What a fun week I had at Club Med in Port St. Lucie Florida at the USAPA conference and ambassador retreat! There were over 200 ambassadors and their spouses in attendance. We learned so much from the USAPA board members, USAPA employees, several pros and many vendors. There was classroom time as well as open play and clinics going on. I was honored to learn some new techniques from clinician and pro Brian Staub and Byron Freso two very well known and highly respected players. Byron is also a top ref and often is the one reffing the Open Gold matches at Nationals and the US Open. He is a lovely person and I followed him around like a lost puppy trying to absorb as much info and teaching techniques as possible :) He was so helpful and gracious enough to give me a semi private lesson. Plus we had a history of Pickleball seminar from Jennifer Lucore which was so interesting. She has done a ton of research and has written a book on the history of pickleball (I highly recommend it) she also confirmed that pickleball did in fact get it's name from the Prichard's cockapoo dog Pickles!
Some of the topics covered at the conference were the new USAPA rules and revisions, legalities & insurance, sanctioned vs. unsanctioned tournaments, USAPA/PPR affiliation, Nutrition, starting junior programs, ratings, referee training, a sponsor showcase and of course plenty of open pickleball play! The weather was perfect, the food was amazing and the cocktail parties were fun and a great place to get to know all the other ambassadors, regional directors and board members.
There was so much great information and I made so many new friends that I am already excited for next year! If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask me. I am excited to start implementing what I have learned and hope I can continue to help grow this great sport that is the "fastest growing sport in the country" for a reason!