Pickleball clinics, open play start in April

  • The Glen Ellyn Park District will offer adult Pickleball clinics and drop-in outdoor Pickleball in April at the new courts at Village Green Park. The courts were completed last September.

    The Glen Ellyn Park District will offer adult Pickleball clinics and drop-in outdoor Pickleball in April at the new courts at Village Green Park. The courts were completed last September. Courtesy of Glen Ellyn Park District

 
 
Updated 3/26/2018 5:39 PM

Although it was invented in 1965, Pickleball is now becoming one of the fastest-growing sports in America, and is also expanding into Canada and Europe. Pickleball is an interesting sport that combines various elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.

It's said that the game was named by the inventor's wife, who compared it to a "pickle boat" in the sport of rowing, referring to a boat filled with leftover rowers from other boats. The mishmash of oarsmen reminded her of the combination of sports in what later became known as "Pickleball".

 

Pickleball is played on a modified tennis court, about the size of a badminton court. The court includes a space called "the kitchen," which is an area close to the net that causes a player to lose the point if they step into it. Just like tennis, Pickleball can be played indoors or outside. Players use rectangular paddles and a large (softball-sized) plastic ball with holes, similar to a whiffle ball. Games can be played with singles or doubles, and scoring is similar to volleyball. One team, or player, keeps serving until they lose a point. Points are only scored if the serving team won the play.

"Since Pickleball is such a fast-growing sport, the Glen Ellyn Park District wanted to make sure it was available to the community," said Mark Cunnington, director of racquet sports for the Glen Ellyn Park District. "A lot of tennis clubs are making it available, and it's popular with people of all ages. It's a very recreational game, the type where you can 'grab three friends and go play,' but there's a lesson component needed, too. It doesn't take long to learn, and it's really a lot of fun."

Open plays are very popular, where people create teams of two and challenge other teams, with the winners staying to play the next team. Winners continue to play until they lose, then the new winning team stays to play the next team in line.

"Pickleball is ideal for those wanting a fast-paced, competitive game, but the smaller-sized court also makes it appealing for those with mobility issues," added Cunnington. "I'm looking forward to teaching this fast-growing sport; I know it will be popular in Glen Ellyn, too!"

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Adult clinics will begin in April at Village Green Park in Glen Ellyn. All equipment is provided; bring a water bottle and weather-appropriate clothing, and learn the challenging, fun game of Pickleball!

A free Drop-in Outdoor Pickleball session will be offered on Thursday, April 19, at 9:30 a.m. Come by yourself or bring a friend along. Paddles will be available to rent for $5 each.

For more information, contact Mark Cunnington at gepaddlepro@gmail.com or visit www.gepark.org.

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