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ALL NEW: Dynamic PICKLEBALL RODEO Weekly Roundtable Series EP1

0:00 [Music] 0:02 let me know 0:20 welcome to pickleball Rodeo this is 0:23 episode one which is a Roundtable 0:25 discussion with tournament directors 0:27 from all across the country my name is 0:29 Kim scholes I am co-director along with 0:32 Michael Balon of Coachella Valley Grand 0:34 Prix and pickleball which we just 0:37 finished our first tournament of the 0:39 year at PGA West in La Quinta 0:42 and I'd like to introduce Lynn go ahead 0:43 uh hi everyone my name is Lynn Lowry I'm 0:46 the president of Spalding County 0:48 pickleball Association and unlike others 0:51 uh I am actually not a tournament 0:53 director however I am president of the 0:55 association and I work closely with our 0:57 tournament director partner which is 0:59 Georgia pickleball Association 1:02 um we've been running tournaments at our 1:03 facility in Spalding County Georgia for 1:06 going on six years 1:08 um and uh I've been playing out there at 1:10 that facility for five years I've been 1:13 president of the association for the 1:15 past year and uh we have a membership 1:18 size of probably around 1:20 350 members 1:23 um for uh which is a you know a small 1:25 town in Middle Georgia it's pretty good 1:27 um size uh membership base and uh we 1:31 have an 18 Court facility where we where 1:34 we have in our town 1:36 um and uh we are also the host site for 1:38 the app's Atlanta metro open so we've 1:42 hosted that tournament for the past two 1:45 years and this year will be our third 1:47 year for hosting that tournament 1:50 um so yeah we're looking forward to 1:51 having this round table discussion about 1:53 uh pickleball and all things about 1:56 running tournaments and things of that 1:58 nature So Daniel go ahead 2:01 hi I'm Dan Bettman I work for the city 2:03 of Council Bluffs Iowa I'm a recreation 2:05 events manager for the city and 2:08 Collective loop we're pairing up with 2:10 the pickleball Omaha and then the 2:12 Council Bluffs area pickleball we are 2:14 putting on the Council Bluffs and Omaha 2:17 pickleball showcase March 10th through 2:19 12th so it's our first stab at uh 2:21 hosting a tournament in the area and 2:23 it's a three-prong approach with the two 2:26 clubs myself I'm a member of both clubs 2:28 and then I'm representing kind of the 2:30 city of Council Bluffs and how we we use 2:33 all of our resources to bring a 2:34 tournament in 2:36 um 2:37 and 2:39 the the turn is starting this weekend we 2:41 have over 330 registrants so we're 2:45 pretty happy about that uh but I am not 2:47 a turn I mean I'm the tournament 2:49 director of this but this is my first 2:50 one of this I've just always worked in 2:51 sports prior to that so 2:54 Daniel you got somebody that's going to 2:55 help you outrun it because that's pretty 2:57 that's pretty uh daunting to run a 3:00 tournament of 300 plus participants you 3:01 first well we were thinking if we got 3:03 150 we would be happy because you're 3:05 back in you know September so it's been 3:08 exceeding our expectations but I guess 3:10 we should have we should have been 3:11 prepared for because Omaha Club has over 3:13 a thousand members in it and then the 3:15 Council Bluff Club has over 500 members 3:17 in it 3:18 um so yes we have a committee we have uh 3:20 some some definite tournament experience 3:22 people on the committee helping run this 3:25 so we feel we feel pretty good about it 3:27 we'll have to ask me again on Monday 3:28 [Music] 3:30 well anyway what got you guys into 3:33 pickleball in the first place 3:36 um so for me uh I my Genesis was 3:39 um I was I was actually a disc golfer 3:42 before I was a pickleball player and the 3:44 park where our facility is located 3:47 um I was out playing disc golf routinely 3:49 and I watched the facility get built 3:52 from day one from scratch and uh so I I 3:55 was just curious about it um I had 3:59 um previous background in racquetball 4:01 racquetball kind of lost its popularity 4:03 from the 80s and so I was like well I 4:06 pickleball sounds different sounds 4:08 interesting so I'm gonna give it a try 4:10 when the facility gets built and that's 4:12 how I got started just uh happened to 4:14 see it being built and watched it being 4:16 built and was curious about it yeah for 4:18 me I uh it was taught in my element for 4:20 my junior high in Northern South Dakota 4:22 so I learned it as a Junior High student 4:25 in like 25 years ago roughly on 4:29 somewhere in that range maybe even a 4:31 little bit more than that and then 4:33 didn't really see it again and I've 4:35 looked around a little bit moved I have 4:37 a degree in Recreation management I've 4:39 worked in Campus Recreation running 4:41 intramural and club sports universities 4:43 and when I lived in Detroit area my 4:47 former graduate assistant she was 4:49 working for the older persons Commission 4:51 in outside of Detroit and talking about 4:54 how she does all these recreation 4:56 activities but all that happens is 4:58 pickable and I hadn't heard pickleball 5:00 mentioned for such a long time so that's 5:02 kind of that old cliche it's or its old 5:05 reputation that was for older people but 5:07 then I moved to St Louis and started it 5:09 with intramural sports started it with 5:11 you know the college campus 18 year olds 5:13 to 23 year olds was our main age range 5:16 and then when that was going on I 5:18 started getting back into it or got into 5:20 it I guess I was a dedicated tennis 5:23 player I spent most of my high school 5:27 and college life playing tournaments 5:29 around the country and uh basically 5:33 um I had no intention of ever playing 5:35 pickleball until the famous injury hits 5:38 yeah pickleball had everything I needed 5:41 and the other thing I liked about 5:44 how it crossed over for me was the fact 5:47 that 5:48 I was uh although I'm older I was always 5:51 challenging Young tennis players and 5:53 even Collegiate players into my 60s I 5:55 was doing well well when your shoulder 5:58 goes that's it it's gone when you when I 6:00 came to pickleball I could still get on 6:02 the pickleball court and still compete 6:04 with the younger guys not win but 6:06 compete and I really really enjoyed that 6:09 and uh therefore I said you know I gotta 6:12 I gotta continue with this and then I 6:14 started bringing over my friends from 6:15 the tennis world in fact some of my my 6:17 tennis friends now are totally dedicated 6:19 to uh pickleball and just won a national 6:22 championship they never gonna go back to 6:24 tennis you know that could be a rare 6:27 thing sometimes you seems like there's a 6:29 few different factions usually of either 6:32 they play tennis and they'll like love 6:33 pickleball or they just don't want to 6:34 give it a chance because they view it as 6:36 approaching on their territory it's yeah 6:39 the turf war I call it 6:41 [Music] 6:45 in the Coachella Valley I am lucky one 6:49 we have a demographic that really fits 6:52 into pickleball one most of it's a lot 6:54 of retired people we have huge housing 6:57 developments they have numerous 7:00 pickleball courts in the beginning there 7:02 was this uh rivalry between the two 7:06 factions you were you were talking about 7:07 pickleball people wanted pickleball 7:10 courts and they were going to take 7:11 tennis courts away and that was a 7:14 problem uh and in fact I was even 7:17 getting drawn into it to make 7:18 recommendations and here I am basically 7:21 with tennis and the pickleball world but 7:22 what happened was is that HOAs realized 7:25 that putting in dedicated pickleball 7:28 courts without taking away tennis courts 7:30 was an inexpensive way in in the long 7:34 run to increase housing uh you know 7:37 prices would go up people wanted to move 7:40 into their areas and so they've embraced 7:42 it more 7:43 [Music] 7:46 so as a Dr your tournaments I'm curious 7:50 you mentioned 300 people you had in 7:52 years 339 is that last last count and 7:57 Lynn how many do you have in yours yeah 7:59 we just broke 300 ourselves so we're at 8:02 302 for our tournament coming up this 8:05 weekend we found that uh we were going 8:08 to cap ours at 450 no matter what just 8:11 from a management standpoint and uh 8:14 which was a good decision because we 8:16 never reached the 400 Mark you know uh 8:19 we I really like the fact for from 8:21 tournament management standpoint uh and 8:24 for Budget the uh USA are you first off 8:27 are your sanctioned tournaments are you 8:29 a USA pickleball sanction no the only 8:32 sanctioned tournament that we have is 8:34 the is the app Atlanta metro open we've 8:36 just chosen not to go the sanctioned 8:39 route just because of the the referees I 8:41 mean it's just so difficult to you know 8:43 get referees for for sanction matches 8:45 yeah whether saying we are in sanctioned 8:48 and that would probably be the soapbox 8:50 part later of uh it's the referee's part 8:54 of it and the steps in the process for 8:56 that and 8:57 well the the latest change has been if 9:00 you're 300 or less well actually 100 a 9:03 day you you do not have to have 9:05 officiated uh matches you just have to 9:08 have one certified official 9:10 which really helps and we've now been 9:13 doing that for budgetary reasons and for 9:15 management points of view so that it 9:18 makes it a a lot easier uh we also have 9:21 used the MMO metal match only which 9:23 decreases the number of officials needed 9:26 so I don't know if you've ever looked 9:28 into that for but that we could talk 9:30 about that later like you said in the 9:32 soapbox 9:33 well I'm just curious before we jump off 9:35 of that top that topic 9:37 um part so it sounds like you do you 9:40 primarily run sanctioned is is that your 9:43 goal your focus yes and there's a reason 9:45 why why we do the sanctioning uh it's 9:49 not really to attract more players is 9:51 that uh um I run a pickleball League 9:55 and we need uh ratings and self rates 9:58 are you know we won't get the least 10:01 amount of people self-rated more of them 10:02 with a real rating now there's duper 10:05 that's out there and then there's the 10:07 utpr rating and we want the one that's 10:10 tested in tournament play at this moment 10:12 which happens to be the USA pickleball 10:15 sanction uh rating so with that then we 10:19 get more of our players rated and can 10:21 play in their proper divisions and we 10:24 have less uh conflict over year three 10:26 five no you're a 4-0 type of thing 10:29 so that's our arterial mode why we run 10:31 our pickleball tournaments and make them 10:33 sanctions I would say from my experience 10:36 don't be sanctioned you know that number 10:39 is pretty good and I have found that 10:41 sanctioning really didn't draw any more 10:44 players and then your players still 10:47 would have to register and pay another 10:48 fee to join USA pickleball if they 10:51 haven't already done that 10:53 [Music] 10:54 so guys why should a person play a 10:57 tournament 10:58 so I mean for our tournament that we're 11:00 hosting we have our age range of 12 to 11:03 80. and 11:05 honestly knowing who both those players 11:07 are they could be on the same court at 11:09 the same time and be competitive with 11:11 each other or against each other 11:14 um and the 11:15 the ability to do that interaction and 11:18 anywhere else is pretty rare 11:20 um they're not going to be going playing 11:22 baseball together they're not getting 11:23 you know a bunch of other interactions 11:25 where they could have that Mutual 11:28 um the mutual interest Mutual skill 11:30 level Mutual just the that that 11:33 connection that's pretty pretty hard to 11:36 find so they can do that and they 11:38 wouldn't maybe it wouldn't have met each 11:39 other in a tournament and that that 11:42 tournament setting brings together just 11:43 so many different people uh we offered a 11:46 range for starting at 2.5 level and then 11:49 went up by 0.5 up to 5.0 and then 11:51 different age levels uh three different 11:54 age tiers so that they could participate 11:57 in their same age range and skill level 11:59 but that 2.5 level means we have people 12:02 that I gave lessons to in January that 12:05 are participating in this tournament and 12:07 they will they'll do just fine they will 12:09 they'll have a a good pool of people to 12:12 play against and I know they're gonna 12:13 have fun 12:14 um so the tournament the setting why you 12:16 should play a tournament is the ability 12:18 to yeah you play in your group your your 12:21 favorite little Tuesday morning group 12:23 how does that match up against some of 12:25 these other people that maybe are 12:26 playing in their own Tuesday morning 12:27 group on the other side of town or on 12:29 the other side of the State uh so you 12:31 get to at least test your own skills the 12:34 social aspect of it uh the ability to 12:37 you know get a picture with a metal on 12:39 it you know with the metal wearing metal 12:41 and uh the the social part of a 12:43 tournament I think is a big part of it 12:45 but also once you start moving up those 12:47 levels it's that test of skill so I say 12:50 I'm on whatever level in my my group 12:53 that I play with let's see what it is if 12:55 that's the same against that same level 12:58 from other cities or from the other side 13:00 of the city so yeah we we kind of 13:03 experienced the same thing ratings tend 13:05 to be really localized if you will you 13:08 may you may rate yourself a 4-0 player 13:10 at your home facility and then go play 13:12 somewhere else where it's a deeper 13:14 talent pool and lo and behold you're 13:15 really a three five so yeah the 13:18 tournament is a is a relatively decent 13:20 gauge for someone to try to figure out 13:23 am I really you know my does my local 13:26 rating really match up to what is you 13:29 know nationally recognized as a true 13:32 rating of you know 3-0 or three five 13:35 um so I I totally agree with that 13:40 uh you know I I I'm I like you Daniel I 13:43 teach introductory pickleball to you 13:45 know to newcomers to our uh our 13:48 association 13:49 um as well as run a small Pro Shop there 13:52 at our at our facility and so I'm always 13:54 answering the question well what paddle 13:56 should I buy you know because newbies 13:58 just they they really don't know 14:01 um to be honest with you and you know my 14:04 first question I always ask them I said 14:06 well what do you want to be when you 14:07 grow up as a pickleball player 14:09 um so you know it certainly if they 14:12 choose to they say well yeah I see 14:13 myself someday playing in a tournament 14:16 then I you know I try to steer them 14:17 towards more higher end level paddles 14:20 because that's something that they can 14:22 grow into as their skills develop but if 14:25 they say oh I just want to be a 14:26 recreational player and I just tell them 14:27 go buy whatever you want to buy and what 14:29 feels good in your hand because honestly 14:31 as a recreational player you're probably 14:33 going to switch paddles three or four 14:34 times at least before you finally decide 14:37 on one that you like or you may buy the 14:39 the Onyx Z5 and that'd be the paddle 14:41 that you play with for the rest of your 14:43 you know your recreational career so uh 14:45 that was your first paddle yeah yeah I 14:48 think it's a lot of people's first title 14:50 that the Onyx C5 it's it's a beautiful 14:52 piece of equipment we always try to have 14:56 something at our tournaments that would 14:58 help engage that social aspect right 15:01 because for sure pickleball is is a 15:05 highly social sport compared to tennis 15:07 compared to you know to other court 15:09 Sports because I think it's because of 15:12 that closeness right the pickleball 15:14 draws us into that non-volley zone line 15:16 to get in those you know heated thinking 15:19 you know contests and you know the 15:21 courts are definitely smaller than 15:23 tennis so we're we're and it seems to be 15:26 more doubles friendly or doubles 15:28 oriented sport rather than singles so 15:31 you you you naturally have double the 15:33 people out there than you do in in 15:35 single so there's this whole social 15:37 aspect of it it's so true about the 15:40 player experience and uh the one key 15:43 word or key phrase for us is Meaningful 15:45 play there is a desire for for players 15:48 that are starting out on wreck they want 15:50 like you said test themselves but they 15:52 want something that has meaning behind 15:54 it and that's what the the tournament 15:56 experience gives them so uh yeah the 15:58 player experience the vendors are all 16:00 great the food they've been also the 16:03 tech tournament is actually a great time 16:05 for them 16:06 [Music] 16:09 in 2000 16:10 2017 when our facility opened all of our 16:13 tournaments were run on paper brackets 16:15 they that even though the the tournament 16:16 director was managing it on an Excel 16:18 spreadsheet or something like that he 16:20 was posting paper brackets out on the 16:23 wall and people would gather around that 16:25 thing like vultures and look to see what 16:28 their results are and nowadays I mean 16:29 here we are just five short years six 16:32 years later and we're getting results 16:34 real time on our phones now and things 16:36 like that so absolutely Tech has made a 16:39 big difference in that tournament 16:40 experience the point about how the that 16:44 um 16:45 going to a tournament another aspect of 16:47 it that is appealing is that if you're 16:49 in this open Play environment where you 16:51 play most of your games against new 16:53 people winter split maybe or whatnot the 16:56 tournament aspect gets you that that 16:58 connection or that ability to really 17:00 play with one partner which if you only 17:03 play open play and you're always 17:04 rotating you kind of you know you you 17:08 have a connection with that person for 17:09 just a few minutes but I really like the 17:11 tournament aspect of where you are in a 17:13 goal together with somebody and for that 17:15 day your goal you know is to do well 17:18 play play off each other's strengths 17:19 which doesn't necessarily always happen 17:21 just uh you know I'm you know in the 17:24 park on the weekend so 17:26 right you can talk over coverages and 17:28 stacking and all that other good stuff 17:30 and signals yeah I totally agree 17:33 [Music] 17:36 for for our facility what we decided to 17:38 do to help introduce the sport or make 17:41 it easier to for the sport to be 17:42 introduced to newbies is we've we've got 17:45 loner paddles setting out for anyone to 17:48 use 17:49 um and we've got balls sitting right 17:51 next to the loner paddles and we've got 17:53 a big sign up there that basically says 17:55 these are free loaner paddles take them 17:57 in and use them and yeah we've had some 18:00 walk off but honestly people have been 18:02 really good about taking the paddles off 18:04 of the paddle rack going out and using 18:06 them and then returning them back once 18:08 they're done using them so it's it's all 18:10 about trying to make them feel like 18:13 they're not out there on an island all 18:15 by themselves trying to figure it out 18:17 yeah so then for us the you know when 18:19 people are trying to 18:20 figure out where where's their where are 18:23 their pickable opportunities I mean 18:24 number one you usually generally start 18:26 with checking Facebook that type of 18:28 thing so our Parks and Recreation 18:30 Department we have started offering 18:32 leaves and we you know publicize those 18:35 through the parks and rec but then we 18:37 have a great partnership with the 18:38 Council Bluff area pickleball people can 18:41 come in and the same thing there's 18:42 paddles there there's a low very low 18:45 startup to joining a league you pay 18:47 their fee but you don't necessarily even 18:49 have to have equipment 18:50 [Music] 18:52 so so for me why I feel like the future 18:55 pickleball is so bright is that the the 18:59 ability to start playing the sport 19:02 the skill level necessary the threshold 19:05 for for joining is pretty it's a very 19:08 friendly welcoming easy start you can be 19:11 you can start today and in a week you 19:14 could be competent like you can be 19:16 playing against other people and know 19:18 what you're doing but then the great 19:20 thing about that is you will he'll never 19:23 reach basically expertise you'll just 19:25 keep always wanting to get better and 19:26 better but the best story I can relate 19:30 to why I feel like the the growth of the 19:33 game isn't just a a fluke or something 19:36 that's going to go away is that I had my 19:39 sister and her husband and then my niece 19:41 and nephew are 10 and 13. they were in 19:44 town visiting me and we wouldn't play 19:46 Pickleball they had never played before 19:47 and all all four of them and no matter 19:50 what the rotation was if it was Dad and 19:53 Mom playing against son and daughter or 19:56 dad and dad and son playing against 19:58 daughter and mother the games are always 20:01 good their games around is equal 20:03 everyone was having fun they were they 20:06 were ability to do something together as 20:08 a family uh for well back-to-back days 20:11 we were just going to do it for an hour 20:12 and then that turned into two hours and 20:14 then they wanted to do it again the next 20:15 day but that turned into an activity 20:17 that they could do together where they 20:19 were all invested in it and again had 20:23 never played the David prior to that so 20:25 they they learned it one day and by the 20:27 next day they were you know no matter 20:29 who they were playing with as a small 20:31 four-person family where there's hardly 20:33 any other sport you could 20:35 in my head there's hardly any other 20:37 activity where you could do that 20:39 um and be active outside get all the 20:41 benefits of that physical exercise 20:44 um so that's why I think the sport is 20:46 unique over so many other options what I 20:49 really like about the sport is you can 20:52 connect with people very quickly just by 20:55 saying I play Pickleball 20:57 it's it's amazing you can be on a plane 21:00 you can be in the stores you know you're 21:02 looking at things and the game is just 21:05 taking off and its popularity and then 21:09 again like I'm on a cruise what's a 21:11 cruise ship have it has a pickleball 21:12 court on it well right away You're 21:14 connecting with people on board ship 21:16 that was pretty cool you go to Resorts 21:18 places what do they got they got 21:20 pickleball courts all of a sudden you're 21:22 you're meeting people you're engaged 21:24 with people from all over the place you 21:26 know what do you have in common we got 21:28 the game you know that's that's the best 21:30 part of it 21:32 and I I personally love the openness of 21:36 the sport in terms of how welcoming it 21:38 is to to strangers if you will right so 21:41 I feel like I could go to virtually any 21:44 pickleball facility in in my state 21:47 um Uninvited show up out there on the 21:49 courts and as long as there were people 21:51 out there playing I could join a game 21:53 within five minutes I I really feel like 21:55 that I don't think it's other sports are 21:58 as welcome I played baseball and soccer 21:59 growing up I didn't play any uh racket 22:02 Sport and 22:04 um 22:05 the picking up the game was still super 22:07 easy and I think that is something maybe 22:09 some people might have a misconception 22:11 about oh I have to have this skill set 22:14 that previously to be good at it I have 22:17 to have played tennis before I've had to 22:19 you know have to be I have to 22:21 participate in all these other sports 22:23 or you know play you know be a really 22:25 good racquetball player or tennis player 22:27 and then that'll be the that's who only 22:29 people who play Pickleball and that's 22:30 not the case at all and I think that's 22:31 another reason why the growth of the 22:34 game is won't just continue I I totally 22:37 agree with everything you guys have said 22:38 and the one thing I think that really 22:41 helps the newbies that are coming in is 22:44 it's not how you do it it's with the 22:47 ball it's what you do with the ball 22:49 you're allowed the freedom to put your 22:52 stamp of approval on a certain shot your 22:54 Technique might be really strange but if 22:57 it accomplishes the goal you know that's 22:59 what that's what it's all about and I 23:01 think that's the one thing that the 23:03 players like when they come in 23:05 [Music] 23:07 you ready 23:09 [Music]

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