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Friday, March 29, 2013

Join Us in Building EIGHT NEW COURTS!

Join us in building outdoor pickleball courts!

Dear Friend and Fellow Pickleball Player,                                                                           

I got a phone call recently from a friend who just moved to Bend.  I told her about pickleball and she thought it would be something fun for her, her husband and her two young girls to try. And of course she was right since it’s a fabulous sport – easy to learn, great exercise and perfect to enjoy together. But I had to share a sad story with her. There are almost no community pickleball courts in Bend!   

In summer there is only one regulation outdoor court in the whole city of Bend for 600 players to share. With Pickleball estimated to grow by 5,000 players regionally over the next 10 years, the need for more courts is critical.

We have an extraordinary opportunity to build courts this summer and we need your help to build them! Bend Pickleball Club and Bend Park & Recreation District Foundation have agreed on a plan to build new pickleball courts. Eight courts will be added to an existing BPRD park and will be owned and managed by the district for the benefit of the community. The Bend Pickleball Club will assist with programming, lessons and outreach.

The full bill is estimated at $200,000, with Bend Pickleball Club committed to raising $100,000 NOW to build the courts this summer. Pickleball supporters have already donated over $25,000 toward our goal. We need your support today to raise another $75,000 and start building!

New courts will be good not only for adults, but it can help us entice kids off the couch and onto the courts. Along with new Pickleball courts comes a new youth program. The Bend Club is working together with BPRD to educate and promote Pickleball among the young and grow the sport.

With these new courts, the Club will provide training: 1) organized play for all ages and skill-levels, 2) regular program for beginners and intermediates, 3) occasional clinics run by visiting professionals, and 4) at least one USAPA-sanctioned tournament run each year.

Your donation today is critical to help us bring more outside courts THIS YEAR.  Bend is hosting the 2014 Oregon Senior Games, and pickleball is a big part of that.  If we build the courts this summer, we’ll be ready for the Senior Games next year!

WILL YOU JOIN WITH US BY MAKING A GENEROUS DONATION OF $50, $100, $500, $5,000 or whatever you can afford today? Donation Forms can be accessed here. You can also make a secure, tax-deductible on-line donation by clicking here.

THANK YOU for helping getting these eight new Pickleball courts built. Let’s get on the courts and play!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

BPC and the Boys and Girls Club in the USAPA E-Newsletter!!!

The following article was just published in the March, 2013 USAPA E-Newsletter. It features important work that has been done by some of our committed BPC members to insure that everybody gets good play at the Boys and Girls Club! A big THANKS to Dave Shirley and Sherie Browning, who led this effort!
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Playing Compatibly…
Compiled by the Editors

Robert Vrooman raised the following question:

Pickleball is a game that young and old alike all can play. But in the real world there are times when people choose not to play with another person. It is a very unselfish thing for people with a high level of pickleball ability to play with someone of a very low level of ability. But there are players with high abilities choosing never to play with someone with a lesser ability than theirs. Usually these people are in the 4.0 skill level or higher. What is the fair thing to do about matching up people's ability and which players get to go on the court together? In my opinion it is proper etiquette for players of high skill levels to give time to people of lesser ability. There also should be an etiquette understanding that people of lower skill levels not continually want to play with the better players (the key word is continually).  Pickleball is a developing game of the baby boomer generation and I would hope that these players do not reflect the “me” generation of people that grew up in that era.

The question is, “What is the best way to mix it up with good players and weaker players and still give the top-level players some great games with themselves?” Is the system of challenging in a good approach, or is round-robin play where paddles of the players sitting out are lined up and you just rotate in when the next four paddles are up to play? I have more questions than answers about who gets to play with whom as related to ability levels.

A.J. Fraties shared how court sharing and play scheduling is done in Bend, Oregon:

Winter pickleball is often problematic: too few indoor courts, too many people, too many levels of play. Beginners are intimidated playing with intermediates; intermediates want to play with advanced; advanced get bored. Nobody’s happy; what to do? The Bend (Oregon) Pickleball Club’s Sherie Browning and David Shirley developed a solution that has let the club host nearly 150 different players on only three courts with relatively few problems. First task? Find a place and times to play. Bend’s Boys and Girls Club had space for three courts, three times a week. The four-hour sessions were divided into two two-hour blocks. Times were allocated for beginner, intermediate and advanced play. However, the big issue remained; with hundreds of interested players in Bend, how could they fill courts without excessive waiting and insure the right level of play for everybody?

Enter SignUpGenius (
. Tweaked by David and Sherie, the free court reservations service lets the players see who is in their session, sign up, and if necessary delete themselves. Publishing play standards dissuades beginners from reserving spots in the advanced time if they did not meet the skill requirements for the session.

The club first opened play to 18 to 21 people per two-hour session. With only three courts, the waiting period left many players anxious. Eventually a firm 17 players per session has been determined to be the optimum number to move along play and mix up rotations. Standard session rotation has winners splitting, losers going out. With only five players waiting you’re back on the courts in minutes. One free beginner’s session per week keeps the commitment to developing new players; one advanced session a week keeps the highly skilled engaged. How is it working? “We can’t tell you how great this is!” Sherie says. “Some computer skills are necessary and a monitor has to look after it almost daily, but we have few problems with rotations.” “The biggest issue left is that people naturally compete to make reservations,” David says. “The only answer is to provide more courts; but for the moment, we’re good.”
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