Learn about new playgrounds and places to play, and about volunteering


Last week we talked about the new courts that have been added to the Valley over the past few months and what the towns have in the works. We have more information this week on this subject.

In Palm Springs, $300,000 was approved for pickleball courts in this year’s budget, and $1,150,000 was set aside in fiscal years 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, for a total of $1.45 million. dollars over five years.

Exactly what will be built, when, and where remains to be seen, but it should bring a lot more pickleball to Palm Springs and hopefully reduce some of the crowds we currently see at Demuth Park in peak season.

On the private club side, one facility we failed to mention was the Sunrise Country Club at 71601 Country Club Dr. in Rancho Mirage.

As loyal reader Dave Teufel told us, Sunrise had a head start when it launched pickleball in 2012. By 2013, the club already had three professionally constructed courts. They currently have 10.

Pickleball is free for all Equity club members and the club accepts outside members. The cost is $950 for couples or $750 for singles this season. The club hopes to resume interclub play this year and tournaments.

Volunteer at the 2022 Margaritaville Championships

As we recently highlighted, the 2022 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships will return to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden from November 5-13. Many locals enjoy volunteering at the event. It’s a great opportunity to support the sport and witness some top-notch action. If you are interested in volunteering, email Connie Thrasher at [email protected]

Send your name, email address and cell phone number (if you have one) along with a reference to Mary Barsaleau. You will be contacted once the “jobs” and shifts have been decided.

You can also check pickleballdesk.com in about a week, where more information should be available.

Coach Mary’s Tip of the Week: Footwork

Split steps, shuffling, flamingos, movement with your partner, happy feet – what do we want to address to improve our footwork for pickleball?

A few years ago in San Diego, I played against some promising picklers who had just returned from tennis. One of them was constantly bouncing, jumping, walking in two. It was exhausting to watch! These tennis converts are coming to pickleball in droves, and there are some adjustments to be made.

Below I include links to two good videos on this topic, one by John Cincola and Sarah Ansboury. An important point for all players: when watching YouTube videos, make sure you are not just watching the ball, but watching the player’s footwork and preparation.

To prepare to receive a ball, make sure that when you see your opponent making contact with the ball, that’s when you should split step and get onto the balls of your feet. (Imagine a button under each of your big toes and you press it.) If you are on the baseline, split up, turn to the side the ball is coming from, move with your racquet already back on the forehand or backhand and move towards the ball. Catch the ball on the way up and follow it.

Check out footwork that focuses on a clock face (this is shown in John Cincola’s video). Footwork involves leaning over, shifting your weight, and making contact with the ball in front of you. After watching the exercise section of the video, be sure to watch the live pro match videos where you can see them doing what is demonstrated in the exercise.

In Sarah Ansboury’s video, she tells us to cut out the shuffling, and instead take a step, keep your paddle forward and make sure you’re on the balls of your feet.

In the non-volley zone or in the kitchen, you must balance on the balls of your feet. Your feet are silent: the dink, the reset, the dead drop or the attack come from your shoulders and your hips. You cannot step on the flights, as this would put your foot in the kitchen. Visualize your lower body as a fire hydrant. Or think about being on a balance beam. The movement, rotation and tracking comes from your hips and shoulders.

Footwork gets harder as we get older, so don’t be hard on yourself or have unrealistic expectations for your body. Adapt to help you succeed. I’m three months away from major back surgery, and while I can exercise and teach, I struggle with lateral and forward movements. How did I adapt? I practice resets from midfield because I can’t get to the net after a deep return or a good third ball drop. I’m also trying to find a much more mobile and younger partner to cover for me!

Video by John Cincola: youtu.be/T0S2FqwmB9Q

Video by Sarah Ansboury: youtu.be/af16O_VAuQM

Mary’s last indoor round robin for the summer: Sept. 18. Email [email protected] to enter. First outdoor round robin: October 23 at Freedom Park. More information at pickleballtournaments.com.

Do you have a question or a comment? Email us at [email protected]

Pickleball columnist Mary Barsaleau in Palm Springs, Calif., on Sept. 29, 2021.
Julie Makinen is the editor of The Desert Sun.

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