New court shows growth for pickleball

With millions of players in North America, the pickleball craze is showing no signs of slowing down. The Flin Flon/Creighton Pickleball Club will be upgrading their courts at Steventon Park.

Pickleball is a tennis-like sport, with a light ball and smaller courts. Steventon Park’s playing surface will have a new finish and space will be created for four semi-permanent nets. The club currently has only temporary nets and a sub-par surface.

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“Right now we get funny bounces towards us a lot. You get a lot of strange bounces with the ball,” president Dave Etienne said. “You’re not able to play in the caliber that you normally can play with a proper surface.”

Pickleball courts have a restricted zone where players have to let the ball bounce to enter an area of the court. The club is looking forward to having new lines painted.

“The non-volley zone is one colour and the rest of the playing surfaces is another colour,” Etienne said. “It’ll be painted and then the lines will be painted on, so it’ll be more of an official looking set.”

The club, which Eteinne said has about 30 members, held two pickleball clinics in June, including one  June 25.

“We didn’t have very good turnout,” Etienne said of the June 25 clinic.

“I think it’s probably too early in the season. People are fishing and that sort of thing. We had better turnouts last year, but I’m thinking that once the pickleball courts are completed and there’s a finished product, [the clinics] may interest more people.”

Etienne said pickleball will continue to grow, noting that the sport has exploded in the southern U.S.

“All over North America, it’s a sport that is absolutely booming,” he said. “In fact, it’s replacing tennis in a lot of centres. There’s a lot of places where the tennis courts are being renovated into pickle ball courts. It’s spreading out all over the world.”

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association estimated there were 3.1 million pickleball players in the United States alone in 2017.

“The beauty about the pickle ball is you can play it at whatever rate you want to play it,” he said.

“I mean, there’s lots of people playing in tournaments. I’ve seen a lot of people in their mid-80s that play it every day. They’ll come out for half an hour and they play at the level that they want to play and socialize while they’re doing it and thoroughly enjoy it.”

The pickleball club brings extra paddles to every session. Etienne invited anyone interested to come out and play.

The club plays at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Steventon Park.

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