Aitkin, Minnesota: Aitkin Native John Newstrom Publishes “One Minute Pickleball”

by Walt Sauerbrei –

John Newstrom recently published his newest book and the 50th book of his career. The book, published under the author pseudonym of “J. Mortswen” is titled One Minute Pickleball and sold nationally through (search for “pickleball books”).

“I always thought it would be fun to adopt a pseudonym (pen name) as a way to remain somewhat anonymous in my writing,” said Newstrom. “By doing so, I can claim to have joined the ranks of Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, Mother Jones, John le Carre and Ann Landers.”

Newstrom was born and raised in Aitkin, graduating from Aitkin High School in 1960. After receiving a doctoral degree in 1971, he taught a variety of management classes at Arizona State University and the University of Minnesota, Duluth, retiring in 2004 when he and his wife Diane moved back to Aitkin.

One Minute Pickleball was written for a local audience—those pickleball-playing friends who need a quick review of a particular topic, or those who are looking for a set of reminders on how to refresh and hone their skills, or new students of pickleball.

“I truly believe that most of the 70 plus topics in this book can be read in about one minute,” said Newstrom. “The individual topics are less than two pages each. I also hope to make readers smile or chuckle a bit at some of the humorous comments.”

Newstrom encourages readers of the book to pick and choose one or a few specific items of interest to them at the moment. One Minute Pickleball is 176 pages in length, and each chapter is one-two pages long; therefore, readable in about one minute.

“Selling prospective players on the sport of pickleball is easy,” added Newstrom. “The game is so much fun that it was recently described as the ‘fastest growing sport on the planet.’”

Key reasons to consider playing pickleball, according to Newstrom, include:

It is easy to learn and makes for a terrific game; it provides great physical exercise at any level of play; it satisfies a need for competition, achievement, and competence; it is “knock your socks off” fun to play, and provides great opportunities for good-natured kidding and laughter; it provides numerous health benefits; it lowers blood pressure, boosts immune systems, reduces stress, improves mental acuity, stimulates blood flow, aids weight loss, and improves joint flexibility; it is relatively inexpensive to buy the equipment and to play on public courts; it is played on a much smaller court than tennis, making it easier to cover the playing area; as a “sport for life,” it is enjoyed by people of all ages; it is gender-neutral and age-neutral; almost anyone can play and become competent; it keeps you young at heart!


Chapter I describes pickleball and its background, introduces the key rules and terms, and focuses on safety, etiquette, good sportsmanship, and hydration.

Chapter II is intended to help the novice player get started. It introduces the serve, the scoring system, the return of serve, basic strokes and making line calls.

Chapter III introduces the basic shots in pickleball—volleys, third shot drops, dinks, overhead smashes and lob shots.

Chapter IV includes discussion of items not in the rules but useful to know—practice groups, pickleball ratings, No Man’s Land, getting to the NVZ, the “golden middle,” and Unforced Errors.

Chapter V discusses advanced concepts such as teamwork, shadowing, re-setting the point, body shots, bangers and poaching.

Chapter VI provides a variety of ideas for using a positive mental attitude, conscious strategies on the court and common ways by which players often lose points.

Chapter VII becomes truly lighthearted (unleashing my “inner self,”) touching on pickleball addiction, the infamous “Oh, Oh” shot, the “Benda” shot, clichés, and fun with pickling (such as handy excuses for poor performance).

Chapter VIII concludes the collage of topics with brief treatment of leg cramps, referees, rally scoring, skinny singles and where to go for additional information.

Newstrom is passionate about the game of pickleball (playing it 4 or 5 times per week), and thoroughly enjoys his role as a volunteer ambassador and promoter of the sport in Aitkin County for the United States of America Pickleball Association (USAPA). To enhance his knowledge in that role, he recently participated in a week-long retreat for nationwide pickleball ambassadors held in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

“I love to teach new players the rules, various types of shots, and winning strategies (while also emphasizing safety),” continued Newstrom. “One Minute Pickleball will serve as a valuable resource for both prospective and current players.”

In addition to donating his time and knowledge when teaching introductory pickleball classes during the summer in the local area, Newstrom also enjoys passing on his insights and experiences by coaching existing players as they develop their skills to become more adept on the court and increase their experience of fun. He can be contacted by email at

Leave a Comment