News & Events


Surprise, AZ 9-15-2017

The Southwest Regional Tournament is now open for registration.  The tournament will be held in Surprise, AZ at the city courts.  

This tournament is a USAPA sanctioned event and also a SSIPA Event

Skill Groups: 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0

Age Groups: 12+, 19-49, 50-59, 60-64, 65-69,70-74,75-79, and 80+

January 11- 14, 2018

Surprise City Courts in Surprise Arizona (Outdoor tournament)

Durafast 40 ball will be used

Registration for the event closes December 21, 2017  To register, and for more information go to Southwest Regional.

Albuquerque 8-7-2017

On August 3rd, Larry Lite, along with several USAPA members introduced Pickleball to Albuquerque Boy Scout troop 205. There were 7 boys ages 12 & 13 along with 2 scout leaders.  Larry and his group were pleased to find out that 3 boys had played Pickleball in their mid-school Physical Education program.  The group covered basic safety, rules, and a short demo before going on the court.

The last part of the session the kids were introduced to a few fun Pickleball activities.  Before they left each scout a ball and a pickleball souvenir. 

From the USAPA 8-1-2017

For 2017, USAPA initially budgeted $20,000 in total awards nationally. Because of the popularity of the program, $10,000 was transferred from the school program which is still under development (more on the school program below) for a total budget of $30,000 for the community grant program.   

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was organized to promote the growth and development of pickleball. The Community Grant Program was developed to assist members to establish new playing locations within the United States. With these goals in mind, we recently updated the website grant and application information to simplify and clarify the process. The complete Community Grant Program description is at the following link on the USAPA website:

In March, the USAPA board approved a High School Grant Program proposal. The objective of the new school grant program is the following:  “USAPA School Grant program will help high school physical education teachers acquire start-up pickleball equipment for regular PE and afterschool programs to begin to teach the sport of pickleball within the physical education curriculum.” Recently we completed the High School Grant Program draft guidelines and policies and we are ready to begin the “prototype” high school grant program to finalize the program guidelines. If you or one of your Ambassadors are interested in participating, please send Ray Pereyra an email to receive more information.

Phoenix AZ  7-27-2017

Changes in the Central Arizona District were finalized earlier to add a new title and role.  Within the district we have created 5 areas, and we have appointed an Area Team Liaison in each of those areas.  The role of the Area Team Liaison (ATL) is self-described, they are the team leaders for the other ambassadors in the area and serve as a liaison to the District Ambassador.

The need for the ATL is obvious, we have over 50 ambassadors in the Central District, not including the nearly 20 At Large ambassadors.

The district is geographically divided:

Area 1 is led by Jo Comstock covering Southwest Metro Valley (Goodyear, Buckeye, Avondale, Laveen)

Area 2 is led by Marlene Berwald covering Northwest Metro Valley (Surprise, Sun City, Peoria, El Mirage, Glendale)

Area 3 is led by John Craft covering North Phoenix and the Northeast Valley (Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills and North Phoenix)

Area 4 is led by Susan Manolis covering South Phoenix and the Southeast Valley (Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Apache Junction, Gilbert, Queens Creek, Santan Valley and South Phoenix)

Area 5 is led by Rocky Meyers covering (Maricopa, Casa Grande, Eloy) 

We are also the first district to have ambassadors that have the unique title of University Ambassadors.  Two Grand Canyon University faculty members have been instrumental in developing a program for GCU, something we are trying to replicate in other parts of the country.  

Matt Hampton and Andre Mooney are the newly appointed ambassadors and are part of Area 3.

Atlanta GA  6-23-2017

Super Senior World Pickleball Championships is now open for registration on  The tournament is being hosted by Spalding County Pickleball Association, located just 35 miles south of Atlanta, Georgia.  This new world class facility is the perfect venue to host a World Championship Tournament.   Hope to see you there October 23-25 for some southern hospitality.  

For more information regarding SSIPA, go online to SSIPA-PB.ORG or see the listing on or at  The Super Senior World Pickleball Championships are sanctioned by the USAPA.  SSIPA and USAPA membership is required.

Albuquerque NM  5-24-2017    from Larry Lite

18 new outdoor courts opens to the public 

The new Manzano Mesa Pickleball Complex is now open to the public featuring 18 LED lit pickleball courts.

City officials were on hand to open the new courts which got immediate news coverage..READ ARTICLE AND FILM HERE

On June 3rd A “Learn to Play Pickleball” citywide event is taking place in an effort to expand the sport.

The site will host the New Mexico Seniors Games this year and the National Seniors Games in 2018 and 2019

Sierra Vista    5-24-2017    from Tom Starrs

Four new outdoor courts at the Oscar Yrun Community Center

The City just built FOUR new permanent courts at the community center in Sierra Vista's Oscar Yrun Community Center SEE ARTICLE

The new courts are lit and play is from 4am to 10pm seven days a week, 

This adds to the three courts painted next to the basketball court behind the Rec Center. For those three the center has portable nets, paddles and balls available for check out (free) 8-5 weekdays.  A total of seven courts are now available.

Costa Rica    4-30-2017    from Tony & Celeste Horpel

Pickleball's Growth in Costa Rica

As most of you may know, 3 years ago we started Pickleball in Costa Rica. (Just recently, Costa Rica was added to the SouthWest Region, thus the update to our logo).  We have experienced steady growth and even more so when I became the ambassador here!  Our goal is to grow the sport throughout the entire country by focus recruiting local Costa Ricans and Expats with hand/eye sports experience.  A third dimension is to expose this beautiful country to pickleball players all over the world by encouraging them to vacation or join us on pickleball tours.  The tours give them a taste of the country and hopefully they will return sometime in the not too distant future to vacation or even move here and help us grow!  For more about Tony and Celeste please go to this link:

Phoenix, AZ     3-24-2017

25 New Courts Planned for Phoenix

Over two years ago, USAPA Ambassador Joan Gillespie posed a simple question to a representative of parks and recreation in Phoenix; “Why can’t we play pickleball on any of the dozens of public tennis courts?”

Today we have an answer.

On March 23, 2017 the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board passed in favor of building 25 pickleball courts at three city parks.  Danielle A. Poveromo, Deputy Director, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Northeast Division, presented to the board the goal to build 16 new courts at Pecos Park, 6 courts at Paseo Highlands Park and 3 courts at Rose Mofford Park by the end of 2017.

Local USAPA Ambassadors have been discussing the build program with representatives from parks and recreation for those past two years and offered support in maintaining the courts, establishing and running tournaments, pickleball class offerings and developing community relations in the areas surrounding the three parks.

A frame work at Pecos Park has already been established and is seen as the prototype of growth for pickleball in Phoenix.

Beginner and Intermediate classes have already been formed and established in the first quarter of 2017, and plans are already underway to expand the class offerings for the 2017/2018 calendar year.

USAPA District Ambassador, Central Arizona, Steve Manolis, a Certified Pickleball Teaching Pro and currently heads the training classes and clinics on public courts in Phoenix and Chandler.

According to Steve, “we have fostered a great relationship with the city through Inger Erickson, Director of Parks and Recreation, and her staff as well as other parks personal in Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert.”

“That relationship will remain strong and important as continue to develop an extensive program which will allow continued growth for the game throughout the Phoenix Metro area.”

The ultimate goal is to establish Pecos Park as a multi-purpose pickleball facility that offers everything from beginner introduction to pickleball to advance player camps, kid camps, sanctioned and non-sanctioned events, open play, round robin format play, referee training and more.

“By the end of 2017 the area will see nearly 50 new public courts in 4 key cities”, according to Steve, “we will have those 25 in Phoenix, 8-10 in Gilbert, 8-12 in Chandler and at least 6 in Tempe; all public courts.”

“There is already a by-product to this growth as more and more HOA and private communities see the value of offering courts to their residents.  I am aware of at least 4 or 5 communities discussing expansion or improvements as a result of the work being down by our local ambassadors…this is no fad, this is real.”

“We have a very proactive group of ambassadors in Phoenix and the following are to be recognized for the long hours and hard work to achieve this: Joan Gillespie, Denise Smith, Mary Travis, Jeff Ross, Dutch Vander Laan and Susan Manolis.”

Look out world, pickleball has risen out of the ashes and found a new home in Metro Phoenix.

Phoenix, AZ     3-3-2017

Preventing Pickleball Injuries  

by Ryan Niedzielko, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist, AZ Spine Disk and Sport

There is a common belief among pickleball players that the sport is inherently safe for people of all ages. Just like any physical activity, there is always risk for injury, especially if your body is not sufficiently prepared to participate in the demands of the sport. Whether it be a fall, ankle sprain, muscle strain, or tennis elbow, all of these issues often have common contributing factors that will increase your chance of injury. Here are a few of the most common culprits:


Fatigue has a massive impact on your sport performance, along with your likelihood for injury. As our bodies fatigue, we naturally begin to compensate with different movement patterns, and oftentimes begin to put abnormal stresses into our joints and ligaments, which could lead to a variety of different overuse injuries or sprains. The best way to address fatigue in the short-term is to be honest with yourself. If you notice that your play is becoming sloppy, the quality of your footwork is declining, or it is taking longer than normal to catch your breath, you may want to avoid that extra game. In the long term, spend some days in the gym to work on increasing your strength and endurance. As your body is able to handle greater demands, your likelihood of injury will decrease.


Find an area near a wall or counter top. Now, stand on one leg for 30 seconds, using the wall or counter top for assistance if you lose your balance. If you feel completely stable on both sides, great! If not, do you expect your balance to be any better when you are moving around the court and your focus is on the game? Additionally, consider that your balance is worse when you are fatigued. Wrist fractures are a common pickleball injury, and many of them stem from balance issues leading to a fall when trying to change direction during a game. Another balance consideration is your footwear. Do you have shoes that properly grip the surface of the court? If not, a sudden change in direction could lead to a slip and fall, regardless of how good your balance is normally.

There are plenty of other common contributors to injury, such as lacking a sufficient warm-up routine, lacking appropriate flexibility/mobility, and lacking good recovery habits (sleep, nutrition, and rest days). So how do we address these issues to avoid injury and keep playing this great game? These common contributors to injury can be easy to comprehend but difficult to fix without the help of an exercise professional or medical provider, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to resolve these issues. If you want help identifying your individual weaknesses and learning how to address them, especially if you already have some consistent aches and pains from playing pickleball, see a physical therapist for a full performance evaluation.

You can reach the author, Ryan Niedzielko, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist, at


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