Photo by Tomasz Kraxczyk on Unsplash
Lynn Cherry, Owner
I wasn't around Pickleball very long before I knew I wanted to start a website about the game. That's because I became addicted to the sport in 2018 shortly after finding it when I moved to Connecticut from North Texas. When I saw the local recreation center had Pickleball, I looked up the sport on Youtube and thought I'm going to love this game! I hadn't played a racket sport in quite a few years because of my bad knees but I realized on the small court I could probably handle the movement. So, using my skills from when I played open-level racquetball and a couple years of tennis, I started playing and writing about the game.
Pickleball Fire Magazine has lots of instructional articles and player profiles.
The issue includes:
• How to Play Great Defense
• The Block Volley with Pro Corrine Carr
• How Fly Casting Can Help Your Third Shot Drop by Randy Kadish
• How to Hit a Topspin Serve by M.L. Johnson
• Pro Deb Harrison on the Hairpin Drop
• The Three Pillars of Pickleball by Tony Roig
• CJ Johnson on Getting Back Into the Game After Taking a Break
• J Gizmo Hall Standing Out On and Off the Court
• Kyle Yates: The Old Guy at 26
• Shea Underwood: From College Kicker to Pickleball
• Pickleball Bootcamp: What it's Like
Nate Gross created Spec Tennis in 2016. He has recently presented at the USPTA San Diego Convention, USPTA Eastern Webinar, USPTA Middle States Conference, Texas Tennis Coaches Association Conference, Between the White Lines Summit, and the USPTA New England Conference. Contact Nate: email@example.com
HOW SPEC TENNIS HAS SAVED ME AT MY NEW CLUB
By Nate Gross
I started a new position in May as the Director of Racquet Sports at a very golf-centric club. It has the top golf course in the state and so naturally members are going to be joining the club for the golf.
The tennis facility has been here for a few years now, but this is the first season where they decided to have a full-time teaching pro.
I knew going into the job that it would take some to build the program up; that the first year might be slower than I’m used to. I was ready for the challenge though.
Now to give you a visual of what the facility looks like, there are 3 red clay tennis courts and 3 pickleball courts. The pickleball courts are adjacent to the pool complex, whereas the tennis courts are not in sight of the pool.
Why is this important? Every time someone is using the pickleball courts, the members at the pool can see that, whereas they can’t see when people are playing tennis.
I felt that it was important to introduce myself to every member I saw and let them know about the racquet sports program (especially since many weren't even aware of it). So, I often walked around the pool complex saying hi to everyone.
When I talked to these members I would mention that we offered Spec Tennis, telling them that it was a smaller, easy-to-learn version of tennis and that they would likely be able to perform a basic rally with me on Day 1 if they tried it. I would point to the pickleball courts (which is the court that Spec Tennis is played), showing them that the court size is a lot less intimidating than a tennis court.
The majority of the members I talked to had zero prior racquet sports experience. Had I tried to convince them to come out and try a regular tennis clinic, the success rate would not have been nearly as high compared to when I encouraged them to try a Spec Tennis clinic.
Had I not offered Spec Tennis at the club, I would have been sitting around twiddling my thumbs, wondering how I could get people to participate in my program.
I offered tennis, Spec Tennis, and pickleball. My assessment 5 months into the job is that tennis was the least popular, Spec Tennis had the highest participation for clinics, and pickleball had the highest participation for social play.
So as a tennis or racquets pro or director, why wouldn’t you offer Spec Tennis? Why wouldn’t you want to be able to attract that segment of the membership who aren’t tennis players to participate in your program?
Continuing on with the story--once I got players into my Spec Tennis clinics, then I began suggesting that if they were looking for more, they should join the beginning tennis clinic or cardio tennis, and many of them did.
I explained to them that I teach Spec Tennis and tennis the exact same way, so skills they learn in one will transfer 100% to the other.
Again, if I had asked these players to join my regular tennis clinic or cardio tennis clinic from day 1, they would not have done it, but by building up their confidence first in the Spec Tennis clinic they now felt more prepared for a tennis clinic.
Another benefit I discovered this season had to do with the wind. At my club, it typically gets very windy in the afternoon. We had a weekly pickleball social scheduled in the afternoon, and it got too windy, we played Spec Tennis instead. Had Spec Tennis not been available, we would have had to cancel many of the pickleball socials completely, as if the wind gets above a certain MPH it can be brutal trying to play pickleball.
Now to wrap this story up, my club is located in the mountains, so it snows a lot in the winter. Instead of moving to a different part of the country and teaching elsewhere, I’ve decided to stay here and teach Spec Tennis indoors on a basketball court. And many of my clients from the club are planning to attend those clinics.
The moral of the story is you should add Spec Tennis at your facility, as you never know how it can positively impact you until you try it.
If you’d like to get started with Spec Tennis, email me firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the sport head to SpecTennis.com
Sponsors Needed for 1st National
Spec Tennis US Open
February 4-6, 2022 at the Country Club of Coral Springs (Florida)
The tournament will offer 3 divisions: S1, S2, and S3. The top division (S3) will offer prize money for the singles and doubles winners and runner-ups in both men's and women's divisions. We need your help in finding prospective sponsors. Please, take a look at the sponsorship package.
POP TENNIS EXPANSION TO 11 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
By Mitch Kutner
Mitch Kutner is currently President of The International POP Tennis Association, a member of the Association Board of Directors & has been involved in the “POP movement” since it began in 2015. Kutner has been a lifelong POP player, still competing in National Pro Tournaments. He is a three-time National Men's doubles finalist (2000, 2003, 2018) and a 2017 POP US Open Mixed doubles finalist. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Mitch has spent time in the music industry (Arista Records), in TV syndication, and over 20 years in the corporate media barter business.
Link to our interview with Mitch Kutner in December of 2020.
We completed the POP Tennis international partnership deal with a European Sports Business group that has a reach of over 11 countries.
Two of the group's main owners/partners are Magnus Norman (formerly #2 ATP & Stan Wawrinka's former coach) and Jörgen Jönsson (Swedish Hockey Legend). They now own the exclusive licensing rights to the POP Tennis name and POP trademarked logo in those countries.
They have already started promoting in Sweden with a brand new venue called the Arvika Idrottscenter which opened back in July. The venue has 5 POP courts and features other sports as well.
Since its opening a few months ago, over 500 local children have already been to the venue to play POP and other sports. They have also already attracted many sponsors who want to be involved in the venue and the sport.
POP Tennis Promo Videos
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