Prepping to play pickleball

It’s a combination of tennis, badminton, ping pong and racquetball. They call it pickleball once you add a paddle and a whiffle ball.

Volunteers Rob Taylor

Volunteers Rob Taylor

It’s a combination of tennis, badminton, ping pong and maybe racquetball too. They call it pickleball once you add a paddle and a whiffle ball, and the players finally have a place to call home.

With the help of volunteers, Club Shuswap recently transformed its old tennis courts into four pickleball courts. The courts were open for action on Thursday after a few weeks of sanding, sealing and painting the foundation.

Club Shuswap marketing co-ordinator Bruce Barnard decided to restore the courts after learning pickleball was one of the fastest growing sports in North America.

“I was aware of the popularity down south and that’s where my interest first got perked and I looked into it a bit more,” said Barnard. “It’s a very popular sport.”

Shuswap Pickleball Ambassador Linda Brown is ecstatic to finally have a place for the 40-plus pickleball players to game.

They previously played at the Salmon Arm Community Centre but Brown said it was a nightmare with all the different sports lines and incorrect pickleball boundaries.

“This is going to be great because it’s just going to be just a pickleball court, so it will be easy to play on,” she said, adding that they now have extended hours of play to accommodate everyone.

Brown looks forward to seeing new players on the courts. She says the learning curve is small and welcomes both kids and seniors, adding it offers a good introduction to tennis also, because it teaches hand eye co-ordination and working with a paddle.

You can play in teams of two or in singles. The game is like mini-tennis with a hard plastic whiffle ball, wooden paddles and a badminton net that sits around knee height. When starting, the serve must be hit underhand and each team plays their first shot off the bounce.

After the ball has bounced once on each side, teams can either volley the ball in the air or play it off the bounce. The game is played to 11 and you have to win by two points, but you can only score points when serving.

“It’s just been a wonderful thing because it’s a good sport and there’s lots of people playing it, of all ages,” Brown said of getting new courts.

Barnard looks forward to seeing more people get involved either competitively or casually. Having the courts at Club Shuswap will also increase activity on the golf course.

“This will give the sport a chance to grow and for more people to get involved,” Barnard said.

The courts are open the same hours as the golf club and anyone is welcome to play. The pickleball club has selected hours of play with courts designated for new players and members available for instruction.

For more information or coaching, call Brown at 250-832-6579.