Let’s Play, Seattle! And Kent and Bellevue and Mercer
The calendar may still indicate fall, but the wet weather is an announcement that winter isn’t far behind. You’ll be able to play, bundled up when it’s cold, however the courts may need a little help. If you are playing in Shoreview Park in Shoreline, there is a tournament squeegee available to remove water from the courts for play. Caveat: courts eventually drain, may need some help to dry off, and yet still be unsafe for play. Use at your own risk. And be a good pickleball neighbor, too, by hauling old towels to the courts to help dry them off on those days when they need a little help.
With the exception of Woodinville Sports Center and SeaTac, and a handful of other locales, there is no indoor play in Seattle for the coming months, thanks to COVID. Wear your mask, haul along a towel or two, and join the drop in play underway. Look at any day of the week and at the times indicated with a round bubble on the playtimescheduler.com calendar. Add your name to be to be notified of scheduled games.
Pickleball is (Still) Great
Many of you may know from seeing the activity start up all around the country that tournaments are still a thing. Pickleball Is Great (PIG) director Mike Hoxie is running the following tournaments in December, with attention to COVID-safe play.
Registration opens shortly for these local-to-Seattle metro area tournaments at Woodinville Sports Club (WSC) and the Eastside Tennis Center (ETC).
- Dec 4-6, 2020 – WSC NW Washington Winter Holiday Classic (Woodinville)
- Dec 17-2020 – ETC/Kirkland Winter Holiday Slam (Kirkland)
Mike and his PIG team (see sidebar intro) were responsible for the very successful SMPC tournament in 2019, run a tight show, and point out that in many instances there is likely more congestion and a greater number of players during recreational drop-in play than at today’s tournaments.
Additionally, PIG is discouraging spectators due to COVID concerns, and plans the following to help comply with local and state COVID-safe guidelines.
- Stagger start times to avoid check-in congestion
- Increase sanitization of everything (balls, clipboards, pencils, baskets)
- Limit number of players within a specific area of the facilities
- No onsite posted scores; players to monitor through personal mobile devices
Are Parks and the City Really Listening?
SMPA work with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) to increase pickleball opportunities stalled out in the past several months with a decided lack of response, lack of communication, and lack of follow through on previous SPR commitments. Blame COVID in part, however we are all still paying taxes and looking for opportunities to keep fit and enjoy the many outdoor facilities in our local parks.
To promote increased pickleball outdoors during Covid, a volunteer group of SMPA members worked with John Hasslinger, Life Long Recreation Southwest Coordinator, to draft proposed set of Rules for Safe Return to Play. The goal was to act in partnership with SPR and develop a set of rules that could be supported both by the City and the pickleball community and posted on all public courts. After the rules were submitted to SPR well over two months ago, SPR never responded, let alone acknowledged the submission.
Also ignored were SMPA efforts to work with SPR to develop an outdoor recreation pickleball program during COVID. Adding to that, the program application form (apparently required by SPR), necessary to make sure that indoor PB is included in the programming when the community centers open up again, has yielded only silence. Consequently, to our knowledge, nothing is being done by or communicated by SPR about plans for a return to drop-in programs when the Covid restrictions lift.
Finally, and perhaps most disappointing, the Mayor’s Proposed Parks Budget scheduled for approval and passage in November looks at best grim. You can view it online. We recommend that you search the “Sport Court Restoration Program” at page 107. Note that no money is allocated for sport courts for the years 2021 to 2026! This indicates no money whatsoever is budgeted for anything related to outdoor pickleball for the next five years. For the last two years, the pickleball community has doggedly responded to every SPR survey, public meeting, public event invitation of any kind to advocate for more pickleball venues and play opportunities. In addition, SMPA representatives attended countless meetings with SPR representatives to personally deliver our message, that facilities in Seattle lag behind similarly sized cities, and pickleball loses out to tennis for court priorities.
After each of these solicitations, SPR leaders, City Council members, and others repeatedly communicated that they “heard us,” they understood the importance of pickleball as a priority, and that they would address it. In light of this budget, these assurances and apparently convenient words ring hollow. SMPA has proven to be an attentive, participatory, engaged, and representative partner in dealings with the City of Seattle. Our question is this: they keep asking for input, but are they really listening?
Pickleball Mind Reset
Have you ever found yourself making the same error over and over again? Just like when you go to do something on your phone but it’s not working. You call tech support and they ask you if you have tried rebooting it or updated the software recently? It’s time for “mindset reset.”
For example, in the middle of a match you keep making the same unforced error over and over. With each missed ball or serve, you become more frustrated and can’t stop yourself. That is because you are running on “old reflex programming.” To change that takes a conscious effort to look at how you can improve. I recommend you take these steps.
- First: Take four slow, deep breaths, something known as box breathing. This helps get oxygen to your brain to help you to think more clearly which can keep you from going into that negative emotional sinkhole. The military trains combat soldiers with this technique so that they can make good decisions in the midst of a crisis.
- Second: Be aware of the comments you say to yourself, as the negative talk is programing your subconscious and reinforcing bad habits. For example, in the middle of a game, you’ve hit the ball so hard it takes out a low flying satellite. Your reflex may be to yell in frustration, “I keep hitting it too hard! Arrgh!!!” Your subconscious self is listening to what your conscious self is saying. Thus, your subconscious reflex response is to do what it just heard which is “hit it hard.” The result? You likely repeat the error.
You can consciously put the brakes on that cycle and reprogram your brain by asking: “What’s happening? What’s missing? What’s next?”
- Take a moment to ask, “What happened?” And recognize that “I faulted by hitting too hard.”
- Objectively look at how the error occurred by asking “What was missing?” In this case, a shorter swing and softer touch.”
- “What’s next?” You can help by doing a quick visualization and verbalization of the desired action. While you are waiting for the serve, see in your mind’s eye the movement you want to do and repeat to yourself “Shorter swing, softer swing.”
For a more in-depth discussion about this subject, take a look at a video I made. In the meantime, an error is neither good nor bad unless we label it as such. You can use your error as feedback for improving your game. Reboot by being objective in your self-assessment of errors, focusing on solution, practicing the correct action in your mind and in your words, and play on.
Check Out Green Lake East
The contractors are done, delayed by the smoke closures and rain and we now have newly resurfaced courts at the Green Lake East Pickleball Courts. Grab your paddles and pickleballs, and take advantage of the six pickleball courts lined on the tennis courts with the two semipermanent nets. Check out playtimescheduler.com for groups scheduling play there.
USA Pickleball Fall News
USA Pickleball members receive the magazine in email. For those not yet sold on supporting the national organization, you can still read their newsletter here.
Who is PIG?
You may have noticed the cute porcine logo associated with many pickleball tournaments, an indication that Pickleball Is Great, or PIG, is at work. They are a tournament management company with a passion for a superior player experience. Everyone at PIG brings years of personal indoor and outdoor tournament play experience, which influences how they approach each pickleball tournament.
PIG doesn’t run just your local tournaments; they help run the West, so far as tournaments go. As PNW tournaments make a slow comeback, outdoor tournaments are alive and well in the desert southwest. Need an escape from the winter rains? With flying now viewed as more COVID-safe, consider a trip to the desert. In addition to managing all AAU Pickleball tournaments, PIG is running a number of desert tournaments in Arizona and California, not to mention Utah. Check out the tournament calendar on pickleballtournaments.com to see what’s happening.
You can catch up with Pickleball Is Great by following on Facebook (PICKLEBALLISGR8) or joining their newsletter (send request to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now is as important a time as ever to join or renew your SMPA membership. When you click the Join or Renew button, you’ll be taken to the MemberPlanet website. MemberPlanet securely manages our membership database so we can focus on pickleball development. Whether you become a Lifetime Member or select a year-to-year renewal, your membership shows that you are committed to the work of SMPA in helping grow pickleball in the Seattle metro area. Your membership qualifies you for a discount on gear with Pickleball Central and Smash Pickleball.
We are grateful for your membership and if you have gotten a reminder, please take a moment and re-up. For those of you who left auto-renewal in place, the $20 charge will appear on your valid credit card.
Mayor’s Coffee Klatch
The Seattle mayor says she wants to hear from you about community needs and priorities. Here’s your chance to ask her to support pickleball.
- What: Age Friendly Seattle Civic Coffee Hour with Mayor Jenny Durkan
- When: Friday, October 23, 2020, 9:30 to 10:30 AM
- Where: https://bit.ly/AgeFriendlyLive
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan will address Seattle community’s elders and talk about the City of Seattle’s 2021 budget during a virtual meeting. This will be a good occasion to ask her what she plans to do for Seattle’s pickleball players over 50.
Even better, you can ask her to support older pickleball players by providing semipermanent outdoor pickleball nets and, when the Seattle community centers reopen, by providing more opportunities for indoor pickleball all year long. If you fee like older pickleball players have been treated as second class citizens for too long, here is your chance to let her know.
SMPA President’s Fall 2020 Message
The successful fundraising project to purchase four semipermanent nets for Shoreview Park ended quickly when donations met the target goal. The nets are ordered, with delivery to Shoreline expected around the end of the first week of November. Thanks to all who donated and congratulations to the Shoreview players for leading the way. These nets will soon be available onsite for all pickleball play at any time, weather permitting, to allow more play and eliminate the need for folks to bring and set up nets.
The success of the Shoreview project drove the SMPA Board to consider supporting similar projects in other parts of the metropolitan area. Given the unavailability of the City grants that we have used in the past, this may be the most effective method available. Keep an eye on our website, and we hope to soon post details of how other metro area pickleball groups can solicit SMPA aid when raising funds for the purchase of pickleball equipment for use at public pickleball venues. There is lots of pickleball development work going on around the metro area. Down south, the Kent Parks Department is starting the design phase of the Kent Memorial Parks renovation. They are considering adding pickleball court lines on the existing tennis courts. Take their survey (https://www.kentwa.gov/residents/parks-recreation-and-community-services/parks-planning-development/kent-memorial-park-renovation/kmp-outreach-survey-general) and tell them that this is a great idea.
SPR has formally established drop-in pickleball outdoor play times and issued permits for Delridge in West Seattle (9AM-Noon), Walt Hundley in West Seattle(10AM-Noon) and Miller Playfield in central Seattle (10AM-noon). The permits are in effect now and run through December 4, 2020. These permits were issued under Life Long Recreation and are the result of outstanding efforts of John Hasslinger, SW Life Long Recreation Coordinator. A big thank you goes out to John for his tireless efforts in promoting pickleball and advocating for our sport.
The Seattle Sports Complex Foundation continues to drive the design of a new combined tennis and pickleball court at Lowman Beach Park. Please take the second survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MM6878Z) to let SPR know that you indeed do like pickleball courts, and that four courts is better than two. Thanks to all who attended the two virtual open houses, responded to the initial survey and expressed support for this project. And a special thank you to SMPA member Lisa Corbin and the Seattle Sport Complex Foundation who are making this happen.
SMPA continues to explore other locations for dedicated pickleball court facilities. The obstacles to developing the Magnuson Park site became too numerous to justify investing the significant time required for an uncertain outcome. Working on other potential locations is labor intensive and slow, and the Board will report when we have something for consideration.
Lastly, SMPA is overdue for an upgrade to our website. Our goal is to make the SMPA website more informational and helpful to all members. Consider this your invitation to send us a note stating what you would like to see on the website. Email your suggestions to our general mailbox, email@example.com to add your opinion.
We are grateful for our members and your support as we continue to make the case for pickleball throughout the metro area. I look forward to a full return to play for everyone, as SMPA continues to spread this great game built on fun, fitness, and friendship.
President, Seattle Metro Pickleball Association