VISUALIZING OUTSTANDING VOLLEYS
Fine-Tuning Your Serve
Where Should I Hit the Ball?
By Kim Smith, USAPA Ambassador, Fair Haven, NJ
Are You Fully Equipped?
As an enthusiastic pickleball player, you take to the courts thinking you’re properly equipped. You bring a nice paddle, good pair of tennis or court shoes, sunblock, sunglasses and water bottle thinking you’re ready for the day.
But are you really? You’re accompanied by some of your closest pickleball “buddies,” along with other enthusiasts you’ve come to know through the sport. Many are part of your “pickleball family.”
What would you do if someone had a heart attack or became physically distressed on the court? Are you—and the playing venue—equipped to handle the situation?
These kinds of incidents happened last year within our pickleball community. Unfortunately, both ended in tragedy. One player died of a heart attack on the court and the other died of a heart attack in his sleep that night. A few weeks later, another member with previous heart issues died of cardiac arrest at home, after spending an afternoon playing the sport he loved.
According to the American Heart Association, effective CPR started immediately after cardiac arrest can double or triple the person’s rate of survival.
Pickleball players must ask themselves—and their doctor—if they are physically fit enough to play the sport. If so, remember that even the best-conditioned athlete should warm up before playing and cool down afterward. In addition to proper conditioning, warm-up and proper clothing/equipment, there should be another “pickleball prerequisite.”
February is American Heart Month. I’m urging all players to dedicate two hours out of their lives to taking a CPR/AED course, so they can save a life. I’m asking all ambassadors, pickleball club presidents, facility and venue managers, tournament directors and anyone else involved in organizing pickleball playing opportunities to set up a CPR/AED course for their players.
After losing three of our players, I reached out to the American Heart Association to schedule a CPR/AED instructor to administer a class. Twenty-five players signed up for the course, which was held at a local church in a room large enough to accommodate all the participants (plus the “Resuscitation Annies” and other necessary equipment). Reflecting on my role as an ambassador, this was one of the simplest, yet most important tasks I’ve done to serve my community. All participants were happy they took the course and now feel fully equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to handle a lifethreatening situation.
I also urge all playing facilities and venues to have an AED. If you don’t, there are grants available to help cover some of the costs. Visit for an application. Why not add this to your list of Pickleball Prerequisites!
Please call the American Heart Association Instructor Network at 877.242.4277 (option 2) to arrange for an instructor to come and offer a course, or to learn where a CPR/AED course is being offered near you.