Monthly Archives: February 2018

Saturday’s Open Play……….


Those of you planning to play at the 9a.m. Open Play time this Saturday may experience  some strangers in our midst. The “Experience Indian Ridge” program this weekend offered an experience with pickleball to prospective-member attendees at 10am until noon, and we’re told that as many as twenty (20) accepted the invitation. We’re not sure how many will actually show up, but let’s welcome all who do.   Some of our pickleball hosts will help the newbies on one or two courts, while we’ll ask our pickleballers to play some games with those prospective members who are pickleball-experienced.  Thanks for your support.


Repeat performance………..


Folks, If you missed the fast-action pickleball exhibition by some national champions on our center court last season, you get a reprieve. The same stars that thrilled us then are back this Friday at 4pm, a part of the “Experience Indian Ridge” weekend. Come and see The Lakes CC, Marcin Rozpedski (far left), the National Men’s Doubles Champ, along with his Gold Medal partner, Morgan Evans of Shadow Mountain CC (far right), and Scott Burr, the Senior Men’s National Doubles Champ (right center), with Blake Wilcox, formerly of Palm Valley CC and now at Andalusia CC (left center). It’s a don’t miss event!

PS: The trophy they were holding last March was the one that our pro, Randy Berg, had just won as the National 60+ Tennis Men’s Doubles Champion.

Nationals coming to the desert…….

We’ve heard the rumors, now we’ve got confirmation from the USAPA Newsletter that the annual pickleball Nationals tournament is headed to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, starting in November 2018. Here’s what USAPA said:

“On Thursday, February 1, USAPA and Desert Champions, LLC, parent company of the world-renowned Indian Wells Tennis Garden, agreed to terms on a multi-year deal to host the USAPA National Championships at the facility. While terms of the deal have not been disclosed, USAPA and Desert Champions, LLC will be releasing a joint press release soon with the details.

This year, the USAPA National Championships will be held November 3-11, 2018. Indian Wells is located just outside of Palm Springs California. The facility is home to the BNP Paribas Open – the largest combined men and women’s tennis tournament in the world. IWTG features the second largest tennis stadium in the world – an impressive 16,100-seat Stadium 1 – as well as a permanent 8,000-seat Stadium 2. The venue also boasts 28 world class courts and will soon be adding championship pickleball courts to the site.”

While there’ll be a formal announcement soon, we badly wanted to scoop this news. Why? Because we’re crazy about witnessing championship pickleball and we know that one of the key guys behind this very impressive development is an IRCC member (sorry Fred Hartzman, we’ve penetrated that cool facade). This is exciting!

I guess we’re a “senior center,” so ………

Yeah, by this guy, I guess we’re a “senior center” with lots of 50+ folks, so maybe we should read this piece reminding us of the basics of pickleball play  (it’s also what we repeatedly discuss at the mini-clinics here at IRCC).

“Interesting Novice experience for PB instructor:

I, along with a few others, teach Novice and Intermediate PB at a local senior center (50+). Recently, I had surgery on my right hand (I am right-handed). I couldn’t stand not playing pickleball, so for two weeks I played left handed during our Novice sessions. Because of the bandage on my right hand, it was obvious I was not just goofing around or showing off. I did not do any teaching while I played. My overall left-handed skill set was similar to theirs. I was already aware of how novices played, but there was something magical about experiencing it first hand on the court that increased my awareness on how to better instruct them during lessons.

Items confirmed during my novice play (in my two week sample size): Novices do not attempt 3rd shot drops (zero), even though about ½ of these novice players had been exposed to that shot during lessons. They do not dink, they play several feet behind the kitchen line, (some even further back), they like to drive every ball as hard as they can, and a high percentage of their balls are shoulder or head high, and lots go out, and most points are lost due to unforced errors, not winners.

After this experience, the following is where I would increase emphasis to novices in our lessons (along with other normal basic strokes/techniques) if they want to improve, and win more games right away:
– Start moving all the way to the kitchen line at every opportunity, if you control the kitchen line, then you control the point and most likely the game. Even older novices with mobility issues can start moving their way to the kitchen line vs. staying in no man’s land or at the baseline.
– When you drive a ground stroke or volley the ball, hit it at 80 – 90% instead of 100%, this will give you more accuracy and your ball will go lower over the net and make it harder to return, and you will have fewer unforced errors (placement over power).
– When you volley or hit an overhead, “aim” the ball at the opponent’s feet or open space (have a target) instead of just trying to whack it as hard as you can, this will result in fewer unforced errors.
– Don’t go for big winners all the time (this is lots of fun for novices); just try to keep the ball on the court. Just get the ball over and let the other team make the mistake.
– And try your best to serve deep and return deep.

So, besides serving and returning deep (which I would emphasize more in lessons), all of these items do not really require too much extra physical skill to perform, only awareness of a little different way to play, which could result in improving their game pretty quickly.


A Good Inter-club?…….

Inter-Club with Indian Palms CC

Today was a good inter-club match with Indian Palms. We had two rounds of 3-game round-robin play on six courts for almost two hours. A number of our guests joined us for lunch after play. While we regretfully had only two IRCC members there to host the lunch, the IPCC folks engaged in some lively discussion and expressed enthusiasm for the member/guest mixing that round-robin format provided. Let us know below if you think the format worked for you.

We’re trying to firm up a date to play Trilogy/La Quinta in March, and probably Sun City. So stay tuned.

How did it go?

Inter-Club Matches Tomorrow….

An inter-club match with the Indian Palms CC folks is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, 2/24) at 10am. We expect to play until 11:45 or noon, and then many of us, with some of the Indian Palms folks, will lunch at JK’s. It should be a fun morning of pickleball and  socializing.

Here are the confirmed Indian Ridge Players: Jack Yeaton, Rod Smith, George Balch, Dave Garfinkel, Jim Gilford, Beth Keno, Nadine Woods, Randy Woods,  Susan Bogan, Mary Herman, Nancy Smith, and Brett Hartzell. Please contact me (email link below) if you requested to play but are not on this list, or would like to be on standby. We’ll do our best to accommodate.  We expect to only use six courts from 10am-noon, so there’ll be a court free throughout and, of course, all courts available outside of those times.

Email about the Inter-Club



Come on now!

Wow, we’ve just learned that Indian Palms CC is bringing a dozen or more players here  for Saturday’s 10am inter-club matches. And so far, we’ve only six of our members that responded “I’m in” to yesterday’s blog that asked about your availability. Since several of our pickleballers have expressed enthusiasm for inter-clubs in the past, even wanting more, we’re assuming the blog was just overlooked and we’ll get many more responses by repeating it below. We’d like to show Indian Palms that we’re also enthusiastic about this inter-club. So, please, please consider playing in what should be some good round-robin matches. If you haven’t already responded, click on the link below and let us know your availability, one way or the other.

My Availability for Saturday’s Inter-Club




Saturday’s Inter-Club with Indian Palms..

Listen folks, we had an inter-club match scheduled this Saturday with Portola CC,. but they cancelled due to lack of players. Not being deterred, we contacted the Indian Palms CC people, who had an interest in doing an inter-club match with us one day. They’ve responded positively and will be here this Saturday (2/24) at 10am.  We’ll do a 3-game round of Men’s and Women’s doubles and then a 3-game round of mixed doubles (another round can be arranged among those who want more play time). After play, we’ve invited the Indian Palms folks to join us at JK’s for lunch.

We’ve a few names of those who signed up for Portola C C, which we’ll assume want to play Indian Palms.   Otherwise, please email back ASAP your interest in playing with the Indian Palms folks this Saturday at 10am, by clicking on the link below.

Email Availability to Play This Saturday

Portola CC playing here….


Here’s a group photo of a recent inter-club event They’re always fun, mixing up members and nons in a round-robin format for six (6) games of Men’s/Women’s and then Mixed play. with many of us socializing with our guests thereafter at JKs or the Arroyo Grill.

Well, we have another inter-club scheduled this Saturday (2/24) at 10am here at IRCC with Portola CC. We’re not sure yet how many players Portola will bring, but we’d like to know your availability. Just click on the link below and email us on your availability (they’ll still be Open Play at 9am, for those wanting more play, that’ll phase into the Portola matches).

Availability for the Portola Inter-club

PS. Did you know that one of our dedicated pickleballers, Barbara Koch, recently had a harrowing chocking experience at the Arroyo Grill, after play last week? We are happy to report that Barbara got though it then (thanks to a Heimlich Maneuver guy) and wants to thank all her pickleball friends for “their support, assistance and good wishes” and let them know “my ribs are still pretty sore, but other than that I am fine and hope to be back playing in a couple of weeks.”    We’ll all be welcoming you back, Barbara!

Winning Ways…………

Where can we find ways to win at this pickleball game? First, we need a consistently well-placed serve (you only get one chance in pickleball). Then, a good deep service return can keep your serving opponents back at the base line and help you get to the kitchen. But handling the service return, the third shot of a point, the right way should most often lead to a point win. So often, particularly with newbies, the urge is to hit a hard drive which your opponents, if they’re any good, will drive the ball back, helping them get to the kitchen while keeping you and your partner in the back court.  The technique you see most good pickleballers, and virtually all the pros, use in dealing with the service return is to carefully hit a drop shot that lands softly in the kitchen, in front of the service quarter-court, in the gap away from the returning team player. This thoughtful maneuver gives the serving team more time to get to their goal, the kitchen, and leaves the returning team a dropping ball that usually has to be hit up. Click on the link below to view a video on the how and why of this maneuver (it’s a bit lengthy but good).

The 3rd Shot Drop

Oh, congrats to the men’s league team that swept all of its matches with Indian Palms CC yesterday. The use of the 3rd-shot “drop” was a deciding tactic, underlying the team’s success lately?