Relishing Pickleball

David Zapatka, USAPA rating committee member

The Super Senior International Pickleball Association, SSIPA, became a reality last year when a group of us met at last November’s USAPA National tournament. SSIPA formed in 2016 to promote pickleball among our active senior (60+ years of age) population in this country and internationally. Our generation continues to strive for participation in friendly competition with fellow seniors, developing lifelong friendships. As we age gracefully and continue to strive for wellness through competition, SSIPA is another piece of the puzzle of life.

In 2017, USAPA and SSIPA established a formal affiliation to grow our sport. SSIPA offers both U.S. and international venues of play. All SSIPA tournaments are USAPA-sanctioned and encourage our 60+ aged seniors to compete with other players in their age group, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80+. Brackets include 2.5 through 5.0 skill levels in each age group.

The inaugural SSIPA tournament was held in El Mirage, Arizona, this past March. In the 65-69 divisions, I was fortunate to participate and win bronze with mixed partner Diane Baumgartner and silver with men’s partner Don Simmons. In both events, famous and indomitable friends Yoda Friedenberg and Jim Hackenberg eliminated us, Yoda playing with stellar mixed partner Marsha Freso. Since then, SSIPA tournaments have been held in California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and Spain. The World SSIPA championships are this month in Georgia. Our next local SSIPA tournament is in Phoenix in December. You can register at the SSIPA site to join the fun, but hurry – the brackets are filling up quickly.

Membership is open to persons of any age desiring to support SSIPA’s mission. Apply online at

USAPA nationals are this month, the 4th through 12th. Come to Palm Creek and Robson Ranch in Casa Grande to watch the best players in the world. Nationals was scheduled exclusively at Palm Creek’s 32 courts, but huge demand caused overflow to 10 additional courts at Robson Ranch.

Want to improve your play? Sun Lakes Pickleball Club at IronOaks is hosting a clinic with IPTA-certified, pro pickleball player Laura Fenton Kovanda November 18-19. Contact Bev Krueger at or Janet Myrick at [email protected] for more details.

Have a question about pickleball? Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment or have some picklilicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected].