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Mon, March 25

Atherton: Local pickleball players gather to play Silver Fox tourney in Prescott
Paddle Up

Prescott pickleball players pose for a photo after playing in the Silver Fox tournament Aug. 25 in Prescott. (Bob Atherton/Courtesy)

Prescott pickleball players pose for a photo after playing in the Silver Fox tournament Aug. 25 in Prescott. (Bob Atherton/Courtesy)

The Silver Fox and Foxie tournament was held at Willow Hills Baptist church in Prescott on Aug. 25 and sponsored by the Willow Hills Pickleball Club, a ministry of the Church. The players were required to be 80-plus years old to play and the motto was, “You gotta be old enough to play to the game.”

The oldest player was Richard Ludwigson age 92. That meant, all of the players were born before Dec. 30, 1938, which was before World War 2 started!

The tournament was the first ever in the Northern Arizona District for the USAPA for this age grouping. Only eight players signed up. Two were over 90. There are not a lot of players out there at that robust age level. That is the reason you rarely ever see a division for that age in tournaments let alone Pickleball.

As originally, designed, Pickleball was a family game created so youngster as early as nine and ten could play with everyone on up through grandpa, and grandma and have fun. There were a lot of grandfather’s and two grandmothers in this group and one of which was great grandmother.

This tournament was a round robin doubles. Four team captains were chosen from oldest down. The other four were chosen by a blind draw. There were four teams and a total of three rounds so each team played against each other. Medals, certificates were awarded along with first place individual trophies. A pot luck lunch followed.

The winner medals were awarded as follows. Gold, Bob Krieckhaus and Fred Ferguson representing the YMCA, silver, Jerry Northwood and Richard Ludwigson representing Willow Hills, bronze, Claudia Atherton and Bob Dickinson Willow Hills. Also playing were Dick Donahue and Patty Ferguson.


Chris Howard, a tennis coach, wrote in his recent article in the Courier, it is very important to keep your head steady when executing a hit in tennis. That is the absolute truth in pickleball. When hitting an overhead put away shot sometimes called a wheelhouse hit on a high ball coming to you also referred to as a cream puff, put your hand up opposite the paddle hand high in the air. This does three things: One, it steadies your head so the head does not become part of the swing. Two, it allows you to point at the ball and keep better balance when making the swing. Three, and probably most important, your chances of driving the ball out of bounds or into the net go dramatically down.

Bob Atherton is the Northern Arizona District ambassador for the United States Pickleball Association (USAPA) and coach and credentialed teacher. Contact Bob at or 928-499-2498.


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