How to Get an Event Added to the Calendar

Process for adding an event to the calendar on the website:

  • Event must be approved by the Board.
  • You must be able to reserve your own courts (without conflicting with another group)!
  • Event must be for a minimum of 12 people.
  • Players MUST have a paid SJPA membership.
  • Players must have a Signature Sport or Golf membership.
  • We must review our calendar for conflicts.
  • Send your request to these three people:
    • Al Hausmann (Communications):
      • Include the necessary information:
        • Name or type of event
        • Date and time (Is it a onetime event or recurring? Recurring runs for 3 months only.)
        • Number of participants (minimum 12)
        • Description (including: mens, womens, mixed, level of play)
        • Owner / organizer / contact 

Welcome Our New SJPA President Andrea Velez

Happy New Year! I am so excited to be your new President. I look forward to the year to come and continuing all the hard work that Scott has put into this organization. We have 8 new courts that are up and running with lights and bathrooms to come. We held our first of many social events on January 1st to kick off the New Year and it was a great success. Thanks to our Tournaments and Events Chair: Joe Beitz and thanks to John Pugh. Please check our website frequently as we will be planning many new ladders and round robins for SJPA members: . If you are not a member, please sign up and join the association.

Our new pickleball pro, Kim Mihan is available for lessons, clinics and ratings. Please contact the tennis shop and check the daily tennis report each day for pickleball clinics and rating clinics.

While we are excited to have 10 courts up and running, please remember to follow the new CDC recommendations regarding COVID that are posted on this site. We want to ensure that we will be able to continue to play while remaining healthy and COVID free!

Please feel free to contact me, or any members of the SJPA board with any questions, suggestions, or concerns. This is going to be a great pickleball year!

Andrea Velez:

SJPA Men’s 3.5+ rated ladder event.

Scott Hettinger is setting up a ladder event starting January 20, 2021 at 2:30-4pm at Rymer Courts for 3.5+ men. 

Max participants capped at 16.  

The ladder will run for 8 weeks. 

This event needs a solid commitment.  Points are assessed after each week and you move up and down the ladder based on your points.  You will be responsible for your own sub if you can’t make the weekly match. A sub list will be available.  

You must be a member of the SJPA to participate in this ladder event. 

Cost will be $10 for balls and prizes. 

Contact Scott at to sign up.

If you are not rated, please contact Kim Mihan our new pickleball pro and she will get you rated. You can reach Kim at (910) 477-8500  ext 2010 or email her at  

New Rating Rubric by Kim Mihan

It’s not intended to be the end all & final word but a guide to help the reader/player better understand the variances within each level of play. It may be used as an aid for you to target areas in which you want to improve. You can always find the rating rubric located under the PICKLEBALL PLAY category (in the menu at the top of the page). The content item in the list is called: SJPA RATING CRITERIA .

Link to that content page: SJPA RATING CRITERIA


We are pleased to announce that 6 new courts will open for play and with reservations on Saturday, December 26 and the last two new courts will open on Monday, December 28.  It has taken longer than any of us would have liked, but it will be so great to add these 8 courts to our racquet sports program.

This Social Event on January 1, 2021 to kick off the new courts has two sessions: 11:30-1:30 or 2:00-4:00

There will be two sessions of open social pickleball play (for any signature sport members) with a random partnering of players to promote social play and for players to meet players of other levels of play.
•       The play is for all level of players.
•       We will use a round robin format
•       12 minute games with a 3 minute break between games for a total of 8 games being played for each session.
•       There will be 32 players per session.

The sign up will be thru the St James Pickleball Association website only:
•       When you sign up, you will be able to select the either Session 1: 11:30-1:30 or
•       Session 2: 2.00-4.00 event
•       The event will be held free of charge and available to all signature sport members.

The sign up deadline is December 28th.

With the parking at the new Greg Rymer Memorial Courts, it is suggested that you carpool if possible.

Questions regarding this event, please contact Joe Beitz: (CELL: 240- 484-9232)

With the New Rules for 2021, Can I Hit the Ball Up, Then Let It Bounce So I Can Get a Real High Bounce?

So you really want to wack it, eh? NO, the ball cannot be hit in an upward motion and then let it bounce. Nice try Bob!

The new rules state: 26.Rule 4.A.8.b New: Before bouncing on the ground, the ball shall not be propelled (thrown) downward or tossed or hit upward with the paddle. Failure to drop the ball properly will result in a fault. There is no restriction on where the ball can land on the playing surface after it is dropped (providing 4.A.2 is satisfied) nor how many times within the 10 seconds after the score is called the server may drop the ball.

Additionally: 25.Rule 4.A.8.a New: Servers must release the ball from one of the server’s hands or dropped off the server’s paddle face from any natural (un-aided) height and hit the ball after the ball bounces on the playing surface. The server’s release of the ball must be visible to the referee and the receiver. In matches without a referee, the server’s release of the ball must be visible to the receiver. A replay shall be called before the return of serve if the release of the ball is not visible. The rules for feet placement (4.A.2 and 4.L) still apply. Reason: Same as 4.A.8. Note: The only downward acceleration imparted on the ball is that from gravity. Scenario A: In a match with a referee, the server turns their back slightly before performing a “drop serve”. The referee sees the server release the ball, but the receiver cannot see the release. The server serves, but before the return of serve, the receiver claims they could not see the release of the ball. The referee calls for a replay and informs the server that they need to make the release of the ball visible to both the referee and receiver. Scenario B: A server has been using the drop serve since the start of the game. The referee calls the score and the player drops the ball to perform a drop serve. After the ball bounces, the server grabs the ball and then serves the ball in the “normal” fashion and does so within the 10-second count. After the rally has ended, the receiver claims that the server committed a fault by “switching serving styles” after the score had been called. The referee explains that there is no rule restricting the server from “switching serving styles” after the score has been called. The referee explains that as long as the ball is served within the 10-second count, either style, including attempting both styles, is allowed. Scenario C: The server releases the ball and the ball bounces twice on the ground and then the server serves. Since there is no written fault for letting the ball bounce twice (or more) before serving, the referee should NOT call a fault.

27.Rule 4.A.10.c New: If the drop serve is used, the ball may be struck with either a forehand or backhand motion without any other restriction; i.e., the location restrictions of the ball and paddle in Rules 4.A.3, 4.A.4, and 4.A.5 do not apply. Reason: Same as 4.A.8

22.Rule 4.A.5 Existing: Contact with the ball must not be made above the waist level (Waist is defined as the navel level). (See Figures 4-1 and 4-3 above) New: Contact with the ball must not be made above the waist. (See Figures 4-1 and 4- 3 above) Reason: Better clarity for referees on how to determine the applicable fault. It removes the ambiguity over waist vs navel.

Are They Really Making Changes to the Official 2021 Pickleball Rule Book?

YES, the official 2021 Rulebook will become effective on January 25, 2021. One of the biggest changes is the Service Let. All in all there will be 125 changes to the official rules.

Service Lets have been removed. It is noted that out of habit, both referees and players may sometimes habitually call a service let. If any player stops play because of a service let being called, that player/team will have committed a fault per rule 7.I.

What is a Service Let? A serve is called a let when the ball hits the net cord but still lands in the service court (your opponent’s receiving rectangle). Such a serve is not considered a fault and the server may repeat the service attempt. A ball that hits the net cord but lands outside the service box is still a fault.

So with a Service Let being removed from the official rules for 2021, that means when the serve hits the net and lands in the receiver’s court, the ball will be in-play, and the server will not re-do a serve.

What Should Be the Height of the Net?

We always hear people complain when their excellent return hits the net and does not make it over, “the net is too high.” Or adversely, you hit the ball, it hits the top of the net and always drops on the other side. Your opponent complains, “the net must be too low.” So what is the correct height?

Pickleball nets should have a height of 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches high in the middle. The top of the net should be covered with a 2 inch wide binding over the net cord. The net posts should be at least one foot outside of the sidelines.

How Long and Wide is a Pickleball Court?

The total playing area is 20 feet x 44 feet. The lines should be 2 inches wide.

Let’s get into a few more specifics.

Non-volley Zone

The non-volley zone (NVZ) is 20 feet wide and 7 feet long. It runs the entire width of the court and measures exactly 7 feet on either side of the net, for a total length of 14 feet. Also called the kitchen, the NVZ should be painted a consistent color on both sides of the net, but usually contrasts slightly with the rest of the pickleball court. 

Left Service Area

The left service area is made up of the left sideline, the baseline, and the centerline. It also sits directly underneath the kitchen, however, the kitchen lines are not considered as part of the service area. Both the left and right service areas measure 10 feet wide and 15 feet long.

Right Service Area

The right service area is made up of the right sideline, the baseline, and the centerline. It measures 10 feet wide and 15 feet long, including lines. 

Both sides of the pickleball court are symmetrical and have the exact same measurements. Similar to tennis, it’s common for competing teams to switch sides of the court during a pickleball match to ensure no team has an advantage due to sun, wind, or other court factors.

If You Did Not Get a Spot in the Engage Pickleball Camp

The Engage Pickleball Camp scheduled for March 19, 20, 21, 2021 is sold out.  If you did not get a spot for this camp, but are still interested, please email your name, email address, and what session you are interested in (3.0 – 3.5) or (3.6 – 4.0) to Scott Hettinger:

We will speak to all parties involved and see if we can add more spots.

Q. After stepping in non-Volley Zone (NVZ) then stepping out of NVZ with one foot can I then step back in to NVZ?

A. Let’s clarify. The kitchen is a non-Volley Zone and it is a more accurate name for the kitchen, so from now on we will refer to the kitchen as the non-Volley Zone (NVZ).

As always, the ball must bounce on your side before you can step into the NVZ. You must get out of the NVZ before you can hit the next ball.

The answer to the question above: This is a foot fault.

From the rulebook: 9. D. If a player has touched the non-volley zone for any reason, that player cannot volley a return until both feet have made contact with the playing surface completely outside the non-volley zone. A maneuver such as standing within the non-volley zone, jumping up to hit a volley, and then landing outside the non-volley zone is prohibited.

Q. Is It Important to Wear Court Shoes When Playing Pickleball

A. Yes, court shoes improves your stability and reduces injury.

It is important to wear court shoes when playing pickleball. They have the right kind of grip for the surface and provide the proper support for the quick movements. Having the right kind of shoes are important for comfort and injury prevention. Most players are going to be using tennis shoes for indoor and outdoor play. The challenge is finding the right court shoes for you.

A. Yes, court shoes improves your stability and reduces injury.

It is important to wear court shoes when playing pickleball. They have the right kind of grip for the surface and provide the proper support for the quick movements. Having the right kind of shoes are important for comfort and injury prevention. Most players are going to be using tennis shoes for indoor and outdoor play. The challenge is finding the right court shoes for you.

If you go to a department store to buy tennis or court shoes, you may be misled. The salesperson may think that a cross trainer or running shoe will suffice but they would be wrong. Many local sporting good stores don’t offer much better advice.

I have found students coming to a lesson in running shoes. They may be comfortable and often they are lighter. However, a running shoe is designed to move forward. It also often has a lip on the side. This design will snag when you make quick lateral movements, causing you to fall. Wearing running shoes when playing pickleball can lead to injury.

Wearing a high-quality court shoe makes it easier to move properly on the court and will minimize your risk of injury.

How Often Should You Replace Your Tennis Shoes? How often should you be buying new shoes? How do you know when it’s time to replace your tennis shoes? Well, one way you can tell is to look at the bottom of your shoe. If you are starting to wear through the different layers of rubber you will be losing traction. You are not going to get as good of a grip out on the court and you may slip. It may be time to go get a new pair of tennis shoes.

There is a rule of thumb on this and it is that, if you play tennis 2 to 3 times a week in one pair of shoes, you probably need a new pair of shoes about every six months. Also, you need to consider if you are walking on the outer or inner edges of the sole. Then you could be wearing out the support your shoe provides.