Land of the Sky Tournament information can be found by clicking on the button above.

Newcomers to the site should note the pickleball book "chapters" in the left column and the repository of expert articles and videos in the right column.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Peppy the Pickle on the US Open

I'm kind of a big dill...

Aspen Kern manages the Pickleball Forum on Facebook and contributes a character he has created - Peppy the Pickle. Today's Peppy feature is a set about tournaments in honor of the ongoing US Open in Naples, Florida.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

2017 US Open TV Update

A rabid sports fan is one that boos the TV...

The 2016 US Open had one hour of television coverage. This year CBS Sports will double that coverage to 2 hours. Like last year, the coverage is not live, but is delayed. the schedule is shown below.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lake Lure Olympiad Pickleball Tournament

A good tournament is one in which you play...

The Lake Lure Olympiad Pickleball Tournament is set for August 11-13, 2017 in Lake Lure, NC.

Register at


Friday, August 11th
• Open play, practice, socialize, and pick-up games
• Courts open at 4:00 PM
• Lake Lure Olympiad Opening Ceremonies begin at 7PM

Saturday, August 12th
• Men's Double: 9AM start
• Women's Double: 9AM start

Sunday, August 13th
• Mixed Doubles: 9AM start
Tournament athletes who are registered on or before Wednesday, July 26th are guaranteed a FREE Pickleball shirt. Participants who register after this date will not be able to receive a t-shirt. 
Snacks and water
Snacks and water will be set up and available for tournament participants at the courts. There will also be other food and beverages available onsite at Rumbling Bald Resort. 

Medals for each category
• Gold
• Silver
• Bronze
Medals will be awarded following each event tournament

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Battle on Beech 3

A good tournament is one in which you play...

The Battle on Beech 3 Pickleball Tournament is set for August 17-19, 2017 in Beech Mountain, NC.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Suncoast Pickleball Boot Camp 2017

There is no crying in boot camp. Suck it up camper...

The second Suncoast Pickleball Boot Camp will be held in Montreat, NC (near Asheville) September 24-29. It features Top Professional Instructors/Players as Gigi LeMaster, Robert & Jodi Elliott, Deb Harrison, Steve Kennedy, Phil Bagley and Hendersonville, North Carolina's own Paul Coletta!!! 

Oh, as of this writing, there were only 23 spots left!

The 2016 Boot Camp was a tremendous success based on comments from local attendees and the newspaper article I posted last year.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Low Country Pickleball Classic Results

You earn medals at practice. You just pick them up at tournaments...

Some local players participated in the Low Country Pickleball Classic last weekend in Bluffton, SC. Photos are from various Facebook pages or the tournament pages.

Teri Siewert and Mary Jane Kenary competed in the 3.0 Women's Doubles 55+, 60+.

Lucia Delchamps and Doreen McDonald won a silver medal in the 3.5 Women's Doubles 50+, 55+.

Congratulations Lucia!

Monday, April 24, 2017

You Make the Call

When is a foot not a foot...

One of the toughest calls to make is when a player makes a volley after being in the non-volley zone. The play may be fast and furious with players only 14 feet apart (or less). Things happen so rapidly that it can be hard to tell whether the player had re-established his feet outside the NVZ. Then there is the question of what it means to re-establish position on the court. The following video presents such a scenario. What do you think the right call is?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pickleball Bumper Stickers

What does your car say about you...

If the bumper sticker industry is indicative of the health of a sport, pickleball is in very good shape. A small sampling is below.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Aspen's Advice: Grip

"Grip it and rip it" is not a strategy...

Aspen Kern is the creator of the Pickleball Forum and often adds his thoughts on pickleball topics. Aspen is a top player in the game and knows what he is talking about. Since the subject of this week has been about the results of my new grip, his thoughts on the grip are very relevant.

Aspen's Advice

There are Pickleball coaches that recommend certain grips that come from tennis (mainly the continental), that translate well to the game of Pickleball. What they don't tell you is every tennis grip can be mimiced by making an adjustment with the arm and wrist. My go to grip is a slight variation on the continental, but as you can see below I use it with different wrist angles to construct a variety of Pickleball specific shots. The photo on the top is a continental grip wrist adjusted to project a downward volley. The 2nd photo is a variation I use on my forehand dink to disguise misdirections. These are the result of over 7000 hours worth of drilling, but I know they can be implemented fairly quickly because I have taught them to other players, and they were using them within a few months. If your a tennis player, start thinking Pickleball, and if your a Pickleball player, start thinking angles.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Serving with Power

Power creates problems for opponents...

There remains at least one more step in the development of my serve - power. While my new service motion allows for harder, lower, and deeper serves, I have yet to try to generate the power created by top players. The reality is that I may never get to the next step, but it never hurts to learn about it.

Yet again, Mark Renneson has done the analysis and created a video he calls Pickleball Pro Serving Technique from which the following images were taken. Mark's analysis is that top players generate power with 2 techniques the rest of us fail to use.

Most players use only the dominant side of their body when serving. The "bowling" technique uses the right arm exclusively to generate power. By comparison, top players use their entire body to create power. The next series of images shows Morgan Evans opening his body from the beginning and then finishing with the paddle over his opposite shoulder.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Serving Focus

Concentrate on the work at hand...

This week's posts have centered on reinventing my serve by hitting it harder, lower, and deeper. A serve with those factors increases the a lot. I ended an earlier post by mentioning how a lack of focus often results in my serve carrying well beyond the baseline. Today's post will discuss the common elements used by pros in their service routines and how they can be used to improve our games.

Mark Renneson has a video that analyzes pros' serve routines called How to Serve Like the Pros, shown at the bottom of the post. The following photos are taken from the video.

The first photo shows Christine McGrath with her pre-service routine of bouncing the ball. It doesn't matter what the routine is. It can be as simple as staring at the ball. The purpose is to ensure mental readiness prior to serving.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Aspen's Advice: The Serve

Any tool in the bag can be turned into a weapon...

Aspen Kern is the creator of the Pickleball Forum and often adds his thoughts on pickleball topics. Aspen is a top player in the game and knows what he is talking about, especially with regard to the way the game is changing.

Aspen's Advice

If someone has told you that the serve in Pickleball doubles is not important, they are misinformed, it is very important. The serve can be a dangerous weapon and should be used to set up an advantageous start to the point, many times you can get points with just your serve being too difficult to return. The next time someone tells you the serve doesn't matter, tell them to keep walking and stop interrupting your serving practice time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reinventing my Game - The Topspin Serve

If I wanted a soft serve, I would go to Dairy Queen...

Yesterday's post Reinventing my Game - The Serve discussed how a new grip allows me to hit a lower, flatter, and harder serve. That post did not discuss one other tool that I have the potential to add to my service game - topspin. 

I generally have talked about spin in a negative way. That remains my position for players below 4.0 skill levels. There are other parts of the game for which additional practice will add a quicker and better return for the effort than practicing spin. But some of those parts of the game become second nature to players as they advance. This allows advanced players to practice more esoteric parts of the game - like spin.

Yesterday, I mentioned that my service motion vaguely resembles Rob Elliott's as shown below. I used Rob to make a point that the grip allows such a powerful serve.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Reinventing my Game - The Serve

The serve is the last time you will have full control of the ball...

My earlier post Reinventing My Game - The Grip discussed how a few small changes allowed me to make dramatic improvements in my game. Since then, I have mentioned some of the setbacks but have yet to get to the real improvements. Today's post will start the discussion with the improvement in my serve.

First, let me revisit the grip changes because they are fundamental to the new serve.

The photo on the left shows my original grip - called a claw grip - and the photo on the right shows my new grip - called a handshake grip. The difference is obvious as the handshake grip is much more aligned with the arm and seems to be a more natural extension of the arm. The claw grip forms makes the paddle form a right angle to the arm.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Potential Future Partner

Monkey see, monkey do...

Despite pickleball's popularity, partners are sometimes hard to find.  It is reassuring to know that trainers are working to solve the problem.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Player Communication Rules - RV Picklers

Know the rules well...

The RV Picklers do a great job of explaining the rules when readers send them unusual questions. Today's article talks about partner communication rules with regard to a couple of specific situations.

We continue to receive questions from readers about pickleball rules. Recently, we received two questions related to partner communication and when the ball is out.

One reader asked:
My partner called “out” after it hit the ground. I agreed, but was in mid-swing and hit the ball anyway. Our opponent said that since I hit the ball it was considered in. Is it?
Another reader wrote:
The opponents hit a ball to us, and my partner calls it “OUT” (after the bounce). I disagree, call the ball “IN” and return it. What is the status of the ball? In the game, the opponents did not hear my IN call and did not play the ball. How is this resolved? This was social play and there wasn’t a referee.
Partner Communication

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sarah Ansboury Clinic

Play until you get better....

Sarah Ansboury is coming to Connestee Falls for a clinic and private lessons May 13-15. Readers of this blog know that she is highly regarded as a teacher as well as a player. If you have any interest, please do not wait as this opportunity will close fast.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pickleball Summit Photos - The Out-of-Towners (Day 2)

A picture is worth 1,000 words...

The Pickleball Summit was held near Asheville recently. Today's photos will include those participants who visited from all over the country. Click on a photo to enlarge.