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APP Tour Addresses Officiating, Names Two Industry Veterans to Shape Future of Refereeing

by The Dink Media Team on

The Association of Pickleball Players announced today the leadership of two prominent partners to shape the future of the organization’s officiating and best-in-class referee training at the international level.

Byron Freso will counsel the organization as director of international referee training, while longtime APP referee Mike Baumgardner steps in to support as director of officiating.

"Byron Freso has championed the APP since day one as one of our most steadfast supporters," APP Founder Ken Herrmann said. "He’s the best at what he does, and I am thrilled that he will lead the charge as we develop continued referee education on a global level. Meanwhile, Mike Baumgardner has proven himself as one of the APP head referees this past year. He has the respect and credibility of all USA Pickleball referees, and I am delighted to have his support as we build on Byron’s momentum for our officiating.”

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A seasoned pickleball industry veteran, Freso brings a wealth of experience to counsel the APP on international referee training. He brings his experience as the APP’s director of officials, more than 12 years of pickleball referee experience and his accolades as a 5.0-rated player. In his previous capacity, Freso supported referees during all APP tournaments, where he managed player behavior and ensured adequate officiating coverage. Freso’s success on the court, coupled with his extensive experience as a referee, uniquely positions him to provide education, mentorship, and training to international referees as the sport continues to grow on a global stage.

"My goal is to empower referees to excel in their roles and contribute positively to the growth of pickleball on a global scale,” said Freso. “I am committed to providing education, mentorship, and training to international referees to enhance their skills and contribute positively to the growth of the sport with the APP."

Baumgardner brings more than five years of APP officiating experience and credibility as a USA Pickleball-certified referee. He has overseen some of the highest-profile matches in professional pickleball, including serving as lead referee on center court at the 2022 USA Pickleball National Championships and as head referee for several APP Tour stops. While managing the APP’s officiating, Baumgardner will support all aspects of refereeing at APP Tour events, including ensuring referees have necessary support and resources, reviewing and standardizing best practices, and collaborating with APP tournament operations to ensure world-class experiences for all players.

"I am honored and humbled to expand my officiating role with the APP Tour," Baumgardner said. "The opportunity to work with the incredible APP staff as well as the hard-working, dedicated, and professional referees to produce a high-quality event for pros and amateurs alike is thrilling. I look forward to the endless possibilities that lie ahead for this amazing sport and where the APP Tour will take it."

Line calls in particular have become a hot topic in professional pickleball. Travis Rettenmaier recently came on the PicklePod to discuss the ease with which players cheat and the lack of accountability with players making their own line calls.

The Dink Media Team

The Dink Media Team

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