Pickleball Magazine 2-3 - Page 10

FROM THE USAPA Home Court Advantage BY STEVE ELLIOTT M y wife tells me that I’m “110% all-in” on everything I do… it’s just the way I am wired up. I do nothing casually, and pickleball is no different. Our family has always been com- petitive and loves to play. Whether it’s volleyball, half-court basket- ball, Frisbee golf, or bocce ball, our backyard has been the place to be. We never dreamed that one day pickleball would be the center of our competitions. As a former high school tennis coach, I wanted my sons to learn to play racquet sports. When they were 3 and 4, I bought a lawn tennis set, and we would play for hours on our little court on the grass in our back- yard. Fast forward 20 years... I met a man during a business meeting in Oklahoma City wearing a shirt that said “Pickleball.com.” I asked him the same question we are all asked— “What in the world is pickleball?” I never dreamed that his answer would change my life the way it has. 8 I immediately went home and googled “Pickleball,” and soon after, I purchased our first pickleball set, wooden paddles and all. We used the badminton court lines on our backyard basketball court to play the game. We played about once a month, and though it was fun, we never really learned the rules. In May, 2016, I started hosting a weekly Pickleball Night for my co-workers as a way to build teamwork. We all learned the game together. The more we played, the more fun it got. Being an old coach, I am a tech- nique guy, so I started watching YouTube videos to learn strategies for the game. I learned that Broken Arrow Community Center hosted pickleball, so I went over one Friday to play. I was terrible! But the players there were all so encouraging, and made me feel like I was welcome. I’ll be forever indebted to that wonder- ful group of people! Back to the 110%... In August, 2016, for my birthday, my wife gave me a resurface of our concrete bas- TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 888.308.3720 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM ketball court, painted with pickleball lines and blue/green surface colors. I used a local tennis court construc- tion company that had built high school and college tennis courts and was now starting to build more and more pickleball courts. We also installed lights—the kind you’ll find lighting college tennis courts (I told you I was all-in!). Our half-court basketball court was just the right size, but left only 3 feet behind the baseline to stand. We soon started slipping and tracking dirt as we came back on the courts after retrieving balls. The only solu- tion was to enlarge the court 3 feet on the sides, and 6 feet on the ends, and install a 6-foot fence around the court. No more chasing balls out into the yard! Being from Oklahoma, wind is always a factor. Soon after the court was built, I ordered windscreens )хѡ͕Q䁡ٔ)՝)]хаЁݔ)ձЁٔЁ͔ͥ