Intermediate/Advanced Session Available Today - We had a volunteer to setup and coordinate a pickleball session today, Sat. 1/23 at Locust Park for the cold weather die-hard's wanting to play despite the weather.  If you want to play please sign up using the SignUpGenius.  Here's the link:

Sign up link

Winter Time Pickleball - We are going to try something different for the winter pickleball sessions. Several of the session coordinators have decided to forgo the automatic scheduling of their sessions now that we have moved into the colder part of the winter.  This means that if the weather looks like it will be in the 40's approximately 3 days prior, a session for that day will be posted to the sign-up application.  Currently this will apply to the days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.  The coordinator for Thursday and Friday will continue to post their sessions on a regular basis and then cancel if the weather doesn't cooperate. It's a little more complicated that way but it's something we will try.  The update date on the home page will be changed should a session be added.

PB Tutor Rental - The association will once again be offering the use of the PB Tutor for $20.  Please use the menu item "EQUIP. MGT."

No Shows - Given the limited number of sessions and slots within sessions, If you decide you can't make a session that you signed up for, PLEASE cancel your sign-up to allow someone else the ability to play. You have the ability to cancel and the tutorial listed under the Members tab will explain how if you need it.

Happy New Year!  Hope we have a better year than the last one.

New Sign Up Process - We will be making a change to our use of the SignupGenius application.  Rather than use one link for all our sign up lists, we will be resetting the link weekly.  This will require members to login to our website, go to the Organized Play web page and click on the link to access the new week's list of play sessions.  Being able to use the bookmark for the link will no longer work.  This will assist in the setup of the weekly sessions.  This will start next Sunday.  We are all going through the learning curve in using the new application, including me as I learn to administer the application.  I will continue to change the update date on the home page once the new schedule is published.

No Shows - Please remember to delete your name from the list if you can't make the session you signed up for.  Many of our members are looking to play and they would appreciate the opportunity to fill a slot if for some reason you can't make it.  The tutorial on how to delete your name from the list is posted under the Members menu item.

Unable to Sign Up - We have heard some complaints that our sign up lists are filling up quickly and people are not able to play.  This is unfortunate but necessary given our current situation with the pandemic.  Ordinarily prior to the pandemic, we would let as many people play as wanted to by just showing up.  The number of people playing would be self regulated based on how long you needed to wait for a game.  However, given the gathering limit set by the Howard County Executive and our desire to maintain a contact tracing list, we are restricting the number of people playing.  Typically, the new sign-up lists are posted on Sunday morning and it's first come first serve.  Occasionally, the list is posted at a different time on the weekend due to my availability.  The only other alternative is to setup more sessions but that requires volunteer session coordinators and their ability to coordinate with other session coordinators in the transfer of equipment. Once again, that's why it's important to delete your name from a sign up list if you are unable to play.

Friday's Session Coordinator - We have located someone to fill the Tuesday session coordinator's position but are still looking for some to cover the Friday session; as we prepare to say goodbye to Linda when she heads south for the winter.  If you would like to guarantee your playing slot for Fridays, please consider volunteering for that day's session coordinator.  The position requires the coordination with the Tuesday session coordinator to transfer equipment needed for each session.  If interested please contact Linda O'Neill or email Earl at sneeringere@gmail.com.

Planning for the future - This year has been challenging in that we as an Association have not been able to implement much of what we had planned in our Howard County Pickleball Master Plan. As we move forward in the new year with the expectation that life will hopefully resume some normalcy, we would like to reach out to our members on a goal we would like to begin pursuing.

As our Association has grown to over 300 members and the growth of pickleball has been snowballing in our area we would like to begin planning for the creation of Howard County pickleball complex.  The exact size of a complex is undetermined, but it should be large enough to hold county, state, and regional tournaments.  Complexes that host these types of events are generally in the 16-20 court range.

We recognize that considerable resources will need to be identified and obtained to make this plan a reality.  We also recognize that as an Association it will take a significant amount of time and effort on our part to push this effort ahead.  Our experience in the past few years has shown us that waiting for some other entity in our area to create this type of complex may again leave us frustrated.  Because of this reality, we are organizing a committee to explore how to accomplish this project.  We are asking members to join other fellow members in exploring the opportunities to create such a complex.  Many aspects must be explored, and many resources have to be identified.  We are looking for members with experience in generating business plans, local land engineering experience, commercial real estate, fund raising, and investment contacts. If you would like to be a part of this effort please email me at duanestclair@gmail.com 

Link to Master Plan

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MdD6mbpCaYFEnZRsh6oKk8zUQgZFnKcC/view

New Sign-up Tool - We are moving to the SignupGenius application for our pre-registration for open play sessions.  It's fairly easy to use.  You will find the link to the HCPA sign-up page on the Organized Play page.  I created a tutorial which can be found under the Members menu item as well as the link below.  It provides a brief demonstration of how to use our SignupGenius page as well as how to delete your entries.  Once you display the HCPA SignupGenius page, you can bookmark it within your browser to go back to it, which should make it easier to access.  The application also works on your phone and ipad.  The following link provides access to the tutorial I put together demonstrating it's use.  The tutorial is also listed under the Members menu item. If you have any issues or questions, please let me know via email - sneeringere@gmail.com.

HCPA SignupGenius Tutorial

Chapelgate Gym Update - I spoke with fellow member Jim McKee, the executive pastor from Chapelgate regarding the use of the Chapelgate gym for indoor pickleball on Monday nights.  Unfortunately, Chapelgate has once again shutdown their use of the gym for indoor activities, other than school functions, due to the spike in COVID-19 infections.  Jim informs me that the Church won't consider indoor activities until the infection rate goes below 5%.  So our hope to have access to the gym for indoor pickleball is once again put on hold due to the pandemic.

Looking for another distraction opportunity - check out Julie Issac's forum post within the Members Discussion Forum.

2021 Pickleball Rule Changes - Fellow member Peggy Gaegler sent me an article that explains some of the upcoming rule changes for 2021.  I have posted a link to this article under the menu item "PB News".  You can also access this article via the link below.  I recommend you review these rule changes since this may impact your game.

2021 Pickleball Rule Changes

Indoor Pickleball - Unfortunately, there are not many options for our association to play indoors in a cost effective manor.  Previous alternatives have been eliminated due to policy changes.  We lost access to the Howard County Community College due to increased insurance requirements.  We lost access to the Howard County Public School System's facilities due to a change in fee policy where we had to pay room fees for each room used.  Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and we end up with limited indoor options.  One alternative open to the public is the Howard County Recreation and Parks Open Play where you can register to play at the Meadowbrook Athletic Center.  Another alternative if you are a member of Columbia Association is to rent a lined tennis court at their indoor facility in Long Reach.  Finally, periodically the 40 West Tennis Club offers indoor play on Friday nights.  This Friday night will be the last one of 2020 and they will start again on January 15, 2021.  For more information on 40 West, contact Sharon Tiahrt (sharontiahrt@aol.com).  If you are aware of any other indoor alternative that you would like to share with our members please add a topic to our Member Discussion Forum.  When you log onto our website you will see a list of recent topics posted to the forum.

New sign-up tool - Due to limitations with the Doodle application, I will be utilizing a new sign-up tool for pre-registration for our Pickleball open play sessions.  We will be trying out the free version of the SignupGenius application so we will have to put up with the advertisements on the page.  You will still be accessing this tool via the Organized Play page which will contain one link for all sessions.  However, you should be able to bookmark the link so that you can then access it without going to the Organized Play page.  At present, I intend to continue to update this weekly on Sunday mornings and will also update the published date on the home page once I've added the new sessions.  However, this may change in the future as I learn to use the tool better.

The tool allows each person to access the web page without establishing a SignupGenius account.  You can access this application via your computer, phone or pad. Once you sign-up for one or more pickleball sessions, you will receive an email confirmation.  Be sure to save this email because this is the avenue to deleting your sign-up entry if you are unable to play.  However, if for some reason you are unable to locate that email, the application provides a means to receive another email with the appropriate link to delete your entry.  As with any change, there will be a learning curve to deal with, however, I believe the application is fairly easy to use so please be patient.  I intend to create a tutorial on the use of this tool for our purpose and will post this under the menu item "Assoc. News" as well as send out an announcement once it's published.  We will be switching to this new tool this weekend although with the weather as it is, there may not be as many play opportunities.  

Impact of cold weather coming - In checking with the session coordinators regarding the upcoming cold front coming in, most have decided to cancel their sessions.  It appears that as a general rule, if the weather temperatures are less than 40 degrees then the sessions will be cancelled.  We will be taking this on a week by week basis for now adjusting to the weather.

Training announcement from fellow HCPA Member Marc Austin.
NEW!!  Winter 2021 Indoor Adult Pickleball Training Opportunities with Nationally Certified Professional Pickleball Instructor and HCPA "Pro Corner" Instructional Writer,  Marc  F. Austin.
Howard County Recreation and Parks recently announced that registration is now open for Marc's six classes being offered at four different skill levels!
We are sharing these new opportunities with all HCPA members here!
Please visit the HCRP Pickleball Website below and find the "Adult Lessons" link under "Pickleball Programs".  Please also find the "Specialized Clinics" link to find out and stay informed about any upcoming announcements regarding Marc's unique topic specific Pickleball Clinics. 

Adjusting the Organized Play Schedule - As we move into winter and colder weather we will be adjusting our schedule and losing  some open play sessions.  At the request of the coordinator for the Late Sat. Intermediate/Advanced session, we are cancelling this session due to reduced sign-ups.  The Saturday Advanced session will be moved up to it's time slot.  Come January, we will be losing our coordinator for Tuesday and Friday sessions due to snowbirds flying south.  If other members feel the need for the continuation of these sessions, they are welcome to volunteer and weather permitting we can continue to offer these sessions.  If you would like to volunteer as a session coordinator, please contact Earl via email at sneeringere@gmail.com.

Additional Training Opportunities - Sonny Tannan, a fellow association member and Pickleball Coach, shared the following information on two indoor pickleball training camps.

 

3 hour Intermediate Pickleball Camp Flyer - 121120

 

3 hour Advanced Pickleball Camp Flyer - 121820