July 1, 2009

Thank You to Mark Friedenberg

USAPA E-Pickleball News

July 2009

Thank You to Mark Friedenberg
by Bill Booth
President, USAPA

After 4½ years as president of the USAPA, Mark Friedenberg has stepped down as president. In early 2005, Mark and a group of enthusiastic players had the foresight to create the "new" USAPA to replace the original organization which was not well organized at the time. They created the original board of directors, shown here on the history page, to promote the sport and direct the policies and objectives of the USAPA.

In the following years, under the direction of Mark and the board, there were many achievements for pickleball and the USAPA.
  • The USAPA has become recognized as the governing body for pickleball.
  • Training material for players and referees is on training.usapa.org (free for all players).
  • Rules were thoroughly reviewed and revised. The first rulebook was published in 2008 and a second printing and revision was published in 2009.
  • Many marketing materials have been produced for sale and to promote memberships.
  • An Ambassador program was created to spread the word about this exciting sport throughout the U.S. and Canada. The sport is truly growing at the grass-roots level.
  • The membership base is currently well over 1500 members and growing rapidly (up over 120% in 12 months and 54% in the first 6 months of 2009).
  • The national pickleball tournament in November will be the largest tournament ever attended.
  • We have been successful at getting pickleball into the winter games of the National Senior Games Association and are working hard to get into the summer games.
  • Coverage in the media has been increasing with newspaper articles and televised features as enthusiastic players tell their stories.
  • Pickleball has become America’s fastest growing senior sport. Conservative estimates put the number of players at close to 40,000 and growing. That number is based on our Places to Play database with the actual number of players where known and conservative estimates where the number of players per court is not known.
  • Our non-profit organization has grown monetarily to the point where we can finance activities important for the growth of pickleball. We are in the second year of financing assistance to players starting new programs to bring people into the sport. Plans are well under way to finance promotional efforts at the regional and local level to promote pickleball among the general public and recreation professionals.
  • The website has become the best comprehensive source of information about pickleball including tournament schedules, tournament results, tournament software, ladder/league software, sanctioning information, featured news articles, places to play, official rules, rankings points, training for players and referees, player forum, and more.
  • Young players are being introduced to the sport through an increasing number of programs in middle schools, high schools and colleges.
  • Paddle testing procedures and specifications have been developed to preserve the character and integrity of the sport as we have all come to know it.
  • Pickleball is growing internationally with the formation of Pickleball Canada and players in Kenya, Cyprus, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, India, England, Australia, and New Zealand.

Mark, thank you for your vision and dedication to promoting pickleball. The sport would not be where it is today without your leadership. Mark will continue to help promote the sport by serving on the board as Past President.