SEE PICKLEBALL 1 (BLOG 149)
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.