IPOP is pleased and excited to announce a partnership with the BC Lung Foundation!
With the help of president and CEO Chris Lam,  IPOP and the BC Lung team is on a mission to let the world know about the benefits of pickleball.

From the inception of the Inclusive Place of Pickleball, one thing stands above all else: our passion is more than just a wiffle ball flying over a net and operating pickleball facilities. We want to be different and “be a part of ” the development and promotion of our beautiful game globally.
And to do that, we must change how pickleball is viewed in the mainstream media.

If you haven’t noticed, pickleball has been getting a bad rap in the news this past year from noise complaints, injuries costing insurance companies and even a hunger strike! As avid pickleball lovers and proponents of its health benefits (and positivity!), this trend in the press lately is a little concerning. And something we at IPOP want to change. Now, the news always reports on the negative rather than the positive. However, the more severe problem for pickleball is the misrepresentation of facts — especially when big money is involved from insurance companies and the legal communities (with injuries and lawsuits).

More Positive Scientific Data Is Needed

One main reason we don’t read about the positive is because more data is needed to prove the health impacts that pickleball has. As mentioned, news outlets sensationalize numbers and data — especially negative data. Journalists only have the “bad” numbers right now.
While pickleball has been around since 1965, it has only become wildly popular recently. Anyone who plays pickleball can feel the difference it has made in our lives, but there isn’t much research to corroborate this effect. We think that those of us in the pickleball community should do our part to try to balance the negative media stories with more positive press publications  backed by verified scientific research and that’s what IPOP is on a mission to do. In other words, we need to prove how pickleball makes us all feel with good ole fashion FACTS!

To change the narrative and perception of pickleball more positively in the news, there needs to be more research into pickleball benefits.
With this in mind, IPOP’s quest to verify the health benefits with scientific data begins.

A Passionate CEO
Business partners are necessary, especially when you want to make lasting change. However, for a company like IPOP, we wanted the proper organization to grow with and also to work with a group of individuals who believe in pickleball as much as we do.

Enter Chris Lam, president and CEO of BC Lung. When we first met at an IPOP tour, it seemed like our two companies, not to mention us personally, were a match made in heaven — certainly better than any dating site I’ve ever been on (just in case my ex reads this, I’m joking!)!
Chris and I immediately hit it off — and not just because of our names. He told me he recently started playing pickleball and loves it so much that he’s already entered several local tournaments! Perfect match, right? Yes, and here’s why…
We have one strict rule at IPOP regarding anyone we directly work with. Whether you’re an investor, a sponsor, a graphic designer, answering phones, sweeping the floor, etc., you must do one thing: Play pickleball!
Chris gets a big green happy checkmark in this box — making IPOP’s decision to partner with BC Lung much easier.
Just a small note here: We were approached and had interviews with several societies and foundations but most of the decision makers were barely familiar with pickleball and did not understand the benefits which is totally logical. Afterall, we believe One has to play the game, even only once to experience the healthy mental, physical and spiritual benefits.  So to meet a passionate, pickled CEO like Chris is remarkable.

Every Journey Starts With Understanding Where You’re Going…
After Chris and I chatted, we met with the rest of the BC Lung team to discuss alignment and our mutual goals. It was an open and honest conversation that ended up in our agreed partnership. BC Lung understood that IPOP wished to be more than just an organization that raises money for them and publicly proclaims good respiratory health through pickleball (we do this anyway!). They realize that IPOP’s more profound mission is to change the mainstream perception of pickleball through research.

At IPOP, we dream of a day when doctors prescribe pickleball to their patients before or instead of medications (did you know that in the US, doctors prescribe nature hikes already?) and be a part of an overall health plan — including mental health and all of the other preventable diseases — for people everywhere.
All we needed was a partner in the medical field to get started on that dream.
We found that partner in BC Lung!

Small steps begin journeys…
We have already started planning our first fundraiser ( June 2024) and have begun discussions with one of Canada’s top pulmonary researchers, UBC’s Dr. Pat Camp. The goal is to have a small study begin later this year. This statement is from our Memorandum of Understanding with BC Lung, and we at IPOP are very proud to participate in such a lofty and ambitious goal with our new partner.

1. Mutual Goal
This partnership will have many mutual benefits, but having a mutual goal is of the utmost importance. Our mutual goal is to prove that pickleball is the pathway to a new standard of treatment in recovering patients from respiratory illnesses. This has to be accomplished with a triple-phase clinical trial and published in an academic journal by 2027.

Big dreams begin with a single step. A rebirth of health and well-being can often inspire that first step. For our pickleball community to grow and grow up, we need to take these steps, not alone but with partners like BC Lung.

Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming fundraiser in June…

Seniors staying young about to play pickleball

Staying young at heart with pickleball!


As I’ve written before, my love of this wacky ( literally) game is explained in my personal quest to get naturally high ( the unnatural way almost killed me so I quit that nonsense !). From a recovering addict’s point of view who is 14 years clean and sober, there is nothing that compares kicking my dopamine and serotonin into high brain altitude as pickleball. Simply put it is an amazing stimulating experience. Pickleball has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its accessibility, social nature, and physical benefits.

Here are some reasons why it’s so appealing:

  1. Easy to learn: Pickleball is relatively easy to learn and can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple, and the court is smaller than a traditional tennis court, making it easier for beginners to get the hang of the game quickly.
  2. Social aspect: Pickleball is often played in doubles, which makes it a great way to socialize and meet new people. It’s a fun activity that people can enjoy together, and many communities have started pickleball groups or clubs that organize regular games.
  3. Low-impact: Pickleball is a low-impact sport, which means it puts less stress on your joints and muscles than other high-impact activities like running or basketball. This makes it an excellent option for people who want to stay active but have physical limitations or injuries.
  4. Physical benefits: Despite being low-impact, pickleball still provides a good workout. It improves cardiovascular health, builds muscle strength, and improves hand-eye coordination.
  5. Competitive yet fun: Pickleball can be played at a leisurely pace or a competitive level, depending on your preferences. It’s a fun game that can be enjoyed with friends and family or played more seriously in organized leagues and tournaments.

Overall, pickleball is an appealing sport because it’s easy to learn, social, low-impact, provides physical benefits, and can be played at any skill level.

shows the group of young people about to play pickleball

Here come the millennials!

But what really sets pickleball apart is the sense of community and fun that comes with it. As I mentioned earlier, pickleball is often played in doubles, which means that players are constantly interacting with each other, encouraging each other, and having a good time together. This creates a welcoming atmosphere that is not always present in other sports.

In addition, pickleball is a sport that can be played by people of all ages and backgrounds. I’ve played with teenagers, retirees, and everyone in between. It’s not uncommon to see parents playing with their children or grandparents playing with their grandkids. This diversity adds to the sense of community and makes pickleball a sport that truly brings people together.

And let’s not forget about the fun factor. Pickleball is a silly, wacky game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The sound of the ball hitting the paddle, the strategic placement of shots, and the occasional mis-hit that leads to laughter all contribute to the game’s overall enjoyment.

So it’s no surprise that pickleball is becoming more and more popular. It offers a unique combination of accessibility, sociability, physical benefits, and fun. And for me, as a recovering addict, it provides a natural high that I can feel good about. If you haven’t tried pickleball yet, I highly recommend giving it a shot. Who knows, you might just fall in love with it like I did, and I believe in this so much that I invited CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster to come on down to see exactly what I’m talking about! I even taught the reporter, Jeremy Ratt, to play, and it turned out to be one of the most extended games that I have ever played with a newbie! Have a listen to the segment here.

Simple, practical, & instant!

The Power of Groups

Are you a pickleball enthusiast looking to connect with fellow players, share your passion, and organize matches? If so, you’re in luck! Pickleball groups are the heart and soul of this vibrant sports community. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of pickleball groups, their significance, and how you can create an inclusive and thriving community right within your smartphone.

The Glue that Binds Us: Pickleball Groups

Pickleball is more than just a sport; it’s a social phenomenon that brings players together. Almost every pickleball player I know is part of a group, whether it’s through social media platforms like WhatsApp or Meta (formerly known as Facebook), email chains, or emerging pickleball-specific apps. These groups are like tribes, uniting individuals with a shared goal: to play as much pickleball as possible!

Diverse Bonds and Common Goals

Groups form for a variety of reasons.

While most groups are geographically focused, catering to specific courts or skill levels, they also cater to a wide spectrum of players. From skill-level-based groups to LGBTQ+ or other affinity groups, there’s a place for everyone. For instance, “Rainbow Pickleball” is a local group that showcases how pickleball can foster a passionate and fun community among diverse individuals. These groups offer a safe haven for players to connect, learn, and grow.

Strong Foundations for a Flourishing Community

Every great pickleball group begins with a solid foundation. This means having at least two administrators who can manage the group’s activities. Having a team of administrators ensures better decision-making and availability to oversee the group’s functionality. Conflict management is crucial, and administrators play a key role in resolving disagreements diplomatically.

Fostering Connections: Creating Your Own Pickleball Group

Empowering players to come together and form their own pickleball groups is a wonderful initiative. I’ve seen this firsthand in my classes, where students form groups to match their skill levels and embark on their pickleball journeys together. But forming a group is just the beginning; sustaining it requires careful consideration.

Diversity in Pickleball across the nation.

Setting the Stage with Group Introductions

The introduction to your group sets the tone for its culture and purpose. Welcome messages are a great way to communicate the essence of your group. Are you aiming for a light-hearted and chatty atmosphere or a more focused and information-driven space? Covering the who, what, where, and when can be immensely helpful in giving group members the essential information they need. A brief introduction can cover both of these goals: something like this is at the beginning of the group page: ” Welcome to the IPOP pickleball group! We are a group of passionate players, that gather at the _______location to participate in an open play suitable for all skill levels. We play every night from 5 pm to 10 pm”.  Then the next paragraph could suggest the rules for the group. Remember this is just a suggested guideline for all of your peeps!

Laying Down the Ground Rules

Just like any community, pickleball groups need rules to thrive. Depending on the group’s nature, a variety of rules can be established. However, some rules are universally crucial, such as a strict “No Politics” policy. The goal is to maintain a welcoming environment where discussions revolve around pickleball and not divisive topics. Ensuring that only administrators have the power to add or remove members is also essential to avoid overwhelming the group.

Navigating Growth and Challenges

As pickleball groups grow, challenges can arise. New members might inadvertently break rules or clog up the chat with unrelated content. This is a sign of a healthy, expanding community. Having a team of administrators comes in handy during such times. Addressing conflicts and rule violations collectively ensures fair resolutions.

A growing group at a new court

Uniting through Pickleball

Forming and nurturing a pickleball group is an exciting venture within the rich tapestry of the pickleball culture. These groups represent a bridge between skill levels, backgrounds, and experiences, fostering connections that extend beyond the court. By focusing on strong foundations, clear communication, and inclusive guidelines, you can create a pickleball group that thrives as a welcoming, vibrant, and diverse community. So, whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting, remember that the joy of pickleball isn’t just in the game—it’s in the bonds we form along the way.

If you need additional help and suggestions in forming your own group, please feel free to reach out to me anytime here. 


What a truly fantastic weekend it was, fully immersed in the world of Pickleball. I wholeheartedly advocate for extending the celebration beyond just a day; how about National Pickleball Month? The joy this sport brings is worth the extended festivities!

Golden Ears volunteers with Steve Deakin

By starting the day with a deep sense of gratitude for discovering this wonderful game, it’s challenging to put into words just how profound Pickleball is to me. It’s not just a sport; it’s a spiritual experience, enriching my life in countless ways, often leaving me speechless.

When describing Pickleball, I often say the game itself is the glue that binds like-minded individuals together, emphasizing the components of Friendship, Fitness, and, most importantly, Fun!

Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to share the beauty of Pickleball through an interview with our national broadcaster, CBC, on a local show, North by North-West. We gathered at Keswick Park during Beginner’s Night, where I, along with other passionate Pickleball enthusiasts, taught Jeremy how to play, during the middle of the interview.  My goal was to present Pickleball from a different perspective, one of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. It’s a shining example of Canadian multiculturalism, so much so that I’d suggest using pictures of Pickleball courts from across our great nation in Canadian government immigration brochures and textbooks. It fills me with pride to be Canadian.

Hanging with the President of the BPA, Karen Watson

How can I repay the gift of Pickleball in my life? The answer lies in paying it forward and giving back in as many ways as I can. This commitment led me to Squint Lake Pickleball Courts, where my local association, the Burnaby Pickleball Association hosts beginner’s morning pickleball. This event is an opportunity for new players who have already been through our Learn to Play program to connect and experience the game at their level. It’s a lot of fun and especially fulfilling because I was part of the teaching team for the L2P program, and now I get to watch these players grow into the game.

I even had the privilege of playing with them, squeezing in a few games before heading off to another local community hosting their annual Pickleball tournament, the Golden Ears Summer Classic. A highlight of the event was witnessing Canada’s highest-ranked pro player, Steve Deakin, accept the Lifetime Member award for his dedicated service to this club. It was a great day, full of Pickleball passion.

Steve is awarded a lifetime membership

Sunday followed a similar pattern for me—skills and drills in the morning with a small group of eager beavers. This time allows me to work on the technical aspects of the game and focus on improving specific aspects, like my drive or dink shots. I recall a Pickleball podcast featuring a pro who mentioned the importance of incorporating “practice” time, skills, and drills into his schedule to break through plateaus. I see this in my own game, especially as I spend a significant amount of time playing with beginners, which makes scheduling practice time a crucial part of my game.

Waiting to play on Burnaby’s newest courts on National Pickleball Day! amount of time playing with beginners, which makes scheduling practice time a crucial part of my game.

Sunday morning practice sets the right headspace before I head to the third municipality in my story, New Westminster, where I teach a beginner’s basics class. It’s the ideal way to spend my Sunday afternoon, sharing the foundations of the game with eager learners. This experience is something I wish I had when I started, and it’s why I pursued the Level One Coaching certificate with Pickleball Canada.

As you can see, my National Pickleball Day stretched into a weekend, and for this, I’m truly grateful. The joy and connections Pickleball brings into my life are immeasurable, making this extended celebration all the more meaningful.


Beginner’s group at Squint Lake

Here come the teenagers!


Introducing the new Pickleball Federation of the Americas


Pickleball is a fast-growing sport that is gaining popularity all over the world. It’s a sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels, and it’s easy to see why. My local court, Keswick Park is a multitude mixing pot of people from all over the Americas, especially Central and South America. Most beginners are amazed at how much fun the sport is, but acknowledge that it is barely heard of outside of North America.

The Keswick Park, a local court bustling with players from diverse corners of the Americas, especially Central and South America, exemplifies how pickleball acts as a bridge that transcends borders. However, despite its rapid growth and fervent following in North America, pickleball remains a mystery to many beyond these shores.

To bridge this gap and amplify the sport’s reach, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have joined forces to establish the Pickleball Federation of the Americas (PFA). This groundbreaking organization assumes the mantle of being the premier governing body for pickleball in the region, with a mission to cultivate and champion the sport’s expansion across the Americas.

Central to the PFA’s vision is the propagation of pickleball in countries where its presence is yet to be felt. The PFA’s outreach extends to the vibrant landscapes of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and North America. Collaborating with national pickleball organizations, the PFA is set to plant the seeds of programs, events, and training opportunities, nurturing a newfound enthusiasm for this thrilling sport.

Moreover, the PFA is dedicated to nurturing pickleball players of all calibers, from novices taking their first swing to seasoned professionals exhibiting prowess on the court. This commitment translates into coaching and training initiatives, curated tournaments and events, and the establishment of universal standards for equipment and facilities. The PFA’s ethos revolves around fostering sportsmanship and fair play, ensuring that pickleball is played with integrity and respect, traits that mirror the values of unity and camaraderie shared by the Americas.

The PFA’s Unifying Impact

The 3 amigos=pickleball style!

The Pickleball Federation of the Americas has far-reaching implications that extend beyond the court lines. Its establishment sets in motion a series of transformative outcomes:

1. International Sporting Recognition: The PFA’s inception acts as a pivotal stepping stone toward pickleball’s inclusion in prestigious sporting events such as the Olympics and Pan American Games, solidifying its status as a globally revered sport.

2. Exchange of Knowledge and Resources: A unified front allows for the exchange of valuable resources, best practices, and tournament opportunities among nations. This collaborative approach elevates the standard of the sport across the region.

3. Strengthened Alliances: The PFA serves to formalize and enhance the already strong relationship between Pickleball Canada and th

e USA Pickleball, laying a solid foundation for cross-border cooperation.

The Inaugural Americas Championship, slated to be held in Los Cabos, Mexico, from November 26 to December 2, 2023, stands as a testament to the PFA’s rapid growth. This tournament, the first sanctioned event under the PFA banner, is expected to draw around 350 players. The participation of countries like Peru, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Panama, and the Caribbean region underscores the PFA’s swift integration and influence.

A Catalyst for Unity

Beyond the exhilarating rallies and the thrill of competition, pickleball has emerged as an instrument of unity. As individuals from diverse cultures converge on the court, they share laughter, build connections, and form a close-knit community that transcends linguistic and geographical boundaries. The Pickleball Federation of the Americas embodies this spirit of unity, reflecting how a common passion can break down barriers and foster lasting bonds.

In a world often divided by differences, the PFA’s model of collaboration is a lesson that transcends the realms of sports. It prompts us to contemplate the potential of shared endeavors to create harmony and cooperation, not only on the court but also in the corridors of diplomacy.

So, as the PFA propels pickleball onto a grander stage, let us take inspiration from this dynamic initiative. Let us envision a world where the camaraderie forged over a pickleball net becomes a guiding principle for global interactions, reminding us that while we may hail from different corners of the world, we are all part of one human family.

health care professional is tending to a pickleball injury

So,  my family of pickleheads, it’s time to “pickle your peepers” and gear up with protective eyewear! Let’s face it, we all want to play pickleball fearlessly, and nothing should hold us back from getting in front of those court smashers, returning with a soft dink, and winning those games.

Pickleball is a popular sport that has been gaining traction among players of all ages. As the game’s popularity soars, so does the awareness of the risks associated with playing without proper eye protection. I wrote this blog to explore the compelling reasons why protective goggles or eyewear should be mandatory in pickleball, and why players should prioritize the safety and health of their eyes while enjoying the game they love.

Now, some might argue that wearing goggles or glasses on the court may impede their vision and cramp their style. But trust me, it’s a small price to pay for protecting those precious peepers, this from a guy who has already had two sports-related retina detachments, and who discovered pickleball when my last operation sidelined my soccer playing days forever. When I was first introduced to the game, I was shocked at how many pickleball players don’t wear protection.  Especially, when I experienced my lack of direction ( and the lack of many other newbies) on the courts. After all, pickleball is not just about winning a game; it’s about having fun, bonding with friends, and keeping those eyes healthy and happy for all the games yet to come.

The Perils of Playing Unprotected

Pickleball is a game that involves a hard plastic ball and swift paddle movements. The speed of the ball can be alarming, especially when it comes into contact with vulnerable soft tissue such as the eyes. Eye injuries can range from mild discomfort to severe retina detachment, which may require extensive surgery and prolonged recovery times. The risks are even more concerning for the average pickleball player, who tends to fall within the age range of 60-76, where eye injuries are less likely to heal quickly. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Proper eye protection should be strongly considered while playing pickleball, especially in the elderly population or in individuals who are at higher risk for retinal detachment.”

According to Pickleball Magazine, a pickleball can travel at one-third the velocity of a tennis ball or about 40 miles per hour. The magazine noted that when the players are positioned at the “no-volley line,” it can take 350 to 400 milliseconds – less than half a second – for the ball to travel from one paddle to the other. This does not leave players any time to avoid being hit in the eye with a ball. In addition to injuries from being hit by a ball, serious damage can occur from being hit in the eye with a paddle.

Numerous incidents of eye injuries have been reported in the pickleball community. One instance involved Allison Miller from Delta pickleball association in BC,  who had her retina detached and required surgery after being hit by a whiffle ball during a game. Such stories underscore the urgency of implementing strict safety rules and mandatory eyewear usage. Recreational players are not the only ones that have had major injuries. This holds true even in the professional realm, as demonstrated by Jessie Irvine, a pro player who suffered a blow to the eye area during a recent tournament. Despite attempting to recuperate for several minutes, Irvine ultimately had to withdraw from the tournament bracket on that day and was unable to participate forcing her to completely exit the competition. These stories remind us that accidents can happen to anyone, but we can take preventive measures.

Allision Miller retina detachment

Retinal surgery is 100% avoidable with specs. just ask Allison Miller!

Why Players Are Reluctant to Wear Protective Eyewear?

While the need for eye protection is undeniable, some players are still hesitant to don goggles or eyewear. The most common concern is how it might impact their performance on the court. Players fear that the added gear may obstruct their vision or feel uncomfortable during intense, sweat-induced matches. Addressing these concerns and dispelling myths can help players realize that the benefits of wearing protective eyewear far outweigh any perceived drawbacks.

The Advantages of Embracing Eye Protection

  1. Fearlessness on the Court: Knowing that their eyes are safe allows players to focus solely on their game, leading to improved performance and confidence.
  2. Eye Strain Reduction: Protective eyewear shields the eyes from harmful UV rays and prevents squinting, leading to reduced eye strain from sun exposure.
  3. Windborne Debris Protection: Eyewear shields the eyes from debris that might be carried by the wind during outdoor games, preserving clear vision.
  4. Enhanced Depth Perception and Contrast: Proper eyewear designed for pickleball enhances depth perception and contrast, enabling players to track the ball with precision.
  5. Prevention of Eye Injuries: Protective eyewear significantly reduces the risk of severe eye injuries, including retina detachment or cornea scraping from stray balls.
  6. Reduced Risk of Paddle-Related Injuries: Protective eyewear also guards against accidental hits to the face from paddles, preventing potential injuries ( I saw this happen recently when a paddle flew out of the beginner’s hand and hit her partner in the back).

Selecting the Right Eyewear for a Perfect Fit (or as close to perfect!)

When choosing protective eyewear for pickleball, several key factors should be considered. These include impact resistance, anti-fogging, anti-glare, and UV resistance. Additionally, players with prescription needs should look for options that allow for prescription lenses. A snug and comfortable fit is essential to ensure a hassle-free experience during play. Try to get as close to a perfect fit as possible. This is very important because you don’t want to buy something that will give you a hard time while playing the game. The glasses shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. They should be as close to the perfect fit as possible.  Now I buy inexpensive but really efficient eye protection to protect my eyes, although they don’t really offer me a better vision on the court, I feel safe getting in front of those balls from smashers. I use simple construction safety glasses that offer me clear UV lenses, fit well, are super durable, and best of all cheap enough that I always have extra pairs for my friends or newcomers that show up to play with me. However,  if buying Pickleball gear from Home Depot doesn’t float your boat then here are some brands to consider when buying eyewear. For players seeking quality eyewear that are more than adequate for pickleball, several renowned brands offer an array of options.

These include:

inexpensive eye wear for pickleball players

Effective and inexpensive!

  1. NoCry Safety Glasses: Clear Anti-Fog Scratch Resistant Wrap-Around
  2. ONIX Pickleball Owl Eyewear: Modern and Lightweight Design
  3. Unique Tourna Specs: Blue Tint Sports Glasses for Tennis and Pickleball
  4. Gearbox Vision Eyewear
  5. ONIX Pickleball Falcon Eyewear: Modern and Lightweight Design
  6. Python Full Framed Racquetball Eye Protection
  7. Bollé Safety 40305 Tryon Safety Glasses: Platinum®, Black/Blue Frame, CSP
  8. Gearbox Vision Racquetball, Pickleball, Squash Eyewear
  9. Python Full Framed Racquetball Eye Protection: Clear Lens/White Frame
  10. Pyramix Highlander wrap around

PS I haven’t tried all of these products but I did take the time to see what other players are wearing and get feedback. These were the brands I chose from my local groups, considering the price, availability, and quality of my selections. My goal is to inform and get eyewear onto as many players as possible!

In my humble opinion, eye protection is a paramount concern for pickleball players. The risks associated with playing unprotected are too great to be ignored. I strongly believe that mandating the use of protective goggles or eyewear is a necessary step to safeguard the eyes of pickleball enthusiasts, especially older players, who may be more vulnerable to eye injuries. Players must prioritize their eye health and well-being, understanding that wearing protective eyewear not only prevents injuries but also enhances their performance on the court. With the variety of eyewear options available, players can find a perfect fit that combines safety, comfort, and vision enhancement. So, let’s all come together as a community, embrace the importance of eye protection, and make it a firm rule in our games. Let’s pickle our peepers and savor the joy of pickleball without the fear of eye injuries looming over us. We owe it to ourselves, our friends, and the pickleball community to take this step toward safe and inclusive play.

My fellow pickleheads, I really believe it’s time to smash the notion that protective eyewear is just an optional accessory! It’s a game-changer, a sight-saver, and a must-have on the pickleball court. So next time you step on the court, remember to “serve, smash, and shield your eyes” – because in pickleball, protecting your vision is a NO brainer! Let’s keep the game fun, fierce, and injury-free. See you on the court, with goggles on and spirits high!

Yours in Pickleball, Chris

Pickleball eye protection

Vented to reduce the fog of pickleball fun!

Pickleball, a sport that has captured the hearts of many, is not just about hitting a ball with a paddle. It’s a community, a shared passion that brings people together. As a pickleball instructor, I recently received a heartwarming message from one of my students that reminded me of the true power of this game. In this blog post, I want to share the story of how pickleball’s inclusivity and enthusiasm can transcend boundaries and bring people from all walks of life together.

Warming my pickleball heart.

A Message of Gratitude
I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I received a message from one of my students expressing her heartfelt appreciation. It was not just about the fact that I had helped her improve her game; it was the deeper impact that pickleball had made on her life. She thanked me for introducing her to the world of pickleball, a small “change” that had helped her game and brought immense joy and fulfillment.

The Power of Invitation
What truly touched me was her enthusiasm to share this newfound passion with her loved ones. She mentioned inviting her husband, her friend’s husband, her sons, and her neighbors to join her in playing pickleball. It was a beautiful testament to the power of invitation and the inclusive nature of the sport. So keep on inviting newcomers to play with you, remember pickleball peeps that play together Stay Together in health and wellness!
Help and nurture our new players that you see on the court, and give back to them with a little time, there is nothing more selfish than when a player who has received so much from the sport avoids spending time with the newcomers. Give back and you’ll be happier knowing that you’ve “gotten” the true SPIRIT of pickleball.

Building a Community
Pickleball is more than just a game. It can foster a sense of community and connection. By inviting her family members, friends, and neighbors to experience the game, my student was creating a network of individuals who could share the joy and excitement that pickleball brings. One family now has 4 generations coming to play pickleball regularly, and this is so healthy for players that attend, let alone the benefit we all get from participating in a big pickleball family, simple there is no other sport that offers generational inclusivity like pickleball! In fact according to Vaughn Baker, “Several years ago, PBS came down from Philadelphia and produced a special on this new game pickleball. The producer asked me to round up the players with qualified health benefits from Pickleball. I lined them up in single file for 40 feet and PBS selected them at random. Here were some of their comments: “Saved my life,” “Lost 80 pounds,” “Off all meds,” “Doctor can’t believe it.” That, my friends, is what pickleball brings to your community. It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad because pickles come in all sizes and shapes — laughing all the way! ”  It is this aspect that I truly love.

Breaking Barriers

Diversity in Pickleball across the nation.

Pickleball knows no boundaries. As a Canadian, I grew up with the concept of a multicultural society and at times, I have struggled to see the concept in practice.  The belief that a truly multi-cultural society exists…until I began playing at Keswick that is! On any given day, Keswick is filled with many different languages, laughter, and even encouraging banter. I can now call out in Hindi, numbers in Farsi, and say good shot in Mandarin! What other sport would teach me that? Only pickleball!

It is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, and abilities. By inviting her husband and sons, my student was breaking down the stereotype that pickleball is only for a specific demographic. The inclusivity of the sport encourages everyone to participate, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.


Spreading the Love

Pickleball’s Spectrum of Diversity

As pickleball enthusiasts, we have the opportunity to introduce this wonderful sport to those around us. By sharing our experiences and inviting others to join, we can create a ripple effect that expands the pickleball community. I have learned more about different cultures, my community, and myself than at any other time in my life. The more people we introduce to the game, the more we not only contribute to the growth and inclusivity of the sport but to our neighborhoods and nation too!

The Privilege of Sharing
The story of my student’s enthusiasm and her efforts to invite her loved ones into the world of pickleball is a testament to the power of this incredible sport. It brings people together, breaks down barriers, and creates a sense of belonging. As pickleball enthusiasts, we have the privilege of sharing this experience with others and expanding the community. Let us embrace the inclusive spirit of pickleball and continue to spread the love for this game that has the potential to change lives. So share the passion peeps!

Yours in Pickleball!

POP! POP! POP! The sound echoed through the park, followed by laughter and banter. I was curious, had to approach, and had to ask, “What the heck is that sound, and what’s so funny?” That’s how I stumbled upon the beginner’s Pickleball nights at Keswick Park, and little did I know it would change my life!

Despite being covered in sweat after a blazing trail ride on my mountain bike, I was welcomed with open arms by the seasoned pickleball players. Within sixty minutes, I was given a paddle ( wooden but fun), shown the ropes and I was hooked on the game.  All from several players that couldn’t speak English!  What struck me the most was the diversity of the players, new Canadians from all over the world,  and the encouragement they showed each other.

Keswick Park is a small community green space in Burnaby, BC, with one of the fastest-growing groups of Pickleball enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest, held together by a WhatsApp group and a passion to grow the game. Players actively recruit anyone who walks by and stops to watch, especially unsuspecting tennis players who show up during designated PB hours and find the courts packed with laughter and the sound of Pickleballs getting whacked back and forth across the net.

My personal story and connection to PB began in the summer of 2022 when I was riding my bike around Keswick Park. I was struggling with mental health issues and had been feeling lonely and depressed due to the pandemic. In fact, a recent study by the Frontiers of Psychology concluded that ”  pickleball is displayed as an inclusive sport that does not need adaptations, resulting in great interest to be worked in different populations with mental problems.”

What’s remarkable about the Keswick PB community is that there’s no real leadership just volunteers, and a loose organizational structure, guided by our local Burnaby Pickleball Association, that provides paddles and other equipment to help the group mentor new players. Our group continues to grow and attract new players. Ming, a player who focuses on teaching new players the rules of Pickleball in broken English, is a shining example of the inclusivity and kindness that defines this community.

I believe that Pickleball can make a big difference in the lives of anyone willing to try. It certainly made a difference in mine. That’s why I want to share this feeling and experience with as many people as possible and open up IPOPs across Canada.

Keswick Park is a special place with a vibrant and diverse Pickleball community that welcomes all who want to play. It’s a place where laughter and encouragement abound, and where a game with a strange-sounding name can change the lives of us all for the better. Playing PB with the group at Keswick was a big part of my recovery, providing great low-impact exercise and a network of new neural pathways that lifted my mood. I will talk about this in later Blogs, but this is only one of the reasons that I knew I needed to start the Inclusive Place of Pickleball and model it after the experience I have had at Keswick. Pickleball is not just a game…it’s about connection and community.

For this, I will always be eternally grateful…

Modified for Pickleball elbow !

You mean Pickleball Elbow don’t you?

The game recently give me a Sour Twist and I had to come to the conclusion that the dreaded  “pickleball elbow” is a thing, and my sore elbow is exactly that…lateral epicondylitis. Oh NOOOOO…sheer terror set in as thoughts of no pickleball forced beads of sweat down my brow…but do the symptoms match I ask? My elbow, yes the bony part, and the muscle tissue around it, inflamed and sore. It gets worse the more I play, and my strategies to date—playing through the pain, hoping for my over 50-year-old body to respond as a 25-year-old with a miraculous cure, or just ignoring it in the hopes it goes away—have so far, sadly, failed! However, my newest approach, after “acceptance,” has been to really focus on limited play AFTER a serious set of arm, wrist, and upper body stretches. This has slowly started to yield results. But more about the solutions later…

Why do players get lateral epicondylitis? Pickleball elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is common among avid pickleball players. It occurs due to repetitive stress on the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outer part of the elbow. The repetitive motion of hitting the ball with the paddle, especially when done incorrectly, can lead to inflammation and micro-tears in the tendons.

What are the symptoms of lateral epicondylitis? Symptoms of pickleball elbow may include pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow, weakened grip strength, and discomfort when performing activities that involve wrist extension or gripping objects tightly. If you find yourself grimacing every time you reach for your pickleball paddle or experience discomfort during daily activities, you might be facing the fact you too have pickleball elbow.  If you need a little more confirmation, here is a really thorough video that helped me confirm my symptoms without wasting my family Doc’s valuable time.

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the dreaded pickleball elbow:

  1. Muscle Flexibility: Engage in regular stretching exercises to improve muscle flexibility. Focus on stretching your forearms, wrists, and shoulders before and after playing. This will help warm up the muscles, reduce strain, and increase their range of motion.
  2. Strength Exercises: Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine to build stronger muscles. Pay attention to your forearm muscles, grip strength, and upper body. Consult a fitness professional or physical therapist for exercises that target these areas.
  3. Change Your Grip: Experiment with different grips and pressures on the paddle handle. Avoid excessive squeezing or gripping too tightly. Find a comfortable grip that allows for better control and minimizes stress on your elbow.
  4. Improve Your Swing Mechanics: Work on refining your swing technique and court placement. Focus on using proper form, utilizing the larger muscles of your body, and avoiding excessive strain on your elbow. Seek guidance from experienced players or consider taking lessons to fine-tune your technique.

Additional Pickleball Elbow Prevention:

  • Use an elbow brace or compression sleeve for extra support. However, compression of the muscle didn’t work for me.
  • Take regular breaks during play to rest your muscles and prevent overuse.
  • Listen to your body and avoid playing through pain or discomfort.

Treatment for Pickleball Elbow: If you’re already dealing with pickleball elbow, don’t worry! There are steps you can take to alleviate the pain and promote healing:

  1. Rest and Ice: Take a break from pickleball and give your elbow time to heal. Apply ice packs to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times daily, to reduce inflammation.
  2. Pain Relief: I have used, sparingly, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, like aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling. However, this is not a long-term solution, but rather a small addition after playing, and i don’t suggest taking medications as a pre-game ” play through the pain strategy”! For some, over-the-counter pain medications can help manage the discomfort, so consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate recommendations.
  3. Physical Therapy: Seek the assistance of a physical therapist who can provide targeted exercises to strengthen and rehabilitate the affected muscles and tendons.
  4. Strengthening Stretches: Once the acute pain subsides, incorporate gentle stretches into your routine to gradually regain flexibility and prevent future injuries. Strengthening and stretching exercises are one of the most important components of recovery programs. The underlying principle of stretching is that, by lengthening the tendon during relaxation, we can reduce its stretching during offending movements. The best stretching position for the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis tendon is reached with the elbow in extension, forearm in pronation, wrist in flexion, and ulnar deviation of the wrist, according to the patient’s tolerance. This stretching should be held for 30- 45 s and 3 times before and after playing pickleball.

Dynamic stretching exercises for healing Pickleball Elbow

Practicing Safety in Pickleball is More Important Than Practicing Your Dink! Even though pickleball is generally easier on the body compared to other sports like tennis, it’s still essential to prioritize safety. While the court size and paddle design reduce the risk of injury, it’s crucial to train your body to use proper mechanics on the court and take care of your body off the court.

Don’t overplay and incorporate a good pre and post-prevention ritual including a proper body warm-up, dynamic and static stretching, and a decent cool-down period after each session. Listen to your body and address any signs of discomfort early on to avoid prolonged pain or injury.

Pickleball elbow may be an unfortunate reality for many players, but it doesn’t have to be a game-changer. By implementing preventive measures such as muscle flexibility exercises, strength training, adjusting your grip, and improving your swing mechanics, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing pickleball elbow. If you’re already experiencing symptoms, remember to rest, seek professional guidance, and gradually reintroduce physical activity once the pain subsides. Stay safe, take care of your body, and keep enjoying the game we all love—pickleball!

Updated: November 2023: Well, after many months of recurring injury, I surrendered my arm to Vampire doctor, who is know in my area as a Dr with unconventional tactics towards healing my arm. The process has been 10 mins of Electroacupuncture,  a modern

variation of acupuncture. It uses electricity to enhance the benefits of this traditional therapeutic treatment. Then Doc uses Cupping therapy, which is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which he puts special cups on my elbow skin for a few minutes to create suction. According to Doc, besides helping with pain,  it also reduces inflammation by increasing blood flow to the area. Doc Simon says it’s just like an oil change. So far so good, but this time, after 6 weeks off, my goal is to slowly return to the courts, i mean playing only 30 mins to 1 hour for the first week.  Hopefully, some day soon, i will see you guys out there on the courts.

Disclaimer: The content in the IPOP pickleball blog is for informational purposes only. IPOP’s pickleball blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as IPOP is not a doctor. Always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.