list, why, who am I to say "Nay"? So, simply send us an email.... to ....and you'll be one of the select couple of hundred who do in fact hear about stuff in real time. But also check this blog prety regularly...there is stuff here that I really don't send out to the club at large .... no, really....

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Directions to Places to Play in Bend Now Available

We're pleased to have so many new people interested in joining us to learn and play pickleball as well as to make some new friends. To make finding us easier, we've just added a document in our menu list on the right for detailed directions to each of the venues where we play.

You can check the schedule first to choose a day that's convenient for you, then go to the directions document if you're not familiar with the location.

Don't hesitate. Come on out and join in the fun!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pickleball, the Great Equalizer

The Bend Pickleball Club had an outing today on the Mountain High courts and it's clear that we have a real cross-section of the Bend community represented. I believe we had about 27 players there, some working in a small-group with Irene on skills development, others playing and intermittently getting coaching from one of the wandering "Pros from Dover", the itinerent RVing pickleball "bums" that travel the beautiful Western pickleball tournament circuit and are staying over after the tournament now ended at Thousand Trails. I'm always struck by how eclectic a group pickleball players are and how wide their personal and athletic backgrounds are, as well. For instance, to my knowledge today, professionally, people had been schoolteachers, military, law enforcers, consultants, nurses, in heavy construction, engineering, sports club management, sales, accounting and much more. Athletically people came from virtually no previous athletic background to multi-sports, but typically we heard folks talking about squash, racquetball, tennis, table-tennis, platform tennis, paddle tennis, baseball and golf, just to name a few. I believe that pickleball is the great homogonizer, if such a word exists. All of us can and do play this game; makes no never-mind how good or not-good a person perceives themselves to be, they can get out there and have a ball. And if they really are the cat's meow, pickleball-skill-wise, why, then, they can just pitch in and help others to get as good as they are, and love doing it, if they know what's good for them, and they always do. Ain't it grand to see someone improve their skills because of your efforts? Why yes, it is!

I said I would post more Bend pickleball tournament results and I will, but I am waiting, currently, for an updated list of all winners. Hopefully it'll be here before too long.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Early Results are IN, and BEND WINS!

As with any tournament that has its first day rained out, yesterday's clear weather in Pickleball Mania 5, the local (SunRiver/Thousand Trails)  Bend pickleball tournament, was a zoo, with two complete groups (women's doubles, all divisions and men's doubles, all divisions), vying for court space, available referees, and cinammon buns. (Well, it WAS Wednesday at Thousand Trails, and that IS Cinammon Bun Day!). But what is a little contention when the weather cooperates beautifully and pickleballs are flying? What a good day of competion, and what a good group of people. Dee Turner, the tournament director, was everywhere, keeping an eye on all the hundred details that go into making a tournament run properly, and although everybody hates the Thousand Trails courts (STILL not completed in terms of resurfacing...I could go on....), the day and the camraderie was great. Coupled with that, we had an unexpected winner in the Racquet Shoppe, as Lisa and Sabrina came down with a mini-store-full of paddles, shoes and accessories and sold stuff 'til the cows and players went home.

Besides that, the big news was we in Bend garnered medals in SEVERAL catagories and divisions. Verna Moore and Karen Fellows took the Silver in the Women's C, Irene Fraties and her Montana and Arizona partner Donna Christensen took Silver in the Women's A/Open, Ted Keener and Mel Hatton took Silver in Men's B, and I and Vance Christensen (yes, Donna's lesser half) took Silver in the Men's A/Open.

The other big news...not so nice...was that Ted K. also wound up in St. Charles Hospital, having suffered what now appears to have been a mild heart attack. He is doing very well, will be going home shortly and our prayers are with him!

More from the front after today's mixed doubles, sure to be hotly contested...and pictures!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Bend Bulletin Article on Pickleball 7/16/2011

In case you missed the article in this morning's paper, you can click on the link at the right of this page to read a great write-up on the growth of pickleball here in Bend. Thanks to Robert Husseman, the author, who did a clear and thorough job of explaining the game and researching some useful statistics as well as catching some of the fun of the game. Of course he couldn't help but be positive, after playing several games with us and getting totally hooked himself!

Media exposure like this is fantastic for helping us spread the word about this great game. Let's all look for more opportunities for this kind of positive public exposure.

Irene Fraties

Update special for week of July 18-24

Gang, we have a one-time change in schedule going for this week. The preceeding post is pretty clear and does pertain to what is currently going on with one exception...we are NOT playing at the Central Oregon Community College (COCC) as there were no volunteers to take charge of providing the temporary nets, balls, water and taping of the courts, the normal folks being your board members and we being occupied T-TH this week at the Bend/Sunriver Thousand Trails tournament. However, the Senior Center IS hosting regular play and we will be over at Mountain High development again this coming Saturday. In the meantime, as I've said before, c'mon down to Thousand Trails 8 AM to maybe 3 PM T- Th and watch some good play going on, if you yourself aren't in the tournament. OH...and root for your favorite LOCAL player as well (maybe that great guy, aj???....;-) )

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Current Opportunities in Pickleball

No, this isn't a job offer, no matter that the title reads that way, it's more a quick summary of what opportunites you have currently to play and observe pickleball. First, the play thing is getting good. The Bend Senior Center has play five mornings a week (see schedule, linked on this page), while we have two mornings, Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11 at the Central Oregon Community College Tennis courts. We also have Saturday from 9-11 at the Mountain High development, and we have opportunities for public/private/semi-private play from SunRiver to Redmond. Again, check the schedule of places to play or email us at for more information.

Next, keep in mind that there is our one and only local pickleball tournament going on next week at the Thousand Trails/Sunriver-Bend location July 19-21. Basically it's Men's Doubles and Women's Singles July 19 from 8 to whenever, Women's Doubles and Men's Singles July 20 from 8 to whenever, and Mixed Doubles (man plus woman partnered) on July 21 from 8 to whenever. This isn't a big tournament as pickleball goes, but it's by far OUR biggest (not to mention our only one) and there are lots of your local favorites (including me and vying for the gold. Come and support us, have a great hamburger or polish, grab a good espresso, check out the USAPA table or the vendors selling paddles, and comment on the play. Beautiful setting, by the way....right on the Little Deschutes River if you haven't ever been there. Hope to see you!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bend Senior Center/Larkspur Park now has pickleball training!

Thanks to Joan Spronberg and to Lee and Verna Moore and the amazingly cooperative staff at Bend Parks and Rec and at the Senior Center itself for developing our new pickleball program, which goes on-line and live this coming Monday, July 11 at Larkspur Park/Bend Senior Center in Bend. There are two pieces of news about this program. First, training will be free and will occur every Monday during the smmer season from 8 AM to about 10:30. Second, FREE pickleball open play will be available on that same court every morning Tuesday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM and whenever the court is not being used for other purposes (e.g. half-court basketball, etc.) thereafter. There are paddles and balls there to be checked out and you may have to check out and set up the net, which are all kept together...see the staff inside for help with that. (Bring your own equipment, including a portable net if you have one, for weekend play. Nets, btw, are available for sale on the USAPA website - ) We intend that this location be our prime location in Bend for small-group training sessions, etc. so stand by for more programs, etc. as time goes on. The center MAY also be our first indoor pickleball location on a shared-use basis duyring the winter months....more on that as we work with the amazing people at the stay tuned!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Places to Play in the Bend Area link is NOW ACTIVE!

Note that we now have a link on this page to Places to Play in the Bend Area! This really covers the Central Oregon area, currently from Sun River to Redmond, but lists only the places to play where you have a good chance to have public access. There are many more places to play, we are finding, but most of them are still private (Home Owner Association-owned courts, courts in RV parks that do not allow non-residents to play, individuals' private courts). We are working hard to cultivate more public facilities, have some good prospects, and will list them as they become available. We suggest signing on to this site as a "follower" so that you can be kept current as to new developments or, alternatively, check in every week or so with the site for new locations, new events, and so on.