Learn to Play & Love Pickleball

The Pickler I Met: Jarick Rager – The Progressive Pickler

by Stacie Townsend

Pickler Pickleball Blog | Jarick Rager - The Progressive Pickler

Last Friday, CBS Sports Network presented the 2018 US Open Pickleball Mixed Pro Doubles Championship between Simone Jardim/Kyle Yates and Lucy Kovalova/Matt Wright (which was played in Naples, Florida back in April). After watching the match, we were curious about the breakdown of some of the statistics at the highest level of pickleball, namely how many shots did each player take. However, the statistics go well beyond the percentage of shots each player takes and the number of shots in the longest rally. For instance, what are the number of forehands versus backhands or the number of drives versus drops, how many forced and unforced errors were made, were shots attackable or unattackable, what stopped and started momentum throughout the match, and so on. These statistics are valuable to improve your pickleball strategy and to really understand your play, your partner’s play and your opponent’s play on the pickleball court. And, we were not the only ones interested in these types of numbers. Our new friend, Jarick Rager (pictured in the white t-shirt above) of Birmingham, Alabama, is also interested in these statistics and is on the verge of introducing a new mobile app that may help us Picklers understand our own statistics a little better.

Meet Jarick Rager

Jarick Rager first found pickleball while visiting his parents in the Del Webb community near Nashville, Tennessee in 2012. He started playing with his brother, and, similar to when Pickler YoYo Monroe played for the first time, played pickleball more like tennis—without a kitchen, with overhead serves and with some killer smashes. Fortunately, as Jarick put it, a “sweet lady with a southern draw worse than mine” came along and taught Jarick and his brother the proper rules of pickleball. Upon returning home to Birmingham, Alabama, Jarick searched for three years for a place to play pickleball with no luck, until on Thanksgiving in 2015, Jarick’s wife spotted a sign for pickleball in their area. Jarick has been playing about three to five times per week ever since.

Jarick has also gone on to further advance our sport of pickleball by becoming one our USAPA ambassadors and hosting two successful tournaments in Trussville, Alabama, with the hopes of hosting two more next year. The efforts of Jarick and others has helped enhance the presence of pickleball in the Birmingham, Alabama area, which is evident from the fact that the area has gone from one to twelve places to play pickleball in just a few years.

Now, what I think makes Jarick’s story particularly interesting is how he has merged his career skills as a software developer with his passion for pickleball. Jarick has not only one, but two mobile apps that I think Picklers should be aware of, as they may enhance our ability to connect and grow on and off the pickleball courts. Both of these mobile apps grew out of Jarick’s frustrations as a pickleball player, which I am sure we have all experienced from time to time.

PickleUp

The first mobile app is PickleUp, which was released just a few days ago. I am sure most Picklers (including myself and Jarick) are a part of some text, email or Facebook group that announces a pick-up game and requests for RSVPs of who is in and who is out—and, then, you get bombarded with messages, both relevant and irrelevant. Well, PickleUp is a mobile app that hosts and manages these pick-up game announcements and requests for RSVPs. PickleUp allows you to see who is in and who is out, and what skill level each player is, while keeping your personal contact information private (other than your first name and the first initial of your last name). PickleUp also allows people to search for pick-up games in any area, which could be a valuable tool when traveling.

We at Pickler are excited to try PickleUp and see how it improves or enhances the communication process for pick-up games. One important thing to note is that the proceeds for downloading this mobile app ($1.99) will be donated by Jarick’s company to the Children’s Hospital of Alabama!

PickleballStat

The second mobile app is PickleballStat, which was born out of an experience Jarick had personally, where he and his partner had two very different perspectives of how each other played after a tournament. Jarick needed the numbers to breakdown the reasons for their failure during the tournament. And, TA DA!—the idea for PickleballStat was born, which is the mobile app that I eluded to above that has the ability to track your statistics on the pickleball court (including the types of statistics described above).

Jarick, who reached out to a variety of pickleball players at different levels for input on PickleballStat, as well as Mark Renneson at Third Shot Sports and Prem Carnot (also known as “The Pickleball Guru”), is hard at work to finalize the last pieces (or bits and bytes as Jarick would say) on this mobile app. Whether you are a 3.0 pickleball player or pickleball pro, statistics and numbers can provide you concrete evidence to identify strengths and weaknesses and to improve and enhance your game on the pickleball court. Be on the lookout for the launch of PickleballStat in the coming weeks!

The Progressive Pickler

Whether it is through his personal efforts in his community, or by using his skills as a software developer, Pickler Jarick is looking forward and making strides to advance our sport of pickleball. Pickler Jarick has not only progressed (and continues to progress) pickleball in his community, but will also hopefully progress our ability to play pickleball by providing us with tools to find more places to play more efficiently and with tools that sharpen and boost our ability to understand and breakdown our individual game with the use of statistics. Hence, we have dubbed Pickler Jarick, the Progressive Pickler!

We are excited to try out Pickler Jarick’s mobile apps, PickleUp and PickleballStat! Do you think these mobile apps could be useful to you? Are you a part of a text, email for Facebook group that is constantly communicating about pick-up games? Would you like to further understand your pickleball game? What pickleball statistic would be most valuable to you? Share your thoughts with us, and/or give a shout out to Pickler Jarick, in the comments below!




Stacie Townsend
Stacie Townsend

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