New at the Nationals!
Since we live in Palm Creek (co-host of USAPA Nationals VII) it’s fun to be able to hang around and see what’s new. The Nationals this year (and by this we mean the USAPA) has been brilliant about bringing in lots of new products, vendors, services, sponsors, workshops and more. It just keeps getting better and the overall pickleball “vibe” is that of a sport whose time has really come…reminds us a bit of racquetball in the late 70s-early 80s (we were in that business then). Exponential growth and nearly at main-stream, stuff happening everywhere you look.
We could hardly do justice to everything here, but we can (and now will!) mention a few of the things that we thought were particularly fun, interesting or potentially valuable for the future. Remember these are just our two cents’, your mileage would probably vary, and we’ve undoubtedly not seen everything, but here’s our favs, and we’d appreciate your feedback to this post as well:
- First, check out Score It Remote – a remote refereeing system that allows scores to be input and announced and much, much more. Too cool for school. We will be writing more about this in a refereeing update article shortly, but for now view it at https://www.facebook.com/ScoreitHawsit.
- Good work is being done vis a vis enhancements to both tournament rating systems and in-club rating processes. The best of the best? The early work being done by Pickleballratings.com. It’ll get better but even right now you can view the results of the best players in three major tournaments last year. (Use their search function and look for a player by name and see what you find.) Very nice to imagine we could finally “solve” the problem of assigning ratings within a club or for a tournament more accurately accurately and with less stress. More on this soon.
- Note the Tutor Ball Machine by the PickleballCentral guys. Yes, we still love the Simon Ball Machine, but there’s something about a ball being fired at you at maybe 60 MPH that will really get your attention and perhaps increase your reaction time, if you need (or like) that kind of thing. Final score when AJ stood in; Tutor, about 26, AJ, about 10 (he says), when machine was set up to 9 or 10. See below. Wow.
- There were enough paddles to satisfy even us, and we’re paddle junkies. The ones that got our attention (by manufacturer) were Gamma, Selkirk, Onix, and some very cool stuff new from Pro-Lite, in addition to a foam-core paddle by Gearbox Pickleball where AJ bought his new BPF (Best Paddle Forever), the Gearbox 8. For those of you old enough to remember the judged-non-compliant-by-the-USAPA APIKE and HUSH (12.2010 version) paddles, the Gearbox 8 reminds us of the better parts of those. We were, we should mention, also happy to see two of the “old guard” back with new stuff – Whippersnapper and ZZT.
- We also watched the finals after refereeing most of the day. How? Through USAPA-affiliated Enetlive. AJ, in a stroke of brilliance (for him), eventually managed to boot the life-feed over to the TV and we shared the couch and the last matches with the dogs. You should try this. Go to their site, create a free membership to the USAPA channel, and either watch the live feed if there are matches still going on, or go to their archives and watch some of the final games. Irene refereed one of these, you can say “hey” to the screen if you recognize her!
- Well-done clinics abounded, and we attended several, including on refereeing, rating, rules changes, upcoming changes, and so forth. And so many new vendors, and cool clothing and jewelry and…well, AND, we didn’t mention the food, the Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream being our favorite, of course. All in all, there will be enough other new stuff for us to talk to you about for maybe the next couple of weeks.
Of course there was much more, but that’s just to start, as we said. Your comments? Requests for other stuff about the Nationals? Need an address to send us money? (Just kidding about the last part!) Anyway, for most of the above, comment to this post or send yer thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!