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.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Play for a Cause in Pittsburgh

Perseverance. Grace. Pickleball...

The three words shown above are not my normal silly opening. These words are the motto for the GAMMA Pickleball Classic played in Pittsburgh, PA on June 23-25. This is not your normal tournament, though. The tournament’s proceeds will go to the Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania (PFWP) to work for a cure for Parkinson's. The Foundation has reached out to me include some information about the tournament and encourage players to enter.

Pickleball and Parkinson's seem to have natural fit to each other. From the Gamma website:
People with Parkinson’s have many apparent symptoms such as the struggle with hand and eye coordination because of the effects of tremors and vision changes that are symptomatic of the disease. The hand and eye coordination needed to play pickleball exercises the muscles that are affected by the disease to help reduce symptoms. Also, pickleball is a great form of exercise that increases dopamine production and the chemicals in the brain that are believed to act as a neuro-protector for what’s being destroyed by the Parkinson’s. Pickleball has helped thousands of people who are struggling with this disease manage their symptoms and continue to lead a normal life.

In addition, PFWP has supplied a fact sheet about the beneficial link between pickleball and Parkinson's:

Benefits of Pickleball for PWP

Although there is no specific research that demonstrates the benefits for PWP (that I know of), it’s reasonable to expect that the benefits associated with similar sports activities/exercises would apply to pickleball also.

Evidence continues to mount on almost a monthly basis that regular exercise has a profound effect on managing Parkinson’s symptoms, both motor and non-motor.  In the case of pickleball:

Symptom management
  • Changes in length and speed of stride can improve shuffling gait
  • Directional changes can improve balance and compensatory “righting strategies”
  • Fore and back hand strokes (trunk rotation) can improve axial rigidity
  • Overhead strokes can improve extensor muscle flexibility
  • The aerobic/cardiovascular aspect of pickleball can improve fitness, health and cognitive function

Other areas
  • Weight bearing/impact of play can reduce risk of osteoporosis
  • Exercise can Improve G.I. motility and reduce risk of constipation
  • Reduced feeling of fatigue
  • Elevated mood and perceived quality of life
  • Improved sleep quality and quantity

Disease modification
Research also supports the mounting evidence that regular vigorous exercise can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease and help facilitate the establishment of compensatory neural pathways (neuroplasticity).

A great video was also provided.

We have seen the benefits of a pickleball program right here in North Carolina with an effort started by ambassadors Dick and Desire' Osman of Charlotte. The Osmans partnered with the Parkinson Association of the Carolinas and Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation department to host Pickleball for Parkinson’s at the Marion Diehl Recreation Center on Tyvola Road in Charlotte. The Charlotte program was featured in a local newspaper article in March.

In conclusion, the 2017 GAMMA Pickleball Classic looks to be a major tournament as well as support a great cause. Being from the Pittsburgh area, I had planned to play in this tournament but conflicts on my schedule caused me to defer until next year. I hope that any readers of this can see their schedule clear to play.

Registration ends on June 14 so get your entry in now at

No comments:

Post a Comment