Minutes for the June 2021 Leadership Team Meeting

Leadership Team Meeting – Monday, June 7, 2021 at 5:30pm – Odell Weeks Room 2

The meeting was held indoors at Odell Weeks.  In attendance were members of the Leadership Team,  Joyce  Noland, George Carr, and Harve Mobley; the USA Pickleball District Ambassador for West South Carolina and our head teaching professional - Mo Garcia; the Ambassador for Aiken County and Gregg Park Player Rep , Larry Howel; the Head of the Player Reps - Marian Garcia; the 4.0 Player Reps - Cheryl Breidenbach and Chris Tubbs; the 3.5 Player Reps -  Bob Fogle, Leslie McGowan and Stephanie Wolfe; the 3.0 Player Reps - Judy DeGregoria and Nelson Swartzentruber; the 2.5 and below Player Reps - Linda Blake and Faith Loeb.   Harve took the minutes.   Joyce called the meeting to order, and items discussed were:.  

Odell Weeks – Drop –in-play, court designation and new player clinic

  • Opening comments were about the large group that played Pickleball on Monday morning indoors at Odell Weeks. Courts were less crowded on Wednesday and Friday prior, folks were reluctant to set up the net on court 5.  Nelson suggested that court reservations may be keeping attendance down those mornings.

  • On the same topic, when courts are very crowded (e.g. 15 people are waiting to play), we should use the “four off, four on”method and play games to 9.  Player reps  and senior players should help encourage this concept if resistance is met.  Court usage will be monitored over the next month to determine if more open play courts should be established.

  • Six signed up for new player drop in on Saturday June 12.  Nelson volunteered to help with the session.   

  • Team practice times were mentioned regarding the upcoming Aiken Tournament, but nothing definitive was proposed.

  • The statistics from the round robin questionnaire were discussed (published separately).  There were many preferences and the intent is to have something for everyone in future round robins.  For the June 26 RR at Odell, George suggested we take the first 24 players and put them on 6 courts by random draw.  Winners move up a court and split, losers move down a court and split and play continues (winners on 6 stay and split, losers on 1 stay and split).  This format was adopted by consensus for the first of a series of free round robins at OW.

  • It was noted that court designation play at OW does not require a partner.

Gregg Park

  • We need more 3.0’s for the Round Robin at Gregg Park (GP) on July 17th.

  • The curtain at GP is the wrong size.  Several ideas are circulating to remedy the situation but a path forward has not been established.

  • New player clinic on June 19th at GP ($10) needs a minimum of three players to make the class.  If it does not happen, other options will be considered for those who sign up (like moving to OW).

  • Gregg Park attendance is down on Wednesday and Friday evenings.  How do we get more playing at those times? We don’t want to risk losing those times.  Give us feedback on this.  It was noted that court usage is doing very well at other times.

Smith Hazel

  • Smith Hazel (SH) will be closed on Wednesdays for summer camp.

  • The next rating session will be Monday June 28th at SH.

Outdoor Courts at OW

  •  The newly resurfaced eight courts have been well received.  

  • OW has promised to post some signs prohibiting the use of roller blades, skate board, skates etc. on the courts. Mo mentioned some obstacles and fencing will be added over time to help discourage this type of activity.

Spring League

  • Spring League has been cancelled due to lack of sufficient participation.

  • A discussion ensued about why there were not enough signed up to play.

Next Leadership Team Meeting

  • OW space will be fully utilized for the next team meeting so a new venue will be needed.

  • Mo suggested using Gregg Park, other options include an outdoor meeting or a virtual meeting.  Joyce will report back on the topic.

  • July 5 is the next regular date, but since that is right after the Holiday, the next meeting will be on July 12.

  • It was noted that kids camps start next Monday at OW and there still exists a need for volunteer Pickleball facilitators.  A schedule of dates/times is forthcoming to help those who are interested to plan ahead.

Website Calendar

  • There have been several comments about the time it takes for the online calendar to load.  It was noted that the google calendar will load faster, but the more favored local calendar will take up to two minutes to load.  Spread the word that the issue is not with the users, but expect 90-120 seconds for it to load. 

Mixing Levels for Player Development

  • Several comments have been made that players would enjoy mixing in with higher level players to improve skills.

  • A discussion on the subject pointed out there are several avenues to improve including: 1. Lessons 2. Establishing a “challenge court” outside 3. Participating in upcoming round robins at OW (mixers) 4. Refresh “Play to the stronger player” etiquette when possible. 5. Re-establishing a “play-up” group.


Entertainment at Socials

  •  The question was asked “Do we want entertainment at future socials”.  While Ben Lacy’s talented entertainment was well received and a great surprise, there were concerns expressed about not being able to converse with fellow attendees.

Treasurer’s report

  • It was reported that we still have over $400 in the treasury.  We will be ordering some medals so some expenses will be incurred in the next month or so.


2021 Tournament Update

  • Bob Fogle reported that 38 have signed up for the tournament thus far.  About half are from Aiken.

  • A professional photographer has volunteered to take pictures during the three day.  The hope is to begin displaying pictures at the tournament for players and fans to enjoy.

  • There may also be some videos displayed as well.  More to come on that subject.

  • Larry Howell has agreed to be the court monitor lead for the tournament.

  • Mo and Bob had a good meeting with the City of Aiken represented by Seth Holley and Brett Howell.  They presented the budget for the tournament.

  • Mo is working on getting a couple of food trucks to be present at the tournament.  Forty lunches per day will be provided for the volunteers for the tournament.

  • We will buy six new net standards for the tournament and 26 new court separators for the tournament.  The team is working on a plan for midcourt separators.

  • Michelle/Bob/Mo are working on a marketing plan.

  • Nelson Spitnale is working on the wifi performance.

  • It was noted that people have commented on how well past tournaments have been run.  That puts no additional pressure on Bob.

  • Questions have been asked  about how one might become a Vendor for the Tournament.  The city has agreed to buy a special event license that can cover those who want to be a Vendor at the Tournament.  The cost, payable to the City of Aiken is $200.  Vendor approvals are subject to approval by the tournament directors based on the inventory offered by the vendor.   Also note that silver level sponsorships are $250, and gold level sponsorships are $300.

  • Leslie noted that those who sign up for the tournament should realize the username and password on pickleballtournaments.com will be needed for future tournament sign ups at other tournament locations as well as the Aiken Tournament.

Padding on the Gym Walls

  • Mo presented the concept of adding pads to the gym walls for safety during play (like the existing pads on the walls near the basketball goals).

  • One quote to complete the job put the cost at $7000.  Since the city budget will not allow this to be done all at once, the work will be done in piecemeal.  

  • Should we help augment the budget to get it done all at once in the name of safety?

  • A discussion led to the conclusion that our group will wait for the City to complete the work.

Player Rep Updates

  • Stephanie asked if we are welcoming newly rated players via the player reps like we used to do?  There was a directive at one point to hold off on this practice.

  • The answer is “yes”, we can look back and welcome past players and continue the previous practice.

  • Ron Nelson will resume contacting player reps (and copy Marian Garcia) with new ratings.

  • The organization chart for Aiken Pickleball is in need of updating.  George will do the update.

  • Sign up Genius is slow at times.  George has agreed to manually remove old dates more often than once per week as time allows.  This will help with the issue.

  • Linda requested new player contact information lists from Mo so that a follow-up contact can help facilitate new player groups to form and  assimilate into the general pickleball population.

  • New players will be added to the NR list on the Aiken Pickleball Player List by Nelson Spitnale.  Linda will send old lists to Nelson and Mo will copy Nelson when he sends the new lists to Linda and Faith.

  • Larry Howell reported that 4 players from the clinic in May have joined GP already.

  • 288 signups were recorded at GP in May with data from two days missing.  

  • There is an adequate number of loaner paddles at GP.  Some even have the GP logo on them.

  • Larry has been working at getting some courts in play in North Augusta at several venues.  The Riverview Activity Center and City have been less than receptive, but the North Augusta Hammond Hills Swim Club (450 members) has expressed interest in resurfacing some existing tennis courts.  They have even received a quote to do the work so they are serious.  A meeting scheduled for June 17th will discuss further possibilities.  Stay tuned.


Next Leadership Team Meeting - July 14 at Gregg Park at 4pm.