Hello Pickleball Enthusiasts,
Introduction to pickleball
My name is Bill Roehrs. I am the District Ambassador for Nebraska. I live in Lincoln and am a retired public-school music teacher. After I retired, my wife, JoAnn, and I decided to spend some winter time in Arizona. In 2013, friends told us about PebbleCreek, a resort in Goodyear AZ (west valley of Phoenix). While in PebbleCreek, I was introduced to pickleball. I love all that it has to offer anyone who plays the game ranging from competitive play to recreational play. I will always be thankful to my Canadian friend, Dennis Carter who said, “Wanta hit some, aye? I will teach you how to play pickleball.” The rest is history.
The next step was to enter some tournaments which USAPA offered and the journey began. I really enjoyed reading through all of the material that the USAPA website offered. My understanding of what USAPA was all about was enhanced by this comprehensive group of articles found on the website. After entering tournaments, I learned about the pros and cons of competition and the rating system that we all encounter at one time or another. Then I took a couple of refereeing classes and began that process and have enjoyed watching the development of the quality of the refereeing system.
Transitioning to include teaching pickleball and recreational play
After playing pickleball for eight years, I have discovered that my heart lies in teaching pickleball. Old teachers never die, they just move to an outdoor classroom. Watching players make progress in their skills development brings great satisfaction to me personally. When I play, that competitive gene occasionally erupts, but my great joy is experiencing well-played points developed by all players.
Pickleball history in Lincoln NE
In Lincoln, pickleball began with 5 or 6 players who played on a regular basis. Five years ago, we started a pickleball club that has grown from just a few members to over 300 active players. Three years ago, the city converted 2 seldom used tennis courts into 6 pickleball courts at Peterson Park, our main facility. We quickly outgrew those 6 courts and added 3 satellite courts in various areas of town. Each of those sites has two tennis courts with lines painted for pickleball. There is a lockbox with 4 portable nets at each site, bringing 12 more courts available for use. Most of our group activities such as Men’s Round Robin are played on those satellite courts helping prevent overcrowding at our main site. We raised enough money to build 4 more courts at Peterson Park which opened in May of 2020. (See photos below) Our indoor facility has been great. A community businessman built a large basketball and volleyball arena that allows us to use 20+ courts.
District Ambassador Projects
As District Ambassador, I had several projects that I wanted to complete in the upcoming years. The first was to develop a list of names and contact information from every town in Nebraska that plays pickleball. This list has been helpful to those who organize tournaments. The second project was to write the History of Pickleball in Nebraska. I sent a request to all of those who were on the list of contacts to prepare a brief summary of who started and facilitated pickleball in their community. Most of the communities that were contacted sent me their history with dates and names for future readers to enjoy. This is an ongoing project and hopes to add more communities each year. I am planning recreational and educational clinics in communities around the state. Including a group of Ambassadors from across the state will give us an opportunity to get to know more of them personally. These clinics are not only targeting skill development but also demonstrations in communities where pickleball has yet to begin.
The first issue of Lincoln Pickleball Club Newsletter has just been released. This newsletter (see photo below) is done by two volunteers and allows information to be shared and will help the membership know what plans are in the future for the club.
I formed a Facebook Group called Recreational Pickleball Group. The emphasis of this group is to share ideas on how to develop, maintain, and improve recreational pickleball which serves the overlooked masses. If you are interested in being a member of that group, search Recreational Pickleball Group on Facebook.
Motto of Pickleball Lincoln
Our official name is Pickleball Lincoln, Inc. Our motto is Fun, Fitness, and Friendship. You all know how those three words can transform lives. We promote a welcoming, friendly, accepting environment for people of all ages and skill levels.
Peterson Park Lincoln NE
Satellite Courts in Lincoln, Nebraska
The Online Pickleball Lincoln Newsletter–Part One
The Online Pickleball Lincoln Newsletter–Part Two