The San Diego Court Sports Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of court sports in San Diego. Membership in the SDCS is open to all applicants of good moral character of any age, regardless of race, religion, sex, color, creed, or national origin. Our membership consists of anyone who becomes a member and remains a member in good standing in accordance with San Diego Court Sports Association By-Laws.

Applicants will pay membership fees as established by the Board of Directors. Continued membership is contingent upon periodic renewal payment of membership fees.

All members are responsible to notify the Membership Coordinator of any change of address in order to properly receive any notice or correspondence. Members receive information via notification at tournaments, in the newsletter, through this website, or by e-mail.

Here are some things we think identify us and make us good for court sports and good for San Diego.

1) Local focus
The national and world sports organizations like USTA are great at establishing a vision for a sport but don't have the "boots on the ground" to realize that vision locally. Part of our job is to be those boots on the ground in San Diego. We would love for other cities to develop similar organizations, but we can't do a good job anywhere if we try to do too much everywhere.

2) Making sure people have a place to play
One way to do this is to fix up old courts so that people can use them again. One of our first activities was to clean up the Pacific Paddleball Association (PPA). Our basic strategy is to go in and clean up the courts, and paint and polish. Get as much media attention as we can to promote the sport, do a clinic or other teaching forum with a famous pro, and then hold a tournament for local people to play and show off what they've learned, hoping that they'll come back and use the courts over and over again. In other sports where we don't have facilities locally, we may need to do field trips so that people have places to play.

3) Reach youth players and senior players
Kids don't get physical education in school any more. We strongly believe that this will cause them problems later in life. They won't have much muscle memory or coordination, and when they start having health problems it will be very difficult for them to work their way out of those problems. Older people have a different set of issues. One of the best ways to extend people's lives and improve the quality of those lives is to get them out onto a court playing a game. To be bold, this is one way civilized societies take care of their elderly and it's part of our responsibility.

4) Provide a forum where serious players have access to pros/training
When a player develops to the point where they need coaching and instruction to reach the level they desire, we want them to know how to contact coaches and meet the right coach. Working with the right coach makes all the difference in your game, and there's no right coach for everyone. If you only know one teaching pro, you'll probably get the wrong coach.

5) Provide an information conduit for people in all racket sports
If you play racquetball, you'll know that our web site lists the clinics and tournaments and round robins and leagues for your sport, and a whole lot more. And that information will hopefully be useful to you. But you also know that we have information structured in the same way for pretty much any other court sport you want to play. So if you feel like racquetball is getting boring and you want to try padel, you can still go to our web site and just click on padel instead of racquetball and you've got lots of great information at your fingertips. You can get out and start playing immediately. We will even have a few instructive articles on the web site to help you get started and meet the leaders in that new sports community. 

6) Get the right gear
The game is just safer and more fun with the right equipment.
President's Message
Feeling 6000 Frames Per Second

If you've made it to this web page, you no doubt understand the pleasure of hitting a ball. Maybe it's the feeling of the racket strings releasing. Or if you prefer table tennis, maybe the feeling of a spinny ball digging into a rubber, or the sensation of a feathered shuttlecock pinging off the face of a tightly strung badminton racket. 

The super-slow-motion video below (from Olympus) of a tennis ball hitting the strings, gives an appreciation of how much is happening in these brief moments of racket contact. The ball flattens in ways you might not imagine possible. The strings deform. The racket face itself bends as the ball compresses. At the only moment when we can have a positive influence on the ball, it isn't a ball at all. It's more like an English muffin; a gelatinous English muffin gurgling this way and that. We can't really see all of this without the help of 6000 frame per second video, but we can feel it. Our eyes can't see at 6000 frames per second, but our hands can sense the most subtle changes and manipulate the ball. This is why coaches tell us to have sensitive hands. The hands are the only things that can help us know what's going on at the paddle face or racket face. 

Deep Impact

Feeling through this "deep impact" is why equipment matters. It's why grips are important. It's why our choice of strings or paddle faces matters. It's why Chinese table tennis coaches train new players for the first year with a paddle that is terrible in every way, except that you can feel the ball on it and train your hands to be sensitive.

Most people who appreciate this "deep impact" for one racket sport will appreciate it for another. And in handball, the same thing is happening except in the palm of your hand. That's both frightening and remarkable, and many superb athletes: marathon runners, weight lifters, cyclists, even football players, simply never develop the incredible coordination required to hit a ball like this. Some do, but many do not. This makes us, as players, a remarkable and somewhat misunderstood breed. Our peers in other walks of life don't see at 6000 frames per second either. Until they feel it, they can't understand. Our distinction in the deep impact we have in common gives us cause to come together. 

Most court sports are losing ground. In the 1970s, tennis courts were packed. There were a hundred racquetball clubs in San Diego and you still had to reserve your court three days in advance. There are half as many squash courts in San Diego as there were 25 years ago. And it's not just the sports that are suffering. Kids who don't get P.E. and never get that coordination will suffer later in life. And working on a treadmill isn't the same thing. Court sports teach balance, and they teach us what to do in awkward situations. In most court sports, one primary objective is to put the opponent in an awkward position and another primary objective is to hit our way out of awkward positions. Treadmills don't do that. When we trudge across a slippery floor, court sports training will do a lot more to prevent us from falling, and falls are a major disabler of older people. Court sports are social. We meet people. We communicate with them. They help us to improve. They become lifelong friends. Treadmills don't do that. That's why they have that little headphone jack so you can blot out the world. Finally, court sports release endorphins. These are the things that make us healthy and happy. For most of us, cardio machines don't do that.

There are a couple of bright spots in court sports. Pickleball, for instance, is growing and putting some of those derelict tennis courts to use. The national organizations are doing their best to sustain court sports, but it is difficult for the national organizations to effect the local level. That's our job. We need to learn what is working in our local pickleball community and see how we can bring that to court sports that are in decline. We need to figure out how to share this sensitivity to the deep impact in a way to keep people active through changing circumstances. If you have suffered a knee injury that prevents you from playing squash for a few months, we need to give you an easy path to a lower impact sport like table tennis until you recover. If you love tennis in from spring through fall, we need to give you a path to an indoor sport like racquetball or paddleball that you can play through the bad weather so that you are healthy and ready when spring comes around. We need to make sure that kids and others new to a game have places to play and opportunities to learn. We need to make sure that venues and equipment are available. When we see old tennis courts and outdoor racquetball courts that have turned into weed farms, we need to revitalize them and return them to playing condition. Moreover, we want to make you aware of the incredible San Diego court sports community that you are part of. We will make the history available so you know where all of this comes from, and we will help you find places and people to play so you can contribute to that history. 

Considering the richness of our history, I was both surprised and delighted to learn that I was selected as the inaugural president of the San Diego Court Sports Association. I am committed to making it easier and more fun for you to play.

Jamie Lawson
San Diego Court Sports Association