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Alert

Come Tell Seattle Parks How Well Their Pickleball Programs Are Working for You

How is the indoor pickleball drop-in program working for you? Are the drop-in sessions happening on convenient days and at convenient times? Are there enough players showing up for you to have a game? Can you find sessions attended by players with a skill level that matches yours? Are the kitchen lines painted at the right distance from the net? Are there enough drop-in sessions?

Seattle Parks drop-in pickleball offerings peaked in 2018 and are currently about 25% below that peak. (Data based on weekly indoor drop-in offerings as of November 2nd of each year.)

How are the pickleball classes offered by Seattle Parks? Are they offered at convenient times? At convenient locations? Spanning the right skill levels? If you wanted to enroll, were you able to do so?

How easy is it for you to find out which facilities offer indoor pickleball and what their schedule is? How easy is it for you to know when schedule changes occur?

How is the outdoor pickleball program working for you? Seattle Parks reserves outdoor courts exclusively for pickleball at Delridge, Walt Hundley and Miller some weekday mornings. Did you know about those? Would you like to see more dedicated outdoor pickleball drop-in sessions sponsored by the Parks Department at other locations or at other times?

Does your neighborhood have enough semi-permanent pickleball nets for your outdoor pickleball courts?

Are the pickleball lines easy to see on your local outdoor courts?

Pickleball court lines at Brighton Playfield

Seattle Parks wants to hear your ideas on how to make their recreation facilities and programs work for you! Join the conversation with recreation leadership and share your ideas on how they can improve recreation communications, facility hours, and programs.

Seattle Parks is organizing 4 listening sessions where you can share your feedback. These sessions are not just for pickleball, but let’s make sure there is a huge pickleball turnout at all four sessions. Please pick one session to attend and bring your friends. Wear your favorite pickleball shirt.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 9 – Delridge Community Center, 6 to 7:30 pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 10 – Meadowbrook Community Center, 6 to 7:30 pm
  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 – Jefferson Community Center, 6 to 7:30 pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 17 – Bitter Lake Community Center, 6 to 7:30 pm

Families welcome. Refreshments provided.

UPDATE: A fifth session has been added:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 – Jefferson Community Center, 6 to 7:30 pm

    Morning listening sessions will be announced soon.

    See you there!

    Categories
    Alert

    Action Alert: Help Define the Priorities for Auburn’s Parks and Recreational Facilities

    What?

    The City of Auburn is going to update their Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan. The PROS Plan includes a six-year plan and 20-year vision for Auburn’s park system. It outlines goals and objectives, implementation strategies, capital improvements, and investment programs for the City’s parks, recreation and open space system.

    If you think that Auburn will need more pickleball facilities over the next 6 to 20 years, this is your chance to say so, loudly and clearly.

    How?

    Share your insights via the Parks Department’s survey. City residents, patrons, and interested stakeholders are all invited to participate.

    Here are a few hints, regarding this survey:

    Question 4 will ask “What are the type of facilities that you most regularly use”. Do NOT select “tennis courts”. Instead select “Other” and type in “pickleball courts”. This will help the “pickleball” answers stand out from the “tennis” answers.

    Use question 8 to describe in detail the type of pickleball facilities you would like to see in Auburn over the next 6 to 20 years. If you know of existing facilities that could serve as a model, please include links to them.

    Please explain why such facilities will be needed. Coud it be that the number of pickleball players is growing exponentially, and that Parks Departments need to start planning accordingly?

    What else?

    Talk to all the pickleball players you know. Ask them to take action.

    Share this web page with all your pickleball friends.

    What next?

    This is just the beginning of a long process. At the end of the survey, type in your name and email address so Auburn can keep you in the loop for the next step.

    How important is it?

    This updated PROS plan will define the Auburn Parks Department’s new goals for the medium and long term.

    If the Parks Department’s new goals include your pickleball vision, we will be able to work together to realize these common goals over the next 20 years.

    If the Parks Department’s new goals don’t include your pickleball vision, any significant pickleball request you make will be seen as a distraction from the Parks’ real goals. You will have to wait 6 or more years for the next PROS plan revision, to give it another shot.

    Categories
    News

    More courts, more play, more nets

    The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association understands that a pickleball court isn’t complete without a net and we are working with various Parks Departments and local communities to get nets where they are needed.

    This year, twelve semi-permanent Douglas pickleball nets were installed at locations throughout Seattle and Shoreline. Last year, twenty semi-permanent Douglas nets were installed. The vast majority of these nets have been purchased thanks to funds raised by the pickleball community with the help of corporate matching. SMPA continues to request that parks departments add semi-permanent nets wherever they add pickleball lines. Seattle Parks has plans to add 12 more Douglas nets to courts over the next few months.

    These nets make the game more accessible for everyone, eliminate the need to carry portable nets to the courts and take the time before playing to assemble them. SMPA will continue to work with parks departments across the metro area to prioritize adding more pickleball courts and nets in 2023.

    If you need nets at your local courts we can help. Read our fundraising guide. Contact us at info@seattlemetropickleball.com.

    Categories
    News

    State Sport Pickleball License Plate Poll

    If you haven’t already signed the state sport license plate petition, now is the time!

    The graphic designers have submitted their drafts. Which one of these designs will be on the pickleball license plate? You decide! Click on the poll to select your favorite design and submit your comments.

    These are rough drafts and can be altered. The letters SMPLE mean SAMPLE. When the plates are made, each plate will be assigned an individual number taking the place of the temporary word SMPLE. Submit your comments at the bottom of the poll to provide any feedback on the designs.

    SMPA is 65% of the way to the goal of 3,500 signatures. If you’re excited about getting one of these designs on your car, spread the word and ask your friends to sign the petition! Feedback on any of the designs can be posted in the poll.

    Displaying a pickleball license plate on your vehicle is a great way to celebrate and share your pride in the sport you love. Your community and municipal leaders will be reminded that pickleball is here to stay, every time you drive. It is a great way to help grow the sport and attract the attention needed to get more pickleball facilities built in Washington. Proceeds from license plate sales will be used for the construction and maintenance of dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington.

    Follow us on Facebook for the latest news!

    Categories
    News

    SMPA at Microsoft Ignite 2022

    The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association showcased the state sport of pickleball at Microsoft Ignite last week. The global event, launched in six languages, brings together product experts and partners from around the world to discuss the latest innovations shaping the future of tech. This year it was back, with 3,500 people uniting at the Seattle Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

    Microsoft asked the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association to be a partner in showcasing the flavors of the Pacific Northwest, and what sport is more representative of the Pacific Northwest than pickleball, invented on Bainbridge Island. When it comes to pickleball, Washington has many firsts. Among these, the state can boast the first composite pickleball paddle, the first pickleball tournaments and the first retailers.

    Our friends at Pickleball Central once again supported us to make the event successful. Nicole Smith, Director of Retail Operations, provided a display of ten pickleball paddles, including an original wooden paddle. Also on display was an official state sport paddle, signed by the governor and others at the state sport bill signing on Bainbridge Island. SMPA Director Gordon Sata brought an impressive display of maps showing pickleball court locations throughout Seattle. Director Amy Greger was on hand, along with SMPA volunteers, to tell participants about the Washington State pickleball license plate bill and petition, the first of its kind in the United States. Pickleball instructor Rick Bomar, aka Pickleball Rick of Marysville, and Devin Schmidt, Head Pro at Harbor Square Athletic Club in Edmonds, volunteered their time and expertise to engage and educate attendees about pickleball.

    Joining the SMPA and Pickleball Central on the main convention floor was a Sasquatch, Woodinville Valley Farms, Frans Chocolates, Pike Brewing Beers, the Blitz Seahawks mascot, Blue Thunder, and the famous fish throwers of Pike Place Market. Sasquatch and Blitz spent quite a bit of time in our area, posing for photos and dinking back and forth.

    The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association would like to extend a special thank you to all the volunteers who made this event a success. Look for us (and maybe Sasquatch) at future Microsoft events.

    Categories
    News

    Court Usage: Regulations and Expectations

    Treat others with respect

    Treat others with respect. This is part of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association’s Code of Conduct that all members must agree to before joining the association.

    Respect the local rules

    Most locations have posted rules. Respect them.

    For instance, if a rule says that players can continuously occupy a court for an hour, do not attempt to force them to leave their court in the name of open play.

    Respect local open play protocols

    Be flexible. If you join open play at a particular location, find out the local play protocols and abide by them. If people are playing games to 9 when the courts are overflowing with players, then play to 9. If people are using rally scoring, then use rally scoring. If people want winners to stay on the court, let the winners stay on the court. If people want all players to rotate out after every game, do so.

    If the local customs don’t suit you, try to change them by consensus, or find another play time or location with protocols that more closely match what you are looking for.

    Walk a mile in their shoes

    Don’t assume that someone who sees the world differently than you is wrong, boneheaded, stupid and doesn’t like you. Your way is not the only way.

    Open play is not the only way

    A lot of people get introduced to pickleball via open play: they show up at a location where people rotate in and out of the courts at the end of each game. Naturally, they tend to assume at first that all pickleball play is open play. That is not the case.

    Even if I and a hundred of my closest friends converge on a specific location at a specific time with the intention of sharing those courts by rotating in and out of them after each game, we might not have any more rights to access those courts than people who want to have closed (private) play and occupy a court for an hour. It all depends on the local rules, and these rules are not always clear.

    There are very few courts in the greater Seattle area that have a rule that requires open play at all times. There are a few courts that require open play at specific times as part of pickleball programs sanctioned by local parks departments.

    Just in case you wonder, there are a lot of reasons why people might want to take part in closed play instead of open play. A group of close friends might want to play together for an hour. A family with young children might want to play together as a family. Players might want to practice for a tournament with and against specific partners. Coaches might want to teach lessons. You might want to work on specific drills with a partner. Don’t assume that you can freely join any and all pickleball games. Ask nicely. Don’t take rejection personally.

    Closed play is often the rule of the land

    A lot of the dual tennis/pickleball courts in the Seattle area have rules that favor closed play over open play.

    Traditionally, tennis has been played on public courts by having two or four people agree to meet on a court to play a game for 60 to 90 minutes. The tennis court usage rules have been written to make this easy: They often allow games to last for 60 to 90 minutes before players need to cede the court to the next group.

    These rules designed for tennis do not easily accommodate pickleball open play, where dozens of players share the same few courts and come and go at different times. Parks Departments are slowly adapting to the demand for more pickleball open play. If you want more sanctioned open play opportunities, make sure that you let your local government know about it regularly.

    Respect court reservations

    People sometimes assume that public pickleball courts are open to everyone at all times.

    Be aware that some Parks Departments allow for court reservations.

    If some players have a reservation, let them be. If you think your Parks Department should not allow reservations, that is an issue you should raise with your Parks Department.

    In summary

    You might disagree with some of the points above, and that is perfectly ok. Having many different perspectives will help make the pickleball world a better place for everyone as long as we treat each other with respect.

    Categories
    News

    Pickleball License Plate Design Phase

    License Plate Designs

    SMPA has narrowed down to a short list of graphic designers. We requested draft designs of the pickleball license plate by October 8, 2022. Pickleball players throughout Washington have been asked to view and vote for the best design by the end of November.

    What’s the Goal?

    To build a dedicated pickleball facility capable of hosting regional and national tournaments and establish dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington. A dedicated regional facility capable of supporting large tournaments will attract players from across the state and the country, contributing to the state’s economic growth. Each purchase of a State Sport special license plate supports the construction of dedicated courts in cities and towns throughout Washington.

    The approximate cost of the pickleball license plate is $157.25 initial fee and $30 annual renewal fee. Special plate fees increased as a result of the $17 billion transportation bill. The funds collected will go into a Trust account and used solely for the construction and maintenance of dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington.

    We Still Need Your Help!

    Thank you to everyone who has already signed the petition. With your help, we reached 25% of our goal in just two weeks and are currently 65% of the way there. However, we must collect 3,500 signatures by the end of November to meet the deadlines necessary for the next legislative session in January 2023.

    We are asking each of you to reach out to your family, friends, and fellow pickleball players. Encourage them to join you in supporting the pickleball license plate petition. If everyone can get just four signatures, we will reach our goal.

    Together we will build and maintain dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington.


    Department of Licensing (DOL) design guide and specialty color palette restrictions must be followed.  The only requirement SMPA has is the words “State Sport” must be on the plate.

    DOL Plate Design Requirements

    • Design the proposed plate. See the Specialty Plate Design Guide for more information.
    • Plate colors:
      • The specialty color palette shows colors that currently pass the DOT infrared camera tests.
      • Passing colors have a green check mark.
      • Failing colors have a red ‘X.’
      • Many shades of blue aren’t recognized by infrared. It’s recommended if you use a blue background that you use a darker shade with white lettering.
      • DOL and DOT can’t guarantee which colors will pass.
      • DOT camera testing will determine the readability of the plate design. If a plate fails the readability test, you’ll need to make changes and retest until it passes.

    Any questions regarding specific design requirements can be addressed to DOL by email.

    Categories
    Newsletter

    President’s Update

    September 2022

    Hey friends,

    With autumn in the air, summer winding down, kids back in school, and football on TV, this felt like a good time to give an update on your Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

    First off, it was great to see so many picklers at T-Mobile Park September 10th for Mariners Pickleball Night at the Ballpark. Honestly, I don’t think any of us were surprised at the turnout. We picklers do like to travel in packs! Thank you to Riley and Lindsey Newman for spending some time with us. It was great to see so many folks come up to the rooftop landing to meet with them. They signed so many t-shirts we ran out of Sharpie’s. Speaking of T-shirts, I think the Mariners may have underestimated our turnout as they ran out of shirts well before the game even began. Next year, and yes, next year is already in the works, we’ll make sure we have plenty of t-shirts and Sharpie’s on hand. And if you missed Riley’s first pitch, it was right down the pike and you can see it here. To top it all off, the Mariners beat the Braves and continue to doggedly chase down a playoff spot for the first time in 2 decades. Let’s go M’s!

    We also used the excitement at the ballpark to launch our latest campaign, creating a commemorative pickleball license plate. This plate will celebrate the naming of pickleball as the official state sport of Washington. But it’s a lot more than that. Proceeds raised from selling the plates will be put into a trust and used to build dedicated pickleball courts. To make this happen we need to let the legislature know the pickleball community would support the plates. Signing our petition lets the legislature know you’d be willing to buy a plate. We need 3,500 signatures before it will even be considered, so help spread the word. By the way, we have yet to design the plate, if you have some graphic design skills and would like to help, contact us!

    Did you notice how much media coverage pickleball in our state generated this summer? Both local and national news organizations were practically tripping over themselves to get stories out there. KOMO-TV, King 5 TV, Fox-13, CBS This Morning, ESPN, The New York Times, National Geographic, InPickleball, Seattle Magazine, The Seattle Times all visited pickleball courts in the Metro area this summer.

    All this attention is not by accident. We knew that becoming the state sport would have ripple effects, and it has. But this is only the beginning.  Mariners night came about because of all the attention given the state sport efforts. The Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association, the folks who organize school sports, is now looking at pickleball as an official school sport. If the WIAA approves pickleball it would lead to more courts on school property, more kids being taught the sport, and more competitive play for juniors. That’s one of our big goals, getting more kids involved. SMPA will keep you updated on this effort as we continue to chase it down. In addition to all that, there are some private efforts underway to catch the pickleball wave, and Seattle Parks recently reviewed its plan to add pickleball lines to tennis courts while naming two locations as possible sites for dedicated courts.

    No one is kidding themselves here, we still have a lot of work to do. Outdoor courts are still way too overcrowded, as days start to get shorter precious few courts have lights, and with the rainy season not far off there are simply not enough covered or indoor courts beyond private clubs. None of these things will be fixed quickly, but they won’t get fixed at all if we don’t keep our foot on the gas pedal and continue to ride the momentum of this great summer.

    How can you help? Easy. Become an SMPA member. Join Us. If you are already an SMPA member, thank you. Now go find someone else to join. If you are not yet a member, what are you waiting for? Your $20 a year supports our efforts for more courts and more play. This is a great time to join SMPA and push the momentum forward. Let’s ride the wave together. Paddles up!

    Frank Chiappone
    President
    Seattle Metro Pickleball Association

    Categories
    Alert

    Alki Pickleball Courts Petition

    Please sign the petition demanding 6 pickleball courts with high-visibility lines to be painted at the Alki Playground and Whale Tail Park. After each petition is signed, the message below will be automatically emailed to the Deputy Mayor, 3 Councilmembers, with copies sent to Seattle Parks and Recreation.

    6 Pickleball Courts and High Visibility Color Lines for Alki

    Deputy Mayor Wong, Councilmember Herbold, Councilmember Lewis, and Councilmember Morales,

    As a member of the Seattle pickleball community, I appreciate the Council Budget Action (CBA SPR-003-C-001) which allocated $50,000 for adding pickleball lines to existing tennis courts in low-income areas. Alki Playground and Whale Tail Park was selected as one of the locations to have pickleball lines added to the tennis courts on 9/19-21 (Mon-Wed).

    Please encourage Seattle Parks and Recreation to paint 6 pickleball courts with high-visibility color lines at Alki Playground and Whale Park.

    Pickleball Courts Demand

    In May 2022, the pickleball community completed a 2-week court usage study and submitted the results to Seattle Parks and Recreation. We observed court usage at 10 Seattle parks (8 with tennis courts and 2 multi-use pickleball/tennis courts) 3 times per day over a 14-day period. Utilization was calculated based on actual usage of total available courts at each location.

    Five of the 10 parks were in West Seattle. Below is their utilization during the May 7-20 study:

    • Tennis Usage at Tennis-only courts: Solstice (27%), Hiawatha (17%), and Alki (16%)
    • Combined Tennis and Pickleball Usage at Tennis/Pickleball multi-use courts: Delridge (61%) and Walt Hundley (52%)

    423 Pickleball players used the 8 pickleball-lined courts while only 19 Tennis players used the 4 tennis courts at Delridge and Walt Hundley.

    The court usage study clearly demonstrates the growing demand for pickleball courts in the Seattle metro area. This is the perfect opportunity to maximize pickleball access by adding 6 pickleball courts (instead of the scheduled 4) at the Alki location. The Alki space is similar to the Delridge courts. It is a low-cost and high-impact solution to increase utilization of mostly empty tennis courts and better serve the growing pickleball community.

    Line Colors

    Existing Seattle pickleball courts have blue or green lines on blue or green tennis courts. According to the American Institute of Architects:

    https://www.aia.org/articles/178406-how-color-and-design-affect-environments-fo:36

    "Aging eyes lose the ability to discriminate pale colors [...]. They are also unable to differentiate shades of blue, green, and purple as these cooler colors can read gray. People with color deficiencies are best able to perceive bright colors at the warm end of the spectrum, such as reds and oranges."

    We therefore ask Seattle Parks and Recreation to choose yellow or orange for pickleball line color at ALL pickleball courts. Brighter lines will allow elderly and visually impaired players to reasonably distinguish from the court surface, and easily seen by pickleball players under all lighting conditions.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    %%your signature%%

    Share this petition with your friends!

       


    Deputy Mayor Wong, Councilmember Herbold, Councilmember Lewis, and Councilmember Morales,

    As a member of the Seattle pickleball community, I appreciate the Council Budget Action (CBA SPR-003-C-001) which allocated $50,000 for adding pickleball lines to existing tennis courts in low-income areas. Alki Playground and Whale Tail Park was selected as one of the locations to have pickleball lines added to the tennis courts on 9/19-21 (Mon-Wed).

    Please encourage Seattle Parks and Recreation to paint 6 pickleball courts with high-visibility color lines at Alki Playground and Whale Park.

    Pickleball Courts Demand

    In May 2022, the pickleball community completed a 2-week court usage study and submitted the results to Seattle Parks and Recreation. We observed court usage at 10 Seattle parks (8 with tennis courts and 2 multi-use pickleball/tennis courts) 3 times per day over a 14-day period. Utilization was calculated based on actual usage of total available courts at each location.

    Five of the 10 parks were in West Seattle. Below is their utilization during the May 7-20 study:

    • Tennis Usage at Tennis-only courts: Solstice (27%), Hiawatha (17%), and Alki (16%)
    • Combined Tennis and Pickleball Usage at Tennis/Pickleball multi-use courts: Delridge (61%) and Walt Hundley (52%)

    423 Pickleball players used the 8 pickleball-lined courts while only 19 Tennis players used the 4 tennis courts at Delridge and Walt Hundley.

    The court usage study clearly demonstrates the growing demand for pickleball courts in the Seattle metro area. This is the perfect opportunity to maximize pickleball access by adding 6 pickleball courts (instead of the scheduled 4) at the Alki location. The Alki space is similar to the Delridge courts. It is a low-cost and high-impact solution to increase utilization of mostly empty tennis courts and better serve the growing pickleball community.

    Line Colors

    Existing Seattle pickleball courts have blue or green lines on blue or green tennis courts. According to the American Institute of Architects:

    https://www.aia.org/articles/178406-how-color-and-design-affect-environments-fo:36

    “Aging eyes lose the ability to discriminate pale colors […]. They are also unable to differentiate shades of blue, green, and purple as these cooler colors can read gray. People with color deficiencies are best able to perceive bright colors at the warm end of the spectrum, such as reds and oranges.”

    We therefore ask Seattle Parks and Recreation to choose yellow or orange for pickleball line color at ALL pickleball courts. Brighter lines will allow elderly and visually impaired players to reasonably distinguish from the court surface, and easily seen by pickleball players under all lighting conditions.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    [Name and email of supporter]

    Categories
    News

    2022 Women of Inspiration Award Finalist

    Our very own SMPA Founder, Theresa Haynie, is one of the 4 finalists of the WISE (Women in Sports and Events) award! Voting closes on Thursday, September 22nd at 8:00PM PST.


    Theresa Haynie
    helped found the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association to improve access and advocate for pickleball in the greater metro area. following a gold medal win at the USA Pickleball National Championships in 2019, Theresa decided to focus on promoting play for women.

    The cash prize donation would go towards advancing her work of encouraging and empowering women in pickleball to help offset court rentals for early evening access to women still in the workplace.