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72,500 users and counting!

Despite the "less than ideal" pickleball weather in most regions, PlayTime Scheduler keeps growing with over 72,500 users in 1,043 regions. We are now in 14 countries on 5 continents, with Sweden being the latest country added. If you haven’t logged in for a while, be sure to check in and see if your region has new activity.

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Garcia Bend Park Smashes Previous Record – For a Great Cause!

In last month's newsletter, we listed the top 10 largest PlayTime Scheduler sessions of all time. Garcia Bend Park in Sacramento, California held the top spot with their Halloween event this year, which had 76 signups. On December 18th, the Pocket-Greenhaven Pickleball Club hosted a "Winter Wonderland Ugly Sweater" themed pickleball and philanthropy party at Garcia Bend, breaking their own record with 128 signups! 

Along with raising funds to help convert the Garcia Bend tennis courts to dedicated pickleball courts (currently, the pickleball courts are chalked and players must bring their own nets), donations were collected for two local nonprofits – My Sister's House and Runnin' for Rhett – which have close ties to the community. Congratulations to the club for organizing such a fun day of pickleball, philanthropy, and community-building. We hope you get your new courts soon!

Why is Pickleball So Addictive?

By Jason Aspes, Co-Founder of The Kitchen

Pickleball is addicting, just ask anyone who plays the game. Whether it is the pace of the action, the excitement of the points, or the always evolving strategies of how to play the game, there is a reason the unofficial tagline of the sport is "Just one more game." So we thought we would take a look at what exactly makes it so addicting.

One of the most common marketing practices these days is when you are asked to complete a task in order to receive a free gift. This is a common tactic called gamification. Gamification is used by just about every consumer-facing industry you can think of including marketers, healthcare, and even governments, because it actually works. MIT’s Behavioral Research Lab has turned gamification into a science. Video games and social media are built with gamification tactics at their core to hold our attention and  keep us wanting more. This addiction is created by design, incentivizing us to unlock the next level, earn the next badge, improve our standing amongst our peers, and to compete for recognition. 

The architects of these platforms tap into science to understand how our brains work. These gamification tactics cause dopamine, also known as the "feel-good neurotransmitter," to be released. The more dopamine released, the more we want to experience it again. 

Pickleball also has all these elements of gamification incorporated into the sport, leaving us with no choice but to crave more of it. It’s no different than the video games, except instead of manipulating us to look at our phones and play their games, we are making new friends, in real life, and getting outside to exercise. 

We are pickleball players, not psychologists, but we thought we would take a satirical look at pickleball through the lens of behavioral science, here are six factors that gamification is built on to keep players wanting more:
  1. Goal Setting - When you first step out onto the pickleball court, you might just want to be able to play with your friends, but after a few sessions, your goal might be to improve your game, and you will eventually have an annual budget allotted to pickleball tournaments fees and travel expenses.
  2. Challenges - You can alway work on a skill, take a lesson, or develop new strategies to overcome the challenges you face. At some point you will find yourself seeking bigger challenges and scouring PlayTime Scheduler for more competitive games within a 50 mile radius.
  3. Feedback - Rankings are one way to understand where you stand amongst your peers, but but you're not really a pickleball player until you take unsolicited advice from a playing partner you have never met before.
  4. Reward - Tournaments are abundant in pickleball. Everyone wants to play and compete. Professionals might play for money, but the amateurs are playing for podiums, medals, and most importantly, pride. The podiums and medals don’t really matter, but your pride does. And upon losing your first tournament, you set pride aside and enter the next tournament at a full ranking point lower than the last one just so you can stand on the podium and receive your medal. You will be filled with pride!
  5. Social Aspects - Due to the smaller court size and prevalence of doubles, pickleball is an incredibly social activity. You will begin to tell everyone you know about the game, post about it on social forums, and exchange phone numbers with random people with the hopes it leads to more time on the pickleball court.
  6. Excitement - Given the pace of the game and the close proximity of the players, you must always be ready for the ball to come your way. And since you never know what type of shot is going to be hit, it is always exciting… even when your partner tries a baseline lob on the third shot ;)
So, if you are anything like the rest of us pickleball addicts, do not feel ashamed at your lack of self control, it’s not you, it’s science. As you now know, pickleball is scientifically proven to be addictive. 
Join The Kitchen on Facebook!
When Chuck first introduced PlayTime Scheduler to his group of local players in 2019, it wasn't yet well known, but he recognized the value the tool could bring to his community. We are so glad he did, because Crossville, TN, has become one of our most thriving regions with an average of 60 sessions posted a week. I asked Chuck a few questions about his experience over the years.

How long have you been playing pickleball and where did you learn to play?
I have been playing pickleball for about 6 years. I had never heard of pickleball before we made a trip to Florida in 2015. We saw pickleball being played and it looked like a lot of fun. When we went back to California we searched for a place to play and learned to play in Oceanside at Melba Bishop Park.

When did you first join PlayTime Scheduler as a regional admin?
I became a PlayTime Scheduler admin in July of 2019. A new resident to our community said they had used PlayTime Scheduler where he had moved from and suggested we try it. So, after looking at it for a while, I introduced it to our pickleball community in July of 2019. Using the cards provided by PlayTime Scheduler the registrations took off almost immediately and we have used PlayTime Scheduler virtually 100% of the time since then.

What do you think is the most rewarding part of being a regional admin?
I think the most rewarding part of being an admin is seeing the huge growth in the number of players and the increased opportunity for competitive play between players of similar ratings. In 2.5 years we have grown to over 650 people registered in our region that live within a 50 mile radius and over 200 others who have played here while on vacation.  

What’s the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for us is to get the word out to visiting players that we use PlayTime Scheduler almost exclusively for scheduling sessions of pickleball. Many people are not familiar with PlayTime Scheduler, so it takes some time to get them plugged into the system. We live in a resort community called Fairfield Glade in Crossville, Tennessee and we get a lot of people visiting the area.  

What advice would you give to a new region considering setting up PlayTime Scheduler?
I would say what are you waiting for? Adding Playtime Scheduler has been a huge boost for our pickleball community and our players and team leaders love it. It is so easy to use and eliminates most of those annoying strings of group texts and multiple emails trying to set up a game.

I think this Facebook post from John Mark Stroud who discovered pickleball in our area this year sums it up perfectly. John Mark was a full time RV’er and has played pickleball in many communities. Here is what he said:
"This area has the largest and most active number of players of any place I have visited. The players here span a wide range of skill levels and ages. In most of the areas where I have played there is an almost constant conflict between the social and competitive players. Often the 'open play' times elsewhere end up with many players unhappy, feeling unwelcome, frustrated or disenfranchised.

Because of the almost exclusive use of PlayTime Scheduler (PTS) by the local community, this type of conflict is almost non-existent here. PTS allows for such easy scheduling and communication by skill level that it makes finding play easy and simple. I have never experienced another community that uses PTS or any other app with the same success as it is used here. This makes for much better play opportunities by skill and preference level. I hope many other PB communities adopt PTS and discover its benefits." – John Mark Stroud

Top 10 Fastest Growing Regions Registered in 2021

  1. Roanoke & Surrounding Area, VA - 558 users
  2. PNS Central Region, Nova Scotia - 407 users
  3. Etobicoke, Ontario - 289 users
  4. Central Worcester County, MA - 226 users
  5. Fort Collins, CO - 224 users
  6. Rio Grande Valley, TX - 204 users
  7. Brisbane, Queensland - 173 users
  8. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato - 159 users
  9. Fort Hunt/Mount Vernon, VA - 151 users
  10. Toronto, Ontario - 145 users

Get Your Free "Power User" Decal!

If you're a Power User, we'd like to send you some FREE swag as a token of our appreciation. Now you can finally show off your Power User status on the courts – and everywhere else you go! These heavy-duty, weatherproof stickers work great on car windows, water bottles, or just about any place you want to stick them. They can even withstand the dishwasher. Click the button below to order your free decal – while supplies last!

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Refer Friends and Get Up to 6 Months Free

For a limited time, when Power Users refer friends to upgrade to Power User, they'll both get 1 free month added to their subscriptions! Just have your friend enter your email address in the "Referred By" field on the upgrade order form. We'll take care of the rest.

Limited time offer; referring user may earn up to 6 months free. Not valid on renewals. No cash value.

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