Category Archives: Club News

The Pickleball Guru’s Tips for “Playing Up” and “Playing Down” in Recreational Play


One of the best ways to improve your pickleball game is to play with better players.  It forces you to play at the top of your ability, makes you pay for your mistakes, and puts you on the fast-track to a higher skill level.

All of that is GREAT for you, but how about for those “better players” who are playing with you?

It does almost the OPPOSITE for them…

Playing with you keeps them from having to play at the top of their ability, keeps them from paying for their mistakes, and keeps them from improving their skill level as quickly.

The culture of pickleball has always been very welcoming and inclusive of new players, but as you become more intent on improving your game, you DON’T always want to play with less-experienced players.

But everyone’s gotta start from somewhere, and even the best players in the world were beginners at one point…

So the question is: as a newer player, how can you graciously get to play with better players so as to improve your game?  And as a better player, how do you “remember your roots” and play with lower-level players, and when is it fair to ask them to step aside so you can get a higher-level play?

Here are some general pickleball etiquette guidelines, which address these questions and more.

When you want to “Play Up” with players who are STRONGER than you are:

  • Ask Politely and Give Them an Out.  For example, “Do you all mind if I get a game in with you, or would you rather play on your own?”

  • Ask at the Beginning or End of the Day. Approach when they are warming up or cooling down. DON’T go when they are in the midst of a streak of higher-level play.

  • Accommodate Their Flow. If you do approach them in the midst of higher-level play, accommodate their flow.  Ask “Hey, do you mind if I get a game in with you all before you quit today?” so that they can continue playing, but will hopefully commit to playing with you later.

  • Be Conscientious. If they do play a few games with you at the beginning of the day, make it easy for them to bow out and play with other higher-level players so that they will be more likely to want to play with you again in the future.  You might say, “Hey, I see you can get a good game in against those guys, I’ll sit this one out and maybe we can play again later if you have a chance.”

  • Hit to Them! No one likes to watch their partner hit all the balls during recreational play.  The higher-level player is doing you a favor by playing with you, so hit the ball to them at least half the time. It will make you a better player, make it more fun for them, and make it more likely that they will play with you again next time.

  • Don’t Be Obnoxious. We all play our best when we play with better players. When we play with weaker players, it can be challenging to stay focused, so remember that they may not be playing at the top of their game.  Or, they may be focusing on improving their own shots, rather than on winning.

  • Show Your Appreciation. If they give you feedback on your game, have an open mind and be appreciative of them taking the time to play and help you.

  • Don’t Take It Personally. Some people just aren’t going to be very friendly about it. Don’t let them get to you. Remember, it’s only pickleball! 🙂

When you agree to “Play Down” with players who are WEAKER than you are:

When you play with or against players who are WEAKER than you:

  • Remember Where You Came From. Who took you under their wing when you first started playing? Chances are you’ve improved your game since then by getting to play with better players, so pay it forward and make a point to regularly play with players who are weaker than you. You could regularly play a warm-up game with them, or once a week decide to dedicate the last 30-45 minutes of your play to playing with them, it’s up to you. Just find a way to pay it forward.

  • If Now’s Not Good, Say When. If someone asks to play with you and you opt to play a higher-level game instead, let them know when you WOULD be willing to play, perhaps later in the day, or later in the week.

  • Give Them a Head’s Up On How Long You’ll Stay. When you do play, let them know in advance how long you’re planning to play, you might say, “I’d love to play with you all for a game or two, but then I’d like to get in with those other players.”

  • Don’t Be Patronizing — Or, Overly Aggressive.  Instead of focusing on who wins or loses, find a way to make it challenging for yourself.  Pick a shot you want to improve upon and focus on hitting that shot. Or, try to reduce your number of unforced errors. Focus on consistency and keeping the ball in play rather than slamming every put-away shot you get.

  • Limit Your Feedback. If you notice something they could be doing better, limit your feedback to one aspect of their game during play.  Giving them too many pointers can overwhelm them. Plus, they’re probably already a little nervous about being on the court with you, so don’t be too critical.  Afterwards, if you want to give them more background info on your pointer, or give them one additional pointer, go ahead, but start out by asking permission first, “Would you like to hear more about what I noticed about your game?”



Like these tips?  Want to share them with your group or club? Just click here to open and print the PDF.

Article Courtesy of 

Pickleball Clubs Get Togther

First State Pickleball Club and Ocean Pines Pickleball Club Get Together

You are invited to a Social Event for Members
of these two Clubs
Date: Sunday August 13th
Where: Ocean Pines
Time: 3 p.m
Come meet and socialize with fellow players, play pickleball on
their beautiful NEW dedicated pickleball
courts, and indulge in a pizza dinner together.
Please bring $5 per person as a contribution
toward the pizza. Drop in fee will be waived
that day. Drinks will be provided by the OP
Pickleball Club. BYOB

Sign Up Here >

Raindate is August 20th
Address: Ocean Pines Racquet Center, 1443
Manklin Creek Road, Ocean Pines, MD 21811

July News from the FSPC Board

News from the FSPC Board 
From Your President – Kathy Casey 
July 2017

Prem Carnot visited the J.M. Clayton Elementary courts for a very well attended two-day clinic with attendees from Frederick, MD, Pennsylvania and the local area.  Wow!  I met so many new people who were there with Prem who was assisted by Kim Gruber, Lynn Casey, Bob Guadeau, Artie Holgerson and Cheryl Martin.  Thanks to all who attended and helped out.


Great group of people who hung in there during the heat of the day to learn from The Pickleball Guru on how to play “smart pickleball”. Thank you, Prem, for stopping in our neck of the woods to help improve our play!

Here is an email I received from one participant, Cheryl Markiewicz and a Note from Prem! 

Hello Kathy,

I wanted you to know just how much I really enjoyed Prem’s 2 day clinic at Frankford. It was well worth it. Prem really makes you THINK about the game and how it is played. He had many suggestions that made sense for anyone no matter what level you play. Once I understand the “why” of doing something, it makes it easier for me to remember. I am looking forward to lots of practice as I incorporate what I’ve learned from a very kind, patient and funny, Prem.

Thank you for all of your efforts to get Prem Carnot to Frankford, so that I could take advantage of this experience. I can’t wait to become a smart pickleball player!

Best regards,

Cheryl S. Markiewicz

Hey there you pickleball lover, How’s your July going? I am part way through my east-coast summer teaching tour. We just wrapped up a fantastic 3-day Bootcamp in Richmond, Virginia and I taught a full clinic in Frankford, Delaware (photo with participants below). I’ve got a full summer lined up and I really hope to see you on the courts (again?) one of these days!

To get on his mailing list go to Prem’s Click Here and sign up >

Dink Challenge on July 29th our at Clayton Elementary School



8:00 A.M. – 12:00 A.M | MEN’S AND WOMEN’S DOUBLES

 12:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.| MIXED DOUBLES


Let’s agree that the heat is very challenging so dinking is the smart way to still play, practice this very important skill without playing the entire court.  This will be challenging and fun!  Here is what the experts say about the importance of dinking:

 Why is the dink game important in pickleball? 

“It is part of the soft game of pickleball.  It neutralizes your opponent and you control the player that wants to hit hard.  If you’re a hard hitter and you face a team that knows the soft game, you’re at an extreme disadvantage immediately.”

Tom Earley, USAPA Ambassasor and Pickleball Coach.

“It is used more than anything today.”  Sarah Ansboury

Okay, I am listening……  If you have ever seen me play, you know that I am one of the hard hitters who needs this dinking stuff to be a bigger part of my game.  I get inpatient… I don’t really understand the point of the dinking.   I like hitting the hard ball across the net at my opponents. Isn’t that why we all got into this game?  Okay, so maybe not the skilled players who have a much larger set of skills that me.  And, that is why I keep losing to the players who can do the dinking stuff….

Okay, so why do the Challenge?

Well, it will let you try out a new skill or one that you want to improve.  You can only play it in the kitchen so you will improve your skills set and your muscle memory.  And, you can have some laughs, meet new people and get out of the house on a Saturday morning to play in the Challenge thing because it is for a good cause.

 Here is the other reason to sign up for the Dink Challenge….

J.M.  Clayton Elementary School’s Administration and the Indian River School Board allowed this Club to renovate the three old tennis courts and turn them into permanent pickleball courts.  This was done through private donations and a labor of love by a dozen or so volunteers.  So, this Challengeis intended to give some money backto the school as a thank you for our courts and to recognize that we have a very special place to call our home in Dagsboro.  They are facing major cutbacks and we know that they could use some help for funding some of their programs.  Please sign up, come out and play because it is for a very good cause.  It is for the kids!!!  It is for the Staff who work there!!!

So, here is the link for the registration:  Sign Up Here >

Grab someone and get your registration in so that I can see you there!

 This is important!!! Let’s do it for the kids so that they get programs that they need. Not convinced?  Nice participant bling, Chinese auction and a chance at winning the whole thing!! Special award for those who place.

Let’s make this event rock to support the school district that gave us the chance to make history in having the first permanent pickleball Courts in the county and state!!

More news about Clayton Elementary School indoor play when the weather pushes us indoors…

  •  Cheryl Martin is back in town (co-founder of FSPC) and she has been working tirelessly to talk with the Indian River School Board and the school staff to get our Sunday mornings in the gym back.  We will be getting more information out and a sign up our as we get closer.    We are awaiting the school and Board approval on this and the costing structure so stay tuned.  We will send out a sign up in late September or October for Sign Up.
  • On another note, Sussex County Planning and Zoning is still reporting that they do not think that the County government should be responsible for providing recreation facilities as reported in the July 7th Cape Gazette.

I am a little disappointed by this because the senior population has doubled in the last couple of years in Sussex County and that we seniors are 70,000 of the 197,000-people living in Sussex County.  Pickleball motivates people to get out and play, have fun, meet new people and most importantly get healthy through this exercise.  Let’s face it, not a lot of people go to a gym, but pickleball is so much fun you have to get out and play. People play on average three (3) TIMES A WEEK!!!!!!   Right?  That is exactly what our recently completed FSPC member survey told us.  Here is just some of your input on why you play pickleball:

Life Changing!
It is addictive in the best sense.
It’s keeping me healthy!!
I am in better physical condition that I’ve ever been because of Pickleball.
Dramatic improvement in my overall health.
I have lost 42 far playing pickleball.
Helped me deal with serious depression.
Got me out after losing my spouse.
It has improved my physical and mental well-being.
Happy that I am a part of this wonderful game.
It has improved my reflexes.  I am able to respond and move quicker.  Also, it has improved my reasoning skills as it forces me to think ahead and strategize.
I have met many wonderful people and makes me very happy that I moved to Delaware.
Meeting terrific people and forming friendships as someone new to Delaware.  Pickleball players are great people!
Pickleball has greatly improved my life in retirement.
It is exercise masquerading as fun!
I live to play and play to live!
Just plain old fun!

Your voice matters. We need each one of you to let your council member know that we know that all of this development has created quite a treasure chest of money that could be used to provide and maintain public recreation facilities for all of the seniors who have bought the homes that generated those funds. Yes, I get the need for more paramedics and troopers but also know that exercise via pickleball will keep us from diseases that come with aging.

Here is the link to the Sussex County Council: Click Here >

Get on the phone and let them know that we need and want publicly funded pickleball courts both indoors and outdoors to encourage exercise, fun and better health outcomes for all Sussex County residents.  Don’t be shy.  They have benefitted from the explosive growth in this county and have benefitted from you retiring to this county.

Private facilities are in business to make a profit and expenses to run an indoor pickleball facility can be expensive.  We want everyone, regardless of income, to be able to play this great sport.  If we had permanent facilities everyone could play both young and old.

Why wouldn’t the County Council want to get their citizens healthy and stave off the diseases that comes with this aging population?  It only makes sense as a county government that you would want to invest in getting its citizens motivated and out getting healthy to keep health costs down for everyone.

Why would the County Council not want to form a public private partnership and make the public recreation facilities, including pickleball, a reality?

Please let your Council member know that every other county in this state has public recreation and that it is time that Sussex County join in to provide the year-round citizens with the recreation facilities at little to no cost for all of the county residents.  We all know the overall health benefits of playing this game and want to see everyone regardless of age or ability to be able to play as much as they want. Most counties and municipalities in the United States understand that public recreation facilities are a total benefit to the community because they improve over health and well-being of their communities.   We are not looking for freebies but it sure would be nice to play at more reasonable prices so that no one is left out due to limited income.

How can we encourage younger people to play when we have so few places to play?  Would love to help solve the obesity problem in kids by getting them out and engaged in this game that is taking off with the younger set across the country.  Pickleball can be more engaging than any video game.  Besides we have all made lots of friends through this sport.

Not every family can afford to put their kids on travel teams but they should have access to healthy fun where all can play at no cost or very low cost.  Pickleball could be that inexpensive sport that all can play, especially families.

Okay, on to other topics …Sports Complex in Georgetown by the Schell Foundation appeared in the Cape Gazette on July 7th.

 FSPC applauds the Schell Foundations for supporting the need for recreation in our County that also included pickleball courts as a later part in their master plan. Here are some key comments from that July 7th article:

“McCormick Taylor consultant Alexis Williams said expansion of parks and recreation is a request that has surfaced as a priority among people commenting on the new plan. “We are hearing this from the public with numerous requests,” said Commission Chairman Bob Wheatley. “It should be something for county government to consider,” he said.”

“However, during the workshop as the commission explored possible strategies to be implemented in the plan, the idea of expanding parks and recreation options did not meet with much support. Commissioners said they would rather provide grants and support to other groups involved with parks and recreation.”

“Commissioners pointed to the James Farm Ecological Preserve as an example. The 150-acre parcel along Indian River Bay near Ocean View was donated to the county and has been managed since 1998 by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. The county provides $20,000 annually in its budget and also supports infrastructure projects.”

“Commissioner Kim Hoey Stevenson said she would support partnerships but not the county getting into the parks and recreation business. “We have to look at keeping costs down in a county that is pretty well recreated,” she said.”

“I think we can encourage and not take the lead role,” added Commissioner Marty Ross, who has been an outspoken opponent of the county establishing a parks and recreation department.

“Ross said public safety should take precedence in the county’s budget. “My concern is that if we start spending millions of dollars on recreation, can we meet our critical needs of additional state troopers, paramedics and sewer and water? Funds are limited,” he said.”

“Hoey Stevenson said she was also concerned with the use of public funds to compete with private enterprise and not cut out free-market enterprise.”

“The question is should the county get in the parks and recreation business?” Wheatley asked, adding the plan should include language to identify what needs to be considered and explored.”

I know that many of you have given input into this plan and that we are very interested in seeing recreation facilities become a reality in Sussex County especially for pickleball.  That is why the consulting firm keeps making the point that that is what the citizens who have provided input to the Comprehensive Plan are asking for and should have addressed.

Maybe the answer is in public private partnerships going forward but I would encourage each of you to ask your County Council representative to make a pickleball facility a top priority for this county.

Volunteer Spotlight

On a note of gratitude…. Local residents are now learning to play Pickleball at the Cheer Center (Senior Center) in Ocean View.  Nan Colella, a resident of Ocean View and volunteer in the First State Pickleball Club, has worked closely with Cheer center staff and members to graduate multiple classes of Pickleball players. Nan’s class is big on knowing the rules, how to score and, above all, how to play safely.  Through Nan’s efforts, many lives have been changed to one of active fun in the Ocean View community.  Nan is a rock star!  On a hot summer day last year, Nan talked local resident Dudley Sluder into laying out and painting lines at the Cheer Center.   Dudley recruited Vaughn Baker to help him.  Once they have learned how to play, Yolanda Gallegos, manager of the Ocean View Cheer, explained that folks can play at Cheer from 10 AM to Noon every Tuesday and Thursday. You only need to be a member of Cheers to play there.

BTW, Nan’s program was so successful that each Cheer center is moving toward setting up pickleball as a program for Cheer center members.  Call your local Cheers center to find out more.

If that is not enough, Nan has her “Nights with Nan” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday out at JM Clayton.  Check out the website for more information on this night.  If it is raining or too windy, it will be cancelled.

Thank you, Nan, for all that you do to help out the pickleball community through your tireless efforts!!!!

Submitted by Vaughn Baker and so appreciated by all who have had the opportunity to learn from Nan Colella who has a very generous heart.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that Vaughn Baker sometimes writes articles for the Coast Press about Pickleball.  Here is one that I thought you would enjoy this as a gentle reminder for all.

June 23, 2017 
By Vaughn Baker
Special to the Coastal Point

Although pickleball players are some of the nicest people I have met, it never hurts to review some rules of engagement for the good of the order. In case you were wondering:

  • Do not forget to introduce yourself before every match or to shake hands at the conclusion.
  • Do not forget to call the score out loudly before you serve; otherwise, you forfeit your serve. And don’t get the score wrong, and if you do, certainly not always in your favor.
  • Do not criticize your partner. This one really makes no sense. All you do is to make them more nervous. You and your partner are a team, a right arm and a left arm. Now, what would you think if you saw some player on the pickleball court and their right arm was fighting with their left arm. Silly, right?
  • Do not make bad line calls. The ball is in or it’s out. There are no gray areas. The rule of thumb: If you or your partner do not clearly see it out, it’s in! No discussion.
  • In recreational play, do not continue to lob someone having troubles responding to your lobs, or hit volleys or overheads at a player you clearly outclass. It is a different story in a practice situation or competition, because that permanently-hindered player needs to learn how to work around their handicap.
  • Do not take even one more step when you hear the word “Ball!” on the pickleball courts. And be sure to yell, “Ball!” at the top of your lungs when you mis-hit one onto the neighboring court. And when you throw or roll the ball to the proper court, do it properly and not like you are auditioning for a zombie role in “The Walking Dead.”
  • Do not lambast yourself when you miss a point. As Hollywood would say, “Forget about it.” Afterwards, you might want to reflect on your errors, but during the match, there is nothing you can do about opportunity lost other than better prepare yourself for the next point.
  • Do not catch the ball with your hand or paddle anywhere on the court, even when you might be 15 feet outside the court. The ball must be given the opportunity to prove it will be out, regardless of how obvious it is. At net returning serve, do not catch the ball because you think it is going to be out. Get out of the way. It isn’t out until proven out, and it isn’t proven out until it hits the surface.
  • Do not linger on a court before or after you play. Others want to play now!
  • Do not wander across the back of the adjacent courts. After and before, to and from, it is common courtesy to remain off the other courts.
  • Do not move any other paddle in a paddle line or erase a name in a sign-up box. Call out anyone abusing this, and tell them the Baron made you do it.
  • Do not exclude players below your level. I try to play with novices at least a third of my games to help and encourage players newer to the game. Someone put up with me when I was learning, and the least I can do is repay the favor.
  • Do not complain about better players excluding you. They need some games among each other to improve as well. Remember — there is nothing stopping you from finding an old tennis court to practice your serve or a wall to practice your dink.

When I was in the military in the panhandle of Texas, there was a dislike of soldiers in the town where I was temporarily stationed. I went to a tennis club where I was given the cold shoulder. Every weekend, I started to play challenge matches, starting with the last-ranked kid on their ladder. Once I worked my way through all names and beat everyone at the club, I called out the professional and beat him, which turned out to be the beginning of a long friendship.

  • Do not make excuses. As Rhett Butler said in “Gone with the Wind,” “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a pickle.”
  • Do not use crude language. Robert E Lee said to a group of his officers who were using crude language in the adjoining room, “Gentlemen, please.” The scolded officers went on to explain there were no ladies present, and Lee said, “Correct, but there is at least one gentleman present.”

But do laugh and enjoy yourself – Thank you, Vaughn, for this great reminder!

Please remember to check in on the website for all of the news about pickleball events, tips and club happenings.


Please like us on our First State Pickleball Club’s Facebook page to stay current on new events and see posted stories and pictures from our members.

See you the courts!

Kathy C – Proud President Of FSPC



Prem Carnot Guru Clinic Fun For All!

The Pickleball Guru Academy Kicked off on July 11th with a great turnout!  A big thanks to Prem , Team Guru and all FSPC volunteers who helped make the Academy a Success! 

Photos Courtesy Of  Darlene Freas Photography 

Special thanks to Lynn Casey, Arite Holgerson, Kim Gruber , Cheryl Martin and Bob Guadreau who served as helper’s during the clinic and did a great job!

We had 42 people attending the two day clinic with Prem Carnot out at Clayton Elementary School.  Players from Frederick, MD and Pennsylvania made the trip to learn more about the game as well as many of our locals!



Welcome Pickleball Pro Diane “Dee” Ahern!

Pickleball Pro Diane “Dee” Ahern Visits Delaware!

Check out the Social Play &  Clinic Schudule

 Sports at the Beach will Be Hosting Clinics and Classes:

Monday | 7/31/2017 
12:30-1:30 | Group Lesson 4 Players | $20
2:00-4:00 | Advanced Clinic Doubles Strategy-Stacking | $20  
4:30-6:30 | Clinic Training with Ball Machines | $80 per hour divided by 30 players
Tuesday | 8/1/2017
8:00-10:00 | Intermediate Clinic | $20
10:30-12:30  | Clinic 1 Intermediate to Advanced | $20
1:30-3:30  | Intermediate Clinic | $20
Wednesday 8/2/17
12:00-1:00 | Private Lesson | $50
1:00 – 2:00 | Private Lesson | $50
2:00- 3:00 | Group Lesson 4 Players | $20
3:30-5:30 | Advanced Doubles Strategies w/ Video Analysis | $40
Thursday 8/3/17
12:30-1:30 | Group Lesson 4 Players | $20
2:30-4:30 | Tournament Prep 2 to 4 Teams | $50 pp

Join Dee For Social Play Fun

Sunday July 30th at our New Community Courts at Reserves at Lewes Landing located on Route 9 1/2 mile west from Lowes.  Directions: Turn into the development Minos Conway road across from our entrance if you come from west and route one make a left and take immediate right and park at the clubhouse.

Bring your Paddle and an Appetizer  to share and beverage and your Swim Suit!! Dee with play with and against you on the court!  ALL Welcome!

Wednesday  August 2nd she will be challenging our Advanced player group for FREE at the Lewes Canal Courts 8:45 AM to 10:30AM

Come out and Cheer on your Delaware Champion Against DEE!

A Little History on Dee: 
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Dee Ahern is a  National Recognized 5.0 player who has won 44 gold, 11 silver and 7 bronze medals in sanction and non-sanctioned tournaments  in the US since 2014.

Her medals include such prestigious venues as The World Huntsman Senior Games, Florida State Senior Games USAPA Nationals, US OPEN and USAPA Regional Tournaments.

Dee lives in the Villages in Florida.

In 2016 she received her International Professional Pickleball Teaching certificate. Currently she is completing a games-based competitive Pickleball drill Book!.

We are excited that Sports at the Beach will be hosting the clinics for us!

Delaware Senior Olympics will be Sponsoring the event to help celebrate our Largest Tournament Ever happening September 8, 9, and 10 in Dover!

Go to and Delaware  info page for direct link to register:


 WHEN: SATURDAY, JULY 29, 2017 (RAIN DATE SUNDAY 7/30/17) 8:00 A.M. – 12:00 A.M.
For More Details & Registration Download Form:

National Senior Games 2017 Photo Gallery

The National Senior Games proved an exciting week for Pickleball Players everywhere and as usual  FSPC members proved that Pickleball Players Never Quit!  Congrats to all players!

Pearl Morris and Diane Milam placed 6th place in the Women's Doubles 55-59. 

Marion Lisehora and Judy Lang placed 4th place in the Women's Doubles 80-89.  

Rick Bell and Bob O'Malley ended up in 4th place in Men's Doubles 55-59.

Georgia Billger's GOLD win in Women's Singles 75-79

Georgia Billger and Delia Wan placed 5th place in Women's Doubles 65-69

Georgia Billger also placed 8th place in Mixed Doubles 75-79.

Marion Lisehora took Gold in the Mixed Doubles 85-89!

Kathy Casey, President of First State Pickleball Club asked everyone to join her in congratulations for the entire Delaware contingent.

Check Out The Gallery Here>

Photos Courtesy Of Diana Milan/Skip Alexander


Something new this summer!  TEAM ladder league will start on Tuesday, June 13th on our home courts at JM Clayton.  Please read the  team ladder league guidelines.  If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl Martin at

 The league is limited to 6 teams in each category: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced so grab a partner and Register Today. You must find your own partner.



 Organizational / Schedule
• The League Session I will consist of 4 weeks (week 5 is for a challenge to play up by the top two teams
in intermediate and beginner group if they meet requirements). Session I will start Tuesday, 6/13 at 5:45 p.m. All other dates will start at 6:00 p.m. Warm ups are to take place prior to start time. Session II will start the week after playoffs. If there isn’t a playoff, Session II will start the week after Session I ends.
• Each team pays $10.00 the first game night for the 4 week session. Week 5 will be open play for players not involved in challenge tournament.
• There will only be 6 maximum teams of each skill level (advanced 4.0+, intermediate 3.5, beginner 2.0- 3.0) signed up for each session.
• Teams can be of the same gender or mixed.
• The administrator will provide a team rotation schedule.
• Play will consist of playing each team in your skill level one time, playing to11 points/win by 1.
Player/Team Responsibilities
• Commit to play all available games during the 5 week Session.
• It is the responsibility of the player to get a substitute player of similar skill level from the sub-list if you cannot attend. (sub-list will be provided with skill levels of each sub)
• Must notify the Court Captain with the name of their substitute.
• Conduct themselves in a safe and sportsman-like manner.
• It is the responsibility of the players to write the scores on the team schedule sheet provided by the administrator at the end of each game. Court captain will be in charge of the clipboard.
• Statistics will be based on the number of games won by the team over the four weeks.
• If there is a tie, total points other teams scored against you will be used as tiebreaker. Team with lowest
number of points scored upon will be declared the winner.
• A substitute can be called upon to play only if a regular player is unavailable for league play.
• Substitute players must be same level or close to the level of play for the particular court.
• There will be a backup sub-list provided.
• Each player is responsible for finding their replacement. If a replacement cannot be found, that team will forfeit all games for the night.
Winning a Court Level
• A team must strive to get the highest winning percentage of the available games during the session.
• Top two teams in intermediate and beginner must end up with 80.00% or higher at the end of the 4 weeks and if they choose can compete in the Mini-Tournament to advance to the next skill level if seats are available.
• Bottom two teams of advanced and intermediate with 79.99% or less at the end of the 4 weeks will play
in the Mini-tournament to remain in the existing skill level if challenged. If one spot is challenged, top team from the mini tournament remains/advances to next skill level. If two spots are challenged, two top teams from the mini tournament remain/advance to the next skill level group,
• Players cannot move more than 1 skill level per Session in either direction.
Mini-Tournament Rules:
• A Mini-tournament will be available at the end of each session if a lower court team meeting the
requirements challenges for an upper court if there is availability.
• One night of Playoffs playing each team in your skill level playoff once.
• All players above 80% in Advanced and Intermediate will stay in their skill level court.
• Top 2 teams in Intermediate (if having an 80%+ win average) can compete in a Mini-Tournament to gain a seat if a seat in Advanced is available.
• Top 2 teams in Beginner (if having an 80%+ win average) can compete in a Mini-Tournament to gain a seat if a seat in Intermediate is available.
• Those eligible on lower level courts to participate in the Mini-Tournament to gain a seat (if seat is available) in the next higher skill level court is voluntary.
• A Round Robin match will be played within each skill level. One game to 11, win by 1
• Top 2 teams of each court challenge will be/or stay seated in the next higher skill level Court if space allowed. (6 teams maximum per skill level) Points scored against your team will be used as a tie-breaker.
New Players into the League:
(if space available for Session II)
• Any new teams wishing to join the league will be placed at a skill level (Intermediate or Beginner) determined by the administrator based on previous knowledge and ability. They will not start out on Advanced. You must earn your way in.
At the end of the 4 week session, the top team in each group will be awarded a cash prize (amount to be
determined which is affected by number of participants).
NOTE: If there are less than 6 teams in challenging team’s group, only the TOP team if meeting 80%+ win average will be eligible to participate in the challenge and would challenge only the bottom team if at 79.9% or less win average in the next level group.
Simply stated:
If you’re in the Advanced group and have an 80%+ win average over 4 weeks, you remain in that level.

Bottom two teams at 79.9% or less win average can be challenged by two top Intermediate teams if each of those teams has 80%+ win average. If only one team from next level down has met requirements, bottom team in advanced group will be challenged.
If you’re in the Intermediate group and have an 80%+ win average over 4 weeks, you remain in that level.

Bottom two teams at 79.9% or less win average can be challenged by two top Beginner teams if each team has 80%+ win average. If only one team from next level down has met requirements, bottom team in intermediate group will be challenged.
Points will be used as tie breaker in determining ranking of each team in each group.

Teams eligible to challenge choose whether they wish to challenge to move up to next skill level for Session 11

Ocean City Tournament Success!

The Ocean City Pickleball Tournament was a huge success! Thank You to everyone who made it happen and all the Great Players! who came out for Great Pickleball!

A Special Big Thank You To Skip Alexander For Taking and Sharing These Great Photos!  Click Here to See The Album >


Photos Courtesy Skip Alexander Click Here to See The Album >

FSPC Spring News

From our Social Committee: We all had a great time at Lefty’s!  Who knew that one could have so much fun bowling!!  Well, I should know given that this was with pickleball players who know how to laugh and have so much great fun.


Thank you to John Crawford for getting us such a sweet deal at Lefty’s and inviting us to have such a fun evening.  There were a lot of laughs.  Thank you to the entire Social Committee for all the hard work you put into getting us out and about in the community for some crazy wonderful good times.

Please be sure to thank your social committee for such a great year of events!
The Social Committee is looking for some additional volunteers so if you are interested please reach out to De Raynes at

Words cannot express how grateful we all are for the time and energy that it takes to put on one of these events.  This has been such a wonderful year of fun in every one of these events. Thank you to all on the Social Committee for making this such a special year

Now, on to the Beach Blast 2017

We are sold out!!!  Wow!  What great support we are getting from the pickleball community.  We will be having open practice on May 19th from 3 PM on at the Dave Marshall and Fitness Center at the Plantations.

Sarah Ansboury will there on May 19th from 3 PM to 5PM to “play with the locals”. Weather permitting, we will be outside on the main court to watch play and at 5PM we are offering a cookout menu for a social to kick off the Beach Blast tournament.  We will be sending out a Sign-Genius to sign up and pay via PayPal.

The pool will be open, courts open for play and just some fun for FSPC members and all of the visiting pickleball players in town for the weekend.  Hope that many of you can make it out for fun time.

Thanks to Mike Jump and Nick Papson for handling all of the registration and tournament play set up on  They are both amazing men who happen to love pickleball and will be playing in the tournament.  Yay to their passion for the game and handling this tournament.

Local Clinics Led by the Pros: 

Sarah Ansboury is one of the top female pros in the country in both Women’s and Mixed Doubles.

Clinic will be held May 22-26 out at Sports at the Beach Sarah Ansboury will be offering clinics, semi-private.  Here is more information and link to register:

To Register : Click Here > 

For More Info :  Click Here

Prem Carnot “Pickleball Guru” of   “Smart Pickleball”

July 11 – 13 out at the Clayton Courts.

Sign Up through our website:

Here is what people say about Prem’s clinics so let’s sign up before this sells out.

FSPC Clinics  Local weekly clinics are being planned for the next couple of months out at Clayton, Sports at the Beach and Plantations/Dave Marshall’s. We will be sending out a Sign-up Genius for each one so that everyone knows that they have a place in the clinic.  Based on your feedback, we will be focusing on improving your level of skills and use of them in your game.  So many of us get stuck at just hitting like we are playing tennis when we all know that the game can be much more!!

Like….dinking!  It really does work and gives you a tremendous advantage over your opponents.

One of our goals is to help players improve their level of play by incorporating the specific skills and strategies of pickleball.  For me, getting to the kitchen line is the hardest part for me and utilizing dinking requires patience.  Not always a strength for me but I am working on it.  In the past two years, I have been so excited to watch the level of play in so many players rise to another level.  I am not just talking about our top players but many of the new to the game players who are growing leaps and bounds in their play.  Makes me want to puddle up when I think about it….

  • Nights with Nan is back out at Clayton Courts from 4 PM every M-W-F!!!
  • Skills & Drills every Monday ( Intermediate.advanced) and Tuesday Nights ( beginners) at Sports at the Beach
  • Georgia is offering intermediate and advanced clinic for FSPC members on Monday evenings out at the Lewes Canal courts at 5 PM. 

Player Safety: 

  • Protect your eyes!!!  If you see someone wearing protective eyewear, they most likely have had a close encounter with an errant ball of a paddle.  You can simply pick up a pair of glassless frames that would interfere with a pickleball getting through the frame to your eye.

Here is a video: “Protect your Eyes” from the Elliotts (Engage) website: frames to prevent the ball from reaching your eye for those not wanting to deal with any risk of a lens fogging up.

  • DO NOT go backwards for an overhead because if you fall down you may land on the back of your head and that is BAD!!  Here is a video by Deb Harrison on how to take a side step to run back for the overhead:
  • Do some stretches and warm ups before you get onto the court.  Most people hurt have not stretched.  It does not take much effort and it will keep you on the court much longer than those who do not.
  • Wear court shoes to avoid an injury.  Court shoes are all flat on the bottom and will help you keep your entire foot attached to the court surface.

Pickleball Advocacy

One of the functions of our club is to advocate for more indoor and outdoor pickleball facilities in Sussex County.  As the senior population continues to grow with all of the retirees moving here, we need and want more facilities for play.  Our focus is always to keep costs affordable as best we can.

Please remember to make your wishes known to your county council member and to the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commissioners who are working on the Comprehensive Plan.  Simply go to the website and put in your comments about the need for permanent pickleball facilities.  The link is available on our website  or you can go there now:

Sussex County does not have a recreation budget.  That was fine when this was only a summer tourist destination but now is a year-round community. Your input matters.   Builders have been very happy to build homes for seniors to buy.  We make up a very large percentage of the home buyers.  While it is wonderful that developers are putting in pickleball courts, it does not address the larger community need where we like to hold clinics, Challenges and tournaments for all to play.  We need to let the Council know that we really want an active, healthy lifestyle that includes permanent pickleball courts both indoors and out.  Please, do make sure that you get your input into the survey because it does matter.

Volunteers Needed

We really need your help in small tasks that are completed over time.  We are sending out a Sign-Up Genius so that you can easily sign up for areas that you would be interested in helping out.  Please consider one of the areas needed.

If you have special skills that you think would be a help, please reach out to us and let us know. You can contact Kathy Casey at if you would like to talk it over.   We need you!

US Open Pickleball Championships 2017

This is  great video summary of the event that we attended to support friends playing and just have the experience of being there.  I cannot tell you what a wonderful experience it was to just be there among the 1300 players playing.  Yes, that is correct – 1300 players!!!! Watching the Pros play was an amazing experience.  Their patience and finesse was so beautiful to watch.  Hanging out with Kim Gruber, Pink, Anne Pikolas, Lynn Casey, Jean Burgess, Marisa Chaves, Chiqui Gavilin, Marsha McLauren and Hildy Forman, Mary Conte and Deena, and Karen Gustafson was just so much fun.  We have already discussed our plans to head out next year! Joe Steel and his wife were there to watch the Gold medal matches on Sunday.  Mike Jump took Silver in the Men’s Singles – 50+ group!!!  Marsha and Mary took Bronze in Women’s doubles!  Irma Hernadez and Jane Jump also played in WD and were great in their play.  Tony Hernandez and Cheryl Tubbs, Rhonda and Keith Johnson played in MD as did Karen Gustafson and her partner from FL.  Can you believe how many FSPC players and attendees there were at the US Open Pickleball Championships?!?!

Well that is it for now.  Please Like Our First State Pickleball Club Facebook page for more updates and news!

See you on the court!! 
Kathy Casey
FSPC President