Blazing Paddles - A Pickleball Podcast

TCD Bootcamp at The Preston Playhouse (part 1)

June 02, 2024 John & Karen Whitaker / Renee Hinterlong, Lisa Ratcher Season 1 Episode 12
TCD Bootcamp at The Preston Playhouse (part 1)
Blazing Paddles - A Pickleball Podcast
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Blazing Paddles - A Pickleball Podcast
TCD Bootcamp at The Preston Playhouse (part 1)
Jun 02, 2024 Season 1 Episode 12
John & Karen Whitaker / Renee Hinterlong, Lisa Ratcher

Ready to unlock the secrets behind the meteoric rise of pickleball? Join us as we explore Preston Playhouse in Dallas, a facility that’s buzzing with energy thanks to its array of pickleball courts, Padel, Ping Pong, vintage video games, and a bar. You'll hear from local enthusiasts and facility operators about the challenges and triumphs of meeting the skyrocketing demand for indoor pickleball spaces, especially in hot climates. Plus, Renee Hinterlong, TCD Pickleball Director, shares the success story of their seasonal boot camps and the exciting expansion of indoor venues in Texas.

Our episode also delves into how unpredictable Texas weather has made indoor pickleball a sensation, attracting people of all ages. In this episode our guest recounts transforming from a skeptic to a pickleball advocate leading record-setting events and forming leagues that offer equal play. Schools are now incorporating this inclusive sport into their programs, providing a healthy alternative to screen time and building a vibrant pickleball community.

Take a trip down memory lane with us as we reminisce about our early pickleball days filled with makeshift courts and hilarious learning experiences. Hear about our journey from casual games to competitive matches, culminating in the launch of our apparel line, Dinkpro, featuring our fun-loving mascot, Sluggo. We also touch on the communal atmosphere that makes pickleball special, the structured boot camps that polish player skills, and the ongoing evolution of ladies and mixed leagues. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, this episode promises a deep dive into the sport’s explosive growth and the fun, inclusive community it fosters.

Special thanks to Crown Pickleball for their support and sponsorship! Don't waste money on balls that break, Crown pickleballs rarely crack, are more visible and have a higher spin rate than the competitors.
Use our link to receive a discount on your next purchase! https://crownpickleball.store/blazingpaddles

Have a suggestion for a guest or topic you'd like to see us address?
Hit me up at john@dink.pro or shout out on social:
Instagram
Twitter

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to unlock the secrets behind the meteoric rise of pickleball? Join us as we explore Preston Playhouse in Dallas, a facility that’s buzzing with energy thanks to its array of pickleball courts, Padel, Ping Pong, vintage video games, and a bar. You'll hear from local enthusiasts and facility operators about the challenges and triumphs of meeting the skyrocketing demand for indoor pickleball spaces, especially in hot climates. Plus, Renee Hinterlong, TCD Pickleball Director, shares the success story of their seasonal boot camps and the exciting expansion of indoor venues in Texas.

Our episode also delves into how unpredictable Texas weather has made indoor pickleball a sensation, attracting people of all ages. In this episode our guest recounts transforming from a skeptic to a pickleball advocate leading record-setting events and forming leagues that offer equal play. Schools are now incorporating this inclusive sport into their programs, providing a healthy alternative to screen time and building a vibrant pickleball community.

Take a trip down memory lane with us as we reminisce about our early pickleball days filled with makeshift courts and hilarious learning experiences. Hear about our journey from casual games to competitive matches, culminating in the launch of our apparel line, Dinkpro, featuring our fun-loving mascot, Sluggo. We also touch on the communal atmosphere that makes pickleball special, the structured boot camps that polish player skills, and the ongoing evolution of ladies and mixed leagues. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, this episode promises a deep dive into the sport’s explosive growth and the fun, inclusive community it fosters.

Special thanks to Crown Pickleball for their support and sponsorship! Don't waste money on balls that break, Crown pickleballs rarely crack, are more visible and have a higher spin rate than the competitors.
Use our link to receive a discount on your next purchase! https://crownpickleball.store/blazingpaddles

Have a suggestion for a guest or topic you'd like to see us address?
Hit me up at john@dink.pro or shout out on social:
Instagram
Twitter

Speaker 1:

Hey, how you doing.

Speaker 2:

Hey, I'm just hanging out at the Preston Playhouse hey.

Speaker 1:

Picklers. This is a first for us, first remote podcast, and I think it won't be our last. We're out here at Preston Playhouse in Dallas. They've only been open six weeks. Can you believe it?

Speaker 2:

I don't and I can't believe that I played here, maybe even the first week that they opened, and didn't even know that that was the case. Oh, that's right. It was really awesome and this place is pretty cool.

Speaker 1:

I mean it looks like I'm not sure what do they have? 10 courts One, two, three, four, five I'm trying to count them but they also have Padel, they also have Ping Pong, they also have vintage video games and they have a bar.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's nice. Where's the bar? Do they have Bloody Marys?

Speaker 1:

They sell ranch waters here. I know they're a partner with Casa Amigos. They said so. That's always good to know, but this is a fun one. We're going to talk to various people throughout the day some of the organizers, some of the players, hopefully a pro or two, because with the explosion of this sport, we were talking to people last night. There was three or four different people. They're all opening facilities. I mean, this area is a pickleball, facilities are going to be that's the thing huge and it's here with the heat and all that did you hear what he was saying too, about how, for every 400 people who play pickleball, you need an indoor facility every what no 400.

Speaker 2:

A guy last night was saying that he's having to build another facility 10 minutes from one of his facilities just to, because that's how many people, so they know, basically the critical mass and that's in maryland, yeah yeah, yeah, and I think that one thing they're all finding out it's it's not like they're hiding their secrets or anything, they're all openly.

Speaker 1:

Hey, good, good for you, open more facilities, because there's plenty of players and the demand is crazy. One day we'll see if this levels out, but it's certainly not happening anytime soon.

Speaker 2:

That's right. All right, let's get some more pickleball.

Speaker 1:

Let's get remote. Hello Picklers Blazing Paddles, episode 12, marching Forward. Anybody who's involved in league play is probably familiar with an organization called TCD and it stands, ironically enough, for Tennis Competitors of Dallas. And it is quite an important organization in the local area. And we're talking to two ladies here today, renee Hinterlong and Lisa Ratcher. You're going to hear Karen interview each of them. We were lucky enough to go to the Preston Playhouse this last week and observe and participate in the TCD boot camp for their members. Preston Playhouse, unbelievable facility. But this is going to be part one of a two-part episode. We hope you enjoy it. Let's take a listen. Saddle up, you'll be glad you did you enjoy it.

Speaker 3:

Let's take a listen, saddle up, you'll be glad you did. My name is Renee Hinnerlong and I am the TCD Pickleball Director. I actually started the league in the fall of 2020 and this particular event is the second one we've had and it it's our end-of-the-season kind of fun little boot camp that we're offering our membership and that's basically what we're doing and it was such a big hit last year. We had over 100 people come and play with us at the Oasis last year and it was a big hit. Everybody was like we want it, keep coming, keep coming. So we decided because the weather was kind of goofy last year with this type of year, so we decided that we were going to do indoor locations. It has turned out, obviously. I thought last night I'm like, yes, make it rain. You know, this is the reason that we're doing it indoor and, of course, it's a beautiful day out today, right of course, that's the way it goes.

Speaker 3:

We find it really fun that there are more and more indoor facilities opening up throughout the Metroplex and I know and I'm just going to name drop here Pickleball Kingdom's got several that are either under construction or soon will be.

Speaker 2:

Last night we were actually at a networking event where they had, I believe, three people that were. There are building indoor facilities, so the more. Yes, so it's coming, and you know what it's needed, because the weather in Texas is so unpredictable.

Speaker 3:

Well, for one, it's so hot in the summertime and in the spring you've got the wind and the rain, and in the fall it's hot until like November, and in the fall it's hot until like November. So I think this is just a plus, plus for everybody that wants to play. Yes, I agree.

Speaker 2:

How many ladies?

Speaker 3:

Well, we've got two sites and we've got 50 at each location. So we're playing here at the Preston Playhouse and then at DIP, which is down the street a little bit. I've never been to DIP.

Speaker 2:

I haven't either.

Speaker 3:

actually I haven't been to very many of the indoor facilities. I don't get out much. I seem to be behind my computer a lot.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's no fun.

Speaker 3:

This is all kind of new to me too, but it's just really exciting. So how did you? How did you get into?

Speaker 3:

I have been with TCD for over 30 years okay so I started off in the tennis side, obviously, and I've been on different boards and in fact, in 2012, when I was presiding on the tennis board, my associate director came up with this idea of playing pickleball and I remember everybody on the board was like just trying to pick the name apart. We were like, what is this? So we actually are in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most pickleball players playing at one time in one location, and we ended up having this tournament. We had like over 300 people that came, players come. We got these two pros from California, because that was really hitting big in California, and so we had these two pros come and show us how to play and work with everybody. We had the Guinness Book of World Records there and it was a fabulous event.

Speaker 3:

And you know, up until like 2019, you started to hear more about it In 2020, I went to my. I was on the board and I said all right, I think that we're going to have a missed opportunity if TCD does not address the pickleball phenomena that is going on in this country. I mean, and so I got a committee together. At that time there were no facilities. There was no tennis organization or pickleball organization that had leagues like what I envisioned. So I worked with a guy.

Speaker 2:

You're a visionary. I'm just going to say you saw the writing on the wall.

Speaker 3:

And it was fun Besides that. It was just fun. So, long story short, I got with this guy in Arizona and I talked to him and I kind of liked his format and I said, all right, and I got a hold of some players that I knew from tennis and that were starting to play. You know, back then pickleball was just played at the tournaments that you know, the USA Pickleball, would you know have? I got a committee together and I made my team at the time go out and I'd say, all right, today we're going to do this format and because I'm not going to send anybody to a match unless they can get an hour and a half to two hours of play, because no one's going to want to do that, right, so we came up with a format and we came, you know, did the rules and bylaws.

Speaker 3:

You know we did all that set up the score sheets. You know I remember going to one of the girls that used to be on my tennis team she's a real good player and I said, okay, ellen. I said if you were to travel and you were to play another team, would you like it to be set up the same way that tennis is that we have tennis, or would you prefer to do a round robin format and play against everybody?

Speaker 3:

and she said you know, I think I'd like to play against everybody and I said I agree with you and the other good thing about that is everybody on your team really is of equal talent, because you're not going to have, like in tennis, you're not going to have different levels of ability and then place them because you're, the lines are stacked, so you've got one, two, three. Usually the line one player is your are your best players, right? So no one wants to play down here on three, or I guess they've got four, four, uh, four lines. No one's going to be the one that's at the bottom. They're going to feel like they're, you know, not good, you know. So anyway, I wanted to get rid of all that drama and so that's kind of where we came up with that format.

Speaker 2:

Interesting that you say the line thing, because I'm not from tennis, so I and I, as my captains, were talking about okay, you're line one, line two. I didn't ask, I just was like, oh okay.

Speaker 3:

No, and it doesn't matter. In pickleball, no, because you're playing everybody.

Speaker 2:

Right, exactly that's what I love about it. I do too.

Speaker 3:

Well, it makes everybody feel appreciated.

Speaker 2:

When they say I'm line three, I'm like, all right, they think I'm the worst and then I go out there. Yeah, no kidding.

Speaker 3:

I mean, usually, if I get put on that line, I probably have the toughest team to play against, you know Right. So I'm like, really so but yeah, I think it just keeps growing and growing every year and we're just really excited about it.

Speaker 2:

I just think that I mean when do you think it ends, or where do you think it ends? I mean now the kids are getting involved. Our courts, where we live, are just being inundated with kids and I love it because it's getting them away from their phones, away from their computers, out there, you know, in the fresh air.

Speaker 3:

I feel that I believe my kids are grown and I've got grandkids, so I mean I'm not in that environment necessarily anymore exposed to it that much. But from what I understand, there's elementary schools and junior high are introducing it in their gym classes, so I'm very optimistic that it's just going to continue to grow. I mean, the thing is, tennis has been around for a long time and I love tennis too, but this is just like brand new. This is just something that's brand new and it's a challenge to everybody. You know they don't have any preconceived whatever, it's just fun.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and it seems to be like an easier access into. For years I had friends that were like, oh, you should come out and join the tennis, but I was so I felt like I was too old, I didn't have the years of experience so I was intimidated. And I don't feel intimidated with pickleball and I feel like that's why it's like an easy access or way into a sport. And the other thing about it is that you know you can't judge anyone by the way they look in this.

Speaker 3:

Oh, you can't judge anybody by the way they look in tennis either. Let me tell you the worst players are coming out, the hardest players are coming out with all the knee braces and yeah no, they just know where to place the ball.

Speaker 2:

That's. That is one of the things, and it's interesting when I play, you know, I'm a I'm a middle as the riddle girl because I don't have the angles from tennis. I relish it when I I'm playing with a girl who has the tennis background, cause I know I can play the middle safe and she can. You know, if I create an opportunity for a put away, they can get those angles so well, it's really nice.

Speaker 3:

And how long?

Speaker 2:

have you been playing? Well, we were pandemic picklers. So March of 2020, and they had taken down all of the nets and we set up a pickleball net in the parking lot of our local park, bicentennial, bicentennial. We even have a picture of it. And then from there it went to playing in the street, chalking it off.

Speaker 2:

And we didn't know, any of the rules. Yeah, we would put the net up. Car would come, we'd move the net, put card leave, put the net back. We had no idea what kitchen was. We had no idea what that you could. We thought you could serve twice, like in tennis.

Speaker 1:

And you didn't even get a start about the scoring. How long it took.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, the scoring Okay okay, I agree with you.

Speaker 3:

I'm I. It was hilarious.

Speaker 4:

Every time.

Speaker 3:

I would have to go up and say the score. I'm like I know I'm going to mess this up. I know I am and I typically do, and everybody. Then you get crazy. Then you get crazy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So then we went to a camp and we were like, oh dinking, you're not supposed to just sit at the back and bang away. And you know, we sustained so many injuries early on from playing wrong. But we were having fun, we didn't care. We had such a good time that first year because no one was playing. We had the courts all to ourselves and our group of friends just would go out for six and seven hours. No one was out there, we had no competition. And then more people started playing and John still wanted to play for fun. And all of a sudden I'm in competitive mode I'm like I want to get better.

Speaker 1:

Well, when she says John wanted to play for fun, she said well, you know what's fun Winning, Winning is fun.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, do you agree with me? No, I do. I lean that way in most parts.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, it's Well. Thank you so much for inviting us out. Thank you, francine. Felt very highly of you. She's a doll. I love her. That's the thing about pickleball, too is like I have not met anyone in this sport that I just don't love. We all lift each other up, help each other out, and I think it's because it's so early on that, you know, everyone's trying to figure this thing out. There's room for everyone. You're absolutely right. I mean the podcast. There's plenty of them out there, and I'm sure that'll continue to grow.

Speaker 1:

you know we have an apparel line of pickleball clothing and that's gonna.

Speaker 2:

And when we started, that there was this online. What's that address? What uh dinkpro? You should check us out actually I'm wearing one of them. That's really cool, and we? Our tagline is live love play.

Speaker 3:

I love that. I actually like that. Yeah, that's. I was looking at that and I thought that is such a cute emoji.

Speaker 2:

Isn't it? That's our mascot, Sluggo. The whole idea behind him is he's got the look of determination in his eye. He's got a scuff on his cheek because when you learn this sport, you get beat up. But he's smiling because he's having fun. What is the name of your? Dinkpro?

Speaker 3:

Dinkpro.

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay, I'm going to look you up. He's copyrighted. We started trademarking our logo over a year ago. It took us about I don't know 14 months, 15 months, which is a little bit longer than it normally takes, but I think it's because they got inundated with a bunch of pickleball and they needed to make sure. But but I think it's because they got inundated with a bunch of pickleball and they needed to make sure, but we just got our certification. Now is this SPF.

Speaker 3:

No, I'd have to check on this one, but we do have other long-sleeve. I wear long-sleeve because of the sun, but I like the SPF so that I can be out there.

Speaker 2:

This one's a little thick, like feel it. It's a little thicker than so. You probably wouldn't wear this in the sunshine. You'd wear it in the. It's adorable.

Speaker 3:

I love it. I love your little dude, I love that attitude.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, he's been fun, everyone loves him and that's why we have the stickers, we have the little buttons for the end of a paddle and buttons for the end of a paddle, and he's on a lot of our clothes. Our whole premise was to create a line of clothing that, if you're a pickleballer, you see me, you see this, you're gonna go hey, do you play pickleball?

Speaker 2:

Now? This is a unisex. This is the idea of the stuff that we have. I love it. I'm showing her the weather shirt which says precipitation 10 percent humidity, 39 percent wind, nine miles per hour, chance of pickleball 100 percent.

Speaker 3:

That is adorable and I love that color. Yeah, this is the.

Speaker 2:

UV. Oh, it is UV.

Speaker 3:

Oh, okay, that is so fun. Is that online now? Oh, wow, I'm going to go check you guys out, you should.

Speaker 2:

Well, renee, thanks for talking to us. We're excited to see what today is. Hopefully we get to interview some of the players. Oh, we see there's Ann from our Southlake. There you go, you got to get.

Speaker 3:

Lisa over here. Lisa is our past presiding. She was the president last year, and so she's a wealth of information and she's very fun, very bubbly.

Speaker 1:

You know, guys, there's not much that's wrong with pickleball, but there are a few things that can be annoying, one of which is having balls that crack, and if you've been out there lately, temperatures dropping, balls are cracking, they're. Also. If you play indoors, or if you're playing when the visibility is not great, that ball gets lost pretty easily in your eyesight, and we know that people are hitting it harder and harder. So you'd like something a little bit higher visibility. So we are here to announce our partnership with Crown Pickleball. In our show notes you'll have a link where you can get a discount for your first set of Crown Pickleballs. I can tell you that they don't crack. They beat the price point of the competitors. They beat the quality of the competitors. So as the temperature gets cold, they beat the price point of the competitors and they beat the quality of the competitors. So as the temperature gets cold, get you some crowns, because otherwise you're going to have a lot of cracked balls, which is great for my wife's crafts, but not so great for competitive play.

Speaker 4:

Thank you, my name is Lisa Ratcher. I am the past presiding director for Tennis Competitors of Dallas, which means last year I was the presiding director or the president, and now I am the past president.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so tell us, how many years have you been doing the bootcamp? Well, I'm sure.

Speaker 4:

Renee spoke about pickleball's inception to TCD was fall of 2020. And I became. That was my first. It was actually everybody's first introduction to pickleball, really on this scale. I started a team, so I'm one of the original captains. Yep. I had a women's team. I still do. Some of my players are playing today. How many?

Speaker 3:

flights were there. Oh my gosh.

Speaker 4:

Very few, very few and, as a matter of fact, up until fall of 2023, pickleball was only being. What do you say? Not outshined by tennis but, for lack of better words, by one team. So we have six leagues within our organization. We have four tennis leagues and the two pickleball leagues.

Speaker 4:

So, up until fall of 2023, pickleball was only being outdone by one team, so it was four to two. Right as of spring 2024, pickleball has taken the leap and we had way more teams for the two leagues in pickleball that are new to the organization than we did in tennis. So it is, if that doesn't tell you, in and of itself, the growth of the sport, I don't know what does Right.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean all this is pretty unbelievable, isn't it?

Speaker 4:

I mean, just look around these, these are popping up everywhere and I don't know how you were introduced to pickleball, but I can tell you for myself we've moved nine times throughout my marriage and one of the times we lived in New Jersey and we decided we have a RV, we decided to go to Florida and we're at this incredible RV park and we heard the noise. So we're walking around and it was an RV park where you could, you know, you had your big RVs and then you could have people had like little bungalows, so big retirement community. We're walking around and there's these people, elderly people playing this sport. So, as a predominant tennis player, I said what is this? And this elderly gentleman said this is pickleball. And so he took my husband and I, who's also a tennis player, and he said grab some paddles and let me tell you what this sport is all about.

Speaker 4:

Let me show you nice, oh my gosh so we've been here seven years, for Prior to this we were in Ohio for four years, so 11.

Speaker 2:

So about 14 years ago? Wow, really I wish I would have started 14 years ago.

Speaker 4:

So then we played and we thought it was so cool and we were there for like another four days and we would go and you'd sign up. And we did for four days, had a blast, went back to New Jersey, told some of my people, have you heard of this thing called pickleball? And they were like what? No, what is it? Tried to tell them and they were like I had.

Speaker 4:

I had a really good friend of mine who actually I made eat crow a couple of years ago because she said that'll never take on. And I said I don't know, sister, you know it's going to have something's going to pop with this. And sure enough it's unbelievable, it is. And now the growth is. I can't tell you the last time I actually saw somebody quote, unquote elderly playing. Now it's gotten a hold of young, young kids. This is a sport that really, you know, tennis takes a lot of money and time to be good. Pick a ball. I tell people who are looking for teams listen, watch a YouTube video, get the basics down, go out and hit a couple of times and you're going to be amazing. And so, and that's that's the thing I love about it is that anybody can play anybody and be good.

Speaker 4:

Right Tennis, it does. It takes money and time.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I dabbled a little bit. Just took a couple of lessons, my son all of a sudden decided never played tennis and decided in high school oh, I want to play tennis. And I'm like, well, you've never done it before. So we took a couple of lessons over a summer and then John and I tried it together and he got mad because I could keep the ball in the court and so he gave he quit on me. So when he found pickleball he said we got to try the sport. It looks so fun and I'm like not another sport that you're going to quit on me.

Speaker 4:

And here we are. It's amazing. My husband plays too. I got my husband to play and my husband, who is a phenomenal tennis player he actually prefers pickleball over tennis. Now, and I think that's what's going to happen. It's so much fun.

Speaker 2:

It's like sometimes we're on our pickleball courts that share a tennis their line for tennis too, yeah, and we've got two courts going and we're laughing, cutting up and no one looks fancy or anything you know, and then over there you'll have the I call it like ballet.

Speaker 4:

Very serious, very serious.

Speaker 2:

The ball, nobody's talking.

Speaker 4:

And you know I associate pickleball players to surfers, Right, they're like hey, dude, come on, join in. Yes.

Speaker 3:

The more the merrier you got music Cool, they're like skateboarders too.

Speaker 2:

How about that Same vibe, right or not? Skateboarders what do you call it? Snowboarders? Yeah, they're all the same right.

Speaker 4:

It's a different vibe. It's more low-key, a lot more inclusive, happy, fun. And don't get me wrong, Tennis is phenomenal. I love tennis, but it is a serious, very uptight kind of sport and this vibe is not. It is a fun. Let's play music, let's talk. There's a lot of people going back and forth, you know, as tennis players it's. You know, two people on the court or four people on the court. Nobody walk around me, Don't do this, Don't do that. So I do think that this is such a more inclusive, happier vibe. It is.

Speaker 2:

When did you get serious about pickleball? When did you kind of transition, or are you?

Speaker 4:

serious. Like I said, I really like pickleball. I do, but I still I do play tennis. I do play. I have not, do you?

Speaker 2:

have a hard time going back and forth.

Speaker 4:

I do not. I find that the pickleball has made my tennis better because those finesse I'm a net player, so those dinking shots, those finesse shots just make my finesse at the net better. Now I don't think that tennis makes pickleball better, because tennis you want to hit the ball hard and so in this sport it's a lot more finesse. You can do hit the ball hard, but you really need to know when to not hit the ball hard. So for me, like I said, this has made my tennis better. I I love, like I just love the atmosphere, I, I I love the, the, the amount of people, I like the, the, the talking, and the and the, the pace. And I think the way we have formatted our leagues with the, with the round Robin style. There's no hierarchy, right, there's still that hierarchy in tennis like oh, you're, you're, you're, you know, line one, whereas which is silly to me, because line one's two points aren't any less significant than line four's two points.

Speaker 4:

right, two points are two points, but in pickleball everybody plays everybody. So that's what I love about that.

Speaker 2:

I do too. I do too. So what are the instructors working on and tell us about the?

Speaker 4:

bootcamp. For us this is new. This is the third. This is actually the second quote unquote bootcamp. The first time we had a pickleball event and we didn't have pros there. Last year we did have pros and we were at Oasis and the pros and the pros travel to the women. And so here at this facility, the pros are traveling to the women and some courts are working on serving, Some courts are working on driving, Some courts are working on blocking. So it's a really good way for women to leave their facilities, come to a different facilities and get trained by different pros and open up their eyes to other possibilities to play the sport.

Speaker 4:

I love it yes exactly Right, probably next year. Our calendars are made a year in advance and so this was on the docket since last year. So there will more than likely be another one next year, and as this league is growing, we're adding different things as well. Now I don't know if Renee spoke about we're doing an indoor ladies pickleball summer.

Speaker 2:

I saw that because I'm into TCD teams. I'm on the mix. Okay, perfect, there you go.

Speaker 4:

So I don't know if Renee told you, but TCD pickleball is the largest organized competitive league play in the United States.

Speaker 4:

I did not know that, which means for us like okay. So TCD is one of the largest organized competitive tennis leagues in the United States as well. I think we're only outshined by Alta, which is in Atlanta, and the only reason why Alta outshines us is because they have a junior league and a senior league and there's this Monday through Friday, whereas here in Texas we compete with USTA, and so you know we kind of divide up the seasons TCD has spring and fall and USTA has pretty much summer and winter. For us, this TCD pickleball is the largest organized league play, not tournaments, right, you can find big tournaments, but this is league play that is organized every week with seasons, with traveling teams. So that's pretty amazing in and of itself.

Speaker 2:

It really is, and I think I find it really fun because you're traveling a little bit farther, so you're getting. You know, I'm very familiar with all the ladies in that right but because they're in surrounding areas and a lot of them play at the same places. So with TCD it's cool because we get to go to other facility farther away, meet new people and experience different skill levels. It's interesting. I think we're in flight three in TCD and we were flight one in net Okay, and we just won our TCD women's. We came in first.

Speaker 4:

Okay, so you got first place, so you'll be moving up. Yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

Which is scary and fun all together.

Speaker 4:

Yes, it is. It's challenging right. I mean that's our, it's in our name competitors, so we. There has been a little bit of a growing pains when it comes to placement because we're taking, when we, when we accept new teams. There's a litany of paperwork that you have to fill out, and so it.

Speaker 4:

you know that's very detailed. Do you have a duper rating? Do you have a? Have you played in tournaments? How often do you play? Do you seek pros? Do you do you take lessons from pros?

Speaker 4:

You know we don't have pickleball, what it's neglecting.

Speaker 4:

So somebody out there should really start almost like an official rating, like a duper, but duper is only if you play tournaments.

Speaker 4:

So somehow, or another duper or somebody else needs to come up with a concept of a USTA to where you can get your rating and it's a solid rating, so that when we go to place you in a team, we have something that's really concrete For us. We're taking a mixture of predominant USTA right tennis. However, we have found that if you're a high tennis player, you're probably going to be a high pickleball player, but that's not always the case. So there's been some growing pains of new teams coming in and being placed maybe below where they should, and then they start to raise up, but it takes a while. And then they start to raise up, but it takes a while. Now we're finding in the ladies leagues of pickleball it is starting to clean itself up and we're getting people where they should be and making it competitive, because none of us want to show up to a match and be blown out in five minutes or 10 minutes right.

Speaker 4:

I mean we play the round robin style, but if you've got a team that is just so much better than it really doesn't take, you know, 30 minutes for them to blow you out 11-0 or 11-2 or 11-3. So we are in. Ladies, it is finally getting to be your where you need to be mixed. We're still having a little bit of hiccups, and we still may have that, because the leagues are growing so much that we are only able to place people based on the information we're given.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and also I mean just from my experience. I have a friend of mine who he's like she's a good pickleballer, he's exceptional. So there's a huge variance between them, their skill levels, but they're on the same team. So that's where I think it's going to be harder with duper. We tried it as a club during rec play and it was did not work. So I agree with you 100, even for tournaments, it's not working. I mean, there's so much sandbagging. That's why I want to do tournaments, but I'm not doing until that gets worked out for sure, right, because it's a waste of money.

Speaker 4:

It can be a little humiliating, right, like you. Somebody shows up and you're, you're, you're, you're rating a 3-0. So you play a 3-0, but you're really playing a 4-5. Who can be a 3-0? Because the duper you know so that it is, it can be. It can be very demoralizing.

Speaker 2:

Oh we, the last that John and I did, and I think it was the Texas Open, I can't remember, but that's the one where it was like the writing's on the wall. Here we were playing against a lady. She may have been a true three between three, five and four, but playing in three Right. And then she had a guy who was 5-0 playing and I'm like I paid all that money to play three games and then we're out.

Speaker 4:

And it does, like I said, it's demoralizing, right? Like you come with really the best of intentions and you want to have fun and when that happens, you're like, oh, that wasn't really any fun and it makes you less likely to enter another tournament, just like you're saying. You're like I'm not going to do it, I'm going to wait for a minute. Which is why I think TCD is phenomenal, because it gives you that league play on a weekly basis to satiate the need of competitive fun play.

Speaker 4:

I do not play in any tournaments. I will tell you, I did play in one and it was the same thing and I thought why. It was a lot of money, you know, like $150. And it was one and done because the weather. They had to change the format because the weather was really bad, and so it was a one and done and you're like, okay, wait a minute and then come to find out and I'm not the kind of person who researches and, oh my gosh, she's really a five. Oh, you know, I, to me, anybody can win on any given day, right, but when, when there's that big of a discrepancy, you know Like, come on, you know.

Speaker 2:

Are you really having fun? That's right, you're going to enjoy your gold medal, that's right, you know seriously, We'll get you the gold medal.

Speaker 4:

But I mean, how great was that for you?

Speaker 2:

No, not at all. Yes, yes, so it'll be a while, but that's what I'm loving. I mean, tell us about the summer one. Well, that's new.

Speaker 4:

So it's, it's called, it's going to be, it's an indoor, uh summer. It's only five weeks. It starts May 31st and it ends, uh, whatever, the last Friday in June is. You know, we, we felt that, uh, there, we, all of these facilities, also Texas heat, right, we, we don't want these ladies out there. It just gets at 109 degrees. It's crazy. We've actually changed some of our tcd rules for extreme weather temps, how heavy we have. So to protect the ladies and with all, to utilize some of these great facilities, um, we, we renee, put forth an indoor summer league and, uh, there's three flights. I think there's a flight one, a flight two and a flight three. Uh, there's facilities throughout the Metroplex. I'm playing out of McKinney. There's DIP there's. Who else is playing? Mckinney's got some DIP.

Speaker 2:

What about Frisco?

Speaker 4:

Frisco? No, allen, I don't think any. Of the lifetime facilities? No, I don't think so, but it's on our website, right? So all the information is there, the teams are formed and they're getting ready to start in just a few weeks, exciting.

Speaker 2:

Very exciting, yes, and what a way to beat the Texas heat by playing indoors, absolutely Especially right now, for whatever reason. The last two summers, the humidity, the dew, point is extremely. It's hard to breathe.

Speaker 3:

summers, the humidity the dew point is extremely it's hard to breathe, it is, it's killer.

Speaker 2:

In my match the other day I felt like I was getting lightheaded. I thought I was by my eighth or sixth game. I was seeing stars.

Speaker 4:

Well, you know, I'm a I'm a certified paramedic and I can't tell you how many times as not only a tennis player, but a pickle player that I've been a pickleball player I've been called to courts to help with heat exhaustion.

Speaker 2:

Oh really.

Speaker 4:

So it's a thing, and I think, having the availability to come indoors who wouldn't want that? And I think, if you think about how awesome this could be, we expand to winter as well, right, because people want to play more and you're just giving them the opportunity to do just that.

Speaker 2:

It is such a bummer when I get up. I got up early yesterday morning. I'm like, okay, we have practice, ladies practice, we practice on Mondays and Thursdays, and so I get up earlier on those days to be ready and get out there and we got two games. We went one and a half game in and we had to vacate the courts and that just ruins my whole day because that's my exercise, and then I didn't close my rings. I'm all mad, yeah, but you know, like so and I do think.

Speaker 4:

I think, with this sport in particular, it affords that right. Like I don't, I don't ever see us doing indoor tennis because there's not enough of those. Well, there's several facilities, but there's, so there's, you know, 8,000 people so you can accommodate. And, uh, I don't ever see TCD becoming an indoor kind of a league. But the affordability for pickleball at the smaller sizes and how it's, there's so many more that are opening up, why not?

Speaker 2:

Let me ask you this so do you and your husband play together? We?

Speaker 3:

do I love it.

Speaker 2:

John and I are very, very few, like of the very few couples that we find. We call it pickle divorce.

Speaker 4:

A lot of people you know, we've been married 34 years and have been through everything, and so I were. You know, I don't think pickleball is gonna gonna break us, and my husband has got a very, very chill attitude. He's like you know, although I am more competitive, but his thing is, you know, listen, listen, somebody's got to win and somebody's got to lose. I'm like you're right, but it ain't going to be us, babe.

Speaker 2:

You know that's what you and I are. Okay, we're the same. John wants to play for fun. I said winning is fun.

Speaker 4:

I don't mind losing right, as long as it's a good match.

Speaker 3:

If that's a competitive match, then that's awesome.

Speaker 4:

But again, if I'm blown out or I knew I could have played better, or God forbid he's off or whatever, Right, Um, but I always said, because I have, I have a mixed pickleball team and a mixed tennis team and I said if I could get up either team with all married couples, I'd call us divorce court. I have, I have a couple on my tennis team who God bless them the nicest people, but she's intense and every single match that they play, as soon as they get off the court he goes hey, everybody, guess what? We're still married, you know. And uh, so there's been some, you know, some, some, some firecrackers and I'm on my mixed team Now I have a couple of firecracker people to where one of my female players has said you know, we don't always have to play together because you know the ride home can be really hard sometimes.

Speaker 2:

I wish John was have in on this conversation right now, but uh, yeah, he, uh, we, we felt all those pains we actually almost got. Oh no, but we fought.

Speaker 2:

Oh, no, oh no, but we fought through. We gave ourselves a timeline. It was a tournament and I think it was the Texas Open. And boy I'll tell you what After that defeat. It was so bad and it was so hot that day. I remember, just coming home, I was just drenched and there's a picture of me just sitting there with my hands on my head and and I was like gosh, if I was going to lose I wouldn't want to lose with anyone but?

Speaker 4:

him.

Speaker 2:

And that was kind of like what the turning point was, and it's been a long learning curve for us to get to where you know, saying anything doesn't set the other person off and for sure.

Speaker 2:

I mean, a couple of weeks ago we were out there playing and whatever reason. It got a little hot and back and forth and I, I called time and I walked off the court and he's like, what are you doing? You're embarrassing. I'm like, we're not. I'm not going on there until we figure this out. We got a timeout Cause I, we're for sure, and I have to say I don't know about you.

Speaker 4:

Like you say each other. I will say in full, you know, full transparency. It's usually me snipping at him Because he's like, like I said, his attitude is just so chill, but I know, and he is the consummate gentleman.

Speaker 4:

So we all say, listen, she's the weaker player, let's hit to her, or I'll use the terrible word let's hit at her. And he's like I will never hit at her. I said, ok, let's just hit to her. I'm not meaning to, I don't want you to hurt her. Yeah, I don't want you to throttle her. But you know like just more of the shots should go her way. And it usually you know and and and and. Sometimes it is a man who's who's not. You know she's the superstar and I'll be like let's, you know, let's aim the ball at him. No, he just he has the and he is from California, so we'll give him the, the surfer snowboard attitude. It's all cool, whatever. And at the end you know what he's really right. He is right because it is just for fun. And at the end of the, at the end of the thing, as long as it was fun and whatever I can, I can let it go.

Speaker 2:

And because I don't have tennis and my tennis girls that are in my pickleball leagues help me with this. But I don't tend to look at the people I'm playing against and pick out their weaknesses, and that's so new to me and they all do it. They're like, hey, this one's stronger. And then I'm like, but to me, and I got to get better at it. But I mean, I'm trying to make the best shot, I think for sure, and so I don't know if I'm doing it right or not. I just I know that, um, I, I, if I have too much in my head, I can't. I think there's a lot of thinking. To pick a ball, it's a mental game, it's strategic.

Speaker 4:

And so I think in tennis, right, and you got to think, in tennis you have a lot more time actually to get more points right, like pickleball is pretty quick, so you have to really glean a lot of information pretty quickly. And I think that the tennis has helped because you know like I always look okay, are they lefties? Okay, put it where their forehand is, are they? Is their backhand weak, right, that kind of thing Are they? Is their backhand weak, right? That kind of thing Are they? Do they? Are they fast, are they?

Speaker 4:

Although that can bite you in the, in the butt, because I remember when my first tennis matches years and years ago, my, my real good friend and I had finally been asked to be on a team and our first matches against these elderly women, and I swear to you they had every brace that you could have Wrist brace, elbow brace, knee brace, ankle brace, I mean every brace you could have and I thought I went up to my partner I said, oh, this is a slam dunk. We were young, I was a late tennis boomer, so I was early 40s. I'm like we got this, we're in shape.

Speaker 4:

We got it those women mopped the court with us. They, they had full regalia makeup on. One of them even stopped to put some powder on and redo her her lipstick. We were drenched in sweat, we were I mean, we were like huffing, we could barely breathe. These women were just, you know, put talk about strategic right, and so then that made me appreciate listen, it's not really what you look like, how old you are, whatever. It's about how smart of a player you are, and that's where the strategy comes in. And some of those cues of you know her backhand is worse or you know whatever, picking up on those Because, like I said, you have a finite amount of time to bring in these points and you can't, you can't go down a set and go like, okay, this, I got it, all the information, it's done.

Speaker 4:

So I do think that that is an important part of this game is is is some, you know, strategizing? Oh for sure.

Speaker 2:

First, there were a lot of bangers for sure, for sure.

Speaker 4:

Tennis players absolutely.

Speaker 2:

And now our teams are rising to a level where you're about 60, 40 maybe, and the higher you get in the flights, the more the soft game comes into play, and so that's really what we've been working on and finally coming together, because John would love to just wail away at the ball, my husband too.

Speaker 2:

And I'm like the smarter shot is to drop it. We can't ever win. And now, playing against bangers, we're winning because we're taking their ability to keep us back. Be on the defense the whole time. I'm never going to have putaways, like some of my tennis, ladies that are in pickleball. I mean just don't, I don't have.

Speaker 4:

My, my. I have a pretty regular partner on my ladies team and we've got a really good marriage on the court. She, she's, really, we balance each other out. She is a like a gazelle, super fast, incredibly athletic, smart player. She likes to hit the ball hard too. So I balance her out because I can tell her, you know, like, just think it right, and I can. We're side by side and I'll, you know, and, and her first instinct will be I'm going to drive it and then she'll hear me and she'll, she'll slow it down and she's just she's. She's got such an amazing court presence and, like I said, she's incredibly fast and smart. But she wants to sometimes hit it too hard too, and I've got the ability to do those softer things or to slow it down, and then I'll tell her, I'll look at her and I'll say boom. And she knows what that means. It means put that ball away.

Speaker 3:

And you know what I'm like boom and she just does it.

Speaker 4:

That's great, that is, put that ball away and you know, boom and she just does it. So you know that that is a good thing too is to have you do. You can't have two bangers and you can't have two people that are sweepers or or, or soft, or you need the, the, the mixture of both. You do, and then you need to be able to be a banger when you need to be to put that ball away and she needs to be able to soften up, and vice versa, right yes, yes, yes.

Speaker 2:

I love the boom thing. Mine is get them and I, and sometimes I say I, I say get her and I don't mean the person. Yes, I'm in the ball and I and I.

Speaker 4:

When I say it, I'm like I don't mean you I don't mean you, you know, and sheep they know as well they do they have. Hopefully they know as well. Right, I mean, or pretty soon, we'll all start wearing bubble wrap.

Speaker 2:

I call John the Paul, so I'm saying I'll create the opportunity. My philosophy is if it's flying, it's dying. That means, if it's in the air, you better kill it.

Speaker 4:

There you go. That's why I say boom, and she knows what that means. What's your favorite shot? There you go. That's why I say boom, and she knows what that means. What's your favorite shot? For me, my favorite shot is I'm, like I said, I'm a net player in tennis, so to me, to being at that kitchen line and I'm the backhand, just that little short shot that it just goes. You know, like it's so angled. Yeah, that it, you know.

Speaker 2:

And it just is, it's ungettable and it's from your backhand. Yeah, Nice, and I'm a one-handed backhander.

Speaker 4:

I'm in tennis and pickleball. But my partner, my female, my lady's partner I told you she is a two-handed backhand. She really, for her she feels like it's got more power and it's got more precision. And for me I'm so used to having the big stick of a tennis racket in my hand that having that little paddle makes that shot even more precise.

Speaker 2:

It's weird. I was a two-handed backhand in tennis and then, for whatever reason, I wasn't in pickleball initially, and then all of a sudden it's just it's evolved into that I feel so much more control dinking my backhand. Dink, when I have my, my left hand there, it's like I have more control, I can get that sharper. We've been working on dinking a lot because that is where we were getting beat and it's made a huge difference.

Speaker 4:

And then when you're dinking, to have that one person, uh know when to speed it up. That is the precision of that right, you've got the dinking and it's just you've got it going, but then when do you speed it up? To pass that by that? To me, that's what we're working on.

Speaker 2:

I'm working on that too. I'll get in a little dink battle sometimes and I'm like I could have taken that one. I could have taken that one, I could have taken it. But it's almost like I have to think, because it doesn't happen as often, If every single game we got into a dink match because, like I said, we're still in that tweener where we still have bangers that aren't dropping and aren't getting into dink battles. They speed everything up and now with the paddle technology. I swear you know how they used to say red light yellow, light green light.

Speaker 2:

I'm like that was, that was a red light and you still got it over. How'd that happen? John was so excited at our last match because he was like did you see how many dink battles I got into? Well, um, we're excited to be here. I mean, this was a great invite. We knew francine. We met her from. Uh, where did oh what? She bought one. So we have an apparel line. She bought one of our shirts. We have a milk shirt. It says man, I Love Pickleball.

Speaker 1:

Okay, oh, that's cool.

Speaker 2:

We designed it for men and then women started buying it and we thought that's hilarious. When I wear this shirt, you get double taste?

Speaker 4:

Oh for sure, yes, yes, yes, yes, Right, People are like wait, wait what Is she wearing?

Speaker 2:

So Francine bought one. It was at a Chicken and Pickle event, a dink drinking demo night at Chicken and Pickle, and then from there we just kind of connected and she came on our podcast.

Speaker 4:

And I just love her.

Speaker 2:

She's a Good spirit. There's not anyone in.

Speaker 4:

Pickleball that I don't love. Come to think of it me either.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they are good people. They are good people you as well. Thanks for having me.

Speaker 2:

Thanks for having us out. Yeah, we were an HR podcast that turned Pickleball.

Speaker 4:

I love it. You know what? Find your market baby, I love it. That's great. Well, thank, I love it well thank you again.

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Growing Popularity of Pickleball in Texas
Pickleball Enthusiasts Come Together
Pickleball Growth and Fun Atmosphere
Women's Pickleball League Growth and Challenges
Strategic Approach in Pickleball Play