Starting & Managing a Pickleball Club

Rocky Clark, the Area Ambassador for USAPA, asked me to outline the steps we’ve taken over the past four years to start and manage the Litchfield Pickleball Association. Members may be interested at what goes on behind the curtain.

I’ve disabled comments on the post but you can send me an email if you have comments or needed edits. Putting together a multi-page PDF document is no small effort, so I don’t anticipate making any edits [unless I’ve made a truly horrible error!]. And yes, I realize there are a few typos in the spreadsheets!

Here is the link; it will open on a separate page Starting and Managing a Pickleball Club

In or Out?


Photo B - In bounds
Photo B – In bounds
Photo A - Out of Bounds
Photo A – Out of Bounds

Because of the nature of the hard ball a Pickleball can only make contact with one small part of the ball. As you can see in photo A, the center of the ball is touching the red out of bounds area. So, even though part of the profile of the ball is over the top of the line, the ball is out. Photo B shows a ball that is good because the center is touching the white line. Reference: section 6C of the official USAPA rules.

Note that this rule is different than the rule for tennis. A tennis ball can flatten out when

it hits, if any part of the tennis ball touches the line, it is called good.

Remember, all lines are good during the rally and the serve except for the no-volley line during the serve. A served ball that touches the no-volley line is a fault and results in loss of serve.

Please also remember to be generous with your calls, if it is close and you are not sure just play it.


Our Second Tournament

The tournament for < 60 players was held at Talent Hall on April 12th

The results were:

Gold             Joyce Francis & John Croes

Silver            Nancy & Bruce Lewis

Bronze         Kathy Pierce & Phil Denoncourt

Other images from the < 60 Tournament

Everybody enjoyed the two tournaments. Should we do it again?


Master the Dink

This is a tip that I picked up from Space Coast Pickleball Newsletter. I thought you might be interested.

The dink is one of the most effective shots in pickleball. The main purpose of the dink is to keep your opponents from gaining or keeping an offensive advantage. The dink is a soft shot that is hit just hard enough to clear the net, but not so hard as to allow your opponent to aggressively volley the ball (volley means to hit the ball before it bounces).

If you don’t have a chance at a strong offensive shot, then chances are good that the best shot selection is the dink. That is especially true if both of your opponents are at the net (at the no-volley line, which is the strongest position in pickleball). If one of your opponents is back at the baseline, don’t use a dink in that situation unless you are pretty sure that he won’t be able to get to the ball. A dink in that situation will just bring your opponent up to the net, which is where he wants to be. If he is at the baseline, keep him on the defense with a deep shot hit with pace.

The keys to effective dink play are patience and precision. It takes patience to keep dinking and to resist the urge to try to create an offensive shot when none is available. Move your opponents around with a variety of shot placements including a cross-court shot at an angle. You want to maneuver the opponents enough to where they make the first mistake, either by hitting the net or hitting it high enough to give you an offensive shot. It takes precision on your part to not make that first mistake. That takes practice to hit the ball with just the right amount of touch. Practice, Practice, Practice, the dink while you are warming up.

If you have a more consistent dink then your opponent and you use it, you will be at a large advantage in a rally.

Our First Tournament!

The <60 tournament was held Saturday, April 5th at Talent Hall.
Gold Medal:     Jane Wenzel & Paul Lambers
Silver Medal:    Patty & Phil Ricciardi
Bronze Medal: Carolee Carter & Rocky Clark

The >60 tournament will be held next Saturday, April 12th.

Here are some photos of our first tournament: click photo to enlarge to full size


Here are all the images. Click to enlarge each photo

How to Sign Up for Multiple Sessions

Here’s how for the first time LPA user. Only LPA members may signup for sessions.

  1. First, go to to set up a new account. If you are a New Member, you’ll be asked for your name and an email address, then you’ll have to pick a password to use to get into that site in the future. When you close the browser window, SUG will put a “cookie” on your browser- this relieves you of having to sign in again. Remember your username (your email address) and your password, just in case.
    If you have set up your browser to disable all cookies, you will have to sign into SUG whenever you navigate to the SUG page.
  2. Next, go to our website (bookmark this page!). You can glance thru the website for information. To schedule yourself in a session, go to the ‘Schedule’ tab. You will see the normal pickleball weekly sessions. To sign up, just click the SUG button on the right. This link takes you back to SignUPGenius, which will open in a separate window. The next 7 days of schedule for both groups will display- any temporary schedule changes should be shown. Click the sessions you want to sign up for- this puts a checkmark next to each selected session. Now go to the bottom and click on ‘Submit and Sign UP’. A new SUG page will ask you to confirm your selections- confirm them! To double check, click ‘Return to Sign Up’- you should see that your name has been added. You can hit delete for that session and just your name will be removed. Close the SUG page- you’ll be back at the LPA site.
    To see if there is a temporary schedule change or other breaking news of interest, look to the right sidebar for Recent Posts.

If any of this doesn’t work for you, email Bob Welch and I’ll help you.

Once you do this a few times, it should take you less than 30 seconds to sign up after you land on our website. It sure beats receiving multiple emails!

By the end of April, we won’t be using emails to determine interest. If a session receives less than 4 signups, someone will send you an email cancelling the session. If 12 people sign up and you show up without having signed in for that session, you won’t be allowed to play unless the group consensus is to admit you for that session.

The days of having 16-18 people in a session will be over!

New Schedule Page Allows Direct Signups

The new SUG signup page shows the next 7 days of pickleball schedules- with any changed times displayed. Users can now use this website to signup for upcoming sessions just by clicking a signup link. The website also displays timely notices affecting LPA members.

Try it out and use the website to schedule all your sessions. By the end of April, we will no longer use email to measure interest in a particular session- the signup page will show who is signed up for a particular session. If a session is fully subscribed, no more signups for that session will be allowed. If a session is ‘overcrowded’,i.e., more than 12 players, then only players who are signed up will be allowed to play. We will no longer allow sessions with > 12 players, so our long-running overcrowding problem should be eliminated.

Check it out!