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Inventor of the Rotating Paddle Holder

rotating paddle holder

Let me introduce you to the inventor of this rotating paddle holder – Lon Jones! Many of us have encountered the challenge of open play and keeping track of who’s next up and who’s in line. Sometimes this is a juggling mess of moving pickleball paddles. Here Lon shares his custom creation – the rotating paddle holder; the solution to keep things (paddles) orderly and moving right along:

inventor of rotating paddle holder
Pickleball paddles are placed and wheel turns clockwise. Inventor Lon Jones looking good!

I have played pickleball in many places, and everywhere I went I saw the same problem with how pickleball paddles are retained to mark your place in line while waiting for a court.  People either stuck them in chain link fence, or had some sort of board that required them to manually move the paddle forward until it was their turn to play.  I thought there had to be a way to eliminate having to constantly move the paddles while not taking up a large amount of space. 

What I came up with is a circular rotating design that auto-advances the paddles.  In just a 20-inch circle, you can put up to 20 paddles that rely on gravity to rotate them forward as people remove them to play.  Not knowing if this design would work or would even be well received, I didn’t want to use extravagant hardwood for the prototype.  I used reclaimed pallet wood, joined to make a panel so I could cut the 20 inch circles for the front and back of the rotating disc.  ABS drain plastic piping was the perfect diameter to make the holders for the paddles and gave the unit nice depth to hold the paddles horizontally.  One issue was how to make a stop for the paddles to rest against as they rotated around.  I solved this by extending some 1×6 framing with an upright to stop the paddles.  To hold the unit vertical and facilitate rotating, I reclaimed a lazy susan turntable bearing which allows it move quite freely while also being able to take the angular load of the paddles.  I then simply bolted the whole unit to the 6×6 post at the club to keep it in place.

This first design has been in place at Castle Creek Pickleball Club (Escondido, CA) for months now and really works well.  Feedback has been very positive after people got past the initial figuring it out.  They love that there are no more paddles falling out of the fence, and there is no need to move the paddles 10 or more times along a board to keep your place.  I have a feeling this will catch on in other places once they see how convenient it is to use!

I already have many changes to the design in mind for the next version, including a universal mount and stronger sealed bearings for longevity, as well as a more compact design.  Now it’s just a matter of finding time to make it!

I have been playing pickleball for over 2 years now and have reached the 5.0 level.  I am a board member at Castle Creek Pickleball Club and am always looking for ways to improve the sport, and the fun that goes with it.

Isn’t that so smart! Thanks again Lon for bringing the rotating pickleball paddle holder to life and keeping paddles and people moving right along. I think we should give credit where it due; how about calling it the “Lony Susan” or the “Lonlinekeeper”!   🙂  What are your thoughts?

17 thoughts on “Inventor of the Rotating Paddle Holder”

  1. I found your rotating paddle holder design after I designed and built mine.. Same principle but different set up.
    I would like to show it to you with a short video clip. I think you would be amazed.

    Gord Scott

  2. I’ll have to come check it out. I love the design and the compact look. Better than tubes with slots cut out. Good design Lon.

  3. Hey Julie! I am currently working on some different projects, so I don’t have time to make the paddle holder right now. 🙁 I do know multiple people have “borrowed” the idea and have started making them. If I come across their information I will post it here. I will also let you know if I have time to start making them again, they really make the process easier!

  4. Judith Kehrmann

    Just want to be kept informed. There is a dispute over who will continue to run the Aldergate Park here in Menifee, CA so the completion of the two pickleball courts is on hold. So my pickleball playing is also on hold.

  5. Playing against newbies is okay with me, though I am put off by folks who play without knowing anything at all about the game and then expect to be taught all the rules and also coached after every point, even though ten people are in the stands waiting to play. I do think such players should take introductory instruction offered by our local YMCA before jumping into normal recreational play.

    Beyond that caveat, I work on controlled, deliberate soft game shots often directed to where the newbie can hit the ball. Then, after a decent rally, I challenge myself to maneuver the newbie out of position and then finish with a medium paced shot to the open court.. This approach gives newbies a decent chance to hustle back into the point and sharpens my patience and accuracy–a win/win style of play.

  6. That’s the best system to date and you play whoever comes up in the rotation. It’s simple and orderly and most of all it works.

    It’s just some people that feel threatened or are afraid they can’t keep up with some others. Others feel they are too good to play with some newbies. I say, wrong attitude and does nothing to promote the sport of Pickleball whatsoever. I coach it so I’ve got a totally different outlook. It’s about encouraging people of all ages to reach their full potential even if they want only to play recreationally and not competitively. To each his own, but you can still play to your ability if your opponent challenges you with higher level of play.

    I find some people respond better than others when pushed to their current limit and pretty soon they’re playing a higher level game consistently. They’re overjoyed when they discover how well they can compete. Never before believed in themselves to measure up to this level of long rallies and aggressiveness. A really rewarding experience from a coach’s perspective as well. Keep improving by challenging yourself all the time, every time you get out on the court regardless of who is across the net from you.

    The key is to play the whole court, read the opponents shot and learn to anticipate and call their shot. Moving your feet drills (footwork) is vital because then you’re in position to give yourself at least two options. You must choose promptly which one you’re going to use. G’Luck

  7. At our YMCA, we put the paddles in a line on the bottom bench of the bleachers. When there is an opening for two players, the owners of the next two paddles go in to play. And the paddles of the two players coming out are placed at the end of the line.

    And then everybody waits again.

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