About Rock N Roll Pickleball

Rock N Roll Pickleball supports inclusion and access to all sports with an emphasis on pickleball. Pickleball is a racquet-hybrid sport created on Bainbridge Island, WA in 1965. Using the power of sport and structure of competition, Rock N Roll Pickleball (RNR) replaces labels and stereotypes with confidence and independence in one’s abilities. Through its national para-pickleball program, adaptive instruction and club affiliations, RNR promotes inclusion and access to ALL sports. “Rock” is for the standing athletes and “Roll” is for the wheelchair athletes; together we “Rock N Roll.”

Staying true to its roots, the adaptive side of pickleball was also created in the Seattle area by Founder and Owner of Rock N Roll Pickleball, Ms. Adrienne Barlow. Adrienne describes pickleball as “ping-pong on steroids.” Pickleball is played on a badminton size court, with a tennis type net, a whiffle ball and with an oversized ping-pong paddle. A non-volley zone keeps the game challenging by emphasizing strategy and control vs physical prowess. Lighter weight racquets/paddles, along with a lighter ball on a 20’W X 44’L court, about 1/3 the size of a tennis court, makes pickleball an excellent adaptive sport.

In 2014, Adrienne Barlow, formally requested that the sport of pickleball be adapted by drafting and submitting the wheelchair rules for the sport.  The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) and International Federation of Pickleball approved the wheelchair rules for national and international competition thereafter, recognizing the adapted sport of pickleball. Shortly thereafter, Adrienne created para-pickleball in an effort to accommodate all permanent-physical disabilities.

VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas, TX

Fire Department Training Academy Chicago, IL

Para-Pickleball is pickleball using a classification system versus a skill rating. A classification system is used versus a skill rating to categorize levels of function making competition more meaningful for those wishing to compete with a variety of physical disabilities. This approach is similar to the International Paralympic Committee, thus pairing athletes in competition classes to compete with and against others of similar or like impairments. Singles, doubles and team competitions are classified using functional sport classes while Rock N Roll (standing with wheelchair athlete team) competitions are classified using a point system. Para-pickleball eligibility requires a verifiable-permanent health condition for classification. Some restrictions apply, and not all permanent conditions are classifiable.

Approximately one year after the creation of para-pickleball, Rock N Roll Pickleball was created with the support of Pickleball Rocks, a known force and educator in the pickleball community.

Currently, the USAPA supports the development of the national para-pickleball program under Rock N Roll Pickleball. Pickleball has huge potential as an adaptive sport but its lack of accessible and adaptive courts makes para-competitions increasingly difficult. Accordingly RNR was created to develop inclusive learning opportunities, raise funds for equipment and to foster increased access and integration in the sport of pickleball.

Valor Games Midwest, Chicago, IL

Today, Rock N Roll Pickleball is accepting:  memberships, club affiliations, developing teams, setting the standard for para-pickleball instruction, para-pickleball competition and integration.

What it Means to Support
Rock N Roll Pickleball

When you support Rock N Roll Pickleball, you support empowerment through equitable and fair competition. Most of all, your support means empowerment and integrity in the sport of para-pickleball. The Rock N Roll Pickleball brand means that the athlete comes first. By supporting inclusion and access, we offer a supportive-team environment for all abilities. As the only pickleball organization solely dedicated to para-pickleball and the physically impaired, Rock N Roll Pickleball empowers potential through the power of the sport and structure of competition. When the RNR brand and logo is proudly displayed, athletes know that they will have the trusted knowledge, expertise and dedication needed to ensure equitable inclusion, accessibility and meaningful competition. 

About Adrienne:

Adrienne is the founder and owner of Rock N Roll Pickleball. Rock N Roll Pickleball is women, disabled and Veteran owned. Ms. Barlow is a violent crime and paralysis survivor advocating for aging and disability rights as well as national adaptive sports legislation funding.
Adrienne is retired from federal service where she worked as a Life Scientist, Physical Scientist and Environmental Protection Specialist. Adrienne’s tenure included expertise in: biological research, mesoscale and climate modeling, molecular genetics, advanced statistical analysis, policy research, program assessments and geographical information systems. Using these skills, Adrienne was a consulted expert for the development of climate change monitoring, climatological analysis and data quality assessments at several federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and National Weather Service where the term the “Adrienne effect” was coined.

As the creator and founder of adaptive pickleball Rock N Roll Pickleball (RNR) represents integrity in the sport of para-pickleball.

How does RNR represent integrity? RNR supports adaptive sport organizations, secondary or higher academic institutions and/or other public service, governmental or related 501(c)(3) organizations that help support its mission of inclusion and access to ALL sports. As part of our effort to maintain integrity in the sport of para-pickleball and to lessen the scrutiny that is often found by unsafe or unknowledgeable practices, RNR will not support any promotion of para-pickleball or wheelchair pickleball for any private or personal gain.  As the founders and creators of adaptive pickleball, Rock N Roll Pickleball continues to strive to maintain the integrity and meaning behind its creation, thus to include all permanent physical disabilities into the sport of pickleball including the most severe. For this reason, all RNR instructors may have their credentials verified by calling RNR. As the agency overseeing all aspects in the development of para-pickleball, including rules, guidelines, classification and competition structure, RNR is the only organization qualifying adaptive, para-pickleball and wheelchair pickleball instructors. For more information on becoming a qualified instructor, please see Certified Para-Pickleball Specialist.

RNR does not charge its para-athletic members and Veterans for its clinics, leagues, local tournaments or for a majority of its services. Any services that RNR may charge its members are usually discounted or offered alongside our Empowerment Scholarships. RNR relies on donations and grant funding for these services. RNR also works alongside many other agencies to help provide its athletic members with other opportunities within the adaptive sporting community. Adaptive sports organizations seeking RNRs support to develop a para-pickleball opportunity, may also contact RNR for help in obtaining supplies from our equipment loan closet.

RNR does not promote, partner or provide its expertise to any tournament/competition related venues unless such event provides a benefit to the athletes for whom RNR was created to serve or for other reputable charitable or service organizations supporting RNR’s mission of inclusion and access to ALL sports.  Please contact RNR for more information about our services or questions regarding collaborations with the RNR organization.  We would love to hear from you.

Valor Games Far West, Alameda, CA

History of Rock N Roll Pickleball

December 2015 – While teaching an up and down pickleball lesson, Adrienne Barlow coins the term Rock N Roll clinic with hopes of creating access and inclusion for all players, and Rock N Roll Pickleball is born.
2016 – Para-pickleball is an exhibited sport at the Valor Games Far West and Midwest.
2016 – Rock N Roll Pickleball begins collaborating with Department of Veteran Affairs.
Feb 2017 – First teams designated
July 2017 – Launched Adapted Physical Education Initiative with Universities
July 2017 – Began credentialing of para-pickleball specialist candidates
August 2017 – First RNR Classification Committee formed
October 2017 – First official fundraiser for Rock N Roll Pickleball is conducted alongside members of USTA Wheelchair Tennis
2018 – Begin testing parts of the RNR Classification at selected venues across the country
2019- Would love to see a first Regional or National Tournament

Adrienne Barlow at Olympia, WA (photo reprinted from The Olympian newspaper.)

#rocknrollpickleball

“It has been my honor working with the athlete(s) in your wonderful “Rock n Roll” program. Proud to be a part of Rock N Roll Pickleball.”
– Gerald Kato USAPA Ambassador Aurora, Parker CO

“After a wheelchair pickleball athlete started joining us for open pickleball, I found USAPA Ambassador Adrienne Barlow online and contacted her. Eventually a wheelchair was purchased, based on Adrienne’s advise, for the Kroc Center. Adrienne also gave us resources to use to get him a spot chair of his own. She has given us advice/tips on how turns should be made and other things standing players would never think of. I have found Adrienne to be more than happy to help. After getting a wheelchair player, I realized there were so many things I didn’t know about wheelchair pickleball.

– Denise Donald, USAPA District Ambassador South Jersey

“I never thought I would find any sport more awesome than wheelchair basketball, but boy I was wrong! Wheelchair pickleball has arrived!”