We have often used the USAPA Places to Play website as we travel. But we have often wished that it could use the GPS in our phone to quickly locate a place to play pickleball nearby. With this pickleball app we can.
Small Town America…What is a Pickleball Addict to Do?
We were traveling from Fredericksburg, Texas to Balmorhea. If you have made this trip, you know this is wide open country. When I pulled up Texas on the Places to Play website, I hunted for the few city and town names nearby I knew, but I was coming up empty. The mapping feature on the USAPA website was clumsy and difficult to use. In addition, it doesn’t provide directions from where we are to the facility. It would be so much simpler if I had an app that would use the GPS in my phone to locate places to play. While reading entries in various pickleball groups on Facebook, I came upon an announcement of a new app for my iPhone. I instantly went to check it out.
I contacted Alex Murray, the app developer, to learn more. Alex is 28 years old and learned to develop IOS apps while in college. He now works as a IOS developer for General Motors. Alex has only been playing pickleball for two months. You can tell that Alex is taken with the sport in that he plays several times a week, and marks the anniversary of when he was first introduced to the sport on the 2nd of each month.
I let Alex explain how he went from being introduced to the sport on July 2nd to developing the pickleball app:
I was introduced to pickleball through my brother-in-law. They had a court in his backyard in Utah. I was instantly hooked and immediately turned to my phone to do two things:
1. To find a paddle to buy, and
2. To find places that I could play back home in the Phoenix, AZ area.
I went to the USAPA website on my phone, excited to find places to play. However, the map did not load on my phone and I was left disappointed! I searched the App Store but found options I considered incomplete or difficult to use. I thought, “Hey I can make an app that can really be useful to people who love this game.”
Note: USAPA Places to Play site displayed on phone shown here.
Alex’s app includes all of the places to play that are on the USAPA website, and additional ones, from user feedback. All of the locations are stored in a database that each user’s app has access to. When a new place is added to the database, everyone has access to it almost immediately. Alex recently added functionality to allow users to add/edit locations online. (In his first version, edits are sent to him and he enters requests manually each night after his son went to bed.) Alex explains:
It is very important to me that the people who play at these locations regularly can control the information about each location. They know more about their courts than I do, and I think they should be the ones to represent these locations.
Finally, I found that if I tap the address in PBFinder it will provide detailed directions from my current location to the place to play. Handy…since many times we are in an unfamiliar area!
I spoke with a representative of the USAPA over a year ago about adding this sort of functionality to their website. As it turns out, in the past few weeks the USAPA has reached out to Alex. We are unsure at this time what collaboration might occur moving forward. Until that time, as an iPhone/iPad user, I am glad this pickleball app is available. (Sorry, Android users, an android version is not available at this time.) If, like us, you travel frequently and enjoy stopping at new places and playing pickleball with “the locals” download this pickleball app.