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Membership Renewal, Upcoming Event, UTEP OLLIE Makes Mark

January 3, 2024

Membership Renewal Time!

It we are thrilled to see current members renewing and an influx of new people as well. Welcome! That is more support for our sport. If you have not yet renewed now is the time.

In the last newsletter I listed the accomplishments of the club for 2023.

Some details about our cash flow: our revenue came from dues and the World Cup Event. The lack of facilities makes holding events difficult.

Our greatest expenses were IRS filing fees, followed by the website and purchasing paddles and balls for our clinics. Ben found a really great sale at Walmart and was able to purchase 19 paddles at $17 each. Good deal!

We are tremendously fortunate to have generous volunteers who provide so much service for free, allowing us to keep our dues the same this year as last - $17 per family, per year.

Watch for Club Sponsored Event

Your Board is planning another World Cup style event like we had last year. Watch for details within the next week sent through the newsletter and posted on Facebook. Members will again receive a discount.

UTEP OLLIE Is First In The Country to Offer Pickleball

Pickleball Christmas Spirit at UTEP OLLIE Club Ben and Terry Avalos

The Usher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLIE) is offered at 50 Universities across the country for people over 50, and of those universities UTEP is the ONLY one to offer a pickleball club. Last fall was the first session, and registration will open in January, to begin in February. The club meets twice per week in the auxilliary gym at UTEP

UTEP Pickleball Fall 2023
OLLIE Life Learning First Pickleball Club in the Country

Grandview Hours

Director Grace has given us Mondays 9:00AM - 12:30PM AND Wednesday EVENINGS 5:00PM - 8:00PM. It is easier to see the ball at night, and it is a beautiful sight to drive into the parking lot and see the players through the windows. Let's see if we can get some traffic over at 3134 Jefferson, near McKelligon Canyon, so we can keep the hours.

Playing the Game ...

Rule Change

Arguably, the most significant rule change is the removal of the words ‘deliberately’ and ‘unintentional’ in Rules 7.L (the carry rule) and 11.A (the double hit rule), respectively. Why? It eliminates having the referee determine intent. The bottom line is that any carry is now a fault; there is no longer the need to determine whether the carry was deliberate or not. Please also note that double hits are still permitted. Players should make sure they understand the definitions of and the difference between a carry and a double hit. See Rules 3.A.1 and 3.A.8.

from The Pickler


What to do about a banger

Bangers hit every ball hard. This article from Facebook gave seven suggestions. Here are a few:

3. Hit a Deep Serve Return With bangers 

It is very important to keep them back near the baseline with a deep serve return. This will make the banger hit a better, stronger hard shot, and give you more time to react to the ball.

Also, think about hitting your serve return so that the ball stays low to the ground. This can usually be done by hitting your serve return with some backspin or slice. By hitting a serve return that stays low to the ground, the banger will have to hit up on the ball, which may make the banger’s hard shot go out of bounds.

Lastly, think about hitting your serve return to the banger’s weaker side. Often times, forehands and backhands are not equal.

4. Watch Out for Out Balls 

When playing bangers, it is important to watch out for shots that are going out of bounds...

To help you in telling out balls, use the following factors in your quick decision making:

Where is the banger on the pickleball court when hitting the shot? 

After a few hard shots, the banger will usually hit the pickleball out of bounds because the banger is slowly moving up toward the pickleball net, which gives the banger less room to work with when hitting the pickleball. As a result, the closer to the pickleball net that the banger gets, the more likely that the banger’s shot will be going past the baseline and out of bounds. 

How high is the pickleball when the banger hits it? 

If the pickleball is low to the pickleball court and below the pickleball net, the banger will have to hit up on the pickleball to get his or her shot back over the pickleball net. When a banger hits up on the pickleball, the pickleball is more likely to fly high out of bounds. Be aware of where the banger is hitting the pickleball, as this could be a sign for an out ball. 

Pictures From Some of the Holiday Events and Donation Drives

Pickleball Holiday event benefits children
Clothing Drive for Child Crisis Center at Nolan Richardson

San Juan Area Children Receive Toy Drive Proceeds from Pickleball Tournament

Are Park Multi-Use Courts the "Best Solution For Everybody"?

I spoke with the President of the Neighborhood Association for Grandview Park. People who do not play pickleball think that a multi-use court is the best solution because "everyone can play" (tennis and pickleball). They don't understand that portable nets require that those playing have to make sure someone can bring a net and will stay for the duration. Having a permanent net allows players to show up and know they will get to play, just like on a tennis court.

And before anyone goes there ... painting lines into the tennis net is NOT a solution. The net is too high and the low dink too important to the game.

For our out-of-town guests it is impossible to bring a net and then find a way to notify the local community that a net will be available. I had a woman write to the club in November - she was visiting El Paso for one week and staying very near Grandview Park but ... she did not bring a net and did not have connections with the community to organize a play group.

This is the message we need to get out to the public. Multi-use courts do not "make everyone happy." Pickleball gets short changed.

The best solution is for the City to build a facility. The second best would be to convert idle tennis courts. Multi-use is a bandaid on a 2 inch wide gash - insufficient.

County Survey - Let Your Voice Be Heard!

The County Survey asks residents to prioritize how dollars are to be spent. Parks and Recreation is in the tourism box. The survey deadline is January 12, 2024. There is more information in the December 9th newsletter.

Play happy,

Jamie Fisher

President, Pickleball El Paso

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