Just returned from the North Carolina Tennis Foundation’s TENNIS WEEKEND in Pinehurst.
I was shunned twice for mentioning pickleball. Tennis people are somewhat skeptical about pickleball.
When soccer exploded upon the American scene in the 70’s the football people reacted much the same way:”Soccer is taking away some of our best kids!” Russell Rawlings said soccer was football without linemen!
I had never seen or been to THE VILLAGES in mid-Florida. On a recent trip to Bradenton we stopped in to view the
“mecca of pickleball”. I think a new approach by the tennis people may be worth studying. Having observed attempts to teach tennis in public school physical education classes, maybe a switch to pickleball might be wiser. It is so much easier to learn (save the scoring system*). And, while the pickleball people will argue that their
game can stand on its own merits, perhaps there would be a “carryover” from mastery of pickleball to the more complex and expensive tennis process. And attract some audiences that shun tennis no matter how hard we try?
The easiest part of this is adaptation of existing facilities. Courts are the same size as a badminton court (44″ x  20″), needing only boundary lines on existing high school, recreation, or whatever tennis court. While these lines (and the different sound of the ball), bother the purists, these quickly become unnoticed.
A prediction, or a suggestion: This is already happening. Real estate often features two tennis courts that are for condominium villages. Most of these were built by an owner who, to compete, added two courts. Lonely and often in the front of the housing, most dwell out front, unused and unmaintained.
Why not line these courts for pickleball. Put out some rackets and balls in a container and watch what happens.
One last thought: Many tennis courts have been “left to seed”. A two court abandoned asphalt pad can be laid out to house 6 pickleball courts.

* Unfortunately pickleball also adapted a scoring system much like badminton. And, while this idea can be applied to colleges, I would go ahead and grant
a degree to any college student who can master the scoring.

3 thoughts on “PICKLEBALL 2

  1. ethomasparham

    Pickleball 2 (comments)

    Pickleball exploding at our club; giving weekly clinics
    Hope all is well,
    Allen (Farfour) NCTF HALL of FAME

    “This game is so easy lo learn, play and afford. Much fewer injuries. Floods of new converts in our beach area.” Tennis players who stopped playing tennis are a prime target as returnees to pickleball.
    (Ed Gwaltney, Retired Athletics Director, Hunt High School, football and tennis coach)

    p.s. (…we taught pickleball in pe classes at Hunt High. Kids that wouldn’t touch a tennis racket or lesson jumped all over the game. Why? This is fun, coach”—day one!

    Coach Parham, thanks for pushing for and helping us line two of our hardcourts for pickleball.at Lands End. Loads of play among new people. Missy and I are off to FLORIDA and will play daily there. Any doubters should visit resorts in the sunshine state. (Don Detenly—United States Air Force Pilot retired)

    Coach, they’ve added pickleball to the pe curriculum in Beaufort Middle School (Martha Mabley, local tennis player reported today).

    “then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone,
    for the times, they are a-changing” (bob dylan)

    (…there’s enough to go around if nobody gets greedy)—Buddy Bedgood

  2. ethomasparham

    Pickleball 2 (comments)

    Pickleball exploding at our club; giving weekly clinics
    Hope all is well, Coach,

    We are having family pickleball events where the kids and adults are having a much easier time having rallies. I do think it would be very popular in schools and see no negative towards tennis; may make for more interest to try tennis after the fun & success in PB.


    Since writing this article I’ve begun to wonder if cooperation (tennis with the explosion of pickleball) is a prudent thing to investigate.
    In the summer of 1962 I was the “Director of Tennis” for the city of Winston-Salem. And while I was stationed at Hanes Park I drove my Dad’s Nash Rambler to 13 parks throughout town, teaching tennis. Kimberly Park and Skyland Park were the two parks that were in black neighborhoods. The director of Recreation, Mr. Joe White, made it very clear that Mr. David Lash, a local football coach and tennis enthusiast would have some kids there and they deserved my best efforts. I agreed and tried my best. I had a pillowcase full of balls, as this was pre-ball hopper. One cute youngster particularly delighted me each visit and greeted and helped me every visit until the last. “Coach, I won’t be there next week” was his greeting. Why, I asked? “We got to march!”
    Was MLK,jr in Winston, summer of 1962?
    I have witnessed and worked to help grow minority tennis.
    We have had a hard time making it work. From the USTA to local individuals, their have been sincere efforts and allocations.
    1. This is still a worthy cause
    2. Tennis a tough game for some populations and cultures.
    3. There are sociological barriers.
    Often schools don’t have a teacher who can teach tennis.
    Courts are abandoned.
    I want your opinion on this question: Wouldn’t it be worth a try and the money to add Pickleball as a carryover class for schools? In eastern NC we have courts everywhere that go unused. Study reveals you can have people playing the game in 30 minutes. All needed are lining of current (often abandoned), and about 100$ to provide nets and rackets and balls for six courts.
    American constituents will continue to try to spend our way out of this failure.
    What do you think, can we ride the wave of pickleball to helping everybody?

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