USA Pickleball Names Mark Peifer as its New Referee Coordinator
The USAPA is continually looking for ways to enhance the playing experience for all pickleball players. Recently, they announced the addition of Mark Peifer as the organization’s new Referee Coordinator.
Under Peifer’s direction, the sport’s governing body will upgrade the consistency, user friendliness and accessibility of the association’s referee program and officials-related training and educational initiatives. Peifer will be evaluating the current certification process and look for new ways to get more people engaged and comfortable with refereeing in general.
“Challenges exist to find good quality referees. There are several groupings of referees — those who want to learn how to referee, but don’t know how to find a trainer in their area, those who are currently refereeing and would like to pursue certification, and then a large group of players who would enjoy being a referee but just don’t know it yet. The challenge of those involved in training referees is to address the needs of each grouping,” said Peifer who, after nearly two decades of playing tennis, picked up a paddle one month after retiring in 2015 and has been hooked on the sport ever since.
“The USAPA is continually faced with the prospect of attracting and maintaining quality referees for many of our matches. Mark, aside from being an outstanding certified referee himself, knows what’s necessary to facilitate a successful referee certification program, adhering to our rules and regulations. He’s an excellent leader and will do a great job in leading this important function of our organization,” said Justin Maloof, Executive Director of the USAPA.
As pickleball continues its rise in popularity across the globe, so is the inherent need for quality referees. Peifer knows all too well the process that needs to be implemented. “Good referees strive to know the rules and enjoy challenging others with ‘what would you do if?’ scenarios. Another important element is being able to quickly recall the correct rule for what has just happened on the court. That ability comes from experience – from being exposed to many different court situations and many different players.”
As with most pickleball enthusiasts, Peifer sees nothing but steady and continual growth of the sport. “Recreational players will be the strength of pickleball. Tournament play will continue to grow and prosper with smaller qualifying tournaments leading to the USAPA Regional Tournaments, and then to the National Championship. A more robust professional tour with higher cash prizes will emerge while international growth will surprise no one, leading eventually to an Olympic sport in the near future.”