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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

What’s all the buzz about Pickleball? Learning a new sport

by Garrett Fodor

With courts continuing to pop-up all over Windsor-Essex, I decided it was time to see what all the buzz is about when it comes to pickleball.

  This past weekend, with the aid of experts from Kingsville Pickleball Inc., I hit the courts, to try and learn the unique racket sport, for the first time. As a 20-something-year-old in fine physical shape, who is active, I thought, ‘what is the worst that could happen?’ 

  On the surface, watching it briefly upon arrival, the sport seems like badminton meets tennis. Designed as a low impact activity, the racket sport features a paddle, wiffleball, and net, along with minimal movement, with a majority of the game being played at the net. 

  After learning the rules and fundamentals, club Treasurer, Robert Dalley, provided some assistance, serving as my doubles partner as we played several ‘recreational’ games. Games are played up to 11 points, however, you must win by two-points.

  Points are earned when you are serving, with both players having a chance to serve before the serve goes back to your opponent. Points are earned when the ball bounces twice. Following the serve and return, the ball could be hit out of the air, not requiring to be hit on the bounce.

  Over time, the biggest challenge, aside from the wind changing the path of the ball, is not being aware of where you are on the court. Focusing on the ball, it’s possible to lose track of your feet, often pivoting from one point to the next to minimize movement. With that though, feet play a crucial part to pickleball in order to avoid line violations, including stepping into “the kitchen,” right in front of the net, often coloured, prior to the ball bouncing. This could result in loss of serve or an opposition point.

  Open courts are divided in half, for recreational and competitive play. Kingsville Pickleball Inc. has courts reserved from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. every day and then again from 4 p.m. until dusk. 

  “We are seeing a lot of new players and the club has really grown,” Helen Dean, President of Kingsville Pickleball Inc., said. “The community support and interest are great. From people moving to the area to wanting to try the sport, our club has grown from a few members to 130 this year, featuring various skill levels. We’ve started to see, locally and nationally, pickleball rising in popularity, with some of the top players being eight and 14. It’s a common misconception that it is just a sport for old people.” 

  Dean noted Kingsville Pickleball Inc. started around 2013 on a single court, before expanding, eventually raising $75,000 to help open the new courts located next to the arena, with help from the Town of Kingsville and other corporate sponsors. Dean said she is extremely proud to see how much the sport has grown within Kingsville and across Essex County.

  Along with offering an organized pickleball league, Kingsville Pickleball Inc. also hosts drop in opportunities and occasional clinics to help those wanting to learn the sport.

  Dean encourages anyone interested to check out Kingsville Pickleball and try it out.

  For non-members, there is a drop-in fee of $5, but members will be more than happy to provide a chance to learn.

  Details about Kingsville Pickleball can be found on its social media page. 


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