Brrrrr... it is finally winter outside. Some of us are lucky enough to escape the cold and have nice southern climates to go live and vacation when those Alberta Clippers roll through the midwest. Certainly there are plenty of places to play in Arizona, Florida, and other booming pickleball states. However, for most of us in St. Louis, we are very fortunate locally to have so many indoor places to play.
Every day and now every evening of the week, we have indoor places to play. Some of our more popular locations have added courts and times to their weekly play schedules. For example, Salvation Army in South St. Louis has added Thursday evening court times starting this week (1/21) from 6:45-9:45pm. The St. Louis Jewish Community Center (JCC) has added courts (up to 6) and for early weekend risers, Saturday morning play from 7:00-10:00am. Fenton RiverChase has beginner-play from 8-10am, intermediate-play 10a-12n, and advanced-play 12n-3pm Mon-Thurs and Sat afternoons from 2-6pm. St. Peters Rec Plex has 9 courts playing Tues, Thurs and Fri from 6am-12n. Finally VettaSports-Concord has 6+ courts on Fri evenings for intermediate/advanced-play from 4:30-7:30p.
In all we have 24 indoor facilities where pickleball play is hotter than ever! Whether it is our local community recreation centers, YMCAs, indoor tennis centers, church or school gymnasiums we are seeing pickleball play in and around St. Louis pop-up all over. With that said, we still need more capacity and available court times for the demand that we have. There are several great gymnasiums that would be great indoor pickleball venues. If you have access or connections to people who could help us add more pickleball, the USAPA local Ambassadors are happy to help talk to them and try to develop play. The USAPA has grant programs that offer up to $250 for nets and equipment to develop play.
Some of our locations have over 30 people show up to play on 3 available courts. This type of situation can cause a lot of confusion and frustration from players waiting to play. Some places have play organizing systems like "stacking paddles" or "player rotations". Please know that no one system is easy to implement or help equalize play for all participants. What we can do when faced with this situation:
1) Be sure that everyone has a turn and equal chance for play.
2) Pay attention to where you are in the rotation to not cause a delay when it is your time to play.
3) Play smart by being ready when you are out on the court:
- Have an extra ball or two in your pocket when your courts ball is out of play.
- Know the score at all times to speed side-outs and where to stand for the start of the point.
4) Finally, consider grouping paddles with people of similar skill level sets.
Nobody likes to "wait" so be sure to do your part to support, share and speed play opportunities.
Just a few other notes:
Check out the new Pickleball Magazine subcription opportunity listed on top of the News&Events tab.
Send me your nominations for "St. Louis Player Spotlight". We'll try to spotlight a St. Louis Player on the website to get to know each other by reading about their fun stories and highlights. Everyone is welcome to participate. Nominations can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pickleball pictures wanted... Please email or send any pictures to highlight on the website.
Thanks for reading and stay warm St. Louis Pickleballers!