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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SE Regional Ambassador Retreat

The mountains are calling and I must go...

A group of 41 USAPA ambassadors plus guests recently held a 3+ day retreat at the fantastic facilities of Beech Mountain Club. The retreat consisted of learning sessions, pickleball play, and lots of eating. Lots of camaraderie and friend-making ensued, enabled by the hospitality of Elizabeth and Bob Higginbottom and the perfect sunny, dry, and cool weather.

Among the breakout sessions were presentations on forming a club, challenges of rapid growth, beginner lessons, and overcoming tennis player objections. I will go into detail on some of these topics over the next several days, but today will be devoted to showing the fun through images provided by others via Facebook.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Pickleball in Punta Cana - An Update

Smell the sea, feel the sky, hear the pickleballs... 

I wrote about a fantastic opportunity to spend a week with some pros in fabulous Punta Cana. Yira Pia Sanchez and David Kelly, 2 friends, have released more details about the trip. The new flyer is shown below. Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Aspen's Advice - No Man's Land

We will not get caught in no man's land...

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 and how to win. 

Aspen's Advice

NO MANS LAND REVISITED. People refer to the area between the kitchen line and the baseline as No Mans Land, this is a term that has carried over from tennis. Let's get one thing perfectly clear. Pickleball is NOT Tennis. If you fall into the trap of never getting caught in no mans land in Pickleball you are cutting off 2/3 rds of your playing area. 

Don't get me wrong, this area can leave you susceptible to some uncomfortable positions and shot selection but when you become comfortable in an uncomfortable situation you elevate your game by using shots from this area as a weapon, this advice admittedly is not for the lower level players but the 4.5 and 5.0 player needs to work on mastering the dreaded no mans land. 

Doing drills designed to increase your play in this area will give you confidence when approaching the net. A good drill to get started mastering this taboo area is to practice volleying with someone from no mans land to no mans land. Yep, I said it, practice volleying with a 25 foot distance between you and your drilling partner, this will build up your wrist strength and allow you to attack the ball from a distance most opponents have not seen. I like to attack the fifth ball that would normally land in the no man land, take it out of the air and be on the offense early. Being able to do this shot on the forehand and backhand side is a very valuable weapon to have in your arsenal. Especially after a 3rd shot blast that the opponent might happen to pop up nice and high. 

Another drill that I use is to have one person play at the kitchen line and try to hit balls at your feet as you play in no mans land, your job being to dig these out of the asphalt and gain control enough to advance to the line. This is where the split step is invaluable, by using the split step you can more easily advance in stages and not worry as much about getting to the net off one ball. 

If you make No man's land your friend it is no longer no mans land and you are free to play wherever you want and isn't that what America is all about!!!.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Spirit of Pickleball

We rise by lifting others...

Sometimes we play competitive tournaments. Other times we play training pickleball...against like-level friends. Then there are the times we play fun recreational play. But have you ever played pickleball for work? Well, there may some pros who do that, but not many of us are that lucky.

One local player in the NC Mountains has been "that lucky" 3 years in a row. Suz Flynt is a 4.0 player at the WNC Pickleball Club. She is frequently mentioned in these pages as a medal winner at tournaments. Suz also happens to be employed at Heather Glen at Ardenwoods, an assisted living facility near Asheville. Suz has put together a group of players each of the last 3 years to demonstrate and play pickleball in front of a crowd of residents.

This year's event was held June 21. The crowd gathered under the shade and protection of the porte cochere in front of the building where a temporary court was chalked in the driveway. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

IPTPA Training Comes to Charlotte

How bad do you want it...

IPTPA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - IPTPA COMES TO Charlotte area on August 25th. Training is designed for 3.0 - 3.5 and 4.0 players to "kick their game up a notch" - Easy registration on our web page at IPTPA TRAINING REGISTRATION PAGE.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How Pickleball Saved my Life

Find your path to recovery. For me, it is pickleball...

Terry Nemoff is a guy who used sports to connect the years of his life. He was athletically gifted as a child and used sports to enhance his education. Then, suddenly, he was injured when a car hit him while cycling. As bad as that was, the aftermath was worse. He became infected with MRSA, a drug-resistant infection. His body died. But his brain never missed a beat. He immediately realized that he needed to fight back using the best outlet that worked for him throughout his life - athletics. When a friend invited him onto a pickleball court, Terry knew he had found his road to recovery. His story is inspiring and he tells it in the video below.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

More on the Erne Shot

Stealth mode is for fighter jets, not pickleball...

Yesterday's videos showed why the Erne shot is both rare and controversial. First, the shot requires a decision to move off the court before the opponent actually makes the shot. This decision is high risk because, if wrong, leaves the vacated area open to a harder shot. Second, the movement to get int proper position is not easy. The player must either cross through the non-volley zone and establish both feet outside the court or step/jump across the corner of the non-volley zone. These moves are controversial because the entire sequence happens so fast that it is nearly impossible to judge whether a violation occurred.

One example of an uncalled violation occurred in this year's US Open Men's Doubles when Kyle Yates hit an Erne shot after stepping into the non-volley zone and hitting the ball before establishing himself outside the court. The video from Pickleball Channle is called US Open Pickleball Championships Men's Doubles Age 19+ Goodwin-McKinley vs Yates-Ashworth and can be seen below. A couple of screen captures shows the clear violation that occurs starting at 4:20.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Erne Shot

As you pounce on a mouse, I pounce on your dink...

The Erne shot is one of the rarest shots in pickleball. It is rare for a reason - it takes quick movement after making a quick judgment. It is also controversial in that many times it violates the non-volley zone rules. The Erne shot is a volley hit right at the net with a player positioned outside the court. Before we get too deeply into the shot, some videos showing the shot would be helpful.

The first videos is from Jeff Shank in the Villages, Florida. He shows the shot in actual play. The entire rally can be seen starting with the serve at 2:35.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

2nd Annual Mayberry Pickleball Tournament Results

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

Some local players participated in the Mayberry Pickleball Tournament last weekend in Mt Airy, NC. Photos are from Facebook and

Larry Formicella and Scott Richardson competed in the Men's Doubles 3.5 (18-64) and won a gold medal.

Congratulations Scott and Larry!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tournament Schedule Update - May 2017

Life's a game. Play it...

North Carolina Pickleball has updated the upcoming tournament schedule for players in the local area.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pickleball in Punta Cana

Smell the sea, feel the sky, hear the pickleballs... 

If you like shoveling snow in January, then read no further.

You're still here? I thought so. Would you rather be in at a Caribbean resort playing pickleball with Kyle Yates and Simone Jardim? Then read on.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sarah's View of the Around the Post Shot

Practice creates comfort...

The around the post shot is not difficult. Actually, it is fairly easy when you recognize that there is no net impeding the path of the ball. The issue for me was mental. Brian Staub mentioned in last week's video that the first instinct for many players facing a sharply angled ball is return it in the same direction. That was me. I always reacted the same way - a crosscourt return that was often put away by my opponents because I was dragged so far off the court.

As Sarah Ansboury usually does, she addresses some of the mental aspects in an article in the RV Pickler blog called Hit Around the Post…At Any Level of Pickleball. An excerpt of that article is shown below.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Offbeat Sunday: Even Peppy the Pickle has Feelings

Never waste your feelings on pickles that don't value them...

Aspen Kern manages the Pickleball Forum and contributes a character he has created - Peppy the Pickle. Today's Peppy feature is about feelings. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How to Hit the Around the Post Shot

Knowledge of geometry is advantageous...

After watching the around the post shots in yesterday's article, the technique seems pretty obvious - wait for a wide shot and hit it to a target along the sideline. The obvious is true but there are some fine points to the shot that makes it easier. A couple of videos will help us learn some of these techniques.

The first video is from Mark Renneson and is called Pickleball Strategies: Around The Post.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Around the Post Shot

Some shots just slip under the radar...

The very first sentence of the very first section of the pickleball rule book states:

Pickleball is a simple paddle game played using a special perforated, slow-moving ball over a tennis-type net on a badminton-sized court.

Did you notice the "over a tennis-type net" phrase? Maybe that is the source of confusion about the legality of one of the most indefensible shots in pickleball - the around the post shot.

The rule book clarifies the legality with rule 12.K:
12.K. Shots Around the Net Post. If a ball hit at an angle bounces in the court and travels beyond the sidelines, a player may return the ball around the outside of the net post. The ball does not need to travel back over the net. In addition, there is no restriction on the height of the return. For example, a player may return the ball around the net post below the height of the net.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017 Powerade State Games of North Carolina Results

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

Some local players participated in the Powerade State Games of North Carolina last week in Winston Salem, NC. Photos are from Facebook.

Bruce Birdsall and David Kelly went 2-2 in the Men's Doubles 50+.

Todd Headley and Jim Smedley went 2-2 in the Men's Doubles 50+.

Paul Coletta and Rusty Carr went 2-2 in the Men's Doubles 60+.

Scott Siewert and Jon Kenary went 3-2 in the Men's Doubles 60+.

Larry Appleby and Gary Winrow went 1-2 in the Men's Doubles 60+.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 National Senior Games Results

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

Some local players participated in the 2017 National Senior Games last week in Birmingham, AL. 

Don Fleming and Mike Wiltsek went 2-2 in the Men's Doubles 60-64.

Todd Seeleman and Keith Reigel went 1-2 in the Men's Doubles 65-69.

Larry Formicella and Jim Wilke went 2-2 in the Men's Doubles 70-74.

Mike Wiltsek and Kathleen Brundo went 0-2 in the Mixed Doubles 50-54.

Suz Flynt and Don Fleming went 5-2 in the Mixed Doubles 65-69.

Larry Formicella and Ann Redman went 1-2 in the Mixed Doubles 70-74.

Suz Flynt and Jen Kemp went 2-2 in the Women's Doubles 50-54.

Suz Flynt went 3-2 in the Women's Singles 65-69.

Well Done All!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Foot Pain - Shoes and Other Help

If your feet are happy, you are happy...

I recently posted on Pickleball Shoes in which I mentioned how proper shoes helped alleviate leg pain. This week we will go a bit lower and talk about foot pain. Barbara Wintroub has started contributing to the RV Pickler website and her first article is a beauty.

I am often asked two questions related to painful pickleball feet. The first is, what sneakers should I wear? And the second is, how can I avoid foot pain so I can play longer? Avoiding foot pain when you are playing pickleball is critical. So today, let me offer you a bit of advice and some exercises you can do to avoid those aching pickleball feet.

What are the Best Sneakers for my Pickleball Feet?

I think there are three critical issues when it comes to finding the best shoe for you:
  1. Get Professional Assistance: Take the time to go to a good sports shoe store with qualified staff. Have them measure your foot. As we get older our feet have a tendency to spread. You may have been a size 7B when you were 21…but your sports shoe size as a 50-year-old could be 8D. Some stores employ orthotists. These are people who can analyze your foot and your gait. They may suggest you look for a shoe that is designed for an “overpronator” or that you “supinate”. You may be able to do some analysis yourself. See this article for more information on analyzing the wear patterns of your current court shoes. Though you may purchase your shoes on-line, take the time to be properly fitted and learn about what brands and models are best for you.
  2. Purchase High-Quality Court Shoes: Running shoes were not designed for pickleball! They are meant to gofeet forward…not side to side. You need to purchase good court shoes (sometimes called tennis shoes). If you play primarily indoors, consider badminton shoes.
  3. Remember, Court Shoes Wear Out: Don’t expect to have a pair of shoes last 12 months if you are playing 10+ hours a week. If the shoe wobbles from side to side when you tap it, replace it. If you can easily bend the shoe in half lengthwise…throw it away. I like to buy two or three pairs of the same court shoe when I find a brand/model that works well for me.

Monday, June 12, 2017

2017 Gate City Picklefest

What a dill-lightful time it will be...

Registration for the Gate City Picklefest to be held August 5-6 in Greensboro, NC has opened.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Offbeat Sunday: Pickleball Diseases

They certainly give strange names to diseases...

The Pickleball Forum is great source for Offbeat Sunday material. Here is yet another example.

I know some of you think the word games are kind of childish, but this one has a serious note. This morning I had to visit the doctor and much to my chagrin he diagnosed me with a Pickleball disease. But I forgot which one, I thought he said 
  • Lob-otomy
  • Blocked artery
  • Around the post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Short dink syndrome 
  • Dinkitis

  • Dink Eye
- That's treatable with Third Shot Eye Drops