NOV 2021

What are you most thankful for this season?
Connect with other Wichita area players on Facebook!
We are nearing the end of the year and, I have to admit, as much as I love the holidays, this is my least favorite time of the year because it means little to no outdoor pickleball. I hope you are finding ways to keep up your skills sharp through the winter. It's always a challenge to keep our skills up when there's limited outdoor play and I feel like I somewhat have to start over whenever I start playing regularly again in the spring.
Playing games alone won't help you get better.
Instruction + Drills + Games = Magic Formula
I'm sharing a graphic that I shared in our Facebook group around this time a couple of years ago. Mostly I'm sharing it as a reminder to myself but perhaps some of you will find it helpful and comforting as well.

We won't lose our skills by playing less in the winter time because there are actually several things we can do that will help us improve.
  1. Seek instruction. Lessons are not just for beginners. Lessons are helpful for intermediate and advanced players as well. There are pickleball teaching professionals at Nahola, Ralph Wulz Riverside Tennis Center, Chicken N Pickle and country clubs such as the Wichita Country Club, Rolling Hills, Terradyne and Crestview who can help you improve your pickleball game and continue your progress to your goals, whatever those goals may be.
  2. Drill with a practice partner. An hour of purposeful pickleball drills is better than four hours of social, recreational play. Okay, I'm making that ratio up but you get the point. Perhaps there's only one good weather day this week. You could use that time to play rec ball with your buddies or drill with your practice partner. Matthew Rochat recently started a drilling group on Facebook for like-minded individuals who want to improve their skills. Also, there are many drills that you can do indoors so you never have to wait for good weather to drill.
  3. Play competitive games. Competitive doesn't mean "advanced" in this context. It just means that you need to play games with players of similar ability in competitive situations. Joining a league is a good way to do this. Nahola Fitness Center and Chicken N Pickle - Wichita have really good leagues you can join which will allow you to continue playing regularly throughout the winter. In fact, sign ups are going on right now.
Speaking of putting yourself in competitive situations, consider playing in tournaments. Great Bend has an awesome indoor pickleball tournament coming up. Registration for the Pickleball Turkey Classic 2021 is open through November 12.
Here's a list of upcoming pickleball tournaments happening nationally:
  • November 5-8: Major League Pickleball in Dripping Springs, TX
  • November 10-14: PPA Masters in Palm Springs, CA
  • December 2-5: APP Casa Grande Open in Casa Grande, AZ
  • December 4-14: Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championship in Palm Springs, CA
Regionally, we have PC Smash 2021 in Oklahoma City, OK November 5-6 and the Pickleball Turkey Classis 2021 in Great Bend, KS. Several of our pickleball friends are playing in these two upcoming tournaments conveniently located a couple of hours from Wichita.
Does it ever feel like the pickleball rules keep changing every year? Here's a summary of the changes which some of you may or may not already know.
  • The Drop Serve is here no stay. Its "provisional" (provisional means temporary and possibly could be changed later) status has been removed.
  • Spin Serves using a combination of the paddle or paddle hand and non-paddle hand to impart spin on the ball are outlawed. The official language from the rule book: “The server shall use only their one hand to release the ball to perform the serve. The server’s release of the ball must be visible to the referee and the receiver. In matches without a referee, the server’s release of the ball must be visible to the receiver. A replay shall be called before the return of serve if the release of the ball is not visible." (Note: This will not outlaw the Morgan Evans serve.)
  • The Covid Serve”, which allows a player to carry the ball on their paddle during the serve, is no longer valid.
  • Wrong Score Called: Stoppage of play due to a wrong score call will result in a fault on the player that stops play. The language: “If the server or referee calls the wrong score, once the serve is made, play should continue to the end of the rally and the correction made before the next serve. Player comments about the score during the rally should be ignored. A player who stops play after the serve is made will have committed a fault and shall lose the rally.”
  • Wearing of headphones or earbuds is not allowed except for prescribed hearing aids.
  • Verbal warnings may be given by a referee for other infractions in addition to profanity. Potty mouths beware.
  • Player questions about score, correct server/receiver, correct position are combined into one rule allowing any player to ask any of these questions

The following proposals were rejected:     
  • Rally scoring
  • Reinstate “Let” serves
  • Return to “Zero-Zero-Start”
  • Smaller court size for singles
  • Two serves per server like tennis

Bottom line, if you didn't switch to the chainsaw serve, then you really don't have to change the way you play, for the most part. If you are potty mouth like me, then you may need to come up with new words to express your frustration because refs will not hesitate to give verbal warnings for profanity and other infractions. I guess just try to be a good sport and don't act like a brat when you're playing and you won't have anything to worry about.
This year hasn't been without its challenges but I have so much to be thankful for personally. As a pickleball player, I'm grateful that our city is willing to make a commitment to pickleball. Improvements have been approved for South Lakes Park and Clapp Park which will benefit pickleball players in our community. We may even see some bigger tournaments in the future. What about you? What are you thankful for?
If you are not too thrilled about the cold weather, join us in Jamaica this January. A group of us will be spending a week at Sandals South Coast where they have 12 fabulous dedicate pickleball courts onsite. We will be playing pickleball in the most idyllic setting, learning from two of the best professional pickleball players in the nation - Kasandra Gehrke and Jarrod Smith - and also celebrating their union. This is a pickleball trip that you do not want to miss!

That’s all the news we have this month. If you have information that you would like shared with the Wichita Pickleball community, please post it directly in our Facebook group or email Ching to include your article in the December 2021 update.

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Wichita Pickleball · 1240 N Greenwich Rd · Wichita, KS 67206-2665 · USA

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